Archive for August, 2015

Preview 4 U!

4 BTS: What She Said!Sozo 4
by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann

Where’d ya go, summer?  That’s what’s probably top of mind with the majority of us moms here in SE Wisconsin, prompted in part, by the cloudy skies and cool breezes of the week. Yet, for a large number of us it’s all about BTS (Back to School!). My head spins as in my typical fashion, I’m just starting to prepare and wrap my head around the fact that our family schedule is going to dramatically change, starting Monday evening, August 31st. Hello! That’s only 4 days away.

I know there’s a nice chunk of you that are already in the mode as your kiddos have started their 2015-16 school year. How’s it going?! Surviving the transition? Read more…

Thank goodness for friends and social media to set me (and a plethora of others) straight on the path ahead.  Here are 4 timely pieces of advice, compliments of Mary!

Back to school reminders Mary Pucci“Back to school reminders for me (repeat 10 times), but posted publicly for my RUSD friends…:-)

1) The kids don’t need every school supply the first day! If your child has a notebook/folder for each class and some pens/pencils, it will be sufficient for the first week. Also, all of the extra supplies requested (copy paper, wipes, tissues, paper towels, ziplocs etc) can be brought in when the stash is running low. Send a note to your child’s teacher that you are happy to send that stuff midway through the year (but don’t forget!). She/he most likely has limited storage anyway…

2) The first couple of weeks of school will still be summer weather! Most schools are hot because of no air conditioning. Your kids don’t need brand spankin’ new fall clothes on the first day of school. Have them continue to wear their summer stuff until the weather changes! The fall stuff goes on sale in a couple of weeks. (I get that some kids want a little something new for the first day of school, but does it have to be a full price item? Get them a clearance priced summer item… ).

3) Breathe… the kids sense our stress. Back to school time should be fun and exciting. Focus on things they can look forward to, not everything we *have to do* beforehand.

4) But, DO get back on school sleeping schedule stat. Kids will have a rude awakening if they are dealing with a 3 or more hour swing… 🙂

Sending y’all a Back to School hug xo”

Do I sense a serious sigh?

Any other words of wisdom?

Well, I’m breathing easier and am grateful that our first two weeks of the new school year will allow for an easier transition with back to back 4 day weeks (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) and off on Monday. Ahhhhh.Annabel's first day of school pic tilted

What a treat it is also, seeing the “First Day of School” pics, and in more recent years, the creative approach to memorializing this annual milestone. Say “Cheese”,  kiddos. Look happy!

I’d like to share with you a collection of picture ideas. Check out Just Add Kids “Back-to-School” ‪#‎Pinterest‬ Board for some great “First Day of School” picture ideas!



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Higher Expectations

Find Out What IT Means to Me!Grams and Max May 2015 (2)
by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann

“Look your grandfather in the eye when he’s talking to you” is something I find myself reminding my son, time and again.

My kids don’t have a rebellious nature, so thankfully even after reminded direction and correction, they typically oblige (maybe with an eyeball roll or shoulder drop).

Kids are kids and they only learn what they are taught. And I, as their mother, am the most important teacher. Read more…

I am grateful I had a good upbringing. I know that my parents instilled in me to strive to be excellent, have integrity, and be respectful.

What does it mean to “strive to be excellent”? It doesn’t mean pounding the crap out of someone to win the game, or having the standard of perfection. Making an effort use your individual God-given talents, abilities, and skills in the best way possible by giving that little extra. Being “excellent” is a way of thinking/feeling and your approach to situations. Not a one of my kids is like the other, their strive for excellence is as individual as they are, and it’s noticeable.

What do I have to say about integrity? I don’t know who authored this, but the quote “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking” is where I’m coming from. What do you do if you run across a backpack someone forgot in the gym that has an iPhone, some cash, and some awesome jewelry? You fling the car door open and it makes a visible dent? How do you handle that situation? Or in other cases, you are in clear sight of others. Someone walking in front of you drops a box they’re carrying and the contents fall all over the place. Do you acknowledge it and assist in the pick up? Or do you walk by? Living with intentional integrity is powerful. It makes for a better world in a subtle way.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Have respect for others. Respect adults. Respect teachers. Respect differences of opinions. Respect other’s beliefs and traditions. Respect authority. Have respect for yourself.

Actions speak louder than wordsNow, did my parents sit me down and say, “Listen Paula, you have to be excellent, have integrity, and be respectful because blah blah blah”  and expect me to just do it because they said so. Of course not! They lived, acted, behaved, responded, and honestly demonstrated. It was/is their way of life. I believe it is the way their parents taught them to be, again, not necessarily just by words, but by example.

So as I direct my kids to look into the eyes of the person they are communicating with, I had better be doing it, too. Here goes…I’m all eyes, have you got something to add or wanna get in on the conversation?

eyes lashes eyes opened

Yes, those are the fiber lashes. And no, I don’t sell them. I can hook you up, though!

Comments welcomed.
What virtues, morals, standards are important for you to teach your children?
My eyes are on YOU! And GO! ==>

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OMG, peeps.

For the Love of God…
by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann

I’ve gone back and forth as to whether or not I should write about, broach the subject. I feel like it’s none of my business, then I think I have a responsibility.

I don’t feel like it’s fair. I feel guilty.  At the same time that I am having a fun and making memories with my kids, my hubs, my BFF and her daughter (my daughter’s BFF); another mom not so far away is grieving. Read more…

I am talking about the 13 year old Caledonia girl who got hit by a drunk and drugged driver this past Sunday. It’s just so absolutely senseless. Innocence gone, in a blink of an eye, due to the incredibly POOR judgment of another.

I didn’t learn about the accident, I don’t think, until late that night after a long day spent with the group mentioned above. First, going to church in the morning; then, visiting my dad in the hospital; and finally, wrapping it up with an unplanned, defaulted visit to a new family destination…Leon’s Frozen Custard up in Milwaukee. Full, eventful, a kind of normal Sunday in the life of. In the normalcy of that day (and every day) I am reminded how immensely BLESSED I am. I was able to kiss my kids a goodnight. My 13 year old daughter no longer request my bedtime time tuck in. And in a way, I mourn that loss. As I write this…I may reinstitute that. I’m hanging on to those night time prayers and tuck ins with my 11 year old son.

Horrified, I shake my head in disbelief that a simple walk or run, probably done hundreds of times, would result in someone losing their baby girl, a sister, a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a teammate, a classmate. I am in pain for their loss. A family I don’t think I know, but am connected to now somehow because of this tragedy. Their loss weighs heavy on my mind. And I know I am not alone. A community grieves.

What do I/we take away from this tragic accident? Because of my faith, I know this child is in a beautiful, happy place. There is peace in that. I can pray for peace and comfort for her loved ones. And I continue to do that. I am reminded that we are not guaranteed our next breath, and I need to live life focusing on what’s really important. I’ve said it/pledged it before, and I don’t always live it. While in my mature-er years, I’ve not risked drinking and driving. I have been selfish in years past and thankfully my irresponsibility has not injured myself or others. So I pledge NOT to drive with any risk of being impaired. How can you make the judgment of having the ability to drive without risk, if your judgment is disabled? And it is, friends…isn’t getting buzzed the desired result of?

I hope you take the pledge as well, in respect and memory of Sara.

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Comings & Goings

From Whence We Came
Written by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann

Today, instead of working (imageor playing hooky) I sit in the hospital room. I’m not complaining, we’ve got the room with a view, after all.

Over the hospital intercom, the bells start to chime that sweet familiar tune…a baby is born! And that’s kinda where this story started. Read more…

For those of you who subscribe to this blog or newsletter, you may know of the path of battling cancer that my dad (and family) has been thrown into, pretty much the day after the Just Add Kids EXPO! To refresh you, or to get you up to date, you can read JAK Chat’s previous entry:

May 14th “Ham & Cheese, Please. With Miracle Whip: The Sandwich Generation”

I am happy to report that as of his July 20th, MRI’s and PET Scans, my dad’s oncologist concludes:
~lymphoma on his brain…no residual disease
~lymphoma on his back…stable disease at L5
~throughout his body…no active disease

Yay! This is great news!!

Yet, with the track record of this disease and journey back to health, we’ve experienced setbacks, and today is no exception. With a week early bump up of my dad’s oncologist follow up appointment because of fatigue, congestion, and confusion, we find and leave him today admitted back into the hospital and being treated for pneumonia. So, it’s masks on!

As I sit here, present in the room with the on-going visits from CNA’s, nurses, doctors, food service. Watching dad sleep, struggling with a cough, chatting with mom, checking in on what’s happening at home…I am hopeful and amazed at the miracles of modern medicine and of God that have been imparted on my dad.

I hear the bells chime again over the intercom…another baby is born. Another miracle.

While here, fighting to restore a life…that of my dad’s, I am reminded that some 20 years and 18 years ago, my two daughters breathed their first breaths of life right here in this same hospital. We came and went. We’re back, again. Who knows if or when we’ll return. And for what?

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