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About ChrisB

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    Hive Mind Queen Bee

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    Five kids ('04, '06 [twins!], '09, '12)
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    South Dakota

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  1. This microscope is around $200. My kids received it as a gift from an uncle, too, and it works great.
  2. Got another idea...basic sewing/mending kit
  3. decent jelly roll pan + ice cream scoop to scoop cookie dough. I use mine all the time from baking cookies to roasting veggies to baking fries... jumper cables for each car decent silicon rubber spatula for mixing to cooking eggs (Wilton has a good one) power hand drill w/bits batteries electric hand mixer small hair scissors or hair clippers gardening hand clippers or gardening shears eta: with gardening gloves eta2: extension cords (for outside Christmas lights?) eta3: hammer
  4. I have a bunch of girls, and the youngest is 7. DD7 loves to go to Once Upon A Child and pick her own complete outfits. Then I get to see what she really likes and what brands fit. Carter's is good quality, fit for a tall thinner body. Love, love their pajamas. I've found Target designs for a thinner body--Walmart and Children's Place for huskier. HA is super comfie and holds up well. DD10 has a HA dress that still looks new that we got used when DD15 was around 7. DD7 also prefers leggings or footless tights over footed tights. If you are looking for additional ideas especially for the older 3: - half day out with Grandma where you do a fun brunch or lunch out and shopping for an outfit. - experiences: zoo passes, science museum passes, trampoline park/climbing walls, pool passes for nice aquatic center, stage theater production, movie theater tickets+concessions (Frozen II is coming up!!) - sunglasses - fun ankle boots - backpacks (Lands End) - ballet shoes + leotard - Claire's visit or GC: my girls love to pick out their favorite hair accessory or stuffed animal - bathing suits (Lands End) DD7 is a serious stuffed animal-aholic, affectionately referred to as our resident stuffie-aholic. 🤣 MIL got her (with our permission) a giant, 6ft long, stuffed caterpillar. She LOVES it so much, and its permanent spot is in her bed. All the cousins were super jealous that she got this. The next year MIL got 1 cousin a caterpillar, another cousin the following year. It's become something fun for the kids. MIL has the original "Catty", DD7 has Catty Jr., cousin has Catty the 3rd, etc. The gifts I appreciated the most from my MIL were quality coats, snow pants, snow boots, gloves. (We live where it snows.) These are expensive items that they grow out of quickly. Also, fun patterned rain boots they can easily wash and pull on to run outside. My mom gets the kids name personalized song CDs, Looney Tunes DVD collections, slippers, and various other items that I tell her they'd like. She doesn't buy clothing or toys much.
  5. My twins DD/DS13, 8th grade, do about 5ish hours per day, plus an extra 30ish minutes of lessons/practicing an instrument. DS also has about an extra hour+ per day because he takes a Computer Programming class (he LOVES!!) and a low key LoTR weekly Lit class with his buddies. Together they do: Math, Language Arts, History, Science, and Speech. I will be adding a quick Geography to their line-up and a grammar unit. They get the basics like math, LA, and history done in the mornings. Science, speech, LoTR Lit, and computer programming are outside classes that are done in the early afternoons with "homework" any other time they like, just as long as it's done. Most of the time it ends up being after dinner or a weekend--their choice. We school year round if we have nothing else going on and only the core subjects in the summertime for about 1.5hrs/day. Some weeks the twins take a day to volunteer for a 6 hr block of time and don't do much school those day.
  6. I'd never heard of them before I met my then boyfriend soon to be DH. He's from the state referenced in the article above, and it's definitely a real thing. When I first found out about them I sorta chuckled as it's an odd thing, but after giving me a sideways look, they thought it was odd I'd never heard of one before. Last place I'd think to go to get/win meat.
  7. Adding, one of the reasons i push to open a savings account in addition to the checking is so that she sees how much she can actually spend vs. strictly savings. If she saw the whole lump sum in checking, she'd feel like it was available to spend. I'm very similar---maybe most people are?
  8. For stink in clothing and shoes = Borax. (eta: Super cheap!) I add it routinely to our wash, even soaking athletic shoes in a water/borax mix before washing. GL
  9. DD15 has had teen/child, no fee, checking and savings accounts for a few years now for when she started babysitting. It is through the bank we use so we are able to transfer funds back and forth between hers and our accounts. I believe we are also on her account, but she primarily deals with it, even getting her own paper monthly bank statement in the mail. When she gets a regular paycheck, we'll recommend she deposit it in her savings. She has a debit card that she uses attached to her checking. She's also able to transfer funds back and forth online btwn. savings/checking. I think this makes her feel very mature with a strong sense of pride and ownership. She's super reliable and honest with her funds, and we both agree it's fun to see money "grow." More than you asked for, but we expect her to put at least 30% towards savings, 10% giving/tithe, 60% spending. In reality, she saves so much more since she has very little in expenses. These are her baselines allowing for the "freedom" to give to causes she's interested in. We have a (eta: Vanguard) targeted 30(?) yr mutual fund in our name that we add to for all our kids for them to use for major adult purchases, ie. education, housing, cars, something like that. So whenever the grandparents give a bit of cash for savings, it goes there. Not sure what we'll advise once she's gotten enough in savings for an IRA or the like--must investigate our options... DD13 is soon to get her checking/savings accounts. She's accumulated enough cash through babysitting that I don't want it sitting around the house. Her twin DS13 doesn't have enough of a steady income yet so he'll have to wait.
  10. That's interesting about the numbers. I agree that it's encouraging to see young people accomplishing so much through volunteering. After reading some of the applicants achievements, I wonder if she's even in their league. We'll see... She's also considered the Congressional Award but doesn't feel drawn to apply for it at this time.
  11. DD15's school counseling office told the student body about the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. After inquiring, DD decided she would try for it and submitted her application. Does anyone have experience with this award? It looks like it includes a scholarship if selected.
  12. Paracord kit Wetbrush - all my girls have and love these
  13. Yes, at least in our neck of the woods. DD15 and DD13 both have rose gold velvety scrunchies they wear frequently, as do their friends, due to, in part, the velvety texture.
  14. Definitely fuzzy blankets, rose-gold scrunchies, fine tipped pens like these, bullet journals, water bottles, EOS chapstick, any big name brand socks (UA, Nike, Adidas), Adidas track pants, make-up, nail kits and/or polish, string fairy lights w/clips for pictures, grown-up fuzzy house slippers, nice robes, games, gum, face paint kits, nerf basketball and hoop that attaches to door, nerf gun, big name brand slides, mini drones (this one worked well for a beginner). Rose gold is a huge color now with the teen girls. Name brand is most appreciated.
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