Month: April 2009

A paint-your-own kit with an adorable twist

With two craft-loving girls, I have enough kids’ art supplies in my home to start a small store. That said, I have never seen anything like the adorable set of paint-your-own nesting dolls from Kookle and know my kids would go ga-ga over this kit. Like traditional Russian Matryoshka dolls, these five wooden figures all nest inside the largest doll. The enclosed paints and brushes make it a snap to paint the wooden dolls yourself without having to buy extra art supplies. My kids could try to go traditional and paint each nesting doll in similar garb but I’d...

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Carpool Karma – Turning the minivan into a mobile multitasking machine

My kids aren’t even all in school yet, and I already feel like I spend half my day in the car.  As a multitasking mom, it nearly kills me to sit there and do nothing but drive. Carpool Karma is an ideal distraction for those of us who wish we could find a way to safely do something productive on the road. This CD (with really cute cover art) has got mental exercises like free association and word play which can be done while driving, just as safely as listening to Will Shortz on NPR. There are also physical...

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Your picnics just got eco-friendlier, at least as far as your butt is concerned

I’m the woefully unprepared mom at my daughter’s soccer games — the one who’s sitting directly on the itchy grass (and who will probably forget to brush the grass off her rear end when she stands up). So I was practically giddy when I discovered the eco-friendly Throw & Go blanket from ‘Lina Bean and tried it out at last weekend’s game.  Caroline Ritter, pedigreed designer turned mom, has thrown her passion for style into creating modern children’s accessories including this picnic-sized blanket, one of those must-haves that I’ve gone too long without. I love the soft fleece (made...

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Sales, Whoo! Earth week edition

You want more sales and discounts? You got it. Check in with us every Friday for our favorite steals and deals of the week. And make sure you’ve signed up for our mailing list. You’ll get sneak peeks at special subscriber-only features, contests, and deals! The sale corner at Chittypulga will get you 50% off kids and baby clothes (many in season!) from brands like Tea, Zutano and Oink Baby (love that Stripey Dress in 2T, shown here) PLUS get an extra 15% if you spend $50! Earth Week sale at Bean NY: Use code “blossom” for 20% off...

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Going for the silver

Years ago, I developed an affinity for sterling silver jewelry, which has since evolved into an unyielding no-gold-jewelry policy. It suits me pretty well in a down economy. But unfortunately, I’ve had to accept that many fine jewelers simply don’t offer the same selection of pieces in silver as they do in gold, which severely hampers my coveting. So I was very happy to hear that Monika Rich Kosann of MRK Style is obliging my sterling loving sisters — and our wallets too — by now offering a line of three gorgeous keepsake necklaces in silver now for the...

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DAD IS SLEEPING AS HE ENJOYED THE WHISKEY AT THE PARTY and other hilarious emails from your mother

For years, I’ve saved the emails my mom has sent me. Some are funny, some are sweet, some are nothing anyone else would appreciate besides maybe my brother. I thought I was the only person nostalgic enough to do such a thing, until I discovered Love, Mom: Poignant, Brilliant, Goofy Messages From Home from the creators of the blog Postcards From Yo Momma. Dorrie Shafir and Jessica Grose have put together this wonderful compilation of all sorts of emails, IMs and social networking messages (eek, moms on Facebook!) that will have you in stitches with warnings of computer “STDs”,...

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Biodegradable baby wipes that don’t suck. Really.

While I’m greening up my act in many ways, I’m still pretty picky where it comes to baby wipes — it’s not totally unreasonable that I don’t want to cut corners with the one thing that’s keeping me from getting poop all over my hands. So in one of those cosmic coincidences, directly after I’d refilled the wipe container with a package of Elements Naturals biodegradable baby wipes, my son felt moved to present them — and me — with a major test. Color me shocked, but these wipes do what I never believed the eco-friendlier wipes could do....

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Another way to hang your kid’s pretty face on the wall

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother had silhouettes of her six kids hung along the fireplace. I loved the fact that just by looking at the profiles of these children I could identify the adults around me. I was happy to discover how Pretty Faces has modernized this classic heirloom. It’s really cool to see Jackie Fisher take profile pictures of my son and daughter and turn them into pieces of art that I can’t wait to get on my wall. And while she provides excellent instructions on how to submit the best photo, she’s very...

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And Chicken was his name-o

My taste in music runs more in the indie vein, but in kids’ music, you’ve gotta hand it to Trout Fishing in America who have been putting out Grammy-nominated, family-friendly folksy rock for about 30 years. But this time around, they’ve created a Storybook/CD combo called My Name is Chicken Joe which is a trend we’ve been seeing lately and loving. (See previous CMP reviews of Soulville, Pete the Cat and Hip Hop Speaks to Children and see what we mean.) The story, as you might guess from the title, revolves around some creatures with unlikely names. The colorful illustrations...

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Time to go bananas

I’ll grant you that — my son’s nickname being Monkey, after all — my fondness for all things primate-related may be a bit beyond that of the average person. Still, if you don’t think this little monkey clock by Tree by Kerri Lee is awesome, I’m tempted to believe you kick kittens in your spare time. What is there to say?  It’s a monkey. Made of wood. With numbers for eyes. It’s adorable, without being twee. Love. -Mir Get your Monkey Clock by Tree by Kerri Lee at The Pajama...

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Teething Washcloth 2.0

Since my daughter decided to be a super overachiever and cut two teeth before her six month birthday, I’ve been scrambling to find teethers beyond the frozen bagels, carrots, and celery that I used on my other two. But thanks to Bodhi Babies organic cotton teething cloths, her suffering (and mine) has been much diminished. The adorable box contains three baby and toddler sized teething cloths hand made from organic cotton terry. Just stick them in a bit of water, pop them in the freezer, and you’ve got the perfect gum soother or ice pack for those big kid...

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When you need your own personal children’s librarian

What happens when you need to find a book on heroes the night before your kid needs it for kindergarten? After you’ve exhausted our favorite children’s books, you can do what I did and check out the selections in What to Read When, by LitLife founder Pam Allyn. This meta-book about books is divided into 50 themes, from bullying to spirituality to a bad day. Find your category, read the summaries and pick your winner. From Allyn’s words to my library hold — it sure beats prying the trashy cartoon books out of my daughter’s hands at 6 PM....

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Earth Day Pick – Worried about melamine in your children’s plates? Yeah, so are we.

When I first discovered Smiling Planet, I was instantly smitten by this mom and pop company’s avid commitment to teaching children respect for the environment through artful, eco-friendly housewares. Essentially Freddy and Olivia Deane have devised a way to make dishes out of a recycled polypropylene plastic that’s free of BPA, Phthalates, melamine and all that other stuff you hear about in scary news stories these days. Even the packaging is eco-d up the whazoo. Each plate features a different illustration from the Smiling Planet children’s book they designed about being good to the Earth. Take a look and...

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Earth Day Pick – Barley & Birch. They mean green

I’m a sucker for cute kids’ tees. You can tell by taking one look at my kids’ drawers…er floor. And one of my new favorite eco designers, Barley & Birch, is doing amazing things with photography to create beautiful t-shirts for kids, right along with a corporate responsibility program that should make light green brands blush. Organic cotton children’s tees, onesies, pants and hats feature beautiful bright designs, like Wave (pictured) or my other stand out favorite, Flowers. But I really I love that the company is seriously committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible, even sourcing production...

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Earth Day Pick – Children’s furniture they can doodle on

I had the dizzying pleasure of attending the mammoth Toy Fair in February, and one thing that seemed to be everywhere was cardboard. Of all of them, my favorite was easily the U.S.-made Elia Mini Chair Kit which takes this basic material and turns it into a piece of kid-size furniture. Easy to assemble and super sturdy, the chair holds up to 200 pounds, so don’t worry if you want to test it out yourself. And with Earth Day right around the corner, I appreciate that husband-and-wife Rey Tabarrok and Michael Gross use primarily post-consumer recycled content to make...

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Earth Day Pick – Eco barrettes that are way prettier than they might sound

I never really thought the words “eco” and “barrette” would be used in the same sentence, that is until I was introduced to the felt hair clips at Sophia Bella Mia. At first glance, you might think they look like any other cute girl’s floral barrettes, but actually, these hair clips are handcrafted from eco-fi felt, a fiber created from 100% post consumer recycled plastic bottles. Cool, right? Of course, you’d never know it thanks to beautiful saturated colors and lovely beaded details. Add the little optional strip of velcro for your sparsely haired babe, and you’ll be sure...

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Earth Day Pick: Great outdoor toys for the great outdoors

The first thing I noticed about Colorado’s Sprig Toys is that they smell like fresh-cut wood, even while they look like strong molded plastic. Turns out I was right on both counts–their special “Sprigwood” is an eco-friendly, kid-safe material made from both recycled wood and reclaimed plastic. The toy dump truck, excavator and loader have all the functionality of more expensive trucks, only with no paint to chip and no batteries to replace. And the Sprig Hollow line of toys come with detachable, waterproof tools like chunky shovels and rakes making them perfect for the beach. This wonderful world of...

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Earth Day, now with extra Earth Day-iness

Oh, the fun we’re going to have on Earth Day tomorrow here. We have so many amazing eco-friendly products here to give away to readers this week, that we had this crazy idea — how about we’ll feature all five of them tomorrow? Then we thought just to make it a little more interesting, we’ll stagger the reviews through the day, and any entries in the first hour of posting will count as TWO entries to double your chances to win. This way we’re honoring the mamas who for whatever reason are stuck behind a computer tomorrow, and not...

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I can’t believe it’s not butter or eggs or nuts or high fructose corn syrup

I knew that I had found a winner with Home Free’s line of allergy-free treats when I stole the last cookie before the kids came back into the room for more. At that moment, I would never have guessed that there was anything “missing” from these whole-grain cookies, but there is: They’re missing milk, egg, nuts, high fructose corn syrup and artificial stuff. After much taste-testing, my daughter has decided that her favorites are the big crunchy chocolate chocolate chip cookies, while I’m partial to the soft oatmeal cookies. I also like the “mini” size cookies for the younger...

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Baby got back carrier

Caring for three kids under four on my own for more days than I care to think about makes outings extremely difficult. And while I definitely make use of my double stroller, whipping that out while putting my youngest in a baby carrier is a dance I don’t often like to do. Enter Kokopax, an amazing modern take on the traditional backpack baby carriers. You might think that a back carrier is not very versatile for all but the most avid hikers. But the beauty of the Kokopax is that not only can you get your baby or toddler...

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