What Parents Should Know About Snapchat

 Snapchat

First, it’s hard for children to imagine what life was like for their parents or grandparents.  While the majority of today’s kids are have smartphones, some of us were chained to the kitchen wall with a rotary dial telephone.

Furthermore, if we add social media to the equation we now have a worldwide audience available online.  Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have the biggest following.  But, Snapchat and Instagram also have huge online audiences.  However, most of their users are young people.

Teensafe is a tech app for parents to monitor their child’s online and smartphone activity.  Additionally, Snapchat has over 82 million users with 255 million “snaps” shared daily.  The majority of users are under the age of 25 and 41% of today’s teens use this popular photo sharing app frequently.  So, take a look at this video for more information.

The Internet Is Forever

Also, the majority of parents are teaching their children the important lesson that “the internet is forever.”  It is a fact, that things you post and share online are for an eternity.  However, sites like Snapchat often lure users into a false sense of security. Users think their posts disappear.  Unfortunately, they can saved easily and potentially shared.

As a matter of fact, 18% of Snapchat users admit to saving a humiliating or inappropriate snap or photo.  The intention was to embarrass the sender.  They planned to share it with their own friends or family.  Unfortunately, many young users are tempted to share risky, or damaging messages.  Simply because they believe they will disappear.

Monitoring Messages

Parents should be monitoring their children’s online activity for a variety of reasons.  This include cyberbullying, but there are other concerns when it comes to Snapchat.  For example:

  • Since the messages supposedly disappear, there’s no proof they ever existed
  • If the kids think inappropriate material will disappear, they are more likely to send inappropriate messages. This includes sexually graphic images, aka “sexting”
  • Other users can potentially share snaps with millions of other users.  So, just because they are sending messages to people they know, it can still be shared.

According to the legal terms of Snapchat, users are responsible for their online behaviors and the consequences.  In fact, the site owns the royalty rights to everything posted.

 

Snapchat

Know the Lingo

There’s some lesser known lingo that kids are using that will not make parents LOL  But, rather have them saying OMG.  Here are some alarming acronyms that parents should know:

 

  • 8 – Usually referring to the word “ate,” but it can also be a reference to oral sex
  • 53Z – Sex
  • CD9 – Code 9 (parents are present)
  • IWSN – I Want Sex Now
  • KPC – Keep Parents Clueless
  • LMIRL – Let’s Meet In Real Life
  • PAL – Parents Are Listening (or peace and love)
  • PAW – Parents Are Watching
  • PIR – Parent In Room
  • RU18 – Are You Eighteen (or older)
  • RUH – Are You Horny?
  • TDTM – Talk Dirty To Me
  • WUF – Where (are) You From?
  • WYRN – What’s Your Real Name?

Although Snapchat declines usage for those under the age of thirteen.  Many youngsters sign up regardless of this restriction.  So, please monitor your child’s online behavior. Discourage them from sharing inappropriate information.  It is imperative that they know that it will likely exist forever in cyberspace.

About the Author: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. You can follow her on twitter: @HilaryS33
 

 

Should Dads Purchase Bras?

Should single dads take their daughters to get bras or should they seek the assistance of a woman in the family? As mothers, we just take on the responsibility when the times arrives, but what about dads?  There are many situations today where moms and dads co-parent.  There are also situations where dads have primary custody of their daughters. When I was growing up, this was basically unheard of. My how times have changed. Today there are gay couples raising daughters, single dads raising daughters, widows raising daughters, grandfathers raising granddaughters, uncles raising nieces and the list goes on.  


Purchasing a bra is no longer the sole responsibility of moms.  At some point our little girls, regardless of who’s raising them, will start growing into young ladies and they will need a bra. When I look back on my childhood, I can’t imagine my father taking me to the store and purchasing a bra for me.  I was raised in a traditional home, bras and feminine products were my mother’s responsibility.  Had he been widowed, I think he would have reached out to one of my aunts or another family member.  


Decades later, I am proud to say that I have nephews who have primary custody of their children and who co-parent.  I think my dad would have been proud and very supportive of them taking on this responsibility.  He would have seen this as a demonstration of character and a demonstration of the morals and values that have been instilled in them.  He probably would wish they would have made wiser choices with the young ladies, but none the less he would have been proud.  I’ll save how this all came to fruition in another post.  


As I’ve watched them help raise their children, I’ve often wondered if the two who are co-parenting daughters are prepared to take the step of purchasing a bra when the time arrives.  The endeavor has been made easier for parents these days.  Young girls are now wearing bralettes.  Yes it seems that our young ladies no longer refer to their first bras as training bras, but bralettes. Bralettes, which resemble undershirts but are cropped can be purchased from Target to Macy’s. They are the rage with young ladies now, they come in a variety of colors and stretch as they develop.  


Their are several benefits to bralettes:  1)  Young ladies no longer have to be measured, 2)  Dads and daughters don’t have to endure the embarrassment of going to the store and asking for assistance or measurements.  Bralettes can purchased in sizes 4 – 6x and 7-14.    


As I thought more about it, I decided that I didn’t need to ask my nephews if they were ready for this step in parenting their daughters.  I decided if they loved their daughters enough to fight for and win joint custody, they certainly love them enough to take on the responsibility of purchasing a bralette, and yes I believe they should purchase them if they so desire


Photo courtesy of Target.  
    

Kid’s Breakfast Ideas: Animal Pancakes

kids breakfast ideas

When I saw these adorable pancake molds, I couldn’t resist.  When Xavier and Zarriah are visiting, they wake up every morning looking forward to helping Mama make their favorite pancakes and waffles.  I’ve stocked up on pancake molds.  My stash includes:  barnyard animals and dinosaurs.  They love eating this fun shaped pancakes and I can count on a Happy Plate. What is a Happy Plate?  One that makes Mawmaw happy, and ensures the kids eat a healthy meal. 


Xavier enjoys helping me mix the batter and watching me pour it into the molds.   I must admit, I enjoy eating a fun shaped pancakes too.  These adorable shapes make breakfast exciting for the kids.  Who doesn’t want to devour a rooster, pig or dinosaur for breakfast.  I need to find a few girly molds for Zarriah.  Let the search begin.  

I found the molds on e-bay.  They’re easy to use as long as you spray the molds well with PAM as well as the griddle.  I allow the molds to heat up before I pour the batter into them.  This ensures they lift from the griddle easily I’ve found that a batter bottle or ketchup/mustard bottle works well in controlling the batter when pouring it into the molds.  I found mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $2.00.  

fun foods for kids

Make sure your kids enjoy breakfast with fun pancakes.  Add a few fresh strawberries or apple slices with the pancakes, and you’re guaranteed a happy plate too.   Bon Appetit’!

Don’t Slap My Child

A passenger accused of slapping a 2 year old toddler on a Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta is sentenced to eight months in prison.  According to the mother, Jessica Bennett, Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, former president of an aircraft parts manufacturer based in Idaho was seated next to her and her son on a flight to Atlanta.  Her son became frightened upon decent and started to cry.  Hundley yelled at her to shut the “ni**** baby up.  He than slapped the toddler.  The adorable baby suffered a scratch below his eye after the assault.  

Thankfully, other passengers witnessed the assault and came to her rescue.  Passengers 12 rows up heard the racial slur.  I wonder if people were raised under rocks at times.  Ms. Bennett stated that Mr. Hundley reeked of alcohol during the flight and his speech was slurred.  According to Ms. Bennett, Mr. Hundley had been complaining about her son prior to the incident.  Earlier he had asked the stewardess about the regulations for holding children on laps.  Ms. Bennett also stated that he told her the toddler was too big to be sitting on her lap.  She said she spent most of the flight in the rear with her son, so she could stay away from Mr. Hundley. 

According to Mr. Hundley’s attorney, he was on his way to Atlanta to remove his son from life support and he was distraught.  Although I understand his pain for having to make such a heart wrenching decision, nobody has the right to slap another person,  Especially a child.     

Mr.  Hundley apologized in court for his disgraceful behavior.  He admitted that he had an alcohol problem and was attending AA meetings and had enrolled in an anger management course.  He will be spending the next 8 months behind bars, so he will have plenty of time to reflect on the incident and how he will re-enter society.  Hopefully, he will be rehabilitated and will have made peace with the death of his son . 

Photo courtesy of Daily Mail.  

20 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Teen Girls

stocking stuffer ideas for teen girls

We know that teenage girls can be difficult to purchase for and are usually the last and most difficult to purchase for. I have 2 teenage nieces that I shop for each year, so I’ve put together a list of what has worked for me.  If you’re strapped for time, pick a few items from the list before you head out.  Here’s my list:    

  1. Nail polish in bright colors
  2. Gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure  (Big Hit)
  3. DVD
  4. Movie night gift basket or bag with Popcorn and Candy  
  5. A Journal
  6. CD of their favorite artist
  7. Lip gloss
  8. Gift certificate to their favorite salon 
  9. Bath and Body products
  10. Loofah/sponges 
  11. Hand lotion for her purse
  12. Socks 
  13. Infinity scarf in her favorite color
  14. Perfume
  15. Hat and gloves
  16. Bangles
  17. Nail designs
  18. Gift certificate to a Cosmetic Counter such as Lancome, Mac or Estee Lauder
  19. Pre-made Scrapbooks
  20. Magazine Subscription

Be sure to check out the bargain bins and clearance items.  Use your imagination. 

                                                         

Easy Recipes: Crockpot Cube Steak


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  • Family pack of cub steak
  • 2 cans (10.75 ounce size) cream of mushroom soup or 1 large family size
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 3/4 cup water (I did not use water)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low all day.  The recipe calls for a 3/4 cup of water; however, I didn’t include the water.  This recipe makes a nice gravy and is best served with mashed potatoes.  I didn’t want to put the energy into mashed potatoes today, so I fixed a baked potato and a side salad.  You can also serve it over rice, noodles or with your favorite side dishes.  Enjoy. 

Dreams Really Do Come True

                                                                     

  

Dreams really do come true.  My daughter has been a Tar Heel fan as far back as I can remember.  I purchased Tar Heel gear for her all through high school so she could show her love.  She has passed her love on to Xavier.  He has on his University of North Carolina colors, light blue and white shirt, and a smile bright enough to light up the sky as he stands in front of the NC Chapel Hill logo.  A big moment for a little boy. 


My daughter was given 4 tickets to see the Tar Heel basketball team play this pass week-end at the Dean Dome, which seats 21,750 fans.  That’s a huge stadium.  I don’t know who was happier, Xavier or Marisha.  My SIL, who is not a UNC fan, swallowed his pride and made arrangements to take the family and one of Xavier’s friends to Chapel Hill, NC for the week-end.  They had seats directly behind the team, 12 rows away.  How great is that.  To put the icing on the cake, the Tar Heels won 80-51.  Go Bighorn Rams. 

Wondering where the name Tar Heels comes from.  Here’s the history:  North Carolina settlements provided tar, pitch, and turpentine for the navy, in particular the British navy. It was used to paint the bottom of wooden British ships to seal them and to prevent damage to the hull from shipworms.  During the Civil War, it was stated that troops stuck to their ranks like they had tar on their heels. The nickname “Tar Heels” was born. 

This is a picture of Marisha, Xavier, and Xavier’s friend with Rameses the Tar Heel mascot.   Rameses first appeared at a pep rally before a football game against Virginia Military Institute in 1924.  The Bighorn Ram was officially adopted as the mascot and continues to cheer on the Tar Heels. 
Some well known graduates from UNC who went on to play pro ball are Rick Fox and Michael Jordan.  Rick Fox was married to one of my all time favorite singers, Vanessa Williams, and he turned out to be a great actor.  
Family is important and making memories with family is just as important for children.  This family event will live in Xavier’s memory.  He will always remember being at Dean Dome and all of its surroundings when he’s watching the Tar Heels play on TV.  He will always remember daddy making arrangements to take him and mommy to see their favorite NCAA team.  He will be able to look at these pictures and remember one of the most exciting activities ever with mommy, daddy and friend Prince.  I see a scrapbook of this trip in his future.     


ABCya


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ABCya!  ABCya is an educational site that we found for Xavier and he loves it.  He’s outgrown Nick Jr. so this site is the replacement.  The site has educational games and activities for Kindergartner’s through fifth grade, and has become the leader in on-line education for kids.  One of the great things about the site is that you don’t have to create a username or password to access it.  The site was created by teachers and it’s goal is simply to assist parents and children with education.       


The site has math and language arts as well as basic computer skills. Many of the kindergarten and first grade activities are equipped with sound to enhance understanding. You can found holiday activities in the grade sections as well. 

Xavier has become astute in navigating the site.  We use it primarily for spelling, math and occasionally game play.  The site makes learning fun.  There’s Bingo to help with spelling and math.  There’s an app for sight word recognition, learning the coins and how to tell time.  

ABCya.com has been featured by Apple, The New York Times, Disney Family Fun Magazine and Fox News and has received many awards.  I understand why.  I suggest that you introduce your child to this site.  They will love learning in a creative and fun way. 

                                                                    

Virginia Beach Parade of Lights


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Virginia Beach Parade of Lights

Live in the Hampton Roads area?  If you do, please add the Virginia Beach Parade of Lights to your list holiday activities.  I’ve decided to make it annual trip for my family, it’s such a wonderful sight to see.   It’s a great family outing if you’re in the area and want to entertain the children for an hour or two.  They have more than 250 animated light displays and 100,000 plus visitors to view them annually.  




                                      parade of lights



It’s the only time of year that cars are allowed on the boardwalk.  You can order hot chocolate, popcorn and hot dogs for your trip or bring your own goodies to munch on while you watch the show.  Each car is provided a free CD of holiday music to get you in the mood as you cruise.  You can drive at your own pace and hop out for a picture or two.  The Parade of Lights is sponsored by McDonald’s.  Approximately 30,000 cars make the trip each year. There are displays to be enjoyed by everybody.  Drive slowly, you’ll find displays on both sides and in front of you. 



                                       things to do in Virginia Beach





You can find fish jumping out of the ocean, dinosaurs, Santa, soldiers and the list goes on.  I look forward to seeing these great displays, but most importantly I look forward to seeing my grandchildren in awe of the lights.  Isn’t that what Christmas is about?  The excitement and the looks on little faces.  We’ll be taking Zarriah for the first time this year.  She’s enjoying the lights on the Christmas tree, I’m sure she will enjoy the displays as well.  I’m getting excited myself.  I love bringing joy to my grandchildren.   





The lights will be on display until Wednesday, January 01, 2014.  The event has been named American Bus Association’s “Top 100 Events in North America”!  Our family likes to go on Christmas Eve if we have Santa’s cookies baked.  Otherwise, we head out Christmas evening.  Mark your calendar this year.  Your kids will love it.    


Great Find – Mother and Grandmother’s Bracelet


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We found the perfect gift for your mom or mother-in-law.  I designed this mother/grandmother’s bracelet at Pearls by LaurelThe center pearl is, Zarriah’s birthstone, August and the Sapphire is Xavier’s and mine, September.  I love it. 

The price is excellent, $33.90 for the 3 stones which includes shipping.  The bracelet is handmade from Swarovski pearls (not fresh water pearls) and rhinestones.  It’s also made in the USA.  You can order sizes small – XX large.  For those who have a high PH, the company offers an alternative silver component which prevents the silver from touching the skin and causing a reaction.  I would recommend measuring your wrist to ensure a proper fit.  If the size is off, the company will resize for free.  In addition to free resizing, if the bracelet breaks the replacement is free.  This company vigorously stands behind its work.   

You can design the bracelet on-line using up to 6 pearls; otherwise, you must contact the company.  The site is easy to navigate and designing the bracelet is quick and easy.  You just drag the pearl that you choose to where ever you wish to place it on the bracelet.  You can play with it until you’re satisfied with design/color placement. 

If you click on this link, Pearls by Laurel and make a purchase of more than $20.00 you will receive free shipping.  This is an elegant gift that every mother or grandmother would love.  It’s a great gift for Christmas, Mother’s Day, birthdays or just because.  If you get in a bind for a last minute gift, you can order up to December 17 for delivery by December 24.  They have Priority Mail shipping for $6.95.