Make a Difference

Are you looking for more ways your family can make a difference?

Check out this great post by ParentLife write Kristen Welch at her blog, We Are THAT Family.

“100+ Ways for Your Family to Make a Difference

1. Babysit for a single mom
2. Teach compassion with a Family Giving Box
3. Write a Family Mission Statement
4. Bake cookies for your local fire dept.
5. Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip…”

Read the rest at We Are THAT Family.

Becoming Others Focused

Because kids are naturally concerned about receiving approval and admiration, they’re tempted to be self-promoting, wanting to look better than others. This self-promotion sometimes translates into greediness, gossip, and griping. The good news is, most kids are also naturally compassionate and empathetic when they understand that someone else is suffering. They are eager to help and give.
Talk with your child about the reasons selfishness is so tempting—and so empty in its aims. Tell about times you have seen selfishness hurt a friendship or a group of people. Your child may not even realize what her lack of thankfulness looks like.

Then discuss how thankfulness and generosity can make a difference. A person’s life can be transformed with the kindness of another person. Schools and communities benefit, too. Expose your child to the stories of lives changed through a Christmas shoebox, a child sponsorship, or the help of a Southern Baptist missionary to reinforce that we were created to live with a concern for others, not just ourselves.

To practice becoming other-focused, make a “Thankful Notebook.” At the top of each page, write a person’s name or category, like physical, emotional, mental, educational, or spiritual. On the page, write specific ways God blesses you with that person or in that area. For example, on a sibling’s page, a child may write: “She plays with me,” or “He tells funny jokes.” Periodically practice thankfulness by writing in the notebook—especially as part of correction for wrong attitudes.

Mawmaw’s Apple Cake Recipe

MawMaw’s Apple Cake
2 cups peeled, chopped apples
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all-spice or nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Place flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and all-spice in a bowl. Stir with a whisk until the ingredients are mixed into a fine powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Begin stirring together wet and dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add in apples and nuts and stir until just mixed. Spread the batter into a 9 x 13-inch cake pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.

Apple Dumplings Recipe

Apple Dumplings
2 apples
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
6 tablespoons salted butter (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces Mountain Dew® (1/2 can)
1-3 teaspoons cinnamon sugar

Peel and core the apples. Cut the apples into quarters. Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Roll each piece of apple inside a crescent roll triangle and place in two rows in the pan. Melt the butter, sugar, and water in a sauce pan over medium heat until the butter is just melted. Do not bring this mixture to a boil; the sugar should remain grainy. Stir in the vanilla. Pour this sweet butter sauce over the dumplings in the baking dish. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on each dumpling. Pour Mountain Dew® around the outside and down the middle of the pan. Cover the pan loosely with foil. Bake the dumplings in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil after the first 15 minutes.

Cooking With Kids

Your child is at a great age to help with holiday baking and cooking. As you enjoy time in the kitchen together, be sure to teach your child these food safety tips.
• Cook meats and poultry fully and wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly, because raw foods often carry bacteria.
• Everyone handling food should wash his or her hands frequently and thoroughly.
• Always use a clean spoon to sample food.
• Thaw meat and poultry in the refrigerator, not on the countertop.
• Keep raw foods and cooked foods separated; use separate utensils for each of them.

Check back this week as we share two great recipes to make with your kids!

Is Your Child Ready to Stay Home Alone?

If your preteen is responsible, calm in emergencies, and able to use good judgment, then she may be ready to stay home alone. Discuss a few basic rules before you leave your preteen home for the first time.
• What should she do if the doorbell or phone rings?
• Is it okay to have friends over? How many? For how long?
• What is she permitted to eat and drink?
• What time limits does she have on watching TV or playing computer/video games? What is an approved list of programs and games?
• How does she contact you in an emergency?

The Hands and Feet Project


Did you read about Will McGinniss of Audio Adrenaline in your November issue of ParentLife?

Though Audio Adrenaline is known here in America for its string of best-selling records, the band members are becoming known overseas for their hands-on orphan care in Haiti through The Hands and Feet Project. To learn how you can assist the band in their plight to take care of the “least of these” in Haiti visit:

Real Life Solutions with Dr. Linda Mintle

1. My 7-year-old seems to be getting more and more of a negative attitude. She complains and makes negative comments to the point of bringing down the mood for the entire family. I don’t understand this and don’t know how to respond. She has a good life so why the negativity?

Children can have a negative attitude for all kinds of reasons. Some kids become negative when things are out of their control. Others deal with new situations by complaining in order to combat their anxiety. And sometimes kids go negative because other people in the family do the same. Attitudes are learned and thus can be unlearned. Whatever the reason, you can try ignoring statements like, “This isn’t fair, I don’t like that,” etc. In order for ignoring to work, you have to be consistent. If you feel a need to respond, then listen for a moment and say, ”Ok I know how you feel so let’s move on and try to look at the positive.” Have her stop the complaint and say or do something else. Whenever possible, point out the positives of the situation and help her focus on something good that is happening. Give positive feedback when she does respond positively. Also, check your own reactions to change or disappointment. Children model what they see adults doing and saying. Children, like adults, need to learn that being positive is a choice. Finally, connect her attitude to how it impacts other people. People don’t like being around someone negative, friends don’t want to play with someone who always complains. And there is a spiritual lesson here. When we believe all things work together for our good, even the tough and unpleasant things we face, then we can stay positive because we know God is working on our behalf. So remind your child how much you and God love her regardless of her struggles or difficult times. This reassurance goes a long way to make a child feel secure and thus more positive.

Resource: Have a new kid by Friday by Kevin Leman (Revell, 2008).

Teachable Moments by Jessie Weaver



Some days, I think I might actually have this parenting thing somewhat under control. (Then something happens like I trip over the trash can lid that’s on the floor and bang my baby’s head onto the corner of the china cabinet, and I change my mind.)

My daughter, Libbie, who’s 3, has been running a fever for the past day and a half, so we’ve had a lot of time at home. During a better hour this morning, I offered to let her do one of her favorite activities: paint.

“Will you paint WITH me, Mommy?” she asked sweetly, the dark circles under her big blue eyes making her look even more pathetic. I agree, and she instructs me on where I am to sit, that I need a separate page of paper, where to put the water, what colors to paint. While she makes, well, a big purple watery mess, I use half my brain to paint a simple rainbow.



As soon as she deciphers its shape, Libbie exclaims, “It’s like Noah!” And I beam. Because somewhere in there with the (somewhat correct) words to “Jingle Bells” and ways to annoy her baby brother, she related rainbows with the Bible.

So while we paint, I simply retell the story of Noah’s ark, illustrating my story as we go. She wants me to paint Noah and people and animals, so I craft a few flying birds and a bear with my big sponge brush. They look ridiculous, but I don’t care. Because we’re learning and having fun.

Being a stay-at-home mom is all about these teachable moments. They make it worth every tear, coupon, and suppressed scream.

Originally published January 11, 2012. Which means, BTW, that the fever my daughter had was the start of her lovely battle with pneumonia! Agh!

Jessie Weaver When Jessie Weaver is not busy being the resident ParentLife Blogger, she writes at Vanderbilt Wife and also for magazines like HomeLife and ParentLife. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband, where they run after three crazy kids (ages 5, 2, and 7 months).

Biblically Based Kids’ Music That Parents Can Stand

Hearing my kids sing song after song from what they’ve heard has been enlightening. It makes me even more sure I want to present them with healthy, biblical messages all the time – and that definitely includes their music, which they hear and repeat all the time. Let’s face it, though – some kids’ music is enough to make you want to drill a hole in your head.

Here are some albums that I love and are totally tolerant for this on-the-go mom.


The Rizers Rise Up! - The Rizers – Has songs based on Scripture and includes the Scripture references in the songs. Fun, rock beats.

Jesus Music Box – Yancy – We reviewed it here.

Seeds Family Worship albums – These all have themed songs that are fun to listen to and teach Truth.

Hide ‘Em in Your Heart Vols. 1 and 2 – Steve Green – These oldies but goodies teach simple tunes to Scripture verses. I still remember most of them from singing them in children’s choir!


Do you have any great music your kids AND you love to share?