Kids Say the Funniest Things

Have your kids said some funny things recently? Send us a funny and true story involving your child. Email your story to parentlife@lifeway.com. If we publish your story, you will receive $20. Please include your name, address, email address, and daytime phone number. Submissions should be 25 to 150 words. Stories may be edited for clarity and length.

Real Life Solutions With Dr. Linda Mintle

1. Last Christmas, we were really surprised by how poorly our children behaved when we visited our families. I know they are toddlers, but they really acted up. We’d like to do a little prevention this year so we don’t repeat last year. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Remind yourself that during the holidays, kids are out of their routine, sleep in strange beds, get little sleep, eat too much sugar, and get a lot of attention from family members. This disruption of normal can lead to acting out more than usual. Planning ahead is a good idea. The best prevention is to try and stick with some type of schedule—feed the kids at regular times even when there is a late or special meal, get them to bed no matter their begging to stay up late because you recognize how sleep deprivation influences their behavior, take naps to handle less sleep, monitor their food intake rather than giving them free reign to cookies and desserts, allow for some quiet and down time in a room by themselves, and nip whining and begging in the bud so they don’t escalate to tantrums. There is a fine line between excitement and melt down! If you need to discipline, don’t hesitate. Take them into another room and reinforce your rules and expectations and consequences. And it really helps to get them outside to play whenever possible. I also like structured activities like crafts and games. Even though you may feel this is your time to relax because you are in the home of your parents, stay on top of your children and let them know that they are not allowed to wander the house and do what they please. I’ve seen too many parents collapse at their parents’ houses because of exhaustion and needing a break, and then let the kids do whatever. This is not good for the kids and places an undo burden on grandparents. So even though it is a holiday and you are on vacation, stay consistent and involved even when grandparents and relatives are enjoying your kids. It will make everything go so much better.

Resource: You can’t make me (but I can be persuaded), revised by Cynthia Tobias (Waterbrook, 2012).

Giveaway: My Mama and Me

My mama and me

One of a mother’s most important jobs is to share her faith with her children. Mother-and-daughter team Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley provide a perfect way for moms with young children (ages 0–5) to share their faith through the gift of reading with the release of their new book, My Mama and Me, from Tyndale Kids.

My Mama and Me features delightful illustrations and 25 devotions that are designed to answer four questions:
• Can you tell me about God?
• Can you tell me about Jesus?
• What does God think about me?
• How can I show God I love him?

Each devotion includes a rhyming story that teaches children about God, a Scripture verse, a prayer, and a fun activity that reinforces the theme. The book ends with a touching prayer every mother will want to pray for her children.

My Mama and Me encourages mothers to grow closer to God and to their children as they spend time together. The book is a companion to Bowman’s My Grandma and Me, which was a resource for grandmothers to pass their faith on to their grandchildren.

ParentLife has 5 copies of this great book to giveaway to our readers! Enter through the form below (only open to U.S. residents).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take an Annual Family Review

In the December issue, Melissa Spoelstra discussed the benefits of taking an annual family review. Here is an example of a simple annual review adapted from one her family often used in the book by Joe White, What Kids Wish Their Parents Knew about Parenting:

1 means a little, 5 means a lot
1. I know that mom and dad love each other
1 2 3 4 5

2. My dad thinks I am special
1 2 3 4 5

3. My mom thinks I am special
1 2 3 4 5

4. My friends like me
1 2 3 4 5

5. I want to know and serve God
1 2 3 4 5

6. If mom or dad is busy doing something and I need to talk to them, they usually stop what they are doing to find out what I need
1 2 3 4 5

7. When I tell mom or dad about something exciting that happened at school, they listen and get excited too.
1 2 3 4 5

8. I believe that dad knows the “real” me
1 2 3 4 5

9. I believe that mom knows the “real” me
1 2 3 4 5

10. When I need help or am sad, I usually talk to my parents about it
1 2 3 4 5

11. When I have my own kids, I will treat them like my parents treat me
1 2 3 4 5

12. I feel I have a really close relationship with my dad
1 2 3 4 5

13. I feel I have a really close relationship with my mom
1 2 3 4 5

14. One thing I wish my parents would do more is…..

15. One thing I wish my parents would stop doing is…..

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here at ParentLife, we are so thankful for each and every one of you. This year, we want you to share with us what you are thankful for. Leave a comment here, or come visit us at our Facebook page.

Make a Difference

Are you looking for more ways your family can make a difference?

Check out this great post by ParentLife write Kristen Welch at her blog, We Are THAT Family.

“100+ Ways for Your Family to Make a Difference

1. Babysit for a single mom
2. Teach compassion with a Family Giving Box
3. Write a Family Mission Statement
4. Bake cookies for your local fire dept.
5. Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip…”

Read the rest at We Are THAT Family.

Becoming Others Focused

Because kids are naturally concerned about receiving approval and admiration, they’re tempted to be self-promoting, wanting to look better than others. This self-promotion sometimes translates into greediness, gossip, and griping. The good news is, most kids are also naturally compassionate and empathetic when they understand that someone else is suffering. They are eager to help and give.
Talk with your child about the reasons selfishness is so tempting—and so empty in its aims. Tell about times you have seen selfishness hurt a friendship or a group of people. Your child may not even realize what her lack of thankfulness looks like.

Then discuss how thankfulness and generosity can make a difference. A person’s life can be transformed with the kindness of another person. Schools and communities benefit, too. Expose your child to the stories of lives changed through a Christmas shoebox, a child sponsorship, or the help of a Southern Baptist missionary to reinforce that we were created to live with a concern for others, not just ourselves.

To practice becoming other-focused, make a “Thankful Notebook.” At the top of each page, write a person’s name or category, like physical, emotional, mental, educational, or spiritual. On the page, write specific ways God blesses you with that person or in that area. For example, on a sibling’s page, a child may write: “She plays with me,” or “He tells funny jokes.” Periodically practice thankfulness by writing in the notebook—especially as part of correction for wrong attitudes.

Mawmaw’s Apple Cake Recipe

MawMaw’s Apple Cake
2 cups peeled, chopped apples
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all-spice or nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Place flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and all-spice in a bowl. Stir with a whisk until the ingredients are mixed into a fine powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Begin stirring together wet and dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add in apples and nuts and stir until just mixed. Spread the batter into a 9 x 13-inch cake pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.

Apple Dumplings Recipe

Apple Dumplings
2 apples
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
6 tablespoons salted butter (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces Mountain Dew® (1/2 can)
1-3 teaspoons cinnamon sugar

Peel and core the apples. Cut the apples into quarters. Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Roll each piece of apple inside a crescent roll triangle and place in two rows in the pan. Melt the butter, sugar, and water in a sauce pan over medium heat until the butter is just melted. Do not bring this mixture to a boil; the sugar should remain grainy. Stir in the vanilla. Pour this sweet butter sauce over the dumplings in the baking dish. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on each dumpling. Pour Mountain Dew® around the outside and down the middle of the pan. Cover the pan loosely with foil. Bake the dumplings in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil after the first 15 minutes.

She Gives Me Courage by Ellen Stumbo

As soon as we walked into the dental office I knew we would be in for quite the experience. My youngest daughter -who has Down syndrome – also has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). While there are many kids that struggle at the dentist, take a kid with SPD and you take “difficult” to a new level.

She had two cavities. We also recognized getting those cavities taken care of at the dentist’s office wasn’t going to happen. The solution? Dental work under general anesthesia at the hospital.

Think about that for a minute, a surgical protocol just to get teeth cleaned, X-rays redone, and her cavities fixed.

The morning of the appointment, the anesthesiologist came to talk to us about procedure. We discussed the sedative they give so that kids get drowsy and don’t remember. I brought up the fact that at the Children’s hospital they wouldn’t give that to her, because kids with Down syndrome have low muscle tone, and it can compromise their airway. He said he wasn’t concerned about it, I asked how many kids with Down syndrome they see on a regular basis. I also asked him what steps he would take if her airway did indeed collapse, and I asked about her neck positioning.

I’ve come a long way. When my daughter was first born, I was bullied by a nurse. She’d given me false information, she treated me like I knew nothing about Down syndrome or my daughter. That experience changed me. The nice pastor’s wife was going to raise her voice once in a while. Just don’t mess with my kids. So I learned to come in with research to back up everything I brought up, and soon I was educating the nurse, and teaching her a thing or two about Down syndrome.

And here I was, six years later, asking questions about my child’s safety and emotional well being. The anesthesiologist looked at me like I had two heads, but he answered my questions, and I felt comfortable with a decision we reached together.

And that is when I realized that my daughter has changed me. She’s turned me into this woman that has courage she never knew was there. Willing to stand up to medical professionals, and hold her ground. And maybe that is who we become as mothers, we become courageous, because we realized that we have to stand up for someone else, and we lay down our lives for them.

Ellen Stumbo Head ShotEllen Stumbo is a writer and speaker. She is the mother of three daughters: Ellie; Nichole, who has Down syndrome; and Nina, who was adopted and also has special needs. She is wife to Andy, a pastor. Visit her at ellenstumbo.com