Archive for October, 2011

Been BOO-ed?

Creating Phamily Phun @ Your Phingertips!

Oh my gosh, what was up with the weather today?!  Cloudy, then sunny, then slushie pellets of rain, back to sunny again.  My lights: on, then off, then on again. Windshield wipers on, sunroof open, my seater heater on high, rainbows….simply crazy.  ‘Tis the season!

While most of my day was consumed with office work, I did have to venture out to do some post school day commuting.  I felt for those who had plans to enjoy some soon-to-be-ending outdoor fall harvest fun.

Say you find yourself having to move your plans back to or keep it at the home front (…it’s raining, you’re knocked out by the enteroviral bug, it’s stay warm and dry time, or you are  just wanting to be artsy & craftsy & have some funsy with the kidsies…) Read More…

Have you ever been “Booed” or “Ghosted”?  While the season will be wrapping up in a couple of days, it’s not to late to jump on this fun and unique craze!  I say “craze” and yet, Wisconsin has consistently and modestly ranked around the 20th most popular state to participate in “booing”, according to the self-regulated booing industry website http://www.BeenBooed.com, which has been tracking hits by state since 2009.
Been BOO-ed sheet

Been BOO-ed sheet

So in a nutshell, here’s how it goes: you go to the website, download and print copy of the  “Boo” sheet, add a little tasty treat (wrapped candy or treat, toys, stickers, knick-knack, etc.)  arrive at your neighbor’s/friends/family member’s doorstep, ring the doorbell, leave your phantom ghost and treat, and get the heck outta dodge!

                           Here’s the poem as it is printed on the BOO sheet ^^
                      (clear version available via the www.BeenBooed.com site)
The phantom ghost has come to town
To leave some goodies… I see you’ve found.
If you wish to make this a happier fall…
Continue this greeting, this phantom call.

First, post this Phantom where it can be seen,
And leave it there until Halloween.
This will scare other Phantoms who may visit.
Be sure to participate, you don’t want to miss it!

Second, make two treats & two copies from
http://www.beenbooed.com
Deliver them to two neighbors, try to stay calm.
Don’t let them see you, be sneaky, no doubt
And make sure they put their Phantom Ghost out!

Next, you have only one day to act, so be quick!
Leave it at doors where the Phantom hasn’t hit.
Deliver at dark when there isn’t much light…
Ring the doorbell and run, and stay out of sight!
And last, but not least, come join in the season.
Don’t worry, be happy, you need no good reason.
This is all in good fun and we are just trying to say…
Happy Halloween & Have a Great Day!

Granted, at some point you will have to leave your house to make the  phantom delivery…but, how much fun is the Been BOO-ed activity?

Okay okay, you want more options, you say?  Well, the JAK ‘O Lantern Kid’s “Carving” Contest will insert some colorful  fun to your day.  Your kiddos will let their creative juices flow, without the mess of pumpkin guts.  Again, a quick download, print, create and send back to JAK.  What’s the prize you ask? RG Natural Babiesis kicking in a $25 gift certificate for the winning JAK ‘O Lantern.  No baby? No problem! They have toys, games and gifts appropriate for kids up to the tween years.

Finally, you can visit a pumpkin patch without as much as sitting comfortably on your couch with a laptop on your lap.  Check out our JAK ‘O Lantern Gallery here: JAK ‘O Lantern Gallery
So there you have it…creating some family fun festive projects.  And who said I wasn’t crafty?
Visit the Just Add Kids website:

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Raising Kids ‘n Having Fun

(Fund)Raising Active Kids   
by JAK’s guest mom blogger from Pleasant Prairie, Bonnie Hahn

You know how before you had kids everyone would tell you how expensive they are?  I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.  I mean, how expensive could they possibly be?  Oh, believe me when I say I’ve figured it out, but just for kicks let’s all get a good laugh at my expense at how clueless I was.

Using just my first (child) as the example, I had myself convinced that kids are no big deal in the financial department.  Here’s a bit about how I fooled myself:

  • Making babies the traditional way is free.  Hallelujah.  Might have been down a bit for a bottle of wine and a nice dinner, but whatevs.  Insurance paid for most of the doctor visits, hospital stay, etc.  We were out a couple hundred bucks.
  • Cutie maternity clothes…I spent a bit.  Had to be a fashionable preggie, right?
  • Baby shower.  Everything you could possibly need to feed, clothe, and care for a baby, except the elusive instruction manual of course… all at one happy party.  Cha-ching.  Thanks, everyone!
  • Bring baby home.  Diapers, wipes, cream for their little tushies. Let’s say $25 at Jewel.  Nursed the baby for quite some time and saved a bundle on formula.
  • Picked out some clothes and stuff that I just had to have…couple hundred bucks.

Considering we just had a kid, this doesn’t seem crazy expensive, does it?

  • Went back to work and paid for daycare.  Ooof, that’s a little painful, but we managed.

Time goes by.

  • Preschool – couple hundred for the school year.
  • Clothes – buy a couple things here and there, but boy do we love hand-me-downs.
  • Toys – that’s what holidays and generous relatives are for.
  • Elementary school – gym shoes, clothes, school supplies.  Etc. etc.

Ok, so things are really starting to add up, but these are minimal expenses considering the big picture, right?  Is it college tuition these people were talking about?  I mean, that’s years down the line!  And anyway, my kid is a bona fide genius who will be loaded with scholarships.  College – bah!  We’ve got it covered.

Clothes can be a decent expense, especially if you don’t have friends or relatives with an older child to pass stuff down.  Boys are tough too, cause they beat the heck out of everything. So every school year we have to shop for new jeans twice, new gym shoes, a couple hoodies, new backpack, blah blah.  Then half way through the school year they decide they won’t be caught dead in the $200 of stuff you bought at the beginning of the year.  Or only certain brands, please.  All the other kids have NorthFace winter coats?  Sorry dude, not happening.  What?  A dress outfit for the concert at school?  Wait, he can’t wear his old beat up DC gym shoes to that?   Skidded out on the playground and ripped the knees out of another pair of jeans?  So, ya it’s adding up, but still seems fairly manageable.

Then the sports begin.

All you other parents with kids in sports just collectively shuddered, didn’t you?  Our boy has been the karate master since he was 3 and got the Tommy Nitro and the Crimson Sausage karate set, so there’s never been a question of what he wanted to do.  So, we sign the kid up…$130.  Can’t do taekwondo without a taekwondo uniform…sounds reasonable, $50.

180 bucks?  The kid better like it!

A couple months of classes and hi-ya’s!  Then belt promotions start – $60 each.  (Ya, that’s $60 TWELVE TIMES).  Then they start sparring and need all the gear to protect their body, head, and especially those teeth, cause God forbid anything happens to them, you know how expensive that would be?

Then they need weapons.  More weapons.  Then tournaments at $120 a pop.  Then we travel for tournaments, then he wins and needs a new uniform to tout his prowess.  A shelf!  He needs a shelf to display his trophies and medals!  Special shoes, warm up suits, bags and cases to carry all his stuff around in.  What the heck?  This is definitely an investment.

I’m sure all parents with kids in sports go through the same thing.  The cost of registration, uniforms and equipment is astronomical.  I’ve heard that hockey costs are off the wall, ice skating is insane, and friends of ours with three kids in traveling soccer leagues are in for over a grand each season.  Et tu, soccer?

Obviously kids are expensive.  This is the real world, but it seems to me that keeping them out of sports because of cost shouldn’t be an issue.  Kids need to be active and learn how to be team players and the discipline and confidence and all that. And besides…if they’re not in it now, their chances of getting on the varsity team in high school are nil.  Gasp!  Of course there are cheap and/or free things they can do, but we want what they want, they love the sport, they love playing it and everything else that goes along with it, so we swallow the cost of it all.

Makes a sports-mom (or dad!) want to hold their own fundraiser…you bet I’ve considered it!

There are always second-hand stores we can check out for gear, namely of the Play It Again brand, but sometimes it seems that even though the items are used they aren’t much of a deal, and places like Goodwill are hit or miss (mostly miss) when you’re looking for one particular item.

As an alternative I created a Facebook group for parents of kids in sports who may either have an abundance of sports equipment, or may be looking for such items and don’t want to pay (re-)retail price.   Parents can buy, sell, trade, give away, whatever.  In this economy it is all we can do for some of us to just stay afloat.  So check it out… For the Kids: SE Wisconsin: Sports Edition! and feel free to join and post.

THAT’S using your dojo mojo.

Raising active kids…it takes a village!

Read more of Bonnie’s blogs (including a version of this one) at http://adventuresingreenness.blogspot.com/

Go to the Just Add Kids website here:

http://www.JustAddKidsOnline.net

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There’s Hope

Pink Optimism
by JAK’s guest mom blogger from Racine, Hope Bosak

Last week I bought a cozy, fleecy, pinky, jacket for my soon to be five year old daughter. It had a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon adorning the front. Now it wasn’t cheap, and I don’t have money to burn, but after what we’ve been through, I felt this jacket was made for her. What other four year old is so observant of that pink ribbon, that she would proudly wear it on her jacket? Her face beamed when I surprised her with it!

One and a half years ago (April Fools Day, 2010), I was shockingly diagnosed with Stage 2 ,Grade 3 Breast Cancer Read More…. As a wife, mother of a ten and a three year old, and a licensed In-Home Family Child Care Provider  for the past 15 years, this was not part of our plan.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer will tell you; when you hear those words” Yes, you do have cancer”, your life is immediately, and forever, changed.  You adapt to your NEW NORMAL, as it is currently unfolding, and you pause for deep, personal, reflection. Sometimes you think that you’ve always been thankful for your blessings, but this is deeper than that. You realize everyday of life is a gift, and maybe you took that for granted. Uncertainty of life on earth helps you to focus on living your life with more purposeful intention, until the day when you enter into the promise of eternity. You may begin to feel that you want your life here on earth to make a difference. You learn to trust your instincts, celebrate life, do the things you were created to do, tell the people you love that you love them, and wake up each morning looking for ways to bless other people.

I am so grateful, thankful, and in awe of the cancer specialists who were/are there to walk through this journey with myself and my family. I can’t imagine desiring to do that for a living, no matter how much money was involved. The care and compassion coming from those people, everyday, is truly awesome. Each doctor, nurse, support staff, surgeon, radiology staff, chemotherapy staff, physical therapy /rehab etc. is AMAZING! I’ve had many new experiences, learned a lot, made lots of new friends, prayed for a lot of people, been on a healing retreat, and been there to help others who faced the news after me. I am older, wiser, and hopefully a better listener, more compassionate, and more thankful for everyday of living, especially on the days we feel healthy. I’ve learned that God’s ways are higher than my ways, and there were many people whose lives I was intersected with, whom I would not have met through any other circumstances. I praise God that He cares about me, and knows better than me, about what’s truly important in leaving our world a better place for us having lived in it.
I know this may sound strange to some, but I’m actually honored to have been allowed to go through this type of deep, introspective, personal battle.

Sometimes life is just so busy……that we just don’t stop…. to think about the big questions in life. Why am I here, and what is my purpose? So, I’ll close with this: What if you, personally, were diagnosed with cancer tomorrow? What would you do differently than you’re currently doing? What is stopping you from doing that now? Take the time to stop, and think about the big questions in life. Then, you can share your values with your most important assets, your children.

Visit the Just Add Kids website:

www.JustAddKidsOnline.net

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Down in Front, Please!

Attention:  This blog layout is experiencing some design challenges.  The reading is still good…..

Blocked Parties   

Racine sure knows how to party!  And this past week has been no exception to that statement. What a great week I had participating in two big celebrations.  The first was on Saturday at Downtown Racine’s “Party on the Pavement”, and the other was last night at “Max & Ruby: Bunny Party” which was held at Memorial Hall.

Probably wasn’t going to write about what I am about to write about.  Bullying, breast cancer awareness were ideas floating around in my head, but was dealing with a bit of writer’s block with the approach.  Thankfully, last night, being “blocked out” of the party with the bunnies from a cute little girl standing on her daddy’s lap helped me overcome filling up this blank space. Take a look at the pictures, and you’ll know exactly what I am talking about!  Read More….

obstructed view 😦

Hmmmmm, still can't see. You make a better door than a window, sweetie!

Ever experience that?  At some event, typically theater shows and you end up with some big ‘ole block head in front of you, or a kid being propped up, because she can’t see the stage from a sitting position.  So what do you do?  I just sucked it up, rolled my eyes, and snapped some shots to support my story.  I do wonder, does that propping parent even think that they might be disrupting someone’s enjoyment of the show?  Honestly, I always feel like I am considerate in that respect.  Despite the fact that our view was obstructed for the majority of the show, my son and I quite enjoyed Max & Ruby.  Apparently, we weren’t alone.  It is reported that about 7,000 people, mostly school children,  attended the show which was performed four times over the course of two days.  That’s one big party!

Onto the other party, the one that sprawled over several downtown city blocks on Saturday….a big thanks to RG Natural Babies for allowing Just Add Kids to camp out on their sidewalk and kick off a fun kid’s coloring contest, JAK ‘O Lantern Kid’s Carving Contest.  Here are some pics of my little piece of the block:

kid's carving pumpkins with crayons

same kid "carvers", different angle!

Allow me the opportunity to introduce you to the JAK ‘O Lantern Kid’s Carving Contest…Please go to the Just Add Kids “CONTEST” page, download our kid’s coloring contest form, have your child “carve” (color) the pumpkin, send in to win a $25 gift certificate to RG Natural Babies store in downtown Racine.  Their merchandise goes beyond babies! Check out their toys, gift and consignment area, in addition to their gigantic selection of cloth diapers.

Well, I got off my chest what I wanted to share with you.  Ahhh, feels good.  Next week, there will be commentary by JAK guest blogger, Hope Bosak, a local mom who is currently “clean” of  breast cancer.  Insight and inspiration worth looking forward to.  See you then!

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