Archives for February 2009

Fun Friday Photo — February 27, 2009

Twins Heston and Bennett like to dress up a lot. They watched The Prince of Egypt and decided to make Egyptian costumes after that.

Thanks to Mike L. for his great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday
Photos. Each Friday we will post a new “Fun Friday Photo.” E-mail your photo and a
suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each
Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

ParentLife Product Pick — Hide ‘Em & Find ‘Em Eggs

18_HideEmFindEmEggs.jpgDo you have an egg hunt as part of your family traditions each spring? Try a new twist on a traditional egg hunt with Techno Source®‘s new Hide ‘Em & Find ‘Em Eggs. Hide the eggs to start the egg hunt fun. The eggs then begin talking (“I’m Hiding!” and “I’m Over Here!”),
laughing, and making noises as you try to find them. Open them up to
see a cute bunny or baby chick say, “You found me!”

The eggs come in six collectable colors: violet, pink, green, yellow, orange, and blue! Each egg is large enough to store candy and the batteries are even included!

Hide ‘Em & Find ‘Em Eggs will be available in March at Rite Aid, Target, and Wal-Mart as well as other retailers.

“Dad, Will You Help Me?”

17_Child_Laundry.jpgHas your child had a big project due at school and needed your help? How much should you step in? Do you find that the majority of school projects reflect Mom’s or Dad’s work more than the student’s? Ouch! The truth hurts.

Why is it that we sometimes step over the boundary line and do things on our child’s behalf? This tendency doesn’t happen overnight. Parents often are caught in a pattern of doing things for their kids, rather than stopping to teach or coach them how to do things for themselves. The following are three guidelines for fighting this trend.
Step back. It is OK for kids to make mistakes. We sometimes forget that trial and error can be the best part of learning. We would rather step in and make things right. Or we are living vicariously through our children and take things personally when our children make mistakes.  

Build in time for interruptions and teachable moments. Kids learn by asking questions, hands-on experimenting, and connecting new things with what they already know. We are sometimes too busy for our child’s questions or to stop and teach a life skill. We have to fight packing our schedules so full that there is no time left for life’s interruptions. Unfortunately, all too quickly the question “Dad, will you help me?” turns to “I can’t do this! You’ll have to do it.” 

Place the journey together higher than the finished product. Too many times, we focus on the end product. We want our child to make the perfect project or we must have the clothes folded a certain way or we are not happy. Resist the urge to refold those clothes or make the project the way you would have done it. Life is a journey together, so enjoy the time along the way!
Have you ever had trouble with this “doing too much” boundary? How do you discern where to draw the line? 

ParentLife 2010

16_2010.jpgIt’s hard to believe, but the ParentLife team is already starting to make plans for 2010 and we need your help! We want to make sure the topics we cover are practical and helpful to your everyday life. So tell us …

What parenting questions do you have (or hear your friends asking) related to this specific stage of parenting?

Leave us a comment and let us know. Or e-mail your ideas to (Please include in your comment or e-mail the ages of your child/children.) We want to use this information to plan the topics we will cover in our “Growth Spurts” section in 2010.

National Pancake Day

15_IHOP.jpgOn Tuesday, February 24th, IHOP restaurants nationwide will celebrate National Pancake Day from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and offer each guest a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. In return IHOP will ask guests to donate what they would have paid for the pancakes or more to Children’s Miracle Network or other local charities.

This year, IHOP restaurants around the country hope to stack up more donations than ever before. IHOP’s goal is to raise $1,000,000, which will benefit children’s hospitals and other charities throughout the U.S.

To find a local IHOP or to donate online, visit

Fun Facts From National Pancake Day 2008

  • IHOP served 1.5 million free pancakes on National Pancake Day 2008.
  • All of the free pancakes served on National Pancake Day 2008 would create a stack more than 12 miles high.   
  • Pancake lovers donated more than $875,000 to children’s charities, far exceeding the fundraising goal.
  • Since beginning its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006, IHOP has raised nearly two million dollars to support charities in the communities in which it operates.  
  • National Pancake Day 2008 was IHOP’s largest one-day event in the company’s 50-year history.

Fun Friday Photo — February 20, 2009

Five-week-old Aiden hanging out in the fall leaves.

Thanks to Lindsey B. for her great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday
Photos. Each Friday we will post a new “Fun Friday Photo.” E-mail your photo and a
suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each
Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

How Time Flies!

My baby boy turned 5 on Tuesday! I can’t believe it. It seems like it was just yesterday when Christopher made his entrance into the world. But he was destined not to be a baby for long. Almost from the beginning he wanted to be like his big brother. Christopher walked and talked earlier, liked the shows and games his brother watched, and wanted to play sports with his bro — no matter that Christopher is five years younger. How quickly this time has passed!

14_Jonathan&Christopher.jpgWe thought about the reality of these changes as we completed an “All About Me” poster for Christopher’s preschool to display on his birthday. We spent a day perusing every photo we had of Christopher to pick out our favorites (this is one of our favs of the boys). Then came the whittling down process. We chose photos representing every year of his life and included every family member: aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and first cousins. Sound tiring? It was! But afterwards, we looked with amazement at how blessed we are as a family.
Of course, we celebrated Christopher’s birthday in many traditional ways — delivering cupcakes and treats to his school and opening presents between slices of pizza and video games at Chuck E. Cheese’s. We certainly made several more great family moments! But it is hard to top a poster overflowing with five years of memories. It will become a keepsake for our family, reminding us of how God has been good to us!
What about you? Share with us some of your favorite ways to celebrate birthdays and capture memories of years gone by.

The Levels of Biblical Learning

As a parent, you have the primary responsibility for the spiritual development of your child. But God wants your child to know and love Him even more than you want it. Pray that the Holy Spirit will work through you as you teach biblical truths in all that you say and do.

13_LOBL.jpgThe Levels of Biblical Learning is an instrument you can use to reference what children from birth through sixth grade can understand and develop in their spiritual growth. It provides a chart cross-referenced by age groups and spiritual development concepts. There are 10 content areas: God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Bible, Creation, Family, Self, Church, Salvation, and Community and World. The changes in concept areas coincide with changes in a child’s level of understanding and vocabulary.

The Levels of Biblical Learning chart is available online for free.

Using the Levels of Biblical Learning

  • Read the listings in each content area matching the age of your child.
  • Note the knowledge and skills your child already has firmly in place.
  • Mark the statements you believe your child is in the process of making his own.
  • Flag one or two statements in each content area that you feel are important for your child to know.
  • Determine ways to encourage your child in the areas where you feel he already is making progress and in the areas you flagged as important.

Be on the lookout for a brand new line of resources based on the Levels of Biblical Learning coming out this summer. Puzzles, bookmarks, stickers, craft packs, and more are categorized by each of the Levels of Biblical Learning concept areas.

What are some ways that you are building your child’s spiritual foundation?

Schedule Obsession

12_stressed_mother.jpgI like to consider myself to be a laidback person, but those closest to me know I’m not. However, I’ve shocked myself (and many of those around me) by being a more relaxed mom than I thought I could ever be. I’d say my parenting style is fairly relaxed … except when it comes to one topic in particular — schedules.

A few months into Jack’s life, I become obsessed with his daily schedule. I wanted everything to be exactly the same every single day. I felt he should eat and sleep at the same times every day. It’s not that I wanted to set the schedule and control every minute of his life. I was fine with letting him set the schedule. But I couldn’t understand it when he didn’t fall into a recognizable pattern every day. I just assumed that I must be doing something wrong.

I’ve read it a million times, but for some reason, it did not sink in — Every baby is different. Some babies just don’t fall into a perfect pattern like others.

After a couple of exhausting months of worrying, I finally gave up. I decided to completely follow Jack’s lead on a day-by-day basis. I can’t tell you what a difference it made in both Jack and me! After letting go, I felt as if a burden had been lifted off my shoulders. I was able to spend less time worrying and more time enjoying every moment with Jack.

And would you believe, not long after I quit obsessing, Jack fell into a basic pattern. It’s not exactly the same every day, but it’s close. It would seem that my unnecessary anxiety was affecting his behavior.

What about you? Does your young child follow a schedule every day or is every day different? Are there things you find yourself worrying about unnecessarily?

How Are We Doing?

It’s been almost a month since the launch of ParentLife Online and we want to hear from you! Tell us what you think of our blog so far!

  • What do you like about the blog?
  • What do you dislike about the blog?
  • How do you feel about the design of the blog?
  • What kind of content would you like to see appear on the blog?


Don’t forget! Anyone who leaves a comment anywhere on the blog will be eligible for this giveaway! A winner will be drawn randomly on February 28, 2009.