Month: December 2012

All-inclusive craft kits from Lullubee: just add fun

Both of my kids are craft junkies. Like, major craft crazies. They could create arts and crafts all day, every day. I’m constantly rummaging through drawers and closets, trying to figure out what I could I use to create a “handmade” craft. Which never really works out for me. And unless you are a craft queen, I’m guessing that you can probably relate. So you’ll be glad to know I’ve got some good news in this particular department Thankfully, sites like lullubee have done the dirty work for us! Lullubee craft kits are designed for basic to intermediate crafty levels....

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Gourmet Spotting: Great taste, in the mail

Need a quick hostess gift that doesn’t require wrapping? We think a gourmet box for foodies is always in good taste. Especially when it gives back a little too. Yes, we already delivered a spiffy round-up of amazing gift subscription services for adults, but we couldn’t help including this fun new find that brings carefully curated gourmet goodies to your favorite foodies. Gourmet Spotting is a new NYC start-up by two globe-trotting foodies, who love to share their locally sourced and organic finds from around the world to help reinvigorate meals at home. Each month you’ll get full-size gourmet...

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Great gift books for every little reader on your holiday list, because we still think they make the best gifts of all

Even in the sea of toys piled high under our Christmas tree, my kids are always excited to receive books as holiday gifts. Always. And I admit, I’m pretty happy too. They’re gifts that all my kids will enjoy at one time or another, and perhaps even their kids too. We’ve loved the mom-founded publisher Barefoot Books ever since we first featured them on Cool Mom Picks many, many years ago, so how exciting that they’re our newest sponsor! We’ve gone through their catalog to pick out some of our favorite gift book sets that you can still get...

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8 of the coolest personalized gifts that there’s still time to get for Christmas!

Whether you’re down to the last present on your list or still only just getting started (ahem), you don’t have to panic. There’s still time to order super-cool gifts that are–get this!–personalized, so no one will ever know that you didn’t buy them weeks ago. Here are some of our favorites. –Lexi We like this affordable little peronalized rockstar coin pouch from Psychobaby so much, we included it in the CMP holiday gift guide. And you have until 12/17 to order (via 2nd day shipping).  Personalized pocket mirrors from Olliegraphic sport your kid’s name–and you can choose the hair...

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5 apple cider cocktails that make mean mocktails, too

These days, I look for a cocktail that’s just as tasty without the spirits. (Ah, how times have changed.) I like having yummy drinks on hand for pregnant friends, kids, and those who steer clear of alcohol. And I’ve figured out that the key to a great mocktail is a super delicious combination of mixers that treat the booze as icing rather than the main treat. Using apple cider as a base for your cocktail makes that simple. If you don’t believe me, check out these five impressive (and easy!) apple cider drinks that are delicious as cocktails or mocktails and perfect for this...

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The perfect gift for the kid whose power is super-coloring

If you–like me–have a little one who has become so devoted to all things “super” that you have to call breakfast “super-Cheerios” and explain that bedtime is the only way to recharge super-batteries, then I guarantee this is a truly super present. These personalized superhero crayons at Cio Prints are the perfect way to a) indulge your kiddo’s penchant for all things super and b) do so without any licensed characters to speak of.  What I really love about the crayons–besides the fact that you can get both super boy and super girl versions–is that they’re personalized in lots...

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A simple tote bag with a powerful mission of hope from ESPEROS

We love it when a favorite company is back on the scene with a new product, especially when that product does a world of good for someone in need. ESPEROS provides education for disadvantaged children while making gorgeous and practical bags. The company has a simple mission: One bag. One child. One year. {Keep reading after the jump for a chance to win a new ESPEROS tote!} When you get one of the simply practical (and yes, cool) bags by ESPEROS you give back, and you do it in a big way. Because every ESPEROS bag sold provides a...

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Great baby dolls for boys, in honor of Free to Be You and Me, and William…40 years later.

We’re so happy to wish a happy 40th anniversary to Free to Be…You and Me, that groundbreaking collection of songs and spoken word pieces that introduced me to the concepts of equality and tolerance at such a young age. For instance, take the song William’s Doll. The story about a little boy who just wants a doll to love and hold—and the mocking, teasing chorus—came back to me years later in playgroups when I’d hear parents worrying that their sons wanted a doll, or (gasp) a kitchen set. Wow, 40 years later, we’re still worrying about this? So in honor of...

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11 awesome handmade gifts you don’t need a design degree to create

After spending a few minutes on Pinterest at this time of the year, I start to feel seriously inadequate in the crafting arena. I don’t mind stretching a little bit to make something awesome, but I’d rather not lose my mind in the process.  If you too get the itch to go handmade for the holidays, but aren’t sure you have the time or energy to tackle something too over-the-top, we’ve got a bunch of ideas from which to choose. No design degree required. –Christina Christmas Olliblocks make an adorable toy to either toss in the stockings or wrap...

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Way cool modern Christmas cards. For real.

It’s that time of the year: choosing the annual Christmas card. If you are late in the game, like me, you may be skipping the photo cards. However if you’re also like me, you want something unique, simple and festively awesome. I am a big fan of finding special cards on Etsy–and what do you know? I found a wonderful shop for all of us. Jersey’s Freshest has the best variety of modern, minimalist cards that will surely impress your friends and family. Each card is hand cut out of heavy card stock. All cards include envelopes and are packaged...

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Top tips and picks for travel with kids to help you all arrive safe and sane

One of our readers’ most common questions: what are your best tips for surviving travel with kids? We’re here to oblige! So we’ve rounded up our tried-and-true favorite picks for keeping junior travelers in great spirits. From day trip to 12-hour road trip to the ever-popular “What were we thinking?” international flights, these are the items we’ve found will keep everybody sane and happy this season. {Keep reading for some of the best-ever tips for travel with kids!} We’re thrilled to be partnering with Brita to bring you this post. Their new Brita Bottle for Kids is a huge...

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Les Miserables movie review: Quite easily the movie of the year

Let me start by saying I am not some Les Mis groupie. I have never seen the play or even read Victor Hugo’s book, so it’s not like I have childhood memories to stir up. That said, I cannot think of the last time I walked out of a movie saying, I can’t wait to see that again. And that’s exactly what you’d have heard me say immediately following a preview screening of Les Miserables. At least you might have heard it, if could understand me through the sniffles and the tears still running down my face. [Read on for...

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Yarn Wars: Crochet your own galaxy of stars

Expensive plastic figurines? A Jedi craves not these things. Grab your lightsaber-shaped crochet hook and get busy creating your own galaxy of bite-sized Jedi, Rebels, Empire, and, well, giant squid guys. Trust us– it’s not a trap. You know we love it when geekery and crafting come together, and we’re big fans of the adorable Star Wars amigurami in this set of PDFs from lucyravenscar on Etsy. For $37, you receive complete instructions to make 14 different characters, each about four inches tall. All you need are yarn, stuffing, eyeballs, a tapestry needle, and a crochet hook. No advanced Jedi...

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This ornament from A Christmas Story is better than shooting your eye out

Sorry, kid. You can’t have a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas, but we hear your Aunt Clara sent you something extra special and handmade to hang on the tree. You guys love A Christmas Story as much as we do, right? This A Christmas Story ornament from made by gwen on Etsy is entirely made by hand and lovingly titled The Pink Nightmare. Ralphie’s a little short at only 5.5″ tall, but all his details are hand-painted and embroidered, including tiny bunny faces on each foot and a fuzzy tail on back.  Oh, and as it’s an ornament,...

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How to make a holiday mug gift more special. (You weren’t just going to give a mug, right?)

While yes, mugs make good fallback holiday gifts for teachers and coaches and colleagues and your mother-in-law, on their own they’re not necessarily…special. (Although we did find one in our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide in the gifts under $16 category that’s pretty darn cool.) Here, I thought of 6 ways to give your mug gift a little more oomph. 1. Include your favorite tea bags I always look at Tea Forte for gifts each year because not only are the teas great, but they’re always so beautifully packaged and ready for gifting. (No offense to Lipton, yo.) This year there’s a new...

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12 of the funniest holiday cards for Christmas and beyond

Hooray for the funniest holiday cards! Now, while of course we love those beautiful, sweet, sentimental holiday photo cards just like any other parents, we gotta say, sometimes we’re kind of thanking the universe for that one friend who isn’t afraid to send the card that makes you laugh. You know–the one with the subliminal drawing in Santa’s beard, or the fart joke involving reindeer. Here, we’ve rounded up just a few of the funnier (but still fairly SFW/small children) Christmas and holiday cards online–and not one “ho” joke in the bunch. Trust us, that wasn’t easy. –Liz +...

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Organization help? Well..

I need this organized pouch by Pamela Barsky. Enough said. –LizFind Pamela Barsky’s clever canvas pouches at the Pamela Barsky Etsy Shop, or on sale at a great price on Fab.com for a limited time. This link gives you membership if you don’t already have...

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5 tech picks you won’t want to miss this week

We’ve been busy at Cool Mom Tech featuring some of the best holiday tech picks around. Here’s what you might have missed on our site this week. 1. Got a pet? You’ve got to see this hilarious gadget made just for them. 2. Got a Kindle Fire? You need this awesome new service from Amazon that’s perfect for parents. 3. Got kids? We strongly suggest taking a look at this scary app for teens and tweens, and talking about it with them, stat. 4. Got a camera? You (or that lucky shutterbug in your life) will love these pretty...

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Christmas gifts that kids can make themselves (really!)

It’s a tradition around our house that my kids give handmade gifts (made by their hands!) to their siblings and grandparents. But coming up with new ideas–especially ones that don’t require me to be the one doing all the work–can be a challenge. If you love giving handmade gifts as much as we do–or want to start a tradition like our family’s–then here’s a plethora of cool and crafty gifts that your kids really can make themselves. Pinky swear. For those of you with little artists, just imagine the possibilities with these DIY modern art plates. Perfect for young scribblers...

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BRIKA is more than another flash sale site. It’s less–in a good way.

While overall, I admit I’m growing a little weary of all the membership-only shopping sites (and the subsequent eight million “OUR SALE IS STARTING!” alerts in my inbox each day), there is a new one I’m excited about. I love its focus on artistry, creativity and the kind of talented designers that we always get excited about when we discover them on Etsy. The new site BRIKA seems to me a bit like a cross between Fab, Uncovet and Joyus. It’s a rather minimalist site–all about beautiful items from artists and small brands you get to learn a little...

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