Archives for October 2009

Fun Friday Photo — October 30, 2009



Rachel thinks it’s lots of fun to sit up!

Thanks to Adam and Tonya 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!

Celebrating Fall Fun

I love fall and all that it brings — cooler weather, changing leaves, pumpkins, apple cider, and so much more. While your family may or may not officially be celebrating Halloween, there are lots of fun ways you can celebrate fall!

lion.jpgYesterday evening, we took Jack (almost 16 months old) to a fall festival at our church. He got to wear his Halloween costume (a lion) and play in a big bouncy play yard with lots of plastic balls. He had a great time! We are not going trick-or-treating with Jack this year, simply because it would be so much work and he can’t eat (and doesn’t need) the candy! (And neither do we for that matter!) We hope to go to a pumpkin farm on Saturday morning with a group of friends from church and then spend the evening handing out candy, watching movies, and enjoying some good fall food!

How does your family celebarate fall? Tell us about your favorite fall activities!

Lunch Note Promise

Lunch Note Promise.png

At 16, Shawn Johnson won gold. Less than a year later, she was crowned a national dance sensation.  From the gym to the ballroom, Johnson credits her success to encouragement she received from her parents and mentors. This fall, Johnson is partnering with the Lunch Note Promise Campaign brought to you by the new Lunchables to inspire parents to give kids that same type of support, in big and small ways.

Making the Promise
The Lunchables team is asking parents and caregivers nationwide to promise to drop a note of encouragement into their child’s lunch. For every parent that logs onto and makes that promise, the Lunchables team will donate a meal to children and families in need through Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity, which serves an estimated nine million children each year. The goal is to turn 100,000 promises into up to 100,000 meals. also provides free downloadable stationery that includes more than six vibrant, customizable patterns that parents can use to create fun and cheerful notes that will delight their kids.

Wholesome New Lunchables
Moms can also feed their kids’ success with a Lunchables Lunch Combination. This fall, the brand rolled out six new varieties that feature enhancements like bread made with whole grain, turkey made with 100 percent turkey breast, spring water, and applesauce.

Lunchables Lunch Combinations are available in the refrigerated section of grocery stores and retail for $3.49. To learn more about the new Lunchables or the Lunchables Lunch Notes Promise Campaign visit

How do you show your child support and encouragement? Share your fun, creative tips with other ParentLife readers!

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

All Dressed Up

  • 89_halloween.jpgPlan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs, and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

Carve a Niche

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers.  Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Votive candles are safest for candle-lit pumpkins.
  • Candle-lit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

Home Safe Home

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes, and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

On the Trick-or-Treat Trail

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or Treaters:
    1. Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    2. Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
    3. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    4. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    5. Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    6. Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    7. Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
  • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

Healthy Halloween

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

© 10/09 American Academy of Pediatrics

For even more safety tips, to send these tips to a friend, or to download them in Spanish, visit

Kids Eat Free!

MrFreeStuff.jpgIn today’s economy, families are trying to save every dollar they can. Many restaurants recognize this, and are offering deals to attract parents and their children. The editors of Mr. Free Stuff have compiled a list of 101 Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free to let consumers know where they can dine out on the cheap.

From well-known chains like Golden Corral, TGI Friday’s, Bennigan’s, Chik-fil-A, Buffalo Wild Wings, Fazoli’s, and Denny’s to regional favorites, the feature on Mr. Free Stuff informs readers about eat-for-free specials that are available on any given day of the week. Sunday (33), Monday (36) and Tuesday (56) are the best days to get freebies from restaurants. On Friday, only 14 eateries on the list give free offers.

Know of any other great meal deals? Share your budget-friendly ideas with ParentLife readers!

Fun Friday Photo — October 23, 2009


Mommy and Daddy’s Star — 3-year-old Hope Riley!

Thanks to Carol 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!


Search and Shop — for a Worthy Cause!

download_nbcam_pink_ribbon.jpgIt doesn’t seem that long ago that my mom called, explaining that she had breast cancer and would need surgery. I remember being shocked and concerned, asking people to pray for her that I had never asked to pray for anything else. She was certainly resolute and prayerful as she faced surgery, radiation,  chemotherapy, and five years of follow-up medication. Today she is a breast cancer survivor, and I am thankful for all those who prayed for her and helped raise money for research to help find treatment for those who face breast cancer.

As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you have not had a chance to participate in a 5K or take part in another fundraiser for breast cancer research, we have a few more options for you to help this worthy cause. and

One way many people are making a difference in addressing breast cancer is by actively supporting organizations and medical researchers who are working to find a cure.  They are using the search engine which donates about a penny per search to the organization of the user’s choice. 
Similarly, the sister site donates a percentage of each purchase at more than 1,000 stores (including Amazon, Target, Apple, GNC, and others) to the breast cancer charity the user selects. There are hundreds of great deals and coupons, so not only are you helping raise money for breast cancer research, but you’re saving money while doing so!

Over 80,000 nonprofits, including the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, Susan G Komen Affiliates across the country, and the Breast Cancer Research Fund, are actively earning funds from the GoodSearch and GoodShop strategy with over 100 organizations submitting new applications daily.

Every princess deserves a crown, but since that’s just not very comfortable for an active girl, a darling clip, pony holder, crochet hat, or headband is the next best thing! is an amazingly affordable, Mom-run e-tailer and wholesaler, dedicated to curing cancer one haute hair accessory at a time!

The line includes bedazzled and dazzling hair treats for infants with very little hair to teens and even moms who want to glam up their tresses. Here’s the most beautiful detail of all: 20 percent of the proceeds from each accessory is given to prominent cancer research organizations. The Mom who founded this ultra-chic line of hair treats is a breast cancer survivor who vowed to give back to help find a cure.

Let us know how you supported Breast Cancer Awareness Month during October.

What to Look for in a Family Vehicle


Every parent makes tough decisions that impact the entire family, and choosing the right car is no exception. Whether driving to and from after-school activities or planning a road trip, a reliable family car is crucial. But with so many makes and models to choose from, it’s good to have a process to help make a smart and safe purchase that pleases everyone — from the auto enthusiast dad to the little ones in the backseat.

You have to consider safety, reliability, handling, economy, and a range of personal preferences when choosing a family car. Experts from offer the following overview on popular family friendly models, including minivans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and sedans.

SUVs – Attractive, roomy, sturdy, powerful, and responsive, these vehicles have been a popular choice in recent years.


  • Often sit up higher, an ideal feature for improved all-around visibility
  • Often equipped with four-wheel or all-wheel drive to handle different terrains
  • Typically feature family-friendly bonuses, such as rear-seat DVD players and enough cup holders for the entire family


  • Can be gas guzzlers
  • More prone to rollovers, leading to safety concerns
  • High thresholds may lead to trouble loading items into some SUVs

Minivans – When they first appeared on the scene before SUVs took the stage, minivans were the ultimate family vehicle choice — and are making a comeback.


  • Less likely than SUVs to roll over in a crash
  • Often include built-in crumple zones to help absorb the impact and protect passengers
  • Roomy for passengers and allow a great deal of cargo space
  • Often equipped with automatic sliding doors, which lessens the stress of loading the car while holding a child
  • Low threshold makes it easier to remove car seats and load groceries


  • Generally have a lower resale value than an SUV

Family Sedans – As gas prices rise, so do the attractiveness and sales of sedans — especially smaller, more gas-friendly ones.


  • With a smaller size, family members can be within reach of the driver
  • Include perks like affordability and nimble handling
  • Can offer better gas mileage than most SUVs and minivans


  • Storage space can be more limited

Other Factors Parents Should Consider when Looking for a Car:

  • Size and activity level of a family. Are family members involved in extracurricular activities or sports with equipment that requires more storage space or will the car primarily be used as a means to get from Point A to Point B? Does the car need to be large enough to fit everyone and everything inside or will a more economical sedan suffice?
  • Safety. Parents should take note of important features with which a family car should come equipped, such as electronic stability control, side airbags, anti-lock braking systems, and tire pressure monitoring systems. When you are looking at specific models, if you choose an SUV for your family car, look for responsive mid-size models with excellent crash test ratings, or consider a crossover, which combines the safety of minivans with the sleek features of a traditional SUV.
  • Personal preferences and convenience. Personal preferences, such as cargo area size and ease of car seat installation, vary for each parent and absolutely important to consider when looking at different cars. Parents may also want to consider factors that make things more convenient when it comes to children, such as dark upholstery (for spills and messes), keyless entry (when you are juggling kids and other items), and a LATCH system, which makes installing car seats easier and safer.

Visit to learn more.

What do you look for in a family car? Any tips for families who are shopping for a new car?

Worthy Cause


The following is a worthy fundraiser taking place in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 25, 2009. We thought you might be interested in their story whether local to Nashville or not.

Laurian and John Scott, lost their two children, Thisbe and Noah, to a rare pediatric motor neuron disease. Now in their memories, friends and family will host a walk at Centennial Park in Nashville to celebrate their lives and to raise awareness about this devastating disease. The following is part of their story and more info about the fundraiser.
On Sunday, October 25th, 2009, at 3:00 p.m., The Olive Branch Fund: A Thisbe and Noah Scott Legacy, started by Franklin residents, John and Laurian Scott, will be hosting “A Mighty Voice,” a multi-city fundraiser to raise awareness and fund research for pediatric motor neuron diseases (MNDs) at Centennial Park.

The Olive Branch Fund was founded in honor of the Scott’s two children, Elenna “Thisbe” and Noah Scott, who were both lost to Brown-Vialetto-Van Laere (BVVL), a rare form of MND. Their daughter Thisbe was perfectly healthy the first 16 months of her life, yet gravely ill the last 17 months and passed away on April 30, 2007. One month later, their son Noah, 10-months-old at the time, also began showing symptoms of the same disease. Nine months later, on April 9, 2008, he also passed away. It has since been their mission to raise awareness of these diseases, help fund research to find a cure and be a support system for all families of pediatric MNDs.

“As the second annual A Mighty Voice event in our hometown, we look forward to strengthening the awareness, momentum, and research dollars for these diseases while also making it a wonderful event for families,” said Laurian Scott. “It’s amazing how many people are carrying the genetic mutation for a MND and have no idea – the number has been estimated at approximately 1 in 35 to 40 people. SMA, the most common pediatric MND, is the number one genetic killer of infants and toddlers. Since my daughter’s ‘diagnosis’ in 2006, we have radically changed the face of BVVL, and multiple families here and abroad, even as far away as Libya, have reached out to us for help. We’re the only ones on the planet advocating for this disease while also vying for a universal treatment for all MNDs.”

This family-friendly fundraiser will include a walk through Centennial Park with live entertainment by the popular children’s band, Adam and the Couch Potatoes, face-painting, and a book signing of Thisbe’s Promise, a children’s picture book written by Laurian Scott. Through this, and other fundraisers throughout the nation, the Scott family hopes to create “A Mighty Voice” for all children affected by motor neuron diseases.

The Olive Branch Fund is a component fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a 501 (c) (3). For more information visit or

Please let us know if you go to this fundraiser on Sunday!

Giveaway Reminder

Remember this October we are giving away two of our newest parenting resources for Bible study: The Parent Adventure and The Family God Uses.

The Parent Adventure.jpgThe Parent Adventure: Preparing Your Children for a Lifetime With God by Rodney and Selma Wilson is a 6-week study focused on key topics in parenting at any life stage. TheFamilyGodUses.jpg

The Family God Uses: Becoming a Home of Influence by Tom and Kim Blackaby is a 6-week study designed as a field manual for families looking to pray, grow, and serve together.

Everyone* who posts a comment on our blog during the month of October will be entered to win!

*LifeWay employees are not eligible for this giveaway. Multiple comments do not increase chances of winning.