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Archive for August, 2010

The other evening the cutest thing happened. Lilah, my husband and I were all at our local retailer. There was this adorable boy about Lilah’s age (3-4) in the book section that was chatting us up about books, things he likes to do, and his favorite places. He was incredibly outgoing and sweet. His dad was nearby listening to the conversation and chiming in here and there. My shy little one interacted with the little boy a bit and finally told him that we had to go home.

A couple of hours later, Lilah came to me and asked where “the boy” was? I told her that he was probably at home. She said, “But I want him!” in her sweetest voice. I explained that we didn’t know where he lived, but maybe we would see him again when we returned to the store. She said, “But I LLOOVVEE HIM.” It was sooo cute. I even had to console her about it. My husband was really hoping this wouldn’t happen for a while. No such luck!

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My sister often drives the kids in the car to help them go to sleep, but I started thinking today – what about kids who get carsick? I knew plenty of those types of children growing up – especially from school carpool!

With summer ending – families are about to take their last summer vacation this Labor Day.  Loading up the minivan and heading out on the road – but what to do if your kid gets motion sickness? Eeks! 

What is motion sickness, anyway?
Essentially, motion sickness results from a conflict between the eye and ear: the inner ears detect that the car is moving, but the eyes– focused within the car– do not. The brain gets conflicting signals, and nausea results.

According to WebMD.com: “Motion sickness occurs when the inner ear, the eyes, and other areas of the body that detect motion send conflicting messages to the brain. One part of your balance-sensing system (your inner ear, vision, and sensory nerves that help you keep your balance) may indicate that your body is moving, while the other parts do not sense motion. For example, if you are in the cabin of a moving ship, your inner ear may sense the motion of big waves, but your eyes don’t see any movement. This leads to a conflict between the senses and results in motion sickness.”

Usually the child will first complain that he or she feels cautious and queasy — allowing some time to fix the situation before actual vomiting starts.

Prevention is key!

Here are some quick tips that should help “do the trick” and prevent any mishaps in the car:

1.     A Far Horizon

  • Encourage your child to focus on a distant point outside the car
  • Play car games like “I Spy” that get the child to look outside
  • Bring along books on CD’s so your child can listen while looking out the window
  • Limit activities such as reading or playing hand-held video games where the eyes stay focused within the car
  • For toddlers in car-seats, position the seat so that the child can see outside

2.     Avoid Rear Seats

  • Many families have mini-vans, and kids seem to feel the van’s motion more in the rear seat

3.     Fresh Air

  • A child on the verge of queasiness may feel better if the window’s open
  • Avoid strong-smelling foods or snacks
  • Do not overdress your child – if you notice they may not be feeling well, strip off a layer of clothing to keep them cooler

(more…)

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Planning a road trip for the Labor Day holiday? Traveling with kids and family? I know it’s not always easy keeping your children preoccupied in the car and trying to avoid the infamous question of “are we there yet?” I remember as a child, I would ask my mom where we were going and she would respond, “CRAZY!”

Here is a fun game for your pre-schoolers or toddlers on the road….

Travel/Car Scavenger Hunt 
Give each child a list of items to watch for while driving. Check off each item when they find it.  Think ahead about where you are travelling – its great to pick items that match the scenery or you can even make it a learning lesson! Just make the list ahead of time. For younger children who can’t yet read, it is sometimes easier if you draw a picture on a piece of paper with the words right next to the image so that he or she knows what to look for.

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Whether it is Raffi, the Wiggles, Disney music and more – most children love music. Like most preschoolers, your child or a friend’s kid most likely already loves music and has favorite songs that he or she likes to listen to over and over. So how did this happen? Did you encourage it? Long car trips? Or did they hear it at home?  Preschoolers are a great age to introduce and expand their musical horizons. I grew up in a household where my dad played the guitar and I played the piano – I am very thankful for growing up in a musical household and the “torturous” days of piano lessons (wink, wink). Even my little cousin Spencer received a drum set this past Christmas and I was thrilled to see him tap the beat and use the cymbals so well! He even ‘air-guitared’ Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer.

In 1997, a man by the name of Don Campbell wrote a book called “The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit” which discussed a theory that listening to the musician Mozart can increase one’s IQ and that playing specially selected classical music to infants will benefit their mental development.  These theories can be controversial, but I do agree that the relationship to sound and music (both played and listened to) have not been explored enough.  Campbell wrote a follow up book called “The Mozart Effect” where he stated …

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=11884

 

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It’s fun, it’s cute, it’s high quality…and no returns!”
– Lori Clarke, Owner of Tot to Teen Village boutique (on why she loves Le Top)

1.      What is one special or fun fact about your store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
Lori: We’ve been in business for 74 years, and owned now by a third generation.

2.      Describe the neighborhood of Kalamazoo, Michigan where your store is located. The name has a great ring to it! Can you name 3 fun facts about your town your store is located in?
Lori: 
Fact #1) President Obama came to our town in June for one of our local school’s graduation because our state offers free college tuition for graduating students to Michigan schools.

Fact #2) The baseball player Derek Jeter was raised in Kalamazoo.

Fact #3) We have lots of lakes for fishing, boating, and water sports.

3.      What sets you apart as a successful children’s store?
Lori: We offer items that people cannot find at your typical stores. We’re unique!

4.      Where did the name Tot to Teen Village come from?
Lori: The owner designed the inside of the store to reflect different parts of the U.S.A.

5.      Back to school is here – what has been flying off the shelves and this fall’s “must-have”?
Lori: For girls, it is anything purple and “fru-fru.”

6.      Tell us about the school lunches your mom or dad made for you when you were a kid? What would someone find inside your brown paper bag or tin lunch box?
Lori: I seldom took my lunches to school as a child – our cafeteria food was pretty good. If I did take a lunch, it was always a bologna sandwich with Miracle Whip and a Hostess Twinkie…and no fruit because I hate fruit.

7.      What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child for fall? Any hot trends?
Lori: Don’t fight with them! Let them be comfortable, and buy easy-to-care-for items (merchandise). That way, everyday dressing is easier.

8.      If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to break into children’s retail, what would it be?
Lori: Are you insane? Actually I would say: You can’t be everything, so pick a niche and do it well.

9.      What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Lori: Finding out I was having a granddaughter, and going crazy buying clothes for her! (my “bring-me-home” I bought was of course Le Top.)

10.      What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Lori: My favorites are the Le Top baby Pretty Rosebuds collection and Lavender’s Blue.

Tot to Teen Village
229 W. Kilgore Rd.
Kalamazoo, MI 49002
(269) 381-7800
www.tottoteenvillage.com

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First Grade, First Grade, here we come
We know we’ll have lots of fun.
Lots of things to make and do.
Reading, Writing, Numbers, too.
First Grade, First Grade, here we come.
We know we’ll have lots of fun.

This isn’t the first day of school for Miranda, but her first day of First Grade. And although we’ve been through this before, this year seems to have hit me harder, maybe it’s because it’s a full-day of school now or maybe it’s because she’s my little helper and without her I’d have to take care of her little brother all by myself. The whole family woke up extra early to make sure we would get parking, find her classroom, meet her teacher, and take pictures while we lug all our donated school supplies to the classroom. I made sure that I prepared her First-Day-of School snack and lunch as requested: cheese stick and goldfish, a cutie tangerine, a PB&J sandwich (Mommy, make sure it’s raspberry jelly.), Fritos, a juice box (Mommy, I want the reduced-sugar kind.), and a water bottle. We also pre-selected her First-Day-of-School outfit: a Le Top two-piece shorts set from the Spring 2009 Bloomin’ Beauty collection. And on top of that, we still had the little guy to get dressed and fed. So much hustle and bustle in the morning that you don’t have time to get emotional.

Miranda’s classroom door closed and we headed back to the car, then Paulo looked around and said, “Maw-maw?” (That’s how he says “Miranda.”) —and that did it for me! In those two little syllables he uttered, I knew exactly how he felt. What are we going to do now that Miranda is at school? I missed her already and we’re only in the parking lot. (I know, pathetic!) Most stay-at-home mommies cherish this freedom of being able to go to the gym, or have coffee or lunch with the ladies, or even enjoy a day of uninterrupted shopping. But not me! I was a wreck all day. At lunch (after I fed Paulo) I sat at the table eating slowly, staring at Paulo who was banging a pair of drumsticks on everything in his path, and longing for the silly, endless chit-chat from Miranda as she talked about her crazy dream last night, or what she and her friend did at their playdate, or even just her singing the same lines from “Seussical the Musical” over and over. All I could think about was, “Is it 2:05 yet? Did I pack her enough lunch? Did she wash her hands before eating? Are her classmates nice to her? Is she sad?” So many worries to worry over.

At 2:05 pm sharp, I stood outside her classroom and waited for her to come out. As soon as the door opened, she ran straight to me and said, “Mommy, I had a SUPER day! I made 5 new friends and I got to eat in the lunch room and I played at recess but I was eating too long so I didn’t get to play that much because I couldn’t finish all my goldfish but tomorrow I want 2 cutie tangerines and I have my own desk and we made a dolphin carrying our rules on his back and I get to make a paper doll of myself just like we made in Kindergarten and Eamon is in my class this year and Daniel sits next to me and I didn’t get to sit with Lucas in the lunch room because Sullivan took the seat next to him so I sat next to Kaitlyn and I played exercise with Bella where she is the leader and the other girls follow what she does but it was too hot so I stopped playing to get some water…” Oh, dear! There’s the endless chit-chat that I was missing at lunch. It was so good to hear her stories (in one long sentence). She had a great first day and I was worried over nothing. On to Day 2… wish me luck!

For those back-to-school outfits
shop Le Top’s fall 2010 collection here

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Our Darling of the Day, Kolae (4-months-old), is living the charmed life dressed in her Le Top spring 2010 Tulip Garden dress and panty (top) and  Sweetheart Butterfly sun hat (bottom). This tot looks like one blissful bambino.

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