Month: November 2007

Delicious, Not Deceptive

There’s been quite a bit of buzz among parents lately about whether hiding healthy foods in other foods is the right thing to do. For those who prefer to keep nutrients in plain view of the family, I’ve found a great resource in the Smart Foods Healthy Kids web site. The site is not secretly run by some manufacturer or trade association (yay!) but by well-qualified mom of two and environmental expert Kelly Corbet, along with a great team that strives to teach parents how to introduce more healthful habits to the family using the guidelines "yummy, fun, and...

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The Name’s Superoboturbo (Shortened From Superoboturbostein)

My son is currently more into electronics than art, preferring robots to Rothko. Go figure. So when it comes to the pictures that we’d all like on his walls, I never thought I’d find what I found from the artist Superoboturbo at Kindergallery. He’s introduced us to a world of robot friends, fantastical menagerie, and world peace. What more could I want? Superoboturbo is actually Netherlands master artist Jordy van den Nieuwendijk who has produced five different limited-edition ink print dreamscape illustrations on archival paper that you can only find at Kindergallery. Of course, original art is more expensive...

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Phooey!

Back in my younger days, I had a thing for the Tin Tin series of comics on my shelf. They were in French. I didn’t speak French. It didn’t matter. The illustrations allowed me to create my own story in my head. That’s just what I was reminded of when I got a copy of Phooey! by the wonderful author/illustrator Marc Rosenthal. It’s a simple story about a kid complaining about how "nothing ever happens around here," when all the while–you guessed it–crazy things are happening. It doesn’t matter if your kid can yet read the Batman-esque sounds of...

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Shopping Cart Covers You Don’t Want to Cover

We are considering starting a category in the CMP archives called "If You’re Freaked Out By Germs…" There are seemingly more high chair and shopping cart covers out there than people actually using them. Perhaps because most of them are so ugly, you’d rather take your chance with staph? But that could change after I introduce you to Just Peachy Baby. This mom-run, very eco-responsible shop offers just beautifully crafted covers in all-cotton prints that look so good, you’ll actually be excited to pull them out of their matching little bags in public. They also include some kind of...

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Not Like Any Grandmother Sweater We’ve Ever Seen

When I think of grandma sweaters I think of scratchy, wooly, dated things that you pull out for holidays – if you really really have to. But Fairybread for Kids, is putting a new spin on the term. Brooklyn mom (and Parents magazine art director) Amanda Kirk designs these very cool two-toned sweater jackets for girls, while her Ozzie mum personally knits them from soft Australian wool. The length makes them great as Fall outerwear turned Winter layers, and I love details like giant buttons and a quirky little pin at the breast like a wooden bear or a...

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Europe on $40 a Day

When I was little, I was lucky enough to go to this super cool place in Holland called Madurodam, an entire city done in miniature. You could even drop a coin into certain displays and watch a teeny wedding party enter a teeny cathedral or have a teeny boat cruise down a real teeny canal–it was absolute magic. Ever since then, I’ve loved those play sets of that recreate little European villages. We found a charming one at the Wooden Wagon, a fantastic source for beautiful wooden and folk art toys. While the 17 pieces of this miniature town...

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The earth minus plastic bags? My kind of math.

In my efforts to make my household a little greener, I’ve attempted to give up plastic grocery bags. (And yes, paper ones too, smartypants.) So I’m always on the lookout for something that holds more than a gallon of organic milk, and I’ve found a great contender in the cotton totes from Minusbags. Designed by MB Mullan, a Brooklyn artist who was tired of accumulating an obscene amount of plastic shopping bags (here here!), these totes are hand-stitched and screenprinted by a small, family-owned Fair Labor Association certified company in New Hampshire. My favorite part, other than the cool...

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Pieces of 14

If your child loves puzzles as much as mine, maybe you’ve got a collection (like we do) featuring boring animals and licensed characters that really have no business being called "a collection." But puzzles based on original art, like these from Seattle-based artist and children’s book illustrator Mary Maki Rae, are worth holding onto for years to come. Hand applied images of a country boy or girl are meticulously carved from baltic birch by the artist’s "perfectionist" husband, making these puzzles sure to satisfy even the pickiest young puzzlers. And maybe, if you’re lucky, your kids will like them so...

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Getting your fixx of indie

Just in time for the holidays, our blogging friends at Indie Fixx have come along with their very own online boutique, appropriately named the Indie Fixx Shop. Perfect! You’ll have fun browsing the beautiful site for all kinds of very reasonable jewelry, yummy bath products, and fun stuff for the home including the great block print dishtowels from Artgoodies, previously featured here. All of it is, natch, from independent artists. But what really caught my eye for kids was Shira Sela’s lovely Kite Print. Just grab the frame with that old nursery print you’re tired of, replace it with...

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UMI Oh My

I, sadly, don’t have unlimited funds to set my toddler up with one pair of shoes in every color for every occasion. (Oh, the tragedy of it all.) So what I try to do is find something cute that she can wear with dresses, but also lets her kick up the asphalt on the playground. Wisconsin-based UMI shoes has hooked us up nicely this Fall, with their wonderful Euro-style handcrafted shoes for kids. My daughter is currently sporting the navy Floret (at left) with splash flowers that jazz up a versatile Mary Jane. The shoes are real leather (explaining...

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More Picks! More Picks!

So how much great stuff is out there for the holidays these days? SO much great stuff. And how much time do you have to spend on the web looking for it? Um, not so much time. Well, beautiful readers, that’s what Cool Mom Picks is for. So through the holidays, we’re going to do our best to start posting three picks on most days, instead of our regular two. See how much we love you? Happy shopping. [photo – and great wrap – courtesy olive...

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Sets With a Story

I’m really not a "cute baby set" kind of present giver. I generally choose interesting separates and put them together but it doesn’t often have that wow factor I want for really great friends. But then I found Lil Squirtz, a super cool family business out of Vancouver that creates adorable cotton sets featuring hand-appliquéd, frayed-edge patches from vintage fabrics. Using a French technique that dates back to the 1700’s (ooh la la, chichi foofoo) this mother/daughter team not only custom dyes the garments for rich, striking colors, they prewash them for softness and accurate fit. Then they hand cut the...

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The tote with the most

I’m always pleased when one of our favorite designers comes up with yet another must-have, like the wonderful woven totes from Cool Mom Picks regular Alena Hennessey. Just when I thought I didn’t need yet another bag (well, this week at least), these generous and fully lined carry-alls come along and tempt me. Perhaps it’s because I’ve retired my diaper bag, or because with a second child, trips to the library or post office end up bogging me down with stuff that has no business being in a purse. Alena’s bags are all ethically created right in the US,...

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Spreading Joy

We’re among friends, mamas. Let’s admit that while we’re always touched by the thoughtfulness of friends and family towards our babies, there’s an entire category of  ohmygod you shouldn’t have but SO glad you did gifts. Among them,  the brand new line of baby wear, Joy Child, from one of CMP’s favorite designers, Mel Lim. She’s gone from stationery to nursery art, and now, logically, to a stunning line of totally organic baby basics featuring Asian-inspired motifs like koi fish, dragonflies, plus perennial faves, geese and giraffes. There are five different items in the line, but you’re not greedy....

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Shockingly, Bigger Babies Get Cold Too

Nothing like a chilly night to make parents thankful for those smart little sleep sacks–unless you’re like me, and your enormous 10-month-old has surpassed the weight and age limits on all the sacks out there. But hooray Köhlrbaby, hero to all parents with large babies and tots up to 24 months old who still need, want, or must have a sleep sack. Made in Vancouver by designer Jill Koehler, the sacks are constructed with super-awesome fleece and cleverly accented with a cute sheep whose ribbon tag feet occupy idle sleepy hands. Choose from their Organic line or their Napsacks,...

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A Rattle With Your Baby’s Name On It

Ever since our Safer Toy Guide went live, I’m growing more and more into the idea of getting all the mass produced plastic stuff out of my baby’s hands and mouth. (Hear that, grandparents?) Wood and knit rattles were good enough for babies for decades and hopefully they’re good enough for my girl. Our latest find along those lines are the absolutely adorable, vintage looking Lil’ Sock Dollie Rattles like the one seen here from etsy shop Chickabiddy Boutique. Just $14 gets you a one-of-a-kind, locally handknit little rattle with bells safely knit right into the downy stuffing. Even...

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Picky Eaters? It’s Natural.

That stage between baby food and fully independent dining (you know, with utensils and napkins and food that’s actually ingested) can be pretty awkward as I’ve now learned twice. Not only are toddlers not yet adept at transporting the food from plate to mouth, they tend to be annoyingly picky. With the toughest mini critics in mind, mom Jill Litwin created a company named, cleverly, Peas of Mind featuring a prepared food called Puffets – microwaveable little single-serve casseroles made with organic, kid-friendly ingredients like carrot risotto and black bean polenta. Whether kids use their fingers or practice with...

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Dreaming of Boobs. And…Boobs. Maybe Also Boobs.

People often ask me what my baby girl really wears. Is she always in fabulous, splurge-y one-of-a-kind pieces? Um, no.  Case in point: One of my favorite go-to garments is the sweet, simple dreamer onesie, courtesy of mom Kristin Hammond’s shop, Baby Brewing. Designed by her sister, writer and illustrator Jen Lemen, it’s great quality cotton, beautifully screen printed, and I just love the message. Plus in easy shades of pink or blue, it goes with pretty much any pair of hand-me-down bottoms we’ve got crammed into the drawer. I mean…any pair of outrageously awesome $200 hand-cut denim infant...

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This Farm is Muy Loco

My younger daughter and I are commuting together these days. But my morning radio show of choice? Not so good for the under 5 set. Lately I’ve been mixing it up with some music and learning all in one with Professor Pocket: Our Silly Farm Adventure. This much lauded, award-winning CD was created by two sisters-in-law, and mixes English and Spanish dialogue through both spoken word and singing. The premise seemed odd at first (the characters are a talking chicken and, strangely, a dinosaur visiting a farm) but the seamless integration of languages works. The catchy songs about flying...

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Saving The Earth One Empire-Wasted Toddler Dress At A Time

This cozy lounge dress is simply adorable and stylish, no doubt about it. So would you be surprised if I told you that the vivid blue you see is 100% organic cotton from genius kids label Kate Quinn Organics? The puffed sleeves, asymmetrical neck and empire waist makes it look like one of the many fantastic Fall kids dresses out there — except, you know — without the chemicals. Who would have thought the cuteness actually helps make for a kinder and greener planet. Available for wee babes up through size 8, I love it with karate pants, over...

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