Tag: dining out

A reusable tablecloth our kids can draw on? Yes, please.

With family picnics and outdoor parties on the horizon, I’m loving Jaq Jaq Bird’s Chalk Board Table Runner that gives kids — and adults, if we’re being honest — a creative canvas on which to doodle while they (cough) patiently wait for their food. It’s a much better way to keep kids occupied and in their seats than playing with their utensils. At 6-feet long, this portable table runner offers ample space for an entire group of kids to draw side-by-side. Or, hang it on a wall for some space-saving art opportunities. I even love that this table runner can be used to deliver...

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Color-your-own placemats turn any table into the coolest restaurant ever

I’ve always been a big advocate of keeping my kids’ games and videos put away at the dinner table.  Especially in restaurants, which is why I have a special place in my heart for those that provide crayons to kids — in particular the smaller, more wiggly ones. So I think plenty of other parents will also be thrilled to discover the new OMY color-your-own placemats that we spotted at Toy Fair, from the same clever company that invented the artistic giant coloring posters our kids adore. I absolutely love these for dining out, dinner at the grandparents’ place, birthday parties, road trips, or just a way to make dinner a...

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The Happy Mat that saved mealtimes

My toddler seeks out new ways daily to make mealtimes all stress and all mess. Food on the floor, “non-slip” mat thrown in the air, liquids everywhere–you name it, he’s done it. It’s more than the OCD in me can handle some days–okay, most days–and it raises the question: do happy mealtimes really exist? Well, I have good news, my fellow neat freaks. It’s called the Happy Mat, made by a company called ezpz. (Get it? Easy-Peasy?) Created by Lindsey Laurain, a mom of three young boys who I know understands messy mealtimes, the sturdy, high quality silicone mat truly suctions to...

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Raise your hand if you’d like your kid’s food to stay on the plate, not on the floor.

Meal time with a toddler can feel like a special kind of hell. Aside from picky eating, the real frustrations for me came in when my little eaters managed to throw what seemed like all of their food on the floor. If you’re the type of parent who spends countless hours pureeing your own organic yams, then food waste is especially irritating. Then again…it’s especially irritating for those of us who put a few Cheerios on a plate and call it a snack. Let’s just agree that extra clean-up stinks no matter what. Enter Adi, the brand new Stay Put Plate that I am so...

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Eat out to #86AIDS with Project (RED), the best reason we’ve had not to cook in ages.

We are big fans of Project (RED) here at Cool Mom Picks, so we’re really excited to eat out in June (zomg it’s June already) in support of EAT (RED) DRINK (RED). From June 1-10, restaurants, all those trendy food trucks, and bars around the country are teaming up with this amazing organization to give a portion of their sales to the outstanding Global Fund to Fight AIDS. There’s even an amazing growing movement of social media photo shares, with the requisite hashtags, to get everyone spreading the word in fun ways.   With life-saving antiretroviral drugs costing a mere $.40 per dose–that’s the kind of change...

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Chipotle’s Cultivating Thought author series. Because burritos go better with bon mots

While we try to cook most of our meals at home–with the help of all of the awesome recipes curated on Cool Mom Picks by our resident foodie, Stacie Billis–sometimes dining out is a necessity. You get it. And now Chipotle’s new Cultivating Thought author series is a very cool effort that just put the chain at the top of my list for our next pit stop. Author Jonathan Safran Foer apparently came up with the idea to print writing selections on cups and bags after stopping for a bite at Chipotle one day, then finding himself with nothing to read. He pitched the Chipotle CEO, who loved the...

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Chopsticks get a cool fix for little fingers

Going out for Chinese food was a regular event during my childhood, and we kids always loved it. Chinese restaurants are the great crowd-pleasers of the culinary world, kid-friendly environments where veggies are magically hidden in almost every dish.  However one frustration I clearly recall from our excursions was not sharing my parents’ masterful skills using chopsticks. For little fingers, it’s awfully hard to get a good grip with two skinny sticks, let alone scoop up a pile of slippery lo mein. Luckily, we’ve found an answer to help simplify things. These Safari Stix chopsticks holders from the family-centric cooking shop Cook in...

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Restaurant high chairs without the ew factor

Surely I’m not the only one who’s often grossed-out by restaurant high chairs? They’re handy, yes, but they’re usually filled with the remains of some other kid’s meal. This is just why the new Phil & Ted’s Lobster seat comes in very handy for restaurant-goers. This portable high chair is a brilliant, fold-flat seat that attaches to most tables with its “claws” (get it?). You just unfold it, screw both sides tight and you’re good to go. It’s easy enough to do with one hand – trust me, I’ve had to. The buckle is a breeze to use and...

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New York City to consider ban on Happy Meal toys. Are you lovin’ it?

Ahhh, the Happy Meal. Regardless of whether or not you ever step foot in a McDonald’s, you probably know exactly what you might find if you open up that brightly colored container: A little hamburger or set of nuggets, pouch of fries–and a cheap plastic toy. How many of our kids ask for the toy before the food? Or ask for the food because of the toy? I’ll sheepishly raise my hand. It now looks like New York City may ban Happy Meal toys following in San Francisco’s footsteps. NYC Councilman Leroy Comrie asserted his desire to “limit fast...

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Teaching kids how to dine out without kids menus or maze placemats

Manners books for children may sound a little old-fashioned, but thank goodness they aren’t. I’ve come to realize that children of a certain age love learning rules and getting to understand social construct; my own five year-old thinks it’s about the most impressive thing in the world when she remembers to put her napkin on her lap. (Woot!) Now there’s a book from none other than New York City’s own Four Seasons Restaurant that creates a perfectly lovely primer on dining etiquette for children — and it’s not preachy or annoying in the least. In fact, it’s pretty hilarious....

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Easy Summer Travel Week pick: Phil & Teds Metoo travel high chair

One of the greatest joys of travel is not having to cook, do dishes or feel the slightest bit insulted when one of my kids pushes something off their plate. Yes, I do love eating out, though I know all too well what can happen when I arrive at some funky little eatery for lunch and the few kids’ high chairs are already in use: Unrestrained toddler mayhem. [see the giveaway after the jump] Thankfully, BYOHC, or bring-your-own-high-chair, isn’t as crazy as it sounds, especially if you check out the Phil & Teds Metoo travel high chair. It’s the...

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Eating out just got way more family-friendly

When it comes to eating out with my kids, we make sure to go to our favorite family friendly restaurant early in the evening with an arsenal of activities to keep them occupied. Seriously, I think planning a wedding is easier. But thanks to Knock Knock’s fun new Kids’ Night Out Bingo, my husband and I actually get to eat at fairly leisurely pace rather than gulp down gigantic cold bites as we put on our jackets. The twelve cards include simple graphics of everything from a server to a booster seat, even music and good manners (how cute...

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Lunchwalla stomps out event-planning indigestion

I used to organize a girls night out with friends once a month, and it always started with one itty-bitty email to the group. Pretty soon though, that email had mushroomed into dozens of reply-to-all’s, forwards, links to can we try this place, and before long, I’m wondering when my personal secretary is going to appear to simplify things. While not exactly a personal secretary, Lunchwalla has the right idea for people who, like me, want to get friends or coworkers together for lunch, a movie, or a five-hour dinner away from the kids. And it works a lot...

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Placemats that put the eating back into family dinner

Regardless of what type of activities we bring with us to the table when we eat out, we still only ever get about 10 minutes of peaceful eating time. And that’s on a good night. If you feel my pain, you’ll want to invest in a few pairs of the Hello Hanna get-set placemats. These adorable paper stock mats feature a silhouette of an actual place setting and a place for kids to write their name, along with a different pop-up character (like my fave, the robot – pictured) plus a set of stickers that your kiddos can use...

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