Month: September 2009

Season of the rabbit

There are some mass produced stuffed animals, like Ugly Dolls, that I really love, but there is something extra special about buying a handmade toy, like Oliver Rabbit from Rachelod on Esty. Rachel O’Donnell designed these soft, cotton stuffed rabbits to have loads of personality, even without any facial features. I love their long ears and legs which are perfect for little hands to grip, but my favorite thing is the charming fabrics they’re made from. Because they’re handmade, if you have some other color or pattern, in mind Rachel is willing to customize to suit your taste. Each...

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Blabla launches baby dolls, and there’s nothing bla about them

While most toy companies start basic and work outward from there, I think it’s really interesting that CMP fave (and pretty much every kids boutique’s fave), Blabla Kids, has evolved from their quirky and sometimes irreverent line of fair trade hand-knit dolls to classic baby dolls. These dolls still retain Blabla dolls’ distinctive signature traits like super soft bodies, yarn hair, and sweet stitched on smiles. And I especially love the diversity of dolls including a couple of boy dolls and two dolls with brown skin. But what’s really fun is that the company is now making 100% cotton...

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A toddler shoe wardrobe on a budget? Reader Q&A

My daughter needs five pairs of shoes and my husband will take away the credit card if I spend $200+ a season on shoes for a 2 year old. If you know of any cute, wide shoes that are reasonable in price, please let me know! -Maisey Even for a mom like me with an awful shoe fetish, that’s a lot of shoes for a two-year-old. You might want to consider investing in fewer pairs of shoes, but ones that offer versatile styling, ample support, sturdy and flexible soles, and uppers that won’t wear out. You don’t need a...

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Classic food storage containers, hold the classic BPA

A handful of readers have written to us asking for BPA-free food storage options, and I think it’s so great that there’s such heightened awareness of safety issues surrounding some plastics that manufacturers are responding. Case in point: The new BPA-free food storage containers from Pyrex. I’ve always had a thing for US-made Pyrex ever since my culinarily-obsessed dad lectured me about its virtues back in college, and I’m glad to see they’re keeping what works, and evolving what doesn’t. When you look at the lines, the shapes of these oven-safe glass storage containers are actually really clean and...

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Not all toy storage is created equal

You know you’re a mom when you go from being a bag whore to a bin whore. But considering how awesome bins are getting these days, like the new cotton canvas storage bins from JJ Cole, I suppose it’s not a completely terrible transition. These storage bins are a little swankier than your big store versions, with their brightly striped lining and metal handles, but they’re priced so you’re not spending your entire decorating budget on a couple of glorified buckets that will be stashing your diaper wipes and toys. And they really do look like they belong in...

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Attention Frugalistas – we may have $1000 with your name on it.

If you haven’t noticed, it’s become increasingly cool to be savvy about money these days. We love the iPhone apps that point out deals, the online swap sites, and even the shopping blogs that offer up discount codes as often as possible (ahem). So we’re really honored that we were asked to be among the judges of the Savvy Supermarket Cents contest in the next couple of weeks. Simply upload a You Tube video at YouTube.com/SavvyCents describing how you manage to be savvy with money you spend at the grocery or drug store — and that doesn’t have to...

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Not quite Crayolas, they’re Crazyoleez

I’m always on the lookout for goodie bag favors that aren’t mini plastic Slinkies from the dollar store. And last week I discovered the adorable Crazyoleez crayons and I thought, now there’s a winner. Two passionate moms essentially melt all sorts of crayon colors into molds shaped like letters, footballs, butterflies, letters of the alphabet – you name it – creating a whole new crazy kind of crayon. Crazyoleez, get it? They’re not actually recycled which helps them guarantee they’re within appropriate lead limits. They’re particularly great when you’re dealing with a big space and kids can see how...

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Expressing Motherhood – The good, the bad, and the OMG I can’t believe she just said that.

Mom’s Night Out is an all too rare occasion. (Who’s with us?) So Cool Mom Picks co-founders Liz Gumbinner and Kristen Chase are excited to be part of three good excuses to get out in NYC this week, when we perform along with a group of super talented writers as part of the off-off Broadway play, Expressing Motherhood. Created by short film director Lindsay Kavet, and writer/producer Jessica Cribbs during their kids’ naptimes, this series of performances features a group of moms simply telling their (sometimes inspirational, often hilarious) stories of motherhood under the bright lights. After hugely successful...

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Bumbo Potty Seat

Potties aren’t exactly the kind of item that gets me all excited, but I when I saw the new Bumbo Potty Seat at the recent ABC Kids trade show I actually did a double take, then backtracked to check it out. I loved our Bumbo baby seat when the girls were little, and so it makes sense to have an item to help kids transition easily from the seat to the um, seat. As one of the Bumbo guys told me, it’s easy for him to tell his son “Go sit on your Bumbo!” when it’s potty time, and...

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An eco-friendly Halloween, with an emphasis on “friendly”

It didn’t take me too long to learn that younger kids are pretty much scared out of their wits by a lot of the costumes and decorations that are par for the course on Halloween. Forget bloody eyeballs or Scream masks —  even the giant inflatable Shrek at my neighbor’s front door did not go over well with my three year-old last year. So I love the nice little selection of eco-friendly Halloween decorations at Green Planet Parties which let you get your festive on, all without traumatizing your children in the process. The reusable cloth orange and black...

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Steal this CD

Any band that uses solar power to make their CD then encourages people to copy it for their friends makes me feel all warm and fuzzy before I’ve even heard a note. Thankfully, The Harmonica Pocket‘s new kids’ music CD, Ladybug One, is filled with such cool, trippy harmonies and smart, offbeat lyrics, it’s as satisfying as all their do-gooding. Starting with the sultry, lush Firefly which has me wishing for a hot summer’s night, Ladybug One moves into my fave, the bouncy Spider in my Breakfast–a lot more adorable than it sounds, and my kids find the lyrics...

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Even more justification for playing Sudoku online

I am always amazed by the number of online gaming pitches we get and then I realize -duh- I am totally addicted to online games, and have been ever since I was first introduced to Snood back in the day. Let’s just say there is no better way to keep your hands busy on a three hour conference call or while you’re sitting alone in the dark waiting for your kids to fall asleep. Of course there is that guilt factor of indulging in a totally useless time suck (and don’t even try to play that “hand-eye coordination card)...

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More scanimation, please.

I am so excited about artist Rufus Butler Seder’s third “scanimation” book, Waddle!. Um, I mean my kids are. If you’re not familiar with these so cool they’re almost magic books, they blend engaging rhyming prose about animals with graphic images that give the illusion of animating when the previous page is turned. My kids can hardly resist acting out the alliterative, evocative descriptions, whether they’re prancing like a pig or slithering like a snake, and it is probably the only thing keeping them from fighting over who gets to turn the page next. Plus the cheeky ending about...

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Great schools deserve free money

It’s music to any educator’s ears: The chance for big bucks for the school, just because it’s great. GreatSchools.net and Care2.com have partnered up to create the America’s Favorite School Contest, and they’re giving away everyone’s favorite recession prize — cash. And while I’m happy to send in Kleenex and wipes and extra pencils, and even to write a check to the PTA now and then, I’m certainly not going to turn my nose up at the opportunity to help my kids’ school win the $20,000 grand prize. There’s another $11,000 to be split amongst four runner-up schools, and...

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Arrghhhh, ’tis Talk Like a Pirate Day, mateys

We may not speak proper pirate but that doesn’t stop us from trying on Talk Like a Pirate Day. (Yes, that’s an actual thing. Swear.) So we’ve got a round up of some of our favorite pirate booty from past months. The kids’ pirate shoes from Sweet Shoes are listed under “boys” but we beg to differ. Pirates old enough to swab their own decks (so to speak) may get a kick out of Small Threads’ Pirate Skivvies which we just discovered last week at Magpie Lovely. Selecta’s pirate-themed pacifier clip at Kangarooboo just makes us smile. Miss Natalie’s...

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Let’s hear it for the girls!

CD audiobooks, or what I still call “books on tape,” are my secret weapon against boredom in the car. Our newest gem is Tell Me a Story 3: Women of Wonder which follows in the footsteps of its much loved predecessors, Tell Me a Story and Tell Me a Story 2: Animal Magic. And, as the mother of two girls, I am thrilled that the heroes of these new stories by Amy Friedman are actually heroines. In just over an hour’s drive, my kids move from Cambodia to Turkey to the old, Wild West in these six stories culled...

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It looks so wise, because it’s so smart

Of course my child, like yours, is an absolute genius, but even he wasn’t able to tell time when he was a newborn. So why get one of this adorable bamboo Baby Owl Clocks for the nursery? How else can you regale your friends with stories of how you were up from 3:12 to 4:52 without knowing what time it is? All kidding aside, I think these wooden wall clocks are really smart, because they are made from sustainable bamboo, and they’re unisex (check out the Baby Elephant version) which means if you have to paint your pink walls...

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Six more weeks ’til bobbing for apples!

I am a total Halloween loving dork, and if I had more hours in my day, I’d be That Mom who does the whole crazy haunted house thing, throws the awesome costume party, and gives out the best candy. I’d also be the mom who gets my you know what together in time to send out cool invitations, and I love this modern, graphic Halloween invitation from Red Stamp. The price is quite nice for a personalized, printed card, but if you like the boxed sets where you can write in the info yourself, they have a nice selection...

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Where the wild things are? How about right here.

Give us a few cold rainy days and my kids will be climbing the walls and snarling at all my attempts to cheer them up. So I’m stashing away the downloadable Monster Mania ebook from Make and Takes to help me out with a few easy craft ideas when crayons just aren’t cutting it. I’m fairly craft illiterate — I don’t own a glue gun and can barely sew on a button — so take my word that this Monster Mania ebook and its 15 clearly explained kid-friendly craft projects will not send you over the edge. You’ll find...

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Halloween baby onesies that look just as good November 1.

I used to feel bad when my baby wasn’t the only one sporting holiday themed clothing. But when your kid only has a week to wear it, it’s really not the smartest budget choice anyway. So here’s a way to stretch a buck — grab something that works for Halloween and the rest of the fall – like this adorable dinosaur baby onesie from mom-owned boutique Cattiwampus. Made from super soft organic cotton and designed by artist Rebecca Foster, this spooky T-rex glows in the dark, making it a fun Halloween choice that’s different from your standard issue bats...

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