Category: Tips + Tricks

After Manchester: Essential safety tips to discuss with your kids about crowds and separation

The second I saw those big pink balloons in early images flooding media from the Manchester Arena last night, without knowing a single other thing about the story, I thought, Oh my God…whatever happened, there are children there. It was a rough night for me, as I’m sure it was for all of you, and for parents around the world. It’s hard enough for us to process our own feelings as parents and as caring human beings when we hear about a terrorist attack, especially one that’s impacted so many children and families — let alone knowing we’re also going...

Read More

You don’t know these 10 favorite household hacks of ours? Prepare for life to change!

As a busy parent, I rely heavily on household hacks. In fact, I would say just about everything I do around the house involves some sort of easy hack or trick or clever time-saver. But some tricks work better than others, and some you wouldn’t believe it until you see it (or try it), which is why I searched around the web and set out to put together this list of some our very favorite easy household hacks that every parent should know. From organizing all those keys to de-stinking shoes, you’ll find you can pull them off with things you probably already have at home,...

Read More

How to get started with yoga when you feel like the last person to try it: 6 easy tips to help

If you’ve never tried yoga, I get it. I was there once too. From the outside, it either looks like a torturous exercise regimen for slender, flexible folks in really expensive stretch pants…or, a hippie-dippy religion that will demand veganism and colon cleansing. While the roots of yoga are tied in with a certain spirituality and mindfulness, just know that these are things you can embrace — or hey, reject! — on your own terms. Maybe yoga will be nothing more than having a good stretch a couple of times a week. Or, maybe you’re just looking for a solid hour of me-time when you can...

Read More

8 tips and tricks you can start now to help your kids avoid the summer slide. Because, it’s coming.

Summer break will be here in just a minute, but there are some things you can start planning now to help make sure your kids don’t hit the summer slide on their reading and math skills over the break. Research shows that most kids lose about two months’ of learning over the summer — and have for the last 100 years or so. But by putting some simple (and, yes, even fun!) activities in place for the summer, you can help your kids retain what they’ve learned this year. We’ve polled everyone from teachers to administrators to BTDT parents to find...

Read More

The quick-fix, natural bug bite remedy that really works. Really!

With the weather getting warming and my kids spending the afternoons playing outside, we’re starting to see a lot more bug bites on their tender, sensitive skin. Mean ones. The kind that turn bright red, itch like crazy, and keep them up at night. Ugh! But, I’ve found an incredibly easy, quick-fix, natural bug bite remedy that I’m itching (ha!) to share. Because, it really works! And you most likely already have everything you need to make it right in your pantry at home. Related: Your essential guide to the best, safe tick repellents for kids this spring. Because, eek. All you need...

Read More

The one small spring cleaning task that makes a big difference

Spring cleaning can be a beast. Just the thought of getting everything tidier and cleaner — whatever shape your home is in now — can be so overwhelming, it can be hard to know where to start. So we reached out to household cleaning expert Dana K. White for some help. (She gets us! Hallelujah!) We asked Dana: If there is just one thing you absolutely must do when it comes to spring cleaning, what is it? Dana’s answer: Look up! If you do nothing else at all this spring, be sure to look up and knock dust down to the ground. This one...

Read More

A clever idea to get kids in the kitchen on their own, no nagging (or even talking!) required.

My boys have been cooking alongside me ever since they were little. But now that they’re older and I’d love for them make their own breakfast, prep their own snacks, and put together their own lunches from time to time, I’m finding it harder to get them into the kitchen on their own. One issue might be that I call the kitchen my kitchen. That can’t help. Another issue may be all my yapping (that’s code for nagging). I want them to be autonomous, but it’s impossible not to chime in on everything from their snack choices to the kitchen rules, which they...

Read More

Thoughtful ways to celebrate Mother’s Day when you really miss your mom.

My mother passed away exactly one year before my first child — her first grandchild — was born. While I miss her every day, it’s Mother’s Day that always seems to swoop in with a special kind of sucker punch. Each year, I take a deep breath and steel myself for all the gifts, cards, brunches. All the photos and Facebook posts. But, it’s not easy. It probably won’t ever be easy. Because, Mother’s Day celebrations without Mom are downright challenging. But, over the years, I’ve come up with some thoughtful ways to spend Mother’s Day without Mom, and through it all, have come...

Read More

3 tips for keeping a gratitude journal with kids that’ll make them happier, healthier, and more thankful too

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz lately about how transformative gratitude can be for your psyche. Studies are cropping up everywhere showing that being intentional about thankful has huge health benefits, from better sleep to less anxiety to rewiring your brain for positivity. And it even works with kids. So, last month, I decided to start a gratitude journal with my daughter. After just a few days, I noticed a big improvement in my daughter’s attitude. In fact, one night she told me, very simply, “I’m so glad we’re doing this. It makes me happy.” And no, I hadn’t pitched her on...

Read More

7 important things to do before a career change or starting a business

As someone who left a full-time advertising career behind to become a writer, website publisher, and public speaker — all while raising tiny children, all while being the sole earner in my household  — I totally get how scary it is to change courses. It is! It’s scary! But, there are times that opportunities fall in your lap, passions make themselves known, and big dreams call so loudly, you just can’t ignore them. So, I’ve put together some of my own favorite real world tips for a few important things to do when you’re embarking on a career change or starting...

Read More

Is my child gifted? Helpful advice and online resources from an educational expert.

I still remember when my son’s then first-grade teacher asked if they could test him for the gifted program in our school district. I looked at her and asked, “Are you sure?” I just thought my sweet, curious boy asked a lot of questions. Like, a whooooole lot. But gifted? Even after he was identified as qualifying for our program, navigating next steps was extremely challenging. I had to understand my rights with the GIEP (Gifted Individualized Education Plan); find him educational support outside of school; and then figure out how it would impact his siblings and whether they should be tested too....

Read More

Go forth and reinvent! 10 terrific resources for women ready for a career change or entrepreneurship.

We know a little something about reinvention after motherhood and women entrepreneurs. Hey, Kristen did an entire TedX talk about it! And I’ve made a few career switches myself — finally landing on this sweet gig that Kristen and I created for ourselves. The best part is, Cool Mom Picks has allowed us to support so many other entrepreneurial women who have found themselves in similar situations, wanting to embark on a new business venture that will enable them to wake up every day feeling excited. Just like we do. So we’re always down to share any companies, organizations, or resources that for women entrepreneurs — and not just...

Read More

5 really important automotive safety checks you should do yourself before getting on the road

Yes there are like so many holidays and official months, it can be hard to keep track. But one that makes a lot of sense to set a calendar alert for is National Car Care Month, which happens to be right now. You know how we all remember to change the batteries in our smoke alarms at the same time we change the clocks twice a year? Well, April is the perfect month each year to make sure your car is in safe running order before the summer travel season begins. That’s why we’re really glad to have a chance to talk...

Read More

6 smart tricks to save you money at the grocery store every time

We are always on the lookout for tips and tricks to help us save money when we’re at the supermarket. Because really, who wouldn’t love to save a few bucks (or uh, a lot of bucks) on groceries? We all know about coupons and price comparing. But there are plenty of budget-conscious choices you can make while you’re shopping that you may not know. In fact, that’s something our sponsor ShopKick is all about. The free, super popular shopping rewards app just launched a brand new grocery feature that can help you earn free gift cards just for shopping at your local grocery store for the items...

Read More

Coloring your child’s hair at home: Tips to make it hella easy.

I was so proud of myself, the first time my daughter wanted to color her hair at home and asked for a pink stripe in her hair. I did all the research (what’s easiest, safest, least messy ) and finally settled on dyeing it with…Kool-Aid. Good gravy, what a mistake! It burned, believe it or not, and just as bad, it hardly left behind any color. Then, I discovered one simple way to dye my kid’s hair at home, turning her into her version of a 21st century punk without the tears: Dye the ends of the hair only. Here’s why. Before you...

Read More

Thinking about adopting? Here’s how to get started, from a parent who’s been through the journey.

If your family has been thinking about adopting, I’m here as a BTDT mom to help. This year, my family grew by one more child when my husband and I adopted our daughter, a spunky 2-year-old from South Korea. It feels like we’re experts on adoption at this point, having waited a full three years to get her home, but it doesn’t feel that long ago that we were totally clueless about where to start. I’m not going to lie, the process is long and bumpy. And it can be exhausting, both emotionally and physically. But without hesitation I’d highly recommend it to anyone who feels...

Read More

The panicky mom’s guide to removing ticks from kids — yikes!

You may be wondering just how to remove ticks from your kids, should the need arise. And we don’t blame you one bit. With the warmer weather comes longer days spent outdoors and kids running barefoot in the yard. Also, increased warning about ticks and Lyme disease thanks to a booming tick population this spring. Eek! So to put anxious minds at ease — including our own — we’ve done the research for you and put together this handy guide to removing ticks from kids. Just know we’re not trying to set off any alarm bells here; please know that some experts put your children’s risk of getting...

Read More

Huge EpiPen recall, parents: Check those expiration dates!

If you have a child or family member with food allergies (like I do) , you need to check those EpiPens. Like, right now! Mylan, the company that makes EpiPen, has issued a voluntary EpiPen recall of 13 lots of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors distributed in the U.S. The recall was actually expanded to the U.S. after a recall was issued outside the country because of two reported incidents where the device failed to activate. Related: The silver lining of the Mylan EpiPen price hike news, from a mom of a child with food allergies At the moment, the EpiPen recall is for...

Read More

10 tips to help you finally write that book, from a published author who did it…while nursing a baby.

I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that you can totally write a book. You don’t need otherworldly talent (though you do need some talent); you don’t need an MFA you promised yourself you’d get but never did; you don’t even need somebody else’s permission. The bad news? Writing a book is really hard. But, if you think you’ve got one in you, I can help. I’m now a traditionally published author, but back in 2009, I was just a harried mom of two who needed a hobby just for me. My husband (bless him) suggested I try...

Read More

30+ fantastic open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t get a yes or no answer.

If you’re not getting much more than a “yeah,” “nope,” or “fine” when you ask about your kid’s day at school, it might be time for some new conversations starters. (Trust us, we’re right there with you.) So we set out to collect dozens of smart, easy, open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t just get a yes or no answer. We’ve thrown these out around our own dinner tables, and have been surprised by how much these 30+ questions really got our kids talking. So, here’s to engaging dinner conversations…with the whole family. Top photo by Jon Flobrant via Unsplash   Open-ended questions about feelings We...

Read More

The one word that made me a better parent. Hint: It’s from Bob’s Burgers.

My kids are 8 and 10 now, and I tend to think of them as tiny adults. They can mostly keep themselves alive without any assistance from me. But they’re still careless when it comes to noise, mess, and responsibility. In other words, they still act like, well, kids. Which means that I get pretty annoyed with them. Easily and often. The kids left a mess in the kitchen. The kids didn’t feed the cats. The kids piled Transformer parts and clean clothes in their dirty laundry baskets. At the end of a long day, it’s easy to lose my cool when the kids...

Read More

3 simple ways to find more one-on-one time with your kids, no babysitter required.

As a single mom of four kids, you can probably imagine how tough it is to give my kids individual time, at least without hiring a babysitter and spending even more money on dinner or a movie. Turns out, you don’t have to spend money — or even need a second adult in the house — to give your kids the one-on-one time they love and need, where they’re getting your absolute, undivided attention. In addition to Stacie’s terrific post on how she turned after-school snack time with her kids into meaningful together time, check out my own 3 simple ways I’ve learned to...

Read More

Are you paying your babysitter enough? 9 surprising stats about childcare.

One of the questions parents are always asking each other is, “how much should I be spending on my babysitter or nanny?” The answer is so tough. The last thing I want to do is underpay someone with the important job of taking care of my kids, but I know that rates depends on the experience of the sitter, whether it’s a part-time high school student or an experience, trained full-time nanny, and of course, where we live. Related: 21 inspired ideas when you’ve only got a two-hour date night So I talked to the folks at UrbanSitter who recently conducted a national...

Read More

6 surprising things you should never throw away, because they make great toy storage solutions

I’m convinced my kids’ toys are spontaneously spawning in the playroom at night while we sleep. Surely I’m not the only parent who can’t figure out where all my kids’ toys have come from. As a result, I’m constantly in need of new storage options. My playroom is lined wall-to-wall with cabinets and storage bins to keep stuff organized, but over the years, I’ve found there are a few surprising household items that I never throw away, because they make great toy storage solutions. Here’s to free stuff that makes your life simpler and more organized. Because, we’re all for that. And...

Read More

Beyond Tarot cards: Even skeptics find guidance and clarity with these 4 methods of divination.

I confess that when I’m struggling with an issue or looking for guidance, wisdom or just calm, I have always been a fan of various oracles and methods of divination. And I don’t mean the fortune teller at a street fair years ago, who looked at my palm and told me I would have nine children. I know, this topic may sound a little nutty to some of you. But take it from a science-loving skeptic: when life feels overwhelming, these are the tools that have helped me focus, find clarity, stay mindful and often feel more empowered and in control of my...

Read More

17 fun rainy day indoor activities to keep kids happy and parents sane

It’s been a pretty mild winter for everyone this year, but the season isn’t over yet folks. In the words of the late, great Prince, “Sometimes it snows in April.” Plus, March comes in like a lion, and all that, so it will still be a bit longer before we’re in full on outdoor play mode. Whether it’s the cold, snow, or rain that has your kids stuck inside over the next couple of months, we’ve got your back with tons of fun rainy day indoor activities that can get you and the kids through the long hours. And still smiling at...

Read More

An unexpected way to turn snack time into together time — even with older kids.

My kids are wiped when they get home from school. They always seem to need a snack to recharge and a bit of time to zone out before gearing up for the rest of their day, whether it be for basketball practice, homework, or just running around for some free play time. But because they are school-aged, that zone out time quickly turns into screen time. And you know what screen time for them means for me, right? (Hint: It involves screen time.) Suddenly, I found that in those first moments after school, we were all snacking and staring...

Read More

6 celeb-worthy, creative birth announcement ideas for twins + multiples. We’ve got you covered, Beyoncé!

First Beyoncé and Jay Z, now the Clooneys and Madonna? In case you haven’t heard, twins are seriously hot right now. So I’ve rounded up some super creative birth announcement ideas for twins with a little extra oomph — for those of you lucky enough to be in on the doubles game. I had so much fun finding these adorable birth announcement photo ideas for twins and multiples making their red carpet debut, but hey…if you’re expecting just one baby this year (like me!), we’ve got you covered too. CMP is an rstyle affiliate At top: custom birth announcements by Todd Borka Related: 15 creative birth announcement ideas way...

Read More

A complaint and compliment box: How this simple change could make your family life so much happier

I recently finished reading How to Win as a Step-Family (great book for blended families, by the way), and one of the suggestions they made to help family morale was a complaint and compliment box where everyone can air their grievances and share encouraging words in a safe way. And so, I decided to give it a whirl with our new family of six, though you certainly do not need to be a blended family to try it out. In fact, I totally suggest you do, no matter your family size or structure. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: A simple way to...

Read More

Dr. Harvey Karp answers parents’ biggest sleep questions. Yes! | Spawned ep 68

On this week’s episode of the Spawned podcast, we are excited to welcome Dr. Harvey Karp, of Happiest Baby on the Block fame, though he virtually needs no introduction. We’re so excited he joined us to answer some of parents most difficult questions about sleep, whether they’ve got newborns or, uh…tweens. We appreciate his common sense, non-judgmental approach to sleep, not to mention some of the tips that saved our own lives when we were new parents. (If you know his genius 5 S’s, you know just what we mean.)   Listen now! And don’t forget to subscribe to Spawned with Kristen...

Read More

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe

Pin It on Pinterest