Month: May 2009

Framed on Father’s Day

My kids like to leave me little bits of art on my desk, which is very sweet the first fifty times they do it. But with this awesome Doodlebook Frame I can put my favorite picture of them front and center, and then encourage them to make me a new frame every so often. With 80 pages, that’s a lot of opportunities to come up with the perfect masterpiece, and makes it easier to rip off and start over when it’s not quite right. I can also decorate the frame, myself, while on a boring conference call. (Note to...

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Pool safety for kids – smart, but also cute

When it first came time to baby-proof our apartment, I went to that big-box baby store to get supplies and learned there were far more ways that my baby girl could injure herself than I’d ever imagined. (Hello, bubble wrap). What I didn’t consider was our apartment pool.  If I’d known about Safety Turtle back then, it would have topped my list of must-have baby proofing measures.  This child immersion alarm system is incredibly easy to use: Just strap the locking wristband with the adorable turtle on it around your child’s wrist and plug in the base station into...

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Rabbit season. Duck season. Rabbit season. Duck season.

The wonderful Duck! Rabbit! is the newest book from the prolific Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who you might know for children’s books like Little Pea or even her wonderful adult book, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. In this title, she’s teamed up with pirates-and-monsters artist Tom Lichtenheld to breathe new life into the classic duck/rabbit optical illusion. Are those phalanges a duck’s bill or a rabbit’s ears? Is the eye facing left or right? The (heated) discussion continues between two unseen narrators on every page. Though she has no opinion regarding whether it’s a DUCK! or RABBIT! my daughter likes it best when I change up...

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Bug-free, DEET-free, worry-free

Generally I have an entertaining personal discussion with myself every summer. On the one hand, I don’t feel good about putting DEET on my kids. On the other hand, most DEET-free insect repellents don’t seem to work all that well, and I’d rather my kids not get West Nile. What to do? Well, you could check out the new line of Bug Off! insect deterrents; they’re completely natural, DEET-free, and use actual pleasant-smelling essential oils to keep the bugs at bay. We’re taking the insect-repellant Soap and Shampoo Bar camping — it smells great, means one less thing to...

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Pregnant military mamas, we salute you!

As a wife of a former active duty Air Force officer now turned National Guardsman, I know how challenging military life can be, especially for expecting mamas. So in honor of Armed Forces Day (yep, that’s today!), we’re happy to spread the word about Operation Shower, a mom-run charity that produces and coordinates baby showers for military mamas, specifically those with deployed spouses. You can make a general monetary donation, or purchase specific items that will be included in the shower boxes, many of which are from Cool Mom Picks faves, like Vincent Shoes and Scandinavian Child. Either way,...

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Recess Monkey

The first time I heard Recess Monkey a few weeks back, I instantly fell in love with their unique sound and smart lyrics. This Seattle based three-man band combines kooky with clever in their new album, Field Trip, to create songs that you and your kids will be singing to long after the CD is over — at least if ours are any indication. I’m digging what sounds like everything from classic rock to grunge influences, but appreciate how they don’t sound like a tribute band, or worse, a bunch of guys who just decided they’d try to make...

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What I lack in wine knowledge I make up for with giftwrap

My wine snob sigOth has gently pointed out to me that it’s tacky to give wine in those mylar wine sleeves they have at the liquor store. Who knew? But when I showed him the absolutely wonderful PopTags wine tags, he smiled and said, “Now that’s cool.” So with a zillion party and summer weekend invitations (we hope) just around the corner, I’m stocking up. Clever and often hilarious messages are beautifully letterpressed on recycled paper, like The wine store guy said this was good. Or The wine could be terrible but the label is so pretty!  PopTags will...

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Sales, Whoo! Ides of May Edition

Check in with us every Friday for the best deals and discounts of the week! Get discounts up to 70% off (!!) beautiful crib bedding, blankets and more at Serena & Lily. The long-sleeved superhero outfits at Little Capers are 50% off with code LAST50 through 5/17 or until supplies last West Village Kids has a dandy clearance section right now, with high end kids’ clothing labels like Catimini, Little Marc Jacobs and Miss Sixty at 50-75% off. Hit Artebebe’s clearance section of cool duds for kids at some decent discounts. (Love that Mr. Hero Tee). Get 25% selected...

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Cooking for kids with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” method

When Missy Chase Lapine’s The Sneaky Chef appeared on the scene in ’07, I didn’t think I needed her help since my kids were pretty adventurous eaters. Shoot forward two years though and ho boy, do I need her. With her new book The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue, I was determined to tackle the abysmal eating habits of my four-year-old son. The basic premise of this new Sneaky Chef remains the same: Make a few easy purees with healthy ingredients like blueberries and spinach, or sweet potatoes and carrots, then mix those purees into kid-friendly dishes like meatballs...

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Sweet Tea, Elvis, and Southern Brand

When I moved to the Deep South almost 10 years ago, I admit it was a bit of a culture shock. Okay, I lied. It was a whole heckuva shock. Clearly I wasn’t the only person that saw the humor in aspects of the culture, as you can tell from the hilarious Southern Brand tees for babies and kids. This guide to good Southern living has branched out to offer these super-soft, weathered tees sporting sayings with a whole lot of Southern pride, like This ain’t my first rodeo or my personal fave, I’m the only heck my mama...

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School Years Book: Make up for the empty baby books

I am not a baby book person. I mean, I wanted to be a baby book person, but my children’s baby books ultimately overwhelmed me and now sit in a drawer, not even half filled out. I can’t remember to record every little thing! The pressure! Of course, now my kids aren’t babies anymore, and the guilt is still alive and well. But now that I’ve discovered the new School Years books from our friends at momAgenda, I may have found redemption: One book takes you all the way through school, with a mere page of pertinent info to...

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The thigh’s the limit

Maybe I’m just a German tourist at heart or something, but I do like that look of knee socks on my kids. Okay, so not with khaki shorts and sandals–but it can totally kick a pair of Mary Janes and a short skirt into gear. Pork Chop Kids has taken it a step further and created thigh-high socks for children that are not only adorable, they make a lot of sense when you think about it. Kind of like a cross between a knee-high and a leg warmer, these socks make diaper changes easier than leggings. Thigh-highs are also...

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Feeling the call of the topaz

I’m not a delicate flower of a lady and I don’t tend to wear delicate little necklaces. I’ll take mine big and chunky and unafraid of attention, thank you very much, which is why I have my eye on the Robin Mollicone drop necklaces spotted at Orange Lola. This Pratt jewelry instructor and artist has conjured up a simple but funky London Blue Topaz Necklace that looks like a perfect spring pick-me-up. But I’d probably get more use out of the Lemon Quartz Necklace which can work as a more surprising neutral. Especially considering the price on that lemon...

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Sassy Web Watch iC: A video baby monitor for the truly obsessed.

When I put my little guy down for a nap, I close the door and don’t look back. I’m not one for compulsively checking on him (because with my luck, I’ll wake him up) and I’d never even considered using a video baby monitor. Until now. Lately I’ve been satisfying my inner voyeur — and my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s — with the Sassy Web Watch iC. This amazing video monitor not only works here at home, but on the Internet too, with a free Skype or MSN account. Isn’t that cool? So I can watch my baby toss...

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Art + poetry = more than just another alphabet book

I recently got a look at Alphabetica: Odes to the Alphabet,  Diana Spieker and Krista Skehan’s mind-blowing alphabet book filled with multisyllabic metaphors and modern, deep-inked illustrations. This book bursts with detail. Each page contains more than twenty individual pictures, and the poet in me appreciates the meter and complexity of each stand-alone verse. You could easily pull out any page and frame it. Alphabetica started as a collection of whimsical poems written by Spieker for her baby son. Spieker thought maybe she’d taken the collection down to the local copy shop and have them bound up as a...

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The Britax Advocate CS: Car seat safety gets more attractive than it already is.

One place we will never ever tell our readers to skimp, not even in this economy, is your child’s car seat. You want the best possible car seat that you can afford, and you can quote me on that. The Britax Advocate CS is a brand new entry into the car seat market that’s loaded with safety features and not too tough on the old eyeballs either. Yeah, let’s face it — car seats are traditionally not the cutest of all the shower gifts at the party. We happen to own their other side impact protection-equipped model, the Britax...

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Rebel yell

Now that things like environmentally-sound manufacturing, use of post-consumer waste, and organic textiles are fast becoming the standard (which is awesome), it does take a lot to make us go oooooh these days when we get a “green” pitch. But that’s what happened when we first clicked over to Rebel Green. These tote bags, cool reusable lunch bags, and tees for adults, kids and babies from designers Ali Ruvin and Melina Marcus are hip, they’re edgy, they’re original, and yes, they’re totally responsibly made right in the US. Plus they never do that whole “I’m better than you because...

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Repurposed frames that look as good as they make you feel

When I stumbled upon the Second Line Frames etsy shop, I went wow – those are cool. And that’s before I knew the backstory. Turns out this Tampa-based cooperative salvages wood siding from homes destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, and turns them into beautiful, artful, rustic picture frames. It’s their way of preserving New Orleans in more ways than one; 20% of profits now go to The Phoenix of New Orleans which continues to help out the residents who are still rebuilding. So you’ll have a beautiful frame that tells its own story, without ever detracting from the story of...

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Cancer with a happy ending

We here at Cool Mom Picks love our sponsors (love them!), but some we have to admit we love just a bit more than others. So when we found out that The American Cancer Society would be a part of our site over the coming weeks, we immediately asked what we could do to help them out on our end. I’m betting that most, if not all, families have been affected by cancer in one form or another, my own being one of the many millions. In fact, my mother-in-law will join the 11 million or so cancer survivors...

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Because every baby should have organic feet

There’s no shortage of adorable, swoon-worthy items on Etsy, but Amy Joyner’s She Knits shop is clearly trying to kill me with handmade cuteness. Her 100% organic cotton/wool blend “chocolate dipped” baby booties do indeed look good enough to eat, and they’re so soft, to boot. (To boot! Get it?) The pink or blue fibers’ natural variegated appearance coupled with the brown toe and sole make these booties a quiet yet gorgeous statement for babies up to 12 months. Everyone knows the feet are the most delicious part of the baby. This just confirms it. -Mir Congratulations to Kelly...

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