Archive for February, 2011


It Takes a Village

Another retailer closes up shop in downtown Racine.  When I saw the post on Facebook, I clicked on and read the article that was published on the Journal Times‘ website. “It really is a matter that there’s not enough business to sustain the business”, stated the owner.

Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago that Dunn Brothers Coffee, also on Main Street closed? And just down the street a couple of blocks, the Elegant Pauper, either closed, or is in the process of closing.  There is a “For Sale” sign on the US Post Office building.  Main Street is not the only retail hub in our area that is experiencing closings. I am sure most of you know that  several days ago the big almighty pillar of a chain store, The Gap, abruptly closed in Regency Mall.

Funny (or rather not) a friend of mine just “instant messaged” me on Facebook.   Coincidentally, she told me of another one “biting the dust”.  This time…Read More And we knew this was coming…Blockbuster on Washington Avenue.  Apparently, Milwaukee and Kenosha Blockbuster’s will soon face the chopping block.

The reason for writing this commentary was not to focus on the doom and gloom of our economy, because folks, I don’t care what I hear reported, we are not in recovery of the recession.  Rather, I’d like to focus on the businesses and organizations that should grab your attention.  Those are the active KIDS EXPO exhibitors!

Just in case you missed the memo (or the Facebook and Twitter shout outs, or the Google ads on your computer and phones, or the….), Just Add Kids along with the Sturtevant SportsPlex and Lite Rock 92.1 are bringing our community an opportunity to meet, play, and interact with several area businesses and organizations that provide great programming for our kids, and unique products and services for our families.

Some of these exhibitors have established brick and morter locations, like Racine Gymnastics Center and Concordia Lutheran School.  Others have unique, convenient website store fronts, run by entrepreneurial women, such as SendOutCards and Miche Bag by the Lake.  And some, namely Just Between Friends and A Day 4 Dreams, provide awesome, exciting special events that benefit the happiness and well-being of our community’s kids and their families.  Oh yeah, that would be YOU and YOURS!

The event will NOT be a success without the support of the JAK community.  Won’t you please stop in with the kiddos sometime between 10am and 3pm to the active KIDS EXPO to  Meet. Play. Engage.

Order lunch for the family at the concession stand or grab a cup of coffee!   Show these local businesses and organizations that you support them with your presence.  Let’s “perk up” this one-day hub of everything kid-oriented and family-friendly.   That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?!

Check it out here





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“Game On: Help Them Play” gym shoe drive kicks off at active KIDS EXPO

Please bring your
gently used gym shoes
kids sizes 12-3 or adult 5-7
to the Just Add Kids table at the Racine Children’s Theatre production of
“Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing”
Friday 3/18 @ 5:30 & 7:30pm
Saturday 3/19 @ 12, 2 & 4pm
Sunday 3/20 @ 12, 2 & 4pm
RecPlex’s Kids & Family Expo
Saturday 3/20 from 9am – 3pm

Read the story behind the drive by copying and pasting URL below!
or just click on “Game On” link to the right.

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Game ON

Game Off
by JAK’s guest mom blogger from Racine, Carol Rogers

Do I have gym today?

I want to play basketball again!

Can we play Mr. Fox?

I love gym!

I forgot my gym shoes.

I didn’t know I had gym today.

Everyday when I go to work I hear comments similar to these. I’m a gym teacher.

Kids often rank gym class as one of their favorites, right up there with recess and nachos for lunch! Having fun is a huge bonus to my job, but it’s really about physically educating children. There are always obstacles in education and one obstacle that I face is my students have gym once every 3 days.  Not only is it not often enough (save that for another time),it also means that they do not have gym on the same day every week.  This 3-day rotation is directly related to the second obstacle: “Oops, I forgot my gym shoes”.  Whether it’s warm or cold, I rarely have a class where everyone is wearing tennis shoes. And this presents the third obstacle; students are not allowed to participate in gym class without tennis shoes.  Flip flops, clogs, and boots simply put, are unsafe for Phy Ed. Read More

Asking an elementary student to sit out gym class after gym class, is heart breaking for them, as well as me.  Most students simply forget their shoes, but a handful do not even own a pair.

I have sent notes home, made students sit out, commented on their report cards… nothing makes a difference for some.

Fifty-eight percent of Racine Unified students qualify for free or reduced lunch.  Racine is also one of the poorest districts in the state next to the Milwaukee School District. Perhaps you are one of those families who have had to put the gym shoe purchase on the back burner in order to put food on the front burner. Or you are not aware of what I see as no gym shoe dilemma.  That’s why I am asking for your help.

I am in need of gently used athletic shoes in kid sizes 12 to 3 and adult 5-7 to outfit my gym kids for class.  I want to get them off the sidelines and onto the courts and fields.  (And they wish to be there too!)  PLEASE HELP and let the KIDS PLAY!  Shoes collected will be used for Phy Ed class and additional pairs will be given to our school social workers and shared with other schools.

Please bring your shoes to the PARK & RECREATION EXPO  on Saturday, April 30th from 11am – 3pm at Humble Park,  2200 Blaine Ave, Racine, WI 53405 and again on Saturday, May 14th from 11am -3pm at the SUMMER ACTIVITIES FAIR, being held at Racine’s Festival Hall.  Please help and support our community’s kids with the“Game On: Help Them Play” gym shoe drive.


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The Great Facebook Debate

I’ve wanted to chime in on the subject of age appropriateness of kids using social networking sites, such as Facebook, probably since in the inception of Just Add Kids. With the First Lady, Michelle Obama’s opinion of how she feels Facebook fits into the lives of her children, Malia and Sasha, the national conversation has heated up.

Facebook is such a big part of my life, both personally and professionally. To me, a mature 40 something mom and business owner, it is an integral, efficient, inexpensive pipeline for communication and connectedness.  At the same time, I am perplexed when it comes to the necessity of my kids having their own social networking sites.

I’ve witnessed the evolution of electronic communication among our youth starting with email, to AIM, to now mobile phone texting and social networking.  I cannot believe it’s been already 3 years that my now 16 year old daughter talked about getting a MySpace account.  Of course she was only 13 at the time, “but mom, all my friends have one”.   Besides thinking she wasn’t ready to express herself so publicly, MySpace‘s Terms of Service indicated that she had to be 14 years old.  Wheow…that was good enough to serve as my answer to tell her “absolutely not, you are not old enough, even according to MySpace“.  So, what did she do?  She created an account anyway.  Got busted.  That’s another story.

Well then Facebook pretty swiftly replaced MySpace.  And when she turned 14, we talked about, set up her Facebook account, did the “locked down” mode on privacy settings, and “friended” each other.  As we both passed our second year on Facebook, I have about 200 friends, and she has nearly 3 times as many friends.  Really?  She doesn’t even have that many students enrolled in her high school for goodness sakes.  I am not picking on my daughter.  You go through her friends, many of them have over a thousand friends. My friends, for the most part, are people that I’ve met in person at some time in my life and had a friendship/relationship.  I’ve used Facebook to reconnect, strengthen and maintain our already developed friendships.  Nowadays, kids are meeting friends they’ve only met online.  Strange.

So back to the age debate with FacebookFacebook‘s age requirement is 13 years old.  While now I have two kids “of age” who have their own Facebook page, my 8 year old is begging me for one.  Can you guess why?  If course, because (some of) her friends have one and I know that to be true because those little girls have requested my friendship.  I would imagine those parents know of their child’s page as I am sure they had to help them set it up, and their moms have the tendency to be very active on Facebook, from what I have noticed.

Personally, even if I thought a child was social network ready, I would still abide by the rules, or Terms of Service, that are outlined.  At the same time, I don’t feel that 13 is necessarily an appropriate age for every kid.  There are kids that are well-adjusted, and more responsible than others.

Consider what experts suggest…know your child.   Parry Aftab, Executive Director of asks you to consider the following questions when deciding that your child is ready for social networking sites: Is your child well-balanced in school?  Do they play outside?  Do they have friends offline?

If kids are getting on too soon, might they be missing that window in their youth for social development?

We as parents need to consider what is right or wrong in each kid’s situation.  And if we ever need a backup when we say no, we can always put it on the First Lady!  She says “I’m not a big fan of young kids having Facebook.”  She continues, “It’s not something they need”.

Do you have a strong opinion either way?  When will you let your kids get their own social network site?  Let’s have a mature conversation on Just Add Kids Facebook page.  Or leave your comment here.

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It’s Epic!

Big Snow! Big Game! Big Mamma!

This has really been quite the incredible year so far on so many levels.  We Wisconsinites have seen our state in the national spotlight as I haven’t ever remembered in recent years.  In a positive light, too. Whether it’s been politically, our president making several trips to Wisconsin and Paul Ryan stepping up his congressional role and responding to last week’s State of the Union address.  Or our beautiful gems the Milwaukee Art Museum and the lakefront showcased last week on American Idol. Of course, now we are in the midst of the big dig out and big freeze, in anticipation of the big game coming up this weekend.  America’s Dairyland has gone “Big Time”!

All of this “bigness” has put this momma into a routine tailspin!  I know I will bounce back, I always do. Read More…

Unfortunately, when you are a telecommuter or work from home, you can’t necessarily take off for a school snow day, even if a civil danger warning is declared.  Some businesses just don’t close.  Of course you shouldn’t feel sorry for me, I pretty much have it made being able to work in pjs and adjust my schedule to take care of our family’s needs, appointments, etc.  We need to give props to our law enforcement, fire and rescue departments who end up working big time in a major weather event.

What these advance school days off did do was allow me to sleep in.  Felt good, though of course, affected the start of my typical week day which consists of early morning prayer time, exercise, showering, in addition to getting the kiddos out the door for school (of which darling husband does help me out with).

So now, I am running behind in my work schedule, Weight Watchers activity and food planning, doing, and tracking is not going so well. Hygiene? Well, I desire to squeeze a shower in soon. Oh that’s right, I have four kids at home, too.  I suppose I should go check in with them.  Haven’t heard any signs of sibling scrapping yet today.

I am hoping that you all made the most of your week.  I am looking forward to wrapping up this big eventful week with a Packer‘s win on Sunday, which will then again, throw my schedule off once again, as I will attend the homecoming on Tuesday at Lambeau.

So, I suppose having my schedule get thrown off IS routine.  No big deal then, that’s life as a mom! 🙂


Big calendar.  Wow…so much family fun!  JAK does not want you to miss out!  Check out some big fun at Just Add Kids website’s JAK Happenings Calendar of Events:

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