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Spent the afternoon at the Green Festival in Denver.  Exhausting but inspiring!  And of course….we’ve got a great new find from the fest:ecodough1

Eco-dough from the good peeps at Eco-Kids.

What is eco-dough you ask?  Simply the coolest, best smelling, best feeling play dough that you can imagine.  Its all natural, made from plant, fruit, and vegetable extracts.  Doesn’t dry out at all, and even comes in eco-friendly compostable packaging.

In addition to all this eco-goodness, it passes the kid test 100%.  My two kids sat down at the eco-kids table and dove right in, rolling out the dough with fabu bamboo rollers and cutting out cool shapes with cookie cutters.  5 year old R made 8 tie-dyed hearts and 21 month old L went freestyle with yellow eco-dough.

Smells heavenly and, so I’m told, is edible if your kid pops a bit in their mouth.  They even have a gluten-free version if you have a wheat-averse child fond of dough!

They also have cool eco-fingerpaint, and with the promo code PAM receive 20% off your order!

pine-iv_02The best jeans ever.  We love Pine IV jeans around here.  As a new mom we know how it goes.  Your favorite jeans may be in the rotation for 2-3 days straight.  No worries.

Crafted from Kaihara, a Japanese cotton that is milled to be extra soft and super comfortable, these jeans rock.  They Do. Not. Stretch. Out. (or fade!)

285_pine_iv_jeans_081707Right now we are loving our Kyotos.  View the whole line here.

As an added bonus:

For every pair of Pine IV jeans sold, the company will plant a tree on your behalf with American Forests.

Still trying to get rid of all the plastic items in your kitchen?  So are we.  And perhaps like most parents, I’ve concentrated on items for my kids, especially my just-turned-one daughter.

The easiest, funnest thing to get rid of so far?

All those colored plastic spoons and forks that seem to multiply when you’re not watching.  If you haven’t already traded them in for stainless kids’ flatwear (check out these from Williams Sonoma), then try these: Bambu kids’ spoons and forks.

We got some from Sprout Soup and my daughter absolutely adores them.  They’re just the right heft for her little hands, the spoon has a great depth to it, and (much to my surprise) she can actually use the fork.

Bambu also makes gorgeous bamboo bowls for little ones (and big people too).

Thanks, Bambu!

Joyful. Soulful. Absolutely delightful.

We’ve been rocking out to Dan Zanes’ music for kids–for the whole family, really–for over four years now and still do not get tired of it. Tired, actually, is probably not a word in the Dan Zanes vocabulary. This is music to make you smile, sing, tap your feet, and get up and dance.

It crosses all genres and each CD is just as wonderful as the one that came before it, making it next to impossible for me to pick a favorite.

Rocket Ship Beach and Family Dance have a special place in my music heart as they were the first two we got, but we all also love House Party and Nighttime too. And Catch that Train! of course. Its easier to pick songs than CDs, so here are some of my highlights:

1. Welcome Train with the Blind Boys of Alabama, on Catch that Train!

2. Pigogo, an absolutely beautiful and haunting song on Catch that Train! sung by a children’s choir from South Africa.

3. Pay Me My Money Down and Rattlin’ Bog from Nighttime.

4. In the summer and fall of 2005, my son refused to listen to anything other than Hokey Pokey from Family Dance.

5. Polly Wolly Doodle, Go Down Emmanuel Road, and Father Goose from Rocket Ship Beach.

Our current favorite is the new CD featuring Father Goose: It’s a Bam Bam Diddly! Try, just try to put this CD on and not start smiling, if not dancing, the minute the first track “Bam Bam” starts playing.

We’re big reggae and dancehall fans around here, but can’t imagine anyone not loving this CD. As they say on their website, its a “rollicking mix of west indian folk music, rock, gospel, and father goose original tunes.”

In March, we went to see Dan Zanes and the band here in Boulder with some friends. They opened with Welcome Table, my son’s favorite song, and put on a wonderful show, but we were sad that Father Goose wasn’t there.

So, after the show, we asked one of the band members where he was, and heard that he and his wife were expecting a baby any day. Of course, we couldn’t think of a better reason for Father Goose not to be there, and we hope that he, his wife, and their new Baby Goose are all doing well!

Once again, a parent somewhere came up with the next greatest idea in the world: the combo coffeehouse and playspace.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Almost 4 year old R., baby L., and I went to our local here in Boulder—Play Grounds—for the first time today and were immediately smitten. A great menu. Healthy choices, but still enough chocolate to keep Mom (aka me) happy. Nooks and crannies to explore. Things to play with, jump on, climb up. Arts and crafts projects to make.

And, kids everywhere (babies, too) all supervised (more or less) by their parents (well, mostly mothers, though there was at least one father, a handful of grandmothers, and some nannies in attendance too). Best of all: IT WORKED. Again, kids everywhere, and it felt more like safe and organized fun than random chaos.

We’re already plotting our return and calling friends to tell them about it.

Wishing there was something similar where you are? There might be already. Here are some other parent/kid coffeehouses we’ve heard about (and if you want to add one near you to the list, just send us an email!):

Calgary: Coffee and Scream and Jump ‘n’ Java

Chandler, AZ: Way 2 Play Cafe

Detroit area: Jungle Java

LA area: Swork

Marietta, GA: The Coffee Park

Montreal: Maman, Bebe, et Cafe and Cafe Kavaloo

New York City: AppleSeeds

Oakland, CA: Play Cafe and Tumble and Tea (shown in above photo)

Portland, OR: Cafe Au Play (coming soon)

San Diego: Java Mama

Toronto (Mississauga): Gingerbread Lane

Woodinville, WA: Tot Spot Cafe

Getting two small children to bed is no small task. To ease things in this department, I recently decided to start a new bedtime ritual: a nightly massage for both my infant and my preschooler.

Off I went to my local natural grocery store in search of a calming massage oil for children. To my surprise (as it seems there are massage oils for everything these days), there was none.

Not to worry though as one of the herbalists had the perfect solution: Aura Cacia apricot kernel oil, unscented, to which she added ten drops of German Chamomile essential oil.

It turns out that German Chamomile is just the thing to get little ones (and moms, too!) ready for bed. Believe me, it smells absolutely dreamy.

So, get yourself to your local natural pharmacy (ours is Pharmaca), search out the German Chamomile (not the Roman, which has different properties), and get massaging! Need help in the actual massage department? Check out our earlier post on infant massage.

brainchild1.jpg

When my son was born, a friend gave me a subscription to Brain, Child.

Cool, I thought, something new to read.

Well, almost four years later, I’m still reading and loving it (and renewing my subscription every year!).

Brain, Child, the “magazine for thinking mothers” is everything the other parenting magazines aren’t: its smart, its independent, it allows for disagreement, it doesn’t tell you what to do, it has articles that feel as if they were written by friends.

Espousing no particular parenting philosophy, Brain, Child instead provides an outlet for dealing with the experience of parenting. In their own words, magazine founders and editors Stephanie Wilkinson and Jennifer Neisslein explain Brain, Child as treating “motherhood as a subject worthy of literature.” Down-to-earth, commonsensical, and curious in a smart, articulate, but never snarky or cooler-than-thou way.

The current issue has articles on secret baptisms, diaper free infants, a debate on whether or not kids can have too many toys, recommendations for books and music and so much more: check out the table of contents and some of the articles here.

If you haven’t yet come across Brain, Child at your local bookstand, then trust me and treat yourself to a subscription. Then when the kids are asleep, run yourself a nice hot bath, grab your copy and get reading!

susanharris2.jpgHanging innocently on the rack at Planet Kid were a row of shirts and sweaters. Innocent, that is, until one got close enough to see the detailing on them.

Then there was no walking past them.

Wildly hip tees and sweaters for girls and boys made from repurposed retro and vintage textiles: old tees, sweaters, sports shirts. Fashionable serged and raw seams round out the craftster look.

Each cooler than the one before it from the talented hands of Toronto designer Susan Harris.

Insanely stylish for your little ones, and available in womens’ sizes, too! Sold in stores around Canada, as well as Susan Harris’ studio at 135 Tecumseth right off Queen Street West.

This is part of a series about cool Canadian things!

Ooh, ooh, ooh! We just got an email from LINObaby and they are having a 20% Valentines Day Sale!

Get beautiful red linen or velvet Thai Easy Pants (see our blog post below) for $35! Also on sale: t-shirts, bibs, and hats. Check it out:

kettmade1.jpgLike just about everyone else we know, we’re trying to get rid of excessive plastic in our lives. You know, the plastic things that you never really noticed before, the ones that have just always been there, especially in the kitchen.

One casualty of my new plastic-be-gone mode are all my son’s plastic utensils (okay, maybe not all of them, but most of them). And with Baby L’s six month “first food” ritual pending this weekend, it was time for some baby spoons worthy of the task.

Enter Kett Made wooden spoons.

Hand made in Ontario by Mark Kett, a professional luthier (that’s a guitar maker for all you civilians out there), from a range of beautiful woods, these are spoons that you cannot wait to use.

Ebony. Snakewood. Curly Maple. Purpleheart. Bubinga. Each more gorgeous than the one that came before it. Shaped perfectly for feeding a little one or for them to hold when they are ready.

Kett Made: Fine Woods. Craftsmanship. An elegant, safe alternative to plasticwear. Get your spoons and serving utensils at their etsy shop and happy eating!

This is part of a series on cool Canadian things!