Archive for January, 2013

Sibling <3

The Sisters Converge
Sisters at the Pfister logo
by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann

It’ll be like a family reunion of sorts when the “sisters” come together at the historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee next week on Sunday.

I am so excited about spending the day with some of my awesome friends at yet, another amazing event benefiting Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Make-A-Wish of Wisconsin. This event is another brainchild of my one time client, turned BFF, Tammy Flynn.

Then of course, there’s Mollie. We took a time management course together a few years ago soon after I launched Just Add Kids. Our desire to boost productivity and Mollie’s desire to organize my office (okay, so she got sick of me pushing that daunting task off week after week) started a friendship that only few could withstand.

Then there’s my personal coach, Julie. Yup, I’ve got one of those, and she rocks…READ MORE…and she climbs rocks, and stairs (I joined her team for the Lung Association’s “Fight for Air” US Bank building stair climb event). How bout this? I just realized I have never met her in person. Although, our relationship is professional. Gosh, she knows more about me  now than my mother. So, I can consider her a sister.

Finally there’s Jeanette. Aw gosh, my former co-worker and friend, who I rarely see, since she had her adorable baby boy a couple of years ago. She’s the biggest, and most informed cheesehead that I know. Say what? Check out her bio. BTW, she included me (along with Jennie and Suzie, dang I miss that gang) in the first book she authored about Wisconsin Cheeses.

I could go on with my personal relationships. Yet, I want to invite you into the conversation. Grab your sisters, your BFFs, your mother, leave home the others and join me and my sistas at the Pfister. For $50 we can enjoy a day away, full of inspiration for the mind, body and spirit.  The line up of women presenters include all of my aforementioned gal pals above, plus many more, including Miss Pole (now are you interested?!). The Emcee for the day, well-known and respected broadcast journalist Joyce Garbaciak.

In a nutshell…

Sisters at the Pfister full page 2013
My goodness! All of this for a 100% donated ticket of $50. Don’t drag your heels! REGISTER TODAY…

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Les Miserables? Oui? Non!

Heather’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by JAK’s guest blogger from Racine, Heather Gaither

That title is a literary nod to one of my favorite children’s stories.
If you haven’t met Alexander yet, let me introduce you.
He’s an asset to every family’s library.

BR was one week old.

A 6-inch snow had dropped the temperature outside to a miserable 5-degrees Fahrenheit.  (That’s -15, Celsius friends.)


After thirty minutes of donning coats, scarves, hats, boots, gloves(Has anyone seen my PINK gloves?  Mom, I can only find one boot…etc. etc.) we finally piled into our newly-acquired minivan.

I decided, in a moment of exhausted-insanity to make a “quick” stop at a local drugstore I’ll call…Balgreens (for reasons that will be made clear in a moment).

So, corralling my brood through the store, lugging a 15-lb car seat and robotically chanting No candy…No toys…No… I picked out the three things we needed and poured my efforts into keeping the kids in the checkout line.

After a rude employee checked me out, glaring at me for interrupting his enjoyment of People, I hurried out the door and to the van, completely flustered.

Ten minutes later, after checking seatbelts and getting everybody settled, I turned to put the cart back and discovered…an unpurchased bottle of baby shampoo taunting me from the front seat, where it had sat under the diaper bag. READ MORE…
Okay.  Let’s go over my options:
  1. Option A:  Get all three kids out of the van again (5 degrees!), go in and pay.  Be late to doctor’s appointment, be late to Cameron’s Christmas office party, where they were all waiting for the reveal of his latest daughter.
  2. Option B: Get all three kids out of the van again, return the bottle, and make this “quick” stop again tomorrow.
  3. Option C: Mentally block what I was doing, toss the gosh-darn shampoo into the van before I can feel the first pang of guilt and make a run for it.
Can you guess which one I choose?


That one.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

new parent encouragement 300x224 Hello, World. Its Me. The Shoplifter.

And that was just Act One of the Worst Day Ever.                                                                                                  
Once I got to the doctor, BR had one of “those” poops.  The one that runs up the back and into hair.

And can  you guess which Awesome Mom forgot to pack a change of clothes? (Free bag-packing tip for you there…)

My newborn now smelled like cr*p.                                                                                                                                           
The doctor decided BR needed a billirubin test to check for jaundice.  They pricked her heel and squeezed for 10 minutes trying to get enough blood for a sample.

She screamed bloody murder for an eternity.                                                                                                                                  

The older kids were cranky and fought. (Please pretend to be shocked that my children occasionally misbehave in public.)

I cried.  (Yes, right there, blubbering snot over my screaming baby girl.)

Finally, after that ordeal was over, we trudged back to the van to head over to Cameron’s office Christmas party, 30 minutes late.

I turned the key…

And. Nothing. Happened.

Unknown to me, on the way to the doctor, LB decided to “explore” the new van’s interior lights.

It was completely dead.

Here’s a word of advice: don’t get stuck in a doctor’s office the week before Christmas.            

Of their non-vacationing staff of 4, not one (all women) knew how to battery jump a car.

I’m not judging.  After all, I didn’t know how either…

Where is my White Knight?

Sipping punch at the office Christmas party, wondering where the heck I was and stressed out because he can’t get me on the cell phone…because I left it at home (of course).

I couldn’t remember his brand-new cell number (that’s why I have a cell! so I can just push “1″!) and no one was at their desk to pick up the phone.

Eventually a nurse’s husband drove up to save the day and an hour later we headed home because the party was, by now, completely over.

Driving home, I had a complete meltdown of tears.

(Post-partum anyone?)

On a positive, though all three kids were completely silent in the car, probably scared spitless at this new maniac side of Mommy.

All I could think was…
Was this going to be my new life? 
Was this what I had signed up for?
How do people DO THIS?
Right in the middle of my pity-party, a friend called.

I blurted out the whole awful day and waited for the compassionate “oohhh, honey!” and “I’m so sorryies” that you would expect from a fellow female on hearing such a story.

Instead, I was surprised to hear LAUGHING.

She shared HER worst parenting day ever, and soon we were giggling.

The next day she gave me a present: a newly purchased bottle of baby shampoo, which she promised she purchased at Balgreens…

(Hardy har har, Amy…)

Heather is a stay-at-home, married mom of 3 young girls. The above blog entry is being used with permission and is excerpted from Heather’s blog Incredible Infant. To read it in it’s entirety, see

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Let’s Get Crackin’


  Shannon Barsch top peep

This Chick is #1
By Just Add Kids Founder Paula Herrmann

Launching this business, Just Add Kids, just over 3 years ago, has given me the opportunity to interact, network and meet so many other moms in the area. So many different walks of life and home situations, yet the one thing that binds us is motherhood and our need to get out and have some fun with our kids and family.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   In May of 2011, I was pleased to deliver the”Color Mom Beautiful” contest prize to a young boy artist and his mother. Little did I know that I had met one ofJust Add Kids biggest fans! Well, you know, she had 3 young boys at the time and really looked to JAK for things to do/places to bring the boys to (and sometimes the hubs!). Fast forward a year later with many correspondence in between, I get an email from her asking if there was any work she could volunteer doing. Um, heck ya! You know that calendar that you love so much? Well, she began loading that thing with so many options, it would make your head spin. It made my heart smile.
🙂                                                                                                                                                                                                                I dubbed her The Calendar Girl.

After a 9 month hiatus from her role as The Calendar Girl at JAK, which included the birth of her 4th son, I am so pleased to report that she is back and this time ’round will enjoy a little paycheck. I don’t know where this girl gets her energy. Yet besides being a great mom to her boys, she is an avid volunteer/fundraising chair at her children’s 2 schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Welcome back, Calendar Girl!

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Whose Boundary Is It Anyway?

Sponsored by Next Step Goals LLC
Written by Julie O’Keeffe Henszey 

Self-imposed and culturally-prescribed boundaries can hold you back.

I know of a person in the South who won’t drive her car for more than a couple of hours by herself. She feels she lacks the capacity as an adult woman. It seems to be based on traditional southern cultural norms around male and female roles.

My friend in Arizona, on the other hand, drives herself three hours to the nearest airport, my sister and I have each traveled alone to Africa, and sixteen-year-old girls now attempt to sail solo around the world.

So let’s talk boundaries! Ask yourself these questions:

1. What boundaries are holding me back?

2. Are they self-imposed or culturally-imposed?

3. Does anybody really care what I do?

4. What if I walked over the boundaries?

Boundaries can be a good thing, particularly with speed limits, murder laws, and required immunizations. It’s best not to drive too fast, kill anyone, or forget to immunize your child.

On the other hand, what about wearing white after Labor Day? Or pulling your 13-year-old out of school for a week to go hiking in the Grand Canyon?

It’s time to walk over unnecessary boundaries! Bust through them so that you can get on with your life. Let’s break it down.

  1. Examine the belief embedded in the boundary. Who invented this boundary and what is their belief? For example, our forefathers allowed men to vote but women were outside the boundary. It was well intended but eventually the beliefs behind it became out-dated. On a more personal level, you might only allow your child to take the car if they are back by 11 pm, based on the belief that too much mischief happens late at night. While your child might not like the rule, the belief is likely solid enough to stick to your guns. And as examples of boundaries that probably should change: Women, have you ever denied yourself a fun weekend get-away with friends based on the belief that your family cannot manage without you? Men, do you suppress your emotions because men are expected to be tough?
  1. Ask yourself whether the boundary has changed over time. Did your parents go to all of your junior high basketball games or tennis matches? What’s your expectation with your own kids? There could be an engaging activity you’d like to try if you didn’t feel obligated to adhere to culturally-prescribed roles as a parent. Or did your parents call into work twice a day when they took you on vacation to Niagara Falls in the 70’s? So why do you check your email on vacation? Business seemed to carry on without your parents’ involvement back then. Perhaps the dog will eat your phone the next time you leave on vacation. Sounds a bit nice, right?!
  1. Consider to what extent the important people in your life observe the same boundary. Some Protestants in specific Midwest towns won’t mow their lawn on Sunday for religious reasons. Such practices only fall by the wayside if groups no longer value them. How would others view you if you change your behavior around common, unquestioned practices? Will the important people in your life embrace your decision? Can you gain their support if you value it? Perhaps you can have Thanksgiving dinner catered one year when you’re juggling too many other things. Or perhaps it’s time to start drawing names for Christmas because the extended family has grown.

Here’s what I say: Ask the guy/gal out. Set an unrealistic goal. Sell the house, quit the job, and go get your Ph.D. Laugh too loud. Drive all night. Hitchhike to Alaska. Life is more fun when you ignore arbitrary boundaries and disregard limiting beliefs! What boundary are you ready to ignore at no one’s expense??

Julie helps women and seniors successfully take action and navigate challenges through her two businesses Next Step Goals LLC and Peace of Mind Transitions LLC. She herself has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and completed 60 sprint triathlons while divorced with two kids.

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Green and Goaled (part 2)

by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann

Another year, another season, another reason….Fat Girl in a Skinny World has popped outta the closet yet once again!

It’s been a whirlwind of ups and downs since Mother’s Day last year when my double (ahem, triple) chin was accidentally captured on digital self portraits. The slightest of touch on my iPhone prompted Fat Girl’s spring revival, (See Get Out! Outta the Closet) one that totally fit the pattern of previous resurrections: hot and heavy into the weight loss activity, to abrupt halt. Those cycles typically last 6 months.

Whether FGSW’s rebirth lasts 6 months or longer, I guess it doesn’t matter. I’m pleased that the lapse of time between activity has shortened. Plus, this time, I’ve got a short-term goal in mind which is time-sensitive, that’s achievable, and comes with teamwork, accountability, and training. Are you interested in positively progressing toward better health and wellness at this time? Whether it’s fitness, weight loss, or just eating better, feel free to join in on the conversation.
Go over to FGSW’s micro blog on Facebook.

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Green and Goaled

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! A Product Review
By JAK’s guest mom blogger from Pleasant Prairie, Bonnie Hahn
I live very near a Woodman’s.  I know, lucky me, right?!  For those of you who don’t know what Woodman’s is or have never been to one, Woodman’s is the end-all-be-all of grocery stores.  They have it all.  I mean all of it.  Everything.  Everything there is to have, they have it.  All you have to do is want it, and be ambitious enough to look for it.

My favorite part of Woodman’s is their clearance carts.  Every time I enter the store, I grab a cart and immediately head toward the area where a myriad of bargain-laden carts wait for me in all their shiny chrome splendor.  Expired items, half-wilted produce, all the stuff nobody else wants…all overripe for the picking.

There are also a couple different locations around the store that hold different clearance items, but I’m not letting that cat out of the bag.  Suffice it to say that yesterday I came across a fancy little bargain bin containing a most bizarre item. READ MORE…


Getting excited?  I am.

Being an enthusiast of the bizarre, and also someone who will try just about anything, I grabbed two and carried on.  I knew this must be an expensive item, considering the plethora of floaties and all the highfalutin key words on the label and the fact that it was still $1.50 on clearance, but also considering its appearance, I stuck with two because I wasn’t sure I would like it.  Granted, me not liking a food item is strange, but still.  Look at this stuff up close and tell me that imagining a big swallow doesn’t give you a case of the heebee jeebees.

Mmmm chia seeds.

I carried on with my day as usual, and around 8pm I remembered the two bizarre little gems in my fridge and decided to give it a go.  There were only two flavors available, grape and cherry, of which I had gotten one of each.  I grabbed the cherry first and gave it a little shake, opened that baby up and tentatively took a sip.

HOLY CR*P!!!  This is the most fabulous drink EVER!!  It has a weird consistency, but who cares.

What?  You have ‘an issue with texture’?

Well buck up little buddy, cause it is so dang good, and really, you can’t even tell that you are swallowing a whole bunch of chia seeds with each big slurpy mouthful.

So I guess its all healthy and raw and organic and kombucha (whatever the heck that is) and chia and so much fiber and it’ll give you mad energy, but so what.  IT TASTES AWESOME.  I guess Kombucha can be this awesome weight loss thing, it decreases your appetite, improves your digestion, and can be drank? drinked? drunk? before a workout for an energy boost.  It’s vegan.  It’s raw.  It’s organic.  It’s kosher.  Heck, it’s anti-fungal!  Who doesn’t want to drink their anti-fungals?!

From their website:

Serving Suggestions 

  • Try one in the morning instead of coffee.
  • Have one an hour before your workout.
  • Sip it throughout the day for sustained energy.
  • Drink it with or without a meal to help control your appetite.
  • Drink one now! You’ll feel better.

That last one is my favorite.  And they’re right.  You should get one.

I went back for more today.  There was only one left in the bargain bin so I hit the produce section and grabbed the other two flavors to try.  Now, regular price on this stuff isn’t exactly cheap, but each bottle IS two servings.  Of course, I had to restrain myself from drinking the whole two servings in one big weird-consistency gulp.  If I ration myself carefully, I can do this.  I’m gonna drink a lot of this seedy goodness.  And so can you.  It’s definitely worth a try, once you get over the sticker shock.  

So next time you see me and I look like this, you’ll know why. 


Bonnie is a married, stay-at-home mom of 2 school aged kids 7 & 11. You can read more of Bonnie’s blogs (including this one!) at

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Well Bred, Again

She Caved (kinda)
By Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann
Last week, I blogged about the ungrateful and entitled generation of kids we seem to be raising in  “Well Bred?”. The week before that,
it was in regards to my 10 year old daughter’s Christmas list, where the Apple iPhone5 topped her very short list. That article was appropriately titled “I AIN’T BUYING iT!” . You do get the whole caps/lower case “i” thing, yes? And by the way, I stuck to my guns.
Today, I ran across this nationally publicized story about a mom who DID buy her son an iPhone. Have you seen this story?  Read more…
moms iPhone contract pic
Gregory’s iPhone Contract   12/25/2012
Written by Janell Hofmann
Original post published at

Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  Hot Damn!  You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

 I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

 1. It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?

 2.  I will always know the password.

 3.   If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”.  Not ever.

 4.  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm.  It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am.  If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected. 

5.  It does not go to school with you.  Have a conversation with the people you text in person.  It’s a life skill.  *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.

7.  Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire. 

8.  Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9.  Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.

You may read the rest via this link:

While I didn’t buy my 10 year old her desired iPhone. My older two daughters (16 and 17) have had mobile phones for quite a few years, which was necessitated by their bike riding circumstances. Similar, yet not as detailed as this 13 year old’s mom’s contract, my girls have guidelines that my husband and I still hold firm on.  One of which is, turning and plugging in those phones (and the iPod Touch with wifi) to our bedroom by 10pm. This goes for their friends too, that may spend the night.

Well, what do you think? You can give me a call, text, or just post a comment here…

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