Archive for January, 2014

Oh, Snap!

A Memory Crisis . . . 
Avert Yours in Advance!            
Sponsored by Pixologie, Inc. 

It happened on December 1, last year . . . nearly two months ago. I lost my iPhone and, even today, I have the sinking feeling of sadness and dread over this. It is not because of the money I paid for the phone, or the frustration of having to figure out how to get a replacement, or the time invested into apps that I may or not even get again.

I miss my family photos on it.

We had a very unique and special Thanksgiving weekend (just five days before I lost the darn thing.) I was heartsick that I hadn’t uploaded the photos anywhere – including the memories of our family celebrating Thanksgiving in a new place with very special family, spending time together at a Christmas tree farm where my 12 year old daughter was able to take the reins of a four horse wagon ride, the special times working on crafts with family friends and so much more. Read more…

I just knew I was going to remember some other photo that I lost . . . and this past weekend it hit me. I had the MOST awesome video of my seven year old son dancing his heart out at a birthday party we attended earlier in November. He was this crazy, wild, full of life dancer doing moves I never expected and would never even do myself! The video is gone as well and, for the first time, I had actual tears over losing my phone.
lost-mobile-phoneWhile I cope with this loss (and, I well understand, there are so many things worse that can happen in life), what really bugs me is . . . I should have known better. Smart phones, these days, have so many ways for a person to back up their photos. (iCloud, upload to my computer, Facebook would even have saved me here!)

At Pixologie, we don’t want anyone to ever go through this situation; avert the crisis in advance! If you lose you photos, you may never remember all the stories that go with the photos.

Make a plan on how your photos on your phone will be recovered if you should ever lose the phone or severely damage it where you can’t access your photos/videos.

Message us if you need help with this ( . . and in the meantime, I’ll keep reliving those moments in my heart.

(414) 690-0791

Leave a comment »

On ‘n Off Campus

Considering Online Public School?Wisconsin Virtual Academy logo
Sponsored by
Wisconsin Virtual Academy
 A tuition-free, online public school option for grades K-12

Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA), authorized by the McFarland School District, is a full-time, tuition-free, online public school option for students in grades K-12 living anywhere in the state of Wisconsin. We are proud to partner with K12 – America’s K–12 online education leader. We offer individualized instruction, live online class sessions taught by Wisconsin-licensed teachers, dedicated school staff, advisors, and counselors, face-to-face social outings, parent support, national online clubs, and much more!

The key is our individualized approach, which makes the most of each child’s potential. In K–8, students can set the pace to their learning day, guided by highly qualified teachers. In high school, teens have a wealth of academic choices, including AP levels. Plus, there are field trips and clubs all the way to graduation.

WIVA uses the award-winning K¹² curriculum that incorporates everything from engaging audio, video, and illustrations to animated demonstrations and learning games. Each course is designed to be online from the outset and subject matter is carefully sequenced so that, from one grade to the next, students build new knowledge upon the strong foundations of what they’ve already learned.

Wisconsin Virtual Academy home shot pic for email 01.23.2014To address a variety of learning styles, K12 integrates hands-on materials with online lessons—books, math manipulatives, maps, art supplies, and more, particularly in early grades. Plus, mastery based assessments are built right into the K–8 curriculum, to confirm students’ understanding of material. All course content meets or exceeds state and national standards.

It all comes together in the Online School (OLS), where students can log in to their daily lessons, submit assignments, join a live web class, or reach out to their teachers for extra help. Easy-to-use planning and communication tools in the OLS let parents adjust scheduling, monitor progress, and stay in control.

All of WIVA’s online teachers are Wisconsin-licensed and forge strong partnerships with parents. They manage all facets of the instructional process, regularly communicating with you and your student via e-mail, phone calls, and online meetings.

WIVA also offers plenty of extracurricular activities of its own. Some of these opportunities are hosted online through our secure web-based meeting tool. Others take place face-to-face, including regular field trips to exciting locations like museums, parks, and zoos. Plus, teens can enjoy prom, and even a graduation ceremony.

View the Top 5 Ways to Know If Your Family Will Thrive at an Online School.
WIVA_FB_2_Top5_FamilyWillThrive (2)

The Wisconsin 2014-2015 Open Enrollment window is
February 3rd – April 30th, 2014
Learn more at an upcoming information session in your area.

Mount Pleasant Information Session               Kenosha Information Session

Friday, January 31st, 2014                                   Thursday, February 13th, 2014

5:00pm – 7:00pm                                               5:30pm – 7:00pm

The Lanes                                                          Caleo Coffeehouse

6501 Washington Avenue                                    2324 18th Street, Suite F

Mount Pleasant, WI 53406                                   Kenosha, WI 53140

We also have online sessions you can attend from your own home. For event details and to register visit or call our enrollment team at 866.339.9912.

Leave a comment »


Kindness: It’s What’s For Breakfast

Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968

Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968

by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann  

Nineteen sixty-four marks a year of historical importance. Dare I disclose, it’s the year of my birth. If you do the math, you know what milestone birthday I will be celebrating in 2014. But more importantly, 1964 is the year that congress passed the Civil Rights Act.

I am not much of a history buff, due in part, to a lack of interest. Yah, slap me! Though it seems the older I get, the more interested I get.  As a resource for you parents, and for myself as a mom, perhaps it’s time to put those “what’s all the hubbub about MLK day, anyway?” panties on and re-educate myself. I mean, I know I had to have learned about it in elementary school, right? And the fact that this day, the third month of January, is an annual federal holiday must mean it’s of historical, and more importantly, societal significance. Right? So here goes, JAK’s MLK 101  Read more in JAK Chat…

So, I’m going to cheat a bit. Because sometimes, other resources can tell the story better with visuals and with fewer words. Here is a great video that you and your children (as will be mine) can view to learn more as to why they get Monday off of school. (I say that knowing it’s not the case at all schools/districts).

So, besides finding childcare, having the day off from work yourself, or just another day in the life of…does the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. deserve more of your  attention (and mine, too)?

While it’s been 28 years since this relatively new federal holiday was enacted, there are few long standing traditions. During these past few years of Just Add Kids’ existence, year after year, we’ve plugged different southeastern Wisconsin events related to MLK Day. There aren’t a ton of them, at the same time our community of Kenosha is a hotbed of collaboration bringing the virtue of “kindness” to the forefront. It is simply called “Kindness Week” and it annually coincides, perhaps was inspired by Martin Luther King/Martin Luther King Day.

In its 18th year, as described on Kenosha Community Foundation, one of the event sponsor’s Facebook event page, “Kindness Week was launched in 1997 by the late Rev. Olen Arrington Jr. and his congregation at Kenosha’s Second Baptist Church”. “Presently, the weeklong series of events is sponsored by the Coalition for Dismantling  Racism – a group of volunteers from across the Kenosha community. Kindness Week includes many community activities and also engages students in the Kenosha Unified School District in learning about tolerance, diversity, and community connections.”  Just Add Kids has listed, and prefaced those events “Kenosha Kindness Week” on our website’s calendar. Traditionally, the weeklong celebration kicks off with the Community Unity Breakfast Celebration at Bradford High School this Saturday morning, January 18th, and wraps up with the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program which includes dinner at the United Auto Workers Union Local #72 Headquarters next Saturday, January 25th.  Yay! Kenosha for your robust endeavor!

Others see it as a day to promote equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their background. Some educational establishments mark the day by teaching their pupils or students about the work of Martin Luther King and the struggle against racial segregation and racism. More recently, there seems to be a movement to encourage Americans to give some of their time on this day as volunteers in citizen action groups, as evident with the Milwaukee YMCA’s sponsored day of service, this Monday, making the holiday a day “on” instead of a day “off”.

The “legal” right to equality for all regardless of  race, color, religion, sex or national didn’t come easy.  And we as a society today, it seems, still have got to be reminded of that, just by the very existence of the organization mentioned above (Coalition for Dismantling Racism). Strange in a way, wouldn’t you say?

I can’t imagine living in a time when black and white people had to use separate bathrooms, go to different schools, sit in designated areas on a bus set apart from each other. Now again, this was the norm in the U.S. just right before I was born. I had challenged myself to delve deeper into Martin Luther King Jr. and the reason for this upcoming holiday in part to have a relevant subject and content for JAK’s weekly blog post. And now, I think it’s important to take time with my kids at the dinner (or breakfast!) table to dialog about it. Knowing my kids, I probably have underestimated what they know. I’ll ask them what they’ve talked about in school regarding Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights. And quite honestly, I am interested in knowing more. (I am going to listen to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in it’s entirety).

Reading and writing are, no doubt, important. Yet, the way we treat each other defines who we are as individuals. I have a dream to raise kind, respectful, loving, compassionate, courageous kids. And my goal is to instill a personal moral compass in each child that motivates them to behave with honor and to care for others.  I too, like Martin Luther King will press hard.

Leave a comment »

Chill In (and Out!)

Cabin Fever  Family Activity Survival Guide
compiled by Paula Herrmann, Founder
Just Add Kids

It’s Polar Vortex Part Deax.  Once again, we’re trapped in our homes due to the subzero temps. So let’s tap into some of the ideas posted out there on the social media sites and those activities we have access to and are good fallbacks in good and bad weather.  Although pretty cool, after PVI, I hope not to see another video of water being thrown into the air for awhile!

Just Add Kids Cabin Fever Family Activity Guide with JAK logo (2)

1) Make Water balloon Ice Marbles. Needed: latex balloons, food coloring, kitchen tap water, snow bank!
No School balloons (2)

2) Blow bubbles into the chilly air. Heated up your bubble solution so that it’s warm or even hot to the touch. Blow several bubbles into the frigid, sub-freezing air. Catch with a wand if you can and watch it turn into a crystal fragile ball.  Needed: store bought bubbles or home concoction.

3) Make snow!  Throwing boiling water (away from you/downwind) into the frigid subzero dry air will cause it to evaporate almost instantly. Needed: pot, water, stove!

4) Freeze your shirt! Wash/wet & ring out a shirt, hang on a hanger outside in the bitter cold. It’ll freeze in a very short period of time! Hey, that’s a cool shirt you’ve got there.

5) Make a sofa-fort!
sofa fort

6) Bake cookies! Your recipe. Great activity you can do with peeps ages toddler thru teen. Feed the stomach, warm up the house! Success!
cookies peeps (2)

7) Cozy up together and watch a movie! Dig into your old VHS’s and share your childhood favs, if you can. Nothing is better than some of the classics. (see new posting, #11)

8) Puzzletime! Sometimes attacking a 500 piece puzzle can be daunting, but once you get into it, it’s addicting. “Let’s-a go, little guys!”
puzzle mario

9) Ice Face, Baby! Finger drawing in frozen or moisture laden windows brings back so many memories of winter rides on the school bus. Is that JAK?
ice face baby

10) Snow Bath! Too cold for the kiddos to play in the yard? Well, bring the snow inside. Use your tub! Make a snowman, a snow fort, have fun. Dress appropriately….coat, snow pants, boots, and mittens are still necessary.

photo credit: ABC7 Chicago

photo credit: ABC7 Chicago

11) Watch FROZEN for free! Got 125 minutes to fill? It’s PG and free. Pop the corn, snuggle up, and enjoy. Here’s the link:

Frostbit? Watch The Nut Job, instead….(PG, 1 hour 26 minutes) Here’s the link:
The Nut Job

12) Lego Ninjago Snakedown in the snow (in the bathroom)! Or of course, substitute with Lego Friends, or Polly Pockets, or Littlest Pet Shop, etc.!
Max playing Ninjago in the snow 2 Max playing Ninjago in the snow


We’ll add more ideas to this list. We encourage any freaking awesome feedback from YOU! You can comment or email JAK at

Comments (1) »

Chill Out (and In)!

Snow Much Fun!sledding
by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann  

Snow much? In my neck of the woods, wowza!

Now that we have the holidays behind us, we can’t ignore the fact that there are plenty of cold, winter days ahead. Fill those days in with some seasonal fun before that spring sun melts all of the white fluffy stuff.

Just Add Kids has put together Snow Much Fun! It’s a skating/sledding/skiing destination guide for Racine, Kenosha and surrounding communities. Read more…

Snow Much Fun tile ad logo

Echo Lake, Burlington (595 Milwaukee Avenue) – Stairs to the lake, pavilion, benches, outdoor portable restroom. – Free.
Devor Park, Burlington (394 Amanda Street) – Free.
Frozen Fairway Skating Rink @ Twin Lakes Country Club (1230 Legion Drive) – Open Friday – Sunday (weather contingent) from 10:00am – 8:00pm.  The cost is $5.00 daily or $20 unlimited. Skate rental is available.  Free skating for all Twin Lakes Country Club Members and Junior Golf Members.  Call 262-877-8500 for more info, or visit
Milwaukee County Parks (various) – Many of the rinks have warming houses. Warming house hours vary. – Free. Call 414-257-7275 for more info, or visit
Slice of Ice in Red Arrow Park, Milwaukee (920 N. Water Street) – Refrigerated oval is open  through February (or March if the weather allows) – even in temperatures as high as 50 degrees! – Free. Skate rental available: Age 17 & under $7/pair and Age 18 & up $8/pair. See website for hours. Call 414-289-8791 for more info, or visit

Beverly-Jo Park, Burlington (367 Dunford Drive) – Free.
Camp MacLean, Burlington (31401 Durand Avenue) – Public Tobogganing is open to the public Sundays from 12:30 until 5:00pm in January and February. Cost per guest ages 3-5years is $3.75, ages 6+ is $6.25. Price includes use of toboggans & sleds, use of the warming house, bathroom facilities, and cocoa.  All people coming to camp must pay fee—even if not sledding or tobogganing.  All children 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Call 262-763-7742 for more info, or visit
Devor Park aka “Water Tower Hill”, Burlington
(394 Amanda Street) – Public popular hill by Cooper School. – Free.
Fox River Park, Salem
(9521 304th Avenue) – Bermed sled slide, which provides a long and exhilarating run (weather permitting). Artificial lighting allows night use of this popular sledding facility. – Free.
Greene Park, St. Francis (4235 S Lipton Avenue) – Free.
Hales Corners Park, Hales Corners
(5765 S. New Berlin Road) – Free.
Humboldt Park, Milwaukee (3000 S. Howell Avenue) – Free. Lighted daily from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Johnson Park, Racine (6200 Northwestern Avenue)
Lincoln Park, Kenosha (7010 22nd Avenue) – Free.
Lockwood Park, Racine
(4300 Graceland Boulevard) – Free.
Lowell Park, Waukesha (2201 Michigan Avenue) – 2 wooden toboggan runs with park shelter/warming house. General public hours of operation are Saturdays and Sundays 12noon-4pm. Bring your own toboggan/daily chute pass $9/day. Toboggan rental is an additional $10/per with valid driver’s license or $60 deposit. Read more:
Paddock Lake
(On Highway 50 near Hwy 83/75 intersection) Hill is between Central High School and the church to the west. Hill goes from parking lot of church down into the Central HS soccer fields. – Free
Park High School Bowl, Racine (1901 12th Street) – Recommended for older kids. Free.
Petrifying Springs, Kenosha (4909 7th Street) – Free.
Reservoir Park, Racine
(4400 Maryland Avenue) – Free.
Shoop Park, Wind Point/Racine
(4510 Lighthouse Drive) – Free.
Behind Shopko/Kenosha (5300 52nd Street) – Free.
St. Peter’s Park Detention Bowl/Kenosha (2152 30th Avenue) – Free.
Steinhoff Park, Burlington (833 Cedar Drive) – Free.
The Rock Sports Complex, Franklin (7900 W. Crystal Ridge Drive) – Daily sessions for snow tubing. Tube rental is $20 per tube. Weeknights Monday through Thursday 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. – unlimited; Weekends Friday through Sunday and Holidays 2 hour sessions.  Call 414-529-7676 for more info, or visit
Washington Park, Kenosha
(1901 Washington Road) – Free.
Washington Park Municipal Golf Course, Kenosha (2205 Washington Road) – Free.
Wilmot Mountain, Wilmot
(11931 Fox River Road) – The tubing facility features 20 lanes for tubing and a state of the art covered conveyor lift. Snow tubing hill is for ages 5 and older. Brand new lodge features ticket sales, rental items, food, drinks, restrooms and more! Prices and hours vary. Call 262-862-2301 for more info, or visit
Whitnall Park, Franklin
(5879 S. 92 Street) – Free.
Wilson Recreation, Milwaukee (4001 S. 20 Street) – Free. Lighted daily from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Pringle Nature Center at Bristol Woods County Park, Bristol (9800 – 160th Avenue) Cross-country (bring your own) – Free. Call (262) 857-8008 for more info, or visit
Richard Bong State Recreation Area, Kansasville (26313 Burlington Road) Cross-country (bring your own). Vehicle admission sticker required to enter rec area.  Call (262) 878-5600 for more info, or visit
River Bend Nature Center, Racine (3600 N. Green Bay Road) – Free. Cross-country skis available for rent for $5.00/hour. Call (262) 639-1515 for more info, or visit
The Rock Sports Complex, Franklin (7900 W. Crystal Ridge Drive) – Daily hours for downhill skiing and snowboarding. Admission $30, children 6 and under complimentary admission with purchase of adult/child ticket (limit one per adult/child). Ski & snowboard rental is $30. Call 414-529-7676 for more info, or visit
Washington Park Municipal Golf Course, Kenosha
(2205 Washington Road) Cross-country (bring your own) – Free.
Whitnall Park, Franklin (5879 S. 92 Street) – Free. Saturday, between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, between noon and 6 p.m. Cross-country ski rentals available for $25 per pair for same day, $30 per pair for 24 hours, $100 per pair for weekly rental. Call (414) 525-4765 for more info, or visit
Wilmot Mountain, Wilmot
(11931 Fox River Road) – The facility features 25 unique runs with varied terrain for all skiers and snowboarders.  Lift ticket prices and hours vary. Ski and/or snowboard equipment rentals available and vary. Call 262-862-2301 for more info, or visit

Pringle Nature Center, Bristol (9800 – 160th Avenue) Tuesday – Saturday, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and Sunday, between noon and 3:00 p.m. – Free.  Snowshoes available for rent $5.00 per pair/Friend of Pringle Member. Call (262) 857-8008 for more info, or visit
Richard Bong State Recreation Area, Kansasville
(26313 Burlington Road) Bring your own snowshoes. Vehicle admission sticker required to enter rec area.  Call (262) 878-5600 for more info, or visit
River Bend Nature Center, Racine
(3600 N. Green Bay Road) – Free.  Snowshoes available for rent for $5.00/hour. Call (262) 639-1515 for more info, or visit
Whitnall Park, Franklin
(5879 S. 92 Street) – Free. Saturday, between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, between noon and 6 p.m. Snowshoe rentals $15 per pair for same day, $20 per pair for 24 hours, $50 per pair for weekly rental. Call (414) 525-4765 for more info, or visit

Favorite destination not listed above?
Be a buddy and share that with JAK and friends. You can post as a comment here, or email us at

Leave a comment »