Archive for March, 2014

Get in THE ZONE!

Remembering. Rebuilding. Rewarding!Mitchell Middle School logo
Just Add Kids’ drive to supply Mitchell Middle School’s AfterZone
by Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann


I remember years ago as I was folding laundry in my first family home here in Racine. A typical Saturday.

I was flipping thru the channels and stopped when I happened upon a young group of kids performing music scenes from “Annie”. I was so impressed. The show was produced well, the kids did an amazing job, and I really liked the balloon arch that hovered overhead the kids on stage. First thought was that it was a dance studio from Chicago. I’m not sure why. The credits rolled at the end and I was intrigued to find out this was THE 1st grade annual performance at Jefferson Lighthouse Magnet School in Racine. As a soon to be dance mom, that show made a long-standing mark in my memory. Read more…

Fast-forward, 15 years maybe? My number 3 daughter decides she wants to move on from Stephen Bull Fine Arts Magnet School to Mitchell Fine Arts Middle School. She loves singing, dancing, acting. She enrolls in her school’s AfterZone’s Fine Arts Club, lead by non-other than that director of Jefferson’s former, famous 1st grade musical, one Mr. John Schuessler.

Well, as you all probably know, last month Mitchell Elementary School’s gym was destroyed in a fire which led to a lot of residual damage to both the elementary and middle school wings. The community stepped in and continues to step up with drives and fundraisers for Mitchell. Now it’s Just Add Kids’ turn!

At our upcoming Just Add Kids EXPO! next Saturday, April 5th being held at Case High School, we will be collecting for Mitchell Middle School’s AfterZone program which lost everything as a result of the fire. With the Fine Arts Club’s “Mitchell Goes to Broadway” show coming up on May 9th, they could really use gift cards to Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, and Menards to work on costumes, props and scenery. There is also a specific request for American Flags (hand-held). The kids got back into AfterZone this week after over 3 weeks of not rehearsing, and I am happy to announce, we will get a taste of that show right on our Main Stage at the EXPO! scheduled to perform at 11:30am. UPDATE: It’s SHOWBIZ FOLKS, AND IT SEEMS AS THOUGH THE GROUP IS NOT READY AS OF 4/1…THIS AIN’T NO JOKE ! Stay tuned. We may be regrouping!

Fashion Doers Racine Unified Mitchell Middle School pic 3 Fashion Doers Racine Unified Mitchell Middle School pic 5 Kids Kafe Racine Unified Mitchell Middle School pic

Additional losses were incurred by Mitchell Middle School’s Fashion Doers (a fashion design/creation) AfterZone program. Items needed to supply this program again are gift cards to Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby and Target. There is also a specific request for Prismacolor pencils, sewing supplies such as scissors and thread, as well as, sewing machines.

Finally, and I am getting some of this information piece-meal, the AfterZone’s Kids Kafe’ Class could use grocery store gift cards. There is also a request for furniture for repurposing. I’ll get the lowdown on that class! Sounds fun, yet they need project items, obviously. UPDATE 4/1: THE INSTRUCTOR FOR THIS PROGRAM IS NOW HAVING THE KIDS WORK ON SET DESIGN FOR FINE ARTS CLUB’S “Mitchell Goes to Broadway” show 

So, to recap, here is a list in a list format of donation items needed for Mitchell Middle Schools AfterZone program (click to pop open a PDF for printing)

AfterZone Logo Racine Unified School District (2)Mitchell Middle School AfterZone Donation Drive 04.01

Thank you so much for your anticipated concern and generosity. Donation boxes at the EXPO! to collect these items are graciously provided by Racine’s own Merchants Moving & Storage. If you wish to enclose your gift card with a note to the kids that would be so wonderfully heartfelt and appreciated, I am sure.  Name is optional, yet, I’m thinking I’d like to compile a THANK YOU follow-up on this blog’s wall, so it’s your call!

I may be updating this list and will post update alerts on Facebook, Twitter, and probably in our JAK Happenings weekly e-newsletter next week.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions via email at


If this is a good fit for you and if the desire to participate stirs you, consider supporting Mitchell Middle School AfterZone Fine Arts Club’s “Mitchell Goes to Broadway”  by advertising in their program.
This musical production will take place at Mitchell Middles School on the evening of Friday, May 9th.  A confirmation of the time is forthcoming.


Mitchell Middle School Fine Arts Club musical playbill ad request 04.2014










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Self. Service. Smile.

Say No To Bad Selfies! : )Pixologie Your Story Matters Logo
Sponsored by Pixologie, Inc. 

We love, love photos at Pixologie!

So, my friend, Paula at Just Add Kids, was telling me about how her kids use her smartphone to take many “selfies.” When she mentioned that, I groaned. (Okay, we don’t love all photos.) Her biggest problem (besides her kids just using the phone) was something like, “Well, how can I delete them?” Admittedly, some of her kids’ “selfies” were adorable, but most of the selfies, in my humble opinion, just needed to be trashed.

I am going to make a categorical statement in my life, “Say No To Selfies.” (hashtag is #saynotobadselfies). After talking with Paula and her assistant, Theresa, we came to the following conclusions:

  • Selfies clutter our phones.
  • Selfies, while fun in the moment,tend to desensitize children and teenagers and really seem, at a deeper level, a form of self-disrespect. Consider the headline in a recent New York Times article, “With Some Selfies, the Uglier the Better.” See the link below as it provides an interesting perspective on selfies. I’m not sure how I feel about it all.
  • They can take away the innocence of a teenager – first, it’s a goofy face; next – a provocative look; then – a daring cleavage shot; and in too many instances – a bikini selfie and worse

Here’s a beautiful selfie of Co-Founder Ann Matuszak’s daughter – who happens to also love photos! (However, this gem of a selfie was found among many, many other goofy selfies!)

Having said all of that, there are some “selfies” that are amazingly awesome. So, after further reflection, I can’t say no to them all, just the bad ones. Selfies can catch a moment in a special, ethereal, way – such as at a wedding – or at the Academy Awards like Ellen did with the most tweeted ever photo!


Related to the selfie dilemma, Pixologie and Just Add Kids is offering this class to anyone with too many photos on their phone.

Get Your Photos Off Your Phone!

Pixologie Studio at The Gathering in Oak Creek

8825 South Howell Avenue, Suite 102

Register at:


Check Out: Just Add Kids –

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At Your Service

For Those “In” Service… 
It’s We Care Packs             

My name is Katie Pollock, I am a ninth grade student at Tremper High School in Kenosha, WI. I am working on a community service project. It began when I was in the seventh grade looking for a community service project for National Junior Honor Society and it has continued on since then. My mom’s coworker has a son who was critically wounded while serving our country. We discussed the need to support our troops, so I decided to work on collecting items to send to the soldiers that they can use for daily life. These items are put into care packages to be sent to them in Afghanistan. They include things like: tea, books, lotion, cookies, candy, soap, dental care items, socks, etc. In order to receive these products for the packages, I reach out to companies and ask for donations. We also have had donation drives.   Read more…

Once we get enough products we have a “packing party”.  At these packing parties the products are laid out and each person(youth and adults) go through the line and fill a box.

We Care Packs 2 We Care Packs 3

We Care Packs 4

Each care package costs about $13.75 to mail. To raise money we have been selling Fannie May chocolate bars for a dollar each. We sell them at flea markets, expos, Veterans Day Ceremonies and put a box out at a few businesses.

We Care Packs 5 We Care Packs 6

We Care Packs 7

Ways people can help:

* Organize a collection drive
* Organize a Jean Day in their department at work to raise funds for postage
* Reaching out to any teachers you know to get letters/drawing from school kids to be put into the packages (they really like these)
* Spreading the word about our web site
* Stop by our table at the Just Add Kids EXPO! to sign a card which will go into a care package or buy a candy bar

These care packages have been made possible by the generous donations of many companies and people. 100% of everything received goes directly to the Deployed Soldiers.


See our website at:

Email me at:

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Thinkin’ Spring, Hmmm?

Spring Break!
(Updated 6/10/2014)             

Written by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann


Not on your way to Phoenix or Florida or somewhere else south where your face won’t freeze? Nah, me neither. It’s spring break for a great number of us, and I’m sure like some of you, traveling far far away just wasn’t in the cards for me and my family. C’mon and give a big “boo hoo” with me.

Well, dang it, we’ve got 40’s in our future, and just because I’m stuck here in good ‘ole Southeastern Wisconsin, doesn’t mean I can’t get escape the cold. Come with me as I share some options…Read more….

I’m not going to overwhelm you, or myself. I’ve got to work most of the next coming week, yet I am going to break away.  So, here are 3 unique ideas, I think!

The first thing that pops into my mind is warmth and water….Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark! Located in Lake Geneva, our destination is probably an hour or less away from any one of us. You can stay for the day, or spend the day and night (or a couple of them) on site. Day passes for the 50,000 square foot waterpark are now available, as in year’s past, they were not. And get this, pay just $109 and you get 5 waterpark passes, and a hotel suite to boot for the day (based on availability). I like the idea of changing, eating, chillin’ (no, not freezing…relaxing!) in the privacy of your own family suite. Click here for details. However, if you want to spend the night, you must check out this Just Add Kids EXCLUSIVE overnight offer, with rates starting at $99 per night.

Next on my mind for a mini escape? The Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee. There are 3 glass beehive shaped domes: the Desert, Tropical, and Floral Show domes that have a distinct climate and exhibit plants in a naturalistic setting. During this time, the Desert Dome is presently closed for maintenance, however, should be open in a few weeks….dang! However, I can fulfill my desire for humidity by visiting and taking in the beauty of the Tropical Dome. Ahhhh! And currently on display in the Floral Show Dome is the Gas Lamp Express: Garden Train Show where G-scale trains wind their way along 600 feet of track though a Victorian landscape, in celebration of the industrialized world in the age of steam-powered technology. I’m so there….kiddos in tow.  The Domes are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m.–4 p.m.  Admission ranges from $4.50 – $7. This Sunday, you can enjoy a slice of Ireland with your family at Irish Family Day and experience dancing, music, demonstrations, displays, arts, crafts, activities, and food! Click here to visit the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) webpage.

How about some indoor action? Gotta keep moving to keep warm, right? We’re not getting too far over forty! There are a number of indoor activity centers for families with kids of all ages. Here’s a list:

America’s Action Territory – (Kenosha) A wide choice of indoor and outdoor attractions, games and food selections. Indoor options are: arcade, bumper cars, BallOCity, laser tag, and The Heist.
Monkey Joe’s – (Kenosha and Waukesha) Children’s party and play destinations with 9 giant inflatable jumps and slides perfect for children 12 and younger includes the Mini Monkey Zone area for children ages 3 and younger.
Chasing Tales for Kids – (updated 6/10/2014 OPENING 6/21/2014) -(Oak Creek)  An indoor playground that offers both recreational and educational experiences for young children. Available for free play, birthday party hosting, story time, and special events.
Lotza Fun Room – (Muskego) Exciting play experience for children ages 5 and under.  We offer a clean and safe playroom with a variety of different toys and activities for children to enjoy.
Bounce Realm – (Greenfield) Indoor Party and Play Center for children 12 and under. Inflatable party place, playground,  arcade and movie theater.
Family Tree Haus -(Franklin) Indoor playground for children up to 10 years old.
JumpZone – (Franklin) Party and Play Center which features massive, themed inflatable slides, obstacle courses and bounce houses kids love, interactive games, toddler activities and more.
Up Up & Play (updated 6/10/2014 CLOSED) – (Bay View) Indoor playground and learning space. A place for imagination to run wild and kids to run free.
Bounce Milwaukee – (Milwaukee) Inflatable sports arena, laser tag, rock climbing, obstacle courses and much more!
The Big Backyard, LLC – (New Berlin) An indoor playground and birthday party center that provides a fun, clean, and safe place for children ages 0-8 to play, celebrate special events, and learn through our enrichment opportunities.
Helium Trampoline Park – (New Berlin) Features 140 trampolines with Open Jump All Day Everyday!
Kids In Motion – (New Berlin) Open Play area for toddlers/preschoolers, laser tag for ages 5 and older, arts and crafts, and cafeteria.
StoneFire Pizza Company – (New Berlin) A state of the art arcade area with touchscreen arcades, classic pinball, and old standbys like skee-ball; bumper cars, mini-bowling, multi-level BallOCity, Frog Hopper ride, candy store, buffet & sports bar!
Sky Zone Milwaukee – (Waukesha) Indoor trampoline park offering active fun for all ages.

UPDATE 6/10/2014….make sure to check this week’s JAK Chat blog being published on Thursday, June 12th for additional list of options including rec centers such as bowling alleys, gymnastic clubs, and more!

So, do you think you can getaway? I hope so!
Think Spring!

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