Author: Liz Gumbinner

Remarkably Average Parenting: The hilarious parenting book for the social media generation

The self-deprecating mom advice book is a genre I can get behind, but it’s not always done well. I’m still recommending the edgy Sh*tty Mom series and the offbeat Let’s Panic  About Babies, but a lot of the other titles start to run together in my mind, especially after you’ve read as many as I have. However I can honestly say that the new The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting absolutely jumps out from the pack. From Iana Wiles, author of the popular blog Mommy Shorts (and Cool Mom Picks buddy), the book feels like it’s spun off from both her blog and her popular Instagram feeds,...

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Web coolness: Girl power comics, Halloween costumes to avoid, and save Dorothy!

Here are some links we’ve liked reading around the web this week. Hope you like them too.   Our own Delilah Dawson teamed up with artist Ashley A. Woods to pen the Ladycastle four-comic miniseries, a reinterpretation of Arthurian legend that puts women in charge of the castle. Whoo! We’re thinking great strong girl costume ideas for 2017. The masks Target won’t sell for Halloween. Sexy Halloween costumes that make you say, just…no. No way. Not ever. Did you get yourself this parenting truth mug yet? Because you need it before Halloween! Awesome homemade Halloween cupcake ideas. (OMG the brains are killing us.) Pineapple jack-o-lanterns? What?...

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The coolest free printable Halloween paper dolls with costumes from sweet to steampunk to Star Wars

Some of my favorite posts here come from the things my kids ask me to find — in this case, printable Halloween paper dolls. They loved some incredibly adorable paper dolls we’d featured here years back, but now they’ve gotten older and so have their tastes. So I’ve put together just some of the faves from around the web. Some are in color, some let you color them in yourself, and some even feature paper dolls that offer other outfit options representing other holidays and seasons, should your kids want them to last. As for my kids, I imagine they’re going to be...

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A fabulous resource for cool Halloween printables, from coloring pages to banners to party games

It’s officially that time when my kids beg to decorate our door for Halloween and here come our friends from Caravan Shoppe to the rescue! Mom and graphic artist Alma Loveland — make of the Ollieblocks we can’t get enough of — has just come out with a super affordable, giant printable Halloween coloring poster that I know will keep my kids busy for the next couple of weeks. It’s something you can have a group of kids go to work on at a Halloween party, or just leave it out for something creative your kids can do — besides...

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6 adorably easy Halloween costumes for babies all from items they can wear again. Yay for that!

Putting together these ideas for easy Halloween costumes for babies, all featuring clothes and accessories they can wear again, wasn’t just fun — it was very personal. I know I’m not the only parent who doesn’t look forward to spending a lot of time or money on a Halloween costume that will be worn once. (Looking at you, overpriced pea-in-a-pod costume that my first baby wore for a grand total of 45 minutes.) In fact, last year, I realized that every item in my then 8-year-old daughter’s dream costume (Gwen from Total Drama in case you’re wondering) was something she wore again. I may...

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How to donate to Haiti relief from Hurricane Matthew: The best relief organizations on the ground right now

It was just 6 years ago that we were describing all the wonderful organizations and fundraisers that came together to support Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake, and now we’re so heartbroken to be revisiting those resources once again. As of now, 877 people are reported dead and that number is sure to grow. 877 mothers, fathers, children, partners, friends. 877 people. According to UNICEF, that includes half a million children who live in the affected areas. They state that up to 80% of homes in the south are damaged with nearly 16,0000 people in various shelters including at least...

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Midnight Creatures: A pop-up book that’s way more than a pop-up book

We’re all big fans of artful, creative pop-up books around here, but when I checked out a copy of Midnight Creatures: A Pop-up Shadow Search, it didn’t cross my mind just how extraordinarily creative it would be — and how much it would captivate even my 9-year-old. Illustrator and cut-paper artist Helen Friel’s book is truly a marvel; a series of spreads that introduce nocturnal animals who inhabit the ocean, the woods, caves and beyond. At first, each of the three black, die-cut pop ups on each spread looks somewhat abstract. But on closer glance, you see they’re filled with the hidden shapes of creatures identified on...

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The hilarity and terror of raising teens: Tips + humor to get you through it | Spawned Ep 52

Today we’re speaking with humorist, best-selling author and actual real-life teacher Robert Wilder about raising teens! We first discovered his hilarious Daddy Needs a Drink way back in the early CMP days, and we’ve been fans ever since. Break up your day with this fun discussion about his much-lauded first YA novel, Nickel, horror stories to make you laugh out loud, and tips to help you get through it all — whether you’re in the thick of it, been there/survived that, or it still feels a million years away. Listen right here, or check out Spawned with Kristen + Liz on iTunes. Now!...

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Roy Lichtenstein meets Dick and Jane

I’m always a sucker for books for toddlers and early readers that make use of modern art. We’ve covered Where’s Warhol (a Where’s Waldo parody) most recently, Henri Matisse and Alexander Calder pop-up books, and now there’s a cool new one — Roy’s House, by Susan Goldman Rubin with art by Roy Lichtenstein. Rubin’s simple, playful text welcomes readers, then takes us on a tour through Lichtenstein’s iconic pop art, which combine to make up quite the house when viewed all together. His infamous paintings of interiors introduce us to a great big couch for entertaining many friends, a kitchen for snacking, and the studio where “Roy paints pictures.”...

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11 times new parents have thought WTF, how is this my life?

Sure, those prenatal classes and baby books may prepare you for labor, breastfeeding (kind of), and baby milestones. But there are so many truly insane moments as a new parent that create a stark difference between your new life (i.e. slave to an infant) and your old one (i.e. slave to the sales days at your favorite store) and we had the best time remembering some of our favorites. This post is graciously brought to you by one of our favorite infant brands, FridaBaby, because they not only have a great sense of humor, but they know a little something about...

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Brooklinen: Amazing modern sheets when you don’t have the zillion hours it takes to look for amazing sheets

As someone who dreads sheet shopping with the fiery hatred of a thousands suns (seriously, why why why are 99% of all the sheets online so darn fugly?), I breathed a sigh of relief when I first clicked over to Brooklinen, a new site offering beautifully packaged, well-made sheet sets in go-with-anything modern fabrics. If you’re into big florals or wild colors, this is not going to be your thing. But it certainly is mine. They sent out a core set to try out (windowpane if you’re curious, which I looooo-oooove) and I admit I’m about a zillion times more impressed than I had...

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My 9/11 birthday

Adapted from a post originally published on Mom-101.com   Hello. Today is my birthday. Which means your knee-jerk response is probably something like, oh, happy birthday, Liz! But as I’ve come to learn, a few seconds later, a certain realization will strike and you’ll add: Oh wait, today? Oh. Ohhhhhhhh….wow. Wow. Okay. Wow. I’ve had 15 years to get used to it and I’m still not used to it. I don’t know if I ever will be. When you have a 9/11 birthday, especially in New York City, there is no chance of escaping discussion about The Day and what...

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Cool sneaker makeovers that leave the white shoes behind after Labor Day

If you stand by the old “no white after Labor Day” fashion imperative, we want to point you to this fantastic post with 9 cool DIY sneaker makeover ideas to help you — or your kids — turn those plain white shoes into something that looks great all fall long. From galaxy prints to ombre fades, even glitter sneakers in every color, click over for 9 super hip DIY sneaker styles that people pay good money for at indie boutiques and craft fairs — only you can do them yourself. Related:The coolest fun, easy fall nature crafts for preschoolers...

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It’s a lunch bag! It’s a place mat! It’s the answer to every germaphobe parent’s prayers.

While there are all kinds of kids lunch bags and boxes that I find are really durable and effective, I’ve long been a fan of the lunch bags from Built NY — in no small part because the size and styling means I can borrow them from my kids. And now they’re out with and extremely smart, innovative lunch bag that I think parents will be happy about. Especially if you’re grossed out by the tables and surfaces your kids may be eating off of when you’re not around. Related: 34 of the coolest lunch boxes and bags | Back to School Guide...

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Kubo and the Two Strings: Why this exquisite film is worth a trip to the theater.

If like me, you try to choose carefully when it comes to which movies make sense to see in a theater where it costs you a year’s college tuition for a family of four — and then, decide which movies seem worth forking over the extra few bucks for the 3D experience — I highly recommend the extraordinary Kubo and the Two Strings. This exquisite stop-motion feature from Laika Entertainment and first-time director Travis Knight comes to life so spectacularly on the big screen I would even see it a second time, and that’s saying something. The story of a young, one-eyed Japanese boy on...

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5 creative ways to make personalized candy favors and gifts the coolest ever. Look what we made!

My kids believe they are the World’s Greatest Fans of Dylan’s Candy Bar. Which is hilarious, considering that every single one of the zillions of kids who visit their shops each year also believe that they are the World’s Greatest Fans of Dylan’s Candy Bar. So when they joined on as our newest sponsor (yay!), and asked us to take a look at their new selection of personalized candy favors and gifts at the Dylan’s Candy Bar online Design Shoppe (double yay!), you have no idea how quickly I raised my hand. (Sorry, CMP comrades — early bird gets the chocolate.)   -Special Offer:...

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Decluttering the bedroom night table: Check.

My night stand is a thing of terror — between the glassware, the paperbacks, the cards from the kids, the remote controls, the empty candy wrappers (what? It’s been a stressful election season), the mini body moisturizer samples, and a couple of photo frames, it does not look like anything you will see in a shelter magazine. Ever. So this genius felt bedside caddy is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I can move the magazines, books and remotes in the structured envelope, add maybe a few cards or notes, and — done! They’re off my night stand and...

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Why I’m emotional about 19th Amendment Day this year, and links to help kids understand the importance.

I am finding myself a little choked up today, on the anniversary of the 19th amendment, in a way I can’t recall ever feeling before. Maybe it’s because this is the first August 18 in which we have a female presidential nominee from a major party. Maybe it’s because this is the first presidential campaign year in which my daughters are old enough to be interested and following along, and I can start to see their own paths as educated and engaged voters of the future. Or maybe it’s just because I’m hitting the age myself where I have enough life behind me to be...

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7 fun handwriting practice printables for kids, from pre-k to teen. It’s not just worksheets!

We’ve always made it our mission to encourage kids to keep the art of handwriting alive, and to help parents looking to do the same. So we’ve put together some really terrific handwriting practice printables for kids of all ages. Yes, even teens. (We can tear them away from those keyboards sometimes, you know.) Essentially, it’s all about finding ways to get kids to write, whether it’s basic worksheets for preschoolers, or opportunities to write stories, comics, even create a typeface of their own. And we’re so happy to bring you this post on behalf of our partner BIC, who’s been our fantastic...

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Frogglez are the kids’ swim goggles you’ve been looking for forever

Leave it to my own cool mom to provide us with a most excellent Cool Grandmom Pick as we make the most of the final sweltering weeks of summer — Frogglez Goggles. My kids refuse to go in the pool without goggles, and these are the first ones I’ve ever tried that they can wear literally for hours without complaining about them. That double neoprene band may make them look a bit like orthodontic headgear (with due respect to Joan Cusack in Sixteen Candles) but they’re comfy, they stay on, and they don’t even get caught up in my girls’ long hair. You...

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