Author Archives: kathy

The Kids Aren’t All Right

Over the years Dot Girl Products has looked for ways to support girl empowerment organizations. We have donated to the Central Asia Institute, an organization that promotes peace through education by establishing more than 171 schools, most of them for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. We have also made donations to the Mukilteo School District where we are located and promoted the Day of the Girl events.

We’ve done this to help raise awareness amongst our readers of the good works being done by these organizations. When we were contacted to share the below infographic we just knew it was one more way to get the word out and recommend ways to help.

‘The Kids Aren’t All Right’ infographic details the countries in the world that are the worst for kids, our most vulnerable population.  Information is tabulated for everything from percent of child laborers to rates of teen suicides.

How can you help?  We’ve mentioned before a great book that points you in the proper direction.  Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicolas D. Kristof (a New York Time columnist) and Sheryl WuDunn.  While the book focuses on the plights facing young girls, many of the organizations listed in the book help all children.  We encourage you to visit the Half the Sky website to find out more.

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5 Tips to Talk to Your Daughter about Menstruation

Happy New Year from Dot Girl ProductsReposting our New Year’s advice from a couple of years ago.  May you all have a joyful New Year with your families!

Tomorrow starts the new year and that means it’s time for resolutions. If your daughter is approaching puberty and your resolution is to explain things to her, here are 5 Tips to help guide the discussion about menstruation:

1. Don’t leave it up to the schools and Internet websites to deliver the information. Make time to connect with your daughter to talk about this important milestone, make sure she understands the information, and feels comfortable asking questions.

2. Share your own memories and experiences from this time in your life. Did you have any embarrassing moments? Where were you when you started your first period? When did you buy your first bra? Sharing your stories will help your daughter realize that she is not alone in this experience.

3. Ask other women in your family to share their stories which will provide a sense of family togetherness and will give your daughter an idea of how times have changed. For example, girls today don’t have to deal with the belt and napkin. It used to be that feminine hygiene products were not even advertised on TV.

4. Schedule a field trip with friends and their moms to the local drugstore to explore the feminine hygiene aisle. Today, these products are displayed abundantly, just like shampoo and other personal care essentials. A trip like this reinforces that these products are a normal part of life.

5. Remember to keep the lines of communication open and start early. Being open and honest with your daughter when she is in her early years will lay the foundation important conversations to take shape as she grows older and has even more challenging questions and issues on her mind. Try not to have one big talk. Instead, slip in nuggets of information into normal everyday conversation. And don’t wait for your daughter to initiate the conversation because she may be too embarrassed to do so.

Dot Girl Gift Recommendations – Books!

Christmas 2013 #1

Only 17 days left for Christmas shopping!  Which means it’s time for Dot Girl to roll out our annual list of gift recommendations.  This week we are concentrating on books of which there is a perfect one for every child.  These are books that are new (to us at least) this past year – some you may have heard of, some may be new to you.  All of them are great reads.

Something to Hold by: Katherine Schlick Noe

Based on the author’s childhood growing up on Warms Springs Reservation in Oregon the book explores differences and how friendships can still grow from those differences. Winner of the 2012 Washington State Book Award for Middle Grades and Young Adults

The Book Thief by: Markus Zusak

This young adult novel (ages 14 and up) is getting quite a bit of attention later because of the movie release.  Skip the movie and read the book instead.  It is one of my all time favorites and I didn’t read it until last year, well past young adulthood.  Cleverly narrated by Death, the book demonstrates what it means to care for others while we are on this earth.

A Tangle of Knots by: Lisa Graff

Set in a magical world where everyone has a special Talent, the main character Cady – whose Talent is cake baking, embarks on a journey that may lead to her long lost parent.  Whimsical and delightful and sure to capture any young girl’s imagination. Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Drama by: Raina Telgemeier

I’m partial to this book because our youngest son, and all his friends, are drama geeks.  He’s a college student now, but we spent years driving him back and forth to a community theater where he took part in many productions.  This book captures well the ‘drama’ of being involved in the dramatic arts – especially at the middle school level.

Three Times Lucky by: Sheila Turnage

A debut novel, this book has garnered lots of recognition, all well deserved.  Rising sixth-grader Mo LoBeau leads her small town through mystery and adventure as she investigates a murder and searches for her long lost mother.

May your daughter enjoy happy reading this Christmas season!

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.



The Best Resources for Talking to Your Daughter About Sex

The Best Resources for Talking to Your Daughter About Sex

The Best Resources for Talking to Your Daughter about Sex

Don’t keep sex a secret from your daughter!

Parents: It’s time to show your daughters (and sons too) some love.  October is National Family Sexuality Education Month as promoted by Planned Parenthood and a coalition of non-profit organizations since 2002.  This month is the perfect time to prepare yourself to have some sex talks with your daughter.  The goal? To educate kids about sex, love, relationships, menstrual periods, body parts and so many other topics that your daughter wants to know about and you might be afraid to talk about.

Dot Girl is here is help with the discussion.  I’ve put together a list of some resources for you to draw from.  Use one, use them all, but use them to talk to your daughter about sex.  Research shows children want this information from their parents, not their peers.  She may not appear to be listening, but really she is.

Planned Parenthood Tools for Parents

Start with the premier provider of sexual health services.  Watch the first video to get your courage up and then watch the rest for tips on what to say and when to say it.  Most importantly, pay attention to the information on how to help your daughter delay her first sexual experience and then how to help her stay safe if and when she does start.  Risky behavior is not something you want your daughter to engage in.

What She Must Know About Contraception

Methods of contraception have multiplied over the past 20 years.  Need help explaining which is which to your daughter?  This infographic from Greatlist will help.  Review all the methods, some won’t be appropriate for a girl in her teens.  But better to know what is available early before it is too late.  And make sure she knows that contraception is a joint responsibility for both partners. More thoughts on this topic here.

Dr. Laura Berman

Yes, she targets adult sexual relationships.  And yet there are times when she has good advice for parents too.  Catch her on for a great article about Having the Sex Talk with Your Kids.

A great site courtesy of Nemours, this site has plenty of information for girls about puberty and what bodily changes to expect.  Review the information and share with your daughter.  There are also resources for parents.

Remember, the more information your daughter has about sex, the more informed she will be about sex.  The more informed she is about sex, the safer she will be having sex.  Good Luck!



Periods Aren’t Just For Sentences

Periods Aren’t Just For Sentences

Has your daughter asked you yet what a period is?  And have you answered ‘a period comes at the end of a sentence?’.  Although my daughter didn’t ask about periods at a young age, she did ask what sex was.  I cleverly answered that it was how to tell if someone is a girl or a boy.  She was about 4 years old and I was just not ready to start discussing sex with her.  We all find ourselves in these awkward positions with our kids but they don’t have to be awkward.   Having a few simple explanations ready for when the questions come helps.

The complicated but complete answer for what a menstrual period is goes something like this:

When a girl’s body gets to the right stage of development, it will start to release an egg each month of one of the two ovaries.  The lining of the uterus will thicken in preparation to hold and nourish a fertilized egg.

The egg is released two weeks before bleeding starts.  Most of the time the egg is not fertilized causing it to be flushed from the body through the vagina along with the lining of the uterus.  A menstrual period is that time when the egg and uterine tissue are being flushed.

A simpler explanation for a younger child might be:

We all grow from eggs just like birds do.  A bird’s egg grows in a nest and a human egg grows in a uterus, the difference is that a uterus is inside a mommy’s body.   If the nest isn’t needed it falls apart to make room for a new nest.  The old pieces leave mommy’s body during her monthly period.

It is important to use the correct words for body parts when children are young so they become familiar with the words and are comfortable saying them.  This will help in later years when they are learning about their bodies in school.  If something hurts, children will also be better able to describe symptoms to a doctor.

The other key thing to remember when discussing these topics with our children is that we feel awkward, so will our children.  Which means they might not turn to you for other questions later in life.  Keeping the conversation channels open early in life will only benefit both of you as your children grow older and face more challenging issues in their lives.


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 Special Featuring Dear Kate Lingerie

Back to School Special Featuring Dear Kate Lingerie

The First Flow Set from Dot Girl and Dear Kate

We all know that starting a new school year can be a stressful time.  Dot Girl Products has just made it a little less stressful by partnering with Dear Kate to bring our customers a limited edition First Flow Set.  The set is available only at the Dear Kate websiteWhether your daughter has already started her menstrual cycles or is still waiting for that all important first period, she needs to be ready with the right supplies to store in her backpack or locker.

The First Flow Set includes:

  • Dear Kate Leading Lady Bikini in Lavender  (mini lining)
  • Dear Kate Dahlia Hipster in Pink (full lining)
  • The Dot Girl First Period Kit®
  • Pencils engraved with fun quotes
  • Sticky notes
  • Chocolate

Dear Kate underthings incorporate revolutionary patent-pending fabric to keep your daughter prepped for anything. The inner lining is black and stain-releasing, and the underwear is machine washable, so she’ll never hand wash again. A leak-resistant outer layer protects against leaks of all kinds, while wicking fabric on the inside keeps girls cool and comfortable.

Read all about the importance of slipping a period pack into her backpack here.

This offer expired September 1, 2013.