Posts tagged kid

FREE Books. Racine Littles.

girlbooksIt’s the gift that speaks volumes for our community’s future! Just Add Kids’campaign to help build young readers via the United Way of Racine County’s Imagination Library initiative.

Imagination Library was created in 1996 by famed country-singer Dolly Parton to foster a love of reading. All participating children receive free, age-appropriate books though the mail each month, from birth to age five.

In 2009, United Way launched the Imagination Library initiative in western Racine County. It was a perfect fit for United Way’s early childhood priority focused on the healthy development of children and school readiness.

Your support of Just Add Kids’ crowdfunding campaign will help Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library expand to serve young children throughout ALL of Racine County. More than 36,000 FREE books have been distributed since the program began in 2009 and we want to distribute even more!

I am so passionate about being able to help facilitate providing books for kids right here in our city. Your financial support is being requested to join me and the United Way of Racine County in making a difference in the lives of children in the birth to age 5 bracket.

What a GREAT opportunity to give. Click here to donate!
$5, $25…whatever your heart feels is good. Thank you!

Join in on the celebration with the Imagination Library’s Expansion Event! Come to Regency Mall’s East Court on Saturday from 10am – 2pm. First 500 children enrolled  will receive a literacy kit and a FREE book in the mail each month until they turn five!

Imagination Library Expansion Event Flyer (2)

Just Add Kids Paula FB profile.jpg

Paula Herrmann, Founder
Just Add Kids



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It’s the Gift That Speaks Volumes

Dolly-Parton-library-logoIt’s the gift that speaks volumes for our community’s future!  Just Add Kids’ campaign to help build young readers via the United Way of Racine County’s Imagination Library initiative.

Imagination Library was created in 1996 by famed country-singer Dolly Parton to foster a love of reading. All participating children receive free, age-appropriate books though the mail each month, from birth to age five.

In 2009, United Way launched the Imagination Library initiative in western Racine County. It was a perfect fit for United Way’s early childhood priority focused on the healthy development of children and school readiness.

Your support of Just Add Kids’ crowdfunding campaign will help Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library expand to serve young children throughout ALL of Racine County. More than 36,000 FREE books have been distributed since the program began in 2009 and we want to distribute even more!

I am so passionate about being able to help facilitate providing books for kids right here in our city. Your financial support is being requested to join me and the United Way of Racine County in making a difference in the lives of children in the birth to age 5 bracket.

What a GREAT opportunity to give. Click here to donate!

Just Add Kids Paula FB profile.jpg

Thank you, 
Paula Herrmann, Founder
Just Add Kids


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April is Prevent Child Abuse Awareness Month

blue ribbon icon
Now, and in the month April and throughout the year, Just Add Kids encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Southeastern Wisconsin a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and our communities.

Consider the following five protective factors that protect families that are under stress:

1 – Social emotional competence of children

Children who learn how to identify their feelings, empathize with the feelings of others, share emotions appropriately and problem solve with peers and adults are more likely to succeed in school and have friends. Give your children many opportunities to talk about feelings and discuss positive ways of coping with their feelings like listening to music, play-ing sports, drawing or writing, etc.

2 – Knowledge of child development and parenting

Many know it’s normal for a 2 year old to have a tantrum, but fewer people know what be-haviors are normal at other ages. Parents with knowledge about parenting and their own child’s development have more appropriate expectations and appropriate discipline choices. If you are struggling with your child’s challenging behaviors, seek help from your child’s teacher, take a parenting class, find a book about it, or search for resources online.

3 – Concrete support in times of need

Concrete support covers many things families need. It can be the need for food, clothing or shelter. It can also be the need for a ride to work when your car won’t start, or having someone you trust to stay home with your sick child. When parents are in situations where they lack support, they find themselves making risky choices that may put them and their children in harm’s way. Children are more protected if the families get access to the re-sources they need quickly. Become familiar with the services available in your community for yourself or others in need.

4 – Social connections

When we are isolated from others, we think we are all alone and that no one else is dealing with similar problems. Parents tend to think no one else’s child is acting the way their child is acting. Releasing stress by connecting with others helps us become better parents. We learn from each other. Seek out other parents at school events, daycare, churches, baby groups, or organized social activities. Reach out to parents you know who seem over-whelmed.

5 – Parent Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulties. Raising children is an overwhelm-ing task. Recognize that you cannot do it alone. Work to maintain hope and problem solve through difficult situations. Remember what gives you strength and what positive qualities got you through other difficulties.

For more information on Building Protective Factors visit

Also, please consider participating in these local events in recognition and support of Prevent Child Abuse Awareness Month, then scroll to the bottom:

TTTB Walk_Run 4.23.2016

 Panera Flyer supporting SCAN 4.2016Turn the Town Blue 2016 anthologie-page-0 (2)Turn the Town Blue 2016 St Mary's flyer-page-0 (2)So, come on! Play your important role as a mom, an educator, member of the community, change-maker, a JAK-ie, whatever.  Join in on the campaign, attend the above events, and/or wear blue in April (a blue ribbon is standard and awesome) to show your support in the fight against child abuse and neglect. Be accountable…for the kids’ sake, please.

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Fun Stuff, Right?

Kaia pic

Parenting Hacks and Bad Advice from 
The World’s Most Okayest Mom
by Just Add Kids
guest mom blogger,

Kaia Beyer of Union Grove

When my first baby was about three years old, I told him that sesame seeds were actually “muscles dots”.  I can clearly remember him unwrapping his cheeseburger from Burger King, and gasping, “What are those?? I can’t eat this!” That’s when, like a gift from above, it came to me: “Oh, Those! Those are special.  They are muscle dots.  If you eat them, you will grow gigantic muscles!  I’m surprised they even gave them to a kid! You are so lucky.  Now, eat it and see what happens!”  It was brilliant. One of my finer parenting moments, and it stuck- twelve years later, we still call them muscle dots.

It got me thinking about all of the Mom Hacks (some of which may be teeny, tiny white lies) that I’ve discovered over the years that have made my life as a mom slightly easier.  Read more…

Here are ten of my personal faves:

  1.  “You won’t believe this! Your Halloween candy all melted into a giant clump on top of the refrigerator! I couldn’t believe it either! I’m so sorry. I had to throw the whole thing into the garbage.”  (Garbage=The second drawer of the dresser in my bedroom.)12189895_10207709845009901_6395739984730111110_n.jpg
  2. “Your brain will turn to mush if you play any more video games.  Come here! (Place hands on sides of child’s head.)  Oh, my gosh!! It’s already happening!!  Yep… right here- things are getting squishy.  You need to stop immediately and let things heal. You’re actually really lucky it’s not worse.  Now go outside and play.”
  3. If you have a teenager, you may relate to this next one.  It drives me crazy when they steal my soda.  I have tried to hide it in the way back of the fridge or in the trunk of my car, but, inevitably, the soda bloodhounds always seem to sniff it out.  I find empty cans hidden in the couches and under the beds, and, when I do, I turn into the girl version of The Incredible Hulk.  One day, I finally had it with the little crooks!  The solution: La Croix Sparking Water.  Kids hate the stuff!  It’s amazing!  Target also has a brand- Simply Balanced, that is quite refreshing, if I don’t say so myself.  Here’s another tip:  If you want to sweeten your sparkling water up a little, add a few drops of MiO Liquid Water Enhancer flavor (or whatever other brand you like.)
  4. My most recent little fib: “Don’t eat that! It’s the old grease from last night’s ground beef!” When, in reality, it was butterscotch pudding that I saved all for myself.12507698_10208247783738033_6732881387297223192_n.jpg
  5. GFS makes pre-cut frozen sugar cookies, appropriate for every season.  This makes me, and everyone else around here, extremely happy all year round.  I just love that Gordon.  He helps me out a lot.  #GordanForPresident
  6. To avoid the endless fights with the big kids over who gets “shotgun” in the minivan, we have a monthly rotation for the front seat.  It’s kind of fun to look over on the first of the month, and say, “Hey.  Welcome back.”  The only time we compromise on the rotation is for birthdays.  When it’s your birthday, we gonna party like it’s yo birthday, and you automatically get the front.
  7. Ok, so this one isn’t so much of a hack, but rather, a piece of advice that I wanted to share with all the first timers out there:  Do NOT buy harmonicas.  I know they seem like great souvenirs when you’re at the airport gift shop, desperately searching for something to bring back for the kids.  Sometimes the harmonicas even come with cute little “how to” instruction books.  You may even start to daydream about your kid walking around the house, expertly busting out Tom Petty songs.  But, trust me on this one, about two minutes after you give them the harmonica, you will have wished you went with the pen that can change back an forth between four different ink colors.
  8. Scarves.  They are a great disguise.  If you throw on a scarf, a jacket, and a pair of sunglasses, no one will ever know if you are dropping your kid off in the morning barefoot and in a bathrobe.
  9. Ring Pops. If you have a bunch of kids, the little ones are most likely dragged to many of their older sibling’s sporting events. Ring Pops can last up to an entire first half of a basketball game, and can easily be stored in the bottom of a purse. Don’t ever leave home without them.
  10. Last, but not least, when all of your “hacks” majorly fail, and your children beat you at your own game (like the gremlins sneaking into my office right now, thinking I don’t notice them stealing handfuls out of my “secret” stash of candy under the desk), just smile and know they learned from the best.  Just as you did.7295333a09ce9dcc72b5b0f48621394b.jpg

About our blogger: Kaia Beyer is a married mom of six from Union Grove. This blog was originally posted in her blog: and is used with permission.

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Fun ‘n Names

Christiane: A 9/11 TributeChristiane First Day of School 2015
by Just Add Kids Founder
Paula Herrmann

My 13 year old daughter, Christiane, in one of her first English assignments wrote about her name. She labeled it as “uncommon”. Funny the whole description had the feel of “common”, kinda “blah”.

While I’ve told the story to her so many times as to how her name was derived, she included nothing of the sort in her essay. Seriously, she has so much material to work with! So, okay, maybe mom here is a bit biased, but her name comes, in part, with some recent historical significance. Read more…

I was pregnant with this one, my number 3 girl, on September 11, 2001 when our country was attacked. Along with my fellow Americans and the world, I was glued to our TV as events and reports unfolded. I was a big CNN watcher then and was mesmerized by one of their lead reporters who was constantly on the scene with some middle eastern landscape in the backdrop. Her name, Christiane Amanpour.

Not sure if you used any sort of methodology to name your children, but Christiane’s name resonated with me. It’s beautiful. Somewhat in honor and respect this reporter. I’m Christian, so that makes sense, too. And oddly enough, years ago I asked permission of a family if they wouldn’t mind if I were to name (if I ever had another child/daughter) her Ani. That was years before I was even pregnant. Permission granted. Ani is a beautiful name, and worked well as the shortened version of Christiane, right? It works.

Well, Ani never stuck. Lovingly, she has earned the nicknames Pink Stink and Chrusty. You know there are stories behind those. None as dignified as what I am telling you today. Shortened, she goes by Christi, which is the way I spell it. She spells it Christy. I should just let her win on this.

Anyways, thanks for allowing me to share and you listening/reading.

Please never forget.

September 11 remembrance piece 2015

My past years’ September 11th reflections:

RE-Group: RE-member (2014)
Say It Ain’t So: September 11th Memory Lapse (2013)
Time Traveler: Taken Back on 9/11 (2012)
Blue Skies: Grey Days (2011)

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Clean Play. Screen Play. Let’s Play…

JAK Chat blog by Amanda DeSonia 6.18.2015 (2)Slay the Summer Chores
and Set Down the Screens!
by guest mom blogger from Racine,
Amanda DeSonia

We could talk all day about the things we are slacking on or failing at as Mothers.

Let’s not.

We have made it just 6 days into Summer Vacation and already I am watching my kids slip away into screen oblivion. It’s not always their fault, really. Sometimes I just ENJOY the solitude and quiet that comes with kids who enter the vegetative state of passive ipad and Netflix watching. There. I said it.

JAK Chat blog by Amanda DeSonia 6.18.2015 pic 2Then comes the challenge of chores. I’m pretty sure I was helping more around the house at my daughters’ ages. I almost would bet money on it because I remember many years of eye-rolling and sighing when I was given chores. I also went through a phase where I called myself “Manderella” because I felt like the over-worked, unappreciated daughter. I didn’t have any ugly step-sisters, just one biological one who was awesome at avoiding chores by playing the diarrhea card.

This week I stained and glued and laminated and labeled. Traditional chore charts have never worked for us and I know I needed something obvious, flexible, and creative. I think I saved the labels. I am happy to share them if anyone wants them!

So finally, this is our new system, and it’s just as much for me as it is for them. I need the visual reminder to have them help just as much as they do.

DeSonias Do Daily

1. Do get  yourself ready for the day! Eat, dressed, hair, teeth!

2. Do Chores: (Each child has 4 laminated chores that are age appropriate. I pick 3, they can choose 1. These go up every morning and change based on what needs doing.)

2. Do Stay Well-Rounded.  (Each child must pick one from each category: Mental/Physical/Social activity per day to engage in. These are just ideas, I hope it will inspire them to come up with their own activities.)

JAK Chat blog by Amanda DeSonia 6.18.2015 pic 3

3. Do put your finished chores and Well Rounded Work Cards  in the galvanized envelope on the wall.

4. Do ask for technology but only after you have completed your Chores and your Well Rounded Work. You are allotted 1 hour of screen time. You can divide your time up between TV and iPad if you choose.

Following through with this program will take commitment from me. We are SO lucky to have an amazing Montessori Teacher/Family Support Professional (She’s way more than a sitter or a nanny) who will help us stay on track this summer. Long after the shiny new appeal of the lamination has worn off I hope I have a better handle on how to run a home with more help from my kids.

Here is where I will ask you fellow Moms for advice. I really want my kids to learn that being part of a family means work. Everyone has to pitch in so we can ALL “Clean Less and Live More!  I also want my kids to learn how to manage some of their own money. My idea is to add extra chores on to their clips and offer an allowance based on those “extra” and voluntary chores. These would be above and beyond and not mandatory. How would you suggest I do this? Pay a set amount per chore? Any other ideas from the field on chores, no allowance or allowance, and what has worked for you and your family? Please comment and share!

*All of my kids have their own Norwex Kids products (Enviro/Window/Dusting Mitt) to use so they can clean the healthy, fast, and safe way we believe in! They know how to use it, care for it and to hang it up after their are done using it!

About our guest blogger:

Amanda DeSonia pic for blogAmanda DeSonia lives in Racine with her husband and three children, Maren, 10, Violet, 7 and Henry 4. Former stay at home Mom turned direct sales/party plan expert, she uses her passion for healthy and eco friendly living to educate families on the benefits of living a low-toxic lifestyle. Amanda can be found spending her free time exploring Milwaukee restaurants and loves all things social media, NPR, writing and reading, wine and travel.

Additionally, if you are looking for some guidance on AGE-APPROPRIATE CHORES FOR KIDS. JAK grabbed this off of a friend’s Facebook page (with permission, of course!). Thank you, Lindsey Knapp, another JAK Chat mom blogger/contributor.

Age-appropriate chores





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A Great Summer Read

Library Summer Reading Programs of Heroic Proportions!JAK-tastic read (2)
by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann

Reading over the summer months can make a huge difference for kids when they get back to school in the fall. With a lack of summer reading, children can actually loose up to three months in reading skill. Summer reading loss is cumulative, leaving some kids years behind as they get older. By the end of 6th grade, kids who lose reading skills over the summer may end up being two years behind their classmates.

Wow! I know, you don’t want your kid to end up on the low end of the reading spectrum. Don’t let your kiddo’s reading skills take a blow this summer. Read more…Our area libraries have once again come to the rescue in offering summer reading program incentives under “Every Hero Has a Story” and/or “Escape the Ordinary”,  this years themes for a nationwide summer reading program collaborative of public libraries.

POW! Pretty Outstanding Wins for the kids:

Summer Reading KABOOMChildren who read over the summer, do better in school. Reading 4 or 5 books over the summer can have a significant impact for middle school readers.

Summer Reading BANG!Summer reading programs usually take special needs into account and make adjustments for individual children.

Summer Reading WhamOne advantage of public library summer library programs is that they are not located in school buildings, which helps reduce the negative perception about summer learning for students who are struggling.

Summer Reading SPLASHKids learn more, when they do more and many of the library summer reading programs offer a lot free in-library, or library sponsored events all summer long.

Summer Reading BOOMSummer reading programs in public libraries usually encourage readers, especially those who are struggling, to use alternate formats such as magazines, recorded books, graphic novels, craft projects and material on the Internet. Plus, the libraries offer comfortable
places to relax and read.

Summer Reading POOFLibrary staff has in interest and is dedicated to motivating children to read.

Summer library programs see high return rates year after year, building reading into the child’s summer routine.

Here are a list/links and info for our local libraries offering summer reading programs:

Kenosha Public Library – Pick up your summer reading record available on KPL website and at all locations. Several categories to participate in: Early Literacy Program (birth-preschool); Elementary  Program (Grades K-5); Teen Program (Grades 6-12); Family Program (New!); Adult Summer Reading Program. Kick-of event is Saturday, June 6 from 10am-3pm at the Southwest Library.

Racine Public Library – Summer Reading Program Kick-off event will take place at Memorial Hall Plaza (72 – 7th Street) on Saturday, June 13th from 11am-3pm. Enjoy crafts, performers, face painting, games, fire truck, and meet some super heroes. Open to all ages! Free Event! No registration required.

Oak Creek Public Library – Register for the Summer Reading Challenge. You will get a reading record and valuable coupons for fun summer-long activities to do in the Oak Creek area! When your reading record is full, bring it back to the library for a chance to win a GRAND PRIZE! Registration opens June 8. First day turn in your reading records is June 15. Last day to turn your reading records is August 15.

Franklin Public Library – Join us for the Children’s Summer Reading Program kick-off party: “Super Hero Training Camp” on Friday, June 12th from 1-4pm.  The Children’s Summer Reading Program is for children birth to 5th grade. Games, snacks, crafts and more! Dress like your favorite super hero, yet costumes are not required. No registration for event necessary.

Community Library – It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Super Summer Reading! This year’s program is all about superheroes at our library! Leap into new books and materials in a single bound! You’ll be at our fantastic programs for all ages. Do you have super powers? Find out through our reading challenges and activities. Summer Reading Program Finale will be Saturday, August 8th from 10am – 2pm at the Salem grounds. Enjoy different activities and attend the grand prize drawing at the end of the day. You do not need to be present at the Grand Prize Drawing to win.

Graham Public Library – “Every Hero Has a Story” Story Wagon will take place on Tuesday mornings at 10am in the gym at Union Grove Elementary School, 1745 Milldrum Street, Union Grove. No registration required. Additionally, Superhero Training Camp story & craft activity will happening on Friday mornings at 10am at the library.

Burlington Public Library – Join us for “Every Hero Has a Story” this summer! Registration begins June 15h for the reading program, where children of all ages can earn prizes by completing six weekly bookmarks of fun reading activities.

Waterford Public Library – Program begins on June 8th.

Rochester Public Library – Summer Reading Program Sign-Up starts at 9:30am on Saturday, June 6th. This program kickoff is free and advance registration to attend is not required. Special summer program sign-up will also start. Programs fill up fast!

Cudahy Public Library – Summer reading starts June 1st! Stop in to register anytime before August 22nd for our free reading program.

St. Francis Public Library – Summer Sign-up Picnic in the Park will take place/begin on Monday, June 11th from 3:30 – 4:30pm.

Have a blast kiddos! It’s going to be a JAK-tastic summer of reading! Summer Reading SMASH





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