Month: January 2009

Revved up like a deuce

An occupational hazard of writing for Cool Mom Picks is spending waaaay too much money buying all the cool stuff you’re writing about. One glance at this original 1970s Olds print and my 8-year-old was declaring he had to have it. It’s not surprising considering these retro photos of classic die-cast toy cars would be perfect in any boy’s room. Okay, that’s sexist– girls will like them too, especially the ones photographed on mod floral patterns. They’re really affordable at $27 a print, and come signed and dated by photographer Anna Dykema of Daydreamers Studios. Because he couldn’t choose...

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An infant massage DVD that rubs me the right way

I’d always heard about infant massage, but I never felt comfortable enough to give it a try. I figured that slathering my babies with lotion after their baths was about the closest I’d ever get to practicing infant massage. Then I got a chance to check out the BabyBabyOhBaby infant massage DVD. Oh baby, indeed. This isn’t just an instructional DVD; it’s a showcase of beautiful babies and loving parents having a wonderful time together. Not only would the footage make even your child-free friends’ ovaries ache, it’s also an ideal introduction to infant massage, especially for skittish parents. ...

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Can You Hear Me Now?

These days I woo clients while emptying the dishwasher, refilling sippy cups, and changing poopy diapers. Yes, really. Obviously, a Bluetooth headset is a must. But not all headsets are created equal, which is why I lo-ove my Zivio Boom.  It’s got six different earpieces, a removable ear loop, and a ball-and-socket style connection. Don’t even worry about what any of that means; let’s just say this wireless headset is so customizable that it will fit anyone comfortably.  Plus, the Boom microphone means the person on the other end will hear only me– not my children whining in the...

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Cafe Handmade’s virtual craft show: open 24 hours

A few days before Christmas, I decided to visit a large indoor craft show, jam-packed with cool, one-of-a-kind items. I arranged for a sitter to watch the kids, got directions and was ready to go. Then, it snowed. I wish I had known about Cafe Handmade when I was sitting home. Started by husband-and-wife team Len and Kerri Testa, Cafe Handmade’s virtual craft show area feels almost like you are looking at a table of crafts from each artist. And, thankfully, most of these artists are not making crocheted toilet paper covers. Instead I found but colorful and modern...

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Moey’s Music Party throws a preschooler bash

Melissa Levis, the Moey of Moey’s Music Party, communicates to toddlers the way I wish I could, especially when they are getting on my nerves. Rather than tensely demand, “Share your toys!” this off-Broadway songwriter sings a bouncy song about sharing. Instead of shouting, “How many times do I have to tell you to sit when you eat?” she cheerfully reminds kids to slow down at mealtime, all with a sense of humor and a smile in her voice.  I will assure you that the songs aren’t preachy or annoying at all, especially the girl-power anthem, Little Red Riding...

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If these walls could read

Ever been tempted to rip the pages out of your kids’ books and hang them on the wall?  Is that only me?  Oops. I’m tempted by every single framable children’s book illustration by illustrator Adam Record of Fall Down Tree, a man so cool and 2.0 that he offers his art as iPhone wallpaper. Do I want Little Red Riding Hood? Three Blind Mice? A series of three outerspace prints? Or maybe just a fish in a puddle. On the sidewalk. The choices — they kill me. At $15 a pop or $45 for a framed print, I might...

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A baby activity center that lets mom get some activities in too

Of course those gihunda baby activity centers and Exersaucers are a big hit for new parents because the kid will happily swat at some puppets or jingle balls in there long enough for you to hit the shower and wash the pureed chicken out of your hair. (Don’t hurt me lawyers! I know you’re not supposed to leave your kids alone in there, blah blah blah.) But it’s not like you can stick an Exersaucer in your trunk and tote it around with you when you head to grandma’s either.  So mom Stacy Ellsworth created the PopATot, essentially a...

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Last day to vote – Save handmade from the CPSIA

Today is the last day to vote at Change.org for “Save Small Businesses for CPSIA“, a proposal from the Handmade Toy Alliance that help to save handmade. If you have a minute (or a few seconds if you’re a fast clicker), hop over and vote digg style. The top 10 ideas will be presented to the Obama Administration. If you want to learn more about the CPSIA and how it will gravely affect the handmade items we’ve grown to love and cherish for both ourselves and our kids, visit our Save handmade resource page. You can also listen to...

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Toby + Rei spin bamboo and cotton into a whole lot of cute

I don’t think I could ever send my kids off to school with a flimsy paper lunch bag after getting one of Toby + Rei’s sturdy and very cool reusable Robot Lunch Sacks. These heavyweight, 100% organic cotton sacks are so much bigger than the typical lunch bag, meaning I can get a sandwich, fruit, treat and reusable water bottle in there without later hearing about a squished PB&J. The stick-figure robots on the front of the bag could be passed from my daughters to my son and, unlike their latest pop obsession, would never become “so last year”....

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Baby Mukluks – Yeah, I had no idea what they were either

Maybe it’s because the last thing I need is a gigunda boot at the bottom of my already huge ankles, or because it’s currently 65 degrees outside in Atlanta in the middle of January, but either way, I’ve yet to embrace the Mukluks trend. When I saw these Giselle mukluks (read: big furry boots) from Aurelia and Annalise, I admit I jumped right on that bandwagon. At least when it comes to my infant daughter. Handcrafted from a combo of faux suede and faux fur, these booties are a stylish way to keep those wee toes warm even in...

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An ABC book that actually gets kids creating their own A’s, B’s and C’s. And sometimes an alien robot.

How to Build an A is about the most fun you can have with an alphabet book. Because, just as author Sara Midda’s title says, kids can actually devote their time to creating letters out of the enclosed EVA foam pieces and not just reading about them. Midda’s charming watercolor illustrations make the book worthwhile even without the “toy” aspect, but really, that’s the appeal here. While my three-year-old can already write out all the letters (brag alert, sorry) I think seeing how a B is really like an R, or how an A can become an H with...

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One more incentive for taking on those blank walls this year

We’ve been raving about graphic artist Lisa Masterson’s various works at Avalisa for… well, a long time, and Liz recently marveled over her stunning stretched wall art. So you can probably only imagine my glee at learning that more than 500 different Avalisa designs are now available as Giclee poster prints. What is Giclee? It’s a printing process that makes gallery-quality prints, and it means you end up with a very affordable poster that still reflects the detail and beauty of the original canvas. I just hope you have some spare time, because this is the kind of art...

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Getting your last fixx of Indie Fixx

We’re so sad to see the Indie Fixx shop go bye-bye. Well, we’re not sad that owner Jen Wallace is so busy with her new handcrafted  jewelry line that she has to pare things back a little to keep her sanity. And we’re not sad that the Indie Fixx blog is sticking around to help turn us onto some of the cooler bags and baubles and other indie goodies out there. And okay, so we’re really not that sad that currently everything in the shop is on sale for up to 50% off until March 15 or the stock...

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The elephant in the room… is adorable

When you think Eames you probably think wood, but for kids raised around the Eames Elephant, they’ll grow up to associate the designer with a rainbow of colored plastics. It’s a stool, it’s a bench, it’s decoration. It’s pint-sized modern aesthetic, somehow making sleek lines seem cuddly. I’m telling you, there was nothing this cool around when my kids were toddlers. Which is a shame, because I’ve always sort of wanted an elephant. -Mir Find your Eames Elephant, and more cool modern kids’ furniture, at...

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Don’t shake it like a Polaroid picture, unless you want to break your laptop

Just because they stopped making film for Polaroid cameras doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying the now kitsch classic. We are totally digging on Poladroid, free downloadable software that gives your digital pics the same retro look of those instant pictures from your youth. Drag a digital picture onto the camera icon and listen for the famous *click…zzzzz* The image pops up on the desktop, but just like real Polaroids, you have to wait a few minutes for it to fully develop. That’s half the fun. They even have a virtual shake option if you want the full...

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Dribble me this

I’ve proclaimed my disdain for bibs so many times that it would only make sense that my third baby would be the drooliest of them all. Seriously, it’s like a tiny river flowing down her chin. So I’m sorry to say that bibs have become a regular fixture around her little neck. But thanks to Dribs, I’ve found one that actually works for us. These super smart bibs, made from your choice of organic cotton or bamboo, feature a ruffled gather effect that keeps the dribble off your babe’s neck and chest. Just slide them right under their chin,...

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Finally a glider with a lifespan

We all think that we’ll use our baby gliders once the little ones become big kids, but if your glider looks anything like most glider chairs, then I’m here to tell you that, no. You won’t. However Q Collection, as part of Q Collection Junior, has just introduced the Alberto Glider chair which is eco-friendly, cozy, and gorgeous. I swear this glider chair can actually make the transition out of the nursery and into the living room when you’re ready to snuggle up with something other than your baby– like a good book or a cup of Darjeeling. On...

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Count, play, imagine, create. And that’s just page one.

Soft books are so great for little kids, but the content generally leaves much to be desired. I’m not even kidding: we have one where the entire book is like, Good night bunny, good night puppy, good night kitty. The end. You can imagine how psyched I am to read that one every night. Recently, a friend turned me onto an amazing Counting Stories Cloth Book that takes kids’ soft books to a new level. Think a fabric book meets Colorforms, where each beautifully embroidered page is filled with detachable felt characters and shapes that velcro back on. Kids...

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Now I know my ABCs and I know them cooler than everyone else

ABC posters are pretty much the quintessential nursery decor, but that’s not to say it’s easy to find a cool one. I mean, enough with the A is for apple already, right? So I was happy to discover two cool new modern ABC posters: One from graphic designer Tahiti Starship (kewlest name ever?) and then another ABC poster worth grabbing from LA designer Ryan Beshera. Either alphabet print is the perfect design solution for your future art director’s nursery walls. Tahiti’s poster includes little hidden moments of typographic levity like a hello above the HI. You can also customize...

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Olivia – Coming to your television screen. Finally.

If there’s one sassy heroine my daughter’s been dying to see come to life off her bookshelf, it’s Olivia, the cute little metropolitan pig originally created by British illustrator Ian Falconer as a gift for his niece. Lucky kid, huh? Well starting January 26, we’ll be watching Olivia the TV show on Nickelodeon. My daughter has always gotten a chuckle out of Olivia’s precocious antics and fashion sense, while I’ve always loved her creative mind and strong will. And our favorite qualities from the Olivia children’s book series all translate perfectly into this half hour show that will keep...

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