Preschool Market Woefully Underprepared For Holiday Season


Shoppers may be used to long lines and flustered staff during the holiday season, but nobody was prepared for the pandemonium at a local preschool’s play market over the past week. Ms. Meredith, the class teacher reported that the 3 to 5-year-old little entrepreneurs were committed to creating the “ultimate best super holiday store,” as early as five minutes before opening the doors, but parents were baffled by almost every managerial decision made by the group of mostly potty-trained children.

For starters, Shirly’s Farm-to-Market stand made no effort to switch to a more seasonably appropriate inventory. You would typically expect an artisanal merchant to stock some pumpkin-spiced goodies during the fall and winter, but instead she is standing by the more rustic veggies that made her spring offering such a success.

Farm To Market Playset

When asked if this was a calculated move to offset oversaturation in the market, Shirly responded by holding up a couple of bright red tomatoes, and insisting audaciously that “no, these are pumpkins now, see?” When challenged on that claim, the young farmer pivoted to asking whether pumpkins were fruits or vegetables, and this reporter was forced to concede that while pumpkins are technically fruits, it does seem like they should be vegetables, and the point was dropped.

It should be said that while the preschoolers may have been unprepared to manage a bustling pop-up market, some children at least had an eye for clever branding opportunities.

Cake Pop Playset

“It’s like a popsicle, but it’s cake. Those are my two favorite foods,” said aspiring baker Timothy, showcasing a decadent cake-pop display. Pressed for details about his inspiration for opening a cake pop shop within a pop-up market, the aspiring baker replied, “This one is blueberry, even though it’s pink.” Genius isn’t always articulate.

Still, the cracks of Timothy’s business plan began to show early on. Originally hoping to include a selection of charcuterie and other snackable treats, the young restauranteur was forced to let his friend Melanie take over that side of the budding business. There is a strict sharing policy in place at the market that helps prevent monopolies and the occasional tantrum.

Snacks Playset

Asked if he would do anything different, Timothy looked thoughtful for a moment, then informed me that the cake pop icing doesn’t always fit on top of the macaroons, but he can just put it in the middle and hold it together. Hopefully the same is true of his business model.

It’s not just the food merchants facing a heavy hit during the holidays. Caden mans the sheers at the market barber shop, but patrons coming in for a family holiday photo sometimes walked away a bit confused.

“I don’t really think of myself as a ‘hipster,” said Caden’s mother. “So I was a little confused when he styled me with this beard right out of Brooklyn,” she chuckled. “It just doesn’t fit my mom-aesthetic, you know for a few reasons.”

Barber Shop Playset

If anyone got ahead of the curve, however, it was local jack-of-all-trades Cynthia, who was on hand with her trusty toolkit to help with the holiday decorating. While you wouldn’t think hanging decorations required a full-caliber wood saw, the young handywoman seemed adamant about hacking away at every surface she found. An eager superintendent might be a dream to some, but Cynthia’s enthusiasm left not a lot of decoration-baring structures standing.

Toolkit Playset

“I mean, you expect a little chaos, but this is just insane,” said one local shopper, who conceded that even though her shopping experience was more tiring than usual, she’d still be a repeat customer. “The kids are just so freakin’ cute. What else do you want?”

Pretend Play, a new line of pretend toys from Fisher-Price®, encourages children to explore the wonder of their imaginations with toys that mix wood, plastic, and soft materials. Find out more about Pretend Play here.

Despite being completely plausible to parents, This Just In is satire and intended for entertainment purposes only.

This post was sponsored by:

These Toys Are Great For Telling Toddlers “It’s About Time You Got A Job!”

Fisher Price Doctor set

Kids love to play astronaut-cowboy and princess-ninja. But kids also love to role play as everyday grown-ups—just like their own moms and dads (if only they knew). One of the things we forget as parents is just how serious play is to a kid, no matter what world or adventure they are exploring. Check out 4 moments inside these imaginary worlds that are guaranteed to transport you to a more fun place, too.

Hayden stepped back and admired his work in the mirror. Not every barber would cut and style their own hair, but Hayden wasn’t afraid to take some chances for his craft. He was a little afraid of the scary buzzing sound that hair clippers made, but what good artist isn’t frightened by their work? Most people didn’t know what it was they wanted to do with their hair, which is why Hayden rarely asked. As an old-timey kinda kid, Hayden didn’t see how you could go wrong with the classic looks like the straight line he tried to shave straight down the middle of his own head. Styling wasn’t something he cared for regularly, but for a fancy night out, a little bubble gum works wonders. The most important thing, Hayden thought, as he coiffed his new look, was that you definitely shouldn’t run with scissors. His dad had been very clear about that.

Savannah was nearing the end of her second 15-hour shift of the week. As always, she said she’d be fine without nap time. As always, she was wrong. But in a busy hospital, you don’t have time to second guess yourself. At least there would be a tall glass of grape juice with her name on it waiting when she was done. She’d written it there in marker all by herself. But first things first, she had to clear up a pretty nasty case of Stage 4 Gross Guts Syndrome.  Savannah wondered if she’d left her gloves inside the patient’s tummy after shoving all his bits back in him. She didn’t want the poor guy to worry, so she kept her concern to herself by saying “I hope I didn’t leave my glove in there” really loudly right in front of him. But then she remembered: she hadn’t worn gloves.

Fisher Price Market Playset

One day Sheryl knew the world would be excited for her chocolate apples and gummy worm beans, but you don’t build an all-natural empire in a day. In the meantime, the weekend farmer’s market was the perfect place to unload tomatoes, kale, green beans and anything else that she would absolutely not allow on her plate. Yes, even if Daddy chopped them up so small that she couldn’t tell they were there; if she even thought there was an onion in her spaghetti, it was over, pal. Still, to thrive in this economy, Sherly would need to cultivate a strong brand, and that meant making an impression. “That’ll be $2,000.00,” she declared without hesitating. Was this too much to charge for a single tomato? Perhaps. But who’s to say what a truly artisanal food experience was worth? Plus, the customer was her younger brother, and he’d do anything she told him to for at least another year or so.

Fisher Price Camping Playset

Cory wasn’t supposed to have visitors past dark in the forest, but technically he wasn’t supposed to be out past dark at all. So there didn’t seem to be much harm in showing off his expansive 1000-square-foot outdoor retreat when his friends came over to play. As the ranger of this forest, Cory could point out all the major landmarks like the big tree, Daddy’s grill, and the best spot to find worms. The best part about camping out was cooking by the fire, of course. And even though Cory’s forest was usually on the moon or sometimes underwater, the fire crackled delightfully as the marshmallows roasted. The only thing they had to look out for was the bears. Bear was Cory’s dog, but also, sometimes his friends turned into bears. It was a magic underwater forest moon, after all.

Pretend Play, a new line of pretend toys from Fisher-Price®, encourages children to explore the wonder of their imaginations with toys that mix wood, plastic, and soft materials. Find out more about Pretend Play here.

This post was sponsored by:

Hero Kindergarten Teacher Continues To Teach Virtually While Getting Chemotherapy

Remote Teacher Chemo
(Facebook/M Health Fairview)

Teachers are incredible. If you didn’t think that before, you DEFINITELY think that now after seeing what they’ve had to endure to teach kids during a global pandemic. From inventive remote learning techniques to handling the flux education patterns and plans, teachers are redefining going above and beyond for our kids. And one, in particular, has set the bar at an even higher level. Kelly Klein, a kindergarten teacher from Minnesota, has continued to teach remote kindergarten DURING her chemo treatments for a second bout with ovarian cancer.

After she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer for a second time, Klein made the decision to teach for as long she could. She told Good Morning America teaching is her passion, as her three-plus decades in the game can attest.

“I’m going to make the most of my time,” she said. “I don’t take anything for granted.” So she made her treatment facility, a room at a local health care center, her virtual classroom and teaches 5-and-6-year-olds while getting chemo treatments. She literally brings her laptop and all of her supplies and gets to work.

“When you’re at chemo and you’re around a lot of sick people, it’s kind of a depressing place to be. For me, to be around 5-year-olds during that time, it’s like a slice of normalcy in an abnormal environment.”

Her principal said the teacher is beloved by students and colleagues alike, and that she did not want to take a leave after her latest diagnosis. Klein said she gets energy from the kids, and that they help her through the five-hour treatments since she’s not allowed to have any visitors with her during that time.

She’s been described as the type of teacher that students remember long after they’ve moved on, and it is not hard to see why. Just legendary, to battle cancer a second time WHILE having the energy to be there for students, which is not easy even when you’re healthy.

Truly next level stuff, and a testament to the profession.

Scientists Say Rewatching Your Favorite Shows Can Improve Your Mental Health

Science shows that rewatching old favorites can improve mental health
(Getty/Ryan McVay)

TV FOMO no joke, the “Fear of Missing Out” on shows that fill social media feeds and dominate conversations. It’s almost guilt-inducing, watching an old favorite after a stressful day instead of digging into one of the many shows on your forever-growing “to-watch” list. But in reality, is that such a bad thing? Scientists say no – in fact, they say returning to an old favorite can actually be good for your mental health.

In a study conducted by Cristel Antonia Russell and Sidney J. Levy from the University of Chicago Press, they call the phenomenon “reconsumption.” According to the study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, rewatching an old show, rereading your favorite book, even visiting a restaurant you love can trigger a feeling of comfort.

The study compares our brains’ responses to forced repetition to their responses to repetition by choice. When we choose to revisit something that makes us feel good, we essentially anchor ourselves to a moment in time where we felt at peace.

“We find that ‘connections between successive presents’ are localizable in reconsumed objects: reconsumption can serve as a ‘system of replay, resonance and echoes . . . which transcend spatial locations and temporal successions,’” the study explains. “The reconsumed objects fuel an active synthesis of individualized experiences rather than the passive synthesis of habitual reconsumption.”

In simplified terms, no matter where we are in life – no matter what stressors, challenges, and uncertainty we’re facing, we can more or less re-center ourselves. The connection to who and where we were 5 years ago can be connected to our present selves and eventually our future selves by revisiting something that holds meaning to us. The experience of reconsuming things like movies and TV shows actively invites our brains to combine and organize those experiences, finding comfort in them repeatedly over time.

“Unlike the survival motives that drive evolutionary psychology, we find that consumers who chose to repeat hedonic experiences even just once are expressing and affirming their individual experience and its special meanings to them,” the study concludes.

While some repetitive behavior is driven by our desire to survive, behaviors we choose to repeat simply because they make us feel good can reinforce who we are. If you’ve ever been in the car when a song that’s meaningful to you comes on the radio, you’ll understand this idea in real-time. Often, you’re transported back to the time the song gained significance for you.

You may feel things that aren’t relevant in the moment, but were impactful at one point in time – and those thoughts and emotions are forever tied to that song (or TV show, or movie). Those feelings are real though, even as you drive along the highway far removed from whenever that song first gained a special meaning to you. And as the study explains, you’re welcome to revisit those moments as often as you need them.

So yes, Netflix may have hundreds of new movies every month. Social media may be buzzing with talk about a new show every few months. But as we all know, those trends are fleeting. It’s ok to pass on “the best show ever” (how, even, can there possibly be 5,000 best shows ever?) – sometimes the best thing for your mental health is holding onto your security blanket of a show, immersing yourself in the moment, and embracing the comfort it brings.

Brady Throws TD Pass to Brees Son in Dad Moment After Legendary Playoff Matchup

Brady Brees' Son TD Throw

It was one of the most hyped NFL playoff matchups in recent memory, as Tom Brady took on Drew Brees for the first time in the playoffs. Two of the best quarterbacks to ever play the position, with more than 150,000 passing yards and scores of touchdowns between them during their decades of play. But after the dust settled, they were just dads, and one of the coolest moments of the season was seeing the two of them hang out on the field long after everyone else left.

Two legends, just kicking it, with their kids playing around them. Brady embraced Brees, and the two spoke for a while kids bandied about, and then Brady threw a touchdown to one of his Brees’ sons.

Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs won the game, which may have likely been the last of Brees’ outstanding career. For Brady, game recognizes game, which is why the two of them sharing a special moment after the game resonated with so many fans.

Despite a game and season full of highlights, it’s two dads talking and throwing a football to kids that got millions and millions of views. The throw, for what it’s worth, was actually right on the money and pretty incredible to do it so nonchalantly (although the young defender could’ve pursued more aggressively, perhaps…still a sick pass either way).

The touchdowns you throw to your kids may not mean the most to everyone else, but it’s bigger than any other to them, and it’s cool that even the two legends get it.

Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, Baseball’s Longtime Home Run King, Passes Away at 86

RIP Hank Aaron
(Getty/Tom Lynn)

There aren’t a lot of heroes these days, not in a world in which everyone’s lives are on full display, flaws and all. And now that baseball legend Hank Aaron has passed away, we’ve got one less.

The legendary slugger from Mobile, Alabama got his start in the negro leagues, and went on to become a mythmaker from baseball’s golden age, capturing the all-time home run record long before steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs started inflating numbers and sullying the record books. Aaron, 86, played for 23 seasons, 21 with the Braves (first in Milwaukee, then Atlanta), and hit 755 home runs, surpassing Babe Ruth’s record and hanging onto his own place in the books for 30 years (before finally being broken by Barry Bonds in 2007).

Aaron did it while black, in an era when black baseball players, especially one on his way to dethroning one of the game’s earliest icons, provoked anger and violence in the form of hate mail and death threats.

“On the field, Blacks have been able to be super giants,” he once said. “But once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again.”

Aaron’s perseverance in the face of racism and work as a civil rights leader are as much a part of his legacy as his athletic prowess, as were his efforts to support his community and his commitment to philanthropy, facts acknowledged by the Braves organization in their statement.

“We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank,” Atlanta Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said in a statement. “He was a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts. His incredible talent and resolve helped him achieve the highest accomplishments, yet he never lost his humble nature. Henry Louis Aaron wasn’t just our icon, but one across Major League Baseball and around the world. His success on the diamond was matched only by his business accomplishments off the field and capped by his extraordinary philanthropic efforts.

“We are heartbroken and thinking of his wife Billye and their children Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary, Dorinda and Ceci and his grandchildren.”

When he eventually broke the record, the footage became almost as legendary as the moment, with a pair of fans running onto the field to congratulate Aaron as he rounded the bases, before he arrived at home plate to a mob of teammates and family.

Aaron was the National League MVP in 1957 — the same year the Braves won the World Series — a two-time NL batting champion (1956, ’59), a three-time Gold Glove winner in right field (1958-60) and a record 25-time All-Star.

Another Game of Thrones Prequel Series May Be Coming To HBO

Tales of Dunk and Egg
(Jet City Comics/Bantam)

Game of Thrones fans are still waiting for George R.R. Martin to finish the last two books in the Song of Ice and Fire saga, and without the mega-popular HBO series to hold them over (even the bad seasons), they must be going crazy. But we have some good news.

Not only is HBO moving full speed ahead with the House of Dragons prequel series, which focuses on the Targaryen dynasty centuries before Daenerys arrived on the scene (the show has been adding to the cast and plans to start filming soon), now there is news of another prequel series in development.

According to Variety this series, still in the very early stages, will be based on George R.R. Martin‘s series of novellas, Tales of Dunk and Egg, which takes place a mere 90 years before the first HBO show that lit the world, and the ice zombies, on fire.

There have been three novellas in the “Tales of Dunk and Egg” series so far: “The Hedge Knight” in 1998, “The Sworn Sword” in 2003, and “The Mystery Knight” in 2010. They were collected and published together as “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” in 2015.

The series follows the misadventures of Ser Duncan the Tall (aka Dunk), and a young Aegon V Targaryen (Egg), two figures who end up becoming very important to Westeros. Dunk is the eventual Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and Aegon eventually ascends to the throne as the future king of Westeros.

Whether this series actually makes it all the way to our TV screen is yet to be seen, but it’s clear the HBO wants to stay in the Game of Thrones business.

Arcade1Up Is Adding X-Men, Killer Instinct & Dragon’s Lair To Cabinet Collection


I have fond memories of spending all my (parents) quarters at the local arcade when I was a kid.  Classics like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Street Fighter II & Mortal Kombat would take up my free time and I long for those days again.  Unfortunately, time machines haven’t been invented yet, but Arcade1Up is doing the next best thing.  They have been re-releasing these timeless & nostalgic arcade games for the masses to scoop up, and it looks like X-Men, Killer Instinct & Dragon’s Lair will join their gorgeous officially licensed cabinet collection.

Announced during this year’s all-digital CES, each cabinet has been faithfully recreated and features the original artwork along with some extra games.  There currently aren’t any prices attached to these, but I assume they’ll go for $369.99 USD like the other ones in Arcade1Up’s roster.

Here’s what comes with each cabinet:

X-Men includes:

  • X-Men
  • Captain America and The Avengers (used to play that on Sega Genesis)
  • The Avengers in Galactic Storm

Killer Instinct includes:

  • Killer Instinct
  • Killer Instinct 2
  • Battle Toads Arcade

And finally, Dragon’s lair includes:

  • Dragon’s Lair
  • Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp
  • Space Ace

If you’re not fond of the Dragon’s Lair cabinet, a Space Ace version that features the same games is also an option.

I think it’s really cool to see these classics getting the red carpet treatment so if you are interested, be sure to sign-up on Arcade1Up’s website to be notified when pre-orders go live because I’m sure these will go fast.

Father Figures: Most Rewarding Job

“This is my husband, Ian.

He used to spend his days and evenings producing amazing work for clients as a graphic designer at a small design firm in Chicago. He went to fancy industry parties, worked on nationally recognized projects, and loved his job.

But, since having our first baby five and half years ago, he exchanged his dream job to be a stay at home dad. Four kids total, and he’s been rocking this gig with patience, grace, lots of coffee, and love.

Ian isn’t a normal stay at home dad guy, though, he’s always taking them out to coffee shops, parks, bike rides, library, dance classes, and does it all with a smile on his face.

Being a stay at home parent is extremely hard, but he says he wouldn’t change it for the world and it’s his most rewarding job he’s had.”

– Michelle Merrill

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

12 Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week 1/22/21

Funniest Parenting Tweets 1-22-2021
(Getty/Photography by Rayleigh, Twitter/CrockettForReal)

The parents of Twitter are back with another round of hilarity. Every week, the parenting corner of Twitter is filled with the most memorable (and sometimes, the most questionable) parenting moments, and we’re here for it all. The hilarious, the cringe-worthy, and the just plain ridiculous – here are 12 of the funniest parenting tweets this week.

Painfully relatable

We have to take full advantage before the inevitable day that they beat us fair and square

Even Alexa is tired of your shit

And then in a couple years, throwing down the “draw four” in Uno

This dad joke unlocked the skill, “Super Sneeze”

What’s it like raising a genius

Parenting is a dang conundrum

Has to be the truck, right? Right?

*Tearing up* It’s gotten so big

Game night is canceled until further notice

Hire kids to fix the world. They can do it

It’s nice to dream

Did you miss last week’s funniest parenting tweets?