Archive for December, 2013

That’s a Wrap, JAK!


I caved with buying #3 a celebrity fragrance

by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann

Oh lucky you! I am on holiday break with my kids for the next week and a half, so brief with today’s entry, I shall be.

Today I started going thru the numerous photos I took during my family Christmas celebrations. In an effort to fill this space I hope you don’t mind me sharing special moments with my kids, husband, siblings, inlaws and their families.

As I do that, I am struck by the words I’ve seen circulating around on Facebook. I’ve seen it before, yet, never does it ring truer than as I sit back and reminisce…Read more…

“You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow they’ll be a little older then they were today. This day is a gift. Just breathe, notice, study their faces and little feet. Pay Attention. Relish the charms of the PRESENT. Enjoy today, it will be over before you know it.”

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So, from this momma who has literally seen her 4 children’s feet grow in front of her eyes: Be still for a moment. Breathe in the family celebrations, as well as the normal events: your child falling asleep in your arms, eating cereal, coloring, blabbing in the backseat of the car, telling you about their school day…You get it. Relish in it.

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Merry Merry!


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Dough. Ray. Me!

A is for Appapp
by Just Add Kids, Founder
Paula Herrmann

Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A-B-C
(I am singing while I am typing out these words, lyrics to the song made famous by Maria and the von Trapp Children in the hit movie musical “The Sound of Music”)

So that is where I started in my quest to get to know #3 daughter’s handheld device. For those of you joining us for the first time, it’s a project that I’ve had hovering over my head and on the TO DO list if not for a month, since I caved and bought this Pandora’s Box…an iPhone for my daughter’s 11th birthday back in April.  Ready for the journey? Read more….

Like I said, I started with the apps that had been downloaded, mind you, only with my permission, as she has to have me type in my AppleID’s password to gain access to downloading. Honestly, they weren’t that bad.  And they really shouldn’t be, should they? I am the one typing in my password. I’ve just asked her, and with her “wise 11 year mature” opinion assures me they’re “good mom, really“. Looking at what she had only confirmed that she is so like me in many ways. She likes fashion and shop-like apps where she buys for her store, or bakery, and lures costumers in.  She likes trivia and music, and of course, Minecraft (like what kid over 7 doesn’t?)

Unfortunately, I did find something I explicitly told her she couldn’t have, and that was Snapchat. And guess what, Snapchat explicitly told her that she couldn’t have it either. In fact, in its Terms of Service is plainly states “persons under the age of 13 are prohibited from creating Snapchat accounts”. So I downloaded Snapchat on my phone, took a scolding selfie, and sent it her way. I wish I had that picture to share with you. Me in my velcro rollers and glasses and all. Thank goodness it evaporates within a few seconds of opening the picture message. And that’s part of the problem. The “evidence” if used inappropriately vanishes and there is no tracking on the phone. Good for sender, and perhaps recipient. Not so much for parents. It’s a potential breeding ground for sexters. I have NO idea how she was able to download it. Unless it was before I had heard about it and she gave me that reassuring “it’s good mom, really” and I gladly typed in my password approving the download. Geesh. She actually had to have typed in a bogus date of birth, knowing it was in violation of Snapchat’s terms. Intentional. Illegal. Sassy!

Another app I dug into was Instagram. An 11 year old with 252 followers and 826 that she is following. Really? Plus that, this was the 3rd account name I found traces of, later confirmed by her, that she had used. We really need to pare it down. Not really too thrilled with the anonymity of those that follow her and likewise who she follows. I don’t like the culture I see in her world of Instagram of “Like this (picture) and I’ll guarantee you X number of followers” or “follow the users below and help my friends reach their goal”. I don’t know, maybe I should use the latter in my work marketing. It just sounds so desperate.

Next, I went through her pictures. Now, this was an area that she is so UNLIKE me…only 16 pictures and 2 videos. I am thinking maybe she did go thru and delete some. Maybe not.

parental advisoryThen it was onto the music she had downloaded. Oh good grief, 72 songs and I got through 41 of them. 2 are coming off, for sure, those that had a Parental Advisory for Explicit Content badge on the accompanying album cover shot. There are another 11 songs that I am on the fence about.  Gosh, I just don’t like the content. I know what is being said. A couple of real dark or in my book, kinda raunchy, lyrics. Okay, I’ve just convinced myself they’re coming off. I listened, I accessed the lyrics, and got a headache on the way. I will painfully attack the balance. Augh!

Texting after 10pm BANNED. Even if it's a stupid app!

Mermaids, why must you text my daughter as mom tries to slumber? Not anymore!

Finally, I got into the phone’s Settings. I’m no dummy, neither am I a techie and as I go thru each option. I am overwhelmed with what a complicated, intricate device I am holding in my hands. It’s amazing and intimidating. I took care of the things I could understand, like location services and the banners, badges, alerts and sounds. I had mentioned in an earlier post that my daughter’s phone gets plugged into my room at night, and many times, I get an overnight light show. Her games are sending her messages during all hours of the night. WTH?

I still have a bit of work left to do. And for parents of newbie kid cell phone users, my bit of advice is to be in on it from the get go, before the task is too daunting and before any damage is done.

A friend had attended his child’s school that had a presenter that came and spoke on internet safety which includes smartphones, and other handheld devices. Here’s a resource for you (and me) to consider. {click to open}

While this post is complete. My job definitely is NOT! It ain’t easy being a parent of an 11 year old with a smartphone.

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Finding Jesus Live Nativity Scenes 2013

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Just Add Kids presents…HOLIDAY TOUR OF LIGHTS 2013

Holiday Tour of Lights 2013 poster

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All That Glitters Is

GreenKaisa madrigal 2013
by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann

Don’t envy me!
I have a date with a sparkly green iPhone that keeps getting delayed.

But before I get to that hovering subject matter, I must wish #2 a happy 17th birthday! ‘Tis the season for Herrmann family celebrations: uncle birthday, nephew birthday, Thanksgiving, #4 birthday, #2 birthday, Christmas, and all the holiday seasonings sprinkled in between, including The 37th Annual High Renaissance Feast. Note the festive garb!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

And speaking of green, we’ve got more Alexander Hamilton’s and Andrew Jackson’s flying out the window than coming in the door. You? Read more….

So today, instead of tackling this “high priority” project of sifting thru #3’s cell phone (now see #3, I Remember AND i Caved. i Regret.) I am writing about yet another child and her milestone….tomorrow’s 17th birthday. It’s only right. She deserves every last bit of my attention today. It ain’t easy being #2. Especially in this family. And especially because she’s been my easiest, smartest, albeit not perfect child, all attention needs to go her way. So off to a celebratory dinner we go!

Say now what happened with the investigation into #3’s iPhone besides #2’s birthday bump? Well, wouldn’t you know, she took the phone to school. She broke the rule. No cell phone goes to school, of course, with the exception of last week’s special mobile device fundraising day at school. What the heck?! I’m telling you this #3 kid is going to be the one to cause me increased greys and wrinkles. And yet again, it’s another excuse for not being the parent I need to be. How ironic that today would be that day that she took her phone, THAT DAY I had to get this project done in time for this scheduled blog posting. I couldn’t prioritize the iPhone project over #2’s birthday eve and blow off this evening night out till our next possible evening that we have nothing planned, 3 days after her special day, Monday.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney.

Thanks Walt. First thing in the morning.

In the spirit of #2’s role model, Uncle Si, “Happy, Happy , Happy, #2!”

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Winter Funk and all that Junk

 #4. Huh? Say What?

#4 hits double digits

#4 hits double digits

by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann

I must be losing it.
Actually, I know I’ve lost it.
My mojo.
My groove.
It happens.
Just not this early in the winter.

I think I know the culprit. It’s my family’s Read more… new school year schedule.

Um, Paula, it’s been 3 months now.  I know. I know.  For the last two years it had been 2 kids at one school and the other 2 at another. Just two schools. Starting times 2 hours apart. The flow was quite perfect. This year, not so much. Four kids. Four different schools with four different start times and end times. I just can’t seem to get the flow going.
Texting after 10pm BANNED. Even if it's a stupid app!

Texting after 10pm BANNED. Even if it’s a stupid app!

Okay, so how does this equate to making up another excuse for not getting the parental panties on when it comes to taking care of #3’s safety with the cell phone. Remember that? (well, embarrassingly, I have to bring it up. See  #3, iRemember and i Caved. i Regret.)  Today was the day my friends, and it couldn’t have started off any more perfectly. (See picture that screen captured last nights app messages. Puleeze parents, this is what is going on on our kiddos’ phones late at night)  iPhone 4s with the lovely sparkly green cover….”You. Me. We’re getting down to business!” I’m going to go through that phone, app by app. I’m going to find out what these downloads are all about.

Not so fast, momma pants…today the kids had some fundraising event at school. That if they paid a couple of bucks, they could listen to music on their device during parts of the school day. Of course, she had asked me for permission. I signed and paid for it. It was planned for today. Except for not on my calendar/radar. So, off to school went the phone. Mission: unaccomplished.

Well, thank goodness my youngest child’s birthday is today and it can get me off the hook (though only temporarily). Sonny boy, my baby, #4 turned 10 today. I couldn’t let this milestone just go by without paying homage to it/him. I actually felt a bit guilty have scheduled #3 in for the 3rd consecutive week of the JAK Chat blog and for goodness sakes, on #4’s special day. So perhaps it was to have turned out this way, anyway.

So the Mermaids and Modern Girl’s “Kevin” (boyfriend) and all other shaddy characters of the apps trapped on #3’s iPhone, you got a pass for today. Don’t worry, though, iAM coming to get you.

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