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Baby wrapped in American flag photo sparks controversy

Professional photographer Vanessa Hicks has been the subject of controversy this week over newborn photography images she took and shared on her Facebook page and online professional photography community.  Some are calling the photos of a baby laying nude on an American flag and swaddled in a flag shaped like a tiny hammock unpatriotic and a desecration of the flag. 
The baby in the photo belong to her client, a military veteran, Samantha Clevenger and the man in uniform holding ends of the hammock is her husband Rodney Clevenger a current active duty Navy seaman.  U
Hicks and the Clevengers have been all over TV and radio defending the image which went viral and drew the ire of many reservionists, active duty and vets, but also much support from military families and others as well. 
Hicks addressed the controversy on her Facebook page:

Yesterday, I woke up to see this photo was shared on a group site that is meant to bash other photographers. It was in their opinion I had disrespected our nations flag. I had disrespected our country by taking this picture. Several of these people not only bashed the picture, but me, saying I should be ashamed of myself, my husband should be ashamed, etc and I received several private messages to my business page. They even took it a step farther and bashed the service member in the picture, hoping he gets in trouble for participating in desecration of the flag. 

I am very well aware of our U.S Flag code. I also know exactly what desecration of a flag is. It’s when you pull into ports and you see protestors with our flag and have spray painted horrible things on it. It’s when you watch the news and you see other countries burning our flags, and you are a young Quartermaster scared because you know you are just a few nautical miles from that exact country.

“The inspiration behind this photo is that we wanted to capture everything about this family in one shot,” Hicks told BuzzFeed News. “The father, who is in uniform, is currently serving. The mother is a veteran. This baby is being wrapped in the flag.”
She has since offered the couple free photography for life. 
Perhaps, as we’ve covered in Bellyitch in the past, wearing the American flag violates protocol as well but it is a recycled fashion trend adopted internationally. 
What are your thoughts on the matter?

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Photographer discovers Motherhood Moments captured 50 years ago (PHOTOS)

Ken Heyman
Beautiful is one word to describe the collection of photographs that veteran photographer Ken Heyman took of mothers and their children nearly 50 years — although the 83-year old acclaimed photographer only just recently discovered them. 
The series was shot for a book, co-written with anthropologist Margaret Mead, called “Family” that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. 
The photos show that motherhood has never really ever changed. Here are my faves:
Ken Heyman

Ken Heyman

Ken Heyman

Ken Heyman

Ken Heyman

Ken Heyman

Ken Heyman

See more at HuffPo

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Father’s Day: Jimmy Fallon and NJ Gov Chris Christie’s “Evolution of Dad Dancing”(VIDEO)

In honor of Father’s Day, New Jersey governor Chris Christie  joined The Tonight Show  host Jimmie Fallon to present this hilarious “Evolution of Dad Dancing” which was a follow up to his equally funny “Evolution of Mom Dancing” Fallon did with First Lady Michelle Obama last year to celebrate the anniversary of her Let’s Move campaign.
Watch and enjoy!

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101 Fun Things to Do with the Kids this Summer

 

Summer may be a time to relax, but tell that to kids who are bouncing off the walls or shrieking “I’m bored” every five minutes. How on earth are parents and nannies supposed to keep kids entertained, active and out of trouble for an entire summer?

The trick is to plan ahead. Brainstorm ideas for things to do now, so you don’t wind up spending the entire summer watching cartoons.

Jill Tipograph, summer expert and founder of Everything Summer, suggests that you: “Take advantage of those bright sunny days and warm summer nights and plan something new a couple of times a week. Outdoor adventures don’t have to be extreme — explore a new neighborhood or walk as a family to get a healthy after-dinner snack.”

Jesse Koller, mom and publisher of the parenting blog Play, Create and Explore, likes to keep kids entertained with crafts. Sheeven holds regular art workshops for local kids. “We have a blast focusing on mostly process art and projects, as well as some sensory activities.”

Start creating your summer bucket list today. If you need inspiration, we’ve come up with 101 things that will keep kids happy — and you sane.

1. Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches.

2. Volunteer at a nature center.

3. Make a photo journal or a family yearbook.

4. Have a luau in the backyard.

5. Visit the beach and collect shells.

6. Make a fort out of cardboard boxes.

7. Visit a farmer’s market.

8. Pick berries at a nearby orchard.

9. Have a picnic at a state park.

10. Make ice cream. Tipograph loves using YayLab’s ice cream ball, which you fill with ice cream base and kick around until frozen.

11. Go canoeing at a local lake.

12. Build a sandcastle.

13. Write and illustrate your own book and have it published into an actual hardcover book using IlluStory.

14. Forget cooking — set up an ice cream sundae buffet for dinner.

15. Clean up trash at a local park.

16. Have a backyard campfire…or just use the grill! Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn and finish off with s’mores.

17. Stage an A to Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter.

18. Make homemade pizza.

19. Print out a list of children’s books that have won Caldecott Medals. Visit the local library throughout the summer and try to read as manyas you can.

20. Go for a walk and then make a collage from nature objects you find along the way.

21. Take bread to a creek and feed the ducks.

22. Have a water balloon fight.

23. Practice your origami skills and make objects to hang from the ceiling.

24. Go biking on a trail

25. Interview an older relative about what life was like when they were young.

26. Plan a picnic at a local park — or in your backyard.

27. Set up a lemonade stand.

28. Create salad spinner art: Place circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover and spin away.

29. Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters.

30. Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.

31. Make a sidewalk chalk mural.

32. Go ice blocking (sledding) in the grass with a towel-covered block of ice.

33. Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvases or cardboard.

34. Visit a fish hatchery.

35. Plant a butterfly garden with flowers.

36. Pretend to be pirates for a day — dress up in costumes, plan a treasure hunt and talk like a pirate.

37. Make an indoor sandbox using colored rice: mix 4 cups of rice with 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring and let dry overnight.

38. Turn the backyard into a carnival — set up a face painting area and games like ring toss.

39. Make totem poles out of paper towel rolls and decorate them.

40. Visit a museum you’ve never been to.

41. Make a giant hopscotch or Twister game on the lawn (with spray paint) or driveway (with chalk).

42. String beads into jewelry.

43. Make a bird house out of Popsicle sticks.

44. Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible — see if there are any local astronomy groups for kids.

45. Create leis with wildflowers.

46. Go fossil hunting near a lake.

47. Break out your baseball gloves and start a game, sandlot style.

48. Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool using straws to propel them.

49. Play mini-golf — or set up a course in your driveway by laying different size containers on their sides.

50. Make your own colored sand and create sand art.

51. Get a map of the United States and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit — create the ultimate road trip.

52. Set up a net and play badminton and volleyball.

53. Visit an amusement park or water park.

54. Wade through a stream and search for minnows or tadpoles.

55. Go zip-lining.

56. Have a tricycle race at the park.

57. Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes.

58. Visit a fire station.

59. Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks.

60. Go roller skating.

61. Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals.

62. Run through the sprinklers.

63. Blend your own smoothie.

64. Set up a bike wash and raise money for a local charity.

65. Batter up at a batting cage.

66. Let kids paint the sidewalk or patio with plain old water and sponge brushes. When their creation dries, they can begin again.

67. Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones and then decorate them.

68. Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes.

69. Go horseback riding.

70. Make popsicles in Dixie cups using fruit juices.

71. Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night).

72. Stage your own Summer Olympics with races, hurdles and relays.

73. Create a backyard circus — kids can pretend to be animals and dress up as clowns.

74. Decorate bikes and have a neighborhood Fourth of July parade.

75. Take a sewing/crochet/knitting class.

76. Make Mexican paper flowers using different colored tissue paper.

77. Go to a flea market.

78. Volunteer at an animal adoption organization.

79. Visit a retirement home and read stories to residents.

80. Attend an outdoor festival or concert.

81. Pick a nearby town to visit for the day.

82. Visit a cave.

83. Get a map of your area, mark off all the local parks — then visit them, take pictures and vote for your favorite.

84. Take in a fireworks exhibit.

85. Make crafts with recyclable items like stickers using old photos, magazines and repositionable glue.

86. Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles with 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.

87. Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.

88. Create three dimensional buildings using toothpicks and mini-marshmallows.

89. Make bird feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed.

90. Paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.

91. Create unusual s’mores by experimenting with ingredients like cookies, bananas, flavored marshmallows and white chocolate.

92. Have a fancy tea party.

93. Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter’s tarp and shaving cream.

94. Have a backyard camp-out.

95. Let kids paint each other with washable tempera paint, then wash it off in the sprinklers.

96. Visit a national park and help the kids earn a junior ranger badge.

97. Go to a ballgame and teach your kids (and yourself!) how to keep a scorecard.

98. Set up a tent in the backyard to use as a summer playhouse.

99. Take a free kid’s workshop at stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot or Pottery Barn.

100. Have a game night with charades, Pictionary and bingo.

101. Take a boring brown paper bag and have kids brainstorm creative things to do with it — you’ll be surprised at how many things you can come up with.

Ilene Jacobs is a Contributor for Care.com (www.Care.com), the largest online care destination in the world.

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Two must-see Viral Babies Videos – WATCH

Just in time for Father’s Day: If you haven’t already seen this super cute and fun video of a two month old baby enjoying her first laugh with her dad, you haven’t been living…or online. It’s up to nearly 2 million views already on YouTube and counting.

Too fun! Check it out!

And While you’re at it, you will also enjoy this other viral video of a pair of South Korean babies doing a popular dance to the song “I got my eye on you” by Nari & Milani & Christian,  only one kid steals the show obviously. Watch:





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Married with Children? Which Bundy are you? (QUIZ)

This weekend, after having a yelling match with the kids trying to break up a fight, I realize that the neighbors must think I am the Peggy Bundy of the neighborhood. I think I am for reals. If not, then definitely Al, at least on some days.

How about you? If you were old enough when “Married with Children” was on the air, which character from that show were you? Take this test to find out:

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Need Date Night Ideas? Over 100 ideas in these 21 sites

Keeping the spark alive in your marriage is no easy task, but it’s an integral one for maintaining a happy marriage. It’s all too easy for people to get wrapped up in their busy lives and forget to make time for their spouse or loved one.  To avoid being one of those couples who drift apart after the kids are born, try adding a date night to your schedule.  It can be once a week or once a month, just make sure you pencil time in for one.  These 21 blog entries will give you some enjoyable ideas for date nights with your spouse.
Low Cost
There are many low cost options for a date night.  You can check your local newspaper to see if there are any free performances that you can attend.  Local theaters can be well performed and the tickets are typically inexpensive.  Take a sunset walk through the park or along the beach.  Take your food to go and have a picnic at the park and feed the ducks.  These seven blog posts will give you more ideas for low cost date nights.
Winter Date Night
Just because the weather outside is frightful doesn’t mean that you can’t have a delightful time on your date.  From ice skating at the park to snow tubing, you can enjoy yourself no matter what the weather is like.  Snuggling up in front of the fireplace is a romantic way to end the evening.  Check out these seven date night ideas for winter.
At Home
Whether you’re not in the mood to go out or don’t want to spend the money, there are still many ideas on how to make a date night at home entertaining.  Create a carpet picnic for dinner and enjoy it in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace.  Light the room with candles and turn on some soft music.  Watch one of your favorite movies that you own on DVD with some popcorn.  Make some room and dance with your sweetie.  Here are seven more killer ideas for date night at home.

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