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- 02/04/14--20:06: _'Teen Mom 2' Recap:...
- 02/05/14--07:27: _'Teen Mom' Jenelle ...
- 02/05/14--09:17: _3-Year-Old Girl Mur...
- 02/05/14--11:04: _25 Beautiful Baby N...
- 02/06/14--12:46: _What Life With Kids...
- 02/06/14--19:03: _'Couples Therapy' R...
- 02/10/14--08:16: _10 Surprising Facts...
- 02/10/14--09:19: _Incest Victim Shoul...
- 02/10/14--10:20: _Brothers and Sister...
- 02/10/14--12:21: _8 Amazing Things Yo...
- 02/10/14--15:12: _Overachieving Pinte...
- 02/11/14--07:06: _Lea Michele Shares...
- 02/11/14--08:52: _Pregnant Prom Dress...
- 02/11/14--11:57: _Black History Month...
- 02/11/14--13:12: _Women Who Say No to...
- 02/11/14--20:05: _'Teen Mom 2' Recap:...
- 02/12/14--05:37: _Mom Accused of Bury...
- 02/12/14--09:47: _7 Natural Sleep Aid...
- 02/12/14--12:41: _Parents Who Donated...
- 02/13/14--08:53: _Mom Guilty of Starv...
- 02/04/14--20:06: 'Teen Mom 2' Recap: Adam Is Still Not Ready for This Dad Thing
- 02/05/14--07:27: 'Teen Mom' Jenelle Evans' Baby Name Released Way Too Soon
- 02/05/14--11:04: 25 Beautiful Baby Names Inspired by Winter
- 02/10/14--08:16: 10 Surprising Facts About Babies Born During the Winter
- 02/10/14--10:20: Brothers and Sisters Should Not Be Sharing a Bedroom
- 02/10/14--12:21: 8 Amazing Things You Can Do With Bananas Besides Eat Them
- 02/11/14--20:05: 'Teen Mom 2' Recap: Corey Can't Keep Pretending Things Will Be OK
- 02/12/14--09:47: 7 Natural Sleep Aids for Kids
- 02/12/14--12:41: Parents Who Donated Their Child's Heart Gave My Son the Gift of Life
Post by Jeanne Sager.
There's always at least one Teen Mom 2 episode each season that makes you blubber like a baby, and this was it. If you weren't crying tonight, you were probably close. That was when you weren't shaking your head and wondering how it's been five seasons and some of these people still haven't figured out what it takes to be a parent -- namely Adam Lind.
Chelsea Houska's baby daddy has baby number two on the way, and yet he still hasn't really figured out how to be a good dad to number one! Tonight he was supposed to meet Chelsea to attend a pre-school orientation meeting with Aubree's teachers. Pretty important stuff, right?
He showed ... but he was late and wearing jeans and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off to boot. As Chelsea said, they were already the youngest parents in the room, and Adam wasn't making the best first impression. There are enough preconceived notions about teen parents; he doesn't have to go proving some of the stereotypes are right by showing up at an important meeting looking like a total slob.
Unfortunately Adam wasn't the only parent acting like an idiot tonight. Jo Rivera has been fighting Kailyn Lowry's move to Delaware to live with husband Javi on grounds that it would adversely affect the amount of time he gets to spend with his son. But when Jo was actually scheduled to have visitation, he told Kailyn he would be late, and Isaac admitted his dad isn't around much even when he's at his grandparents' house. Granted, this was coming out of a 3-year-old's mouth, so grain of salt and all of that, but Jo was clearly acting like a jerk with Kail tonight. When she dropped Isaac off, he even had the audacity to say he hoped her water broke that night -- even though she's far from her due date.
Then there's Jenelle Evans, who seems to have finally figured out that a felony on her record would hang over her head for the rest of her life. She met with attorney Dustin Sullivan (isn't it more than a little sad that this dude is a recurring cast member?) tonight and fessed up that she doesn't want to end up like her convicted felon exes. Fortunately her new guy, Nathan, does not have a record OR do drugs, and he made a good impression on Barbara at his first meeting with her and Jace.
But man, oh man, was it heartbreaking when she and Nathan tried to leave Jace. The little guy had his mom all to himself -- they were even playing cars! Then Nathan shows up, and Jenelle was all ready to say "buh bye," and Jace lost it! The 3-year-old was obviously tired, and we all know how cranky and clingy kids get when they're tired. But you just wanted to reach through the TV screen and give that kiddo some love!
The REAL tears of the night, however, were reserved for Leah Calvert and family, who got the heartbreaking news that baby Ali will land in a wheelchair sooner rather than later because of her medical condition. She knew it was coming -- I think we all knew it was coming -- but as Leah says, "I wanted to be wrong." So did we! Fortunately Ali has a huge family supporting her -- including her stepdad, Jeremy, dad Corey, and even Corey's dad Jeff who came along for the latest doctor's visit.
But seeing all of those men there, acting like real dads, only stands to show just how ridiculous Adam is. He may have been just a kid when Aubree was born, but he has had plenty of time to grow up. It's not fair to Aubree -- or the baby in his girlfriend's tummy -- that he's still too selfish to try.
What did you think of how Adam treated Chelsea at the meeting? Who is your favorite dad on the show?
Image via MTV
Post by Jeanne Sager.
Wow, Jenelle Evans moves fast! It's been, what, two months since the Teen Mom 2 star shared the news that she was expecting baby number two? And she's already shared her baby's gender this week and now ... the baby name!
At least, what appears to be the name Jenelle and boyfriend Nathan Griffith have chosen for their first child together (second child for each of them) is out. A source disclosed to In Touch that they've already settled on both a first and a last name.
Are you ready for this?
Jenelle's baby boy will reportedly be named Kaiser Griffith -- no word on a middle name. Not bad! It's unusual but not weird, kind of like Jace.
More From The Stir:Jenelle Evans Shares Exclusive Details on Her Pregnancy
But here's the thing .... Jenelle isn't due until June, and late June at that! It's a little early to be sharing the name, don't you think?
Granted it was a "source," not Jenelle herself, so you know, grain of salt and all that. And maybe I've just been spending a little too much time around moms who are superstitious!
I know more than a few who were tight-lipped about the baby's name right up until the little one actually arrived and some even beyond -- for various reasons. Some moms are afraid their baby name will be "stolen," or used by some pregnant friend who pops before them (personally I've always thought that one was silly, but to each their own).
There are also the moms who worry about changing their mind ... I know a couple who didn't actually settle on baby's name until they were about to leave the hospital! One good mom friend had a name in mind right up until the end ... and then I see the announcement on Facebook, and it's totally different. This kind of thing happens all the time -- it could well happen to Jenelle too! She's got four more months of pregnancy ... plenty of time to decide Kaiser isn't going to cut it.
Not to mention lot of moms out there who carry fears about somehow jinxing the pregnancy by being too open -- be it sharing a baby name or even having a baby shower.
Something tells me Jenelle isn't the superstitious type, however. She's been an open book about this pregnancy!
How soon is too soon to share a baby name? What do you think of Kaiser?
Image via Instagram
Post by Jeanne Sager.
In a case that's sure to bring heightened attention to the role cops play in removing children from dangerous situations, a California community is mourning a 3-year-old today who police believe was murdered by her mom and mom's boyfriend. Kayleigh Slusher's body was shoved in a suitcase and then in a freezer before finally ending up back in her bed, where police found her on Saturday, three days after her murder ... four days after they'd been called to check on the little girl's well-being.
Sara Krueger, 23, and her boyfriend, Ryan Scott Warner, 26, have allegedly admitted to Napa police that they killed Sara's daughter last Thursday ... Thursday being the day after Wednesday, which was the day police made a welfare check at their apartment and checked on little Kayleigh after someone alleged Kreuger was using drugs and not feeding her 3-year-old.
And they left her there? They deemed her safe?
I understand the child welfare system is over-burdened, and it is not an easy thing for a cop to decide they need to call in social workers and pull a child. But when a child dies a brutal death just a day after cops said she was fine, heads have to roll.
In fact, reports are now coming to light that indicate police have been to Krueger and Warner's place some 14 times for various things, and yet it seems the child welfare agency in charge of protecting kids from abuse was never called.
Even if the cops didn't see anything in evidence, doesn't the mere fact that these calls keep coming in indicate a need to get someone with a little more experience at judging a child's safety to come in and nose around? We've all had crappy neighbors who would love nothing more than to throw us under the bus, but at some point the sheer number of calls and allegations should set off warning bells. It's not just a vendetta. It's something that needs to be investigated more thoroughly ... because a child's life is on the line.
Maybe child welfare wouldn't have yanked the girl from her home if they'd investigated; maybe they would have. But at least someone would have checked!
Unfortunately, we can't dial back time. Little Kayleigh Slusher is gone, and her mother and mom's boyfriend are facing murder charges (her biological dad is already in prison on an unrelated matter) after cops caught them trying to get out of town. Sadly, they'd been called once again to check on Kayleigh's well-being by a neighbor.
Something tells me every cop who hears this story will surely be affected ... and hopefully a bit more inclined to call child welfare when they're on the fence about doing so.
What do you think of the cops' behavior here? Is this standard procedure or should something have happened?
Image via police
Post by Jeanne Sager.
Let's be honest, picking a baby name is one of the most intimidating parts of pregnancy. Sure, car seats and strollers might be tough with all those reviews to wade through and safety instructions to make sense of, but baby will use them for, what, a few years? They're going to have this name for the rest of their life! So where to begin? Might I recommend picking a theme straight off the bat to narrow down the gazillion choices out there? And if you're having a winter baby, you've got a perfect theme staring you in the face!
From the weather to the plants that are hardy enough to grow this time of year, there's an abundance of wintry choices for your little one. Here are 25, with lovely choices for both boys and girls!Frost Snow Neve (Latin for snow) Bianca (Italian for white) Blanche Hazel (as in witch -- blooms in winter) Holly Ivy Lumi (Finnish for snow) Nevada (Spanish for covered in snow) December January Gale Stormy Rain Grey Eira (Welsh for snow) Aneira (also Welsh for snow) Juniper (berries common in winter) Crystal Garnet (January birthstone) Winter Jay (common winter bird) Wren Sparrow
Are you having a winter baby? What's your baby name?
Image via Ocean/Corbis
Post by Jeanne Sager.
Have you ever paged through a parenting magazine and looked at the pictures? I mean really looked at the pictures? The fashion magazines tend to take all the heat for presenting unrealistic images to the world (and rightfully so), but let's be honest: stock images of kids are about as far from reality as you can get.
All those siblings singing kumbaya! And the immaculate backseats of those minivans! Most moms only see the former on odd Fridays and even Tuesdays, and as for the latter, well, maybe the day they drove off the dealer's lot?
Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you had the kids who live in stock photography? Here's your chance to find out.
If #13 happened in my house, I might have a heart attack ... how about you?
Image via Wavebreak Media Ltd./Corbis
Post by Jeanne Sager.
From the beginning of this season of Couples Therapy, watching Farrah Abraham has been like playing that kids' game: which one of these things doesn't belong. Having shown up without a boyfriend in tow, the Teen Mom star is obviously a strange fit for a show that's about COUPLES. But it wasn't until tonight that it really became apparent that Farrah should be kicked to the curb.
The show started with more drama for Ghostface Killah and his girlfriend, Kelsey Byers, who -- I'm going to just come out and say it -- deserves better than his lame two-timing behind. Unfortunately single Farrah's drama managed to upstage the real relationship issue once again, when she got pulled into a private session with Dr. Jenn Berman.
According to Farrah, she can't talk about whatever it is she needs to talk about in therapy because of some legal issues that seem to relate to her sex tape (I say "seem to" because, once again, girlfriend can't talk about it). What happened after that was one of the strangest things I've ever seen on reality TV. Berman actually pulled off her mic and kicked everyone -- save for her and Farrah -- out of the room for a private off-camera discussion.
Right there? That's proof that Farrah doesn't belong on the show.
I don't actually begrudge her getting some private therapy. After watching her on TV for years and reading some of the things I have about her, I'd even say she NEEDS therapy. But hello! She signed up for a TV show on the premise that she'd be doing the therapy in front of the camera.
And now she's basically said she can't ... for LEGAL reasons.
Not emotional reasons -- which I'd really have some sympathy for. LEGAL ones. Which, ostensibly, she knew before signing a contract with VH1.
What the what?
Now, Dr. Jenn came out in group therapy and said Farrah had disclosed horrors that were so awful, they're among the worst she's ever heard as a therapist, but again, she couldn't go into what it is that Farrah said. Nor would Farrah to the group.
Basically the therapist and Farrah were both telling the group they have to feel sorry for her and be nice to her because SOMETHING happened to her ... but no one will say what.
And no one really seemed to take kindly to that. Taylor Armstrong's fiance John admitted he can't relate to Farrah in any way because he just doesn't feel she's honest, and Whitney Mixter aptly described the boyfriend-less, tight-lipped Farrah as nothing more than "a girl in a room" if she can't actually contribute to the group in any way.
I feel for Farrah, I really do. Some of the stuff she has revealed this season has been pretty sad. But if she can't engage in what the show is offering, it's time for her to go ... and find some private therapy so the other couples can actually get on with the healing.
Kelsey could certainly use the time Farrah is wasting to learn to get over the jerk who has been jerking her around for the past year!
What did you think of the way the group responded to Farrah's explanation? Were they being too harsh?
Image via VH1
Post by Jeanne Sager.
Do you ever go through a period where it seems that everyone is popping out babies? Every time I get on Facebook lately, there's another photo from another proud mom or dad introducing yet another new baby. Which is kind of surprising ... considering Americans are statistically less likely to give birth in winter than in summer, by a pretty huge margin.
Didn't know that? Here's betting there's a lot you didn't know about winter babies! It turns out scientists are pretty fascinated by the effect the season of your birth has on your health and general well-being, and they've come up with a whole lot of research on what it means to be born when it's freezing cold outside. Let's dive in, shall we?
1. Winter babies are more likely to come from "less privileged" families. When economists from the University of Notre Dame did a review of birth certificates from 1989 to 2001, they found the percentage of children born to unwed mothers, teenage mothers, and mothers who hadn't completed high school peaked in January every year. The reasons? Among them was the assumption that poorer families are less likely to have air-conditioning, which means they are less likely to have sex in the hot summer months -- which results in a spring birth -- and more likely to do so during the cooler spring months. Add nine months, and you've got a January baby!
2. They're bigger than their summer counterparts. Scientists at both Harvard and Queensland (Australia) universities took a look at the statistics and found that children born in the winter months tended to be longer at birth than those born in the summer, and what's more, by age 7, the winter-born kids were heavier, taller, and had larger head circumference than their peers.
More From The Stir:25 Beautiful Baby Names Inspired by Winter
3. They're not all that intelligent. According to Notre Dame researchers, babies born in January, February, and March tend to grow up to be less educated, less intelligent, less healthy, and lower paid than those born in spring, summer, and fall. Why? Researchers say it has to do with the aforementioned propensity for teen moms to give birth in winter and the difficulties these moms face.
4. They're smarter than their peers. Wait, didn't I just say winter babies were dumb? Well, that's according to one study! But the American and Australian scientists mentioned in #2 beg to differ! They monitored the development of 21,000 boys and girls, and their research indicates winter-born kids had higher scores in a series of intelligence exercises than their peers!
5. They're less likely to have multiple sclerosis. We've long heard that mom's health during pregnancy can affect a baby's health, but did you know something as simple as time of conception could do it? Oxford University researchers have found that babies born in November have the lowest incidence of multiples sclerosis, while babies CONCEIVED in the winter months tend to have the highest. Turns out moms get less vitamin D in winter (not surprisingly -- there's not a lot of exposure to sun), which can affect the fetus. Good news for moms who conceive in spring and summer -- and give birth in the winter!
6. Winter babies are more likely to be premature. Put the NICU on standby; babies conceived in May are more likely to be born early. Princeton researchers looked at data from the Vital Statistics Natality program, and even when they took out moms from a lower socioeconomic demographic (a risk factor for poor birth outcomes), they found babies due in the winter were as much as 10 percent likely to be born early. One of the big risk factors seemed to be the peak of flu season, prompting the researchers to advise moms due in winter to get their flu shot!
7. Winter babies behave better. Have you got a brat on your hands? Maybe it's because they were born during the summer? Queensland University researchers assessed everything from consideration of others to fidgeting among 4- and 5-year-olds and found the winter-born kiddos were much better behaved. Score!
8. They're depressed. Moms of winter babies might get enough sunshine to protect baby from some diseases, but what about baby? Turns out when you're born affects your biological clock, and babies who come out during the winter months have a higher risk of a number of neurological disorders including seasonal affective disorder (winter depression), bipolar depression, and schizophrenia. Scientists blame a lot of it on the amount of light newborns are exposed to -- or should I say are NOT exposed to.
9. They have weaker bones. Yet another strike linked to sunshine! Scientists at Bristol University in the UK have found that summer babies are, on average, half a centimeter taller (remember, these are the Brits, so everything is metric) and had nearly 13 cm sq of extra bone area as compared to winter babies. They blame it on the vitamin D absorption by moms in the later stages of pregnancy, something that's harder on mothers who have winter babies.
10. Winter babies are more prone to food allergies. It seems most kids have some sort of food allergy these days, but a report in the Journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology that looks at children brought into Boston emergency rooms with food-related allergic reactions found a much larger number were born in winter than summer or spring.
When was your baby born? Do these facts fit?
Image via Justin Paget/Corbis
Post by Jeanne Sager.
No parent looks forward to a custody battle in court, but a Delaware mother is facing a fight that is even more troubling than most. The mom is an incest victim who gave birth to a child after months of alleged sexual abuse. The father? Her own uncle, who has convinced a court that he deserves custodial and parental rights.
If ever there were a case for severing ties between a parent and child, this would be it, don't you think?
The case has made national news because of the difficult conversations it creates, among them whether an alleged rapist should be allowed contact with a child born of rape and what measures should be put in place to protect the child both physically and emotionally. It also opens up the debate over what should happen to the children of incest victims.
The uncle has acknowledged having sex with his niece. But he claims that the sex was consensual -- despite the relationship between him and his niece and despite the fact that she alleged the assaults began when she was 14 and was just 17 when she became pregnant. At the time, the mother, who is now 28, kept the identity of her child's father and the alleged molestation a secret. It was only in 2012 that she opened up to police, stating she'd been too scared as a teenager to come forward (and wouldn't you be?).
The uncle pleaded guilty to an incest charge, but a rape charge was dropped by prosecutors. And the courts have granted him "substantial" custodial and parental rights of the child, who is now 10.
Without a rape conviction, it's certainly harder on the courts to declare the father unfit. But surely even without it, a family court judge can try to put together the jigsaw puzzle and see that things just don't fit.
The mom, who is now 28, got pregnant at 17. Her uncle is the father. And he is now 38.
Folks, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck, right? Well this walks like an inappropriate sexual relationship with an older relative and quacks like one too.
And now we've got a kid in the mix! And the child's best interests need to be examined.
Let's put aside all the allegations from this woman and her fears that her child might also be molested if the father gets to spend time with her alone (which sound pretty valid but of course are harder to prove without that rape charge).
Does putting an adult male, who was having sex with his teenage niece, who committed incest, in charge of this child's well-being really make sense? The man actually admitted in court that he makes extraordinarily bad choices ... and now we want him to be able to make choices about what happens to a child?
Even without a rape charge, incest is an offense so serious that it should render the perpetrator unfit to parent and thus unable to snag custodial rights. I only hope this poor mom can win her case.
What do you think should happen here? Should "dad" have parental rights?
Image via zeeweez/Flickr
Post by Jeanne Sager.
Learning to put your first bra on is hard. Learning to put your first bra on in under five seconds lest your baby brother throw open the door at any moment and see you half-naked? That's substantially harder. Welcome to the life of a tween girl who shares a bedroom with her brother.
Welcome to the life I led for a substantial portion of my childhood. When I was 5, my brother came bursting into the world, full of snips, snails, and puppy dog tails. And after a stint in the bassinet in my parents' room, he was moved into the room I'd called my own for five years. It was a sleeping arrangement that would last until I was in high school -- a brother and sister together, sharing a bedroom.
Needless to say, it's one of the worse things I see parents doing to their children.
More From The Stir: My 8-Year-Old Daughter Uses the Public Men's Room to Pee
I say this with full understanding that many parents in America don't have a whole lot of money or a whole lot of space -- and sometimes both at the same time.
That's not your kids' fault, folks. That's yours!
The New York Times recently examined the plight of parents who force their sons and daughters to bunk up. They cited an expert who admitted that scientists "haven't really" devoted any time or resources to studying the effects sharing a bedroom with our opposite-sex sibling can have on a child's social and sexual development.
They summed up parents' anxieties over it all in just one -- jarringly immature -- word: ick.
Ick? That's all parents are feeling?
How about a little sympathy for their kids?
Creating a mixed-gender bedroom is not likely to create some sort of Flowers in the Attic-type relationship between your children. I say this as a girl who survived sharing a bedroom with her little brother up until age 15: I had zero sexual interest in my brother nor he in me. We are, in that sense, sexually healthy.
However, those years were uncomfortable largely because while my body was changing, I had no means of escape from the prying eyes and loud mouth of a younger opposite sex sibling. Already insecure and frustrated with the lack of control I had over my body, moods fully at the whim of my raging hormones, I had no refuge.
And my brother, younger, clueless, did little to help.
More From The Stir: What Life With Kids Would Be Like if You Lived on a Pinterest Board (PHOTOS)
He was wont to burst into the room just as I unclasped my bra, screaming at me for having closed the door to "his" room, as I dove, red-faced, for a bathrobe or blanket to cover myself up, screeching "Mooooom" at the top of my lungs. I didn't want anyone seeing my body, least of all my little brother, but I had no control over the matter.
Nor did I have space to hide away the evidence of my march into puberty. We shared not only a room but a closet. There was no corner in which to secretly store a box of tampons, no place to stow a tub of Noxema pads unnoticed.
It was all seen ... and commented upon ... with derision.
To a young (admittedly overly) sensitive girl already struggling to make sense of who she was becoming, those comments were like knives to the heart.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and I see now that my baby brother was simply a little kid trying to make his own sense of what was happening to his sister, in his room. His intentions, while not necessarily good, were not cruel either.
But this is both the beauty and curse of hindsight. I couldn't see it that way at 12.
I could only see myself through the eyes of someone close to me, and what I saw was freakish and absurd.
I wouldn't blame the bulimia I would dive into on my little brother or on our shared bedroom, but it can't be coincidence that nearly 20 years later, I am still markedly uncomfortable with being naked for any period of time outside of the shower. Being naked in this body was simply not something I was ever able to get used to as I didn't have a space safe enough to do it.
Scientists may not have studied kids in enough detail to tell you what happens to them if they are forced to share close quarters with an opposite sex sibling, but they don't need to. I can tell you exactly what happens: the kids suffer.
Not immediately, at least not in the early days when the worst that happens is the younger one wrests a doll's arms off or the older one bops the toddler on his head for stealing her favorite toy. But when puberty begins to rear its ugly head, the child coming of age is forced to deal with an added stress that can deeply affect the psyche.
And why? Because their parents are broke or the house is too small for a second bedroom? Again, that's the parents' fault, not the kids'. So why should the kids suffer?
How do you feel about brothers and sisters sharing a bedroom? Is there an age when they should be separated?
Image via atravellingmom/Flickr
Post by Jeanne Sager.
I was grocery shopping with a friend the other day when I plucked a bunch of bananas off the shelf and placed them in my shopping cart. The plan was to nibble on them with breakfast and shove a few in my daughter's lunch, but my friend had another idea. "Did you know you can use bananas to make dog biscuits?" she asked.
This is why I suggest grocery shopping with a friend at least a few times a year. You'll come up with new uses for your favorite foods. In fact, friends have shared a variety of uses for bananas over the years, and wouldn't you know it, none of them actually involve eating (by humans, anyway)?
The next time you snag a bunch of bananas at the grocery store, you might want to try one of these:
1. Help your roses grow. My mother-in-law is a master gardener, and she swears by bananas to help your roses flourish. You can bury a whole banana up close to the roots of your rosebush or simply take your old, decaying peels, break them up, and push them into the dirt near the roots.
2. Shine leather shoes. Don't have any polish handy for your dark shoes? Try the inside of a banana peel!
More From The Stir: Moist Banana Bread Recipe Will Last You All Year Long
3. Condition your hair. Looking for a deep conditioning treatment that won't set you back big bucks? All you need for this key to luscious locks is a banana, some olive oil, plastic wrap, and some time!
4. Treat cracked heels. Last summer I had some of the worst cracked heels I've had in years, and my usual lotions and potions were not working. A friend suggested using a banana peel, and I'll admit I raised my eyebrows at her, but I was desperate ... and it turns out it works! For this treatment, all you need is the peel. Place the inside of the peel against the broken skin before you're ready to go to bed at night. Put on a pair of socks to hold the peel in place and leave it overnight. The nutrients soak into your skin and help to soften the hard, dead skin. In the morning, attack with a pumice stone.
5. Remove deep splinters. As mentioned in #4, banana peels can soften skin. So it only stands to reason that they soften the skin enough to release a splint, right? If it's in the foot, you can do the same procedure as mentioned in #3, allowing the peel to rest against the affected area overnight. If the splinter is somewhere else -- the hand, for example -- cut a chunk of the peel off, apply to the area, and use medical tape to hold it in place overnight. The splinter should work its way out, sticking in the pulp of the peel. If not, by morning the skin should be soft enough to allow for tweezers to get at the splinter.
6. Make dog biscuits. Why should humans have all the fun? This recipe mixes bananas with peanut butter for yummy treats your pooch will love.
7. Make vinegar. OK, so eventually you will eat this ... in a way! But seriously, did you know you can make your own vinegar? And that banana vinegar is delicious on salad? It's easy enough to make with water, bananas, baker's yeast, and not much else.
8. Make a face mask. If you love the scent of fresh bananas, this is the perfect beauty DIY for you. And all it takes is banana, honey, and lemon juice!
Got any banana tricks up your sleeves? What do YOU do with the versatile fruit?
Image via robin_24/Flickr
Post by Jeanne Sager.
Valentine's Day is nearly upon us, and you know what that means. All across the land, little kids have spent recent hours painstakingly printing out the names of their little friends on paper hearts, and in just a matter of days these little cuties who have put heart and soul into crafting their love notes for their pals are about to be upstaged ... by parents.
You know which parents I'm talking about. They spent hours on Pinterest, scrolling through idea after idea after idea, on the hunt for the cleverest and cutest of Valentines. Hours more were wasted in the craft store, dragging exhausted children into "just one more aisle" before they headed home, plopped the kids in front of the TV and got to work ... on their kids' Valentine's Day cards.
More From The Stir: 9 Creative DIY Valentines for Kids
The fruits of their labor will be stunning, I'm sure. No globs of glue or dribbles of paint in sight. They will come home in my daughter's backpack, and as I paw through the pile of Valentines, they will stand heads and tails above the others in terms of "quality."
And yet, I will know they did not come from any of her pals. No 8-year-old I've met has ever crafted anything that I've seen on Pinterest (at least nothing that gets repinned on the regular).
Which is why these beauties will be shifted immediately to the bottom of the pile as I ooh and ahh over the misshapen hearts and the store-bought cartoon-covered rectangles with bad penmanship. The worse the cards look, the more sure I'll be that they came from a a kid like mine, a kid who cared enough to put a little time and effort into making their friend smile.
Isn't that the point of Valentine's Day when you're 8? They're way too young to pin any romantic notions to February 14.
At 6, 7, 8, 9, even 10, the point of handing out Valentines to their classmates is still supposed to be about friendship ... and kindness. But what, exactly, is kind about waltzing into class with a backpack full of picture perfect crafts your mom Martha'd up over the weekend? It's not thoughtful in the least.
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And it certainly doesn't make the kids who spent hours on their cards feel terribly appreciated.
It's not that I'm against homemade cards, folks. Far from it. I'm a Pinterest junkie of the first degree, myself, and I found more than a half dozen projects that were perfect for kids to make this holiday. I don't even have a problem with parents who help their kids with their Valentines -- it can be a great family bonding project.
Only, the key word here is "help." Not do. Help. If you want your kids to actually get anything out of Valentine's Day besides a stomach ache from all that candy, you'll back off ... and stop making our kids' creations look bad.
But then, our kids come by their messy cards honestly ...
How much help do you give your kids with their Valentines?
Image by Jeanne Sager
Post by Jeanne Sager.
The moment Glee fans have been waiting for has arrived. No, not the winter premiere (February 25, folks ... be patient). The day Lea Michele finally shares her song for Cory Monteith with the world. It's here. "You're Mine" is here, and it's everything we expected.
Beautiful. Haunting. And a mixture of sad and happy all at once.
The song is the second to be released from Lea's solo album, Louder, which will drop on March 4. "Cannonball" has been playing on the radio since December, to positive reviews.
"You're Mine," however, is the one song that Lea has said she added at the last minute ... fearing she'd "regret it" if she didn't share this song for Cory on the album. It's a song the Glee star says makes her happy and makes her think about her late boyfriend each time she sings or hears it.
As she tweeted in a message about the song's release to her fans this week:February 10, 2014
Crying yet? Take a listen:
Whoa. "We're entwined. You're mine, for life."
Could there be a more perfect song to sum up the Glee stars' relationship? There's been much talk about Lea moving on with life after Cory, but this song makes it pretty clear that she will never truly "move on" from him, and that's OK. Whatever she does, wherever she goes, he will always be a "part" of her.
What do you think of the new song? Is it as good as "Cannonball"?
Image via Lea Michele/Twitter
Post by Jeanne Sager.
I have to admit I haven't been prom dress shopping in a long time. A REALLY long time. And man, oh man, am I surprised by how much things have changed ... and not exactly for the better. Do you remember pregnant prom dresses?
Me. Neither. But here we are in 2014, and the pregnant prom dress is an actual, bona fide thing. Even worse? Prom dresses for pregnant girls aren't something being propped in a corner of the maternity store this time of year. They're being advertised directly to teenage girls.
Take the ad on LovingDresses.com, a site my teenage babysitter was perusing in the hunt for the perfect gown. She selected the prom dress category only to be given 14 categories to narrow down her choices -- everything from "luxurious" to "backless," "fast delivery" to "plus size." And there it was, right slam in the middle of all the choices: "pregnant."
And to think people accuse MTV of glamorizing teenage pregnancy? Methinks they're pointing fingers in the wrong direction!
Now, now, I don't mean to pick on the folks over at Loving Dresses. They're far from the only perpetrators of this startling trend. We found similar choices on "BrandPromDresses.com" and others -- all specifically geared to prom, an event that is intrinsically tied to the high school experience.
I don't think it's reaching to say the "pregnant" dress option sends kids a bad message. It seems to put a stamp of approval on a particularly bad choice for teenagers and makes the baby bump look like just one more accessory for your big night.
Hey girls, don't worry about birth control, you can still go to the dance even with a bun in the oven!
Really?! Aren't we supposed to be DISCOURAGING teen pregnancy, not making it easier on these girls?
I should back up a moment and say that I'm not against pregnant teenagers attending their high school prom. This is 2014, not 1964. We don't need to shun these girls and send them away for nine months to an "aunt's" house.
But the fact is, they have options already to make it happen. There are pregnant bridesmaid dresses and plenty of dressy options already available in the aforementioned maternity stores, places that do not cater to a teenage clientele, places that aren't going to confuse teenagers with mixed messages.
There's a vast difference between allowing pregnant teens to attend prom and making the baby bump look like it belongs on the dance floor. Advertising pregnant prom gowns crosses the line big time.
What message do you think this is sending to our daughters?
Image via Jerry Heist/Flickr
Post by Jeanne Sager.
The Olympics have grabbed much of the headlines of late, but did you know this month marks the 38th year since President Gerald Ford officially declared February National African American History Month? More commonly known as Black History Month, this is the time of year when we look back on men and women who have striven to make this country what it is now and what it still could be.
This year, the theme of Black History Month is Civil Rights in America, a look at the people who worked to bring equality to all -- from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Malcolm X. And what better way to get to know their stories than through some of the quotes that have endured as a portion of their legacy?
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Does #5 resonate with you?
Image via Ron Cogswell/Flickr
Post by Jeanne Sager.
Valentine's Day is nearly upon us. Do you know what you're getting him? More importantly, have you laid down some ridiculous rules about what he can and cannot get you? Like "no lingerie," for example?
It seems that a number of women are saying "uh uh, no way" to sexy undies on V-Day. And more and more guys are worried that buying her a negligee will send the wrong message -- that he only wants her for that "one thing" or that he's really buying a gift for himself.
Wait, what?! Did I miss a memo?
When did February 14 become Throw on Some Flannel PJs and Go to Bed Early Day?
Here I always thought Valentine's Day was supposed to be romantic? And -- excuse me for being a little on the crude side -- the one day of the year it's absolutely acceptable for him to tell you he wants nothing more than to see you naked?
Ladies, telling him you deserve some real thought put into your presents because you're worth it is a sentiment this feminist will stand behind every day of the year ... with one major exception. You can take a stand on Christmas and your birthday and request he buy presents that are really for YOU and not even a little bit for him. But Valentine's Day is not your birthday, honey. It's a day the floral and card industries have turned into a spending extravaganza.
So, when he brings home a teddy on the 14th of February and starts getting randy, would it really hurt you to have a little fun?
Valentine's Day is synonymous with romance, yes, but sex too. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact I'm in that camp that believes you need the former to have the latter, but there's one extra component that makes for a really fun time: desire ... or being desired, anyway.
Think about it. Maybe you wouldn't choose something out of the Frederick's of Hollywood catalog if you were buying yourself a present. Maybe you'd prefer to go hit Barnes & Noble or Sephora, but the gift isn't that hunk of fabric in his hands.
It's the message he's sending when he hands it over. He doesn't care that you think you'd look like a jackass in a pair of garters, because he thinks you look smoking! He's telling you that he gets hot and bothered for you, that he desires you ... and that on the one day of the year that's all about sex and romance, he wants to get with you.
If you really get right down to it, if your guy comes home on Valentine's Day and doesn't want to have sex with you ... wouldn't that be more insulting than him buying you a gift that's a little bit for him?
Is it really so wrong for a guy to buy you lingerie for Valentine's Day? How would you react?
Image via Ocean/Corbis
Post by Jeanne Sager.
Teen Mom 2 has always been a tough show to watch. It is, after all, a TV show about teenage pregnancy. But season five is proving hard to watch for a different reason entirely: the struggle of Leah Messer Calvert and Corey Simms as they deal with their daughter's congenital muscular dystrophy diagnosis. Don't get me wrong -- their story is inspiring, and Leah's really showing what she's made of this season as the going gets tough for baby Ali.
But tonight we had to watch the Teen Mom trying to climb over even more hurdles as her dreams came crashing home around her. Remember that dream home Leah bought with husband Jeremy?
Yeah, they're putting that on the market as it just won't accommodate the wheelchair Ali will need to use soon enough. And Leah spent a portion of the episode looking at houses where they can have a horse -- a suggestion of Ali's doctors who say equine therapy can really help her condition. But a house like that would require moving some 40 minutes away from her family -- the family who steps up and helps her when Jeremy goes on long distance trips for work, leaving her home with three kids.
Think that's tough?
How about dealing with a co-parent who is in complete denial?
Corey has always been -- and continues to be -- a loving dad, but while Leah has gotten to that point where she's accepted that she has a child with special needs and is now focused on what she has to do to make her child's life the very best it can be, tonight we saw that Corey has a long, long way to go. He still can't believe this is happening.
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It's a natural phase of the process for any parent who faces a diagnosis like Ali's. My heart went out to him tonight.
But seeing Leah have to argue with him about something as simple as putting Ali in school so they could avail themselves of early intervention services made me want to reach through the screen and shake him. His denial is putting more stress on her! It's not helping anything!
It's certainly not helping Ali! Her condition is congenital -- which means she was born with it -- and there is no going back. As harsh as it sounds, Corey needs to get with the program and start helping his ex-wife and his daughter!
As for the other girls, this episode was fairly quiet. Aubree started pre-school, and Adam actually showed up ... for pick-up. Hey, it's better than nothing, right? Maybe he's growing up.
We got to see more of his girlfriend, Taylor, who thinks she should be more involved in Aubree's life. That's sure to be tough for Chelsea, but Taylor does make a good point -- her soon-to-be born daughter, Paislee, and Aubree are going to be sisters. Taylor may not be a stepmom, but she will have to be involved in the kid's life in some form.
Javi found a house for him, Kail, Isaac and baby-to-be near the Air Force base in Delaware, and it looks like they're moving forward with making their first big purchase. Unfortunately, Kail's custody case is still up in the air -- so it's hard for her to get too excited about her dream house.
And then there's Jenelle who has moved into a house with Nathan -- who, it turns out, is that annoying guy who tries to sell you a time share when you go to a resort -- and it has a bedroom for Jace! Unfortunately she forgot half of his stuff at her last place (gee, thanks, Mom), but Barbara has decided she's responsible enough to have her little boy for overnights at the new place.
Not too exciting, but from the looks of the sneak peek of next week's Teen Mom 2, that's about to change ... Jenelle is talking about trying to have a baby with Nathan!
What did you think about Corey's fight with Leah? Do you feel bad for him?
Image via MTV
Post by Jeanne Sager.
Ever wonder what it takes to get your kids back from social services? From the looks of a heartbreaking child neglect case in Florida this week, not much. Cops arrested mom Rachel Fryer after they say she buried her own toddler in a suitcase. Police found the body of 2-year-old Tariji Gordon buried in a shallow grave, but they haven't yet released what led them to her body -- only that Fryer did not report her toddler missing.
Horrifying? Indeed. And this fact is particularly chilling: Fryer -- who is reportedly pregnant -- lost custody of her four children after Tariji's brother died in her care in 2011.
So how was Tariji living with mom at all?
The death of Tariji's twin, Tavont'ae, had been deemed accidental, and although Fryer had cocaine in her system at the time of his death, she was not charged. Taking that into consideration, the Florida Department of Children and Families gave Fryer back her kids just this past November.
And look what happened.
I understand that the real goal of social services is to work with families to try to keep as many intact as possible. I would even say it's a laudable goal. But sometimes (many times?) it's just not realistic.
As a lawyer who often works in family court said to me recently, the courts set the bar pretty darn low for what is considered a "fit" parent. Basically if you don't shoot heroin EVERY DAY, he said, you're not going to lose your kids.
He was exaggerating a little for effect, but sadly? He wasn't far off.
Just look at this woman. She was supposedly fit to be a mom again, and just three months after getting her kids back, her 2-year-old ends up dead and abandoned in a shallow grave? So much for that period without kids forcing her to mend her ways and empowering her to be a better mom and blah, blah, blah.
Cops say Fryer claims she did not kill her 2-year-old (the manner of death is still under investigation). The mom allegedly told police that she found her asthmatic 2-year-old unresponsive and attempted to resuscitate her. But when her ministrations didn't work, what did the mom do? Call 911?
Fryer has allegedly admitted to cops that she wrapped her child in a blanket, put her in a suitcase, and called a friend to drive her out to the place where cops found the toddler's body.
That's enough to earn her a child neglect charge, and she's being held in jail on $950,000 bond. Whether she'll face more charges is in the hands of police.
But I can't help but ask the obvious question: who decided this woman was ready to get her kids back? What were the criteria for that decision? And who is going to make sure Fryer's other three kids are taken care of this time?
What do you think should happen to Fryer here? Are you surprised she got her kids back the last time?
Image via Seminole County Sheriff's Office
Post by Jeanne Sager.
I thought we'd gotten past the "no sleep for Mom stage" back when my daughter was a newborn. Oh, how wrong I was. My daughter is 8 years old, and she is not sleeping. It has turned our entire household upside down. Even the dogs don't know when to get up and bark and when to lie down and be lazy.
Everyone and their mother tell me the secret is a solid bedtime routine, but we've already got that down. We've done the same bath (or shower), jammies, story, snuggles routine for years! And it's not working anymore.
I've been getting desperate. A number of parents were praising melatonin to get kids to sleep, and they almost had me. I was thisclose, but then I got nervous. What if my kid is the kid who becomes dependent on drugs to sleep or worse?
So what's a mom to do? I've been turning to natural sleep aids that are safe for kids and might actually get me some much needed rest!
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1. Chamomile tea -- I always knew chamomile was calming, but according to Dr. Oz, it's also a natural sleep inducer!
2. Lavender oil -- A friend puts a few drops on her kids' feet at night, and the soothing aromas help them drift off to dreamland. According to the studies, she's on to something. Lavender has been shown "to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure, and put you in a parasympathetic [relaxed] state."
3. Bananas -- I have often heard that a banana before bed will boost your potassium level and help reduce leg cramps -- if you're prone to them. But it turns out the tasty fruits also contain tryptophan -- the same sleep-inducing amino acid that makes you sleepy after you indulge in Thanksgiving turkey.
4. Massage -- What? If mama's not getting a massage, ain't nobody getting a massage? Don't knock it until you try it! A rub-down on a kid will induce the same soporific effects it does in adults.
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5. Kick out the gadgets -- Kiddos are becoming increasingly hooked on electronics, but even if you swear the TV helps your tot to sleep, science says otherwise. Doctors suggest limiting screentime (including tablets, computers, TV, etc) to no more than two hours a day, and not before bed.
6. Linen spray -- Kid won't drink tea or let you apply oil to their feet? Sounds like a kid! But there's a way around it -- spray their pillow and/or sheets with a soothing scent. You can even make your own linen spray with lavender and chamomile.
7. Pink noise -- You've heard of white noise, but what is pink noise? Apparently it's a type of sound in which every octave carries the same power, and according to at least one study, it doesn't just help people sleep, it promotes "stable sleep," the most restful kind. To get some for your kids, try a fan or a noisemaker that produces sounds similar to falling rain.
How do you get your kids to sleep?
Image by Jeanne Sager
Post by Jeanne Sager.
When Nicole Rogerson picked up the phone late one Tuesday evening in late January, she didn't know this would be the call that would change the life of her little boy. Nicole and Brian Rogerson's son, Bryce, was born in 2005 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a congenital heart defect in which the left side of a child's heart is underdeveloped. Her miracle baby's first heart surgery was in utero, when Nicole was just 26 1/2 weeks pregnant. His second took place at just 10 days old.
But by the time Bryce was 6 years old, doctors told the Rogerson family that the heart they'd cut open and repaired time after time was putting too much stress on his lungs. The 6-year-old, they said, was going to need a heart transplant.
That was March 2011, three years ago, when doctors listed Bryce on the transplant list. And then came the call on January 14. Doctors had found 8-year-old Bryce a new heart.
Nicole screamed. She skipped up and down the hallway of her family's home in upstate New York. Then she called Brian -- who was away on a hunting trip in Alabama -- and found a sitter for their younger son, Bryan.
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She packed Bryce and older daughter Emily in the family's car, and she started the drive to New York City to Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital at Columbia Presbyterian where her son would soon get the hospital's first pediatric heart transplant of 2014.
Nicole and I grew up together, and I am part of Team Bryce, a huge group of family, friends, and now strangers who have given the Rogerson family support via a Facebook group where the mother of three posts constant updates about her son's progress.
In honor of American Heart Month, I spoke with Nicole about congenital heart defects -- the most common type of major birth defect in American children -- and what it's like when your child receives a transplant of a major organ:
Remind me of everything that's happened with Bryce, leading up to the transplant:
We got the [HLHS] diagnosis when I was 22 weeks pregnant. He's had in utero surgery, then three open heart surgeries; the first open heart was at 10 days old. He had a second when he was 7 or 8 months old, and then in October of 2008, he had his third open heart. He's also had nine catheterizations.
His lungs were really crappy when he was born, and in 2010, he was diagnosed with plastic bronchitis. It's something common in cystic fibrosis patients -- mucus builds up in the lungs and it can build up and asphyxiate them.
So his lungs are the issue, not his heart?
There was pressure on the lungs from the way the heart was pumping blood into the lung. Once they decrease the pressures on the lung, they believe the lungs will get better. So yeah, he really had to be transplanted because of his lungs.
He will still be on breathing treatments for the plastic bronchitis for six months to a year after [the heart transplant].
Walk me through the night you got the call about Bryce's heart:
It was after 9 at night, but the school had a planned a two-hour delay the next morning, so the boys were in Bryce's room watching TV. The phone rang and it came up on the caller ID, "private number."
I answer and it's a pediatric nurse from the cardiac chain. She says, "Hi Nicole." I had just talked to her; we'd just been down for Bryce's appointment.
She tells me, "We have a heart," and I'm like, "Are you kidding me? Are you freakin' kidding me? Oh my God, oh my God."
Do you know how they made the match of this heart to Bryce?
The donor's information goes into the database and a computer spits out everybody who is a match. Donations go to the closest transplant center unless someone has a bigger need -- which is how it should be. You'd want the organs to go to somebody who is sicker than your child.
They have an hour to decide -- the transplant team does -- whether they want it.
What happened when you told Bryce?
He started crying! One of his biggest worries is "How am I going to hand in my homework?!"
How were you feeling about sending him into that operating room?
We've been through the three open hearts so you almost don't have a choice. It has to be done; there's no use crying about it. It's almost like a normal part of our lives. It's so weird to think that he is not a hypo-plas kid anymore. He's going to be a normal kid except for a few medicines!
What do you know about the donor?
We don't get to know anything about the donor family. That's all up to them. When we put Bryce on the list, we said they can contact us, but that's up to them.
We have to wait six months to even send them a letter to say thank you.
What are you going to say?
What do you say?
They gave my son the greatest gift; they gave him the gift of life. Their child is living through our child now ... hopefully they find comfort in that.
Bryce is still in the hospital, and he's got a long road ahead of him, but the Rogerson family also has a huge support system praying for the now-9-year-old (he celebrated his birthday in the hospital over the weekend).
Are you an organ donor yet?
Nicole and husband Brian are both signed up to be organ donors, and if there is one thing they most hope comes out of sharing Bryce's story, it's that more people sign on their driver's license to give the gift of life. You can find out more about organ donation or about congenital heart defects.
Images via Nicole Rogerson
Post by Jeanne Sager.
A horrific child abuse case in Texas this week presents a difficult conversation: how much leeway can we give grownups who had "difficult" childhoods? Tiffany Klapheke was convicted this week of injury to a child, nearly two years after her 22-month-old daughter died of malnutrition. The Texas mom and military wife stood accused of starving her three daughters, resulting in the death of the youngest, Tamryn.
But Klapheke herself didn't have the happiest of stories. She was struggling with three kids while her military husband was deployed overseas. Mental health experts on both sides of the aisle testified in her trial that the military mom suffered from "post-traumatic stress disorder and reactive attachment disorder as a result of trauma she endured as a child."
Certainly, but I'm not surprised a jury came back in just six hours with a guilty verdict for the role Klapheke played in her toddler's death. I know I don't have any pity for her.
Maybe that sounds cold, but come on! Having a sucky childhood can screw you up for life, but it's all the more reason not to put another generation of kids through the same pain.
Oh, I know there's plenty of science about how abused kids can grow up and become abusers, and I'm not saying it's junk science. I am, however, saying that we are more than just our childhoods. We have free will, and we have the power to understand right from wrong. We can look back at the crap our parents put us through and see that it wasn't the right thing ... and make the conscious choice not to do it to our kids (or heck, if we're that screwed up, choose not to HAVE kids!).
The mental health witness for the prosecution in Klapheke's case, by the way, acknowledged her past trauma and did not dispute the defense witness' claims that it adversely affected her. BUT he discounted their assertion that the Texas mom was in a "dissociative state" before reportedly neglecting her children. Basically? He didn't give her the easy out.
And thank goodness the jury got that. Klapheke is now facing life in prison for Tamryn's death.
What do you think of her story? Do you give it any weight or have any sympathy for her?
Image via Taylor County Sheriff's Office