Month: March 2014

The best Minecraft birthday party ideas (besides just sitting around playing Minecraft)

I have three just-a-wee-bit-obsessed Minecraft fans who would love nothing more than a Minecraft birthday party, to celebrate their big days surrounded by their favorite virtual world. Oh, you too? Then keep reading for some of my favorite Minecraft birthday party ideas that will have big impact–all without a week of prep, or a celebrity’s budget. We’re busy, you know? But we do have time for these.   Minecraft Birthday Party Invitations I love the bold yet not-too-busy Printable Minecraft Birthday Invitation from From Me With Love Design. Just send in your party details and receive a digital download to...

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Personalized number jewelry from Julian & Co add up to perfect, times infinity.

We love artists who help you project your unique self in fabulous and affordable style. And for fabulous mom keepsake jewelry (or for any woman, really) we especially heart the creative selections from Julian and Co. We have fawned over their tiny monogrammed rings, monogram charms, and trademark keepsake mom jewelry, and now they’ve got us with a new offering:  charming personalized number jewelry, just waiting for your digits. Whether it’s your lucky number, the number of kids in your brood, the year you graduated or how many hours you were in labor (ha), these custom pieces in silver or white, yellow, or...

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Handmade crocheted baby toys that could make you want another baby. (Or at least one to give them to.)

We are talking about getting a dog, which makes it official: No more babies for this household. And I’m pretty much okay with that fact until I see a store like YarnBall Stories. This absolutely adorable Etsy shop has safe and soft crocheted baby toys and decor that stop me in my tracks with the cuteness. And you know how much of a soft spot we have for cool crocheted toys and gifts like crocheted baby booties here at Cool Mom Picks. The YarnBall Stories crocheted baby mobiles come in themes like the solar system, colorful hearts, or just pretty pastels. I...

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Pink tees for boys. Also girls, because we hear they like pink too.

We’ve come a long way from the days our readers asked us to find a dinosaur dress for girls and it took a little bit of digging. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way with a clever company called Quirkie Kids which is making pink tees for boys and girls with the kinds of images you don’t always see on pink tees. In other words, no tiaras, no future diva slogans. The bright fuschia, US-made tees in sizes 2-10 are created by Martine Zoer and designed by cool dad and pro animator Liam Robinson, featuring four motifs like dinosaurs,...

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15 funny art quote prints that we’d actually hang on our walls

I’m not one to hang inspirational quotes on my wall, but if they make me laugh out loud, I’m all for it. We’ve seen so many funny quote art prints cropping up lately that wanted to share some of our all-time favorites.  From the vaguely inspirational to the irreverent (maybe not in the kids’ rooms) I hope they make you giggle (or guffaw) just when you need it most. Chocolate Doesn’t Ask Silly Questions print ($9 at ExLibrisJournals on Etsy, above) Masquerading as a Normal Person ($5 at PrintablePixels on Etsy) *get a limited one-time discount code on your first...

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The Spaceboy trash can: To incinerator and beyond!

Yes, this is way more than I’d normally think to spend on a trash can. And yes, you have to have exactly the right place for it. But how awesome looking is the Wesco Spaceboy Trash Can? I first saw it on Fab.com in this gorgeous almond color, though since then I’ve tracked it down for a little less at Amazon in red, orange, or space-age silver. I think the powder-coated steel can would look terrific in a modern kitchen, but obviously it’s perfect for a playroom. Especially where there’s a whole lot of crafting going on and you’d rather...

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Cool wrapping paper as nice as the gift inside.

I get tired of the same old gift wrap I seem to see everywhere. I’m one of those people who would rather show up at a party with cool wrapping paper instead of a package that looks identical to everyone else’s. So when I discovered the original, very cool wrapping paper and cards from Lily & Val, I swooned. Featuring hand-lettered chalk art by Valerie McKeehan, it’s all super fun, isn’t it? The Flower and Vines wrapping paper (at top) comes in a pack of three sheets and is great to keep on hand for any gift at all that you...

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6 of the coolest dollhouse kits that promote building, design, and imaginative play. We want to live in them.

Dollhouses have always been a common feature on the floors of Toy Fair, but Liz and I noticed more and more options this year with dollhouse kits that add building and design, and sometimes even circuitry, to the act of play. Future architects and designers of the world, we’ve found the toys for you.   Roominate Dollhouse Building Kits Combining building, engineering, and design, Roominate’s clever dollhouse building kits come together in so many different ways, kids can conceivably construct a totally different house every time they sit down to play. And I love the many ideas on their...

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10 modern growth charts to measure your kids inch by inch

I have really fond memories of my grandmother tracking the height of the grandkids on the wooden trim in her kitchen pantry, but when she sold her home, without actual growth charts, our childhood memories were left behind. So I love the new concept behind modern growth charts that are keepsakes you can move from home to home (or room to room) with you. It’s been a while since we looked for some really cool modern growth charts for our readers, so we’ve scoured the Internet for the coolest designs, from graphic to painterly, so you can spend your time monitoring...

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5 of our favorite tech picks you don’t want to miss this week

In case you missed them, here are 5 of our most popular posts from Cool Mom Tech this past week. Enjoy!   1. We dare you not to laugh at this round-up of Sesame Street movie spoofs. 2. We had way too much fun looking up our own first tweets on Twitter. What was yours? 3. Here are really smart tips for taking a selfie with your kids. 4. Cool new apps for kids that are educational and entertaining. We’re in! 5. One of our favorite tech picks: A hilarious smartphone case if you’re like us still say tapes instead of...

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KIND Healthy Grains Bars: Think healthy snacks you hide from the kids

I’m generally not stingy with my healthy snacks–or any snacks, for that matter–but since I discovered the new KIND Healthy Grains Bars, I love them so much that I hide them very strategically from my children. Yes, they’re just that good. I am a long time KIND bar fan. I usually have at least one or two in my bag at all times, and that will continue with the Healthy Grains Bars. These, however, are more like a granola bar. They are non-GMO and gluten-free, like the original bars, which is a huge plus for folks with allergies, or...

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History wasn’t always fun and games. Except when it is.

I’ve come to understand that for tweens, creating a love of history is often about making it as salacious and entertaining as possible. The British creators of Horrible Histories have nailed that genre, with a successful series of illustrated Horrible Histories books. Think: the story of the English monarch who died after falling off the toilet (George II), all the gory details about the Roman colosseum, and the nastiness of the Greek gods. If your older kids can’t get enough of this kind of stuff, they’re now out with a brand new Horrible Histories puzzle series, each of which feels like...

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The new designer diaper bags from Timi & Leslie hold a lot. Because heaven knows moms carry more than diapers with them.

I’ve been at war with my bags. Like all moms I know, I carry around a lot of stuff so I gave a big cheer when I saw the new designer diaper bags from Timi & Leslie that join the ranks of the stylish diaper bags that the label is famous for. While I’m years past the baby stage, my everyday tote still needs to have generous room to fit my usual cargo load of stainless steel water bottles, Mac Air, and baggies of snacks, plus the essentials like keys and wallet. I have sworn not to be one of those moms who...

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6 delicious, easy spring recipes to celebrate the season

Winter is officially over,  and we’re celebrating with easy spring recipes that feature fresh produce. Kick the tubers and squash to the curb; these spring dishes highlight peas, asparagus, avocado, and other green veggie delights. And don’t worry, I’m not going soft. We won’t skip the cheese, bacon, or even dessert. After all, this is a celebration of a brand new season. The Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Prosciutto and Poached Egg recipe (above) from Framed Cooks has all the elements of a perfect dish: fresh, seasonal produce, crispy pork, and a poached egg. Honestly, this alone can be dinner for me....

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5 of our favorite Pinterest pins this week

Obsessed with Pinterest as we are? Follow us! It’s fun. Plus, you’ll find cool pins like this every day.  1. Now that it’s spring, thinking Easter? Check out these DIY bunny cake toppers. 2. We need this designer bracelet. Immediately. 3. One of our favorite dolls, now on sale. 4. Travel tips that can save you a whole lot of money. 5. A creative use for Marshmallow Peeps–besides seeing how long they would survive a nuclear...

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Make your own drinking cups for kids with SipSnap lids

My kids do really well drinking out of actual cups, but sippies and cups with straws are a fixture for my little ones who still tend to spill a little. Or, on bad days, more than they actually get in their mouths. That’s why I’m really digging the clever new SipSnap lids by Double Double. This Kickstarter campaign (get in now!) is introducing SipSnap silicone lids stretch to fit over the top of any kind of cup, turning it into a kids’ drinking cup instantly. I’ve actually tried to do something similar by pairing random lids with cups I have around,...

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Spring trend alert: Cool floral accessories for women that have nothing to do with Laura Ingalls.

I’ve had my eye on this floral trend for awhile now, but it took seeing the gorgeous Rebecca Minkoff floral trim cross body bag below to finally convince me that I could pull it off–with the caveat that I need to be focusing on cool floral accessories. No flower pants or gauzy floral skirts for me. And now that it’s finally spring (YAY SPRING) it’s time to make my move. If you love the floral look but want a modern, on-trend way to wear them, take a peek at these cool floral accessories for spring that you can wear all...

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Web coolness: LEGO rock bands, avoiding over-the-top birthday parties, great book recommendations for kids, and more

It’s Friday again, which means it’s time for our roundup of the best-of-the-best that we found on the Internet this week. Enjoy! Love: this geometric DIY photo display to show off your Instagram shots. Thinking about: This video in honor of World Down Syndrome day. Grab Kleenex. Another great video from the Red Fred Project, creatively helping 50 sick kids in 50 states. Yay for big brands supporting makers and artisans. On Cool Mom Tech: Best Sesame Street TV + movie spoofs ever. Famous bands recreated in LEGOs by Malaysian LEGO junkie Adly Syari. Fun! [h/t laughing squid] Terrific book recommendations for kids who have...

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A clever alphabet video for toddlers that you’ll like watching too.

When I first heard from dad and animator Brandon Ray about this  alphabet video for toddlers that he created for his own children, Bleu and Violet, I will be honest, I wasn’t expecting much.  But after watching, I am utterly charmed. The Paper Alphabet is a terrific way to teach toddlers their ABCs and honestly, to give older kid–and you– a chuckle too. It’s a little They Might Be Giants, a little Yo Gabba Gabba and a little animation festival short film entry, if you can imagine that. To be sure the word choices can be a bit edgy; C...

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Designers, makers and thinkers of the world, we salute you

Considering the heart of Cool Mom Picks is supporting entrepreneurs, undiscovered designers (they’re called makers now), and small businesses, of course I fell in love with this Designer Maker Thinker pin set the moment I set eyes on them. Can you think of a cooler little gift for someone who’s just started a new venture, raised their first round of capital, opened an Etsy shop, or hit a benchmark for their design blog? Let alone graduation gifts for your favorite soon-to-be alum from FIT or RISD. The enclosed card describes the imagery fire which ties together the set of pins: Designers...

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