Jun 30 2010

Pool Safety Tips

A swimming pool can be very dangerous for children. If possible, do not put a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years. Help protect your children from drowning by doing the following:

  • Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. An adult who knows CPR should actively supervise children at all times.
  • Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years. This means that the adult is within an arm's length of the child at all times.
  • You must put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all 4 sides of the pool. This fence will completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children's reach.
  • Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
  • Do not use air-filled "swimming aids" as a substitute for approved life vests.
  • Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren't tempted to reach for them.
  • After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can't get back into it.
  • A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) may add to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool. Even fencing around your pool and using a power safety cover will not prevent all drownings.

Remember, teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water.

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Jun 30 2010

Talking Money

If you ever feel like there is too much month at the end of your money, you are not alone.  Danny Kofke, a special education teacher in Georgia, came to the conclusion that if he wanted to be able to support his family and continue to do the job he feels called to do, he needed to figure out how to live on teacher's salary.  In fact, he wrote a book - "How to Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher's Salary."

Danny says - "The number-one reason people are so far into debt is they don't know where the money is going," says Kofke, who is married with two daughters, ages four and one. "When we got married, we walked around with a pad for a month and wrote down everything we spent. After that we used a cash system -- we pulled $200 a week out of the ATM and left it in jar in our apartment. It's so much harder to spend the green stuff than swiping a piece of plastic through a machine."

For more tips, check out Danny's blog

Jun 28 2010

Ten Fun Things To Do With Your Teens

10 Fun Things To Do With Your Teens

1.    Reminisce
Most likely when you look at your teen, you still see the little child he once was. Pull out the old photos and videos and sit down with your older child. He will have so much fun seeing himself and hearing old stories. Another idea is to visit his elementary school. If you find past teachers, be sure to take pictures!

2.    Play sports
If your teen is into sports, get out there and play with hr. Good-natured competition teaches many great lessons. Put up a basketball goal in the driveway. Toss baseball or a football in the yard. Tennis. Soccer. So much fun to be had.

3.    Catch a flick
They might force you to take them to a theater none of their friends will be at, but go along with it. Make it a monthly date. Just you and your teens. Check out many different genres and talk about them afterwards. Girls will especially like the talking. If your teens are boys, maybe just go get a shake after and talk about the stuff that blew up.

4.    The great outdoors
Remember John Candy in that movie? He was trying to have fun with his teen also. There were a lot of mishaps and he was attacked by an angry bear, but the job got done. Whether you rent a cabin, rough it tough-guy style, or just go hiking for a day, get outside and have fun! God’s creation never disappoints.

5.    Big parks, big fun
Not much can rival the fun of a big amusement park. Wherever you live, there is one within driving distance. As long as you are in good health, get out there with your teen and have a blast. Do not be chicken to get on that big coaster! The shared adrenaline rush as your stomach feels like it leaves your body will be a moment neither of you will forget.

6.    Community service
It’s important your teen learns that the world really doesn’t revolve around him. This doesn’t have to be a tough lesson however. There are endless opportunities to volunteer that are rewarding as well as great fun. Working side by side with your teen for a cause bigger than yourselves will bond you in a mighty, joyous way.

7.    Hit the road
From coast to coast to everything in between, America consists of stunning beauty. Make sure your child gets to see it up close and personal. Find quirky places to visit.  Most of all, keep off the interstate when at all possible. The people, the food, the scenery and the fun will create shared, lifelong memories.

8.    Photo hunt
In the 90's, there was a television show called Northern Exposure. One of the main characters created a brilliant new way to hunt - with his camera. Take your teen on a nature hike with cameras in hand, and hunt the beautiful creatures and landscape. Take the time beforehand to learn what animals you may see and their behavior. This will keep you safe and the animals as well. Your child will learn an appreciation for the beauty of nature and all its living creatures, and you will both have great fun.

9.    Bowling
If it was good enough for Fred Flintstone, it’s good enough for you. Something about the game of bowling brings out the best in families. Have you ever seen many frowns at a bowling alley? Maybe it’s the simple nature of the sport and the obvious lack of pretension in the building that puts one at ease. Grab some of that fun bowling alley food and get ready for the big grins.

10. Let them decide
The whole point is to spend meaningful time with your child. Let her decide what she would like to do as long as it’s within reason. You may learn something you never knew about her or possibly even yourself. Give her control and go with the flow!


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Jun 28 2010

You Were Made to Make a Difference - Max Lucado

Pastor and author Max Lucado joins us again this morning talking about the concept of "outliving your life" - doing things each and every day that will have an eternal impact that will continue to make a difference long after you are gone.  For some ideas from Max, click here.

This idea - "outliving your life" is the subject of an upcoming book from Max and here's what Max has to say:

These are difficult days in our world’s history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God’s love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let’s live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did.

And is if a book wasn't enough, this Fall Max will be hitting the road sharing from his heart and also sharing the stage with Michael W. Smith, Third Day and Toby Mac on The Make a Difference Tour 2010.  For more on the tour (tickets went on sale last week), go here.