Month: April 2009

Plastic gets slightly less un-fantastic

No matter how conscious we may be about the earth-unfriendliness of bottled water (how does 150 million pounds of plastic waste each year grab you?), we’ve all had that situation where we simply had to buy a bottle of water. For me, it always seems to happen at the airport –because honestly, am I supposed to jam my half-liter Sigg bottle into my already-regulation-tiny carry-on? If you must buy a bottle, be on the lookout for the new “Eco-Fina” Aquafina bottle. It’s made from 50% less plastic than Aquafina’s previous water bottle design (which means half as much waste),...

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Calling Cool Mom Picks Readers – Can you spare two minutes?

As you might remember, once a year we ask you, our fine, beautiful readers, to tell us a little more about yourselves so that we can keep telling you about the products, services, and other picks that matter to you and your families. It also helps ensure that we have cool sponsors, and not say, tobacco companies or nuclear bomb manufacturers. If you would be so kind as to fill out this quick survey (we promise – two minutes!), you’ll be entered to win a gorgeous sterling silver necklace from Blue Poppy Jewelry ($125 value, and a great Mother’s...

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Introducing the 100% natural convertible crib. Thanks Q Collection.

So it’s not as though Q Collection Junior offering truly eco-conscious nursery items is new (it’s a whole year old), but we do love their new 3-in-1 convertible Luna Crib which helps you get more for your money as you do more for the planet. The crib is constructed of locally-sourced birch, 100% made-in-the-USA, and carries the prestigious Greenguard certification which basically means it’s as natural and non-toxic as possible. And to prevent the short trip from nursery to landfill, it converts to a toddler bed and then a day bed, hopefully for years of use to come. Those...

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It’s a JuiceBoxJungle out there

For the last few weeks, we’ve been following the launch of the offbeat online video series for parents, JuiceBoxJungle, and we like what we’re starting to see. Each episode takes on the kinds of topics that moms like to discuss (or stress about) from co-sleeping, to dads helping around the house, to this week’s episode, Losing It — which is not about virginity — thank God! I’m not ready! — but losing your temper in front of the kids. The videos, from two moms and former HBO execs, present different points of view from parents which are at times...

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The gift that guarantees an invite at next year’s seder too

You weren’t going to bring a bottle of Manischewitz for Passover were you? Fine, your call. But me, I would be running to my nearest gourmet store to grab a box of Dark Chocolate Matzo from Vosges. It is seriously one of the most incredible things you have ever tasted in your life, unleavened or not. It even comes packaged with cool little stories on Passover traditions around the world. My one complaint: It’s kosher but not actually kosher for Passover. Good thing it will still be utterly delicious in a week.  –Liz Find chocolate covered matzo and other...

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Time to put away the snowman barettes and take out the florals

Now that I have added another daughter to my brood, I have an extra excuse to shop for hair accessories. If I could, I’d go with absolutely every handmade girls’ hair clip from the amazing mom-owned Tiny Sweets. I know, I know. That doesn’t really help you choose. Just hop over there and you’ll see what I mean.  At the top of my list is the Pretty Yellow Bloom felt hair clip (pictured), which is adorable even without a lick of pink. But if you still need a dose of the girly color palette, then the Pink Flower Bloom...

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Spring is in the bag

Even with all my reasons for dreading spring — allergies, rain, trying to get the kids to sleep when it’s still light out (argh!) — I love the season because it means retiring my winter handbag for something bright and cheery. And leave it to indie accessory haven Darlybird to give me more affordable options than even I can handle. For everyday use, I’ve got my eye on the gorgeous green Molly Bucket bag (pictured left), crafted from vegan leather and complete with a cool, striped liner and lots of pockets. If you’ve got a spring wedding or that...

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Not your grandmother’s quilts

Say “quilt” and certain words are likely to spring to mind, like old-fashioned, patchwork, and grannies — but one look at the incredible modern quilts from Got Me In Stitches and you’ll realize that you’re way off base. These quilts are contemporary, beautiful and completely unexpected interpretations of the classic. Each one is hand made in LA by artisans Adam Young and Michael Alvarado. You won’t find choo choo train and flower themes here, but when your kid is done using the Birds on a Line quilt you may just want to hang on the wall as a one-of-a-kind...

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B is for Blondie

I completely understand that repetition breeds learning, but seriously, can someone come up with something other than the extremely original A is for Alligator and B is for Bumblebee? Well leave it to the Aussies to shake things up with Never Mind Your Ps and Qs: Here’s the Punk Alphabet the much anticipated sequel to M is for Metal. Definitely not for the easily offended, this book takes you from A to Z, punk rock style. Your kids will be schooled in the likes of Sid Vicious and Iggy Pop, all through bold and bright illustrations and hilarious rhyming...

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The $25 Baby Layette

I realize that you probably have no problem finding a cute baby layette for under $25, and for that, I salute you. But to find one made with vegetable dyes out of soft pima cotton? Well that creates a bit more of a challenge. Well, say hello to the lovely mint classic gift set from the cool fair trade company, Baby Alpima Kids. Perfect for girls or boys, this soft-as-anything infant layette set includes footed pants and a long-sleeved onesie with hand mitts, all beautifully packaged in its own reusable little tote bag. Plus, I love the beautiful stitching...

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Going orange for the ASPCA

April is already a busy month with Easter, Passover and Earth Day on the brain, but on Tuesday the 7th, I plan to go orange and help the ASPCA kick off Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month whatever way I can. Sure, time and money are tight right now, but I’m all for helping out an organization which comes to the aid of so many animals in need. In fact, while I’m sit here with my 17-year-old cat purring on my lap, there are thousands of families with financial situations so dire, they’re forced to give up their own...

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Goat milk soaps – a family affair

When I was in Maine a couple of years ago, I found the most incredible handmade goats’ milk soap at a farmer’s market. I’m such an idiot for not scribbling down the name, because I haven’t been able to track it down again. But recently, I found something equally as wonderful from just a few thousand miles down the road. The ten-member Jonas family of Indiana makes delicious, all-natural goat milk soap from their very own prize Alpine dairy goats — so cool! I tried out some of my favorite flavors like lavender and grapefruit (I’m definitely not the...

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Cute stuff for an amazing cause

Sometimes you want to donate to a good cause, and sometimes you want to buy cute stuff. And sometimes someone gets a fabulous idea like The Emancipation Network did, and they start selling cute stuff made by the very folks the profits go towards supporting–in this case, survivors of human trafficking. Then voila, the Made By Survivors Store is born. It can be hard to really grasp the extent of human suffering still happening in the 21st century, especially when it comes to something like slavery, which we’d all love to believe is a thing of the past. I...

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Organizational help that doesn’t make you feel like a loser for needing it in the first place

I’m always looking for ways to get more organized, but I cannot abide the sort of “helpful” service that makes me feel like I’m a slacker just for being there. The newly relaunched Buttoned Up never skewers me with guilt; this website (from the same makers of all the organizational products we love) features tips and suggestions and articles and even forums where I can find kindred spirits. I especially like the Find Your Guru feature, which matches you with the expert best suited to your organizational style. But for some reason, the quiz didn’t ask me how many...

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From Eat A Lot of Peaches to Three Blind Mice

You know the indie pop band Presidents of the United States of America? Well now lead singer Chris Ballew has an alter ego called Caspar Babypants, and he’s replaced the more grown up alt-rock sound with a more folksy beat and lyrics especially for tots on his debut album, Here I Am! Creating memorable songs seems to come naturally to Ballew, who does just that on this kids’ album with the help of keyboard, guitar, and some fabulous guest singers. This CD is a collection of fun and tender sing-along songs that parents can croon to their own little...

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The perfect shirt and tie for little boys who, really, shouldn’t be in perfect shirts and ties.

I hate to admit this but most of the time, my son’s dressier outfits are left as complete afterthoughts compared with my daughters’ pretty dresses. It’s not like he gets all excited to dress up in his tie each day and run around the house playing “office.” But sometimes, a formal outfit is just what you need. I realize that most moms aren’t racing to drop a bunch of cash these days on outfits that can’t be worn too often, which is why I like the versatility of the just gorgeous boys’ oxford shirt and detachable tie from babysusu. This stunningly...

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Letters from the Easter Bunny rock the USPS in a very small way

The Easter Bunny doesn’t receive letters, he sends them. And evidently they’re very, very small. The World’s Smallest Postal Service courtesy of Lea Redmond of Leafcutter Designs can rock your kid’s world with a teeny tiny letter in a teeny tiny envelope stamped with the official Easter Bunny seal. So much better than yet another piece of pastel candy and kids will be delighted by the “authentic” size of it all. Think you’re too old to read a letter that small? (I mean, these letters are small.) Fear not: each teeny tiny Easter card comes with a teeny tiny...

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A little pampering, in whatever spare moments you have

Honestly, I’m not that into bath salts and scrubs and fancy pampering- maybe because my shower lengths are too often determined by how long I can stand to hear the baby cry.   But I do understand the advantages of smelling nice, which is why gift boxes of organic body care products always make a perfect gift for a new mom. I recently checked out the organic and eco-friendly products from Gifted by Nature and really loved the rose-ylang ylang-patchouli products. This warm, earthy, comforting scent that comes in body oil, salt scrub and more and has made more...

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These children’s shoes go to Eleven

If you need another reason to be happy it’s spring, just check out Eleven’s new Spring line of kids’ shoes. A sort of “big sister/big brother” to our fave See Kai Run, Eleven offers children’s shoes in bigger-kid sizes 9 to 3. I’ve gushed about Eleven’s footwear before — I love the combination of cool kid-appropriate fashion with run-and-jump rubber bottoms. Take the boys’ Caper shoe, in olive-and-gray suede nubuck colors that will look great on my son when he’s dressed up for Easter but will also be at home on the dusty playground. Plus — bonus! — the...

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Step away from the chocolate bunnies. At least until after breakfast.

Before my kids consume their body weight in candy on Easter, I try to get something healthy into their bodies at breakfast. One really clever way to do this is to put the colorful Rise & Shine Gift Box from Kid Central Kitchen on the table and let them think that Peter Cottontail delivered it himself. What they’ll find nestled in the turquoise mixing bowl is Kid Central Kitchen’s own low-sugar, wholegrain pancake mix and some pancake molds in fun shapes. Also tucked into the bright green paper “Easter grass” is a smiling orange mixing spoon and colorful measuring...

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