Monday, December 31, 2012

Warrior Prayers Recap

Do you remember that we were praying  Warrior Prayers since December 3?  Yes, I sat in my living every Monday-Friday and prayed for my son in front of the Christmas tree lights.  What a privilege, what a burden.  I not only prayed for my son, I prayed for each of you and I prayed for myself.  You see, if I don't possess any of these virtues, how will my son every learn about them?  Every time I pray these Warrior Prayers I end up being changed.  How about you?

I plan to pray these prayers several times this year.  Also, you can get free monthly calendars from the MOB Society as well.

Coming up sometime this year we will pray for our girls!  The MOD Squad has an ebook called 31 Days of Prayer For Our Daughters.  They are quite a bit different than Warrior Prayers, but girls are different, aren't they?  Be looking for this prayer challenge at some point this year and NEVER stop praying for your children!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Heavenly Homemakers $5 Gift Certificate (ends 12/29)

Have you ever tried different ways to teach character to your children?  Well, my son is at the age where I really want to start some good character training, but I'm not sure how to do that in a fun way.  Oh, wait!  Heavenly Homemakers has these really neat Kid Character Charts available.  Hmmm, I think I might try them.  Sweet, I can use a $5 gift certificate (available until 12/29) to get the chart for FREE!  Well, I decided to try the Fruit of the Spirit Kid Character Chart.  There is a tree, fruit and a lesson plan.  I will have fun reinforcing God's values to my son through this interactive activity chart. There are several others to choose from.  Head on over to Heavenly Homemakers today and check them out.

You can redeem your $5 gift certificate for anything downloadable in the store.  Just use coupon code: CHRISTMAS5 by 12/29 at midnight.

Coupon code: CHRISTMAS5
Expires 12/29 at midnight

Desperate- Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe Book Tour coming January 8!!

“I just can’t be a mother today.”

If you’ve ever whispered those words to God in quiet desperation, you are not alone.

Desperate is for those who love their children to the depths of their souls but who have also curled up under their covers, fighting back tears, and begging God for help. It’s for those who have ever wondered what happened to all their ideals for what having children would be like. For those who have ever felt like all the “experts” have clearly never had a child like theirs. For those who have prayed for a mentor. For those who ever felt lost and alone in motherhood.

In Desperate you will find the story of one young mother’s honest account of the desperate feelings experienced in motherhood and one experienced mentor’s realistic and gentle exhortations that were forged in the trenches of raising her own four children.

It is our prayer that reading Desperate will leave you soul-filled, refreshed, and hopeful.

What You Will Find in Desperate

  • QR codes and links at the end of each chapter that lead to videos with Sarah Mae and Sally talking about the chapter
  • A friend who so understands those “hide me in closet” moments
  • Practical steps to take during the desperate times
  • Bible study and journal exercises in each chapter that will lead you to identify ways in which you can grow as a mom
  • Mentoring advice for real-life situations
  • Q & A section with Sally where she answers readers questions
Starting January 8, 2013 the Desperate Mom Blog Tour will begin.  Be looking for awesome prizes, giveaways and great book reviews.

Movement -

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best Mothering Tips and Helps

The babies God gave to me!

This year I have desperately needed mothering help.  I read lots of books and blogs.  I go to MOPS and email lots of friends.  I pray, pray and pray some more.  My children seem to suck everything out of me and I feel overwhelmed, defeated and like a failure.  I had such HIGH ideals and I still have big expectations of what I feel God wants me to be doing.  But so often I need to be brought back down to reality and so this year I found some places that have really helped me to be grounded and centered on my role as a mother.

Joy at Grace Full Mama has 5 children, lives in Indonesia and homeschools.  She presented a series called Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood in January 2012. I printed off each blog post and the interactive printable that went with each one.  I prayed and cried and asked God to help me be the mother I desire to be.  This is a series I highly recommend.  As I write this, I probably will revisit it again this year.  It impacted my life greatly!

Sally Clarkson is an author on motherhood that I highly recommend.  This fall she started doing Mentoring Monday videos on her blog I Take Joy.  These have been the highlight of my week!  I look forward to Sally's profound and practical mothering wisdom.  She has a very intense longing to see all moms embrace the beauty of motherhood with God's perspective.  You will really enjoy her chats.   Here is one I really like: Train Up a Child.

Another blog I really enjoy is Susan Heid's The Confident Mom.  I discovered her blog in August and I bought the Weekly Household Planner which has really helped me get things organized and clean as well as create time to have fun with my family.  I also love her weekly audio blog talk (Tuesdays) and the tips she shares in her daily blog posts.  She has a great series called The Opening Act: Becoming a Calm, Cool and Confident Mom with videos and printables (free).  So check out The Confident Mom for great ways learn to be the mom you know God wants you to be!  And she has a really great series coming up for January called 31 Days of Saving Secrets.  This is definitely a winner of a blog for me!

And TWO great books that I recommend for moms who are weary and desperate are...

Hope for the Weary Mom by Stacey Thacker and Brook McGlothlin

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
But wait until January 8 to buy this book as there is a BIG launch day celebration with gifts and giveaways  on

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Year Bible Reading Adventure Info and Sign Up

Are you ready?  I have a brand new plan for the New Year Bible Reading Adventure!  I discovered Calvary Curriculum which is a FREE resource for parents and teachers.  I wanted to introduce this website to you with our Bible Reading Adventure series that I am doing.  Last session we read through 1 John in short 1-2 verse passages.  However, for this session we will be reading the same large passage for the whole week.  So you can choose to read bits and pieces or the whole passage everyday.  Now remember that the goal is to read the Bible everyday to your kids!

How will it work?
1. Download the FREE lessons from Little One's Curriculum starting with Creation: How the World Began.
2. We will do the challenge for the whole month of January following the curriculum. (Jan 6-Feb 2)
3. Read the Bible passage everyday (at least 5 days of the week) and do one or more of the activities.  There are points to share about the reading, questions to discuss, a Bible verse to memorize, a coloring page, an activity page and a fill in the blank.  Choose what best fits for your children.  (NOTE: You do not have to read the WHOLE passage, but you need to read the Bible to your child everyday).  You can also read children's Bible story books that have these stories in them as well.
4. There will be a simple check-in every Monday on the blog.  The study starts on Sunday, Jan 6. (Check-in has one question- Did you read the Bible to your children this week?)
5.  You can choose to do your own reading, but I will be blogging about this curriculum as we go through our reading adventure.
6. Do as much as you like or as little as you like.

I chose this curriculum because I think it fits most of the ages of who will be participating in this adventure.

Our schedule:
Week 1: January 6--Genesis 1:1-2:25 (Creation: How the World Began)
Week 2: January 13--Genesis 1:26-2:25; Genesis 2:8-17 (God Made Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden)
Week 3: January 20--Genesis 3:1-24 (Adam and Eve are Tempted)
Week 4: January 27--Genesis 5:28-6:22 (Noah Builds a Boat and Fills it with Animals)

**If you have a child in 1st through 6th grade, you can use the resources on this page: Calvary Curriculum for 1st through 6th grade.  Follow the same titles of the lessons we are doing for Little Ones.  

**I will be sending out a newsletter for those who sign up for this adventure with tips, suggestions and fun ideas.   There will be a few updates on the blog as well, but all the extra information will be in the newsletter.

To join and receive the free newsletter click on the link below!  Thanks, Shonda

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Truth in the Tinsel Week #3

We are continuing our Christmas adventure with Truth in the Tinsel. It has been fun to see how Shrade is excited to listen for the clue word in our Scripture reading.  He is beginning to understand how all the pieces of the story fit together to form ONE big story.

Day #17- Sheep
Day #18- Angels
Day #19- Shepherds
Day #20- Temple
Day #21-Star
Day #22- The Wise Men and Day #23- Gifts (Scented with cinnamon)

Day #24- Cross.  The reason Jesus came to earth was to die on the cross for our sins!  AMEN!

It was so fun to do the Truth in the Tinsel for the whole month of December.  I can see us doing this again in a few years when Jessna is older.  I will keep these ornaments we made as a reminder of the special story of Christmas and someday give them to my son for his own children.  What a precious gift. 

Merry Christmas!  Jesus loves you!

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas from The Knowlton's!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cookie Baking and Giving

Getting ready
Making cookie plates
We made several of the cookies that I wrote about for our December Monthly Plan. Can't wait to give cookie plates to our neighbors.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Rhyme Bible Storybook by L.J. Sattgast Book Review

Delightful New Illustrations and Rollicking Rhymes Make for a Welcoming Update to a Classic Storybook Bible

What couldn't be more fun than reading the Bible in rhyme with The Rhyme Bible?  This brand new storybook Bible is a fresh and fun read.  Young kids need to be exposed to rhymes and a great place to hear and practice rhymes is with stories from the Bible.  There are 35 stories from both Old Testament and New Testament with familiar stories.  The pictures beautifully capture the text and give children a wonderful visual of the events of the narrative.  I love the simple words and simple pictures.  This is a great first Bible for young learners. 

**I was given a complimentary copy by Zonderkidz in exchange for my honest review.** 

Reading time at home will be even more fun with the arrival of Linda Sattgast’s freshly updated version of THE RHYME BIBLE STORYBOOK (Zonderkidz; $16.99; January 2013).
Twelve years since the first edition captured parents’ hearts, Sattgast teams with artist Laurence Cleyet-Merle to illuminate key passages from the Bible, making the most important lessons easy to understand.
Sattgast’s rhyming text helps beginning readers remember each Bible story and comprehend their basic lessons. For instance, the story of David and Goliath becomes a read-aloud lyrical song similar to a nursery rhyme.  In addition, the story of Jonah and the big fish detailed in the book is a delightful bedtime story.
With Cleyet-Merle’s vivid illustrations, readers will experience 35 classic bible stories as they have never before been presented — with adorable pictures and Sattgast’s rhyming text.
For any parent who wants to teach children the Word of God, THE RHYME BIBLE STORYBOOK is the perfect choice for engaging little ones.
Together, Sattgast and Cleyet-Merle breathe new life into the traditional storybook Bible, making this new edition a keepsake for the ages.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Sattgast is happiest when she’s writing. She is the author of more than 20 children’s picture books and has received both the Gold Medallion and the C.S. Lewis Honor awards. Sattgast lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Laurence Cleyet-Merle grew up near Switzerland where she has always enjoyed drawing.  A graduate of the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg, she uses acrylic, collage, and gouache in her signature colorful illustrations. Cleyet-Merle resides in Marseille, France, with her family.

Zonderkidz™, a division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As the leader in Christian children's communications, it produces bestselling and award-winning Bibles, books, board books, graphic novels, audio, video and digital products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 16 and the people who love them, from family members to educators. Zonderkidz is the publisher of the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version) Bible translation, the third-grade reading level edition of the NIV that is ideal for children and those who speak English as a second language. Visit Zonderkidz on the Internet at

Music Notes: Bari Koral Family Rock Band's "Anna and the Cupcake" CD Review (+ FREE Music download)

Bari Koral Family Rock Band presents a lovely little musical adventure with songs about shoes, cupcakes, trains, hearts, rockets, butterflies and The Gingerbread Man ( song download in this post) in Anna and the Cupcakes.  Bari leads kids in great imaginative fun by pretending many unusual things happen like monkeys stealing cupcakes and practicing to walk like crabs.  Each song has a flavor of mischief that makes for an unusual and frolicking story.  You will be enchanted by Bari Koral's musical talent and witty tales she shares through her music.  Enjoy!
**I was given a complimentary copy by Waldmania and Bari Koral in exchange for my honest review.** 



"The Best Music: Close your eyes while you bop to this CD, and you might trick yourself into believing you're at a folk rock concert and not in your toy-strewn living room!  The music is as good as any top-notch alternative band, but with super kid-friendly lyrics." -- Nickelodeon ParentsConnect

"Anna and the Cupcakes is a twangy fun mix of folk and pop." -- Parents Magazine

"FUN FIND: Gentle, bluesy, countrified pop.  Daydream-y tunes have singer Bari Koral weaving tales about soaring into the stratosphere." -- Scholastic Parent & Child

NEW YORK, NY -- Award-winning singer/songwriter Bari Koral is getting into the holiday spirit with a gift of music for her fans.  From now through December 31, the song "Gingerbread Man" from Bari Koral's award-winning 2012 album, Anna and the Cupcakes, is available as a free download.

"Gingerbread Man" may be downloaded at:

From cupcakes to gingerbread, this holiday season wraps up a very "sweet" year for Bari Koral.  Anna and the Cupcakes, Bari's second full-length studio CD for kids and familes, was honored this year with the prestigious NAPPA Gold and Parents' Choice Recommended awards.  Anna blends a cool mix of country, blues, and folk (all original, save a cover of the Avett Brothers' "Kick Drum Heart").  People Magazine dubbed the album one of the year's coolest for kids.  Rave reviews for Bari's music rolled in from media outlets nationwide, including Yahoo! Kids, Time Out NY Kids, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday, and more.

2012 saw The Bari Koral Family Rock Band performing at such important venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and Symphony Space in NYC.  Bari was also thrilled to play several dates in support of "kindie" music stars Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell and to perform for and with many of her peers at the annual Kindiefest conference in Brooklyn.  Another 2012 highlight was signing a distribution deal with eOne Music Group, the leading and fastest-growing independent music company in the U.S.

Says Bari Koral, "2012 has been a sweet year in so many ways.  After the great success of my debut full-length kids' CD, Rock and Roll Garden, I took the challenge of writing songs for Anna and the Cupcakes seriously. I went away to Byrdcliffe, the writers' colony in Woodstock, NY, for almost a month to write songs.  Only the strongest songs from that session made it onto Anna."

Bari continues, "As a teacher of music, movement, and kids' yoga, I'm always looking for good music.  I'm proud to say that many of the songs on Anna and the Cupcakes -- songs like 'Shoes,' 'Let's Get Together,' 'Butterfly,' 'Rocketship,' and more -- work particularly well in a music-and-movement or kids' yoga class setting.  It's been gratifying to learn that many other teachers are now using these songs and that the kids love them.  What I'm most proud of is that I wrote not just one or two songs for Anna and the Cupcakes to which children really connect, but many.  This was, without a doubt, the biggest highlight of my year."

Creating an activity book for teachers and parents was another of Bari Koral's 2012 projects. The colorful activity book, which incorporates a great many fun music-and-movement and kids' yoga suggestions, along with some cool and peaceful kids' yoga tips, is available at Bari's live shows and on her website.  Those who download Bari's "Gingerberad Man" song will want to check out the book's "Gingerbread Man" page, which has suggestions for activites to coordinate with the song.  The page may be viewed at:

Bari Koral draws upon years of experience as a successful touring singer/songwriter and teacher to create shows that speak to the whole family, blending great songwriting with superb singing and interactive movement.  She looks ahead not only to performing songs from Rock and Roll Garden and Anna and the Cupcakes at upcoming shows, but also to previewing songs from her next album.  Bari dedicated another month in 2012 to writing songs for her next release and says, "It's very exciting to have some good songs in the bag already."

# # #

Check out Bari's website at


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our First Snow 2012

This morning we woke up to a little bit of snow.  My husband, who is on vacation for 3 weeks, took Shrade outside to build a snowman.  We got 1-2 inches at best, but it was good packing snow.  They made a face on both sides so people driving both ways could see the snowman smile.  The roads were pretty icy too.  We watched many cars slide down the little hill in front of our house.  Fun times!!

The Story for Children by Max Lucado and The Story of Jesus for Kids and God's Message for Little Ones Book Review

The Bestselling Series, The Story, Presents Three Inspiring Books That Teach Kids about the Bible

I am so impressed with this package I received from Zonderkidz with Max Lucado's The Story for Children, God's Message for Little Ones devotional and The Story of Jesus for Kids.  The Story for Children is a gorgeous Bible for children that is a storybook Bible.  The stories are short with colorful illustrations and at the end of each story is God's Message which are main points of the story from God's point of view like "You are my greatest creation."  The stories are available on audio CD read by Max Lucado himself!  God's Message for Little Ones is a 31 day devotional that have a Bible verse, a few sentences about the verse and what God Says to Me which are similar to God's Message from The Story for Children.  At the end are the ABC's of salvation with Bible verses and statements from A-Z.  The Story of Jesus for Kids is a great little book that uses the New International Reader's Version to tell the story of Jesus from all four gospels in a fluent narrative.  At the end of each chapter are discussion questions that are appropriate for children ages 9-12.  We enjoyed these excellent Christian resources that will help lead our children to a personal relationship with Jesus. 

**I was given a complimentary copy by Zonderkidz in exchange for my honest review.** 
The enhanced edition of the 2011 ECPA Children’s Book of the Year, THE STORY FOR CHILDREN, DELUXE EDITION (Zondervan; October 2012; $24.99), features the voice of Lucado, who enriches each chapter with a captivating audio reading on the accompanying CDs, making each Bible story even more heartfelt.
Lucado’s tender narration of 48 fundamental Bible stories will hold the attention of children, allowing them to follow along and focus on the vibrant illustrations by artist Fausto Bianchi.
In GOD’S MESSAGES FOR LITTLE ONES (Zonderkidz; November 2012; $9.99), Lucado once again tells the story of God’s enormous love for his children, this time in a colorful 31-day devotional that features short key passages from The Story for Children.
Set against colorful illustrations by Josee Masse, GOD’S MESSAGES FOR LITTLE ONES will guide youngsters to the knowledge that they are a crucial part of God’s story.

A new and separate addition to the collection, THE STORY OF JESUS FOR KIDS (Zonderkidz; October 2012; $2.99) is a paperback booklet that packs a big message. With easy-to-read text selected from the New International Reader’s Version, this book tells the story of the most important person who ever lived.
Each section in THE STORY OF JESUS FOR KIDS concludes with discussion questions that help young readers relate the story to their own experiences.  This is a great tool to introduce kids 9-12 to Jesus or further develop their faith.

For more information, please visit

Max Lucado is one of America’s most widely read authors, with more than 100 million books in print.  He and his wife live in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the Oak Hills Church.
Randy Frazee is senior minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas.  He is the author of many books, including Making Room for Life.  A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Randy and his wife have four children.
Karen Davis Hill has written over twenty-five books for children.  She’s served as Max Lucado’s executive editor since 1992.  A journalism graduate of Ole Miss, Karen and her husband have three children and three grandchildren.
Zonderkidz™, a division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As the leader in Christian children's communications, it produces bestselling and award-winning Bibles, books, board books, graphic novels, audio, video and digital products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 16 and the people who love them, from family members to educators. Zonderkidz is the publisher of the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version) Bible translation, the third-grade reading level edition of the NIV that is ideal for children and those who speak English as a second language. Visit Zonderkidz on the Internet at

Music Notes: Jambo's "Hootenanny" CD Review

Are you ready to party?  Steve Pierson gives a great soundtrack for a party with friends.  His music is easy to move to and the lyrics are fun and contain lots of humor.  Kids of all ages will enjoy this album because each song has a great message with a catchy tune.  Jambo gives the best of blues for kids and the joy of music with rock and roll highlights.  Put this CD on, crank up the volume and be prepared to boogie, sway, laugh and kick your heels to some feel-good music!
**I was given a complimentary copy by Waldmania in exchange for my honest review.** 
 Rootsy Rock with a Hint of Blues ...




"Mixing bluegrass, blues, and a spoonful or rock and roll, Pierson crafts songs that celebrate ... just the pure joy of being a kid." -- Parents' Choice Awards review of Jambo's Lucy's Parade

"Bandleader Steve Pierson, a blues guitarist, has a knack for writing the happiest blues-inflected tunes you'll ever hear."-- Stefan Shepherd, Zooglobble

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles-based, Parents' Choice award winning independent musician Steve Pierson and his powerhouse band Jambo are on a mission to bring real American roots music to kids.  Jambo looks forward with pride to the February 12 release of their second, roots-based studio CD, Hootenanny.  (Got the Blues Music, $14.95, run time 42 minutes, for ages 4 - 9).

One part Mississippi Delta, one part New Orleans street corner, and one part Chicago juke joint, Jambo is known for its funky, feel-good grooves, outstanding musicianship, and dynamic, kid-friendly, positive songs.

Co-produced by Jambo's creator (and former Blues Head front man) Steve Pierson and Grammy nominee Tor Hyams, Hootenanny features fourteen Steve Pierson originals.  Notes Steve, "One of my primary goals has been to give kids, at a very early age, a taste of the 'good stuff' -- the kind of organic, rootsy music that I love. I wrote two kinds of songs for Hootenanny:  full blown band tracks and what I call 'back porch' tracks.  I really wanted to mix up styles and give listeners a sampling of different instruments and different kinds of songs."

Guitar virtuoso and soulful blues singer Steve Pierson has spent most of his adult life in Los Angeles.  His music career centered on the local blues band scene in and around LA before he made the move to join Grammy winner and former Wings guitar virtuoso Laurence Juber in forming their own blues-rock band, Blues Head.  Steve put in ten years playing festivals and clubs around the country with Blues Head until the birth of his daughter, Lucy, in 2002.  Upon Lucy's arrival, Steve came off the road and began to focus on writing music for film and television.  He has since become a successful and prolific composer/producer of music for television, commercials, and independent films.

Jambo strikes a high profile on the Los Angeles family music scene, performing regularly throughout the region at such venues as the Skirball Center for the Arts, The Grammy Museum, and The Geffen Playhouse.  The band also tours nationally, with recent appearances at the Austin City Limits Festival and the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Visit Jambo's Website:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Truth in the Tinsel Week #2

We are so excited to be taking a Christmas adventure with Truth in the Tinsel.  Each day we read a passage of Scripture, listen for the clue word, make a little craft to remind us of the clue and spend a little time reflecting on the Christmas story as it relates to our world.

Day #8- Sun. Jesus is the Rising Sun.

Day #9 & Day #10: Joseph and Dream (pillow)

Day #11- You are to name him JESUS, for he will save his people from their sins.

Day #12- Census (counting the people) and Day #13- Bethlehem

Day #14- Stable