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Daddy Days: A letter for Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share a letter the 1-year-old wrote to my wife.

A couple weeks ago he pulled me aside and said he had jotted down some thoughts for a Mother’s Day card. He knew I had some writing experience, so he asked if I could look it over. This sounded reasonable, so I obliged.

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I had to polish it up a bit (man, kids can babble on), but here’s the finished product:

Dear Mom,

We’ve been close since the beginning. For whatever reason, we just seemed to click. I’m hungry, you have food. I want to sleep, you put me in bed. I need a clean diaper, and you detect this through some magical power — I’m convinced is hidden inside your nose — and give me a fresh diaper.

From vicious vacuums trying to eat me to loud noises coming from the radio, you’ve saved me so many times. I love that.

I also love that you understand how challenging walking can be. And how any shirt I’m wearing might as well be a straight jacket when it comes to me trying to remove it.

I love that you appreciate my prowess at climbing the two steps to the top of the 24-inch slide in the backyard. And also how you celebrate my slide down every time as if I just scored a perfect 10 in the high dive event at the Olympics.

I’m sorry about the whole splashing in the toilet thing and that “code brown” situation in the bathtub. I should know better. But I’m thankful you were there to handle it, because that Dad guy doesn’t know what he’s doing when it comes to bathroom situations.

(Just between us, he totally asked me if I could just “hold it until Mom gets home” the first time he was watching me while you were gone.)

I have to admit I was confused by people patting your tummy and saying, “the baby will be here soon.” I thought I was the baby. I did some research into the subject and it appears I’m going to be an older brother. I’m assuming this isn’t going to impact your ability to protect me from the vacuum.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about how wonderful you’ve been. No one has made sure I was more completely taken care of than you, and I know my baby brother is going to be just as well taken care of.

In the 15 months I’ve been in this world (and the two years we’ve been together), no one has more thoroughly shown me what love is than you. I love that.

I hope you have a great Mother’s Day. You’re certainly a great mother.

5 Cinco de Mayo deals and steals

Want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on the cheap? Here are five restaurants offering deals and steals for the big day!

>> Click here or scroll down to learn more

>> QUIZ: How much do you know about Cinco de Mayo?

>> STORY: How not to celebrate Cinco de Mayo

>> STORY: Get ready for Cinco de Mayo by whipping up some easy margarita cupcakes

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<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/cinco-de-mayo-deals-and-steals/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/cinco-de-mayo-deals-and-steals.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "5 Cinco de Mayo deals and steals" on Storify]

The midnight surprises in this basket will make a new mom laugh on Mother’s Day

Middle of the night diaper changes are no fun. This clever gift idea will keep new moms laughing at midnight.

At first glance, it looks like a regular gift basket filled with diapers and other necessities. But take a closer look, and you’ll see that each diaper is pre-stuffed with a little message. Use these tiny notes to encourage the new mom or tell her a joke. Even the silliest of jokes can be funny to someone who is sleep deprived.

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You can also include a little extra pampering for the mom like a pair of soft slippers. Anything to make those late night moments a little more enjoyable.

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Five facts about Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is here. Many will be celebrating the holiday with margaritas and Mexican food. Here are five facts about the Mexican holiday that you can use to impress your friends.

1)      Despite a common misconception, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. The holiday celebrates the Battle of Puebla, where, against all odds, the Mexicans made a stand against an invading French army in 1862.

2)      Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States than it is in Mexico, with the exception of the city of Puebla. Mexico holds more of a celebration on its Independence Day, September 16, than it does on Cinco de Mayo.

>>5 Cinco de Mayo deals and steals

3)      The holiday means big business for the avocado industry. The California Avocado Commission says that Americans consume around 81 million avocados during Cinco de Mayo.

4)      Chandler, Ariz., has a unique way of celebrating Cinco de Mayo. It hosts a Chihuahua race every year. The event has been cancelled for 2016.

>>Quiz: How much do you know about Cinco de Mayo?

5)      The 2010 U.S. Census estimates that about 31.8 million U.S. residents are of Mexican origin. The largest concentration of Mexican-Americans is in Los Angeles, the city that holds the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the U.S.

Don’t waste money on expensive gifts when these 5 DIY decorations will make Mom feel so special

With these easy DIY projects, you will have everything you need to transform Mom’s space into a beautiful wonderland of pretty flowers and thoughtful details.

Set the tone for Mother’s Day by surprising her with a decorated kitchen or dining room for the full effect. She will be so overjoyed with the bright happy transformation.

Floral initial

This pretty statement piece is easy to make with a few supplies from the craft store. Transform fake flowers and a paper letter into this gorgeous decoration by simply cutting the stems from the flowers and glueing them inside the letter. Paint the outside of the letter for a finished look. Find the full tutorial on LuLu’s blog.

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Mother’s Day Banner

A customized banner will brighten up any wall and make Mom feel super special. This one from Modern Beautiful is so simple to make. It’s designed to be printed at home. Then just cut out the circles, string onto a ribbon and hang.

Paper flower centerpiece

Make this pretty centerpiece for your Mother’s Day table from paper. Paper flowers are easy to make once you get the hang of it. They look beautiful and will last forever. Plus, Mom will appreciate the time you took to make them. See how to make these out of crepe paper on Creative Jewish Mom.

Painted Vase

After you’ve made some pretty paper flowers in Mom’s favorite color, you’ll need a vase to put them in. This gold and white striped vase starts as a tin can. Paint pretty stripes and voila you’ve got a centerpiece. Find step by step directions on Two Delighted.

Hand-painted table runner

Your centerpiece will look perfect on this colorful runner. The kids will have tons of fun making this one for Mom because its finger painted. Use brightly colored craft paint to make these polka dots in whatever arrangement you like. Mom will love the creativity of this one! HGTV shows us exactly how to make it.

Forget everything else, these are the 5 things moms want for Mother’s Day

Let’s not beat around the bush here. It’s Mother’s Day, but I don’t want flowers or crafts or a box of chocolates … all I really want is for someone to give me a break!

Show this to your husband. Show this to your kids. Show this to everyone … these things will help Mom even when it’s not her special day.

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What Mom really wants:

1. Do this one simple chore for her. (Hint: it’s laundry. Everyone hates laundry.)

2. Forget breakfast in bed, just make the bed. (But watch this video because you’re probably doing it wrong.)

3. Win your way to her heart through the kitchen … give her a night off and make this simple dinner surprise.

4. Leave her alone: Pack this spa basket and give her a nice morning of peace and quiet.

5. NO CRAFTS. Seriously, put down the paintbrush.

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Passover 101: What are the 'four questions?'

The basics

All Seders include a few basic elements, such as kosher wine, matzo (unleavened bread), a Seder plate (a special plate that displays symbolic foods) and a reading of a Haggadah, the book that serves as a guide to the ceremony.

Beyond that, family traditions generally dictate.

Some families conclude with dessert, while others continue into the night with singing, readings and prayers.

Four questions

Early in the Seder, the youngest participant typically will ask "The Four Questions." These are:

• Why one eats matzo (to remember their ancestors, who fled Egypt in a hurry and did not have time to let their bread rise before the journey).

• Why one eats bitter herbs (a reminder for the bitterness of slavery).

• Why one dips parsley in salt water (a symbol for the tears shed by slaves) and bitter herbs in charoseth, a sweet fruit paste (the texture evokes the mortar slaves used when making bricks).

• Why one leans on a pillow or reclines during the meal (to symbolize the comforts of freedom).

The food

Passover lasts eight days and begins with two nights of Seders. Traditions vary, but most Jews eschew "the five species of grains" — wheat, rye, oats, barley and spelt, all of which contain gluten. The exception is matzo, which is made from wheat, but has not been allowed to ferment. Matzo must be baked within 18 minutes of the flour being combined with water.

Passover favorites include brisket, roast lamb and a variety of side dishes, such as potato kugel, tzimmes (sweet potatoes and carrots) and assorted casseroles bound together with eggs and matzo meal.

For dessert, expect macaroons, fruit compote, candy and cakes and tortes made with ground nuts or other kosher-for-Passover flours. Beer and most liquor is not allowed, but wine generally flows freely throughout the Seder.

The rituals

The Seder consists of 15 rituals, most of which occur before the meal is served. They include lighting candles, blessing wine, washing hands, breaking the matzo, dipping vegetables and telling the story of the exodus from Egypt.

Usually, one of the hosts serves as the leader, but guests take turns reading sections from the Haggadah. Interspersed are various traditional songs. Many Seders also feature contemporary readings on the themes of slavery and liberation.

Other tips

• Don't touch the food on the Seder plate, a large dish that holds a shank bone, parsley, bitter herbs, a hard-boiled egg, charoseth and matzo.

• If you bring wine or prepared food, make sure it is labeled "Kosher for Passover" or that your host approves it in advance.

Pricey Passover: Why matzo is so expensive

It's a holiday meant to remember the suffering of the Jewish people, but for many who observe Passover, it doesn't come cheap.

We're talking about the food. Specifically, the matzo (sometimes spelled matzah or matza).

For those who are unfamiliar, matzo is the unleavened bread eaten during the weeklong holiday of Passover. (Video via YouTube / JewishPressTV)

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Over that period, leavened bread — or bread that rises, along with many other foods — gets the boot. (Video via YouTube / MyRecipes.com)

The handmade matzo many prefer — known as shmurah — comes with a hefty price tag, as high as $25 to $30 per pound at some online grocery stores.

On top of the price, many find it isn't particularly tasty, either. A writer for Serious Eats notes most matzos are "bland and almost flavorless." Gluten-free matzo? He says, "God-awful (pun intended)."(Video via YWN)

Of course, the taste isn't really the point. So why the premium prices?

As a writer for Slate notes, foods considered kosher for Passover require stricter oversight from rabbis than your average kosher food. (Video via Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

He uses ketchup as an example: "Not only does the ketchup have to be made under full-time supervision for Passover, but so do the spices, vinegar, and oils that flavor it. And someone's got to pay for the rabbi's time."

On top of that, 5 Towns Jewish Times says many of those involved in making foods for Passover are flown in from Israel, and those airline tickets add up. (Video via Voz Iz Neias News)

Of course, the holiday expenses don't end with matzo. Kosher-for-Passover standards can make other foods, including desserts, cereals and candy a little higher as well. (Video via YouTube / Joy of Kosher)

Though if you follow a kosher diet the rest of the year, you might be used to that.

According to a new report from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, kosher foods in general tend to cost roughly 30 percent more than their nonkosher alternatives. 

Cop with 'feline unit' pulls off epic April Fools' Day prank

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A Utah police officer pulled off a clever April Fools’ Day prank on an unsuspecting driver who had been pulled over for speeding.

The Salina City officer begins the traffic stop in typical fashion, letting the driver know how fast he had been driving and asking for identification.

Then things get weird.

After the officer claims to have smelled a suspicious odor coming from the vehicle, he informs the driver and the other occupants of the vehicle that he is with the “feline unit.” The officer claims his feline partner, Officer Froo Froo, is certified to detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine and will meow three times in a row if she detect drugs.

The occupants seem surprised but agree to allow the cat to inspect their vehicle. The officer goes back to his car and brings out a black and white cat, which he then leads through an inspection of the vehicle.

Before anyone gets too carried away (there's always a few), no tax payer dollars were spent in relation to this video....Posted by Salina City Police on Friday, April 1, 2016

Finally, the officer reveals the whole thing is an April Fools’ Day prank.

The occupants of the car thought it was hilarious and took photos of the officer and the cat.

As for the speeding violation, the officer let the man off with a warning. The officer wanted everyone to know that the prank did not cost taxpayers any money, as he did it on his own time.

Oh, and yes, the officer’s cat really is named Froo Froo.

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