Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Just some random thoughts about life.

Tampon Run: The New Menstruation Game using Tampons, not Guns

Every once in a while I see a product and think “Now why didn’t I think of that?”.  And that is exactly what I thought when I read about Tampon Run – the new video game that uses tampons instead of guns.

Written by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser, two young ladies attending a Girls Who Code program, the game has players collect tampons before the villains do.  When attacked, players shoot tampons at the villains and who ever has tampons left over wins.

Said Gonzales, “The idea of making it funny and quirky kind of makes menstruation a lot more approachable and more comfortable”.  An idea that Dot Girl wholeheartedly supports.

Tampon Run


Fertilize Your Garden with Period Blood?

Sometimes I run across something in the news that I am not sure is cool or gross – like the current movement of mothers eating their newborn babies placentas.  I think this article about fertilizing your garden with menstrual blood also falls into both categories.  It’s great to be eco-friendly but I am going to leave it up to Dot Girl readers as to whether or not this is going a bit too far!

Use menstrual blood to fertilize garden.


5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Your Daughter

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Your Daughter

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Your DaughterOn April 22, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2014.  This is the 44th celebration of Earth Day – a day to appreciate the earth and stand up for protection of natural resources.  It is the greatest legacy we can leave our children.  I’ve listed some ideas here for celebrating Earth Day with your daughter.  Feel free to leave your comments about how you plan on celebrating.

1. Spend some time researching alternatives to disposable feminine hygiene pads.  According to the website Envirocitizen “in a lifetime, the average American women will dispose of about fifteen thousand sanitary pads and/or tampons, translating into about three hundred pounds of waste.” Multiply that three hundred pounds of waste by millions of women menstruating in the United States and you can see how changing to reusable pads or other alternatives would have a huge impact on the waste stream.  Explore sites like Luna and with your daughter.  Even if she prefers disposable products now, it will give her something to think about as she grows older.

2. Walk, bike or use public transportation on Earth Day for visiting friends or running errands.  In today’s busy world, doing this everyday may not be practical.  However, choosing one day a week to leave the car parked is an easy way to help the earth and get some exercise.  In our community, ‘walk pools’  instead of ‘carpools’ have become quite popular.  Encourage your daughter to create a group that walks or bikes to school.

3. Donate a tree to a local park in your community.  Many towns and cities have programs in place to encourage donations to support local parks.  The Arbor Day Foundation also offers a program to donate a tree to national forests in honor of celebrations or special people in your life.  What a great way for your daughter to honor someone close to her.

4. Organize a neighborhood clean up.  Doesn’t have to be formal.  Gather a few friends and neighbors around and pick up trash on the streets near your homes.  Recycle what you can and toss the rest into a trash can.

5. Take action on an Earth Day concern.  The Take Action page on the Earth Day website lists active campaigns.

5 Uses for Leftover Candy Corn

5 Uses for Leftover Candy Corn

When my kids were little and would bring back their trick or treat bags on Halloween it seemed like the bags were stuffed with candy corn.  While I like candy corn and so do my kids and husband, you can only eat so much of it.  At least straight out of the bag.  With that in mind, and the fact that we are going to a Halloween party this year, I thought I would go in search of more creative ways to use candy corn.  Turns out I’m not the only one who had this idea.  Here are some of the fun and delicious ways candy corn can be used in familiar recipes.

Candy Corn PopCorn Balls

A sugary treat, but still healthy because of the popcorn, Tattooed Martha brings us Candy Corn Popcorn Balls. Use them as a center piece and then pass out for dessert.




Candy Corn Trail MixAnother healthy treat uses candy corn in a traditional trail mix recipe.  This is a great recipe and like any trail mix you can add and subtract ingredients to suit your family’s tastes.  I like the colorful look of this one.  Plus it includes my favorite chocolate candy M&M’s.




Candy Corn White Chocolate PretzelsAlida’s Kitchen showcases Candy Corn White Chocolate Pretzels. I think these can work at an adult or kids party.  For the adults, serve on a pretty tray.  For the kids, fill a big orange bowl and pass out.  Also a fun snack to have while watching scary movies.




Pay Day CookiesShugary Sweets Pay Day Cookies uses an unusual mix of ingredients to come up with a great tasting cookie.  I think this is a cookie kids could easily make and have fun with.  I would try different flavors of M&M’s or maybe even butterscotch or white chocolate pieces.




Dark Chocolate Candy Corn BarkI love peppermint bark at Christmas time.  Now I can indulge at Halloween time too with this Dark Chocolate Candy Corn Bark from It sounds incredibility rich and I might have to limit myself to just one piece – an hour.




Happy Halloween!






9 Tips to Survive Teen Dating

9 Tips to Survive Teen Dating

Introducing teenage children to the rules and responsibilities of dating gives parents opportunities to teach their values and keep their kids safe.  Although dating rules will be different from family to family, here are some commonly suggested dating guidelines for teens:

Establish age minimums for dating

Allow group or double dating after age 14 – typically when a child is finishing middle school and entering high school.  Wait until age 16 to allow one-on-one dating.

School nights are for school activities and homework

Don’t allow dating on school nights.  For a teen’s overall health and well-being sticking to a school night routine is best.

Curfew on the weekends

Friday and Saturday night dating should come with a curfew that has been previously set such as midnight.  As your child ages, this curfew can be adjusted.  Be aware of local laws that might already set a curfew for teens.

Keep alcohol out of the dating scene

The legal drinking age is 21 and should be honored at home and at parties outside the home.  Know where your teen will be for the evening and verify that alcohol will not be served.  It is ok to say ‘no’ to your teen if you find out an adult won’t be present at the party to enforce the no alcohol rule.  Set the example and enforce this rule in your own home by being present when your teen is entertaining their friends.

Be aware of who is doing the driving

Most states have restrictive driving rules now for teens that center around how many non-family passengers can be in the car while teens are driving.  Check with other parents and verify safe driving records of their children.  Limiting driving distances for dates to in-town driving may also be helpful.  Have designated driving rules in place and back up plans if no one is capable of driving.

Do the driving yourself

While this may embarass your teen, it does provide peace of mind for you and other parents involved.

Know the families of people your teens are dating

It’s easy to pick up the phone and have a conversation before the date occurs.  Use this opportunity to mutually agree on ground rules.

Know the itinerary for the date

Ask where the date will occur and agree that if locations change your teen will call you.  With today’s technology it is easier to track a teen’s movement through items such as their cell phone.  It’s best though to build a trusting relationship with your teen on this issue.  Verify that an adult will be present if the date is at a private home.

Educate your teens about sex and alcohol

The average American youth has sex for the first time at about age 17, while about 26% of U.S. youth ages 12 to 20 have begun to drink alcohol.  Assume that your kids will have sex or drink and give them the proper information to keep themselves safe.  Here is a helpful link to the age of consent laws in each state.





Menstruation Artwork

Menstruation Artwork

I spend a fair amount of time on the internet reading and researching menstruation information to bring to Dot Girl readers.  It seems lately that the discussion of menstruation and periods is landing in the main stream news more often.  This is a good thing as menstruation should not be a taboo subject and the more information girls have the better.  The topic of menstruation is also being used in art pieces and clothing and today I bring you two examples that I recently discovered.

American Apparel Period Power T-Shirt

American Apparel
Period Power T-Shirt

This period t-shirt to be found at American Apparel is probably not going to end up on my shopping list.  The Canadian artist Petra Collins created an artistic drawing of the crotch of a woman who is both menstruating and masturbating.  Not for the faint of heart and already creating much buzz – both pro and con.  While I agree that women’s sexuality should not be a hidden subject and neither should menstruation, I’m not sure this is the best way to open the discussion.  I have yet to see anyone wearing this t-shirt.  Please let me know if you do.



Menstruation Artworkby Carina Ubeda

Menstruation Artwork
by Carina Ubeda

This art installation by Chilean Artist Carina Ubeda is comprised of five years of her own menstrual blood.  The imprints vary on the pieces of cloth and are each embroidered with words like “destroyed” and “production.” Reactions have raved from disgusted to interested.  As one female viewer noted “male blood is celebrated for being brave while ours is a shame.”

I agree with the female viewer’s comment that menstruation blood should not be viewed as shameful.  After all, over half of the world’s population experiences this monthly event.  Treating it as a normal everyday topic is the right step.

Have you seen other examples of menstruation artwork?  Please share in the comments below.



Going Back to School Without Separation Anxiety

Going Back to School Without Separation Anxiety guest article is courtesy of Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC.  Ms. Rapini is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex of Whatever.  Read more about the book at and more about Rapini at

Backpacks, new clothes and packing lunches are buzz words this time of year. But for parents it can bring worry and concern about their little one. Beginning school for children is a time of excitement and anxiety. Minor separation anxiety is normal. We witnessed normal child anxiety when a stranger would reach out to our 8-month-old babies. We witnessed it again until the child was about two when we dropped our child off somewhere new. Mild separation anxiety is a normal phase for both mom and children. We experience it again when our kids go off to college.

In young children, there are several factors that influence separation anxiety, including a child’s temperament, as well as how well he/she reunites with parents and teachers.  How the parent responds is very important, because a parent’s behavior is what many children react to.

How a parent can help a young child minimize separation anxiety:

Develop a routine. Children feel safe when they can count on what will happen. A routine that is the same each day helps children predict events and adds structure to their life. They know when mommy or daddy leave, they will come back.

Don’t be late. Talk to your child for several days preparing them for their day. When you leave them, tell them after nap time or whatever the schedule is, I will be there. Then be sure you are there. If for some reason you have a conflict and cannot pick them up, tell them who will and what they can expect. This helps your child feel secure and in control.

Stay positive.  If you act worried, concerned or weepy, your child will follow your emotion. Be upbeat about the activities and meeting new friends. Whatever the child enjoys, make sure you promote that activity as much as you can.

Follow the instructor’s rules.  Your child will form a relationship with their teacher and whatever the teacher says is your child’s truth. You may know more about a topic than your child’s teacher, but they will correct you if your story doesn’t match their teacher. If your child’s teacher has a rule, respect it as much as possible at home as well. An example is not allowing certain words to be said. No matter what the word is, if it is negative at school, do not say the word at home.

Know and promote your child’s school friends to meet outside of school.  Helping your child build friendships will help ease their school anxiety. If you know someone in the class, inviting that child over with their parent prior to school will help your child adjust more easily.

Develop a bedtime routine at least two weeks prior to the school year beginning.  This will help your child feel more rested.

Let your child help you pack their snack, lunch and backpack for school with necessary items for the first day of school. This list is usually sent to parents prior to the first day of school.

When your child is making a new transition, such as beginning school or starting a new grade in school, talking about it, reading stories about school, and watching cartoons about the subject matter help alleviate worry and fear about the unknown. A parent’s goal should be to help their child feel confident that they will be well cared for.

Helping teens and tweens minimize back to school anxiety involves being there emotionally and physically if they need to talk, but also allowing them time to explore healthy coping mechanisms on their own. Parents who structure a healthy school environment for their child are mentoring the importance of education in their family. Below are suggestions that can also help.

Prior to school have a schedule of when phones and computers will be turned off for the night. Kids need a structured routine and bedtime just as much as small children do.

Discuss transportation. Who will take whom where. Who is driving (and who will be with them). Make sure you are clear about the route they will take.

Your child should be responsible enough to do their own laundry, clean their own room and have their clothes ready for school each day. Doing too much for your child, or taking care of what they are capable of doing on their own is a no-no.

Know your child’s classes and which teacher your child has for each class. Attending the open house night prior to classes beginning is very helpful for children and their parents.

Talking to your child prior to the semester about which classes may require additional tutoring is helpful. Your child can plan their after school activities easier and with less stress if they know you are supportive with them getting additional help if they need it. Anxiety is the worry of what will happen prior to it ever happening. The more parents can help alleviate the worry, the better.

Reassurance goes a long way! Kids need to know you are on their team, with things they worry about.

As your child heads off to college you may think your days of separation anxiety are over. Just the opposite is true. When kids leave home, it’s a transition for the child as well as the parents. Every parent feels somewhat emotional when they drive away and leave their child behind to begin a new life on campus. Whether you have looked forward to this day or dreaded it, it will happen, and preparing your child as well as yourself will minimize your anxiety. These few suggestions will help:

As much as possible reassure your child that they will do well and that college is a wonderful experience.

When you let your child off on campus this is not the time to insist on hugging, kissing or making a scene. Many kids aren’t comfortable with public displays of affection, so writing a letter of how you feel about your child and leaving it somewhere where they can read it in private will be appreciated by them.

Call your child or communicate with them in the same manner you did in high school, but let them set the pace.

Plan a bi-monthly or monthly family meal where your child will come home and reunite. For families who live far away Facetime or Skyping are wonderful ways to reunite.

Remind your child when they are concerned or worried that you are near, and that you have every confidence they can handle the situation.

Separation is part of life, and learning how to separate from the ones you love most is a lifetime lesson. If your child has difficulty, it will usually pass, but when it doubt, speaking to a counselor is always helpful. Reminding your child that mistakes are learning tools and that we all make them, helps lessen their anxiety when they are trying to be perfect in their new surroundings. Most children I talk with tell me the one thing mom and dad gave them that pulled them through many anxious transitions was the fact that they could always go home. Kids need to know their family will always be there no matter where home (geographically) is.

Back to School Craft Ideas

Back to School Craft Ideas

Stone Soup Back to School

Hard to believe, but it is back to school time yet again.  And kids throughout the country are doing their usual complaining.  But school doesn’t have to be all that bad.  It’s definitely easier to see friends when everyone is in school.  The summer time boredom blues disappear with the start of school activities.  And every girl loves to do the annual back to school clothes shopping trip.  Plus there always seem to be fun new products for school supplies.

Just to make back to school time not so hard, I’ve done a little searching on Pinterest and come up with a few do-it-yourself school projects that will fit any budget.

Chalkboard Notebooks

This is a clever idea I want to do on every notebook I own.  Use chalkboard paint to turn the front cover of a notebook into a place to write reminders on the go.  Or draw a new picture every day to suit a mood.  Your kids will come up with many original ideas on what to paint and how to use their chalkboard notebooks.

Paper Embellished Clothespins

These clothespins help solve the problem of how to display children’s artwork without using scotch tape which always seems to tear the paper.  Each child in the family can make their own personalized set of magnetic clothespins so hanging their artwork will be even more special.  What a great way to decorate the refrigerator!

Notebook T-Shirt

What a fun and permanent way for kids to collect first day of school greetings.  A t-shirt that looks like a notebook.  Do one every year to remember new friends made on the first day of school.

Pocket Book

I’m going to guess every tween girl is going to want one of these pocket books to store her stickers.  A clever idea to keep pens and pencils handy too and a great way to use jeans that your kid has outgrown.

I’m sure there are plenty more creative ideas to make the first day of school fun.  Please share in the comments your ideas for us all to enjoy.

5 Tips on Raising an Informed Citizen

5 Tips on Raising an Informed Citizen

Raising an Informed CitizenWhen I was growing up the 4th of July was always about lighting fireworks during the annual neighborhood pool party.  The kids were regulated to one side of the pool and on the other side the dads would light the fireworks to the delight of the crowd.  One memorable year, a lighted spinning wheel spun out of control and burnt the fence.  The kids loved it!  Somewhere in the back of my mind I also knew it was the nation’s birthday.  But other than helping my Dad put the American flag in front of the house, I really didn’t know how lucky we were to celebrating this birthday.

This is something I have thought about as I raised my own kids.  Do they really understand what it means to be an American?  Do they pay attention to how laws being discussed in the U.S. Congress will impact their daily lives and pocketbooks?  Are they informed enough to vote in elections? Do they appreciate what sacrifices military service members make to serve our country?

In honor of 4th of July, 2013 – the nation’s 237th birthday, I decided to put together a few tips on raising an informed citizen.

1.  There is a saying that all politics is local.  Start off by visiting the City Hall building where you live.  Explain to her the functions of the mayor and city council.  Encourage your daughter to read the local newspaper.  When our kids were little we took them to our polling place on Election Day.  Regretfully, actual physical polling places are being phased out.  But you can still go over a mail in ballot with her and explain all the offices.

2.  A visit to your state’s capitol city is a great way to spend a summer vacation.  Prepare ahead of time by checking out book’s from your local library on state history. Governors frequently appear on TV.  Make a date with your daughter to watch a press conference or speech then discuss the Governor’s news and how it will impact you as state citizens.

3.  Plan a trip to Washington D.C. Nothing inspires patriotism then seeing our nation’s government buildings and monuments in person.  If an actual visit is out of reach, then take advantage of the wealth of information on the internet.  Learn about the history and beauty of the U.S. Capitol Building and the White House.  Make a game with your daughter of finding information about every monument on the National Mall.

4. Military bases are scattered throughout the country.  We live close to Naval Station Everett which throws a special party every 4th of July.  Local citizens can go on base and tour ships and learn how the military supports the country in peace and war.  Your daughter probably knows children of service members.  Get a group together and tour a local base.

5. And last but not least, sit down and read with your daughter.  The U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the biographies of presidents, histories of U.S. events, and articles in national newspapers.  Then discuss current events at the dinner table and how they tie back to the country’s founding documents.  And watch your daughter’s interest grow as she becomes an informed citizen.




Summer Camp and Your Daughter

Summer Camp and Your Daughter

Summer Camp and Your DaughterI only attended one overnight camp when I was a teenager and it wasn’t the best of experiences.  We seemed to spend more time cleaning the facilities than having fun, not my idea of how to spend camp time.  When our kids were growing up we looked for camps that would teach them new skills (outdoor cooking at Boy Scout camp, how to dunk at basketball camp) plus how to manage themselves away from home.

These days there seems to be a dizzying choice of different summer camps.  Everything from horse riding to academics, to computers and just old fashioned out door camping with canoe rides included.  No matter which you choose for your daughter, there are some common ways you can help her prepare to spend time away from home on her own.

The Scout motto is to be prepared and there are some obvious things your daughter needs in her suitcase for camp like enough underwear, sunblock and deodorant to last the week.  Think about the less obvious things though.  We always included a list of family addresses, stamps, envelopes and some writing paper in our daughter’s camp essentials.  It was a good way for her to stay in touch without email or cell phone texting.

Writing letters is also a great way for you to stay in touch.  Mail a letter to your daughter at camp a few days before she leaves.  She will have a nice letter from home soon after she arrives which may help if she is feeling homesick.

If your daughter is attending a nature camp, find some plant and bird books about the camp location and help her learn to identify some common species that she will see at camp.  If she is attending camp outside of your local area, looking at a map and learning about the towns or cities near the camp location will help her be ready for being in new surroundings.  And include a disposable camera in her supplies so she can take pictures.

Having your daughter spend a night or two away from home at a friends house or with relatives before she goes to camp is a good way to help her practice being away from home.  She will gain a little confidence and so will you that she is ready to be away for a longer stretch of time.

And most importantly at the tween girl age, if she has started her menstrual period already, track with a calendar her last cycle to estimate if her next period will start at camp.  Pack her some emergency supplies and make sure she knows where to get more from the camp office, store, or nurse.  If she hasn’t started her period yet, assume she might while she is away so be sure she knows how to handle it so it isn’t a surprise or inconvenience.

Helping your daughter be prepared for summer camp will ensure she enjoys the experience even more and will let her create lots of happy memories to share with you when she gets home.