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Kids Send Jen on a Vacation WTF?

Single Mom’s Who Celebrate Father’s Day

June 19, 2015
Lawn ornament, wind ornament for the lawn

Recently there’s been a fiery discussion on social media about single moms who celebrate Father’s Day. In other words, in addition to being celebrated by their children on Mother’s Day they also are celebrated for Father’s Day because they have had to do all the roles of the missing father. As is the case for most discussions on Facebook a vocal few think it’s horrible while the rest of us don’t care one way or another. If a mom, single or not, wants to take credit on Father’s Day I have no problem with it.

This week the morning talk shows are filled with touching stories about dads and their kids. If you’re a dad who has been an active participant in the raising of your children you deserve a medal. The dads when I was growing up weren’t around for much, instead they were at work while mom was home with the kids. They may have spent weekends tossing the ball around or teaching a child how to drive (or whatever dad’s do) but that wasn’t really my experience.

Don’t get me wrong I love my dad, but he wasn’t a very good father. He never taught me how to change a tire or fix a leaky faucet. He never tried to intimidate any potential suitors (though he commented on how cute they were on many occasions). He never threw a ball for me or my brother, though he probably would have taken us to the opera if we had been interested.

We weren’t.

My dad was gone for most of my childhood. He was either at work or at the bar trying to avoid coming home to take care of my mother who needed round the clock care due to anoxia when she had cardiac arrest brought on by an emergency tracheotomy to help her breath when her lungs became so filled with fluid from pneumonia. My mom had no short term memory, could not walk unassisted and had very poor judgment and reasoning skills. She also suffered from bipolar disorder but that was a pre – existing condition.

I got a little off track here.

As a single mom I do all the dad things, even the dad things I didn’t experience as a child. I toss a ball around with my kids. Last weekend the daughter and I replaced a leaky faucet in the kitchen. Both of us were winging it and when it actually worked and no one got electrocuted from the really bad disposal install that had to be worked around the high fives were extreme. I am the one who chased away the monsters, I am the one who cuts the grass and attempts to fix all the broken things around the house. I suck at both but I still try to do them. I am the one who puts my foot down and I am the one who puts the worm on the hook and takes the fish off of it.

My dad did his best to help out. He adored his grandchildren and was a much better grandfather than he was a father. He spent time with my son – just being there for him, and that was so important to his development. He never tossed a ball around with my son but he discussed big ideas with him and listened to all the stories my son had. He gave him confidence and encouraged him to try even when the odds seemed against him. He stepped in and helped his best to fill a void caused by my divorce and for that he was a great dad to me. Sadly he died before my daughter got to know him. Luckily my daughter has an awesome brother who has stepped up like his grandpa did.

I don’t celebrate Father’s Day. Hell, we barely celebrate Mother’s Day. Not because I’m not an awesome mom, I am, but because I don’t need a special day and truth be told it’s just a lot more work for me to celebrate it.

But I don’t care if other single moms want to claim Father’s Day as their own. If you’re a single mom, even if your ex is around every other weekend and Wednesdays, you’re still doing the day to day dad stuff and that stuff is important.

It really does take a village. We don’t have villages anymore and sadly a few too many single moms. Single dads, too. We have too many broken families and not enough friends and families jumping in to fill the void left by the missing parent.

I guess my point is, instead of bitching about who should be allowed to claim credit for Father’s Day why not get in there and lend a hand. I’m sure any single mom would much prefer to have a friend or family member step up and lend a hand in the dad department than to have to claim it as her own.

Events Kids Minnesota

Today is The Day of Positivity!!

January 5, 2015

Today is apparently The SpongeBob Day of Positivity, a day in which to celebrate SpongeBob Squarepant’s most admired quality – eternal positivity! I know this because my inbox is filled with all kinds of press releases about the positive event. Usually I ignore them because, like this press release, they come on the day of the event and I don’t have time put together a decent post on the fly like that. Of course if they gave me more notice I’d forget about it too, speaking of which if anyone from Minnesota is interested in seeing Ice Castles in Eagan I have some extra tickets (post to hopefully follow soon).

From the press release:

The Day of Positivity will be filled with major events and first looks at exclusive materials from the new film, all in honor of the world’s favorite optimist, SpongeBob SquarePants.

The Day of Positivity highlights include:

  • An exclusive first look at SpongeBob’s new music video, Thank Gosh it’s Monday, created in celebration of The Day of Positivity.
  • Viacom Networks (including Nickelodeon, MTV, VH-1 and Comedy Central) running exclusive and unique spots inviting viewers to celebrate this new and exciting holiday.
  • Cinemark Theaters offering the first 500 ticketholders on January 5 at each of its locations nationwide a coupon card for a free junior popcorn when seeing THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER on opening weekend, while supplies last.
  • Paramount-hosted events in cities across the U.S. and Canada.

In Minneapolis, Nickelodeon Universe® at the Mall of America is celebrating by offering free rides on SpongeBob Rock Bottom Plunge & Pineapple Poppers and a free in-park scavenger hunt, The Great Spatula Caper from 5-7pm.  SpongeBob will also be available for photos with fans during that timeframe! There’s no way you’d ever get me on the SpongeBob Rock Bottom Plunge because it’s a ride that drops you at a 90° angle but the Pineapple Popper is a hoot.

You can visit to watch the Thank Gosh it’s Monday video, upload and share your own positive selfies, and receive a special Positivity message from SpongeBob himself.

From Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Movies comes THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER, an all-new 3D adventure that’s as wild and funny as its name. For the first time, SpongeBob SquarePants, the world’s favorite sea dwelling invertebrate, comes ashore to our world for his most super-heroic adventure yet.

Produced by Paul Tibbitt and Mary Parent. Based on the series SpongeBob SquarePants created by Stephen Hillenburg.  Story by Stephen Hillenburg & Paul Tibbitt, screenplay by Glenn Berger & Jonathan Aibel and Paul Tibbitt and directed by Paul Tibbitt.

Contests Kids

Where are You Going This Summer?

June 1, 2014
state magnets and map on the fridge

Hard to believe it’s already summer especially since it snowed a fair amount just a few weeks ago. But, Grand Old Day is today and that means summer has officially begun.

Last summer the daughter and I drove to Mount Rushmore. It was a hell of a trip taken during the hottest days of the summer. Don’t let South Dakota fool  you.

South Dakota might not be filled with sand and it probably gets some rain but there are no trees so all you get is the sun beating down on you all day long. It’s like a green desert (I’m aware that doesn’t make any sense). I actually ended up in the ER with heatstroke.

Mount Rushmore July 2013

We started the trip as a camping trip. We (I) put up and took down the tent each day by the third day it was too much and we hotel-ed the rest of the way. This was a great thing because the daughter doesn’t like bugs and spiders much more than I do and she really hates breathing in hot dust while she sleeps. Plus, the hotels had some pretty decent pools to cool off in.


This summer we’re visiting friends in Washington State. We’re not driving because the daughter doesn’t know how to drive yet. A drive over three days to Mount Rushmore is one thing but I can only do about 4 hours at a time in the car so a drive out to Washington State becomes a good 5 days and that’s a long time in the car talking to an 11 year old and listing to this summer’s version of Blurred Lines (please don’t let this summer’s version of Blurred Lines suck so much).

Dino on I 90 in SD

We started collecting those state magnets last summer. We had the magnets but then I got a map to go along with them and after putting it up on the fridge and putting the states on the map I realize there are a lot of states I need to visit. Many I’ve only driven through and some I was too young to remember anything about.

Crazy Horse Monument SD

So far the daughter has only been to three states so we’re hoping to add a couple more states this year and each year forward. How about you? Where are you planning to go this summer?

state magnets of MN WI SD

Leave a comment below telling me where you plan on going this summer (or where you’d like to go) for a chance to win a complete set of state magnets with the map.

Advice Kids WTF?

Freaky Old Spice Mom Ad

January 6, 2014
creepy old spice mom commercial, viral video with moms for old spice

So this latest viral video is either really funny or really creepy depending on how much of a helicopter parent you turned out to be. It’s about mothers and their sons who grow up to use Old Spice. I suppose it’s about letting go but really it just looks like these young men are going to have difficulty in any new relationship and they may as well forget about a healthy marriage with moms like that.

My son never used Old Spice but he did bathe in Axe for a while. When he left for college I can’t say I was sorry because no matter how the marketing department tries to dress it up Axe is just nasty.

This ad has the potential to be really funny but the images are just a little too strange. Especially the mom dressed up as a janitor. What’s that all about?

So, do you think this new Old Spice ad is funny or creepy.

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Huh Kids WTF?

What does the Fox Say?

October 10, 2013

By now you’ve seen this video called What Does the Fox Say.

It’s catchy, it’s well produced and it’s almost as annoying as that Friday video by what’shername?

I apologize if you haven’t seen this video before because now the song will be stuck in your head for near eternity. Or until another equally annoying song/video/meme comes along and kicks it to the curb.



When I first saw this video a few weeks ago I thought…catchy song and it’s perfect for preschoolers who don’t know their animal sounds yet. Yeah, there’s a weird furry vibe to it but most people won’t catch that.

I didn’t think much about the accuracy of the song because I just don’t really care. I assumed foxes didn’t make a sound or if they did it was some kind of hybrid cat/dog sound because isn’t that what a fox is? A hybrid dog/cat.

Seriously, what kind of animal is the fox?

Anyway, I don’t really care about that either but I did learn that a fox makes many different sounds and if you are curious about the sound a fox really makes (they don’t sound like George Clooney) then listen to this…

How Did We Survive? Kids Minnesota

Rain, Rain, Go Away — Please?

June 23, 2013

It’s been raining here in The Twin Cities for the past ever. My basement barely dried out from the winter thaw when it was flooded again by all the rain.

We’ve had storm after storm, the thundering kind, and one of the dogs is not too happy about them. Night before last the power went out in St. Paul. It was out for about 4 hours. It went out just as it was getting dark outside and since one of my children had used all the flashlights at a recent sleepover and didn’t bother to mention the batteries were dead we had to use candles, cell phone lights and glow sticks I picked up at Walmart for a buck for our upcoming camping trip to Mount Rushmore.

Oh, and the LED Christmas candles* that I had left in the windows upstairs.

Within minutes there was whining about the lack of internet and TV. It didn’t matter that there was still a Nintendo 3DS, the iPad and a smart phone to keep entertained. Apparently those devices aren’t as much fun without the internet and since no one ever bothers to charge anything besides me the fun devices were all low on battery power.

So we tried playing a board game.

Remember those?

Or as my daughter called them bored games because they are so boring.

We played Mastermind but that created more frustration than relaxation.

Eventually the daughter decided that she was going to go to bed because there was nothing to do. It was hot (the air conditioning was out) and we were both getting a bit crabby. Five minutes after going to bed the lights came back on which made it was worthwhile to stay up.

I worry about this generation of kids who don’t know what to do with themselves when there is no power or they are out in the middle of nowhere. My daughter has trouble opening things like jars, bottles and those pull off tabs on some cans like tuna and single serve apple sauce. I try to encourage her to work at it because I fear one day she will be the sole survivor on a deserted island with nothing but cases and cases of bottled water which she can’t open on her own.

We’re going camping soon, across the country, and if I have learned anything from this little experience it’s that I need to be sure to have an electrical hook up where ever we camp.

I hope it stops raining soon

*These aren’t meant to be used as a light source but the kid likes to walk around with them and they can’t get burned or dripped on.
Contests Kids

Got Milk? Breakfast Blitz! Support Breakfast Programs at Local Schools

February 12, 2013
Got Milk? Breakfast Blitz

Join in the Got Milk? Breakfast Blitz Sweepstakes!


The people at Got Milk are making breakfast possible at the local level and you can help. Enter to win this great sweepstakes and help your local schools provide a healthy breakfast for kids to start their day off right.

All you have to do is click here to enter the UPC codes from any carton of milk.  You can enter more than once so collect those UPC codes for more chances to win.


One lucky winner will receive a “Tackle Your Day” breakfast basket from Milk Mustache. This basket will include a few items sure to prepare you for a successful day ahead.

Got Milk? Breakfast BlitzThe “Tackle Your Day” breakfast basket will include:

  • Spilt milk bowl
  • Spoon straw
  • Tackle Your Day Challenge Chart
  • Milk Mustache Magnet
  • Cow slippers
  • Mustache glasses
  • Breakfast Project Recipe Cards

Multiple entries allowed. Required entry entails:


This is a great way to help schools in your neighborhood so save your UPCs, tell your neighbors about the Sweepstakes and enter their UPCs. Tell your children’s school about it too!

Additional information about the Milk Mustache Campaign

*NO PURCHASE / PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Open to legal residents of 50 United States or D.C who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Sweepstakes starts on 12/27/12 at 7:01 PM Eastern Time (“ET”) and ends on 2/17/13 at 6:59:59 PM ET. Click here for complete Official Rules and for details on how to obtain a free UPC code to enter the Sweepstakes. Each entry into the Sweepstakes will earn one Vote for the school selected. Only schools participating in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program are listed. If you can’t find your school, a vote will be made for the national Fuel Up to Play 60 organization. The top 250 schools that receive the highest number of valid Votes will receive a $1,000 Fuel Up to Play 60 Grant to use towards school breakfast programs. The NFL Entities (as defined in the official rules) have not offered or sponsored this promotion in any way
Sponsor: The National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board. ©2012 America’s Milk Processors. got milk?® is a registered trademark of the California Milk Processor Board. ©2012 National Dairy Council.® Fuel Up is a service mark of National Dairy Council.
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Advice Dumb Shit I Do Kids

How To Change Your Furby’s Personality

November 25, 2012
two Furbies sleeping, broken Furby who sleeps backwards, Furby that sleeps with its eyes open

If you haven’t gotten a Furby yet then it’s only because you don’t have a 9 year old daughter. If you had a 9 year old daughter you would have a Furby or possibly two.

We got a Furby.

For those of you who live under a rock or who missed the memo – Furby has been updated and re-released. For those of you who didn’t pay attention 14 years ago Furby is a cute little thing that can’t get wet, be exposed to sunlight or be fed after midnight.

Furby starts out innocently enough. He or she is wide eyed and eager to learn English. Furby starts out speaking only Furbish but quickly learns some English words like like, OMG and blah, blah, blah. The rest of the time he/she is saying things like:

Oh kah tee, dah nu nu and da boo. Thankfully there is an app for Furby that comes with a handy translator.

Furby has several distinct personalities that develop depending on the way you treat it.

If you talk to Furby a lot she becomes this incredibly annoying Valley Girl who you want to just smack. If you smack the Furby it becomes this very angry personality with mean and creepy eyes.

broken Furby, image of broken Furby, Furbies dancing, picture of Furby dancing, Dancing Furby

The only way to change your Furby from a bad or annoying personality into a more pleasant one is to cuddle, pet and hug the damn thing until it changes into a baby Furby of sorts.

Each Furby seems to have a different personality. They may cycle through the same ones; Valley Girl, baby, Rockstar, Viking or the other secret ones so far undiscovered by my 9 year old, but they are all just a little different.

We’ve had three Furbies so far. The first one we got was slightly off.

It was the orange one you see in the picture. It was cute, actually a she, and easily changed. The black one had to be cuddled forever to get it out of the Valley Girl personality while the orange one easily slipped in and out of different personalities.

And then the orange one went all Gremlin on us. It started talking while sleeping and sleeping while talking. It talked with it’s eyes closed and slept with its eyes open. Its mouth didn’t move when it talked. It spoke a lot of English, words most 9 year olds don’t even know. It developed an ironic sense of humor.

It had to go back.

Thankfully there is an 800 number on the information that comes with the Furby. Hasbro has thoughtfully supplied a customer service number to call when something goes wrong with your Furby, 1-800-327-8264. They have also, thoughtfully, staffed their customer support with people who speak English as a first language. Sadly they don’t have much of a sense of humor (at least the one I talked to didn’t).

When Hasbro Customer Service was unable to fix the creepy Furby over the phone they emailed me a postage paid pdf so I could send the Furby back. They were happy to replace the broken Furby with hopefully one that works. Unfortunately they couldn’t promise the same color and it would take 4 to 6 weeks which kinda sucks since now the black one has no one to talk to.

Have you gotten a Furby yet?


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Listerine Smart Rinse Challenge part 2

November 2, 2012

It’s been 28 days since we started the Listerine Smart Rinse Sweet Smart Challenge and what a difference 28 days can make.

Getting my kids to brush was second only to potty training in frustration. Why would anyone want to go in a diaper instead of the toilet? Why would anyone want to walk around with grime on their teeth? I couldn’t answer that question so I just nagged.

Nagging doesn’t usually work very well.

So, when I was asked to participate in the Listerine Smart Rinse Sweet Smart Challenge I was excited because there was no nagging involved and we got a box of stuff.

Stuff always makes doing things you don’t want to do a lot more fun.

Here’s a picture of all the stuff we got and had to work with.

She was brushing her teeth on her own, without my nagging, listerine mouthwash for kids, get your kids to brush their teeth

The first week was nothing but fun. The daughter really loved rinsing with the mouth rinse. The built in measurer was really helpful because it only dispensed the right amount. Any excess settled back into the bottle. There was no getting too much mouth rinse.

She loved the taste of both of the mouth rinses.

In addition to rinsing she also had to brush and floss twice a day, when she was finished I gave her a Snickers.

I’m kidding.

When she was finished she ticked off one line on the calendar to cross off the day.

After about 15 days I noticed that when I asked if she had brushed her teeth she already had.

She was brushing her teeth on her own, without my nagging.

That’s worth repeating

She was brushing her teeth on her own, without my nagging. 

While she still had to do her brushing routine for Halloween I didn’t get too worked up about all the candy that was going to be consumed. I’ve been doing this no carb thing for a while now and that means she has too. We haven’t had a cookie, candy bar or even bread in the house for months. Getting overloaded with sugar for one night wasn’t a big deal as far as I was concerned. Interestingly, she thought the candy was too sweet and just picked at it.

This was a great experience and I was pleasantly surprised with the results because if anyone is stubborn enough to not develop a good habit it is my daughter.



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Kids WTF?

St. Paul Public Schools Discourages Halloween Celebration

October 30, 2012

I’m not surprised that the St. Paul Public School District would frown on Halloween. It’s too bad but not the least bit surprising. Years ago, maybe decades, Joe Soucheray said that St. Paul (or maybe it was Minnesota) is the place where you can’t do anything. He said it much more poetically but I can’t find the quote anywhere.

Doesn’t matter, you can’t do anything in St. Paul, not for very long.

That isn’t the reason I’ve shared this video with you, can you guess why I’ve shared it?

infographic Kids

Fun Halloween Statistics

October 25, 2012

Halloween is less than a week away. As I write this it is snowing but next week it looks to be perfect trick or treat weather. What follows is some fun statistics about Halloween. Costumes, candy and bobbing for apples are just some of the things we do on All Hallows Eve. According to this infographic candy bars like Snickers, Hershey bars and Milky Ways are the best treat. Snickers were always the best followed by Reese’s anything else was just trade worthy. What was your favorite candy to get on Halloween?

Halloween Statistics 2012: Creepy Calculations


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