Month: June 2010

Geek may be a four letter word, but then, so is cool

My husband’s favorite childhood memory may involve cracking open his brand new Atari game system and having a marathon Pong session, so it’s no surprise that he grew up to be a tad tech-obsessed. Which is why I got him a copy of Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share for Father’s Day. Written by popular Wired.com blogger, Ken Denmead, this book has dozens of family-friendly activities that are as simple as finger painting with wind up toys or as intricate as an amazing project to create a light-up kite. Each chapter includes...

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Kids’ rain gear in June, because Mother Nature likes to break the rules

As my poor waterlogged friends in the Pacific Northwest know all too well, June can be a wet one. It’s as if Mother Nature doesn’t give a hoot that we have bored little faces staring up at us waiting for summer to begin. I think it’s better to wrap the kids up in a raincoat and throw them outside to puddle jump, but good luck finding any gear in the stores right now. Instead, turn to some of our favorite online shops who seem to know that rain happens, sometimes much more often than we’d like. The new limited-edition...

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Caps off to you

I have hostess gifts on the brain these days; maybe it’s just wishful thinking that I’ll get lots of fancy summer house invitations this season? Or maybe I’m just dying to get someone a little gift as cool as this sleek little Urban Creature bottle opener. I actually prefer the plain one that looks like a little…well, creature, and goes by the name of “Fang.” But there are 9 different graphics like this pretty floral pattern and the more graphic drink design. They’re about $28 plus shipping from London’s ultra-fab Vitamin Living. So if you’re in love, stock up...

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Not too shabby but affordably chic

When I got word that online boutique Shabby Apple is now promoting their dresses for women, I have to be honest, I was a bit skeptical. I like some but not all of their little girls’ dresses, and on top of that, mail order clothes + cheap prices are a combo that generally doesn’t work for my hard-to-fit figure and picky picky tastes. So when they offered to send a couple of dresses my way to try out, I have to be honest, I was not expecting to like them much. But like them I do! The Tour Eiffel...

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Gummy bears that won’t wreck your teeth

Despite the fact that looking at this kids furniture got The Gummy Bear Song stuck in my head (no, I won’t burden you if you don’t already know it), I’m totally grooving on these adorable gummy bear chairs from yam & toast. They’re sweet without going overboard–a great alternative to neon and licensed characters, but still colorful and appropriately kid-like. yam & toast makes all of their furniture in Brazil, using wood harvested from managed renewable forests, so it’s a choice you can feel good about, too. And if the wee gummy bear chair delighted you, they also have...

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This onesie is a snap

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve mis-snapped my kids’ onesies. Thousands of days of practice and I still do it wrong. Now really, in theory, it’s not that big of a deal to just fix it except that it drives me up a wall every time. So I am completely sold on the ingenious idea that Redsnapper Baby has: Add a patented middle red snap so you hit your target every time. Super simple. Super smart. But of course you’re not buying your baby’s clothes for the snaps alone, so good thing there are a few cute...

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Web Coolness – Cupcakes, travel tips and gearing up for Father’s Day

Here are some things we’ve liked reading around the web this week. We hope you will too. In time for graduation season, the Pioneer Woman rounds up some killer cupcake recipes from around the web. Shown here: Almond Cupcakes with Ultimate Vanilla Buttercream Icing. Drool. Smart packing tips for families from Traveling Mom Grace from design*sponge starts a blog/PR/design consulting service. So smart! Find some cool children’s design inspiration from the new international blog, Pirouette. This lovely post about a playdate for special needs kids by Amy Storch at the Stir won us over. Fun summer travel idea from...

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Handmade Father’s Day cards – only not by your own hand

When your kids are still too young to break out the glitter glue and make dad a Father’s Day card–or too old–a printed card can still go a long way. So to keep you from the card aisle crush the next Saturday, I searched through Etsy (with the help of some of our friends over there–thanks Adam!) and tracked down a few clever handmade Father’s Day cards that help show your love both for the rockin’ dads of the world, and for independent artists too. –Liz I’d imagine this “daddy issues” Father’s Day card (above)was designed for adults to...

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Snack, wash, dry, repeat

I’ll never be the eco-mama who reuses plastic wrap or gives up the soft toilet paper for the stuff that feels like newspaper. Mostly I look for small changes I can live with, and one of those has been cutting down on my reliance on disposable plastic snack bags. There are just so many good alternatives out there, like the reusable snack bags from Itzy Ritzy. I’ve learned I much prefer the zipper close here to velcro ones elsewhere, to keep those pretzels and raisins put. And the waterproof (but PVC-free) lining means you can use it for apple...

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The long of board shorts

With summer officially underway, I am busy getting my beach bag stocked so I can run off to the pool at a moment’s notice. Along with towels, my unfashionable floppy hat and tons of sunscreen, I’m going to be including the new UV Board Shorts from Baby Banz for my son. They have a UPF 50+ rating of sun protection, as all Baby Banz clothing do, so I don’t have to worry that after an hour in the pool he’s completely at the mercy of the sun’s burning rays. The shorts are generously cut enough that certain kids —...

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Dear Dad: I found you the perfect book for Father’s Day

Stumped for Father’s Day? Maybe it’s because I’m married to a photographer (though I don’t think so), but I’m thinking that if Dear Dad from Chronicle Books doesn’t bring a little tear to his eye, he might not actually be human. The volume is filled with breathtaking photos of dads and grandfathers and children all doing what they love best–just enjoying each other, every day. Throw in a few snippets of wisdom about the powerful role dads play in our lives, and you’ve got a little book that packs a wallop. But don’t take my word for it; check...

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Our 2010 Father’s Day Gift Guide is here!

Yesterday, our subscribers got a first look at our super-awesome, totally helpful, very cool Father’s Day Gift Guide. (Yet another reason you should sign up to be a subscriber too!) And now we’re putting it out there for all to see. Because tokens of love and appreciation come in all different sizes, this year we’ve found Father’s Day gift ideas in every price range from nearly free and crafty, to wow, that’s a whole lot of zeros on that price tag. But every one of them is sure to let the fabulous dads and granddads in your life know...

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Make sure what goes to camp, doesn’t stay at camp

I’ve never been good at labeling my kids’ stuff which means I’ve paid the price in misplaced water bottles, forgotten jackets and other random missing objects. But with three kids going to camp this summer, I’d better get on my game to make sure what walks out of the house in the morning walks back in at the end of the day, albeit dirty and stinky. I’m a big fan of Name Bubbles’ Camp Pack of colorful waterproof and laundry-safe personalized labels which get the job done in a lot less time than a Sharpie. You’ll get 124 press-and-stick...

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Yo Gabba Gabba finger puppets, aka There’s a Party on my Fingers

These so-called “friendly monster finger puppets” bear such a striking resemblance to the Yo Gabba Gabba characters that I had to break down and buy them for my YGG-obsessed daughter’s third birthday. I mean, that striped green one does look a whole lot like Brobee and that one-eyed red monster really could pass for Muno, right? It’s not just me? Find them on Etsy from Utah’s WeeKnit, who does a fabulous job with superhero finger puppets, the Wizard of Oz characters, Star Wars finger puppets and assorted cute barnyard animals, bunnies and fairies too....

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Come hang out on Justin Roberts’ new Jungle Gym

Though we have stacks of kids’ music CD’s—one of the perks of reviewing kids’ music for Cool Mom Picks–I know that I’ll always hear something from Justin Roberts coming through our stereo’s speakers every few days. It’s a powerful testament to the many infectious, wanna-hear-again songs he’s put out over the past twelve years that end up on all our playlists. Now we have another album to add to our mix: Jungle Gym, a family-friendly CD packed with a dozen instant kindie classics that brilliantly capture so many of the themes and ideas that float around my kids’ heads. ...

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The miraculous, affordable, eco-friendly storage cubes of your dreams

I usually leave the furniture assembly to my husband; not  because I don’t know my way around a tool box, but because I figure I did all that kid-having so it’s only fair that he do all the direction-following and screwing together of 400 parts. But since he travels a lot for work and I don’t have any patience for the screwing together of the 400 parts, I’m so happy to have discovered the life-changing Way Basics eco-friendly storage cubes. Sustainably made from recycled paper, these very sturdy storage containers require absolutely no tools for construction. Simply stick them...

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Passage to India

Now that our air conditioner is blaring full force (curse you, NYC humidity!), I’ve finally gotten around to summer-izing the linens. I find a simple little change like switching throw pillow covers from wool to cotton or swapping out our duvet for something lighter makes me feel like I have a whole new, seasonally-appropriate home. (Just avoid the mounds of shedding cat hair and you’ll be fine.) If you’re looking for little changes that can go a long way, take a gander at the utterly gorgeous linens we just discovered at Saffron Marigold. The richly vibrant, ethnic-inspired textiles are...

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Don’t spend another summer blowing those perfect snapshots

I got a snazzy new camera for Mother’s Day and hoped it would instantly turn me into a photographer that makes grown men cry. Instead, I’m still taking loads of uninspired, far-away photos of my kids doing various inexplicable things. What I need is a little direction and inspiration to turn my ho-hum photos into things of beauty, and Tracey Clark, pro photographer, good friend to CMP and the founder of Shutter Sisters, is stepping in to help me. And you. And anyone who cares to sign up for her 30-day online photography and scrapbooking workshop, Picture Summer. Hosted...

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Sweet slippers for your special sprite

Up until now, I thought of kids’ slippers as a blah winter afterthought or last minute stocking stuffer. But once I saw my own little fairy stomping around the house in these Pixie Slippers from Organic Echo, I realized that they’re not just foot warmers. They can be part of the magical dress-up extravaganza that goes on all day, every day in my house: They’re pixie slippers. No, they’re Jasmine’s slippers from Aladdin. No, they’re a tiny rabbit’s car. No, they’re rhinoceros boots, whatever that means. Each pair is hand-made and hand-stitched from old sweaters, and you can even...

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A new ring every day

Keepsake jewelry with family photos always makes a great gift, but what happens when your sweet 9 month-old is now a sweet 4 year-old with a baby brother? Easy if you’ve got the “Good Time” photo ring from CMP fave artist Yellowgoat–you just swap in a new photo. I love this brass or silver jewelry inspired by Polaroid photos, and if you’ve been playing with the Hipstamatic iPhone app as much as we have, you’ve already got dozens of cool square photos to choose from. The artist will customize the ring for your own size, provide a thick paper...

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