Archives for October 2011

October Giveaway Winners

holycuriosity.jpgCongratulations to the winners of our October giveaway! These five blessed commenters will receive a copy of Holy Curiosity by Amy Hollingsworth.

The winners are:

Once again, congratulations, and stay tuned for some more great giveaways in November!

Fun Friday Photo 10/28

Seven-month-old Asa likes making noise with his mouth AND with pots and pans!


Thanks Ashley S. for submitting this sweet picture.

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!

Ask and You Shall Receive by Becky Suggs

We are so excited to introduce Becky Suggs, who will be journaling her pregnancy here at ParentLife Online! I am thrilled to follow her journey to baby. Becky is currently 16 weeks pregnant with her first child, and she’s going to chronicle the ups and downs, joys and fears, and reality of expecting.

♡ pregnant


My husband and I were overjoyed when we found out we were pregnant with our first child. Having no idea what to do next, I turned to everything on the Internet I could find. Not the wisest thing I’ve ever done, but since we were keeping it a secret for a while, it was really the only source I knew to turn to.

After lots of surfing and reading, I realized the only thing reassuring me I was pregnant were the two lines on multiple pregnancy tests (I had to be sure, of course!) and a doctor’s visit that consisted of a nurse coming in and saying, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant.” No emotional highs or lows. No sickness. No moodiness. Nothing was different. I remember telling my husband one evening, “I really don’t feel pregnant. I mean, I wish I would get sick or something just to have something to ‘reassure’ me.” Oh, be careful what you wish for.

My sweet growing baby first helped me understand I was pregnant on a four-hour whale-watching trip in San Diego. While everyone oohed and aahed over the majestic whales in the ocean, I became good friends with the side of the boat.

This precious new life inside of me didn’t stop there. Multiple times a day, he (or she) reminded me things were progressing on the right track. Tears and questions of “why me” plagued me as I spent much of my time hovered over the toilet. When I felt at my very bottom, I remember crying out, “God, please make it stop.” I was quickly reminded, “This too shall pass. I am growing new life inside of you.”

Ask, My dear child, and you shall receive!


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Becky Suggs and her husband, Robert, live in the mountains of Glorieta, New Mexico, with their pug, Sadie. They are expecting their first child in April. In her spare time, you can find Becky reading, enjoying the great outdoors, filling in squares to the latest crossword puzzle, and spending time with family. She has a passion for both kids and camping ministries.

Products We Love, November 2011

Products We Love button

Every month we have a long list of products we want to share with you, but only a few can fit in the printed magazine. That’s why it’s so great we have this online space! Here are a few things we couldn’t squeeze into the November 2011 issue. comfyneckrest.jpgKeep Me Comfy Neckrest

Take this Cheeky Charlie neckrest along with you when you travel for the holidays. The little giraffe is adorable and makes for comfy naps in the carseat! $13 from Aurora Gifts.


countingchickensgame.jpgPeaceable Kingdom Cooperative Games

These games focus on team effort rather than winning and losing. Each game may be played in 10-20 minutes. Hoot Hoot Owl is Family Fun’s Toy of the Year for 2011! These games teach cooperation, social skills, and taking turns. Games retail for $14.99 each.


sproutchangediapers.jpgSprout Change from the Willow Store

Chili pepper. StringBean. BlueBerry, Coconut. Lemon Ice. No, no, don’t start salivating! This intriguing list describes color schemes for the Sprout Change line of reusable diaper shells and organic inserts. Hidden adjustments make them fit 4 to 40 pounds. Find them at $16.95 for shells, diaper inserts $6.95 each.

Do you have products you recommend to everyone you know?


Crayola Paint and Create App for iPad

Have you ever tried to entertain a toddler in a doctor’s office waiting room while juggling a diaper bag, purse, baby, and toys? It’s nearly impossible. Not to mention, many toddler toys are insanely loud, drawing rude stares from all around.

My daughter (3 this week) adores playing on her Nana’s iPad. There is something about the touchscreen that is so much easier for her than learning to use a mouse. She rarely gets computer time outside of Nana visits, which makes it all that more special.

Luckily enough, my mom (aka Nana) was here last week when Griffin Technology e-mailed us about their new Crayola Paint and Create App for the iPad. They sent me a free download so we could test it out.

crayolapaintandcreate.jpgWith more than 40 activities, Libbie could color with a vast array of virtual crayons, paintbrushes, markers, and colored pencils. This is no five-color-choice computer program; there were more shades of green than I had seen since my days in front of the 64-crayon box. Your finger mimics an actual coloring stroke and the program lets you pick the thickness of the stroke as well as a color-fill option.

For older kids, there are also dot-to-dots, mazes, puzzles, and color-by-numbers. All coloring "pages" can be saved, e-mailed, or posted onto Facebook.

While I definitely still encourage actual coloring/painting/drawing at home, the iPad app is sure less messy and easier for on-the-go time. The app is available for $2.99 in the app store on iTunes.

What apps for kids do your little ones love?

Fun Friday Photo 10/21

Elle, 5, always lets little brother Jacob, 1, be the prince when they play!



Thanks Shanda L. for this royally cute pic!

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!

Blended Life: Making Holiday Plans

Perhaps the hardest time to juggle a blended family is during the holidays. How should time be split? How do you even begin to decide? Here, our Blended Life author gives some tips on planning ahead for an excellent holiday season.

suitcases at the Brooklyn Flea


Never underestimate the power of traditions. Traditions play a crucial role in determining family identity. It is critical to make these changes of tradition as smooth as possible. Planning well can avoid the painful lack of security and loss of identity within blended families.

Sitting down with your co-parent and any stepparents well ahead of time is a must. Your motivation has to be the well-being of your children and the overall health of your families. Flexibility and sacrifice are central to creating an effective plan. Do what you can and accept what you can’t. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate and make changes in the best interest of the kids.

Discussion Points

  • Define your holidays. What do you consider to be a holiday? The big ones are usually obvious (Thanksgiving, Christmas), but sometimes smaller ones can carry great significance, such as having a family reunion scheduled around a certain holiday.
  • Reconsider holiday visitation schedules. Just because there is legal documentation establishing a plan does not mean it can’t be revised or altered if it is in the best interest of all parties. When parents remarry, that brings additional grandparents and potential traveling into the picture; be thoughtful of what all parties need and be flexible.
  • Kids are first. As you strive for consensus, remember to put the welfare of the children at the forefront of the process.

How do you decide on holiday plans with your blended family?

The Magic School Bus Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

Do you remember The Magic School Bus? Miss Frizzle, the wild elementary-school teacher, took her class on countless field trips: to the moon, inside a flower, anywhere her students could even imagine! Since the television show premiered in 1994, it’s never been off the air. The books have been around even longer, celebrating 25 years of field trips this year.

340309_294979580513788_151649008180180_1242435_1669986402_o.jpgTo bring in the anniversary with style, Miss Frizzle is currently touring New York City: she went to ComicCon, is visiting the Scholastic bookstore, and even closed the day by ringing the NASDAQ bell. 


A new video game featuring the Magic School Bus releases next week as well: Magic School Bus Oceans is $19.99 and available for the Nintendo DS.

Scholastic sent me a couple DVDs of Magic School Bus episodes, and I was instantly transported back to my childhood. Who didn’t love exploring space with Miss Frizzle and her class? [The Pluto references are slightly dated now, sadly!] My sister, an elementary-school teacher, says her third-grade class LOVED watching these videos and that the science information really does sink in when delivered by Miss Frizzle.

Do you remember The Magic School Bus? What was your favorite field trip they took?


You can stay caught up with the Magic School Bus festivities on their Facebook page, or play some fun games at

Child Friendships: What’s Your Child Looking For?

Friend talk

When it comes to making friends, boys and girls look for different qualities. While boys tend to look for friends to share activities with, such as athletics, science, chess, or karate, girls look for friends to talk with, whether they’re sharing activities or not, says Natalie Robinson-Garfield, a psychotherapist and author of The Sense Connection.

“On the surface, [girls’ friendships and boys’ friendships] might appear quite different,” says Richard Horowitz, a parenting coach and author of Family Centered Parenting. “Boys tend to be more hierarchical and will be more competitive with friends, including verbal put downs. Girls will be a bit more aware of their friends’ well-being and will be checking to make sure their friends are OK. However, both boys and girls can create an emotionally intimate relationship with a close friend and share vulnerabilities. Since it is more difficult for boys to get to this place, having a close male friend is really important in the life of a boy and young man.”

Studies show that the differences between girls’ friendships and boys’ friendships begin to narrow as children reach the preteen years. Regardless of what your child and his friend are doing together, the important thing is that they are learning to interact with and care about another person. “Even though both sexes go about doing it little differently, the need to relate and emotionally connect is the center theme,” says Simon Casey, Ph.D., a psychiatrist and author of Secrets to Emotional Wealth.

Have you noticed your children interacting differently as they make friends? Mine are still in the stage where they don’t really even play with others. I’m interested to watch them grow up, as I have one of either sex! – Jessie

Fun Friday Photo 10/14

Two-year-old Abbie applying her marker make-up just right. At least she didn’t color her teeth!


Thank you Beth B. for this sweet picture. I hope it was a washable marker!

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!