Month: March 2008

Whatsa Wagamama?

My mother-in-law spared no opportunity to laud the wondrous and all mighty playpen. Yes, it’s useful when traveling or when you just can’t chase after your wee one any longer. But she relied on it so much with my husband, I’m surprised he doesn’t have a permanent mesh imprint on his face. Now when she suggests it for baby #3, I can tell her to go to… Wagamama Baby. Translation: Spoiled rotten, in Japanese.. Granted, this absolutely gorgeous, soft mat called a zabu is not entirely a playpen alternative, unless you’ve got a wee tiny one that doesn’t really go...

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Jubi: Holy Sheet

Try walking into your local big box store and asking for some solid colored crib sheets. The sales clerk will look at you like you just asked her for some nice razor blades wrapped in barbed wire for your baby to play with. What, no clowns? No farm animals? No avant-garde geometrics?  Which is why you shouldn’t go to your local big box store for such a thing. You should go to Jubi. This New Zealand company run by mom Alison Hui is already known across the globe for their heaven-sent thick, soft crib-bassinet-bed sheets in refreshingly neutral solids....

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Preppy, By Way of Bed-Stuy

The argyle for babies just keeps coming our way in new and fun ways. Like this sunny yellow romper from CMP fave label, Sir Hayes. The color is perfectly calibrated to spring you out of your Winter baby wardrobe blahs, and the argyle print has just enough irony, considering the straight-outta-Brooklyn sensibility of the shop. Digging whole the postmodern urban prep vibe? Don’t miss the "Carlton" onesies, an Izod-style polo turned snapsuit featuring a smiling Sir Hayes crown logo where the alligator might be. The name comes courtesy Carlton Banks. You know, Fresh Prince Carlton. Hilarious. –Liz EXTRA COOL:...

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Rock On, Little Girls

I’ve got a 2.5 year-old girl who can identify Bob Dylan by sight, jumps up and down when she hears They Might Be Giants on the radio, and tells everyone she knows that she wants to be a drummer. Needless to say I find it wee bit annoying when kids boutiques have all the rock-themed tees categorized under "boys." Not Slick Sugar. They’ve got an entire line of Spring duds just for little rockettes, as they call it – although I’m not entirely sure that the female version of rocker is rockette. I’m particularly digging the cap-sleeve black tee...

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Hooked On My Baby Not Having Tantrums At Dinner Time

My niece has been telling her parents what she wants using sign language since she was about seven months old. She also happens to be one of the calmest, most good-natured babies you’d ever hope to meet, and doesn’t scream or cry with frustration when she can’t get what she want. Coincidence? Probably not. Kinda makes you want to start teaching your kid to sign. I’d seen some of the Baby Signing Time DVDs before, but Hooked on Phonics (you know, from the commercials?) has just collaborated with them to release a decent Hooked on Baby: Learn to Sign...

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The Much Overlooked Turnip Gets Its Literary Due At Last

The Gigantic Turnip, the classic Russian folktale retold by Alexsei Tolstoy with Niamn Sharkey’s amazing illustrations, had me at its cover. I want to paint my house with the color palette, and I think I’d like to frame a picture of the old man’s cow. The story line is very simple: Big turnip, can’t pull it out, enlist the entire barnyard to help, cooperation, yay team, turnip soup ’till you puke. Beginning readers should find success with the large font, simple words, and engaging repetitions. As for me, I like a book where the mouse wins in the end....

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Deglingos: French for Toss the Teddy Bear

I often find myself gravitating towards European stuffed animals. There’s something quirky and inventive about many of them relative to our own teddies with their ubiquitous neck ribbons. Plus there’s that matter of the stringent EU safety standards that inspires an added jolt of mommy confidence. A recent find: The hilarious Les Déglingos. The name is some kind of French pun that’s totally over my head, but I’m loving the backstory about how they all speak in words ending in -os. Although mass produced, each one definitely has that handmade feel about it with all those fabrics and colorful...

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Baby Slings With a Backstory

I’m all for babywearing, and not just because it keeps my baby secure and happy. Frankly, I’m more selfish than that, and slinging my baby frees up my hands so that I can do other things. Oh okay, the sling hides my flabby postpartum stomach.  But tot-to-go founder Shani Sam slung her baby for a bigger reason: Her daughter was born with a rare liver condition and required constant comfort. (Colic doesn’t sound so bad after all, does it?) Inspired by her baby, Shani began designing her own slings in cool cotton or cozy fleece-cotton jersey blends, to be...

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Cozy Cuts, Now Coming To a Bathtub Near You

One of the happy places for NYC moms is the chain of Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, the kind of salon that feels more Peewee’s Playhouse than barber shop. But what’s especially appealing to parents – besides the fact that your kid doesn’t mind sitting in the car-shaped chair and watching his favorite Diego tape during his cut – is the line of paraben-free kids hair products. Kids will like the fruity scents, and you’ll like the use of herbs instead of chemicals in their shampoos, detangling products, and styling goop. They’ve even got a natural lice shampoo called Boo!...

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Happy Birthday, You Little Rat

We’re big fans of Chinese zodiac-themed items for unique baby gifts. Although let’s face it, this lunar year being the year of the rat doesn’t inherently provide as many cute options as say, the year of the monkey or the year of the pig. One gift that we’re loving, is the appropriately named The Year of the Rat: Tales From the Chinese Zodiac, the next in Oliver Chin’s wonderful series. Miah Alcorn’s illustrations have a frenetic, smile-inducing, Cartoon Network feel about them – a perfect complement to the engaging story of a baby rat infused with "rat" characteristics of...

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Shady Deal

It’s finally officially spring, and I’m ready to go outside and play. Of course, I’ll probably have to take the kids with me. Not to mention the stroller, diaper bag, sunscreen, picnic blanket, a few books, a bunch of snacks, my Sigg bottle, and a stuffed animal or two . One item I definitely won’t forget in the process – my Shady Baby stroller parasol. Forget draping a blanket over your sleeping baby (which always makes me worry they’ll overheat), this petite umbrella made by a clever mom-pop team clamps to your stroller and adjusts to block the rays...

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Who Stole The Cheese Factor From the Cookie Jar?

If you’ve got kids, you’ve got cookies. Unless you’re one of those moms. Oh man, you’re not one of those moms, right? Phew. With warmer weather approaching, it’s time to find storage solutions that keep those Double Stuffs and graham crackers fresh. (Plan B being just eat them faster.) But not everyone is up for a huge honkin’ jar on the kitchen counter shaped like your kid’s favorite cartoon character. So we found these sweet little dotted cookie jars from Daisy Dog Studio. The porcelain jars from this small Manhattan studio come in all sorts of adorable dotty color...

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Boys Need Cool Cards Too

You’d think that with all the girlie cards and personalized notes out there that boys would just let their sisters write all their thank-yous for them. Yeah, well not in my house. Okay, so my son is only 12 months, but for those of you with big boys, check out the cool retro rides cards by Pipo Press found at online stationer Groovy Paper. Personalize them however you like to make a swanky set of thank-you notes, or add some extra text and you’ve got announcements or party invites that stand out from the tired baseball-soccer ball-basketball themes. Either way, your boys...

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All It Takes is One Warm Snap to Send Us All Sandal Shopping

I’m willing to dive into my sandal stash the second the mercury creeps above 50. But since this is my son’s first Spring as a walker, I’ve got no such stash for him to speak of. So for the random warm early spring day in preparation for hot summer afternoons, try the boy sandal styles from UMI. They’re most definitely solid, hearty sandals designed with the hard-to-fit kid’s foot in mind. But the sleek European styles appeal to my picky, shoe-obsessed side too. There aren’t a huge variety of styles to choose from, but as moms of boys, we’re used to that. I’d...

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Childrens Art Meets Night Light

I’m the first to espouse the powers of the night light in helping make bedtime (and those nighttime wakings) easier. But then there’s the ones you have to remember to turn off so they don’t burn out. Oh, and the ones that are more like a spotlight than a soft dim glow. And the ones that are just plain fugly. And then I got to thinking, maybe I’m not such a night light fan after all. Enter Luminous Art from one of our favorite artists, Kerri Lee. These adorable pieces feature creatures who actually glow in the dark, so you...

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Clean Up The House, Win 900 Bucks. Sounds Good to Us.

My place is admittedly a mess these days – toys everywhere, clothes hanging from doorknobs, feral animals roaming the halls. So I am probably not the odds-on favorite to win the new Now You See It, Now You Don’t storage solution contest put together by the wonderful folks at Ohdeeoh, Cookie Magazine, and Dwell Studio. But you can bet I’ll be looking closely at the winning entries. Enter by April 7 with your best decluttering and organizational solutions and nine Ohdeeoh readers win $250 gift certificates for Dwell stuff. Then you move onto the finals along with all the...

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Cover Me In Luxury

Maybe it’s two years of looking at baby blankets in prints with names like "lime disco dot" but some days I’d kill to track down one simple, tasteful classic baby blanket. And it has to be soft. And pretty. And made from certified organic cotton specially farmed from bales in West Texas cotton fields. Think that’s a tall order? Just check out the luxury organic blankets from Robbie Adrian. This mom-mom operation does a super job with the most classic of classic baby gifts, nailing every item on my wish list. My preferred style is the new cotton fleece...

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The tote with the most

We love when artists continue to outdo themselves, giving us more amazing items to covet and share with you. Take JOY by artist Mel Lim, who has made us swoon over her cards, wall art, and baby wear in the past, now only to be topped by her tote bags. Made from recycled cotton and soda bottles (cool!) right here in the USA, her series of totes capture three sweet, whimsical dreams, any of which I’d love to get my hands on. They don’t cost much more than any other designer tote bag out there, and yet you’ll be carrying a limited edition piece that...

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Origami Mommy

I’m all for broadening my daughter’s exposure to new cultures (Dora not included), and the art of Origami seemed to be a good way to merge craft time with cultural studies. Unfortunately I was doing all the folding, and the animals ended up looking like she was. So, how about this Choki Ori (translated: snip and fold) Animal Friends Kit instead? Designed to be easier than origami (thank God), all you do is cut out the shapes and fold them a few times to create cute animals that are great for pretend play. You’ll get 10 pre-printed creatures and a couple for your...

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One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

I love books for my kids that are interactive. And I don’t mean pressing a button to activate some evil voice chip which shouts commands like FIND THE LETTER T! More like Who’s Hiding, a favorite new staple of our children’s bookshelf. Each page is filled with rows of Japanese author/illustrator Satoru Onishi’s colorful little animals, then asks a question like Who’s Backwards? Who’s Sleeping? Who’s Hiding? It’s the reader’s job to comb through them and discern the oddball of the lot. Hallelujah for books that can keep the little readers engaged without a battery in sight....

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