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Crib notes: What recipe says "the holidays" to you?

For most of us, the holidays are all about tradition. For many, the most treasured traditions involve food. The special dishes that Mom or Grandma made but once a year can evoke the spirit of the holidays like little else. Whether it's a particular Christmas cookie, or a special side dish for Hanukkah, most people have at least one family recipe that is essential to the gathering. Historically, th

For most of us, the holidays are all about tradition. For many, the most treasured traditions involve food. The special dishes that Mom or Grandma made but once a year can evoke the spirit of the holidays like little else. Whether it's a particular Christmas cookie, or a special side dish for Hanukkah, most people have at least one family recipe that is essential to the gathering. Historically, those special recipes were handwritten on index cards, often with titles that credited the recipe's creator -- titles like "Barbara's brownies." Daughters copied out their mother's cards and the cards were passed along through the generations. However, as we become increasingly digitized, the recipe card is being replaced by iPads, and shared links amongst friends. However, some people miss the sense of family history carried in a food-spattered recipe card, written out in grandma's handwriting. What recipe says "the holidays" to you?

For one high school's vending machine, when the healthy food went in, the profits went out the window. After banning junk food, the school stocked the vending machines with nutritious items like milk and granola bars. The only problem is, no one's buying them and the student body relies on that income for things like sports uniforms, dances, clubs and yearbooks. Back in its fat-filled hey-day, the vending machine garnered a hefty $214,000 a year in profits. It's slimmed-down offerings are also offering much slimmer profits -- $17,000 last year. As a result, the school district is now considering lifting its junk food ban.

Lice. The very word will make you start unconsciously scratching your scalp and eyeing the hairline of the person next to you. An increasing number of parents are so concerned about the possibility of the itchy crawlers, that they've started buying spendy shampoos to keep the nits at bay. For $30 a bottle, you can buy a shampoo which promises to keep your kid's head lice-free. The only problem is that there's no way to tell if the shampoos actually work, or if the kids wouldn't have gotten the lousy louses anyway. While some parents equate lice prevention measures to wearing bike helmets, a given in safe child-rearing practices, others aren't so sure. The National Association of School Nurses issued a position paper, saying that there was "little scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness" of the products.

Okay parents, we're pretty sure you can't actually beat some sense into your kids -- and having someone else beat your kid doesn't make much sense either. A California couple who suspected their teenage son was smoking (because they found a lighter in his possessions), asked a member of their church to beat the boy as a form of discipline. Luckily, an observant school official noticed the bruising and alerted Child Protective Services. This particular church member has also been called on by other parishioners wanting assistance beating their children. We're not sure how someone obtains the role of a church's corporal disciplinarian, but we're glad to hear he's been booked on suspicion of felony willful cruelty to a child.

Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. She is currently developing an alarm clock that will start an IV coffee drip 10 minutes prior to wake-up time. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.