Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Perfect Play Station Shirt

This "Play Station" shirt from Wire & Twine always brings a big smile to my face.  Very clever ... and a nice reminder to get outside and enjoy the many pleasures of summer.  The shirt is printed on organic cotton and a portion of the proceeds goes to Children & Nature Network.
Play Station (for Kids) shirt $18.   

Eye Candy!

Holly and I are working on the design of our new site and always looking for inspiration. Small magazine has provided us with endless amountsas well as content we love to read as moms. This month, I particularly like this collage and HYP Radio's Amy Trulock's Summer Playlist which I am definitely downloading for our car trips! 

Red, White and Blue!

A couple ideas for whatever your plans are for the Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Seattle Cafe for Moms

My son and I discovered Serendipty Cafe in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle this week.  I only wish we had such a special place in our neighborhood, as it was perfect for Moms and children.   In the back of the cafe, there was a rather large playroom where my son would play away after we had breakfast together.  Our mornings were so pleasant.   I am inspired. 

The playroom at Serendipty Cafe in Seattle. 

AND, they served the best doughnuts!  We indulged in Mighty-O Doughnuts (nearly) each morning.  These doughnuts are locally made, all organic, no animal products and trans fat free.   They are delicious and seem to be nutritious.  We eagerly await for Mighty-O to make its way East at some point in the future. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dagmar Daley Opens Online!

I was excited to see San Francisco-based designer Dagmar Daley has recently opened her online store! I just got some of her clothing for my daughters last week and they have not taken them off. The fabric is a heavier weight but so comfortable. And if you are looking for something for the Fourth of July, the dress below is a great option as it will last long past the fireworks. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

KOMPAN playgrounds

My son and I are in Seattle this week and have voted the city's playgrounds the best ever.  We are having as much fun exploring the playgrounds as we are seeing the tourist sites.  Most of the equipment is made by KOMPAN, a Danish manufacturer founded by a sculptural artist and child development specialist.  It says a lot that the designs were "originally sold as outdoor sculptures, but children soon discovered the art was more fun to play on."  I am impressed with how many ways there are to play and that they lead kids to be so active (lots of climbing).  Beautiful and environmentally focused, I recommend looking at their offering.  For those in the NYC area, the Bronx Zoo opened an eco-friendly playground with KOMPAN this past April.  A summer sale is ongoing with up to 15% off certain equipment.

KOMPAN Galaxy play equipment for ages 5-12+.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Smafolk Onesies, Shirts and More

I am visiting my sister and new nephew this week.  One of her favorite baby gifts is a very fun onesie from a Danish company, Smafolk.  The selection of graphic, child-centric patterns is vast.  Some designs are a little crazier than others, but all are clever.  And, the quality is excellent.  I think a toddler would adore these shirts - all are offered in larger sizes.  

Elephant Cottonsuit by Smafolk at ittikid.com $35.

Spotty Giraffe Shirt by Smafolk at ittikid.com $30.  

Summer Journals

A friend emailed asking about what to give for her 7-year-old daughter's birthday party favors, saying "I hate being the mom that gives ANOTHER bag of junk." (I include this only because I am guilty of it!) I thought immediately of these great little journals that I saw at Sons + Daughters that can be for boy or girl and perfect for a party favor. Add a fun pen, crayons or for an extra personal touch have your child write each guests name on the front covers. I have ordered a few for my soon-to-be seven-year old as she has been asking for a journal and she was very excited to see not only could she log her summer fun on the inside pages, she got to color the outside cover too!
Blank Bound Books $3.50 each. 

We got ours and I had to share what the finished product looks like as the colors make them! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

All About Madras

There is a lot of madras out this season.  Until now, I have been on the fence as to how I feel about madras.  Too preppy?  Well, I am officially a fan after seeing enough boys that look great in madras.  I prefer to mix it with a more casual (or rugged) t-shirt and flip flops.  

For shorts, I love those below from Vineyard Vines.  Gap has a nice pair of madras shorts for a good price.  

Boys' Madras Club Shorts at Vineyard Vines $69.50 to $75.00.

J.Crew  has an excellent selection of madras, of which most is currently on sale.  This J.Crew blazer would be really fun for a young boy.

  Boys Pacific Patchwork Madras Blazer at J.Crew $135 now $49.99.

And, this Lacoste madras shirt would look great with shorts or jeans - or dressed up for a special occasion. 

Boy's Short Sleeve Madras Plaid Shirt at Lacoste $80, now $47.99. 

Brooklyn's Sweet William

Holly and I were over in Brooklyn and stopped into the children's store, Sweet WilliamAfter walking in, I was not surprised to find out it is owned by a former Cookie magazine fashion market editor, Brónagh Staley. The store is beautiful and the type-A person in me just wanted to move in—as it is so organized and clean. But that is not to say it is sparse by any means. Designed by Brónagh's husband, Peter Staley, there is this incredible juxtaposition of the beautiful birch walls and distressed wood tables (he made) to the softness of the stuffed animals, dolls and accessories, and all of the clothing. Each item that we picked up was more special than the next, as they carefully select the lines they carry all from independent designers and made from predominantly organic materials. Bronagh was kind enough to share with me some of her favorite pieces—they each are so unique, the photographs do not do them justice! 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day.  Our Father's Day consisted of a lot of golf.  In honor of the sport so many fathers love, here are some good options for kids golf clubs.  For beginning golfers, we like the US Kids 5 piece set (see below) and Calloway X Junior 6 piece set.   My husband (the golfer) does not believe one needs to go crazy investing in clubs at this beginner stage.  

U.S. Kids Golf 5 Club Set at The World of Golf $139.95.  For beginner and intermediate golfers.  

And for the littlest one in the house, here is a perfect golf set for toddlers.  It can occupy a lot of time at the beach too. 

Little Tikes Tot Sports Easy Hit Golf at Amazon starting at $20.  

Friday, June 19, 2009

6 Great Bathing Suits....All on Sale!

This afternoon's beautiful summer weather inspired me to do a post on girls swimsuitsin hopes that this weather will stick around. These are six great suits that wear well and your girls will love. The added bonus is they are all on sale!

Top Row: Crewcuts Girls Seersucker Bikini Set$44.50 now $34.50, Olive Juice Kids Milleraies Stripe Bathing Suit, $53 now 36.95,  Mitty James Halterneck Swimsuit, £28.95 now £17, Bottom Row: Janie and Jack Daisy One-Piece Swimsuit $30 now $22.99, Flora and Henri Tiny Leaf Maillot, $72-80 now $50.40-$56.00, Shoshanna for Best and Co. Floral One Piece $70 now $34.90.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Making Ice Cream Easy

I have such fond memories of making ice cream as a child, all the salt and turns at the crank. I only recently discovered how easy it is to make ice cream with the automatic ice cream makers. From my experience, it is a guaranteed great playdate and is ideal for mother - child time. Make it extra sweet (mint chocolate chip or cookie dough) to healthy (fresh strawberry) to interesting (get creative !).  We have this Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker which makes ice cream in 30 minutes and is plenty tasty.  There are many choices of machines all varying in price.  For storage, consider this stainless third pan. 

For those feeling extra ambitious, I like these ice cream sandwich molds.  Enjoy the ice cream and fun with your kids.    

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Children's Artwork on Display

It is that time of year, the end of another school year.  Every mother I know struggles with the question of what to do with her children's special artwork and papers?  We want to (have to) keep a lot of it.

I absolutely love the jan eleni collage.   They collect, edit and apparently create quite a stunning collage of your children's artwork. The originals are all returned in an archival box.  I am exploring currently for myself.
Email info@janeleni.com or call 212-925-0581.  Price varies depending upon size of frame.    

I have long aspired to create a photo book of our children's artwork.   I recently read about artimus art that offers packages to digitize your children's artwork, create an online art gallery and print a custom photo book.  If the packages are a bit pricey, you can always take on a DIY project to scan yourself and create a book on Shutterfly or Flickr.      

artimus art packages, starting at $120 (The Red Wagon package).  

If you are looking for something a little simpler or just different, see these articles on art storage and display ideas on Marthastewart.com and Cookie Magazine.  Are we inspired to get started?

Swaddle, Toddle and Bump

In summer months, I am traveling on I-95 to New England a lot. With three young children, I am in need of a stop longer than a quick bathroom break and I have found Westport, CT as a great solution. There is walkable downtown for the kids, lots of quick-bite restaurants and I get to check outvery quickly!some of my favorite home shops: Dovecote, Bungalow and HB Home. Last year, I discovered Swaddle, Toddle and Bump that has made the stopover there even more worth my while. 

The owners, Alisha Gorder and Amy Young, conceived the store on the basis that when shopping with small children it's hard to focus on anything. When designing their space, they took this into consideration and have created a shopping experience that is enjoyable for both parents and children. From the extra-wide door (to accommodate double strollers) to the play cubes (pictured above) to the nursing nook to the fully-stocked changing room, the store makes it easy to focus on what you are looking for and also easily enables you to discover products you might never have had time to see. The merchandise—clothing, toys, decoris exceptional and I walked out with three receipts as each time I went to leave, I found something else that was just too good not to get. And the beauty of it all wasas I was shopping, my girls were so happy in the cubes that I had to tell them it was "time to go." 

Swaddle, Toddle and Bump, 125 Post Road East, Westport, CT, (203) 557-0509.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Classic Shirt for Boys (and Dads)

Here is one of those rare shirts that my boys love, and so do I.  Why? This shirt from Robert Redd is so soft and comfortable that it almost feels like a favorite T-shirt.  It looks great dressed up and down.  And, who says they are just for boys?  Hadley and I believe the tangerine stripe would look great on a girl.   So while a bit of a splurge, these shirts have been worn over and over in our house.

The Hearty Charley ("for the well-behaved young man") at Robert Redd $60.  Look at all 12 colors! 

The Sturdy Murdy ("for the most active of young men") at Robert Redd $60.  Available in 14 colors.

AND, for those of you still looking for a Father's Day gift (order quickly), these shirts are available in mens' sizes with even more color options.  For those of you into matching father and son shirts, here is a good option. 

Healthy Eating

I have been focused lately on healthier eating for my children. I don't ever want to become one of those neurotic-talks-about-it-constantly-food obsessed, but I do just want to be more informed about what is going into their bodies and mine for that matter. They eat their vegetables, whole wheat bread, salmon and there is I would say minimal true junk food around our house, but I feel like there is room to feeding them better. 

Last night we had a friend from California staying with us and he was talking about two books he had recently started: The Unhealthy Truth and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. He was definitely commenting on how they make you more aware of what you are eating and careful attention to labels! I can't recommend them yet but let me know if you have read and what you thought. One other piece to check out is Food Inc., it sounds interesting but not sure if I can watch a whole movie on this just yet!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Children's Bathrobes

A friend asked me recently if I had a recommendation for a place to get children's bathrobes and it reminded me of my search this past winter. I was looking for a robe for my girls to wear over their pajamas in colder months, and yet all the places I looked, it was more of a robe to wear right out of the bathtub or just not quite right. I can sayhaving done a lot of lookingthat this is my favorite from A.Home. It can be for right out of the tub or as an extra layer on colder mornings...and can be monogrammed for a great gift. She or he will definitely be the best-dressed at school pajama day.

Cozy Terry Velour Robes, starting at $37. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

These T-Shirts Say It All

All boys love t-shirts.  With three boys of my own, I must admit that I am a wee bit particular about t-shirts.  I am loving the tees from Peek ... Aren't You Curious.  They are clever, comfortable ... and pretty cool, too.  Peek just introduced their 1st Heros Tees for boys and girls (female heros, of course) in honor of "great heros in American history who accomplished amazing feats for the first time."  I am impressed - here are a couple favorites.

John Glen Tee at Peek ... Aren't You Curious $34.  

Jackie Robinson Jersey at Peek ... Aren't You Curious $38.

The entire selection is terrific.  One more t-shirt that we wear at our house and attracts many remarks from 7 year old boys is the Battleship Tee.  Well worth looking and may prompt some fun conversation. 

Battleship Tee at Peek ... Aren't You Curious $28.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Favorite Baby Gift

Holly got me thinking about my favorite baby gift. Obviously there are all the beautiful sleepers and dresses we received, but I have to say, one of my absolute favorite baby gifts for our first daughter (and all three wore!) is the Patagonia Synchilla® Bunting. I have borrowed this idea and while the bunting is great for babies born in fall and winter, I like to give the Patagonia Synchilla® Cartigan for the spring and summer babies.

Add in a Sophie the Giraffe for a little something extra! Babies love them!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Blocks Galore

Our shopping trip to Sons + Daughters in NYC was with great anticipation.  So many friends had raved about their store.  After circling the store several times, I was most intrigued with their wooden blocks !   Very diverse and unique .. skyscraper blocks, an "army of ant" blocks (available in store only), Spiel & Holz blocks, wooden block marble runs and beautiful handcrafted blocks from Vermont (available in store only).   I took the ants home for my boys. 

Blocks display in store. See the selection online.

Inspiration for Girls' Rooms

I was at IKEA today buying the picture frames I wrote about a while back for my girls' room and it got me jump started on finishing their room (maybe it is the realization too, that it could be a long summer inside if this rain continues!). I was looking through my home decoration inspiration file and picked out some of my favorite girls rooms. 

By Quadrille

By Jan Eleni

Images from: (1) www.katieridder.com, (2) www.quadrilleinc.com, (3) www.elementsofstyle.com, (4) www.janeleni.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sons + Daughters: Rain Gear

Holly and I went to Sons + Daughters, this great little children's store in the East Village today. They have just an amazing assortment of toys as well as unique clothing and so many great options for baby gifts  (their gift wrapping is adorable!). 

I think it must be the week of rain here in the Northeast that inspired me today for my favorites were the wet-weather products!  For a boy or a girl, this IdaT orange rain jacket is bright and cheerful and the giraffes cute but not too cutesy. While it might seem a little expensive for a raincoat, the hood is detachable and it's fleece lined which makes it a great everyday jacket for those cooler days. 

Close-up of the giraffe.

I love the jellies! Someone gave us some for my first daughter and they were the best shoes for rainy summer weather. It is such a welcome change to enjoy watching  your child jumping in a puddle and seeing how happy they are without worrying about their feet being soaking wet! 

Jellies $15. Not available online, call (212) 253-7727 or info@sonsanddaughtersinc.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Turning Five!

I was on the hunt this week for birthday gifts for 5-year-olds, one for a boy and one for a girl. I stopped in at one of our local stores, Catchware, and found some things that I had not seen and my girls were especially excited to give. 

For the girl, this Environsax caught my eye. A cute design, it rolls up to literally nothingperfect to be stowed away to go on vacation or to use as a tote for summer activities. As an added bonus, it is eco-friendly and what better message to start the summer off with than preserving the environment.

Environsax Kids Marshmellow bag, under $10. Available at Catchware, 908-918-9171 or info@catchware.com.

For the boy, I saw this floor puzzle (which could be for a girl as well). The latest creation by Andrew Zuckerman, who also did the incredible book of the same name Creature, there are four detailed animal portraitures in one. In addition to the elephant on the front, there is a tiger, lion and chimpanzee also included and the pieces large enough so that the child can do on their own.  Perfect for a rainy summer day. 

Creature Floor Puzzle $24.95.  Available at Catchware, 908-918-9171 or info@catchware.com.

Great Baby Gifts

My sister just had her first baby this month!  We have been chatting a lot about great baby gifts.  Many of my personal favorites are from family friends in the South who have given us the traditional classics.  We have given and received many of these wonderful infant onsies and rompers from bella bliss.   They are so soft and look beautiful with a monogram (a must).
Bella Bliss Footed Loungewear $35, plus $10 for monogram.   

Bella Bliss Baby Romper $41, plus $10 for monogram. 

For some "newer" options, the onsies and t-shirts with the fabric animals are adorable.  Erica Tanov and Takashimaya have a beautiful selection.  Serena and Lily has one of the more unique takes on the hooded animal towels.  All very cute and great gifts for baby girls and boys.   

Takashimaya Chick Onesie (available in store only), Chick Hat $18. Chick Bib $35, Chick Spoon $15.