That stomach-churning, ammonia-treated, meat-like substance, fondly referred to as "pink slime" is back in the news and soon to be on school lunch trays. Ditched by Mickey D's and Taco Bell, the government is now buying it by the ton and getting ready to serve it to kids. The USDA bought seven million pounds of the dubious material and will mix it in with more legitimate meat products to form things like hamburger patties. While some experts have declared the stuff to be a "high risk product," some cafeteria workers are undoubtedly preparing to call it meatloaf surprise. If you think school lunches are sounding pretty bad right about now, don't think school breakfasts are much better. Some claim that donuts, cinnamon rolls, sugary cereals and breakfast pizzas are more likely to appear on schools' breakfast menus than whole grains and fruit. Now, where did those lunchboxes run off to...
France bids adieu to pre-teen beauty queens
Au Revoir toddler beauty pageants. Girls in France may soon be hanging up their tiaras if a proposed new ban takes effect. According to a recent report, the government is looking to ban a number of things, which it says contribute to the "hyper-sexualization" of young girls. The measures would prohibit girls younger than 16 from modeling and participating in beauty pageants. Additionally, padded bras, thongs and make-up kits designed for pre-pubescent girls will also be under the guillotine if this is enacted. "Leggy" dolls might get the boot as well. Does that mean France won't renew Barbie's Visa? The moves for a more modest France are in response to the controversy over the racy Vogue photo shoot, featuring a 10-year-old girl, which made international headlines. While the French initially weren't too upset by it, we in America were appalled. Then, the French got offended and 84 percent of French moms have said they found the photos to be demeaning.
Teacher fired over kooky math assignment
Let's be honest, sometimes math can be a little...dry. For teachers, keeping kids interested during story problems often takes a bit of creativity. However, one third grade teacher may have taken that creativity a bit far with a few mathematical story problems, some of which have been described as bizarre and violent. One of the questions in question asks kids to calculate the average number of terrorists, arsonists and murderers a SWAT team member killed during a week. Another involved a gal, Hideous Hilda, who opened a witchcraft school in Singapore and asked kids to divide the total number of harpie, ghoul and vampire students into six classrooms and determine the number of students in each class. There were a number of silly questions involving UFOs and even one about the cool clothes Elvis Presley bought. Supposedly, the teacher downloaded the questions from a homeschooling website. It's hard to imagine that any of her students weren't paying attention to this particular lesson, but many felt it went too far with the gruesome, ghouls. In the end, the equation of one third grade teacher plus 20 questionable story problems equaled one fired teacher. Do you think she should have lost her job over this assignment or was she just trying hard to engage her audience?
Suburban mom busted for running prostitution ring
Ever since Weeds first aired, suburban moms have been eyeing one another, wondering who the Nancy of their subdivision might be. Were any of these innocuous-looking soccer moms really secretly pedaling pot or, maybe even making a living as a high-end madam? One suburban New York town just got its answer to that question. Anna Gristina, described as a petite, blonde, suburbanite and mother of four, has been busted for running a prostitution ring in Manhattan. This gal made more than your typical bake sale kind of cash and is said to have earned millions from her scheme. Originally from Scotland, this mama holds a British passport. But, when asked to surrender that passport, she offered up an explanation that most any mom could understand -- she said that she didn't think it was still valid because her son had graffitied on it. It seems that, even if you're making a fortune pimping out young women to rich men, you're still a mom.
Just because moms don't spank, doesn't mean they don't love Spanx
As moms, we've got lots of little tricks up our sleeves and maybe even down our pants... We know that a purse stocked with snacks can prevent a meltdown when a trip to the post office goes longer than expected. We know that storing spare diapers in the car can save us when we're faced with a blowout on the road (and we know that blowouts on the road have nothing to do with tires). We also know that a good pair of foundational undergarments can help us squeeze back into our pre-pregnancy clothes before we've even mastered the clip on our nursing bra. Spanx are a mom's best friend, smoothing out some of those lumpier bits we never saw coming. Well, there must be a lot of us gals out there, sucking it in, because the inventor of Spanx just made it on Forbes' billionaires list.
Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.