Head Down, Mind Open

I am officially off the high of the excitement and optimism that kicks of each new year. All my daydreaming about what this year could be now has to be translated into real work and actions. I spent most of this week frustrated by the brutal reminder that the new year didn’t mean I had new super human powers. The grind is still the grind and my limitations are still present.

However on the other side of frustration usually lies new opportunity and my frustration led me this week to several opportunities I may not have been otherwise pressed to discover. So If reality has set in for you as well and the climb towards the exciting goals you set for your self this year suddenly seems steep, use that energy as fuel to take the next manageable step and keep your mind wide open for much needed help and support for your journey.

————-

This week, our roundup features a discussion on the relevant changes that language education is undergoing in schools, research about your lying preschoolers (yep, mine too), and a movement to draw attention to sexual harassment in school environments.

Check out this week’s newsletter and/or subscribe to get these delivered to your mailbox weekly!

Continue Reading

8 Small and Big Changes to Expect In 2018 From RSG!

We think you’ll love these ideas as many of them have come from your feedback.  However if you don’t, we definitely want to hear about it! Please don’t hesitate to send a note.

Here you go:

1. Original Content 

We have spent the last year scouring the internet and curating the most relevant news, stories, and ideas that have to do with parenting and education. This year, we will be launching guides that go deeper into specific topics providing you with toolsets and frameworks to solving a problem, trying something new, or be kept in the know.

2. Save for later functionality 

We’ve heard from some of you that while our content weekly is helpful, it can get overwhelming to feel like you can’t truly dig into all the articles and resource at the time you are reading it. This functionality will allow you to save any of our content to read later.

3. A fitting home for all the resources we share and more 

We have mostly lived so far in warmth of your inboxes. This year, we plan to take a bold step further into the internet and develop this webpage into a comprehensive, easily navigate resource that you can come refer back to over and over again. In particular, this year, the website will host all the resources we have recommended over the past year for easy reference and moving forward.

4. Book Reviews 

There are so many parenting books out there and not enough time to read them all to glean the insights and wisdom captured inside. We will start building a library of reviews/notes so that you can review key takeaways from relevant books across many topics and decide whether it worth a full the read.

5. STEM @ Home Videos 

Part of our goal with this platform is making the home a natural place for STEM exploration so we would love for you all to share videos of you having fun making things with your girls at home. More to come on that later in the year.

6. Introducing the Dad perspective

Did you know that on the top 10 list of things that kids want for Christmas, “a dad” is mention. How incredibly heartbreaking! Girls need both their parents. And Dads have a unique position on influence over their daughters. It would be a huge miss to ignore that. Expect to see this reflected in some articles and guides this year.

7. Girl inspired, fun math worksheets 

Because the summer learning slide is no joke and our girls deserve learning tools that are exciting, creative and engaging, we are creating math worksheets that your girls will love and enjoy during the summer break!

8. Amplification

Lastly, we are really going to go out there in the big scary world and tell our story and share our vision more. All through last year, your validation that our newsletter content is useful and purposeful has meant a lot. And now, because of you, we have the full confidence to invite the rest of the world to come be a part of what we are building.  Well, thank you friends :). Expect to see us more active on social media and partnering with like-missioned organizations.

As if that is not enough, we have a few surprises planned as well so stay tuned. Ultimately, our biggest goal this year is to earn more of your engagement and to hear and learn from what you are doing to raise smart girls in your homes and communities. You can expect us to ask us for your feedback regularly throughout the year.

Cheers to our girls flying high this year!

Also, this week’s newsletter is out. Check it out here and/or subscribe to get these delivered to your mailbox weekly!

Ps: We are experimenting with a Friday morning by 6AM delivery for the newsletter starting this week because who doesn’t love Fridays? It is typically the most relaxing day of the week and perhaps that makes it more likely that we are sparking up a conversation with you at a convenient time. And we picked 6AM so that you have it at the start of the day and can decide to check it out whatever time works best during your day. Let us know if it works.

Continue Reading

Mess Ups Are Ok

“But I already messed up!”

 

That was my daughter two days ago, upset over making a mistake in the little craft book that she was working on. She’s six and it blows my mind the strong tendencies for perfectionism that she already has at such a young age.

 

Where do we get this from?

 

This idea that only the first time you try counts. That if it doesn’t work out the first time, there is something wrong. Where do we get this impatience with ourselves that makes it not okay to take a little more time if we need it?

 

I’ve been working on and praying for wisdom on how to help my sweet girl free herself; I mean that in every sense of the word. I want her to give herself permission to explore and make mistakes and learn.

 

It’s day 2 of keeping up whatever promises you may have made to yourself yesterday. Like me, you may have messed up already.

The good news is:

Mess ups are ok.

They are to be expected.

And they can be purposeful.

Just. Dont. Stop. Trying.

 

Continue Reading

Happy New Year, Smart Mommies!

We made it! { Insert excited Whoo hoo -ing 🙂 }

Amidst the excitement and newness of the new year, we hope for you, as we do for ourselves, that you love harder, be stronger, do better, reach higher, live healthier, dream bigger, and deepen relationships in 2018.

We resolve to work harder to support you in making your girls smarter this year through your support for her own unique learning journey, her self discovery and her care for her whole self (mind, body, and soul). 

Your daughter(s) will grow older this year and with each new age, the more of this world and life she will get to see, understand and experience.

Lucky for her, she has you. 

Lucky for you, you have us keeping you informed and cheering you on. 

And lucky for us, you honor us with your trust and partnership. 

Have a happy 2018!

Love,

Abi & Team RSG

Continue Reading

Back To Basics

It started out as a consequence for naughty behavior. I remember actually cringing inside as I made the decree of no TV for a week. The girls are used to not watching TV during the week but the weekends are free game. Hubby is traveling this week so restricting TV on a weekend day was not doing myself any favors.

As expected, the day started slow and with a lot of whining about how bored they are. But soon enough, they were making up games and belly laughing. It warmed my heart. The best part was T declaring later that day that it was actually fun without TV. Sigh!

Eventually I needed two hours of quiet and let them watch a show but I learned that day how important it is to be intentional about going back to the basics with our kids and letting them embrace screen-less fun.  It bothers me a bit that I even have to be intentional about that and it’s not just what we do but that is my reality.

Am I alone in this? To what extent do you all restrict screens in your home?

Ps: There have been some amazing #SmartGirls in the news lately. Check these rockstars out: Ms. Frankel is 92 and still rocking wallstreet, Naomi is the strongest teenager in the world, and 11yr old Zoe is an amazing entrepreneur.

P.s.s: #TeamRSG has expanded! Congrats to my dear friend Uto who delivered a beautiful baby boy yesterday!

Continue Reading

Bravo To The Silence Breakers!

 

In an absolutely wonderful and powerful move yesterday Time Magazine unveiled it’s 2017 person of the year and stunned the country by crowning the notable women who have set off a national reckoning by speaking up and naming names of men who have abused their power and sexually harassed and/or assaulted them.

They have indeed broken the silence on a very rampant and hidden culture in all different parts of the society. This honor does much to extend this now very loud national conversation and and hopeful leads to the setting of a new standard for acceptable behavior. Ultimately, validating the Silence Breakers is awesome for us, awesome for the future men you and friends are raising, and especially awesome for our girls.

In other news, this week is Hour of Code week! If you are not familiar, It is a global movement to introduce people of all ages to computer programming in a fun way. All you have do to is commit to an hour of fun. We have recommended the best resources in this week’s newsletter to help you get started.

Continue Reading

2017 Holiday Guide: 50 Smart Gifts Ideas For Your Smart Girls!

For Your Artsy/Craftsy Smart Girl

Ages 3-7

Crayola Magic Scene Creator ($27.65)

Watch your kids create amazing things using The Crayola Magic Scene Creator and their imagination! Your child can create an amazing scene and watch it come to life utilizing the gel FX markers and adding action cards. We love how easily this toy wipes clean easily, is incredibly portable, and can be used over and over to create wonderful scenes! Your child’s imagination come to life!

Buy from: Crayola

 

Ages 8+

3Doodler Start Essentials 3D Printing Pen Set ($46.60)

A toy that truly amazes us with all the possibilities! Your child can literally draw something out of thin air. The 3Doodler is a kid-friendly 3D printing pen that rapidly melts plastic, which quickly cools and hardens. Your child can create anything they can imagine.

Buy from: 3Doodler

 

Ages 7-12

ALEX Toys Craft My First Sewing Kit ($35.00)

Do you remember your first sewing kit? We certainly remember ours, and the time we spent making stuffed animals, pillows, and other adorable items. The My First Sewing Kit will encourage your child to create anything they can imagine sewing. The kit travels well with its secure handle, and has a great amount of supplies to get your child creating great things.

Buy from: ALEX Toys

 

Ages 3 & up

Melissa & Doug Stained Glass Made Easy Activity Kit (12.99)

Let your little artist create the most beautiful of stained glass art projects! We love this item, as your child can create a project to keep and display at home or one to share with someone as a gift. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. Your child will hone those fine motor skills, build concentration, and learn the importance of following directions, all while creating something gorgeous. Fun, and easy to do, this gift idea is a winner in our book.

Buy from: Melissa & Doug

 

Ages 8 & up

Spirograph Deluxe Design Set ($24.99)

We love Spirograph as a kid, and now our kids can love it too! Easy-to-use stencils and pens help your child create unique works of art every single time they use it. A great toy for parents and kids to play with together. Kids are easily inspired as they see immediate results with this great artistic toy.

Buy from: Kahootz

 

Ages 4 & up

Creativity for Kids Create Your Own 3 Bitty Books ($10.00)

Inspire your budding author with this great 3 Bitty Books Set. Your child acts as both author and illustrator to fully connect to their creativity. You will love reading the books they create together. Each set comes with 6 markers, plenty of color-in stickers, one book holder, and three quality blank books for your child to fill. Kids can create stories about their lives, their family, or just make something new up completely from their imagination! You will treasure this gem for years to come!

Buy from: Creativity for Kids

 

For Your Tech Savvy Smart Girl

Ages 8 & up

Cra-Z-Art SoundMoovz Musical Bandz ($39.00)

Give your child the gift of their own personal dance party at any given moment! SoundMoovz, by Cra-Z-Art, is a motion-activated device your child wears on their wrist. All you need to do is download the accompanying app, pair the device with Bluetooth, and download up to 400 songs. The wristband activates and plays music for your child to dance to. With two bands, this item is great for multiple users.

Buy from: Cra-Z-Art

 

Ages 3 & up

Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game ($29.74)

 

We love Bloxels, and and you will too! Your child can use their imagination to create their very own personalized video game! Everything from the story, characters, and even the configuration is all up to the designer, your imaginative child. Once done creating, you child can play and SHARE their video game with fellow gamers.

Buy from: Mattel

 

Ages 5-12

Osmo Genius Kit ($67.99)

Osmo Genius Kit includes five games for kids to work on drawing, math, words, and visual challenges. Osmo works with the iPad and responds to your child as it sees what they are working on. It will encourage, provide guidance and even laugh. Your child will have hours of fun with this creative genius. Works with iPad Pro 9.7 inch, all iPad Mini, all iPad Air, all iPad 2 & up. *INCLUDES THE OSMO BASE

Buy from: Osmo

 

Ages 8 & up

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit ($19.99)

What better way to learn about electronics than through this hands-on creative system! Elenco Electronics Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 has over 30 color-coded circuit components that kids can snap together to create working circuitry! It comes with a guide containing 101 do-it-yourself projects, or your child can create their own project. We love toys like this that are both entertaining and educational!

Buy from: Elenco

 

Ages 8 & up

MudWatt STEM Kit ($36.95)

Behold the power of MUD! Did you know there are electricity-generating microbes in our soil? Well your child will learn about that and so much more with MudWatt STEM Kit. Kids perform experiments on food and different types of soil to measure power, track microbe growth, and unlock a comic book. Believe it or not, your child may even be able to power a digital clock by using the microbes. The educational value of this is immeasurable.

Buy from: Magical Microbes

 

Ages 3 & up

 

For Your Maker/Creator Smart Girl

Num Noms Lipgloss Truck Craft Kit ($26.49)

Tis the season for chapped lips. Have no fear, your kids will be mixing up great tasting lip gloss with the Num Noms Lipgloss Truck. All the ingredients are included, just add to the truck and watch your child create the next best lipgloss. You can even take it with you! Kit includes 1 Lip gloss base, 2 Lip gloss flavors (cherry and vanilla), 1 pack glitter sprinkles, 1 cupcake making tool with cherry spatula, 1 special edition, scented num: cherry scoop, 3 lip gloss sundae containers.

Buy from: Num Noms

 

Ages 6 & up

ALEX Toys Craft Knot A Quilt ($20.44)

Do you remember making knot quilts? So much fun, and easy to make, the ALEX Toys Craft Knot a Quilt Kit helps your child create a beautiful quilt. No cutting, sewing, or knitting needed, just tie the pre-cut squares one by one. Spark your child’s interest in quilting, and create beautiful items together.

Buy from: ALEX Toys

 

Ages 6 & up

Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics: Jewelry Box ($19.88)

Every girl loves a great jewelry box for her treasures. The ORB Factory Sticky Mosaics: Jewelry Box encourages your little one to use her imagination to create the most beautiful box she can imagine. The kit includes over 1000 sticky tiles, foil tiles, and jewels. Easy to follow instructions and a gorgeous butterfly designed template make this one too great to pass up. Your child will love creating a beautiful jewelry box of her very own. Box is made of sturdy cardboard and measures 4″ H x 8″ W x 6″ D

Buy from: The Orb Factory

 

 

Ages 8 & up

Magnetic Mini Tile Art ($10.60)

Arts and crafts are taken to a new level with 4M Magnetic Tile Art Set. Your child can create original works of art and attach them to magnets. Great for displaying on the fridge, or any metal surface. A great gift for the child who may want to make something special for a loved one as well. The tiles measure 2-inches by 2-inches. It is the perfect way to create and display your child’s gorgeous works of art.

Buy from: 4M

 

For Your Imaginative/Pretend Play Smart Girl

 

Ages 6 & up

LIMITED EDITION GLITTER SERIES Ball LOL Series 1 L. O. L. ($27.33)

 

We love these L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, because who doesn’t love a surprise! Let your child unwrap layer by layer to reveal a new surprise. At the end, your little one has a new doll with a great outfit, and plenty of sparkle! The little surprise that will get a big reaction from your little girl.

Buy from: L.O.L. Surprise!

 

Ages 3 & up

Baby Alive Sweet Tears Baby ($53.59)

Get your baby a realistic baby of her own. Baby Alive is as close to a real baby as you can imagine. Teach your little one how to nurture her own baby through caring for this sweet baby. She will feed, diaper, and care for this little one as you cared for her as a baby. Nothing sweeter than seeing our babies be good little mamas to their Baby Alive.

Buy from: Baby Alive

 

Ages 5 & up

Dance Code featuring Disney Princess Belle- Amazon Exclusive ($99.99)

Interactive Princess Belle will have your daughter dancing alongside her every step of the way. Belle can programmed by your child to follow a specific dance routine, or you can utilize one of the 10 pre-programmed lessons so your child can learn some new moves of her own. Princess Belle is programmed with 100 phrases, 7 songs, and your child can dance and twirl along with her favorite princess. Just download the accompanying app and your child can program her very own dance routine for Belle, and herself. A great toy for girls to be inspired through dance!

Buy from: Disney Princess

 

Ages 2-5 

Little Tikes Waffle Blocks Steam Train ($44.76)

All aboard! Little Tikes Waffle Blocks Steam Train lets your child create a train, station, and track all by stacking, locking and building with this set. Your child becomes the conductor of their new world. If they can imagine it, they can create it. Hours of fun can be had with this set, we love it, and so will you!

Buy from: Little Tikes

 

Ages 3 & up 

Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk ($29.99)

Every little girl has dreamed of being princess for a day. With this Disney Princess Royal Dress-Up Trunk your little princess can be a new princess every day. The beautiful trunk works great as storage for all your little one’s princess wear. She can be Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Plus, it comes with matching accessories, because no princess is complete without some bling.

Buy from: Disney Princess

 

For Your Building/Constructing Smart Girl

 

Ages 3 & up

LEGO DC Super Hero Girls Wonder Woman ($15.99)

LEGO knows how to keep girls happy! The DC Superhero Girls Wonder Woman Set can stand alone or connect to the Super Hero High School Set. Wonder Woman and her lasso will empower your girl with the power to protect everyone from Kryptonite. Your little one will feel like she is the superhero with this awesome LEGO set.

Buy from: LEGO

 

Ages 8 & up

KLUTZ LEGO Make Your Own Movie Kit ($21.81)

 

The LEGO Make Your Own Movie Kit turns your little one into a producer/director. By using a phone, tablet, or computer, your child can create mini-movies with easy-to-follow instructions. As your child advances they can manipulate things like lighting, sound effects, and camera angles. Your little one will soon be creating smash hits for the family to enjoy.

Buy from: Klutz

 

Ages 8 & up

Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit ($21.32)

The LEGO Chain Reaction Kit takes your child’s ordinary LEGO blocks and turns them into machines that make different reactions. Perhaps your child wants to make a machine to deliver a message, or play with the dog; the LEGO Chain Reaction Kit makes it happen. Your child can create dozens of different reactions.

Ages 8 & up

LEGO Friends Snow Resort Ski Lift ($84.89)

 

The LEGO Friends Snow Resort Ski Lift Set is all kinds of wintery fun! It is filled with activities from skiing to rock climbing, and your child can build alone or with a friend. The set contains mini-doll figures, a bear cub, and a whole bunch of fun! The set can be combined with the LEGO Friends Snow Resort Ice Rink and Snow Resort Ice Chalet for even more fun! We love this set because it helps our kids enjoy the winter season in a whole new way.

Buy from: LEGO

 

Ages 7-12

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Building and Coding Kit ($159.95)

LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox is an amazing toy for this season! All you have to do is download the accompanying app and your child is on her way. The step-by-step instructions will have your child building their very own Vernie the Robot. He moves, talks, and has 4 different tool attachments. You can also build Frankie the Cat, your very own interactive cat, without the mess of a real cat. Also possible is Auto Builder and automatic production line that creates miniature LEGO models. Please go to LEGO.com/DeviceCheck for a list of all compatible devices.

Buy from: LEGO

 

For Your Physically Active Smart Girl

 

Ages 3-7

Skywalker Trampolines Round Bouncer Trampoline ($53.04)

Everyone loves a good bounce session, and the Skywalker Trampoline is the best around. The Skywalker company takes pride in their safety features and their ability to provide safe environments for your child. You can feel safe with your child bouncing around in one of these trampolines, and they will love it!

Buy from: Skywalker

 

Ages 3 & up

The Original PlasmaCar ($63.99)

We love this old-school PlasmaCar! It is powered strictly by your child’s energy; no batteries, no pedals, no gears. Just pure wiggle and fun. Your child steers and navigates on sidewalks, driveways, and any smooth, flat surface they can find. A great toy, that requires nothing more than some pure energy.

Buy from: PlasmaCar

 

Ages 3 & up 

Mercedes Benz E550 6V ($156.60)

Let your little one cruise around in style, with this Mercedes Benz E550 Ride On. It moves forward, reverse, and tops out at 2.5MpH. It comes equipped with a 6V rechargeable battery. Your child will love the smooth ride, and easy steering.

Buy from: Kid Motorz

 

Ages 2-5

Chillafish BMXie-RS: BMX Balance Bike with Airless RubberSkin Tires ($60.00)

The Chillafish BMXie -RS takes on the BMX style with a lightweight frame which is strong and durable. The balance bike has tires that give great grip and do not require inflating. The bike is adjustable to grow with your child, and stores easily. It is brightly colored, and attractive to kids. Your child will love cruising around on this bike.

Buy from: Chillafish

 

Ages 8 & up

RipStik Brights Caster Board ($55.99)

The Ripstick Caster Board is one fun twist and go toy. The deck pivots and the casters move 360 degrees. Vibrant colors will make your child stand out with this toy, and they will love the ride. Create a feeling of snowboarding or wakeboarding with this amazing design.

Buy from: Razor

 

Continue Reading

What Is Your Daughter Teaching You About Yourself?

On Monday, my baby girl turns 3 years old. I have been busy planning her little celebration and reflecting on how much she has grown in the last year. She has truly found her voice and is not afraid to use it. She is extremely decisive, strong-minded, independent, and cheeky. I am both proud of the fire in her heart and terrified for what those teenage years might be like.

It a pretty common headline these days to find an article with a letter addressed to your younger self. With my youngest daughter, Ari, I feel like I am looking right at my younger self. She reminds me that is ok to be multidimensional; to be both tough and delicate; smart and playful; sugar and spice.

Sometimes we hate to admit it but the very thing the drives us mad about our girls are traits that define our own adult lives as well.

What is your daughter teaching you about yourself?

PS: It’s almost here! Look out for this year’s holiday gift guide in next week’s newsletter.

img credit: Quote

Continue Reading

Hello, November!

image credit

Can you believe it is November already?

Turkey, Black Friday, Holiday Shopping, Christmas Carols are all rapidly approaching. We are hard at work at our now 3rd annual Gift Guide to help you pick out smart and fun gifts for all the smart girls on your list. In the meantime, enjoy the fall weather and start warming up for the most wonderful time of the year!

Continue Reading

Yeah, me too.

This past week has been so heavy with the breaking news of rampant sexual harassment in Hollywood. I have read many of the accounts from several of the brave women stepping up to tell their stories.

Lupita Nyongo’s account published in the Wall Street Journal really struck a cord with me for two reason. First, her heartbreaking reason for not speaking up until now: “…I also did not know that there was a world in which anybody would care about my experience with him. You see, I was entering into a community that Harvey Weinstein had been in, and even shaped, long before I got there.”

And the powerful reason she thinks she has not had this negative experience with anyone else in her career since Weinstein: “… I think it is because all the projects I have been a part of have had women in positions of power, along with men who are feminists in their own right who have not abused their power.”

Womanhood desperately needs a culture of story telling and sharing. Too many of us secretly endure pain, hide scars, and smile hard. I can’t help but think this begins at home.

What stories did our mother tell us? What stories will we tell our girls? How will we prepare them for what is ahead?  “Half of all American women—54%—have experienced “unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances” at some point in their lives. Nearly a third have endured such behavior from male colleagues and a quarter identified men with sway over their careers as the culprits.” 

We need to be intentional about sharing our experiences and telling the stories about those hard worn scars. Because you have been there, your wisdom could light up the path to avoiding the same heartache for your daughter, your sister, your friend, maybe even a stranger.

Connecting through shared experiences, however awful the memories, is a beautiful way to lean on each other. EVEN IF all you are able to do is raise your hand and say, #metoo.

Continue Reading