Month: February 2010

The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood

If you’ve had a baby, you probably know what I mean when I say that during all four births for me, there was always a point when I thought I might die. You’ve used all your physical strength breathing and having contractions and back pain. You’ve used all your emotional strength floating in and out of pain and giving yourself pep talks. But of course when I had these issues, I was nestled in the heart of a modern hospital with nurses and doctors all around me. And during the birth of my youngest, when his heart rate dropped...

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Make your picture worth more than a thousand words

It’s all well and good when I shoot a picture or two off to my parents from my phone while the kids are at an event, but then sometimes I forget (or don’t have time) to type in a complete explanation. Later, my dad calls me up and says, That was great, but what the heck was it? But now that I can either visit the free Fotobabble photosharing website or load up the Fotobabble iPhone app, I’ve got everything I need to make sure that each picture can tell its story. Just load in a picture, record a...

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We built this city on nouns and verbs

The first thing I thought when I checked out the Grammaropolis website is that it’s like Grammar Rock and the Mr. Men books had an adorable love child. You’ve got the catchy music, the little cartoon parts of speech (the verb is a superhero ready for action, and the interjection kind of looks like a cheerleader), and then a variety of ways for kids to get their language on. Watch the video–my favorite part is when Gramma pops up to say thanks for the song and they’re all, No, Gramma, it’s not Gramma Ropolis, it’s Grammaropolis! You’ll only have...

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Eco-friendly play gym? Reader Q&A

I am in the market for a cool, eco-friendly baby play gym for my 5-month-old boy. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I am willing to spend around $100. Thanks much.   -Jennifer C. Finding what we would call a cool play gym takes a little searching—most of them are loud, battery-hogging plastic monstrosities—but we think you and your babe will like some of these options which are all close to, or well under, your budget. First, we like this simple, eco-friendly play gym from Cariboo which blends in nicely with any decor. It’s shown here in...

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Get sentenced to family wordplay

Family game night getting a little stale? Gather round for a whole new game of speed, literacy, and I’d say, hilarity with this dandy little game I’ve found right here for you mamas of older kids. You’ve Been Sentenced! is deceptively simple; each player draws ten cards, flipping them simultaneously as the timer is set. Before time runs out, build a sentence. Easy, right? Each pentagonal card contains five variations of a word (say, zip, zips, zipped, zippy and zipper) with different point values depending on the form, so theoretically it should be easy to come up with something....

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What’s better than cute kids shoes? Cute kids shoes on super sale.

The cult of Vincent Shoes seems to be growing, because there are now no less than four other kids in my daughter’s school wearing the Blomma rainboots. And yes, the designers are Scandinavian, which accounts for all the IKEA-like names. Algot! Arvid! Hampus! This is a good time to stop over, since Vincent has currently got a closeout cubby of shoes all at 30-70% off. And on top of it? They’re giving Cool Mom Picks readers another 25% off. Yee-ha! If your toddler has outgrown snow boots midseason this is a good time to replace them, or grab the...

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Time to make my yoga pants proud

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only mom who has seen a marked decline in the amount of exercise I get since having children. Relaxing moments seem to have taken a steady dive, too. But suddenly, thanks to a wonderful new family exercise DVD called TOT YOGA, there’s a distinct possibility that both will be back in my life to stay. This charming mom-made DVD is an instructive video aimed at toddlers ages 10 months to 3 years and their weary parents (that’s me!), and its goal is different from any other kid yoga DVD I’ve encountered. First (and...

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Girls of substance and style, rejoice!

Oh, Kiki magazine, where have you been all my daughter’s life? Where are the scantily clad waifs in thousand-dollar outfits? Where are all the advertisements for more stuff that no one needs? Where are the tips and tricks about how to land boys, kiss boys, think properly about boys, and then tell boys no? Conspicuously absent, I’ll say. Kiki is fashion and style and activities and crafts and book chat and common sense talk about being happy and healthy, peppered with pictures of girls in all shapes and sizes. It totally passed the litmus test with my tween (“Hey...

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Web Coolness – Displaying your kids art work, and your own pregnant belly

Here’s some stuff we’ve liked reading this week and we hope you will too. Design Sponge has a post on three great ways to display your child’s artwork. Parent Dish describes a new desensitization treatment program currently in clinical trials that gives hope for parents of children with peanut allergies. Foodies and wannabes will love this post at Leites Culinaria from mom and cookbook author Pat Tanumihardja putting together an awesome Chinese New Year meal for her family…or did she. Boston Mamas tips us off to this eco-minded, family friendly vacation idea that we would die to experience, right...

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Children’s party invitations – now a piece of cake

Is it strange to be excited that an online correspondence site has just introduced children’s invitations? Because I am. Downright giddy, in fact. I’ve professed my love of Paperless Post before and now that there’s a whole new set of designs available (it’s their new Children’s Collection! Did I mention yet how excited that makes me?), I may just have to throw a bunch of parties for my kids so I can try them out. These beautiful paperless invitations are perfect for eco-conscious and style-conscious moms, alike. Featuring ballet-dancing-hippos, retro popsicles, bunny slippers, zoo animals, and a host of...

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Brass meets sterling, circle meets rectangle

I have delicate, dainty necklaces and I have chunky, rustic necklaces, and sometimes I wish I had something that was more, I don’t know, both. (Why yes–I am that person who always gets twist when we go for soft serve. How did you guess?) The love necklace by ripegoods hits that sweet spot right in the middle; the chain is brass, but made of almost lacy, tiny links. The round and rectangular brass pieces have a gorgeous natural patina and can be custom hand-stamped. (I went for my initial on one, my husband’s initial on the other.) And then...

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Charity starts at home, on the computer, in the KidzStore

YesKidzCan! is about co-founders Lisa Novick and Julie Chapman’s dream of making it easier for even busy families to participate in giving back to their communities. Which is great. So when I had the opportunity to chat with them last week, I told them right up front that while gratuitous Z’s usually turn me right off, in their case, I’ll make an exception. In the KidzStore you’ll find a variety of “Act of Kindness” kits for a mere $8 apiece (they’re even cheaper if you buy more), that contain whatever you need to bring charity to life in a...

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Cooking for dummies (and smarties, too)

Put down that take-out menu–I’m here to tell you that yes, you can cook a complete meal without pulling out your hair. Sure, there are a million recipe sites out there, and some of them are fantastic, but what if you want instructions on a whole meal, from what to buy to what wine goes best? Well, then you head over to NoTakeOut and start browsing. Each meal is completely laid out from what to buy at the supermarket to what kitchen tools you’ll need. Check the prep time, bake time, and even the dessert suggestion before you get...

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Blockhead! And I mean that totally in the best possible way

I’m not very good at math, so I can’t tell you precisely how many different forms and figures your child can create out of 25 wooden blocks, but I’m going to say it’s approximately a gazillionthousand. The ShapeMaker wooden block set by Miller Goodman is made of eco-friendly rubber wood and hand-printed with vibrant, non-toxic ink. So it’s no surprise that this cooler-than-your-average-blocks set is not just delighting kids, but style gurus as well. It was given a gold Practical Pre-School award in 2009 (whatever that means), and just a few weeks ago was named one of the top...

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Babywearing, now a nice new shade of green

Belle is now extra verte. That’s, Belle as in Belle Baby Carrier, and verte as in French for green, and green as in super-duper-eco-friendly-organic-awesomeness. The new Belle Organic Earth, like their original model, is crafted by artisans in Boulder, CO, only this one is made with 100% organic undyed cotton, pure Romanian hemp, and the fuzziest organic fleece lining. It’s a cute, lightweight, sturdy, and, most importantly easy carrier for babies 8 – 30 pounds, although I must say my pudgy 24-pounder was at the upper end of comfortable use. Another nice feature is that the baby can face...

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Crumpler does kids’ backpacks and cool moms everywhere go Yay!

You probably already know Crumpler for their sturdy, stylish bags for adults. Or at least you should. But now they’ve gone and shrunk two of their favorites down to kid-size and it’s definitely worth a look. The Baby Pea preschool backpack is for the 2-4 set, and the Baby Anchovy (pictured here) is for those 3-5. Though, truthfully, I think kids up to about age 8 will find the Baby Anchovy backpack perfectly ample for their needs. Unless they’re toting home bags full of bricks or 30-foot dioramas from school. Hope not. Both bags come in a variety of colors,...

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This Sesame Street contest is brought to you by the letter A and the number $50,000

Question: Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? Answer: 1. Be a puppet.2. Be Ricky Gervais.3. Win the 4th Annual Aniboom Awards 4 Sesame Street Competition. It’s that easy, animators. We’ve just learned that Sesame Street has teamed up with Aniboom Virtual Animation Studio to showcase talented animators leading the next generation of savvy children’s educational programming. And if seeing your winning work on the most iconic kids’ television program ever isn’t enough, there’s also $50,000 in prize money up for grabs. Let me guess– you’re making Cookie Monster googly eyes now, aren’t you? Submit your...

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The iCandy stroller – A new luxury stroller for growing families, if not shrinking budgets

It’s been a while since I saw a stroller that made me go oooh, or at least until this weekend when I got an in-person demo of the new-to-the US iCandy stroller. And oooh I did. The first thing you’ll notice is that this popular British stroller is designed very much like a Bugaboo, right down to the air tires, modern fabric colors, silver frame, and logo placement – only it’s a cute little apple or pear on the canopy depending on the model. But it’s definitely more than just a Bug knock-off. The seat on the basic Apple...

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Welcome to the Jungle House Pillow

My kids (probably like yours) aren’t lacking for stuffed animals. But when I saw the amazingly adorable Jungle House Pillow from Toronto’s So Chic Gifts I knew I could totally justify getting them this handmade pillow-and-stuffed-animal combo.  Made from beautiful recycled fabric, each one-of-a-kind soft, squishy pillow features three little critters tucked into little pocket homes, each one a different combination of cloths and textures. It’s totally fun for kids, since the stuffed animals can be taken out of their pockets at playtime or put back in for cuddling at night. If their bed is already crowded with lovies, or if...

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Charity and the JAMband know that sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don’t

My kids are at the age where watching Mommy boogie across the kitchen floor is met with groans. And I’m hearing groans from them a lot now that I’ve got Charity and the JAMband’s danceworthy double kids’ music CD, Party Like a Twinkle Star. Sure, it’s a CD for kids, but it is strong stuff for anyone to resist, something we knew way back when we lauded Charity and the JAMband’s Rock Your Socks Off CD in ’06. The first-of-two CDs, aptly called Party, does just that from the start with the rocking groove of Get Your Booty Out of...

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