Category: Tips + Tricks

Stress and Parenting: A Confession

Hi, I’m Kristen and I’m stressed out. Why is it hard to admit that? As if I’m somehow not as competent or together as I’m supposed to be, whatever that means. Yes, I’m a single mom with four kids and my own business, so you might say, well duh, but I think it’s something we all face, whatever our work, living, or parenting situations. And it’s all okay — you don’t have to feel guilty about your own parent-related stress, even if you think someone else “has it harder” or is going through something more intense. It’s a relative thing...

Read More

Fun holiday party ideas that we put to use at our our own Cool Mom Picks shindigs this season.

We had the best time over the past month, partnering with Amazon Free Time to throw a couple of fun press and blogger holiday cocktail parties in Philly and Atlanta. Our aim was to give parents a little more me time (Get it? Free Time for me time?) in a completely adults-only environment. Remember that? Of course the great company and the chance to meet some of our favorite publishers and editors from around the country was the absolute highlight. But we thought we’d share some other fun things we did that could inspire some fun holiday party ideas for your own gatherings this season....

Read More

The ultimate guide to last-minute Thanksgiving Day help: Tasty recipes, drinks, printables, decor ideas, family activities, helpful apps, and more!

If you need some last-minute Thanksgiving Day help, we’re here for you! Because whoa, how did it get to be Thanksgiving week already? To make your Thanksgiving Day prep a little more manageable, we compiled some of the best Thanksgiving Day ideas from cool printables and crafts for the kids, decor ideas for the kids’ table, tons and tons (and tons) of recipes, even apps that could save your turkey — or just your sanity. We hope these ideas help you on your way to an incredible, stress-free Thanksgiving filled with laughter, love, and full bellies. We’d just suggest that if you’re cooking, start...

Read More

How to talk to your children about the tragedy in Paris: Excellent resources to help parents, teachers and other caregivers, because we sure need it right now.

It’s been a somber mood around here, as our hearts go out to the people of Paris. We each have been hoping and praying for peace for humanity in our own ways, and this image from French artist Jean-Julien, which you’ve probably seen by now, has captured the sentiment so simply and beautifully. As someone who lived through 9/11 in New York, I admit I am having a very difficult time with this. It’s hard enough to process the horror and inhumanity of it all, but what’s different this time — even though it’s 3600 miles away and not just a...

Read More

9 smart ways to organize video game controllers and reclaim your home at last!

It’s about this time every year that we need to ramp up our efforts to get our homes organized and looking awesome for holiday guests. It’s like, what the heck happened to all that spring cleaning I did six months ago? Yeah, well, welcome to parenthood. And one of the organizing solutions that can be the biggest bane for families is all those gadgets, video games and controllers; especially if you know that a few more of them may end up in your homes around oh…say, December or so? So we’re really happy, on behalf of our sponsor, the brand new VTech InnoTV,...

Read More

Simple tips for staying healthy if you sit at a desk all day long

If you spend many hours of the day sitting at a desk or working in front of a computer like we do, then you know how tough it can be on your back, your neck, and uh…even your waistline. But there are actually things — really easy things — that you can do to make your work day easier on your body and to help keep you healthier. We’re partnering with FUTURO Legwear who knows a bit about this whole topic. Their Graduated Compression Legwear helps to reduce swelling and improve circulation, as well as keep you comfortable while your legs are stuck under...

Read More

20 awesome last-minute Halloween buys you totally need this week

If you’re like me, Halloween week is one of those weeks that you’re hitting stores far more than usual, whether it’s for last minute treats, decorations, or that one element of your kid’s costume that gah, you totally forgot about. Even though it’s been on your to-do list for weeks. Because, life. So one of the reasons we’re glad to welcome back our fantastic partner the Amex EveryDay Credit Card, is that they help parents make the most of those kinds of everyday purchases. In fact, if you remember to use this no-annual-fee credit card instead of cash or a debit card — even for the little stuff...

Read More

5 smart, simple, pediatrician-recommended winter skin care tips for babies and kids.

With cold weather pretty much here for lots of us, and on the way for the rest of us (wah!), this is the time of year we start getting more reader questions about baby and kids’ skincare. I know it’s hard to weed through all the info; I’m sure you’ve read all sorts of things about what to do, what not to do, which of those lotions and potions in your medicine cabinet to use, and how to differentiate a minor skin issue from something that might require more attention If you’re like me, by the time you figure out what you’re...

Read More

Showing your thanks: 5 simple tips for making military care packages more personal

When my kids’ father was deployed for a few months to Afghanistan, I put together several military care packages filled with fairly typical items. Don’t get me wrong, they were definitely very appreciated by his unit! But it wasn’t until he returned home that I got the inside scoop on what soldiers really want in a military care package. Because this is so personal for me, and for several of our writers with military families, I’m really happy to have the opportunity to share some tips and tricks for how to make a military care package more personal, whether it’s for a family member,...

Read More

Tips for building an emergency fund, and why it’s so important for parents.

We’ve been really pleased to get so much great feedback from you all when we post about financial matters, from budget tips to college savings.  As parents, it’s one of our (many, many) jobs to be as financially prepared as possible– not just for all the awesome exciting stuff, but sometimes, for the not-so-great stuff too. Hey, adulting is hard! Which is why every financial expert will tell you to be sure you have an emergency fund, and we couldn’t agree more. So we’re thrilled to be working with Upromise by Sallie Mae and the new Upromise GoalSaver account, a completely no-fee, no minimum balance savings...

Read More

5 brilliant hacks for easier mornings with kids, from a mom of 4 who knows what she’s talking about.

Today on the TODAY Show, our own Kristen, co-publisher, editor, and single mom of four extraordinaire shared some of her best tips for making mornings easier with kids, staying organized, and getting her kids to help out more around the house.  I will tell you I get some of my own best tips from Kristen, so I’m thrilled she got to share them with zillions of parents on TV this morning. (Plus, we’re always so happy when Cool Mom Picks gets to come back to the TODAY show. We love them  so much!) If you’re looking for more info on the tips and products...

Read More

11 natural cold and flu remedies for kids that can help them feel better faster

Fall may be our favorite season — with its cooler temperatures, hot coffees, and the chance to laugh at pumpkin spice everything. But cold and flu season most definitely is not our favorite. A few of us have already been feeling the sniffles, so we’ve put together 11 great natural cold and flu remedies for kids, that we all tend to turn to before heading the medicine route. The other thing we tend to do that’s all natural? Get out our thermometers to make sure our kids aren’t just faking their symptoms to get out of school. (Ha.) Fans of Cool Mom Tech know that...

Read More

9 smart tips for starting a budget. And even better, sticking to it.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know! How many times have we heard those words coming out of our parents’ mouths, and now these days, coming out of own mouths when talking to our kids about spending? Funny how that happens, right? But the lesson behind the old saying is an important one: Be careful how you spend your money; there’s a limited supply. And it’s why creating a budget — and sticking to — is so important. We’ve partnered with You Need a Budget (clever name, right?), which is a cool little mom-and-pop company we like because they were started by two smart parents,...

Read More

Fire safety for families: 10 amazing fire safety products that provide peace of mind

October (eek, it’s October!) is Fire Safety and Prevention month, and we are totally amazed at the advances in fire safety products for families. From appliances of all kinds with auto shut-off to smoke detectors that go beyond anything we ever grew up with, we’re blown away by the technology. So we’re really pleased to put together this fantastic list that we truly will hope keep more of you safe should a fire emergency ever break out in your own home. And we’re especially delighted to be teaming up with a very important sponsor, The National Fire Protection Association, and bringing you these ideas on their...

Read More

Really helpful expert college tuition savings tips for parents, and why you need to start immediately.

Saving for your kid’s college education might seem super far off, as you sit awake in the middle of the night bouncing a tiny baby back to sleep or checking over that first-grade math homework. But actually, it’s never too soon to start thinking about it. Yes, we all hear “it goes fast” and yes, that can get annoying. But it’s true; before you know it, they’ll be applying to schools and you’ll be gawking at the college tuition prices. (Trust us, we’ve got about 8 years to go with our oldest girls and like…whoa!) That’s why we’re happy to be partnering with T. Rowe...

Read More

12 easy party planning tips, tricks and time-saving hacks. Because oof, party planning.

If it’s not clear, we all love parties around here. But planning and hosting them? Well, that can be a challenge, especially if you’re a busy parent. But fear not! We’ve put together a ton of ideas to help make parties even easier. In other words, we want you to enjoy the party too; not just be the hired hands toiling in the kitchen or pouring drinks the whole time. Whether you’re up for a backyard potluck, a Halloween party for the kids, birthdays of all kinds, and of course, holiday entertaining which is just around the corner, you’ve already got the excuses to throw...

Read More

10 cool printable chore charts to motivate kids of all ages to clean up. Even your toddlers.

Have your kids been slacking on their daily chores lately? Or really, have you been slacking on enforcing them? First, give yourself a break; summer just unofficially ended. Second, I’ve got help for you: download one of these cool printable chore charts for kids. They will help. I find this time of year is perfect to introduce (or reintroduce, as the case may be) daily chores and tasks, as kids are in adjustment mode. The new school year means new routines — at home, at school, and on the field.  And yes, even toddlers and preschoolers can be tasked with daily...

Read More

10 ways to make driveway bike riding more fun for kids

It’s hard to feel like King of the Road when really, you’re King of Don’t  Go Beyond the End of the Driveway! With three kids and one long paved driveway, I’ve been there!  So, whether you live on a house on a high-traffic street, or you just need to keep your kids a little closer to home for whatever reason, I’ve got 10 fun ideas to make driveway bike riding more fun for those kids who love their wheels but could use a little more excitement. And don’t forget the helmets! Even if it is “just” in the driveway....

Read More

Simple tips for moving with kids: How to make it easier, from a mom who’s done it. A lot. Alone.

Over the last three years, I’ve moved alone with my four kids twice — once long distance, once pretty much right around the corner — and hey, I survived. And so did my kids. All of us with our sanity intact. Well, mostly. Of course, there were plenty of challenges, but there were a few simple tricks I picked up along the way to make the whole process a lot easier. It’s too bad that at the time, I didn’t know about our newest sponsor CableMover, a free, customizable online resource that can help save you time, money, and some of the hassles that tend...

Read More

First day of school photos: 9 ideas for easy printables and props to make posing a little more fun.

My family was in the middle of moving halfway across the country last year when my son’s preschool started, so I missed the opportunity to take those official first day of school photos every parent loves. I’d like to think I snapped a picture of him wearing his backpack when he finally joined the class a few weeks late, but with all the chaos surrounding our move, I actually may have forgotten. So I vowed to be more prepared this year, and have actually spent some time researching first day of school photo ideas and fun props and printables in time for the beginning of...

Read More

Getting your kids to practice their handwriting: 16 fun tips, tricks and ideas

Call us the handwriting brigade. Seriously. From day one, even with the advent of technology and the slow decline of handwriting instruction (let alone cursive, gah!) in schools, we’ve always made it our mission to encourage kids not to lose the art of handwriting. And if it’s not asking too much, we’d like it to be as legible as possible, considering we all know at least one relative, co-worker, friend or yes, doctor,  whose handwriting is like some secret code requiring a decipher key. After a season of writing actual letters to our kids at sleepaway camp — and receiving them — it really...

Read More

7 cool playroom ideas for kids that let you reclaim your living room

I’ve definitely been looking for cool playroom ideas lately for my own son. Because between the art supplies in the kitchen, the Play-Doh in the dining room, and the pretend workbench and kitchen in the basement, my preschooler is quickly laying claim to our entire new house. I know you can’t really contain a kid to just one room, but I feel like what he really needs is a dedicated playroom or playspace where most of his toys can live, because, let’s be honest, I want my living room back. And my dining room table. And my kitchen floor. To get the design...

Read More

The end-of-summer bucket list: 9 fun, easy ways to get in some last-minute fun in August

Hey, wait a minute. Is that you, August? How did you get here so fast? I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. Wasn’t it April just yesterday? Instead of trying to wrap our collective heads around the theory of relativity, let’s focus on how we can drain every last drop of fun out of this summer with our kids. Because in a blink, they’ll be back to school and we’ll be back to packing lunches (oh. yay.) again. Unless you’re one of those families who already has kids back in school, take a look at what I think...

Read More

6 ways to entertain kids in restaurants without (gasp) pulling out a screen.

The very first thing my son does when we sit down to eat at a restaurant (well, after ordering both ice water and milk) is ask for my iPhone. I’ll admit that I’m often tempted to hand it over because it’s such an easy way to keep him entertained while we’re waiting for our food in restaurants. I mean, I always have it on me, and he can play any number of kids’ apps, watch a movie, or find kid-friendly clips on YouTube. But, he’s four. I know doesn’t need all that extra screen time. (Do any of us, really?) Plus,...

Read More

Planning family resort vacations: 6 essential questions to ask yourself before you book.

So, you want to go to a resort with the fam on vacation? Lucky you. I just did it and I can help! But first know, that as with most anything that involves tiny humans, tweens, teens — or any combination of them — you’ll need a clear plan. And the best way to start building one is to ask yourself an important question: What kind of vacation do you want to have? Are you going for easy or adventurous? Do you want it to be laid-back or structured? Basically, what’s going to leave everyone giddy and smiling? (Except for maybe any moody,...

Read More

Simple tips for getting kids to brush their teeth more independently. You know, beyond begging.

With four kids running around my house, that’s a whole lot of teeth to keep up with, and as much as I’d like to say my kids are always excited and enthusiastic about brushing their teeth on their own for those seemingly endless two minutes that’s recommended by our dentist, it’s just not true. Don’t even get me started about flossing. We’re thrilled to welcome our newest sponsor Reassurance Dental, which offers a dental discount plan that covers your entire family. It’s not dental insurance, but rather, a really affordable alternative; in fact, even if you have dental insurance, it can also act as a...

Read More

12 creative tips for getting your kids ready for kindergarten. Because, kindergarten! Also, pass the tissues.

We are having so much fun with our kids home for summer break, the occasional sibling squabble aside, but we’re already thinking about back-to-school. Especially on behalf of those of you in the south who start in what, like four minutes?  There’s so much to do to get ready any given school year, but those of us with kids going off to kindergarten for the first time (sniff, sniff), we are always looking for tips for getting kids kindergarten ready, to be sure that they — and we — have a successful first year at school. So we are really excited to...

Read More

10 of the most fun, most creative pool games for kids to play this summer beyond Marco Polo

If your aim is to get the kids to spend as much time in the pool as possible before summer ends, we’ve got you covered with 10 of the coolest, most creative pool games for toddlers to teens. Not only are these ideas a whole lot of fun, but they also help kids become more comfortable and confident in the water, something that’s so important to us, since we want those little tadpoles of ours to be safe when they’re playing in the pool. Especially when they are swimming with a bunch of their giggling, shouting, jumping friends. Related: Pool safety: 11 top tips for keeping kids safe this...

Read More

How to talk to your kids about prejudice with the help of 12 of our favorite books

It’s been a big few weeks for America, hasn’t it? From the heartbreak of the Charleston shootings to the landmark #LoveWins Supreme Court decision to the Girl Scouts donor dust-up, people everywhere are talking about prejudice. While I’ve seen such a beautiful swell of love, support and compassion for all kinds of people all over my social media this past month, I’ve also talked to lots of moms who are wondering how to talk to kids about prejudice and racism. Because even as my kids help me pick out wedding presents for all our friends, prejudice most definitely still exists whether it’s because of the color...

Read More

14 smart ways to get your young kids excited about reading this summer

As big-time book lovers here, we’ve learned that a love of reading is acquired and not something kids are necessarily born with, like the color of their eyes or their uncanny inability to sleep past 6 AM on a Saturday. So we love putting together tips for parents on ways to get kids excited about reading — and ideally, keep them reading — especially now that summer is here and we all get a little more lax about things like that. Plus, our bookshelves do tend to have some stiff competition with all that extra daylight after dinner. One of our top ideas,...

Read More

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe

Pin It on Pinterest