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Sunday, December 3, 2017

#Diversity

#Diversity


Have A Family Who Refuses To Write Down Recipes? This Hilarious Twitter Story Is For You

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 08:14 AM PST

You will fall in love with this mom’s “recipe” for homemade bread

When it comes to baking, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who follow precise recipes and measurements and those who don’t need to. Many of our moms and grandmas fall into the latter category, mostly because they’ve been baking the same delicious family goods for years, and they don’t need to measure perfection.

Enter Krista Ball, a woman originally from Newfoundland, who was craving her mom’s traditional homemade bread and decided to ask her for the recipe. Because who doesn’t have a soft spot for their mom’s baked goods, right?

Krista’s recap of her conversation with her mother surrounding this bread “recipe” is one of the most relatable things you’ll read today.

[Author’s note: there is a Newfoundland accent and dialect, which just adds to the overall charm and sweetness of this story.]

Krista asked her mom for the recipe — except there’s just one catch.

So relatable. My grandma looks at me like I’ve suddenly sprouted three heads when I ask her for certain recipes because she just knows how to make everything her own way.

“Not the big, big bag.” LOL. So perfect.

Hahaha. This old school “recipe” plus Twitter equals the perfect amount of amusement.

OMG THIS MOM IS ALL OF OUR MOMS AND GRANDMAS.

This year for Thanksgiving, I wanted to try and make my grandma’s pie crust recipe. (“Wanted” is really more “had to” because the grocery store had everything but my trusty pie crust shells and I had committed to a pie.) All I can tell you is that Grandma’s recipe included a whole lotta lard (shoutout to Crisco) and eyeballing measurements, and it was so good. Not because it’s a revolutionary pie crust, but because it’s hers. 

You want to replicate those childhood favorites as best you can, and those old school recipes simply aren’t meant for Food Network levels of precise measuring. Which just makes them even sweeter.

This Husband Shopping for Nail Polish for His Wife Is #RelationshipGoals

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 08:00 AM PST

The internet is swooning over this man picking out nail polish

When you love someone, you typically try to do things for the other person to show them you care. There are the usual things: flowers, candy, and teddy bears. But some of those lucky among us will find someone that offers their time and interest as gifts instead. We may even get a lover that picks out nail polish with as much passion and precision as this man.

Behold, Husband of the Year. A woman, Brittney Johnson, snapped a photo of this man picking out the perfect color of nail polish for his wife and posted on Facebook. She starts, “I’m sorry, sir, whoever you are.. for posting a pic of your back side for the world to see.. BUT I couldn’t help it.”

“This man was on the phone with his wife, looking so hard for the EXACT olive colored nail polish that she wanted,” she writes. Johnson says she could hear him saying, “‘I got this, I got this, I'll be home in a bit.'”

“Then he took a picture and sent it to her and she called to help him. He says ‘Ok, so I sent you the pic. Is that the right one? You wanna know the colors close to it? You just want all three colors?'”

OK, swoon. Seriously, could there be anything more precious? Ladies, pick a partner that cares about your nail polish as much as this guy.

“THIS IS ALL IT TAKES,” Johnson writes. “Effort. Showing someone that whatever is special to them means something to you because they want it, or need it, or just really like it.”

She says love is about putting yourself outside of your comfort zone. Whether it’s at the make-up store, the book store, the handbag department, or the damn tampon aisle. Just do it.

“Letting yourself feel foolish sometimes for the sake of making your girl (or man) happy,” Johnson writes.

“It's still so cool to me.. the idea of romance.. not being flowers and cards and candy.. but being time, and proof that you’ve actually listened, and support of the things that set that persons soul on fire,” she writes. “Marrying your best friend, being all for ONE person, that’s still pretty cool.”

The beautiful post was shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page and the comments will make you fall in love all over again; with your partner, with the world, or just the idea that love like this exists at all.

And for those of us who haven’t found love yet – we want to know where to find partners who do this without a second thought!

This is a lesson in love right here folks, whether you’re looking for love or already hitched – these are #relationshipgoals. Make it your mission to find and keep someone like this. As Johnson says too – don’t settle.

“Don't settle for less than that y’all. Somebody, somewhere, will love you enough to go shopping alone for your favorite nail polish.”

Teachers Who Buy School Supplies No Longer Get A Tax Deduction Thanks To GOP Tax Bill

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 07:39 AM PST

And the hits just keep on coming

The tax bill the GOP put together in secret, scribbled edits and additions to at the last minute, and rammed through the Senate in the middle of the night, has a lot of terrible aspects to it. The president promised relief to the people that need it most, but that doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.

The bill benefits the wealthiest Americans, providing high-income families with the biggest cuts. Lower income households are screwed, in ways both big and small. Just ask teachers.

The 400-plus page bill has all sorts of details that are still being uncovered, and most of them are good for the 1% and bad for regular folks. One such detail eliminates a tax deduction that helps teachers provide school supplies.

Currently, teachers can deduct up to $250 in expenses for their classroom, but according to Time, should the GOP Tax Cut become law, that will go away.

California’s Democratic Representative, Mark Takano, explained why on Facebook.

"Under the Republican plan, corporations are still allowed to deduct state and local taxes, workers are not. Corporations are still allowed to deduct business expenses. Teachers are not."

It’s just one of the many aspects of the bill that favors business and corporations at the expense of people, in this case, teachers, who have a long history of being overworked and underpaid.

The National Education Association is not happy about this change, based on the statement from the NEA’s president, Lily Eskelsen Garcia. "As educators spend more and more of their own funds each year to buy basic essentials, Republican leaders chose to ignore the sacrifice made by those who work in our nation's public schools to make sure students have adequate books, pencils, paper and art supplies," she said about the tax bill last week.

She wasn’t alone in her criticism.

The list of people who will be victimized by this tax bill is long.

Teachers have long gotten a bum rap in this country, and with this deduction removed, the repercussions will be felt by their students as well.

Eliminating this deduction for teachers reduces their ability to do their job at a time when it’s already harder than ever. Earlier this year, an Oklahoma teacher was forced to beg on the street to get the money needed to buy supplies for her classroom.

The $250 deduction isn’t a lot – a 2013 study by the National School Supply and Equipment Association revealed that 99.5% of teachers spend almost double that amount ($485) on supplies each year – but every little bit helps. This new tax bill does not.

Don’t worry though, they can deduct their private jets.

Target’s 1-Day Gift Card Sale Is A Christmas Budget Game-Changer

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 04:40 AM PST

Target gift cards are on sale today — happy dance commence

Who doesn’t appreciate a good gift card for the holidays? Sure, it’s not the most exciting gift, but who the hell cares? It’s free cash you can all spend on whatever your little heart desires. It’s a win-win-win. And if there’s one store that’s a game changer over the holidays, it’s Target.

In case you aren’t picking up what I’m putting down — starting tomorrow, December 3rd, there is an actual sale on gift cards.

The Superstore of all Superstores is known for offering weekly deals near the holidays, but their gift cards are almost never available at a discount.  But since we could all use a damn break, they decided to offer their gift cards at 10 percent off today only.

In case you need some fast math, if you buy a $50 card, you can get it for $45. If it’s a $100 gift card you are looking for, you will pay a mere $90. If you purchase a $200 gift card, it’ll set you back $180. OK, fine, you get it. But before we all lose our collective shit, there is a pesky $300 limit per customer.

Another great aspect to this deal? Whomever you gift the gift card to gets to use it beginning December 4th. That’s right, it’s the day after someone purchases it for you. Or the day after you purchase it for yourself because hellllloooooo, it’s free cash and there’s a hella lot of shopping to be done between now and Santa plopping his ass down the chimney.

But here’s the best part: these little miracles are available online so you don’t need to leave the comfort of your house, your pajamas, or your large Tupperware bowl of Honeycombs to get in on the deal. You can also get them in stores if you didn’t bother to read the last sentence and are an overachiever.

And if all of this wasn’t enough to make your turtle doves sing, the cards come in nine brand new designs to choose from. There are scratch-and-sniffs (think old school stickers, only better), a LEGO-inspired bullseye, and the Target bulldog smothered in Christmas lights. You really can’t go wrong.

And if gift cards aren’t your thing for the holidays, consider hoarding them for yourself for future purchases. Because you know you are going in there for a pack of chicken and a bag of apples and will eventually come out with $387 worth of new hand towels and a Roomba you never knew you needed.

Happens to the best of us.

This Is The Most Dangerous Thing Parents Do With Their Kids

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:00 PM PST

For practically all parents, our children's safety is our No. 1 concern. "Keep them alive" is our prime directive, quickly followed by "Keep them whole" and "Keep them well." It's part of the mama bear instinct.

And so we fret over all manner of choices that tap into that instinct. We heed warnings about lead paint and crib bumpers. We put locks on cabinets and gates on stairways when we have crawling babies. We make toddlers hold our hands to cross the street and trick them into eating as many vegetables as we can. We talk to older kids about stranger danger and teach what to do if they get lost in a public place. We worry about them when they're out of our eyesight.

But the most dangerous thing parents do is something almost all of us have done almost daily since our kids were born. It's something we take certain precautions with, but rarely think about otherwise.

We put our precious babies into our automobiles and drive them around.

For kids ages 0–19, the leading cause of death is car accidents where kids are passengers in a moving vehicle.

I currently live in Washington state, which has the highest seat belt compliance rate in the nation at almost 97%, but I've also lived in other states and traveled extensively around the country, and I can't tell you how many times I've seen cars driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour with kids bouncing around in the back seat, clearly unbuckled. I've seen people holding babies or toddlers on their laps. I've seen four or five kids crammed into a three-seat back seat.

One study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, in one year, more than 618,000 children under the age of 12 rode in cars without a safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt at least some of the time.

But the danger isn't just in neglecting to use safety seats or seat belts. Many safety-conscious parents think they have their children safely buckled into the car when they don't.

As a writer, I have to peruse stock photos all the time. It is shockingly difficult to find a stock photo of a kid in a car seat with the harness buckled and chest clip positioned properly. In fact, it's become a running, not-so-funny joke among my writer friends.

However, that phenomenon simply reflects reality. In a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, out of 300 parents who were surveyed and observed installing car seats and positioning infants in them, only 5% of them made no mistakes.

And we aren’t talking about tiny mistakes either: 77% of parents incorrectly installed the seat, 86% positioned the newborn incorrectly in the seat, 69% of babies had a loose harness, and more than one-third positioned the retainer clip too low.

And that's just infant seats.

Part of the challenge is that all car seats are different and instructions can be confusing. Rules and guidelines are always changing for how long kids should stay in car seats and boosters, and it can be hard for parents to keep up. We have a tendency to think that the way we've always done something is just fine, especially when we haven't had any negative experiences, so we don't always adjust to new guidelines willingly.

But once again, statistically speaking, putting our kids in the car and driving them places is the riskiest thing parents do. Shouldn't we do everything possible to lessen that risk, even if it involves constantly educating ourselves and making adjustments? When I was born, seat belts weren't even standard in cars. When my kids were newborns, the rear-facing recommendation was only for a year. When we know better, we do better.

If you need help figuring out how to install a car seat properly or how to position the straps and buckle them correctly, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to find a child safety seat inspection station near you. They will check your seat installation and positioning at no cost.

That one check may mean the difference between life or death in a car accident with your child. Totally worth it, don't you think?

I’m Not The Mom I Hoped I Would Be

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:00 PM PST

Ever since I was a child, I always knew that someday I would have my own kids and be a mom. I never questioned it; it was something I always wanted.

I was going to be a perfect stay-at-home mom and enjoy every single moment teaching and encouraging my children. Then, I actually had my own kids, three of them, and that is when I fell off my unicorn and tumbled straight back to reality.

The mom I thought I would be is very, very different than the mom I actually turned out to be. Eight years and three kids later, I have figured out that this "mom" thing isn't quite as easy as I once believed.

Before they have children, I think all young people have their own thoughts and fantasies about what motherhood will be, what their lives will be. For me, I thought it would be a little bit more like playing house than it really is.

You remember playing house — dressing up "dolls" in cute little outfits, coming up with good recipes for dinner, going shopping or being crafty. I imagined that I'd go to yoga every day, get Starbucks on my way to volunteer for the classroom party bringing along with me the most amazing Pinterest treats I baked the night before, and spend my days doing fun crafts and going to parks and playdates with my children.

Go figure, there is a little more to it than that. I didn't plan for all of life's real struggles — finances, relationships, illnesses, and just plain old everyday annoyances. I didn't anticipate that I would have these feelings of defeat, inadequacy, and being completely mentally and physically exhausted.

In truth, I yell far more than I want to, I am much more impatient than I ever thought I would be, and I am not always in control of my emotions.

One minute you're snuggling with your baby, smiling at how cute they are, quietly helping them learn a new activity, or lovingly reading them a bedtime story. You think to yourself, I got this. I can do this. Then, BAM. Suddenly, you are being physically assaulted by the very same 2-year-old as she bites your arm and squeezes your neck fat because you asked her to wear pants.

Then two minutes later, you are back to being brought to tears at how sweet and proud you are of your little one when he writes you a love note you or makes a spot on the couch and snuggles up next to you.

I really find it funny how difficult the most basic things can be when you have small children. Things I never imagined would take so much time or be such a big fight. Simple and normal things such as getting your kids to eat something, anything, getting into the car, putting on shoes, or just teaching them how to use a toilet.

I certainly never thought I could work up a sweat from going to the grocery store — carrying a kid, pushing the cart, running after an escapee, and the pure stress trying to get my freak show out of the store before it is too late.

Then there is my house. I would describe it as utter chaos. I do my best to keep up with the chores, but the dishes from yesterday sometimes sit on my counter, there are piles of laundry all over, granola bar wrappers in every corner, and the toys…oh, the toys. I have every intention of having them all separated neatly into separate bins and keeping everything that goes together in one spot. That's a joke.

So, no, I am definitely not the perfect mom I once thought I would be. I'm far from it. Every single day, I am reminded how far from perfect I really am, how far from even being "okay."

My house may not be clean and organized, my kids sometimes smell, I am not cool, I'm definitely not patient, I lose my temper (a lot), and according to my kids, I'm not fair (ever).

But I am here for them no matter what. Their wacky mom loves them completely. I am fumbling through this motherhood thing — taking this one day, one step at a time, and doing my very best. My kids are my life. All I can do is pray that the mom I turned out to be is enough.

I Feel Guilty About Having Another Baby

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:00 PM PST

It goes without saying, the feelings and emotions associated with welcoming a new child are overwhelming. Immense happiness, joy, and excitement are all within the normal range of what's to be expected — yet, with my second, and moreso with my third, I can't shake an underlying guilt.

In theory, the ability to devote 100% of your time, energy, and resources to a single project or task yields the highest potential for success. What happens when you must divide yourself and your resources amongst three projects, each as extremely important as the other? Add in constant distractions and interruptions — would you still attain the same level of success?

Now apply this notion to parenting one kid vs three. Does this theory still hold truth? I realize parenting isn't as black and white as a math problem, but I'm still left constantly wondering if I'm meeting each of my children's unique needs and not leaving anyone starving for my attention. I love them more than anything in this world, but is that enough?

When I had my first child, I had the luxury of devoting my full time and energy to this single human being. With the addition of our second, I worried I would be forcing my eldest to grow up faster than he was prepared for. I was nervous about giving each of them the attention and love they deserved without anyone feeling left out. Recently after welcoming our third child, I feel all of this and more. Most of all, I feel like I'm failing more than I'm succeeding.

With three small children, someone always needs me. Although this is to be expected, when two or all of them are desperate for me at the exact same time, I feel like I'm always failing someone. Even with the best multitasking skills, I'm only one person with two hands, and it's impossible to be everywhere.

I can't help but feel guilty when I'm nursing my little one and my son is asking for me to sit and play with him, or when I'm busy helping my eldest with his homework and I hear a scream for me to come build a fort. The worst is when my son just wants me to carry or hold him because he loves and misses his mommy, but I can't because my hands are full with something or someone else.

Every day, it's a juggling act, and hopefully in time as they grow older, become less demanding and more independent, it'll be easier. Until then, my heart will pang every second my children need my attention and are forced to wait longer than I wish they had to.

Every time we welcome a new family member, the youngest is no longer the baby. In an instant, they are immediately transformed into an older sibling. What if they aren't ready?

A new baby is a huge adjustment for everyone in the family, especially for the siblings. I remember once that baby arrived and I brought them home, it seemed like my other children grew up overnight. I was more prone to transitioning them soon after, initiating a move to a big-boy bed and potty training. Then there was enlisting their help with the baby with requests for fetching blankets and wipes, and although they were eager, pleased, and proud to be included, I wondered whether I was putting too much pressure and too many expectations on them?

At the end of the day, my husband and I love our children with every fiber of our being, always wanting what's best for them. I hope they grow up reminiscing about their childhood filled with laughs, smiles, and fond memories, not feeling left out, longing for attention, or resentful in any way.

Their childhood will be filled with plenty of sharing from toys to precious time with Mom and Dad, and they undoubtedly will be wearing more than their fair share of hand-me-downs that, as they grow older, will most likely be met with fierce displeasure. But I hope they value and appreciate the lifelong friendships they have in their siblings.

If these early years and their established relationship prove a testament to what's to come, then I have more than enough validation. They already have such a strong bond that will grow with time, and although it may be a struggle to equally divide myself amongst the three, I wouldn't have it any other way.

When my son tells me how much he loves his sister, I'm reminded. When my other son tells me he misses his brother while at school, I'm reminded. When I see my boys playing together, smiling and laughing or hovering around their baby sister completely enamored with her, I'm reminded.

Any moments of guilt quickly subside as I'm reminded how lucky and blessed I am to be their mom and the beautiful, special relationship they have with each another.

This post originally appeared on Bless This Beautiful Mess.

Third-Hand Smoke Is Dangerous, And This Is What You Need To Know

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:00 PM PST

We know smoking cigarettes or pipes or cigarillos or cloves can give you lung cancer, mouth cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and stroke. It can cause cancer pretty much anywhere in your body, including your bladder, blood, and stomach. In fact, according to the CDC, if no one in America smoked, 1 in 3 cancer deaths would not happen.

Now, let’s be clear: Smoking does not make you a bad person, or a bad parent, but there are certain precautions to take to keep your children and others safe.

We also know that secondhand smoke — a combo, again according to the CDC, of smoke given off by the burning cigarette and smoke exhaled by the smoker — causes "more frequent and severe asthma attacks in children, respiratory infections, and SIDS,” in addition to ear infections and impaired lung function. In adults, secondhand smoke can cause heart disease, stroke, nasal irritation, lung cancer, and low birth weight. We know all these things. We know we shouldn't smoke, and we know we especially shouldn't smoke around kids. Period.

But we may not know that we shouldn't sneak out the door for a smoke, then return inside to play with those same kids. But according to the Cleveland Clinic, third-hand smoke is as harmful as smoking and secondhand smoke. Third-hand smoke is the leftover nicotine and other chemicals that remain on clothing and other surfaces after someone smokes in the area. It can cling to carpets, stick to walls, and settle on furniture after the cigarette smoke clears. The Americans for Nonsmokers Rights explains that it may seem like this residue is just a stinky smell, but it’s actually a stew of dangerous chemicals.

To understand why third-hand smoke is so dangerous, it’s important to first understand that tobacco smoke is not just some burning leaf. Tobacco smoke contains "carcinogens and heavy metals, like arsenic, lead, and cyanide," says Americans for Nonsmokers Rights. Sticky nicotine, highly toxic, can cling to household surfaces; gases can be absorbed into carpets, fabrics, and upholsteries. Sounds nasty, right?

A study found that these chemicals can then rerelease and reform other toxic compounds in the air, and according to the Mayo Clinic, you can't eliminate any of this by opening windows, turning on fans, or otherwise attempting to air out the room. Moreover, as Scientific American notes , the Surgeon General says that there is no safe level of tobacco exposure — meaning that third-hand smoke is real, and it's dangerous.

Cigarette smoke contains over 250 known toxins, and as original third-hand smoke researcher Jonathan Winickoff notes, one of them is lead, which is known to cause intellectual deficiencies in just small doses. Smokers themselves actually emit toxins such as cyanide and arsenic, he adds.

"The developing brain is uniquely susceptible to extremely low levels of toxins,” says Winickoff. “Remember how we talked about the layers of toxin deposits on surfaces? Who gets exposure to those surfaces? Babies and children are closer to [surfaces such as floors]. They tend to touch or even mouth the contaminated surfaces. Imagine a teething infant."

Exposure to the toxins on these surfaces, increases the risk of SIDS, according to Winickoff. It may also damage DNA, suggests the Cleveland Clinic. This toxic stew can cause breaks and ruptures in the very building blocks of your cells, they've found in rat studies, which leaves you susceptable to disease.

According to Cleveland Clinic, kids aren't the only ones being harmed either: Third-hand smoke may also be causing more cancer cases than we realized as well. "There's been an increased interest recently because we are seeing more lung cancer cases that are not related directly to firsthand or secondhand smoking," says Humberto Choi, MD. They are now investigating cases other than direct exposure to smoking.

As if this weren’t dangerous enough, the worst part? It's almost impossible to remove the residue. Cleaning can be wildly expensive, and the residue sticks around for years. I used to smoke pre-kids, and we had residue seeping Exorcist-like down our walls for years — even in rooms I never smoked in, like the hallways. Dr. Choi says that though the best bet is to never smoke in the first place, if you do smoke, to never ever smoke indoors. Go outside. Smoke. Come into the garage or utility room, change clothes completely, and then rejoin the company. You'll still leak toxins, but at least you don't have the toxins clinging to the fabric you're wearing.

Third-hand smoke is scary, maybe as scary secondhand smoke, because it lasts longer. And all kids — and all adults — deserve to be safe from its effects.