Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

2014-2015 curricula choices


One of my favorite things is to look at all the choices I have in educating my children each year, and as they’ve gotten older I let them have say so in what we use for school as well.  Many think that it’s free, or that we have a set curricula to follow or that we do what the public schools do – and all that is wrong (well if you do virtual school it’s ‘free’ or if you can get me hand me down curricula).  If you read my other post You’ll know I made our choices early this year.  We’ve used Saxon math and began to dread school.  Switched to Rod and Staff and while I liked it relied heavily on areas I didn’t feel we needed like Biblical and metric measures.  That is what is so great about homeschool – if something doesn’t fit you can change it, unlike with schools the child would be stuck doing something and as I know first hand, that usually makes learning a chore and ultimately the child will give up.


So this year I will be teaching a 3rd grade 9 year old, a 5th grade 10 year old (as of September) and a 8/9th grade 12 1/2 year old.  The oldest is hard to figure out because she works above where she’d technically be in school – we’re looking at a 2018 or 2019 graduation year.  We are going to follow the guideline set forth by the ODE for public school graduation, but the curricula will be Christian in it’s worldview but goes above and beyond what would be taught in the school system.  I was leaning towards having the girls do Beyond Five in a Row but after talking with the oldest and knowing she desires to graduate early we are both willing to let go of Beyond and she will pursue an 8th/9th grade course of study, allowing her the credits needed for graduation.  We’ve been into a light schedule for our 2014-2015 year since the end of July and we’re adding in more as we go.


So without further ado:


3rd grade:

  • I will be focusing on getting him to read – he knows the letters and their sounds but seems resistant to actually putting the sounds together.  That is our main goal of this school year, to have him reading.  While I say school year I aim to have him reading hopefully by December.  We shall see.
  • Math is Teaching Textbooks 3. 
  • Science and Health will be Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics and if we finish that we’ll move on to Exploring Creation with Zoology II.  We’ll read over a Rod and Staff and an Abeka health book I have on hand.
  • Language arts will be again focusing mainly on reading using IEW PAL program and if that doesn’t work we’ll throw in Alphabet Island.  Once he’s reading I’ll add in Song School Spanish and maybe Song School Latin.  Even though he can write I’m going to have him use Handwriting without Tears print.
  • Art is going to be See the Light DVDs – we did a lesson yesterday and it was quite fun (another post on that coming later!)
  • History and geography will be Notgrass’ America the Beautiful and Mystery of History Volume 4
  • Also going to be using Five in A Row with him.  I remember the memories I made with my girls using this and I’ll be throwing this in at times as well.


5th grade:

  • My main goal for her this year is to work on making her writing more legible and working on cursive.  As well as getting her to read bigger books and finish them.
  • Math is Teaching Textbooks 5.
  • Science and Health will be Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics and if we finish that we’ll move on to Exploring Creation with Zoology II.  We’ll read over a Rod and Staff and an Abeka health book I have on hand.
  • Language arts will be Essentials in Writing.  She has some of the 4th grade level to finish and then she’ll move right into the 5th grade level.  I’ll also be having her use the Handwriting without Tears cursive or the Fundanoodle cursive book.
  • Art is going to be See the Light DVDs (see 3rd grade)
  • History and geography will be Notgrass’ America the Beautiful and Mystery of History Volume 4
  • Also will be having her continue with Spanish for Children and Latin for Children.
  • She will also be dancing and performing with the Junior Company which will also be for fine arts and PE.


8/9th grade:

  • My main goal for her is to get her reading some classic literature and also working on writing papers that she’ll need to research.
  • Math is Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra
  • Science and Health will be Wonders of Creation with the first book being Weather and Astronomy.  She’ll just work her way through the series and each book is laid out to make assigning credits easy.  I will also have her read through the Abeka health book.
  • Language arts is Cover Story – it’s a language arts/grammar/writing curricula all rolled into one in which the aim will be to write a magazine.
  • Art is going to be See the Light DVDs (see 3rd or 5th grade)
  • History and geography will be her finishing Notgrass’ America the Beautiful or she can begin Notgrass’ high school level American History.  I also have their world history and government courses as well.  Mystery of History Volume 4 will also be on the agenda.  Of course, I know that is A LOT of history for one year so I’m not expecting all of it to be done this year.
  • She will also be continuing with Spanish for Children.  I’d love for her to do Latin but she doesn’t have the desire and I’m okay with that.
  • She will also be taking dance and performing with the Junior Dance Company which will count as  PE or fine arts or both.


And all children will be doing Bible – with Notgrass there is Bible built in which is so great and it is the same way with Mystery of History (which is why we love it so much!).  I’ll also be continuing with our Bible Study for All Ages which we got for review and I kind of took a break from it so we could finish other stuff for our assessment.  And I’ll be throwing in other books like those on missionaries and other living history books through the year.  Thankfully my oldest is very independent and doesn’t need me hovering over her constantly – she leaves her completed work and I check it, usually I don’t do grades but that is changing this year. 


If you’re wondering how we do Independent School please read post 1 and post 2 – although I have changed some of the ways we do this – it’s pretty much the same this year as it was last year.  The oldest is also a HUGE help with my son, she helps him with his math while I aid my other daughter if she needs help.  I’m all for giving help and showing them how to get to their answers but not giving answers.  If they learn now then they’ll be independent later – which is a big plus for helping out with the family and also later on when they are on their own.


We also made the plunge back into homeschool support groups – I re-joined a group we were members of like 6 years ago.  It’s not a co-op but will give us field trips without me having to do all the planning, spelling bee, history and science fair as well as a graduation ceremony when we get to that point.


So what are you looking forward to this school year?  Big goals?  New curricula?


(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


Bethany House Review: Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis #grow4christ #bookreview

About the Book:

From Bestselling Authors David & Beverly Lewis

Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents’ lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.

Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maines’s baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignites a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile.

Can this be, at long last, Kelly’s beloved daughter?


You can purchase your own copy at Bethany House.



About David Lewis:


David Lewis is the bestselling author of Coming Home, his first solo novel, as well as a keyboard artist and pilot. He is the first editor for his wife, Beverly Lewis, as well as research partner and manager. David was born in Minnesota, grew up in the Midwest, and met Beverly in Colorado, where they currently make their home.





About Beverly Lewis:

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother’s Plain heritage has inspired Beverly to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with The Shunning, which has sold more than one million copies and was recently made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. In 2007 The Brethren was honored with a Christy Award. She has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Beverly lives with her husband, David, in Colorado. Visit her website at for more information.


My Opinion:

I began reading Beverly Lewis years ago and her books are what prompted me to start seeking the Lord again after years of running so when I had the chance to read her newest book, Child of Mine, co-written with her husband I knew I had to get my hands on it!  I can only imagine what it would feel like to have your child stolen from you, especially if it was stolen by the father and there was no clue as to where he took the child.  I’d probably be like Kelly Maine – never giving up hope that my child is alive and searching to the ends of the earth to find said child.  Some of Kelly’s story seems a little far fetched, as most probably wouldn’t have a kind benefactor who would provide untold amounts of funding to pay for travel, DNA testing and such but overall Kelly’s struggle is what I’d imagine it to be like – the struggle to find her daughter in a moral way but knowing the immoral may be faster.  Jack is raising his niece after the untimely accident took her parents, even though it seems at the time he is the most unlikely to raise her but he has help from the Amish nanny – who his niece wants him to marry.


Not your typical Amish fiction book, this book pulled me in from the go and I finished it quickly, even with a few tears in my eyes as I was finishing it.  There is the story of the lost, the searching, sacrifice and redemption woven through out the story and it’s themes are very reminiscent of what it is we go through as Christians in losing, seeking and ultimately finding our redemption and salvation in Christ.  Jack and Kelly both find out that their redemption cannot come from those around them – only One person has the ability to save them from themselves and bring complete restoration to their lives.  The twists and turns in the books will have you guessing, as it did me, through out and that is what I appreciated – if I can figure out the ending too soon I lose the ability to want to finish so the constant guessing kept me turning the page.   Of course, the story gets all wrapped up into a neat little package at the end and while I liked that and who really wants to get bad news about Kelly’s daughter? I would have liked it not to be so neat and tidy.


I haven’t read a book written by David and Beverly Lewis since I read Sanctuary years ago, and this one has proven that husbands and wives can write together especially if they both share the passion of the subject – and I could feel that through the pages in the book.  I hope to read more by both authors, especially if they team up again because I really enjoyed Child of Mine and maybe they’ll come up with a sequel so we can check in on Jack, Kelly, Natalie and Laura as their lives continue on in new dimensions that they’d never dreamed of at the start of Child of Mine.   I do want to mention that this book does deal with the very sensitive issue of kidnapping, the market of buying and selling children and a mom’s struggle to find her lost daughter – and while sad the book was also quite compassionate and gently in how the subject matter was presented.  Also I must say that Natalie is quite spoiled, whether it’s because Jack feels guilty for her having lost both parents or what I cannot say, but she is never held responsible for her misdeeds as no one wants to make her feel like a bad child.  This was actually my only pet peeve about this book, even the Amish nanny, did nothing to correct Natalie’s wayward actions and everyone sort of pooh-poohed them.



(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


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Odyssey Adventure Club iPad Mini Giveaway!


 The end of summer is in sight, and OAC is giving away an iPad Mini back-to-school bundle!

It might seem like summer just began for your kids, so if they need some added motivation to get their homework done, remind them they can jump on the Odyssey Adventure Club after their papers are written and their math problems are solved.

As members, your kids can also listen to Album 58 before the album is released to the public! Sign up today for just $5!

Here’s what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):

It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.

Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive.

Plus, here’s a sneak peek of a new episode called “The Lone Lawman”!

LoneLawman_Final 2



 Jason, Whit, Red and the gang rustle up herds of fun while performing a new Kids’ Radio show set in the Old West. “The Lone Lawman” features a confused boy getting mixed up with a shifty band of bank robbers. Can a hero on horseback set things right? See just how wild the West can get in this action-packed send-up of old-time radio dramas.

NOW . . . on to the iPad Mini back-to-school bundle.

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini

Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. All winners will be announced August 28th on the widget on this page.


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit this page again on the 28th to see if you won! (You’ll see the winner’s name in the widget.)

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Scrapping with Project Life…… #grow4christ

**This post may contain affiliate links**



Back in January my husband took me shopping for our anniversary, after looking to get back into scrapping but not really having time for the way I used to do it – which was time consuming I wanted something different.  So when visiting Ben and Me I found her using this product called Project Life – which seemed really cool, but there was no way I could buy it unless it was a gift.  It worked out.  Hubby took me to one of our local craft stores and let me pick out some items and then I went home and printed off all our important 2013 pictures (there was a lot!!!)

Our title page – showing some photos from our vacation and I incorporated some of the scrap-booking stickers that have been sitting in my craft cabinet for years.


If you don’t know about Project Life it’s a great way to scrap and keep your memories but without all the mess and time of traditional scrap-booking, there are also other products on the market similar to Project Life and I’ll mention those in a moment.  The first thing I did was pick out my album, I grabbed the Jade (they didn’t have the Sea Foam) – these are huge D-ring binders that you slip your pages in and I chose the variety pack, which I can’t find on Amazon right now.  The pocket pages are really neat and a great way to organize all those memories that otherwise will be lost to time.   After that I had to pick my theme pack – these are the little cards that you put in the pocket pages along with your pictures to decorate and add a little bling to your lay outs.  I chose the heritage core kit, which really spoke to my old soul and old fashioned tendencies and they are really beautiful cards – some are decorated, some are blank and/or lined for journaling or doodling or whatever you’d like to do with them.


The page for the mother/daughter and son American Heritage Girls pottery painting. My plate broke so I’m glad I have the picture of it.


With everything that had gone on since buying this I haven’t had a chance to sit down and work on it until the other day – and I had a blast, I’m up to our vacation in April of last year so I’m moving right along.  I realized that some of my photos really needed trimming and so I ran out and bought the We R card punch which helped to cut those too large pics to the right 3X4 size.  I bought the rounded one but I’d also like to get the square one as well, as not all the cards are rounded and it looks weird to see the back side when you do a layout on the other side!  I’m learning.


One of the pages I let my oldest do – it was from her friend’s birthday party when they did some pottery.


I must say one thing I’ve learned is you must be careful when turning the pages – if tugged to hard the holes do rip, thankfully I was able to stop my children from fighting over it so it didn’t rip completely because that would have messed up my whole organization of the pages.  As you’ll notice some of the cards are not Project Life – I found some pocket page journaling cards at another local craft store by me & my BIG ideas and grabbed them.  I did not pay attention that these cards are square versus the rounded shape of the Project Life and while not a horrible disaster if you don’t use the same on the back side they will show through.  Does that make sense?  It’s hard to explain.  So anyway, I used other cards as well and they were not as thick as the Project Life but I loved they were inexpensive and added a bit of flair to the heritage Project Life set.


Some journal notes that my oldest did and included in her birthday layout.


(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


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Kregel Tour: The Reluctant Detective (A Faith Morgan Mystery) by Martha Ockley #grow4christ #bookreview

**This post may contain affiliate links**

About the Book:

Former cop Faith Morgan may have quit the world of crime, but crime has not let her go. Now a priest in the Church of England, she is assigned to the improbably named village of Little Worthy, and within an hour of her arrival she witnesses the sudden, shocking death of a fellow priest. To her distress, the detective assigned to the case is Ben, her former partner and former boyfriend.

As she meets her parishioners she learns some surprising details about her apparently well-loved predecessor, and starts to suspect a motive for his death. The cop may have donned a clerical collar, but the questions keep coming. How will she reconcile her present calling with her past instincts? Is she in danger herself? What should she do about Ben?


You can purchase a copy at Amazon, Kregel and other book retailers.





My Opinion:


This is book 1 in the Faith Morgan Mystery series, I’ve already read and reviewed the second, The Advent of Murder, so in reading them backwards I would have liked to read them in order as I think this one sets the stage for book 2.  I’m going to start by saying that I enjoyed this book – I liked the mystery of the who-done-it, the setting of a not-so-quiet English village called Little Worthy and even the dialogue between some of the characters kept the book rolling along at a good clip.  If I hadn’t been down with a migraine I would have finished the book sooner than I did – it took me two days or there about to finish it – but it could have easily been done in less than a day.  While I enjoyed it, I did feel the book was too short to really delve into all the relationships that Faith Morgan has – such as how she and her sister relate to each other, how she and her mom relate, Ben who is her ex-live in boyfriends, and then all the people Faith comes into contact with in Little Worthy and work as vicar.


After having read this book I’m going to have to chose my selections from England a bit more carefully, even though I noted that were some cuss words in The Advent of Murder, it seems there were a few more in this and Faith even uses some exclamations and then blames the use of said phrase on Ben.  There was another issue, that didn’t arise when I read the second book, for whatever reason – vicar is a reverend and it’s my opinion based on Biblical reading that women really shouldn’t be ministers – and so that is what Faith is.  It is within the Anglican church and I believe they are bit more liberal in who they ordain as their ministers.  That said there were a lot of misses in the book such as when one main character who is divorced due to her husband’s adultery also mentions sleeping with a married man and then when she comes to Little Worthy she and the retiring vicar plan on marriage.  No where does Faith counsel her on marriage, divorce, repentance or any such thing.  Faith also makes light that as a vicar she did live with her ex-boyfriend Ben for three years – maybe she had repented but in the book it’s not taken away that she ever feels sorry or repentant and puts herself in some tight situations with Ben at least once in the book.


Again, while I liked the overall plot and mystery in the book – I really had no idea up until the end who was the real suspect and when I figured out who it was things were quite shocking so Martha did a lovely job in keep up the suspense till the very end.  While I’d like to see more of Faith Morgan I may have to reconsider after reading this one because of the lack of Biblical guidance – I know it’s a mystery but even it can lend itself to Biblical guidance especially when a vicar is shown to be counseling someone in their parish.  It’s hard for me to read a book that is reported to be Christian but then almost everything I read goes against what I know and believe to be Biblical truths, if it had been listed as a secular book with a vicar as a main character I probably wouldn’t be so harsh in my thoughts towards this book.



(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


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Petit Collage: 25 easy craft and decor projects for a playful home by Loren Siminovich #grow4christ #bookreview

**This post may contain affiliate links**

About the Book:

From the beloved design brand for nurseries, playrooms, and every space in between, Petit Collage shows you how to make 25 of their bestselling paper and wooden accessories for your home. Customize toy chests, create cheerful name plaques, build bunny clocks, and more, with artist and owner Lorena Siminovich. Breaking down each project with simple, illustrated step-by-step instructions, Siminovich presents easy tips on how to personalize the Petit Collage signature style with your child’s favorite colors and patterns. All you need are rubber stamps, paper, scissors, and the provided project templates to create a contemporary space filled with bright and distinctive décor.

Whether you’re looking for unique paper toys or vibrant namesake prints, Petit Collage’s whimsical craft projects will inspire your children to put their little touch and big imagination into your family home.


You can visit Random House or Amazon to purchase your own copy!




About the Author:  Lorena Siminovich, a designer, artist, and author who has written and illustrated more than twenty children’s books, is the founder of Petit Collage, a line of modern wall décor and accessories with a vintage sensibility. Her work is now sold in more than 1,000 stores and boutiques worldwide. Siminovich lives with her husband and their daughter in a recently renovated, art-filled home on a hill in San Francisco.


My Opinion:


I initially found this at my local library and when it came up to review, I knew I wanted my own copy – so I returned the library’s copy and waited eagerly for my own copy to arrive and I am so excited when it finally made it to my front door!  This is a beautiful hard cover book that contains 25 easy to make projects for the children in your life – whether they are your children, nieces or nephews or grandchildren or maybe even a friend’s child.  I’ve already marked up my copy as to what I’d like to make for some Christmas gifts for the children in my life using this book – and best of all almost all the projects with the exception of a few you probably already have the supplies on hand!  Lorena takes you through an introduction like where one can find their inspiration, how to use this book (she’s denoted what projects are for the beginner, intermediate and advanced crafter), and then the tools of the trade such as papers, tapes/adhesives, and more.  I think my favorite idea is the book ledges, which I’d love to have my hubby make me some and then I’ll decorate to fit my taste, but the ‘once upon a time’ theme is cute if they’ll be going into a child’s room.


Of course that is only one project out of 25 there are also a mobile, baby plaque (the idea could be good for an older child too but updating the babyish image), custom baby blocks, rolling toy cart, family mail box and much more – all to get your house into a playful mode and encourage learning, fun and play through being creative.  Most of the projects in this book could also be completed by an older child with some supervision – I wouldn’t let a child cut wood – but an older child could definitely make the dry erase dinner planner (something else I think I’ll be making for Christmas presents).  As I said most of the projects need items that I have on hand so there isn’t a huge expense, and the other items could be picked up at yard sales or thrift stores.  This is going to be my go-to book for the times when a friend welcomes a new baby and I want to do some easy crafting, or as I said even for the older child, I’m thinking the name plaque with a big blue box on it……


If you’re not sure where to buy a needed supply Lorena has included a list of resources to make it easy to find the supplies you don’t have on hand, she also gives some basic techniques for things like cutting, working with decoupage and using wood and metal – great for the beginner crafter.  Also include are the templates needed for the projects and while most are the size you’ll need, Lorena has also noted when they will need to be blown up bigger – this is one thing I haven’t figured out how to do on the copier at the store or on my home printer.  So if you like to craft – all you’ll need is this book, some simple supplies and your imagination and then get started!  If you’re not a crafter, no worries, Lorena walks you through step by step through each project and with full color illustrations you’ll be crafting quickly and you’ll see how much fun creating fun and playful things for the child in your life can be.



(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Handlebar Review: Woman of Courage by Wanda E. Brunstetter #grow4christ #bookreview

About the Book:


Amanda Pearson, a Quaker woman suffering from a broken engagement, leaves her home in New York and travels West to minister to the Nez Perce Indians. Along the way, she encounters many problems, yet she never gives up. Like a true woman of courage, Amanda trusts God to see her through, even when she fights illness, abandonment, misunderstandings, and an unexpected event. Set in 1837, this historical novel has many twists and turns that will take readers from the rugged Rocky Mountains to Oregon Territory and the home of the Spalding Mission, where the Nez Perce Indians were first introduced to Christianity.


Read the interesting note of how the book came to be from Wanda E. Brunstetter.


You can purchase your own copy at Amazon, Family Christian, and other places where books are sold!



My Opinion:


I’ve enjoyed reading Wanda Brunstetter for years now and when I had the chance to read and review her newest, Woman of Courage, which doesn’t include Amish people I knew I wanted to read it.  I liked that the story included a Quaker woman, even if all the thees and thous got on my nerves like it did the characters, as it wasn’t the usual Amish fiction I typically read.  While I don’t know a lot about Quakers – I do know there is a Friend’s Meeting House – about 30 minutes from me I know they do have a different outlook on God and how He resides in everyone, even non-Believers, through what they call the Inner Light.  That said Wanda Brunstetter does not give much in the way of explaining the Quaker life, but then again her book isn’t an expose on the Quakers – just a work of fiction (although the Rev and Mrs. Spalding really did witness to the Nez Perce) with a Quaker woman at the center of the story.  The book started off quite fast, with Amanda receiving a broken heart, she and her dad set off to go to the West and become missionaries but along the way Amanda is met with more hardships and almost near starvation until she is rescued by Buck – a trapper.


The book got a bit slower toward the middle as Amanda spends some time in the cabin of Buck’s friend, Jim and his American Indian wife – neither man wants anything to do with God, the Bible or religion.  As the women set out with Jim more hardship follow them as they continue the trip to the Rendezvous – an annual time for trappers to trade and to buy supplies.  As they set out to finish the trip to the Spalding mission, Amanda learns more about the American Indians and superstitions that pervade their daily life as well as to know that she is able to survive.  Through the book Amanda grows into her faith, and it becomes not just her parents, but her faith as well and she wants others to know about God and accept His gift of His Son – not only does he faith grow stronger she too realizes she is a woman of courage.  The book ended with some incredible twists and I’m hoping that maybe I haven’t heard the last of Amanda, Buck, Yellow Bird and Gray Eagle.



(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


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BzzAgent/Hasbro: Littlest Pet Shop #grow4christ #LPSyourworld

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My girls, especially my 9 year old have enjoyed playing with Littlest Pet Shop toys in the past and that enjoyment got renewed the other day when a big package arrived at our door with BzzAgent tape sealing it.  We received the Say Ahh to the Spa Style Set, Pet Pawsabilities Madam Pom LeBlanc and Paprika Price, and Pet Shop Style Set in order to facilitate my thoughts about the newest Littlest Pet Shop additions.  As soon as the package was delivered, all three children, including my son begged to have me open the package and so I relented because I admit to being curious as well.  I put together the larger set as there were more pieces while my 9 year old put together the Spa Style Set herself – it was quite easy to do by following the visual directions, which is great for guiding children through setting it up themselves.


The Pet Shop Style Set comes with the following:

  • 135 pieces to build and accessorize the set
  • 3 figures, Minka Mark, Kitery Banter and Sunil Nevla
  • sliding panels to decorate and flip around cardboard panels to give a new look
  • Deco bits, stickers, instructions and accessories


Shop Style Set closed. Isn’t it cute?


The Say Ahh to the Spa Style Set included the following:

  • panels to build and make the set your own
  • Zoe Trent character
  • bathtub, scissors, sink and other fun accessories
  • deco bits, scene backdrop, instructions, and stickers


Say Ahh to the Spa Style Set


These sets along with the other ones can stack to make buildings or play side by side with them to create an entire LPS city – the possibilities are only as limitless as your child’s imagination.  What I like about it is since the backdrop can be changed and flipped around and the panels can slide in and out and the deco bits can add an amazing array of decorating style to each, making each set unique to the child who plays with it.  You can see these in the pictures but there are little hooks on the roof from where characters can hang (like the monkey one) or the chandelier to illuminate (albeit, fake) the shop.  We put all the small pieces in a zipper bag so they can all be found and not scattered all over the floors and on different floors of the house, because they are tiny after all.  My girls were excited because this added 5 new pets to their collection – and they are quite cute.  My son found out the heads pop off and so he’s been tormenting his sisters by switching the heads and bodies for some interesting creations.


We also received Madame Pom Le Blanc and Paprika Price set which included accessories like ear rings, a crown as well as deco bits so they too, can be decorated and styled accordingly.  I know I’ll soon be downloading the LPS app for my devices so that the girls can scan the code on the pets back and play with them in the virtual world as well – which looks to be a great thing for on the go fun, when bringing along small toys just isn’t feasible.  The children watch the LPS cartoon on Netflix and so were familiar with the characters and knew who the characters were that came in the box, and I think that make things even more fun and exciting as even my 12 year old got in on the game at some point.  I’d highly recommend these toys if your daughter enjoys Littlest Pet Shop and if you want a quality toy for them to enjoy – I can see the girl who enjoy fashion, art, imagination or just girly play to enjoy some part of these toys (and yes, my son adds a boy’s touch to their play).



(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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9 Reasons I Don’t Regret Being a Homemaker or Stay At Home Mom #grow4christ


Growing up I never wanted children, never, my brothers and I fought a lot and well being a mom just didn’t seem like a good thing to me so, instead after reading John Grisham novels, I focused on a career.  Yes, I would be a career minded woman – I wanted to be a high profile attorney and take some pro-bono work on the side to make it all look good.  Maybe I’d get married to a man who also had high ambitions for his career too – but children?  Nope, no way.  I still felt this way when I met my husband in 2000 but since he wanted children I told him I’d have 1.  Laughable!  After being pregnant and losing that baby, we aimed to try again – on the day I graduated college with what I thought would be my first of many degrees, I found out we were pregnant again!


About two months into my pregnancy we discussed what we would do as far as me working.  I now had considerable student debt and wanted to still pursue law school so I began online courses to become a paralegal.  Then as I started to realize I didn’t want to leave this little one in the care of someone else, who we didn’t know – I told my husband after the baby was born I’d be staying home.  He was fine with that, I was working full time as a house manager for a MR/DD facility and that was proving stressful and I ended up resigning about a month before I was due with what we now knew would be our first daughter.  About the same time the decision was made for me to stay home we also decided we would be homeschooling.  BIG decisions in a short amount of time.


With that said, after I had our first daughter – I knew something was missing – the Lord.  I re-dedicated myself to Him and we began to establish our marriage and our family built on God and His Word.  He changed my mind and I’ve since had two more children and am praying for more.  I read a sad blog post from a woman who regretted staying home with her children, and that made me sad and with  that said I have 9 reasons why I’ll never regret being a homemaker or as is more PC today, stay at home mom:


1.  I know the women before me are happy.  Why?  I still remember when my Grandma told me I didn’t need to go into the military and instead get married and have children.  I looked at her like she had three heads – and saw disappointment in her eyes.  I regret that.  I basically told her the life she’d chosen and lived with my Grandpa, where she raised my dad and my aunts and uncle sometimes single handily because of my Grandpa’s job – wasn’t worth anything, that she had wasted her life.  Now, knowing what is involved with being a mom, one who is there all the time I know it’s not a waste that there isn’t anything more rewarding than being home with my children, whom the Lord blessed my husband and I with.  I grew up with a feminist mind set that told me I could do anything I wanted, anything that is, except be a wife and mother.  The feminists wanted me, all women, to believe that we couldn’t reach our full potential unless we entered the workforce, if we had children put them in daycare and schools, and our husbands still had to come home and do the dishes!  Now, I know the lies that the feminists want women to believe, you can be anything, as long it’s what they want you to be.  If that includes being a mother and a wife – then forget it, you must not want to reach your full potential, you must want to be lazy, stupid and uneducated – because anything to them doesn’t mean raising your children and being a helpmeet to your husband.


2.  At one point I thought, wait a minute I will never use the education I have if I stay home – how wrong I was.  For me my degree is in social work – believe me I use that in my role as mother.  I know engineers who are at home moms.  I know nurses who are at home moms.  Educators who are at home moms.  The skills I learned in college gave me skills to be a great mom – including some of the early childhood education classes I had to take.  Now, I don’t use it every day and some of things I was taught I’ve thrown out the door because they don’t align with my faith and are completely ridiculous but I do use my degree to a degree.  I also now caution my daughters, if they want to go to college and that is what the Lord wants for them, that is great but by all means apply for any grants and scholarships and don’t rely on student loans, which one day must be paid back and can be a hardship to their future husband (the same goes for my son in regards to his future wife).


3.  I have the love and respect of my children and husband.  When I put a great meal or even just a frozen pizza on the table for dinner – I get told “thank you”, or “mom that was great, thank you for making dinner”.  I get hugs and kisses from little people and husband alike!  While they may not thank me for washing their laundry (unless I let it go and they have no undies) they do see me working.  Traveling to field trips.  Running back and forth to dance or martial arts.  Reading to them.  Sweeping.  Yes, my children recognize that what I do day in and day out is work and they respect that and are thankful for what I do.


4.  When I worked, the only people I saw were those I worked with – whether it was the line at Dole, coring lettuce to pay for college or talking to those who worked in the homes I managed, that was it.  Unless I went to the bars on the weekend, and we can all attest to how well conversations go between drunk people – not great for socializing or long term friendships.  When I became a mom and a homeschool mom – my world expanded – I got to meet other moms, at home moms, working moms, adoptive moms, and more!  I got to meet other parents who were homeschooling and helped me out in our first years when I had questions or issues.  As some assume, just because you’re a at home mom doesn’t mean you’re at home all the time.  My children and I have met and have a wide range of experiences that I never got when I was working or even going to school!


5.  I get to serve others, through my time as a 4-H adviser I got to serve my community through 4-H and help children in learning new skill sets and as my children outgrew what 4-H could provide I get to serve through being an American Heritage Girl leader and my girls and I and even sometimes my son help out in serving the larger community around us (see #4).  The Lord told us to be His hands and feet, what better way to do that than to get the children involved and teaching them as a family how to serve others – it’s not just about them.  Yes, there is a time to say no.  When I was approached one year to do VBS I had to say no as there were other commitments I had to attend to first.  As my girls enter into their dance company this year, we’ll get to serve others by spreading the love and Gospel of Christ through their ability to dance.  I hope I’ll get to either become a volunteer with the Boy Scouts or Trail Life (if a troop ever comes near our city) and I’ll be serving with my husband and son.  Serving and volunteering is not a bad thing.


6.  I worry less because I know that I’m raising my children in the ways of the Lord and know that they will make good decisions and if they don’t they will be the ones to face the consequences.  “Don’t climb so high”, then he does – he is the one who must deal with the pain of a break and the misery of a cast.  I’m not saying I don’t worry.  I don’t let them outside by themselves because of the rate of pedophiles in the area and the way people drive I can see someone coming up the sidewalk and hitting them.  But I hover less – they go to dance classes without me sitting out in the hall, I drop off my son to his karate and go to the library for an hour, all three participate in college for kids through the local college and I don’t stay for the 2 hours classes.  If you train your child in the way they should go they shall not depart from it, while it may seem like the do for awhile, usually and prayerfully they’ll come back.


7.  My husband and I have traditional roles within our marriage. I am the wife and he is the husband. I am female and he is male.  I used to try to fool myself into thinking I can do anything a man can do, the Navy had a way of dispelling that myth.  My husband cannot birth babies.  I cannot use the restroom standing up.  We are different.  God made each gender, male and female, with a distinct set of innate traits.  We are both equal in the eyes of each other, me staying home is not less than him working 40+ hours a week at his career.  We are equal in the eyes of God.  Yes, I am the primary one responsible for laundry, dishes, schooling the children, etc but he also pitches in where he can and when he can – he’ll load the dishwasher and even hand wash dishes if the need arises (we did this for 14 years before moving to our new home), he’ll do laundry, he cleans the house better than I do most days.  There is nothing wrong with traditional roles, it’s when those roles get distorted and warped that there becomes an issue.


8.  I am still relevant in today’s world – I am up to date on technology, terminology (so much so that the children know what ‘hip’ terms aren’t allowed), social media and more.  I can talk Doctor Who with my oldest and we share books.  I can talk karate and Legos with my son.  I can talk Barbies and fashion with my middle daughter.  I know I’m not as cool as I think I am – my oldest reminds me of that sometimes :D but my children know they can talk to me about issues that arise whether it’s why did so and so do that to so and so to discussing the mundane.  My children don’t write me off as some old fogy who doesn’t know anything but instead see me as their mom, one who they can go to when they need a shoulder to cry on or celebrate with them or just to listen.


9.  My awareness is so much more alert than it used to be – I no longer think of myself – I’m no longer the selfish young woman I used to be, thankfully.  I look towards the future knowing I’m raising three wonderful children who will, prayerfully, be wonderful, godly adults who will go out to serve their community, their world and spread the love of Christ whether they are a trash man, doctor or missionary to a third world country.  I’m not longer focused on what I want – I see others through the eyes of my children and that often times allows me to see something in someone that I otherwise would have ignored.  The image I have of myself is better, I used to be so focused on my looks, my weight, my clothing and now I see myself as a mom and wife – one who gets love and gives love.  My children don’t see the overweight mom, they see a mom who loves them and cares for them.  My self esteem is so much better than it was in high school when it was based on what boy thought I was cute or which girl hated me because I had a new shirt.


Granted, my children are ages 12, 9 and 8 so I’m still parenting and I hope I’ll be available when needed when and if the Lord blesses my children with children.  Being at home isn’t easy, it’s not fun all the time and it’s not glamorous.  Would I do anything differently?  Yes.  I would quit worrying so much, sooner – I worried so much over stupid, trivial things when my 1st was a baby, that I didn’t worry about when the other two came along – it didn’t kill her did it?  so it’s okay.  I would also not make yelling a habit – it’s one I’m still working on.  I will never regret not having to say ‘oh, I wish I could go back to work’ or ‘oh, I wished I could drop my baby off at daycare’.  I will never regret nursing my babies on demand, being the one to hear their first words, being the one to see their first smile, hear them read their first book, take their first steps.  I will never regret being the one who there 24-7 for my children.  My glory isn’t here and I know my reward isn’t here, even if I didn’t hear a thank you after a dinner or for clean clothes – that isn’t what I’m being a mom for – I don’t seek glory for myself and I hope that my children and my husband can see God’s glory through me as long as I live.


I in no way mean to disparage moms – working or no – being a mom is hard.  I know those who’d love to be at home with their children but can’t.  I know those who’d love to homeschool, but can’t.  My post is to say that yes, we can focus on things that will get us down – that is no way to live life – regrets will weigh us down and make our lives miserable.  Even the regrets of things I’ve said and done can weigh me down but I’ve learned there is nothing I can do and I have to give it to the Lord and let Him take those regrets.  I’m sure I could find somethings I regret about being a homemaker – maybe, it’s hard to figure out how to pay for dance company fees without a second income – but if I start dwelling on that regret then I’ll miss out on the blessings of being home, such as being the one to take my daughters to their classes and rehearsals.  I know I’m also writing from a Christian worldview so my way of looking at things are different than say someone who is not Christian – so if you’re not Christian then you likely won’t agree with me and that is fine and I’m sure there may be Christians who don’t agree with me.  If you’re an at home mom but feel trapped, I urge you to seek the Lord – pray and give your feelings over to Him and ask Him to give you the peace that only He can give.  Talk with your husband and discuss your feelings with him.  Seek out your friends.  But first, always make sure you’re seeking the Lord’s will and His Word for direction.


(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


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BookLook Review: Life Behind the Walll; Candy Bombers, Beetle Bunker, and Smuggler’s Treasure by Robert Elmer #grow4christ #bookreview

**This post may contain affiliate links**


About the Book:

Marking the 55th anniversary of the creation of the Berlin Wall, this epic tale extends across generations and unfolds against the backdrop of a dangerous Cold War Berlin. This historically accurate, action-packed, 3-books-in-one features teens and their family’s struggle living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, from its creation after WWII, to life behind the wall during the Cold War, to the Wall’s ultimate and final destruction.

Both educational and exciting, Life Behind the Wall is a great choice for middle readers at home or school.


You can purchase your copy at Zondervan or on Amazon.



My Opinion:


I wasn’t really sure what to think when I requested this book, as sometimes books geared towards older children that are based in history seem to have a lot of things lacking – such as historical accuracy among other issues – and I’m happy to say that that wasn’t the case in this 3-in-1 book.  My oldest daughter has a fascination about the culture and history of WWII and so that was my main impetus to request Life Behind the Wall – because I knew it’d be something that she would more than likely enjoy reading and now that I’ve read it I know she will if she can hang on through the first couple of chapters.  I say that because it took me the first few chapters of Candy Bombers to get really into the book, at first it was a little boring but as the reason for the title emerged things really began picking up – while I knew that most people in Europe really didn’t care for the Americans I didn’t know how deeply that was felt nor did I realize how divided Berlin was.  This book gave a startling look into how life was for those in Berlin after the War and then as the Wall went up and then came down again – having family trapped on side and not being able to see them unless you went through an extensive border crossing process, that made me nervous just reading about the one the characters had to go through.


At the end of each book there are some historical facts, such as what was really true – the author wove the fictional characters into the story while keeping with historical accuracy and not trying to make things worse (of course I’m not sure how things could have gotten much worse) or seem better than they were.  I don’t want to give too much away but the story of the candy bombs, which were little parachutes tied to candy, which American pilots would then drop so that the children below could have a little taste of something sweet.  The stories follow on family over the course of the years Erich’s mother marries an American pilot against the advice of her mother in law of her 1st, killed, husband and then anger and hatred tears the family apart.  Beetle Bunker, follows Sabine, Erich’s (who is now trying to become a Dr in Communist Berlin) half sister, who wants to help with the escapes that seem to be happening but no one wants to talk about since your neighbor could turn you in.  Finally, in Smuggler’s Treasure, Liesl who is Sabine’s daughter, helps in smuggling Bibles across the border to her uncle Erich but then as startling information comes to light as she writes a paper for school she finds something about her family.


As the stories carry on and flow together it’s like watching one time in history flow seemlessly into the other – which is what I liked about this book and I didn’t have to wait for the next one to come out while I forget how each character is related to the other.  With the historical facts also comes discussion questions which can lead to not just more digging and researching into history (great for the homeschool student) but also the use of Scripture will have the reader who goes through the questions delving in Scripture as well.  This was an eye opening read – as in school I learned about the Berlin Wall but not much more and I’ve even seen a piece of it at our local Air Force Museum, but to read about what really went on – the persecution of Christians, the starvation, the horrible medical care and more – makes it all come alive and the author, Robert Elmer, did so with skill.



(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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