With the busy travel season upon us and so many families planning spring and summer road trips, keeping our kids safe while we’re driving and preventing distracted driving is a huge concern of ours. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to be on a long haul to to the beach or the mountains to be easily distracted; most of us are still getting phone calls, text messages, and those non-digital requests for snacks from the backseat, even when we’re just playing chauffeur to and from after-school activities. That’s why we’re pleased to help spread the word about the new #TravelSafe campaign from...Read More
Category: Tips + Tricks
If we hear one more relationship expert tell us that busy parents need to make time for date night we’re going to…listen. It’s true. We know it. Whether you’re working on keeping your relationship fresh or starting a new one, making time for dates is important. Relationships are so much stronger when we have even a little time away from the craziness of the household, connecting over something besides the kids’ homework and household chores. But we also recognize that sometimes we don’t really plan dates like we should, because we hear the word DATE and it’s like OMG I HAVE TO PLAN...Read More
We admit it, we’re not always the perfect models of healthy behavior. And we know our kids take in eeeeverything. But old habits die hard, whether it’s making a few questionable food choices in front of our kids (ahem), or driving two blocks to the store when we totally could have walked. (Come on, suburban parents, admit it — who’s done it?) That’s why we’re happy to team up with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. It’s providing health and wellness solutions to schools across America, and working to increase school breakfast awareness and participation, so that more kids can start their day with the fuel they need to...Read More
I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m tall or because I sit hunched over a computer all day long, but I have terrible posture. This isn’t necessarily a new discovery, but what is new to me is how much bad posture can actually affect your stress levels — something I learned as part of our sponsor Aetna’s Month of Mindfulness #Mindful30 challenge. Yikes! Like it’s not bad enough that I realize I look bad slouching in pictures, now it’s contributing to stress? So for my 3rd challenge, they asked me to focus on “perfecting my posture,” and boy, did I need...Read More
I fully admit that home organization is the bane of my existence. If you’re a hard-core reader of this site or a listener of the Spawned podcast then you know that while Kristen is an avid purger, I’m what I like to think of, fondly, as a Nostalgic Hoarder. It’s like not you’re going to find me one day, buried under 25-year old newspaper clippings, old coffee cans and pounds of cat hair. But I do have trouble getting rid of my kids’ early doodles (they’re so sweet!); birthday cards from every relative ever (maybe my kids will want...Read More
If you’re following along with me this month, you know I’m trying to make some positive changes in my life related to stress, something I’ve been struggling with both emotionally and physically for quite a while now. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been participating in Aetna’s Month of Mindfulness challenge, and wow, it’s definitely giving me the extra push I’ve been needing to reflect on what’s really going on in my life and what I can do to fix it. Hopefully I’m not alone in this and you’ve decided to join me. My first challenge was 5 tips and...Read More
As your kids get older, you realize you don’t have to ply them with gifts or offer extra ice cream at dessert just to be The Cool Parent. (And despite what you may have learned from Amy Poehler in Mean Girls, you don’t have to serve them cocktails with umbrellas, either.) Sometimes it’s just the little things you do, or those tricks you pull out of your hat on a rainy day that give you one more parenting win, just when you really need it. So while yes, parents prioritize those important skills like CPR and knowing how to cut the...Read More
Last week, I wrote pretty candidly about the stress in my life and how it’s been affecting me both emotionally and physically, so it’s probably no surprise that one of my New Year’s resolutions (yes, I really do make them!) is to do something about stress in 2016. It’s one thing to know you have stress and to be able to identify your symptoms, but it’s another thing to really make necessary changes to your lifestyle. So I’m grateful for our partner Aetna’s A Month of Mindfulness 30-day challenge, which is giving me the push that I need to reflect on what’s been going on in my...Read More
The top 10 Cool Mom Picks posts of 2015: From kitchen shortcuts to cool gifts to parenting tips of all kinds.
We admittedly get a little nostalgic looking back through our entire calendar year worth of posts each December to see which ones most resonated with our readers. All we can say is, looking at the top ten posts of the year? You all have great taste! Now we do have super popular posts from our archives that include the best gifts for 8 year old boys, the best gifts for a 4 year old, Minecraft birthday party ideas, funny, creative DIY Halloween costumes for babies (those still make us laugh), and lots of rainbow loom patterns. Plus we’re so happy to see that...Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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