I am super excited about this new collection from The Land of Nod, which takes the retro simplicity of the Golden Book classics and channels them into adorable home decor. Here’s a small sampling of the collection.



The Tawny Scrawny Lion bedding collection


The Shy Little Kitten throw pillow


The Saggy Baggy Elephant hooded towel

Families come in all different shapes and sizes, and kids understand that better than anyone. They are growing up in a world where their friends have one parent, or a stay at home dad, or two moms or two dads, or a whole rich melange of step, half or adopted siblings, not to mention all those grandparents, cousins and more. Modern families don’t conform to any one set up.

unnamedTake Grace and Frankie, the new Netflix series starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, two veteran actresses having a ball. Their husbands leave them to be with each other, and these women find themselves forming a family together as they face the prospect of embarking unexpectedly on a new chapter of their lives. It’s a ton of fun to watch these two old friends reunited onscreen, with Tomlin channeling a free spirit and Fonda as a more uptight, Martha Stewart-type. Check it out on Netflix, where the full season is streaming now.

Ask your kids what makes their family unique. What is it that they love the best about their nuclear and extended families? Kickstart the conversation with  these suggested titles. #StreamTeam







The Red Balloon Co. (5407 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-989-8500; 1940 N. Damen Ave., chicago, 773-489-9800; 3651 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-549-9800) has added some new designs to their signature collection of initial T-shirts ($35), available on-line and in-store.



The Ultimate Swing Set


OK, so this post is aspirational (or, crazy, if you prefer), but check out these amazing swing sets from Cedarworks. (The one shown above is $24,200. Yeah, the cost of a car. Pretty sure it can’t get you to the grocery store, but on the upside, it doesn’t require gas.)

It’s worth poking around the site if only to admire the craftsmanship, but there is also a series of budget-friendly designs that range from $1950 to $3525 (see below).

frontier_fort lookout trading_post


Robot Chain

cc_robot_coloredFive paper dolls come with stickers and colored pencils, ready for your little artist to decorate. Available for $7 at Sprout San Francisco (1943 W. Division St., Chicago, 773-489-0009).




I mean, come on. This handmade felt coat comes with a mane, claws and a tail (the hood and tail are removable for classy, lion-free excursions). So adorable. Available for $170 at UncommonGoods.com.


British Babies Everywhere


Let’s take the occasion of another royal baby to shine a light on MiniBoden, an adorable (but spendy) line of British fashions for tots. Take a look at the styles for girls, boys and babies.

Porthole Shelf


I love this porthole-style circular shelf for a kid’s room, whether it has a nautical theme or not. Available for $195 from Serena and Lily.


I mean, seriously – has a show had a better tagline than this in a long time? I haven’t worked my way through the whole series yet, but I’m two episodes into Bloodline and totally hooked. Here’s the upshot: Family secrets and high-stakes lies amid the balmy humidity of the Florida Keys. Plus, Lindsay Weir and Coach Taylor as brother and sister? Yes, please.

Although Bloodline is decidedly for grown-ups, the plot line brings us to our Netflix Stream Team theme of the month: Liar, liar pants on fire. (That’s a paraphrase.) Teaching kids about lying is a tricky business as parents, especially when we all rely on them at least a little bit (Santa Claus, I’m looking at you). My 5-year-old was recently confronted with a dinner he didn’t like and he sat there for a half-hour staring at it. I went to the bathroom and when I returned, he said “I finished my dinner, but don’t look in the garbage.” This was a pretty low-stakes example, and it made me laugh, but how do we show kids how to navigate honesty? #streamteam

These themed episodes of shows for younger kids will get the conversation going.






Staircase Bookends


These miniature staircases (sold individually) can be used separately as display or together to form bookends. I was thinking Legoman, dinosaurs and Fisher Price Little People could seriously tear it up on these. Available for $80 a piece at UncommonGoods.com.

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