Category: Tips + Tricks

5 great tips for eating healthy on the road with kids

With summer officially here and schools pretty much out almost everywhere, many families (like ours) are getting ready for summer travel and trying to figure out how to eat healthy on the road. With a fair share of road and plane trips under our belts (yes, we’ve survived) , we’ve gotten pretty good at the art of feeding our kids healthier foods while traveling. Well, for the most part anyway. It is vacation, after all. Here, we share five of our favorite tips for eating healthier with kids on the road helping us parents manage fewer meltdowns and avoid terrorizing the people in the seats next to us...

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Tips for leaving baby overnight for the first time. Other than “don’t freak out.”

We’re parents too. We sure know that leaving baby overnight for the first time can be a tough–very tough–decision. But if you’ve got family or close friends near by and willing, it can be an opportunity to catch up on sleep (the gift that keeps on giving when you’re a new parent), to spend some much-needed time with your partner, or take advantage of an important business trip. And don’t forget, it also gives some loving family members the chance to bond with the baby too. Of course, it all comes down to if and when you feel comfortable leaving...

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Monster Defense Brave Spray is good news for you, bad news for monsters.

Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? I am, but it’s not from ghosts or even monsters–just a kid in my house who firmly believes in them. Instead of calling Ghostbusters, I’ve discovered this yummy-smelling Monster Defense Brave Spray. It’s a lot less messy than ectoplasm, and probably way less expensive too. The coolest thing about this handy, 4 oz. spray besides that it’s a smart way to put your kids’ very real fears at ease, is that it smells utterly amazing–like French toast. Whether you’re answering a late night call to banish glowing...

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11 smart, simple play date tips to keep things fun for your baby.

We remember when play dates were just called “hey, let’s invite Jennifer over.” But now play dates are an actual Thing, and the very first one with your baby can provoke a little anxiety. Though it doesn’t have to; it’s a fun excuse to get out of the house as a new parent and catch up with old friends or meet new ones. Or, if you’re the entertaining sort, you can host it yourself. Either way, we’ve got a few of our favorite play date tips for making your baby’s first social outing a successful one, though we can’t guarantee...

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7 beyond adorable baby photo ideas for Valentine’s Day

Since you can’t give the gift of sleep for Valentine’s Day, we love the next best thing: An adorable photo of your sweet baby. We’ve scoured the web and rounded-up some of the most creative baby photo ideas ideas for Valentine’s Day, whether it’s for a card to send the relatives, or just a cute photo for the nursery wall. Best part, they’re all super easy; while the professionals provide wonderful inspiration, you can recreate plenty of these yourself. This post is part of our monthly series with our Baby Shower Gift Guide sponsor babyGap, with tips to help you celebrate motherhood...

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How to decorate with tea lights: creating ambience, not a shrine

I’m a big fan of tea lights and votive candles around the house, especially in the winter months when the light is gone so early. I’ve started lighting candles at the dinner table with the kids, even to make a mac n’ cheese dinner feel a little more special–and you know? It does. But there’s a fine line between creating ambience and creating a scene out of Carrie. So here are some tips for how to decorate with tea lights that can warm things up when you need it most. And by the way, I totally cop to my...

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Important tips for keeping your baby cozy and warm through her first winter. Other than moving to Hawaii.

This post is part of our monthly series with our Baby Shower Gift Guide sponsor, babyGap, celebrating motherhood firsts. And there are lots!   Unless you live in super warm climes, we know that heading outside with your baby during the winter months can be a bit challenging. Like you don’t already have enough baby gear as it is, now you’ve got to add hats and boots and blankets (oh my!) to the mix. But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming, especially when you know what you’ll actually need — and what you don’t. Take it from us, we’ve lived...

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18 little holiday joys with your kids–mostly free. As most little joys are.

As much as we love shopping and big surprises and our seasonal visit to the Nutcracker at BAM and shopping some more, I’m well aware that some of the greatest treats of the season are the little things. So I hope you’ll like this list that I put together as a contributor to the Amex Tumblr: 18 Little Holiday Joys with Your Kids. I thought about the small joys that shouldn’t be overlooked in the craziness of the season, like sharing favorite holiday movies together, knowing every lyric to Partridge in a Pear Tree, or watching a child suspend disbelief...

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7 tips for making baby’s first holiday a special one: A celebration of motherhood firsts

This post is part of our monthly series with our Baby Shower Gift Guide sponsor, babyGap, celebrating motherhood firsts. And there are lots! We can’t really think of a bigger deal than baby’s first holiday, which ranks right up there with, well, the birth. But trust us, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the gifts and family and merrymaking only to find yourself–or more likely, your wee one–kind of exhausted. Possibly cranky. There’s no crankiness allowed at the holidays, mamas! So here, we’ve put together some of our tips for you to help make your baby’s very first...

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Creative ways to capture baby’s first words: a celebration of motherhood firsts

This post is part of our monthly series with our Baby Shower Gift Guide sponsor, babyGap, celebrating motherhood firsts. And there are lots! No milestone may be more exciting than hearing a baby's first word. Whether it's "ba" for ball, "da" for dog, or a perfectly articulated cronut (it could happen) it's a thrill to see kids starting with the basics and building from there. Which is why we love finding wonderful resources for capturing and documenting them.  1. Write it down You think you'll remember your baby's first word forever but those of us parents with more than one can assure you that's not always...

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5 tips for making Halloween safer for kids with peanut and tree nut allergies

With some of our own kids at Cool Mom Picks grappling with peanut and tree nut allergies that range from mild to life-threatening, we really have a heightened awareness of making Halloween fun and safe for all kids. If you don’t have children with allergies yourself, but want to make sure classroom friends and neighborhood kids are in good hands with you on Halloween, here are some helpful tips. (Note: This post has been updated for 2015.) Related: Allergy free Halloween treat recipes and great tips for keeping things safe   1. Read the labels: Even for things you’re not expecting...

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Tips for taking your baby to the zoo: A celebration of motherhood firsts

This post is part of our year long series celebrating our favorite milestones and motherhood firsts on behalf of babyGap and their new Red Wellies Collection. Some of our fondest memories of our own children are taking them to the zoo for the very first time. There’s hardly a child whose eyes don’t light up seeing their favorite animal from picture books in real life for the first time, hearing the sound of the monkeys, or watching the sea lions underwater from behind glass. [above: stuffed elephant via kaleidescope stitches] Here are just a few tips to help make your first...

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6 helpful school lunch resources and inspiration for parents

The tips, ideas and best products for back-to-school have been flowing in from every direction all month long. But soon we’ll be back in the swing of things and the back-to-school chatter will die down, but there’s one thing you can’t do at the beginning of the school season and have it over with: School lunch. This is one back-to-school topic that isn’t just for back-to-school time, which is why we’ve rounded up 5 awesome, helpful resources that will help keep you–and your school lunches–inspired all year long. I can’t talk about school lunch resources that will serve you...

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Tips for getting around the city with baby for the first time: a celebration of motherhood firsts

This post is part of a monthly series with our Baby Shower Gift Guide sponsor, babyGap celebrating motherhood firsts. And there are lots! We city mamas know that getting around the city with a baby is a wee bit different than hopping in and out of the SUV all day. If you’e got a trip to a city–New York, Paris, Chicago, you name it–planned with your baby, we hope these tips will help make life easier. So you can spend less time worrying about germs (ha) and more time taking awesome photos. Our cute city outfit pick for boys...

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Tips for taking the first family photos with baby: A celebration of motherhood firsts

This post is part of a monthly series with our Baby Shower Gift Guide sponsor, babyGap celebrating motherhood firsts. We hope you enjoy our tips! Great close-up of baby June Blair with her older sister, via Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom. We all remember that first big gathering with a humongo group of relatives to meet the baby for the first time. For some people it’s in the hospital but for others of us, it’s a big party or even a trip, where you can count on dozens of hands begging for turns with the newest members of the...

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A celebration of motherhood firsts: tips for traveling with baby on the first vacation

This post is part of a monthly series with our Baby Shower Gift Guide sponsor, babyGap celebrating motherhood firsts. And there are lots! The first time you travel with baby doesn’t have to be horrible at all. (Or…as horrible as you think it will be.) We’ve all been longtime advocates of traveling with your kids early and often. It’s something you’ll never regret, whether you’re flying across country or making daytrips to the cousins’ house. Here are some of our top baby travel tips, from years of experience of traveling with children under 12 months. Ask us if you...

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What is the safest sunscreen for kids and babies? EWG has 20 of them.

Each year we eagerly await the Environmental Working Group’s list of the safest sunscreens for kids (and grownups too) and we’re so glad to see the 2013 list is ready, just in time for the unofficial start of summer. Click over to the list of the safest sunscreens and you’ll find not only more than 180 beach and sport sunscreens–the ones we’re most interested in for our own kids–but SPF moisturizers, lip balms and makeup that all meet their criteria. We’ve culled it down to their top picks all scoring a “1” that are made especially for babies and...

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A celebration of motherhood firsts: 7 smart tips for the first picnic with kids

This post is part of a monthly series with our Baby Shower Gift Guide sponsor, babyGap, on our tips for celebrating motherhood firsts. And there are lots! The official start of summer is just around the corner and that means time for playgrounds, parks, and that very first picnic, one of our very favorite rites of passage for new babies. (We’ve been through quite a few of those, so we know.) But before you pack up your entire kitchen in the trunk of the car and cram your basket full of goodies you might not need–or eat– here are...

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A celebration of motherhood firsts: Tips for taking those first baby photos

This post is part of a monthly series with our Baby Shower Gift Guide sponsor, babyGap celebrating motherhood firsts. And there are lots! These days, it’s not like you need a professional portrait photographer to make sure you’ve got those newborn baby photos covered. With 8 million relatives (more or less) visiting in hospital, we’ll guess that one or two of them just might have brought a camera along. But when you’re ready for something a little less blurry, a little more stylized and maybe your own hair is a little more brushed, here are some tips that professional...

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Top tips and picks for travel with kids to help you all arrive safe and sane

One of our readers’ most common questions: what are your best tips for surviving travel with kids? We’re here to oblige! So we’ve rounded up our tried-and-true favorite picks for keeping junior travelers in great spirits. From day trip to 12-hour road trip to the ever-popular “What were we thinking?” international flights, these are the items we’ve found will keep everybody sane and happy this season. {Keep reading for some of the best-ever tips for travel with kids!} We’re thrilled to be partnering with Brita to bring you this post. Their new Brita Bottle for Kids is a huge...

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The ultimate resources for cooking a foolproof Thanksgiving meal

Please, for the love of turkey, do not do a web search for “Thanksgiving recipes,” “Thanksgiving help,” or “Save me,” in your effort to seek out Thanksgiving meal guidance. Sifting through the long list of search results will only confuse you more. Just for you, I’ve hunted and gathered the best resources the web, your tablet and phone have to offer. I’m serving them up to you, here, in one perfectly bookmarkable post, because I am good like that.Save this, and save Thanksgiving dinner. Trust me! Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Planning [Photo: One Hungry Mama] The first step is planning...

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Six reasons to drink less bottled water

My family and I have been longtime Brita fans. That filtered pitcher of tap water is a mainstay in our fridge. But that’s pretty tough to keep up on the go, especially when I’m trying to remember to fill four sippy cups for four little kids I’m struggling to get out the door. That’s why I’m really happy that we’re working with Brita, makers of an awesome new Brita filtered water bottle for kids. This gives me the chance to tell you six of the reasons we’ve moved away from bottled water in recent years. Starting with money… 1....

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10 tips for camping with children for the first time

We just returned from our third tent-camping excursion, and while I wouldn’t call us back-country experts, I’ve learned a lot since that first trip when I was still nursing a toddler while trying to keep the other two from falling into the campfire. I think early fall is such a lovely time for an inaugural camping experience: fewer crowds, not too hot around the fire, and cool sleeping nights. So, if you are thinking of taking the plunge, here are my top 10 tips for a successful family camping trip. 1. Your first time? Go local The first time...

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Birthday gifts for 5-year-old girl? Reader Q&A

I need a birthday gift idea for my soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter. She has tons of Barbies, tons of clothes – she is a girly girl and loves all things to do with painting nails, wearing girly stuff. I feel like we have way too many toys and clothes. What else is new and fun for a 5-year-old girl? -Laurinda I have two basic categories for kids who already have a lot of toys: consumable/craft gifts and games that inspire imagination, and then toys get them outside and active–and can hopefully be stored in the garage! Oh, make that three...

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Comfy mom shoes that don’t look like mom shoes? Answers from a stylist.

Q: I need some new ideas for cool comfy mom shoes so I’m not in my gym sneakers every day this summer but still can run around all day. Help! -Erin L There are so many great options for busy moms these days. Your instinct is right: keep your gym sneakers in the gym and try one of these 15 cool options instead. Espadrilles This old classic feels so right now. The rubber sole is a must in their homeland of Spain where cobblestones abound. At J Crew you’ll find the affordable Soludos Espadrilles flats in red and white...

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Are LEGO Friends good for girls? Let’s talk about it.

I’ll be frank, quite a few of us groaned along with many of you when LEGO Friends was announced; that series of pastel-colored, “girl-friendly” kits which seemed heavy on the pink and purple, with themes like Butterfly Beauty Shop. (Gah.) At Toy Fair earlier this year, Christina and I got a good look at the entire line. And since then, we’ve each spent the last few months with our girls playing with the kits, deciding whether we could truly recommend them or not. Here are the issues we were concerned about, and where we both panned out. Concern 1:...

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5 tips to help teach kids about money

One of the important challenges we face as parents ourselves is how to teach our kids about money. And not just the difference between a dime and a nickel–yes, the nickel is bigger but it’s not worth more. Boy, that’s a hard one with our kids! We’ve learned is that every parent has different values when it comes to money and kids, so of course you have to do what’s best for your own family. That’s why we’re so happy to once again be teaming up with BMO Harris Bank, which is committed to helping families make good financial...

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Undeck the halls: Tips for taking down the Christmas decorations. Sniff.

No one likes taking down those holiday decorations, but mamas? Trust us, you don’t want to be “that one house” with the lights still up on Valentine’s Day. That’s why we’ve got 5 great ideas on how to store your winter holiday decorations and make next year’s light untangling a breeze.   1. Simple, smart storage for Christmas Lights Tangled light cords are never fun. Fortunately, they will be a thing of the past with this ridiculously brilliant, simple way to store Christmas lights courtesy of decorating (and undecorating!) doyenne Martha Stewart. Bonus: you don’t have to buy anything....

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Still feeling the DIY spirit? Some of our favorite last minute holiday crafts and printables.

Here, just some of the great resources, websites, recipes and roundups we’ve found for the holiday season. You’ve still got a whole day of wrapping left! –The most beautiful printable gift tags –12 festive gift wrap ideas –6 easy holiday treats, no culinary degree required. –10 DIY holiday gifts for those crafty folks among us. –Print at home gifts to save you from overnight shipping charges –6 free printable gift tags [image via eat drink...

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