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Parenting News This Week: Girl Scouts and Weed, North West’s New Baby Cousin, Olympic Shenanigans and Flu Times 2

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This week’s parenting news takes a look at the new Kardashian-Jenner baby name, a Girl Scout who sells cookies over by the weed house and why you should watch Olympics with your kids. Also, Facebook Messenger has an app for kids and beware the flu times two.

Girl Scout Hits Paydirt By Selling Cookies Outside Weed Dispensary

Talk about smart! This little girl sold 300 boxes of Girl Scout cookies by setting up shop outside a place that sells weed. Perfect timing for the pre-munchies! She sold the cookies in three hours flat. Now, she might have violated some Scouting rules by selling in this manner but, are we really mad at her for this?

She had the cookies in a wagon and patrolled the doors. This was at a dispensary named Urbn Leaf in San Diego, of course. Peep the IG post below.

 

 

Say Yes To Screen time: The Olympics Make For Great TV

Get your popcorn ready, the 2018 Winter Olympics are here! Starting tonight, Feb. 9, you can watch the opening ceremony with your children. This is a superior opportunity to expose the kids to different cultures, and to work with them on identifying the flags of every nation in the world. To prep for this moment, my son’s kindergarten class has been coloring flags from a number of nations, though this last week they have focused on South and Central America. It has provided an excellent opportunity to talk about where our friends, family and teachers come from. Also, this year’s AFAM contingent to the U.S. team is pretty striking. Prep yourself for family discussion on diversity at the Olympics by reading this piece at Think Progress.

Here are my top 5 sports to watch with kids.

  1. It’s super cool and yes, for all genders.
  2. Figure skating. Check out the couples skates to give kids ideas on how teams work together on ice. Then? Go ice skating together.
  3. Alpine Skiing. It’s fast. Kids can get a kick out of it and hey, why not take them skiing if you live reasonably close to an area where you can ski?
  4. Always entertaining. Ask the kids to watch it for a bit and then ask which part of the body has to be super strong in order for the luge to get the best startup speed.
  5. Because we will win the gold in this, we should watch it.

 

Flu Strain B On The Rise: Yes, You Can Get It Twice

Did you already make it past Flu strain A? Great! Now get ready for B and everything else. You can get it twice. Docs still recommend the flu shot, but again, totally up to you if you choose to do so. Or not. Most important is to watch the kids because flu symptoms can sneak up on you. Folks with asthma, cystic fibrosis and other immune issues should be extra, extra, super duper careful. Mine have asthma, so I was checking on their breathing every hour at the worst of the fevers – even overnight.

This New York Times piece offers solid advice on how to know when to take that baby or toddler to the hospital. Trust your mom gut. Trust your dad gut. We are always right.

Arkansas has been hit particularly bad by the flu season. Yall alright out there?

Nothing can stop the flu, but many moms swear by boosting the immune system with the following fresh foods:

  • Fresh (not dried) garlic sprinkled over everything
  • Hot lemon water and honey every morning and afternoon
  • Cod Liver oil (a spoonful daily)
  • Elderberry syrup or drops
  • Extra zinc (though zinc can sometimes make your tummy hurt…)

Quick Hits

North, Saint and Chicago have a new first cousin, Stormi

Kylie Jenner finally had her baby, Stormi. One of the youngest of the Kardashian clan, a lot of people thought she was big sister Kim Kardashian’s surrogate but they were wrong. Jenner, in an IG post, said she didn’t prance about during pregnancy because she finally wanted to keep something to herself. She also said she didn’t want to stress out her baby. No matter what you think of the Jenner-Kardashian family, not stressing out the baby in utero is always a great idea.

Did you know that Facebook has a Messenger Kids App? Well, not everyone is happy about that

Parents are in a tizzy that Mark Zuckerburg is targeting kids under 13 via this kids messenger app. Facebook, however, says that the app is totally controlled by parents and that all GIFs are age appropriate. Also, messages can’t be hidden or deleted and the kids can only message folks that the parents approve of. If you have thoughts on this, chime in on our Facebook page.

 

Want more news? Read here.

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This Week In Parenting News: Grammys For Kids Music, A Dad Attacks Larry Nassar and VTech Recalls Rattles

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In this week’s edition of parenting news, I give you the skinny on the must-have album nominated for a kid’s music Grammy and we take a look at how the sexual assault charges against former US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar are impacting parents. Yet another study shows that kids need to avoid screens before bed. And, oh, and there are recalls for VTech items, so check your shelves.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was one of five nominees for the 2018 Grammy for Best Children’s Record. We recommend you pick up this album.

Grammys for Kids Music

Did you know that Grammy awards also go to children’s music? For the 2018 Grammy Awards, the top winner was Lisa Loeb, with her stunning Feel What U Feel. But the album that I think you should download or buy today for yourself, I mean for your kids, is by South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo and is named Songs Of Peace & Love For Kids & Parents Around The World.

The album is musically intriguing, harmonically beautiful and chock full of morals that no one can argue with. The intro, for example, is all about sitting down and making peace with people if you are angry. The first song is Ayhlalephansi, or Sit down and Make Peace. The second cut off the album is “All Women Are Beautiful.” Who can argue with that?  And of course I absolutely love their take on Old MacDonald, but Zulu style of course.

For those familiar with South African music and cadences, the album is lovingly familiar with its choral emphasis and arrangements. Church folk will see the similarities between popular Black American spiritual music and the pieces that Ladysmith sings. For those unfamiliar, this is a great introduction to the world of world music, plus the messages are positive and spiritually upbeat. Great for kids. Your littlest ones will march around the room throwing their hands in the air. Your bigger ones might find something a little deeper as they listen.

My kids listen to a large variety of music and Ladysmith Black Mambazo certainly rounds out their education. Bonus, there are absolutely no curse words or crass circumstances (Hello! Children’s music!) so you can leave it on and let it play. Thank goodness.

Here are the Grammy 2018 nominees for Best Children’s Music. The winner is noted in bold.

A dad is restrained in court after he tries to attack former US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar for sexually abusing his daughters./Image from video screen shot

What We All Have Learned from the 260 Young Women and Girls Sexually Abused by Team USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar

(Note: This portion of this week’s news roundup contains graphic descriptions of sexual abuse that might offend you or be painful to you if you are a survivor of sexual assault. Sassyplum agrees, however, that it is necessary to report this information as a warning and a reminder of what comprises sexual abuse.) 

  1. Lunging at the child molester during a court hearing might not be cool but it can net you a GoFundMe that raised $23,000 in a short order. How’s this? The dad of two girls who were abused by the serial molester straight tried to jump on Nassar during the hearing. It was shocking, but absolutely no one was mad that he tried it. Judge Janice Cunningham eventually said that the girl’s dad would not be charged, given the extreme situation.
  2. Parents across the country are horrified that a doctor said that inserting fingers into the vagina of a young girl was a “treatment” they had to undergo before going on to win gold, silver and bronze medals in their sport. According to the Indy Star, which was the first to report these abuses: “Lead Prosecutor Angela Povilaitis also said during the sentencing phase of Nassar’s trial that he penetrated his patients’ anuses and vaginas with his bare hands.”
  3. Olympic darling Simone Biles is among the many who accused Nassar of sexual abuse, often right up to the moments prior to public competition.

     

Sleep, Screen Time and Healthy Weight

Yet another study has found that kids who stay on their cell phones, tablets or computers before bed get less sleep and gain more weight. Those are the basic findings of a study conducted by Penn State’s College of Medicine. These findings add to the plethora of information that suggests that better sleep can be attained by turning off electronic devices at least an hour before bed.

According to Science Daily:

Caitlyn Fuller, medical student, said the results — published in the journal Global Pediatric Health — may suggest a vicious cycle of technology use, poor sleep and rising BMIs.

“We saw technology before bed being associated with less sleep and higher BMIs,” Fuller said. “We also saw this technology use being associated with more fatigue in the morning, which circling back, is another risk factor for higher BMIs. So we’re seeing a loop pattern forming.”

Sing and Shake Elephant Rattle by VTech has been recalled.

VTech Recalls Dangerous Baby Products: Check Your Shelves

Everybody’s favorite smart baby toy maker has recalled 280,000 rattles and 37,000 crib mobiles. The 280,000 rattles affected feature model number 80-184800 and the number 1848 is printed on the back of the rattle adjacent to the battery door. You might have bought them at Walmart, Kmart, Meijer, Mills Fleet Farm, Seventh Avenue, Amazon.com and zulily.com between November 2015 through November 2017 for about $8.

About 37,000 mobiles sold in the U.S. and 4,800 sold in Canada were recalled due to reports of the clamp that attaches the mobile to the crib rail breaking, leading the mobile to fall. Naturally,  this poses an injury hazard to an baby or toddler in a crib. The model numbers for those are 80-503000 (blue) and 80-503050 (pink). The items were sold at Kmart, Walmart, Amazon.com and zulily.com between February 2017 through November 2017 for about $25.

VTech is offering a full refund for both the rattles (recall number 18-083) and the mobiles (recall number 18-084). You can contact VTech at 800-521-2010 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at vtechkids.com.

H/T CPSC for the info.

Quick Hits

Here We Are, the NYT-bestselling book by Oliver Jeffers, is a must-read. Please buy it for yourself and for your kid. It’s lovely. (And as the daughter of a head librarian for a major city school system, I have really good training and insights into what makes for a stellar children’s book. This is THE book for birthday presents for new parents this year. Trust me.)

16 More Children Succumb To The Flu

It’s getting so serious that some parents are cancelling birthday parties. Depending upon how your city is dealing with the epidemic that might not be a bad idea. The flu situation is not  pretty and the season’s peak is yet to come. Take precautions, whatever they may be. Whatever you do, vaccine shaming (or not) is a parenting group no-no.

 

Want more Parenting News? Read here.

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This Week In Parenting News: Flu Epidemic, Slavery Baby Bibs, Free Range Parenting and Teen Sleep

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Flu Epidemic Mimics Colds

Now that at least 30 U.S. children have died of the flu – many of them going from seemingly 100% healthy to total organ failure within 24 to 72 hours – it is a good idea to take a look at several news stories that discuss how this new flu can often mimic a cold. My own five-year-old had the flu, and yes, it can look and feels like a mild cold. No doubt. He never got the “hit by a truck” aches and pains. Even so, he passed out at the dinner table and the exhaustion was our first clue. His fever – 104.5 degrees – presented by 1 a.m. and by 9 a.m. we were at the pedi’s office and given Tamiflu.

The 12-year-old child who just died in Florida is a good example of how the flu might present as a cold. Per NBC News: “Dylan Winnik had sniffles and was exhausted, symptoms his family initially thought were a cold. Now, they believe it was flu.”

This Nightly News With Lester Holt segment does a good job of explaining what to look for and how to fight it.

Other signs of flu:

1. Diarrhea. For real. Diarrhea all by itself. Your kids doesn’t need to have a fever to be suspected of having the flu.
2. Aches and pains
3. Headache
4. Sore throat
5. Runny or stuffy nose
6. A cough
7. Vomiting
8. High fever
9. Everything else that you know is a certified sign of the flu.

And now you know why everyone is in a panic.

Seemingly everything that happens to you or your kid could be a sign of the flu. The good news is that the flu test is quick and requires just a sample from your nostrils. The bad news is that we aren’t even close to the end of flu season. Best advice we’ve heard is to wash hands, get plenty sleep, eat well and get some sun (or some cod liver oil.) Also, lots of doctors say to get the flu shot because even if it’s not 100% effective (and no shots are 100% effective) it will decrease flu symptoms if you should catch one of the many viruses that are out there.

Trust your parental intuition.

Also, as John Torres for NBC News suggests, if your child seems to get better but then immediately gets worse? Go straight to the hospital. Right. Now.

The Truth About the Flu Shot

Lots of parents are on the fence about the flu shot. People who have never had the flu swear that they don’t need the protection. People who have had the flu swear they need the protection. And news reports stating that the flu killed a bunch of people in Australia is absolutely no help to anyone at all, and is quite depressing. California has been hit bad with this illness. Illinois has been hit bad. Florida just reported the death of a child. And yet the flu shot is either – depending upon who you listen to – 10% or 30% effective.

But here’s the deal: If you come into contact with the strains covered by the flu shot, it will help protect you. If you come into contact with the strains not covered by the shot, it will still help your immune system react in a better way. There are several strains of flu floating around, but right now only one strain – A – is making the news. But, according to local doctors in Illinois at least, Influenza B is just now starting to rise. Influenza B is covered by the flu shot.

And the CDC is reporting that 90% of the pediatric deaths by flu come from children who were not vaccinated. Those are 2013 figures, but still. Ouch. For the 2016-2017 year, at least 101 children died from the flu.

Take a look at this dataset created by the CDC. It lets you know how frequently the various strains of flu have been identified.

CDC data on the current flu season.

The flu shot will not give you the flu, but it might make you feel a little sickly. Or it might not. (For me, in terms of shots that pack a punch, that tetanus shot is my nemesis. I feel completely awful and like someone slugged a baseball bat at my chest when I get it. Then I can’t raise my arm for days. Awful but necessary, especially since I stepped on a nail when I visited Senegal. That shot came in handy.)

In the end, it makes no sense to shame parents for getting the shot – or for not getting the shot. I know plenty people with the shot who got the flu. I know plenty who did not get the flu.

If you do decide to get the shot, know that it takes two weeks to kick in. Flu season won’t end until May or June. You do the math and/or take the vitamins or stop visiting museums or stop going to birthday parties. Or not.

On to yet more gnarly news…

Racists in the Amazon and Walmart Marketplace

Folks are really doing the most when it comes to making clothing for children or adornment for children’s bedrooms. The racists who made a onesie and a t-shirt series proclaiming that “slavery gets shit done” deserve a dragging. Those went on sale on Amazon and were promptly removed, according to Reuters and the New York Post.


It’s an epidemic. Not only did H&M make a major mistake with their “Coolest Monkey In the Jungle” advertisement a few weeks ago, but late last year, Walmart sold wall art for the “playroom” that depicted Japanese-American internment camps during WW2.  There is nothing cute about putting people in internment camps. And if you don’t know much about how the U.S. treated Japanese-Americans during the war, read this.

 

 

Quick Hits —

Free-Range Parenting Pass

Utah officials decided that it’s time to stop penalizing parents for letting their kids grow up the old-school way: by freely exploring without hovering parents. The Utah senate still has to vote on the measure, but it would not penalize parents for allowing their kids to go to the park by themselves or walk home from school solo.

Later School Start Times Are Better For Teens

High schools that start at 7 a.m. are not as good as schools that start later. Or at least that’s the opinion of a writer who penned a column for USA Today on the heavy topic of school start times and teen sleep. Per the column:

The policy part of this equation revolves around school start times. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other major medical organizations recommend that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Earlier start times risk depriving students of the sleep their adolescent bodies and minds demand.

That said, getting kids to sleep on time is part policy and part parenting. As opinion writer Wendy Troxel accurately points out in her column, parents have to model good sleep habits in order for their kids to follow suit.

* Thanks for reading This Week in Parenting News. Just so you know, the writer who pulls this together is a trained, old-school journalist who vets every story to be sure that it is true and not fake news. All facts are corroborated by several sources and linked so you can do your own research.

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Racism At Play? Serena Williams Nearly Dies After Childbirth

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Serena and Baby Alexis cover Vogue. Photo: Vogue

Everyone is talking about the new Vogue cover story that details Serena Williams’ six-day ordeal after giving birth to baby Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Williams had a c-section and afterward felt short of breath. The tennis star assumed her continued issues with blood clotting were at play. She told her nurse about her thoughts and her nurse thought the pain medications were “making her confused” in her thoughts.

But “Dr. Williams” was right. She needed a heparin drip to help dissolve the pulmonary embolism in her lungs. She wound up having three surgeries to correct the issues and when she finally got home to be with baby, was too exhausted to do anything but stay in bed. The ordeal sounds horrific. It also sounds like Williams, because she knows her body very well, was able to articulate what she needed and push for what she needed even though she initially wasn’t believed.

Vogue’s cover story on Serena Williams and her birth story.

 

What does this mean for mothers who are about to give birth or just a few days beyond labor? It means that you are your best advocate. If the world’s greatest tennis star -who is in great health and has the money to pay for the best doctors – has to remind hospital staff how to take care of her how much more important is it for the rest of us to speak up when something is wrong?

Doctors and nurses are certainly the experts. But if you suspect something is not right, you absolutely have to speak up. In the United States, black women are three to four more times likely to die after childbirth than any other race.  Also, generally speaking, women in  the United States are more likely to die from childbirth- or pregnancy-related causes than other women in the developed world. Half of those deaths could be preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To be clear, the excessive rate that affects black women in the U.S. is not new. It’s been known about for decades but is making headlines right now.

NPR, the LA Times and Pro Publica have written extensively on this newest incarnation of this old epidemic.

But back to Williams. Here’s how the Twitterverse responded to the story.

 

 

And this.

 

It’s more important than ever to be your own advocate, and to show your partner and friends these stories so that they can advocate for you if you cannot. Mamas are selfless and put everyone else first but us. But these stories are worth contemplating when it comes time to remember that we all have to fight as hard for ourselves as we fight for our babies.

 

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Moms Making Moves: The Positive Images of Kido Chicago

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When a mom can’t find what she’s looking for, what does she do? In good-ol mom fashion, of course she creates it herself! This is exactly what happened with mom Keewa Nurullah as she was shopping online for clothes for her infant son.

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Trick or Treat! Halloween Safety Tips for Every Family 

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Halloween is here! We know how much you want to keep your kids  (and your fur babies) safe on this sometimes scary night, so here are the best safety tips we could find all in one place! From costumes to crosswalks to pets, these links are all you need to help you check off any last minute boxes and have a fun and safe Halloween. 

SafeKids.org

American Academy of Pediatrics 

Pet Safety

CDC Tips 

Mayo Clinic

ASPCA

RedCross

US Food & Drug Administration  

Tips for Teens from Seventeen

Teens and Tweens 

Be safe this year!

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Swoon Alert: New Cartoon Focuses On Black Dad Doing His Baby Girl’s Hair

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Stephen and Zuri in “Hair Love.” Art created by illustrator Vashti Harrison.

 

 

 

 

This story first appeared in Forbes and is reprinted with permission of the author.

The concept behind a Pixar-style animated short about a 4-year-old named Zuri and her dad, Stephen, is so popular that the internet funded a $284,000 Kickstarter campaign helmed by NFL wide receiver-turned-filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry. In fact, “Hair Love”–the story of a black dad who does his daughter’s hair, for the first time, because mom is away for the day–is so overwhelmingly embraced that Cherry is now literally turning away funds.

“It’s one thing where you wanna say ‘yes,’ but at this point it’s closed off,” says Cherry, whose film should release by August 2018. “We may try to continue to find a way to get people involved if they want to be. But right now we’d say no, which is essentially a weird thing to say. It’s a very strange thing to even say.”

People are excited about this short film, myself included. It’s because the still drawings already provide a glimpse into strong family bonds and the nostalgia behind something every little girl can relate to: Their dad (or granddad, or uncle, or brother) doing their hair. And because Cherry’s film is showcasing a strong black father who wears his own hair in ‘locs and loves his little brown-skinned, Afro’d daughter, the concept is even more personal. That’s because mainstream films don’t often showcase the love between black fathers and daughters. And, mainstream films don’t often showcase happy, smiley, well cared for and much loved darker brown-skinned children at all.

“I think it comes down to this,” says Cherry, whose film resume includes several music videos and “The Last Fall,” which premiered at SXSW in 2012 and took home a Best Screenplay award from the American Black Film Festival. “Our biggest goal and task, in these times, is to normalize black people, you know? I think that’s the biggest weapon our artists in these times can bring to the table . It’s all about humanizing us. Representation matters. We’re saying that I need you to know that I’m a fully realized human being. I am a son. I am a daughter. I am a mother.”

Cherry goes on.

Meet Zuri, the new star of “Hair Love.” Some Kickstarter contributors will snag a Zuri doll.

“This wasn’t created to rock the boat, but with ‘Hair Love’ it’s important because we’re normalizing our hair, black fathers and black daughters,” says Cherry. “We’re normalizing things that you don’t (see normalized) in mainstream media.”

Some people might say that black dads aren’t shown as such in mainstream media because they are largely absent, but those naysayers would be wrong. As was pointed out in this article on parenting site Sassy Plum, and by various studies and multitudes upon multitudes of personal experiences, compared to dads of other races, black dads are just as if not more involved in the lives of their children.

“Unfamiliarity and lack of understanding begets frustration and negative assumptions towards black men,” writes the author, who also refers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures that showcase black men are extremely involved fathers.

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Flying With Baby? 20 Must-Read Airline Hacks For Traveling with Young Kids

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My kid sits quietly (thank goodness) on a flight while playing Angry Birds. Image/Adrienne Gibbs

Airlines can’t stay out the news lately can they? They seem to always be doing something awful to passengers. From the doctor who was beat down for not giving up his seat to the mother who was nearly knocked out by her own stroller as it wielded by an airport flight attendant, it seems that flying with baby is mighty perilous these days. Don’t worry, Sassy Plum is here to help you figure out how to do this. You CAN do this mom. You can fly safely and efficiently with your baby, your infant, your toddler or your young kid. And hopefully you can do it with minimal issues.

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Against Candy Pushers: Parents Fight For Healthy Checkout

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Healthy checkout? Are changes needed?

Do your kids drive you nuts at the grocery store?

Are you at your wit’s end by the time you reach the checkout counter?

Is the candy and junk food loaded checkout lane the breaking point for your kids mega-meltdowns and your sanity?

healthy checkout
Are healthy checkout options ideal?
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Working Mom Or Stay-At-Home Mom: A 2016 Snapshot Of Our Habits

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Digital Goddesses

Guess what? Both stay-at-home moms and moms who work outside the home use the hell out of their digital devices and spend a lot of time on social media and watching streamed television shows and movies.

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Halle Berry Blasted For Not Posting Kids’ Photos Online

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LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Revlon Global Brand Ambassador Halle Berry attends Revlon's Annual Philanthropic Luncheon in support of the Revlon Women's Health Mission and to honor the achievements of Dr. Dennis Slamon at the Chateau Marmont on September 27, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Revlon)
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Revlon)

Recently Halle Berry was criticized for NOT showing her kids’ full faces on Instagram. After posting a photo of their faces cropped out, one follower questioned her and implied that she was possibly “ashamed” of her children.  The critic asked, “What’s with the hiding of the faces? They’re beautiful children why not show them off?”

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Recipe: Savory Chili For Moms that Love Flavor

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Chili

As we head into autumn, we look towards yummy, hot meals that keep our family happy and satisfied. Need something that makes a wonderful leftover? Try this savory recipe. You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already.

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Awesome Idea: Car Seat Dividers For Triplets

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carseat dividers
Courtesy of Jake White

If you have one or more children in your backseat, chances are you are too familiar with this scene. Spats, fighting, crying, debates about who is touching whom, or who is looking at whom. Back seat wars that will drive the sanest mom crazy! This dad figured out a brilliant way to separate his triplets and restore the peace. Who’d ever think that car seat dividers would be the answer to this old-age problem? This genius solution is funny and brilliant at the same time!

For more on this story posted on Today, please click here.

 

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