Author: Mir

Safe and yummy treats, now homemade

We first raved about Divvies Bakery almost four years ago, when we discovered that nut-free, dairy-free, and egg-free didn’t have to mean yummy-free. There’s nothing not to love about vegan, kosher, most-common-allergen-free bakery treats that actually taste the way treats ought to taste. And now you can make the Divvies magic happen right in your own kitchen, with the release of their cookbook. The Divvies Bakery Cookbook is your home guide to food allergy-friendly versions of sweets, from the cupcakes kids love to more adult pies and cobblers. There’s slushie recipes too and even a dairy-free chocolate pudding. Every...

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Trading Cradles – It’s like Twitter and Craigslist had a really well-behaved baby

Honestly, the number of hoops you have to jump through to sell on eBay these days is crazy (who has the patience?), and I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like Craigslist is overrun with scammers, cheapskates and crazy people. So what’s a mama with limited time and some quality pre-owned baby gear to do? If you live in or near a major metropolitan area, check out Trading Cradles, which is specifically for busy parents who want to sell or find gear for their tots. Perhaps the very best part: There’s a 250-character limit on descriptions, so...

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Cool kid travel guides they’ll actually read

When we moved to Georgia, I tried to pad the transition with various books about what a great place it was and the interesting things that have happened here. My efforts were met with a resounding “meh” from my children. Hmph. Of course, the brand new Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know city guides from Arcadia Kids weren’t around, back then, otherwise I could have gotten them the Atlanta book and totally won them over.   Even though we live here, now, both kids pronounced this little book “totally cool,” and why not? It’s chock-full of not just landmarks...

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How to parent smarter, with a little help from an expert

Betsy Brown Braun’s You’re Not the Boss of Me promises to brat-proof your 4- to 12-year old, and so my natural aversion to parenting manuals was overcome by curiosity as to whether such a thing was actually possible. I quickly fell deeply, shamelessly in love with Braun’s no-nonsense, straightforward approach to parenting productively. “Don’t bother with ‘good job,'” she says. “What does that even mean, anyway?” A simple change to our automatic inclination to offer praise — mention how responsible your child was for making that particular choice, for example — and now you’re fostering good choices rather than...

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The pros and cons of 6 top online coupon sites

As most of us frugal online shoppers know by now, you don’t buy something without first checking to see if there’s a coupon code and a way to get it cheaper. It’s why we work really hard to secure exclusive codes for our readers here. Well, you should also know that when I’m not here at Cool Mom Picks, I’m busy finding the best deals and coupon codes to share over on my frugal-minded site, Want Not. It’s really the only site you need for coupons and deals if I do say so. In fact, it’s the only one...

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A girls’ guide to middle school mojo

We’re heading into our second year of middle school, here, and it’s been… interesting. It’s definitely a whole different ballgame than elementary school, particularly for girls, who tend to morph into social piranhas pretty early. Is your little darling feeling some trepidation about this new phase? No sweat! The creators of Girls’ Life magazine teamed up with Scholastic, and their Ultimate Guide to Surviving Middle School hits just the right notes in making junior high sound like a brave new adventure. It’s positive and energetic without veering into chirpy, and discusses everything from making new friends, to keeping your...

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3D movies now (duh) more for kids

You’d think it would stand to reason that companies would understand that most of the movie-goers to animated 3D movies are, you know, kids. And yet, until last month, any cinema showing a RealD 3D movie offered just one (ginormous) size of 3D glasses for your viewing pleasure. But now it’s kind of cool that you can hit the movies and leave the cries of Mommy, they’re too big, they keep falling! behind; RealD now offers kid-sized specs for the little ones. They come in the same sanitary single-pair wrapping as their adult-sized counterparts, but are sized to be...

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Like an audio scrapbook of awesomeness

Ever been the person in charge of a group gift, and discovered that special circle of purgatory that involves trying to contact large numbers of people and keep track of who’s done what and who still needs to contribute? Yeah. Not fun. And then there’s the icing on the cake, which is deciding whose names to put on the finished product even if not everyone participated. Well, SpeakSake offers a unique and very personal way to make a gift for one from many say, for a retiring teacher, Grandma’s 90th birthday, or a great germ-free way for everyone to...

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Light up the night

It’s hard to imagine right now — as the kids run around outside in pure daylight until well past 8:00 — that the days are getting shorter, again. And before we know it, we’ll be back to those early mornings of heading out to school when it’s still dark out. Alas. Fortunately, thanks to these cool reflectors from Firefly, you can easily make sure your kiddo is plenty visible and feed their need for cool. There’s tons of different options, each reflector handily masquerading as a bit of standard kid-bling to hang on a backpack or jacket zipper pull....

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Like putting baby in a bubble, but prettier. And less crazy.

Who amongst us hasn’t wanted to put our precious newborn in a germ-free, weather-protected, cocoon of safety at some point? That’s not just me, right? But the problem with any sort of covering for an infant seat is that it’s generally either 1) incomplete or 2) ugly. But aha! Meet Berry Goods Baby, inventors and purveyors of boutique-quality over-the-handle infant carrier covers. Not only are the fabrics pretty, the cover protects baby from mosquitoes, rain, and sticky-fingered strangers at the supermarket for those of you freaked out about such things. Fold back one flap to access the handle, fold...

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Picky clothing kids rejoice: Soft now makes jeans

I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when Soft Clothing first arrived on the scene, bringing flat-seamed, soft cotton clothing basics for kids who have sensory issues. My own son isn’t as picky as he used to be, but he still goes for the Soft stuff over anything else, every time. But life just got even better. Soft has expanded their offerings, and they now have a unisex jean that, yes, is more like a “jean”–a pair of french terry pants with gold topstitching. Do they look exactly like jeans? No, of course not. But they’re a reasonable...

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PDFs for DIY PB+J

This is one of those times when I find myself wishing I owned a sewing machine. And that I had a single crafty bone in my body. Check it out: Gulf Coast Cottage, a wonderful shop filled with soft toys, has an entire category filled with nothing but PDF patterns for felt toys you can make yourself. Many of the patterns are food–like the PB&J lunch set or the toaster set shown here (ah, so kids can play with the toaster!), but there’s also a doctor’s kit, tools, a child’s tea set, and even a retro robot plushie. If...

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Gummy bears that won’t wreck your teeth

Despite the fact that looking at this kids furniture got The Gummy Bear Song stuck in my head (no, I won’t burden you if you don’t already know it), I’m totally grooving on these adorable gummy bear chairs from yam & toast. They’re sweet without going overboard–a great alternative to neon and licensed characters, but still colorful and appropriately kid-like. yam & toast makes all of their furniture in Brazil, using wood harvested from managed renewable forests, so it’s a choice you can feel good about, too. And if the wee gummy bear chair delighted you, they also have...

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Dear Dad: I found you the perfect book for Father’s Day

Stumped for Father’s Day? Maybe it’s because I’m married to a photographer (though I don’t think so), but I’m thinking that if Dear Dad from Chronicle Books doesn’t bring a little tear to his eye, he might not actually be human. The volume is filled with breathtaking photos of dads and grandfathers and children all doing what they love best–just enjoying each other, every day. Throw in a few snippets of wisdom about the powerful role dads play in our lives, and you’ve got a little book that packs a wallop. But don’t take my word for it; check...

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Family travel, four-star, and discount all in the same breath.

When my husband and I talk about taking a trip, it always goes along the same script:“How about here?” “Too expensive.”“How about here?” “No good with kids.”“How about here?” “Are you kidding??”“Fine, let’s just go camping.” And don’t get me wrong, I like camping, but I’d be okay with a luxury getaway once in a while. Which is why, I suppose, I’ve recently become addicted to Hotwire’s Travel Ticker. The prices appeal to my penny-pinching side, and the wealth of available information appeals to my mom side. Why, perusing the Family Travel section yields all sorts of possibilities I...

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Practical parenting. Period.

Do you suppose our parents agonized so much over what kind of parents they were as we do, today? Probably not. And yet, I hate to cast aspersions on folks genuinely seeking guidance on the right way to raise little people into fabulous adults. It’s what we all want, right? It’s also why we all thought “good job!” was the magic phrase… right up until studies informed us that “good job!” was, in fact, ruining our kids. Whoops. Never fear; Ellen Galinsky’s Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs is where data meets common...

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Exercise baby’s memory, crave fudge ripple

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… well, okay, I lied. I didn’t scream over these adorable soft ice cream-festooned beanbags, but I did squeal just a little bit. The Baby Gardner brings us Lisa Bacigalupi’s exclusive hand-stitched take on the traditional memory match game: 16 beanbags, 8 different pairs of matching cones, 1 muslin bag to store it all in, 100% chance of delight. This one is pretty to look at, soft and interesting for little fingers, and guaranteed to last longer than a flimsy deck of cards. This isn’t the item to grab when you need...

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There’s still time to wow Mom

Mother’s Day is creeping ever so close, and dads, you may have remembered to order flowers for your mom, but did you remember to do something awesome for the mother of your kids? (Sorry, dudes. That’s your responsibility, too.) Don’t panic! There’s still time to go create the perfect Mother’s Day video to show her how much you love her, over at Animoto. You choose the template, then upload your photos and choose what song the 30-second homage is set to use. Animoto takes care of the rest–the animation, the special effects, the complete wow factor. It’s easy, it’s...

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Yep, they can hear you now

I gave up on my Bluetooth headset for my mobile phone a while back; I was always forgetting to charge it, and on the rare occasions when I didn’t, I had trouble getting it to stay in my ear, and the sound quality was terrible. So despite all the hype about Jawbone’s new line of ICON headsets for mobile phones — which, I have to admit, are pretty cool-looking, with an option to suit just about any style — I wasn’t sure I’d actually, you know, use it. This is one of those occasions when I’m delighted to have...

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The perfect little black (and white) maternity dress

Back when I was pregnant with my kids (you know, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), “nursing dress” was synonymous with “giant chest flaps on something shapeless and ugly.” Sad but true. So you’ll have to pardon me for feeling like you pregnant and nursing mamas today have it easy when there are options like this striped jersey dress from Polarn O. Pyret that we just came across I mean, forget that it’s totally versatile and on trend, and the soft jersey will work through the summer and well into fall with the addition of leggings; forget that the...

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