Month: January 2010

Plush explorer friends, beyond Dora

We love wooden toys, but let’s face it, there’s often more room in our kids’ hearts (and hands) for those that are cuddly, plush and less likely to leave a mark when you fall asleep on top of one. Evidently the eco-minded designers of Noferin agreed, and adapted their sustainably-made wooden toy collection called Pecanpals into a series of colorful Pecanpals Plush dolls. I don’t know exactly how sustainable they are, but each one has a clever backstory on a little tag to get imaginations started. The characters include Periwinkle the Wildlife Rescuer (my daughter’s favorite), Jac Jac the...

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The baby bibs for full contact eaters

The more time I spend around other people’s babies, the more I realize how lucky I was that my own weren’t the types to end up with more peas on their bodies than in their mouths at meal time. For those kids who like to get a little more Jackson Pollock with their baby food, I always recommend the long-sleeved learners bibs with more coverage than your standard below the chin deal, like the ones from Baggino. I just discovered these mom-designed smock-like body bibs and they look rather smart from the website. I like the simple design of...

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Love notes you’ll love

Are you stuck in a never-ending search for Valentine’s Day cards that don’t embarrass you to send to anyone over the age of five? Let’s just say glossy, cheap, mass produced images of kittens tangled in yarn don’t always convey the message for me. Instead, check out the textured, funky, eco-friendly cards from Green Shanti. The cards are made by hand in India and Nepal by communities of artisans, and no trees were destroyed to get your love message out there–instead they use raw materials such as silk, jute, cotton rag, coconut shells, banana fiber, dried leaves, beads and spices. They’re expensive, so it’s definitely the kind...

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Baby thigh highs. For real.

So when I first saw the email from Jennifer Dutcher asking us to check out her new business called Rock-a-thigh Baby, I admit to having visions of baby high heels and feather boas. On the contrary, this mom of four has created a pretty cool baby legwarmer and tights hybrid that I’m completely smitten with. These adorable, and eco-friendly thigh highs are made right here in the USA from a soft cotton blend of 100% pre-consumer yarn (read: recycled from new fabrics) with Oeko-Tex certified dyes. They cover your kiddo’s legs right up to their bum, making diaper changes...

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Many ways to say I love you. All of them sterling.

After yet another visit to the Beehive Co-op in Atlanta, Kristen ran home to tell me about some great new finds, and I’m starting to get jealous that the one in New York is up in Westchester and not in the city. Or better, Brooklyn. Right on my block. I was really taken with the beautiful handcrafted sterling necklaces from Christine Kober including this sweet conversation heart necklace, right in time for Valentine’s Day. You can choose any number of engraved sayings, or customize your own for no extra charge. (Personally I’d like one that says OMG WTF but...

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A Ray of sunshine in nursery decor.

I hate my hand-me-down crib with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, which is why it’s in pieces in the attic while my kid sleeps in an old pack-and-play the color of used hospital scrubs. In my dreams, I’ve got something from Muu Furniture – I’m thinking white with vines, please.  And a slice of chocolate pie. If you thought Muu had cute kids’ furniture before, wait until you see the new Ray Collection for the nursery which packs a lot of style and grace into an affordable price point.  This is what we call a win-win-win situation....

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Rolling out the big American welcome mat for Tommee Tippee

Expat mums in the US or those just enamored (or enamoured?) of European baby products will be delighted to know that Tommee Tippee, Britain’s #1 megabrand of sippies and bottles is about to flood American malls – or at least those with a Toys R Us in them. It’s nice to have yet another choice of phthalate- and BPA-free bottles and feeding products widely available, especially now that the FDA has gotten their act together and decided that the chemical company-funded studies that “proved” BPA safe miiiight not be all that reliable after all. Products like the Tommee Tippee...

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Three cheers for the Etsy & Cool Mom Picks Valentine’s Day contest winners!

After much, much deliberation, we are soooo pleased to announce the winners of our first Valentine’s Day color-your-own card contest with our friends at Etsy. We scoured through your amazing entries and picked our 12–yep, we just couldn’t do 9!–favorites, based on originality, creativity, and colorability (is that a word?) of the design for young kids. So, thank you to all who entered, and our deepest congrats and much admiration go to (in no particular order!): Spaceboy Out of this World by Olliegraphic Bunny at Mailbox by Nakisha VanderHoeven Airplane Be My Valentine by One Cool Mom All You...

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Looking to jazz up your kid’s room? Put a sock (monkey) in it

I’ve had a thing for sock monkeys ever since my mother-in-law gave me the one she’d made for my husband when he was a baby. They’re some kind of magical combination of goofy, cheerful cuddliness and retro-chic all in one. I always figured I’d try to make one for my own children when I had them. But then I had them. And there wasn’t quite as much sock-monkey-making-time as I’d initially expected. Go figure. So my kids have made do with their dad’s old one (which, in retrospect, is kind of nice). For people without sock monkey heirlooms (yet),...

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See Jane get totally organized for her next trip

If you’re planning a trip to California, New York, or Chicago in the near future, See Jane Fly is ready to offer you a customized travel guide to help you plan. But regardless of where you’re headed, peep their latest free perk: The See Jane Fly Toolbox, which is filled with everything you might need to get ready to hit the road. I was impressed with the free printable ready-made checklists including ones for what to pack for your 0-6 month old, which is handy because I don’t remember having two spare braincells to rub together when I had...

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Statenocentricity

Whenever someone picks on Rhode Island for its size or large percentage of muscle cars, I feel a little defensive about the state in which I was born, matriculated and met some of my favorite people (like CMP’s Liz!). I suspect most people have one state that tugs at their heartstrings too, which is why I think Maya Brenner’s delicate state necklaces make such a uniquely awesome gift. It’s so unexpected that unless you pick Texas, Florida or California, expect to have loads of people ask you what exactly is dangling from your neck–I think Rhode Island looks a bit...

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Bringing back the lost art of potholder weaving. One bored kid at a time.

I know you totally made little woven potholders when you were a kid. Or maybe you didn’t. But I did. And loved it. so I loved discovering that Blueberry Forest Toys sells inexpensive potholder looms that look remarkably similar to the one I used to use. Perhaps it’s nerdy for me to get all excited about a potholder loom, but come on, a potholder loom! These things are cool! The basic weaving required for these looms is easy and very fun to do (as in, my kids had better keep theirs hidden or I might be giving potholders to...

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Now Alice is right on your iPhone

We were so smitten with the cheeky online shopping helper Alice when it first debuted, we’re now thrilled to find that we can take Alice everywhere, via their brand new iPhone App. It’s all the same things we love about the original–shopping reminders, 50 daily deals, an easy way to keep track of household purchases, and free shipping. Only now it’s on your iPhone. So if the urge strikes you to order up more TP while you’re sitting in the carpool line, you don’t have to resist.  -Mir Visit our affiliate Alice on the web and get a $10...

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Gift for a pregnant friend on bedrest? Reader Q&A

My friend is currently 26 weeks pregnant with her second daughter. Unfortunately, like her first pregnancy, she has been checked into the hospital for bed rest and will stay until the end of her pregnancy. Although she has books and crafts, the boredom and depression is starting to set in. I would like to send her a thoughtful gift to help her through this difficult time. Do you have some wonderful ideas?  -Dawn You are so awesome to help your friend through the next few months of waiting, Dawn. We hope some of our ideas will help her pass...

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Reusable grocery totes fit for the opera

We’ve long been a fan of Envirosax as a great, affordable option when it comes to going to reusable bags, and now they’ve gone and stepped up the chic another notch: Their new La Boheme series is “inspired by a fusion of the romanticism of Bohemia and the ideals of the Art Nouveau movement.” Okay so they’re still reusable nylon bags and not fit to wear out with your opera coat and pearls. But the five new lush designs will make you feel pretty fancy even though you’re hauling up to 44 pounds. If you’re looking to complete your...

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Fruit on hand that makes it into their mouths

I once packed the same apple in my son’s lunch for an entire week. Every afternoon it was still there, and he’d promise to eat it the next day, and then he’d bring it home again. And it’s not even that he doesn’t like apples, but as he says, it’s “complicated” to eat a whole apple in a 20-minute lunch period. But when I pack Funky Monkey dehydrated fruit snacks, (warning: site has sound) which are basically three full servings of deyhdrated fruit and some spices, they always get eaten. There’s no added sugar (I know you were wondering!),...

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Helping Haiti, one shirt at a time

We’ve been blown away by the number of companies, big and small, that are donating 10%, 20%, or even more of their sales to help the people of Haiti. But when Threadless announced they were donating 100% of the proceeds, up to $100,000, from the sale of a specially-designed tee to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund, that definitely got our attention. Featuring the words men anpil chay pa lou which translates to many hands make the load lighter, Threadless’ tee was the work of Thomas De Santis and Ivan Tarrazo Sanchez, two designers from the...

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I gave my heart to Lil Scribblers

With three kids who keep having birthdays, I feel like I’m forever on the lookout for cool, affordable party favors that won’t end up immediately in the trash which is why when I saw the assortment of Lil Scribblers’ chunky crayons by Philly’s Lil Boo & Co., I knew I had struck birthday-party gold. (And if you recognize the photo, yes – it’s the one we used to help promote our Valentine’s Day card design contest!) Using only Crayola crayons for reliable color blending, Nicole of Lil Boo & Co. melts her crayons into the coolest shapes like chunky...

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Sitter City loves military families

As a former active duty Air Force now National Guard wife, I have relied heavily on my own paid Sitter City membership to help me find reliable, experienced babysitters to help save my sanity – from the long duty days to a 45-day deployment. So I can’t tell you how excited I was to find out that they’re now offering free Sitter City memberships for military families, including active, reserve, and guard courtesy of Department of Defense. Simply click over to sign up and then enjoy access to hundreds of thousands of babysitters and nannies. Score! And if you...

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When you research enough to give the very best

I like giving the best gift at the baby shower. Call me competitive, but I just feel that as a mom of two young kids that I should be better equipped to pick out the perfect gift than Great-Aunt Mary who still thinks the baby should be sleeping on her stomach and has no idea what a Bumbo seat is. (You know, the sort of gift that I came looking to CMP for before I became a contributor here.) Here’s a perfect example: The Bebe au Lait gift set which includes their awesome rigid-neck nursing cover and three super-plush...

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