Month: May 2010

Mini portraits of your minis

The ghosts of bad desk tchotchkes of Father’s Days past still haunt me: Paper weights, coffee mugs, mini voodoo dolls. Sorry Dad! Sometimes you’re hard to shop for. But grandpas and new dads — not too hard. Especially if they’re sentimental about the kiddos. A framed photo of the brood is always sweet, but if you want to be a wee bit more original, check out the mini custom portraits from Etsy’s Blue Day Designs. You provide the portrait, and in return the artist sends back a black and white gel transfer on canvas, the perfect size for displaying...

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Check out the kids’ music spilling out of Pandora

I’m not always on the cutting edge of technology, something that was evident when I said to my husband, hey, you should check out this Pandora web site! It streams music to your computer or iphone, and it’s really cool!, and he looked at me with pity. Seems all the cool kids have known about Pandora for the past decade while I was getting the hang of breastfeeding and drawing happy faces on the peanut butter crackers. But now I hold a little bit of news about Pandora that maybe even the cool kids don’t know: Pandora now has...

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Congratulations! You now have $170k in college loan debt and a Flip Cam

If you’re still scrounging for a cool graduation gift for the high school/college set, the new line of graduation themed Class of 2010 Flip Cams are so clever. The Year of the Tiger skin would have been awesome back when I graduated high school (go MHS Tigers!) but I think my favorite is El Diablo Graduated, shown here. But definitely look beyond the grad category, for designs that pack the conceptual punch you’re looking for, like a simply happy face emoticon. They start at $199 like all Flip Cams. The advice from you to be careful uploading drunken post-grad...

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Pegs are not just for legs

If bobblehead dolls have taught us anything, it’s that adults can now play with toys in public. Hence my complete lack of shame in adoring the simple yet amazing hand-painted peg dolls from mooshoopork on Etsy. Especially the sassy pirates. And girl pirates too! Sure, your kids would love to have a charming trio of ninjas or rainbow girls. But I suspect the mother-daughter peg dolls, the Victorian couple, and the nesting circus clowns are subtly aimed at grown-ups who never got over the cuteness of tiny things. Sure, they’re all hand-painted and varnished with water-based, non-toxic materials and...

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With a KaBOOM!, we can get kids outside to play

One of the greatest joys of suburbia is the big green playground in our back yard–which makes not having decent sushi down the block almost worth it. But it bums me out that there are loads of kids who can’t just walk to a great place to play because there are no safe playgrounds nearby. How else will kids learn how to play Four Square or how to jump from a high swing if we adults don’t step in to help?  Fortunately, Chicago-born Darell Hammond has been thinking about this since ’95 when he read about kids who died...

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Web Coolness – DIY gift tags, a big announcement, and diapers George Michael might have worn

Here are some things we’ve liked reading around the web this week. We hope you will too. Want to donate a book to a child in need? Of course you do! Simply leave a comment about the one book that’s made an impact on your life on this this blogher post and BookRenter will do the rest – up to 1000 books. We love the new Etsy Loves Dads series over at the Storque blog. You crafty mamas will dig the Pretty Fabric Scrap Gift Tag tutorial at Creature Comforts (shown) The race car party ideas at Make and...

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Eating out just got way more family-friendly

When it comes to eating out with my kids, we make sure to go to our favorite family friendly restaurant early in the evening with an arsenal of activities to keep them occupied. Seriously, I think planning a wedding is easier. But thanks to Knock Knock’s fun new Kids’ Night Out Bingo, my husband and I actually get to eat at fairly leisurely pace rather than gulp down gigantic cold bites as we put on our jackets. The twelve cards include simple graphics of everything from a server to a booster seat, even music and good manners (how cute...

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Paperless Post gets thank you notes. Emily Post rejoices.

The thought of sending a note card via the internet would generally make my inner Emily Post faint, but after seeing the gorgeous new paperless thank you cards, from CMP fave Paperless Post, I think I can hear her applauding. Just as lovely as a real, life paper note or thank you card, the new beauties from Paperless Post are devoid of nothing but the actual paper. Well, and the gas used to power the planes, trains, and mail trucks. But who’s keeping track? However, what you do get is the thoughtfulness of a carefully chosen and pretty darn...

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Baby sun protection in handy blanket form

We rarely leave the house without our Rain or Shine Kids waterproof stroller blanket – whether it’s a cool fall picnic, winter jog, or spring walk in the park. And now, with their organic sun protection blanket, I think they’ve pretty much got us covered for summer too. Literally. This simple, organic cotton blanket is made from UPF 30+ fabric, which helps keep the sun rays away from your baby or kiddos without roasting them in a little fabric oven. So smart. And the extremely handy ties let you attach the blanket to your stroller, infant carrier, or infant...

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Clek monkeys around with their booster seats

Sometimes I think I’m a 12 year-old trapped in the body of a…well nevermind. But I think that’s why I such a huge fan of Paul Frank. His ubiquitous monkey, Julius, is one of the staples of the teen-hip market and now it’s it’s available for the younger set in the new boosters seats from CMP fave, Clek. The new Paul Frank backless booster seats feature two great designs for both girls and boys: The Julius Hearts Me (shown) and the Skurvy Camo will brighten up even the most mundane of minivans, and are available as a complete seat,...

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It’s true, fish really is brain food

So it’s become pretty clear that iPhone apps can be God’s technological gift to parents wanting to avoid toddler meltdowns in restaurants and pediatrician offices. Some of my favorite apps for the younger set come courtesy of Duck Duck Moose, which is slowly taking over the “educational app” category with their graphically clever learning games. When your 2-4 year old is ready to take those Sesame Street concepts a little further, they’ll love Fish School which uses funny little fishies, humorous sound effects, positive reinforcement, and an incredibly simple interface to help teach letters, numbers, shapes and more. The...

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Romper room

So I admit that this whole adult romper trend scares me just a little, mostly because my body is not cut out for any sort of one-piece clothing item not meant for a beach. But my daughters, on the other hand, look absolutely fabulous in them. And at the top of my list is the adorable Purr Kitty sunsuit from Mini Rotation, a hipster tee company that’s turned its attention towards cool kids wear over the last few years. I love the playful graphics on the simple, bright cotton one-piece, that’s the perfect summer play outfit for any little...

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Beautiful little dresses at beautiful little prices

Ses Petites Mains has been consistently one of my favorite shops for small-label, beautifully tailored girls’ clothes from designer Beth Miles. And right now, you can hit their private sale–oops, did I just make it public?– for fabulous savings on their very special clothing for very lucky girls. My picks include the lovely 1940’s-esque shirtwaist dress, the sweet plaid sun top, a plaid slip dress (shown) that I wish came in my size, and the billowy tallulah dress which we own and is a well-worn favorite that’s held up beautifully after multiple (multiple!) washings. The sizes are limited in...

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Lunchwalla stomps out event-planning indigestion

I used to organize a girls night out with friends once a month, and it always started with one itty-bitty email to the group. Pretty soon though, that email had mushroomed into dozens of reply-to-all’s, forwards, links to can we try this place, and before long, I’m wondering when my personal secretary is going to appear to simplify things. While not exactly a personal secretary, Lunchwalla has the right idea for people who, like me, want to get friends or coworkers together for lunch, a movie, or a five-hour dinner away from the kids. And it works a lot...

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We see cool crayons in your future

We’re always on the lookout for cool party favors that do not include small plastic toys that last all of four minutes, or sugar-infested treats that seem to last four hours. So if you’ve got a party coming up, stuff those goody bags with these cool fortune cookie crayons. Handmade from upcycled crayons, these adorable crayons come complete with their own fortune and are packaged in a Chinese take-out box. Pair them with a funky coloring book as a birthday gift or split them up and use them as party favors. Either way, I foresee them being a big...

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Charlie Hope’s latest CD puts us to sleep

I thought I was past the whole need-for-a-lullaby thing until my five year old started whispering I’m Scared into my ear every night at 2AM. Now, I think he needs a little Charlie Hope crooning into his ear from her World of Dreams CD, to help chill him out at night. Charlie’s voice is perfect for lullabies: Soft, gentle and warm like a mama’s hand stroking her little guy’s face. That is, if that mama wasn’t already downstairs trying to clean up the dinner dishes. I’ve tried lying down and listening to it with him, but her lullabies affect me...

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Family travel, four-star, and discount all in the same breath.

When my husband and I talk about taking a trip, it always goes along the same script:“How about here?” “Too expensive.”“How about here?” “No good with kids.”“How about here?” “Are you kidding??”“Fine, let’s just go camping.” And don’t get me wrong, I like camping, but I’d be okay with a luxury getaway once in a while. Which is why, I suppose, I’ve recently become addicted to Hotwire’s Travel Ticker. The prices appeal to my penny-pinching side, and the wealth of available information appeals to my mom side. Why, perusing the Family Travel section yields all sorts of possibilities I...

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Tea towels aren’t just for tea lovers

I always thought of tea towels to be completely prim and proper, but that’s absolutely not the case with the gorgeous block printed tea towels at Fisk and Fern.  The bright inviting designs are printed on absorbent 100% cotton which evidently is supposed to work just as well as paper towels, which makes the eco-ista in me even more intrigued. While these handmade tea towels make a lovely hostess gift, I say get them for yourself. It’s fabulous way to put a little zing back into your kitchen decor this spring without paying anywhere near the price of a...

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Ecards of the rich and famous

Ecard sites are no longer what they used to be, even a few years ago. I can’t even imagine why anyone besides your grandma would still send those digital cards made of stock photography rosebuds and garish wedding type. Well now here’s another one to add to your bookmarks: ecard website to the stars, Cocodot. While the service isn’t free — a very basic annual membership starts at $29 — it’s definitely a savvy choice for those of you chronic entertainers, birthday-rememberers, and general well-wishers who want to make an excellent impression without the use of actual stamps. The...

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Retirement gift for teacher? Reader Q&A

I need to find a retirement gift for my daughter’s first grade teacher. I saw your teacher gift suggestions post and thought they were great, and wondered if you had any ideas for a retirement gift.  -Amy For a retiring teacher who you love, I think a more sentimental gift is in order, like the short-but-sweet Seize the Day words or even a simple Thank You etched into a Tiny Bowl from Paloma’s Nest (shown above); while we know most teachers are averse to tchotchkes, this bowl is so lovely, and a perfect motto for your teacher’s days ahead....

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