Month: July 2009

Who says you can’t afford commissioned art for your kids’ walls?

I don’t have a lot of hand painted art on my walls, especially in the nursery. But I can easily change that with Brooklyn-based Rebekah Potter’s diminutive BloKs, essentially 3.5 x 5″ wooden blocks with a word and matching illustration, all hand painted in acrylic and ready to hang on the wall. She has several in her shop that work in a child’s room such as Play, Pretend, and Chick, but what’s really cool is that you can commission your own to celebrate your child’s accomplishments (think Graduate) interests (think Dance) or milestones (think Tooth). Each BloK also comes...

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Birthday cakes so awesome you’ll be jealous of the candles

Magnolia Bakery may still be hot on the Sex and the City tour of NYC, but for native New Yorkers, the hottest things happening in caloric confections come from Brooklyn’s Baked. Straight outta Red Hook, Baked makes the cakes and cupcakes that put every other combo of flour, eggs and sugar sitting beneath a birthday candle to shame. In fact, my own daughter who turns four today (Happy birthday Thalia!) will will be chowing down on a pink-frosted one at her own little party. I am happy with their regular old chocolate cake just fine, thank you, but if...

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Craft inspiration beyond egg cartons and glitter pens

I’m always on the lookout for websites that can help me with my neglected crafty side, like tips, tutorials, and ideas for cool new projects. I’m feeling the inspiration from the talented folks at Cut Out and Keep. Basically this member-centric site lets you post pictures of your recent craft endeavors (recipes too), tutorials of favorite projects, or your version of another member’s project.  I can browse in awe and find projects I would attempt with the kids, although the focus here isn’t at all crafts for moms. I like how the site is laid out with each post...

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Childrearing advice for when you’ve misplaced your gay uncle

Fellow blogger and Vanity Fair contributor Brett Berk has unleashed on the world his parenting perspective with The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting: Candid Counsel From the Depths of the Daycare Trenches. Berk obviously has no uterus and no children. That said, you may be asking yourself where does he get off giving me advice? But what he does have is nearly twenty years of experience as a classroom teacher and preschool director, plus a wicked directness I find strangely endearing. Forget Supernanny — send me Brett Berk, stat. Certainly this book will offend some people. Berk believes in...

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Making a toast to Klean Kanteen

I may not know my Syrah from my Pinot Noir, but there are still times I’d love a glass of wine at a late-day beach picnic or at that Little League game that goes into extra innings. But dragging along a glass wine bottle (let alone wrestling it open in the bleachers) can’t hold a candle to the ingenious Wine Karafe from Klean Kanteen that we just discovered. Made from the same lightweight, BPA-free stainless-steel we’ve lauded here before, the Wine Karafe also has a nice wide mouth for us shaky pourers. Of course one of the key benefits...

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Ideal Bite – How to go green when you don’t have time to go green

My crush on Ideal Bite began with the first sentence of their philosophy: If we all knew what we could do in the day to day to impact the planet and our communities in a positive way, we’d do it. I used to say that I would live a greener life if only it wasn’t so expensive to do so. Then a lot of the more eco-friendly products came down in price, and I started being able to afford a bit more, but then it became an issue of time. There are barely enough hours in the day to...

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My little babushka

We have been fans of Bella Tunno baby products since the early days, before little retailers like Target discovered how cool they were. It’s been a while since I visited their site (they don’t need us any more, sniff) and was intrigued by the new kids headscarves they’re offering. I’ve always liked headscarves as an alternative to hats on kids, but usually these kinds of things fall flat in execution with lightweight fabrics and elastic that’s an afterthought both in style and function. But in this case, the big fat swath of high-quality elastic means the scarves totally stay...

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Mid-century classics for the munchkin set

We’re all major fans of Knoll studio, which is synonymous with elegant, modern furniture design. So we’re especially happy that they’ve rolled out Knoll Kids, featuring scaled down versions of some of their most famous pieces. Your child can return to the womb, literally, in Knoll’s funky Womb Chair, which I have always loved for its simplicity and comfort. Imagine your child doing arts and crafts at a Rinsom table and chair set. I swoon just thinking about it. Although the pieces are smaller than the originals the price tags are anything but. The Maya Lin children’s stone stools...

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Red, White, and Crafty

In honor of our country’s birthday we figure we’d give us all a gift by skipping the flag motif, and instead highlighting just a few of the beautiful red, white and blue items made by American crafters and artisans. The wooden sailboat at Craftsbury Kids is handmade out of pine and natural finishes. It would get plenty of use from my kids this summer on lakes and ponds and the kiddie pool in Grandma’s backyard. Come fall, I bet it would be just as fun in the bathtub. How can you not love this handmade scotty crib mobile? Designed...

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Home of the Brave, the Furry and the Grouchy

With a little one who hates loud noises and falls asleep before 9, seeing big Fourth of July fireworks has become one of those “maybe next year” dreams we tell his older siblings. So we were happy to learn about PBS’ A Capitol Fourth which will have a whole bunch of Sesame Street Characters on the US Capitol lawn plus some fireworks to keep the kids entertained. All commercial free–yay! I’m sure the kids will also be entertained when they see their mom singing shamelessly along with Barry Manilow and Aretha Franklin’s performances. And when their father pretends not...

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Avast, ye scurvy junk food

It had to happen eventually – -first Cookie Monster, and now pirates have gone on a health kick. Now your wee sea raider can easily sport a message of terror best befitting his or her station in life (right at the highchair) with these adorable pirate onesies. And really, is there any message that strikes more fear into a kid’s heart than the directive to eat yar peas and carrots! Find them from the terrific design studio, Red Prarie Press for just 15 bucks. Then when dinner is refused, you can feel free to declare it’s time for someone...

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A kinder, gentler gift wrap

I’ve admitted here before that I’m a terrible gift wrapper, but as long as there are children aging in the world, there will be presents to wrap. Which is why I’m so happy to have found the Eco Deco line of green gift wrapping from Olive Paper. Yes, of course a true eco-crusader would wrap gifts out of used craft paper or a sheet of fabric you can reuse. So let’s just call these light green, as in made of 100% recycled material. The ten patterns are sophisticated but festive, and I’d feel as comfortable wrapping a birthday present...

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Read it again (and again and again and again)

We’ve all been there; the kid has found his Most Favorite Book Ever, and he wants to hear it over and over. Sure, you were a patient and loving model parent the first 5,000 times, but after that I think you get a pass. With One More Story, not only your kid get his book fix, he can start learning how to read on his own, too. Their online library of awesome children’s books (about 50 so far of both old classics and new favorites) allows your child to view and listen to the actual book pages on screen,...

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Y water? Because we like it.

Since bringing home a few bottles of Y Water to try out, my kids have been asking for it pretty much hourly. And that is saying something, because getting them to drink water lately is like getting them to eat foods that aren’t white. Basically the stuff is like a certified organic Vitamin Water but better tasting if you ask me. Combos of antioxidants and vitamins give each one a name like Brain Water, Muscle Water, or my favorite, Immune Water. I know your next question. And the answer is, yes indeedy there’s sugar in it – 10-11 grams...

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The one page baby record book

We’ve all experimented with the best way to keep track of a newborn’s schedule of eating, sleeping, and pooping. If the pen-and-paper way isn’t for you, then Sarah Masci’s stylish and eco-friendly Lullaboard may do the trick. This dry-erase board is formatted to track important information about your baby’s daily existence. It’s especially useful for moms and dads with caregivers who want a report of feedings and diaper changes, but don’t need to save the report for future generations. They have a few different Lullaboard formats including newborn, older baby, and even a toddler format which includes a space...

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Easy peace-y

I think somewhere in my heart I’m a damn dirty hippie with all this suppressed nostalgia for the Woodstock era. Of course that would be the Pepsi commercial version of Woodstock, where all the guys are hot and shirtless, the tie-dyes are cute and clean, and the port-o-johns are yet unused. In any case, it’s probably why I got a kick out of the new children’s peace belt from CMP fave Myself Belts. The khaki ribbon is a nice neutral (way less pink than it looks in the photo) alternating with little pink peace signs, the word “peace,” and...

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The leg room’s not bad but they don’t serve lunch

When I saw the Cardboard Designs airplane at Arte Bebe, I immediately sent it to my husband the pilot, who immediately sent it to all his pilot friends because it might just be the coolest plane toy we’ve ever seen. We’re already fans of recyclable cardboard toys for kids, and this airplane is no exception. Construction involves nothing but a few tucks and folds if that, and then your kiddo can design his leg powered fighter jet, bi-plane, or Boeing 757 with crayons, markers, paints, and his own imagination. Or hers. Because around this place, girls love planes just...

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Doing more with less

I tend to prefer big honking statement jewelry – huge pendants, chunky bangles, cocktail rings that make it impossible to shake hands. But there’s something indescribably lovely about teeny and subtle when it’s dancing at your tanned collarbone. That’s how I’d describe the teeny pendants from Laurel Denise Design‘s simply stated collection. Small (like, 3/8″ small) handmade circular glass pendants take inspiration from poetry and philosophy with simple script inscriptions like love and be. And because of the small size, a message that normally might be a little heavy-handed or pedestrian is actually cool. Plus each one dangles from...

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This Works. Says them. And us.

Each morning, it takes a vat of coffee to get me going and ready to face another day in charge of three young lives. So yes, I was eager to try out a shower gel with the word “energy” in it.  This Works: Energy Bank Bath and Shower Gel works indeed. Not surprising, considering creator Kathy Phillips of British Vogue and Conde Nast Asia has spent a bit of time around beauty products in her day. The aromatherapeutic and mostly organic combo of Ylang Ylang, Patchouli and Geranium smell sort of sultry and invigorating at the same time. (Don’t...

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Cool Beans

Magic Beans may sound like something a frat guy tried to slip me back in college, but it’s actually the name of a super stocked Boston area baby gear and toy store. The mom/pop team of Eli & Sheri Gurock have done a great job streamlining  the site with the modern brands we love, over a dozen gift guides and “shop by age” quick links. Of particular note is their WOW! Baby Basket Builder which is such a huge time saver, it’s brilliant; just tell them a little about the recipient, pick a spending level as low as $40,...

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