Search Cozi

Cozi Family Faves

Best of the web, picked by Cozi for busy families

The web is full of great information parents can really use – ways to organize, what to eat, what to buy—and much more. The problem is not too little information, but too much.

That's why we've picked some Cozi Family Faves, a select list of websites, blogs, apps and more—all chosen specifically for busy families.

What does it take to make the cut with Cozi? It has to:

  • Help families
  • Be realistic
  • Fall within the typical family budget
  • Be entertaining or informative in a unique way

Scroll down to see our picks in a variety of topics.

Exploring the Outdoors

Ideas and information about places to explore with your family, in your own area or on vacation somewhere else.

National Wildlife Foundation

The National Wildlife Foundation offers loads of resources to help kids and adults appreciate the outdoors, including a line of kids’ magazines, including My Big Backyard and Ranger Rick.

Why we love it: The National Wildlife Foundation website has a “Get Outside” section with plenty of inspiration to help families explore the outdoors. There’s a “Nature Find” section, a “Be Out There” campaign, even a section to learn about “Gardening for Wildlife!” Check their site out now for information on teaching your kids to explore the outdoors safely, plus loads of photos and stories that’ll have you itching to pack up your sleeping bags and tents.

L.L.Bean

L.L.Bean is an outdoor retailer based in Freeport, Maine that has been helping families get outdoors with their great gear for almost 100 years.

Why we love it: L.L. Bean sells everything from bikes to kayaks to snowshoes, but one of our favorite pages on their site is not for shopping at all: it’s a park search guide that lets you search for parks all over the country based on the activity you most want to try. They even have a category for kids’ activities. It’s an incredibly easy-to-use tool if you want ideas about places to explore, in your own area, or on a vacation somewhere else.

The National Park Service

The National Park Service website is a great place to start if you’re thinking about planning a family trip outdoors. It’s got maps, important know-before-you-go details and spectacular photos you can share with your family to get them excited about the idea of a trip to a National Park.

We especially love their sister site at the National Parks Foundation, which has a list at the bottom of the home page with 20 of the most popular national parks. Pick a few to add to your family “bucket list” and get ready to explore the big outdoors.

Up Take

A search engine for travel, we discovered this amazing site thanks to Jody Halsted, author of the travel blog Family Rambling.

Why we love it: Go to Up Take and the first thing you will see are two boxes to fill in:
1. I’m looking for
2. In _________

So, if you’re going to Maine this summer with the kiddos, just fill in Family activities in Maine. Presto! A complete listing of the best things to do in Maine with your family. What could be better?

Home and Organize

There are thousands of sites, tools and apps out there for organizing your home, but the ones we chose are realistic for busy families and budget-friendly.

The FlyLady

When we first discovered the FlyLady, we fell head over heels in love. We fell so hard, we actually partnered with the FlyLady to create the FlyLady Online Organizer.

Why we love it: The FlyLady is utterly unique in her ability to instill an "I can do this!" attitude in even the most defeated of homemakers. She does it with a combination of incremental steps and a huge dose of nurturing charm. A true coach, the FlyLady has built an incredible community of followers by delivering advice, tips and products you can use all at once or in small doses to make gradual, meaningful changes in your home.

Simple Mom

Why we love it: Hats off to Tsh Oxenreider for creating a network of sites that tackles some of the toughest issues moms face: home management, living with less, budgeting, and even relationships in a beautifully simple, easy-to-digest format. This site pulls together writers and experts from a variety of fields, and makes their information easy to understand, organize and access when you need it. Be sure to check out sister sites SimpleHomeSchool, SimpleKids, SimpleOrganic and SimpleBites for specialty info on topics you most want to know about.

Buttoned Up

Why we love it: The Buttoned Up site offers a unique "guru" model for getting organized. You take a little quiz, and the results tell you which guru to follow to get the best advice for your style and personality. We were AMAZED at how accurate this quiz is! It's fun, informative and customized in a way we've never seen before. Love.

List Plan It

Why we love it: Sometimes, the biggest hurdle to getting organized is just having a prioritized list to get you started. ListPlanIt offers this in spades with lists for everything you could possibly need to organize your life. There are starter lists you can try for free, and you can sign up for a paid service to download and print even more detailed lists as you need them. We especially love the budgeting worksheets to get your family finances under control without being overwhelmed by how to get started. Whew!

Food and Meal Planning

We chose these sites because they have something a typical family could really use to get a weeknight dinner on the table.

Cooking With Caitlin

Why we love it: Caitlin Steininger is the kind of cook we all need as a friend, a professionally trained chef, successful caterer, and mom of 2, Caitlin excels in real-life recipes mom can serve their kids. Her newly re-designed website is a cinch to get around, and you'll love her weeknight recipe suggestions.

Do you use Twitter? As an added bonus, you can savor Caitlin's tips live every Monday on Foodies Night In, a weekly Twitter party from 1-3p PST on #FNIChat. (You'll meet Carol from Cozi every week there, too.)

A Southern Fairytale

Why we love it: This fabulous food blog by Rachel Matthews will make you swoon with its stunning photos and mouth-watering Southern-style recipes. When she posted this recipe for Jalapeno Corn Bread Pudding, I knew I was hooked.

$5 Dinners

Why we love it: Author and $5 Dinner founder Erin Chase is all about eating on a budget. Her well-organized site has tons of options for finding what you want, including a "search by ingredient" index, a baby food area, and even sections for different food allergies.

Plus, it's packed with coupons and deals you can click on to start saving right away. If eating at home for less is on your To Do list, $5 Dinners is a great place to start.

Chinese Soul Food

Why we love it: Local food writer Hsiao-Ching Chou has a magical way of making Chinese home cooking seem like the very thing your family most wants to eat tonight. Her recipes are incredibly fast to make and you can easily make them by stocking up on some very basic Chinese sauces like Hoisin and black bean sauce, all available in most grocers "ethnic" aisle.

With recipes like Chinese Spaghetti, she'll turn even the pickiest kids into ethnic "foodies" in no time. Our only wish? That she would update the blog more often!

Once a Month Mom

Why we love it: Tricia Callahan writes a blog called Once a Month Mom, where she publishes menus you can make on one BIG cooking day and then freeze to have all month long. I'm new to the idea of cooking and freezing ahead in such an organized fashion, but it seems just the thing for busy families. Even if you don’t do it all year, just imagine how great it would be to do this before your kids' next sports season hits? Make a bunch of meals ahead, and pull them out when you're tight for time on game and practice nights. Brilliant!