Month: November 2008

I always knew books could save the world

I suppose they could’ve come up with a different name for Better World Books, but when you’re really making a better world for everyone through a love of books, well, the name fits. Perfectly. Next time you shop for books, consider the option that is both saving books from the landfills–more than 13 million so far–and directly funding literacy efforts worldwide. Basically it’s like shopping one of those big sites but with way better karma. Shipping is always free in the United States ( just $3.97 for the rest of the world), with every book shipped carbon-neutral thanks to...

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Baby Bjorn makes the bouncy seat of my dreams

BabyBjorn did a really brilliant thing when they launched their fantastic, comfy new BabySitter Balance bouncy seat – they created an adult-size version and let the product review editors all sit in it. What they didn’t do is figure out a way to cajole us out of it when the event was over. This is definitely the bouncy seat to covet for those of you who cringe at the scary neon fabrics from other manufacturers. Not only are the colors soothing and modern, the Babysitter Balance is incredibly thoughtfully designed. Basically a baby’s own kicking and bouncing activates it,...

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We’ve got the buzz right here

Timing is everything. Like I finally discover the excellent boutique Baby’s Buzz, only to learn that they’re closing up shop and moving onto other endeavors. Bad timing. But then I learn that it’s actually all 40% off. Good timing! Head there now for terrific baby and kids gifts including hat/bootie sets from Bla Bla Kids, all kinds of soft toys and plush, plenty of gear and goodies for parents, maternity wear including a whole line of Bravado Bras – and then my top pick, the crocheted cotton blankets from the Netherlands’ Anne-Claire Petite which I only wish they made in...

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Not since the mimeograph have we been more excited to sniff paper

I’m one of those goofy, sentimental types where it comes to personal correspondence.  If you send me a card, you can be sure it will occupy a place of honor on my refrigerator. But if you send me one of these holiday scratch ‘n’ sniff cards from Jack and Lulu, I’ll keep it under my pillow so that I can breathe in the sweet scent of hot chocolate or peppermint all night long. Pick up a few sets at Fred Flare for the children of the 80’s on your holiday list....

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Invisibelt – Putting an end to plumber’s butt for life

Invisibelt is basically an invisible belt that every fashionista seems to be buzzing about these days. Yes, it’s invisible in that magic Wonderwoman airplane sort of a way because it’s clear plastic, but also invisible in that it’s designed to lie flat so it won’t bulk up your tops over your jeans. I always hated that “buckle bulge” thing. The Invisibelt adjusts to fit sizes 2 to 14 (sorry, you freaky size zeros) but I love that there’s also a plus size to fit up to size 4x. This also makes it a very clever maternity option if you...

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And the best kids music of 2008 is…

Last year, we helped introduce you all to the first ever Fids + Kamily music poll winners, decided by an incredible panel of judges who subjected themselves to endless hours of aural pain just to find the rare kids CDs that don’t suck for your own listening pleasure. This year, we were beyond honored be asked to join them! And this weekend, the winners are up at the Fids + Kamily blog. We’re so excited that the top ten includes some of our faves including #1 pick,  Pop Fly by Justin Roberts (shown here) along with They Might Be...

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Deck your halls all year long

Talk about getting a bang for your nursery decor buck: The whimsical set of mini hand-painted artwork is not just wall art, it’s a whole set of ornaments. Personally, I’d hang them in the baby’s room, but sneak them out to the tree every December so that the whole house can enjoy them. This whimsical critters are hand painted on eco-friendly wood from artist Marnie Vollenhals of  J. Austin Ryan. I love her existing motley assortment of characters and colors, but she’ll customize them for you for a small additional fee. If you don’t want the whole set, you...

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Diaper bags get a makeover with oilcloth, believe it or not

I’ve come across enough leaky bottles, squished tubes of diaper cream and spilled snacks to realize that the stuff of mothering should be strong enough to be hosed off in the backyard. Michele Sommer and Yvette Yelardy of Boston-area MY Oilcloth understand this too and have used their smarts to create a chic line of bags, purses and totes made out of oilcloth to repel water and shrug off goo and glop. I’d use the spacious Wide Tote, with its two interior bottle holders, as a diaper bag, but it will still be a great bag when diapers are...

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Nice unit blocks

We have our fair share of toys that beep, blink or speak, but one of my son’s favorites are his no-battery-required wooden unit blocks from City & Country School. Now available through the cool Kid O website, these 100% European Beech blocks don’t just become a road for his cars or a gravity-defying skyscraper; they are also tools that teach him basic geometry, physics, creativity and, of course, patience when his two sisters step in to play.   I love that City & Country has developed a three-step system for introducing unit blocks to kids as young as one,...

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You know what Bugaboos really need? A way to cost even more.

Sure we all marveled at the Bugaboo strollers (and their price tags) when they first came out. They were the ergonomic and stylish answer to every chic mom’s prayers. However some dads needed a little…more. Well, Iacono Designs, brains behind the $2500 Roddler stroller, felt their pain and introduced the new AirborneMini Tuning Kits. These aftermarket parts will transform any Bugaboo into a badass baby transport system for those types with spare thousand-dollar bills floating around. You can trick out your wheels with machined billet aluminum rims, add a dropped axel and install top notch bearings which can take...

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Look mom, no hands

I know I’m very lucky to only have to pump as an extra curricular activity. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the benefits of owning a PumpEase, a cool mom-created product that allows you to use your regular old electric breast pump with no hands. Okay so the photo is hilarious, we know. But the product is great. The simple stretchy band attaches around your bust like a bra. Just feed the pump horns through the slits, start your pump, and then go about your business. We love the 50’s pin-up girl fabric (or is it pump-up girl?) which definitely...

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Organic kids clothes take over the world. Starting with the holidays.

With all the holiday invitations coming up, I’m trying to broaden the girls’ party wardrobe without succumbing to either scary appliquéd sweaters or velvets and tulles that will be a bitch to get the Christmas punch out of. Sparrow LA is answering my prayers with a beautiful range of organic kids’ clothes from the mom-designed LA label Sticks and Stones. They’re doing the most awesome organic dresses and separates for girls in sophisticated colors and natural fabrics that are easy to care for too. My girls could get a whole lot of use out of the black recycled jersey...

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Raising a glass to glass baby bottles

I’m actually glad that I pitched all of the bottles I used for my first two kids and had to buy new ones for surprise baby #3.  Because with all the recent news about plastics leaching BPA and who knows what chemicals into the milk, I’ve gotten a lot more choosy about what I stick in my baby’s mouth. Medela has recently come out with new glass bottles and they definitely get a thumbs up from me. A totally safe alternative from a company we mamas have trusted for years, they’re finally widely available–both at big ol’ stores like...

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Greeting cards for charities that benefit you too

While I’ve always liked the idea of buying holiday cards that benefit a charity, the reality of some of those options was… not really what I had in mind. Now you can do something benevolent without succumbing to the starving artist watercolor cards with Cards That Give. This is a one-stop shop for all sorts of gorgeous cards, benefiting a wide variety of excellent do-gooding orgs, all rated 3 stars and higher by Charity Navigator. Some of our favorites include the holiday card from nonprofit writing center 826LA, the Mod Menorah card from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, and...

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Do animals smile? Anamalz do.

All three of my kids totally dig toy animals. Even the baby happily bangs the horse and cow and pig against the roof of our wooden play barn. It’s pretty easy to see that a bunch of new animal figurines would make fantastic stocking stuffers around here, and I’ve got my eye on Australian Anamalz. These handcrafted organic wood and textile animal figurines (a good selection available at CMP-fave Petit Baby) are a great eco-alternative to the standard plastic animals littering our family room. Made with non-toxic glues and paints, I won’t have to worry when they inevitably make...

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Making the kids set the Thanksgiving table this year

Last year, my daughter had a blast creating custom place settings for each guest at our Thanksgiving table. The setting for her little brother had a school bus on it. The setting for my stepmother’s mom featured a giant eye to symbolize her over-use of eye makeup. This year, I think we’ll be a bit more classy and opt for the Chalkboard Napkin Rings from Be Crafty. At $7 for the kit, this is a great deal–the very same rings, prepainted, are about $65 elsewhere. And, not only do you have darling re-usable napkin rings, you get the unadulterated...

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The only thing cooler than giving kids books for Christmas – giving kids personalized books

As I read my own childhood picture books to my daughter, I also read the handwritten dedication penned on the first page of most of them. To Rita, on her third birthday, from Mommy and Daddy. To Rita, from Grandma and Grandpa. But of course that was long before computers. And Photoshop. Now dedications are taken to the next level with the The Kids Personalized Book Store. The first pages of dozens of books from The Pokey Pup to Little Women can be printed with your own dedication, and what’s really cool, a photo too. Kids will flip when...

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See Dick. See Dick wipe up puke.

I’m a sucker for vintage fabrics, even when I know they’re going to be used to sop up body fluids that you could never have imagined you’d spend quite so much time with back in your prepartum days. That’s why I’m loving the handmade Dick and Jane burp cloth from designer Kelly Cowan. The minkie backing might seem a little counterintuitive for a burp cloth, but hey, all things being equal, why not let your princess puke into something plush? Kelly makes some really nice matching blankets and changing pads, and I’m guessing she’ll do custom orders if you...

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Poppies…poppies…

The grayer it starts to look outside, the more I want to remind myself that sunny days will return again. Fresh-cut flowers on the table, a bright-red pedicure, and this modern Poppy necklace from CMP fave Amy Bengtson should do the trick. I love the subtle outline of the three stainless-steel poppy flowers against the dark wood background. But Amy knows that you may prefer seeing your poppies in 20 kt gold or sterling silver set against lighter maple, reddish bloodwood or against no backing at all.  I’d wear this necklace anytime of the day since it would look...

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Hand-me-downs go digital

Let’s face it, Freecycle is filled with scary people (uh, no, I don’t want your used Kleenex) and the prices on eBay can be out of control. I’ve all but given up on great places to find gently used kids’ clothes online, and if I don’t have a friend who can use our hand-me-downs, I usually just put everything in a bag and donate it. But now there’s the very brand new handmedowns.com, where you can sell or give your clothing and gear away at your whim. The site pulls relevant local listings from Craigslist too, helping you to...

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