Month: November 2009

Momiji dolls make passing notes cuter than ever

I’m a little unbalanced when it comes to “Japanese cute” (kawaii!) like Momiji Friendship Dolls, the uber-trendy little resin dolls from London’s Artforum, which are a modern and more affordable spin on the traditional Japanese wooden Kokeshi dolls. Like the Kokeshi, Momiji dolls display an amazing attention to detail and expression that have both me and my eight-year-old daughter unable to decide which one is our favorite. At under $20, these heavyweight dolls are meant to be handled, not displayed–a good thing since I know my girls would have one in their pocket to take on their adventures. Before...

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Cool Advent Calendar Ideas? Reader Q&A

I have a pretty wooden advent calendar/box with little doors that my boys use to count down the days until Christmas but I always have trouble finding cute items to put inside. Any ideas? -Kristin The advent calendar is the first thing my kids race to on December mornings, so while candy is an obvious filler, it isn’t something I want them ingesting at 7AM. But if I try to find a toy for 24 days multiplied by 3 kids, I need a loan just to afford the month. So a few years ago I made my first trip...

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Two more reasons to spend the holidays in NYC. Besides the sheer awesomeness of it all.

This time of year, the entire world descends on my fair city, or seems to, judging from the midtown traffic and my inability to get anywhere near the fitting rooms at H+M at lunchtime. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a couple of really fantastic events to consider with the family if you’re going to be anywhere around NYC this holiday season. Reviewing hot ticket performances is definitely not the worst part of my job here, especially when they’re as incredible as Wintuk by Cirque du Soleil. It’s every bit as spectacular as all the Cirque...

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Eco Christmas stockings – Surely Santa would approve

In our family, Christmas stockings have always been a really important aspect of our family tradition. Even on years we skip the tree for whatever reason, those stockings just make the house feel festive and fun. So I really love seeking out terrific Christmas stockings for our readers that their families will truly love. We’ve seen a lot of cool stockings over the years like the ones from Ahna Holder or the custom Kata Golda stockings on our holiday gift guide this year. But the Christmas Stockings from RikRak studios, made of eco-friendly fabric created out of recycled plastic...

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Teething jewelry that also appeals to those old enough to tell you so

I still fondly remember Momma’s Jewels as the first teething jewelry I had seen that didn’t look like teething jewelry. My feeling has always been that if you’re going to wear jewelry, wear jewelry that looks fabulous to everyone around you. Not just those who want to stick it in their mouths. I’m happy to see that owner Stacy Rosenthal has expanded her line since then, and now offers some bangles that are just as sophisticated, safe, and drool-ready. The hand-soldered, single ring sterling teething bracelet looks solid, but in fact has a lovely little rattle inside. Just slide...

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5 favorite picks for celebrating National Adoption Day

With some of our closest friends and family (and yes, even you, our fabulous readers) taking the plunge into parenthood through the amazing gift of adoption, we’re always on the lookout for amazing finds as a way to celebrate their journey. So in honor of National Adoption Day today, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite adoption-related picks.   1. The beautiful My Journey, My Family adoption journal  written by Zoe Francesca and illustrated by CMP fave Susie Ghahremani, is a lovely way for parents to document their adoption story without fudging around some of the traditional baby book categories. 2. We...

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Hanky Panky opens and Naughty Santa is delighted

For years I was mystified by the thong, an article of clothing that felt more “medieval torture device” than comfy undergarment. But, after hearing about Hanky Panky’s thongs, I gave them a try and have been a convert to their comfortable yet super-sexy lace thongs ever since. Heck, there may be days when I haven’t brushed my hair and have more stains on my shirt than I care to think about, but I always have a little more swing in my hips with Hanky Panky on underneath. Just this weekend, in time for me to drop a ton of...

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Eco play dough – is it worth the dough?

We’ve all got play dough connoisseurs for children at Cool Mom Picks, so I know that a few of the organic versions I’ve had a chance to try out recently have some tough standards to live up to. Past pick Eco-Dough so far is the benchmark, with great texture, vibrant colors, a new and improved formula, and some really gorgeous packaging. Another option that I just discovered through the Goddard School and Eco Child’s Play, and their new list of top ten rated eco-toys, is Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay¬† (very top) These doughs smell amazing. AMAZING. And I...

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Shutterfly Photo Books Contest – Keep those entries coming!

We’ve been blown away by the awesome entries to the Shutterfly contest so far. We love seeing your families and your amazing books – so keep them coming! You have until tomorrow night to share your own book and win a bunch of great prizes – seriously, did you see the goodies they’re giving away? Just load up your pictures into a photobook template on Shutterfly and add it to the Cool Mom Picks sharing site and you’ll be entered. We’ll announce the randomly drawn winners on our site, plus give a hat’s off to a few of our...

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Web Coolness – Thanksgiving crafts, Modern family trees, and the return of Kurt Cobain

Right now, we’re thinking about family, food, fall…and turkey. Here’s some stuff we liked reading this week, and maybe you will too. Design*Sponge – An incredible Thanksgiving centerpiece that you can make out of supermarket finds. Junior Society – Modern family trees that look more like museum-quality contemporary art than genealogy experiments. Planet Awesome Kid  – Grunge is back. On babies. Better flannel in the fall than the summer? ASTRA– The specialty toy retailers picked their 10 best toys for kids this year. So glad a lot of them are our favorites too.[photo:...

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Paper dolls that will blow you away, not the other way around

I’ve become a strong advocate of paper dolls since realizing that my girls can spend hours entertaining themselves with them. The only issue? That whole paper thing. Let’s just say freak decapitations are are not an uncommon occurrence. So when I saw the book of cardboard paper dolls called Totem Figurines from the Dutch company Kidsonroof, I knew they were genius. The book contains a dozen sweetly illustrated cardboard people and animals, each with their own cardboard stands. So play time is less about dressing them up and more about creating tableaux in which the Dutch girl with the...

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Children’s games still made with wooden pieces and great design? It’s true.

Next week is Thanksgiving, and if you’re like my family, that means lots of little kids around. The cousins are all getting to the age where they can entertain themselves (hallelujah!) which means we’re stocking up on craft supplies and games. To be honest, I think of Germany toymaker Haba for their fabulous wooden toys for children, not for their games. But as it turns out, they make quite a few. in fact, there are close to 200 Haba games listed at online toyshop Maukilo, which is like Haba central. Maukilo is not as easily navigable as some other...

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They’ve Got Mail

It’s no secret that mail is cool. I’ll bet I’m not the only person who still gets a little flutter of excitement when I come home to see envelopes poking out the top of my mailbox. In fact, I know I’m not the only person because my daughter usually races me to the porch to see what’s there.  I can only imagine, then, the fun she would have with the new Letters to Grandma and Grandpa Mail Set which can be found at one of CMP’s favorite gift shops, What Every Baby Needs. This adorable wool felt set is an...

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Make your own holiday ornaments – so awesome

If you’re looking to knock off a half-dozen of teacher gifts or cousin gifts or classmate gifts in one fell swoop, I love the idea of the holiday ornament kit from CMP fave, Thomas Claire. This wonderful mom-run company will hook you up with a dozen unfinished ceramic ornaments, the paints, brushes and everything else your kids need to make their own sunglass-wearing snowmen and purple Christmas trees. Then you send your custom-painted ornaments back, and the company will glaze and fire them for you and return them finished. It even comes with six cute little plastic gift bags...

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Holiday plaid for Christmas and beyond

With my family spread out around the country, my husband, kids and I often spend the holidays alone, which means I don’t have the greatest excuse to buy my children fancy holiday-best clothes. So instead, I tend to look for festive clothes for the holidays that still work the other 364 days out of the year. Take the Holiday Plaid Shirt from one of our favorite special occasion boutiques, Velvet and Tweed. The bright red accents in the plaid pattern give a definite holiday-inspired look to this boys’ button-down, but the neutral brown and khaki undertones make this 100%...

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The Ringley teether family just got bigger and better

Considering my youngest is getting all her molars and eye teeth in at the same time (no kidding), the super smart Ringley teether, a mom-invented natural wood and organic terry cloth teething toy, is in regular rotation around my place. But now the Ringley teether family has expanded, with two very cool new products that are perfect for sore gums and budding teeth. For a little larger toy, there’s the Ringley Junior (left), which is similar to the original untreated Canadian maple teething ring, only with two knots instead of one, plus a larger piece of terry cloth. The Ringley...

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National Family Volunteer Day – one of the few made-up holidays we’re really okay with

Especially this time a year, we love opportunities to get our kids, even the really little ones, into the idea of doing nice things for other people. So we were glad to discover that November 21st is officially National Family Volunteer Day which gives us a good excuse to get on that whole charity thing. In honor of the day, Volunteer Spot which is an awesome website for those of us who have ever tried to organize a classroom holiday party or a Cub Scout field trip, has put out a free eBook on Family Friendly Volunteering. It’s filled...

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Cool Gifts for the Holidays? Look no further than our Holiday Gift Guide!

Steer clear of the fruitcake and stinky pine candles, mamas! If it’s cool holiday gifts you’re looking for, then we’ve got you covered with our brand spankin’ new 2009 Holiday Gift Guide. We’ve scoured the web to help you solve every holiday gift giving dilemma and keep your butts out of the mall with over 100 (Yes that’s right! 100!) of the coolest holiday gift ideas in every price range – whether you’re shopping for that vehicle-obsessed toddler, the perfect grandparents, or your Twilight obsessed niece. Niece – riiiiiiight. And aside from the recession-friendly prices, like a whole bunch of super cool Hanukkah...

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Baby Bjorn goes organic

With all the baby slings and carriers I’ve collected over the last five years, we’ve always kept the Baby Bjorn on regular rotation thanks to its simple, smart style, versatility, and ease of use. Plus, it’s the only baby carrier my husband seems to feel comfortable wearing. Go figure. So now the Baby Bjorn gotten just a little bit better – at least for the earth – thanks to their new organic line. Completely identical to their classic styles in function, the new organic Baby Bjorn carrier is more muted in color, as it is made from organic cotton...

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Custom rubber stamps – The stocking stuffer to end all stocking stuffers.

Oh my gosh am I excited to have discovered the personalized rubber stamps from Craft Pudding. I already loved the idea when I found them earlier in the year from Vlijtig – and while hers are gorgeous, and entirely customized based on a photo you send, they are a little on the expensive side since you’re paying in Euros. (Stupid dollar.) The Craft Pudding stamps range from ready made designs, to a basic child with a custom name (shown) or a much more customized rubber stamp where you choose from more than 80 children’s faces and add a child’s...

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