Archive for November, 2013

Gobble Up Some Family Fun

#3, iRemember
by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann

#3 & BFF

#3 & BFF

 My mission this past week, if you read last week’s JAK Chat blog “iCaved. iRegret.” was to dive into #3 daughter’s iPhone. I really need to put my parental panties on, take a look at any damage that’s been done (undesirable apps?) and apply security controls, locate device app, etc.  My intent is not to smother her or be a helicopter mom, but rather to do what a parent is suppose to do, protect her.  At the same time, I also want to cultivate a respect for her privacy.  So I dropped the ball, peeps. There really is no excuse for not getting the job done as I didn’t forget to do it. I just didn’t get it done. Augh! It’s been a week.

If you’ve kept up with my life as a mom as recorded in these blog posts for the past few years, you might know, I am having a hard time watching my “littles” grow up to adults.  Read more…One of my four kids has reached adulthood numerically, having turned 18 back in January. Number two is 16. As mentioned, #3 is 11. And finally, my youngest and only son is 9 (but not for long).  For me, 0-6 months was indeed rough, yet a relatively short period of time (that would be 24 months total). It pales in comparison to parenting during the years of teenhood, and honestly, mine haven’t been terribly bad. Let’s define it as challenging, yet manageable.

So I didn’t get my tech task done. Let’s bump it back a week on the TO DO list.  But since we’re on the subject of my #3, let me just say that with her transition into adolescence, I know what I’m in for….ME! She’s a mini-me (with an iPhone). Which isn’t really all that bad, yet she is and will be ready to do battle as she marches confidently on into her teen years. She is/will be open to trying new things, headstrong, curious, cautious, and I am pretty sure she’ll beat me up (I’ll be waiting up late for her, she’ll do things she knows her dad and I won’t approve of, I’ll question her dress, she’ll be right all of the time). But in the end, I know she will turn out just fine. She’s got the deck stacked in her favor.

#3 as Tiny Tim Dec '09

#3 as Tiny Tim Dec ’09

This week, myself and JAK Happenings “Calendar Mom”, Shannon, worked our butts off to add a whole ton of holiday family fun to our website’s calendar. My area of concentration was the region’s kid-oriented, family-friendly holiday shows/productions. One of which will always remain my all time favorite is The Milwaukee Rep’s “A Christmas Carol” who as I type is performing their opening night of a month long run. It’s only been 4 short years ago, that I was the mother of that production’s Tiny Tim. Yup, that’s right, played by #3. A young aspiring actor at the age of 7 immersed into the fast-paced world of the 2nd longest running “A Christmas Carol” in the country. Funny, she had to get her hair cut very short to play a boy in this show. Today, there would be NO WAY we could cut inches off of her long locks reaching down past her waistline. She’s very conscious of her looks and has her unique sense of fashion.  Headstrong. That’s for sure. And again, oh so me. And it’s only just begun.

Note to self: #3 iPhone.


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iMom. uChild!

i Caved. i Regret.christi's phone
by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann

She’s no different than any other typical 11 year old girl. Caught in between being a girl liking girly things such as playing dress up, Polly Pockets, Barbie’s, American Girl dolls and the interests of a teen such as make-up, music and liking boys. I shouldn’t be fretting. Heck, I’ve been here before. I’ve managed to move my two others through this transition, seemingly fine.

But the truth is, it is different. You’d think a lifetime has passed since my 16 year old was 11.

It didn’t seem that long ago when a birthday or Christmas present list was an easy thing to compile….toys, games, ahhh, and those beloved big, bulky Little Tikes items. I ran into a problem when it came to #3 daughter’s birthday this past April. Not only did she beg me endlessly…”Mom, all of my friends have a cell phone!”, but I also planned Just Add Kids’ big event, the EXPO! the day after her birthday.  Admittedly, my focus was more on the event than on #3’s birthday. In a bind, needing to smooth things over, and at a loss for gift ideas, I bought her an iPhone.

christi's phone 2 (2)I went against my own campaign of waiting till she “needed” one. I even wrote about it in “i AIN’T BUYING iT: iT’S ON THE LIST” JAK Chat blog back in December of last year.  The fact is, she didn’t need one and now I’ve got a daughter, despite what I thought was in control, is holding a device that is out of my control, because I surrendered that control. Yah, I’ve got rules. Phone gets plugged in, in my room, every night. Well, that keeps her safe and detached, what, 8 hours? It’s not enough, momma.

We, as parents of children with cell/smart phones, need to snap into reality.  Our kids’ reality is half fantasy and half reality, and quite honestly, I think there is a bunch of grey as to where one ends and the other begins. As I write this entry, I am educating myself and diving in (duh) finally, into the world of #3’s iPhone.

Due to the fact that her phone is plugged in my room at night, I’ve been alerted to a ton of activity that goes on when the Herrmann family is (should be) in the midst of slumber. Her phone lights up anytime a text or phone call comes in. That thing flashes frequently enough, that I’ve taken to flipping it over. So what have a seen in the wee hours of the night? Mostly messages from apps, a random text from a friend, few phone calls mostly from numbers that don’t accept return phone calls, but, she’s even gotten rapid fire calls from her friend’s dad when her friend that was sleeping over wouldn’t answer her phone. Those calls came in just before 1:30am. No emergency, just checking in. Really? Yes, I confronted the dad and told him our no phone in the bedroom policy overnight. And by the way, if you need to reach someone in our house, at night, in an emergency, call me. Dork.

I know it’s not the worst thing you/she might ever see, but I took a screen shot of what I saw one morning on her phone (picture), a message from one of her apps called Modern Girl“Kevin: You look amazing in that outfit, babe. Come a little closer and let me show you how much I like it.” What? Yuck! You smarmo Kevin. “Stay away from my little girl” is what I am thinking.

So, one of my other supposed controls on her phone is that she is on my Apple account, meaning she can’t download apps without putting in my account’s email and password, the latter of which I haven’t given to her. So she’ll come to me (usually when I am in the middle of working) saying she wants to download an app and has it ready for me to type in my password and tap “download”.  And I’ll interrogate her briefly: “Is it free”? “What is it”? are my two standard questions, in that order. She reassures me it’s free and appropriate, and I usually give her the go ahead. Did you catch that? I trusted my 11 year old daughter to put on her mommy panties and decide whether an app is good for her or not.

I’ve got a lot to learn. And with a continuation of this entry next week, I am now accountable for doing so. It only took me what? Eight months to really try to figure out what’s going on. I’m scared.

To be continued…

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Much Ado About

Nothing & Something
by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann drawing a blank

Ladies and gentleman, I am drawing a blank. When I started this venture (Just Add Kids) some 4 years ago, I did and continue to tap into staying abreast of what I should do to stay at the cutting edge of online marketing. Oh, and pretty much from the get go, I kept hearing “write a blog” “you’ve got to have a blog” “you’ve got to up date your blog frequently”. So to force me into updating that blog, now known as JAK Chat, I figured, “Yes! Yes! I’ll introduce it each week in the JAK Happenings weekly e-newsletter.So here it is, peeps, your “introduction” to JAK’s weekly blog post. Welcome. Don’t know how it’ll wrap up. So much on my mind. Got ideas, yet, directionless on how I want to proceed. Read more….

Earlier this week I went to a great presentation, The Perfect Storm, as part of the Autism Solutions Pieces monthly Racine support group meeting and I wanted to write about it. Oh my gosh, I learned so much and there is so much to share. That’s the problem. Because there is so much, and I want to expound and deliver a great message. I just didn’t have the time to sit down and hammer it out.

Okay, then there are the kid celebrities that are just unnerving me as a mom…The Biebs, the star formerly known as Hannah Montana, sadly, I don’t even want to give her any more coverage, so I refuse to mention her by name. Yeah, I’m weird like that. Augh! Augh! Augh!

How about the oodles and oodles of new fragrances slapped with celebrities names on them: One Direction’s One Moment. O. Kay? Really? 5 dudes came up with a scent they all agreed on and want to spread their olfactory hotness to who? young girls? At a price of $49.50 for a 1.7 oz Eau de toilette?  Of course, Katy Perry has a new fragrance. Oh yeah, so does Rihanna. If your asking old mother Herrmann here, I’d say, stick with the music industry. These crossover celebs turned fragrance designers, in my opinion, just stink. Really, I don’t see any longevity in their fragrance brand. How’s that Gwen Stefani L L.A.M.B. fragrance doing? Haven’t heard of it? Doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Should we talk Obamacare or Affordable Care Act? I didn’t think so.

Okay, I’m going down the wrong road. It’s late and I’m getting crabby, so let’s switch gears. While I was driving home tonight from a school event I had attended, I was thinking about how fortunate I had been, especially recently, being the recipient of some random acts of kindness. So let’s quickly highlight some of those:

~For some reason, my mechanic decided not to charge me for a computer diagnostic test. $100. Yes, given to me for $0. Thank you, Chris!
~After a early evening outing, myself and my two younger kids wound up at agreeing on a fast food restaurant to hit for a quick dinner. Things weren’t especially challenging as we ordered at the counter, however, the order taker decided to comp my meal. Hmmm. Not sure if she’d be in trouble for that, but she said, “I’m just wanting to give a mom a break”. Wow!
~I got a complimentary teeth cleaning and booked totally cheap check ups and cleanings for the rest of the family. This is a special break, especially extended to me and mine. What the heck?!
~Final story, had to add some air to a low tire on my daughter’s car.  Confused as to how or if this air pump was even working, a nice young lady employee came out (it was freezing on Tuesday) of the station, popped 4 quarters in the pump, got down and filled that tire up to 32 psi’s. What a doll!

Well, I made it through.

For those of you who made it through this far…thanks for sticking it out with me. Sometimes you just have those days. This would be one of them.

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She Rocks in the Tree Tops All Day Long

Tweet Tweet Tweet: Rockin’ Mama peep
by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann


It’s been a long time coming. It has been several month’s since Just Add Kids awarded it’s first and last JAK Peep Award.
(see JAK Chat “This Chick is #1”)

Not that there aren’t so many many many moms (or other peeps) that I run across daily that are deserving of this highly honorable award, because, there are. There are just certain people that stick out because what they do makes an impact on others’ lives. And this lady ain’t no exception. In fact, she is exceptional! Read More…

This mom ain’t no stranger to Just Add Kids. If you’ve read recent blog posts here in JAK Chat, subscribe to our e-mails, or are a friend on Facebook, the likelihood of you running across her, or perhaps the fruits of her labor are pretty strong.

I only met Cindy Schultz, mother of 5, from Caledonia a short 6 months ago. And since then, we’ve probably been in touch every week, several times a week, if not several times a day, depending on what’s going on. And if you are in Cindy’s world, there is ALWAYS something going on. If I’d try to track her comings and goings, I’d be freaking exhausted.

To learn more about Cindy,  I am just going to connect you here with my previous articles:

You Had Me At…Hello! Meeting Cindy, Gavin & Rusty (August 1st)
Hang Tight: Taking Flight (September 26th)

Cindy Schultz JAK peep award Cindy Schultz with peep pic

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t share what she’s wanting you to know about…

The perfect storm

                “The wise old owl, the big black crow…
                                               Flappin’ their wings singing go bird go!”

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