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June/July 2011

of Central Alabama

As a ministry of Jesus Christ, AGAPE is a faith-based organization devoted to providing, preserving and protecting families so every child will have a safe and nurturing environment in which to grow. Agape currently has 2 great needs, and we are humbly asking for you to consider how you can help:


African American homes who are interested in adopting African American children - Call us at 272-9466 or e-mail if you would like to discuss the possibility of opening your heart and home to a child in need. We’d love to talk with you!


Foster homes for every age and race -If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to take care of one of the 500,000 children in foster care, we’d like to invite you to our Informational Foster Care Dinner on May 26. You’ll hear real-life experiences from some of our current foster parents. It will be a casual and non-threatening way to learn more and to ask questions of the ones who really know what it’s like - the foster parents!

Informational Foster Care Dinner

Thursday, May 26, 6-8pm

Vaughn Park Church of Christ, Montgomery, AL Register: or 272-9466

Please let us know how many will be attending with you. Childcare will be provided for children up to 10 years old. Please specify children’s ages. Cost: FREE

features Summer Safety Guide 35 Sweet Summertime 73 A Huck Finn Party 92

photo by Paddy +Lily

Resort Reviews 101

departments Mom Time 11 My Adoption Story, Backyard Booty Busters, Moment-by-Moment, Stuff We Love, Super Southern Child, Threads of Love, Amazing Southern Mom, Camp SeaStar

Dixie Land Design 51 A Modern-Day Play Kitchen

photo by Rena Durham

Southern Style 59 Cute clothes by Laken and Lila, Appaman, Fore! Axel and Hudson, Sweet Funky Vintage, Zozobugbaby, and more

Reading and Learning 115 Homegrown Scholars, Product Reviews, Media Reviews

Cover photo: Zozobugbaby Photography For advertising info, contact Media kit available at 3

Jeep Liberty Limited by Amy Smith

So after many years of going from here to there in the monster mom van, I was all about sporting it in the Jeep Liberty Limited! Oh, it’s a stroller, they weren’t actually offering me a “real” Jeep Liberty Limited. Okay, I’m still game. I am still not certain how the words Jeep and Limited actually fit together, I wanted to see if this Jeep really had any limits. In my, I mean when I was a teenager, I always “heard” about Jeeps and mud and rugged terrain and NO LIMITS. (Heard about mom, I only heard those stories.) I was up for the challenge, I wanted to see how limited this Jeep really was! The boys and I loaded up and headed out to St. Andrews State Park on Panama City Beach, Florida. The mixed terrain put this bad boy to the test, result, a pass with flying colors!! We went over the river (okay, so it was a small drainage area, but when you’re two and a half, it’s a river!) and through the woods, the real woods. In the woods I became a little son began spotting bears...polar Florida. But he keep beeping the horn on the “I drive” entertainment toy that also includes car sounds and music and I ran faster and faster, and FASTER... up the hills, down the hills, over the tree roots, across the boardwalk... until we came to....beach sand! Beach sand and a stroller, what a great combination! NOT! And then I found out this stroller was a.k.a., The Jeep Liberty Unlimited Beach Terrain! My stroller showed that sand who’s boss, his rugged 12” inflatable tires of course! It was so much fun, we did that trail twice that day and bought the family year pass at the gate on the way out of the park! And go back several times a week. As for the bears, apparently they aren’t wild about the Barney tunes we play on the iBaby™ sound system, which easily connects to your iPod®, MP3 player, or in my case, Blackberry. Today, though, in between songs, it was quiet, and my son whispered, “Hear that mommy?” “What is it?” I questioned. He cautiously whispered, “a ghost.”

Publisher’s Letter Happy Summer! Being a true waterbug, it is totally my favorite time of the year. And how thankful I am that God chose a home for me on the bay in Panama City, Florida! One night not long ago I was in my backyard reminding my little dog he is supposed to go in the grass, not on the carpet, when I heard a dolphin surface. Suddenly it hit me, when I was a little girl I would lay in my bed and pray at night for long hair and dolphins in my backyard. Dolphins in my backyard wasn’t realistic in Wetumpka, Alabama, but that was what I wanted and I prayed for it! Thirty years later, I have dolphins in my backyard and to God I give great glory! I started to wonder, am I encouraging my children to talk to God about their dreams, not matter how silly they sound? Heck, am I still talking to God about my own dreams (and some of those are still pretty silly)? Am I teaching my children that God may answer their prayer tonight, thirty years from now, or never, yet the only way for us to know if the dreams in our head are the desires of His heart, is to ask Him. Matthew 21:21-22 reads, Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” My prayers continue to rise up for the dreams of each of our foster children, the dreams of finding a family to call their very own. Please invite your friends to read our free magazine. Recently my girlfriend of twenty years mentioned she was feeling now was the time for her and her husband to adopt, I had no idea the thought had even crossed her mind! We never know who will see a child on one of our pages and know in their heart, that is their child. Yet we know if we can get the world looking, we CAN get the children adopted! Thank you all for your continued support. Warm wishes for a fun, family summer!



Editor’s Letter Dear Friends, Ah, sweet summer time in the south! Excuse me while I kick off my flip flops and soak in the sun. My childhood days in the summer were spent in bare feet running through thick green bermuda grass. We would find any and every excuse to be out in the yard. Lazy summer days were spent shucking sweet corn into a big metal bowl, snapping peas, and grabbing the laundry off the line just before a summer storm rolled through. We ended the night by the light of fireflies and the squeak of the old porch swing. In this issue, we recreate those simpler times while creating new memories for our sweet southern children. My prayer is that those children needing forever homes can find their own southern family to start building these “summer to remember” traditions. As you get ready for starry summer nights and long days by the sea, I hope you will find Southern Child Magazine a great resource. Our summer edition offers tips on grilling up a Fourth of July feast, keeping the kids safe, a classic Huck Finn party, firefly lanterns and more. So when you are looking for new treasures to share and memories to make, I hope you will kick off your flops, grab your glass of sweet tea and open Southern Child - a little down home read! Hugs and Southern Love,



Children in Waiting

What a cute duo! Don’t you want to make them part of your family? This sibling set of two hopes to grow up together in a family that they can call their own. Gabriela is a girly girl who loves to sing, dance and color. She is just like any little girl next door who loves to play with dolls and watch cartoons. Gabriela is healthy and developmentally on target. Albert is making great strides in his development. He is energetic, loving and a real people person. Albert has more challenges to overcome as he is diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Mental Retardation, Horizontal Nystagmus, Developmental Delays, ADHD and Insomnia. He receives Regional Center Services and is making steady progress. This lovely sibling set really enjoys spending time together. They eat well, sleep well and get along well with other. More information can be found here.

Daquane, Tiara, Emani and Nasir are four very close siblings. They take pride in their relationship and bond. They are quick to praise one another and call each other out when warranted. Daquane would like to work with animals when he is older. He enjoys video games and skateboarding. He loves to read as well. Tiara is great at track and has been active in other sports, including volleyball. She is also a good artist. She is quick to let you know how she is feeling. Emani is very outgoing and enjoys playing with her dolls. She enjoys bike riding, too. Nasir loves art and sports. He has also played softball and soccer. All of the children require structure, clear rules and expectations, and supervision. They are involved in counseling and psychiatric services to address emotional and behavioral issues. They would benefit from a family that is patient, nurturing, structured and disciplined. For more information on Daquane, Tiara, Emani and Nasir, contact their worker Jennifer Cranston at (330) 996-1064 or 8

Children in Waiting

Austin, born December 2002, has a cleft palate which can make his speech a little difficult to understand. He enjoys school and loves the outdoors. Austin likes working in the yard and playing basketball. He is well mannered and somewhat shy. He enjoys helping others. Austin also likes playing video games. Tonya, born March 2001, enjoys going to school and loves to read. She is well mannered and very talkative. She is very active and outgoing.Tonya enjoys helping others. Tonya also enjoys watching television and playing video games. She also loves animals. Patrick, born January 2004, enjoys school and loves the outdoors. Patrick is well mannered and very active. He is small for his age but makes up for it with his outgoing personality. Patrick is talkative and loves to help others. He loves basketball and enjoys playing video games. Austin, Tonya and Patrick have a close relationship and would like to be placed together. They would like to have a forever family who enjoy outdoor activities and going places. For more information visit

Dallas, born March 1997, is an intelligent boy who loves school. Dallas enjoys videos games and drawing. He strives to make good grades so that he can go to college. He would like to be a Hematologist when he grows up so that he can help find a cure for cancer. He is a very caring young man. Dallas has a sister that he must remain in contact with. For more information visit


Deryck, age 15 Colorado

Stay fit and have fun! Deryck loves to play sports, especially football and soccer, and keeping in shape by lifting weights is fun too. Like most teens, he's always up for video games, but when there's options like camping and fishing, they win hands down! Deryck had the opportunity to fly a small airplane and remarked that that event was his greatest memory. In the eighth grade, Deryck thrives on structure and benefits from counseling, which will need to continue after placement. Deryck hopes to remain in contact with his brother and his mentor. His caseworker will consider all family types for him. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related expenses. For Colorado children, both homestudied and non-homestudied Colorado families are encouraged to inquire; only homestudied families from other states should do so. Child ID 6234

For more information about Deryck or other waiting children like him, please contact The Adoption Exchange at 800-451-5246 or visit our website at




Angels in Adoption

It is often said that angels are all around us. One of KVC’s foster and adoptive families was recently honored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute as one of its Angels in Adoption. Although their wings are not visible, Kathy and Lon Ostrom are truly guardian angels to many of KVC’s foster children.They have fostered more than 20 children since 2006, providing a safe home for KVC kids, including trauma and abuse victims and children with high medical needs. In 2007, 3-year-old Eli and his sister, 20-month-old Annie, came to KVC after the death of their biological mother. During this difficult time, the Ostroms fostered Eli and Annie and provided the love and support necessary for them to heal emotionally. Then in October 2007, the Ostroms began fostering 3-month-old Skylar, who needed care to heal physically after he was severely abused. When they took him in he had bruises and broken bones, and they wondered if he would ever recover. 12

Hope came after a few weeks of nurturing and caring for Skylar. “I remember holding him one afternoon while giving him his bottle,” Kathy said, “when he looked at me and sighed as if to say, Finally, I’m safe; I’m home.” Skylar really was home. Kathy, Lon and their two biological sons, 19-year-old Brandan and 17-yearold Brooks, became Eli, Annie and Skylar’s Forever Family in 2010. The Ostroms continue to foster KVC kids, even though they will soon have six children of their own. They have been fostering 12-year-old Jay’La since January 2010, and they can’t wait to adopt her as the newest member of their family. KVC Health Systems, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation providing medical and behavioral healthcare, social services and education to children and families. Each day KVC touches the lives of more than 25,000 children and families.


Restorative Grief Cynthia’s parents divorced before she was 2 and she began being sexually abused at around the age of four by a trusted family friend. This forever altered the course her life would take. As a child, she carried tremendous pain and shame for the indiscretions she suffered due to this betrayal of trust. Her scars ran deep, and she felt her value came from being desired. As she got older and searched harder for unconditional love and acceptance, she was willing to give anything in exchange for it. This resulted in her having a total of 5 crisis pregnancies: 2 with her choosing to parent (one of which has special needs), 2 with her choosing abortion, and 1 with her choosing an adoption. Cynthia knows the hearts of women facing crisis pregnancies, and she understands it all to the very core of her being. God has placed a burning passion inside her to help these women rise above their circumstances to become who God created them to be. Her heart’s desire is for women to see themselves as their Father God sees them, not how the world sees them. Cynthia’s adoption experience was very open, and her son Joshua’s adoptive family has literally become her extended family. She didn’t realize that this was not the “normal” adoption experience until she starting meeting other birthmothers who were years out of their adoptions and still suffering. She found that many birthmothers had felt post-adoption counseling was too painful so they declined it. The women she heard give testimonies were short on value and heavy laden with baggage. Thus, they were going through their lives trying to cope with the grief and never coming full circle to the healing God meant for them to have. Although there were many stories, all it took was hearing a few for God to sear Restorative Grief into her heart. Prior to Restorative Grief, Cynthia had never considered writing, let alone done any, bearing further testament

that the writings in this book were completely Godinspired and written for the “soul” purpose of healing broken hearts. All she did was say, “Yes, Lord.” The world has overlooked and/or seriously underestimated the grief a mother incurs when she places her child for adoption, but God holds these women dear to His heart and His desire is for them to know and understand that fact. Adoption agencies across the country offer postadoption counseling but many women are too heartbroken to continue the counseling once they give birth. Along the path of healing from her own adoption, and then while working as a crisis pregnancy/birthmother counselor, she met other women walking the same road, but doing it alone. She began to see a pattern in all of these women. Most did not do post-adoption counseling; they would instead turn to destructive yet comfortable old habits, while still drowning in their heartbreak daily, sometimes even years later. Cynthia began to realize that her healing was the exception more than the rule. Through that realization, God seared the need to write Restorative Grief into her heart. God loves his birthmothers and honors the selfless, sacrificial love they have for their children. He desires more than anything to reveal His intense love for these women by not only healing their pain, but restoring the broken pieces of their lives. Restorative Grief was written with just such a goal in mind; not only to stop the pain, but for each woman reading it to gain a new identity that is rooted in Christ. Cynthia Christensen, her husband Eric, and her two boys, Kasey and Noah, reside in Longmont, CO. Cynthia is a trained crisis pregnancy counselor as well as a birthmother counselor. When she isn’t writing, she home-schools her children and is studying for her Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry. Follow Cynthia on her blog:


Celebrating Adoption “What made you decide to adopt?” That’s the question I always get when strangers see the glowing little brown girl holding my pale hand. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for hurting children. As a teenager I dutifully sent my monthly gift to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, all because the commercial got me one day. I was also haunted by the images I saw of the small African children holding a pail of dirty water with gnats swarming all around their precious faces. Did I want to make a difference in the world? Absolutely! But, for me, it didn’t all fall into place as easily as I’d hoped.

The long roller coaster of adoption began with a worried stare from my doctor. I knew I was putting my life in jeopardy every time I became pregnant. I’d been earlier diagnosed with severe endometriosis 14

by Cindy Sanders

and blocked fallopian tubes. Since I’m a bit stubborn, it took a total of three ectopic pregnancies, two emergency surgeries, and three rounds of a chemotherapy drug call methotrexate before I was convinced. Still, I could never give up on my dream of a family. My husband reminded me of a conversation we’d had early in our dating years. We had talked about having several biological children and then adopting a child from a foreign country. His memory shed new light on the darkness in our empty nursery. I researched “international adoptions” on the internet and found an agency called “Children of the World”. I looked under the requirements for each country. Surprisingly, we were too young for most of the countries’ thirty year age requirement. Then I clicked “India” and saw a picture of a little girl with caramel skin and shiny black hair. It was at that moment that I

MY ADOPTION STORY knew I’d climb the highest mountain and take on the beast of adoption for this Indian princess. So, the process began. We had to submit an initial application, then another detailed application, and then a small fee to make sure we were serious about adoption. We called the agency and spoke with the kindest woman who not only managed the company, but also had adopted several children from all over the world. We corresponded through multitudes of paperwork, anything from physicals from our doctors to bank statements. We also had a wonderful social worker who came to our home several times and asked unsettling questions like, “How do you handle situations when you get angry?” When all the paperwork was said and done, what we were left with was four inches of documentation called a dossier. Each time we’d think everything was ready to go, we’d get a call to redo something or add something else. Finally, the day arrived when it was time to send our big packet of paper to India. We set it on its way, and began the wait. Finally, Mrs. Pat from Children of the World called and told me to check my email. She had a picture of a possible orphan that we could accept or reject. I immediately responded, “We want her!” without even reading her profile or seeing her picture. Of course, we followed protocol and wrote a letter of acceptance. We jumped through hoops, stood on our heads, shook one leg, and even ended up calling our state representative when we couldn’t get cooperation from Homeland Security. Over a year passed from the time we first saw the picture until the flight to India. We prayed, lost sleep, made phone calls, hosted fund-raisers, and prayed some more. My husband wound up making the trip to India alone. He stayed there for three days before finally boarding a twenty-one hour flight home. Any mother you ask can likely call up the memory of first laying eyes on her child without a moment’s hesitation. Mine is brought to the front of my mind just as easily, although it usually comes along with a giggle. Having grown up deep in the south, I’d sent a “coming home” dress for her – a beautiful white smocked dress with pink ribbon details. When I first set my eyes

upon her, all I could see where the whites of her eyes and the muddled white dress as she clung to my husband’s chest. Her arms were emaciated from malnutrition, her skin was darkened from dehydration, and her head had been shaved – whether due to Indian ritual or head lice, we’re still not sure. And I had her in a smocked dress like a young girl’s baby doll! This was the first of many experiences that introduced me to the reality of motherhood. It’s not always the pretty picture you envisioned, although what you experience is often more profound than you could have imagined. After bringing her home, we endured a two week period of “adjustments” that were much like having a colicky baby. She would cry, and I would cry. But after a few weeks, I noticed a new sparkle in her eye. She began to smile, then laugh. And she’s never stopped. Selah is the happiest child I’ve ever known. She laughs at the dinner table, in the bathtub, at bedtime, when she falls, in her pink polka-dotted chair watching t.v., in the back seat of the car. . . wherever she goes. She’s grown into a “typical” little girl. She talks constantly about princesses and ballerinas. She loves Barbie, lip gloss, and jewelry. To know Selah is to know true happiness. Her light spreads to everyone she encounters. She tells me constantly that she loves me, and I can’t even begin to imagine my life without my little Indian princess. So, when people ask me why I decided to adopt, I usually make a vague response like, “We always knew we wanted to adopt, it just happened in a different order than our plan.” They see a shopping cart full of happy children (with God, all things are possible!), not the exhausting adoption roller-coaster or the painful rounds of Invitro. In my heart I know that I didn’t choose adoption – it was all part of the purposefully designed plan for Selah to enlighten my life. I didn’t change her life by rescuing her from an orphanage, she changed my life and rescued me. While I may not have given birth to Selah, she brought forth the birth of my motherhood. How wonderful it is to know that a God that created the oceans in the hollow of His hand was mindful enough of the hole in my small heart to fill it with a princess that was an entire world away. 15


Backyard Booty Busters by Amy Smith Swing Me and Squat My children could swing for hours, as did I when I was a child. I have found many ways to make the most of swing time. While pushing my children on the swing, I do squats. When doing squats, you want to keep your back tall, abdominal muscles tight (which I am finding is somewhat of a joke these days), squeeze your buttock muscles and remember not to let your knees extend past your toes. As an exercise the squat has incredible benefits for flexibility, balance, neuromuscular coordination, total body strength, and even gastrointestinal health. When the squat is performed correctly, virtually every muscle in the body is moving in a coordinated effort. The powerful muscles of the hips and legs generate force that is then transmitted into the functional core of the body. Once sound squat mechanics are developed intensity levels can be increased to illicit an incredible endogenous (created from within the body) neuroendocrine response. When this happens the body will naturally produce more testosterone, insulin-like growth hormone, and human growth hormone (HGH). Bone density increases and muscles and connective tissue get stronger. Dribble, Dribble, Shoot, Shoot Nothing like a game of hoops to elevate your heart rate and burn calories. I rarely even touch the ball, yet the running around and trying to get it is actually fun…and funny to my boys! Dribbling exercises are great for “waving triceps” You know, that part of your arm that hangs down like a turkey wattle when you wave goodbye. You know the flab you can NEVER get to leave! Jump Rope for Jiggles Are you ready for this; jumping rope obliterates calories--up to 1,000 an hour, and rocks your heart rate on par with running, but without the joint-jarring impact! Even a 15 – 20 minute workout will burn lots of fat and help improve your overall fitness level. 16

According to Men’s Fitness writer, Roy M. Wallack, “It does wonders for your agility, posture, balance, reflexes and coordination, improving your prowess in games of Hacky sack. It blasts your calves, tones your delts and arms, and fires your abs.” Step Up, Step Down If you have a toddler and a tree-house, you perhaps spend lots of time at the bottom of the steps. This is a perfect opportunity to reclaim the skills you learned in step aerobics. It is a little more challenging considering these steps are smaller than your aerobic step and most are at an angle, but if you have good balance, it can be done. You want to be certain not to lean forward. If stepping up and down is difficult, simply do toe taps, lifting your knee up and tapping the step.

HEALTH & FITNESS groups had better balance, a lowered heart rate, and improved insulin sensitivity after the three-month training was complete.’ There are a few reasons why soccer is so great for you – first of all, the constant stopping, starting, and turning around are components of any great interval workout. Playing soccer, in a way, is like one giant interval workout. Also, physically, soccer is a more taxing sport—with all of the sprinting, kicking, stops, and sudden starts; the heart is working near max capacity.

Just Kicking It Like basketball, soccer keeps you in motion and when you are moving, you are losing. I am not a fan of running, but when I do it with a ball between my feet, Iactually enjoy it. In an innovative new Denmark study, researchers found that a group of ‘couch potatoes’ transformed into fit individuals following three months of soccer training, even reaping more health benefits than a group who jogged for three months. A third group in the study served as a control, with no exercise participation. The participants in the soccer and jogging conditions completed three hours per week of exercise. After three months, the subjects in the soccer group had lost (on average) 7.3 pounds of fat and gained 3.7 pounds of muscle. The jogging group subjects lost an average of 4 pounds and had no significant change in muscle. Additionally, the soccer group showed a dramatic reduction in LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Both

Water Work Out We live on the bay and I still love getting out in the water to play just as much as my children. No more flipping and jumping off the dock for me, but I do put on a lifejacket and tread water while also participating as the audience watching my children and their friends jump and flip and do their silly tricks. In the pool, I swim around holding on to a noodle or a boogie board. If everyone is in the deep end, I can actually read a book while walking from side to side in the shallow end. The resistance of water gives strength and flexibility, leading to better muscular endurance and balance. It provides buoyancy and support for the body, making it less likely for the muscle, bone and joint to get injured. Water supports up to 80% of your weight, thereby causing less strain on the joints, back and torso, when compared to exercises performed on land. The reduced effect of gravitational force in water leads to improved flexibility in the body. The joints can be easily moved through a wider range of motion, which makes water aerobics all the more beneficial as we age. Since there is no joint pain caused, you can perform the exercise without any kind of anxiety. Also, one tends to get quicker results exercising in the water, than on land. Water exercises prove to be extremely beneficial in terms of cardiovascular conditioning. In such an exercise, the heart rate is maintained at a lower rate, when compared to cycling or running. The heart seems to work better when you indulge in water fitness. Moms, get moving!! 17

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“It Ain’t Fittin, It Just Ain’t Fittin” by Monika Hawkins |

One of my all time favorite movies is “Gone With The Wind.” I love the dresses, the horses, the bar-b-ques at Twelve Oaks and most of all I love Mammy. Mammy was Miss Scarlett’s servant, but had

her opinion been valued a little more I have a feeling the story would have ended differently. Mammy took issue with Miss Scarlet and her many beaus. Her exact words concerning Miss Scarlet’s alluring dress and “heading out into the night air without her shawl”were “It Ain’t Fittin, It Just Ain’t Fittin.” I agree with Mammy. There are a lot of things these days that “just ain’t fittin.” I wish girls even considered wearing clothes as covering as what Miss Scarlett wore. Young girls fashion “ain’t fittin.” The words children use these days “ain’t fittin.” The movies and music that people of all ages listen to “just ain’t fittin.” Maybe I born in the wrong decade, but I shake my head like Mammy quite a bit. It may not be revealing skin or causing others to stumble and it is definitely not an inappropriate movie, but I have always shaken my head and felt that little boys who wear cowboy boots with shorts “just ain’t fittin.” I mean where are their mommy’s when they are getting dressed and do they have no sense of pride when it comes to their child’s fashion.

Maybe I am growing weary after 4, but I actually find my little guy with his shorts and boots pretty cute. “Fittin??” Maybe not, but yesterday afternoon on our way to the soccer field this was a battle I chose not to fight. He had on shoes and his feet were protected. Protection!! That is what I pray for my children. I pray that God will protect them from sin and harm. I pray he will protect them from lust, pornography and forward women.I pray that God would hem them in. I pray that His hedges of protection would be high and thick. I pray that He will go before them and come behind them. I pray that the Lord will guard their heart and their minds in Him. I have become more concerned about protecting their hearts and minds than what protects their feet. It may not be “fittin” but

I have to pick my battles. The Lord has brought me to a place of weighing what is “fittin” and what is not by what is holy and what is not. What will make my children more like Christ and what will take away from their walk with Him? I choose my battles accordingly. According to this worlds’ standards, a lot of our decisions are not “fittin.” They are not popular and are often times not understood by others, but that’s ok. It is a matter of stewardship and we are stewards for a time of these precious little boys. To live a life that is “fittin” and holy, we are going to be misunderstood. Jesus was, but he was “fittin.” Do we seek to be “fittin” according to this world or are we “fittin” according to the standard of Christ? When I stand before Him on that day of judgement I do not want to hear, “you weren’t fittin, you just weren’t fittin.”

Monica Hawkins is available for inspirational speaking engagements


Stuff we Love

SmartTrike photos:





1 The smarTrikeTrike is designed for babies 10 months - 36 months! Many safety features for smaller babies and just as many fun features for your child as he or she grows and grows! Parents steer the product with the unique adjustable handle. The built-in clutch gives the option of ride control to either the parent or the child. Fitted with a safety harness, and for 15 months onwards with a seat belt, the product provides a safe and comfortable way for getting your child around. The functional, washable seat cover coordinated with the fashionable printed material canopy gives a fun, trendy look to the product. Winner of the Toy Innovation Award 2009. | 2 The Original Fortamajig allows kids to build any space anywhere! This toy is based on the age-old past time of building forts and engaging kids in creative play. Imagine building a fort, teepee, tunnel, canopy - just about anything - out of one single ingenious square of material! Kids can make a custom play spaces by attaching the built in stretchy loops to chair backs, stair rails, doorknobs, tree branches... you name it! | 3 The trend-setting, go anywhere Piggyback Rider child carrier is a shoulder mounted foot bar for a child to stand on. On adventures year round, parent and child bond in active transport. | 4 Simply ingenious HABA’s Water Seesaw - The seesaw controls the flow of water, introduces movement to water games, includes struts to bridge valleys and build slopes, flexible construction, versatile play system. Can be used in the sandpit, on the meadow or at the beach. 22






5 noblo Umbrella Buddy Created by two moms concerned about the dangers of unsecured beach umbrellas blowing around on the beach, The noblo Umbrella Buddy is a practical, problem-solving product that anchors umbrellas for safety and sun protection. | 6 Franky Frog from HABA Toys, always creates good humor. His mysterious rattling makes even the smallest ones prick up their ears. | 7 Baby Buckle Pad Little item, BIG purpose! No more pinches or burns from car seat buckles! | 8 BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light Don’t leave home without it! Folds to the size of a brief case and weighs in at only 11 pounds!! | 9 Classic Sunshade The year…1997. The place…Down Under. The dilemma…an Australian mom, concerned about exposing her “bub” to the harsh Australian sun is unable to find adequate UV protection for her baby when they’re out and about with the stroller. The stroller canopy isn’t adequate, blankets draped over the canopy retain heat (when they don’t blow or slip off), and her pediatrician has recommended that she refrain from applying sunscreen to her baby’s sensitive skin. What’s a mom to do? The result…Protect-a-Bub is born. 23


Foster Poptops Mary Elizabeth Entrekin, of Gulfport, MS, is 10 years old. She decided to start her own business to help others after spending some time with her Nana playing with ribbons and poptops from cans. She first thought that she would help abused children but then narrowed it down to foster children. Mary Elizabeth’s mother, Alice, is a social worker in the community. Her mom had told her that some children in foster care do not have bags of their own to carry clothes or other belongings. She decided that by selling the bracelets she could buy duffle bags and fill them with different toiletries, clothes, games, toys, books and anything else she thought children might like. She decided to name her business Foster Poptops. She developed her product which consists of a poptop tab off of a can drink and ribbon. She then developed a business plan so that she could talk with local businesses about supporting her or selling her bracelets. Her first business to sell the bracelets was Scuba Steve Clothing Company, Biloxi, MS. After meeting Mary Elizabeth and hearing her business plan, Steve Johnson of SSCC posted on his twitter page the following: “I just sat there amazed that all of this came out of the mouth of a ten year old. By this time I did not care if she was selling garbage, I was going to buy all of it.” Scuba Steve Clothing Company also sells a t-shirt that has his logo and the foster poptops logo on it. Currently she has 6 businesses and the Long Beach School District selling her bracelets on the coast. She is also participating in other activities around Gulfport, MS including a family night at Chick-fil-A and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers will be doing a fundraising night for her later in the summer. She is having a lot of fun helping others but she is also learning about the business world. Mary Elizabeth has recruited her Nana, Aunt Cathy, and sister, Tiffany to help her make the bracelets along with other family and friends. If you would like to find out more about her business or would like to donate poptops, ribbons, new duffle bags, or unused items to fill the bags, please contact her on her Facebook fan page or by email. Email: Mary Elizabeth Entrekin, P. O. Box 6248, Gulfport, MS 39507


Threads of Love by Laurie Anderson Threads of Love is a national organization whose members are all part of a sewing ministry meeting the needs of tiny premature infants and newborns who die due to stillbirth, miscarriage or infant death. The ministry is about healing and binding hearts together of parents at a time of uncertainty about their baby’s health or when they lose an infant. Our mission is to show parents the love of Christ at a time when their personal pain is hard to endure and let them know that God is faithful.

The seed for this ministry was planted in the fall of 1993, when a pediatrician from Earl K. Long Charity Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, saw a need for tiny burial gowns for patients who were born prematurely and were too sick or too tiny to survive. Regular newborn clothing was too large for these babies, so several ladies from a local church joined the endeavor in making the little dresses. Someone donated a gift of $100. Then, the only things the ladies needed to furnish were thread and love. Thus, the ministry, Threads of Love was begun‌.reaching out and helping families say their




good-byes and helping to put a closure to the loss of their baby. My name is Laurie Anderson, and I first learned about the Threads of Love Ministry while reading an article in Sew Beautiful Magazine in 2002. I love to sew and I was inspired by the article to use my sewing talents for the Lord. I contacted Sissy Davis, who is ahead of the national chapter and immediatly started a chapter in my hometown of Columbia, TN.

mother’s scent. Also included with the NICU packet is a prayer to the parents of premature baby as a gesture of silently saying—”God loves you and He is with you”.

About 12.5 percent of babies (more than half a million a year) in the United States are born prematurely for reasons that doctors don’t fully understand. While this is a sensitive subject that most people don’t like to talk about, it is a much-needed ministry, Hospitals across the nation have a need for tiny burial gowns for patients who are born prematurely and are too sick or too tiny to survive. Our tiny gowns and accessories are made to fit infants from 3 ounces to full-term. There is also a need for clothing for premature babies who spend weeks to months in a NICU, clothing that will work around all the wires and equipment that is connected these tiny babies. For those who lose an infant, finding clothing for their baby can be a traumatic experience. When a parent is faced with the death of an infant, we reach out to them with a packet showing God’s love through our sewing skills, silently saying, “You are loved.” When a baby dies, all the choices of the parents have been taken away because if they had just one choice, it would be for their baby to live. Thru the Threads of Love Ministry parents have a choice to have their stillborn infant dressed in the items we provide, which helps to put a closure to the loss of their baby. The most important part of the packets is the enclosed prayer & brochure. Threads of Love has one goal— not to simply dress babies, but to use these clothes as a tool for reaching parents and families at a time in their lives when they need to be reassured that God is there and that He is always faithful. In addition to making burial gowns, we also provide tiny clothes & accessories for the babies in the NICU who survive, but sometimes remain in the hospital for months. It means so much for the parents to see their babies dressed up like ‘real’ babies. We also provide a lovie doll, which is given to the mother to place in her bosom and transfer her scent to the doll, then the doll is placed in the isolette for bonding to the 28

Threads of Love is a faith-based ministry comprised entirely of volunteers who show their love for the Lord by using their sewing and craft talents in serving the Lord. All our clothing and accessories are provided to the babies and their families free of charge. It’s not necessary to know how to sew and no special skills are required, all you need is a willing and loving heart with a desire to serve the Lord - there is a place for everyone in the Threads of Love Ministry. If you are interested in joining a local chapter or starting one in your area, please visit the national chapter website at For more information about my chapter and free patterns, please visit Laurie Anderson is a Christian, wife, mom and a “Neena” to two beautiful grandsons! She is the chapter coordinator for her local Threads of Love Chapter in Middle Tennessee. She is also the owner and designer of Southern Stitches, a website dedicated to fostering the Art of Fine Heirloom Sewing, Smocking and related Needle Arts thru online tutorials. She is also owner/designer of Brer Rabbit Designs, a website devoted exclusively for children’s wear patterns, embroidery designs and hand-mades. You can find her work published in the pages of Sew Beautiful magazine, where she is a commissioned designer.


Expressions of Love by Carol Branson

I would like to share my story about my daughter, Mary Beth Green. She has been such an inspiration to me. You see my daughter Mary Beth, has also taken up the gift of sewing and she has a small Monogramming/Children’s Clothing Shop called “Creations by Meg Boutique”. Mary Beth is a stay at home mommy of 2 children and my Son-in law has gone back to school FULL time to try to better things for his growing family. My Son-in law goes to school out of state (one of the few schools offering his classes). He has classes everyday, so he has to reside in the state he goes to school and travels home every weekend to be with my daughter and the children. While at school he works 2 days a week after school and when he is home on the weekends he works 2 shifts where he was employed prior to going back to school. Many, many times they both have shown signs of not knowing how they are going to keep 2 households going with such a small income. I know this has got to be such a hard road for both of them. Mary Beth is a Godly woman and tries to instill her faith in her children making sure they know that God is bigger than anything problems we have and He is also a provider. Mary Beth has always believed that God will provide a means of income, and … He always has! She will mention a bill and say … “God, you know I need some business”! ... and someone will call or come by and place an order! Mary Beth wants life for her children to be some of the fondest memories they have as the grow up. The elementary school where my grandchildren attend had a major cut back and let a great many of the teachers/helpers go. Mary Beth saw the need and volunteers her time at the school 3-4 days a week. She insist that she wants to do everything she can to help maintain the children getting the same one on one they use to have before the cut back.

Mary Beth goes constantly (like the ever ready bunny ... lol) ... traveling at least 4 times a week from her home to the closest town (which is 25 miles) for my granddaughter Mary Katherine to be able to participate in dance classes and for both of the children to participate in church activities. Mary Beth has got to be one of the sweetest, kindness women I know and I am not just saying this because she’s my daughter. She has always tried to help others! Even in her business, I remember one customer that had a child that was handicapped and always wanted to wear the cutsie little flip flops with ribbons and bows but her child had feet that were unable to keep those types of shoes on. Mary Beth was so heartbroken about the little girl’s situation that she came up with a solution. She made special straps to go on the flip flops so she could wear them. That little girl was so excited to have something like the other little girls wore. Mary Beth also has become a “couponing queen” trying to find ways to keep the grocery bills down so that it is more affordable on such a limited income. She had so many asking for help that she does her Couponing Classes to churches and social events to also help others learn the in’s and out’s while earning some extra income for family. Mary Beth works hard keeping a house and not only being a mommy but, making sure life for her children is happy and fun and trying to run a business for income for her family. Mary Beth puts everything she has into making her life an expression of love to all she comes in contact with. In my eyes she is a Super Southern Mom!

Camp SeaStar Hospice of Palm Beach County

( 5 61) - 273 -219 4

jmar tinez @ h pbc. com

To learn more about Hospice of Palm Beach County programs or for more information pleas e call


ldren ages 6 to17 who have Camp SeaStar is available to chi at no charge to the families experienced a loss and is offered allows time for sharing, of Hospice patients. The Camp symbolism of the SeaStar support, celebration and fun. The rfish, it grows back even is that if an “arm” breaks off a sta breaks and it is always visible, stronger. There is a line where it who will never be forgotten. which is a reminder of the loved one sed counseling,” explained “Camp SeaStar is adventure-ba eavement counselor at Hospice Christina Dekkar, LCSW and ber p’s director for the last four of Palm Beach County and the cam e self esteem through team years. “The purpose is to improv nseling. They have the building, camp activities and cou o also have suffered loss.” opportunity to meet other kids wh by gender and age, and The campers are assigned cabins and staff personnel. eers staffed by trained Hospice volunt include games, Daytime activities are co-ed and arts and crafts, campfire activities, drumming circle and counseling sessions. “It is very rewarding to see where these kids are “at” when they arrive and to see how much they transform and look when they are leaving on Sunday,” Dekkar said. “It is such a growing experience for them and it is thrilling to see.” Cam


s co mpe te in a ca at H noe osp rela Cou ice yr of P nty’ ace sC alm amp Bea ch SeaS tar.

Do you believe in Second Chances? Meet Ruth. Found in a trashcan protecting her two puppies, Ruth is just one of the thousands of abused, homeless or neglected animals that have found a second chance at life at Alaqua Animal Refuge. Located down a winding road, lined by mosscovered trees, Alaqua Animal Refuge is nestled on the banks of a tranquil Northwest Florida bayou. This peaceful location in Freeport is actually just minutes from the nationally known beach haven of Destin, but it is figuratively far removed from the concept of a traditional shelter. It is a true refuge. Founded in 2007 due to the lack of a no-kill shelter/adoption organization in the area, Alaqua Animal Refuge has helped find homes

for more than 7,000 animals - from dogs to cats to rabbits to horses, to pigs, and even a monitor lizard and a sugar glider. Up to 100 animals are adopted each month from this unique refuge, which serves as a shelter for more than 250 animals at any given time. To continue to save the lives of animals like Ruth, Alaqua Animal Refuge needs your help. Please join us in our mission by adopting a rescued pet or making a tax-deductible donation, today. If you believe in second chances, visit our refuge or go to to learn how you can support Alaqua Animal Refuge or to find out about the hundreds of animals that are looking for a forever home.

914 Whit)ield  Road  |  Freeport,  Fla.  32439  |  (850)  880-­‐6399  | Photo  by


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Car Seat Safety 101 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of kids in age groups 1-14. Safe Kids USA says motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of unintentional injury-related death for all children 14 and under. While some crashes are survivable, over 57% of deaths for children 0-15 were because the child was unrestrained. Many more were improperly restrained. Nationally, the misuse rate for child safety seats is over 80% and as high as 95% in some areas. The good news is that correct use of car seats and boosters does save lives. Infant seats have been shown to reduce fatal injury by 71%, and toddler seats by 54%.

kids, this is around 8 years old or 4’ 9� tall, but proper seatbelt fit is the most important factor.

3 Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat when there is an active frontal airbag. 4

Keep your baby rear-facing as long as possible. That can mean up to 35 or 40 pounds in most current convertible seats, unless they outgrow it by height first.

Ten Basic Rules: 1 Kids 12 and under should ALWAYS ride in the back seat. This cuts their risk of death by 36%.


All current car seats pass government safety standards. Select the one that best fits your child, your vehicle and your budget. Some models do have different features; select one that has the features that will allow you to use it correctly EVERY trip.

2 Kids should be in a car seat or booster until they can be seated properly in a seatbelt. For most

6 Always read the owners manuals for your vehicle and car seat thoroughly. They often contain


specific information about car seat installation that may not be obvious. Some models may vary from what you would expect.

7 Make sure that the harness fits snugly on your child, the car seat fits snugly in your vehicle, and that your vehicle seatbelts are locked properly. 8

When you buy a car seat, make sure you have a good return policy in case it doesn’t fit or in case you find you don’t like it. Have your seat inspected by a certified technician for free at a checkup event or fitting station.


Please be wary of used car seats, especially those over six years old, those with an unknown history that may have been in a crash, those that show any form of cracks or damage, and those with missing labels, model number, manufacturing date, instructions or parts.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending older kids sit in a booster seat between the ages of 8 and 12 years old, basically until they’re 4 feet, 9 inches tall. Pediatricians also say your baby seat should face the rear of the car instead of facing forward for as long as possible. Research shows children under 2 are 75-percent less likely to die or be severely hurt in a crash if they’re in a rear-facing seat. These seats do a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine in a car accident. “We’ve seen many cases where children suffer serious injuries to their neck or their head when they’ve been turned forward facing and those injuries probably could have been prevented had that child been in a rearfacing direction,” said Dr. Dennis Durbin, Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia.

If your child is too big for the rear-facing seats, the academy said that child still needs to use forwardfacing car seats until they are 4. Also, kids should remain in the back seat until age 13. Most police departments and/or sheriff’s departments are happy Please give driving your complete, unimpaired attention and wear your own seatbelt all the time. to make sure you car seat is installed correctly, free of charge. To read more of Kyle’s story and to learn These two simple steps are among these easiest about the foundation his parents set up after their ways you can protect yourself and your passengers tragedy, please visit from injury or death.

“Kyle was sitting in a booster seat but his seatbelt failed which caused him to be ejected from the vehicle and killed. At the time we did not know there were 5-point harness car seats available for older/larger children (Kyle was 4-years old and over 40 pounds), we believed that a booster seat was our only choice. After his death we researched car seats extensively and found that rarely known about car seats existed that could hold a child in a 5-point harness up to 80 pounds. We now know that if Kyle had been in one of these seats, he would have survived our accident.” - Christine Miller |

Kyle David Miller 37

Car Seats

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Britax Boulevard 70 The Britax Boulevard 70 features SafeCells designed to compress in a crash, significantly lowering the center of gravity and counteracting the forward rotation of the child seat which normally propels the child toward the front seat. Integrated steel bars strengthen the connection to the vehicle and reduce forward flexing of the child seat during a crash. Energy absorbing versa tether features a staged-release tether webbing to slow the forward movement, reducing the crash forces reaching the child, and a two-point attachment to minimize forward rotation while anchoring the top of the child seat. True side impact protection offers a head restraint creating an extra layer of energy-absorbing EPP foam, keeping the head, neck and spine “in true” or aligned, and deep side walls lined with EPP foam to distribute crash forces, shield from vehicle intrusion, and contain the head, neck and body. Tangle-Free, Five-Point Harness distributes crash forces across the strongest parts of the body and provides a secure fit. Rear and Forward Facing Recline for child comfort and positioning, High Density Comfort Foam provides an extra layer of padding to gently cushion your child and the plush, easy-remove cover with matching comfort pads and infant body pillow provide extra comfort and easy cleaning without disassembling or uninstalling the child seat. Rear facing 5-40 pounds, forward facing up to 70 pounds and 49” tall.


shown in abstract os

The First Years Pathway Booster Car Seat (B570) Recently awarded a “Best Bet” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Pathway Booster Seat features color-coded belt paths, adjustable shoulder belt paths and optimized lap belt paths for a comfortable and secure fit each and every time. It also includes a self-adjusting back, which means no issues with installation in any back seat. When the seat is not in use, the lower anchor attachments keep it secure. The Pathway headrest has been developed to control a child’s head in the event of a crash, the deep headrest and contoured shape will help contain and control a child’s head on impact. As with all The First Years’ seats, this seat is side-impact tested to Australian standards, which are the most stringent standards for side-impact testing. Additional features include one-hand folding, a built in carry handle and two removable and dishwasher-safe cup holders. 30-100 lbs and between 38-57 inches.


Car Seats

Evenflo Symphony 65 DLX Liberty All-in-One Car Seat featuring SureLatch® is a unique car seat that adapts to the changing needs of a growing child providing an simple, innovative and stylish way to keep them safe, secure and comfortable. Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately 2X the federal crash test standard. Infinite Slide Harness™ simply slides for an accurate fit and doesn’t require reworking the harness as your child grows. New CrumpleSafe™ base counteracts the forces of a severe crash. ReclineRight™ multiple-position upfront recline is easy to use and adds comfort for child. Use rear facing with children 5 to 35 lbs, forward facing with 5-point harness with children 20 to 65 lbs, or forward facing as a belt positioning booster with children 50 to 100 lbs.


shown in black/red

The First Years True Fit™ Premier Convertible Car Seat (C670) Recently awarded a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 5-Star Ease of Use rating, The First Years True Fit Rebound is the only convertible car seat that offers the Rebound Energy Management System. Managing Rebound Energy helps reduce the chance for broken bones in the legs, hips and waist that can be significant in a violent crash. The True Fit Premier also features a multi-position recline in BOTH the Forward and Rear Facing positions. The True Fit Premier is the only convertible car seat that offers multiple recline positions in a rear facing installation. From 5-65 lbs. and up to 50 inches.


Car Seats

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Combi SHUTTLE 33 The lightweight SHUTTLE 33 infant car seat is compatible with all Combi strollers. It has been newly designed to accommodate infants from birth to 33 pounds and up to 33 inches. A 5-point harness with padding, Tru-Safe® Anti-Rebound Bar (ARB), Tru-Safe® Side Impact Protection (SIP), EZ Harness™ Height Adjustment System, and an adjustable canopy make for a safe and comfortable environment for your child. The removable and washable seat cushion and ergonomically designed handle add convenience.


Graco Snugride 30 Graco Snugride 30 has been thoughtfully constructed and rigorously tested for safety, including side-impact testing, to help keep your baby secure from 4-30 lbs. and up to 30 inches tall. Its LATCH-equipped stay-in-car base makes it easier to get baby in and out, and includes an on-base level indicator to further simplify installation. Additonal features include removable infant body support and the EPS, and energy absorbing foam.

shown in aspery

Love this!

Car Seat Canopy Stylishly protect your baby from the elements! The canopy’s front closure releases (held together by velcro), allowing you to put baby in the car seat without having to remove product.

shown in aqua drops




Don’t Forget Air Travel Safety Would you ever let a child under 4-years-old ride in your lap in a car? How about letting that same child sit in a car wearing only a lap belt? Hopefully not. So, why should it be any different on a plane? The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently launched a year-long Child and Youth Transportation Safety Initiative to raise awareness of proper restraints for children on an airplane, which include either an FAA-approved car seat or the FAA-approved Child Aviation Restraint (CARES) harness by Kids Fly Safe. Currently, lap-held children are still allowed on planes, even though it’s a dangerous way to travel with children. No matter how hard a parent wants to hold onto a child, during times of heavy turbulence it’s physically impossible to do so. Children should always fly in their own seat using an approved restraint. CARES, the only FAA-approved harness-style device, is a smart option for parents who don’t want to bring a car seat through security, the airport and down the narrow aisles of a plane. It is approved for all phases of flight, and takes just a minute to install. When not being used, CARES is small enough to be stored in a purse or diaper bag. Will you be able to spread the word about the safe way for children under 4 to fly? For more information, you can visit the FAA site on Child Safety on Airplanes.




New & Improved Snazzy Baby Knee Pads These new and improved knee pads grow with kids as they begin to explore their worlds. Each knee pad is equipped with non-slip traction beads to give babies the grip that’s needed as they begin to crawl and stand, and are specially designed to work on elbows as well as knees. As children grow, the pads can be used to protect knees when they begin to toddle, walk, run, ride a bike and even play sports. The knee pads provide protection from raw, red and skinned knees without restricting movement or circulation. They can be worn indoors or out and are machine washable. The Snazzy Baby Knee Pads feature four-layer cushioned oval pads, which are made from medical-quality Neoprene and secured with easy-to-use Velcro straps. Available in four colors: Seafoam, Midnight Blue, Starfish and Pink Pizzaz. Deluxe 3 in 1 Combo Carrier Specially designed for today’s parents and their hectic lifestyles, the Deluxe 3 in 1 Combo Carrier is incredibly versatile. Children can be strapped in facing inward for breast feeding, snuggling and nap time, or they can be positioned facing out to see the world. Unlike other carriers on the market with more limited lifespans, the Deluxe 3 in 1 Combo Carrier can accommodate children ranging from 4 months up to 3+ years of age. For added functionality, the carrier converts into a temporary child restraint for use in a variety of chair styles and even in shopping carts. An ergonomically designed gel-based shoulder strap helps distribute baby’s weight for comfort and extended use, and the storage pouch on the front of the carrier is a convenient place for snacks, wipes, a pacifier, cell phone or wallet. Following the recent recalls and warnings from the CPSC on the safety concerns related to baby slings, parents will have peace of mind knowing the Combo Carrier is one of the few baby carriers available to have passed or exceeded three Safety Standards. Available in Sand or Black colors, each carrier comes with a free pair of Snazzy Baby Leg Warmers.

ABOUT SNAZZY BABY™ Your home for the hottest innovative baby protection products for new parents, Snazzy Baby was created “Down Under” by Cyndy Mundy, an Australian mom. 47

Keeping Your Kids Safe Around the Water this Summer by Melody Callaway | Infant Swimming Resource

Did you know the average three year old can climb a pool fence in 34 seconds? And, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for infants and young children between the ages of 1-4?

For 45 years, Infant Swimming Resource’s Self-Rescue™ program has been teaching infants and young children from six months to six years of age survival swimming skills.

With summer swimming season coming at a fast pace parents must keep their children’s water-safety top-of-mind.

“We teach children how to survive if they were to reach the water alone,” said Harvey Barnett, Ph.D., drowning prevention specialist and founder of Infant Swimming Resource. If a child can crawl, she or he is a candidate for ISR training.

As a parent, you have probably heard that you need to take a multi-layered approach towards drowning prevention in your home. But what does that mean? 1. Effective parental supervision 2. Permanent four-sided pool fences with self- locking gates 3. CPR 4. Survival swimming lessons? But, Babies Can’t Swim? In the past year the American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its position on swimming and water-survival skills for young children stating that, “lessons may actually reduce the risk in drowning for children ages 1-4 years old.” However, parents need to understand that there is a significant difference between traditional swimming lessons, water play and survival swimming lessons.


ISR’s worldwide network of certified Instructors has successfully delivered over 7 million safe lessons to infants and young children. Today, ISR has 790 documented cases of a children utilizing ISR’s survival techniques to save their own lives. For more information on ISR, water and swim safety or to find an instructor in your area, please visit

8 Tips to Protect Children From Water Dangers: Remember water areas include: pools, hot tubs, rivers, retention ponds, ditches and flooded areas. 1. Effective Supervision - the most important defense. Never turn your back on your child around water. It takes just minutes for her to be in serious trouble. 2. Pool Safety Make sure they are appropriately secured, year-round, with: Pool alarms and doorway alarms that access outdoor water areas. Permanent pool fencing with a self-latching gate. Door and window locks for pool access areas (locks must be out of the child’s reach). Double check locks and make sure pool security devices work. Safety gates are deterrents but not a sole defense.

6. Aim pool jets toward the pool’s shallow end This creates a current that can guide a baby toward the steps to exit the pool. 7. Keep water levels full This helps your child reach the elevated ledge and either get out of or hold on and call for help. 8. Self-Rescue Survival Swimming Lessons Teach young children survival skills as an added layer of defense if they fall unnoticed into a body of water. To learn more visit

3. Educate Others Nannies, grandparents, neighbors and caregivers should know year-round water-safety tips and have appropriately installed security devices where relevant. 4. Store All Toys Toys are tempting; never leave them outside around water areas. 5. Keep a phone by the pool To be used for emergencies only. 49


lassical onversations


You taught him to talk and walk. You’ll teach him what’s right and what’s wrong, and many other things about life (like where the big fish lurk). Why not teach him how to learn?

We believe that each child is uniquely and wonderfully made, and the people who know and love a child best (the parents) are the ones most motivated to help that child succeed. We connect families with other families who homeschool using the classical model. They become communities who share the journey. We also connect families with experienced and

trained mentors—parents who have homeschooled their children—who offer leadership. Communities meet weekly to review, encourage, and take the next step together, from K4 all the way through high school. For more information, or to find a community near you, please visit our website.




A Modern-Day Play Kitchen by Rachel Bishop | Southern Exposure

With my daughter’s 2nd birthday quickly approaching I found myself searching high and low for the perfect play kitchen. Despite my best efforts I kept coming up empty-handed. Nothing was the right look or the right price. Eventually I decided to make her a play kitchen out of two old night stands that my husband and I were no longer using. I quickly drew up a plan and made a supply list. I wanted to keep things simple and economical but I still wanted it to be stylish and fun. Each night stand originally had two drawers. To start, I removed the drawers and the tops of each night stand. The tops of the night stands were reused to make the doors on each cabinet. Two hinges at the bottom attach the oven door and two hinges on the side attach the cabinet door. I used a jigsaw to cut out an opening in the oven door and used Liquid Nails to attach a piece of plexiglass for the window. Next I painted the inside of the cabinet black, inserted a wire rack and a touch light inside, and added a simple pull to complete the oven. For the right-side



cabinet I used a piece of MDF to make an interior shelf for storage and added a fun polka-dot knob as the hardware. The countertop is a sheet of MDF that I painted gray and set on top of both cabinets with open space left in the middle for a towel bar to hang. The towel rod is a magnetic cafe curtain rod I found at my local hardware store. I sewed a dishtowel out of some remnant fabric I had in my storage bin. The countertop has 4 black painted X’s I found at a craft store that serves as the burners for the stove. I also purchased oven knobs from the hardware store and glued them to bolts with nuts to allow them to spin. For the sink I used a jigsaw to cut a circle out of the countertop and inserted a round metal baking pan. I used a piece of pipe for the faucet and bought inexpensive 54

knobs that I again attached with nuts and bolts to allow them to turn. I installed the kitchen inside an extra closet in my daughter’s play room. I had the interior of the closet painted with bright yellow stripes and my husband installed a shelf above the kitchen to hold extra supplies. I accessorized the kitchen with wooden food, plastic utensils and metal silverware. The project ended up being relatively easy and I had so much fun working on something special for my daughter. It was a huge hit on her birthday and I think it is a gift she will play with for years to come. In the end I was able to provide my daughter with a gift that she loves without breaking the bank and while repurposing furniture that was destined for the trash. You can find more from Rachel at:


Sufficient Grace by Stephanie Warren

In my last article I mentioned Blaine’s upcoming neurology appointment. We had hoped we would obtain some answers to questions and guidance for our next steps. Unfortunately, we will have to wait for Blaine to start preschool. We need to be able to see how Blaine reacts and copes in a social environment before he is formally diagnosed. So, for now, we are dealing with what we had learned at the beginning. Blaine has a developmental delay that is getting better with time and with the aid of a tremendous amount of focused therapy both at home and at the Children’s Therapy Unit.

with Blaine is both rewarding and challenging. Just when we feel defeated, God blesses us with a breakthrough and a victory for our special boy. We know that the road we travel on is long and although at times we have a narrow perspective we trust in God who we know has the wider perspective. We might not have it all together in society’s standards, but because of Gods grace we have everything that we need to make it through the day. To us, that alone is so much more then we could have hoped and prayed for.

For now, preschool appears to be the solution to the unknown. It is what is going to give us insight to Blaine’s social abilities and will show us where we need to specifically target his therapy. Currently, the “Goliath” we face is potty training. In the last month Blaine and I have spent significant time in the bathroom; more time than I had expected. This is all to get a little boy who is determined to wear his diaper, to make a “pee pee or a poo poo,” as his favorite potty book states. It has been almost a month and NOTHING has happened. In fact, Blaine now thinks going potty is a special time that he gets to sit on the toilet, play with toilet paper, having potty books read to him, and then get praised for just sitting there! No amount of liquid or bribing will make this child go on the potty. He simply won’t go. What this has accomplished is that now every time I go into the bathroom both of my children run after me praising me for my grand efforts and accomplishments of using the potty.

Stephanie lives in Washington State with her husband and two small boys. She is also the owner of Munchkin N’ Ruu, an online baby boutique.

I am sure that the upcoming summer months will bring many new adventures to our house. We have had our ups and downs these past couple of months. As I have stated many times in the past, life 55

..          ,      


Rena Durham Photogaphy |

Rena Durham Photogaphy | all photos by: hair accessory by Funky Fabulous, multi-colored patchwork skirt with pink tank by Laken and Lila

on her: hair accessory by Funky Fabulous, orange Patchwork skirt with green tank by Laken and Lila on him: green stripped tank & cargo shorts by H&M

(left) red liberty slub tee & blue cargo shorts by Appaman

all photos by:

Rena Durham Photogaphy |

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plaid Fedora hat & turkish blue vintage button down polo with vest (both by Fore! Axel and Hudson)

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Let freedom ring with the flavors of fresh peaches, strawberries, sweet corn and summer veggies By Jessica Mayer of

The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate the birth of our great nation, a day to thank those who have served this country and placed their lives on the line for our freedom, a patriotic holiday that we celebrate with excitement and thankfulness. As an added blessing, the Fourth in my family is a chance to re-kindle long distance relationships with family and make new ones, a day to remember childhood memories of splashing in the lake and catching fish off my grandmother’s dock, a day that resonates from the past and looks to the future. My late grandmother Lucy was “Queen of the 4th”. There wasn’t a spot inside or outside not decorated red, white and blue. Kids were in abundance and the food was overflowing. I was lucky to learn from her talents and continue to carry on her love for cooking. The South is known for its great cooks and Grandmother Lucy was no exception. My fondest memories are eating her famous fresh peach ice cream, nibbling on sweet corn from my dad and grandfather’s farm, and getting sick off of her oyster crackers and lemon bars Peach and Mascarpone Puff Pastry Shells with Amaretto Cookies Ingredients: 6 peaches, washed, pitted and sliced 2 sheets of thawed puff pastry 24 ounces of mascarpone cheese 8 ounces of amaretto cookies, crushed ½ cup powdered cup sugar 1 TBSP of lemon zest

while trying to acquire the perfect summer tan. Actually during my teenage years my summer tan usually looked more like the color of a lobster because along with all my friends, we had the mindset that using hairspray and baby oil was the ultimate tanning solution. All these memories lead me to my rocking kid-friendly Fourth of July menu. I want to shift the cravings for your typical barbecue, meat prone foods, and rich desserts to fresh and healthy dishes that are good for your kids and will provide them the energy they need to get through the day, without sacrificing flavor. My grandmother’s ice cream was the quintessential finale to a fourth of July celebration so in honor of her peach ice cream we are going to do a little twist on the classic, miniature peach pastry shells with sweet mascarpone cheese sprinkled with crushed amaretto cookies. The texture of the crushed cookies against the smooth rich peachy cream is amazing and will make you feel like you just scooped up a fresh bowl of my grandmother Lucy’s homemade ice cream!

FOOD Directions: Mix together the mascarpone, sugar and 1 TBSP lemon zest. Set aside in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, slice your peaches once they have been cleaned and pitted and sprinkle with a dash of sugar. Place them in a bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Using a potato masher mash the peaches as you would to make mashed potatoes. Set aside and allow to cool. Place your thawed puff pastry sheets out on a baking sheet and using a large biscuit cutter (2 ¾ inch), cut out the dough placing each into the center of a miniature muffin tin and pushing the dough up against the sides to form a barrier. Bake pastry shells according to package directions. Use a fork to remove center after baking. Mix together the mashed peaches, the mascarpone filling and 2 TBSP of crushed amaretto cookies together in a small bowl. Spoon into the miniature pastry shells and top with remaining crushed amaretto cookies. Firecracker Corn Pops Ingredients: 1 can whole kernel corn, drained ½ can of Rotel, drained 1 ½ cup flour 1 ½ cup cornmeal 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 2 TBSP sugar ½ cup milk 1 egg, beaten 1 TBSP butter or shortening, melted Directions: Mix together your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, egg and butter/shortening. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Add the corn and ½ can of Rotel to the mixture. Heat oil to 375 degrees and drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Fry until golden. Ultimate Backyard Veggie Burger Ingredients: 2 packages of Hawaiian sweet rolls 8 oz or ½ half can black beans, rinsed and drained 8 oz or ½ half can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1 red bell pepper, chopped

½ cup fresh kernel corn or 1 small can of corn ½ cup shredded carrots 1 tsp salt and pepper each 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp Cajun seasoning 1 egg, slightly beaten 1/3 cup of quick cooking barley ½ cup panko breadcrumbs 75

FOOD Ultimate Backyard Veggie Burger, cont.

Directions: Place the beans, carrots, red bell pepper and garlic cloves into a food processor and pulse on low until all the veggies are minced and blended. Remove and transfer veggies to a large bowl. Mix in the breadcrumbs and egg along with the seasonings and stir well. Form into one large rectangular patty. Grill on an indoor or outside grill at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Using a biscuit cutter cut individual veggie patties and place inside toasted Hawaiian sweet rolls. Serve with a side of sweet barbecue sauce.

For the ultimate combination of a treat and a craft, why not have your kids make red, white and blue strawberries by adding a layer of melted white chocolate yogurt and a coat of blue sugar magic on the bottom. Your kids will be sure to beg to finish making them all and you just saved yourself 30 minutes of doing dessert -- how cool is that! Red, White and Blue Strawberries Ingredients: 2 pints of strawberries 8 ounces of white chocolate 1 cup of greek non-fat yogurt Blue sugar for decoration 76

Directions: In a double boiler, or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the white chocolate until smooth, and then stir in the cup of Greek yogurt. Stir until completely combined. Wash the strawberries and pat dry. Dip each strawberry into the white chocolate up to the top 1/3 of the strawberry. Dip the strawberry again in a bowl of blue sugar coating the bottom 1/3 of the berry. Lay on a sheet of parchment paper until the chocolate hardens then serve!


Star-shaped fruit salad by Chica and Jo | I made a fruit salad for a Memorial Day cookout and added a little something extra. This salad would be perfect to make as a Fourth of July side dish since it incorporates stars and red and blue fruit. First, get some star shaped cookie cutters. Then, slice your watermelon to be about the same thickness as your cutter. You might have to use the blunt end of your knife or something else to push the cutter all the way down. Then, gently press the watermelon through. Look at how cute the star-shaped fruit is! I can see this being fun using other simple shapes as well, like hearts or flowers. I kept to my red and blue color scheme here but you could use whatever fruits are in season.


Father’s Day Gift Ideas 1 lepapierstudio | Etsy

Capture the sweet moments in life with our unique silhouette prints. This print makes the perfect Father’s Day gift.


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5x7 stitched sampler. Muslin is stained for that aged look, words and shorts are stitched in a green/blue color, figures are done in brown. 3

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Saltwater fish series large art block print. 4

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Preserve your childs’ hand prints forever! An actual copy of your child’s hand or footprints, transfered to a fine silver dog tag or key chain! 5

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Great personal gift idea for the man in your life. Rustic wax seal style with raised lettering. These cuff links are made from pure silver and feature a handwritten monogram. 6

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A Patriotic Salute

Where liberty dwells, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin

MeandMatilda | Etsy As seen in Martha Stewart Weddings

This cherry red big polkadot bow tie will be the perfect addition to your little guys’ wardrobe.


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This banner was featured in CLEO magazine, September 2010. Set has 9 flags.

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This super cuter than ever dish has big white polka dots & bright patriotic RED on top & bright blue underneath, setting on 3 long curly legs. It is a hand-built, one-of-a-kind original and is safe for food. 81


Easy Fourth of July felt pennants by Chica and Jo | Whether you’ll be celebrating the holiday with a large or small event, you might like to try this idea for July 4th party decorations. I made these fun and easy pennants out of red, white, and blue felt. This is a great project for the kids to help with, too! Here’s what you’ll need: felt sheets in red, white, and blue scissors rotary cutter and mat hot glue gun or kid-friendly glue (not school glue) ribbon (I used 1/4 wide satin ribbon in red) Start by making a long, straight cut across the rectangular felt sheet, from corner to corner. (Here’s where that rotary cutter really comes in handy!)

of the pennant, on the back, and stick the ribbon to it. Continue to glue pennants onto the ribbon, leaving a few inches between each one.

Now arrange one half so that the point is facing down, and cut the top part off so that you have a nice even triangle. Do the same for the other half. Now out of one felt square, you’ve made two large triangles for your pennants with minimal waste. You also have some scraps left for decorating the pennants. Using the leftover scraps, cut stripes, stars, circles, or whatever shapes you like. Use the hot glue gun or felt glue to stick the shapes to your pennants. Once all your pennants are decorated and the glue has set/dried, you can string them on the ribbon. Start by running a bead of hot glue on the top edge 82

Now come back and add another bead of glue right next to the ribbon, and then fold the edge of the pennant over, pressing it in place until it sets. This will give your pennants a nice finished edge, and reduce the chance of them falling off. Glue and trim all your pennants, and it’s ready to hang!



love + play + smile




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An apple a day initial tee. 87

Alphabet Soup the best in monogram land



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8 thesouthernpineapple Etsy | How darling for sleepovers and vacation time? Your little girl will love to snuggle up with this cute pillowcase. Heat sealed to prevent fraying and washable. Great birthday gift!

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Alphabet Soup




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S’mores Y’all hang tags. Add some southern sass to your next family BBQ. Super cute as a guest favor for your outdoor BBQ wedding! 3



treasureagain | Etsy Solar Light LIDS that fit Regular Mouth Mason Jars (2.5” in diameter), for patio table or outdoor lighting.


treasureagain | Etsy Handmade Mason Jar Hanging Lantern LIDS for Weddings, Celebrations, Parties, or Garden.


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Kids Flash Light, Lantern Night Light, Lightning Bug & Firefly Catcher, Summer Fun Gift! 91


A Huck Finn


by Kate Landers Last summer I had the great joy of teaming up with event planner Brandi Brown in designing her twin boys’ “Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn”-themed first birthday party! I was THRILLED to take on the challenge, and Brandi blew me away with the results. I shared with her many of my best ideas, however it was all Brandi in executing every detail, adding many of her very own brilliant creative touches, and it was beautifully photographed by Inga Finch Photography.

Now I would love to share with you some tips taken from this inspiring celebration, to help you in planning your child’s summer birthday party!!! 1 A Classic Storybook Makes A Terrific Party Theme

I LOVED that Brandi chose to create a party based on Mark Twain’s tales of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It was a unique and challenging theme that turned out to be spectacular.

In order to prepare a custom party design, I re-read the books and watched the original films. This can be very helpful in getting some inspiration. Selecting just one chapter, one scene, or specific elements of your child’s favorite storybook or fairytale is a wonderful way to create an echanting experience for the birthday child and their guests, and not be overwhelming to re-create. 2 Incorporate Your Theme Into The Menu

Brandi had a terrific menu selected for the party, and I absolutely loved how she incorporated familiar character’s names into the buffet table (such as “Judge Thatcher’s Fancy Potatoes”).

Custom printed food labels were a simple and inexpensive way to bring your favorite story into the dining experience for all the guests! 92

I suggested to Brandi doing a fondant “Huckleberry Pie” birthday cake. I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! She also had traditional smash cakes for each of the birthday boys for that infamous first birthday photo-op. 3 Burlap Is In -- Use It At Your Next Celebration!

Burlap is a fabulous textured material that is now used for more than storing feed or potato sack races! It has become a very popular in the children’s party world, and with a reasonable price tag, won’t break the bank.

Use it for table coverings (whether it be a burlap table runner or floor-length ruffled tablecloth!), as wrap for party favors, to create bunting or cover bales of hay for seating. Burlap works wonderfully for any ocean or beachrelated party, a western-themed celebration--and is perfect for boys and girls alike! Pair it up with pink gingham for a cowgirl party, or with flannel plaid for a boy’s campout.


P IS FOR PARTY 4 Miniature Desserts Are Perfect For Children’s Parties

Miniature desserts, be it mini pies (such as the mini cherry and apple pie stations from the Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn party), tiny pastries or sweets on a stick (cookies, pie pops, cake pops, rice krispie treats and marshmallows) are great for little hands and add a charming display to your dessert table.

I recommend bite-size treats for a poolside party or afternoon tea. 5 Give Copies Of The Storybook For Party Favors

I always recommend giving out one fabulous party favor as opposed to a goodie bag of plastic trinkets that often wind up lost under the car seat.

If you are doing a party based on a storybook, give out copies to your guests (and you can wrap them up and even put a personalized bookplate inside!) and everytime they visit their at-home library they will remember your party. 6 Incorporate Theme-Oriented, Age-Appropriate Activities

Brandi offered the children (of many ages) many activities at the party. There was a craft, live animals to see and pet (under direct supervision of a trained professional), as well as a character of Mark Twain telling tales. When you have a party with both children and adults, I highly recommend offering these forms of entertainment, such as a performance, for all your guests to enjoy.

Classic 94



Rendi means “you make” in Italian... Rendi offers customizable frames and plaques and is Your source for CUSTOM gifts and home décor. You can make the perfect gift for someone or decorate your own home with Rendi’s diverse product choices! Rendi's products are made right here in the U.S.A. Every Rendi piece is also planet friendly and made with 100% post-consumer recycled wood and waterbased finishes. Become a Stylist and help us share the "gift of hand and heart"! Host a party and reap the hostess rewards! Buy a Rendi product and make it personal! With 7 different product lines to choose from and virtual gift cards available, gift giving is simplified. Prices start at $14.95*. Online parties are available. *Stylist cost. Retail prices are $19.95 - $39.95

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Harry Potter’s Butter Beer

by Chica and Jo |

I’ve been a huge Harry Potter fan since the second book came out and my husband brought it home on the recommendation of a co-worker. I stayed up until the wee hours in the morning with my eyes bugged out so I could finish reading the first and second books. Yes, this was before our kids were in the picture. My husband and I stood in line for all of the rest of the book releases and even named our horses after characters in the book — Dumbledore, Hermione, and Hagrid. 98

So we were very excited when we had the opportunity last summer to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. We stood in line forever in the sunscreen-melting heat to get inside. We were not alone, either. We had a great time exploring the Three Broomsticks, Hogwarts, Honeydukes and the train station. As fun as it was that day, it was also hot. VERY hot. One of our favorite things turned out to be the mugs of cold Butterbeer (a popular drink in the book) that could be had in souvenir mugs for a small fortune. But we paid that fortune, over and over again, just to get more of this delicious and refreshing drink. They did a fantastic job of coming up with a recipe

FOOD that tastes just like you would imagine it would. They served the drink two ways - frozen or regular - and despite the name, they were not beer at all, but a delicious, non-alcoholic drink with what we thought was a cream soda base. The ingredients are simple. You will need the following to make two drinks: Butter Beer for 2 Ingredients: 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 2 tbsp powdered sugar 24 oz of your favorite cream soda 2 tsp vanilla butter and nut flavoring (available at Directions: Start by measuring your heavy whipping cream into a bowl.

I quickly tired of whisking briskly and asked Chica if she had a container I could shake it in. She had this perfect little squeeze bottle that allowed me to quickly shake to the right consistency and then dispense the cream onto the top of my drink. What is the right consistency? Good question. You want it to thicken slightly, but still be loose. I shook this until when I squirted a little out of the bottle, it stayed in a nice circle on my finger tip. It only takes 10-20 seconds of vigorous shaking. You could also use a stand mixer or stick with the whisk and bowl if you need an arm workout. Once your cream topping is ready, add your vanilla butter and nut flavoring to your cream soda and stir gently so you don’t get rid of all the carbonation in the soda. Pour your flavored cream soda into any chilled glass. Gently squirt on the whipping cream mixture so that it floats on top (or spoon on if you don’t have a squirt bottle) in a layer about a half inch thick.

Next, add your powdered sugar. Begin to whisk briskly.




101 113

Trade Winds Resort, St Pete Beach FL



Tradewinds Resort St. Pete Beach,Florida

by Amy Smith | We arrived at the Trade Winds Resort in St Pete Beach, Florida, on a Saturday afternoon, just in time for the Red Beard Pirate show. After the show, truth be told, we could have left the resort with an amazing experience! Captain Red Beard drops by Pirate Island to show kids how to make their own shark tooth necklaces or buccaneer beads and introduces them to Bones, his faithful parrot sidekick. Red Beard regales the young - and not so young - with his tall tales of the sea and songs of tropical adventures at the free pirate show. I am not sure if my husband and I didn’t enjoy the show more than the children....who were totally consumed! Ah, matey, but that was just the beginning. This resort is a true family paradise. Located on the island of St. Pete Beach, the warm Florida sun and the inviting gulf waters invite you to embrace life’s little pleasures. After the pirate show, we found plenty of family friendly places to dine right on the property. The next morning we hit the pool, then another pool, then the beach, then the High Tide Water Slide! This slide is three stories tall, two hundred feet long, and can make even a totally cool teenager squeal with delight. As the sun began to go down, we took a family paddle boat ride...and Austin still had we let him burn it off on one of the bungee trampolines. Austin is a gymnast so we are accustomed to watching him flip here and there and everywhere, luckily, because our attention was drawn to the grandmother on the trampoline beside him! She had a blast.

After dinner, we hit the mini golf putting green to unwind before bed. At this point, kids are having too much fun to go to bed...until you tell them the loveable mascot Beaker the Pelican is coming to tuck them in. He even brings along a Beaker plush keepsake. Since our stay in the Spring, the Splash Island Water Park has opened. You can relax and float in Florida’s warm waters as your kids jump and climb on inflatable slides, floating trampolines and large island rafts and you may want to check out the KONK Club. These supervised programs offer a wide range of exciting things to do for kids aged 4-11 that include lunch or dinner, games and themed activities. Drop off the kids and enjoy a few hours to yourself to relax in a hammock or enjoy a quiet romantic dinner. Then there’s the T.A.Z. Team, ready to entertained with activities and crafts for all ages. Whether it’s creating your own sea shell night light, a sandsculpting competition, poolside bingo or cheering on Dad in the “Red Belly” belly flop contest, there’s fun for the whole family. The T.A.Z. Painting Studio is open daily with a variety of items for customized gifts to take back home. Kid’s Cove is a drop-off program with fun crafts several days a week. The motto of the Trade Winds Resort is, “Just Let Go.” I had a blast, my children had a blast, but the extra bonus for me was seeing my husband, who is consistently in work mode, truly, just let go. See you soon, Trade Winds.


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Summer Camp for the Entire Family!

Bring the family and pack your vacation with fun. The kids are thrilled with RedBeard the Pirate, sharktooth necklaces and their very own supervised programs. For you, sway in a beachside hammock … soar on a parasail … enjoy fresh seafood and tropical coolers. For everyone, discover the new Splash Island Water Park. We’ve got what you need to “just let go” for your best family vacation ever. | Call: 866.JustLetGo Summer Special: 5TH NIGHT FREE

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Boca Raton Res 106

Boca R




SEEING THE SOUTH by Amy Smith | Just pulling in to the Boca Raton Resort, I felt like royalty! The architecture is breathtaking and for once in my life, I think I was speechless. Ironically I am watching the royal wedding as I write this review. Then I learned more about the warm hearted, gentle-spirited man behind the resort and was overcome by a true sense of comfort. For more than 80 years, Boca Raton Resort & Club has celebrated its idyllic location and uniquely glamorous history. It was famed Palm Beach architect Addison Miner who envisioned “the world’s most architecturally beautiful playground,” a dream that took form in 1926 with the opening of the Cloister Inn. A splendid building in the gracious Mediterranean style, the Cloister Inn acted as a residence for Mizner and his beloved pet monkey Johnnie Brown, a macaw and his two chows, as well as a haven for its illustrious roster of guests. Over decades, the Cloister Inn evolved into the Boca Raton Resort & Club, a quintessential Florida retreat that has played host to countless celebrities and public figures seeking a private enclave of luxury. I loved walking around the property and learning more about Mizner, his creative mind and love for animals, I was in awe. Today there are many facets to Boca Resort, from the Venetian palace style Yacht Club, the Resort’s newest wing with 112 luxury guestrooms, including seven suites and an exclusive concierge-level lounge to the family friendly Boca Beach Club, 203 deluxe guest rooms and 9 suites on a half-mile stretch of private beach, just footsteps from the sand. Committed to providing the entire family with a premium experience, the Boca Raton Resort & Club offers an expanded children’s program as part of Camp Boca. Drawing upon the expertise of a team of activities coordinators, the Resort & Club has created a unique, kid-friendly destination where fun and safety are the focus. Camp Boca has two distinct age groups – Boca Tots (ages 3-5) and Boca Bunch (ages 6-12). Camp Boca runs year-round with no minimum number of campers required. Along with the structured Camp Boca programs, the Resort

offers a variety of family activities designed to allow parents and children to have fun together, positioning this multi-faceted property as a leading family destination. There are a myriad of kids’ sports clinics – junior golf clinic, tiny tots tennis and tennis hot shots as well as Junior Tennis Play Day; dinner, smores and a movie by the pool; sand castle building contests and kite flying on the beach; beach volleyball, ocean inner tube races, bicycling, pirate treasure hunts; jungle safari; water sports and much more. The kids have fun while you, mom, feel like a queen, what more could you ask for?


Hilton Grand Vaca by Amy Smith | My younger son’s second birthday was quickly approaching and we had no plans! That’s when I found out our dear friends, who also have a son his age, were spending that week in Orlando. Perfect! We can take J.Henry to see Barney live at Universal Studios. Then I found out my friend and her family would be using her grandfather’s time share week at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at SeaWorld International Center. I didn’t recall timeshare properties allowing nonmembers to stay on their properties, yet I decided to call and check anyway. To my surprise, not only did the resort rent to non-members, the rates were amazingly affordable! Then we got there,! Amid the irresistible energy of the world’s most famous theme parks, this Bermuda-styled retreat and its distinctive amenities awaited our enjoyment. Tastefully appointed accommodations offered comfort and convenience and it was so close to all the places we wanted to go. Right across the street from SeaWorld. Forget the theme parks mom, I just want to stay here, was written all over my older son’s face! After a long day drive, we were hungry and found a quaint little place to eat, poolside. As the adults ate and listened to families singing karaoke, the kids played on the playground, then the shuffleboard court, then the life size chess set and my husband and older son wrapped it up with a game of pool...the kind with sticks and balls that is, on the pool table, by the swimming pool!! Fast forward two months later, we were going to Orlando again and decided to check out the other Hilton Grand Vacations Club property there, Parc Soleil. This exquisite new property is the most expansive Hilton Grand Vacations Club resort in Florida. The resort is ideally situated on a 52-acre site in the much-anticipated master planned development of Midtown, a centrally located 214-acre project that will offer visitors immediate access to an upscale collection of restaurants and boutiques. The resort features extensive on-site amenities, tranquil waterfront walking paths and ideal proximity to Orlando’s theme parks. Again, WOW! This visit occurred in January when Florida had an unusual cold snap! How thankful was I to find the super, way cool indoor kids/family area. Activities are hosted almost around the clock. My older boys had a blast making a chocolate cake in a coffee mug, in the microwave and my little guy was thoroughly entertained by many great toddler play stations. After cake, my mom surfed the Internet as my husband and the boys and a few other friends we met, played ping pong and pool, and we were all in the room! LOVED it! Next year we hope to venture beyond and check out the Hilton Grand Vacations Club in Colorado....and maybe California, New York.....and honey, they have a property in Portugal and Hawaii (smiley face, wink).

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Ayshia Hatcher

Independent Director

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Confessions of a Homeschooling Dad by David Bailey

I was against it. I didn’t want to school our kids at home. I was looking forward to sending them to school. The preschool years are tough on a mother, and I wanted my wife to have a break. And, I had been anticipating the social networking opportunities that come through the public schools. We could meet some new people, invite them to our church, and expand our ministry. It was all about Jesus, of course. When my wife seriously mentioned homeschooling, I pushed back. I wondered why she would pass up the freedom of a quiet home during the school day. She could catch her breath and regain her sanity. Keeping the kids at home did not make sense. In spite of my reservations and concern for all those un-networked families in the community, we began homeschooling our young children. The co-ops we investigated didn’t fit our goals. The groups were disorganized and most families were not committed to the effort. There was no real educational direction, just a patchwork of classes representing the interests of a few parents. Then we heard about Classical Conversations. It was expensive for a homeschooling group, I thought. When my wife delved into it, she learned that this group had a real philosophy of education. After one conference, she came home excited about math. That got my attention. For years she had vowed that she could never really understand mathematics. I

had always been the resident math person. But after hearing Leigh Bortins speak, my wife enthusiastically drew me pictures of math concepts and described qualities of God as reflected in mathematics. This group was no co-op. These were serious educators. My wife plugged in as a Challenge tutor and tapped into her passion for learning and teaching. Gradually I have come along, too. I am learning that the education of my children is not just my wife’s responsibility, it’s mine, too. In fact, it’s mine primarily. God gives dads the role of spiritual leadership. He commands us to teach our children. That’s a key concept of Deuteronomy 6 and in many other places through the Scriptures. Looking back, I wish that I had taken time to learn along with my children during the elementary years. I could have been with them in their Foundations classes occasionally, but I just stayed on the sidelines. Now I relish every opportunity to engage my children in their studies. Okay, not every opportunity, but I’m trying to tune in a lot more. I’m finding that their education can also be my education. I’m reading some classic literature for the first time. I’m trying to grasp logic. I’m even making some sense of Latin. I’m seeking to lead my family, and I’m seeing the glory of God in this world of learning. Maybe homeschooling was not a bad idea after all.

David Bailey is the founding pastor of Crossroads Community Church ( in Stokesdale, NC, and a Challenge I tutor in Greensboro, NC for Classical Conversations, Inc ( He enjoys playing with words, kayaking, sailing, swimming and hiking. He and his wife Lisa have two daughters. Reprinted with permission from Classical Conversations, Inc.


The Magic School Bus It’s ELECTRIFYING! Jumping Into Electricity science kit from The Magic School Bus is full of experiments and activities designed by a team of Harvard graduates, scientists, educators and parents. Use anti-static sheets, make cereal dance, bend a water stream, create hair static, construct an electric circuit, build a light switch, experiment with insulators and conductors, your child will get a ‘charge’ out of this set!

Insect Lore Butterfly Garden Watch them grow then let them go! See one of Nature’s greatest miracles right before your eyes with this Oppenheim Best Toy Award-winning butterfly raising kit. Raise 3 to 5 Painted Lady butterflies while learning all about metamorphosis. See the caterpillars’ transition as they mature, change into chrysalides, and finally emerge as Painted Lady butterflies! The butterflies’ development takes approximately three weeks, and they’re absolutely safe to release into the environment.



Tikki Tikki Tembo

Tikki Tikki Tembo was one of my childhood favorites, now you can watch it with your child along with other stories to celebrate Asian heritage on this dvd from Scholastic.

Summer Vacation

Get ready for a summer of play dates and laughter! Preschoolers’ favorite characters from Dora the Explorer; Go, Diego, Go!; The Wonder Pets!; Blue’s Clues; Yo Gabba Gabba! and Ni Hao, Kai-lan enjoy some fun in the sun in, Nickelodeon Favorite: Summer Vacation.

Oh Lucky Day!

Oh Lucky Day a new family fav by Lucky Diaz and the Family Band!



Love Me for Who I Am

Brady Rymer celebrates children of all abilities on Love Me for Who i Am. Though Rymer says the songs were inspired by the children with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and other related disorders, I believe he knew my son in another life and was so inspired to write Picky Eater! Which my son loves!!


Mister G offers a summery mix of new tunes for kids and families.... Bugs!

Letter Sounds

Cool music and fun games build excitement about learning to read. Letter Sounds covers the most common sound that each letter makes.


Profile for Southern Child Magazine

Southern Child Magazine June July 2011  

Summer issue! Summer Safety Guide, Resort Reviews and Sweet Summertime fun!

Southern Child Magazine June July 2011  

Summer issue! Summer Safety Guide, Resort Reviews and Sweet Summertime fun!


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