Archives for July 2010

Fun Friday Photo — July 30, 2010

Super-sweet Ellie celebrates her 4th birthday!


Thanks to Claire A. 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!

Robert Beeson, iShine, and Bible Express

If you read our July 2010 feature on single-dad Robert Beeson and your preteen is a fan of iShine, be sure not to miss the September 2010 issue of Bible Express!


Bible Express is a devotional magazine for preteens! In the September issue, Bible Express is featuring two bands from iShine Live tour — The Rubyz and Mission Six. If your preteen is a fan of these bands, you definitely won’t want to miss it! 


Also coming in September … Bible Express is becoming two magazines in one. Each issue will be a flipbook design where one side is specifically for boys and the other side is specifically for girls. Cover, articles, and devotions will be gender specific and relevant for today’s preteens! It will be awesome!

Does your church recieve Bible Express? Does your preteen use it? Tell us what you love about it … and your thoughts on the new format!


With Baby … Comes Lots of Stuff!

Welcoming a new child into the family is a joyous occasion for all, but the additional expense associated with a new bundle of joy can also be a big worry for some parents, especially in this economy. In fact, 62% of American parents surveyed by eBay Classifieds (a free, local, family-friendly classifieds Web site formerly known as Kijiji) said that their babies accumulated more stuff in the first year than themselves they did in five years, at a total expense of over $1,400.

133_Baby_Nursery.jpgOther statistics found in the recent survey include:

  • American parents spent an average of $1,442 on baby items during the first year their baby was born.
  • After their children have grown out of the items, 67% of parents gave them to a friend or family member, 63% donated them to charity, 27% sold them and 11% just threw them away.
  • The most common outgrown items include backyard toys (42% of parents said they still have them), sporting goods and equipment (39%), furniture (46%) and electronics (45%).
  • 46% of parents said their kid clutter takes up a corner of a closet, 28% said it takes up the better part of their attics and 6% said they no longer park their car in the garage because their children’s items have taken over their entire home.
  • Parents said they spent an average of $1,171 on gifts for their kids last year.
  • 15% of parents say they often sell unwanted items online (perhaps on a site like eBay Classifieds) and a quarter of parents said they occasionally do, depending on the item.

You can visit for more tips and information. In addition, eBay Classifieds will make a donation for every new ad posted within the For Sale category through July 31 (up to $25,000), to Enough is Enough, a non-profit organization dedicated to making the Internet a safer place for children and families. Getting rid of your unwanted items can not only help you reclaim your space but can also help others, too!

Safe Swimming

Check out the following swimming safety tips to help stay safe this summer.

  1. July_26_Swimming.jpgDon’t Swim Alone. Do not allow children to swim without an adult. Even adults should never swim alone. In a pool, swim at a depth that is safe for you. Keep in mind that swimming at night increases all risks.
  2. Follow Regulations. If you are at a public pool or beach, follow all regulations and lifeguard directions.  Depth markers are important. Never dive into shallow water. Additionally, if there is not a lifeguard on duty, take extra safety precautions.
  3. Learn to Swim. Learning basic swimming and floating techniques saves lives. Check with your local YMCA or community pool for information on swimming lessons from a certified swimming instructor.
  4. Safety Equipment. It is important to keep rescue equipment by the pool or on your boat. Life preservers and life jackets should be easy to access in case of an emergency. At home, keep a telephone and emergency numbers poolside. Additionally, parents should know CPR. Statistics show that when CPR is performed, it improves the outcome for drowning victims.
  5. Fencing. If you have a pool at home, make sure the pool is completely surrounded by fencing.  Fencing should be at least four feet high and separate the house, yard, or play area from the pool. Fencing latches and locks should be high enough to be out of the reach of children. Remove all toys from the pool and surrounding areas immediately after use. The presence of toys may encourage children to enter the pool area unsupervised.
  6. Flotation Vests. When boating, you should wear a Coast Guard-approved flotation vest, regardless of your swimming abilities. Even while wading in the ocean or at the lake, it is recommended to wear a personal flotation device. This is especially important for inexperienced swimmers and children. Remember, water wings, noodles, inner tubes, and rafts should never take the place of an approved flotation device.
  7. Designated Areas. Swim only at designated beaches or in swimming areas marked with buoys that keep boaters, water skiers and jet skiers away. If you cross these buoys, you run the risk of not being seen by boaters, and you could potentially be injured. Additionally, rip currents, tides, and water depths may be different the farther out you swim.
  8. Surf Conditions. Ask a lifeguard about surf conditions before swimming in the ocean. Rip tides are dangerous and can catch even the best swimmers off guard. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore. Once you are free of the current, swim toward the shore.  Rip currents can be recognized as water that is discolored, choppy, foamy, or filled with debris and moving in a channel away from the shore. Report any hazardous conditions to the lifeguard.
  9. Warning Flags. Beaches post warning flags to alert swimmers of the day’s conditions.  Be sure to check these flags before entering the water. a. Double Red: The beach is closed. b. Red: No swimming allowed – Dangerous conditions. Usually this flag is up when there are extremely dangerous rip currents. c. Yellow: Swim with caution. Be cautious of strong long shore currents or other swimming hazards. d. Green: Safe swimming conditions. Swim with usual care.

Did you know?

  • Swimming is the third most popular recreational activity.
  • Ninety two percent of children who survive a drowning are discovered within two minutes following submersion, and 86% children who die are found after 10 minutes.
  • The 2010 hurricane season runs from June 1 – November 30. Hurricanes can create dangers in the water such as rip currents, increased swell sizes and larger waves. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, rip currents cause approximately 100 deaths annually in the United States.
  • Children from non-swimming households are eight times more likely to be at-risk of drowning.

For swimming safety information, visit

About the author:  Bret Almassy is the Vice President of Residential Services for AlliedBarton Security Services,, the industry’s premier provider of highly trained security personnel to many industries including commercial real estate, higher education, healthcare, residential communities, chemical/petrochemical, government, manufacturing and distribution, financial institutions, and shopping centers.

Fun Friday Photo — July 23, 2010

Three-year-old Reed shows off his "monkey" skills!


Thanks to Jeff 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!

ParentLife Everyday

005075230_2010-07_l.jpgEach month ParentLife pulls together a one page document for preschool and children’s leaders and teachers that highlights articles that might help to families they work with. But this also seemed like a great tool for parents as well!

All of the articles below are in our current July issue of ParentLife. Read the articles that minister to your family and pass along a copy to those who might benefit from it!

Everyday Patriotism

Help parents instill patriotism in their families not just on the 4th but throughout the year too (pp. 34-35).

Looking for Fun This Summer?
Help parents find inexpensive summer fun activities (pp. 24-26)!

Connect With Life Truths Sunday School Curriculum for Adults

Every month ParentLife connects with what parents are studying in the Life Truths curriculum line of Sunday School materials for parents. This month the article “Change the Channel: A Guide to Media Choices” helps parents guide their kids to make the best media choices (pp. 28-31).

Building Character

Help kids build character through the books they read this summer (pp. 22-23).

For Single Parents
Encourage single parents with the story of Robert Beeson (pp. 18-21).

Preteens Plugged In

Help preteens stay plugged in to media choices safely (pp. 16-17).

Teachable Moments

Help parents impact their toddlers and young preschoolers through everyday teachable moments (pp. 10-11).

Traveling With A Newborn

Help families with newborns who are traveling this month for summer vacation (pp. 8-9)


Picture-Perfect Grace by Renee Garcia

My 6-year-old daughter, Kennedy, recently completed a month-long intensive reading program at Vanderbilt. Four afternoons a week I would make the hour-long drive each way with Kennedy and my next door neighbor’s son who was also in the program, while my neighbor kept my other four children.

The first couple weeks went along pretty smoothly. I dropped the kids off with my neighbor, picked up her son, and off we went. No problems. I actually didn’t mind the drive. It gave me time to talk on the phone, think, or even pray.


Then, one day during week three, right as it was time to leave, it started raining. It poured. Hard. Two of my other children were sick that day, so I was driving them to my mom’s house to stay while we went to Vanderbilt. When I realized that the rain wasn’t going to let up, I pulled out my umbrella and one by one I walked my children out to the car. By the time they were all inside, we were running late, I was soaked to the skin, and my makeup was running down my face. I was a sight to see, I’m sure.

When I arrived at my neighbor’s house, she looked at me, got a little smile on her face and said, “I’m so glad you’re not perfect.” She went on to explain, “Every day you come here to drop the kids off and pick up my son, and you’re wearing cute clothes and your hair and makeup is always done just right, and it’s just nice to see that you’re not always perfect.” We both laughed and I went on my way. We were very late to Vanderbilt that day.

On the way there, I thought about her statement. How many other people look at me, or my life and think that I’m “perfect”? How many times do I look at others and think the same thing judging from an outward appearance? I know for a fact that anyone who looks deep into my life and my heart would see that I am far from perfect. I mess up all the time. I know the same is true for all those people who I hold to a higher standard every day.

The truth is, none of us are perfect (Romans 3:10). We’re not perfect spouses, perfect parents, or perfect Christians. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world, saved only by the grace of God. Sometimes it just takes a little rain to fall in our lives to remind ourselves, and others, of that.

Thank you, Lord, for your never-ending forgiveness and grace!

Don’t miss our July 2010 ParentLife article about Renee and her family — "Renee Garcia: Life With My Special Ks" (pp. 36-37). Be sure to visit Renee’s blog: Life With My Special Ks.

Keeping Math Skills Sharp

By Frances Nankin, Executive Producer/Editorial Director, Cyberchase

Your child is at risk over the summer months of losing the skills she has developed during the year in math — and the risk is greater for losing math skills than reading skills. Help your child overcome the summer slump in math. Here are some fun things you can do to avoid this summer slump and give your child a leg up on math for the fall.

Money, Money, Money!
Kids are always on the lookout for ways to earn money during the summer months. Hone your child’s math skills by helping her set a goal for the total amount she wants to earn and make a chart or graph to track weekly progress. Encouraging your child to budget an amount for saving as well as spending is another way to engage her with money math.

How Far? How Many? How Much?
As a parent, you probably get asked these questions often, but how often do you turn them back to your child and share a brief math moment? If you say, "About how far (how many, how much) do you think it is?" and then suggest ways to estimate, you can help your child recognize those times when an answer that is "close enough" is actually "good enough!" Estimation (or making an informed guess) is a useful math tool any time a precise answer isn’t necessary to solve a problem.

Going to the Game? Guess My Player!
Number puzzles are a fun summer pastime, and you can make them up on the spot at a ball game. Take turns picking a player’s number and making up clues to see if the other person can figure out who it is. For example: “My player’s number is an even number. It is more than 10, less than 15, and is a multiple of 3.”

Get Active!

July_20_swimming.jpgSummer is a great time to help kids develop good habits around physical exercise. Help your child choose a type of exercise she enjoys (swimming, riding bikes, hiking), and then set performance goals — bike or hike a certain distance in a given amount of time or swim a set number of laps — to try to reach by the end of summer. The trick to success is to agree on an exercise schedule and use a chart or graph to keep track of progress after each session. Keeping track helps your child measure progress, keeps her motivated, and even helps her predict how long it will take to reach her goals.

The Waiting Game: What’s My Rule?

Everyone spends time waiting, whether it’s at the doctor’s office, in line at the supermarket, or sitting hungry at a restaurant. Before your child gets cranky, try this fun, simple math game that helps build algebraic thinking skills while beating the boredom! Player A picks a number between 0 and 10 and says it out loud. Player B silently picks a secret rule (plus 3, for example, or minus 2), applies the rule to the number, and says the new number out loud. Keeping that new number in mind, player A says another number, player B silently applies the same rule, and gives player A the new number. The play continues until player A has enough information to guess the rule.

What has your family done this summer to avoid the summer slump? Share your tips with other ParentLife readers by leaving a comment!

Cyberchase offers fun episodes, web games, and hands-on activities and events and free, fun resources to strengthen children’s math skills over the summer. Visit Cyberchase online at or on Facebook to access sneak peeks at the new episodes, fan events, exclusive behind-the-scenes videos, photos, and more related to the Cyberchase Summer Challenge. Watch Cyberchase on your local PBS Station.

Do You Know What Your Kids Did in Sunday School?

P2PMastheadnobeta.jpgEach month, ParentLife is partnering with LifeWay’s Life Truths Sunday School curriculum for parents. ParentLife will publish a feature each month on one of the Life Truths’ themes to help parents apply the Bible to life. During July, check out the July ParentLife Life Truths article "Change the Channel: A Guide to Media Choices."

Life Truths also sponsors the Parent2Parent ning site. Check out all the tools they have to offer, including the weekly KISS Connections newsletter. KISS stands for Kids in Sunday School. This newsletter lets you know what your kids are learning in Sunday School through LifeWay materials from preschool all the way through youth group and in the Worship KidStyle children’s church materials as well. This is a great tool for helping you follow up with what your kids are learning on Sunday morning. Click here to check out this week’s newsletter.

Tell us what you think of the Parent 2 Parent site!

Fun Friday Photo — July 16, 2010

Two-year-old Jack knows that "Nothing runs like a Deere!"

JohnDeere.jpgThanks to Jason S. 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!