Category: Cool Websites

Houzz call

From Christmas through January, I seem to go into serious nesting mode. All I want to do is organize my home and fix those shelves and dream about paint colors and alphabetize the kids’ books and…and…and… So I’ve had a grand old time flipping through the virtual pages of Houzz, a photo-sharing website all about homes and interiors. While a lot of it isn’t my style (or the home owners are working with, oh, say 400 million feet more space than I have here in Brooklyn) there’s definitely inspiration to be found. Search the photos labeled kids and you’ll...

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Shutterfly Photo Books Contest – Keep those entries coming!

We’ve been blown away by the awesome entries to the Shutterfly contest so far. We love seeing your families and your amazing books – so keep them coming! You have until tomorrow night to share your own book and win a bunch of great prizes – seriously, did you see the goodies they’re giving away? Just load up your pictures into a photobook template on Shutterfly and add it to the Cool Mom Picks sharing site and you’ll be entered. We’ll announce the randomly drawn winners on our site, plus give a hat’s off to a few of our...

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National Family Volunteer Day – one of the few made-up holidays we’re really okay with

Especially this time a year, we love opportunities to get our kids, even the really little ones, into the idea of doing nice things for other people. So we were glad to discover that November 21st is officially National Family Volunteer Day which gives us a good excuse to get on that whole charity thing. In honor of the day, Volunteer Spot which is an awesome website for those of us who have ever tried to organize a classroom holiday party or a Cub Scout field trip, has put out a free eBook on Family Friendly Volunteering. It’s filled...

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On America Recycles Day, we’re recycling some of our favorite picks

Our kids have been separating paper from plastics since they were only yea high, but today on America Recycles Day, we’re taking a look at the RecycleBank website for Tessa Hills’ Recycling Tips for Kids to find easy ways to make big changes in how our family impacts the environment. For help in bringing these lessons on sustainable living to life, here are some of our favorite past products and services to make going green all more fun for you and the kids. 1. Swap everything: We love getting rid of the things we don’t need in exchange for...

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Telegraph UK names the 12 Best Websites for Families and Children (and we’re on it!)

Well weren’t we just shocked when we clicked over to the Telegraph UK today to find out that their list of the 12 Best Websites for Families and Kids included Cool Mom Picks. Their feeling was that yes, we do have “cool stuff for parents and kids” and we’re so honored they feel that way. (Because we’re kind of partial to our stuff too.) It’s especially nice to be in the company of favorite US blogs like the New York Times’ Motherlode and our friends at Apartment Therapy’s Ohdeedoh, plus biggies like the Sesame Street website which we just...

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Sesame Street turns 40 which makes us feel both very old and young at heart

Yes so we rag on the ubiquitous Elmo merch here from time to time. But the truth is, our heart has always been with Sesame Street which turns forty today. Forty! Amazing considering Grover doesn’t look a day over 6. Everyone seems to be getting in on the action, including Google, which has a special Google Doodle just for the occasion. We’re also wondering if the Empire State Building will be lit up in Kermit green tonight. As for us, we thought we’d bring you just a few cool Sesame Street picks and a cool contest to boot: First...

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Adventures in Babysitting – now free from Care.com

When it comes to finding childcare, I’m one of the lucky ones with built-in babysitters (as in, my parents) living a few blocks away. There’s a downside or two to having my parents around the corner, trust me, but when it comes to finding someone to watch my kids I’ve got it pretty good.  But what if my parents are traveling (as they’ve had the nerve to do a lot lately)? Or busy? Or just not in the mood to hang out with their grandchildren the moment I want them to?  That’s when I’d be turning to a service...

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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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Tweet your dream trip. No seriously. Like, now. Do it.

So I just got home from Barcelona. Yes, that Barcelona – the one with the chorizo and the Gaudi buildings and the people saying grathiath. Believe it or not, I won a trip there from a Tweet Your Trip contest sponsored by the travel site, Voyage.TV. Which is was so cool and unexpected considering I spend all my time giving away prizes at Cool Mom Picks, not entering to win them. As it turns out, you too are welcome to tweet your dream trip (and win!) too, so I figured it would only be fair if I tell you...

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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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bTrendie – Discount shopping never looked better

I was initially introduced to the members-only sale site bTrendie as a beta tester and later as an advisory board member offering my opinions about the site itself as well as what products moms would want to buy. One of them is easily a Quinny stroller, which I fell in love with after perusing the awesome gear and goodies at the ABC Kids Show in Las Vegas last month. (And not just because that’s my daughter Quinlan’s nickname). Quinny also happens to be today’s bTrendie deal of the day. Awesome. Made by the same folks behind Maxi-Cosi, the versatility...

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Sharing baby photos without driving everyone crazy – Who knew that was even possible.

If only lil’grams had existed back when my oldest was born, we would’ve been able to channel our new-parent enthusiasm in a far more stylish, manageable and less-annoying manner than the hundreds of photos we emailed, webcasts we scheduled, and blog we created to document her every move. lil’grams operates a bit like a 21st century telegram service delivering little messages (“grams”) about their subscribers’ bundles of joy to lists of family and friends, with a photo or video clip attached if you choose. Those grams stay in your online baby book which becomes a sort of permanent timeline...

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Noesis – Perfect for the know-it-alls of the world

When people ask for my two cents about something it’s like catnip. I love giving my opinion on things. Well, whatever is considered a step above catnip, for opinion-givers like myself, Noesis is it. The business was started by mom of three Lynn Casey, and the idea is simple: Sign up and then you may be asked to sample a product, go to a movie screening, or even host an event in your home, after which you take an online survey about it. Your opinion can play an important role in improving a product you use, or helping big...

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Attention Frugalistas – we may have $1000 with your name on it.

If you haven’t noticed, it’s become increasingly cool to be savvy about money these days. We love the iPhone apps that point out deals, the online swap sites, and even the shopping blogs that offer up discount codes as often as possible (ahem). So we’re really honored that we were asked to be among the judges of the Savvy Supermarket Cents contest in the next couple of weeks. Simply upload a You Tube video at YouTube.com/SavvyCents describing how you manage to be savvy with money you spend at the grocery or drug store — and that doesn’t have to...

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Even more justification for playing Sudoku online

I am always amazed by the number of online gaming pitches we get and then I realize -duh- I am totally addicted to online games, and have been ever since I was first introduced to Snood back in the day. Let’s just say there is no better way to keep your hands busy on a three hour conference call or while you’re sitting alone in the dark waiting for your kids to fall asleep. Of course there is that guilt factor of indulging in a totally useless time suck (and don’t even try to play that “hand-eye coordination card)...

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Pirate underwear and other best things ever

My kids wear the same clothes over and over; they just grab whatever is at the top of the laundry pile and put it on and go. I used to try to encourage them to rotate what they wore but then I realized that the trick was to buy super cool, really well-made pieces that I wouldn’t mind seeing over and over and would hold up through all that wearing. Where do you find those super cool, really well-made kids clothes? The brand new Magpie Lovely. This bright, cheerful site is chock full of beautiful pieces for moms and...

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Won’t you be my neighbor? Heck, yeah!

I firmly believe that anyone who does not love Mr. Rogers has no soul. So when I got word that PBS Kids is hooking up the next generation with my own generation’s favorite TV icon, I was so happy, I took off my shoes and put on some sneakers in solidarity. The new Mr. Rogers website is just delightful. While the nav is very 2.0, it retains the spirit of the original series just beautifully. In other words, no rapping King Friday here. What you will find are interactive games for young kids, favorite songs, and even the series’...

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Back to Etsy for Back to School

We love looking for fun, off-the-beaten-path back to school items so much, we’re not just doing it for our own readers, we’re doing it this week for our friends at Indie Fixx who asked us to drum up some of our favorite back to school picks all from Etsy. Click over and let us know what you think of the bag tags, pencil cases, smocks, and teacher cookies we tracked down all from artists and crafters, many (if not all) moms themselves. And psst…good Etsy tip: If the item you love is sold out, click the shop name and...

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1000 Markets – You will be bummed they only stopped at 1000.

There are a lot of me-too etsy type online marketplaces cropping up these days, though most of them fall a little (or a lot) flat on execution. But 1000 Markets? So awesome I don’t even know where to begin. 1000 Markets is beautiful, it’s navigable, and it’s mercifully well-organized. You can browse and search for individual artist’s shops, look at dozens of product categories, or browse through online markets which group products by categories like food (warning: you will drool), by locations like Chicago, or by style, like modern simplicity which is right up my alley, and very well...

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What’s the baby going to look like?

So you’re pregnant, and every blurry black-and-white ultrasound photo of baby is up on the fridge, and you spend many a quiet moment imagining what your baby might look like. Will she have your eyes? His chin? That funny little dimple you get in the corner of your mouth? If you just can’t wait until baby arrives to get a load of that adorable little face, check out the latest bit of fun from the folks at Aha! Baby: Their Sneak-A-Peek picture maker allows you to upload photos of Mom and Dad and combine them to “make” a picture...

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Baby steals – As in amazing deals, not stealing babies

We make no bones about loving cool stuff here at Cool Mom Picks, and while we’d love to sport every single thing we feature, we haven’t yet won the lottery. So when we happen upon sites that let us snag the designer stuff at ridiculously cheap prices, we can’t help but fall in love almost instantly. Thus is the case with Baby Steals, a cool site that offers up amazing baby and maternity goodies every day at up to 80% off from 11am ET until they’re gone. Today’s sale just so happens to be the swanky duffel-style Dwell Studio...

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Flipping for BrainFlips

Kids these days have it so easy: Cell phones, computers, and cartoons on TV twenty-four hours a day. Technology has even made studying a cinch. No more Encyclopedia Britannica — now it’s all about search engines. But flashcards are one classic study method that hasn’t been improved upon by technology, until now. Check out BrainFlips – an amazing way to create your own multimedia online flashcards when you’re teaching your kids the state capitals, basic arithmetic, animals complete with animal sounds, or learning a new language before a big trip.  Enter the questions, fill in the answers, keep your...

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Purple Trail makes anybody a professional party planner

I want to be a good hostess, really I do. But my idea of throwing a party involves opening a few bottles of wine and putting steaks on the grill. I’m a little shaky where it comes to the details that elevate a party from fun to fabulous. Purple Trail is exactly what entertaining-impaired hostesses like me need. It’s not just another online invitation service–though the design options are endless and gorgeous and totally ad-free.  What makes Purple Trail so appealing to me are the unique party ideas like diaper poker (I guess if you have to play a...

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Toy and product recalls – Yep, they’re still out there.

While 2009 hasn’t quite turned out to be the Year of the Recall the same way it was in 2007, we still like the the idea of an easy way to check for safety recalls of children’s toys and other products.  In fact, the Babysitter Balance from Baby Bjorn (shown), a bouncy seat we fell in love wtih late last year, has just today issued a voluntary safety recall because some small metal pieces have been found in some padding and could potentially cause scratches. There have been no injuries reported  but as a testament to the company’s commitment...

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Group gifts get smarter

With a child heading to second grade next year (how did that happen already?), I’m well-versed in the usual procedure of collecting money for a group teacher gift.  Problem is, we’re still doing it the same way we did it when I was a kid: Everybody sends in five bucks and one parent buys a gift card with all the dough. Next year, I’m going to strongly suggest that we use lolligift instead.  An online “social gifting” service, Lolligift makes the process of pooling funds practically effortless.  I love that all I have to do is send a few...

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Common Sense Media: Because not every parent finds fart jokes hilarious

My oldest daughter is now firmly planted in PG-movie territory which means I really have to pay attention to what she is seeing, reading and listening to — hopefully without having to actually watch, read and listen to it all myself. Thankfully, Common Sense Media can help me navigate my way through the world of kid’s media. Instead of telling me if a show or website is “bad” or “good” for kids based on someone’s personal, religious or political agenda, Common Sense Media summarizes the hot-button issues like “language” and “violence & scariness” in a unbiased way, and let’s me decide if it is...

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Ideal Bite – How to go green when you don’t have time to go green

My crush on Ideal Bite began with the first sentence of their philosophy: If we all knew what we could do in the day to day to impact the planet and our communities in a positive way, we’d do it. I used to say that I would live a greener life if only it wasn’t so expensive to do so. Then a lot of the more eco-friendly products came down in price, and I started being able to afford a bit more, but then it became an issue of time. There are barely enough hours in the day to...

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Like a craft fair without the parking hassles

I just discovered the wonderful Poppytalk Handmade, and I am wondering where it’s been all my life. This online craft fair comes from the minds behind the wonderful Canadian design blog Poppytalk and each month there’s a new theme (right now it’s summer fun) that lends itself to a well-curated and vast showcase of etsy artists, crafters and indie designers. You’ll find artwork, photography, housewares, clothing and accessories, paper goods and a smattering of cool kid stuff. Hey, kind of like here! In fact we were happy to see some CMP faves represented like art from Tutti Studio,  Kiki...

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Mamapedia – Like Yahoo Answers just for moms

I’ll confess that I don’t really have the time or the patience for most community bulletin boards and the drama that sometimes seems to come with them. But the concept has always appealed to me — a quick way to pose a question to the masses and get feedback. If only there was a way to take that model and streamline it.  Ah, wait! There is! Meet Mamapedia. The site not only allows you to ask your question and gather responses from other moms, it allows users to rate answers as useful or not — ostensibly to get rid...

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Meet my new friend Alice

The day I was contacted about the new site Alice, I had run out of toilet paper. And since they promised to make sure I would never run out again, you can bet my interest was piqued. So I became a beta tester. And I liked the site so much I’m even trying to figure out other ways we can work with them because I think you’ll like them too. This isn’t your ordinary discount shopping website. It’s got a cheeky tone and a fun sensibility that seems aimed at today’s recession-chic discount shoppers that don’t ordinarily clip coupons...

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