Archive for December, 2013

Reporter wants your help: What’s up with the teen nude selfies?

The AJC is following an investigation of  nude photos of Gwinnett County high school girls being posted on social media sites, and they want your input on this phenomenon. Here’s what’s happening in the investigation thus far:

“The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into who is responsible for posting racy and nude photos of several Gwinnett County high school girls on social media outlets.

The postings were removed by authorities, but because the subjects are underage, anyone who posted or distributed the photos could be charged with distributing child pornography, a felony that carries a potential 20-year prison sentence.

The incident, which occurred last week, is the latest in a growing trend of young people having explicit photos of themselves – intentionally or otherwise – posted online for the world to see, experts and law enforcement officials say.

“The problem is once these photos are out there they can show up anywhere,” said former DeKalb County …

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Which are your favorite ornaments and why?


I think we got this ornament before we moved from New York City in in 1998. I love it so much, and I love that it has the Twin Towers.

I was looking at our Christmas tree the other day and realized that most of the ornaments are from places that we have visited or lived. Of course we have some ornaments that were balls bought at Target but most of them have some meaning.

Some of the ornaments were made by the children in preschool and some have their baby pictures in them or on them.

My mother actually started my tradition of picking up ornaments when I travel. When we were children, she would always buy three ornaments from places we visited. She would buy one for herself, one for me and one for my brother. She had a collection for each of us for when we got married. (I’m not as thoughtful or apparently as wealthy as my mom — I’m not buying four of each ornament.)

She also has bought us probably 20 years worth of Rich’s cut crystal tree ornaments. I love the Rich’s ornaments …

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Do you actually play with your kids?

Associated Press writer (and mom) Leanne Italie talked to parents and experts across the country about playing with their kids. She examined what do parents do when they don’t like to play certain games and what constitutes “playing.”

I am similar to the mom at the bottom of the story who finds it very hard to unwind and “play” when I see dishes in the sink or other chores to be done. However, what I have found is that if I go up into the playroom or out back or to the playground then I can disconnect from the to-do list and focus on being in the present. A few weekends ago, we couldn’t get the DVD player to work in the family room so we all went up to the playroom and laid on the floor to watch the movie. Even though I was surrounded by toys I was relaxed and enjoyed the movie because that’s not my job to pick up toys. A few months ago, Michael and I watched a movie on the wall in the backyard and again I found that so much more relaxing than being in the family room because …

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Does your Christmas season feel like a race?

The weeks leading up to Christmas feel like a sprint, and I’m in the final stretch!

I got all my cards sent. I have two more presents to order. I still need to pick up one present for Rose and stocking stuffers for the kids. I am still working on one teacher’s present but have the rest finished. I baked zitis for my carpool moms. But I still need to wrap presents for the church.

My goal is to have everything done by Friday so I can just enjoy being with the kids  — baking, sightseeing, taking in shows, building puzzles.  I don’t want to do anything but have family time the two weeks they are out of school.

Do the weeks leading up to Christmas feel like a race? Is that bad? How can if feel more paced instead of a sprint? Do you have a drop-dead done date?

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Bouncy seat with iPad attachment: Smart invention or wrong?

Fisher-Price has introduced a new infant seat with an attachment that can hold an iPad for a baby to watch. Parents and advocacy groups are criticizing the chair.

Here is video of the chair. (I can’t embed it.)

From The AP:

“Fisher-Price is selling an infant seat with an attachment where parents can insert an iPad so baby can watch video content aimed at the youngest children — an idea that is being criticized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The Boston-based advocacy group started an online petition campaign Tuesday, urging Fisher-Price to recall its Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPads.

“CCFC says it’s not healthy for a baby’s development and encourages parents to leave baby alone.

“The seat is the ultimate electronic babysitter. Its very existence suggests it’s fine to leave babies all alone with an iPad inches from their face,” said Susan Linn, the group’s director, in an interview. “Babies thrive when they are talked to, played with and cuddled, not …

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Do your meals/house suffer when spouse is out of town?

I was texting with a friend whose husband is in South Africa covering Nelson Mandela’s funeral. She has four kids, and I asked her how everything was going.

I was expecting her to say that things were tough with her husband out of town but instead she wrote back that she was really enjoying not cooking and cleaning the house.

I laughed because my house cleaning and meal preparation have also been lax when Michael is out of town.

I wrote back that I had served my children cereal the other night for dinner because we had a chorus concert to get to. She wrote back that was her “plan” for the next night. She had served jarred sauce and pasta that night. I had served that the night before.  (Please see my later blog entitled: “Enough with the Christmas concerts! – We have been to four in one week! )

I told the story to my girlfriend in Taipei whose husband is also out of town, and she replied that she had stocked up on chicken nuggets and soup.

Lately Michael has been in town for a …

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Why is NOT over-committing so hard for moms?

I was talking to my girlfriend the other night on the phone and she started crying. She was feeling overwhelmed. Her husband was going out of town, she was going to be alone with the three kids for the two weeks before Christmas and had lots and lots to do to get ready for the holiday, including run two class parties. Within two breaths of the breakdown she then said, “Oh and I signed up to work the Scholastic Book Fair at school next week.” (I need to also mention that she moved to a foreign country just a few months ago so she is alone with three kids half-way around the world from everyone she knows.)

I chastised her for signing up. I said you’re not allowed to cry about being overwhelmed and then take on even more. I told her we need to set limits for ourselves and not overextend.

At that point she said, “Hello pot, it’s the kettle calling.”

I had told her minutes before that I had agreed to take home 150 envelopes to stuff for church, offered to stay with a sick friend …

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Are teachers’ presents bribes or just being nice?

Our son is attending a very academically competitive charter school this year and the booster club sent out this note about a month ago about teachers’ holiday presents. (I edited the note to take out the name of the school.)

From the Boosters:

“Staff holiday gift collection donation deadline is Wednesday, December 11th!This holiday season, show your gratitude to the dedicated teachers and staff at XXXXX. They are not only role models who exemplify hard work, commitment and a passion for learning, but they are devoted to helping your children reach their highest potential.”

“Please consider a small donation to the All Staff Holiday Gift Collection – show that you appreciate and support those who invest so much in our students. Put your gift in the boosters general mailbox, located at the front office.  Make checks payable to the boosters with a notation on the memo line “Teacher Holiday Gifts.” Cash contributions should be in a clearly marked envelope. Please include your …

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Elf on the Shelf mania grows: Ideas for the lazy, haters and other religions

You can find thousands of Elf mischief ideas on Pinterest.

You can find thousands of Elf mischief ideas on Pinterest. I hotlinked the photo. It will take you straight to Pinterest.

I know there are some serious Elf on the Shelf haters out there but the phenomenon continues to grow.  According to news reports more than 6 MILLION copies of the book have sold with a 70 percent growth in sales since it was released in 2005. In fact, the Elf is even getting a new book  – a birthday edition. The birthday edition comes with a cupcake outfit for the Elf but no Elf.  You must buy the first one to get the elf.

Whether you love the Elf, hate the Elf, or just tolerate the Elf, there are plenty of ideas for Elf mischief out there. Here are some helpful links depending on how you feel:

Pinterest is literally full of hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas for parents. You can search “Elf on Shelf ideas,” “Elf on the Shelf funny ideas,” “Elf on the Shelf for toddlers ideas,” and many, many more.

This one is for the lazy Elf on the Shelf parents (or …

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‘Frozen’ crowd treated to sexy scene: Has your theater ever shown inappropriate preview?

When I was a kid, we were shown the “Endless Love” trailer at a Muppets movie. My mother was horrified! I was riveted!

Families in Florida showed up to see “Frozen” and instead of a Mickey Mouse short, got a “sexually explicit scene.” (AWESOME!)

From a report on

“According to WTVT, a “sexually explicit scene” from another movie somehow ran in place of an animated Mickey Mouse short that accompanies and precedes the hit film.

The mix-up at the Regal Park Cinemas Park Place Stadium in Pinellas Park reportedly caused some parents to “rush their children to the exits.”

A spokesperson for the Regal Cinemas theater chain said the inappropriate scene was part of another R-rated movie that was played accidentally.

Regal representatives say the sexually charged scene played for less than two minutes, but the damage was done.

Lynn Greene told WTVT she brought her grandchildren to the show and tried to hide them from the scene, “It seemed like forever when you’re trying to, …

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