Why I’m Raising My Child Vegan – Is A Vegan Diet Healthy For Children

“Does she get sick a lot? Where does she get her protein?” These are just some of the questions I hear when people asked me why I’m raising my child vegan. It does get annoying but I usually try to answer all their questions.

I think it’s just as important to share the message of veganism as it is to live a vegan life. There are only so many animal lives that me and my daughter can save on our own. If I can convince others to go vegan I can multiply the effect. It’s important.

I’m very lucky that I have a really good doctor that totally supports veganism. When people ask me for the best tip I have on raising a vegan child I always say find a great vegan doctor. There are several reasons for this that a vegan parent should know.

Children have much different needs than an adult. A child’s cells are growing and dividing much more quickly than those of an adult. Their body is building new tissue all of the time. This includes everything from brain cells to muscle cells.

I wanted to include this information first to stress how important it is that you do not take raising your child vegan lightly. Adults can get away with a more casual approach to vegan nutrition but children can not.

If you are considering raising your child vegan you can do online research and find a lot of great information like this article from PRCM. That can not replace the invaluable guidance from a medical doctor that understands nutrition and a vegan diet.

Photo: Donnie Ray Jones

Why I’m Raising My Child Vegan

I care about life. All life.

I want my daughter to know that all life is valuable. I don’t think there is a more important lesson any of us can learn. If we can learn to see the value of the lives of all animals it will translate to an appreciation of human life as well.

We seem to live in a society that puts less value on life than ever before. Maybe I watch the news too much but so many stories I see make me sad. From crime, murders, wars, to terrorism it seems our appreciation of life is waning.

I care about health

I want my daughter to be as strong, healthy, smart, and active as she can possibly be. I don’t want her to develop the chronic diseases that are plaguing the western world. These are all food borne illnesses and can be prevented with a healthy diet.

Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and cancer have all been linked to the standard American diet. I want something better for my daughter. To know that there is a better way to eat and not do it would be child neglect. I love my daughter and I want to raise her for lifelong success.

I care about the environment

The environmental impact of the standard American diet is devastating. The efforts to keep up with the demand for animal products means meat producers are causing more harm to the environment every year.

  • Over 50% of greenhouse gas emissions are from raising animals for food
  • It takes over 600 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk
  • It takes over 2000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef
  • One vegan uses over 200,000 less water per year than an omnivore
  • Runoff from animal farming is the leading cause of pollution to lakes and rivers
  • It takes 20 times more land to produce food for an omnivore as it does for a vegan

The impact on our planet from factory farming is going to rob our children of many of the things we take for granted. Fresh air, clean lakes and streams, sufficient clean water to drink, lower global hunger.

I don’t think I would be a good parent if I didn’t do everything I could to make sure my daughter lives in the best future possible. I should also teach her how to take care of the plant for her generation and the next.

Children don’t just survive on a vegan diet, they can thrive. My daughter is living example of that. She is learning how to eat in a way that will give her the best chance of being healthy for the rest of her life.

My daughter has learned to value all life. She sees all life as being equal. It’s hard to ague against that being best for the world. If everyone saw every other living creature as equal, how much better would our world be?

My daughter knows the delicate balance of our plant’s ecosystem and how her choices impact it. There is no larger issue facing human survival than climate change and the consumption of animal products is the leading contributing cause of climate change.

When people ask me why I’m raising my child vegan I have plenty of answers. The larger challenge is getting people to listen to all of my answers. All to often I am dismissed as being weird. Many times I’m labeled as a bad parent.

The only way to overcome the ignorance about the vegan diet is to tell others about it. I know many vegans are hesitant to be vocal. It would certainly be easier for me to never tell anyone my daughter is vegan. I’d get a lot less grief. But it’s important.

How I live is important. How my daughter lives is important. Everything we do, right down to the diet we eat, affects the entire planet. Do you want to know why I’m raising my child vegan? Because it’s the right thing to do. For her, for us, for our planet. Photo Credit: Donnie Ray Jones

Leave a Comment:

92 comments
Trinity A Holmes says

Ryan Huffman

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Jessica Knuth says

Kalil Nuth

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Natasha McMahon Zapata says

how do you guys get your vitamin b12?

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    Samantha Harrah says

    I use nutritional yeast -sprinkle it on everything ???????? or any of the fortified plant milks! It’s actually added to a lot of foods now that I think about it…. ????

    Reply
    Laura Duane Bellong says

    Lol i was just going to say that.. I love nutritional yeast.. tastes like parmesan cheese ????

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    Laura Duane Bellong says

    Yes you can get fortified foods with b12 too

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    Catherine Nurek says

    So let me ask a question please. I am not a parent but if I ever become one I will raise them vegan. When you mentioned the milk alternatives, are those actually okay to give to a child? I ask because brands like Silk are GMO I believe and I was under the impression soy is harmful to growing kids. Also unless you buy an unsweetened one, there is a bit of sugar in it. So I’m just genuinely curious about the long term effects of children using it.

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    Lisa Starzinski says

    Catherine Nurek, as long as you or they don’t have a nut allergy, you could also try some of the nut milks out there; I think they have a better taste and texture than soy milks and I believe there are brands out there that are non-gmo.

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    Marie Butcher says

    I’m huge fan of flax milk

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    Mi Ly says

    Sea weed, spirulina

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    Jen Nicole says

    You get B12 from animals being injected with B12. And from the B12 naturally occurring in the poop and dirt they eat and dirty water they drink. I get B12 cutting out the “middle man” (animal) by taking B12 supplements myself. They don’t need to be processed through an animals’ body before I receive it.

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    Sami Rose says

    Tons of unsweetened plant milk options, plenty of organic brands including organic non gmo soy if that’s your interest, or if you want to know exactly what’s in your beverage you can easily make it yourself – blend any nuts you like (or hemp, oats, pumpkin seeds, etc.), water, and dates if you want it sweeter, strain, and you have a healthy homemade option that’s generally more cost efficient too!

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    Joy Tobias says

    Catherine Nurek Silk is Non-GMO

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    Toni Letourneau says

    Catherine Nurek they don’t need milk! That’s a cop out. Water is best, nothing else needed. If you nurse, then nurse as long as possible, ideally over two years. Feed them nutrient rich foods and forget about the milk notion – it’s a non-factor.

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    Heather Pennington says

    Catherine Nurek there’s now also “pea milk” the brand is called “ripple” its a great non dairy alternative for kids especially if you don’t want them drinking soy or if they have a nut allergy. There’s an unsweetened option or sweetened. It’s creamy and pretty good!

    Reply
    Andrea Del Rio says

    Nutritional yeast????

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    Jewelbianca Baker says

    How do you get yours?

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    Veronika Galvez says

    We tried a wide variety of “milk”, almond, cashew, soy, etc. My 3 little ones all prefer unsweetened hemp milk.

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    Megan Nezz says

    Flax milk is by far my favorite! I also really enjoy the macadamia nut milk. I gotta admit tho, I drink hazelnut chocolate milk by the case…. I’ll literally just grab a whole carton and hang out with it. Best part is there’s no added hormones, no fecal matter and no puss! Nobody had to suffer for me!! Babies belong with their mommies!

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    Laura Word says

    Nutritional Yeast ????

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    Ami November says

    *tonnnnssssss* of plants you can soak and press yourself into a creamy, delicious drink. It’s totally up to you what to use!! ❤❤
    .. don’t press yourself into the plant drink… I’m not sure how else to word that..

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    Laura Word says

    Spirulina in fruit smoothies. Yum.

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    Patricia Catalan says

    Catherine Nurek breastfeed your baby as long as your able to, after that they don’t need any milk, when I do give my kids I buy organic any vegan milk really coconut, almond, rice, cashew or I make my own.

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    Carrie Kawanaka says

    Kale, broccoli and bananas are three examples amongst many produce that are highly fortified with B12. There’s also a vitamin for that.

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    Natasha McMahon Zapata says

    Carrie Kawanaka I don’t see in my research that b 12 is in broccoli or kale or bananas…. thats the problem either vitamins or soy fortified drinks.. I don’t trust soy…

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Holley Reedy says

Lol, my whole family are vegans…We are all healthy and I am almost 47 and have no health issues nor do I take any meds. My granddaughter is vegan from birth.

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    Rhaven Cheadle says

    What was used as a milk substitute for your granddaughter? I’m studying nutrition and they say whole milk is best from 1-2.5 years because of the protein. I was raised not drinking cows milk and I have a niece who’s 17 months and my sister is hesitant to give her milk, i don’t want to give my future children milk either. Any suggestions?

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    Holley Reedy says

    She drank breast milk first then ,rice,almond and organic soy milks…Hemp and oat too.

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    Toni Letourneau says

    I never ever gave my daughter milk. Not even plant based milk. She nursed for over 2.5 years and only drinks water. She will be 4 in July.

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    Rebecca Spray Struck says

    Mine is over 3 1/2 and still nurses!

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    Dawn Douville says

    Rhaven Cheadle I was a baby who ate soy formula in the late 70’s, simply because my sister and I couldn’t tolerate dairy based ones. How is that any different from knowingly giving your kid soy or pea protein milks?

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    Megan Nezz says

    if humans needed cow milk it would come out of human boobies. No human ever did or will need to drink cows milk. Nature is smarter than u. Humans are THE ONLY species that drinks breast milk from another species or to drink breast milk into adulthood…. both are really weird if u think about it. Funny how people lose their minds when a mom breast feeds a child over 2, but it’s totally ok to drink a cows breast milk ur whole life?! ????

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Jayne Pearson says

Fair play to her, as long as her daughter is getting a balanced diet and all the right nutrients what difference does it make?

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    Rebecca Spray Struck says

    Most meat eaters kids don’t even get all the nutrients needed why do you think children’s vitamin sales are so high!

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    Amy Lee Camptell says

    Yes!!!!! Vegan people actually get their vitamins from food. Heart disease begins at the age of 10 on a western diet. So much information out there!!!!!

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    Megan Nezz says

    It makes a huge difference to the animals and the planet. Weather u realize it or not, they are helping u have a nice environment…

    When u save one animal, it doesn’t save the world. But it means the world to that one animal.

    Reply
Dvegan Queen says

I think this is the first one I seen a person raised there child to be vegan I’m glad there are other celebrities that were vegan and not anymore but, I hope she is vegan all her life

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Susan Reil Bria says

Kerrie Hart Sperduto

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Enyap Leigh says

Alexi Felty

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Shimrit Shalev says

Is there any recommendation for a vegan pediatrition in los angels area?

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Mary Liz McDonald says

I haven’t read yet but this might be interesting Caleb Daniel Maite Cristina Gobel Mike Bradford

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Michelle Ward says

If you love your child, you raise them vegan❣️

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Christine Magdalena says

Unfortunately I didn’t go vegan until my kids were 14-25 . But now we are all vegan…kids actually initiated …and my three grandchildren are being raised vegan! It gives me hope seeing new mothers raise their children vegan. It is wonderful having children raised to become compassionate adults. We need lots more of those!!

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Joanne Simcox says

KNOWLEDGE IS SO POWERFUL!!!!! GREAT MOM!!!!

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Denise Borders says

The PRCM article linked in this is FANTASTIC!! I highly recommend reading through the entire thing, even though it’s lengthy.

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Megan Whittemore Bert says

Me too!! I share Plant Based Whole food recipes and meal ideas for busy moms. The movement is growing!

http://www.walkersplantbasedway.com

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    Ramona Monalisa Segovia Lozoya says

    I’m not a mom but trying to transition from pescetarian to vegan, I’ll take a look to your website, thanks

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    Megan Whittemore Bert says

    It was originally geared towards busy moms but honestly, I have so many subscribers that are not moms…just anyone who is looking to incorporate more plant based whole food healthy meals. All EASY recipes that you will actually make and taste good. Make sure to subscribe b/c I give a cheat sheet on organics and then you will also be informed on each new blog post. I try to give a nutrition tip blog and a recipe blog each week 🙂

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Jordan Baillie says

Poor deprived child

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    Megan Nezz says

    Ur the one who’s deprived. It’s sad how closed minded people like u will never know how good it feels to be vegan. Did u know dairy causes inflammation? That’s right, it constantly pisses off ur whole body! Then there’s ur precious bacon that causes cancer…. if being deprived means missing out on cancer, diabetes, heart disease and a bunch more, then sign me up! Silly boy. Such an ignorant thing to say…

    Reply
    Jordan Baillie says

    Should the child not have the right to choose for its self or do you people love to cram your bullshit down their throats your like a cult

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    Becky Bottomley Bernholtz says

    We are in a position to need to make choices for our children until they can make those decisions for themselves. We can choose to feed them dead animals, or to show that compassion isn’t just a word, but an action as well. They will be able to choose for themselves at some point, but why not make the default choice compassion?

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    Julie Butler says

    Choose to drink another animals milk or eat carcass? Pretty sure no one would choose that unless brainwashed by their parents and society

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    The Comforting Vegan says

    Are Christians, Jews, muslims, Catholics apart of a cult? That’s forced on a child from the get go and when the child gets older, they can decide to be religious or not. The same goes with veganism, we are following our families moral beliefs and if my sons choose differently then so be it, but I wish my family would have given me a clean slate to go off of. Instead I had 18yrs of guilt and brainwashing. We’re open and honest about where your “food” comes from and children give the choice between a bunny and a carrot, are going to eat the carrot. And regardless why isn’t it ever considered I’m also raising them vegan because we medically can’t eat meat, we don’t have the enzymes to break it down in our stomach, so we become extremely ill. So I should be ridiculed because of a medical condition? It’s no different then any allergy.

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    Cherish Saurey says

    Deprived because they aren’t fed body parts of a dead animal or given animal secretions to dink or consume? That’s an odd statement

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    Cherish Saurey says

    Pretty sure making children eat dead animals without their knowledge should be the wrong thing to do. No need to cram violence and opression down their throats

    Reply
    Jordan Baillie says

    nah it’s not the wrong thing to do humans as a species has been doing it for thousands of years we have survived we have endured and we are strong because of it. God help us if we all end up with that attitude us as a species would be doomed, we would become weak and end up push overs

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    Courtney McKernan says

    you may argue that when push comes to shove, people getting all their nutrients from plants as opposed to other living things (not to mention the environmental impact of ethical veganism) would live longer, healthier lives, which kind of shits all over your defensive “survival of the fittest” idea.

    been vegan over seven years with my husband and our 14mo boy has been vegan from birth. he’s big, healthy, and happy 🙂 if he someday chooses to not be vegan, i’ll be disappointed but know that i’ve done my best to instill compassion and awareness of what he puts into his body and how we treat other beings. i resent anyone comparing a vegan childhood to a cult – how threatened are you by tofu?

    Reply
    Jordan Baillie says

    Very threatened ????

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    Melanie Metcalf Lovell says

    Jordan Baillie Do you let children decide whether to stay up all night, or skip school, or not brush their teeth, or do other things that are bad for them? Probably not. So why do you think a child should be able to decide they want carcinogenic, pus and bacteria laden corpses over healthy, delicious vegan alternatives? Also, the “thousands of years” argument….are you a proponent of slavery? Humans have done that for thousands of years, too. We are capable of evolving, y’know.

    Reply
    Amber Christy says

    The Comforting Vegan true its absolutely no different than you telling your child they are christian or muslim eating meat is what supposedly normal but who says thats true who knows what is right or wrong or truthful

    Reply
    Jaki Baptiste says

    Jordan Baillie Vegetations and Vegans are healthier than meat eaters so you are on the losing side of this debate.

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    Jordan Baillie says

    I am on no side I eat what I want and I don’t throw it down people throats vegans are the worst for trying to make people feel guilty. I will most certainly not be joining your cult # vegetables lives matter ????

    Reply
    The Comforting Vegan says

    Because the millions of dollars spent on advertising to promote meat and dairy every day through commercials, billboards, ads, magazines, websites, etc isn’t shoving anything down people’s throats…the brainwashing begins at birth for many non-vegan children. Kids are told to love animals but then are fed chicken nuggets, you’re screwing with their minds at a young age. Happy cow, happy chicken, but these animals aren’t happy having their lives taken for 20mins of taste bud satisfaction and years of negative health benefits. People should feel guilty, you’re taking life’s, paying to have cows raped over and over so you can drink their breastmilk and steal their babies for food, sending male chickens to their deaths by grinding them up or drowning them for eggs. If you’re going to eat meat, at least own it and know the facts. Meat eaters are apart of the biggest cult of all and beyond brainwashed. You’re thinking of yourself, so of course you’re not going to care about anything or anyone else, vegan look beyond themselves and all the lives effected by this and we show our children that and don’t lie to them.

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    Jordan Baillie says

    Oh god yous are soo dramatic ????

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    The Comforting Vegan says

    Do some research. I’m just stating facts, I’m sorry you have been in the dark for so long.

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    Amy Lynn Krell says

    Oh and FYI if you’re a plant advocate you’re doing it wrong. Animal agriculture uses more plant resources than all vegan put together and more. Oh the horror! ????????

    Reply
    Jordan Baillie says

    I was taking the piss about the veggies ????

    Reply
    Jenna Boyer says

    Jordan Baillie “you’re”

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    Jordan Baillie says

    Andrew look at these degenerates ????

    Reply
    Andrew James Mackie says

    If your worried about raping cows you can rape me instead and drink my milk #happytohelp

    Reply
    Alexis Bauman says

    Someone around here is definitely deprived. Of brain cells. And it’s not the vegan kids lol

    Reply
Katie Rhodes Stikeleather says

Travis Stikeleather

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Christina Swingle says

Great article, and all good valid points.

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Karen Shatola says

I wish I could turn back the clock and re-raise my daughters as vegan. It’s been impossible to turn them with their now deeply entrenched, hard-wired carnivorous ways.

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Lisa Gedvick says

Alyssa Rouse

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Michelle Ward says

Do it your way❣️

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Catherine Tamara Huggan says

If the parents is Vegan when you have children, they should be Vegan. It makes sense.

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Laura Haugland says

Arlene Becker Haugland good read!

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Kaylie Lavin says

Are there any articles about transitioning as a family to veganism? My husband and I are in board but I’m having a lot of hesitation/push back from my 9 year old.

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    Reesie Bulosan says

    Check out youtube channels. It helps to start off small, and work your way to larger amounts of veggies. I like mangoislandmamma and Family Fizz on YouTube. Focus on what fruits and veggies you child does like to eat. I also like the children books by Ruby Roth. “That’s why we don’t eat animals” is a good one. And if you deem appropriate there are all varying levels of videos animals are killed for food.

    Reply
Betzaida Ruiz says

Yarelis Cosme

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Shannon Marie says

Brittany Mahoney

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Vanessa Pierson Vanderhoof says

Kristy Lee Ballantine please read this!

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Jackie Yll says

Love it! Good job mom!

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