Month: December 2009

Family game night goes deeper with Family Matters

Look, I’m going to be honest: When I read that Family Matters is the family game for ages 8+ that helps your family get to know each other better, I steeled myself for my daughter rolling her eyes and my son sliding underneath the table, declaring his boredom. Nonetheless, my family took it for a test drive–and I couldn’t be more pleased to report that I was completely wrong. Each family member takes turns “driving” the family car around the board and through the various cards. We all loved guessing the answers to the My Favorite Things cards (guess...

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Need Santa? There’s An App For That

I don’t need to tell you that it might be handy to be able to program calls from Santa into your phone, for when you want to remind the kids that he knows when they’re naughty or nice. Or to be able to pull, right out of your pocket, video to show a fidgety preschooler what Santa is doing right this minute, the better to point out that if he can feed his reindeers in a snowstorm, we can eat our carrots, right? Call From Santa is exactly what it sounds like: it’s an app that allows you to...

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C’mon by Renee & Jeremy is easy listening, not cheesy listening

My kids are bouncing off the walls with cabin fever already and the constant refrain of “Santa is coming” isn’t helping out. For those moments when we need to seriously chill out without falling asleep, Renee & Jeremy’s new kids’ music CD C’mon suits us perfectly. The LA duo of Renee Stahl and Jeremy Toback follow up their much-loved debut CD It’s a Big World with a dozen mellow beauties. With a sound I’d describe as Jack Johnson meets the coed Indigo Girls, C’mon is full of pretty harmonies and uplifting lyrics, like the opener Share. I’ll play that...

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For when that BBQ apron just won’t cut it.

You’re having a holiday party. You’re dressed up. You’re serving food  and drinks. An apron would be nice to protect your perfect cocktail dress, but who wants to drag out the old marinara-stained “Kiss the Cook” monstrosity? Well if it were me, I’d prefer covering it with something like this Rollings of Cinnamon full apron from IceMilk. Not only will it protect your clothes from those delectable hors d’oeuvres you’ve whipped up from scratch (right?) but it will make you look like you have it so together that even the tiniest details in your life are full of style....

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Henry Road bears – A stuffed animal we can get behind

Unless a plush animal is on a kid’s holiday or birthday wish list, I tend to steer clear from giving them because as a mom, I know how maddening it can be adding another stuffed bear to the already full toy bin. But when I saw the Kindred Things bears from Henry Road, I’m making an exception to my own rule. These adorable handmade toy bears are created using vintage chenille and the gorgeous Henry Road fabric scraps and remnants. Place your order based on you or your kiddo’s favorite color palette (red, blue, pink, or green), and they’ll...

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My favorite girls’ dresses go on sale and suddenly I need 47 of them

Last night I was yapping with my sister-in-law about holiday dresses, when I clicked over to the Noko Baby site to show her some of my all-time favorite dressy dresses for girls. And wouldn’t you know it, I get an email this morning, letting me know that for the first time ever, all the dresses are all discounted by 25%. Even if you’ve already got your Christmas clothes and New Year’s Clothes and Valentine’s Day clothes picked out for your girls this year (I’ve heard there are in fact moms like this out there, even if I don’t know...

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Not your same old Nutcracker story

We’ve amassed quite the collection of Christmas-themed picture books, but I’m always on the lookout for cool new titles to replace some of the ones we were given when the kids were little (I’m looking at you, Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Merry Christmas). Perennial CMP favorite publisher, and beloved 2009 Holiday Gift Guide sponsor, Chronicle Books, has just released the new A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas which looks like it will make a lovely addition to our collection of holiday stories. With a whimsical new spin on the original tale (you know, a girl, her prince, and a whole lot of...

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Get your holiday music the (very, very, very) easy way with Slacker

So what’s a slacker mom like me to do when she’s having a Christmas party for sixty of her closest friends and her entire selection of Christmas music was wiped off the hard drive in the Great Computer Crash of Summer, 2009′? I don’t know about you, but Slacker.com sounds right up my alley. Slacker is an amazing, very customizable internet radio station where I can get all kinds of holiday music–and lots of other music, too. But somehow just the holiday ones disappeared from my computer,  and yes, I often wonder if maybe my grinchy husband had something...

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Affordable girl’s tights – Reader Q&A

I’m looking for simple, solid color winter tights in 3T that won’t break the bank. -Kristina As the weather has officially turned here in Atlanta, I’ve also been on the lookout for winter tights for both my girls, Kristina. I dug around to find a few high quality options that will hopefully last the entire season. We’re huge fans of Baby Legs, and lucky for us they’ve just started making adorable toddler tights (above). While most of the tights are patterned, they’ve got solid pink, which can work well for most girls’ wardrobes, from what we hear. (Ha.) I’ve heard excellent...

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iPlay’n Learn – They should’ve named it iDistract’n Calm

A few weeks ago I had some friends over to the house, and one of them brought her three-year-old, who immediately commenced leaping around on the furniture like a chimp on crack. Given that my children are past that phase (or can be reigned in with a simple, Knock it off!), I began to fret about his safety — and my upholstery — a bit. But then, a miracle occurred: My friend whipped out her iPhone and handed it to her tot, and for the next twenty minutes he happily busied himself with iPlay’n Learn, a new app from...

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Web Coolness – eco-friendly gift wrap, crafty ornaments, last minute shopping tips and more

Here’s some stuff we’ve liked reading around the web this week, and we hope you will too. Mighty Girl: Some really really great ideas for eco-friendly giftwrap Armelle Blog: Need an idea for gift wrapping cookies and baked goods this holiday? Here’s a fabulous one. (via Design Mom)Boston Mamas: Check out Cool Mom Picks’ own last minute shopping tips for beating the holiday craziness Ohdeedoh: So many great crafty ideas this week, like felt gingerbread ornaments and a super easy gingerbread house idea – that will also keep you from eating it. Because you can’t. Design*Sponge: A DYI Christmas...

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P’Kolino Art Supplies can’t wait to get into your stockings

Every December, I take stock of the state of our coloring, drawing and painting supplies and weed out the lost-caps, tiny crayon bits and crusty paints so they can be replaced. It’s a great tradition that both keeps us organized, and presents some Christmas gift opportunities. This year, P’Kolino has introduced enough art supplies to fill the stockings of all three of my kids. As with their much-loved and CMP-approved Klick Table and Chair Set and Book Buggee, everything from P’Kolino is cleverly designed and looks oh-so-cool, and these are no exception. The tube of five primary-color, no-smell finger...

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Last minute gift idea – A book of the month club with no lame choices

Last year, we recommended the Gift Lit book of the month series as a cool children’s gift, and it still is. But it makes smart last-minute gift for a fully grown adult too. You can just tell the thoughtful book choices in each series have been curated by a panel of librarians and publishing experts, and not someone trying to push best-sellers or remnant books. I know quite a few relatives of mine who would enjoy that history series of books; the favorites for women actually do justice to the category name; and the food + wine series has...

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Skinnygirl Margarita Review: The 100-calorie, 5-second margarita

My name is Mir, and I like a good margarita. Judge me if you must. I’m also kind of lazy, so my margaritas are generally limited to the rare dinner out with my husband. Can I make a margarita at home? Sure. Do I? Usually not (see aforementioned laziness). And the couple of times I’ve picked up a mix I’ve been astonished at the calories, the additives, or both. Yuck. So when I started to unscrew this pretty bottle of Skinnygirl Margaritas, I was cautiously optimistic. Celebrity chef and erstwhile NYC “housewife” (you know, the funny one) Bethenny Frankel...

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A gift bag that truly has H.E.A.R.T.

Somewhere in between bargain hunting and gift wrapping I make sure that I stop to think about how blessed I am in so many ways. After all, isn’t that what this season is supposed to be about? Fashionology, a fun, interactive, design-your-own-clothes website agrees, and has come up come up with a smart (and stylish) way to help women and children who have been victims of abuse, sexual assault or domestic violence. Fashionology teamed up with H.E.A.R.T (Helping Ease Abuse-Related Trama) and put together a $40 gift bag that is sure to brighten the spirit of the young girls...

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Leggings for girls who want to do more than host tea parties and watch princess videos

My four year-old daughter recently informed me that jeans were “stupid.” Which, okay. Not the term I would use, but I get her point that she’d rather be wearing a dress, even to kick a soccer ball in the park. I know for a fact mom, designer and entrepreneur Wendy Feller has walked in my shoes, because she invented Zupers. These durable, SPF 50 leggings for girls are commendably made right in the USA and feature a pair of cushy, removable, heart-shaped neoprene kneepads to encourage girls in dresses to do more than sit around and look demure. Including...

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Want an incredible collection of Modern Art? Go Fish

I learned long ago that the best way for my son to learn about “boring” things was to find creative ways to teach him. Although I personally am fascinated by Modern Art, he could probably not be able to withstand an extended visit to the MoMA. Which made the Go Fish for Modern Art card game the perfect way to introduce him to the subject. It’s played just like the traditional game of Go Fish, but each card features beautiful contemporary art from the likes of Andy Warhol, Paul Klee and Marc Chagall. Younger kids can just match colors...

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Children’s first games: For when you just can’t face another trip to Candyland

I want to be the mom who sits on the floor and plays board games for hours with her kids, but I usually start losing interest right around the same time my son tries to see how far he can hurl the dice. So we’ve tracked down some fantastic (dice-free) first games for toddlers and preschoolers–because parents cannot live on Candyland and Chutes & Ladders alone. Or, sometimes, at all. Stock up on a few good games before the holidays and keep the kids entertained. –Christina One of our all-time favorites, Zingo! from the mom-and-pop run Think Fun! (I...

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X is for that cool coffee table in your playroom

Oh how I love the new Xylophone Music Table from the quirky, nostalgia-tastic furniture makers at Jellio. This 40-inch long coffee table inspired by that ubiquitous toy xylophone of my misspent youth would look so fantastic in a colorful kid’s playroom, or even as a conversation piece in a home office. (Any music producers out there?) Evidently it does actually work, although the mallets aren’t included. I would imagine that could be a good thing, at least if you have my kids. Though come to think of it, at this price, they shouldn’t just come with mallets, they should...

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Cool Stocking Stuffers under $10 that still bring the Christmas magic

Seeing the kids make a beeline for their stockings is a favorite moment on Christmas morning. But, even though this is their first taste of Santa for the day, “he” can’t afford to spend a small fortune on their stockings. So I thought I’d turn Santa onto some of my favorite sites to help you fill a stocking without needing to mortgage the sleigh. -Christina Stubby Pencil Studio is my go-to site for creative, eco-friendly gifts for creative kids, and I love their time-saving gifts under $10 section. Grab a tin of Hopscotch Chalk in a cool retro tin,...

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