Month: December 2009

Getting a head start on organization

This is the first of Cool Mom Picks’ four-part series on organization, sponsored by the most delightful momAgenda, makers of smart products like the the myAgenda Desktop planner, which happens to be perfect for busy people–not just moms! We’re finally getting our acts together for the holidays and already we can feel 2010 breathing down our necks. And around our house, the new year means new schedules and new headaches trying to stay organized. Whether you’re a seasoned planner user or you’ve just bought your very first one (you crazy organizer, you) we’ve got a few tips to help...

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Last minute holiday shopping tips – Join Cool Mom Picks at the Motherhood

There’s only one week of holiday shopping left, mamas, but do not fear! In addition to our handy Holiday Gift Guide and our daily holiday picks, we’ve got a few extra last minute shopping tricks up our sleeves that we’ll be sharing all day today (Wednesday, December 16) over during the Cool Mom Picks Circle Chat at The Motherhood. Simply hop over to our chat page and click “Join Chat” to ask a question and join in the discussion. We’ll be tackling your holiday shopping dilemmas (Picky mother-in-law? Kid who has everything? To wrap or not wrap that bicycle...

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Just in time, the children’s Christmas dress I’ve been looking for

I’ve just learned at the very last minute that my daughters need a dressy dress for the holidays. So I’ve been checking frantically to see if one of my favorite labels, Ses Petites Mains has anything new and fabulous, and wouldn’t you know it – today they actually do. The brand new Greta Dress looks just lovely; all romantic and flowy, in a fuchsia tissue silk that girls are going to love to spin in until they’re dizzy. The detailing is amazing (as Beth Miles’s work always is), with soft elastic under the empire waist tie, and pretty little...

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Holiday chocolates designed by your kid

Every year it becomes a challenge as to how to make my daughter’s artistic talent into an awesome holiday gift. This holiday season’s winner is the design your own chocolates from Rogue Confections which I had the chance to taste test at the One of a Kind Show in NYC this past weekend. The process is simple – download and print their template and let your kiddos decorate the six circles, and the folks at Rogue will turn their masterpieces into your choice of six white, milk, or dark chocolates. Then you get to wow your kid’s teacher, grandparents, or whoever...

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Hearthsong is a sanity saver

We at Cool Mom Picks may be great at finding stuff, but that doesn’t mean we’re so great at remembering to actually buy it ourselves in a timely manner. With an uncompleted shopping list that includes a newborn, a few toddlers, some kids and a couple of tweens, Hearthsong is making it easy to knock a whole bunch of them off in one visit. Although I can’t say I love everything on their site, and they aren’t exactly a small, independent shop, I do love their selection of crafts and games and their collection of environmentally-friendly, low-tech toys from...

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Trusting your teen? There’s an app for that!

It seems impossible to me that I’ll one day have a teen or two whom I’ll allow to roam the world somewhat freely, but the truth is that teenagerhood will be entering my house very, very soon. Hold me. Vanessa Van Petten has been helping parents communicate with their teens since she herself was one, and it’s no surprise that iCurfew comes from her excellent resource site for parents from a kid’s POV, Radical Parenting. iCurfew is the best of all possible worlds; it allows teens to check in with parents easily (a couple of clicks and your location...

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Eco-friendly holiday cards give you the best of both worlds

Every year we send special holiday cards to our close friends and family, so I’m always on the look out for cool, unique alternatives to the traditional Hallmark cards – like these festive letterpress and wood cards from Night Owl Paper Goods. We’re already huge fans of their wooden holiday cards, but these new beauties, like the adorable mistletoe panda (pictured) combine their signature eco-friendly sustainably harvested wood and my personal fave, gorgeous letterpress, making them the perfect pick for the close friends and family whom you might typically buy for individually.  In fact, these cards seem too lovely to be packed...

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For a child’s first bike, skip the training wheels, and go right to Tyke Rider

I’ve long been a fan of the wooden, pedal-less early rider bikes which get kids more confident and more able to ride a real bicycle than anything I ever had back in the Stone Age. But the prices? Holy heck. And by heck, you know – I don’t mean heck. Well praise the gods of affordable fabulosity for the new learning bike from Britain’s Tyke Rider which starts at around half the price of the $300+ LIKEaBike, and is now available in the states. Right in time for Christmas, yes! They were kind enough to send me over a...

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A Kindie Christmas provides a much needed Christmas carol break

I’ve reached that time of the season when I hit the wall when it comes to Christmas carols, and yet I’m not ready to totally go cold turkey. Let’s just say I need a little holiday music palate cleansing, and The Hipwaders’ new A Kindie Christmas CD is just the ticket. With their distinctive sound we lauded not-too-long ago for their EP Goodie Bag, A Kindie Christmas keeps me in the spirit of the holidays with lyrics about Santa, reindeer and tinsel. But other than the sound of a few sleigh bells and a ho-ho or two, only the...

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Go crazy for solid perfume

I’m always on the lookout for great holiday gifts for my babysitters and sisters-in-law and girlfriends; just some small, fun treat to remind them how much they mean to me. This year, I’m in love with CrazyLibellule’s Crazy Sticks — solid perfume in quirky scents for every personality. UK-based CrazyLibellule’s Crazy Sticks are lipstick-sized, which makes them perfect for travel or for tossing in your handbag. Each stick is a creative combination of scents — my favorite fragrance is Vanilla Lemon Pie, which really smells like vanilla and lemon, but in a grown up, totally non-cloying way. Check the...

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Swapping + Handmade = Happy Holiday Barter

I’ve already shared my love for SwapMamas here, the great location for moms to meet up and swap their gently used items. But for the holidays, they’re adding a dash of Etsy and going positively medieval: You can check out the Handmade Mamas group there to swap around your handmade skills and deck the halls with barter. So maybe you knit, but you really want some pretty hair ribbons; or you make earrings but desperately want some cute bibs.Whatever you’re still seeking, chances are there’s a fellow crafty mama out there willing to work out a trade. Happy holidays...

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Memorable Christmas gift for Daddy-to-be? Reader Q&A

My husband and I are having our first born, a girl, next year. I want to get him something Daddy related for Christmas this year that is sentimental but not cheesy. . . Any ideas? -E Congratulations! We love this question and there are so many great ways to celebrate your almost-parents status this Christmas. A Christmas keepsake will remind you of this special holiday together, and we love Paloma’s Nest custom holiday ornaments (shown above) for their simple elegance. For the custom text, we adore “3 is the magic number” which is reminiscent of one of our all-time-favorite...

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Holiday ornaments that aren’t just for the tree

Every year I try to find a creative way to decorate my holiday gift packages with something other than the typical curly ribbon and shiny bow. This year, I’m going with small ornaments, and I love this cute felt Reindeer ornament from Lowell & Son. These made-to-order felt ornaments are a lovely and eco-friendly way to add a personal touch to your gifts – just choose a different design for each person and you can lose the gift tags and the big foofy ribbon bunches once and for all. And really, at just under $10, these hand sewn ornaments...

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A Christmas gift for babies too young to beg to eat the chocolate santa before breakfast

I still remain firmly in the camp that believes that My First Christmas onesies are a total waste of your hard-earned cash. And I’m not being a Scrooge, I swear – I just prefer to get a little more longevity out of my kids’ clothing than uh, one day. But for just under $10, the lollipop romper from the Baby Bunch does make a pretty thoughtful little holiday gift with enough festivity to carry you through the day. It’s all packaged like a giant sucker, but inside it’s a sweet little red and white striped cotton onesie for a...

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Just ducky

The ordinary rubber duck received a needed makeover a few years back, when BUD luxury rubber ducks started invading bathtubs. Funky and fun, they didn’t just look cool, these Australian born duckies ditched the phthalates long before anyone knew what that even meant. Grab a few for kids’ stocking stuffers, or even that grownup friend who would appreciate the irony.   –LizFind a good selection of BUD luxury rubber ducks...

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Let it snow organic chocolate and peanut butter

I haven’t yet tasted the Organic Dark Chocolate Snowmen from Sjaak’s, but I’m really hoping they are as good as I hear they are because they look like such a fun last minute holiday gift. Especially for a vegan on your list. But I’d imagine any kid, or kid at heart, would be happy to tear into these snowman-shaped treats filled with a peanut butter crunch. Hold me! The chocolates, which can be found at Kate’s Caring Gifts (a shop we just adore) are all fair trade, which supports family farms and do-gooding in general. In fact the adorable...

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The bag my younger, cooler self would carry

Back when I was younger and presumably cooler, I’d mentally check off the things I’d need for a night out with friends: ID, money, lipstick, keys. Now that I’m a mom to three kids, this load seems laughably spartan. But for those young enough and presumably cool enough to carry a clutch, the Zip-It Bags from one of Cool Mom Picks’ longtime favorite brands, My Perennial, make a perfect gift. For those who can’t go anywhere without an SUV-sized tote, these bags are a great place to store a few necessary items within easy reach inside a larger purse....

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Scrapbook masterpieces, no skills required

Look, we’ve discussed my SIS (Scrapbook Impairment Syndrome) in the past. I’m okay with it. There are tools available for me to do pretty things with my pictures in other ways. But if I want a genuine photos-affixed-to-beautiful-backgrounds, scrapbook binder full of hand-designed pages, now I can get it. Pixtorie lets you upload your photos and then choose from various layouts from designers like Oh Joy! to assemble the perfect “simplebook,” the smaller, more affordable version of their designer scrapbooks. Right now colors and fonts on the various pages are fixed, but I’m told greater flexibility is coming down...

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A trip around the world this Christmas for $19.99? Sign me up.

I don’t do much overseas traveling. Okay, none, really. And I can’t even blame my kids, since I barely did it before they were born, either. A passionate desire for a reduced carbon footprint or sheer laziness? I’ll let you decide.   But, I have to admit, my kids might like to venture out of the country once in a while. So, while I intend to remain close to home this holiday season, the least I can do is expose them to the rest of the world from the comfort of our story corner.  Barefoot Books now offers a lovely...

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The kids’ pajamas to wake up to Christmas morning – and every morning after that.

I know friends who have a holiday tradition of giving the kids a new pair of pajamas every Christmas Eve. It makes for fantastic photo ops on Christmas morning — but then I visit in the spring and those poor kids are still walking around in candy cane stripes with elves on the chest. For alternative, I am looooving the Kung Fu style Pajamas from mom-run Douglas & Cocoa. These soft, slouchy, sophisticated Asian-inspired pajama sets come in patterns like a forest plaid or a red and green flower print that look festive for the holidays without feeling theme-y....

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