Archives for June 2011

Summer Eye Safety for Kids


UV Rays

According to the 2010 American Eye-Q® survey commissioned by the American Optemetric Association (AOA), 66 percent of parents purchase sunglasses for their kids but 26 percent don’t check the UV protection. The AOA recommends the following five tips to help prevent future eye and vision damage from overexposure to UV radiation:

  1. Wear protective eyewear any time the eyes are exposed to UV rays, even on cloudy days and during the winter.
  2. Look for quality sunglasses or contact lenses that offer good protection. Sunglasses or protective contact lenses should block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
  3. Check to make sure sunglass lenses are perfectly matched in color and free of distortions or imperfections.
  4. Purchase gray-colored lenses because they reduce light intensity without altering the color of objects to provide the most natural color vision. Brown or amber-colored lenses may be better for those who are visually impaired because they increase contrast as well as reducing light intensity.
  5. Always protect children as they typically spend more time in the sun than adults and are at a greater risk for damage.



Fourth of July Eye Safety

According to a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were the culprit for a projected 8,800 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during 2009. Of these, 54 percent were children and teens under the age of 20 years. The most common cause of damage to the eyes includes lacerations, contusions, and the existence of foreign materials. The AOA recommends that families protect and preserve eyesight during the Fourth of July with the following tips.

  • Discuss firework safety with your child prior to the Fourth of July.
  • Avoid private firework displays and instead enjoy professional ones.
  • Do not allow kids to handle fireworks and never leave them unsupervised near fireworks.
  • Adults should wear protective eyewear when lighting and handling fireworks of any kind.
  • Store fireworks, matches, and lighters in a secure place.
  • Refrain from purchasing sparklers. Heating up to 1,800 degrees, sparklers are the number one cause of fireworks injuries requiring trips to the emergency room.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and only light fireworks when children are at a safe distance.
  • Always follow up with a full optometric eye exam should your child seek emergency room medical care for a firework-related eye injury.

Do you worry about your kids’ eye safety? Do you always make them wear sunglasses?

Photos used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photos for sources.

God’s Shelter for Your Storm (GIVEAWAY)

sheilawalsh.jpgThey are questions we’ve all asked: Why is this happening? Does God really care about me? Does my life even matter? Why won’t God fix …?

God’s Shelter for Your Storm is a gift book from celebrated author Sheila Walsh. Adapted from her trade book The Shelter of God’s Promises, this small book would be an appropriate gift for someone grieving, struggling, or facing one of life’s storms.

Walsh incorporates personal stories with Scripture passages and encouragements. Each chapter is themed, explicating one promise of God.

sheila-walsh.jpgA beloved author of nonfiction and children’s works as well as a Women of Faith speaker, Walsh writes with the gentle, personal tone of Max Lucado, with a feminine touch. This is an excellent book to keep by your bedside for a daily dose of encouragement when times are hard.

You can see a video from Sheila as well as some more information about the book at

Would you like to win a copy of this beautiful and timely book? Thomas Nelson has graciously given us three copies to give away to our readers. This will be our July giveaway, so you have all month to enter!

To be entered to win, answer this question in the comments: What is your favorite devotional book?

Winners will be picked July 29, 2011. One comment person person, please. USA only. LifeWay employees are not eligible to win.


June 2011: ParentLife Everyday

Each month ParentLife pulls together a one-page document for preschool and children’s leaders and teachers that highlights articles that might help families they work with. But this also is a great tool for parents!

The articles below are in our current June 2011 issue of ParentLife. Read the articles that minister to your family and pass along a copy to those who might benefit from it!


ParentLifeEveryday_Art.jpgDads Need Mentors! Celebrate Father’s Day as a church family by establishing a mentoring program for dads. Learn about the benefits of older men mentoring younger men and how mentoring made a huge difference in the life of one church and community (pp. 30-31).

Not every special need is visible. Reach out to families in your community who may be struggling with the diagnosis of a child with special needs. Encourage them with these 13 practical pointers (pp. 40-41).

On the Move. Is a family in your church getting ready to move? Help parents view relocation from a child’s perspective.

Off to Church We Go. New parents can be nervous about leaving their infant with church caregivers. Address the concerns of these parents and help them prepare ahead of time for Baby’s first trip to church (p. 11).

Safe Swimming. Do any of your summer activities involve the swimming pool? If so, be prepared to keep every child safe (pp. 42-43).

True or False? It is OK to eat food dropped on the floor if you pick it up within five seconds. Find out on page 16.

55 — The number of milligrams of caffeine in 12 ounces of Mountain Dew®. Are you making sure the children in your ministry are offered safe and healthy snacks (p. 12) and drinks (p. 18)?

Grandparent Encouragement. Offer hope and encouragement to grandparents who find themselves raising their grandchildren (pp. 39-39).

To download a PDF of the colorful ParentLife Everyday flyer, click the link below:


A Bucket of Berries

Early summer is the best time to devour fresh, ripe berries. Our July issue shares a quick and easy recipe for blueberry yogurt pops. (Do you make homemade popsicles, pudding pops, and the like? It seems so simple with a mold, but my daughter is not very into cold things.)

blueberryplant.jpgMy favorite use of fresh blueberries is this double-crust blueberry pie. I took bits of pieces of other recipes to create this one, where delicious, ripe blueberries meld with a fresh burst of lemon. So find yourself a pick-your-own farm or pick up a few pints at a farmer’s market. Spend an afternoon in the kitchen teaching your son or daughter how to craft a pie from hand.

I won’t tell if you use refrigerated pie crusts. I always do.

Blueberry-Lemon Pie

2 pie crusts, homemade or the refrigerated kind
2 to 2 1/2 pints fresh blueberries, stemmed and washed
1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1 T butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg white, beaten (optional)

Spray the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together blueberries, zest of the lemon, juice of half the lemon, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into the pie crust and spread out evenly. Dot the top with pieces of butters. Place the second crust over the top and crimp the edges together. Cut a few slits into the crust.

Optional: Brush the top with egg white for a good brown color. If you do this though you will need to check the pie after 30 minutes. If it’s getting too brown, cover the edges with aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until the crust is brown and the filling is set. Let cool before serving.


For the rest of the berries exploding around you, you could try:

— Jessie, resident blogger

What’s your favorite berry recipe?


Reflecting on Father’s Day

58.Fathersongame.jpgI have to admit I enjoyed every bit of attention I received on Father’s Day this year! From the first wishes of "Happy Father’s Day!" before church to the great lunch to a few presents, it did make me feel special as a Dad. I am so thankful to have talked to my Dad on Father’s Day too, catching up via long distance without having to rush to some other appointment or responsibility.

We talked about Dads in our adult Sunday School class too. In fact, I introduced the topic by asking folks to reflect on those things they do, whether consciously or not, that they inherited from their parents and the way they were raised. This is always an interesting discussion!

I told the class Sunday that it was no accident that I have a love for baseball and that my kids seem to play baseball constantly. My Dad used to lie awake at night listening to games on the radio, read the box scores every morning, and watch and play baseball with my brother and me on Saturdays. There was no surprise on Father’s Day when we started talking about the College World Series and the Vanderbilt-North Carolina game. I had to chuckle about that tonight as I kept the score book at Christopher’s game and missed 4 phone calls from home to check the score. You might say I was distracted!

As I grow older and begin to understand a little bit more of what my parents were like at my age, I can’t help but think of the iconic movie, Field of Dreams. The mysterious baseball diamond in the cornfield becomes the setting where Kevin Costner’s character comes face to face with his deceased father as a young man, full of the hopes and dreams of youth. It reminds me that there is something so bonding about just playing with our kids whether it is sitting in the floor rolling a ball back and forth with your toddler, teaching your kindergartner to play checkers, or one of my favorites, a game of catch in the yard.

I still am moved as an adult when I hear a clip of my childhood coaching hero, Jim Valvano, deliver a famous speech at the ESPY Awards, establishing his V Foundation to find a cure for cancer. It was a mere 8 weeks before he died from cancer. Valvano said that he believed you should do three things every day to be fully alive: laugh, think, and cry.

As a Dad, I would add play to that list. To me, play is the love language my boys speak! It literally shows them that I love them and puts my words into action. Someday I hope they think fondly of those times together really living life … whether laughing, thinking, crying, or playing. Wishing you fond memories of your Dad and great memory-making moments with your kids!


You Know You’re a Mom When …

June_22_rubberduck.jpgOn several occasions in the not-so-distant past, I’ve found myself chuckling over the strange characteristics that mark motherhood. You know … the things you never could have imagined or understood before having kids.

I’ll give you two personal examples:

1. Several months ago, I was digging for something in the bottom of my purse and I pulled out a rubber duck. That probably doesn’t happen to many women without children!

2. A few weeks ago, our department was given the opportunity to leave work a couple of hours early before a holiday weekend. Do you know what I did with my time off? I went grocery shopping … and I was excited about it! Why? Because I didn’t have my toddler in tow! Three and a half years ago, I could not have imagined being that excited about grocery shopping!

Knowing I’m not the only one who thinks about these kind of things, I decided to ask my Facebook friends to finish this sentence: You know you’re a mom when …

I LOVE the responses I got and wanted to share them with you.

Some made me literally laugh out loud!!

… you speak in five-word sentences. "Would you like some juice?" "Do you need to potty?" "We do not eat rocks."

… you automatically cut everyone’s food into small pieces, even the grownups.

… you find yourself watching Sesame Street and you are the only one in the room.

… you unconsciously think in rhymes (due to reading too many Dr Seuss books)!

… you tell other adults that you will be right back because you need to "go pee-pee in the potty."

… you catch yourself singing the Wonder Pets theme song in the shower.

… you know every word to every VeggieTales video but have trouble recalling what you did last week.

… you accidentally dilute your own apple juice … and drink it anyway.

… you share bites of your meal even though they have the exact same thing on their plates.

… there are rocks in the dryer and clothes in the driveway.

… you have to weed through the action figures in your purse to find your lipstick.

… ketchup on the ceiling does not surprise you in the least.

… you tell time by which cartoon is on.

… you understand the language of toddler speak.

Others were responses I knew every mother could relate to: 

… you’re exhausted, ready for a nap, and your toddlers are running laps around you!

… you can’t use the bathroom or take a shower without being interrupted.

… you hear yourself giving the same sound advice or warning to your children that your parents gave you … even the phrases you swore you would never say!

… you catch your child’s throw-up in a store.

… things that used to gross you out dont’t phase you anymore!

… getting up at 7 is sleeping in.

And others warmed my heart and made me smile!

… you look at all your grandchildren and say, "It was all worth it".

… when you look at that little gift of God and nothing else seems as important anymore. 

… you can see your heart walking around OUTSIDE your body!

Now it’s your turn. Leave us a comment finishing this sentence. You know you’re a parent when … . I can’t wait to read your responses!

Four Corner Campout

In the July 2011 issue, we outline a "Four Corner Camp" for you to do at home. What better way to end the week "at camp" than having a family campout?


Campfire grill

Here are a few ideas for a simple campout, indoors or out!

  • Make homemade tents inside (outdoors if you have appropriate equipment). 
  • Fire up the grill (or a fire pit) and have hot dogs.
  • After eating s’mores from the microwave, watch campers perform Matthew 22:36-39.
  • Follow up with lots of silly camp songs! Slowly move this to a time of worship, singing slower songs. "More Precious Than Silver," "I Love You, Lord," and "Shout to the Lord" are good for reflection. If anyone in your family can play the guitar, all the better!
  • If you can go outside, spend time looking at God’s creation and being in awe of it.
  • Remind campers that God desires our heart, souls, and minds. Pray, asking God to make this truth a reality in your family. 

What activities would you add to this list?

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Summer Safety

In our July 2011 issue, we offer some tips on summer safety on pages 32-33. We had so many safety tips, though, we couldn’t cram them all into two pages! Here are even more safety tips for your summer fun.

Dia do Guto se esbaldar ...

Swimming Pool Safety

  • Supervise children at all times while in or around a swimming pool.
  • Provide “touch supervision” for infants and toddlers, which is an adult being in the water and within arm’s reach at all times.
  • Install a pool fence that is climb-resistant and at least 4 feet high.
  • Lock ladders and fences when the pool is not in use.
  • Most pediatricians recommend swimming lessons for children 4 years and older. Each child develops at a different rate; therefore, each child will be ready to swim at his own pace, as well.

Stings & Bites

  • Insect Bite ― Remove the stinger as soon as possible. Use the edge of a credit card to scrape the stinger out. Use a cold compress on the bite to relieve the pain. Call your pediatrician immediately if your child faints, has trouble breathing, or experiences extreme swelling, hives, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Spider Bite ― Call your pediatrician or Poison Help Line and describe the type of spider. If a bite becomes infected, contact your pediatrician.
  • Tick Bite ― Use tweezers to grasp the tick and quickly pull the tick from where it is attached. If your child experiences a rash, fever, or swelling at the bite, contact your pediatrician.

Playground Safety

  • Supervise young children on playground equipment at all times.
  • Keep children from shoving, pushing, or fighting around equipment.
  • Install a protective surface at least 6 feet in all directions from home equipment.
  • Use swing seats made of soft material, not wood or metal.
  • Install home playground equipment correctly. Place it on a level surface and anchor it firmly to the ground.
  • Check equipment often for loose nuts and bolts and broken, rusty, or sharp parts.
  • Install playground equipment at least 6 feet from fences or walls.
  • Check for hot metal surfaces on equipment, which could cause burns.
  • Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to playground equipment.

Travel Safety

Stay safe when traveling by car.

  • Always place infants and young children in a car safety seat.
  • Always place all children under 12 years of age in the rear seat of vehicles.
  • Wear a seat belt at all times, setting a good example for your children.
  • Entertain children by bringing soft, lightweight toys; books; and favorite CDs for a sing-along.
  • Never leave your children alone in a car, even for a minute. Temperatures inside the car can reach deadly levels in minutes, causing heat stroke.
  • Pack a first-aid kit, water, healthy snacks, hand wipes, hand-washing gel, diaper rash ointment, diapers, and a water- and insect-proof ground sheet for safe play outside.

Stay safe when traveling by airplane.

  • Allow extra time to get through security.
  • Discuss the security screening process with your children beforehand.
  • Know that the FAA allows children under age 2 to be held on an adult’s lap; however, it is recommended that each child has her own seat.
  • Pack a bag of toys, books, and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.
  • Feed your infant during take-off and landing to decrease possible ear pain. Older children can chew gum or drink water or juice through a straw.
  • Wash hands frequently; use hand-washing gel often.
  • Consult your pediatrician before flying with a newborn or infant who has chronic heart or lung problems or respiratory symptoms.
  • Consult your pediatrician if flying within two weeks of an ear infection or ear surgery.


Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Fun Friday Photo — June 17, 2011

Two-year-old Mae … the perfect picture of summertime and innocence!

110a_FunFridayPhoto_June17.jpgThanks to Bethany G. for this gret 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!


Former LifeBox Ministry Made a Difference to Soldiers Overseas

michaelkrause.jpg"After a month without a shower, it’s hard to describe the joy you get from a package of wet wipes." – Michael Krause

In our July issue, Darla Brantley writes about the LifeBox program. LifeWay Christian Resources in years past urged U.S. civilians to send a LifeBox to a soldier overseas. The LifeBox program no longer exists through LifeWay, but there’s no reason why you can’t use the same ideas in the article to send a care package to a soldier. These care packages include LifeWay magazines — such as ParentLife — which are uplifting and moral.

I hope you’ll watch this video of Second Lieutenant Michael Krause. He tells about a time of deep sorrow during which he recieved a LifeBox. It’s a beautiful testimony to the ministry.


What a wonderful opportunity to show our children how we can spread God’s love to the ends of the earth. I think I’ll be going to pick up a few flat rate boxes to fill with my daughter soon. — Jessie

And if you are a military wife, don’t miss LifeWay’s Bible study for military wives — Tour of Duty by Sara Horn.

What would you put in a LifeBox?