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    Jessa Duggar seems to be everyone's sweetheart of the moment, as she gears up for her November 1 wedding with Ben Seewald and does super sweet things like send thank-you notes to fans who bought her something off her registry. All it takes to change that though is one social media post from the 19 Kids and Counting star mentioning how precious she believes life to be.

    The reality star recently visited the Holocaust museum and posted to Instagram about the senseless tragedy that occurred when the Nazis murdered millions of innocents because they didn't value their lives as equal to their own. And then the Internet went nuts because of course she just compared the Holocaust to abortion.

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    I'm not sure why I thought this year's Halloween costume search would be different. Maybe because my daughter has asked to dress up as a panda for the holiday? The costume makers couldn't possibly use the cutest and cuddliest of bears to divide boys and girls down gender lines, can they?

    Oh, but they can. Because once again, when I plugged my daughter's Halloween costume request into Google, the results came back with options for boys ... and options for girls. Naturally, the costume pictured with a little boy covers all the skin and looks, well, like a panda. The option for girls?

    As my daughter -- a hardcore panda fanatic -- said when she saw it, "Pandas don't wear ruffled skirts!"

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    I am of the school of thought that pranks are a form of bullying. It's when everyone laughs, even the person being pranked, but oftentimes that laugh is just for show. Inside, the person who was pranked is mad, angry, and doesn't feel good about the situation. When I hear of teachers pranking students, I get upset. And one teacher took his prank way too far.

    Teacher Daniel Mark Ogloff wrote, "I'm gay. Lol" on masking tape and stuck it on the back of a student's jacket

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  • Rant

    Cellphones for 4-Year-Olds? No Thank You!

    posted by Judy Dutton September 24 at 12:00 PM in Big Kid
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    All kids, at some point, start begging, pleading, and pestering their parents for their own cellphone. As a mom with a 4-year-old, I assumed I had some time before the whining and wheedling commenced ... but it turns out, I might be wrong.

    Over the weekend I saw tons of ads on TV for "smartphones for kids," showing what looked like happy 8-year-olds texting away. Which was bad enough ... then, online, I stumbled across AT&T's FiLIP wearable phone, touted as "perfect for kids 4 through 11."

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    This will probably come as a complete shock to you, but moms LOVE their Crock-Pots. In fact, I could be wrong, but some of you may love your slow cookers even more than your husbands. And I get it. This wondrous modern invention helps you feed your whole family day after day. It's a major work and time-saver.

    But I have a confession -- a terrible, dark, dirty secret I've been hiding all this time. I never use my Crock-Pot.

    Well, hardly ever use it, anyway. I pull out my slow cooker maybe a couple times a year. I know if I could just work it into my daily life it would totally save me, but I just ... CAN'T. Here's why.

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    It all started when we bought our first house together two years ago. Prior to that we had been living in a small condo in the city, which we also owned, but for some reason we always agreed on decorating decisions. Add in another 1,200 square feet? And all that synchronicity was gone like the wind.

    Our first fight was about color in the living room. The former owners had painted the living room and sitting room a horrifying forest green, which they'd then made worse by inserting bits of patterned, gold wallpaper into framed squares. It was ugly, indeed, and on that we agreed.

    On everything else? Not so much. Should the walls be gray (like I wanted)? Should we paint the woodwork to lighten it up (like I wanted)? Should we buy a gray couch (like we wanted)? Or an orange one (like I did)?

    You get the idea. I started telling friends of our fights, which were becoming epic and the one thing most all of them agreed on was this: Men have NO business making decorating decisions.

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    Moms who do not give your kids the flu shot: It's time to stop the madness. According to the CDC, 105 KIDS DIED FROM THE FLU LAST YEAR -- and, of those, 90 PERCENT WERE NOT VACCINATED.

    Sorry for the all caps ... these new statistics upset me to my core.

    If the vision of your non-vaccinated child taking his last breath in the intensive care unit doesn't move you to do the right thing -- get your kid vaccinated! -- I don't know what will.

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    At some point in your late 20s or 30s, you’ll be skeedaddling along, enjoying life, and finally feeling satisfied in your marriage or relationship. Inevitably, some guy from your past will choose that exact moment in time to decide he needs to soul-search because things, perhaps, didn’t turn out quite the way he had planned. In his quest to find himself, he’ll contact you. He'll remind you that you were once such good friends. You’ll reluctantly, politely, agree to write back because you're a nice person.

    And, just like that, you've been sucked into his sad vortex of doom and despair -- one that will threaten to blast your current, wonderful relationship to smithereens. Three words: Don't go there.

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    For the past eight years, I have been a work-at-home mom. In the early years, I was freelance, which meant that I did have a great deal of flexibility and could hang out with my kids during the day while working at night. But eventually I became staff, and with that my freedom was gone.

    What that means to you, oh dear stay-at-home mom friend whom I love? It means I'm sorry, but I can't meet you at the pool at 1:00 on a Wednesday afternoon. Or the coffee shop. Or your house. Or pretty much anywhere.

    Not this week. Not ever. Unless I take the day off. Got that?

    But that won't stop her (and countless others) from asking. Hell, even my own husband took a few years to grasp that I really didn't have time to do all the laundry, clean up after the kids, and drop off his dry cleaning. I'm working here, people!

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    These days, parents will name their kids after just about anything, it seems. Take the trend of naming babies after characters on HBO's Game of Thrones. Who looks at the new life they created and thinks of a show about grisly death? Do you honestly think your child wants to be named after a dragon-mother from medieval times? From a TV show?

    It's like lacing up a corset on her childhood and pulling it tight. Really tight. There's no way she will make it through school without someone skewering or mocking her (totally made up) name.

    Common sense should prevail when it comes to the baby naming process. Planes, trains, and automobiles don't make good monikers. Cleaning products are also a no-no (sorry, Ajax). But baby naming has gone berserk in recent years, and it's time to rein it in!

    Here are 10 things Americans need to stop naming babies after ... starting NOW.

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