Category: Around the House

5 creative ways to display kids’ artwork (beyond stuffing it in a drawer).

It’s the age-old parenting conundrum: what to do with all that artwork? Between school projects, art they bring home from summer camp, or just creative time they spend around my kitchen table, I end up with way more art than I can reasonably keep stored. So, I’ve been scouring the Internet, looking for some creative ways to display kids’ artwork for a time — and what to do with all of it when we’re done. Related: 34 of the coolest lunch boxes and bags | Back to School Guide 2016   1. Store it digitally and display as a photo book. I’ve gotten in...

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Could you use a little box of joy these days?

Our friend Marisa Cummings, the accomplished illustrator and force behind  Creative Thursday, has launched an adorable box of happiness and inspiration, as she calls it. Or, more succinctly, a Box of Joy. They’ve been so popular that there are only a limited number left, but if you have a friend, sister, niece, or tween or teen daughter who needs a little pick-me-up, this could do the trick. The box comes in two sizes, complete with a surprise selection of adorable items Marisa has created, from her original canvas wall art, to mugs, notebooks, and even fabric. Think for a moment; I imagine there’s...

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The lunch box napkins that can help kids make new friends

I’m not even ready to think about back-to-school season yet, but it’s coming — and sooner than later for parents like me in the south! While I’ve never been the type of parent who attempts to learn Bento arts or make a panda bear rice ball for my kids’ lunch boxes, I do like the idea of sneaking a little something fun into their lunches. One easy — and still really practical — solution are the Napkids lunch box napkins that I just discovered. Related: The coolest lunch box accessories, water bottles, and other goodies to make school lunch more fun Each napkin is printed on...

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Lisa Frank adult coloring books! Because who can’t use more rainbows?

When I was a kid, one of the most exciting things about going back to school was getting to pick out a new Lisa Frank notebook. What would it be this year? A unicorn with wings and a flowing, rainbow mane? A dolphin family swimming in an exotic cove while a neon pink sun sets above them? It was a highlight. So the fact that a new line of Lisa Frank adult coloring books is just out, as the illustrator herself announced on her Instagram feed recently, gives me all kinds of happy feels. Related: 21 of the coolest coloring books for adults We...

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7 expert tips for decluttering kids rooms when all else has failed

Let’s be real: kids’ room clutter is the gift that keeps on giving. And it’s not just kids’ bedrooms that are problems — we always find the need to declutter our entryways, the kitchen, the bathroom, the garage, the area around the TV, every corner of every room…you get it. And if you live in a smaller space (hello, city living), the clutter can seem ten-fold. So we’ve been looking for some easy ways to declutter kids’ rooms, which makes for a perfect summer project, as you get a respite from all the classwork and art projects coming home each day. We spoke with Emma Gordon,...

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The world’s cutest tableware for kids: We have a contender!

When my kids first started eating solids, they often reminded me of wild baby animals — flinging food all over the place, trying to eat without using their hands, and getting all the gooiest stuff mashed into their hair. So I’m pretty impressed with the new kids’ tableware line from Marcus & Marcus  which offers cute, animal-inspired designs help our littlest ones learn to eat like, well, like little humans. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: 14 of the coolest baby gifts and gear we wish we had when we were new moms. The easy-to-clean, brightly colored collection was developed by two parents who know a thing or...

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7 smart sleepaway camp essentials that help stave off homesickness.

If your little camper is heading off to sleepaway camp this summer, possibly for the first time (sniff), you’ll likely receive from the camp a long list of all the essentials to pack — extra socks, bug repellent, water bottles, headlamps. But, on top of all those must-haves (and they really are), we think that a few special items that connect them to home can help make the transition from bed to bunk a little easier. We spoke to our experienced sleepaway camp parents around here, and put together 7 of our favorite ideas for sleepaway camp essentials that help stave off homesickness and ensure the transition...

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Well Played: The new must-read parenting book to make sure you’re having as much fun as the kids. Maybe more.

There’s been a rush on books about happiness lately, spurred the breakaway success of Gretchen Rubin’s life-changing The Happiness Project, which I still turn to all the time. And if there’s one new theme in non-cheesy inspirational books we’re excited to hear more about, it’s playfulness. I mean, can’t we just have a little more fun already? Ideally, without first being all introspective and angsty about life, artfully Konmari-ing our homes, Tiger Momming our kids into after-school activity oblivion, and perfecting the art of mediation? The answer is a resounding yes! And the absolute best place to start is with the brand new Well Played: The Ultimate Guide...

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The most outrageous beds and bunk beds for kids. Just, whoa.

I have big dreams of redesigning my kids’ bedrooms with one-of-a-kind, fun furniture that will capture their personalities and make way for the most awesome sleepover destination ever. Which is why my jaw dropped when I saw the amazing VW camper bunk bed. Created by the UK’s Fun Furniture Collection, is there any kid (or child of a former hippie, ha) who wouldn’t want one? The entire line of beds and bunk beds for kids at Fun Furniture Collection lives up to the promise in the name. Fun styles in addition to the camper include a Land Rover Safari bed, a way cool 1964 Mini...

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A reusable tablecloth our kids can draw on? Yes, please.

With family picnics and outdoor parties on the horizon, I’m loving Jaq Jaq Bird’s Chalk Board Table Runner that gives kids — and adults, if we’re being honest — a creative canvas on which to doodle while they (cough) patiently wait for their food. It’s a much better way to keep kids occupied and in their seats than playing with their utensils. At 6-feet long, this portable table runner offers ample space for an entire group of kids to draw side-by-side. Or, hang it on a wall for some space-saving art opportunities. I even love that this table runner can be used to deliver...

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5 terrific book recommendations for summer reading, from 5 of our favorite people, like Ellie Kemper and David Sedaris

Celebrities! They’re just like us! They get coffee at Starbucks, they wear sweats to the grocery store, and… they read books. Of course, it’s not like we can just give every one of our favorite movie stars, authors, and television personalities a phone call and ask them what’s on their nightstand (our rolodexes aren’t that good) which is why we’re pretty excited to share our newest sponsor, Book of the Month Club  which pretty much does that very thing for you. – Don’t miss a huge limited time discount just for Cool Mom Picks readers below!  –  Instead of using algorithms, Book of the Month...

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What I Told My Daughter: The perfect gift for feminist Moms (and Dads).

In my opinion, a good book is a great gift. And since you’re probably shopping for Mom this week (but hurry!), I’d recommend you stop by your local bookstore to take a peek at What I Told My Daughter by Nina Tassler. This collection of essays about raising empowered girls will leave your mom feeling inspired, whether she’s a new mom whose girls are still young or a mom whose girls are already grown. Related: 12 wonderfully empowering Mother’s Day gifts for progressive moms These essays are written by a powerful group of women leaders — Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Laura Bush, and Gloria Allred, plus Blythe...

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Our favorite gifts inspired by our favorite Children’s Book Week posters

I hate to admit it, but every once in a while I find myself fussing at my kids, “Put that book down and come on!” But, I have to say, I truly love when they’re nose-deep in a book. And I’m on a lifetime quest to forever encourage my kids’ love of reading. So, in honor of Children’s Book Week this week, we think everyone should grab a copy of the 2016 Children’s Book Week poster created by illustrator Brian Won. It’s free, while supplies last, from Book Week Online. Whoo! Related: The ultimate list of the best kids’ books of 2015 And if you’re feeling a wee bit nostalgic for...

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A new detergent that really works — no more sweaty smells. (Really!)

My kids have gotten to the age where they play sports year-round. Their favorite is basketball, so I don’t have as many of those irritating grass and dirt stains that you football and baseball parents have. But wow, the sweat in those jerseys… so bad that I lift them and the matching smelly socks with a broom handle. But even after the uniforms are washed, they stink. So, when I heard that HEX Performance Advanced Laundry Detergent claims to get to the root of sweat odor in a new, eco-friendly way, I thought I’d give it a try. Related: The all natural laundry detergent...

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13 amazing Mother’s Day quote prints that say it all, when we can’t.

I love the idea of Mother’s Day quote prints featuring our favorite quotes about motherhood. Whether it’s coming from kids who don’t always know how to express their affections (I’m looking at you, teens) or just from those of us adult children of mothers who know just what will light up our own mothers’ eyes on Mother’s Day and find a permanent place on a wall or desk. These mom quote prints we’ve found run the gamut from modern but sweet to a little sassy and sarcastic — and I imagine there’s one that will be very much appreciated for a special mom in your life....

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A sweet Mother’s Day gift for grandma, or any other name she goes by.

My kids call my mom Mimi. And my husband’s mom is Grama. They also have a Nana, and their cousins have a Honey. They have friends with a Lolly and a Marnie. But we almost never find gifts for our grandmothers with their actual grandmother names on them — not surprising, right? That’s why I’m loving these beautiful handmade, personalized ornaments from Magic Moon Pottery. With their special grandmother name hand-stamped on it, they’ll know it was made with love just for them. Related: The coolest Mother’s Day gifts for grandmas | 2016 Mothers Day Gift Guide I’m planning to treat the grandmas in our life...

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26 of the coolest custom portraits that make seriously amazing gifts

When it comes down to it, you really can’t go wrong with pictures of your kids as gifts. We’re huge fans of photo gifts — from custom memory games to marshmallows (yes, really) and of course, photo books. But the gifts that are really melting our hearts are cool custom portraits of our families from some of the most talented folks we’ve ever found on Etsy. These artists are totally nailing it with modern portraits that are anything but the pastel chaise-lounge portraits your grandmother still has hanging on her wall. To help you shop for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts this year, we’ve rounded up all...

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Hurts Like a Mother: The alphabet book you read after the kids are asleep.

We can never have enough irreverent books about parenting to keep us laughing, amirite? If you’re with me, you have to check out the brand new, very dark and very hilarious Hurts Like a Mother: A Cautionary Alphabet, by Jennifer Weiss and Lauren Franklin, out just in time for Mother’s Day. Well, for a very particular kind of mother at least. Those of you familiar with the Gashlycrumb Tinies (one of my own longtime favorites) will smile before you’ve even cracked a page. But when you do? Get ready for an alphabet of parenting like nothing Dr. Sears ever imagined: Amy overdid the...

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Peel-and-stick wallpaper = easiest weekend project ever. Parenting win.

My daughter’s ideas for how she wants to decorate her room change daily, sometimes by the hour, so I’m having a hard time keeping up. Does she want turquoise walls, a hand-painted mural, or are we going with that all-white walls and bright furniture look? Well, I’ve decided I’m going to vote to cover at least one wall in her bedroom with some of the fun, tween-friendly, peel-and-stick wallpaper designs from Chasing Paper. That’s right. Just peel. And stick. No trays of glue, no endless hours scraping it off the walls once your child decides they’re over it. Related: More of the world’s...

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Sh*tty Mom For All Seasons is a parenting guide full of what we all need: Laughs. Lots of them.

If you loved the best-selling Sh*tty Mom book as much as we did when it came out four years ago, you will be as excited as we were to get our hands on its much-anticipated sequel, out just this week. If you couldn’t guess it from the title alone, Sh*tty Mom For All Seasons is a parenting guide like no other. And that’s a very, very, very good thing. Let’s just say it feels like a parenting book from some renowned mom guru kidnapped by the writing staff of SNL and plied with lots of merlot. This follow-up title by authors and NBC TODAY Show producers Alicia...

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The adult coloring book that’s perfect for Mother’s Day

Just when you think you’ve seen every adult coloring book concept on the planet, along comes another made just for moms — or those who love them. My Mother, My Heart: A Joyful Book to Color is so much more beautifully designed than I, admittedly, was expecting from the title alone. As a typography geek, I appreciate Eleri Fowler’s exquisite hand-lettering that she uses throughout the book to bring to life inspirational quotes and poetic messages of love for mothers, from the likes of Robert Browning, Louisa May Alcott, and Marcel Proust. But of course the star of the show are the fabulous, intricate illustrations that cover 96 pages....

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Parent Hacks is the book that will literally change parents’ lives. Here’s why.

We’ve been friends and fans of Asha Dornfest, and her brilliant website Parent Hacks, for a full decade, since we both got started at the very same time. In fact, if you click that link, you’ll see we first touted the brilliance of her site back in April of 2006 (wow!) referring to it as the antidote to the disappointing Dr. Expert parenting book that everyone raved about. Over that time, Parent Hacks grown to be such a helpful resource for millions of parents that, at long last, Asha has compiled the best of the best of 10 years of parent-generated tips in a new must-have parenting book. Parent Hacks: 134...

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Make your dreariest mornings a whole lot brighter with these 5 mugs. (Coffee helps too.)

We could all use a little nudge to get moving some mornings, especially after a horrible night sleep with a teething infant or a sick child. And what’s way more helpful than a friend chanting “it takes a village,” or your partner reminding you “it’s just a phase,” are these get-up-and-go coffee mugs we found on Etsy. With these motivational mugs, you can get the affirmation you need that everything is going to be all right — and, really, it will be all right — and go seize the day, even on just 2 hours of sleep. (Coffee helps too.) Related: 9 beautifully...

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The Force of Nature cleaning solution: Natural cleaning supplies? You have serious competition.

My husband has a habit of calling our household cleaning supplies “chemicals” — as in, “Where are the chemicals to clean off the kitchen table?” It kind of drives me crazy because it sounds so harsh. But, of course, he’s right. So recently, I’ve started using the new Force of Nature cleaning system which I had a chance to try, and let’s just say, I’m a new covert. Force of Nature is part science lesson (I’ll get to that later) and part all-natural cleaning solution consisting of nothing but water, salt, and vinegar that you can use anywhere in your home, on anything. Toys and...

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The cool custom cut-paper portraits we really, really want for Mother’s Day.

I think any parent would be so happy to be gifted a portrait of their child for Mother’s Day. Not the old-fashioned, over-posed kind of photo but something unique, handmade, custom-created. I so admire indie artists who create images of families that still clearly, and without a doubt, look like them and I was so excited to find Patricia Lima at Purple Paper People on Etsy. I have been wanting a portrait of my youngest, and her custom cut-paper portraits are so full of personality and whimsy, she’s the perfect artist to capture his fun-loving spirit. With Mother’s Day coming up, this is the gift I really want. Not that...

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We heart the new personalized emoji labels from Mabel’s Labels

We all have hearts in our eyes over Mabel’s Labels’ latest design: personalized Emoji name labels for our kids’ water bottles, backpacks, toys, and — of course — favorite texting device. With three designs to choose from, parents can pick the emoji that best represents their child. No, none of them are scowling — that’s just a phase. Honest. And, thankfully, the poop icon isn’t represented in this group. Related: Fun emoji gifts: For kids or kids at heart I love that each set comes with 45 bright and durable labels, so we can add them to (and re-add them to) tons of stuff that our kids have a habit...

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How to create an organized craft space for kids: 7 expert tips to change your world

If you’ve ever wanted to create an organized craft space for kids, whether it’s a whole room or just a small area where they can get their creative on, well we’ve got some fabulous tips for you. After all, I think that as parents, we’re all praying we don’t have an Olivia on our hands who thinks it’s a brilliant idea to Jackson Pollock our dining room walls — we want the artist, not the mess, am I right? Enter Megan Schiller of The Art Pantry, an ace at creating kid-friendly craft spaces for homes and schools. She’s also the author of...

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Pi Day pencils: Geekery at its most pointed

With today being Pi Day, I cannot advocate for scribbling the first 10 or so digits of Pi on one’s sneaker soles before a test in math class. (Not that I’d ever know of such things.) But I can certainly go for the transparency of the awesome set of Pi pencils found at the Columbus based Wacodis Etsy shop. I love the pretty pastels juxtaposed with the exquisite nerdery of 3.141592653589793238462… and so on. Nice bonus that they’re USA-made. Today, March 14, is of course a perfect day to order them. Mmm….Pi.  Find the of Pi pencils and other fun geeky pencil designs online at...

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An honest review of Marie Kondo’s newest book, Spark Joy: Does it light a fire or lack a certain spark?

It was with immense excitement that I ordered Marie Kondo’s newest book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. After all, it’s been a year since I wrote about her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and put it to the test in my own home. Turns out, my post on whether her Konmari method of decluttering will work specifically for parents ended up being one of the most popular posts of 2015 on Cool Mom Picks. I guess “tidying” is a hot topic among us parents. Go figure. As for Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy, while the...

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Micuna’s cool modern baby furniture from Spain, now finally available in the U.S.

I’ve had my eye on Micuna, a popular, gorgeous line of eco-friendly, modern baby furniture made in Spain, for a while now. But shipping from Europe is kind of a nonstarter. Well, now parents of new babies — at least who happen to have an ample nursery decor budget — are in luck, because Micuna is finally available in the U.S. They make the kind of high chair you won’t stash away in the pantry when friends come over to dinner, and the Micuna crib is probably one you’ll keep for your grandkids one day. They’re that nice. However the real reason Micuna has become such a cult favorite...

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