Author: Mir

Fruit on hand that makes it into their mouths

I once packed the same apple in my son’s lunch for an entire week. Every afternoon it was still there, and he’d promise to eat it the next day, and then he’d bring it home again. And it’s not even that he doesn’t like apples, but as he says, it’s “complicated” to eat a whole apple in a 20-minute lunch period. But when I pack Funky Monkey dehydrated fruit snacks, (warning: site has sound) which are basically three full servings of deyhdrated fruit and some spices, they always get eaten. There’s no added sugar (I know you were wondering!),...

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A pocket full of books

Games on the iPhone are nice, having books on hand make you feel a little less guilty about trying to keep the kid occupied on mile-long supermarket checkout lines. Now you can always have books on hand without carting around pounds of hardbacks: PicPocket Books adapts great kids’ books for the iPhone, and they start at just a buck apiece in iTunes. You can read the stories aloud or turn on the built-in narration, and kids can learn along as each spoken word is highlighted, too. Sure, there’s a little bit of (subtle) animation, in some stories, and sometimes...

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The pendant with real heart

How do I love this anatomical heart necklace? Let me count the ways: Let’s start with the hand-cut sterling silver. Continue on to the fact that it’s, you know, a pretty darn realistic rendering of a real heart without being gross or macabre. In fact, I’d argue it has an incredible beauty in those delicate, branching vessels. Sweethearts, take note: This would be the perfect Valentine’s gift for the woman who doesn’t do cutesy, but who does have an appreciation for the modern and unique. I’m completely smitten. Form, function, fabulous. -Mir Order the anatomical heart necklace from Laurel...

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Hot diggity, that’s comfortable

It started with two brothers complaining that their booster seats were uncomfortable; five years later, their parents run Diggity Kids, proud purveyor of American-made comfort travel systems for kids who need more cushy digs in the car. All three pieces–seat belt cover, neck pillow, and wedge seat cushion–are designed to make travel in even a hard plastic booster seat more comfortable. I’ve got a secret to tell you, though. The Keester booster seat cushion is nothing short of a miracle for those of us whose kids are really too big for a booster but still juuuuust a little too...

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Fight germs without becoming “that mom”

I’ve got a bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse, as I’m sure all of you do, too. It feels like an imperative, even though I’ll pick actual soap-and-water hand washing over hand sanitizer whenever I can. So when I first heard about “a new hand sanitizer” I may not have been overly excited, you know, until I found out that in addition to being all-natural, it continues killing germs for hours after use. Sound impossible? It’s not. staSAFE‘s active ingredient, derived from silver and zinc, has been shown to reduce bacteria on the hands more than two hours...

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Music for kids with two mommies, two daddies, or even one of each.

When I first discovered the show last year, I didn’t think I could be any more impressed with Dottie’s Magic Pockets as cool kid entertainment. But they’ve gone and done it again with their newly-released CD, The Super Secret Seashell Cave, which is chock-full of kid-friendly tunes won’t make you want to stab a fork through your eardrum. Once again, the songs are served with a heaping helping of “families come in all shapes and sizes” but it never veers into over-earnestness or sap. It’s hard to find anything but amusement in lyrics like “Who’s in your family, a...

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Baby Banz Swim Goggles: Essential eye protection goes underwater

If you’re a longtime Cool Mom Picks reader, then you already know Baby Banz as the quintessential purveyor of eye protection for little ones in the sun–plus we were excited when they started making¬†Baby Banz sun protection beachwear. But now, right in time for winter swim lessons, we’re happy to learn they’ve branched out into swim goggles. And right when it’s nearly impossible to find goggles in the store. They’ve got the 100% UV protection we’d expect from Baby Banz plus they’re anti-fog, but it’s more than that. Unlike adult goggles in miniature for kids, these ones are actually...

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Time for Lunch to slow down and get real

Next month Congress is going to be revisiting school meal program guidelines, and the more parents and kids they hear from before they do so, the greater the chance that our schools will have real food (what a concept) to offer our children. That includes my own district, which has such frightening food options I don’t let my kids buy school lunches. Slow Food USA, an org we all completely adore, is behind the Time for Lunch Campaign, and you can get involved–write your Congresspeople, sign the online petition, or help organize an action like an eat-in. (Now there’s...

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Survey says: You can have a Wiser Pregnancy

You show me the woman who didn’t spend her pregnancy polling her friends as to their symptoms and decisions at similar points of gestation, and I’ll show you a bridge I have for sale (cheap). But while having girlfriends and relatives to talk to is great, but sometimes you want a broader perspective. Now that broader sampling is right at your fingertips: Wiser Pregnancy aggregates responses to common pregnancy experiences and makes it easy to search by trimester, symptom, procedure–whatever you may be facing. Each issue shows you the total responses, how many people answered, and allows you to...

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Ultra comfort especially for the uncomfortable

If you have a kid who just puts clothes on like it’s no big deal, you’re a lot luckier than you probably realize. For those of us with a child with sensory issues, clothing is one of a million battles we fight every day. For most kids with tactile sensitivities, tags are a problem; they can be removed, fortunately. But for many kids with Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, ADHD, and other medical issues that can cause tactile sensitivity, even the seaming inside a shirt can cause issues, and sometimes it can be hard to figure out what clothing will...

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Got donations? Here’s how to help Haiti

We know that moms are, by definition, givers. But after something like Tuesday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, it can be hard to know how to best help. If you’re wanting to donate to relief efforts but unsure of where your money will do the most good, we have some suggestions: Chris Sacca shares six excellent charity suggestions, including ways you can donate via texting to both the Red Cross and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti. There are plenty of other suggestions in the comments on his post, too. MercyCorps is sending an emergency response team in to assist those in...

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Saddle up for old-fashioned fun

Is it possible to have a kids’ show nowadays that doesn’t involve robots, high technology, or characters that make you want to throw a shoe at the television before your eardrums rupture? Sometimes! John Bankhead–a father seeking entertainment “like we used to have”–is the brilliant mind behind Johnny Saddles the Singin’ Cowboy, the new educational web-based show teaching kids fundamentals through song, dance, and even a good-natured lizard. Honestly, there are so many ways this could’ve veered off into the overly-cloying ditch, but it never does. It’s just plain upbeat, prairie-themed fun. The characters are likable, the music is...

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Family game night goes deeper with Family Matters

Look, I’m going to be honest: When I read that Family Matters is the family game for ages 8+ that helps your family get to know each other better, I steeled myself for my daughter rolling her eyes and my son sliding underneath the table, declaring his boredom. Nonetheless, my family took it for a test drive–and I couldn’t be more pleased to report that I was completely wrong. Each family member takes turns “driving” the family car around the board and through the various cards. We all loved guessing the answers to the My Favorite Things cards (guess...

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iPlay’n Learn – They should’ve named it iDistract’n Calm

A few weeks ago I had some friends over to the house, and one of them brought her three-year-old, who immediately commenced leaping around on the furniture like a chimp on crack. Given that my children are past that phase (or can be reigned in with a simple, Knock it off!), I began to fret about his safety — and my upholstery — a bit. But then, a miracle occurred: My friend whipped out her iPhone and handed it to her tot, and for the next twenty minutes he happily busied himself with iPlay’n Learn, a new app from...

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Skinnygirl Margarita Review: The 100-calorie, 5-second margarita

My name is Mir, and I like a good margarita. Judge me if you must. I’m also kind of lazy, so my margaritas are generally limited to the rare dinner out with my husband. Can I make a margarita at home? Sure. Do I? Usually not (see aforementioned laziness). And the couple of times I’ve picked up a mix I’ve been astonished at the calories, the additives, or both. Yuck. So when I started to unscrew this pretty bottle of Skinnygirl Margaritas, I was cautiously optimistic. Celebrity chef and erstwhile NYC “housewife” (you know, the funny one) Bethenny Frankel...

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Trusting your teen? There’s an app for that!

It seems impossible to me that I’ll one day have a teen or two whom I’ll allow to roam the world somewhat freely, but the truth is that teenagerhood will be entering my house very, very soon. Hold me. Vanessa Van Petten has been helping parents communicate with their teens since she herself was one, and it’s no surprise that iCurfew comes from her excellent resource site for parents from a kid’s POV, Radical Parenting. iCurfew is the best of all possible worlds; it allows teens to check in with parents easily (a couple of clicks and your location...

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Swapping + Handmade = Happy Holiday Barter

I’ve already shared my love for SwapMamas here, the great location for moms to meet up and swap their gently used items. But for the holidays, they’re adding a dash of Etsy and going positively medieval: You can check out the Handmade Mamas group there to swap around your handmade skills and deck the halls with barter. So maybe you knit, but you really want some pretty hair ribbons; or you make earrings but desperately want some cute bibs.Whatever you’re still seeking, chances are there’s a fellow crafty mama out there willing to work out a trade. Happy holidays...

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Scrapbook masterpieces, no skills required

Look, we’ve discussed my SIS (Scrapbook Impairment Syndrome) in the past. I’m okay with it. There are tools available for me to do pretty things with my pictures in other ways. But if I want a genuine photos-affixed-to-beautiful-backgrounds, scrapbook binder full of hand-designed pages, now I can get it. Pixtorie lets you upload your photos and then choose from various layouts from designers like Oh Joy! to assemble the perfect “simplebook,” the smaller, more affordable version of their designer scrapbooks. Right now colors and fonts on the various pages are fixed, but I’m told greater flexibility is coming down...

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Redbox helps you save your money for popcorn

Sure, there’s no shortage of ways to rent movies nowadays; whether you go in-store, via mail service, or even streaming over the Internet. Still, ’tis the season to be mindful of where every penny is going, so maybe it’s time to check out Redbox, which is a kiosk-based $1 movie-rental service. Basically, you reserve your movie online, then pick it up at a kiosk, generally in chains like Kroger and Walgreens. But of course, make sure there’s one near you before you sign on. (There are 50 in Atlanta where I live.) The movie selection isn’t massive, but it...

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Not your grandma’s recipe cards

My grandmother wrote recipes on flowery little cards expressly for that purpose, and my mother rebelled against the cute by using nothing more than plain index cards. Me, I fall somewhere in the middle–plain cards seem kind of depressing, but I’m just not a hearts and flowers kind of gal. Up until recently I was solving this dilemma by keeping my recipes in a handy stack of paper scraps on my kitchen counter. Ahem. But I took one look at these Spoon Recipe Cards and knew I’d found the solution. They’re cute, but not too cute. And the split...

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