Author: Mir

iPhone cases for the terminally hip

I could count the many ways in which I am completely obsessed with Threadless, the original crowdsourcing art-to-product site, but who has that kind of time? Suffice it to say that the whole family enjoys their t-shirts, and I dream of rooms festooned with their Blik decals. But with this, their latest, my life may just be complete–Threadless has teamed up with Griffin to make cool iPhone cases. Catch me; I’m swooning. Now sadly, they don’t fit my geriatric first-generation iPhone, but for you 3G and beyond folks, have at it. So far you can choose from either Clouds...

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Congratulations – you’re a grandparent!

When I told my parents I was expecting, I didn’t tell them I was expecting. I told them we’d done some interesting sightseeing, and did they want to see pictures? And then I gave them my ultrasound photos. If The Grandparents Handbook had been around, back then, I might’ve given them a copy of that instead. (I know; the ultrasound story sounds great, but it took my father forever to figure it out, which kind of spoiled the fun.) Not only would the book be a fun way to announce your folks’ impending status change (heh), it’s chock-full of...

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I’ve never felt this way about felt before

Honestly, I think of felt and often I think “meh.” But I’ve just seen the light, because the light, apparently, comes in the form of felt cushion wall hangings featuring bunnies and Matryoshka dolls that would brighten up any nursery in the world. If you aren’t slain by the cuteness of the Starry Night and Walking in the Rain cushions offered by Enna Design Shop on Etsy and all the remarkable attention to detail, definitely check out her assortment of plushies, too. If none of those speak to you, consider the possibility that you have no soul. I’m not...

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Forecast: Dressy yet cool

I generally prescribe to the “small boys are suitably dressed up for the holidays when wearing a cute sweater” school of thought, but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes even little boys must wear a tie to be suitably (get it?) attired. Okay, so a tie may not scream “free spirit” to your wild child, but if he’s going to wear a tie, he should get the coolest tie around — say, a kid-sized version from one of Dad’s favorite shops? When we recommended Cyberoptix Tie Lab in last year’s holiday gift guide they only made ties for the big...

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The Sisterhood of the Magical Pants, aka brilliant maternity jeans

Sure, you can spend hundreds of dollars to get maternity jeans from hip labels, but the cost is exorbitant and you end up wearing them for just a few months. (Or, hopefully just a few months.) I know there are more options around now than the ones with the panels that went up to my bra strap when I was pregnant, but still. Most maternity jeans do not make the wearer feel particularly hot. What if you could take your everyday, pre-pregnancy fave jeans and turn them into maternity jeans… and then turn them back into regular jeans, later?...

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Baby’s first cookbook

I confess; I made my own baby food. But just so we’re clear, I was less a domestic goddess and more a garden-variety control freak. I spent late nights cooking and chopping and freezing, and honestly, I took no joy in it whatsoever. Boring. But that’s only because my kids were babies back in the Pleistocene Era, and eebee’s Mix&Mash Adventures didn’t yet exist. Babies six months and up will enjoy the board book (and accompanying DVD) which features lots of brightly-colored photos of fellow babies, having fun with a baby-sized puppet named eebee. But they can also do...

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Storytelling made easy – just add imagination

My kids love “writing books,” and I love that they’re being creative, but I don’t always love the Don Music-esque cries of, No, it’s supposed to be a yak and I can’t draw it right! I’ll never get it! Can you draw it for me? (Answer: No, I cannot draw a straight line. You’re out of luck, kid.) Storybird is a great alternative to get kids writing creative stories. The first thing I love is the fact that they provide the artwork culled from artists around the world, like the colorful characters from Paul McDougall, or lovely watercolors from...

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Consider it an app for free fries

Yeah, sometimes we want to hit our favorite restaurant and the kids can nibble off our plates or make do with — gasp! — adult food, but other times we’re faced with the realities of a tight budget and wanting to keep the peace. With Kids Eat For loaded up on your iPhone, a quick scan will show you the restaurant deals in your area for when you’ve got kids in tow. And because Kids Eat For is user-driven, you can both add your own finds and update entries that are no longer valid or whose details have changed....

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Recycled, charitable, and oh so fancy

I’m going to be perfectly honest with you; in general the notion of putting cashmere on a baby seems absurd to me. In my world, babies and “hand wash only” are two things that don’t go together. But now I humbly eat my words, having checked out Liza Taylor’s cashmere hat and bootie sets. First of all, ohmygoshsocute. Second, the materials are recycled — or upcycled, if you prefer that term. And third, this former Ralph Lauren designer may now be selling her creations at Barney’s, but she’s also donating hats to orphans through Warm Woolies. Would this be...

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Foodzie is like Etsy for food. I’m doomed.

Do you hear that sound? It’s my hips expanding. I know I’m going to rue the day I discovered Foodzie, the marketplace for hand-crafted and artisan foods. Whereas my resolve is unwavering when I pass the fun-size candy bars in the supermarket aisle (Full of chemicals! I don’t need them!), how can I resist chai tea granola pecan bars or a box of bacon candies? Why, not only are these artisan candies and snacks made from the finest ingredients, I’d be supporting small businesses. It’d practically be an altruistic act, is my point. Of course, if your sweet tooth...

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Family travel, cheaper? Priceless!

Travel is essential to keeping one’s sanity after having kids, but in this economy every little discount and special deal helps. Well if you have an American Express card, you can now reap the benefits of their new Destination Family travel program which seems pretty cool. Check out the whole brochure online, but the upshot is that if you use Destination Family travel agents to book your family trip, you’ll get discounts on hotels, cruises, rental cars, and activities. They can even help you with things like rental carseats or cribs or find you somewhere kids eat free. You’re...

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You blink and they’re grown? Yeah, pretty much

I’m having trouble deciding which I think is cooler–GrowShow‘s free and easy program to create a progressive slide show/movie of your child’s growth, or their ingenious picture frames that can be configured in nearly endless ways. The slide show capability not only automatically orders the photos based on time stamps, it uses a template where you can easily crop and center each photo so that every picture is of comparable size and angle. The result – a movie of your child growing before your very eyes that will look like you spent weeks putting it together. Even though it...

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What your best girlfriend would say, if she was a pediatrician

To say that I was a neurotic mess with my first baby would be an understatement; every sniffle and bruise had me wondering if I’d broken her. By the second baby, I figured I was an old hand . . . except that he was convinced he could fly and often howled for seemingly no reason. If only pediatrician Dr. Lara Zibners’ If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay had been available to me back then! I probably would’ve saved myself from a lot of angst. With a background in pediatric emergency medicine, Dr. Zibners...

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Great schools deserve free money

It’s music to any educator’s ears: The chance for big bucks for the school, just because it’s great. GreatSchools.net and Care2.com have partnered up to create the America’s Favorite School Contest, and they’re giving away everyone’s favorite recession prize — cash. And while I’m happy to send in Kleenex and wipes and extra pencils, and even to write a check to the PTA now and then, I’m certainly not going to turn my nose up at the opportunity to help my kids’ school win the $20,000 grand prize. There’s another $11,000 to be split amongst four runner-up schools, and...

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Teacher gifts: Better than buying the teacher a pony

Every year I tell my children’s teachers thank you, and every year it feels inadequate. Often when I write notes to go with various teacher gifts, I write, You totally deserve a pony, but I thought this would make less of a mess. Thank goodness I now have a second offering from veteran teacher Phillip Done in Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind. (We suggested his first book, 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny back in the spring). In Close Encounters, Done continues sharing the best, the worst, the ridiculous, and the touching from his perspective as a...

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Fabric scraps never had it so good

Designer Cath Young says her label Chunky Chooky is dedicated to “cool things for small people,” but I’d argue you don’t have to be particularly small to relish her adorable softies–creatures, rattles, and so-called wabbits fashioned from vintage and cast-off fabric scraps. Each one is cuter than the last, and they’re all surprisingly affordable for hand-made, one-of-a-kind creations. If all of that (and the floppy carrots each of her wabbits carry–those slay me) isn’t enough to win you over, consider this: In addition to making these guys from recycled and organic materials, Young is also active with Kiva.org to...

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Because sometimes you’ve just gotta go

When I think back to my pregnancies, my first thought isn’t of the miracle of life or even the swollen feet and the heartburn. No, when I remember those days, my mind immediately goes to one place: The bathroom. With each child, I remember nine months of constant urination. (You’re welcome.) I even remember outings I skipped because I worried about easy access to facilities when I would (inevitably) need them. Well, that was years ago, and thanks to the miracle of technology, your pregnancy–or toddler potty training–can now be easier than mine… at least in the bladder department....

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Chalk it up to the animals

I’d argue there’s little more useful than a chalkboard, especially the two beautiful new chalkboard stickers at Zoe b Organic in the shape of either the endangered Isabelle butterfly or a koala bear. They’re made from potato starch, which results in a 100% biodegradable chalkboard, believe it or not. And because they’re stickers, they’re ideal for small spaces–no jutting out from the wall. You might say they’ve got a lovely little actual footprint to go with that little carbon footprint. These erasable stickers work with regular chalk (which yes, you’ll have to clean up as the chalk dust accumulates),...

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Easy, green, and now chic

So maybe the first time we told you about the Flip & Tumble reusable shopping bags that you can just fold up into a teeny little ball and toss in your purse, you liked it…but you just weren’t wowed by the solid prints. Well now Flip & Tumble’s new line of 24-7 reusable bags are the same, super lightweight, useful bags as before, but now in your choice of five unique designs. Each bold, graphic bag is designed by indie artists from Northern Californian all the way to Hungary. While the solid ones are still terrific, I always feel...

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The end to “reply all?” It’s a miracle!

My kids have been back to school for a few weeks already, and my inbox runneth over. I need more volunteers for the coupon drive, says the coordinator. This is quickly followed by a bevy of reply-alls which are making me crazy, so I can only imagine the poor coordinator is already drinking heavily. If only we were using VolunteerSpot, a free online volunteer scheduling tool, everyone would know exactly what was needed when, without reply-all-ing the entire school. The coordinator simply hops online, creates the necessary schedule of needs (slotting both people to participate and items for drop-off),...

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