Author: Kristen Chase

The Hamilton Instrumentals: Now YOU (or your kids) can star in the musical

If your kids are as obsessed with the The Hamilton Musical as mine are, then they probably know pretty much all the lyrics to every single song. And, you probably do, too. Well now, you can see how well they do thanks to the release of The Hamilton Instrumentals.  Related: Everything you need to throw the coolest Hamilton party Available on both Spotify and Apple Music, you can now access the entire Hamilton Musical soundtrack with just instrumentals, no lyrics. Hence the name. Now, your kids can put on their own musical performance of it (if they haven’t tried to...

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Unicorn Vans in big kid sizes! Join us in freaking out.

My girls have been eying those unicorn Vans forever (because who isn’t obsessed with unicorns right now?) but they’ve only been available in baby sizes. Until now. That’s right, they’re available in big kid sizes, and you know I’m snatching up a pair before they sell out. I have to say that I’ve always had a fantastic experience with Vans. As our go-to back-to-school shoes for years now, they hold up very well, which means I can hand them down through my three girls. Not to mention, I find my girls wear them for a solid three seasons each...

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The life-changing magic of tidying up, now as a manga graphic novel. For real.

I’d be willing to bet money that you’ve probably heard about Marie Kondo’s uber best-selling book The life-changing magic of tidying up, aka The Konmari Method. But now, the author has launched a new version of her book to make it even more appealing to read. That’s because it’s now a manga graphic novel. Considering I’ve got a manga-loving teen in my home who could use some major organizational help that’s not in the form of her mother nagging her (hi honey!), we actually pre-ordered The life-changing manga of tidying up and let’s just say it has not disappointed. She...

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A fun board game for summer that our kids can’t stop playing.

Last week, my son and I visited the Innovator’s Fair here in Philadelphia and discovered our newest board game obsession: Maze Racers. It combines creativity and building with mazes in a super fun way. Let’s just say, we’re all addicted. Including me. Related: The best board games for summer travel.  The game comes with two magnetic boards, a bunch of small magnetized foam pieces in various shapes and sizes, and marbles. Using the pieces, each player creates their own maze (like a Labyrinth, if you ever played with those), then passes their board to their opponent. The goal is...

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The one surprising thing that happened when I switched to a natural deodorant.

I’m the kind of person who needs the prescription strength-type antiperspirant, so for me to make the switch to a natural deodorant is a big deal. Granted, it’s not the first time I’ve tried, and while it was pretty successful (yay Primal Paste), I did end up getting a bit of a rash from the baking soda, so, I went back to the heavy duty stuff. Related: A natural deodorant that really works.  But I never felt really great about it, and figured, why not give the natural stuff another whirl? So, I grabbed some Schmidt’s natural deodorant at...

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From unsolved science mysteries to Hamilton, 5 cool educational videos tweens and teens will love

If you’re like me, you’re currently scrambling to find ways to keep your kids occupied — and better, still learning — during summer when school’s out. That’s where our newest sponsor The Great Courses Plus comes in. They turn screen time into educational time, offering unlimited courses on topics from science and history, to music and art, and pretty much everything in between. Plus, the video courses can be streamed from any device, anywhere you are. Because you know, kids and devices. Whether you want to start yoga, learn a language, or brush up on your chess skills, there are so many...

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5 of the very best road trip tips from a mom of 4, to keep kids happy and parents sane. Mostly.

With summer almost here (yay!) we’re looking forward to road trip season in which many families, like mine, are packing up our cars for short jaunts or long rides together. Of course if you’ve ever taken a road trip with kids, you know that even a quick hop to a nearby beach can be an ordeal. Especially if you’re stuck alternating between driver, referee and food server the whole time. Good news! I’ve taken lots of road trips with lots of kids (I have four myself) and I can firmly attest that small changes make a big difference on a road trip. And our latest sponsor...

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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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