GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Advent


In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays and Christmas I think we forget why we celebrate Christmas.

Is it for us?  No.

Is it for presents?  No.

Is it for family?  No.

Is it for Santa?  No.

It’s sole purpose is to bring glory and remember that a little over 2,000 years ago God sent His Son to earth so that we, degraded humans lost in our sins, could have a chance to spend eternity with Him.

We are not Catholic.  We are not Baptist.  We are not Pentecostals.  We are simply Christians – followers of Christ.  I’ve decided to do some Advent activities – some of my readers may not like this but that’s okay.

We’ll be reading Scripture each day.

We’ll hang a special ornament on the tree that goes along with each day’s reading.

We may even be lighting Advent candles.

We’ll be using the Truth Tats that I reviewed last week as well.

I’m using this free Advent e-book over at A Holy Experience.  I’ve got it printed off.  The ornaments are cut out and laminated and are in a basket under our tree and ready to begin on November 29th.

So in the hustle and bustle of finishing up some school things, Christmas baking, Christmas crafting and life let’s take a moment each day to remember why we celebrate this time of year and make sure that our children understand it’s not about presents it’s about our Saviour presenting himself to us as a sacrifice so that we can live with Him in Heaven.

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FIRST Tour: Truth and Dare Devotional by Ann-Margaret Hovsepian


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:

 

Ann-Margret Hovsepian

 

and the book:

 

Truth and Dare Devotional

David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ann Margret Hovsepian is a published author, freelance writer and editor and amateur artist. She has published more than 210 articles for dozens of Canadian and U.S. print periodicals and has become a sought-after author of pre-teen girls’ devotional books. She has published Blossom: The Complete New Testament for Girls (Thomas Nelson, 2006) and The One Year Designer Genes Devo (Tyndale, 2007). She speaks at conferences and events and is actively involved on the board of Canadian Baptist Women of Ontario and Quebec, Canada. Hovsepian resides in Montreal, Canada.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Is your pre-teen daughter ready for more—more excitement, more adventure, more joy? Then dare her to discover the secret to a life that sparkles for God. Show her she’s got what it takes to make an impact on the world. Ann Margret Hovsepian’s newest book, Truth and Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Girls, is designed for girls 9 to 12 and filled with powerful wisdom on everything from godly friendships to worshipping God.

It can be easy for young girls to neglect their Bible reading. Perhaps they feel Scripture doesn’t directly relate to them. Maybe they may lack encouragement or accountability, or they may just have too many distractions in their everyday lives. This lack of spiritual food can stunt girls’ spiritual growth and make them vulnerable to the temptations and ungodly influences around them. It can also prevent them from developing a love for Scripture early in life, making it even harder to get into God’s Word when they get older.

Truth and Dare encourages tween girls to discover how exciting God’s Word can be. They will see it make a difference in their daily lives and experience the blessings that come from doing it and not just hearing it. Daily challenges (dares) based on Scripture (truth) will provide opportunities for them to make their faith come alive as they learn to serve others, build character and make a difference.

Scripture will be transformed from something learned to something lived. Girls will delight in discovering how God’s Word can become real in whole new ways as they learn to apply it with each day’s dare. It ideally suits anyone looking to inspire a young girl to boldly live out her faith. So encourage the tween girl in your life to take the dare and discover the truth! It’s her time to shine as a girl who knows what it means to live a fierce and fearless life of faith.

 

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434702081
ISBN-13: 978-1434702081

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER (To enlarge, click on the images):

 

My Opinion:

This is a cute devotional and while my oldest, who I had in mind when I requested it, hasn’t started it yet as it begins with New Year’s resolutions so she wanted to wait until the new year she really thought it looked ‘cool’.  I wonder if I had had a devotional like this when I was growing up would I have been better able to keep Christ at the focus of my life?  The dares are fun things to do that center around that day’s Scripture reading and devotion such as memorize all of Psalm 100, draw a picture that shows how trusting God can give you peach, say no to something that takes away from God even if it doesn’t seem ‘bad’ and more!  I’d like to get another for my 7 year old and begin working on it with them together.

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Kroger’s The Truly Awesome™ Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies


I much prefer homemade straight from the oven chocolate chip cookies but if I don’t have time (like our Monday through Thursday activity running) or I’m not feeling well (migraine?) I’m okay with an occasional store bought cookie for a treat or dessert.  I don’t think that children need a treat or a dessert all the time but if I did I would definitely feel okay giving the Kroger Truly Awesome Homestyle chocolate chip cookies.

I received to packages of these cookies and by the time I opened the package they were gone.  All my children and my husband thought they were very good, although they didn’t like the crunchiness.  My family prefers soft batch cookies – there is a serving recommendation that you can warm them briefly in the microwave which warms them up and makes them a little soft.  We didn’t do this as I didn’t feel like taking the time but I’m sure they would have been delicious either way.

If you don’t have a Kroger, no worries these can also be found at Fred Meyer’s and Ralph’s.  I’ll more than likely be picking up a few more boxes between now and Christmas and New Year’s for those times that get too busy for me to be in the kitchen all day and next time we’ll be warming them in the microwave.

**I’m a BzzAgent and I was given two boxes of these cookies in exchange for sharing my honest opinion about them, no other compensation was given.

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Christmas Present – if you are my SIL please don’t continue reading


I like to try to make homemade gifts for people and this year the first one I made was a cover for my SIL’s Nook cover (my hubby’s sister).  I’ve been making my Kindle covers and a cover for my friend last year and a cover for a favorite librarian using the pattern from Birdiful Stitches which is easy peasy to do.

Well my SIL isn’t a frilly, girly girl so we had to come up with fabric that she’d like and my children unanimously voted for skull and cross bones.  Now my children know that this isn’t fabric I’d normally choose but for my SIL it works.  So I made her a Nook cover – and inside she’ll find a $10 gift code to Barnes and Noble.  I’m happy to say this cost almost nothing to make as I found the fabric and buttons on sale, and the gift code I got from doing surveys.

To me, there is nothing better than giving a homemade gift that is useful and cost almost nothing to make!

I added an iron on label with my initials but once the Nook goes in it’ll be hidden.  I’m going to make a trip to an electronics store to check the fit but I think it’ll be good.

Oh and at the chance of a shameless plug – if you’d like a cover for your Nook, Kindle or iPad I can do that.  Nook and Kindles are $15.00 plus shipping and the iPad is $20.00 plus shipping 😀

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“An Amish Wedding” by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, & Kelly Long


I’ve had the chance to read an e-book version of the three novellas in one titled “An Amish Wedding” which as you can probably guess are three stories set in Amish country during wedding season.  The characters from the other books somewhat intermingle in the next story but not so much so that you become confused, each book being about one couple and their impending nuptials and the conflict that occurs during most marriage planning.

The three novellas are:

  • “A Perfect Plan” by Beth Wiseman

This is about the upcoming wedding of Priscilla King and Chester Lapp and all that seeks to destroy the ‘perfect’ wedding that Priscilla has planned.  This was probably my favorite of the three as I found myself chuckling at some of the silliness that was occurring all the while sympathizing with the troubles the couple was going through.

  • “The Perfect Match” by Kathleen Fuller

This is your typical but yet not so typical  everyone’s a bride lament of some young women who watch as their friends get married or can play match maker but never has a beau of her own.

  • “The Perfect Secret” by Kelly Long

Rose Bender sees her friend who has an exciting husband to be and begins to rethink her own impending wedding to Luke Raber.  Like most young couples they want excitement and can’t see beyond what their love is like (steady, serious, somber) to what lies beneath that veneer.  When a secret gets exposed and Rose realizes that Luke isn’t at all what he seems and finally lets God direct her steps things begin to fall in place for the couple.

The regular book has a total of 384 pages but it’s a really fast read and one that I enjoyed especially with it being from three great authors who know the Amish and give a great portrayal of their life, they aren’t perfect nor do they not encounter trials, but they are people with feelings, hurts and triumphs.

**I was given a copy of this book through BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson) in e-book form in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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“Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure” by Monique and Alexa Peters (review and giveaway!)


If you are looking for a book that is written and illustrated by a young person and that also supports philanthropist efforts then look no further than the Cooper and Me series of books.  I was given the Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure written by mother and daughter team Monique and Alexa Peters and illustrated by Alexa Peters and Melissa Peterson.  Cooper is based on the family’s real life Lab and teach life lessons every child needs to learn.  Winter Adventure teaches children how to problem solve if they should become separated from their parents but using dogs so children can relate to it.  Colorful and wonderfully illustrated it is a very professional book, and one that my children will enjoy reading time and again.

There are extensions at the end of the story to help in teaching children the lesson learned in the book such as:

  • a special memory creation
  • life lesson
  • connections
  • learning together

Each book purchase supports the  Happy Hearts Fund and The Lustgarden Foundation and Pancreatic Cancer.  I have a special offer for my readers that runs now through December 15th – make a purchase of $25 or more at Cooper and Me and get FREE shipping using code:  COOPERBLOG

 

Giveaway!!!

The winner is Laura Hilton!  I will be emailing her and she has 48 hours to repsond or a new winner will be choosen.

I have one copy of the above book to giveaway the winner will be randomly selected by a process chosen by me on December 6th at noon EST.  Winner must be 18 years or older U.S. resident and you must leave an email in at least one of your entries.  #1 is mandatory all others are optional.

  • Visit the Cooper and me site and let me know in a comment one other thing about the authors or books or charity that I didn’t mention above.
  • Like Cooper and Me on Facebook
  • Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect (see right bar) leave me your name you follow under so I can verify.
  • Follow my blog via Networked Blogs (see right side bar)
  • Follow Cooper and Me on Twitter
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Using the buttons under this post like this post on Facebook (scroll past advertisement)
  • Google +1 this post  (scroll past advertisement)
  • Once per day you may tweet about this contest linking to this post and using #SarahJoBailey or the button below this post.

That’s it!  As I said entry #1 is mandatory all others are optional.  Must be 18 years old or older and a U.S. resident.  Leave an email in at least one entry if I cannot contact you I’ll select another winner – winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email.  Contest will end on 12/6/11 at noon EST

**“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.”

**This contest is linked up at Hip Homeschool Moms  and Guiding Light Homeschool

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Help in the kitchen on Thanksgiving – and what we would’ve missed out on


We had such a great Thanksgiving day!  It got off to a rough start with a family member hanging up on me but after I realized I can’t do anything about it and I wasn’t going to let him or the situation ruin my day the day was just about perfect.  We stay home for Thanksgiving, my husband and I made the joint decision a few years ago that we were sick of loading three children up and going from house to house to house (this would be like 7 times in and out),  while family are upset with us, it’s made for a wonderful and less stressful holiday for us and our children.

We do a big dinner at our house, turkey and ham (my hubby is in charge of this), deviled eggs, pumpkin pie, veggie tray, from scratch mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn and whatever else we’re hungry for.  I’ve got a lot of turkey left which I’m going to freeze and use later in some soups that call for chicken.

Also if we were traveling about on Thanksgiving there would have been a lot of moments I would have missed out on like my son helping me fill our deviled eggs or my 7 year old helping me with the pumpkin pie filling or my 9 year old making two from scratch pie crusts!

Hannah getting the shortening measured:

One finished pie crust:

Finished pie:

We made two pies and Hannah made the crusts for both.  I was so impressed, I gave her the recipe, got all the ingredients down and let her measure, mix, roll and everything on her own.

I would have missed listening to the children run around and playing outside on the unseasonably warm Thanksgiving day while hubby and I worked away in the kitchen.  Or laying on the couch with my son who rubbed my cheek and told me how much he loved me and my 7 year old telling me that I am a great mommy.  My children would have missed being able to help with our meal and see what goes into making a great Thanksgiving meal.  They would have missed out on playing outside on their swingset.  If you ask my children do they prefer to stay home or go visiting they’ll tell you they’d rather stay home.  Some see it as them missing out on things but for us we’ve gained much and didn’t miss out on anything.

I still can’t believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone but it was a great day and I’m glad we were able to spend it at home and enjoy each other’s company.

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Goal Planning Monday – Week 44


I’m once again participating in Mama Manuscripts for her weekly Goal Planning Monday.  If you want to see what I had planned for last week visit my entry as you can see I did get some stuff done but not everything.

  • file week’s worth of school
  • begin using REAL Homeschool Spanish
  • Write a blog post about the new CEB I just received goes live on 12/3
  • Write a BzzAgent review or two or three – Two down, one to go
  • Work on some Christmas presents for some special children in my life One down.
  • Make some homemade pumpkin puree
  • Make some embroidered cards
  • Finish A River to Cross by Yvonne Harris and write a review.
  • Write a Propeller Review and contest.

I think that is enough for this week.

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Bethany House Review: “Pattern of Wounds” (A Roland March Mystery) by J. Mark Betrand


I was thinking that this would be a book that interwove mystery and suspense with a Christian take on things like love, murder, marriage, etc but that was not the case with this book.  While the main character, Roland March’s wife is a Christian as is the young couple who rents out an apartment from them but overall there isn’t much of a Christian theme.  Yes, sometimes God comes up but it is more of a why would God allow this or this to happen?  There was no real meaningful Gospel sharing, which in one respect is positive because the story focuses on how much Roland March puts into the investigation barely focusing on his wife or others around him.

However, I would have liked to see more people reaching out to Roland and the book does have him in church for a Christmas service.  This book could easily be read by both a non-believer and a Christian because there is nothing that would be offensive to either.  There are mentions of rape that has to do with the storyline of the murder but other than that there isn’t anything that is illicit and there is no bad language that you would normally find in a secular mystery book.

At points the book was slow moving but overall I really enjoyed it especially with J. Mark Betrand being a new author to me, his style of writing wasn’t what I was used to but I enjoyed that and once I got into the rhythm of reading the book I found I enjoyed it.  There are some side plots which shows the main character being a married man as well as a cop, which I think helps the story along and overall it was an enjoyable read even if it wasn’t what I was expecting at first.

**I was given a copy of this book from Bethany House review program in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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FIRST Tour: There’s Just Something About a Boy by Jenny Lee Sulpizio. Illustrated by Peg Lozier


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:

 

Jenny Lee Sulpizio

Illustrated by

Peg Lozier

 

and the book:

 

There’s Just Something About a Boy

Isaac Publishing, Inc. (September 23, 2011)

***Special thanks to Jenny Lee Sulpizio for sending me a review copy.***

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jenny Lee Sulpizio, M.S. is a wife, business owner, and mother of three residing in Boise, Idaho. She is an active member within her church and community, and enjoys tapping into her creative side whenever she gets the chance. There’s Just Something About a Boy is the second picture book released in a series that also includes Mommy Whispers, an ode to mothers and daughters everywhere.

Visit the author’s website.

 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:


Peg Lozier is an award winning portrait painter and illustrator whose work is known for color, whimsy, and a sense of fun. Raised in Boulder, Colorado, she now lives with a plethora of pets in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Visit the illustrator’s website.

 

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

There’s Just Something about a Boy is a children’s keepsake picture book celebrating the special bond between a mother and her newborn son as she anticipates the love, laughter, and unparalleled adventure that will surely come from raising a little boy.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.95
Paperback: 30 pages
Publisher: Isaac Publishing, Inc. (September 23, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609200365
ISBN-13: 978-1609200367

AND NOW…THE FIRST PAGES (click illustrations to enlarge):

Recalling the moment, that special day
Your tiny image took my breath away.
A precious baby with nothing to hide,
My sweet, little son nestled inside.
There’s just something about a boy…

I prepared your nursery
since around month five,
Waiting for the day
you’d finally arrive.
Stuffed animals, blankies,
your daddy’s first glove–
They sat in your room,
awaiting your love.
There’s just something
about a boy…

 

My Opinion:

When I first became a mom of a boy I had no idea what I was going to do with a boy!  He would be different than my girls.  Boy oh boy was I right, he is different from his sisters, just the way God intended.  And while there are days that I have no idea what to do with him and I can’t begin to imagine how his brain works I can’t imagine my life without him.  There is something special about a relationship that moms have with their sons and this is a great book for describing that relationship.

From the moment that U/S tech tells a woman she’s having a son till the moment he’s grown and married and she’s a grandma sons have a special place in their mom’s heart (even more so if they are the only boy) this book will take you through each stage.  There is a part I’ll never identify with and that’s a first day of school, as homeschoolers that isn’t something we’ll experience but I do get great joy in being my son’s teacher in both academics and also the things of God.  This book is a wonderful story written for moms of boys, one that would be perfect for a birthday, Christmas or just as a surprise for the special boy or boys in your life.

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