Tag: tips and tricks

Web coolness: LEGO rock bands, avoiding over-the-top birthday parties, great book recommendations for kids, and more

It’s Friday again, which means it’s time for our roundup of the best-of-the-best that we found on the Internet this week. Enjoy! Love: this geometric DIY photo display to show off your Instagram shots. Thinking about: This video in honor of World Down Syndrome day. Grab Kleenex. Another great video from the Red Fred Project, creatively helping 50 sick kids in 50 states. Yay for big brands supporting makers and artisans. On Cool Mom Tech: Best Sesame Street TV + movie spoofs ever. Famous bands recreated in LEGOs by Malaysian LEGO junkie Adly Syari. Fun! [h/t laughing squid] Terrific book recommendations for kids who have...

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Family travel tips: How to use Airbnb for your vacation

After checking hotel prices for a recent trip to Los Angeles (yikes), I decided to finally figure out how to use Airbnb for a vacation, after hearing so much about this booming community marketplace for accommodations all over the world. I’m usually a VRBO and Homeaway user for family travel, but after several friends recommended airbnb, I figured it would be worth a try. And I’m thrilled to say that it definitely was worth it. Says my wallet. If you’re planning your family summer vacation or a little getaway with your girlfriends or partner, here’s the inside scoop on some Airbnb booking tips, and...

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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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5 of our favorite Pinterest pins of the week

Obsessed with Pinterest as we are? Follow us for cool pins and great finds like this every day. 1. Ninja toothbrush thing! 2. A mac n cheese recipe that warms us up just thinking about it. 3. Disney vacation tips that can make or break your stay. 4. The new LEGO set at the top of our list. 5. We want this gorgeous necklace. So someone buy it for us, okay?  ...

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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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Fun tooth fairy traditions to help celebrate a first lost tooth. (Sniff.)

If your child is about to lose a first tooth–or maybe getting ready to lose a second or third–there are so many wonderful tooth fairy traditions you can create besides the old tooth-for-cash swap. Some are old, some new, some crafty, some high tech.  So on behalf of our sponsor Wishingtooth, the first app that brings the lost legend of the Tooth Fairy to life, we’ve put together some of our favorite ways to celebrate a lost tooth and create more magic for a child around that very Big Kid milestone.   1. Write a Note to the Tooth...

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The ultimate guide to snow day activities, part two: 20 more indoor ideas to keep you sane

As the east coast gets hit with yet another snow storm, and parents everywhere slowly lose their minds looking for snow day activities, you can start with our ideas for 12 fun things to do during a snow day from games to crafts to an impromptu dance party. For even more inspiration,  here are 20 ideas for activities that can get you through a long day indoors. Of course, this is the time you start hoping you have enough colored ink in that printer. Related: 20 awesome kitchen products to do with kids when you’re stuck indoors 1. Make a toy...

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How to make a baby gift set even more special

We’re so excited to present some of our favorite ideas for how to make a baby gift set. Because one of our favorite things to do is help our readers find great baby gift ideas. If you know the parents have a theme or style in mind, whether it’s vintage florals, race cars, Nantucket prep, or a single color or pattern, start with one anchor piece. Then, search for a few additional gifts that can tie it all together. Think nursery art, stationery, stuffed animals, accessories–even tag sale finds can make the gift surprising and unique. Our partner Nordstrom...

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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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Time to ditch the antibacterial hand soaps in favor of these 5 safe soaps for babies and kids.

If you’ve been following the recent news (and our own posts for the last few years), it  turns out that antibacterial soaps are not the safe soaps for babies and kids they’ve claimed  to be. The FDA recently issued a statement saying that after 40 years of study, they’ve found no evidence that anti-bacterial agents, such as triclosan, are any more effective than regular soap and water in killing bacteria. Worse yet, triclosan and its like may be messing with our hormone levels and creating drug-resistant bacteria. Uh, no thanks!  While natural hand sanitizers are still a good option if soap isn’t...

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How to make coffee with a Chemex. In other words, the best coffee of your life.

The perfect cup of coffee is becoming just as hipster as mustaches, chalkboard typography, and asymmetrical tops–even more so if you learn how to make coffee with a Chemex. Yourself. At home. No baristas asking your name or anything. And yet, who needs coffee more than parents? Not hipsters, that’s for sure. The glass Chemex coffeemaker, if you haven’t yet experienced one, is one magic method of pour-over coffee making; meaning that you pour hot water directly over the grounds and drink the caffeinated nectar that drips through a filter. I’m a big fan, not just because the Chemex looks...

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Mitten stockings: creative stocking idea in a pinch

Every so often, we end up with an unexpected visitor on Christmas who would of course need his or her own stocking. Once it was a friend’s child, once it was our dog who we forgot to hang a stocking for–who knew my kids would be so adamant about that one. So I think this mitten stocking idea at Martha Stewart is super clever. No, you don’t have to scramble for knitting supplies right now; even a leftover pair or an inexpensive pair at a local discount store could do the trick, unless you want the mittens themselves to...

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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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How do I organize Rainbow Loom bands?

If your kids are like mine, they are completely obsessed with making Rainbow Loom bracelets, which means your house is covered in those teeny, tiny rubber bands. Well search no longer! Here, lot of ways to organize Rainbow Loom bands and hopefully keep them on their wrists and off your floor. You could use plastic jars or mason jars to store rainbow loom bands, if you’re anal and want to separate everything by color. Though you’ll want to make sure they’re fairly easy for your kids to open, unless you want to always be on call during bracelet making time....

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Kid style: How to wear tutus out in the real world

Don’t miss an exclusive discount for our readers! I once feebly resisted my children’s love for tutus, until I realized that they could be way more than the beginnings of a fairy princess outfit. Tutus are now on trend as outerwear, as in publicly appropriate skirts. So we wanted to help you out with a few ways to wear tutus in a cool, stylish way, on behalf of our awesome new sponsor eden & zoe, whose gorgeous kids clothes we’ve been drooling over for ages now. Including, yes, their tutus. Think of the multi-layered, lined Alessandra tutu in black, white, or...

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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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3 of the best quick, before-school makeup tips from Bobbi Brown

It’s been two weeks since school started and to say that I’ve been leaving the house for drop-off looking halfway decent would be very generous. I haven’t quite figured out the whole three-minute beauty routine, so thankfully I have some tips and great products from Bobbi Brown to help me get it down.  I asked the talented Kim Soane, the director of global artistry at Bobbi Brown, for great beauty tips for women in a hurry. She’s a mom herself so she totally gets it. If you can only do three things, here are her busy morning pointers for...

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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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The best advice for pursuing your passions and finding success. (Or at least we think so.)

One of the things I love about the Cool Mom Picks community is how entrepreneurial so many of you are. Every week we hear from bloggers finding their voices, start-up owners pursuing long-held dreams, mothers returning to work in new fulfilling ways, and of course all the artists turning their passions into businesses. So I am absolutely thrilled to be contributing to the American Express Tumblr community, sharing tips and advice on how you can best pursue your passions. I launched with the best career advice worth taking that I ever ever received myself–a lot of which has come...

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10 of the world’s most simple tips for enjoying a Disney vacation with kids

I just got back from a four days at Disney, all expenses paid…by me. Phew. All I can say is, if you’re going to shell out the small fortune to take your children on the vacation of their dreams, you’d best enjoy it ourselves with the help of these simple tips for a Disney vacation with kids. There are plenty of great resources and websites that offer money-saving tips, Fast Pass tips, trip planning advice and more–including Kristen’s great tips about Disneyland. So I thought I’d put together just a few really simple common sense tips, one parent to...

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