Category: Cool Websites

The Karaoke Channel: You’ll love it, hate it , or really really love it.

I’ve sung karaoke in a bar once, and my face still reddens at the memory of attempting Hollaback Girl in front of a room full of strangers. My kids share none of my shyness though and since I refuse to drag them to the nearest late-night “open mike,” I’m thankful we’ve discovered The Karaoke Channel website to scratch our sing-along itch. To get started, I tried out The Karaoke Channel Kit which includes two sturdy microphones and a USB vocal mixer, although those pros who have their own microphones can use them as well. I then visited The Karaoke...

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animoto: Video editing a non-techy mother could love

Not to brag, but for a non-geeky girl I know my way around a computer.  I’m not even afraid to dive into code. But where it comes to video editing, I’m a complete dolt. So when I created my very own free (free!) 30-second video at animoto, I was astonished at the results. Just upload photos, add a few text slides, choose music (or upload your own, but be mindful of copyright laws), and let animoto take care of the rest. And by rest, I mean wow, this is some professional looking video in just seconds. Then  email it...

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Smaller is big on inspiration

I love flipping through lifestyle magazines. The combination of the beautifully styled photographs, creative recipes and fresh ideas really inspire me. I guess that’s why I love Small Magazine and their new online blog, Smaller. The free downloadable e-magazine was started a few years ago by Olivia Pintos-Lopez and Christine Visneau–a kids’ clothing designer herself who has been featured here–because they realized a lot of incredibly talented kid-oriented artists and designers were being overlooked by mainstream magazines. An idea we can totally relate to here, by the way. The magazine comes out four times a year, but Smaller gives...

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Here they come to save the birthday!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked aimlessly around the toy store aisles trying to find just the right birthday gift for one of my son’s friends. And just when I think I’ve found the perfect one —  the price tag indicates otherwise. Fortunately two brilliant moms, Lisa Fielding & Stefanie Katz-Rothman, started Gift Hero which not only makes spot-on recommendations for children’s gifts sorted by gender, age and price, but they sell them right there on the site. I took it for a test drive to see what they’d come up with for my son for...

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It’s a JuiceBoxJungle out there

For the last few weeks, we’ve been following the launch of the offbeat online video series for parents, JuiceBoxJungle, and we like what we’re starting to see. Each episode takes on the kinds of topics that moms like to discuss (or stress about) from co-sleeping, to dads helping around the house, to this week’s episode, Losing It — which is not about virginity — thank God! I’m not ready! — but losing your temper in front of the kids. The videos, from two moms and former HBO execs, present different points of view from parents which are at times...

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Making math fun. You heard me.

My oldest is cursed with two parents are good at math. Yes it’s a curse, because while we can help her with her homework, we also tend to get frustrated at the drop of a hat: How can you NOT understand that? Guilty as charged. So I was relieved that she took an instant liking to DreamBox Learning, a subscription online educational math game for K-2 that is above and beyond any other I’ve seen. DreamBox actually adjusts each lesson — the difficulty, the pacing, the information provided to my daughter as she plays — based on her answers...

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Bugaboo and Paul Frank get together and make something free. Yes, free.

When you’ve got two uber-hip kids’ brands, it’s not surprising that eventually they’ll meet, fall in love, and elope to Vegas after which they’ll make beautiful co-branded children’s products together. (Well, maybe not the Vegas part.) And thus describes the collaboration between stroller-after-my-own-heart, Bugaboo, and Paul Frank, who makes the “monkey shirt” my youngest daughter screams for pretty much every day. Yes, they recently came out with a line of crazy cute products: Stroller blankets, canopies and footmuffs just for the Bugaboo Chameleon. Adorable and I want them and that’s all there is to say about that. But what’s...

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Cool Mom Picks takes over Cookie Magazine’s Daily Find. Mutiny! Mutiny!

Okay so it’s not like we stormed the editorial offices of one of our favorite parents’ magazines with sabres and demanded editorial control of Cookie Magazine‘s website for a week. But…close. So this week, you’ll find us over at Cookie Magazine’s Daily Find, offering up our top picks for items we can’t live without. Or rather, items we could live without but really wouldn’t want to if given our druthers. Best of all, Cookie is going to be giving away each of the very cool mama must-haves to readers — check back each day for details. And then stay...

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Psst…I know a mom…

At Cool Mom Picks, we love to cheer on our fellow moms, spreading the word about cool stuff created by parents we know and the ones we wish we knew. Whitney Hill, founder of iknowamom.com, has brought together hundreds of those moms she knows in an ever-growing index of business owners and artists. And you know? The list is terrific from what we’ve seen so far. You’ll find tons of CMP faves like Blue Poppy jewelry, Resa Design, and Posh Peacock, just to name a few, along with photographers, artists, and graphic design services. So it’s a great resource...

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Hey, we’re Etsy’s guest curators!

Here’s something way cool: Check out the Etsy blog, The Storque starting today and you’ll catch editors Kristen and Liz as this week’s guest curators. Whoo! It was so fun pulling together a collection of our favorite nursery art found on Etsy–minus the part when we were weeping about the hundreds of amazing pieces we didn’t have room to include. (If you have an Etsy artist you love, feel free to let us know in the comments at the Storque. We always adore reader tips.) And hey, if you’re visiting via Etsy, welcome to our humble abode. Grab yourself...

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Cool kids music – There’s now enough to fill its own video site

Did I ever tell you that my oldest daughter is a music video star? Yep, it’s true. Check out the Bedhead video from the Jimmies, and at about 1:40 you’ll see her rocking out with a spiky red mohawk and huge smile. You’ll find this and more at Jitterbug.tv, a new site focused exclusively on music videos “for hip kids.” Their list of kids’ musical artists include mainstays like Dan Zanes, Justin Roberts, Lisa Loeb and They Might Be Giants, but I really like that they include (relatively) smaller bands like CMP faves Princess Kate + Racer Steve, Frances...

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Don’t shake it like a Polaroid picture, unless you want to break your laptop

Just because they stopped making film for Polaroid cameras doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying the now kitsch classic. We are totally digging on Poladroid, free downloadable software that gives your digital pics the same retro look of those instant pictures from your youth. Drag a digital picture onto the camera icon and listen for the famous *click…zzzzz* The image pops up on the desktop, but just like real Polaroids, you have to wait a few minutes for it to fully develop. That’s half the fun. They even have a virtual shake option if you want the full...

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Shameless self-promotional plug to follow

Today is the last day to vote for Cool Mom Picks as your favorite kids design blog in the Homies, the contest from Apartment Therapy’s Ohdeedoh. If nothing else, head over anyway and find five other inspiring resources for cool stuff for kids. We’re honored to be named in such great company. To vote, register at Ohdeedoh (it’s simple and not spamm-y; just a name and password to keep y’all honest)  – if you’re having issues there are some helpful tips in the...

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It’s a Wee Web after all

Those of us who spend a lot of time online tend to be early adopters.  Even if we don’t think we’re particularly tech savvy, our friends and neighbors give us a good reality check when they ask, “What’s a blog?”  No wonder they never read ours.  Don’t even bother mentioning Twitter. For those moms and dads who want to share kid-centric news with friends and family, but aren’t ready to leap into the blogosphere, we’d like to suggest Wee Web.  Share stories, photos, and videos with only those whom you’ve invited– no random Google searchers allowed.  The really cool...

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It’s an honor just to be nominated

We’re so excited to find that Cool Mom Picks has been named one of the finalists in The Homies, ohdeedoh’s contest for the best children’s design blog! Wow. Particularly considering the five other nominees who really…wow. They’re all amazing. We’d be just tickled if you clicked on over and oh, checked the little circle next to Cool Mom Picks if you happen to think we’re worthy. Of course if it were up to us, we’d vote for ohdeedoh. But I guess that would be weird, huh. Vote for your favorite children’s design blog at Apartment Therapy’s ohdeedoh through January...

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Vote for your Homies

Our good friends at ohdeedoh have launched The Homies, a contest to find the best kids’ design blog of 2008 and we’re honored to have found Cool Mom Picks on the list! But the truth is, we probably wouldn’t even vote for ourselves, that’s just how many great blogs there are out there for parents these days. So hit ohdeedoh, vote for your favorite, and make some hardworking, high-style, low-paid blogger’s day. You’re sure to find some great new sites to bookmark along the way. -Liz and...

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Scrapblog – It’s a scrapbook. That’s like a blog. Thus, the name.

When digital scrapbooking sites first started appearing, I remember thinking, “Huh. That’s a really good idea for non-crafty people like me who only deal with the computer. But I’m far too busy blogging to do anything like that.” Enter Scrapblog. It’s online scrapbooking, sure, but it also works like a combination blog/slideshow so that you can easily share your creations with others, and they can leave you comments. (Comments! As in, every bloggers’ lifeblood.) When you’re feeling really industrious, you can print the pages out and have paper scrapbooks to share with those in your life who aren’t online...

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kidthing: Like iTunes for kids too young to give your iTunes password to

There’s no question that today’s kids are computer-savvy; my daughter can Google the answer to her burning questions before I can even find my reading glasses. But just because they can surf the web doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to just turn them loose out there. Unless you have kidthing, that is, which is now in beta. Created by parents, kidthing is both a free, downloadable browser/player that kids can easily operate themselves as well as a treasure trove of books, games, and videos through the kidthing Store. Your kids will feel like they have the run...

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Yellow Pages, now more green than yellow

I think it’s been at least five years since I used an actual telephone book. With a wi-fi broadband connection to the all-knowing Internet, those old books are now only useful to me as makeshift booster seats and yet they continue to show up on my doorstep, year after year. I’ve finally found a way to curtail these unsolicited deliveries: YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, which is like the National Do-Not-Call Registry, but for unwanted telephone books. A grassroots organization started by a Missouri college student, the service lets you “opt-out” by contacting publishers and saying hey, hold the phone books already. Not...

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And the best kids music of 2008 is…

Last year, we helped introduce you all to the first ever Fids + Kamily music poll winners, decided by an incredible panel of judges who subjected themselves to endless hours of aural pain just to find the rare kids CDs that don’t suck for your own listening pleasure. This year, we were beyond honored be asked to join them! And this weekend, the winners are up at the Fids + Kamily blog. We’re so excited that the top ten includes some of our faves including #1 pick,  Pop Fly by Justin Roberts (shown here) along with They Might Be...

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Hand-me-downs go digital

Let’s face it, Freecycle is filled with scary people (uh, no, I don’t want your used Kleenex) and the prices on eBay can be out of control. I’ve all but given up on great places to find gently used kids’ clothes online, and if I don’t have a friend who can use our hand-me-downs, I usually just put everything in a bag and donate it. But now there’s the very brand new handmedowns.com, where you can sell or give your clothing and gear away at your whim. The site pulls relevant local listings from Craigslist too, helping you to...

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The Daily Grommet: Another enjoyable time (and money) suck on the web.

Here at CMP, we see a lot of fabulous products created by entrepreneurs. But we don’t always get a chance to delve deeper into the stories behind those products. So we’ve been waiting eagerly for the brand new product discovery site, The Daily Grommet which just launched in beta  They use video to highlight one incredible find a day for moms that hasn’t yet hit the big time–well, mostly. I can’t quite say that Hanky Panky thongs are yet unheard of considering you can get them in every department store. But I did like discovering a new Japanese kind...

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What’s in a baby name? Everything.

Sure, I slogged through 8 Hundred Million Names For Baby (or whatever that well-thumbed paperback was called) each time I was pregnant, but did that tell me which celebs picked which baby names just last week? Or what names were on the rise in the last month? Of course not. No book could take into account the ever-changing landscape of name popularity which is why you need a website… say, a delightfully tongue-in-cheek one like Nameberry. They’ll give you name meanings (which you might want to cross-reference) and variations, of course, but what’s especially fun is checking out the...

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Who are we to say that 9 year-olds can’t vote?

Apparently the upcoming Presidential election is a hot topic at the local elementary school, so I’ve become a little more careful when spouting off, lest my words be repeated at recess: Well, MY mom says… Thank goodness Linda Ellerbee has stepped in to stop my bloviating, at least temporarily.  The veteran Nick News anchor is hosting a kids’ special entitled Kids Pick the President airing tonight at 9ET–good thing tomorrow’s not a school day. Then starting today kids can head to a very cool microsite to cast their own votes. Never mind those pesky laws about voting age or...

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Colour Lovers: Saving babies from bland nurseries since 2004

When planning my firstborn’s nursery a few years ago, I did what many before me have done: I looked at a dozen uninspiring paint chips in muted shades of yellow, sage and ecru, and even contemplated a “theme.” Eek. If only I had known about Colour Lovers back then. This interactive, interesting and totally fun website lets you scroll through hundreds of color palettes with often engaging names like A Puddle of Boy, 1950’s or, my favorite, Lucky Bubble Gum (pictured).  Oh, how great these colors would look in a nursery with some mod furniture and a gurgling newborn....

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Care.com is every mother’s (father’s, pet owner’s, cleaning-challenged couple’s) dream

An agency is great if you’re looking to hire just one person for just one thing. You pay your fee, they find you a nanny or a petsitter or a house cleaner. Done. But what if you need a nanny and a petsitter and a house cleaner and someone to run errands for you on Friday afternoons? Well, then you check out Care.com, the much lauded service founded by mom Sheila Lirio Marcelo. A single membership fee gives you access to every personal service you might be seeking while you juggle the life of a busy mom. Find background-checked...

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Step into my Laborastory! (Cue evil laugh)

My kids are always playing “laboratory,” where they collaborate on a grand experiment–real or imagined–resulting in one or both of them shrieking, “It’s aliiiiiiiive!” Never let it be said that we lack imagination around here. So when our top secret package arrived from Laborastory, they were beyond thrilled. The enclosed kit allowed them to design their own Morphadoodle, a unique creature they could both draw and describe, send it off, then receive a lab report on the creature’s progress. A few weeks later the mad scientists get their very own 15″ hand-sewn critter made to spec from their submission....

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The etsy Handmade Kid Challenge – also a challenge for us parents

I have spent way too much time at the etsy Handmade Kids Challenge, meticulously clicking over to each of the incredible finalists and determining which kids furniture, clothes, toys, art and decor is going to get my anonymous thumbs up. It’s especially challenging considering so many of them are past CMP reviewees like Mod Mom Furniture, Dame Star Baby hand appliqued tees, and Michelle Caplan artwork. Head over and vote for your own faves and you can not only find some awesome new stuff for the wee ones, each vote gives you a chance to win one of 14...

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NieNie Day: Bidding on Cool Stuff to Help a Cool Mom

If you click over to Design Mom today, you’ll see the most outstanding collection of items ever put together for a blogger silent auction, all to help the family of blogger, mom of four, and indie artisan supporter Stephanie Nielson of NieNie who was seriously injured with her husband in a private plane crash recently The 165 prizes are absolutely incredible. Some standouts: A handmade bluebird collection of baby gifts from CMP fave The Baby Gardner, custom letterpress stationery from Simple Song, an $800 Marc Jacobs bag from Knot Sew Crafty, Blue Poppy earrings recently featured here via English...

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How Fast They Grow: Because if it isn’t digital scrapbooking, we’re not scrapbooking

Once upon a time I bought a whole bunch of scrapbooking stuff. Because I was going to scrapbook, darn it. I was. I would find my hidden crafty gene and make memories in book form to cherish for a lifetime! Yeah! Um, I still have all of those supplies. Unopened. I never made a single page. (Sorry, kids.) But with the new wave of digital scrapbooking options, I’m thinking I may be able to finally put something together. How Fast They Grow offers a complete digi-scrapbooking service, from page templates and design tools down to archival-quality printing services when...

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