Archive for November, 2012

The Ripple Effect

Acts of Kindness

by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann

‘Tis the season! And can I say, from my vantage point there is no lack of goodness going on. Whether it be an 8 year old with a toothbrush drive (see last week’s JAK Chat blog), a group of women who dine together for the benefit of empowering impoverished women and girls, a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Make-A-Wish Wisconsin (see end of this post) or simple random acts of kindness, the season of giving is in full swing.

I caught a segment on the news this morning about Catholic Charities launching this “Ripple” campaign where today people parked in downtown Milwaukee might’ve received a filled parking meter by members of the organization. You, my friend, are invited too…”Make a ripple-and grow the circle” Read More

I know there are a lot of you out there already planning out your Advent acts of kindness, getting your kids engaged in paying it forward all for the sake of just making someone’s day…that is just awesome! Catholic Charities is inviting you to share your stories and hopefully because of what you did, someone else will get in the spirit and bless some one else.  Ah yes, you see it…it’s the ripple effect! To learn more about it, visit  I love reading through the stories. They are so inspiring.

I’ve been so fortunate to have met so many amazing people, women, moms,  in particular, who are driven with such energy to pay it forward.  One such person is my friend Tammy Flynn.  She is a single, mom of four, business owner, and the brains and energy behind a series of fundraisers that’ll blow your mind away.  If you’ve been with Just Add Kids for awhile (and going forward) you may have seen her recent annual event “A Day 4 Dreams”.  Well, here is another special opportunity to have some family fun at Dave and Buster’s and raise funds for Children’s Hospital and Make-A-Wish.  Why? Because of Tammy’s son Marcus and his health challenges since birth that has made Children’s a second home. Tammy is ever so grateful for the caring staff and facility, she produces these incredible gifts, FUN-raising events.  Please accept this gift and attend “Wishes in Wonderland”…

Wishes in Wonderland flier 2012


For more on Tammy Flynn’s fundraisers see

Have you caught the ripple bug? Do tell!


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Thanksgiving Abundance

A Lotta Blessings, A Lotta Food,
A Lotta Saving, A Lotta Needs

by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann

What can I say? There are so many things for me to be thankful for: great health (well, mostly, see closing commentary), awesome family, supportive friends, an amazing God, our country’s freedoms,and of course, this business I call Just Add Kids and all of you who have found value in what I pour my heart into. Yupper, I’d say that’s A LOTTA!For many of us, Thanksgiving comes with stuffing a bird as well as stuffing our faces. That’s me, most years. This year? Well, once again I refer you to my closing commentary! READ MORE…

After today’s festivities, my sister, brother, mother and I will engage in our annual perusing through the Black Friday (or whatever you can call it now that it all starts before Black Friday) store fliers, looking for those deals that fulfill our December/January/other birthday and Christmas present lists. It used to be so easy. Now it’s a science to navigate through what’s offered/when it’s offered, and technology is putting a wrench in things with Black Friday sales promotions being revealed early. C’mon retail and technology industry, you’re wrecking our tradition! So we’ll see how we fair this year. Last year was a hoot with my sister and I making our way out into the madness at midnight.  And let me tell you, the mall we went to in Green Bay was absolutely PACKED!  Yet, we did accomplish A LOTTA shopping reaping A LOTTA savings. I’d say it was a success filled with great memories.

So much for A LOTTA indulgence mentioned above.  Time to switch gears to get to the heart of the holiday season, otherwise dubbed, the season of giving.

There are so many opportunities to help make the season brighter to individuals and families in need in our communities.  A few of them that have caught my attention are the following:


My name is Maren. I am 8 years old. I am in 2nd grade in Racine. My class is doing Community action projects. My idea is to give toothbrushes to the homeless people at HALO.

I am asking people to please buy a toothbrush for my project. My goal is to get 150 toothbrushes and then my Mom will take me to HALO and we will give them to the kids and Moms and Dads that live at HALO.
If you will buy a kids or big toothbrush this will help me with my project!
Thank you for helping others! Maren D.
More about HALO here:

I will gladly pick up any donation you are willing to make to Maren’s Community Action Project. We will happily accept cash donations to purchase toothbrushes as well. All toothbrushes will need to be collected by Dec 2. Please post here or call our home if you can contribute. Thank you for helping her make this project a success!*
Amanda (Maren’s mom)
Please feel free to share with me/Just Add Kids other events such as these that will help bless another child, adult or family.  You can always email JAK at!
In closing…
I call it the Freight Train Flu. Wowza, I was never hit so hard in memorable years than the virus that literally blewthrough me on Tuesday. But,’tis the season, eh?Mentioning that I am blessed with great health in the opening comments is not an understatement. My entire family has reaped those healthy gene benefits, as well.  So as the typical family home ends up being a petri dish of germs that lingers once the bug hits, the likelihood of another one of my family members coming down with the same may actually be slim, based on experience. (I say this, and now I probably just plagued my family. Time to “knock on wood”)

Wishing you and your’s A LOTTA good health this holiday season!


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Talkin’ Turkey

It’s not about the STUFFing
by JAK guest blogger, Toby Mueller, of Raymond

Thanksgiving is a time for….well… be thankful. Part of being thankful is reflecting on the blessings that you enjoy in your life. Too often we tend to look at others who have more money or a better job or a faster car or a bigger house. But is that really what we should be thankful for?

Is life about that kind of STUFF? Read More…

This Thanksgiving, think about the non-STUFF stuff. What are you REALLY thankful for? Deep down in your heart, what do you value most? Things like family, friends, that sunrise you saw yesterday, the phone call from someone you haven’t spoken to for months or a hug from a dear friend.

The things you can’t buy should be a treasure in your life. Giving should have the highest priority in your life. That is where your thanks giving should be.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that we all need STUFF.  Like food. So I want to share with you two events that will be happening on Thanksgiving Day in Racine.

The first is the 4th annual Thanksgiving Day 5k (TD5k). It is a 5k (3.1 miles) walk or run for the whole family. Start time is 8:00 am at the North Beach Oasis. The run is a fund and food raising event for Harvest Food bank of Racine. Last year almost 500 lbs of canned food were donated.

I direct this event and I have tell you that Harvest Food bank is so grateful to the runners and walkers who donate food at the TD5k. You can guess that the need for food has increased and your donation does make a difference in Racine.

I would encourage you to come out and enjoy our beautiful lake front on Thanksgiving morning. Burn some calories and donate a can or a bag of canned food to Harvest Food bank. For more information, go to Cost is $13 per person or $45 for a family of four or more and a donation to Harvest Food Bank. Participants will get a fleece hat and a continental breakfast.

The other event is Dan and Ray Rendering Thanks meal at Festival Hal in Racine. The meal will be served from 10 am to 2 pm and is free to anyone. All they ask is that you register by calling 262-221-0466. More information about the meal can be found at The 2011 event fed 1300 people and they are expecting to feed close to 2000 in 2012.

There are two great events happening right here in Racine on Thanksgiving Day and two opportunities to give. So I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and run or walk at the TD5k and then volunteer or eat your Thanksgiving meal with someone you don’t know at Dan and Ray Rendering Thanks meal at Festival Hall.

Be Different everyone.

Toby Mueller is a married, Stay at Home Dad of two daughters and Blogger at A Different Spirit.

Editors note: Please check out the Just Add Kids CALENDAR page for more Thanksgiving/Turkey related family fun events such as these plus, Pleasant Prairie’s Run with the Turkeys 5K Walk-Run and Kenosha’s 34th Annual Mayor’s Turkey Day Run. Okay, run there now….

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What’s the Missing Piece?

Sponsored by Sonnenberg Consultants

What is the missing piece to the puzzle of Autism?  No one really quite knows.

Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys

*Autism prevalence figures are growing

* More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined

* Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability

in the U.S.

* Autism costs the nation $137 billion per year

* Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases

*Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism

*There is no medical detection or cure for autism

(Autism Speaks)

We have a solution.  We can help find that missing piece.
We are Sonnenberg Consultants. Read more…

We are a company that focuses on the needs of the family and the children. We offer intensive services for families in Wisconsin and Illinois and other services outside of these states. Our program molds around family life and what is best for each child. The approach looks very different depending on the dynamics or their environment and how the child learns. Many children learn in a more play-based program where others learn in a more structured environment. This will vary from child to child. The program also involves the siblings of the child so interaction is more appropriate within the family dynamics.

Sonnenberg Consultants uses a program that focuses on Autism and behavior modification in the home or at school. The main area of focus is in the home. This is targeted through ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) intensive therapy done through many different approaches.


•Therapy is based off of positive reinforcement

•Therapy is molded to the child’s specific needs

•Therapy can be implemented in play, table or through relationship development

•”Sensory” issues are addressed through behavioral methods (ex: stress management prior to agitation or sensory tolerance programming)

•Therapy is fun and motivating

•Therapy involves siblings and family for generalization and consistency

Areas addressed through therapy:

•Language Comprehension

•Reciprocal Conversations

•Creating the skills to have a shared experience through social interactions

•Cognitive skills

•Reducing non-desired behaviors and increasing desired behaviors

•Decreasing self-stimulatory behavior that is inappropriate

•Independent self-help skills

•Appropriate play with toys and games

What to do if your think your child might have autism?

We highly recommend getting a diagnosis by a pediatric neurologist or a child psychiatrist.  We highly recommend Pediatric Neurologist Dr. Kristin Smith.

Dr. Kristin D. Smith, Ph.D.

Neuropsychological Consultants Inc.

3601 30th Ave., Suite 102

Kenosha, WI


If your child has autism or is on the spectrum, we can help to find that missing piece!

723 58th St.

Kenosha, WI 53140


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Campaign Platform: Family Fun!

Wherever it may be!
I had a reflective moment while at my kitchen table carving pumpkins with my babies, now 8 and 10 years old. (My 15 and 17 year olds were, well, not around, even though they knew Saturday night we were going to get the daunting task done).  Let’s face it…the end result (the prized lit jack-o-lantern on the doorstep) is always rewarding, but the process seems to be endless careful carving and scraping out of the seeds and guts. Faster than we know it, there may come a future Halloween that I am carving my own pumpkin, sobbing, because my babies are grown and out of the house.
Wait where’s this commentary going?! Back to family fun….
Read More in JAK Chat…
My point with that is, take your family time where you can get it. Whether that’s gutting pumpkins or game time at your kitchen table, tapping into any one of the awesome free events at our local libraries, getting out and enjoying a sport activity/production/special event, or if you are fortunate enough, take a family vacation where the focus is on spending time with the kiddos.
Our website’s calendar provides a plethora of event and activity options in our corner of the state (and over the border)  for families with kids of all ages (pre-born through 18). Please access it often as it is continually updated.
Additionally, Just Add Kids partners with many area businesses and organizations who financially invest in the JAK product line up (this blog; website and e-mail advertisements; special events such as the  Just Add Kids EXPO; contests and promotions….you get the picture!)  JAK has been abundantly blessed in that regard, so I implore you to click on those ads and listing links to see what awesome programming and/or products these “investors” have to offer families.  They are here because they have something for you.
Okay, so I go from intriguing title/subtitle, sappy carving story, blah promotion….yawn. :-O   Sorry!
Let’s get to some of the fun stuff Just Add Kids is excited to be sponsoring.
And you’re invited!
^^ How’s that for a platform? A pile of fun! ^^

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