Archives for May 2009

Fun Friday Photo — May 29, 2009


Stayin’ Alive! This is Mia (1 year old) getting into her older sister’s headbands and necklaces!

Thanks to Christi M. for this 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!


There Is Still Time!


Don’t forget!! There is still time for you to enter to win a great prize by filling out the survey in the May 2009 issue of ParentLife!

By completing the survey no later than June 20, 2009, your name will be entered in a drawing to win one of 33 prizes, including the grand prize — a Kodak EasyShare C653 Zoom Digital Camera (6.1mp) — a $250 value. Other prizes include 5 signed copies of Dr. Linda Mintle’s Raising Healthy Kids in an Unhealthy World, 2 signed copies of Rebecca Ingram Powell’s Season of Change, and 25 of the top books recommended in ParentLife.

To take the survey, please visit


*Added bonus: The first 50 people who complete their survey online will recieve a free Worship KidStyle DVD!

Limit one entry per person. Void where prohibited. The winner will be contacted no later than July 24, 2009. For complete details, see the Official Rules. Your responses are voluntary, and we will ensure your confidentiality under our privacy policy.

More Family Vacation Ideas on a Budget

This year, families across the country are planning their vacations with a smaller budget in mind. If camping is not your thing, maybe you should consider Smart Destinations‘ Go Cards and Explorer Passes —a great way to save money without sacrificing family fun.

Smart Destinations is a provider of unlimited admission attraction passes in 15 major North American destinations (San Diego, Boston, Chicago, and Oahu, to name a few). Smart Destinations’ Go Cards and Explorer Passes offer pre-paid access to over 425 museums, attractions, and tours for one low fixed price.

  • 54_SmartDestinations.jpgWith the Go Card you can buy a pass (for up to 5 days) that gives you free admission and no waiting in line to several attractions in your pick city. You can see as many attractions as you want over the duration of days that you have selected.
  • With the Explorer Card you can pick three top attractions of your choice for a flat rate of $52.00 for adults and $40.00 for children. For example, in Chicago, if you were to visit the Shedd Aquarium ($24 adult), Shoreline Cruises ($24), and the Hancock Observatory ($15 adult), you would save $11 for each adult.

So where will your family go on vacation? To see a list of all 15 destinations, visit

Where is your family going on vacation this year? How do you plan to save money on vacation? Share your tips with us and other ParentLife readers.

Into the Great Outdoors

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the 2009 camping season. It’s time to pack up the gear and head into the great outdoors. With the economic downturn, many parents are forgoing the annual vacation to Hawaii and opting to stay closer to home this year. Now is the best time to consider a state or national park visit. The average stay can be as little as $15 for an overnight campsite.


With a goal to guide families back into state and national parks systems, community parks or just beyond their backdoors, IAGmedia, Inc. delivers “Into the Great Outdoors,” a program to help reconnect kids and families with nature and the environment. Into the Great Outdoors introduces kids to a young squirrel, Chipper, a first-timer going into the park systems to explore nature. Through music, mishap, and humor and a cast of friendly wildlife creatures, Chipper playfully teaches children the importance of respecting the environment. Company founder, Stephanie Rach-Wilson, says it is her upbringing and personal mission to provide parents with a positive reinforcement tool to help eliminate the stress and put back in the fun of exploring the great outdoors with kids.

offers online resources, checklists for the entire family, and fun facts for parents to help get ready to go on hiking or camping adventures, such as:

  • There are 391 national parks in the US.
  • Yellowstone, in Wyoming, was the first National Park created in 1872.
  • There are over 3,500 state parks.
  • In 1864, President Lincoln ceded Yosemite to California and made it a state park. It later became a national park.

Let’s Go Chipper’s™ Into the Great Outdoors products are available online at and national retail and online stores.

Does your family like to camp? Share with us places you like to camp, tips for camping with kids, and favorite camp activities.

Fun Friday Photo — May 22, 2009


Max says, "Hey mom, get my sermon outline out of the diaper bag!"

Thanks to Bennie and Erin F. for this 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!

One Good Thing for the McDougals by Bill Conger


Greg and Diane McDougal, who are featured in the May issue of ParentLife, are learning to let go and let God. Over the last several years, the Christian couple has endured the faith-testing challenge of their children’s health problems. Three of their four kids have cystic fibrosis, but the story began with their first child, Jeffrey. He was born with a hole in his intestinal tract and nearly died. The members of First Baptist Church Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, rallied behind the scared mom and dad. 

“Almost every one that showed up told us, ‘Listen, you’re doing the one good thing. You just take care of your son. We’ll take care of everything else,’ and they did just that. Now, God is reminding us of that to show us this picture of how He wants us to do the one good thing, and that is to go and be shameless about telling of the redeeming power of Jesus Christ in our lives, and He’ll take care of everything else.”

Through divine provision, the McDougals special allergen-free home is now two-thirds of the way complete with the plumbing, most of the hardwood flooring, and several other essentials in place.

“The house is His,” McDougal affirms. “He’s the one that’s raised it up. In His good time, He’ll finish it. In the meantime, we’re just doing what He’s given us to do.”

For the McDougals, that job is a calling to fulltime music ministry. In January, the family packed into an RV and left the Nashville area with a handful of concert dates. Three and a half months later, their journeys have taken them to Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.

“We’re just going and telling, taking a guitar and a song and using it to get in the door and share a testimony of how God has taken a couple of knuckle-headed kids that used to never pay Him any attention at all and worked miracles in our lives.”

Their children have enjoyed a better time with their health after a tough struggle last year. “We’ve been doing really well,” McDougal said.

The family is spending time off during most of May, but they’re still hitting the road to sing at churches on the weekends. The McDougals will return to touring across parts of the south and west for the summer. Greg says, “We’re learning a whole lot about each other, and a whole lot about Him, and stewardship, and making the most of every day.”

For more of the McDougal’s amazing story, check out "A Carpenter’s Mission" in the May 2009 issue of ParentLife.

A Lesson in Time Management

Do you ever feel like you are running on a treadmill that is moving way too fast? I know that I feel that way a lot!


But I do have days where I feel like I’m on top of things and have everything under control. Yesterday was that kind of day for me. I was checking things off of my to-do list left and right! I had a good day at work where I felt like I got a lot done. I cooked a good, healthy dinner and fed Jack. I got to spend some time playing with Jack, gave him a bath, and put him to bed without any fuss. Then I actually exercised and did several loads of laundry and a few other random chores. It felt good! I didn’t get to do any of the things I wanted to do just for fun (like veg out on the couch and watch TV or play MarioKart with my husband), but it was worth it to feel like I had accomplished some important things!

But then, as I was crawling into my cozy, warm bed … it hit me! I had forgotten to do something very important. I had not spent any quiet time with God that day. And I’ll be honest … I rarely make time like I should to spend time with God. I should have gotten out of bed right then, but I confess … I let my exhaustion win.

Sometimes we get so focused on nurturing the earthly relationships in our lives — being a good employee and co-worker, taking care of our children, spending time with our spouses, even making time to take care of ourselves — that we forget about the most important relationship! If I could just remember every day that my relationship with God is the glue that holds all of my relationships together, I think I would do better at making time to spend with Him. I know that when I do make the time to spend with Him, somehow I feel like I have more time in my day and I take better care of the people in my life. So why do I find it so hard to make the time?

I know time management is not just a struggle for working parents. It is a struggle for every parent! But as a working mother, it’s definitely something I battle with every day.

So tell me … as a busy parent, how do you find time during your busy day to stop and spend focused time with God?

Be sure to check out our "Working Life" column each month in ParentLife for practical advice and encouragement for working mothers and fathers.


Babymoon Ideas by Suzanne Arguello


Do you have a little one on the way? Maybe it’s time to rejuvenate your marriage and enjoy some much-needed relaxation on a babymoon!

Across the country, bed-and-breakfast inns offer delightful babymoon lodgings.  Discover your ideal destination with this sampler:

Begin your parenting adventure where Lewis and Clark ended their trek to the Pacific — Washington’s  Long Beach Peninsula. Wander the oceanfront boardwalk, breathe salt air, watch ocean mammals, and dine on fresh seafood. For attractions and accommodations, visit

Or prepare for the arrival of your little prince or princess with a babymoon at Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Savor time roaming the lush grounds or enhance your visit with a Navigator’s marriage or parenting conference offered on-site. Visit for details.

For a last urban outing sans baby gear, think San Antonio, Texas. The King William Historic District and nearby Riverwalk boast galleries, boutiques, museums, and charming B&Bs. Just for fun, attend a professional sporting event, or visit Sea World®. Find lodging, attractions, even day spas, at

If nature soothes your soul, consider an Ozark babymoon. Stay in a cottage, cabin, or a tree house!  Walk the woods, relax by the lake, or pause to pray at the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Branson, Missouri is the place for family-friendly entertainment.  Learn more at and

Visit Virginia for a romantic babymoon. Balance pampering with local sightseeing. Explore Crabtree Falls along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Stroll Colonial Williamsburg gardens. Tour an antebellum home.  Make a splash at Virginia Beach.

To locate bed and breakfast babymoons in your area, visit

There are several options for keeping babymoon costs down.

  • Consider off-season or midweek B&B specials.
  • Many state and national parks rent cozy cabins for very reasonable rates.
  • House-sit for vacationing friends; then splurge on day spa treatments. 

Future grandparents: A babymoon makes a much-appreciated gift for expectant parents.

Save more on your babymoon. Check out special bed and breakfast offers at and

For great tips on planning a babymoon, be sure read Suzanne’s article "Babymoon" in the May 2009 issue of ParentLife.

Do you have a babymoon planned? Or have you been on a babymoon in the past? Tell us about your babymoon!

Art Contest for Kids


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) invites children to enter a national art contest with a chance to win a trip to Washington, DC. The contest is open to boys and girls in three groups, grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12, and the theme is "Protecting Children from Tobacco Smoke.”

Group winners and their parents will be invited to a presentation ceremony at the 2009 AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Washington, DC, on Saturday, October 17. Each first-place winner will receive $500 and up to $1,000 for travel expenses. The three second-place winners will each receive $250. The winners’ schools will be awarded matching amounts. Winners will have their artwork featured on the AAP Web site and promotional materials.  

“There are still far too many young people who smoke and many pick up this deadly habit while they are at school,” warns AAP President David Tayloe, Jr, MD, FAAP. “This is an opportunity for children to exercise their creative side to alert other children – and parents — to the dangers of tobacco and secondhand smoke.”
This year’s contest is an initiative of the AAP’s Julius B. Richmond Center, supported by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, and dedicated to the elimination of children’s exposure to tobacco and secondhand smoke.

To enter, children should submit an original piece of artwork to: National Art Contest, American Academy of Pediatrics, 141, Northwest Point Boulevard, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007. Rules, official entry forms and consent forms must accompany all entries and are available online. Entries must be postmarked by July 31, 2009. Winning entries will be selected by a panel of judges including pediatricians, and announced in the summer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Are you and your kids excited that summer is almost here? What are you planning to do this summer?

Fun Friday Photo — May 15, 2009


3-year-old Hayden says "This is my Daddy’s shirt he wore 28 years ago!"

Funny how things come back around!

Thanks to Del L. for this 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!