Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Educents Review: Simply Fun – Perspectives and Letter Slide games


About the Perspectives Game:

Move the brightly colored Game Tiles around on the board to create one or more patterns from your “Perspective”. Solve your Pattern Cards even when it is not your turn but pay close attention and be quick so you do not miss out on a winning opportunity!


You can find more information about the game and how to purchase by visiting SimplyFun – there is also a video you can watch about the game as well.  Perspective sells for $28.00



My Opinion:


We enjoy playing games in our house and if they are educational, so much the better, and that is what we got with Perspectives!  It’s a fun game of using logic and movement to come up with the patterns on the cards, geared for ages 8 and up I could and did include all three children in on this game.  Set-up is easy and fast, separate out the pattern cards according to point value (there are 63 pattern cards in 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 point value increments) then randomly place the 15 game tiles on the game board and then put the lock pawn on any one of the tiles.  We chose to only use the 3, 4, and 5 point value pattern cards as my son was not having a good day and it was easier on him, if it had been just my oldest and I or even my husband it would have been fun to include the more advanced patterns and add in the 6 and 7 points.  Each player then selects 1 card from each of the pattern cards – 3, 4, and 5 and 6 is left to draw from on the players turn if so desired – every player must have a maximum of 4 pattern cards at a time, and best of all the youngest player goes first.


The key to the game is that all tiles must be touching in some form through out the game – not by their corners but by their edges so this makes it tricky to plan your move and takes a lot of concentration in order to find and make your patterns.  The fun part is making sure the other players don’t move the tiles that you need to make your pattern!  Players can also find patterns at any time, during any other players turn so player A, B and C could all find a pattern during player A’s turn.  Once the pattern is found put the card to the side so points can be calculated at the end.  The game is finished when 3 draw decks run out AND one player matches the last card in their hand.  After that is done then points are calculated and any remaining pattern card points left in hand are deducted and the winner declared.  From start to finish the box says the game should last about half an hour, it took us a little longer as not everyone could get along during the game.


All of us really enjoyed playing this game after school one day – it was a nice break, when it was much too hot to go outside and play and it got the T.V. and video games off.  I like that you have to really think things through and be quick in regards to finding patterns on your cards.  With easy directions, fast set-up and also a couple game variations available this game makes a great one for the entire family – with all that said it makes me want to take it to our next family gathering and get a little competition going.  This is a game that will be played for a long time in our house and I can even take it along to share with friends when we visit as the box is compact and lightweight, perfect for travel.  The cards and board are sturdy and the wooden blocks are painted vibrant colors that will hold up and appeal to young and old alike.


My middle DD trying to figure out her move.



About Letter Slide:

Don’t “slide” by the letter tiles that you need. Spell as many words as you can based on the card that has been turned over. Hurry before the timer runs out!


You can find more information about the game as well as purchasing information and a video about the game at SimplyFun.  Letter Slide sells for $34.00


My Opinion:


The second game I was sent from SimplyFun through Educents was Letter Slide, which is a fun game geared towards ages 7 and up to make as many 4 letter words as you can before the timer runs out.  The game features spelling, vocabulary, consonants and vowels – great for a beginning reader or up the ante for an older reader.  The game contains four slide boards (Beary, Bubbles, Pickles and Tibbar – all very cute), 1-minute sand timer, 200 double-sided letter tiles (red are vowels, black are consonants), 87 word cards broken down into 47 first two letters and 40 last two letters, and a handy storage bag for the letter tiles.  Like the other game, this one is simple to set up and start playing quickly, which is great for children who have short attention spans and don’t want to wait while the game is set up.  Two to four players can play this game, we have five in our family so one of us helped our non-reader to make his words while the other four played and it says it takes about 20 minutes to complete one game – again, it took us a little longer.


Our game set-up.


So to begin with you make a letter lagoon with all the letter tiles in the center and in the center of them place the sand timer with the boards around the outside as well as the word cards.  There is no 1st player or 2nd player as everyone plays at the same time – a player flips a word card then the sand timer is flipped this is when the players start finding letters they need in the lagoon.  If the BA card is drawn then players start making, correct, four letter words finding the last two letters such as CK, KE, LL, GS and so until the timer runs out.  For each correct word that is made, my son tried to get some ‘fake’ words past me, the player chooses one of the two letter tiles to cover a letter space that matches on their board.  The letters not used (so if I used C, K, L, and G – I would return K, E, L and S) are returned to the lagoon in the center of the table.  The player with the most correct words at the end of that round can flip over the next word card, show it to all players and flip the timer to begin again.  The winner is the first to have all their letter spaces filled on their board.


My son playing the game.

I really liked this game, although I must admit I was at a bit of an advantage since I have a bigger vocabulary than at least two of my children.  We all enjoyed it though, and the cute illustrations on the slide boards made it delightful – reminded me of going to the water park on a hot summer day and relaxing in the lazy river.  There are two variations given for younger players (to me that means those who aren’t reading yet) – the first is to not play with the timer so they don’t feel rushed while the second variation is to sort the word cards based on whether they have the beginning or end letters and decide which set is best used for the players.  Since my son is still struggling to read this was a bit of a challenge so next time I’ll be incorporating both variations – leaving out the timer and only using the cards with the beginning letters.  I like knowing that we can have fun as a family while my son learns without realizing he is learning to read.


I must also disclose, if I turn this review in on time I will be paid a small fee, however a positive review was still not required or expected.


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

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Book Review: Crooked Lines by Holly Michael

**Post may contain affiliate links**


About the Book:

On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace.

Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers.

Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

Crooked Lines, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth.


You may purchase a copy on Amazon both for Kindle and physical copies.




About the Author:

Crooked Lines is Holly Michael’s debut novel. Her stories have been published in Guideposts books and in various magazines and newspapers. She’s worked as a ghostwriter, journalist, and newspaper features writer. She and her husband, Anglican Bishop Leo Michael, enjoy travel and the two regularly visit India. Holly is the mother of a lovely daughter, Betsy, and two sons, Jake and Nick. She enjoys watching football, especially when her sons are playing–Jake (NFL) and Nick (Rajin’ Cajuns).


Connect with Holly on Facebook, her blog, and her website.


Also check out the book, Crooked Lines, Facebook page.




My Opinion:


At first I wasn’t sure what to think about this book – the beginning was intriguing but since Holly is a debut author I honestly was worried that  her writing wouldn’t be up to what I was used too.  I was wrong.  Holly’s debut book starts out with an intriguing sentence, “It didn’t occur to me at the edge of the pond that I’d broken the sixth commandment, actually committed murder.”  Now that is a way to start a book and pull the reader in – at least this reader.  When Holly put out the call for reviewers and after I read the description I knew I wanted to give her book a try and I’m so glad I did, the book pulled me in and I read it quite fast – it’s not a long book but it’s not a short book either.  The story of Rebecca Meyer was one fraught with sadness, loneliness and ultimately a path directed by the Lord and the story of Sagai Raj is one of a boy who is in a loving family but which much is expected until he feels called to the ministry in the Anglican church.


Rebecca is drawn to India – she feels it represents a peace she can’t find at home and so her life revolves around her wanting to make it to India at some point and she begins corresponding with a priest who also know Sagai.  I don’t want to give spoilers but Rebecca’s character is one that is full of real life struggles and Holly does a great job in making the reader feel that and sympathize with Rebecca’s plight as she goes from a woe is me girl to a woman who is able to stand on her own feet and seeks to follow the Lord.  Sagai is also full of questions as he sees more of the priest hood and what it’s going to entail and even those priests who are less than Christian in their acts.  Both characters are well developed and the plot weaves together intricately and ends in a wonderful way – that I suspected would happen at some point but I wasn’t sure when.  I’m looking forward to reading more of Holly Michael’s works – I definitely enjoyed this one, I think the only drawback was that my e-copy contained some errors but nothing that another second reading wouldn’t remedy.



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



Science fun with Sherlock


Well school started back last week for many districts in our state so last Wednesday, seeing it as the first day of school in the city where COSI is, we set out to finally take in The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes!  The last time we went we were told they were expecting some 200+ school children and we didn’t want to have to compete with that so we got a refund and decided to come back later.  We are so glad we did!  But before we took in the Sherlock exhibit we had some time to kill (no pun intended!) and so much to my son’s delight we headed to the water area.


We were first stopped by one of the volunteers that have little stations in the halls to give children some extra hands-on experiments so my son stopped to find how he can make a wooden stool move with just a hook in a piece of rubber.  I knew how this would work and I thought he would too but he didn’t and was quite fascinated by the whole thing.


After he figured out how to move it – he was quite interested in her explanation.


Putting it back so others can try.


Oh I forgot both my son and my middle daughter just had to do the hurricane thing and so my mom put a dollar in and I donated another….


In the hurricane simulator.


We finally made it to the water area…


My mom and oldest daughter playing in the water.


Sometimes she has a playful side 😀


The other two using the sprayers to splash around.


Oh yes, I forgot before the Sherlock exhibit we actually watched the Panda movie in 3-D, it was a good one although it was a bit sad in places too.  I was glad to learn about the conservation to save the near extinct wild Panda population.  We also visited another of our favorite areas – Progress.  I do have to say I miss the Progress of old with the old theater where you could buy small bags of popcorn and watch movie shorts like Three Stooges and Our Gang but I digress.


In progress there is an old coin operated space ship thing that the children like to ride – well my son and middle daughter (oldest is too big now). I snapped this picture of my son looking out and up through the port hole.



Okay, well that is all the pictures – I would have loved to take some in the Sherlock exhibit but that was prohibited so I had to put away my camera and deny my picture taking tendencies.  My mom did buy the oldest a Sherlock shirt and I grabbed a book about the exhibit as well as post cards for each of us that go in the mini albums to track our special field trips.  There were some neat items of historical note from the time of Sir Conan Doyle, including a heart with a stab wound from a murder back in the 1800’s.  Morbid?  Yes.  But very scientific and my son, who likes to know how the body works, thought it was neat but gross.  Again I would have loved to take pictures.


Then after that area you begin looking at some facts about how plants and such were used in medicines, make-up, etc and of course back then not all were safe.  We got to learn how a telegraph worked and send a message and more – all the while collecting some clues to go with the ‘murder’ scene in the next area that we had to solve using Sherlockian style deductions.  By this point I had a bit of a headache so I was doing my best to hang in there because my oldest was so excited.  The murder scene was not grotesque at all – but you have to walk through the evidence like the ‘blood’ splatter on the wall, drag marks in the sand, a seed pod left, and so on and then work your way to actually test your theories.  As you test and reach your conclusion you get a punch on your ‘passport’ and at the end you’ll know if you were right or not.  I think the most fun part was testing out the blood spatter theory in which you get to press a button, squirt some ‘blood’ at a window to see what kind of pattern it leaves and then a little wind shield wiper cleans the glass for you.


At the end, once you solve the murder you enter the area which has props and such from all ranges of Sherlock, from the black and white to today’s Elementary (which we don’t like, Watson is supposed to be a man) to the one we do enjoy and watch; the BBC’s Sherlock.  My oldest loved seeing the pink suitcase, the bomb jacket and the hounds sign from three of the different episodes of Sherlock.  We had a blast, the only thing that would have made it better (besides being headache free) would have been to get my children’s pictures in the exhibit.  By the way I linked to the exhibit above – they have educators stuff so if like me you want to have some fun at home take a look at the educator’s stuff, next up will be St. Louis, MO.  Wish we could go again!


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


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Life Sentence Publishing: Why You Really Can Memorize Scripture by Dr. Daniel Morris

About the Book:

Understand and unlock your mind’s natural ability to memorize long passages

Called to be a missionary as a teenager, I had a great desire to fulfill God’s will, but had a great sense of inadequacy for such an extraordinary purpose. But God says he who meditates in His Word …shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (Psalm 1:3). This verse was and still is a great source of encouragement.

Part of meditation is to memorize God’s Word, so I began a systematic method of memorizing consecutive passages of scripture. Through the years I learned, both by study and by experience, how God made our memory function. Presently, I have 42 chapters memorized and, best of all, our missionary work has prospered beyond what I could have imagined.

This book describes what I learned about permanently memorizing scripture and will help you be one of the few who experiences the blessing of meditation in God’s Word, and the hope that whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • Specific memorization techniques.
  • How to memorize scripture, the Bible.
  • How to retain what you memorize


You can purchase a Kindle version or a Paperback copy by following the links.


About the Author:

Dr. Morris graduated from Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College and Anchor Theological Seminary. He received his Ph. D. in Biblical Studies from Louisiana Baptist University. Since 1978, he and his wife, Debbie, have served as missionaries in Chiapas, Mexico. He presently pastors the Baptist church he founded in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and oversees several other churches, missions and a Christian school. Much of his time is dedicated to training Mexican pastors, and counseling.




My Opinion:

I struggle with memorizing facts, dates and even Scripture – I have a working knowledge of certain passages and I can recall the Scriptures I learned as a child such as Psalms 23 but memorizing many whole chapters or even books of the Bible proves to overwhelm me.  I’ve never had a great memory, even as a child – for a pseudo-historian that is troubling and for one who knows the importance of memorizing Scripture it’s even more troubling.  There will probably come a time where, like other countries, owning a Bible will be illegal in the United States and so memorization is even more paramount to the Christian so that we can hide His Words in our hearts and minds and still let them bring comfort to us when we need to recall them from memory.


I sat down to read this book and got through it in a day, for the purposes of the review so I didn’t have time to actually put any of the techniques to work.  I must say to me, it seemed like there was a lot to do and it made it seem much more overwhelming to want to memorize.  Dr. Morris walks the reader through the various types of memory and which memory will be used during the memorization of Scripture and he shows how Scripture commands the long term memorization of Scripture.  It may depend on your interpretation of Scripture in what the reader thinks those verses actually mean but I understood where he was going – the Lord does want us to memorize His Word.


After reading the first few chapters Dr. Morris then walks the reader through the steps in how to memorize, even if you think you can’t, such as utilizing such questions as who wrote the passage, what did it mean then, what does it mean now, and inventing nails – to make the verse stick.  He says all it takes is about 10 minutes a day.  Then he walks you through applying the steps in two different chapters using a verse he picks – one that most do not already have memorized (it’s not John 3:16).  He also tells you how to not lose what you’ve already memorized while working on more Scripture to commit to memory – of course that takes a little more time – as it’s said about foreign languages, if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.  Again, I think the book makes a simple thing like memorizing and turns into something a bit too scientific for my liking but it definitely is a book that is needed in today’s world.


Please click on the banner above to read what others have thought about this book.



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

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Litfuse Publicity: A Grand Design (Quilts of Love) by Amber Stockton

About Quilts of Love:

Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.


About the Book:

A getaway on a charming island may be just what Alyssa needs—if only she can let go of her past.

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists.

As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?


Learn more about the series and the book at the Quilts of Love website.


About the Author:

Amber Stockton is  an award-winning author, a national speaker, and a direct-sales brand partner with Nerium International. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards.  You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and her website.


My Opinion:

I have not read Amber Stockton before but if you do a quick search of my blog you will see I’ve read plenty of the Quilts of Love books and I’ve enjoyed most, if not all of them.  I’ve never visited Mackinac Island but the descriptions of the Grand Hotel and the island itself makes me want to take a drive and visit this quaint little island village.  I have to say that while I did enjoy the book, it was a bit slow moving in parts and it seemed some of the thoughts Alyssa has are repeated a couple of times.  I also felt there were issues that were too neatly wrapped up and solved that could have used some fleshing out – such as the problem as to why Alyssa’s Grandma was no longer in charge of the quilt group she started, hints were dropped but nothing really came of it – this is just one example of the questions the book posed and there were others that were solved but still many more questions arose.


That said, I liked the style of writing, it flowed and kept the pace so that it had me wanting to turn the pages and find out what happens next.  Alyssa and her friend Libby have a strange relationship that the one seems very flirtatious and doesn’t act at all like a Christian young woman should and Alyssa is quite modest and not at all a flirt.  I liked though how each gave and took from the friendship and the others weakness was the other strengths and so forth, which made it a nice story about friends.  I think I may have enjoyed the book even more had it been longer as there was just so many things that needed more explaining that couldn’t be done in the short length of this book.  If you enjoy a nice, cozy romance then definitely this is a great book but if you want a book with a lot of depth to it then this isn’t it – definitely a book for unwinding and a quick read on a weekend.


If you’d like to see what others thought, please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.



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


Don’t miss this month’s Quilts of Love book, A Grand Design by Amber Stockton. Who hasn’t struggled to let painful memories go and move into God’s healing? You’ll be sure to love this heartfelt and encouraging tale set on historic Mackinac Island.

Celebrate August’s release by entering to win a Kindle from Quilts of Love and RSVPing for the “Fall into Fall” Facebook author chat party.

Quilts of Love Kindle HDX Giveaway, Amber Stockton, A Grand Design

One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • A Grand Design by Amber Stockton
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 16th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog. Plus make sure you RSVP to the October 7th author chat party with Amber Stockton and Robin Caroll for an evening of book chat, quilting tips and tricks, prizes, and more!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on October 7th!

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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 8 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

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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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