Month: November 2009

iPhone cases for the terminally hip

I could count the many ways in which I am completely obsessed with Threadless, the original crowdsourcing art-to-product site, but who has that kind of time? Suffice it to say that the whole family enjoys their t-shirts, and I dream of rooms festooned with their Blik decals. But with this, their latest, my life may just be complete–Threadless has teamed up with Griffin to make cool iPhone cases. Catch me; I’m swooning. Now sadly, they don’t fit my geriatric first-generation iPhone, but for you 3G and beyond folks, have at it. So far you can choose from either Clouds...

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Keepsake jewelry for moms with more to say

There’s a good reason our readers are tremendous fans of the keepsake jewelry from Julian & Co, and that’s because you are all smart. And have good taste. And like things that make you cry. (Seriously, her pieces will make you cry. Especially those little baby footprint charms.) Designer Tania Condon has just come out with what I think is one of her coolest pieces yet; the Life-Squared Wax Seal necklace which is an actual ye olde time-y wax seal fob. It even comes with a set of correspondence cards and sealing wax – so cool. I just adore...

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Putumayo comes out with a new Christmas CD, and my ears feel like they got a gift

With all due respect to the latest pop star du jour, most modern renditions of my favorite classic holiday songs leave me wishing for stronger eggnog. But now that I’ve started playing the Putumayo Presents awesome new A Family Christmas CD well before Thanksgiving, I’ve found the perfect soundtrack to take the kids and me straight through to the new year. Starting with Johnny Bregar’s peppy acoustic version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and ending with a Mardi Gras-esque Frosty the Snowman, A Family Christmas will get me through even my Scroogiest moments. Traditional songs like Sleigh...

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Love the children’s book? Get the artwork.

We’ve been keeping our eyes open for those extra special holiday gifts, like for a baby’s first Christmas. I’m very intrigued by Picture Book Originals which offers which offers original illustrations and signed giclee prints from children’s picture books. It’s not like you’re going to find Maurice Sendak here – or not yet, anyway. Publishing vet and mom of two Anna Johnson has assembled five artists for starters, including a nice selection of signed Rosemary Wells illustrations which Max & Ruby fans like my kids will appreciate. Prices go from very affordable up into the hundreds, but there’s also...

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Shutterfly photo books – more than just baby books

Our recent learning photo book contest for our awesome sponsor Shutterfly, was one of the most fun contests we’ve ever done here. Our readers submitted so many inspiring ideas for turning the photo books into learning books, that we wanted to go back and create even more ourselves. (And actually, Liz did.) So we’re excited to be working with them again and hosting another contest, so that all of you–clearly a very creative bunch– can share your best ideas for custom photo books, especially now that the holidays are approaching. As for me, this time, I created a photo...

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Dolls for boys? Heck yeah.

Mixed in with all the stuffed animals and toy trucks, my son also had a doll that he loved to play with. His name was Alex. After all, it’s just as important for boys to learn to be loving and nurturing. While it was cool that I was able to find a decent boy doll back then, I have to say that the Custom Paxton boy dolls, by warm sugar are way cooler. Every single doll is made to order so you can customize your kid’s new “buddy.” Choose skin tone, hair and eye colors, and even what color...

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Holiday shoes that get use beyond the holidays

I’m actually pretty practical when it comes to my girls’ dressier shoes. I am willing to spend more than average, but I demand great design and excellent construction, and I don’t want shoes that will either fall apart or feel out of season come January 1. To get the most for my money, I want a holiday shoe my kids can wear Christmas Eve, that will also allow them to jump into an impromptu game of “kick the basketball around the school gym.” Tall order? I’ve always had great experiences with Umi Shoes (as I say over and over)...

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Prima Princessa Presents The Nutcracker, now with the all-important pause button

I find The Nutcracker a bit hard to explain to fidgety kids, so before I fork over $50 a seat to take them to see it in person, I’m going to let them watch Prima Princessa Presents The Nutcracker to their heart’s content. What makes this DVD’s production different from what you’d see in person is the fact that the gorgeous San Francisco Ballet performance is edited way down for shorter attention spans; and there’s narration from a (not entirely cheesy) cartoon fairy who helps kids understand why Clara is so happy to receive a nutcracker, or why there is...

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On America Recycles Day, we’re recycling some of our favorite picks

Our kids have been separating paper from plastics since they were only yea high, but today on America Recycles Day, we’re taking a look at the RecycleBank website for Tessa Hills’ Recycling Tips for Kids to find easy ways to make big changes in how our family impacts the environment. For help in bringing these lessons on sustainable living to life, here are some of our favorite past products and services to make going green all more fun for you and the kids. 1. Swap everything: We love getting rid of the things we don’t need in exchange for...

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Hey, cupcake: The Melissa and Doug cupcake kit is an awesome birthday gift for your preschooler.

My kids can play “birthday” pretty much every day. We have a ridiculous number of play cake sets, and if they’re not around, my girls are happy to crumple up a piece of paper, stick a Q-tip in it and belt out Happy Birthday anyway. So when I got a look at the brand new Bake and Decorate Cupcake Kit from Melissa & Doug I knew we had a home run. The latest offering from the most famous little toy company that made it big is another great option in their line of toys that inspire imagination and creativity....

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Even the sample sales sites are doing gift cards now.

Sometimes we find our own best picks from our sponsors (what can we say? We click on our own ads to see what’s cool!) and this week, I learned that One King’s Lane, which has private sales on amazing home decor brands, is doing holiday gift cards. So smart. I will be honest, I’m not much of a gift card giver. But I don’t mind receiving them, especially from people who may not have my taste down. And I’d just as well be hooked up with a site like this where I can get more for the money (items...

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Nativity set for children? Reader Q&A

My mom would like to get my 14 month old daughter a wooden nativity set for Christmas–something she can actually play with but something sturdy, cute, and made to last. – Cara It’s funny you should ask this Cara, because I was just looking for one for my own kids. And fortunately for us, I found a few options that might work. I actually ended up purchasing the Playmobil nativity set. Of course it’s not wooden, but Playmobil has a great reputation, and at $19.99, the price was right. Plus, it’s nice to find a set that my kids can put...

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The hottest accessory for the coldest temperatures

I had my baby in February, which meant my son’s little toes needed to be kept warm. He was too young for shoes, and the baby socks I had for him spent more time on the floor than on his feet.  But the socks from Trumpette are known for staying on, and moms can’t get enough of the adorable designs. Their brand new set of six Nordic Baby Socks are sure to brighten up even the bleakest winter day. And they’re soft and cottony, with just enough spandex. They even make a set of tights in the same style for...

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XBox 360 giveaway for charity – last call!

Final shot mamas – today is the last day to get your entries in for the big XBox 360 giveaway, in which we’re giving away one whole console to (maybe) you – and one for your favorite local children’s charity. Find all the details on the original post. If for some reason you don’t want to enter (um, what?) just click over to our Facebook Fan Page and see what so many of our big-hearted readers have to say about their local charities and children’s hospitals. Winner aside, we’re just so pleased that the spirit of giving is alive and well in the Cool Mom Picks...

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Personalized Hanukkah plates knock one of those eight gifts off your list

Sure my son’s friends get monogrammed Christmas stockings, but he can enjoy eating his latkes off one of these personalized Hanukkah plates, by Lima Bean Kids. These pink or blue melamine dishes feature a sweet menorah design with the name of your choice in playful type below. For those of you with older kids like mine, these are not “baby plates.” They’re 10″ which is ample for whatever Bubbe is serving up this year. Production and shipping takes about a week, so you’ll want to order your custom plates soon-ish, since Hanukkah starts on December 11th. I think getting...

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For The Junior Puppeteer Who Has Everything (But The Really Fancy Puppet)

My daughter loves puppets. I mean, she really loves puppets. She carries them around and tells them stories and engages them in fisticuffs. (Put Bert on one hand and Ernie on the other and smash them together and you get the picture.) So the Puppet Pie Shop’s Custom Professional Puppet – who I like to call Look What Happened When Janice Left Electric Mayhem To Go To Business College – would, I am not exaggerating, blow her mind. Okay, so it’s a lot of money for what some people might think is just a glorified doll with body-cavity issues....

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If a CD can make us love Wheels on the Bus you know there’s something to it

I used to want the Wheels on the Bus to fall off and roll into a ditch, especially after having to suffer through that song with three toddlers. But then Rhythm Child‘s Norman Jones and his skillful horn-drum-fiddle-full Rhythm Child Network took that broken-down bus, funked it up and turned it into something something fun and—I can’t believe I’m writing this– cool on their 10-song CD Eat a Bowl of Cherries. What’s also cool is the entire premise of the Rhythm Child Network which singer, performer and hand-drummer Norman and his wife Heather created to expose kids to a...

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Baby’s First Christmas Gift – Ringo the red nosed teething reindeer

We all know that babies usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to Christmas presents, mostly because they’d just as soon spend hours chewing on a big red bow than playing with a bunch of expensive toys. So this holiday, let them chew on Ringo, an adorable reindeer-shaped wooden teether from CMP fave Little Alouette. Created from locally sourced Ohio maple by a mom and dad team, this toy would make the perfect Baby’s First Christmas gift or, if you’re super organized, a fantastic holiday photo prop for your cards. And while a wooden teether...

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elum designs holiday cards take me far from the maddening crowds

I know I’m not alone in looking for more tasteful and restrained displays of holiday cheer after being assaulted by Christmas carols, gaudy lights and huge inflatable snowmen in stores the day after Halloween. Gorgeous simplicity doesn’t come cheap, yet I’m basking in the quiet sentiment of the exquisitely made, custom letterpress Pom-Pom Hat Holiday Card from elum designs. I’m struck by how one small red hat manages to convey both whimsy and the sweetness of childhood in a single image. Just tuck your own favorite family photo into the envelope and you don’t have to worry about the...

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Web coolness – Homemade teachers gifts, El Big Bird, and Tim Burton takes Manhattan

Some stuff we liked reading this week, and maybe you will too. Design Mom – A great homemade teachers gift idea Time Out Kids – Their top 10 children’s CDs of 2009, by Jeff Bogle of Out With the Kids. Is your favorite on there? The New York Times – Turns out Nicholas Kristof is cutting out BPA in his household too. Daddytypes – Hilarious post on Sesame Street Big Birds around the world. Let’s say they’re not all yellow. Parenthacks – Very smart tip for mess-free oatmeal baths for babies. Diaper rash, begone! Swiss Miss – See the...

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