Month: November 2012

A sweet wooden wonderland for your wunderkind

Silent night? Yeah, only if your holiday toy choices don’t include batteries, drum sticks, or bells. We’ve found a beautiful selection of handmade, heirloom quality toys that can help your child create a peaceful, quiet winter wonderland under the tree. Much like the quiet of a snow-blanketed forest, these handmade wooden toys from Etsy shop mielasiela in Lithuania are a breath of fresh air. Each piece is hand-cut and sanded, formed of natural, untreated black alder wood. We love that the designs are original, clearly hand drawn and so delightfully unexpected. Besides the boy in the forest, there’s also...

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Hooray, at last! The only Holiday Gift Guide you’ll need: ours!

It’s holiday time! And around here, that means our editors have been burning the midnight oil to bring you our 6th annual Holiday Gift Guide featuring more than 150 (!) truly inspired gifts for all the special people in your lives–plenty from the small shops and indie businesses that we love to support this time of year.  {Don’t miss the amazing $1800 giveaway after the jump!} You’ll find everything from the sweetest baby’s first Christmas gifts to beautiful Hanukkah keepsakes, as well as the coolest presents for hard-to-shop-for dads, grandparents, nieces and nephews, movie buffs, foodies, fans of a...

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Take on picky eaters this season with The Picky Palate cookbook

I love cookbooks. I’ve never once turned out a dish that looks anything like sumptuous food photos, but a gal can dream, can’t she? Especially around the holidays–oh, to be that hostess. Since I despise ingredient lists longer than Homer’s Odyssey, I’m really pumped to have found a new cookbook with yummy photography, minimal recipe ingredient lists, and delicious results. There may just be hope for me–and my holiday table–yet. The popular food blogger Jenny Flake has turned out her first cookbook, The Picky Palate, based on her wildly popular blog of the same name. Jenny’s genius ability to create really fun,...

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All the handmade advent calendars were hung by the chimney with care

There are so many ways to count down the days to Christmas, from beautiful artistic calendars, to fun DIY printables, to even 24 punk-rock tunes that’ll have you oi-ing around the kitchen. But if you want an advent calendar with loads and loads of “awwwwww”—and some eco goodwill tucked inside–look no further than these super-sweet diminutive stockings from this creative mama of four. And be sure to order soon in time for December 1! Cheerful Things designer Alicia Todd takes the best wool from rescued sweaters and scarves and turns it into the most adorable little creations like this colorful...

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A Santa-approved personalized book: The Mouse Who Saved Christmas

Ready or not, mamas, the holiday season is on us. Here’s a good way to get a jump on Christmas morning: an adorably customized book with your kid as a main character–and a major part of the plotline. ‘Twas the Mouse who Saved Christmas  is a sweet and welcome entry into the your-kid’s-name-here category of gifts. Occasionally, personalized kids’ books seem to have pretty random placements of your child’s name in the text. But the creators of this book incorporate your child’s name in a thoughtful and unique way, making your little one a truly central character in the...

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One thing you can do to make a difference for millions of women. And it’s free.

As some of you know, I recently spent a week in Ethiopia with the amazing organization ONE, specifically to see the tangible good that foreign aid is doing for mothers and families around the globe. The amazing thing about ONE is that they never ask for your money–only your voice. And that voice matters indeed. I’d love if you can take 30 seconds (really!) out of your day to do one little thing for them–and for all mothers–in honor of Giving Tuesday. And it won’t cost you a dime. Only about 30 seconds. My small request: Please sign this...

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Custom Christmas ornaments that you will swoon over

With Christmas just around the river bend (how very Pocahontas of me), the search for festive ornaments is underway. I like to hunt for ornaments, especially handmade ones, in unpredictable places, and my first visit is always Etsy. It’s my one-stop shop for unique and creative custom ornaments that won’t be seen on every other tree in my neighborhood. When I saw these pretty ornaments from Eleni Creative, I right away envisioned a rustic tree full of these beauties. Each one of these ornaments is handmade and takes her up to three hours to make–meaning it would take me twice...

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We’re giving back to our favorite causes on #GivingTuesday

While Cool Mom Picks is known for finding the coolest stuff out there for our readers to buy, we’ve also got a big soft spot for causes and charities, and generally just making the world a better place. (Bonus points if it also involves shopping for cool stuff.) So it’s no surprise that when we heard about #GivingTuesday, we couldn’t wait to learn more–and we knew our readers would dig it too. #GivingTuesday is a collaborative effort, spearheaded by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, to promote generosity and giving during the holiday season. We’ve devoted recent...

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The most sophisticated Advent calendars for adults. (Truffles, anyone?)

I love Advent calendars as a way for my kids to count down to Christmas (did you catch our most recent picks?). But why should they be the only ones to have all the fun? If you’re looking for an Advent calendar that’s more sophisticated, here are some amazing options that you may want to grab before the first of December. –Christina I grew up eating waxy molded chocolates that I pulled out of the drugstore Advent calendar that my mom bought each year. Now that I’m grown up, I still love to find little treats, but I’d prefer them...

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Little Pickle Press: Children’s books that give back, especially to the children who read them.

I love children’s books with messages that support our values, but a lot of those books seem to put the messages ahead of the storytelling. In other words, I’d like to own more books that are as engaging as Eloise but maybe aren’t how-to’s in achieving bratdom status before fifth grade? So I’m thrilled to have found a small publisher that does a beautiful job with kids’ books about topics like the environment, global citizenship, health and imagination–but your kids will just think they’re just good books. Little Pickle Press is a small publisher with big ideas. I’ve recently...

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