Archives for April 2010

Fun Friday Photo — April 30, 2010

Now that’s optimism!!


Thanks to Kristie J. 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!


April Giveaway Reminder

Have you entered our April giveaway yet? If not, today and tomorrow are your last chances! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity.

ScreenPlayCover.jpgWe are giving away 10 copies of Chris Coppernoll‘s newest novel, Screen Play. (Click here for more information about the book.) Everyone* who posts a comment on our blog during the month of April will automatically be entered to win a free copy of Screen Play.  A winner will be drawn randomly on May 1, 2010. So let us hear from you!

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

Who are some of your favorite novelists?

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is right around the corner. If you are a mom, maybe your family needs some Mother’s Day gift hints! Or maybe you are a dad trying to figure out something new and creative this year for your wife!

Maybe you will be inspired by the following ideas!

  • BnBFinder.jpgA trip to a Bed and Breakfast. Every mom needs some time to relax and rejuvenate, and a great way to do that is to visit a bed and breakfast. Visit, to find a bed and breakfast package that is just right for Mom. 
  • Meals for Moms. In honor of your mom (or your wife) do something kind for a homebound senior mom. The Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) has just launched a new campaign called Meals for Moms to raise awareness of all the homebound senior moms facing the threat of hunger this Mother’s Day. You can send a free virtual bouquet of flowers to anyone (including a homebound senior mom) by visiting If someone selects that their bouquet go to a Meals On Wheels client, those e-cards will be printed out and distributed by Meals On Wheels programs, along with any special messages written by the card creators. 
  • A World Vision Gift. When it comes to Mom’s priorities, children’s needs come first.  What better way to honor Mom than by helping disadvantaged mothers provide for their children? World Vision Gift Catalog offers a variety of opportunities to assist mothers and their families in Haiti and around the world, by purchasing essential life-sustaining items. The World Vision Gift Catalog, located at, offers more than 100 poverty-fighting gifts ranging in price from $16 to $39,000 that can be purchased in the name of a mother, child, friend, or loved one.
  • JoAnn.jpgMake It and Take It. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores will host a free Make It-Take It event in every store across the country on Saturday, May 8th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Children will have the opportunity to make two projects – a “hand” made flower bouquet and a fingerprint card. While the kids are crafting their masterpieces for mom, dads can stroll the store to find many great gifts — sewing machines, scrapbooking albums, picture frames, yarn, and gift cards to name a few ideas. To find the location nearest you, log onto
  • LifeWayStores.jpgFor more great Mother’s Day Gift ideas, be sure to check LifeWay stores. Stop by and browse their catalog "Mom: One Day Is Not Enough." You’ll find great products like books, music, and home decor.


If you are a mom, what have some of your favorite Mother’s Day gifts been? If you are not a mom, what are some creative ways you have honored your mother on Mother’s Day? Share your ideas with us!

Blending Families


Dr. Linda Mintle answers your questions each month in the "Real Life Solutions" department of ParentLife magazine. This month Dr. Linda answers questions about losing baby weight and minimizing frustration due to the "terrible 2s." Each month we post an extra question on the blog. In this month’s extra questions, Dr. Mintle gives some advice about blending families.

Q: I am a divorced single mom of a 4- and 6-year old, but I am about to remarry. Right now, my children are stable and I am worried about blending two families. My fiancé has a 9- and 10-year old. What do I need to know in order to make a smooth transition for all the kids?

A: Blending families is a complex process and takes time. Your concern is good considering divorce destabilizes children and requires a new adjustment. When you remarry, your children will be destabilized once again. The following list covers the big issues involved.

Blending families is easier in the following situations.

  • There is a reasonable interval between marriages, allowing children and you to grieve losses. People do not always give themselves enough time to grieve losses before moving on to new relationships. Do not be in a hurry to remarry if enough time has not passed.
  • Custody changes at the time of remarriage. If you can work out custody issues before the remarriage, it helps minimize the number of changes the children must undergo.
  • Both extended families approve of the remarriage. The more buy in from your extended families, the more support, encouragement, and help they will offer.
  • Children have access to biological parents. Make sure your children know they will still see their biological father.
  • Ex-spouse conflict over children is minimal. The more you can problem-solve with an ex-spouse and develop a system that works, the better.
  • Your children are younger than teens. The older the child, the harder it is to adjust to a new family.
  • You allow an adjustment time of two to four years. This may sound like forever, but it takes time for adjustments to stabilize.
  • The immediate goal is mutual courtesy versus mutual love. Remember you picked a new family, your children did not. Children must behave and be polite, but do not force their love or immediate acceptance. When they miss Daddy, acknowledge their loss. Do not say: “You have another daddy now.” Rather: “I know you do.”

Many newly blended families hope for instant acceptance and intimacy, however it takes time for family members to feel a sense of belonging. Talk about the changes to come, allow time for feelings to be acknowledged and discussed, work with extended families on the upcoming changes, and keep God the center of your family life.

Send us your questions for Dr. Mintle! Leave a comment or e-mail us at

Fun Friday Photo — April 23, 2010

Ten-month-old Anna Claire enjoys her first trip to a candy store!

60a_FunFridayPhoto_April23.jpgThanks to Missy B. 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!

Homeless @ Heathrow

If you have been keeping up with the news, you are aware of the air travel problems all over the world due to the volcanic ash in the air over England from the volcano that erupted in Iceland. Two of our favorite ParentLife writers, David and Lisa Frisbie, are actually stranded at London’s Heathrow Airport and have been for days! And as Lisa says, "What do writers do when they’re stranded? If you said ‘Write,’ you’re right! Here’s proof."

Friendly Faces, Trustworthy Places
“Would you mind the kids for just a bit?” asks a friendly voice. We look up; the speaker appears to be British, female, mid-30s. As a family counselor, I resist my immediate urge to be flippant. “Mind the kids? Don’t you think it ought to be the other way ‘round?” My wife nods before I have the chance to look foolish.
“We’d be glad to,” she says, smiling at our nationalized inquirer.
131_airport.jpgHomeless @ Heathrow, we’re among an estimated 500,000 people stranded in the United Kingdom, far from their homes. We’re en route to speak at a regional conference for pastors, missions workers, and their families – and we don’t yet realize that this “volcano thing” will entirely prevent our attendance. So we’re minding the kids – in this case Ian, about 4, and Natasha, perhaps 18 months. Their mother, traveling alone with two small children, simply wants to stand in line for the restroom. (Standing ‘on queue’ in these parts.)
Why has she chosen us? We’re not that close to where she’s seated; we are several sections away. Yet this single mom has chosen us out of the crowd of possibilities. Always curious, I speculate about her selection process. We are new to our 50s, wildly happy as grandparents, obviously a much-in-love couple. So much so that other travelers often ask us “Are you on your honeymoon?” To which we always reply, with wide smiles, “Yes! We are.” Technically the wedding was 31 years ago, but yes – we are honeymooners. So when nature calls, this single mother seeks out a happy married couple to ‘mind her kids.’ Little do we realize: This may be our first such customer, but it won’t be our last.
When you’re stranded in an alien airport with your children and there’s no prospect of immediate relief in sight, what do you do? You look for friendly faces and trustworthy places, hoping and praying that maybe you’ll get it right.
This mother chooses grandparents a few sections away. She leaves us the kids, although we notice she turns around a few times just to be sure things are OK. Ian warms to us immediately, showing us several of his tricks. He’s cute, sociable, and precocious without tipping over to annoying. Natasha is not so easily sold: She fixes us with a deep glare which seems to say “You’re not my mommy and I’m not fooled!”
In any case, we survive the experience and we’ll end up having quite a few more. A grateful mom returns from her bathroom break refreshed and ready to resume her maternal duties. “Thank you soooo much,” she says to us in a lilting British accent. Turns out she’s from South Africa, not the United Kingdom. We watch her mentally consider offering us some money for services rendered. We wouldn’t accept it anyway, but she seems to reach the conclusion that her money isn’t needed.
She’s right about that. We’re just glad to be serving and helping. Ian likes us, we’ve made some new friends, and now Natasha has her mommy back.
Here at Heathrow Airport, Terminal 4, all is well.
— David & Lisa

Have you ever been stranded somewhere with your children and in need of help? Tell us about it!

National TV Turnoff Week

Being the editor of a parenting magazine comes with lots of advantages. One of those advantages is that I am able to keep up with the latest news in child development, which I hope helps me become a better, more-educated parent. But being aware of this news also comes with disadvantages … like episodes of mommy guilt when I don’t follow some of the guidelines set by experts like The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

For example, The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that parents not expose their children to TV until 2 years old. (Children older than 2 should be limited to 1 to 2 hours of total screen time a day.) Before I had Jack, this sounded completely doable. But I must confess … TV has become a routine part of Jack’s day … a small part … but a routine part nonetheless. We have discovered that letting Jack watch an age-appropriate DVD before nap time and bedtime makes it easier to change a super-wiggly toddler’s diaper and clothes and helps his body wind down a bit before trying to sleep. It’s a bit selfish on our part, but it simplifies life and works for our family. I do feel guilty when I read about the AAP’s recommendations. That’s why I’m committing to stick to the guidelines once Jack turns 2 and limit his screen time.

130_camping.jpgDoes your family spend too much time in front of a screen? Did you know that this week is National TV Turnoff Week? It is the perfect opportunity to turn off the TV, computer, and video games and spend some quality time together as a family. Go for a walk or a bike ride together. Go camping in your own backyard or in a local state park. Play in the yard until it gets dark outside. Play board games together. There are so many great things families can do together besides watching TV.

 Looking for strategies for taming screen time? Don’t miss Rebecca Isbell’s Growth Spurts article "Taming Screen Time" in our April 2010 issue. And for simple ideas for using household items to create hours of imaginative play (without a screen), check out G.G. Mathis’ article "The Value of a Box."

Sports Injury Prevention Tips

My boys love sports! They are both playing baseball right now, and my oldest also is running track for his school. But how much is too much? And how can I guard him against injuries. The following tips are provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to answer questions like these.

Injury Risks

All sports have a risk of injury. In general, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury. 

JandC.jpgMost injuries occur to ligaments (connect bones together), tendons (connect muscles to bones) and muscles. Only about 5 percent of sports injuries involve broken bones. However, the areas where bones grow in children are at more risk of injury during the rapid phases of growth. In a growing child, point tenderness over a bone should be evaluated further by a medical provider even if minimal swelling or limitation in motion is appreciated. 

Most frequent sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments) and strains (injuries to muscles), caused when an abnormal stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle. As always, contact your pediatrician if you have additional questions or concerns. 

To reduce injury:

  • Wear the right gear.  Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear.  Young athletes should not assume that protective gear will protect them from performing more dangerous or risky activities.
  • Strengthen muscles.  Conditioning exercises before games and during practice strengthens muscles used in play.
  • Increase flexibility.  Stretching exercises before and after games or practice can increase flexibility.
  • Use the proper technique.  This should be reinforced during the playing season.
  • Take breaks.  Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
  • Play safe.  Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football), and body checking (ice hockey) should be enforced.
  • Stop the activity if there is pain.
  • Avoid heat injury by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing.

Sports-Related Emotional Stress

The pressure to win can cause significant emotional stress for a child. Sadly, many coaches and parents consider winning the most important aspect of sports. Young athletes should be judged on effort, sportsmanship and hard work. They should be rewarded for trying hard and for improving their skills rather than punished or criticized for losing a game or competition.

For the AAP site and entire article, click here.

What are some things you have had to watch for as your children play sports?


Fun Friday Photo — April 16, 2010

Happy Spring! from 3-year-old Heidi and 2-year-old Luke 


 Thanks to Katy 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!

Audience Participation! — Redesign Feedback

April10PLCover.jpgBig news!! The ParentLife team is working diligently on redesiging our magazine for the March 2011 issue … and in order to the best we can, we need your help! We want to be sure our magazine is meeting the needs of our readers … so we want to hear from you! 

How can you help? By grabbing your most recent issue of ParentLife (needs to be a 2010 issue) and taking a few minutes to answer the following five questions. (If you don’t have a recent issue of ParentLife, e-mail me at and I’ll send a pdf of January 2010 your way.)

  1. What do you see of the design of the cover and interior of the magazine that needs to be updated to fit current magazine trends and appeal to parents?
  2. What types of content would you like to see in ParentLife features?
  3. Are there any departments you think are not effective/helpful? Are there any departments you think are worthy of adding on a monthly basis?
  4. How could we “redesign” our “A Life of Worship” department (p. 47) and our Growth Spurts section (pp. 7-17) to make them more helpful for parents?
  5. How could ParentLife better integrate the spiritual into its content?

Respond by leaving us a comment or by e-mailing your thoughts to Can’t wait to hear from you!