Category: Helpful Services

DIY Baby Announcements That You Won’t Regret Having DIY’d

Self-serve baby announcements that you create on the computer aren’t necessarily my thing. Although I appreciate the cost savings (particular for children number two through 17) I am always squidgy about the quality of those things, to say nothing of the banal design. But holy cow did Shutterfly get it right with their designer baby announcement collection. Not designer as as in Isaac Mizrahi just licensed his name while someone else does the designing, but designer as in super-cool creative minds. The kinds that CMP already loves anyway. We’re talking folks like Egg Press, Hello!Lucky, and one of our...

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Children’s Car Seats: Better Safe Than…Not Safe

Of all the things most likely to make a new parent’s head spin, I submit that it’s not the colicky baby or the first diaper blow-out that’s the hardest. That honor belongs to the selection of a car seat.  The Kyle David Miller Foundation was founded to both educate the public on proper car seat safety, and to provide 5-point car seats to those who can’t otherwise not afford them. Make a donation, if you’re so inclined – that would be great. Or, you can simply shop for your child’s own car seat at Hip Monkey, also run by...

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“I’d Like to Thank Cool Mom Picks…”

Motherhood means giving up more than your waistline, I realize, as Oscar weekend is upon us and of all the nominated flicks, I’ve managed to catch only one of them. If you’re in my (sad, pathetic) boat, we have the solution for you: Get yourself a sitter tomorrow and head to a nearby AMC theater for their Best Picture Showcase, a single ticket that gets you access to screenings of all five best picture contenders. You can come and go as you please (say, you’ve already seen Atonement four times), and the popcorn is gratis. You’ll start with Michael...

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It’s Better to Give and To Receive

Feeling feisty? Log onto a mommy message board and tell everyone you’re considering doing a "no gift, make a donation in our name instead" birthday party for your kid. You’ll be called everything from progressive and cool, to snobby, to a child abuser. Me, I take the progressive p.o.v. although I do think it’s nice for a kid at least to get something on his birthday. Hey, kids like gifts. ECHOage is an interesting service which aims to show kids both the joy of giving even while doing a little receiving, all in a way that’s kinder and gentler...

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Virtual Showers, Real Presents (Yeah!)

While we would hope that all of our bestest friends and relatives could fly/drive/hitchhike on over just to shower our babies-to-be with the requisite 84 receiving blankets, it doesn’t always work that way. For a better alternative than some virtual internetty-thing, you have to check J. Marie Events, and the amazing virtual showers that owner Jessica puts together. She’ll work around any theme or concept, custom design invitations, hook guests up with a few craft activities (not cheesy ones, promise) then package everything creatively so the lucky mama gets showered over the course of a whole week. There are...

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Contrary to Popular Belief, Moms Do Have a Few Brain Cells Left

After months spent in OB offices browsing parenting magazines that ran the gamut from mindless fun to downright annoying, I had no idea that there was something out there for moms that was actually (gasp) literary. While I love a good holiday cookie recipe or rainy day craft idea as much as the next gal, sometimes I do have capacity for a bit more in my head. Enter Brain, Child, a magazine that no thinking mom should be without. What? You’ve never heard of it? Good thing you came here today. Founded by two smart mamas themselves, Jennifer Niesslein...

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How Many Trees Have Died for Our Mindless Bathroom Reading?

I cannot be the only mom dreading the walk up from the mailbox these days. It would be fine if it was filled with all sorts of cards and gifts and, you know, envelopes of free money. But nope. Just bills and about sixty million pounds of catalogs that I totally don’t need. Now first of all, most of my shopping is online today. Second, this is an environmental nightmare. (Hello, West Elm – love you but I don’t need three catalogs from you.) So I’ve been spending the last few days on Catalog Choice which is a one-stop...

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Tuning Out

I used to say that I’d never lie to my child. But the older he got, and the more obsessed he became with watching registered trademark cartoon characters, the more often I’ve found myself saying, "Sorry honey, the television is broken again."  BOB gets that and has my back. See, BOB is this cool little time manager gadget that connects to the TV, computer, or video games to keep track of time. You just program the hourly, daily or weekly limits, and once kids reach those, BOB goes right on ahead and shuts off the screen. You can even...

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Delicious, Not Deceptive

There’s been quite a bit of buzz among parents lately about whether hiding healthy foods in other foods is the right thing to do. For those who prefer to keep nutrients in plain view of the family, I’ve found a great resource in the Smart Foods Healthy Kids web site. The site is not secretly run by some manufacturer or trade association (yay!) but by well-qualified mom of two and environmental expert Kelly Corbet, along with a great team that strives to teach parents how to introduce more healthful habits to the family using the guidelines "yummy, fun, and...

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For Moms Not So Good With the Glue Gun

I can barely find time to take pictures of my kids, let alone actually get them off my computer and into a photo album or scrapbook. Or even a shoebox. If like me you’re not a contender for Organized Mom of the Year then Baby Memory Frame is worth a look. Mom/company owner Maggie Pearce will work closely with you to create a really beautiful keepsake out of that stuff that’s gathering dust in a closet somewhere. She’ll go as sweet and traditional or as funky and modern as you’d like – you supply the pictures, memorabilia, and handprints, and she...

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Best Editing of a Motion Picture Goes To…

Like all parents in this digital age, I’ve taken thousands of photos of my two girls. I’ve captured those "firsts" both big and small, but it’s not easy to share those precious moments with friends and family without making them suffer through 75 nearly identical shots of, say, "first spit up."

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Speed Dating for Sitters

Scoring a fantastic, trustworthybabysittercan be like searching for the holy grail. It’s hugely time consuming to call for references, conduct background checks and beg all your friends for personal recommendations, to say nothing of making sure you’ve hidden all the toys under the couch for the interview (ahem).

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Trading the Treadmill for a MacLaren

Say what you like about my postpartum figure, but getting back in shape after pregnancy sucks and we all know it. Some parts will never look the same again without surgical intervention – like tummy wrinkles and those two "rocks in tube socks" – but that’s no excuse to ignore the muscles.

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How Much Do You Hate Your Inlaws?

If the last thing you imagine doing after delivering your baby is having to call six million family members and answer the same questions over and over again (8 pounds, 2 ounces…yes of course it hurt…I don’t know who he looks like, he’s two hours old!) you’re in luck.

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No C-Ems

Aside from the rare celebrity or overexposed heiress who schedules her delivery around her publicity schedule, most women don’t exactly look forward to c-sections.

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Making Grandma’s (Mothers’) Day

I am not a diy-er, crafter, Martha-in-training, or whatever you want to call people who have the genius ability to make things that don’t look, well, like they made them. This is not a big deal until my own mother gets on the phone and tells me to "make her something" for Mother’s Day. And I don’t think she’s referring to the new grandbaby on the way.

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Craft Your Way to Unboredom

It’s the phrase all mothers dread: "Mom, I’m booooorrrred!" After the kids have made their way through every puzzle ("I’ve done that"), book ("read it already"), and game ("we played that this morning") in the house, what’s a mom to suggest?

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Whitney Biennial, Here We Come

I rarely brag about my toddler, however, I will say that at 2.5 years old, she’s drawing better than I am. The only problem I have is figuring out what to do with the piles of colorless pencil drawings she creates daily, except tape them to the fridge and pop the rest in an old shoe box.

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