Author: Julie

The more dust bunnies, the better. For a change.

I love the idea of a growth chart, but I’d never found any that appealed to my decor sensibilities, which are admittedly a bit quirky. Then I got a peek at the Dust Bunnies height chart from UK graphic wall art shop Spin Collective, which is actually a wall decal. I laugh every time I see those wide-eyed, spindly-legged dust bunnies teetering on top of each other. The measurements are in meters, but I figure that will help my kids learn the metric system.  Unique, hilarious, and educational – plus measuring my kids’ growth in terms of dust bunnies...

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Making shots less shot-like

I think I can safely state that most parents would like to spare their children as much trauma as possible, which is why I was intrigued by the concept of the Buzzy. This FDA-approved plastic bee uses mechanical vibrations to “confuse” nerve endings, distracting kids from the pain of a shot, finger prick or even an IV insertion. Developed by pediatric emergency physician (and mom of three) Amy Baxter, Buzzy’s effectiveness for kids age 4+ seems to be supported by a bunch of scientific evidence along with scads of personal anecdotes. In fact, this may be so revolutionary, she’s...

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Let’s go surfin’ now

I may have mentioned once or forty times that our family spends a lot of time in the pool.  Which means that we buy bathing suits and board shorts as part of the new baby layette.  Problem is, it’s not that easy to find cool swimwear sized for surfer dudes under a year old. Haiden Surf has solved that problem for pool-going families like mine with their super-cool kids’ board shorts for little guys. These big kid styles come in infant sizes as small as three months, and unlike other adult fashions that look dorky on kids, boardies are...

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Buh-bye macaroni art

Craft kits are perfect for moms lacking that creativity gene, but then there are moms like me who combine both lack of creativity with an aversion to clutter. Our kids happily create, but then we wonder what to do with the (precious and unique but totally useless) results. The kids’ craft kits from The Little Experience are right up my rainy-day alley.  Not only are these craft kids an ideal way to spend an afternoon or two, I’m really impressed by all the cool stuff you can make whether your kids are 3 or 13. We (and by “we”,...

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An awesome Father’s Day gift from the kids, no glitter glue required

Obviously the greatest Father’s Day gifts are the ones that actually come from the kids. But when you’ve got ones who aren’t even old enough to sign their names to a card yet, check out the personalized Daddy books from iseemyface.com as a fantastic alternative.  You and your kids can create a board book that features a cartoon version of Dad, based on a photo you submit, and in fact I was pretty surprised by how close the resemblance turned out to be. Not that my handsome, dashing husband is cartoonish, of course. Add some of your own custom...

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BOB Strollers: It’s a Revolution

I consider myself quite a connoisseur of strollers. Having lived in the city, in urban suburbia, and in the suburbs proper, I know that owning a variety of strollers can be as essential as owning a variety of handbags. My latest stroller find is the BOB. Say it aloud; it’s got a cult-like sound to it, and for good reason. These babies are amazing. We’ve owned a few jogging-slash-multi purpose strollers, and the BOB, in my view, puts them all to shame. After trying one out for the last few weeks, the BOB’s attention to detail is what really...

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Pool safety for kids – smart, but also cute

When it first came time to baby-proof our apartment, I went to that big-box baby store to get supplies and learned there were far more ways that my baby girl could injure herself than I’d ever imagined. (Hello, bubble wrap). What I didn’t consider was our apartment pool.  If I’d known about Safety Turtle back then, it would have topped my list of must-have baby proofing measures.  This child immersion alarm system is incredibly easy to use: Just strap the locking wristband with the adorable turtle on it around your child’s wrist and plug in the base station into...

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Sassy Web Watch iC: A video baby monitor for the truly obsessed.

When I put my little guy down for a nap, I close the door and don’t look back. I’m not one for compulsively checking on him (because with my luck, I’ll wake him up) and I’d never even considered using a video baby monitor. Until now. Lately I’ve been satisfying my inner voyeur — and my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s — with the Sassy Web Watch iC. This amazing video monitor not only works here at home, but on the Internet too, with a free Skype or MSN account. Isn’t that cool? So I can watch my baby toss...

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animoto: Video editing a non-techy mother could love

Not to brag, but for a non-geeky girl I know my way around a computer.  I’m not even afraid to dive into code. But where it comes to video editing, I’m a complete dolt. So when I created my very own free (free!) 30-second video at animoto, I was astonished at the results. Just upload photos, add a few text slides, choose music (or upload your own, but be mindful of copyright laws), and let animoto take care of the rest. And by rest, I mean wow, this is some professional looking video in just seconds. Then  email it...

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Sugarcoat Decals: Like a temporary tattoo for your car

My car is completely and utterly utilitarian; it gets me and my three children from Point A to Point B. But while an upgrade to something more fun isn’t in my budget these days, Sugarcoat Decals are. These vinyl car decals helped me give my car a super-cute facelift with flowers, leaves, vines, and bugs. The decals are a snap to apply and easily withstand weather and car washes, but keep in mind there’s a fine line between cute and cutesie — apply judiciously.  While Sugarcoat Decals are helping my car stand out among the sea of SUVs at...

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Springing for a Kit + Lili dress

Last fall, we couldn’t wait for the weather to cool off so that we could dress our girls in the gorgeous Kit + Lili winter line. Now it’s May and we’re itching to save our pennies so we can get our mitts on their new girls’ dresses for spring. With trademark bright colors and bold prints, plus styles ranging from shoulder-tie sundresses to puff sleeve A-lines, these are the dresses that little girls can live in all summer long. Splurge on one dress and you’ll get a whole ton of use out of it depending on whether you pair...

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Brittain Road: The road to cute tees

There’s no shortage of cute children’s tees out there; we ought to know, considering how many of them we’ve featured. But we’re still always on the lookout for cool new kids’ t-shirt designs that make us sit up and take notice, like the super-cute felt and fabric appliqued tees from Brittain Road. These creative, hand-stitched designs incorporate details that elevate them far beyond the typical tee — like the little buttons on the Mary Janes tee and the propeller on the Orange Submarine tee.  You can get them as tees or onesies as an extra-special gift for a new...

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Sweet knees and elbows and cheeks and bum.

The best part of bathing my baby is breathing him in afterward — but it does call into question exactly what’s in those bubbles and that bum cream anyway. The skin care artisans at Sweet Knee keep no secrets — all of their carefully-selected yummy ingredients are spelled out clearly and are recognizable even to a sleep-deprived mama.  I especially love the Oatmeal Cookie Bath, and the Bun Glaze, made with marshmallow leaf and calendula flowers. But what really sets Sweet Knee apart is their focus on humanity at large. They consider growing methods and worker conditions when choosing...

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Your picnics just got eco-friendlier, at least as far as your butt is concerned

I’m the woefully unprepared mom at my daughter’s soccer games — the one who’s sitting directly on the itchy grass (and who will probably forget to brush the grass off her rear end when she stands up). So I was practically giddy when I discovered the eco-friendly Throw & Go blanket from ‘Lina Bean and tried it out at last weekend’s game.  Caroline Ritter, pedigreed designer turned mom, has thrown her passion for style into creating modern children’s accessories including this picnic-sized blanket, one of those must-haves that I’ve gone too long without. I love the soft fleece (made...

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Carpool Karma – Turning the minivan into a mobile multitasking machine

My kids aren’t even all in school yet, and I already feel like I spend half my day in the car.  As a multitasking mom, it nearly kills me to sit there and do nothing but drive. Carpool Karma is an ideal distraction for those of us who wish we could find a way to safely do something productive on the road. This CD (with really cute cover art) has got mental exercises like free association and word play which can be done while driving, just as safely as listening to Will Shortz on NPR. There are also physical...

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Going for the silver

Years ago, I developed an affinity for sterling silver jewelry, which has since evolved into an unyielding no-gold-jewelry policy. It suits me pretty well in a down economy. But unfortunately, I’ve had to accept that many fine jewelers simply don’t offer the same selection of pieces in silver as they do in gold, which severely hampers my coveting. So I was very happy to hear that Monika Rich Kosann of MRK Style is obliging my sterling loving sisters — and our wallets too — by now offering a line of three gorgeous keepsake necklaces in silver now for the...

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Biodegradable baby wipes that don’t suck. Really.

While I’m greening up my act in many ways, I’m still pretty picky where it comes to baby wipes — it’s not totally unreasonable that I don’t want to cut corners with the one thing that’s keeping me from getting poop all over my hands. So in one of those cosmic coincidences, directly after I’d refilled the wipe container with a package of Elements Naturals biodegradable baby wipes, my son felt moved to present them — and me — with a major test. Color me shocked, but these wipes do what I never believed the eco-friendlier wipes could do....

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The awesome Omni Kids Suite, a.k.a a room of their own

My girls have reached the age where they’d prefer not to share a hotel room with us when traveling — and to be honest, we’d prefer not to share with them either. So when we heard about the family friendly Omni Kids Suites available on a recent trip to Los Angeles, we couldn’t wait to try it out. When we registered, the kids received backpacks filled with cool toys — although I could have lived without the kazoos. The suite was furnished with Pottery Barn Kids’ finest and  the girls immediately settled into the bunk beds and bean bags...

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Felt like Easter

Much as I love to color eggs with my kids, there are only so many hard-boiled eggs one family can eat.  And while the plastic eggs aren’t perishable, they aren’t particularly attractive or earth-friendly either. These felted Easter eggs from astashtoys are a great alternative.  Made by hand with colorful Merino wool, these eco-friendly eggs look great nestled in baskets or in a ceramic bowl as an Easter dinner table centerpiece. Or heck, hide them on the lawn. Then once they’re found, bring them inside and put them away for next year. Unlike the laid-from-a-hen variety, these eggs are...

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One big happy family

I may have a family that looks like we come from a 1950s-era sitcom, complete with curly-haired children and a husband who carries a briefcase, but ours isn’t the only recipe for domestic bliss. Acclaimed writer and activist Rebecca Walker delves into the details of modern family units in her new anthology, One Big Happy Family. These eye-opening essays helped me more fully appreciate the commitment that every family makes to staying together.  In fact, I’d say that I’ve got it pretty easy by comparison. The book compiles essays from writers living in a variety of non-traditional situations, facing...

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