Author: Kristen Chase

Is my child gifted? Helpful advice and online resources from an educational expert.

I still remember when my son’s then first-grade teacher asked if they could test him for the gifted program in our school district. I looked at her and asked, “Are you sure?” I just thought my sweet, curious boy asked a lot of questions. Like, a whooooole lot. But gifted? Even after he was identified as qualifying for our program, navigating next steps was extremely challenging. I had to understand my rights with the GIEP (Gifted Individualized Education Plan); find him educational support outside of school; and then figure out how it would impact his siblings and whether they should be tested too....

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A parent’s review of Beauty and the Beast. Step back, haters!

This past weekend, I was one of the millions of people who piled into a very crowded movie theater (behind a birthday party full of restless, giggly 6-year old girls, no less) to see Beauty and the Beast. And boy, I am so glad I did. I honestly haven’t smiled so much through a movie in a really long time, which is why I’m surprised so many people are reacting so negatively to it. Related: 9 fantastic girl power movies for kids Without giving away too much, this live-active Beauty and the Beast mirrors the animated feature pretty closely,...

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People are leaving hilarious reviews of the Clear Knee Mom Jeans and we can’t stop laughing

There’s a good chance that by now you’ve seen the Topshop Clear Knee Mom Jeans at Nordstrom that have been making the social media rounds (along with that weird tank top from Urban Outfitters). But, what you might not have noticed is that people are now leaving reviews on the Nordstrom website, and they are cracking us up. Side note: Why are they called “mom jeans?” No mom we know would ever pay $95 for jeans with clear knees. Well, no mom we know would every pay any dollars for jeans with clear knees but that’s beside the point. But name...

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Damn you, Facebook ads: Our review of the True & Co. Second Skin bra

As you might already know if you read our site regularly, we’re suckers for Facebook ads, which is why you see our reviews of everything from THINX period underwear to Bombas socks, even those Like A Glove leggings that help you buy jeans that fit you. These ads pop up in our Facebook feed and we just can’t stop ourselves. But hey, you get the reap the benefits of me being a guinea pig because we share the honest scoop on these popular products. That’s why we decided to start a new feature here called, “Damn you, Facebook ads.” First up, the True & Co....

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3 simple ways to find more one-on-one time with your kids, no babysitter required.

As a single mom of four kids, you can probably imagine how tough it is to give my kids individual time, at least without hiring a babysitter and spending even more money on dinner or a movie. Turns out, you don’t have to spend money — or even need a second adult in the house — to give your kids the one-on-one time they love and need, where they’re getting your absolute, undivided attention. In addition to Stacie’s terrific post on how she turned after-school snack time with her kids into meaningful together time, check out my own 3 simple ways I’ve learned to...

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A Hamilton Musical LEGO set: Do not throw away your shot to vote for this!

We are big Hamilton Musical fans around here, with my son rapping Guns and Ships in his sleep and weaving lines into his school papers, so when I saw this Hamilton Musical LEGO set up for voting on the LEGO Ideas site, I just had to share it. Especially since he’s a huge LEGO lover too. Now, this set is not for purchase yet but rather, it’s a submission created by LEGO Ideas community member doniazade. The whole set has been reconstructed with LEGOs, including the staircase, even the turntable in the middle. And of course, all the cast of characters...

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The backpack that might convert even the most anti-backpack people

This hard core tote lover hasn’t been so excited about a bag in a very long time, let alone a backpack, but just a few hours into carrying around the new Dakota backpack that our friends at Dagne Dover sent me and I want to tell everyone how great it is. Similar to their totes we featured here a couple of years ago, the Dakota backpack is full of really smart pocket and pouches for everything from small laptop or tech gadget, to your charging cables, make-up, water bottles, even a secret spot for your smart phone or wallet. If it sounds like overkill, or...

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Here’s what happened with I tried Hubble, the company that sends daily wear contacts to your door.

I’m a long-time contact wearer here, especially in those glasses break now and then moments (or when a style moment hits hard). And as much as my optometrist has tried to get me to try daily wear contacts because they’re waaaay better for my eyeballs, they dry out by mid-afternoon. No, thanks. And so, I’ve stuck with the ones I take out at night, wear for a couple of weeks (or um, months, shhhh), and pay a pretty penny for. That is, until Hubble send me a pack of their daily wear contacts a try. Related: The best mascara for contact wearers. And...

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A complaint and compliment box: How this simple change could make your family life so much happier

I recently finished reading How to Win as a Step-Family (great book for blended families, by the way), and one of the suggestions they made to help family morale was a complaint and compliment box where everyone can air their grievances and share encouraging words in a safe way. And so, I decided to give it a whirl with our new family of six, though you certainly do not need to be a blended family to try it out. In fact, I totally suggest you do, no matter your family size or structure. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: A simple way to...

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A simple skincare regimen for busy moms, and 5 things I learned after sticking to it for 10 days

I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only mom who barely has enough energy to wash her face at night and slap some moisturizer on, since I’m so darn tired I just want to brush my teeth and hit the sack. Yes, the 30 seconds it would take me always seems like 30 seconds too long. Let alone the time I can spend in the mornings. Yeah, nope. So as you can imagine, the idea of sticking to an actual skincare regimen twice a day for 10 days — like, not just washing but using actual serums and ointments — seems pretty unlikely to me. But when our...

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3 inspiring ways your kids can design, create and invent using Tinkercad.

Last week, we introduced you to 3 cool kid inventors who we actually got to meet and chat with on behalf of our sponsor Autodesk. Well, since then, my tween Quinlan, who actually interviewed the inventors on Facebook Live (so fun!), has been learning how to use Tinkercad. She’s been playing around with this free web tool, creating 3D designs the same way those remarkable kids created their own inventions. I’ve been so amazed seeing how my daughter can just take an idea from her own imagination, design it, and use a 3D printer to print and hold it in her hand. And did I mention it’s fun? Take...

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We can’t believe what these 3 amazing kid inventors have created.

We’re firm believers that kids can change the world. In fact, there are kids doing it right now. So we’re sharing three kid inventors we’re absolutely thrilled to know about because their work is so mind-blowingly amazing, it gives us remarkable hope for the future. (Yay, kids!) What’s more, if you love what they’re doing, you can have a chance to “meet” them at the Kid Inventors’ Day celebration on January 17,  when we interview them on Facebook Live, thanks to our sponsor Autodesk. If you’re not familiar with Autodesk, check out their free, easy-to-use web-based tool Tinkercad that allows anyone ages 4 and...

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Tips for tackling the most common New Year’s resolutions | Spawned Episode 63

If you’re like us and you love to make New Year’s resolutions but can never seem to actually keep them, well, this is the Spawned podcast for you. On this episode, we’re taking a closer look at the most common New Year’s resolutions, and sharing our own advice, plus tips and tricks from the experts, on how to actually tackle them. Whether you want to finally drop that baby weight or want to get a grip on your finances, you’ll want to listen to this episode. Plus, don’t miss Kristen’s big news! What a wonderful way to start off...

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Berries Everywhere: Would you ever let your kids do this to your kitchen?

This post was created for our partnership with Very Berry Cheerios My kids love berries. In fact, their aunt nicknamed them “my little fruit bats” because they love berries in their lunches, on their desserts, and yes, with their breakfast. So of course we were all thrilled to have the opportunity to help introduce our sponsor Very Berry Cheerios to you. Because, berries! Let’s just say that the one you can get in your supermarket is a waaaay better option than letting your kids attempt to make their own formulation, like my two daughters did when I let them go to town in my kitchen. (And yes,...

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10 fabulous holiday gifts under $25 for the whole family

Whether you’re finishing up your holiday shopping or just getting started (hey, no judgment here!) we always love finding cool gifts that are easy to get a hold of and won’t break the budget. Even better when they’re all at the same shop, so you can just zip around one store, or click around a single website and check off everyone on your list. This holiday season, we’re so happy to welcome back our sponsor JCPenney, especially because they’ve got everyone in your family covered with tons of fantastic brands and big sales on so many fabulous gifts, from chic fashion finds to toys for the kids to...

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Bitsbox: The fantastic STEM gift idea that taught my 4 kids to code their own apps.

It’s no secret that parents love finding tech gifts for kids that we can justify as being both fun and educational, but the true test isn’t whether we think they’re cool — but rather, whether our own kids play with them. Over and over again. That’s why we we’re so thrilled to have partnered with our newest sponsor Bitsbox. (And you dedicated Spawned podcast listeners already know just how thrilled!) This clever subscription box gift masterfully and clearly teaches kids how to code their own apps that actually work on smartphones and tablets. Like my 9-year-old son’s Burping Obama app. (Not coming to an app store near you,...

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10 simple ways to find more time in a busy day. No magic required.

We would probably all love an extra hour in the day. Or two. Or six. Especially with the busy holiday season upon us right now. But since we’re not magicians and we don’t own a time machine (yet), the only way we’ll be able to find extra time is if we take a good look at how we’re spending the 24 hours we already have. And no, losing more sleep is not a reasonable option. That’s why I’m so pleased to present our newest sponsor Allstate and their new, free QuickTrip app, which is designed to maximize your time by organizing your to-do...

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9 terrific baby gift ideas to help baby (and mom) get more sleep | Baby Registry Essentials Guide

If there’s one thing we know that every new mom needs, it’s sleep. Lots of it. Lots and lots of it. So what better baby shower gift to consider than one aimed at getting her just what she needs? We are so excited to put together tons of recommendations in this next installment of our Baby Registry Essentials Guide series on behalf of our partner, Gugu Guru. It’s a free online baby registry that actually gives you custom product recommendations based on your taste and lifestyle, though when it comes to sleep, that’s something every single parent wants and needs. You’ll find all 9 of these smart gift...

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6 Sephora Collection products you need in your makeup bag, stat

If you’re anything like me, you could spend hours shopping for makeup. But, if you’re like me, you don’t even have those hours to shop for makeup. (I wish!) That’s why I was so thrilled to team up with our newest sponsor, JCPenney, to visit their in-store JCPenney Sephora store, and check out the latest Sephora Collection products — turns out, it’s so easy for a busy mom like me to run right in, grab what I need, and run right out again. Even though they’re celebrating 10 years together, I think this might just be the best-kept beauty shopping secret out there. Plus, the...

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Newly gives old materials new life in the most beautiful way

It used to be that clothes and gifts made from recycled materials compromised on style. But these days, companies are finding creative ways to make fabulous products using resources we already have, making a huge, positive impact on the planet we live on and the one we’re going to leave our children. That’s why we’re so thrilled to get the exclusive first look at Newly, a new company offering some of the most gorgeous home goods we’ve ever seen, all made from 100% recycled materials using sustainable, energy-efficient methods. The five founders, including Barrett Ward, the creator of Cool Mom Picks favorite FashionABLE, established Newly...

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