Month: November 2013

Some of the best building blocks for kids: Larsen Toy Lab makes them even better

We’re always looking for the best building blocks for kids. You just can’t go wrong with a good set of wooden blocks for hours of open-ended fun. So I love how the indie company Larsen Toy Lab has made blocks even better by creating them sustainably in the USA, personalizing then, then packaging them with easy-to-play games and original stories to give our kids one more reason to choose their blocks when it’s time to play. While Larsen Toy Lab sells incredible sets of blocks in either sustainable, Vermont-harvested naked Maple, or a mix of naked Maple and beautiful beeswax-finished Cherry, there...

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Web Coolness: The best weekend shopping deals, creative gift wrap, and kids’ art like you’ve never seen it

Every Friday, we comb the web to find some great links worth reading. Here are some of the cool things we found around the internet this week. We hope you like them, too. There are still plenty of Black Friday deals and discounts right now and we rounded-up some of the best. Psst: Don’t miss the big tech deals too! Love these photos of grandparents recreated from kids’ drawings. [via swiss miss] Children and chores: interesting discussion at Design Mom Do noooot head home from a holiday road trip without loading up your devices with our must-have road trip apps for...

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The best Small Business Saturday online deals from some of our very favorite small businesses

Every year for the last few years, it’s been one of our great joys to support Small Business Saturday, since small businesses doing wonderful things are the heart and soul of our site. Here, just some of the best Small Business Saturday deals and discounts you can shop right from home. We’ll be updating all day as we find more so keep checking back! SHANA LOGIC: Up to 50% off select items (great stocking stuffers, like the heart necklace at top) plus free US shipping on orders $50+ JULIAN + CO: 20% off sitewide with code BLACKCYBER through 12/2...

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7 delicious, easy recipes to put your Thanksgiving leftovers to good use

I know: the last thing you (still) want to think about right now is food. But  whether or not you cooked on Thursday, you probably have a pile of Thanksgiving leftovers in your fridge and another plate of sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce just won’t cut it. Check out my seven favorite Thanksgiving leftovers recipes. These ingenious ideas are the antidote to Thanksgiving meal fatigue while still making it possible to enjoy every last bite of Thanksgiving day. (Above) Grilled cheese with a slice of turkey may seem obvious, but this Thanksgiving Leftover Grilled Cheese (above) from Serious...

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5 of our favorite Pinterest pins this week: Holiday coolness edition

Obsessed with Pinterest as we are? Follow us for cool finds like this every day, including these awesome holiday pins. Hint: Pin now, read later! 1. One of the coolest personalized gift for kids we’ve seen. 2. This holiday appetizer recipe is making us drool. Talk about party hit! 3. We might have found the perfect holiday gift for the grandparents. Affordable, too. 4. These free printable holiday gift tags are adorable. Stock up on printer ink! 5. Aren’t these creative gift wrap for kids ideas amazing? We are so doing these! BONUS: Looking for the coolest holiday toys for...

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Downton Abbey teas: A holiday gift of which even Lady Grantham would approve.

Nanny always said sweet tea is the thing for frayed nerves. (And we think Black Friday weekend might fit the bill, eh?) That means elegant teas are a fantastic gift for the holidays, especially when troublesome relatives like Cousin Isobel are involved. If you have a Downton Abbey fan in your life, they’ll be sure to enjoy a hot cuppa inspired by everyone’s favorite period drama. And it’s perfect to sip on a weekend — whatever that is. The new Downton Abbey teas from The Republic of Tea are the perfect gift for the Anglophile or BBC fan on...

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The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for the best readers: Ours.

We do love shopping on Black Friday, but we just might love sharing the best Black Friday deals with our readers even more. While we know there are huge discounts at the brick and mortar stores today (and uh, last night), we’re partial to shopping from home. Preferably with a cup of coffee in hand. So we’ve rounded up the best Black Friday deals we could find, and we’ll be updating our list all day, so keep checking back. And for the best Black Friday tech deals, don’t miss our post on Cool Mom Tech with discounts on electronics...

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7 of our favorite family board games for family game night

-Featured Partner- At Cool Mom Picks, we all love family game night, even since before it was a thing called Family Game Night. (It’s a thing now! It’s true!) And with the holiday season officially upon us, we’re seeing lots of family time in our futures. And lots of people big and small looking for something to do that bring them together. Sometimes we get so caught up in the newest/latest/greatest toys hat we forget that the classic games are essentials for your family room or game closet. We love getting them as holiday gifts and introducing our kids...

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Need Thanksgiving meal help? We can help!

This Thanksgiving, whether you’re feeding dozens or just your immediate family, you just may need some last minute Thanksgiving meal help. We all know that getting Thanksgiving dinner onto the table  can be a huge undertaking, especially when you’ve got kids underfoot. So check out our big list of helpful posts that will help you figure out everything from what to do with that big butternut squash, to yummy cocktails for the grownups, and delicious treats for the kids that can be done in a flash. Because Thanksgiving is a lot more fun if you get to enjoy it...

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Thanksgiving 911: 4 cooking helplines to save your Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and everything is under control, right? If you just yelled at your screen, “NO!” then read on, mamas. I’ve got four cooking helplines that will provide you with answers to all of your Thanksgiving cooking questions. Breathe. That’s good. Let’s start with the most important part of the Thanksgiving meal: the turkey. BUTTERBALL TURKEY TALK-LINE If our no-panic tutorial on how to cook your first Thanksgiving turkey  hasn’t given you everything you need to make your turkey look like it’s right out of a Williams-Sonoma catalog, you’ll want to hit up the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line (1-800-BUTTERBALL). For...

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Make your own family trivia game for Thanksgiving. Beats fighting about politics.

There’s something about Thanksgiving that brings out the sentimental side of our ordinarily feisty family. In part it’s the memory of family who’s no longer with us, in part it’s seeing the next generation start to fill their seats–if still with boosters in the chair. So I really am smitten with this printable Family Trivia Game DIY project at Martha Stewart that’s super easy to make and might be a fun way to keep the conversation rolling. You can let one family member create a master list of questions, and then everyone has to fill out their own answers in...

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Ooh…affordable baby gifts at Nordstrom while you’re busy shopping for yourself

Featured partner If we had to pick a favorite department store, Nordstrom would be right up there. Between the designers, the wide selection, and their amazing customer service (take the time our Editor Kristen accidentally came home with a security tag attached to her new coat and Nordstrom sent an associate to her home to take it off!) we find ourselves making excuses to pop in whenever we can. (Hello, Chanel counter.) You can also ask our credit cards how much we love shopping there. So you can imagine how excited we are to welcome Nordstrom as our newest...

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Personalized paper dolls: Coolest gift in the world. Ever.

Little kids can be tougher to buy gifts for than it might seem. Either they want absolutely everything, or they can’t think of one thing they want. Which is why I’m flipping out over the personalized paper dolls from Sandy Ford Design. What are they? Basically the coolest gift in the world. You send in an image of your child and within 48-hours get a JPG of a doll that looks exactly like her (or him), along with 5, 10, or 20 outfits. Never fear if you’re not the DIY type; you can order dolls and outfits printed and ready to...

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Reusable gift bags that could fit in Santa’s pockets

I like to keep a stash of gifts on hand to give to those last-minute people I totally forgot to shop for— bottles of Essie nail polish for my kids’  room moms, or Starbucks gift cards for the piano teacher—you know, just in case. But it never fails that I have the gift but no reusable gift bag to pop it in without much fuss. The Etsy shop 1 Pixie Place has a huge selection of muslin bags, and I’ve scanned through them to choose some of my favorites. Whew, it was hard to pick just a few! They’d be perfect for...

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The kinds of gorgeous personalized gifts that make us really love giving personalized gifts.

-Don’t miss an amazing $350 giveaway for our readers!- We love being able to knock as many people off our holiday gift list as we can at a single online shop, don’t you? That’s why we’re always featuring shops that have more than a couple of great things. It’s also one of the reasons we’re so thrilled to find that one of our favorite sponsors, Minted, has added some really spectacular personalized gifts to their shop that are just as lovely as the holiday cards that our readers love. Their personalized gift selection really is amazing, in part because they’re all designed by talented indie artists from around the country. No vector art here. Plus, it’s affordable which is always a plus...

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Gifts that give back: These ornaments could change the world. For real.

Some of our favorite ornaments this year are more than just pretty baubles for your tree. They just might cure breast cancer, save an endangered species, or transform the life of women living in extreme poverty. Pretty impressive. The shiny green and red heart ornament (above) was designed by Mariska Hargitay and supports Child Mind, a non-profit focused on transforming mental heath care for kids everywhere. Love that. ($40) This adorable little bigfoot yeti comes from Ten Thousand Villages, an online retailer sourced completely by disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries worldwide. This particular guy was crafted in the foothills...

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Wild things, you make our heart sing with this gorgeous picture book

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what I did when this fabulous new picture book arrived on my doorstep this week. I could instantly tell we were going to love it. And we did! Everyone in the nameless town where Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is set seems to be perfectly fine with the prim-and-proper status quo. But Mr. Tiger has had enough. Something just isn’t satisfying him in bland exchanges about the weather. So he decides he must break free. He journeys to the Wilderness, where he has an epiphany of sorts. The question...

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Good mojo from yarn zombies? We’re in, especially if it includes sock monkeys.

There’s an uncomfortable stage in between childhood and adulthood when you might need a good luck charm or security blanket, but you know the other kids are going to make fun of it. We’re betting that if your good juju comes in the form of a zipper-chested twin zombie sock monkey, they’re going to back right off. These little Yarn Zombies are an adorable but edgy way to give someone a boost of confidence, love, or quirky goodwill right when they need it most while maintaining their valuable street cred. Each knitted, 5-inch tall talisman is geared toward a specific...

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The brightest and best Hanukkah printables for this year’s Festival of Lights

With Hanukkah beginning in just a few days, we’ve rounded up some festive Hanukkah printables to decorate your home, including a few fun items to mark the once-in-a-lifetime merging of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. Or Thanksgivukkah. But, since Hankukkah lasts longer than turkey leftovers, we have plenty of more traditional decorations that will be ready for all eight nights. If you’ll be hosting the special Thanksgivukkah dinner, grab this downloadable Hanukkah chalkboard sign and hang it on your front door to greet your guests. Or, since it will be sent to you in three different sizes, you can also print...

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