My night stand is a thing of terror — between the glassware, the paperbacks, the cards from the kids, the remote controls, the empty candy wrappers (what? It’s been a stressful election season), the mini body moisturizer samples, and a couple of photo frames, it does not look like anything you will see in a shelter magazine. Ever. So this genius felt bedside caddy is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I can move the magazines, books and remotes in the structured envelope, add maybe a few cards or notes, and — done! They’re off my night stand and...Read More
This week on Spawned with Kristen + Liz we’re talking back to school! It’s awesome! And yet…it’s exhausting! Take a listen as we commiserate, laugh, offer helpful tips, and gawk at the most insane first day of school traditions that we found on Pinterest. (The backpack fairy? Seriously?) Listen here right now, and be sure to subscribe to Spawned through iTunes so you never miss an episode! Some of the topics we talk about in episode 47 Cool back to school goodies in our 2016 back to school shopping guide. Free printables for back to school including the weekly calendar Liz discussed. Printable...Read More
The coolest back to school printables: Lunch notes, planners, labels and more | Back to School Guide 2016
Back to school time isn’t just about shopping! (Not that there’s anything wrong with shopping, of course.) One of our favorite annual traditions is sharing our favorite back to school printables that help make the school year easier, more organized, and just more fun. This year, we’re sharing 22 favorites, most of them free! And we’re so pleased that this year’s Back to School Guide is made possible by our terrific partner BIC, who’s celebrating handwriting through their Fight for Your Write campaign. (And you all know how much we value handwriting, parents.) Visit the site, sign the pledge to encourage handwriting at home like we do, and they’ll...Read More
I am a neat person. Well, as neat as a mom of four kids can be. I wasn’t always considered neat. In fact, my college roommate might read this and laugh hysterically because there was a point in time that you couldn’t even see my bed because of the piles of crap. And the sink full of dishes? Record breaking. [Top image: Eye Just Shoot on Etsy] But now there are no piles of crap. Mostly. The dishes are done before I go to bed. (Yay kids, A.K.A. free labor.) And the amount of wiping, and sweeping I do is nearly worthy of...Read More
Let’s be real: kids’ room clutter is the gift that keeps on giving. And it’s not just kids’ bedrooms that are problems — we always find the need to declutter our entryways, the kitchen, the bathroom, the garage, the area around the TV, every corner of every room…you get it. And if you live in a smaller space (hello, city living), the clutter can seem ten-fold. So we’ve been looking for some easy ways to declutter kids’ rooms, which makes for a perfect summer project, as you get a respite from all the classwork and art projects coming home each day. We spoke with Emma Gordon,...Read More
We all have hearts in our eyes over Mabel’s Labels’ latest design: personalized Emoji name labels for our kids’ water bottles, backpacks, toys, and — of course — favorite texting device. With three designs to choose from, parents can pick the emoji that best represents their child. No, none of them are scowling — that’s just a phase. Honest. And, thankfully, the poop icon isn’t represented in this group. Related: Fun emoji gifts: For kids or kids at heart I love that each set comes with 45 bright and durable labels, so we can add them to (and re-add them to) tons of stuff that our kids have a habit...Read More
If you’ve ever wanted to create an organized craft space for kids, whether it’s a whole room or just a small area where they can get their creative on, well we’ve got some fabulous tips for you. After all, I think that as parents, we’re all praying we don’t have an Olivia on our hands who thinks it’s a brilliant idea to Jackson Pollock our dining room walls — we want the artist, not the mess, am I right? Enter Megan Schiller of The Art Pantry, an ace at creating kid-friendly craft spaces for homes and schools. She’s also the author of...Read More
An honest review of Marie Kondo’s newest book, Spark Joy: Does it light a fire or lack a certain spark?
It was with immense excitement that I ordered Marie Kondo’s newest book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. After all, it’s been a year since I wrote about her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and put it to the test in my own home. Turns out, my post on whether her Konmari method of decluttering will work specifically for parents ended up being one of the most popular posts of 2015 on Cool Mom Picks. I guess “tidying” is a hot topic among us parents. Go figure. As for Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy, while the...Read More
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be a solo parent (or a single married parent, as they’re sometimes called), you’re in luck! Both Kristen and our special guest co-host Courtney Greisman have been there, and share their honest experiences about parenting when you’re doing it mostly alone. Plus we chat about how we feel about the sometimes controversial single married parent moniker and the difference between actual single parenting. You’ll also find some helpful tips and tricks for parents with with atypical schedules, whether you’ve got a partner in the military, medicine, restaurants, or other fields that make you...Read More
For those of us in smaller homes, finding our kids a great desk can be a challenge. With my two girls sharing a small room, it’s not like I can just grab one of those giant kids’ desks you see in the catalogs and call it a day. In fact, their shared desk isn’t even in their room at all — it’s in our living room by a sunny window. So I spent a little time browsing for modern kids’ desks for small spaces, looking for design that would go well with my existing home decor, and a size that wasn’t...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 spend as much time at your desk as each of us do, then you probably understand the challenge of keeping it organized. In fact, you might have incorporated that into one of your New Year’s resolutions. (Again?) We so get it. The struggle is real. That’s why we’re so happy to be working again with our sponsor Staples, because they’ve got literally everything you need to ditch your desk clutter for a more beautiful, organized work space. Yes, they’ve got a hundred zillion items (which is why we always walk out with more than we came in for) that include a stylish and very affordable new Acrylic...Read More
This week on the Spawned Show, we closed out our year (or, we’re opening the new one if you’re listening now) with a really good talk about New Year’s resolutions: The good, the bad, and the very very broken. I really love Kristen’s perspective about calling them goals, not resolutions. And she has great tips on phrasing things positively, and being specific (“I will research and sign up for a yoga class this week”) which is far more effective than the general goals we tend to make this time each year (“I will stay fit and get healthy.”) Real Simple has a list...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
Is it really almost 2016? And time to look for a brand new 2016 planner? Whoa. Every year it’s like the change in the calendar year blindsides us, as if it doesn’t happen every single year at this time. When will we learn? This year if you’re committed to getting more organized (cliche, we know, but still a good resolution) it can be easier when you start with the right tools, right off the bat. So we spent a whole lot of time tracking down some of the most stylish planners in every price range, to keep you organized in all different...Read More
We’ve got a few passionate skateboarders in our lives so we’ve been super excited to have the opportunity to spend some time searching around for cool skateboarding gifts then sharing our faves, thanks to our most awesome new sponsor, The Parking Block skateboard stand. We are stoked (see how we did that?) to welcome them, because, wow — we don’t know if this is a better gift for boarders, or for any parents who are constantly nagging them to get their skate gear off the floor! Plus, we’re always happy to support an amazing, entrepreneurial small California-based business that’s created something really smart and useful,...Read More
Between my kids’ basketball schedules and after school activities — not to mention their homework and trying to figure out what to cook for dinner — I’ve found that it’s getting harder for me to keep track of it all. There have been times when I’ve asked, Has anyone fed the fish . . . this week? I know I’m not alone here, which is why I’m really happy to have discovered the Membo reminder tool, a handy little gadget from Dreamfarm that I think a lot of parents could use. Related: Free labor! A helpful guide to chores for kids by...Read More
Here are 5 of our favorite tech picks this week from Cool Mom Tech. Look what you might have missed! 1. Fancy fitness trackers that actually make us want to work out. 2. Manage the madness and crush productivity with these simple tips for work-at-home parents. 3. Awesome new smart phone cases that are like a work of art. 4. This cool gadget keep homes connected and safe and will look pretty stunning in your home. 5. Wake up to a virtual French dude with this new morning app. Now, if he could only get us our coffee....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
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