Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Free Summer Fun – Letterboxing #grow4christ


This summer our parks department, National Trail Parks and Recreation District, had a first time ever letterbox program.  I jumped on it the day it began because it’s free and it had some parks we’ve only visited once or never at all.  We visited our local library, the Heritage Museum and three local parks – it was a lot of fun and we got to do some exploring, like looking for animal tracks that we don’t usually do.  I had no idea that one park had coyotes!  Talk about cool.


If you don’t know what letterboxing is – this website will explain it as will this one – it’s fairly simple and straight forward, although as my children will tell you not everyone follows the rules.   Our first stop which was the first day the letterbox hunt started was the main library (which we don’t frequent) and imagine our surprise (and disappointment) when there was nothing there!  We asked the librarian who told us it didn’t start until July so it took some convincing and we called the department twice, we weren’t able to wait around but one of the librarians did mark my children’s books to note that we did come and try to find the letterbox.


I will say that some of the hiking was a bit long for smaller people – so that is one thing that needs to be considered next year – is the routes to be taken – don’t make the families park at one end of the park, hike for a couple miles, find the letter box and then hike back to the car – that is what happened on our last letterbox find.  Also someone had previously taken the stamp so we couldn’t mark their books and there were supposed to be small key chain flashlights for each child, there was only 1 left.  Not following the rules makes it not enjoyable for others.


Finding the last letterbox inside a long house at the American Indian encampment.


Posing with the completed books, it was hot and humid which is why my middle daughter doesn’t look happy.


After we completed their books we took them down to the parks office and were told we were the first ones to turn the books in!  Very excited about that!  So it runs till August 29th and then there will be a drawing for prizes so we are eagerly awaiting to see what, if anything, they win.  We learned quite a bit and also as I said above we got to visit some parks we hadn’t visited or even knew existed in our area so it was quite interesting.  I’ll be posting more about summer fun so be looking out for those posts!


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

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Hands-On Learning #grow4christ #fieldtrip


The other day I took my three children and a friend of my oldest daughter to the Cincinnati Museum Center – which is three museums in one – Cincinnati History Museum, Natural History Museum and Children’s Museum.  We’ve never been able to get into the Cincinnati History one as our reciprocal passes didn’t cover it but now that we are members of this museum we were able to go in and take a look around and it was a lot of fun, including a big exhibit on WW2 that my oldest enjoyed walking through (I’m a Rev. War/Civil War time frame person she is the WW2 time frame).  So we spent the day going through all three museums and even the train tower – which was also a first and I never knew you could go up there.  My 7 year old son liked it because you could ring a bell and it was quite loud – for each ring you could get an old copy of a train magazine – he was happy to walk out with two magazines.


Two of mine standing in front of the large beaver exhibit in the natural history museum.


My oldest says I always take this picture of the Mastodon sinking in a tar pit. I told her I do not. She just rolls her eyes. So I took another.


The cars to the right of the picture is a two mile long coal train – the U.S. sends most of it’s coal to Europe and Canada instead of using the rich resource here! This is a major hub for trains and one can still even catch an Amtrak for passengers.


This is what greets you when you enter the Cincinnati History Museum. I’m not a car enthusiast but it’s beautiful.




I love old samplers like this – you don’t see this handicraft around much (I love to embroider and cross stitch when I have the time) and this one was pretty. My camera doesn’t do the colors justice.


We had a great time – on the ride back we made it ahead of the storm coming in which was great because I hate driving on freeways in severe storms but we made it back to familiar territory before it hit.  My children really enjoy this museum, as do I and there is so much more we didn’t get to see in the Cincinnati History that we’ll definitely be going back to look a the rest of what we didn’t get to see.  If you search my blog I’m sure you’ll pull up my other posts about this museum and our past visits to it.


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


Flowers #grow4christ

One thing I’ve enjoy about our new house is that my mom picked out some flowers and had my brother plant them out front.  Now, as I told my mom, her selections are bit helter skelter as they are all blooming at different times but they are pretty.  We’ve had several come up already and in lieu of any other ideas to write about right now I’d figure I’d share some of our flowers we’ve had blooming so far and if I’m wrong on the identification please leave me a comment and let me know 😀


The most recent one – I believe it’s a Lily – it’s a beautiful red.




I believe this is a chrysanthemum it was HUGE and it smelled wonderful! Wish they’d bloom all the time.


Hubby surprised me with a bouquet of these, can’t remember what they’re called, but they are very pretty.



So those are the flowers that have graced my house recently and of course I’ve had the occasional dandelion bouquet from my son who loves to bring those to me but I forgot to snap a picture.


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

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Moving on up…… #AHG #grow4christ


On June 2nd we had our 2nd American Heritage Girl cook out and awards ceremony for our troop – it was a warm day, but thankfully cooler than last year’s so it made it more enjoyable.  If you check out the side bar I have a list of my American Heritage Girls post from our troop, if you’re interested, it’s a great girls group and we’re happy to be involved.  My oldest ‘crossed over’ from Explorer to Pioneer, this is a big accomplishment but even bigger is earning her Lewis and Clark level award – girls can move up but not all girls will earn their respective level awards.  There are many requirements such as service hours, completing a minimum number of badges, and doing special events – you can read about my daughter’s Art Show and Benefit she held.


Both girls earned several awards such as Living in the USA, Insecta Inspecta, Memory Makers, History’s Canvas, Pet Care, Stick Shifts and Safety Belts.  Hannah earned her Sign Language badge and Bethanne earned her cooking badge.  Bethanne remains an Explorer, she really wants to move up and it’s hard for her as she is 9 and will be in the 5th grade so we have to sort of figure all the ages/grades thing out before she can move up – she’s well on her way to earning her Lewis and Clark award though – having already completed all her required badge work and almost done with her required community service.


Some game time before eating and awards – my middle daughter competing in the sack race.


Bethanne receiving her awards, hubby is the picture taker as I’m in the back helping with awards.


Hannah being presented her Lewis and Clark award.


Hannah re-doing her cross over because I missed the first time. Thank you for re-doing it sweetie!


Being greeted by her in real life friends, L and N, after crossing over and being a part of the Pioneers and Patriots.


A group shot of most of the girls, those who could make it, in our Troop.


So a big congratulations to all the girls who have worked hard and earned badges and their level awards and to those who are moving up.  I’m so happy to have my girls involved in such a positive, Christian and character building group and I’m happy to be a leader that is involved in these girls’ lives.


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


Our Safari Trip: 5/31/14 #grow4christ #fieldtrip


Last month we took advantage of the great, mild weather and took a two hour drive to go to The Wilds – this is the largest animal conservancy in North America!  I’ve mentioned before about museum and zoo passes – you can re-read those posts, Lions, Tigers and Bears, oh my!, How we Stay Busy in the Summer and A trip into the past – and when it came time to renew our zoo pass I was given an offer to add The Wilds pass for a discounted price of $75.  Some may think that is expensive but let me share – we chose the open air safari which is $30.00 per person!  $150.00 for the five of us – so we’ve already paid for our pass with one visit, even if we had taken the cheaper enclosed safari transport we still would have paid for our pass on our first visit (we’ll be going this route next time).  That said the trip was long and we may turn it into an overnight trip next time as the children were worn out so the trip back home wasn’t as peaceful as it was on the way there.


We got to see quite a lot of the animals up close and some from a distance so it was a good day to go on the safari trip, the open air bus wasn’t crowded even though we were filled to capacity (you do ride with others) – and it was a nice trip until the couple who decided their 7 month old could sit through a 2 1/2 hour trip and be quiet let their child cry for the last 40 minutes!  I digress, but I would not have taken my children on this at that age.  You cannot touch the animals – remember this is a conservatory so all keepers are required to make sure the animals are as wild as they would be if they were in the wild.  So that means no feeding.  I do admit I do like the Safari we did where we drive our own vehicle and can feed the animals but with this one we got to see other animals that aren’t as conducive to feeding unless you want to loose an arm.  It was tempting to pet the horses until our guide let us know that while they would get close to the vehicle they do bite and are quite violent.  Our tour guide was great and told lots of corny jokes that my son and middle daughter just loved!


Keep in mind this area used to be surfaced mined – now it’s a beautiful 9,154 acres that houses many animals and even a walking path in one area (there are many fences to keep certain animals from getting into other areas). Isn’t it beautiful?


That lump in the middle of the pond? It’s a Greater One Horned Asian Rhino.


A herd of Przewalski’s Wild Horses – these are the ones that can be very violent – but they are so beautiful. That is a foal recently born. They are endangered.


An endangered Persian Onager – the herd was hanging out with the camels.


Several Bactrian camels that are also endangered. There is a baby one to the right in the back.


A herd of beautiful Grevy’s Zebras. Isn’t God amazing? Not a one has the same strip pattern. There is a baby in the back as well.


The Sichuan Takin was my oldest daughter’s favorite as it has the body of a bear and the head of a……..guinea pig.  Yes, it’s a bit odd and unfortunately we were too far away to get a good picture of them for her.  I would have liked to get up close to the American Bison (not buffalo, I’ll let you research the difference) I just love the Bison – something so beautiful, big and a remnant from the Old West.


We also got to walk through the newly opened aviary to see the budgies. I didn’t stay long as birds pooping on my head was a major concern.


Of course, there were many more animals that we saw, some up close, some far away like the giraffe.  It was much nicer than a zoo to see them roam all the land and we learned a lot from our tour guide.  I’m going to have to request her again when we go back.  I really want to get our money’s worth as I never know if they’ll run the special again or if we’ll be able to afford it again.  The children had so much fun and really enjoyed the entire thing as did my husband, who rarely gets to go on these types of outings with us.  If you end up visiting The Wilds – I highly suggest checking the weather, if it’s going to be hot and humid get one of the enclosed buses otherwise the open air is great.  Pack your own food or go to another restaurant – the food is expensive so plan accordingly, we arrived early enough so we finished a little after our usual lunch time.  We found Nicol’s Family Style Restaurant in Zanesville, delicious food and a cute 50’s diner style theme – don’t let the bikes and the bikers put you off, they’re friendly!  If, like us, you have a pass buy a $4 souvenir cup that you can bring back the entire season of 2014 and get refilled – cheaper than buying a pop or juice in a bottle plus you’ve got a souvenir.


Have you ever been on a safari?  Tell me about it 😀


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


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A trip to a working mill……. #grow4christ #fieldtrip



We recently had a field trip to a working mill located in a small village near us – Clifton Mill – which also has a beautiful Christmas light display, albeit a tad on the expensive side.  This was also a field trip that I didn’t have to plan, so I was able to just sit back and enjoy it without having to worry about checking to make sure everyone showed up – I like those field trips!  This was also right up my alley as it’s historical, be sure to read about the history of the Mill by following that link above, and I love history!  There is also a restaurant which sells great buffalo burgers and gingerbread (and it’s not Mickey D’s) and thankfully we had great weather for it, not too hot and not too cold so we were able to enjoy the outdoor grounds – but I do admit I was shocked when I tried to purchase 4 postcards and the total came to more than $6 – I was then told it’s $2 per card!  What?  LOL I bought one and we’ll share it.


A side shot of the mill, that water wheel isn’t a working one – but it’s beautiful anyway.


Some of the equipment once used to grind and process the grain.


This machine pulled all the belts that work the mill.


Feed sacks – the one in the middle would be made into dresses for girls, complete with directions and the one on the left would be made into towels. Oh to have our products be this resourceful again.


My son looking over the fence into the gorge below.


The gorge and part of the beautiful water fall.


Group shot!


A cabin owned by a local family who worked at the distillery – it was quite a productive business and employed many until it was shut down during Prohibition.


Another group shot in front of the covered bridge.


There are many historical buildings in this village, some are still in use such as the Opera House and The Clifton Union School and others aren’t 😦


This used to be the black smith shop.


Earlier in the month before the Mill field trip, we took a trip to a children’s science museum, known as C.O.S.I (Center of Science and Industry) which was packed – I think there were over 300 school students, which did not make it enjoyable or conducive to being able to see displays so we left but not before we visited Progress:


Son and daughter taking in a game of hula-hoop in front of the post office.


Sorry it’s so dark, my son playing a game of hoop and stick in the 1800’s street. He was actually quite good.


My oldest doesn’t like to get her picture taken so there were none of her, although I’ll try to get some when we go through the Sherlock exhibit at a later date, if the museum will let me.  After we left early I tried calling the Art Museum and also the State History Museum but they also had several school groups, so we decided to grab an early lunch at Spaghetti Warehouse and go home.




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



Year End Dance Concert – Rejoice! 2014 #grow4christ



I’ve written before about the great dance studio we’ve been a part of since 2011 or maybe 2010 (the years are running together!)  it is a Christian studio with emphasis put on worshiping and praising our Creator.  I was so happy when we started going to this studio – we came from a ‘secular’ studio where there was bullying and rarely were my girls ever moved up in classes despite being their for years and seeing their peers move up that hadn’t been there that long.  We needed something that fit our lives and our beliefs and thankfully we started going to Fueled and Aflame dance studio – where the classes are small (and no, there aren’t just homeschoolers – so the girls are getting ‘socialized’ 😀 ) the teachers genuinely care for and want the girls (and boys) to succeed in their classes and ultimately Jesus is King.


Bethanne stayed in Christian Worship Dance I (CWDI) this year and Hannah was in CWDII – the names are being changed next year.  Come July the girls are trying out for the brand new Junior Dance Company, Illuminate.  Which is going to be a HUGE commitment in many ways but I’m so excited for them to try out and hopefully, if the Lord wills it, be accepted to helping spread the Gospel through dance and music.  My son is hoping there will be a class for him to be in come fall as he really wants to do dance as well as pursue his martial arts.  We’ve been blessed to have great Christian teachers in both the dance studio and my son’s dojo.


My girls – before the concert began and after I re-fixed Bethanne’s hair that never wants to stay in a bun!


I couldn’t get her to smile so one of her fellow dancers stood behind me to get her to smile.


Bethanne who loves to pose. I just love the beautiful, modest costumes they wear.


A group shot of CWDII – silly girls! This was fun for me to see as she is usually so serious, love to see her having fun.  Photo from Open Door Originals.


A group shot of CWDI – beautiful pose! Photo taken by Open Door Originals.


There is something about ballet shoes and I just liked this shot, my daughter’s are in it. Photo by Open Door Originals.


Group shot of CWDII showing off their costumes. They each had a ribbon in their hair to match the ones they are holding. Beautiful! Photo taken by Open Door Originals.


I have many more pictures but the ones I took aren’t the most professional so I won’t bore you.  I will update with the results of the try outs for Illuminate once we know the outcome.  The girls are gearing up for their summer dance classes which is a 6 week class once a week, held on Monday or Tuesday, depending on the class and they begin next week so I have a couple of VERY excited girls to kept calm during the weekend.


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

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Living History Field Trip #grow4christ


I wanted to do some fun stuff with the children after the few long weeks we had so I set up a field trip to a nearby living history working farm, usually we just go as a family but I thought it’d be fun to do a field trip with other homeschool families.  So on May 16 we set out – as you can see it was cold that morning (we usually don’t need hoodies or jackets that late into May) and it was drizzling, however it was still fun.  We had to set out and find treasure chests filled with some hands on items and a card that each child took a turn reading to find out about those items.  Only 1 wasn’t found, not sure if it just wasn’t put out or what but no one in our group could find it.


All three of my children, the oldest is reading about the outdoor oven where bread was baked. Little did we know it was real bread and I picked it up and there was mold! Yuck.


My middle daughter reading at the smoke house – where the family would dry their meat to preserve it.


Getting ready to open another chest at the farm house (unfortunately the homemaker wasn’t home so we couldn’t go in)


Trying out one of the games at the farmhouse’s treasure chest.


My son getting the treasure chest down from the outdoor oven.


We then stopped at the country store where the children picked out some penny candy and then we headed back to the car to eat our lunch because we were cold and hungry and set off for home.  We’ve had some big weather shifts so far this spring.  You can learn more about Carriage Hill Farm and what it has to offer by visiting the website.


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

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Fashion! #grow4christ @AHGnews

I’ve written before about our wonderful girls group we are in, American Heritage Girls, and as we’ve wrapped up our year (well officially in June for the awards ceremony where my oldest will receive her Explorer level award) I thought I’d share what the girls did back on April 27th.  Two of the girls who are sisters and the only two in the Pi/Pa group until September organized a fashion show for our troop and also invited our sister troop along as well.  The theme was the color spectrum and the girls did not disappoint – one brother also participated – my son wants to participate next year! The colors ranged from white, black and all those in between it went really well.


If you want to read the posts I’ve done about our troop I’m adding a page to the right so they are easy to find – maybe it’ll give you ideas for your troop.


This is my 9 year old daughter – she chose pink. Her dress has smocking across the top, cap sleeves, she is wearing her pink Crocs, her pink floral quilted purse as well as a pink Hello Kitty watch.


My lovely 12 year old daughter who chose black – her black dress is short sleeve with an inset on the bodice and falls just under her knees. She has accessorized with her black Converse high tops and her black cross body backpack purse.


I cannot believe another year of AHG has come and gone and can’t wait till next year – I’m moving up to the Pi/Pa leader – bittersweet as my 9 year old is staying behind as an Explorer but it’ll be a fun year.  After the fashion show was the board of review where my 12 year old had to share what she learned and do a little interview/conversation to earn her level award – she’ll be getting that badge in June.


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Curricula choices for next year, the year after, and….. #grow4christ


We have been blessed yet again – in the midst of the chaos that has been life for the last several weeks there has been a blessing.  Hubby told me we had been gifted with some funds that would allow me to purchase curricula for not just one year but several – anything educational.  The children were thrilled let me tell you!  It’s hard to know what to pick for your 2nd grader when you’re looking two or more years down the road.  I found some things at convention I wanted but had to wait till I got home to order them and thankfully most companies let me take part of their free shipping convention discount when I explained the situation.


A model of a torso – my son enjoys anatomy.


This came with our Zoob Challenge – it’s a logic, engineering, thing and you have to build things and complete challenges.


For my middle daughter, Essentials in Writing, for her 5th and 6th ‘grade’ years.


Oldest daughter’s writing for this coming year, Cover Story. I’m waiting on our One Year Adventure Novel (for 2015) and Other Worlds.


Our art – See the Light – great art curricula and one even counts as a full high school credit!


Math! All years of Teaching Textbooks except for Grade 7 and pre-calculus – this is the one they were really excited about 😀


Like the Zoob challenge I’ve ordered some fun educational items as well, but couldn’t take pictures of everything!  My oldest also picked out her new science, we are switching to The Wonders of Creation series put out by New Leaf Publishing/Master Books for her, all of which will count as high school credit.  I need to figure out how to do that since she’s technically only going to be in 8th grade – can I count high school credits now?


Our Kapla blocks – one of the things I saw at convention – these are plain, pine blocks in a rolling cart which provide several educational opportunities. We have 1,100 of them (I bought a set of colored blocks as well).


I’m so overwhelmed by this blessing – usually we rely on used goods or the reviews I receive but now I can say that the children actually had a say in picking what they learn the next couple of years, which hopefully will make our learning more enjoyable.


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


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