What a Tween Likes: FabKids!

7/22/16

I always love when I don't have to put much effort into anything but can reap the good rewards.

This philosophy comes in handy when it comes to raising a tween...especially a tween girl.

As she gets older, buying clothes gets harder and harder and harder...

But I believe I've found a solution...at least for now, with FabKids.


Fab*Kids is a curated boutique for kids. Parents can select clothing pieces to make an outfit, pricing varies unless you become a VIP member. VIP members pay around $30 for an outfit, while non-members pay anywhere from $40 and up. 

Here's why it works:

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We love Fab*Kids because of the customized wardrobes, it helps with eliminating the time spent putting together an outfit. Not only am I saving time but it helps that Tween Girl gets to help pick out the outfits. It's a win - win! 

What's your "go - to" shop to find your must-haves?

**All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. I have not been compensated for this post, nor did I receive samples or product for my review.

What a Tween Likes: Fashion Angel's BeBe's Beats

7/15/16

Doodles, sketches, and beats, oh my!

Those are three things that will occupy a bit of my tween's time!

Fashion Angel's BeBe's Beats is a nice distraction for her.

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I won this product by way of a giveaway. 


Fashion Angels is a brand targeted towards tween girls, with a mission to encourage girls to "believe in themselves, express themselves and be happy with who they are and proud of what they can do".

Those are characteristics that I try to instill in Tween Girl on a daily basis, so I definitely enjoy buying products that will help me on this journey.

We've purchased a few Fashion Angels products in the past, there are still Braidzilla cords all over our house!

This time, though, we actually won a cool product from Fashion Angels' Sunday Funday Facebook Giveaway.

BeBe's Beats is a doodle sketch book that plays music!

There are approximately 80 pages of sheets for tweens to doodle, sketch, jot down music lyrics, space to write about how certain songs make them feel. It really sparks creativity!

As they doodle, tweens can jam (do the kids still say that?) to their favorite jams (ok, I know, overusing this word.).

Fashion-Angels
Thankfully, the music does not blast loudly, the volume is controlled through whichever device used to play the music.

Of course, BeBe's Beats is only a temporary fix to ward off the many requests of having that first cell phone, which we will not be buying until Tween Girl turns 12 (another post for another day). Doesn't help that the top part of the product is rather flimsy, be careful that the speaker portion does not fall off. This didn't bother us, given the regular price of the product.

Tween Girl has enjoyed coloring the pages and writing down her thoughts. I've enjoyed it because it's allowed her to clear her head (yeah, kids need to that, too!) and practice writing.

Thanks, Fashion Angels for continuing to spark creativity in tween girls!

Which song would you blast through the BeBe's Beats speakers?

7 Ways to Survive Summer With an Extroverted Tween

7/12/16

I have super powers.

Not just the regular, normal mom super powers.

I shape shift when necessary.

Necessary moments include when, in unfamiliar territory, Tween Girl flutters off and begins to chat it up with a group of girls she's never met before. This, of course, leaves me to push myself to start conversations with moms that I've never met before or even those I am already familiar with.

You see, I am an introverted mom raising an extroverted tween.

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I am a rare breed of introverts. I have extrovert tendencies. I can come across as a social butterfly, all the while in my head I am screaming to be left alone. I enjoy being around people, just for certain lengths of time. I thrive in quiet time, it's my energy source.

Meanwhile...

I am raising a tween girl who feeds off of constant interaction, it recharges her.

She's drained when she's unable to interact and socialize.

Introverted moms are thankful for school months because they provide some much needed balance. There's so much going on during the school year, which provides much needed energy sources for the extroverted tween to feed from. And by the time the day is over, mom is winning because bedtime is only a couple of hours away.

Now, of course, this will all change as your tween gets older. But hey, it works for now.

Summers, though, pose a different type of threat.

Summers are made up of no schedules, no routines. Those are both things many introverts thrive on, while extroverts are in heaven!

Introverts are perfectly fine with sitting by the pool, it's not necessary to actually get in it.

Unless, of course, you have a tween that's pulling your legs until you slip and fall into the pool.

Introverted moms and extroverted tweens should have the best possible summer with ways for them to stay connected without being locked into a summer contract.

Need some summer dates that cater to your introverted ways and her extroverted personality?

Try these:

Pool time

Do you have a pool in your neighborhood or your back yard? Regardless of where it's located, spend time there. Most tweens love to swim or just play around in the pool, it's a great way to get a bit of exercise in their day.

Hopefully there are some other kids there to interact with your tween (fingers crossed). This would be a great time to have family, like cousins her age, to come over for a day at the pool. If not, join her in the pool and do a few obstacle courses. Remember, extroverts enjoy attention and a pool obstacle course puts your tween front and center.

Go ahead, splish, splash and have some fun!

Video games/Board games

Games can be a great way for extroverted tweens to be in charge because they are probably way better at them than their parents!

Introverted mom can sit back, relax and kick some butt because she is still in her space.

From the old school board games, like Life or Risk to new school favs on the Xbox or Playstation to trivia quiz based Jackbox Games, there are many games to choose from.

Reading

Proceed with caution. Reading can be a treat for an introvert but it may take some patience for the extroverted tween to sit and read...quietly. Believe it or not, reading aloud can boost a tween's vocabulary and bring a sense of closeness with mom and tween, according to Between Us Parents

Reading aloud also opens the door to discussions, otherwise known as lectures, that tweens may not care to listen to. Parents can select books based on certain issues their kids may be coming up against. 

Tween Girl and I have taken this time to read and talk about "The Care & Keeping of Us: A Sharing Collection for Girls & Their Moms". This is a great resource for starting puberty discussions and keeps the atmosphere comfortable. 

Why not create a cozy reading nook for mom and daughter to stretch out and relax? Pinterest has a boat load of reading nook ideas

Movie nights

During the tween stage, a child's movie tastes are also "caught in the middle" of still enjoying general audience type movies (cartoons) and movies on a bit more mature level. What a great opportunity to introduce your kids to movies you enjoyed when you were their age. Unless, of course, your tween says that "The Never Ending Story" is creepy. 

Movie nights are great because introverted mom doesn't have to leave the comforts of home and extroverted tween can pick a movie they enjoy (if it's their turn to pick!). 

Need some help picking out movies that are tween appropriate? Common Sense Media is a great site check movie ratings for kids. 


Mani/pedis

Manicures and pedicures are a bit of a splurge but can provide the atmosphere for some great mom/daughter bonding. Most girls enjoy picking out colors and having the water tickle and massage their feet. Moms enjoy this ritual for the relaxation it brings, girls should see their moms taking care of themselves.

Extroverted tweens can engage in conversation with the nail technician while introverted mom can nod and smile, all the while enjoying the rolls of the massage chair.

Craft store trips

Put your walking shoes on! If crafting is a hobby both mom and daughter enjoy then craft store visits can be like walking into a candy store. Michael's, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's offer a wide variety of crafts for moms and daughters to enjoy. Both mom and daughter can stroll the aisles, either window shopping or catching some clearance items. Introverted moms can enjoy strolling the aisles, methodically thinking of frames, fake flowers and washi tape. Extroverted tweens can grab some colored pens, sketch pads or pom poms. 

Want an extra craft related bonding experience? Sign up for a class like sewing, knitting or jewelry making. 

Walks/Bike rides

Staying active during the summer months is key for both mom and daughter. Walks and bike rides can not only provide exercise but great bonding moments. Being in the great outdoors creates a carefree atmosphere. My tween uses this time to share things that have upset her or to talk about life. 

My tween's extroverted ways have helped me to ease out of my introverted ways, not just during summer months. She gets to learn to respect other's needs to have alone time, this way she learns how to be self reliant and I can hang up my clown shoes (entertaining is a tough business!). 

What summer activities do you and your kids enjoy?

5 reasons why my husband ROCKS as a step dad

6/17/16

Her opening line was "That's my mommy."

Those were the first words Tween Girl (age 5 at that time) spoke to my now husband 5 years ago.

Oh, and she also jerked my hand away from his.

Fast forward to 3 hours later!

Yes, that is about how long it took for both of my kids to become attached to the man who would become their stepfather.

step-parenting

You're probably expecting me to say that things changed, that they started to hate him, or that he started to hate them.

Nope.

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Their relationship, if anything, is a picture perfect version of what most blended families can only dream of.

And I am not exaggerating.

Most days, I think they like him more than they like me.

How does he do it?

Why do they like him so much?

It's actually pretty easy to answer those questions.

He treats them as his own.


He knows that he is not their biological dad. That does not stop him from investing in them. He never addresses either kid as his "step kids", instead, he refers to both as "our kids" or "my kids". Both kids know how he feels about them by the way he treats them. He takes pride in driving to soccer practices, even driving 5 hours to drop College Boy off at school (ok, maybe he painted that look of pride on his face!). He is excited when Tween Girl remembers how to solve math problems from an example he has shown her or when College Boy applies the wisdom my Hubs has shared with him. Needless to say, he actively shows up on a daily basis to make them feel like his own kids. 

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He shows his love for me.


I believe this was the game winner for my son. My son has always had my back because, for many years, it was just me and him. 

Not to toot my own horn (toot toot!) but prior to my Hubs, I was the breadwinner as a single and married woman. I became used to doing things myself. You know, things that come with running a household. So, to have someone who wanted to partner with me, to relieve me of some of the duties of being the "head of household" was something that my son needed to see. Kids can sometimes stress over the stress that their parents are under. My Hubs' daily actions show our kids that he loves me and that love extends to them. 

He knows the value of quality time, with and without kids.


My Hubs has taught the kids and I the meaning of family. By actively spending time together as a family, we have learned how to respect each other, how to work together, and how to listen to one another. We have done this from simple things like eating dinner together most nights, playing games, or from taking vacations together. These moments are important because we are setting an example to our kids of how families should interact, hoping that they carry these same traits into their homes when the time comes. 

Couple time is just as important to my Hubs as family time. We know that it is important for parents to spend time alone together without the kids. This gives us a chance to experience each other and to grow the relationship so that we can be better equipped to battle parent when back together with the kids. 

My Hubs can go from flying a kite in the backyard with Tween Girl to going to a professional soccer game with College Boy to driving with me to Asheville for a weekend getaway. He's a regular jack of all trades when it comes to spending quality time with us. 

He's always of good cheer. 


If you walked past our house, you would absolutely believe that we have about 10 kids! My Hubs knows how to get both kids going and ramped up. He understands that life is too short to be grumpy because things aren't going your way. The kids see, that even when my Hubs is facing an obstacle, he keeps a good attitude. I know they see him as the "fun one". Even when my fuse is short, he turns the situation around with a few of his famous dance moves (well, famous at our house anyway) or one of his play on words (ever heard of a jack-a-lope?). Trust me, he has taught me a thing or two or three about how to use lemons to make lemonade. 

He has set boundaries when it comes to his authority.


The kids don't mistake his good cheer as him being a pushover. He has boundaries in place that they know not to cross. It took some time to get to this part of the blended family process. In the beginning, we both agreed that I would be the disciplinarian because we knew that the kids would not respond well to him dishing out rules and orders. This worked for us because the kids had no idea that he and I were working together to come up with the discipline, I was the one who communicated whatever course of action to take. 

As time passed, he has gained the kids' trust to where his opinion matters to them, in no way do they want to disappoint him. 

It's pretty easy to see why the kids love this guy so much. I mean, after all, who could resist being in the presence of a man who knows how to rock a mullet on Halloween (thank goodness, it was only for a Halloween party!)!

step-parenting
Look at that 'stache!

Keep rockin' this stepdad thing, Hubs, rock on!

How does your husband/significant other rock as a dad/stepdad?



30 Days of Mom - Check in

6/10/16

My 30 Days of Mom challenge got off to a great start!

So great that I am combining my week 1 and week 2 goals.

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If you recall, weeks 1 & 2 were all about growing my passion and having a day to myself.

Of course, with Tween Girl away for the entire month, I have a bit more time to focus on things that are important to me.

Growing my passion began with me signing up for Lynda.com, which offers online educational video courses. I loaded my playlists with courses ranging from learning photography to building an online community. The videos are taught by industry experts and most are quite easy to follow.

Of course, there are tons of free videos offering online education for various topics. Andrea from The Branded Solopreneur has a great guest post from Amanda K. Jones of LaptopLifestyleMom.com on creating images in PhotoShop. Of course, I was all over this! I downloaded the trial version of Adobe Photoshop and played around with creating images.

While in the image creating mood, I reached out to Kasey from Sublime Styled Stock regarding working on a lil something for me, more to come later.

By Saturday, growing my passion and having the day to myself kinda morphed into one. I was one of about 20 other Atlanta bloggers invited to brunch with YP (formerly known as Yellow Pages, yes, they still exist). YP has created a program for area bloggers who know the city in which they reside. They've created a program called YP Insiders for area bloggers to attend local events, write reviews and blog about the events. This is a great opportunity and I am excited to have this type of exposure that will open doors for unRehearsed.

For all my visual readers, here are some pics and images from the first 9 days of the 30 Days of Mom:


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Excited to see what the next 20 days will bring!

Remember, we are taking the month of June to celebrate ourselves. In other words, self care. Need ideas on how to be good to yourself? Check out my Pinterest Board with self care ideas and encouraging words.

How do you self care?

30 days of Mom - NO TWEENS ALLOWED!

5/31/16

Sure, Mother's Day was weeks ago.

Keep in mind it was only 1 day.

Mom, you deserve to treat yourself for more than 1 day.

Think about it:

School's out for summer.

You can stay up as late as you want.

You can run as many errands as you want without feeling rushed.

There's no rushing to soccer practice, dance class, or Girl Scouts.

This is it, Mom.

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Yes, moms, this is the time for us to give ourselves a lil love. 

Now, the way we each show love to ourselves may look different. 

Me, my tween is gone for the entire month of June, spending quality time with her dad. 

Yes, I know that most of you don't have this liberty but I encourage you to do some things for yourself this summer. 

I sense that many moms need more than encouragement to actually do something for themselves. 

So, join me as I "do me" this month of June while Tween Girl is away. 

You may not have the time or interest to do the things that I am doing this summer but any form of self-care is better than none. 

Without further ado, here's what I'll be up to:

Week 1 - Growing my passion

Week 2 - A day to myself

Week 3 - Summer household projects

Week 4 - Summer date nights


Let's start with week 1.

Since starting unRehearsed last summer, I've always chosen quality over quantity. I believe that quality breeds trust. 

Sure, I have dreams of having a successful blog with the right number of subscribers but I also know the work involved with achieving that dream. 

Over the past few months, my goals and dreams have been a bit more streamlined:

  • Quality blog posts that encourage open and honest conversations between moms raising tween girls.
  • To create a community (online and in person) for moms and their tween girls. 
  • To continue having my writing published in reputable publications.

To accomplish these BIG things, there are some smaller things that I must address:

  • Learn photography so that I can create my own blog images geared towards my niche
  • Write my first ebook
  • To become more active in my own niche/community

These types of goals require concentration and focus, so it's great that Tween Girl is away. 

There it is.

Week 1 starts with growing my passion.

My passion happens to be growing my blog, and growing in areas of being a wife and mom, and growing as a person. 

What's your passion? It may not be blogging. Do you know your passion? 

As you start to look at how you can do self-care, think about things that excite you, no matter how big or small. 

Need some help on getting started? Download a copy of my 30 Days of Mom challenge. Take some time during the month of June to practice self-care. 

Post a pic over on Instagram of how you are practicing self-care, use the hashtag #momselfcare!

Parenting with an Ex Series: Should Dad buy clothes for the kids and keep at his house?

5/20/16

Here's a parallel or co-parenting situation:

My kids are 10 and 12, their dad (my ex) has them every other weekend for visitation. Should I continue to pack clothes for them or should their dad buy clothes for them to keep at his house?


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Oh, I am familiar with this topic! With a month-long summer visitation on the horizon, clothing is always a hot topic.

Of course, when it comes to shared parenting/co-parenting/parallel parenting (whichever version you and your ex are doing), we should strive to have great, amicable relationships with our exes but we know that is not always possible.

There are many different thoughts and things to consider when deciding whether to continue to pack the kids clothing to take to their dad's house. Let's explore a few.

Situation #1 - The child should have clothes at both parents' homes

This solution could be easier and comfortable for the child to have clothing in both homes so that they don't have to keep a tally of what they have at mom's house versus at dad's house. Children should feel at home in both parent's home. This is one less choice they have to deal with. 

Situation #2 - Does the noncustodial parent wash and care for the child's clothes?

Does the noncustodial parent take care of the child's clothing? This situation applies if the noncustodial parent does not wash or care properly for the clothes. I have a close friend that experiences this when her children are visiting with their dad. 

Situation #3 - Does the custodial parent send clothes that fit the child?

I have read comments written by step moms who vent about the custodial parent sending clothes that are just too small for the child. This leads to the question of "what is bio mom doing with the child support money?".

Situation #4 - Should bio mom use the child support money to buy clothing to keep at dad's house?

This is a loaded situation! Many parents feel that if the noncustodial is paying child support, then the custodial parent should use that money to purchase clothes for the children, regardless of whose house the clothes will be kept.

As kids get older, they should be encouraged to pack their own clothes. This helps them to become more responsible and encourages independence. 

Dad should keep back up clothing at his home in case of emergencies, yes even for older kids. If dad feels that the clothes mom packs are not "presentable", he definitely needs to keep a supply of clothing at his home for the child.

Tread softly here...when voicing your opinion about your tween's clothing. Yes, parents MUST monitor what their kids are wearing. Once your tween reaches a certain age, though, they start having their own opinions about their clothing. Parents, please continue to weigh in. After all, it's you or the ex that's paying for the clothes! Or at least until the child is able to get a job.

When you weigh in, be careful to not make your tween self-conscious or project the image that the other parent's clothing choices are inappropriate. Children should never be caught in the middle of their parents' issue, let alone style choices!

Tween Girl is a different person, regarding her clothing style, when she is with me versus with her dad. With me, her style is more carefree and stylish, which definitely fit her personality. With that said, we do have guidelines on what clothing is acceptable or unacceptable. I allow her to have some say in what she wears to a certain degree. As she gets older, I have started to allow her to pick outfits to pack for her stay with her dad. 

Of course, in a perfect world, this very topic should not even be an issue. 

In an even more perfect world, moms and dads should be able to interact with one another on an amicable level. This would make a topic like this nonexistent.

Being in a parallel/co-parenting situation can sometimes make even the simplest things very complicated. As a result, someone must step up and be the bigger person.

Instead of going back and forth on who buys what, what should blended families concentrate on?


Within this series, I share my own parenting with an ex experiences as well as those of unRehearsed readers. Topics include visitation, communication and the emotional well-being of both mom and child(ren). 


DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS