Archive for 2010

The Hour Countdown

And the minute countdown

So it’s about 11:15pm on Thursday, December 30th. T minus 45 minutes to get the correct date stamp on this email newsletter and I’ve got a way to go.

My mind both full and empty as to how to fill up this commentary space.  So why not talk about resolutions? ‘Tis the season afterall!

I’ve got my personal New Year’s resolution, pretty much the same as last year…loose some weight.  This year my weight loss goal is bigger than last year’s.  Go figure, I am heavier this year than I was last year at this time.  I started out great creating a Facebook page called “Fat Girl in a Skinny World”.  It was a place where myself as well as others documented our daily successes and challenges of weight loss.  I had two previous successes with Weight Watchers, so I plugged into an old points program.  This time, I thought I could do it on my own (without the weekly meetings).  I was holding myself publicly accountable with the FGSW page. After two months, and a net loss of 4 pounds, I just quit. Read More…

I received my mailing for the Weight Watchers new program, Points Plus,  and “Join For Free” promotion.  This year, I will not fall down.  And if I do, I have a bit more cushion!

Now onto JAK’s New Year’s resolution.  In an effort to provide a more useful tool for you with this newsletter, JAK is committed to getting this weekly e-newsletter, JAK Happenings, out by noon each Thursday.  Imagine having this info delivered to you 12 hours ago?  I am, I could be in bed by now.

Happy New Year!


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The Christmas Bra

Yes Victoria, There is a Santa Clause

One would think that with having two teenage girls who have worked through the ranks of the “tween” years, that I’d be exceptionally prepared for just about anything my 8 year old daughter might throw my way.  Yah, right!

I just finished the gihugic project of sorting through the clothes of all four of my kids. Discard.  Carry over.  Donate.  Those were the 3 major stacks that consumed my life for way too long.  I’d be embarrassed to share with you how long this process took.

There’s about a six year gap between daughter #2 of 3 and daughter #3 of 3.  So all of those cute bib overalls….bye bye.  (I finally got rid of my own beloved bib overalls last year.  Love ’em!  Waiting for that comeback!) Among one of the few things I am storing for my 8 year old’s future use is all of the training bras we have.

As I start loading the 11/12 year old stuff into a rubber storage tote, darling 8 year old grabs them….”I need these!”, she grins. Seriously? Read more.

She was serious.  In fact, on Sunday, she started wearing those little things.  She’s eight.  She doesn’t need a bra.  “But everyone’s wearing them”, she chimes.

As we wind down the Christmas shopping and ask the kids to let us know of anything else they have on their list that they might have missed writing out in earlier lists.  Miss ‘Tween responds, “I want some more bras.  Like the one’s on those Victoria’s Secret commercials”.   Funny thing, she’s not in the least bit embarrassed to express her decision to wear a bra.  I was!  And it didn’t start until I was in 7th grade.

Girls (and everyone else) are exposed to female sexuality far more frequently and earlier then back in the days when I was growing up.  Victoria’s Secret targets a much younger shopper, especially with their Pink line.   Oh yes, one of my 15 year olds favorites.

Thank goodness I am Santa in this house.  Sorry, Victoria…this Santa ain’t buying!

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Be JAK’s Guest

Take Center Stage

For those of you who have subscribed to JAK Happenings for a while, you know that this space is typically dedicated to sharing my family life experiences and observations as a Racine mom, who is married, with four school-aged children.

I know some of the commentary here has started great conversations, stirred up some emotions, and perhaps initiated a little bit of controversy. We’ve had fun, now we’re movin’ on…
Read more.

Just Add Kids‘ focus is to deliver the most complete and up-to-date kid-oriented, family-friendly event and activity resource mostly with the Happenings Calendar of Events and this weekly email. JAK strives to serve all families with children 0-18 in Southeastern Wisconsin, with an emphasis on Racine and Kenosha counties.

With that in mind, Just Add Kids would like to know what happens in the ordinary day of other families living here in the greater Racine and Kenosha area.  Experiencing any life challenges or other situations that you’d like to share?  What are your passions as a parent? Tips? Or perhaps there is someone you know that needs to be put in the spotlight, whose story is relevant to other parents. We’re looking for guest contributors here who have a knack for written communication, and has something suitable and appropriate to share with JAK‘s audience of parents.

Let me know if you are interested, or if you know of a local blogger that I should be contacting whose musings would be of interest to JAK families.  Email JAK at


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Little Tikes, Big Bikes

Insurance Hikes

Maybe the holidays, coupled with two of my childrens’ December birthdays is making me a bit more melancholy these days.  Depression really hasn’t set in (I am quite happy, thank you!), just reflecting on the gift of ordinary days in the life of this aging parent.  So yeah, if you read last week’s JAK Happenings, I shared with you my thoughts on my “baby” turning seven.  This weekend we’ll celebrate child #2’s fourteenth birthday. Happy Birthday to my gorgeous, talented, brainiac daughter.

Another milestone we’re experiencing in our household is Read more. our oldest daughter’s new adventure in learning how to drive a car. Yup, she’s got her temps.  It seems like just yesterday I was pushing her around in the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.  Now, she is grabbing at the car keys and every opportunity to hop into the driver’s seat.  Though she lacks in experience, she is quite skilled.  Still, my feet make it up to the dashboard (that’s my nervous reaction) at least once every trip when she’s driving.

So, of course with the exhilaration of car driving comes the question “Will you buy me a car for my 16th birthday?”  “Sure, honey,” I think to myself. “Why not?  I hope you like red and yellow plastic (again).”

I am so not looking forward to finding the extra green to add her onto the State Farm policy.  Maybe a trip to Flo is in order, they say you can name your own price.  Ya think?

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Growing, Growing, Gone

He’s Eight!  Ain’t it Great!?

Well, one would think so.  But, he’s my baby, and I can’t seem to accept it.  See?  I still refer to him as “my baby”.  What is wrong with me?  Is it my refusal to accept the fact that I am getting old?  Or is it because I know, just like with my older two kids, there lingers around the corner that unpinpointable day when his body will no longer be of the small snuggable variety, or he just doesn’t want to be physically coddled (at least in public).

So we’ll celebrate and have a great time.  I’ll post pictures of him through the years on my Facebook to honor this milestone.  I’ll smile in the process. And I’ll cry.  Read more.

As days, weeks, and years continue to come and go faster and faster, this birthday reminds me of how special each and every minute is with him. I’ll appreciate those spontaneous “I love mom”(‘s) that flow so naturally from his mouth or is drawn out thoughtfully in crayon on a white sheet of copy paper. He has said it, and has made hundreds of them.  And I know that there will come a time when I’ll long for the day that he was acting like a sugar overloaded nutcase at the dinner table.

A week or so ago, a friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook page.  Always so crunched for time, I typically don’t take the opportunity to view all of the videos my friends post, however, this one caught my attention. I “shared” it on the Just Add Kids Facebook page, and am sharing it here as well, just in case you are not on Facebook or missed it there.

Enjoy, “The Gift of an Ordinary Day”

and “Happy Birthday, my little man”!  I suppose I should consider changing that term of endearment soon, eh?

Just Add Kids


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Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

November Warm Up: Bank Mutual Coat Drive

If you missed donating to Condella’s Coats for Kids, or any other organized coat donation drive, don’t panic!  But, don’t delay either!

For the second year, Bank Mutual is taking coat donations to benefit the residents of Bethany Apartments, at both of their Racine branches: 3039 S.Green Bay Road (near Regency Mall) and 5133 Douglas Avenue, near K-mart and Pick N Save on the north side.  Bethany Apartments is a battered women’s and children’s center. Please drop your coats off before the end of this week! Bethany Apartment’s website is

Additionally, Downtown Racine merchants are conducting a Toy Drive that is being kicked off this Friday evening, December 3rd, in conjunction with Downtown Racine First Friday event.  Merchants are accepting donations of new and gently used toys and books for children with unfair life challenges.

Collections will then continue through Downtown’s Holiday Open House on December 11th.  Donated toys and books can be dropped off at Copacetic, 409 Main Street and Molly MaGruder, 330 Main Street.

If your organization is in the midst of or has plans for a future philanthropic activity that benefits area families with children.  Don’t keep it a secret!   Use JAK to get the word out to those families that can contribute to or benefit from the cause.  We’ll help with a posting in this blog, listing a specific event in  JAK Happenings weekly e-newsletter, and/or shout outs on the  Just Add Kids Facebook and Twitter social network sites.


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I Feel Blessed, Thank You

The Story of Glen Snow

It was Easter Day 2007 and I was as yellow as an Easter egg. No, I am not messed up here with my holidays, you’ll see where I am going with this!  Please keep reading…

I was ripe for gall bladder issues. Victims many times have these 4 F’s in common: forty/ies, female, fertile, fat.  (See what you have to look forward to, young mommas?  It’s quite common.)

After a weekend of vomiting and lying on the couch, my husband drove me to the urgent care clinic and quickly I was being processed “STAT”.  It was a crazy series of events as I was admitted on Monday and released on Thursday, with a laparoscopic surgery procedure.  Typically, you are released within a day.  I had no idea that the challenges I was dealing with while in the hospital would pale in comparison to the issues I would experience post op with my health insurance coverage. Read more.

Unbeknownst to me, the contract between this large health care provider and my employer’s insurance had changed.  It was a modification that occurred with organizational changes, combine some incredibly bad timing, and somehow I flew under the radar for being communicated to.  These changes went into affect five days before my surgery and even hospital admission had not been red flagged when my insurance was verified.

Bottom line is, most of the bills ended up being “out of network” and I racked up quite the hefty bill.   A bill that equals some full-time employed peoples’ annual income.  My responsibility.  Great.

What could be the worst of circumstances, now ends up being a no interest monthly payment to pay off my debt.  Still not a great situation.  Enter: Glen Snow.  Glen Snow is the representative assigned to my account.  As offered, I agreed that he should call me monthly and we’d do a payment over the phone.

So every month, Glen gives me a jingle.  “Hi Ms. Herrmann, how are you doing today?” And I respond with my answer, which of course is always more than one word. (blah, blah, blah…) “How are you, Glen?” I’ll ask back.  His response is always “I feel blessed, thank you”.  Sometimes the conversation is short and sweet business.  However, most of the time, we briefly talk about whatever.  Glen knows about my job loss, Just Add Kids, tidbits about my family.  It never gets too personal, yet the conversation is always very personable and professional.

As I was thinking about Thanksgiving, and what grateful topic to write about in this commentary/blog, who would’ve thought my monthly chat with the debt collector seemed appropriate. I feel blessed to have been placed with the pleasant, positive, warm person named Glen Snow on the other end of the phone line.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving Glen and everyone!

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