Author: Kate Etue

SoundBub: The cutest (and smartest) portable white noise machine ever.

I never used a white noise machine with any of my kids when they were babies, which may explain why they were such terrible nappers. Compare that to my friends, who’d come over for dinner and board games with their babies in tow. Their kids slept soundly in our room with a white noise machine running, while we hung out in the next room. Traveling with a plug-in white noise machine is clunky, though, so I’m happy to discover the SoundBub. This adorable white noise machine is now at the top of my baby shower gift ideas list. For parents who are on-the-go...

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A clever backpack vest for kids, so you can ditch the role of family sherpa

If you’ve been reading Cool Mom Picks for long while now, you know how much we love to support small indie shops that make amazing gifts for kids or families — like the beautiful handmade jewelry at Julian & Co or geeky wooden teething toys from 3Princesses Etsy shop. Well, this week we discovered a tiny clothing company that makes clever backpack vests my youngest kids are going to love, because they have storage pockets built right into the vest. So now, when they want to bring along their stuffed animal, favorite car, and snacks, I can stash it all in their vest. And then I...

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5 fun and easy last-minute birthday party ideas your kids will love. (Not that we think you forgot or anything.)

I’ve never actually forgotten to send the invites out to one of my kids’ birthdays, but I’ve definitely waited until the very last minute to plan their parties. The thing is: if your child’s birthday happens to land during one of the crazy-busy times of the year (ahem, back-to-school) then their big day can sneak up on you. Before you know it, you have a party to plan in less than a week. And it needs to be as awesome as your kid is. Well, I can assure you from experience, you don’t need to transform your home into a magical fairy land or...

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9 black-and-white fall dresses for girls, from twirly to sporty to oh so mod

This summer’s hot black-and-white trend (remember the cool swimsuits we found from Nununu and Marimekko?) is still going strong this fall. So we pulled together our favorite black-and-white fall dresses for girls — from twirly styles to sporty pieces they can wear on the playground, to modern styles for parties or school plays. Is it too much to buy them all? CMP is an rstyle affiliate   I love to find dresses that give my daughter a sense of style but still let her act like the kid she is on the playground, and this terry A-line dress by Cat & Jack at Target is perfect...

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Let’s talk puberty: 3 books for girls that help you have the talk

I love having a daughter. Her bright, energetic, and (yes) sometimes emotional personality is such a treat to have in our home. We’ve had a very open relationship so far, which I am very grateful for, and now she’s creeping up on the age where we’re going to start talking about how her body is changing. Let’s face it, she’ll be a (gulp) teenager soon. Even though I know she’s comfortable asking me pretty much anything, there’s only so much my words can communicate to her. She’s going to need pictures, and for that I’m turning to some of...

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Pablo and His Chair by Delphine Perret: A story about being the best version of you

I have a soft spot for quirky children’s books with captivating illustrations, which is why I keep picking up the brand new Pablo and His Chair by the French artist and author Delphine Perret to read to my kids. The story is simple — a fidgety boy receives a chair for his birthday (“so he’ll sit down for once”). Just what a kid wants, right? But the way this imaginative little boy makes the most of his gift — and his talents — is what makes this book so memorable. Related: Home by Carson Ellis beautifully celebrates the way we all live Related: They...

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5 tested tips for handling separation anxiety, from parents who have been there too

I know a little something about dealing with separation anxiety when it comes to young kids and school. Back when my kids were in preschool, this was my routine: drop them off at the classroom, peel around the corner and press my back against the wall, then wait — sometimes two minutes, sometimes ten minutes — until they stopped crying.  Sometimes I cried too. Separation anxiety is exhausting and heartbreaking and, yes, even sometimes a bit frustrating. If you’re in the middle of it right now, know you’re not alone. We’ve been there — some of us still are there — and...

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9 fantastic beginner chapter book series to help create avid readers

My youngest child started Kindergarten this week — sniff — and he’s learning to read so quickly. I’m thrilled to find out he loves books, and I’ve been scouring our bookshelves and grilling our librarian for some great beginner chapter book series. Of course, there are the classic favorites like Junie B. Jones, Magic Treehouse, Ruby and the Booker Boys, and Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo. But I was excited to find a few new options too, and all of these series have just added new volumes to their collection over the last few months. So, whether you’re trying to find age-appropriate books for your young...

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How to talk about safety with kids: Why we talk about tricky people and not stranger danger.

In an increasingly connected world, we parents can feel overwhelmed about making sure our kids are protected and knowing how to talk to kids about safety, strangers, and all that other stuff that we wish we didn’t have to. We know it can be tough. While keeping our kids safe is a huge priority for all parents, we also want them to experience the beautiful freedom of childhood, and the ability to run and play and make friends without fear. So how do we all balance those two? We’re here to help. Related: Letting your kids play outside alone or walk to school: Is it bad for...

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This new board book for kids is a breath of fresh Air

My younger kids usually need a little one-on-one time to decompress after school, and one of our favorite ways to do this is reading together. After a few minutes in my lap, they’re ready to go play again. But, I have to admit, I’d much rather read a cool indie book like Carson Ellis’ Home than anything Dora or Clifford or, heaven help us, Caillou. I think it’s hard to find artfully designed board books for preschoolers — although we do love Cozy Classics and BabyLit — but the new board book for kids, Air by Kyla Ryman with beautiful cut-paper illustrations by Nathalie Trovato, is now right up...

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11 of our favorite childhood books that we can’t wait for our kids to read

There’s something so special about sharing our very favorite childhood books with our kids. When we see our kids falling in love with Anne of Green Gables, or imaging themselves racing through Narnia to defeat the White Witch, there’s a certain jolt of nostalgia that just makes you want to be a kid again, discovering these books for the very first time. So we are so happy to welcome our newest sponsor Epic!, whose affordable e-book subscription service lives right on our kids tablets and gives them access to more than 15,000 books they can read anytime. (And yes, the exclamation point...

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14 fun birthday traditions you can start with your child at any age

I’ve already let my secret out: I’m not one for elaborate birthday parties. In fact, we keep birthday parties simple and on a budget around our house. That said, I love to celebrate the birthday kid and make them feel really special on their big day. We do easy things — like decorating their chair at the table or looking through their baby book together — that, over the years, have become really special traditions. So I’ve been asking people to let me in on their favorite birthday traditions, so we could share some ideas with our readers too. New parents, you might want to...

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Finally, a stylish breast pump tote. Thanks, Petunia Pickle Bottom.

Ahh, the breast pump. Not the most glamorous part of new motherhood. But for many of us, it’s a necessity. Whether you’re just pumping and freezing so your partner can take the midnight feedings or you’re headed back to work but don’t want to cut off breastfeeding when you do, a good breast pump can be your best friend. And now, there’s finally a stylish breast pump tote bag for you to carry it in when you head back to the office or go on vacation, thanks to Petunia Pickle Bottom. Petunia Pickle Bottom has, for years, been one of...

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13 organizations helping Louisiana flood victims: Even if you can only give a little.

Oh, our hearts have been heavy watching the devastation from the flooding across Louisiana this week. More than 100,000 homes and buildings have been affected by these rising waters with reports of 30,000 people affected, and as many as 11,000 who have spent time in shelters. It’s devastating. Take a look at these before and after photos of the affected areas in Louisiana which really bring it to life. (Above: Danielle Blount feeding her three-month old baby; photo Max Becherer for the AP via the NY Times) In my own quest to see what I could do to help, I’ve put together...

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These metallic shoes for kids are winning back-to-school

We’ve been binging on the Olympics at our house, and it has us seeing gold, silver, and bronze. (Go Team USA!) Now, our love for the medals is spilling over into our closets too, because a little metallic accent is always a good thing. And metallic shoes for kids are the new cool look, just in time for back-to-school shopping. We’ve been seeing gold and silver metallic sneakers and flats on everyone from high school boys to preschool girls. This is a look everyone seems to want to get in on, and we get it. We can’t resist it either. So, we’ve rounded up...

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5 creative ways to display kids’ artwork (beyond stuffing it in a drawer).

It’s the age-old parenting conundrum: what to do with all that artwork? Between school projects, art they bring home from summer camp, or just creative time they spend around my kitchen table, I end up with way more art than I can reasonably keep stored. So, I’ve been scouring the Internet, looking for some creative ways to display kids’ artwork for a time — and what to do with all of it when we’re done. Related: 34 of the coolest lunch boxes and bags | Back to School Guide 2016   1. Store it digitally and display as a photo book. I’ve gotten in...

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3 of the best highchairs that grow with your kid. In other words, they’re worth the investment.

Now that I’ve had three kids, I’m a big believer in only spending money on baby gear that’s really worth it. That spendy bottle warmer you’ll use for oh, 3 months? Skip it. But a highchair that will literally last until your kids are in elementary school (or older) — that’s totally worth the investment to me. So, we’ve taken a look back at some of the very best highchairs we’ve had a chance to review over the years to find our favorites that will grow with your kids. In other words, you know you’re getting your money’s worth even after you’ve quit...

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Fastenswim: a smarter one-piece swimsuit for potty training kids

Since sunscreen applications, checking swim diapers, and dragging a bag full of snacks, toys, and towels to the pool all falls on the grown-up in charge, we’re up for anything to make it easier. We’ve found that the new swimsuits from Fastenswim are a big help for swimmers who are still in diapers or potty training. You know, that stage when a trip to the bathroom needs to happen fast. Fastenswim suits have a band of magnets at the waist with two snaps on either end. These snaps make sure the magnets won’t pull free while you’re swimming — an important detail. When you need...

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They All Saw a Cat: A charming new children’s book by illustrator Brendan Wenzel

One of my preschooler’s very favorite books of last year was Beastly Babies by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. An animal lover at heart, he couldn’t get enough of its playful illustrations. So when we saw that Brendan Wenzel has a new book out, we were excited to get a copy. And after reading it, we’re certain that if They All Saw a Cat isn’t a contender for the Caldecott Award, we’ll be very, very surprised. The story is simple: a cat with his paws, whiskers and all, goes for a walk. The illustrations show the different animals (and people) whom he encounters...

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Custom portraits of your kid with their imaginary friend. How cool is that?

We’ve seen tons of amazing portrait artists we’ve absolutely loved (and hired) over the years, but the collaboration between photographer Anna Angenend and illustrator Amy Snyder may just be my favorite yet. These artists create custom portraits of your child with their imaginary friend, inspired by their own drawings. These pictures make me so happy. Anna and Amy will brainstorm the concept with you, do a photo shoot on location in San Antonio, Texas (or anywhere you’re willing to pay for them to travel to), and add in custom illustrations of the imaginary friend that’s been inspired by your kid’s creativity. For...

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