Month: September 2013

6 fast veggie side dishes your kids might actually eat

I consider myself a master meal planner, but there’s one thing that gets even me: veggie side dishes.  That’s right, even I–the self-proclaimed Queen of Meals–am often stumped for creative vegetable dishes to serve to the family with my pretzel chicken or one-pan pasta. Thanks to these veggie side recipes that can easily be whipped up at the last minute, I can ditch dinnertime cucumber wheels and carrot sticks for good. –Stacie    Nearly every vegetable tastes great simply roasted with oil and salt. But just a tiiiiiiny bit more effort can turn out a spectacular side dish in the...

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Buy less, buy well. Madesmith makes it beautifully easy

If you love handmade items by local artisans, we’ve found a collective that showcases the best of the best every week. So, basically, it’s like the cream of the Etsy crop, curated just for you. Even better: these makers are thoughtful and sustainable, and you can read their stories as you ogle their wares.     Madesmith is based in Brooklyn and LA and focuses on showcasing designers and makers who produce goods the old-fashioned way–our kind of stuff. Whether you’re into jewelry, skateboards, handmade shoes, or stationery, you can read about the designer’s background, process, studio, and training....

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Remember 9/11 through volunteering. (A better idea than just watching the news all day.)

It has been 12 years, though the memory of how that perfectly ordinary September morning turned into a day of horror will forever make our hearts ache and hug our children a little closer. Along with the tears (still), we also feel an increased resolve to do something good in memory of all those whose lives were so suddenly changed. If you too want to help on this 9/11 Day of Service but aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve long turned to a website that will quickly and easily help you find volunteer opportunities in your area. VolunteerMarch.org finds...

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Is it safe for babies to suck on keys? They are if they’re these keys.

I swear I am not Alarmist Mom. I did not plug every outlet when my kids were toddlers and my jeans were the only pacifier sterilizer I owned. But one thing I knew is that I didn’t want my kids sucking on keys, knowing that real keys may be one of the worst things for them to put in their mouths. And that includes the cat.    I’m so happy to see that CMP favorite Green Toys has expanded their baby toys line with a set of toy keys for babies that they can teethe on to their heart’s content, and...

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Embroidery hoop art for your kids’ walls to inspire. Both of you.

Back when we started this site in 2006 (and we have the archives to prove it), messages for kids were all about irony, irreverence and sass. Over the years, it’s been thrilling to see the trend turn towards positivity, encouragement and smarts. And not even in a cheesy, “Hang in there, it’s almost Friday!” kitten poster kind of way.   I love the embroidery hoop art from Athena and Eugenia on Etsy, and while there are a few wonderful pieces for various places and spaces, these in particular would be so great in a child’s room.   The truth is, it’s nice...

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A numbers book for kids who like animals. Or an animal book for kids who like numbers.

Now that my oldest is eight and reading full-on chapter books, it’s hard to find a kids’ book that will captivate her, her first-grade sister, and younger cousins who come to visit too. But that’s just what author Lola M. Schaefer manages to do in this beautifully captivating new children’s book about animals, and new ways to look at their lives.    LIFETIME: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives works as an engaging teaching tool on so many levels. Each spread describes statistics about one of 11 animals in interesting numbers, like in one lifetime, this alpaca will grow 20...

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Classic, clean new fall handbags from Coach: Prep those credit cards

The way my kids look forward to a new backpack each fall is pretty much the way I look forward to finding a new handbag each fall (whether I need one or not). My standards: Something I know I can wear every single day, that goes from day to night, and that goes with pretty much anything I might be wearing. I will admit I wouldn’t normally think to visit Coach, but wow, their new fall handbags are subtle, sleek, and right up my alley. If you’re looking for a splurgey designer bag that you know will last foreeeever,...

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It’s a girl! Or a boy! Oh, just read the banner.

This week on Brika, I was so happy to discover the beautiful work of stationer Kristen Ley of Thimblepress. There’s so much to love in her shop, but what really caught my eye was this great DIY kit for your next baby shower.    The DIY It’s a girl banner is so much fun. You can color it in yourself or make it as a creative activity with the other guests at the shower.  There’s also one for baby boys, and a gender neutral “celebrate” banner that’s cute for any occasion, really.  Look around the collection of her work on Brika...

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Tough kids can still have sparkly toes

Move over, princess shoes. We’ve found the cutest sparkle sneakers that have a date with the monkey bars. For years we’ve loved shoes by See Kai Run for their combination of durability, fit, and looks. The new Adalynn sneaker with Mary Jane styling adds a fun dash of glitter to the mix for little kids. The flexible rubber sole means they’re comfy, good for growing feet, and equally fantastic for hiking the backyard, hiking Disneyworld, or hiking up a Rapunzel dress at the tea party. They’d also look gorgeous for some of the coolest Halloween costumes this year–Twilight Sparkle or...

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

Here are 5 of our favorite tech picks from this week just in case you missed them.   1. Want to get your personal information off those sites like Spokeo? We can help. 2. We’re completely obsessed with this awesome gadget. 3. You don’t even have to be a vintage book lover to dig these fantastic smartphone cases (though it helps). 4. A ridiculously simple way to save money when you shop online. Don’t miss this, promise. 5. Have kids who want to learn to code? This is amazing for...

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Gilt launches personalized sales, and a few other reasons this is still one of the best flash sale sites

If you’re like us and visit Gilt every day (fine, three times a day), to find chic new items for your wardrobe, home, or kids, you’ll be excited to hear about a new feature they just launched to make your shopping experience even nicer. As if getting great deals weren’t enough, Gilt’s new “Your Personal Sale” will present a curated 24-hour sale designed just for you on a daily basis. As in…you! Basically they look at your past purchases and browsing history to figure out what will be interesting to you, so when you log in you’ll see a...

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An eyecare system from Bliss that helps give tired eyes (like ours) a little help.

Soooo maybe your eyes need a little help like mine. Blame it on lack of sleep or parenting–way easier on the ego than blaming it on age.  I found a really nice little eyecare system from Bliss that’s been a pleasure to use. I’ve been a longtime fan of Bliss for at least 15 years, in fact. (Still annoyed that they killed off the Big Blue Bar though. Best soap ever.)   I’m pretty low maintenance with my beauty routine, which is why the Bliss Firm Baby, Firm Total Eye System is making me super happy. It’s two little tubes attached...

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Shoe-shopping just got sweeter: Buy a pair of Toms and a US child in need gets one too.

Kids don’t need much to dream. But they do need a few basic, important things to succeed: education, food, exercise and clothing. So we’re happy to support a company that aims to give one million pairs of shoes to underprivileged children right here in the US by the end of 2014. Confession: I heart Toms Shoes and their One for One program the way my daughter hearts princess-covered pop beads and rainbow sprinkles. I’m a Classics girl, if my very broken in “Great Love” vegans and equally well-loved “Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project” canvases are any indicator. Buying Toms...

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The Mountain Buggy Cosmopolitan Stroller is a seriously posh ride

With my youngest almost three years old, I’m almost out of the stroller world. I admit it: that bums me out. Because I loooove strollers. Especially the strollers from Mountain Buggy. I’ve fallen hard for their newest one, because it’s pretty much perfect. Hey…can I borrow your baby?   The Mountain Buggy Cosmopolitan stroller is a new look for Mountain Buggy with the same reliable performance and a super-smooth ride. For starters, the denim fabric is stylish without going over the top. Available in three bright color options for the cotton inner lining, the subtle denim outer fabric is a very cool...

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We’re officially giddy over these adorable hair clips.

We always get excited about new felt hair clips by GiddyGiddy, but the newest collection of hooded darlings has an especially high SF (Squee Factor). These four sweet girls from CMP fave GiddyGiddy are perfect for clipping into big girl and toddler hair. Each piece is sturdy and made by hand of soft felt on a 4 cm clip. And we love how their adorable little faces are almost like taking a dolly with you wherever you go. Each little missy is $8, and they have a blanket $2 shipping fee in the US. If you’re looking for hair...

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5 of our favorite Pinterest pins this week

Obsessed with Pinterest as we are? Follow us for cool finds like this daily.   1. iPhone cases that are bringing us back. Way back.  2. The new fall handbag we’re coveting, big time.  3. Cool t-shirts for smart girls. Our favorite kind.  4. Love this artwork for a kids’ room or nursery. (If you can look at it without crying.) 5. Possibly the coolest kids’ shoes of the season.   ...

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The coolest hoodies in the hood

Hoodies are wardrobe staples in our household. My husband, a hoodie addict with over 20 in his closet, has gotten my boys into sporting them too. For the most part, my guys wear boring old navy or black hoodies (yawn), with the occasional sports team or stripes thrown into the mix. But hoodies with knockout prints that look like they came from somewhere far away–even outerspace maybe–well, now that’s something to write home about. The new hoodies from Winter Water Factory have insanely cool prints, completely different than your average boys’ wear. We’re not talking cars, trucks, robots or the ubiquitous skulls either....

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Two awesomely lightweight car seats your biceps will thank you for

Getting ready for baby #3 has required many a trip down to the basement to dig up all the gear we used with babies #1 and #2. Our old car seats were the size of woolly mammoths, though, ugh! Fortunately I’ve discovered two incredible new infant car seat systems on the market that may finally give arms a break. Long gone are the days of the really bulky car seats, at least when it comes to the Maxi Cosi Mico AP and the Nuna PIPA. Both boast a very lightweight frame, which is very helpful because even one pound...

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Web Coolness: The best classroom rules, overscheduling kids, and a hilarious chart for new parents

Here are the links we’ve liked reading around the web this week. Hope you do too!   Cute DIY chalkboard project–and love the fun Washi tape detail.  10 classroom rules for kids of any age. Any new ones for you? Hooray for the first female scientist LEGO minifig! Some fun (if over-the-top) party ideas found on Instagram at Lil Sugar.  Why work-at-home moms should not feel guilty about childcare help.  Do you overschedule your kids after school? Nice perspective. Congrats to our friend Erin Loechner on her beautiful new site Clementine Daily. Definitely worth a click.  A must-read post about her kids first day...

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Dinner’s on the table. Next to the markers.

We love making dinnertime more fun while keeping the kitchen clean. Voila! A washable tablecloth that also serves as gigantic piece of paper for your table of pint-sized artists. This Doodle tablecloth by Stitch in the UK is a fun way to get kids to stick around after dinner–or get them to set the table. Choose between 71″ x 56″ or 98″ x 56″ and you and your artists are off! The tablecloths are made of super sturdy, preshrunk cotton drill printed with graph paper lines, red margin lines, and faux hole punches along the side, just like a...

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