“Pink” Products for October

While all the products might not actually be pink, the partnerships between manufacturers and breast cancer researchers in October always makes me hopeful. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in the fight against breast cancer.

I especially love that Gerber NUK has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) this October. Breastfeeding lowers the risk for breast cancer (even in women where it runs in the family!), so I think this is an excellent match.

NUK is going to donate a portion of its sales from its entire breastfeeding line to NBCF through December 2012. This includes breast pads, breast pumps, milk storage bags, and other accessories.

This is one of my personal favorite breastfeeding products


Looking for other ways to support breast cancer research? Here are some fun pink products.

Infant splatter bib at ShopKomen.com ($8)

Nestly Nuzzles Pink Dog at GUND ($24)


Big Fish computer games ($2.99 and up)


Do you have any “pink” products that you love?

Cool Technology … for Parents by Christi McGuire

If you read “Cool Technology” in this month’s ParentLife, you discovered lots of apps and websites for your preschooler, school-age child, and preteen. But there’s a lot more for your family—and for parents, too! Check out these products, apps, and websites.



Leapster Explorer® by Leap Frog® (www.leapfrog.com) allows your preschooler to engage in games and activities that help them build school skills, such as letter recognition, writing, reading, math, and more.

Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor: Sleep better knowing your little one is fast asleep, too. This monitor delivers one of the best visual images available. The camera allows you to zoom as well as pan vertically and horizontally almost 360 degrees. Available at Amazon.com.

Kidz Gear ™ offers products and accessories that are child-sized but with high-quality performance. The award-winning line of Wired Headphones for Kids has “volume limiting technology” that brings a safe experience for children that limits maximum volume levels. Headphones are ergonomically designed with soft padded ear-cups. Priced economically for happier (and quieter) car trips! Available at www.gearforkidz.com.


Wipolo: Explore the world with your friends! You can organize all your trip details in one spot—create itineraries, keep reservations, locate destinations, learn destination facts, write a travel journal, keep track of past trips, store pictures, and share it all with others.

Healthy Children: A comprehensive website powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics to support and educate parents about the physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, and teens.


SOS Rescue Me: Your child can feel safe anywhere when they are on their own. Download this app to your child’s phone, and if she feels threatened, she clicks the button. A preselected set of contacts will receive a text with your child’s current location. Cost: $.99. Available at iTunes.

Sit or Squat: It never fails–your little one has to potty when you’re out and about. This app helps you find the nearest public restroom. Cost: free. Available at www.sitorsquat.com.

 S.O.S.: An app by the American Red Cross helps you know how to handle emergency situations, like CPR, before first responders arrive. Cost: free. Available at https://market.android.com.

Instant Playdates: Plan playdates to your Facebook friends. Cost: free. Available for Android and iPhone. Available at http://instantplaydates.com.

Mom Maps: Find family fun places and kid-friendly locations, such as parks, playgrounds, restaurants, museums, and indoor play spaces in your area—including a map to get there. Cost: free. Available at http://kidsplayguide.com.

Holiday Gift List:  Manage everyone’s Christmas or birthday wishes and tally your spending. Cost: $1.99. Available at iTunes.

New Releases for Children and Teens from B&H Publishing Group

Here are two new releases from B&H Publishing Group, the book publishing branch of LifeWay, that we thought you might be interested in.


Courageous Teens by Michael Catt and Amy Parker – Released September 15, 2012 – $9.99


Courageous Teens is a student-focused presentation of Courageous Living by Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church and executive producer of the hit film Courageous.

Catt brings fresh insight to “stories of people in the Bible who displayed great courage when it would have been easier to play it safe . . . (who) challenge me to keep moving forward. They demand that I examine my priorities and deal with anything that brings fear to my heart.”

Teen readers will be inspired to resolve to live for God as they learn more about Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, Ruth, Daniel, and many more.

Best-selling youth market author Amy Parker arranges the heart-stirring material into four categories: Courageous Faith, Courageous Leadership, Courageous Priorities, and Courageous Influence. Discussion questions are also included at the end of each chapter.



Firebird book

Firebird by Brent McCorker and Amy Parker – Releases October 1, 2012 – $14.99

Firebird is a bright orange baby oriole who just loves the sunshine. But whenever a storm blows in, he frets and asks Mama why God allows the rain to take the sun away. When Firebird is finally old enough, his mother gently instructs him to fly up through the thunder and lightning to see what’s on the other side.

It’s a rough flight, and just when he’s about to give up, Firebird rises above the storm to discover the sun shining where it always had been.

God never lets the storm take the sun away. With that truth in his heart, Firebird continues to bask in the sunshine, but just as important, he learns to rejoice in the rain.

Firebird is a children’s book that parallels the life of Samantha Crawford, a storybook artist in the inspiring new film Unconditional (scheduled for a theatrical launch in this Friday) who has lost sight of God’s love.

Do you have any new favorite children’s books?

Are You UltraViolet Impaired? by Mike Nappa

Trends & Truth is a monthly column in ParentLife magazine and also here at ParentLife Online. Mike Nappa speaks about pop culture and its effect on our kids.


ultraviolet.jpgYour kids are badgering you to go online and get an “UltraViolet locker.” Movie studios and retailers are pressuring you to do the same. But what is UltraViolet? Is it safe? Can your kids use it? Can you?

Read on to learn what you need to know about this new digital media trend …


What is UltraViolet Exactly?

UltraViolet is the new normal in digital video distribution. Basically, it’s a system for buying and using digital movie files. Instead of keeping your movies on your computer or tablet device, UltraViolet keeps your purchases in a “digital locker” within their online library of titles. Buying an “UltraViolet Digital Copy” of a movie means you are granted access to that movie on their site.


How Does UltraViolet Work?

According to HomeMedia magazine, UltraViolet works this way:

“Consumers buy a [movie] title, either digitally or a physical Blu-ray or DVD, then activate a free UltraViolet account online and unlock access to a digital copy from the cloud, which holds it in permanent storage for instant access on a wide range of viewing devices.” A movie in UltraViolet’s library should be viewable on pretty much any popular device, such as tablet computers, internet-connected TVs, game consoles, and so on.


Does My Family Need to Buy Into UltraViolet?

Philosophically, there are some concerns. There’s a definite “Big Brother” aspect to the UltraViolet system. Access to your own property relies on the goodwill of whoever controls the service—and whatever new fees/restrictions they choose to impose in the future. (Netflix anyone?) It also keeps detailed records about your family’s viewing choices and demographics, which will be used in marketing and which some view as an unnecessary invasion of privacy.

On a practical level, because UltraViolet is a brand-new technology, there will be glitches and growing pains. For instance, at present, you have to sign up at the UltraViolet website AND also at individual movie studio sites. Also, UltraViolet can’t handle movie rentals or subscriptions, and not all movies are in the UltraViolet library yet. And because it’s internet-based only, any online disruption will interfere with your access.

HOWEVER, in spite of those things, UltraViolet appears to be here to stay.

Most Hollywood studios are betting millions on this new initiative (which helps them guard against piracy and also helps lock in their customers), and retail outlets are following suit. When Walmart joined the supporters, that pretty much guaranteed UltraViolet is not going away anytime soon—and that there would be no real competition to it in the near future.

That means that if your family likes to watch digital editions of movies, yeah, you’re probably going to have to join the UltraViolet universe. If UltraViolet ends up replacing physical media (such as Blu-ray and DVD), we’re all going to have to do that.


Does UltraViolet Offer Any Parental Protections?

According to the FAQ on UltraViolet Demystified the short answer is, Yes.

“Each UltraViolet user has parental control information. Parents can set the maximum rating level for their children (and perhaps the children’s grandparents), which limits what the children can purchase, what they can see when they view the digital library, and what they can stream. Parents can also set parental control on their UltraViolet players, which will restrict playback of UltraViolet movies with ratings that exceed the settings.”


Where Can I Learn More?

Check out the official UltraViolet website at http://www.uvvu.com, and the UltraViolet Demystified website at www.uvdemystified.com.


Have a pop culture question for Trends & Truths? Email it to parentlife@lifeway.com!


Mike Nappa is a bestselling author, a noted commentator on pop culture, and founder of the website for parents, FamilyFans.com.

Products We Love, June 2012

Products We Love button


Every month we have a long list of products we want to share with you,but only a few can fit in the printed magazine. That’s why it’s so great we have this online space! Here are a few things we couldn’t squeeze into the magazine this month.


15_AlwaysFresh.jpgTherapedic AlwaysFresh Mattress Pad (TherapedicTM international)

Kids get sick. Pets come to visit at night. Bed-wetting drags on. Protect the mattress on your child’s big kid bed with this odor-eliminating, waterproof mattress pad. Available at Bed Bath and Beyond stores nationwide. Twin pad retails for $39.99.

15_BarnyardCritters.jpgRead all five books in the Made by God series. Each book teaches children fantastic facts about their favorite animals. For ages 4 to 7. Check them out at www.zonderkidz.com; $3.99 each.

Do you have a product or book you like to recommend to everyone you know?

Creating a Better Family Culture

Raising Kids cover.jpgThomas Nelson recently sent us two books to review for our readers: Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord and Building Family Ties with Faith, Love & Laughter, both by Dave Stone.  Stone is the senior pastor of Southeast Christian Church, a megachurch with three campuses in Louisville, Kentucky; but his passion is his family and showing families how the best evangelism starts at home.

I wasn’t sure what to think of these small, glossy books and even put off reading them for fear they would be pat answer gift books. I was very wrong.

I read most of the way through Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord in an hour or two, but each page was full of Truth and knowledge from a family who has raised three kids. Stone obviously values and praises his wife, Beth’s, work in their family and her ability to see situations in a spiritual light.

Stone urges families to be intentional from infancy, relying heavily on prayer and teaching the Word. He has a chapter for mothers and one for fathers in Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord. He also speaks heavily of discipline – not spanking, but teaching children obedience so they will be trained to say YES the first time to the Holy Spirit. I certainly was refreshed in my determination to be consistent in disciplining our 3-year-old.


Building Ties cover.jpgBuilding Family Ties speaks to family time and family mission. Stone promotes creating a family mission statement, eating together, and creating technology-free family time.

While I don’t think these are "gift books" persay, they are easy-to-read manifestos in raising a family and would make excellent gifts for new parents or those who are struggling. (Aren’t we all?) I give the Faithful Families series a big thumbs up!

Do you have a favorite parenting book to recommend or give to friends?

Communicating with Your Nonverbal Child by Dr. Linda Mintle

In the April 2012 issue, Dr. Linda Mintle wrote an article entitled "Play Time: Communicating with Your Autistic Child." Here are some other resources Dr. Mintle suggests to learn more about communication.


Jumpstarting Communication Skills in Children with Autism: A Parents’ Guide to Applied Verbal Behavior by Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D, BCBA-D and Valbona Demiri, Ph.D, BCBA-D (Woodbine House, 2011)

This book offers a mixture of technical information and creative strategies dealing with speech and language issues in children with autism, including many case examples that make it easier to apply the concepts presented.

Here’s a short excerpt showing how the book uses examples.

But there are … strategies you can use during the course of daily life to make it easier for your child to understand what you are saying and to help strengthen her listening skills. They include:

  • Make your directions or commands as simple and clear as possible. Use as few words as possible and do not string two or more instructions together. It may also be helpful not to use many pronouns at first. For example, say, “Follow Dad” instead of “Follow me.” 
  • Try to highlight the most important information you need your child to attend to in your words. For example, you might speak a single word louder than the rest: “Give mommy the PINK cup.” 
  • In your daily routine, try to incorporate the same kinds of prompts that are used in ABA teaching. For example, if you ask your child to pass her brother a napkin at the table, you might move the napkins close to her while moving other things on the table farther away. This is known as a positional prompt.

A Picture’s Worth: PECS and Other Visual Communication Strategies in Autism  by Andy Bondy, Ph.D and Lori Frost, M.S., CCC-SLP (Woodbine House, 2011)

 This second edition offers introductory lessons to the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), making it easy for parents and therapists to get started with this low-tech strategy to help young children develop effective communication skills. 



How to Talk to an Autistic Kid by Daniel Stefanski (Free Spirit Publishing, 2011)

Daniel is 14, and he is autistic. His book explains that many kids with autism have a hard time with social situations, including communication. His personal voice offers classmates, siblings, teachers, and family members great insight into how to reach out to kids with autism. 


Do you know of any other great resources for communicating with a nonverbal child?  

Introducing the Gospel Project for Kids

[subscribers may need to click through to post to see video]

At last! A Bible Study resource that shows how Christ fits into the entire gospel story, pre-creation to eternity. And where each one of us fits into it, too.

This brand-new Christ-centered resource follows a chronological timeline of the Bible. Using this approach, children connect biblical events to God’s ultimate plan of redemption through Christ. His plan then . . . His plan for them today.

Picture Bible study resource meets kid-friendly theater. Picture powerful Bible events that come to life through video-enhanced story telling. Picture the flexibility to use with large or small groups. Picture easy teaching partnerships with parents. Picture kids understanding the gospel like never before.

The entire gospel story like kids have never seen it before! The Gospel Project for Kids follows a three-year chronological timeline of Bible events. Each week, these stories come to life through video, music, activities, and more as kids connect biblical events to God’s ultimate plan of redemption through Christ. The result is life changing!

Coming Fall 2012.

Join the Project

Sign-up for the pilot program and get a sneak peek at the first month. We would love to hear what you think! Visit gospelproject.com for more information.

The Specifics:


  • Preschool (3s–Kindergarten)
  • Younger Kids (Grades 1–3)
  • Older Kids (Grades 1–6)


  • Three-year, chronological scope & sequence
  • Available in digital (and customizable) or print format
  • Parent resources
  • Second-hour worship resources
  • Small group/Large group/Small group format
  • Q&A format with a Christ connection each session
  • One Key Passage per unit of study
  • Translation neutral

Each lesson includes:

  1. Videos that bring Bible stories to life
  2. Discussion starter vides for Younger Kids and Older Kids
  3. Coloring pages for Preschool and Younger Kids
  4. Fun-filled activity sheets
  5. Hands-on Activities
  6. Low-prep lesson plans

ParentLife is always excited about new resources that teach the gospel to our kids. Would your church use something like this?

Post-Diagnosis by Michael Kelley

We hope you read the excellent article by Michael Kelley in our March issue. In his new book Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal, Kelley talks about the questions of faith that followed his 2-year-old son’s diagnosis with leukemia.

Here is an excerpt from the first chapter, immediately after Joshua receives his diagnosis.

In a span of moments that seemed like months, we had become “those people.” You know those people— the ones with the sick kid. The ones with the terminal disease. The ones with “issues.” The ones you don’t get too close to, not because you don’t care but because you don’t want to think about what life would be like if that happened to you. You know, those people.

The worst part is that we were not those people—we were the people who were supposed to “be there” for those people. I went to seminary for crying out loud! I was a professional Christian! We were a family of faith who believed in Jesus and His way of life, and as such we prepared ourselves to counsel those people. We filled our spiritual tool bag with Bible verses and theological sayings. We practiced good eye contact and carried tissues in our pockets to give to someone else. In all of our preparation to be with those people, we never prepared to be those people ourselves.

But I guess nobody ever really does. Nobody is ever prepared for the weight of the words, for the suddenness of this diagnosis. And maybe that’s why nobody really knows the right way to act when you become those people. But when you become those people, some things have to be done. Like, for example, making the phone calls.

Talk about being unequipped. I did not have the skill set to talk to the grandparents. The aunts and uncles. The friends. I didn’t have the emotional equipment. Heck, I didn’t even have the informational equipment. I certainly didn’t have the spiritual equipment, but the calls had to be made, and made they were. At great length I was able to articulate the diagnosis to both sets of our parents. The effort of squeezing those thousand-pound words out of my mouth made me gag several times, but after a long time in the courtyard of the hospital, I walked back inside to join my wife.



I found her eating pizza. Can you believe it? Freaking pizza! But here’s the thing—she had to eat pizza; when Joshua was diagnosed, Jana was two months pregnant with our second child. I don’t think either one of us realized how hungry we were until the sweet nectar of pork and cheese hit our lips, and we devoured what was in front of us. And then, in the middle of the feast, we started to laugh.

Truth be told, I’m not sure what it was that we laughed about, but something was funny and we laughed. And we laughed. Then we laughed more. I quoted a line from Steel Magnolias about laughter through tears; then we laughed at how ridiculous it was that I quoted Steel Magnolias. She made fun of me for my knowledge of chick flicks. I made fun of her for her inability to stop eating pizza.

The pizza helped a lot for some reason. Maybe it was a reminder that some things in life would still be stable and regular, like our need for food that’s bad for us. We would still sleep, still work, still live. And as we settled down a little bit and the initial shock of how life had just changed started to sink in, I had time to start processing some of those questions we were just beginning to have.

What does one do—one who believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ and gets paid for speaking and writing to others about how to do so better—what does someone like that do with news like this? At least in part, I think the right answer is to believe. Have faith. But what I began to realize is that up to that point in my life, faith had largely just been a noun.

Used by permission   Excerpt taken from Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal; A boy, cancer and God /Michael Kelley/c. 2012/B&H Publishing Group


michaelkelley.jpgMichael Kelley is a Bible study editor for LifeWay Christian Resources as well as a writer of several books and Bible studies. He is father to Joshua (5), Andi (3), and baby Christian and husband to Jana.

Fun Facts for National Cereal Day

In honor of National Cereal Day (today, March 7), I thought we’d share some fun facts about cereal.


Breakfast Cereal

  • Of the more than 294 million people in the US, 49% start their day with a bowl of cereal.
  • The word cereal comes from Cerealia, the name of ancient Roman ceremonies that honored Ceres, the goddess of grain.
  • The average American eats 160 bowls of cereal each year.
  • One bushel of wheat will make 53 boxes of cereal.
  • 85% of all protein consumed throughout the world is provided by grains such as wheat, corn, rice, millet, rye, and barley  – those that are often found in cereal.
  • Breakfast cereal is the 3rd most popular item sold in grocery stores, after carbonated beverages and milk.
  • U.S. and Israeli researchers have just found strong evidence that humans refined wheat and barley into cereal 23,000 years ago. If true, the discovery suggests humans were processing grains long before hunter-gather societies developed agriculture.
  • Astronauts from Apollo 11 boosted their brainpower while in space with a cereal breakfast. The cereal was mixed with fruit and pressed into cubes since the lack of gravity kept the astronauts from pouring it into a bowl with milk.
  • The USDA recommends 6 to 11 servings of grains in a daily diet and a bowl of cereal is a source of grains.

I confess that I am not much of a cereal eater, unless you count oatmeal. One hundred and sixty bowls a year? I maybe eat 20 a year. Maybe.

Are you a big cereal eater? Comment here with your favorite kind of cereal and I’ll give you an extra entry in our March giveaway!

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.