Author: Barbara

Mobiles for when babies outgrow the black and white

While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for those high-contrast, abstract-shaped, infant mobiles, admittedly they don’t age well as your child gets older. The folks at CMP favorite Petit Collage have the perfect solution for that quiet corner of your kiddo’s room, or the bland area above your landing, or any place that needs a pop of color and little bit of movement. Their gorgeous cut paper mobiles are made with thick cardstock, stitched with cotton thread, and printed in delicious colors. And there’s not a zig-zaggy test pattern among them. All mobiles come fully-assembled and ready...

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Fresh flowers for every outfit

It happens again and again: one dress-up lap around the living room and the creepy faux-metallic paint on your daughter’s “jewelry” is already flaking off and the molded plastic clasp has begun to warp. It’s not always easy to find dress-up accessories that don’t look (and act) like you bought them from a gumball machine. And then someone showed me the fantastic, hand-crafted, textile dress up delights offered by artisan momma Rebekah Desloge.    The Crocheted Flower Necklace is a sweet addition to the dress-up madness in your home, and would make such a great gift, as well. The leaves and...

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Just what the future doctor ordered

There’s something that seems to be universally fascinating to kiddos, generation after generation, about playing doctor – and by that, I mean the kind with stethoscopes and tongue depressors and a plethora of toilet paper “bandages.” My childhood doctor kit was molded plastic and lasted one weekend. What I would have given for one of these. The gorgeous Wooden Play Doctor Set by Australia’s Miss Yesterday is made of different renewable timbers and includes a stethoscope, syringe, thermometer, tube of antiseptic lotion, and two “blister packs” of pills. It’s finished in a rich, eco-friendly clear oil, and it’s suitable...

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Well, here’s one way to eat more cleanly – clean what you eat

Summer means more fresh produce, more smoothies, more road trips, and more buying and eating on-the-go. It’s the perfect time to stop by a road stand or a Farmer’s Market, but then there’s the whole “Who touched this apple last?” thing. And more importantly, the “What did YOU touch last?” thing. I think the food-grade, biodegradable food wipes from Eat Cleaner are pretty nifty. Designed by mama and food writer Mareya Ibrahim, just tuck a few of these little “Grab-n-Go Produce Wipes“ in your bag or in your car for so you can clean off those apples without wiping them...

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Gardening. You know, for kids.

I’m not the best gardener — my entire vegetable haul, from June to September probably equals little more than one large salad — but gardening really is good for the soul. And, there are always gardening chores that even the smallest kiddos can do, even if it’s just pulling weeds or digging a hole. Smear on some sunscreen, pull on some gloves, and dig in! The super cute, super durable children’s gardening gloves from Ethel Gloves might just be the thing to lure your little ones into the fresh air in early spring. Made with breathable stretch fabric plus a...

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From piggy banks to paychecks, one chapter at a time.

I’d prefer one dozen versions of the “where do babies come from” talk with my kids before I’d sign up for even one “and this is how money works” discussions. I can cheerfully rattle off twenty-seven slang terms for body parts, but ask me how something amortizes and I break out in hives. Piggy Banks to Paychecks: Helping Kids Understand the Value of a Dollar, written by accountant and financial consultant Angie Mohr, explains it all to help me explain it to my kids.      Each chapter focuses on an aspect of financial savvy, from learning how to explain earning,...

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Burp cloths with a secondary purpose

Two important things for new mamas to know: not everything useful has to look utilitarian, and there will be many, many uses for burp cloths. I can justify buying gorgeous ones–despite their intended use–considering how much time they’ll spend on my shoulders, across my lap, or clutched in Baby’s hand. With the photographic evidence to prove it. Well here’s one more reason to justify the expense: when it supports an amazing organization. Ella Sophia & Co., a new shop launched by new mama Erika Hodge, offers colorful, extremely absorbent burp cloths made in Nepal by a Nepalese fair trade organization....

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So uh, we understand that sometimes new moms have questions?

How much allowance is too much? When can kids start playing video games? Will it kill them to eat dessert first? All important parenting questions, but the first few months (and really, for the first few years) you won’t care about much more than the basics. What I needed — and most new parents need, too — is some easy advice that can be read with both eyes at half mast. New mama Erin Bried, author of the advice-ful How To Sew A Button, went looking to seasoned moms for some solid, time-tested tips on soothing, feeding and general...

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Yes, girls like dinosaurs too.

Both of my kids were huge dinosaur fans from the moment they discovered the magic of the enormous T. Rex at the Museum of Science in Boston. One look at those glinty eyes and tiny hands, and they were hooked. And while I was able to find a lot of plastic, rubber and wooden dinos to fit the bill for for playtime, I quickly discovered that even dinosaurs reside in a mostly gender-specific universe. Recently, a reader asked us to track down dinosaur dresses for girls, and for those of you nodding your heads vigorously in agreement, I’m happy to...

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The Hunger Games is coming. Bring the baby!

I remember the early baby days, when finding the time to see a big release movie like Hunger Games was even less likely than or showering regularly. Just getting out of the house seemed so exotic, and often too daunting.  I wish we had the new Bring Your Baby Matinees back then.    Just launched by TheBump.com and AMC Theaters around the country, Bring Your Baby is a screening specifically designed for movie-hungry parents and of course, their babies. Park your stroller with the “valet” and grab a seat for a grown-up movie in an actual theater. If your baby makes normal...

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Making the baby shower even sweeter

I always need another reason to eat cupcakes (well, I don’t need a reason) and now I have one. All I need is a baby shower invitation and I’m all set. The edible icing cupcake topper folks at Ticings.com (a big fave around here) have collaborated with the cute t-shirt mavens Colette Kids on an adorable DIY baby shower kit.  You’ll get a 100% rib cotton onesie from Colette Kids, plus 2 dozen customizable peel-and-press, gluten-free cupcake toppers, all with the same cute image. If are you aren’t planning on serving cupcakes, you can use them on everything from slices of fruit to...

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Screaming even louder for ice cream

Our household has yet to meet our summer’s quota of ice cream consumption (hint: it’s a lot). Happily, eCreamery, makers of that awesome custom ice cream we love, is supporting our earnest attempt to wear out our home ice cream maker this summer with their new special flavor additions for you DIY-ers. Each one comes with a pretty fail-proof recipe. We made Buttered Caramel–the adults loved it, the kids felt it was too strong–and Vanilla Bean, which of course the kids loved. Kids always love vanilla, but this was the rich, subtle kind of good vanilla that grown-ups really like, too. There’s also flavors like 3 Cocoa...

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Sweet baby gift in the Year of the Rabbit

Bright and cheerful doesn’t have to mean garish, and when it’s British-based Lulabird it’s even downright stylish. One of our favorite modern, hip nursery designer clockmakers are back (we’re pretty much in love with their quirky owl, too) with a freshly re-envisioned retro design in time for the Chinese year of the Rabbit. What a sweet baby gift for a little guy born in 2011. There’s nothing loud about this bunny clock, from the understated design on sustainable birchwood (choose coral or a deep teal), to the mechanism that keeps the tick-tocking to a minimum. Nice touch when you’re...

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Natural gummy bears are yummy bears.

It’s awesome that so many people are eating in a more mindful fashion, making organic and sustainable choices as they are able, but that’s also made food a lot more complicated — and limiting. Allergies and dye-avoidance issues mean giving up some food items, and even categories, you (or your kid) really like (and on some days, really feel you need). And when that means you have to say no to candy? That’s just plain sad. The folks at UK-based confectionary Goody Good Stuff are working magic to get you candy you can say yes to. They’ve rolled out a...

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Personalized books for kids that are better than those other personalized books for kids

I’ve never been a big fan of personalized books. Books on their own can be so magical – why would I need my child worked into the plot somehow? There are a few personalized books for kids that we’ve reviewed that do the job beautifully, but in most that we’ve seen (and not recommended) the added-on details always look like they were, at best, rubber stamped in. Well here’s another one in the former category. Following Featherbottom is a personalized book that is actually done in a nifty fashion. The hardcover child’s book is customized with the child’s name...

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Magic mushrooms

I am an earnest, but distracted gardener. I have a garden box in my yard, one withholding lemon tree, and an egg carton (maybe) sprouting herbs on my windowsill. I’ve also grown a fungus or two, but it’s always been accidental and I never tried to eat them. That’s about to change. Back to the Roots is a sustainable, urban mushroom farm started by a group of friends in college, and their Easy-to-Grow Mushroom Garden couldn’t be easier. You can grow your own gourmet oyster mushrooms in as little as 10 days, right in the box. Just set it on a windowsill, mist...

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Gilt Taste is a Virtual Feast

If you have yet to visit, there’s a deliciously gorgeous, high-end new site for the foodies mamas among us: Gilt Taste. It’s like everything that’s great about Gilt plus everything that was great about Gourmet. Gilt Taste in fact is helmed by former Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl. So not surprisingly, you’ll find tips on cooking and introductions to new foods, dishes and ideas written by the in-the-knows of the foodie world, like Gourmet‘s Barry Estabrook and Orangette‘s Molly Wizenberg. The free membership site includes an online market, giving you direct access to artisan products often only available to elite urban foodies...

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Building blocks and a cool little business

It’s not often you feel you really get to help nurture the seed of an idea as it develops into an independent business. We’ve mentioned how much we love Kickstarter as the place to help fund creative projects, and now there’s a new one that you philanthropic moms just might be excited about.  One of the newest projects is weebee blocks, a solid maple block alphabet-and-images set, designed by a husband/wife team for their own son. The chunky wooden blocks were such a hit, Harlan and his wife are hoping to spin them into a brand and business. Support this...

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Poems for new parents that even the sleep-deprived can enjoy.

I say we all need more poetry in our lives, but poetry so often seems to be one of those tricky things, like an exotic fruit. You enjoy it when you come across it, but it’s not part of your regular consumption, especially when you are a harried mom. Which is a shame, because that’s possibly when we need it most. I’ve just discovered a lovingly put-together, eclectic collection of poems that any literary parent will want to take a look at. Morning Song focuses on celebrating new life. In fact, Poems For New Parents is the subtitle, but really, the poems, songs and...

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Dog days of spring

Spring allergies are a) here, and b) not just a human misery. If you have pets, you probably know what I mean when I say I am really, really tired of falling asleep to the arrhythmic snorfling noises of my dog scratching and biting furiously at her itchy skin. I was so excited about this natural dog shampoo alternative I found at a local shop, I couldn’t wait to write about it. And that’s saying something. Shampoo can just exacerbate the issue, unless you use a shampoo gentle enough to actually help and not introduce new irritants. And that goes for people too....

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