Friday, October 28, 2016

BRAKES Teen Driving Class

Last month I took Billy and his friend to the BRAKES teen driving class. BRAKES stands for Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe. It is a free, pro-active defensive driving program. It is geared for teens ages 15-19 who have a learners or drivers license and at least 30 hours driving experience. It is a 4 hour course, and it is worth the time! I felt like the kids learned a lot from it, and got to try out some things they wouldn't normally get to do.

This is not your typical driving school! This class aims to improve the teen's skills and confidence. First we met in a room and they showed the kids some safety videos and talked about safe driving practices. One of the things they taught us was how to adjust your side mirrors. They said everyone has always been taught to adjust their mirrors so that they can see the side of their car in them. But this creates blind spots. He said you should lean over to the side the mirror is on, then you adjust the mirror out and stop when you just cant see the side of your car anymore. This way you don't have any blind spots. You can see everything either in your rear view mirror, or when they move out of the view of it they will pop up in the side mirrors. I have started using my mirror like this, and I must admit it takes some getting used to. it's weird not seeing the side of your car. The instructor made jokes about it. He said "I promise you it's still there! The side of your car isn't going anywhere! You don't have to look at it!" 

Another safety issue is the practice of "hooking". He said women are more likely to do this because they saw their mothers and grandmothers doing this growing up. Hooking is where you turn your arm around and stick it through the steering wheel to grab the top of the wheel and turn. This is dangerous since most cars have airbags nowdays. If the airbag comes out while you have your hand like this it will break your wrist and elbow. If you are caught driving like this by the instructor you are branded a "hooker".  I got caught doing this within 30 seconds of being in the drivers seat. I have really tried to stop , though I still catch myself  doing it sometimes. 

 After the videos and short talk the teens were split into 4 groups and they went outside to start the driving part. We adults had another short talk about the importance of letting the kids drive and practice, and getting in lots of instruction time. It's crazy to think kids have hundreds of hours of instruction in playing sports, but then they only get 30 or 40 hours of instruction driving and are given a license! We went outside to watch the kids and drive. The adults got to participate in 2 of the activities the teens did. There were 4 hands on courses at the one we went to at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

Accident Avoidance/Slalom- In this course you are driving down a single lane. The lane then splits into 3 lanes. There are lights above each lane. One light will turn green and the other two red. You have to swerve into the lane with the green light without stomping the brakes. They said if you hit the brakes it makes the car harder to control. Then there are a bunch of cones you weave through to make your way back to the start. The parents got to try this one. I did it right on my first try!

Panic Stop- In this one you are driving full speed down a lane towards a cut out cardboard of a kid. When the instructor says Now! you are to lock down the brakes and turn the wheel to avoid the kid. It gives the kids a chance to feel what the brakes feel like locked down, and it shows them that you can steer when the brakes are locked down. I had problems with this one. I was nervous driving towards a kid, even if it was a cardboard cut out. The first time I didn't hit the brakes hard enough to lock them down. The instructor said I babied them. He made me do it again. The second time I did better and locked them down, but forgot to turn the wheel and steer around the kid. At least I didn't hit him!

Skid Recovery- This one was really cool! They have these bald tires that they put on over the regular tires. With the bald tires they have no traction, so when they turn they skid. The instructors taught them how to turn into the skid, and then when they felt the tires grip recover it and turn back the other way. The parents didn't get to do this one, because the tires are very expensive and they said sometimes they can wear out a set in just one day! I did go watch for a while. Most of the kids completely spun out and would go in circles. It made me dizzy watching them! Here's a close up of the bald tires.

Distraction- In this one the kids get to wear "drunk goggles". They put these goggles on and it makes everything look distorted. They have to drive through an obstacle course wearing the goggles while the instructor blares the radio, talks loud, and takes selfies with the driver. This one was hilarious to watch. The kids were creeping around the course so slowly, running over cones and going outside the lanes. 

When the parents aren't taking turns driving, there is a covered area where you can sit and watch. They also provide drinks and snacks. One of the instructors drives the parents around the courses in a large 8 passenger van so you can get an upclose look at what the teens are doing.

After the driving part is over everyone goes back inside and the kids get a certificate. Some insurance companies will give you a discount if you send them a copy of the certificate. The event is sponsored by Kia, so of course we had to get a pic with the Kia Hamsters!

Billy and his friend both really liked the course and said they wanted to do it again. The highlight of the course for Billy was that his instructor was Jerry Nadeau, a former Nascar driver! He got into an accident during a race years ago and suffered a brain injury. He can't race anymore, so now he volunteers his time with BRAKES. Billy was thrilled to meet a real Nascar driver!

If you want more information about the BRAKES class you can check out their website here. They have a schedule so you can see if they are coming to your area. The class is free, but you do have to send in a $100 deposit. The day of the class you can get your deposit back, or you can choose to donate it. BRAKES is a non profit and runs off of donations, so every little bit helps!

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

Today I have another book review and a giveaway! I recently received a copy of this book, and it has changed my perspective on parenting! 

In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.  Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy. 
Being a single parent with no other parent around is hard. There's no one to discuss things with or share the parenting responsibilities with. Sometime's it's overwhelming to think about the fact that turning these kids into well-adjusted responsible adults is all up to me. This book has really given me something to think about, and shown me some things I need to change in my parenting style. The most eye opening principle is the fact that we can't change our kids. We can punish them and try to direct their ways, but the only one who can really change their hearts is God. We need to try and direct their hearts to Him, and then he can change their hearts and behavior.  
You can buy a copy of this book on Amazon
They have the hardcover and the Kindle edition. You and your family will be blessed by this book!
 I love it so much I am giving away a copy to one lucky reader! Enter below for your chance to win! Giveaway ends Nov 2. Winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning email or another winner will be chosen.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Veggie Tales Devotionals for Boys and Girls

Over the past couple weeks Junior has been reading the new Everyday with God Veggie Tales Devotions for boys. These books come in a girl or boy version. The recommended age is 4-7, but Junior is older and he still likes reading it.

Each book has 365 daily devotionals. They are numbered, but not dated, which I like better. When we have devotionals with dates we can never keep on track! Each entry has a scripture, a short message, a thought for the day, and a prayer for the day. Junior likes them because they are short and don't take long to read. I like that it is something he will read on his own and he is still learning about the Bible!

Some of the topics are: Being Thankful, God is Always With Us, Encouraging Truth, The Necessity of Obeying God, and Learn From Your Mistakes.

The pages are bright, colorful, and decorated with all your favorite Veggie Tales characters. For younger kids this would be a great book to read to them at bedtime. Although there is a boy and girl version, I really think they could be for either. I don't see anything in the boy's version that a girl wouldn't enjoy! It appears that the boy's version just has more boy characters while the girl's has more girl characters. 

With Christmas coming up these book would be a great gift for your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, or anyone! You can find them on Amazon or at