She Works Hard for Her Money…Chart for Saving Money for Kids

I took my 6 year old to the mall the other day and she had a serious case of the “I wants.” After telling her for the millionth time, “Okay, let’s add that to your birthday list,” she said, “But I want it now.” Actually it was more like, “But I want it nooooooowwwwwwwwwww.”

It was like walking the mall with Veruca Salt.

Just the other day she was disheartened to learn that she is not technically six and a half yet. She was absolutely convinced that she was 6.5 and the fact that she is almost there did nothing to relieve her stress. She understands that her birthday is still far off so she wasn’t buying the whole, “put it on your birthday list,” routine I gave her.

When we walked into Build-A-Bear it’s as if the heavens opened up for her. She looked around and promptly decided that she just had to have Risa.


And then she was going to buy Viv and Teegan, the other rocker girls. And then something from the LEGO store. And then…it went on and on.

I told her that she was welcome to save her money and spend it however she liked.

She went home and promptly counted out (with help) the $3.23 she had in her piggy bank.

Risa costs $30 so I told her she had to keep saving.

“So what can I do for money?”

I offered up unloading the dishwasher and folding the towels (bath towels, kitchen towels, washcloths). She quickly accepted and earned $1.00. I pay 50 cents a job.

She’s been working on this dream of hers for close to two weeks and she’s saved $14.73 – we run the dishwasher here a lot as well as go through tons of towels.

After 3 days of her asking me if she had saved enough yet I knew we needed a chart to help her track her savings.

This is what I came up with.


And here is her chart which is posted on the side of our refrigerator:



“I am working hard and saving my money for a bunny stuffed animal. It costs 30 dollars.”

Caroline keeps her money in a coin purse with a ziploc. Any change that doesn’t equal up to a 100 (a dollar) is kept in the ziploc until she can make a full dollar. Every time she counts up to 100 she gets to transfer that money to the change purse and mark off a dollar bill on her chart.

This has provided for lots of practice with coin names, counting by 10’s and 5’s, how many more until & how many already questions, and understanding equalities (2 nickels = 1 dime).

I’d say she is a good two weeks away from reaching her goal of $30. There are some days she is more motivated than others and that’s just fine with me…although I am enjoying not unloading the dishwasher quite a bit.


Middle School Scheduling: A Last Minute Switch

I knew when my husband came home with large protruding crazed eyes, walking ahead of Alex and saying “I’m going to let him tell you,”  it was going to be good.

But first, let me back up.

Since Alex is going into middle school next year, it is time to fill out his schedule.

We were all in agreement about what type of math and language arts he would be taking. Science and social studies are standard as well as technology and PE.

That left only only one elective.

He chose art.

Super. No homework. All in class. Free. Simple simple simple.

On the schedule paperwork you must rank your top 3 elective choices.

Alex put art first, band second, orchestra third.

There was no way he was doing theater or choir so we were fine with his choices. Not even a lengthy and impassioned speech from his dad about his joy of being a baritone in sixth grade choir could change his mind.

All set.

Not quite.

Apparently, if you put band down anywhere on your list, you must come in for an instrument test. The kids test out each instrument they are interested in to see if it’s a match for them.

This is where you insert my husband’s eyes practically leaping out from their sockets since he was with Alex.

Alex chose to try the french horn, the trombone, and the trumpet.

An area band director critiqued the student after each instrument try.

When Alex tried the french horn, “Good sound, wonderful pitch!”


When Alex tried the trombone, “Good sound, wonderful pitch!”


When Alex tried the trumpet, “Good sound, oh my, that’s the best sound that has come out of any student today. Wow you are a natural. The sound you produced was absolutely amazing. Wow. You are just a treat to listen to on this instrument.’


Or something like that.

Let me tell you when it is not going to be a treat listening to that instrument.


Yes, Alex came home glowing, wanting to play the trumpet.

“I want to switch to band. The lady said I had a great sound. She said I was the best all day.”

……deep breaths…….of course she did, that bit*h………release of air……

“Wow, what made you change your mind?”

“You realize there will be lots of practice involved?”

“Might be difficult carrying a trumpet as you ride your bike to school.”

After a few talks and days to think about it we have a new list of electives:

#1 Band

#2 Art

#3 Orchestra

I now realize this “try your instrument” is such a scam.

I’m onto you middle school.

We won’t be making that same mistake with the next kid.

Of course, I felt a little better last night when a mom texted me last night saying: James switched from theater to band! What did Alex decide?

He decided to switch from art to band – playing the trumpet. You cannot make me put on a “band mom” t-shirt. What instrument did James decide on?

The bassoon! No shirt here but we might be forced to put the decal on our car.

I laughed and suddenly felt better.


The bassoon requires private lessons.

Super Hero / Bad Guys Scavenger Hunt

At Caroline’s super hero training birthday party, the kids were required to complete 4 missions.

Each mission had one or two components. For example, there was an “Accuracy Mission,” since all super heroes need to have good accuracy when fighting the bad guys. A bean bag toss and a ping pong bounce game were played in order to test our little super hero trainees. Since they passed that mission, they received super hero cuffs – more on those another day.


The 2nd mission, the “Eye Test,” consisted of two activities – Super Hero Bingo and Bad Guy Scavenger Hunt. Super heroes need to have good eyesight to spot the bad guys so these activities tested that.

The Bad Guy Scavenger Hunt was definitely a 4 year old favorite.

Each trainee was given a marker and a sheet containing 16, “Bad Guys.” I used characters they might know of instead of typical comic book villains.


Click here for the Bad Guys Scavenger Hunt

The trainees were then asked to walk around our first floor to find the bad guys. They particularly enjoyed being able to mark off each character once they found a bad guy.

Before the party I had printed out large versions of the same characters on their scavenger hunt sheet and taped them around the house.

Mother Goethel from Tangled


Can you spot Captain Hook?


Syndrome from the Incredibles


Once the trainees completed their eyesight mission –  bingo game and the scavenger hunt – they received a chest letter (piece of felt with a safety pin (with a flat back) glued onto the back.



Man, four year olds are so much fun!

All 11 of the girls loved dressing up and were totally game for each mission.

Scavenger hunt for 4 year olds, mark that one down as a keeper!


Classic Movies to Share with Kids: A Printable List

OK I have assembled my list of “Classic Movies” to share with your kids. Thank you for your suggestions, you had several movies I had not thought of.

My disclaimer: The movies I think would be appropriate for certain age groups may contain words or actions you may not find appropriate for that age group. Please don’t go off my recommendation alone if you have not seen the movie. Read reviews and determine if they are right for your children.

I have broken up the movies into 3 categories: When They’re Younger, When They’re Older, and When They’re Much Older. My kids are 10, 7, and 3 and no one has seen anything from the third category.


 Click here for the above printable.

 And here’s a look at what the list looks like now for our family.


Looks like we need some more movie nights soon!

If you think of any that I’ve missed be sure to let me know 🙂

Teacher Interview – New to Etsy!

Just stopping by here to let you know that I added a new product to the Big D & Me Etsy Shop.

The All About My Teacher Interview!


I had many requests from people who wanted it a form for teacher appreciation gifts, birthday celebrations, end of the year parties, and Christmas gifts.

This will be a huge hit with questions like…

My teacher has ___ drinks after school.

My teacher hates when administrators ______.

KIDDING! And before anyone slams me for being rude to teachers, I am one so I’m kidding from a knowing place (only the knowing, not the drinking).

 This form comes with:

1) an instruction sheet, detailing the different combinations which could be used for the teacher interview

2) 3 different interview forms

3) Cover sheet – completely customizable once you send me the teacher’s information.

What a great deal for only $3.25!

*Visit the Big D & Me etsy shop to pick yourself up a copy of the Teacher Interview Packet*

Printable Halloween Dinner Conversation Cards – New to Etsy!

So I’ve spent the last few months thinking about Halloween.

Believe it or not, I started putting together these cards in June and am so excited to finally say they are done!

The Halloween Dinner Conversation Set includes: 31 cards with conversation starters and 5 blank cards (this allows you to add topics unique to your family)

Our family has enjoyed discussing these prompts and laughing together as we brainstorm and reminisce about Halloween.

These cards are wonderful for a table of two or tenyoung and old!

Hurry and order your set of the Printable Halloween Conversation Cards and let the fun at the dinner table start!

Halloween Estimation – Printable

This weekend we pulled out our Halloween stuff and started decorating the house. I found the following printable which we used at our Halloween party last year.

Just find an empty jar, count candy corns as you fill up the jar, write down the total somewhere you will remember, and let the party goers guess away.

Click here to download the Estimation_Candy_Corns Page


All About Me!

I just added a new All About Me form for kids to fill out in my etsy shop.

This form is great because your child can document all kinds of fun information about themselves.

Even better, you can see how their answers change year after year.

The form comes in three different colors: blue, yellow, and pink.

I loved seeing how much Andrew dislikes sloppy joes, that Alex loved learning about Texas History in 4th grade, and that my 3 year old wants to enter the very noble profession of “being a princess when I grow up.”

This would be such a fun form for students to fill out at school, in Sunday school class, in Girl Scouts, as new birthday tradition, or just a way to spend a little time this summer.

If your interested in the All About Me form, visit my etsy shop here.


Drowning in Paperwork

The end of the school year always means tons of paperwork.

Notebooks. Folders. Projects.

All of which contain paper and lots of it.

And while everything my children make is precious and dear to me, cough, I needed a way to get some of it out of the house.

Instead of doing what I normally do – stand at the recycling bin and chuck the papers – I had the boys go through their papers and choose some of their must keeps.

It was a large pile.

I then brought out 4 envelopes and told them we were going to send some of the work to family. (My family members are now shaking their head).

The boys divvied up the papers among the grandparents while deciding to keep a few.

Tomorrow will be a trip to the post office where they can send their school work off.

And don’t worry Mom, I won’t mind if these papers end up in your recycling bucket.

But your grandchildren might.


Where to Go? – Restaurant Printable

My husband and I had a date night on Saturday.

Once the babysitters were settled we left.

We then drove around aimlessly for 40 minutes because we couldn’t think of a new restaurant to try.

 It seems like every other time we are in the car, driving from one activity to the next, we see a new place and say, “Next time we should try that place.”

But inevitably, we never remember the restaurant when its time to choose a place to eat.

We even say to ourselves, “We need to write that name down.”

But we never do.

So I decided to make a list.  If you would like a copy of this form, click here.

If you download the form, please consider becoming a follower of Big D & Me.

My husband and I eventually settled for a steak place and had a great meal though next time I hope we don’t waste forty precious child free minutes deciding on the restaurant.

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