7 (+1) Awesome Halloween Gifts for Tweens

Somewhere between the age of 10 and 11, something magical happens - your "little one" grows up and no longer goes trick or treating with a chaperone.  They may opt for the more grown up "party" at a friends house, or stick with handing out candy at good ol' mom and dads and scare a few mini monsters.

This time of their lives doesn't preclude them from still getting a few "treats" in their lives, so I have put together a quick list of gift ideas, perfect for your maturing ghouls and ghosts, who may still, deep down inside, want to celebrate with their parents.

1.  Rainbow Edge Stix Blendable Hair Chalk  - No need to bargain with your tween about permanent dyes - they can color their hair with these chalks, that are almost like crayons for the night, and then wash out with regular shampoo.  Even works great with darker hair (like my daughter's).

2.  Essie Nail Color in Leggie Legend - this PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) knock-off color will help your tween stay in the spirit of the holiday without going cliche with basic orange and black. A little shimmer and a whole lot of bronze help this 2015 collection favorite be a new favorite in your house.  Don't worry, I won't tell if you sneak some of it, too!

3.  Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark Boxed Set - Who doesn't like a scary story on Halloween?  This book set is great for tweens as there is a story for everyone to enjoy.  I remember reading these exact stories when I was younger, and boy would they give me the chills.  Still, it is a great series for this age range - they certainly are not being exposed to Stephen King novels.

4. I <3 The Dark Side Pin - Support your inner Star Wars geek with this little button.  If you have a tween who is against wearing a costume, or just wants to go "undercover" this year, this little button is perfect for them to show their Empire pride, even if its only for one day of the year.  We all know they are really a Jedi deep down inside.

5.  I'm A Ninja T-Shirt - if your tween insists on going "incognito" for the festivities, help them out with this invisibility shirt, sure to divert any attention away from them.  Throw in a black mask and you have yourself a fun costume.  Bonus points if your tween knows some moves.

6.  Wonder Woman Caped Knee Socks - You might be fortunate to have your very own super hero living under your roof.  But capes may have been banned after that unfortunate scene in the Incredibles a few years back (you know, this one).  These mini capes may still meet regulations of super heroes, so give your wonder woman the lift she needs with these ultra cute knee socks.

7.  Jack Skellington Moccasin Slippers - For your ghoul who is staying in for the evening, these cozy slippers will keep their toes warm while they continually open doors for princesses, pirates and Doc McStuffins.  Throw on the movie in the background and your tween will sure have a great time viewing all the younger folks in their costumes. They might even remember all the different ones they wore in previous years and appreciate all the hard work you put in each year.  Or maybe they'll just watch the movie.

If you still want more gift ideas for your favorite tween in your life, you can always buy an extra bag of their favorite Halloween Candy, and let them gorge themselves, even if they didn't earn it the hard way, by saying:

Trick or Treat!

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13 Years and Stronger than Ever

Today marks Kevin's and I's 13th wedding anniversary.  Many would say thirteen is an unlucky number, but in fact, it has proved us completely lucky over the years.  In fact, we were married on the thirteenth of October - a date known to have the most Friday the Thirteenths in history.

In honor of our thirteen years of stubbornly staying together, through thick and thin, I bring you:

7 Questions to Ask Before You Geo-Bachelor

I often get asked the question, "what made you decide to stay behind?"  I typically laugh, because, well, its a loaded question.  I can't say there was one thing that truly made my family and I decide that by staying behind, it would be better for us.

But there are definitely conversations or decisions you can have to help your family decide if you should go "full geo" - or geo-bachelor - families separated by distance, not by love.

The Toddler Years (Part Duex)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and proclaim that I am sorry.  I am sorry for taking pity on you and your toddler.  Instead, I now envy you.

You may not realize it, but as I have perused through the aisles at Target, I have seen your toddlers throw themselves on the floor over wanting a stick of cheese. I have watched as you plead, beg, and negotiate with your little terrorist whose demands are making you look like a fool.  Through all your horror and desperation, I've seen you look at me with a glimmer of hope still in your eye, as I pass you by.

Yes, there is hope.  You've seen my daughter pushing the cart next to me, sipping on a Starbucks drink, and carrying on a conversation about her latest crush at school.  Truly, every time I pass by a mother with little ones, I thank my lucky stars every day that my little one grew out of that stage.  Thank God, those two years are a distant memory.

MilCents: Find Your Financial Freedom

I will be the first to admit I can easily blow $100 at Target and forget the one thing I went in for. Costco? Try $200. I get too many projects off Pinterest and White Walls that take me down rabbit holes of impulsive shopping sprees.

When my husband met me, my finances were a mess.  Our agreement was he would take over and help right my wrongs and I would stop being so impulsive. We've both held up our ends of the arrangement, him better than I at times (there's still that darn Target store that eats me alive...)

Why am I confessing such financial sins for all internet onlookers to see and judge?

Gone is Gone

I recently sat around a table with some amazing military spouses. These men and women from across the country opened my eyes to the challenges facing so many of you out there. But what really struck a chord with me was we shared one common thread: our partners, at one time, were away when something bad happened.

This something bad could have been a flat tire, or it could have been the loss of a relative.  It didn't matter, because to each of us, at that one moment in time, we couldn't reach over to the one person who could make it better: our partner.

I Am Not Worthy - A Journey in Self Sabotage

Today, was one of those days I didn't feel worthy.  I have been blessed in recent months to have some remarkable opportunities come my way.  I've hustled, worked hard, and put myself out there to receive such things.

But today was different. Today, I made myself vulnerable in a different way.  I didn't think I was worthy.  I didn't think I was ready to receive such an incredible opportunity - the next step in my career.  Instead of being my own cheerleader, I became my own critic.

Staycations for MILSOs: Monterrey, California

I just got back from a week of visiting my hubby in Central California (the fly over area).  After visiting several times, I've really discovered some great spots for military families in the area (or those wanting to visit).  Hashtag ItsSoAwesome  Hashtag ImNotKidding

Throw in family beaches and gorgeous sunsets and this region of the Golden State is ripe for a staycation.

Just an hour south of San Francisco or 5 hours north of Los Angeles, you'll find Monterrey.  If you are coming from Southern California, may I suggest Amtrak?  It may be quicker on a Friday night and a whole lot less stressful.

So where to?  What do you want to do?  What's military friendly?  I'll show you through my trial and error (wait - adventures never have error, you just learn), so you, too, can enjoy this splendid region.

6 Spark-Worthy Dating Ideas Across Miles

So your spouse is away - maybe deployed, maybe geo-bachelored, or maybe just because of travelling for their job.  How do you keep the sparks going when he or she is just not next to you all the time?

It's actually quite easy to keep dating them without physically being close.  Here are 6 spark-worthy tips to keep your marriage going across the miles.

6 Reasons I am Thankful for Being a Mil-Spouse

We take so many things for granted in our life, and as a mil-spouse, I often forget the good things that come with being a part of the military community.  Too often, its easy to get in the rut of complaining about the things going wrong that we forget to say what we are thankful for.

Here is my list of what I appreciate:

How To: Travel the Country By Rail

I admit it.  I've read the Harry Potter books.  I've watched Polar Express about 50+ times.  I'm a train fan-girl.  There is something about travelling the countryside by rail that is so... well...  quaint.

This past June, I enjoyed a lovely 36-hour train ride from Colorado to California.  It was an amazing experience, spending a day and a half travelling across mountains, plains and the desert until we reached the ocean.

Many of my friends questioned why I wouldn't just fly out to California.  Why would I want to spend so long in a confined space?  Well, I say, "why not?"

Here's a quick how-to if you feel brave enough to join me in the train traveler's club.

5 Ways to Stay Connected When You Are No Longer Connected to a Base

Being a geo-bachelor spouse means you disconnect from a base.  Your spouse no longer is attached to your closest base.  You haven't quite made it to their attached base, so you haven't had a chance to meet the new spouses.

The same thing happened to me when my husband was stationed in Korea for a year and I chose to move back home to pursue a degree.  I disconnected from my previous base, but I hadn't moved to our follow-on either.

So how do you stay connected to the military world when you are no longer connected to a base?

One Year Later

I disappeared this summer, for good reason.  I needed to clear my mind, I needed to make decisions and I needed to reevaluate if being a geo-bachelor wife was really for me.

Wait.  Before you get all, "oh my gosh, they're getting a divorce" on me, stop right there!  That's not what I'm saying!  Instead, let me remind you, or explain to those newer to my blog.

that time i....started nesting

I am the type that likes to avoid change.  I say that I'm a pure millenial and will take it head on, but realistically, I'm the worst military spouse you could ever want.  I want stability.  I want constant.  I want security.

So a few weeks ago, my blog went dark.  That's because when things start changing around me, I go to that deep, dark place inside where I don't want anyone to visit.  I stop communicating, I close up, put up my walls, and tell everyone to "leave me alone."  In facing my flight or fight reaction, and its safe to say, I'm on a one-way flight to Bermuda right now.

Why the change?

so what's up? its wednesday!

What's up?!  It's Wednesday - we're halfway to Fri-yay-day!

I'm spending today answering a few, fun questions about what's going on in my life right now.

that time ... my closet went on a diet

I know what you're thinking.  You cleaned your closet.  Here's a medal.  (insert sarchasm....)

But all kidding aside, this time its a big deal.  Not only is cleaning out my closet a big deal, I'm going to tell you why its a big deal for you, too!

I've heard rumors that on Monday mornings, when all of us are attempting to get ready in the morning, the most terrible thing happens.  We have NOTHING.TO.WEAR.  We peek into our filled closets, looking at racks of clothes, yet, nothing can be put together to frame a full ensemble.

This was my dilemma week after week, morning after morning.  I would lay in bed running through my closet in my head trying to put together a workable outfit.  "No, that dress is in the laundry.  Nope, those pants are still at the dry cleaner.  That shirt doesn't fit me. Right. Now...."

And then.  It began.

that time i....started spring off right


I'm linking up with AndreaNarci and Erika for our Friday Favorites this week!  If you are visiting from the linkup - welcome to my crazy neck of the woods (or suburbia - that's more like it!)   I'd love for you to say hello in the comments!  And if you are wondering who I am, take a peek at my About Me.  If you REALLY like me, go ahead and add me to your Bloglovin account or Google Friend on the side there - yep, right there on the left side.

Spring is in the air.  Or if you live here in Denver, its sometimes here, sometimes not.  It could be Winter, or Summer, or possibly Fall.  We're Colorado.  We can get Four Seasons in just a 24 hour period.

But since I'm a disillusioned person, I'll just assume its Spring.  So here are a few things that have helped me get Spring started off right!

that time... she read seven books in seven days

When your daughter is grounded from all electronics, she is bound to resort to one of two options: sit and stare at her wall for hours or read books. I got lucky that Avery wasn't about to be bored. But a new responsibility has fallen on me during her recent incarceration: shuttling her to the library every week to refresh the stacks of books.

Since I have such a voracious reader, I thought I would put together a nice mother-approved reading list that still is "cool" enough for a middle schooler.  Here are our recent "picks."

that time... daddy got a bonus trip

I often get asked, "how often do you guys get to see Kevin?" and that is a difficult question to answer for us.  It isn't like clockwork, every 4 weeks he comes home.  Sometimes, it has been 2 months spacing, other times, it has been 2 weeks (like the case of January).  It just depends on what his schedule is, my schedule is, and Avery's school schedule.  Its a complicated system, very similar to when the eclipses happen.  Stars aligning and such.

that time... it wasn't like a TV show

I am a military spouse.  There is just no denying it.  But my life is far from a TV show.

This rings so true when it comes to homecomings.

It came to my attention over the weekend when one of my friends asked me if I ever had one of those really wonderful homecomings where I was dressed up real fancy, made a sign for my husband and waited with hundreds of other spouses for my husband to return.  My answer was a simple:  no.

that time... i fired stitch fix


Its been awhile since I've done a Friday Favorites Post.  Welcome to all those joining me from Andrea'sNarci's or Erika's blogs!  If you are wondering who I am --> click on one of the many links up there at the top (this one's my fav).

So, I'm sure you are asking.  Why did I fire Stitch Fix?  Only a few months ago, I was singing its praises.

that time... we engineered an egg landing

In Monday's post, I talked about nearly getting trampled by Elk while we stayed at the YMCA Camp of the Rockies.  I also, vaguely, discussed that we enjoy staying there because of the family activities. The camp transforms you and forces you to get in touch with nature.  Nature and I have never liked each other.  I will say, we have a mutual understanding that if the bugs stay away from me, we can get along.  And luckily, at the Y camp, there are few bugs to harm me, especially this time of year.

The camp not only has great hiking trails, and plenty of places to just relax and watch the scenery, they also have great programming (for those City folk like me who require 24/7 entertainment).

that time i...was almost trampled by an elk

As a child, I loved Spring Break.  It was right around the time my brain shut down and I just stopped paying attention in class.  Here in Colorado, it also signaled the time when the weather wasn't sure if it was going to stay bitter cold or move into summer.  Spring was always skipped over, except for maybe two days in March.  Not three days, just two.

So it should come as no surprise that my daughter, Avery, too pined for Spring Break.  She also stopped learning sometime back at the beginning of March.  Her homework took an unseasonably low dip in turn-in rate.

This year brought an even better treat with it.  Beyond the summery, warm 70 degree weather, we also had an extra visitor in our house:  daddy.

that time i ... decided to go into human trafficking

Ok, maybe not human trafficking, but I learned that I'm really good at selling people.  (That, too, sounds funny...)  Let me explain myself before the FBI comes knocking down my door!

that time... avery wore daddy's sweatshirt

Being a military child is tough.  I can't imagine what my daughter is going through, but I will say this:  she's a real trooper.  She doesn't complain about the distance, she doesn't whine about the time apart (ok, not too much), and she tries to be a great military kid, even when she doesn't think anyone understands.

that time i... read a book in 2 days

I am NOT a fast reader.  I wish I was.  I wish I could zoom through books like my daughter (she's a 250-page a day girl).  Unfortunately, it just takes me awhile to process, think, and comprehend the subject matter.  Throw in a non-fiction book, and that just sends me into snail speed.

that time i... left my blog for 2 months

Hi there!

Remember me?  I'm the blog abandoner.  I'm the one who woke up every day for 2 months and said to myself, "oh, I really should write a blog post about my day," but then didn't.

California Adventure (Days 5-7)

If you read yesterday's post, you know we went to California to visit Kevin for 2 whole weeks.  We were fortunate that Kevin did not have to take time off from work, but the tradeoff was that he would have to check into work 3 times during the trip.  This provided a great opportunity to break up the trip into sections.

Our first leg of the trip was Los Angeles, and while we enjoyed portions of the city, I was also happy to leave the city.  The traffic alone gave me a lot of heart ache.

After stopping for a night in Lompoc / Vandenberg AFB, we were able to get a nice tour of the base including a unique opportunity to see where Kevin worked.  Only once before, in his career, have we been able to visit daddy at his actual workplace.  Usually, we meet him nearby or at the BX (base exchange). This time, his coworkers wanted to meet us (!!) and offered to give us a grand tour.  That was quite a cool experience for both Avery and I. It was also nice to hear how they said great things about the work he is doing while he is away from the family. Its not every day you get to meet a 3-star General who speaks highly of your Tech Sergeant husband.

and we're back! California Adventure (Days 1-4)

Oh dear!  I must have forgotten to tell you that I was going on vacation.  Or rather, I didn't forget, but I'm one of those paranoid people who tries not to announce they are going away, especially around the holidays, for fear someone might rob me.  Granted, I have lovely neighbors who looked after my house, and a nice spiffy security system, but still.  Its the principle of the matter.

You may be wondering where I have been - or where I went.  I went to California to visit my husband, for a lovely two weeks.