The best birthday gift for a tween...



No, but seriously...I've always enjoyed the challenge of finding the right gift for the people I love and I used to think that it was anything BUT money. Since having a pre-teen, I am quickly realizing that I don't actually know what my child wants all the time. It seems to change day-to-day, so I figured that the time has come to just hit the ATM and concede defeat!

I rolled $1 bills and slid them into each and every balloon that filled his bedroom floor. It took him about 5 minutes to realize that there was something in them. Being probably the most polite of my offspring, he was thanking me for "decorating" his room for his birthday (probably while dying a silent death of disappointment) when he finally translated what his 3 year old brother had been saying over and over  - "m-o-n-e-y".

Since our little guy is home with me during the day, he was witness to my hour long dollar bill rolling, balloon stuffing, hyperventilating labor of love and was desperately trying to articulate it to his big brother so that they could figure a way to get the money OUT! It didn't take long. It was a very loud five minutes of constant explosions and laughter and then a near silent, serious collection and calculation of one dollar bills. It totally hit the spot.


Pinterest is still king for ideas like this.

Free photo prints!


I love to see our photos in print, to get to pass them around and giggle and laugh at all of the fun memories we've made. Our kids definitely are growing up in a digital age so this is new and exciting and it's almost as foreign to them as going digital is for me.

I was so happy to score this promotional print set from Artifact Uprising via Chris Burkard's instagram shout out. The promotion was for a set of 25, 5x5 square prints and they arrived only 3 days after I placed my order. Bonus.

Make connections via your instagram account, it truly is a community and in this particular case I wouldn't have known about it unless my good friend, @viewfromtherecoverytrail had mentioned it.

Also, keep tuned to your favorite company social media channels to score great offers. It's always nice to be able to try something for free or reduced rate the first time!

Artifact Uprising website and social media channels will have all current promotions like this one.

Am I a feminist?


Me: "I mean, I'm not even a feminist and I'm pissed. I you think I'm a feminist?!"

My friend laughed at me (because she totally thinks I'm a feminist) then said in a serious tone:
"...but shouldn't we all be feminist?"

The backstory:
I was extremely frustrated on that particular day because I had just bought a 'boys book' for my son which included topics like "starting a fire from scratch" and "how to survive an avalanche" and I was trying to find the girls equivalent. The problem was that although it was available for girls, it included much different topics such as "how to give yourself a pedicure at home".

When my daughter looked through some of the topic headings I could see her visibly looking confused, then a few seconds later she looked deflated. By the time she had read through the rest of the topics she looked downright defeated and she was angry. She asked me why it wasn't as fun as the boys book - she asked me if they thought girls couldn't make a fire or something? She actually felt that her worth was perceived as less than.

According to the dictionary:

adjective, sometimes, feministic
1. advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

2. an advocate of such rights.

It occurred to me that I've grown up with the idea that feminism is only for the extreme, the butch women who loiter around the auto parts store with dirt under their fingernails attesting to their "toughness" or women who have distrust for or detest men - but that's not true. It's not true at all. Raising my daughter has re-opened old wounds that I think I'd nearly forgotten about. It has reminded me of situations in my life where I had became acutely aware of my gender and society's assumed limitations or expectations. I genuinely thought that by the time I had my own kids things would be much more progressive, but in truth, I don't see that much change - or, I don't see enough change.

And to answer my friend's question, YES, I think we should all be feminists, because I believe there is plenty of work left to do on this topic.

Sometimes I overhear other parents expressing the same concerns and that they feel their awareness has been raised because they are raising girls, which I also feel, but even more so I am finding myself equally challenged as I raise my sons to see their sister as smart, strong and every bit as capable as they are. There is no dispute that we (girls and boys/ men and women) are different, it would be absurd not to acknowledge that. However, as I raise my children, I hope that both my boys and my girl are able to grow into the people they were meant to be without being stifled or suffocated by gender perceptions. I want them each to explore physically, artistically and academically to their fullest potentials so that they can truly discover all that they are capable of becoming.

Disclaimer: I feel compelled to mention that I learned first hand, with our son who came first, that boys also face their own number of gender based expectations that can be very stifling as well. I simply am choosing to focus on one issue at a time and this went to the girls.

Personal tip:
I already have many books for my daughter to read about women in history, empowering books for girls, but I think I may have our sons read them too.

A Mighty Girl Facebook page has wonderful articles and reading suggestions

by mlekoshi