Monday, October 31, 2011

3 in 30 Challenge- November Goals

3in30 Challenge

Can't you tell I just love challenges?  I think it's what keeps me going as a stay at home mom.  I have SO many things I want to do, but not sure how to organize.  I saw this website and thought I would try a 3 in 30 Challenge for November.

So here are my 3 goals that I want to accomplish this month:

*I want to clean up my 6 month old daughter's room.  I'm trying to weed out clothes that no longer fit and just tidy up her room.  It is a dumping ground right now!

*Bring all the books from the attic into the new loft in our house so I can start "educating" my little son!  I have so many great kids books that I used when I taught Kindergarten.

*I want to exercise 3 times a week!  I'm trying to lose weight and be healthy.

OK, that's my goals for November!

Menu Plan Monday

I can't believe I am actually menu planning! I will keep this up even after the challenge, but I'm finding so many fun recipes to try, but it helps that I write them down and actually make them.  The tricky part is making sure I have most of the ingredients.  I'm trying to be frugal since we are on such a tight budget right now.

Monday- Chicken enchiladas with Jeremy's homemade tomatillo green sauce
Tuesday- Super Easy Crockpot Chicken
Wednesday- Grilled Chicken and Peach pizza (baked)
Thursday- Taco Potatoes
Friday- Ginger Peanut Chicken
Saturday- Chicken Spaghetti
Sunday- Chicken and Wild Rice Bake- (I originally got this from Good Cheap Eats, but I tweaked it so I will post my recipe this week)

I know, lots of chicken this week.  I got a good deal at the grocery store!

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy Book Review

Here's my review:
Erin Healy's The Baker's Wife is a bizarre mystery that can only be solved by Audrey's unique ability to feel someone else's pain.  Audrey and her husband Geoff Bofinger, who used to be a pastor, run a bakery in a small California town.  When their son's girlfriend had an abortion, her parents blame the Bofinger's for paying for it by showing proof.  Meanwhile, the girl's mother, Julie, is suffering severe physical and emotional pain.  When Julie vanishes after an accident involving her scooter and Audrey's car, Julie's husband, Jack, who is a detective for the police department takes matters into his own hands.  Will Julie be found and how does Audrey redeem herself and her family amidst the madness?

I must say, this book had me thinking and guessing the entire time.  The accident at the beginning of the story was almost impossible to solve given the evidence.  When Jack, who had a distorted view of being a Christian, takes hostage several people in a bakery and demands Audrey to find his wife,  I was very interested to see how it would unravel.  I liked the unbelievable mystery scenario in this book, but it was almost a little too eccentric.  However, I really enjoyed Erin's description of the setting and all the action.  Her imagination made this a fast paced read.  If you enjoy suspense, this is a great book!  (PS. I wish it had a recipe too!)

*This product was provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Christmas Lodge DVD Review and Giveaway!!

Come experience the magic of Christmas with Mary as she rediscovers the Christmas Lodge presented by Thomas Kinkade.  Mary spends a fun weekend in the mountains and stumbles upon the Christmas Lodge where she used to spend winters with her family.  However, the lodge has become rundown and the owner, Jack, is reluctant to repair it due to the high cost.  Mary, along with the inspiration from her grandfather and the hard work of her father and brothers set about to restore the lodge to make it available again to bless others as it has in the past.

This is a sweet movie with plenty of lovable characters.  Mary is a determined young woman who sometimes doesn't trust her heart, but between Jack, her mother, her grandfather and her grandmother in heaven she truly discovers how to pursue her dreams and love again.  I loved the scenery in this movie and Mary's personality.  This movie really put me into the Christmas spirit and I know it will for you too!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Win it:  I am having a giveaway for this DVD.  Open to US only and giveaway ends Sunday, November 6.

To enter: Be sure to click on all the links before filling out the entry form.

1. Be a follower on my blog
2. Subscribe to my blog by email (link on blog)
3."Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog). 
4. Watch the trailer.

5. Post about this giveaway on another site (your blog, facebook,twitter, etc) (1 entry for every site) 

PS. After you fill out the form, you can still earn extra entries...see Facebook!  I'll add them to your entry form!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist Book Review

Here's my review:
Love on the Line  by Deeanne Gist is a story that takes place in the early 1900's where outlaws were revered and Texas Rangers were not seen as heroes.  Lucious Landrum, a Texas Ranger, is on the hunt for such an outlaw, Frank Comer.  He best can track him posing undercover as a troubleman (telephone repairman).  But he has to disguise himself and use the name Luke Palmer.  He works closely with Georgie Gail, the switchboard operator, who has an unusual love and fascination for birds.  Things heat up as Luke becomes better acquainted with the townspeople and especially Georgie.  Will Luke be able to capture Frank Comer, yet keep his disguise under wraps?  Will Georgie allow herself to know the true Luke Palmer?

I was absolutely fascinated with the quaint functions of the switchboard in this book.  I was also amazed at the amount of research and intricate details the author included about birds, shooting events, outlaws and Texas Rangers.  She weaved all this into an adventurous story.  I have to say I was not fond of the names of the main characters, but that is trivial.  I also thought there were way too many characters.  I could hardly keep up.  But I really enjoyed the sweet romance.  I was a bit surprised at the fact that two unmarried people worked so closely together in a house for that time period.  However, this book introduced me to a time and place that I would enjoy reading about more.

*This product was provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Monday, October 24, 2011

Abiding Fruit: Joy


This week I read Psalm 16 for 5 days looking at truths, commands and promises that focus on joy.  What I found most interesting was that safety and security in the Lord is what gives me joy.

Here are some of the truths and promises:
*God keeps me safe.
*He is my refuge.
*Good things come from the Lord.
*The Lord is my inheritance.
*The Lord is my blessing.
*He is my guide.
*He is always with me.
*He is right beside me.
*He shows me the way of life.
*He gives me joy.
*I can live with him forever.

Lasting joy is based on God's presence with us.  I need to experience the presence of God daily in my life.  This life is full of heartache and I find myself dwelling on the negative.  I recently started writing my 1000 gifts list.  I'm using it to focus on positive things that God has given me in my life.  In this psalm I learned that joy is safety and security in God.  When it seems that parts of my world are crumbling, I know that I have the solid foundation of God to rest upon.  With God I am safe, he is my refuge, he is with me, beside me and gives me joy in his presence.  Today I want the JOY of the Lord to permeate every part of my being.  I want no circumstance to drag me down, but be lifted up to God for in him, I have all I need.

I am hooked up Do Not Depart and Good Morning Girls.

Menu Plan Monday

It's clean out the freezer/pantry week I think!

Monday- Chili Pie
Tuesday- Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Wednesday- Super Sassy Southwestern Chicken with potatoes
Thursday- Chicken and wild rice bake
Friday- Ginger Peanut Chicken
Saturday- leftovers
Sunday- Egg Mcmuffin

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tropical Traditions Organic Herbal Breath Spray Review and Giveaway

Special Price! Organic Herbal Breath Spray - 1-oz

If you are like me, you want fresh breath.  I'm always trying to find a piece of gum or a tic tac to pop in my mouth, especially when I am out so I can give off fresh breath to those I come in contact with.  But what happens when I can't find that last stick of gum!  Hmm, well, a breath spray would be a great replacement.  So I recently found that Tropical Traditions has an Organic Herbal Breath Spray.

All ingredients are 100% organic with no sweeteners or preservatives.  The herbal ingredient extracts are: licorice, peppermint, and ginger, organic essential oil of spearmint, and organic flavor extracts of cinnamon and clove.  The dominant flavor is licorice and mint.  I do have to say that I'm not a huge fan of licorice, so after I used this a few times I didn't really taste the licorice, but rather a combo of ALL the flavors.  It was very strong, but after a few seconds it settled in my mouth and made me feel refreshed.  I also love that it's easy to carry around in my purse for those times when I can't find that gum!  Just a little spritz and I'm good to go!

If you would like to buy Tropical Traditions products, here is some more info: 
When you place your order use this link: Tropical Traditions .  (Thank you!) You can also obtain your own complimentary copy of Virgin Coconut Oil book. The book will be automatically be added to your order.  I encourage you to look through the website for some great products.

Here are some of my favorite products that I have tried and recommend:
*Lavender Natural Deodorant (aluminum free)
*Organic Shredded Coconut
*Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
*Coconut Peanut Butter
*Raw Honey
*Coconut Oil Soap
*Powdered Laundry Detergent
*Skin Exfoliator
* Liquid Dish soap
*Organic Brown Rice Syrup
*Coconut Cream Concentrate
*Oxygen Bleach
*Anti Oxidant Natural Greens
*Liquid Soap

Be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get updated information on products and sales.

If you need any help in placing your order please click here:

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.

Win it: One winner will receive a 1 fluid oz bottle of herbal breath spray.  Giveaway ends Sunday, October 30.  Open to US.

Special Price! Organic Herbal Breath Spray - 1-oz

To enter: Be sure to click on all the links before filling out the entry form.  Thanks!

1. Be a follower on my blog 
2. Visit Tropical Traditions and tell me another product you would like to try.
3. Subscribe to my blog by email. 
4."Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog). 
5. "Like" Tropical Traditions on Facebook
6. Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter
7. Sign up for the Tropical Traditions Newsletter.
8. Post about this giveaway on another site (your blog, facebook, twitter, etc) (1 entry for every site) 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal (freezer version)

I love finding breakfast foods that are yummy and easy to make and freeze well for my son. So I found this Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures. I added chocolate chips to the top. After baking and cooling I cut up into squares and put on a tray in the freezer. After they were hard, I transferred them to a bag. Then I take out what I want for that morning and heat up for 20 seconds in the microwave. Easy peasy, yummy nummy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The "What's for Dinner?" Solution by Kathi Lipp Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults.

Visit the author's website.


For many women, dread turns to panic around 4:00 in the afternoon. That’s when they have to answer that age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” Many resort to another supermarket rotisserie chicken or—worse yet—ordering dinner through a drive-thru intercom.

In The “What’s for Dinner” Solution, popular author and speaker Kathi Lipp provides a full-kitchen approach for getting dinner on the table every night. After putting her 21-day plan into action, women will

* save time—with bulk shopping and cooking
* save money—no more last-minute phone calls to the delivery pizza place
* save their sanity—forget the last-minute scramble every night and know what they’re having for dinner

The book includes real recipes from real women, a quick guide to planning meals for a month, the best shopping strategies for saving time and money, and tips on the best ways to use a slow cooker, freezer, and pantry.

With Kathi’s book in hand, there’s no more need to hit the panic button.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736938370
ISBN-13: 978-0736938372


Girl Meets Kitchen, or Not

Necessarily a Love Story

“Happy and successful cooking doesn’t rely only on know-how;
it comes from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life.”

Georges Blanc, from Ma Cuisine des Saisons

I was not the kind of kid who grew up at my mom’s knee, helping her chop carrots for Sunday night’s chicken soup. I never really helped with any meal preparation, preferring to turn my attention in the kitchen to baking. There was always some social event with friends or a youth group party where I needed to bring brownies. The one memorable time I tried to make instant potatoes? Instead of the specified one-quarter tablespoon of salt, I used a quarter cup salt. That incident happened over twenty-five years ago, and I have yet to stop hearing about it from my loving and encouraging family.

Suffice to say, I was a bit ill-prepared for the cooking adventures that lay ahead as I lived on my own for the first time. And to complicate matters? My first apartment was in Uji, Japan, approximately seven thousand miles from my mother’s loving embrace and her pot-roast recipe (as if I could afford beef in Japan).

The recipe cards were stacked against me. No cooking skills to speak of, living in a foreign land where most of the time I couldn’t identify what I was eating much less figure out how it was prepared, a kitchen the size of my coat closet back home, and an oven so small it made me long for the Easy-Bake one of my childhood.

I was terrified going to the supermarket without an escort and a translator. I didn’t speak the language (as a short-term missionary teaching conversational English, speaking Japanese was actually a disadvantage in my job), and as unfamiliar as I was with food shopping in the U.S., shopping in Uji was like watching a foreign movie without subtitles and then having to write a paper on the plot.

Oh, and eating out? So not an option. While my cooking skills were limited, my food budget was near nonexistent.

A few things were easy to recognize. The bread in Japan was amazing. It was buttery and flaky and perfect. And there was some really lovely cheese and ham. So, for the first three months of exploring this exotic new culture, I ate ham and cheese sandwiches every single night for dinner.

As I started to get to know some of my students and coworkers better, I had this urge to invite them over to hang out with me. But I had a sneaking suspicion they would want to be fed. I knew that my students would love some authentic American dishes. The question was, Who would I get to cook them?

Another short-term missionary, Diana, had a cookbook called More-With-Less. This wonderful little book produced by the Mennonite community had tons of recipes that used simple ingredients most cooks would have in their kitchen. While I didn’t have a lot of pantry staples in my four-story walk-up, I was now armed with a grocery list as well as an English-to-Japanese dictionary for my trips to the store.

I started to look for simple things I could make: salads, sandwiches, curries, and mini-pizzas out of English muffins and ketchup. (I promise, my culinary skills and taste have gotten better over the years.) As I grew braver in all things cuisine, I started to ask my mom to send some of my favorite recipes from back home.

In fact, when I threw a Christmas celebration with my friend Spenser in my micro-sized apartment, we managed to make a fondue-potless version of my mom’s Pizza Fondue. Shopping for the ingredients proved challenging, even for Spenser who spoke near-fluent Japanese. After several attempts to translate cornstarch into the native language (One would think corn + starch = cornstarch, right? Wrong. It’s pronounced korunstarcha.), we headed back to my kitchen and made one of the best meals I have ever eaten—lots of tomato sauce, some ground beef, loads of cheese, and just the right amount of korunstarcha.

Pizza Fondue
(Connie Richerson)

½ lb. ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 10½-oz. cans pizza sauce (I use marinara sauce)

1 T. cornstarch (or korunstarcha, if you prefer)

1½ tsp. oregano

¼ tsp. garlic powder

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 loaf French bread

Brown the ground beef and onion; drain. Put meat, sauce, cornstarch, and spices in fondue pot. When cooked and bubbly, add cheese. Spear crusty French bread cubes, then dip and swirl in fondue. This is also delicious with breadsticks. Serves 4 to 6.

From that point on, I was hooked on collecting my favorite recipes. I bought my own copy of More-With-Less when I got back to the States, and when I got married a few months later, I received my very first copy of everyone’s favorite red-and-white-plaid Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, with every recipe an emerging home cook could want.

I think most of us home cooks have a similar story to tell. OK, you probably didn’t have your first significant cooking experience in Uji, Japan, but I bet the first few times you got dinner on the table all on your own, you might as well have been in a different country.

Maybe your mom had you peeling potatoes before you could walk. Maybe you have a rich heritage of recipes passed down from your grandmother. None of our cooking histories are going to look the same, but we do have one thing in common: We all need to get dinner on the table.

I am not a professional cook. Tom Colicchio will never be critiquing my braised kale and chocolate with bacon foam on Top Chef. But over the past twenty years I have put dinner on the table almost every single night. And while my family still likes a pizza from the neighborhood shop, our kids who have left home really look forward to coming back for a home-cooked meal.

That is all the reward I need.

Why This Book?

So, you discovered my deep dark secret—I’m not a professional chef. I don’t have my own show on Food Network, my own brand of spatulas, and I’m not going to be appearing on any morning show making a frittata for Kathie Lee Gifford.

Still, I’m required to feed our large family almost daily. So when I come across a cookbook, I have an unnatural need to own it. I’m always looking for new recipes to keep dinner interesting at our house. I have an entire bookshelf in my kitchen for my ever-growing collection.

But to be honest with you, most of the money I’ve spent on those cookbooks could have been better spent on a good set of knives or a heavy iron skillet.

I have found that most cookbooks are aimed at the fantasy life many of us aspire to—entertaining regularly, having unusual and exotic ingredients on hand, and hours and hours in the kitchen to create these masterpieces, from scratch.

And then there is my reality. Yes, sometimes I like to spend a Saturday afternoon cooking up a big feast for friends and family. But most days? I want to get a delicious, healthy meal on the table quickly.

My test when I’m purchasing new cookbooks? I flip to a half dozen or so recipes throughout the book and ask myself, Can I imagine cooking this recipe in the next couple of weeks? If most of the recipes fail the test, the book stays at the store.

I want the reality. I want dinner on the table every night without being seduced by pictures of stylist-arranged food that—let’s be honest—I’m never going to prepare.

While those books offer up a lot of grilled-chicken-in-a-peanut-sauce-in-the-sky dreams, I need some reality. It’s not just about the recipe; it’s about all the aspects of getting dinner on the table.

By the end of this book, my hope for you is that you will be able to:

save time, money, and energy when it comes to
preparing meals
have less stress when it comes to shopping
get your kitchen prepared for battle
learn some stress-free ways to get dinner on the table
get out of your cooking rut
This book is all about the process, the how of getting dinner on the table. It reflects the collective wisdom of hundreds of women who don’t have prep cooks or a crew of interns trying out new recipes. We are the women who spend a significant part of our days thinking about, shopping for, and preparing dinner. And all these wise, wonderful women are going to show you a better way to get dinner on the table no matter what your cooking background or skill level.

This is the book I wish I’d had when I first started cooking, as well as when I was raising my brood of pint-sized food critics.

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of recipes. We all love to find that one recipe that is going to become a family favorite! But this book has much more than that. My hope is that you will be able to use the recipes you already have, the ones in this book, and the new ones you find along the way to set a big, bountiful table for your family.

Here's my review:
The "What's for Dinner?" Solution: Quick, Easy, and Affordable Meals Your Family Will Love is a quick read with a lot of different ideas for how to make dinners that save time, money and energy.  Kathi Lipp wants to be real and show you some tried and true tips to make preparing dinner stress free.  There are several parts to getting dinner on the table: get prepared, get organized, get your food and get cooking.  With every chapter, Kathi offers helpful suggestions and relates funny stories about her adventures to feed her family.  She also shows you how to utilize cooking with a group of other women for exchanging ideas, recipes and meals.  Kathi has many great recipes to share along with humor and fun.

This is a great book especially for people who really want to enter the meal planning, freezer cooking, crockpot way of getting dinner on the table.  This book lays out a very simple and doable plan.  I really enjoyed Kathi's family stories and the easy recipes scattered throughout.  This would make a great gift for a young bride or mom who needs positive direction for creating enjoyable family dinner times.  Also, Kathi includes 40 questions to spark conversation at the dinner table.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Abiding Fruit: Love


This week I read all about Love from 1 Corinthians 13.  What I really like about this study is that each day we read the same passage, but look for different things.    Here are some things I learned about love.

What love is:
*suffers long (patient)
*never fails
*rejoices in the truth
*bears all things
*believes all things
*hopes all things
*endures all things

What love is NOT:
*puffed up
*think evil

Everyday I read this passage and I realized how little love I give.  I learned that nothing in my life matters if I do not have love.  I am so selfish by nature.  I'm praying that in my interactions with others, especially my family, that I will choose love and overflow with love.  Love is- patient, kind, rejoices in truth, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, never fails and is the greatest!


I am hooked up with Do Not Depart and Good Morning Girls.
Next week we learn about Joy! 

Menu Plan Monday

I was gone all weekend to a Women's Retreat and even though I did have a monthly plan, I'm not really liking what I planned. So it's going to be leftovers from the freezer week. Let's see, what do we have?

Monday- Special K Roast
Tuesday- Chicken Noodle Soup
Wednesday- Chimichangas
Thursday- Taco salad
Friday-Chili Dogs
Saturday- Cheddar Cheese Soup
Sunday- Brunch for Jessna's dedication (Potatoes and Eggs)

I'm not into being creative this week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Natural House Products Review and Giveaway!!

I have worked so hard to clean and scrub my trash can, my sinks and my toilet.  But what a I really wanted was more!  Have you heard of probiotics?  These natural household cleaning products from Natural House work not only on the surfaces, but also behind the scenes!  These natural household cleaning products are revolutionary because they bring a new method of cleaning to the dirtiest places of our homes.  There are two products that work using water: Sinky and Flushy.

I absolutely loved the foaming agents of Sinky and Flushy!  The smell was terrific- a citrus scent!  But more than that they even break down and digest fats, oil, grease and solid waste to ensure your disposal, pipes drain lines or septic tank run smoothly.  These natural household cleaning products are eco-friendly and naturally drive out and digest odors at their source.  They are non-toxic and biodegradeable.  I was very impressed with the little pouch that I dropped into the toilet.  It was fun to watch the plastic dissolve and the product start to foam into a beautiful blue until it bubbled over the entire surface of the water in a matter of seconds! 

  • Our cleaners contain good probiotics which continue to scour, clean, consume odors, grime, grease, and germs, and they continue to do so until your next weekly treatment!
I loved using Trashy!  The smells from my trashcan that sometimes have dirty diapers in them was gone!  I felt really safe in using these products.  I also like that these natural household cleaning products keep working until the next treatment.

Check out this two minute video (also an entry for the giveaway!)

You can purchase Trashy, Sinky and Flushy at Amazon or through Natural House Products.

Find Natural House at Facebook and Twitter.

*This product was provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this product and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Win it:  I am giving away a month supply of Trashy, Sinky and Flushy to one lucky reader!  Open to US ONLY!  Giveaway ends Sunday, October 23.

To enter: Please click on all the links before filling out the form.

1. Leave a comment about why you would want to use these products. (required)
2. Be a follower on my blog
3. "Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook
4. Visit Natural House and tell me one thing you learned.
5. "Like" Natural House on Facebook
6. Follow Natural House on Twitter
7. Watch the two minute video
8. Post about this giveaway on another site (blog, facebook, twitter, etc.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

HOMEmakers's Challenge (31 Days to Clean) Week #6

Homemakers Challenge

I've been trying to figure out why I am always so cranky and I get easily frustrated when I look around my house. I don't know if there an official name, but I call it "clutter anxiety." Can you relate?  I feel like there are never ending piles and corners of needless stuff that make me cringe.  I don't know where this stuff comes from, but it's driving me crazy.  However, I know this is normal, but I'm trying to figure out a way so that is doesn't cause me so much anxiety.

Last weekend I had more hours to spend in the cleaning mode.  So I decided to get a handle on some of these areas.  I have a lot of books that I'm reading, devotional material, ideas for teaching, paper for taking notes of great ideas from the computer and gobs of recipes and cookbooks that I leave lying around so I can get to them when I need them.  The problem is, I don't need them ALL the time.  So I took everything and recycled what I didn't want and put everything in a box or basket.  Now I just need to find some places to put these that I can easily access.  Ah, that made me feel somewhat better.

I'm loving my cleaning accountability Facebook group that challenges me everyday to take 1 hour to clean 4 areas.  I also am following I Dream of Clean's 31 Days to make Cleaning a Habit.  I continue to read Sarah Mae's book, 31 Days to Clean because it inspires me in many areas to create a home that is healthy and loving as well as clean!

I feel like I'm getting closer to my goal which is to have normal cleaning routines and keep on top of  "clutter" areas.  This will give me time to do more things that I enjoy like reading leisurely, sewing, cooking, baking, playing with my kids and going out to do fun things with my family.  I do all these things, but to a minimal degree right now.

This is the last edition of the Homemaker's Challenge, but I heard there is a Fall Edition.  Anything like this keeps me motivated.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My First Hands-On Bible Review

Something that is very important to me is finding a great resource for Bible stories. I was absolutely thrilled to discover My First Hands-On Bible from Tyndale House especially designed for preschoolers.  My son is almost 3 and he and I have a "Bible study" every day where we read from a Bible story book and memorize a Bible verse.  My First Hands-On Bible is not only full of Bible stories, but it is a Bible.  Yes, all stories are written using the New Living Translation (very clear and easy language to understand).  There are 85 stories and each one has several activities within the narrative that will get your preschooler actively listening as well as moving and doing.  There are also 2 games to play at the end of story.  There is a Let's Talk section with 2 questions and an essential Jesus Connection which ties each story to Jesus.  The two loveable characters, Pockets and Cuddles, encourage the children to take time to pray and take time to play.  The illustrations are beautiful and the stories are just a few pages each, but packed with so much learning.  Your kids will have a blast studying about Jesus.

My son was so excited to open our Bible every day to read and he especially liked Pockets, the kangaroo, who says, "It's time to pray!"  I loved reading this Bible since it was a Bible!  The activities throughout each story were varied and well scripted.  You, as a parent, do not have to come up with anything at all to make the story come alive!  This Bible does it ALL for you.  I highly encourage you to take a look at this My First Hands-On Bible as a resource for leading your little ones through the Bible.

Shrade and I acted out the activity from Jericho's Falling Walls (Joshua 6).

*This product was provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Booking It- October 2011

Both FREE ebooks: Maximize Your Mornings and Mission Statements for Moms are found at Inspired by Action.