Author: Lexi Petronis

Indoor playhouses so fun, your kids will wish every day was a snow day.

We live in New Mexico, which means our kids look forward to playing in winter’s cold air and occasional snowflakes so much, they’ll dart outside without jackets, socks, or shoes, and — on one memorable occasion — pants. Still, their cold tolerance is low enough that it’s not long before they’re back inside, looking for something else to do. That’s where these genius playhouses come in. From make-it-yourself to buy-and-install, hallway hangouts to interactive hideaways, each one of these fun indoor playhouses for kids can help turn your house into its own kind of wonderland this winter. Related: The most outrageous playhouses around CMP is an rstyle affiliate Handmade cloth card table playhouse...

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New Jersey parents of newborns can take home baby boxes filled with everything—even a bed.

When I was an overwhelmed brand-new mom, I wished for a magical box that would somehow contain all that my newborn would need: Diapers, health supplies, onesies, how-to guides, a baby bed for safe sleeping. Yes. An actual baby bed. In a box. It turns out that the idea isn’t only real, it can be life-saving. And thanks to The Baby Box Co., 105,000 new families in New Jersey will experience them firsthand — for free! Related: Safe sleep sources on SIDS and more The creators of The Baby Box Co. were inspired by a 75-year-old Finnish initiative that sends new families home with baby boxes after they’d received prenatal care and...

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Cute photo Valentines that make up for the fact you forgot to send holiday cards.

In the 10 years my husband, kids, and I have been a family, I’ve managed to send out holiday cards exactly three times. These are not good odds. Like, if I were a team in the Super Bowl, bookies would strongly advise against betting that I would even remember to show up. Luckily, for all the parents, like me, whose packed schedules and busy brains preclude us from sending out holiday cards, there’s still a chance to make up for it in a big way: Valentine’s Day photo cards! And, with super-cute options like these that your friends and family are sure to love, maybe it’s okay to...

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The heroes of these fantastic fairy tales? Real women. (Really.)

When it comes to imaginative stories and tales, my kids have always been somewhat confused by what’s real and what’s make-believe. This is especially true of anything Star Wars (“Did his hand really come off?”), Harry Potter (“Do house elves really exist?”), and fairy tales (“Can someone really have hair that long?”). But now, they’ll get the Yes-es they’ve been looking for. And it will surely blow their minds. Related: Girl power! Empowering books for girls In Queen Girls stories, the heroes don’t wait for a magical kiss from a handsome prince, or a swift flick of the wand from a fairy godmother who can quick-fix their...

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The STEM building sets that empower girls to engineer their futures.

A few years ago, my now 9-year-old daughter had an epiphany while wandering the toy aisles at a discount superstore. She eyed a pink toy vacuum cleaner with suspicion, then asked to go to the boys’ aisle instead, because she wanted to be where the bulk of the cool building sets were. In the last few years, there have been serious strides in STEM toys geared toward girls, but it’s this one that I wish had been on the market on that fateful shopping day. Related: 12 cool STEM gifts for girls (and hey, for boys too)  Wonderhood Toys is the brainchild of two business-school...

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This cool Keith Haring wooden stencil set will inspire your kid to draw like…well, Keith Haring.

If your kids are anything like mine, there’s a good chance they may not recognize the name Keith Haring in the same way they might, say, Stan Lee or Matt Groening. After all, Haring was making his most major marks in the art world way back in the ’80s. You know, a time in ancient history during which, according to my 6-year-old son, I must have had to walk to school because cars hadn’t been invented yet. But even though the artist’s name might not yet ring a bell in those growing brains, his art will, all thanks to this cool Keith Haring wooden Stencil Set. CMP is...

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A play mat that teaches your baby how to speak emoji. (Insert winking face here.)

When my kids were babies and tummy-time touring their way throughout the house, it was a given that their play mat migrated to each room with them. And while I have fond memories of our jungle themed mat and odd interactive thingies (who doesn’t love a squeaking, googly eyed hippo, honestly?), I’m at least 98 percent sure my now-tech-loving littles would have preferred the Emoji Baby Play Mat. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: Fun emoji gifts: For kids or kids at heart Exclusive to Land of Nod, this hand-quilted mat is just soft and squishy enough to be both comfy and sturdy as your baby strengthens her...

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The most beautiful baby sleep sacks: almost as nice as beautiful baby sleep

Until I had a baby, I didn’t understand the purpose of a sleep sack. But as a new mama, oh, my eyes were opened. I sought out the perfect cozy nighttime sack that would ensure my little girl had a safe, warm, sleep-filled night…so I would too. And I sure wish that this sleep sack had been around back then. Don’t miss a great giveaway after the jump!   We’ve long adored Bella Bundles for its gorgeous, oh-so-smart line of snap-under-the-chin towels. Now they’ve added the sweetest sleep bundles to the mix. Swoon. Made in luxuriously soft, 100-percent cotton, each bundle is lined...

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Stylish storage solutions for an organized home

Let’s talk storage solutions, shall we? Or rather, my lack thereof. Bills and random paperwork end up mishmashed into the Play-Doh tub (which, of course, contains no actual Play-Doh). There’s not one item of winter clothing in the winter clothing box, but for some reason there are six spoons in the bathroom drawer. My only real consolation? A lot of you are living exactly the same way. Luckily, these storage options offer those of us dreaming of a more organized home the chance to sort out our stuff in the most stylish, prettiest way possible–meaning that this just might...

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Heifer International gifts: Buy the cow. And the goat, and the flock of chicks.

We love end-of-year charitable donations (or any time of year) to deserving organizations, and we’ve always been fans of Heifer International. Especially now that they’ve made it even easier to help a family take care of itself through your donation–and it happens to make a fabulous Christmas gift too. Heifer International is an amazing nonprofit that for years has been working to end world hunger by giving milk cows, goats, and flocks of chicks to impoverished communities–all to help the communities help themselves. And this year, they’ve added their own Christmas Wish List that makes it really easy to find...

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Maternity lingerie ideas to help you make the holidays a little uh…more festive.

Why maternity lingerie? Well between the well-meaning but okay-enough-already belly touches of visiting relatives and feeling like your burgeoning bump is making you look a bit too much like Santa himself, holidays can be rough on a mama-to-be.  So we’re for anything that makes you feel a little more woman and a little less incubator. We’ve tracked down some of the softest, sexiest new holiday maternity lingerie collections around–pieces that’ll make you feel comfy, sexy, and festive all at once. Without looking like a Christmas tree ornament. -Lexi We’ve always dug the super soft maternity loungewear from Belabumbum and...

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One of the most important presents you could ever give: clean water

As wonderful as it is to unwrap gifts during the holidays, it’s even more wonderful to give gifts that can’t be wrapped in the first place. Especially this one–because it will also be appreciated for a lifetime. Cool Mom Picks has always loved the mission of charity:water: to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. And its holiday campaign is one I can totally get behind: the organization is suggesting we “give up the gifts” and instead help fund 100 new wells in Ethiopia. Just $10,000 fully funds a shallow borehole well in northern Ethiopia–a region...

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8 of the coolest personalized gifts that there’s still time to get for Christmas!

Whether you’re down to the last present on your list or still only just getting started (ahem), you don’t have to panic. There’s still time to order super-cool gifts that are–get this!–personalized, so no one will ever know that you didn’t buy them weeks ago. Here are some of our favorites. –Lexi We like this affordable little peronalized rockstar coin pouch from Psychobaby so much, we included it in the CMP holiday gift guide. And you have until 12/17 to order (via 2nd day shipping).  Personalized pocket mirrors from Olliegraphic sport your kid’s name–and you can choose the hair...

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The perfect gift for the kid whose power is super-coloring

If you–like me–have a little one who has become so devoted to all things “super” that you have to call breakfast “super-Cheerios” and explain that bedtime is the only way to recharge super-batteries, then I guarantee this is a truly super present. These personalized superhero crayons at Cio Prints are the perfect way to a) indulge your kiddo’s penchant for all things super and b) do so without any licensed characters to speak of.  What I really love about the crayons–besides the fact that you can get both super boy and super girl versions–is that they’re personalized in lots...

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The coolest red holiday dresses for the coolest girls

‘Tis the season for cute red dresses for girls! We found the most festive and fun of the bunch, so you know they’ll be perfect for everything from the annual family holiday photo to Christmas dinner at the grandparents’. Hey, a kid in a dress is still a kid–and she’ll be able to make all the merry she wants in these beauties. -Lexi This adorable Jason Wu dress ($59.99, above) was the standout of his Neiman Marcus for Target collection–love the collar detail. And if Wu doesn’t fall into your pricepoint but Target does, this Harajuku Mini dress is a...

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A wonderful way to help cancer patients that has nothing to do with pink ribbons.

When my mom had cancer, one of the things that truly lifted her spirits (and ours) was when friends would drop off home-cooked meals. Beyond the comfort in knowing that people cared, the meals themselves were warm, delicious, and time-saving. Lifesaving, really. And that’s why I’m so happy to share this wonderful that we found, which makes a fabulous gift for friends and family battling cancer–both for the holidays and year-round. {Keep reading for a discount on this amazing service, especially for CMP readers and their families and friends!} Meals to Heal really couldn’t be simpler: patients (or their...

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12 gorgeous holiday jewelry picks for less than $50

As mamas, sometimes the only sparkle we get to wear with any real regularity is what sticks to our shirts from our kids’ glitter-and-glue projects. And while we obviously love our kiddos’ creations, it’s nice to have some purposefully placed glitter every once in a while…like the holidays! We love these beautiful baubles–holiday jewelry that’s sparkly, fun, and all costs less than $50. -Lexi [DON’T MISS AN AWESOME JEWELRY GIVEAWAY (WORTH MORE THAN $50!) AFTER THE JUMP] Proof that holiday jewelry need not reference the snowman pin your great-aunt Maude wears to Christmas dinner every year: this It Girl Collar...

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8 of the coolest (and easiest) holiday crafts for kids

If you score not-so-high on the Official Scale of Craftiness (which, I swear, should be a real thing), fear not. You and your kids will have a blast making these eight super-easy, super-cute holiday crafts we’ve rounded up just for you.   This Christmas tree craft by LooLeDo is so very cool and colorful–and, best of all, it’s made entirely with things you have lying around the house anyway, like paper clips, a paper towel tube, tape, construction paper, a paper plate.   The prettiest solution in the kajillion holiday catalogs clogging up your mailbox? Gorgeous DIY paper snowflakes...

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A Santa-approved personalized book: The Mouse Who Saved Christmas

Ready or not, mamas, the holiday season is on us. Here’s a good way to get a jump on Christmas morning: an adorably customized book with your kid as a main character–and a major part of the plotline. ‘Twas the Mouse who Saved Christmas  is a sweet and welcome entry into the your-kid’s-name-here category of gifts. Occasionally, personalized kids’ books seem to have pretty random placements of your child’s name in the text. But the creators of this book incorporate your child’s name in a thoughtful and unique way, making your little one a truly central character in the...

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Launch a successful home business with a little help from Mom, Inc.

As a mama, I have big dreams: making cute-yet-healthy snacks, being a role model, kissing boo-boos like a champ. As an employee, I have the same dreams (except maybe the boo-boos part). I want to do it all…but I’m not always sure where to start. You know how it goes. This new book might help us accomplish our lofty goals–well, at least a few of them. Mom, Inc., by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Cat Seto, is full of smart, accessible advice for busy mamas seeking to launch home businesses. And believe me, these women know their stuff: Ilasco is an...

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