Tag: family travel

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...

Read More

For MLK Day, a whole new twist on a day of service just for kids.

We love finding service opportunities for kids and families as a way to get kids excited about public service and volunteering early. So I was so delighted to learn that the wonderful NYC is My Backyard camp, which my own girls attended a couple summers back, is hosting a Martin Luther King Day community service camp on Monday, January 19, as a way of honoring Dr. King’s legacy. With schools out of session to commemorate the holiday in New York (I am actually disappointed to learn that this still isn’t recognized nationwide; so, go NYC!), it gives kids an opportunity to participate in community service projects, compile supplies for...

Read More

12 of the coolest baby gifts, gadgets, and gear of the year: Editors’ Best of 2014

Shopping for baby gifts might just be among our favorite kind of shopping to do, and we’ve featured no shortage of amazing baby gift ideas on our site this year. (If we do say so ourselves). After much consideration, deliberation, and debate, we’ve narrowed it down to the very coolest, all of which we would have loved to receive ourselves when our little ones were born. Here, our picks for 12 of the best new baby gifts of 2014. That will be just as cool to give to some lucky parents in 2015.   This is post is part of of our annual series of Editors...

Read More

5 of our favorite cool tech picks you don’t want to miss this week

In case you missed them, here are 5 of our most popular cool tech picks from Cool Mom Tech this past week. Enjoy!   1. Such an awesome gift for the budding little coder in your life. 2. Turn your favorite photos into postage stamps. How cool! 3. 14 of the coolest gifts for photographers, though we’d love every single one and we’re not even photographers. 4. A very cool gift for the fitness lover in your life (or anyone who prefers headbands over hats). 5. A fun app for kids to pop onto your smart phone or tablet...

Read More

Family road trip tips: Tons of sanity-savers, tricks, and essential products to keep the back seat under control and save your vacation.

A lot of us are heading out for family vacations this month, and while a lot of parents consider a long car road trip with the kids the seventh circle of hell, I like to think of it as…a character building experience. But as tired as I get of hearing, “How much longer?” I’m sure it’s less fun for my kids, who are squished together in the back seat on a seemingly endless journey. When we took a 16-hour road trip (each way) with a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old, I had plenty of time to discover what works and what doesn’t. And after talking...

Read More

2 cool new coloring books to inspire creativity in older kids

I never think we can have enough coloring books around the house–or stashed in the travel bags for road trips and plane rides. As much as I love handing my kids plain sheets of paper for open-ended creativity, there’s something about coloring in the lines and having a jumping-off point for coloring that’s still really engaging for them. So I love that there are two new coloring books out for older kids too, that make really thoughtful, affordable gifts under $10. Especially because both were written by independent artists we know and love.   Coloring Animal Mandalas, by Wendy Piersall is a pretty awesome take on...

Read More

Macaroni and Cruise: A totally different kind of family cruise featuring some of our favorite bands

If you’re looking for a family gift this holiday that blows a lot of ideas out of the water, I’ve got one to float by you: a cruise. We did it a couple of years ago, and the kids were thrilled when they realized that the box full of sunscreen, snorkels, and travel brochures meant that they’d be hitting the high seas later in the year. Kristen and Liz have checked out the Disney Cruises with their families. But now there’s one more and it’s not like Disney at all. This year’s gift vacation hit for me is the new Macaroni and Cruise family vacation, a four-night...

Read More

Kid-friendly Chicago activities: The best museum exhibits for kids

This year my husband and I loaded everyone up (even the grandparents) for a long weekend over fall break, and flew to Chicago, one of my very favorite cities, in search of some awesome kid-friendly activities. Our focus: checking out all the must-see exhibits for kids at Chicago museums. Lest you think that New York and DC are the only big museum cities in the US, know that Chicago has a ton of awesome options. In fact, it was a lot to tackle, especially with three children in tow, but I’ve survived to tell you it can be done–as long as you embrace the idea...

Read More

Organic Slammers are a slam dunk. Yeah, I went there. (Sorry.)

Let me start by saying that I have to make four school lunches every night of the week, so if there’s anything to make the whole lunch packing process easier–and of course, healthier–I am willing to try it. That is how I ended up with a new BFF (best food friend) Organic Slammers. We’re already big squeezy fans in my house, as we call them, and GoGo SqueeZ applesauce and squeezable yogurt tubes are regular fixtures in my kids’ lunchboxes. So it wasn’t a huge stretch for us to try Organic Slammers. They combine a lot of our favorites only with more nutrients, because they include fruit and...

Read More

Kid and Coe helps you find family vacation rentals right out of a magazine

A week after our summer vacation rental, I still couldn’t get the musty smell of the house out of my clothes. I also couldn’t forget the splintery deck, scary spiral stairs, and tangle of electrical wires that stressed me out as much as it enticed my three- and six-year-old boys. While we’ve covered sites like Airbnb and Home Away as great options for finding family vacation rentals, now there’s one more – Kid & Coe. This new site is made just for family vacation rentals, and they all look like they came out of a shelter magazine.   While the site isn’t as feature-rich as the...

Read More

ToGoKins: Little cloth napkins with a big impact

My kids’ backpacks are filled to bursting every morning as they leave for school, with books, lunch, snacks, and whatever else they can find to cram in there, it seems. Adding something else to that haul might seem ludicrous, but I love the environmental aspect of sending them off with cloth napkins like ToGoKins. Those of you who are crafty might be able to make them yourself,  but for me, it would be June before I pull out my sewing machine and actually do it. So this little Etsy shop is a great resource. Their adorable little cloth napkins are just that. Little. (And...

Read More

Best affordable jogging stroller? Reader Q + A

Hi Cool Mom Picks. Any recommendations on the best affordable jogging stroller that’s ideally lightweight, compact and versatile? -Pamela J.   Hi Pamela, Though I will admit right off the bat that I am not a jogger, I have reviewed my share of jogging strollers and I have a few recommendations for the best ones that ought to give you a good start when looking. There’s one catch, though: Affordable and jogging stroller usually aren’t two phrases seen together. The best jogging strollers are definitely the priciest options, but they’re also the ones that last, which means you should have no trouble finding gently...

Read More

The best offers for families using American Express Membership Rewards Points. In other words, free trips, whoo!

For those of you who have beheld the frustrating hilarity of my daughter’s kindergarten back to school shopping experience — and seen me turned into a cartoon character — you know I’ve been working with the Amex Every Day Credit Card. And as an avowed Amex evangelist (as in, Member Since…before some of you were born) I think it’s really terrific that this year they introduced a no-fee credit card to help you rack up the Membership Reward points for everyday purchases. (I like Membership Reward Points. A lot.) It is seriously one of the best reward programs out there, which is in part why I...

Read More

Great Sand Dunes National Park: The National Park family vacation idea you might not have considered.

With all the United States National Parks for us to explore and enjoy with our families, there are probably certain ones that pop to mind first: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Acadia, Sequoia, the Grand Canyon. But if you haven’t heard of Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, we opted to go there for our own family vacation this summer and I can’t recommend it enough. And yes, I’m biased as a Colorado resident, but I couldn’t wait to tell you about it. If you think that strolling on soft, warm sand and hiking a ten thousand foot mountain pass can’t be done in the same...

Read More

Save money and stay healthy with these 9 awesome travel snack recipes. (They’re so good you’ll actually be psyched to travel with kids.)

Traveling with kids is challenging enough without having to deal with hunger meltdowns—and I don’t just mean the kids. Whether you’re flying or road tripping, we’ve always preached that having an arsenal of snacks on hand is key to smooth travels. These homemade travel snack recipes are delicious, healthy,  portable and will even help you save money on the road. Now that’s travel planning I can get down with. [top images via Pizzazzerie, Half Baked Harvest, With Style and Grace]   You always need a healthy, handheld snack on the road and muffins are my go-to. My kids love these Oatmeal...

Read More

7 tips for keeping your car seat clean. Or, mostly clean. We’re realists.

Having lived through hundreds of road trips with dozens of children between us all, we’re no strangers to the joys (ahem) of keeping your child’s car seat clean. Or at least, attempting to. So on behalf or our newest sponsor, Evenflo, makers of some of our favorite car seats, we’ve got lots of great ideas for you, from a few BTDT moms who’ve seen (and smelled and wiped) it all. Besides, have you seen the new Evenflo ProComfort line of car seats? Gorgeous. And we bet you’d like to keep them that way as long as possible. Especially because this line...

Read More

The most helpful family travel tips for parents, from parents who know: Us!

We can’t tell you how many questions we get here at Cool Mom Picks asking us for helpful travel tips for traveling with kids, so I was pretty thrilled when Citi asked me to put together my favorite travel tips together in a video series. Especially since I’ve traveled a lot. With four kids. Alone. (I know!) So here, I’m sharing my best family packing tips and trust us me, traveling alone with four kids all without checking bags tends to make one pretty good at such things. I’m hoping there are a few here you haven’t even considered before. Don’t miss my other videos too, like the coolest road trip ideas or smart tips...

Read More

12 of the coolest HomeAway family rentals for a reunion to remember

Who knew July was Family Reunion Month? Actually uh, we didn’t. But now we do. And with so many families headed out for vacations this summer, it’s not really a surprise. But oof, planning a big reunion can be a huge undertaking, which is why we love that our partner Homeaway at least makes it easier when it comes to finding a family rental property. A nice one. A super nice one. That we  may be potentially drooling over through our computer screens. -Don’t miss the awesome Homeaway giveaway below, where you could win a reunion vacation for your own family!-   So...

Read More

Bumbleride Indie 4: Lightweight and off-road ready.

I’ve owned one too many strollers in a quest for one that my child can grow with, that can handle my local terrain, and also not break the bank. So when I heard that Bumbleride, a favorite of ours, was coming out with a new “crossover” stroller called the Indie 4--lightweight enough for everyday errands with four off-road-ready wheels–I was eager to test one out. In the past, living around NYC, I never owned a car that I had to pack a stroller into, so I wasn’t as concerned about a stroller’s weight or how easy it was to fold. I only cared if its wheels were...

Read More

7 outrageous Homeaway rentals that you won’t believe are real

When you think outrageous family vacations you probably think they’re just for the Pitt-Jolie clan. French villa? Private island? Butlers? Yes please. But now with our newest partner Homeaway and their “Million Ways to Stay” Contest, you could travel like the rich and famous too. And even bring the kids. Here, we’ve tracked down 7 totally insane Homeaway rental properties that we think families will go nuts for. And you could stay at any of them if you win Homeaway’s contest – check out all the details below.  And uh, we’ve used Homeaway ourselves to book our own family vacations, but we assure...

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest