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The Teal Pumpkin Project

October 10, 2016
The Teal Pumpkin Project

I’m so thrilled to learn about the Teal Pumpkin Project! About 5 years ago I learned my daughter had severe tree nut allergies. Overnight everything became a lot more difficult and the worry never ends. She carries both Benadryl and an Epi-Pen with her where ever she goes. She is also an ace at checking labels and asking if food has tree nuts in it or been prepared around equipment that has processed tree nuts.

We’ve been lucky, we’ve never had to use the Epi-Pen. For the most part, her tree nut allergies haven’t interfered in day to day life. I make a few adjustments when cooking and baking and that’s about it. We’re vigilant at festivals, fairs and other activities where food is prepared for us (and hyper vigilant  at some restaurants that don’t label ingredients as well as I would like), but otherwise the only time of year it really sucks for her is Halloween.

Thankfully there’s the Teal Pumpkin Project! Click here to learn more.

As a result, Halloween can be extra scary if your child has a food allergy. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) came up with the Teal Pumpkin Project to create a safer Halloween for kids who have food allergies. If you put a teal pumpkin at your door it means you’re giving away non food items to your trick or treaters.

The Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project® is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all kids. Putting a teal pumpkin on your doorstep means you have non-food treats available, such as glow sticks or small toys. This simple act promotes inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions.

How to Take Part

  • Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters
  • Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate to passersby that you have non-food treats available
  • Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin

Support the Project

Do you want to help spread the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of a safer, happier Halloween for all? You can support FARE and the Teal Pumpkin Project in a variety of ways:

Spread the Word

Enter your teal pumpkin in our contest by using #tealpumpkincontest and tagging us @FoodAllergy on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

How Did We Survive? Kids WTF?

Clowns Banned from Halloween

October 6, 2016
clowns banned from Halloween

Let me get this straight, clowns banned from halloween because they creep people out too much?!?!?! Apparently out east clowns have been banned from Halloween because of all the recent creepy clown sightings this summer and fall. Mind you, no one has been hurt by these creepy clowns, but they freak people out enough that the powers that be in Connecticut have prohibited children from dressing up as clowns in all 48 New Haven schools.

Clowns Banned from Halloween

“Unfortunately, clown-themed posturing has been a growing trend throughout the country, particularly on social media,” said the New Haven school district, which enrolls 21,500 students, in a statement on Tuesday.

Clowns are scary, therefore we can’t dress up as clowns for Halloween.


Isn’t that the point of Halloween? To dress up as something scary?

Again, with all of the recent creepy clown sightings in the last few months, all have been hoaxes.

Why the hell is everyone freaking out? People in my generation have been terrified of clowns since the stories of John Wayne Gacy were whispered at every campfire and slumber party. Clowns are creepy as fuck, and that’s why they’re so fun to dress as for Halloween.

Even Stephen King said people are overreacting. Stephen King, the author who gave us Pennywise, the creepy clown from his novel IT.

“Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria,” King tweeted on Monday, “most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”

Having clowns banned from Halloween is like banning candy from Halloween or banning the movie Elf pretty much any time of the year because it is always on somewhere.

What good will banning clowns from Halloween do anyway? If perverts really are dressing up as clowns in order to entice kids to come with them (clearly they never got the memo that clowns are creepy and most kids would run from them anyway) what’s to stop them from dressing up as Darth Vadar, Captain America, a Transformer or even Elsa from Frozen?

I think the people out east have underestimated perverts.

Apparently clown masks sales are up 300% since last year. So even though clowns have been banned from Halloween, at least out east, expect to see them all over the place on Halloween night. You may even see a couple of them through November 8th.

Events Kids

THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE Bird Island Experience at Mall of America

March 24, 2016
Angry Birds at Mall of America

Where: Mall of America Rotunda

When: Saturday, April 2, 11am–5pm

The Angry Birds Movie will take over the Rotunda at Mall of America® for the Bird Island Experience, featuring a Digital Arcade, Nest and Relaxation Lounge, power bungee jump, face painting, photo booth, crafts and more!

Test your Angry Birds digital gaming skills at the Digital Gaming Arcade!

Relax and manage your stress with massages, relaxation tips and Zen tea samplings from Teavanna in our Nest and Relaxation Lounge.

Take midafternoon snack break at the Hanger Management Stand with sweet treats from Doc Popcorn, Nestle Tollhouse and Peeps.

Participate in The Angry Birds Movie Egg Hunt and locate the Red Bird Ticket for your chance to win a trip to The Angry Birds Movie Premiere in Los Angeles!

Don’t miss this once in lifetime EGGSperience!



Kids Minnesota Things that piss me off WTF?

Failure of Saint Paul Public Schools, Solutions Not Suspensions and Teachers Strike

December 9, 2015
Saint Paul Central High School building at night

Last week a teacher at St. Paul Central High School was brutally beaten when he tried to help to break up a fight between two students arguing about football. The teacher was slammed into a concrete wall, then the student picked the teacher up by his neck in a strangulation hold before slamming him onto a cafeteria chair and table. The student then got on top of the teacher and started choking him, according to the charges.. The teacher suffered a traumatic brain injury and concussion.

Since the incident, teachers in the SPPS district are threatening to strike and are asking for Valeria Silva to step down.

The reason teachers are demanding the resignation of Silva and threatening to strike is because their hands have been tied with regard to discipline for a couple of years now. Instead of suspending or expelling students for bad behavior they are now given a time out.

From Minnpost

At the same time, discipline policies were substantially changed. School suspensions were replaced by five-minute “timeouts” for those acting up in classrooms. The disciplinary changes came out of meetings with an organization called Pacific Education Group, a San Francisco-based operation that has been consulting with the district dating back to 2010.

PEG’s goal is to convene conversations about difficult issues surrounding race. It has collected more than $1 million for its work with the district, but Nathan points out that much of that work has only created more frustration in St. Paul. At one point, the organization set up meetings to discuss “white privilege” with teachers and parents. “OK, white privilege,” Nathan said. “Now that we’ve acknowledged there’s such a thing, what should we do about it? What’s the response? Help us here. But there was no response.”
In the wake of the dramatic changes in discipline and mainstreaming, Silva admitted that perhaps so much should not have been done so quickly. The admission, however, came long after large numbers of parents and teachers said that the changes had fundamentally changed the culture of St. Paul schools and, in many cases, made teaching and learning extremely difficult.

By that point, things had moved passed “messy.” Nowhere more so than at Ramsey Middle School, where the five-minute timeouts were not working in an environment of fighting, swearing and general disrespect. This past fall, nine teachers quit their jobs.

We live in Mac Groveland which means my daughter would have to go to Ramsey Junior High (Ramsey feeds into Central). Last spring I put my daughter on the waiting for Highland Jr High, not much better reputation than Ramsey but it wasn’t Ramsey – a school that was notorious bad behavior. I spent most of the summer checking with the school district to see if there had been any movement on the list. I had put all my eggs into the basket of Highland because my son graduated from the Highland High School. He was in the IB program and did very well for himself, I had the same hopes for my daughter.

It was not to be, there were too many children on the waiting list and she did not make the cut. When school started she began her very short career at Ramsey Jr High.

On the first day she was hit in the face with a pencil meant for someone else. She would be repeatedly kicked or shoved in the hallway. The aggression was not necessary aimed at her, it was just such a madhouse she was in the crossfire of students yelling, bickering, fighting, or all out attacking each other.

I picked her up early one afternoon to go to a doctor’s appointment and was harassed as I walked down the sidewalk by the playground. Words such as “fucking bitch” were used to address me to retrieve a ball that had been kicked over the 8 foot high fencing. I was so stunned by this behavior but even more so by the lack of reaction or retribution for the bad behavior by the teachers who were out monitoring (and within earshot) the playground activities.

When I signed my daughter out I mentioned the incident to the ladies in the office. One of them literally dragged me through the halls insisting that I report the behavior to the principal. As if I could make a change.

I talked with the principal who explained to me that as a white woman of privilege she was unable to speak to the cultural barriers in place (whatever the heck that means). I realized that she was more interested in making excuses than doing anything about the bad behavior and pulled my daughter out of the school the next day.

I understand now that the principal’s hands were tied due to Superintendent Silva’s belief in Solutions not Suspensions – a policy of sorts put in place to prevent children of color from being suspended or expelled disproportionately from their white counterparts. Basically we no longer suspend or expel children who behave badly, we give them a five minute time out.

The schools are madhouses. Children have no respect for authority, teachers or other students (and certainly not for themselves). When there are no consequences for bad behavior it is no wonder that teachers (and students) are getting hurt.

My daughter attended Ramsey for 12 days. I spent two and a half weeks finding another slightly less chaotic school for her to attends and that is not going well either. My daughter is terrified to go to school. I’m not expert, but I’m pretty sure it’s difficult to learn when you’re worried about getting beat up or killed because some child brought a weapon to school. Even though she only attend the school for 12 days she still managed to ace all of her classes except for gym!!!

There is so much wrong with the Saint Paul Public School district that I really hope the teachers union does strike. I will be picketing with them. I am also hopeful they can manage to remove Silva, someone who doesn’t seem to have any idea what it is like to raise a child.

Poverty doesn’t cause this sort of behavior in the schools, I would even posit that poor parenting isn’t the problem (though it is something that should be addressed). The problem is the kids know they won’t suffer any consequences for their bad behavior.  Untie the teacher’s hands, stop making excuses for bad behavior, punish it and reward good behavior and you’ll probably go a long way in solving this problem.

For me and my daughter, we’re getting out of the St Paul Public Schools, my daughter’s education is far to important to wait for the SPPS to get it together.

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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