Archives for July 2009

Fun Friday Photo — July 31, 2009

15-month-old Eden enjoys the warm summer days!

Thanks to Cathy E. 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!

Cooking Therapy

Flour flying, sticky dough on their tiny fingers and the almost-comical strategically placed sprinkles; these are all joys of baking with kids. It is even more special when the purpose for baking goes beyond learning to make a batch of cookies to actually enabling the kids to be able to once again have use of their hands.
This is what is being done at ALYN Hospital — the leading rehabilitative pediatric hospital in the Middle East. ALYN prides itself on the mission of being able to help treat any child, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity — a rarity in this war-torn region. The doctors and specialists at ALYN are constantly evolving effective, creative and fun ways to rehabilitate the children – such as their breakthrough with cooking therapy.

69_CookingTherapy.jpgThe act of creating these pastries is not only fun for the children, but targets the muscles and motor functions they so desperately need to grow as independent adults.  In this photo, Marwa, a chef superstar at ALYN, who is slowly regaining the use of her body with every cookie, cake and pie she makes.
The ParentLife team thought cooking therapy was a very unique concept and we wanted to share it with you. Our team is committed to providing help for parents of children with special needs. We do our best to cover at least one special needs topic in each issue of ParentLife.

What other unique kinds of therapies have you heard of? Has your child participated in cooking therapy or another unique therapy? Tell us about it!

ParentLife Visits Saddle Ridge Ranch

68_VBS2010.pngToday is a very exciting day at LifeWay Christian Resources. It is VBS 2010 Preview Day (and Bring Your Child to Work Day!! LifeWay will be taken over by children, children’s ministers, and other children’s ministry workers as they get a taste of the Wild West on Saddle Ridge Ranch with an advanced look at the theme for VBS 2010.

Children in kindergarten through sixth grade, parents, and guests will participate in a worship rally and various VBS rotations. For lunch, the LifeWay cafe will offer special western-themed, kid-friendly food options! It promises to be a great time!

ParentLife has the wonderful opportunity of participating in the fun this year. We get our very own booth dedicated to letting people know about our magazine, our blog, and the LifeWay children’s devotional magazinesMore, Adventure, and Bible Express! We will be handing out business cards promoting the blog and directing folks to our Facebook and Twitter pages. Even more exciting … we will be giving away one free subscription to ParentLife and each of the children’s devotional magazines!

It’s going to be a great day!

If you attended VBS 2010 Preview Day today, tell us about your experience and what you enjoyed the most!

I’m Sick … So Stay Away!

Our household was hit by some kind of virus this weekend. Christy and Jonathan were really sick. Christopher felt really bad and had a fever. And I had my turn at being the primary caregiver!

William_Summey-22.jpgI thought about how everyone seems to respond differently to being sick. I have been told several times how I am not a good patient and tend to want to sleep and just be left alone! Christy is definitely just the opposite, enjoying conversation and companionship even in the midst of being sick. And I think the boys are a mix of us both. They both get grumpy but also need some close attention.

One moment illustrated this well. I stayed up with Jonathan when he was sick but trying to go to sleep. He was uncomfortable with his stomach hurting so he didn’t want anyone too close. I sat at the foot of his bed. Then he asked if I would hold his feet while he went to sleep! A funny request, but it summarized this whole conversation: Sometimes when you are sick you need your space, but need someone close by at the same time taking care!

Obviously sickness is no fun. There is a reason why patients and patience sound so much alike but can be opposites! But in retrospect, it definitely made us slow down and we had some fun time together in the midst of it all.

I hope you are staying well this summer. When your kids are sick, what kind of patients are they?

Summer Fun Idea — Children’s Garden

My Big Backyard logo web.jpgAt ParentLife, we receive a lot of information about children’s activities and events to consider and pass along to readers. Occasionally we receive information on something truly unique. That’s what I thought when I read about Memphis Botanic Garden’s new children’s garden My Big Backyard!

My Big Backyard is filled with spaces catering to kids of all ages from toddlers on up — or those who are just kids at heart! There is something for everyone. Created on 2.5 acres, the children’s garden is designed to bring to life the best of every backyard adventure ever dreamed about. The $5.8 million project will feature 16 unique educational and imagination inspiring areas for children to learn, explore, play, and dream.

treehouse web.jpg

The grand opening for the new garden is this Saturday. Admission is free this Saturday only 9 a.m.-Noon and will feature a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00. But it is an affordable day visit at other times. Admission to all areas of the Botanic Garden is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for seniors, $3.00 for children (3-12) and free to children under two and to Members.  For more information visit

Fun Friday Photo — July 24, 2009


"You want me to pose for a picture? I’ll show you a pose!"

Thanks to Brandi R. 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!

Summer Reading Fun

This summer our boys had summer reading to do for school. To help them stay motivated, we enrolled them in the summer reading program at our county library. Christy and I decided it was only fair that we join the adult summer reading program too! And what a great time we have had reading!


Jonathan really enjoyed reading one of my personal childhood favorites The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series.


We have read a bit of everything under the sun to Christopher but now that the start of kindergarten is only about a month away, our reading will turn to some books to get him ready. I can’t wait to hear Christopher’s reaction at the end of First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.


Christy has enjoyed reading Karen Kingsbury’s Redemption series.


I finally finished some books that I have had on the shelf a long time, including The Shack and 90 Minutes in Heaven.

What are some of your favorite books that you have read this summer?

Taking Care of Yourself

I’m afraid this week I am learning the hard way the importance of taking care of yourself as a parent. Life in the Skulley household has been anything but calm during the month of July. We’ve been going nonstop at work, church, and home … full speed ahead … until the end of last week when both Jack and I became sick, bringing everything to a screeching halt. Jack had a cold that quickly became an ear infection, and I came down with a cold that quickly turned into the never-ending cough/sinus infection. Needless to say, it has not been a fun few days.

67.bubblebath.jpgUltimately, this sickness has been a reality check for me. It is the perfect real-life example of how stress (both good stress and bad stress) can take its toll over time. I have been reminded of how important it is to slow down, reduce stress, and take care of myself so that I can take care of my family.

Weeks ago, I should have taken the advice of Kathy Firkins, the writer for the July 2009 ParentLife article "Super Stressed." She talks about how stress is physical, mental, and emotional. She also provides her "Top 10 Instant Stress Relievers." If you’re feeling stressed, don’t miss this article.

How do you deal with stress? What are the most effective stress relievers that you have found to work for you?

Enjoy the Pool — Safely!


We have had the best summer with both our boys (that’s them in the pool earlier this summer) on the swim team at our local YMCA. They have both improved so much! It was a lot of hard work but we are a bit sad now that the season is over. Now that they both know how to swim, w  e relax a bit more when they are in the water, but there are still important steps to take to protect them.

Consider the following tips from the TIPP program (The Injury Prevention Program) provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

  • Never let your child swim in any body of water without an adult watching.
  • Be sure the adult watching your child knows how to swim, get emergency help, and perform CPR.
  • Keep a life preserver and shepherd’s hook in the pool area to help pull a child to the edge of the pool when necessary.
  • Don’t let young children and children who cannot swim use inflatable toys or mattresses in water that is above the waist.
  • Watch children closely when they are playing near standing water, wells, open post holes, or irrigation or drainage ditches.
  • Teach your child to swim once he or she is ready (usually around 5 years old).
  • Teach your child safety rules and make sure they are obeyed:
  1. Never swim alone.
  2. Never dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects.
  3. Always use a life jacket when on a boat, fishing, or playing in a river or stream.

Check out the AAP Web site for other tips on water safety and the TIPP home page for injury prevention tips for your children at all ages and stages of development.

Where have you taken your kids to swim this summer?

Travel Tips for Families

REI_logo.gifThanks to REI for this great travel advice for families. Use these tips for any last minute travels between now and the start of the school year!

  1. Plan Together — Encourage your children to be a part of the planning/selection process. Select a few trips that meet your family’s requirements, engage children in learning about each trip, then let them choose the family vacation this year.
  2. Ask Questions — Once your vacation is selected, ask your children what questions they have about the trip or location.
  3. Geography Lesson — Use a map/globe to help children learn how far they are going and what the flight route will be, etc. This helps establish an early connection to the destination.
  4. Research Locations — Search online for small towns your itinerary will pass through – learn about the history, animals plants and people that live in these places. Find something your family wants to learn more about or see while you visit.
  5. Pack It Up — Pack with your child – use the gear list and have them think about what they already have that fits the need and what they will need to get.
  6. Keep a Travel Journal — Get your child a journal and help them write in it each day about what happened on their trip – encourage them to draw pictures. Be sure to record the senses you used along the way to hear different sounds, smells, tastes, and sights you experienced in each place.
  7. Make a Lasting Memory — Make sure your children get to use your camera, or have their own so they can take photos. An instant camera is a fun thing to take along when visiting developing countries. It’s a great gift to share on the spot with new friends you make along the way and a quick way to add photos to the journal when the children recaps their day.
  8. Send a Postcard Home — Look for postcards to send to family, friends, and even to your own home so your children have a memento from their trip awaiting them upon your return home. Make sure you use colorful local stamps – great keepsakes and addition to journals.
  9. The More the Merrier — Travel with other families with children. Both families will appreciate the company of other playmates, and adults.
  10. Present — If your child is in school, have him create a presentation for the class to "show and tell" about his trip.

Do you have any other great tips you would offer based on your vacation experience?