With school out and summer almost officially here, say hello to 4000 new smartphone photos and videos of our kids being adorable at Kindergarten graduation, on the beach, watching fireworks, and running through the sprinkler on the lawn.

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Of course, we love sharing our photos with friends and family–don’t we all? But we’re also aware of the increasing privacy issues on certain uh, large social media sites. So we’re thrilled to be partnering with Origami, a really brilliant new website and iPhone/Android app that’s just perfect (and perfectly safe) for parents to share their photos, videos, and special moments with a closed network.

In the spirit of sharing, we asked some of the top parent bloggers (and probably yours too), to share their best summer vacation memory. Guess who learned to live without TV for 18 months as a kid….?

Christine Koh on Cool Mom Picks

Christine Koh, BostonMamas.com
[photo: Adam De Tour]

I grew up in a large household (7 kids) where my parents worked very long hours to keep the household afloat. Vacation was out of the question, except for one summer where they took a day off, packed up our herd in the two-tone green 70’s van, and drove to Cape Cod. We went to the beach and grilled Korean food; I had never before seen my parents laugh and play as they did that day, splashing in the ocean and relaxing on the beach. It was wonderful, and has served as a good reminder that vacation is more about the togetherness than the itinerary.


Andy Hinds on Cool Mom Picks

Andy Hinds, BetaDad

In 1970 or so, my parents bought some property on Flathead Lake in Montana, where we are from. In the summer of 1972, while my dad was in between Army duty assignments, our family of five camped out on the side of the mountain for a month and a half while we built a log cabin on the property. One of my jobs, at age 5, was to nail down all the plywood on the second floor. It’s probably not surprising that I grew up to be a carpenter.


jessica shyba on cool mom picksJessica Shyba, Momma’s Gone City

The summer before my third child was born, my husband and I took our other two little ones to Boston. On the last day of our trip, we managed to scalp Red Sox tickets at the last minute, just after the game had started. I had always wanted to visit the Green Giant, so being at that park with my family, even though it was beyond miserably hot and I was very pregnant, eating ice cream cones with my babies under the bleachers at Fenway was one of the best moments ever.



Isabel Kallman on Cool Mom Picks

Isabel Kallman, Alphamom.com
[photo: Heather Barmore]

During the summer when I was seven years old, I visited Portugal for the first time. I could understand a bit of Portuguese, but I couldn’t speak it well at all. Initially, I had a hard time communicating with my grandmother, aunts and uncles. But after two weeks, I came home to New York singing children’s songs.



[Keep reading for a chance to win one of 20 awesome giveaways from Origami] 

Doug French on Cool Mom Picks

Doug French, Laid Off Dad
[photo: Karen Walrond]

The boys and I head east every summer for three weeks, to see family and hit the beach. My younger son still likes to pretend his LEGO spaceships are flying down the highway, just as my brother and I did in the way-back of our ’73 Country Squire station wagon, before seat belts were invented.


Charlie Capen on Cool Mom Picks

Charlie Capen, How To Be a Dad

My favorite summer memory from my childhood was truly an endless summer back in the late 80s. We left the United States to travel through Europe, and ended up living on a goat farm on an island in Greece. We thought it was going to be a summer adventure and ended up being eight months of our lives. I missed a grade and a half, but went to the “American” library every day, swam and explored Greek ruins. I learned about mythology and magic. I became aware of an entire world around me that didn’t have television or revere pop culture, let alone toys. It completely changed me, and for the rest of my life I will always enjoy feta cheese. And abhor mosquito bites.


Origami Logo on Cool Mom PicksSo here’s what’s fun: sign up for Origami free for 30 days and see if it helps you remember your own family memories too. You’ll get a URL just for your family so you can safely and privately share memories and photos just like these without having to worry who else is seeing them.

The thing we love is that it works across all platforms, so Grandma who only uses email and your uncle who refuses to get a smartphone at all can still see see the ice-pop covered mugs of the kids on the beach. Ideally, with blue tongues.

You can sign-up at Origami.com or download the Origami app for iOS on iTunes or Android at Google Play. Try it free for 30 days!


Congratulations to Kelly D, Kristen S, Maggie H, Markeda W, Boni H, Melissa G, Benjamin F, Patricia K, Natalie P, Rachael R, and Stephanie O! They each won a 1-year subscription to Origami.

Click here for our current Origami giveaway!