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So here’s the problem I have with that…

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An image of a menacing black ISIS cake commissioned by a Walmart customer has been showing it’s icing repeatedly in my Facebook feed over the past 24 hours.  If you haven’t seen it, here’s my not so short version of the story.

A man went into a Walmart and his request for a cake with the confederate flag on it was refused.

The refusal was linked to the announcement by Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Sears that they would no longer sell merchandise displaying the Confederate flag.  According to Johnna Hoff, a spokesperson for eBay, the Confederate flag has “become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism.”

Sounds pretty straightforward.  Not really.

After being rejected by the baker at his local Walmart, this same man went to another Walmart with an image of an ISIS battle flag.  Yes.  The man was able to purchase an ISIS battle flag cake.  Frankly, the baker should have objected to creating the ISIS cake strictly because it looked about as appetizing as a car tire and the black icing would probably color the tongues of anyone who tried it for a solid week.

But, the baker made the cake.  The cake has its own YouTube video—receipts and all.

Now the cake is being paraded around the internet as a symbol that Walmart is for ISIS, but not a southerner’s sense of history surrounding the Confederate flag.  Kind of a big leap, no?

So, I began wondering, what exactly is the approval process for a birthday cake at Walmart?  Is there a committee that approves the cakes, are there reviews, guidelines or meetings–or do they just have a guy with a piping tube that is trying to get through the day?  I have no idea.

And there are other implications here as well.  Exactly how are Walmart customers going to continue to pay 19 cents for a 4 pound bag of Cheerios when Walmart has to pay for a multilingual baker who can read Arabic.  I am pretty sure that that’s not a garden variety minimum wage skill.

Just thinking out loud here, so I’ll leave you with this.  Regardless of the message the cake guy is very invested in conveying– in this instance, I would rather be silently outraged than have to explain to homeland security why I was in Walmart buying an ISIS cake.  With my luck, I would be pulled over on the Parkway with the ISIS cake in plain view and I could not imagine talking my way out of that one.

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Wanna see the cake?  Click here.

It’s National Clean Out Your Computer Day–will there be cake?

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Instead of talking about National Toothache day, which is an actual thing…let’s talk about the second Monday of every February–National Clean Out Your Computer Day.  According to Nationaldaycalendar.com, this unofficial holiday began in 2000 and was sponsored by the Institute for Business Technology.

A useful holiday, in contrast to some of the others I’ve written about, National Clean Out Your Computer Day is a day to set aside the time and give your trusty computer a little attention.

Unless we want to turn February 10th  into National Why Did I Delete those Files Yesterday Day, please remember to Back Up your files before doing anything with your computer today.

Now, to the purpose of the day.  Show your computer a little lovin’.  Clear out those old files you no longer need.  Delete duplicate files and get rid of programs you’re not using anymore.  Sure we’re all busy, but take a little time today to clean up and organize files and folders.

Happy Cleaning!

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Yesterday, I blamed the Big Guy.

 

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Before I had children, I had a solid grasp of childrearing.  I was going to be firm, consistent and hold limits with my kids.  I had witnessed many offenses in parenting where moms and dads were overly permissive, sent mixed messages or avoided being the “bad guy” to name just a few.  And in my head, I believed that I knew better.  When it was my turn, I knew that I would never make these mistakes.

I can barely read that sentence without giggling at myself.

Fast forward to last night.  It must be said that Charlie and Giuliana are a rambunctious pair of three and a half year olds.  Just in case you are new to the blog.  My average day includes setting hundreds of boundaries and limits.  If I had to pay a royalty for using the word ‘No,” I would have to get a second job.  On the average day, I’d grade myself with a C+ or a B- as a mom.  People close to me seem to think I’m more of a B+/A-.  I am a tough grader–maybe they grade on a curve.

Last night after an entire day of “stop climbing that,” “don’t do that,” “give that back to your sister,” “give that back to your brother,” “get off your sister,” “get off your brother,”  “where did you get that?”  and probably a hundred similar phrases, I must have reached my limit.

It was bedtime and the children were chasing each other around.  We needed the children to settle down and listen to us.  I pulled out the big guns and did the ultimate December namedrop.

“Are you listening to Mommy and Daddy?” I said.  “Because Mommy and Daddy will be calling Santa tonight.  And we want to tell him that you are good listeners.  Are you both listening to Mommy and Daddy?”  Almost immediately, the children fell in line.

I was glad for the results, but felt crummy about the method.  In my years, I had witnessed parents shuffling the blame for their requests onto someone else.  I was confident that I would never do this.  I would never stand in a store and tell my children they needed to behave or put something down, because “the man” was going to get upset.    Using “the man” to get kids to behave seemed like such a cop-out.  I felt like I would figure out how to get my future children to behave strictly on the merits of my own authority.  That’s how it lived in my head.

Last night, I was tired.  I just wanted a teeny tiny break from being the “bad guy.”  “The bad guy” is a role that I am very used to occupying.  I am aware that it’s a role I’ve willingly signed up for, for many years to come by becoming a parent.  I only wanted a moment’s respite from that thankless position.

So I blamed the Big Guy.  Mommy’s just the messenger, is what I conveyed.  Santa is the one who wants you to listen.  Not exactly model parenting.

Maybe it’s just me rationalizing, but I began to consider that maybe my judgey pre-children self didn’t understand the whole picture.  Perhaps those parents, the ones I judged, were just tired.  Maybe I was seeing them in the 10th hour of holding their line and they simply wanted a break–one brief moment in time to not be the “bad guy.”

So, I blamed the Big Guy, certainly not my finest hour.

So what.  I blamed the Big Guy.  It’s not like I’m going to be calling the Easter Bunny in March.

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Winter Solstice…what the heck does it mean?

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Things to know about Winter Solstice

  • This year, in the Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st.
  • The official beginning of winter will happen at 6:03pm on the 21st of December.
  • This day is the longest night and shortest day of the year.

What does all this mean?  According to Time Magazine, Winter Solstice is the point where the northern hemisphere is the furthest from the sun that it will be all year.  This means less light and temperatures that are colder.  From this point on, the days become longer in the northern hemisphere until June 21st, which is the longest day of the year.

I know, I know, you’re thinking…Jill…you are such a wealth of information…

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The Problem with Peeking Out

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Over the weekend, my cousin and I took my children to see Holiday Lights on the Farm at Schaefer Farms in Flemington, NJ. (If you are NJ local, check out my new Family Fun pages.)  I began the night by showing my children pictures of the farm light show on the computer.  The vote was unanimous, they wanted to go see it live.

We piled into the car, picked up my cousin and headed to the farm.  As we drove down the county road in the pitch black night, we began to see lights on my daughter Giuliana’s side of the car.  The children began to pipe up and chirp excitedly about the bright lights displays off in the dark.

From the street we saw huge light structures in wonderfully festive colors.  I pulled the minivan in, and followed the arrow.  The woman at the ticket booth informed us that a 15 car pay it forward chain was underway, so we paid it forward as well.

We traveled the winding route, seeing lights of all kinds.  Some simulated motion, some familiar characters–all fun.  I am not sure that I would have enjoyed it as much on my own, but the combined enthusiasm of my children and cousin was contagious.

At the end, we parked at the viewing site and watched the synchronized light show out in the field below.

The car next to us had its sunroof open and two children were peeking out.  Charlie and Giuliana saw this, and immediately wanted the same.  I slid the sunroof open and moments later, both children were unbuckled and popping their heads out the sunroof giggling.

Eventually the fun ended when my son announced he had to use the potty.  Sunroof was closed, kids returned to car seats and we were off.  Apparently, for Giuliana, the fun ended too early, because as we headed to our next destination, she insisted that I open the sunroof so she could keep “peeking out.”

“We can’t peek out when I’m driving,” I replied.

“But Daddy lets me peek out,” she replied.

“When he’s driving?” I asked, knowing full well that my husband does nothing of the sort.

“Yes,” she insisted….for what was probably only a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity.  And I’m not sure whether I should be impressed or frightened by her creativity.

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Phoebe the Duck contest ends. Stay tuned for the winner!

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Due to changes in Facebook’s new policy on Like Gating, I had to end the Phoebe the Duck giveaway a little early.   Wanted to make sure I was in compliance by today, the mandatory end.  Something I missed before announcing the contest this time.  Live and Learn.

But have no fear, a winner has been chosen and will be announced tomorrow on my BabyGiftsandGoodies.com Facebook Page.  I know you will barely sleep tonight!

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5 Things I Learned about Candy Corn

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5 things I Learned about Candy Corn

  1. Candy Corn was invented in Philadelphia in the 1880′s by a man named George Renninger, an employee of the Wunderlee Candy Company.
  2. Candy Corn is still produced according to the original candy recipe from over 1 century ago.  The methods of production have changed, but not the ingredients.
  3. In its original form, Candy Corn was called “Chicken Feed” and sold in boxes with a rooster logo and the slogan “Something worth crowing for” on the box.
  4. October 30th is National Candy Corn Day.
  5. This year nine billion pieces of candy corn (over 35 million pounds) will be produced.

Happy Trick or Treating!

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Enter my latest Giveaway and Win Phoebe the Duck

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Hop on over to my Facebook page and enter my latest Giveaway.  You could be the lucky winner of the adorable luxury plush Phoebe the Duck and a $20 babygiftsandgoodies.com gift certificate.

All you have to do is Like or Comment on a Phoebe the Duck post on the Babygiftsandgoodies.com Facebook Page and click here to fill out the entry form.  No purchase is necessary.  Giveaway ends November 16th at Midnight EST.  Winner will be randomly chosen and announced November 18th and notified by email.

Have fun and good luck!

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Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well…

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Just in case you were wondering, Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well.  Apparently he exists in the form of a woman who lives in one of “the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country,” just blocks away from “billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls” and the like.

A woman who referred to herself as Halloween for the 99 Percent wrote a letter to Dear Prudence complaining that children from other neighborhoods were coming to hers to Trick or Treat.  Ms. Halloween for the 99 Percent complained that, in her estimation, this particular holiday was turning into a “free for all” where parents vie for the best candy for their children.

Although she admitted that her opinion made her “feel like a terrible person” she likened giving candy away to children from other neighborhoods to an act of charity.  An act of charity which she should not have to participate in, because she already paid significant taxes that went toward what she deemed legitimate social service efforts.

The opinions of Ms. Halloween for the 99 Percent got me thinking.  And what I learned is that I am pretty clueless.  Or maybe I just think differently, because I struggle to wrap my mind around this type of thinking.

First of all, how can this woman tell whether costumed children are from her neighborhood or not?  Are the costumes of lower quality?  Are the children from her neighborhood costumed as doctors and lawyers and the outsider children dressed in blue collar costumes?  I mean, I guess it’s pretty obvious if kids come piling out of a car, but otherwise, how do you know?  Is some kind of Halloween profiling going on?

Maybe she comes from such a tight knit community that she is familiar with each and every one of the neighborhood children–even in costume.  Perhaps she believes that her hard earned candy needs to “stay in the family.”  But unless you live in a gated community, how can you enforce such a ridiculous idea?  Will you begin carding your trick or treaters?

I imagine something like this:

Children: Trick or Treat

Homeowner: May I see some identification please?

Anyway, I am hoping that my sarcasm is beyond evident here, because, frankly, this kind of thinking leaves me scratching my head.  In a world where people want for safety, water, clothing and shelter, isn’t it a relief that the dilemma with which you are faced is having to give candy to the less fortunate once a year.  Sounds like a nice problem to have.

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***And by the way, Prudence put her solidly in her place.

Today is National One Hit Wonder Day?

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Initially this blog was supposed to be a cheeky paragraph or two about the celebration of musical One Hit Wonders on the 25th of September–National One Hit Wonder Day.  I was going to keep it to citing a brief history that Steve Rosen, a music journalist, began this holiday in 1990 to pay tribute to musicians who, as the name states, had one hit that dominated the airwaves and then faded from the public eye.  I was going to cite It’s Raining Men and Who Let the Dogs Out? as prime One Hit Wonder examples.

But the more I began to think about this holiday, the more I took issue with the term One Hit Wonder.  And the extensive research I did–okay, I Googled and clicked around a little, suggests that I am right.   There is a negative connotation to the term One Hit Wonder.  It began to feel like National One Trick Pony Day.  (which to my knowledge does not exist).

The conclusion I have drawn is that One Hit Wonder Day is a bit of a  mean holiday.  Maybe it is not intentional, but still.  Because, frankly,  if you’ve got One Hit, you’ve done a better job on the music charts than I have.  After all, any musical aspirations I may have had were dashed when I was shamed by our Middle School Choir Director during eighth grade graduation rehearsals. (think Bobbie Moughan-Culp of SNL fame)

This holiday also made me question who defines success.  Sure, if the goal of each of these One Hit Wonders was hit the top of the charts like the Beatles, then hitting it once may not exactly be mission accomplished.  But if you take into account how many artists are producing music at any given time, that a person or group gets even one song to the top of the charts or to dominate the radio is a huge feat.  How could we possibly know the personal goals of these artists?

And, while I’m ranting, who knows what else these bands and artists created.  Just because their subsequent work didn’t make the mainstream doesn’t mean that it has no artistic value.  It’s kind of like the whole idea of ” if a tree falls in the woods” does it make a sound?  Well, if art hasn’t been seen by the public masses, isn’t it still art?

Rant over.

Now onto a less serious topic.  Isn’t the dog with the record adorable…yes, I’m aware he’s photoshopped, I mean, it’s not even a real album!

Happy One Hit Wonder Day!

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