Month: December 2011

A cool (not freaky) way to show your kids that Santa is real

We’re all about the magic of Santa Claus at our house but we’ve definitely dropped the ball when it comes to visiting him at the mall or even getting a letter from him sent to the kids. But I’m about to be completely redeemed when I show them this personal video message to my kids from Santa Claus himself. And even better, it didn’t cost me a dime. Portable North Pole was such a huge hit with my kids last year I’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest it again this year. To make your own personalized message from...

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Web Coolness – Santa for all, LEGO for girls, and treats for the sweet

We’re here to spread some holiday cheer with cool links from around the web.    Yum! Creature Comforts‘ roundup of 16 (!) great food gifts will have your mouth watering. An elf’s lament: Occupy the North Pole is a fun read for 99% of us. Kristen asks, “Does Santa wrap your gifts?” and gets an earful.  We’re so pleased to hear that funding for public broadcasting has been approved for the next fiscal year. Trying to let kids be kids in this age of overparenting. Kids’ music powerhouse Laurie Berkner picks out her favorite kindie albums of 2011 and...

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Last chance to enter our 5 Days of Giveaways!

All week long we’ve been giving away all sorts of awesome goodies as a thanks to our wonderful subscribers, and tomorrow is our very last one. And it’s good one. Promise. If you’re already a subscriber, then just watch your inbox tomorrow morning like you have been all week long. But if you’ve been holding out, now’s a great chance to become a Cool Mom Picks subscriber. Sure, you’ll get access to a fabulous giveaway tomorrow, but you’ll also get our free monthly newsletter, discounts and deals you won’t find anywhere else, and plenty more goodies that we promise...

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You’re a good app, Charlie Brown

Every year I realize I’ve missed 99% of my favorite children’s holiday shows (sorry Charlie Brown!) because I’m preoccupied with the 1000 other things I have to do before Christmas morning.  Thankfully, one of my all time favorite Christmas shows is now also an iPhone and iPad app that is available any ol’ time. Like…right now! A Charlie Brown Christmas app takes the beloved story from 1965 and uses 2011 technology to add a layer of interactive fun to the story. I love, love, love that the original story is here so that my kids and I can page...

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New Year’s cards are a very nice way to kick off the year.

I’m thrilled that New Year’s cards have taken off — after all, why should December mailboxes have all the fun? Plus, have I mentioned how much I love getting photo cards in the mail? (Yes, it looks like I have.) Also, let’s be honest, New Year’s cards are a brilliant solution for those of us who never got around to sending out holiday cards but would still like to. After all, you’ve still got a good month to send them out. Plus they’re now as clever and well designed as traditional holiday cards — sometimes, even more so. Here...

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An adorable illustration of your kid drawn just for you

Just when I thought I’d run out of original gift ideas, I came across an illustrator who will draw a ridiculously cute picture of your kid along with his or her favorite possession. There’s literally no kid’s room that these illustrations wouldn’t look good in. The talented illustrator behind Unless Someone Like You does custom kids’ art prints that feature a cherubic likeness of your child along with their name. What you do is send her details like your child’s name, hair color and item they love. She uses “archival pigment print” which in layman’s terms means it’s acid-free,...

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7 am enfant mittens

Yes, so I ‘m having a winter gloves thing this week. That’s what happens when the weather drops to freezing in the Northeast and my kids, who normally hate bundling up, start complaining about cold fingers. If you’ve got littler ones, and are tired of lost mitten syndrome–either because they don’t stay on well, or because, well, kid lose mittens–7 A.M. Enfant has some wonderful solutions. Mostly known for their fashionable Arctic weight stroller bags for babies, this French company also makes some wonderful¬†accessories. The classic mittens have an elasticized wrist to keep snow and wind out (and baby...

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The most beautiful free printable gift tags to top off your holiday wrapping

You could cover my house with all the leftover wrapping paper I have accumulated throughout the years. But, for some reason, my gift tags have a way of disappearing right when I need them most. Fortunately, I’ve uncovered a ton of cool printable gift tags that you can print right from home. –Christina How About Orange has rounded up a whole bunch of free printable tags that range from whimsical to sophisticated. My favorites are Sass & Peril’s clean, modern tags (shown above) which also include a Happy Hanukkah tag. Fifth and Hazel’s printable Chevron tags are super easy...

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12 festive holiday gift wrap ideas

If you’re like us, Christmas Eve day is going to be spent in a big gift wrap frenzy. As much as I love those brown paper packages tied up with string, I really love when the gifts I’m giving look as festive as the holidays themselves. Here, 12 of my favorite ideas for wrapping gifts that will make your packages stand out from the stacks covered in store-bought paper. They’ll almost be too nice to open, though my anxious kids will beg to differ. –Christina   This clever yarn-wrapped gift for kids comes with a little present on the...

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Best babysitter gift at the last minute? Reader Q&A

I totally am stumped on what to give our favorite sitter in addition to some cash. Any last minute ideas? She’s really wonderful and we want her to know how much we value her but I don’t want to spend a lot because we’re already giving her money too. Thanks! -Alyssa While cash (generally a week to two week’s pay for a full time nanny or sitter) will be a most-appreciated gift, we like the idea of pairing it with a little something personal for those important caregivers in our children’s lives. If your child is old enough to...

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The Nutcracker at BAM – magical holiday perfection

If you’re going to be in New York City this holiday season (shockingly, many tourists do this very thing each year!) this native New Yawker has an awesome tip for you. At least if you’d like to squeeze a performance of The Nutcracker into your festivities, without having to hock your plane tickets and hitchhike home. Now I’m a huge, longtime fan of Balanchine’s NYC Ballet production at Lincoln Center–there’s nothing quite like it–but if you’ve got young kids, it’s pretty hard to justify the $110-150 for orchestra seats. If you can even find them now. As an alternative,...

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Glove love

It feels like only yesterday that I was making excuses for forgetting the kids’ sunscreen, and now I’m making excuses for forgetting the kids’ gloves. It’s the season for cold fingers, at least in my neck of the woods, and gloves make a great last minute stocking stuffer–or gift–maybe even for yourself? If you haven’t yet found the perfect hand warmers, and want something a little more unique than the $4.99 poly-blend special from a street vendor, here are just a few cute gloves that have caught my eye, all under $40. The wool-cashmere girls’ gloves from Jacadi are...

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Last minute Hanukkah crafts from Martha Stewartstein

If you’re still scrambling for a little something to make your Hanukkah celebration a bit more dazzling and festive, Martha Stewart (of course) has the most amazing roundup of Hanukkah craft ideas. Here, just a few of my favorites that seem like you could manage to get together in time for latkes and your family’s Competitive Dreidel Deathmatch. For decked out dreidels (shown at top)  just coat regular wooden ones in glue and dip in glitter. Plop them all into a big glass jar or vase and you’ve got a great centerpiece. [see more great Hanukkah craft and decor...

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HoneyBells – The gift that won’t arrive in time for Christmas. Which is exactly the point.

If you are not familiar with HoneyBells, you are not familiar with the sweetest, most delectable, lipsmackingly awesome nectar of the gods. Or as my kids call it, good orange juice. (Silly kids.) Each year, my dad has sent us a shipment of these amazingly sweet HoneyBell Tangelos that put standard navels to shame and we’ve come to look forward to it every year. They’re not actually oranges–they’re a rare hybrid of a Dancy Tangerine and a Duncan Grapefruit, and the result is unreal. While several companies ship HoneyBells, we’ve never been disappointed with the ones from Albritton Fruit....

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Last minute holiday gifts: Don’t panic!

We loved putting together our biggest ever Holiday Gift Guide for you this year. But we also know that with a few of you are still hunting for the perfect last-minute holiday gift, now that it’s officially less than a week before Christmas. (No judgments, promise!) Here, a whole bunch of ideas for everyone on your list that you can still have wrapped and under the tree by Christmas Eve. As for you Hanukkah revelers–well, you’d better hurry. Or you can look at it as an extension, if you’re still giving gifts on the eighth night this year. 1....

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Presenting Cool Mom Picks’ 5 Days of Holiday Giveaways!

At Cool Mom Picks, we’ve always been big advocates of the ‘Tis better to give than to receive thing, especially around the holidays. So we decided it would be a fun holiday treat to say thank you to our amazing subscribers with a week’s worth of fabulous giveaways. No string attached. If you’re already a Cool Mom Picks subscriber (yay!), watch your inbox every morning this week for a chance to win some seriously amazing prizes — fabulous toys, luxury strollers, and much, much more. We promise–they will be awesome. And entering will be a snap. If you’re not...

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5 picks you might have missed at Cool Mom Tech

Gadgets, apps, and gifts galore is what we’re all about. In case you missed them, here are some tech posts from the past week. And if you don’t see what you need, don’t forget about out our ginormous Cool Mom Tech Holiday Gift Guide, with plenty of gifts you can still get in time for Christmas. 1. Geeky cards for that special techie in your life? We’ve got five that are perfect. Even better with a gift card stuck inside.  2. Gift wrapping goes stylishly multimedia with this sleek black and red Twitter hashtag paper. 3. A little bird...

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11 of our families’ favorite holiday books, with a whole lot of surprises

One of my favorite aspects of the holidays is pulling out all our holiday books and reading together with all my kids huddled under a blanket with popcorn and hot chocolate. But even though we really only read our books once a year, I’m sort of ready to retire our same version of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and add a few new books to our collection. So, we asked our editors and contributors to share their own family’s favorite holiday books and why they love them. Here’s hoping you enjoy this list as much as I will. The...

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The Perfect Puff

Boys need accessories. It really takes their outfits to another level. The trick is one or two key pieces that emphasize fun, comfort, and flavor. That’s why I am just loving Little Z Kids green puff vest. If you don’t know Little Z Kids, it’s a great company to support. It’s completely family owned and priced just right. The styles are all so different and worldly, with lots of Japanese influence. It’s like Harajuku meets hipster. As for their Puffer Vest, it’s the perfect piece for layering this winter, and I know all three of my boys will fight over it....

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Lovely leather for the ladies

Perusing Etsy has become an occupational hazard because I just end up finding more gorgeous handmade goodies that I swear are screaming my name. Such is the case with these beautiful leather bracelets that I can’t stop thinking about. I can’t quite decide which EmilydeMolly laser cut leather cuff I want. I’m not usually a flower person but the metallic gold rose cuff (pictured) is fantastic. But then my eye caught the red ornate cuff design which I like as well.  Oh, who am I kidding? I’d be happy with any of them. But at just $35, I might...

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