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Archive for September, 2010

Kids often have difficulty staying “on task” when it comes to their homework or other not-so-fun activities. However, time management is a key lesson and relates to everything they do in life.

As in adult life, kids work best when they know what is expected of them. Get them into a routine (which takes 14-21 days to create) of starting their homework, practice, or chores immediately after school or at least a set time that makes sense. To help them make the most of their time be sure they have a clean, organized, well lit space to work in with no distractions from their objective.

Depending on your child’s age, amount of homework or responsibilities there are a variety of methods you can use to keep them on task. An egg timer works well for small assignments. If it is larger, break it down into more manageable chunks – this can also help them organize their thoughts. As they see themselves completing each part they will know the progress they are making and it may seem less daunting. 

One of our on staff moms finds the Time Tracker to be a fun and helpful tool. “You set the amount of time you think your student should take to complete a task and it counts down.  There are a variety of sounds/voices that you can set to go off when time is almost up, as well as when the time is completed.  There are also green/yellow/red lights to give a visual cue on the time left.  The idea is that hopefully kids will want to “race” and beat the clock. It’s kind of pricey, but it helps to relieve parents from having to keep nagging and puts the responsibility on the kids!”

When your child completes their tasks in a timely manner reward them with something age appropriate. It doesn’t have to be money – it could be a sticker, a treat, some special time with mom or dad, or playing a video game. It must be something your child values. Once these time management habits are established you can spend less time managing your child and more time enjoying them.

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We all have heard the news that actress Penelope Cruz is sporting a baby bump and is 4½-months pregnant. We are excited for her baby on the way and picked out a boy and girl outfit from the new rabbitmoon online boutique that launched today. We think these would be adorable on her soon to be baby!

Lotus – Long Sleeve Footed Coverall
This simple and soft long sleeve French pink lotus patterned coverall features puff sleeves with gathered wrist detail, delicate wrap styling dark pink crochet neckline, and contrast striped footies. Back and underneath diaper snaps for easy dressing.

Guitar – Long Sleeve Cargo Pocket Coverall
This modern long sleeve navy and blue striped coverall features contrast navy cargo side snap pockets and front panel with delicate embroidered guitar insignia. Distinguished with blue ribbed neckline made from soft cotton for absolute comfort. Front buttons and underneath diaper snaps for easy dressing.

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Today Le Top’s sister brand, rabbitmoon, launched its online boutique! You can now buy a wide range of rabbitmoon children’s clothing directly through the rabbitmoon Online Boutique. To browse, choose from the options at the top of each page: Girl, Boy, or Gifts. We encourage you to sign up for our Rabbit News to find out about things we’re over the moon about, including new items for sale on the rabbitmoon site.

Rabbitmoon’s unique and modern kids’ clothing integrates comfort and ease with a simple blend of innovation and style. It is a collection of easy-to-match separates! See images below of the new home page and a couple of the images from the site!

 

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Chef Jamie Oliver, wife Jools and their children welcomed baby boy Buddy Bear Maurice to their beautiful family on Wednesday evening.

“Buddy Oliver & Co leaving together … the family’s really happy to be home, settling in, thanks for all the loverly comments guys,” Oliver, 35, writes.

Jamie also has three girls – Daisy Boo Pamela, 7, Poppy Honey Rosie, 8½, and Petal Blossom Rainbow, 17 months.

Congratulations! We think the Plane Ride overall and shirt from Le Top baby would look adorable on your new boy!

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Get ready rabbitmoon kids clothes online boutique opening next Monday, September 20th. Here is a sneak-peak of two of our designers’ favorite boy and girl outfits that will premiere this coming Monday.


Raglan Sleeve Shirred Top & Ruched Pocket Cord Pant from our Lotus Collection
TOP: Shirred shoulders and contrast lotus print band detail across this French pink soft cotton shirt offers chic style for the season. Contrast French rose raglan sleeves with tiered ruffle cuffs finish look. Layer under sweaters or can mix and match with pants or leggings. Back snaps for easy dressing.

BOTTOM: This soft cotton thin wale corduroy pant features 4 pocket styling accented with oversized pink buttons and ruched side pockets with grosgrain ribbon bows. Finished with contrast French rose crochet cuff detail. Elasticized waist for easy dressing.

Pieced Long Sleeve Shirt & French Terry Cargo Pant from our Guitar Collection
TOP: An essential soft cotton layering piece, this blue and striped pieced long sleeve pull over shirt features alternate navy and striped sleeves and orange twill tape detailing. Contrast navy ribbed neckline and embroidered electric guitar add fashionable accents. Navy shoulder sport snaps for easy dressing.

BOTTOM:
Pull on these exceptionally soft French terry navy cargo pants with contrast twill tabs to create a versatile and comfy look. Features sporty orange twill tape stripe on pant legs, and faux contrast embroidered grommets on front pockets add stylish detail. Elasticized waist for easy dressing.

Rabbitmoon separates are easy to mix and affordable to match—we make it simple to dress kids with style. With our meticulous attention to detail, modern colors, durable fabrics and creative graphics, our shirts, pants, jumpers and tracksuits can be combined to suit any growing personality.

So what inspires rabbitmoon and its styles? The curious appearance of the rabbit in the moon has for centuries inspired folklore throughout the world. The magic and wonder that has stirred these tales is the inspiration behind our own rabbitmoon: a collection of clothing for children that is creative, stylish and unique.

In nearly every culture, it seems, there is a tale to tell of why the shadow of the rabbit appears in the full moon. From China to India to right here in the U.S.A., native people have for centuries passed down stories from generation to generation. At rabbitmoon, we’ve captured legends from around the world to describe the celebrated adventures of the rabbit and how he landed in the moon.

Here is one of our rabbitmoon tales – read it to your little one at bedtime and enjoy!

China: The Legend of the Jade Rabbit

The Legend of the Jade Rabbit, one of the most charming of international tales, belongs to the traditional Mid-Autumn Chinese Moon Festival. When the full moon rises, families gather to eat “moon cakes” and read stories and poems about the legends of the moon. An engaging and enlightening morality tale for children, The Legend of the Jade Rabbit tells the story of the rabbit in the moon:

Three magical wise men decide to test the character of a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The men turn themselves into desperate old beggars and ask the fox, the monkey and the rabbit for food. While the fox and the monkey have food to spare, they refuse to share. But the helpful and generous rabbit, who has nothing to give, volunteers his own tasty self by leaping into a burning campfire to roast himself for their dinner. The men, who are not actually hungry, are overwhelmed by rabbit’s self-sacrifice and generosity and grant him immortal life, sending him to live on the moon in the palace as Jade Rabbit.

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We interviewed our first ever online premier retailer this week for our “Online Store Spotlight” – CrabApple.Kids.com.  Husband and wife team, James and Anna Incledon, Jr., tell us about their favorite Halloween costumes as kids, common questions from internet mommy and daddy shoppers and leather biker jackets for kids!  Read more to discover about CrabAppleKids.com.

GET “IN THE LOOP” AND BECOME A FAN OF THE LE TOP FACEBOOK PAGE
CLICK HERE


1.      What is one special or fun fact about your e-store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
James:  Our children are the primary models for our website.

2.      How did you get into the online retail business? What inspired you? What sets you apart as a successful online children’s shop?
Anna:  We love shopping and our two daughters are always dressed to perfection!  People constantly compliment them on their attire.  Then, in preparing for the birth our son, we found it was difficult to find clothes that we liked for him.  It was at this point that we decided to enter the retail business–we could dress our children in the best of the best while making a business out of what we already love to do. 

What sets us apart from others?  We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service.  Most companies today claim to offer great customer service, but we don’t feel the bulk of them truly understand what that means. For example, it is often difficult to find a customer service number or email address for an online business to even begin the process.  Or when you do finally email them, they don’t reply back.  If a customer has a question, concern or just doesn’t like placing an online order, we are here.  If we can’t help them immediately, we will get back to them in a timely manner.

Aside from great customer service, from a product point-of-view, we offer wonderful matching family and twin outfits and boy’s clothing.  The family and twin outfits are ideal if you have twins or multiple children of differing ages and want to dress them in outfits that have a similar look and feel, while not being completely identical. This way both mom and the children are happy!  We also specialize in designer boy’s clothing because we understand how hard it is to find boy’s clothes that aren’t limited to t-shirts (but we do have some of those too!).

We also pride ourselves on having a great collection brand-name Christening clothes. 

3.      Where did the name Crab Apple Kids come from?
James:  After dreaming up 397 names (yes, we actually have a list of every one we didn’t use), some of which just didn’t test well, and some of which were already taken, finding a unique name was a lot more challenging and time-consuming than we expected.  We actually placed some of our first orders under the “no name” company! 

Our ultimate inspiration came when we were doing some remodeling and looking through paint color names.  A small change to the name and Crab Apple Kids was born.

James and Anna's son, Parker (wearing Le Top Spring 2010 Hip Hop Grasshopper), inspired them to open Crab Apple Kids

4.      Back to school is here – what have been the most popular baby and child fall “must-have” items?
James:  Our most popular item has been the Harley-Davidson Biker Jacket.  But the new must-have is truly our Weboo Shoes.  We haven’t seen anything else like them in the market place.  They are the very definition of cool, hip and fun!  We also carry some unique birthday and baby shower gifts such as cereal bowls shaped like tires and eating utensils shaped like tools, tractors and airplanes.  Our WubbaNub and Billy-Bob pacifiers have also been a big hit.  And of course, we love our Le Top—Lots O’ Fish was a hot style for us.

5.      Do you do anything special for Halloween at your e-store? What is your favorite memory of a costume you wore as a child?
Anna:  We love Halloween, or for that matter, any holiday.  Our family often makes the newspapers and newsletters because of our excessive holiday spirit.  We have some great outfits that not only will make your Halloween Season festive, but can be worn beyond Halloween.  My favorite costume when was young?  A Hippy – I loved all the bright colors, big hair and peace sign jewelry.  My husband’s… the two-person Chinese dragon (he still can’t find anyone to be the butt).

6.      What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child for fall and how to pick the “right” outfit online?
Anna:  Children like to feel comfortable, no matter what age.  Whether they are one or eight years old – comfort is the key to a successful purchase.  Crab Apple Kids’ pride ourselves in the latest fashions with comfort in mind.  Our rule of thumb is if our children won’t wear it, then neither will our customer’s kids.  One of our favorite new items are jeggings–leggings that look like blue jeans.

7.      What questions do most mommies or daddies ask when buying for their baby online?
James:  Most questions are focused around comfort, size and matching sibling outfits.  There is no point in looking great if they are not comfortable.  Because we all know, an uncomfortable child is not a happy one.

8.      There are so many websites now that sell children’s clothing – If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to break into children’s online retail, what would it be?
James:  Don’t!  Seriously, it is a much more competitive business than we ever anticipated.  It requires a lot of start-up capital and patience.  Children’s clothing is not your typical drop ship business.  In most cases, you are ordering one season in advance of the next.  So you have to make a guesstimate of what you think your customers are going to buy, to avoid having too much or too little inventory.  And then when it finally does arrive, you need pay for it, warehouse it, photograph it, and write copy for it. And then, hopefully, ship it!  Online or not, at the end-of-the-day, both businesses require the same amount of work.

9.      What is the funniest request you have received from an online parent customer?
Anna: 
I can’t specifically think of one that is funny, but I can definitely think of one that is fun.  We recently had a bride call and request two of our Harley-Davidson Biker Jackets.  She shared with us that she was having a wedding with a 50s theme and that her nephews were going to be walking down the aisle in jeans, white t-shirts and our Harley-Davidson Biker Jackets.  How fun is that! 

10.      Why do you love Le Top? What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Anna:  We love Le Top because of the great designs, comfort and value.  The collection we like the best from the Fall/Holiday 2010 line is the Haute Dog Collection.  It’s bright and fun…and what child doesn’t like puppies or dogs! 


Crab Apple Kids
http://www.crabapplekids.com/
847.551.1212
877.327.7533 toll free

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This delicious snack/dessert helps ease us from those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer into the chill of an early fall. Change out some of the butter with  applesauce for a slightly healthier cupcake that still tastes great!

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In:  1 Hr 30 Minutes

Servings 24 cupcakes

 INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Frost as you like.

 

Source: allrecipes.com

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These precious twins (now 4-months-old) are too cute for words. I’m sure they will be finishing each other sentences and reading each others thoughts in no time. We are pleased as punch to honor Chloe and Joseph as our Darlings of the Day.

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I remember having to think really hard the first time someone asked me.  I knew what superheroes were; superheroes were like regular people except, well, super.  And they rescued people. 

But what makes a normal person a hero?  Strength?  Courage?  Wisdom?   

After careful consideration, and all of the insight my seven-year-old mind could muster, I decided, like many other kids, that my parents were the most heroic people I could think of.  And over the years as the question stayed the same, but my understanding of heroism grew, my parents continued to be at the top of my hero list.  Especially my mom.  But in high school, right about the time I started including traits like compassion and determination to my list of heroic characteristics, people stopped asking me who my heroes were. 

Think about it.  When was the last time someone asked you who your heroes are?  When was the last time you even thought about who your heroes are?

I can tell you that up until quite recently it had been at least a decade for me.  But last Friday my favorite radio station interrupted their usual talk free morning music program with an interview.  The interview itself was only about five minutes long, but it changed how I define heroism and brought a new name to the top of the list of heroes I hadn’t thought about in years.

Alesaundra Tafoya

If you haven’t heard of her, I wouldn’t be surprised.  What little fame she has is recent and mostly local to the San Francisco Bay Area.  There’s no Wikipedia entry on her.  She doesn’t have a blog or a twitter account– she doesn’t even have a facebook page.  She lives in a relatively small Northern California town best known for its family focused community.  She’s not a spokesperson.  She’s never had a job.  I don’t think she goes to school yet.  She’s not a typical hero.  You see, Alesaundra Tafoya is three years old.

Alesaundra Tafoya

A few weeks ago Alesaundra’s father took two prescription medications, unaware that they should not have been mixed, and blacked out in her family’s living room.  When her father stopped responding to her, Alesaundra left her home and walked two blocks by herself to the local fire station to get help for her father.  Although there was no way for her to understand what exactly had happened, Alesaundra was able to communicate to the firefighters that her father needed help and then led them back to her house.  If the firefighters had not arrived as quickly as they did, Alesaundra’s father would have died.

Before I heard Alesaundra’s story, looking up to someone always had some sort of literal association along with the figurative meaning.  In the long list of people I had considered heroes over the years, I had never included someone younger than myself.  It was always the adults whose stories of courage and determination and an absolute understanding of the right thing to do had taken my breath away.  But now there’s a three year old sitting next to my mom on my list of heroes.

As it turns out, sometimes discovering people to look up to requires looking down.

Links to the story:
http://www.tonic.com
http://www.nbcactionnews.com

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No, I did not say that!

Daughter: Mommy, since tomorrow is your special day, I want to take you shopping.

Mommy: Okay, Baby. Where are we going?

Daughter: You have to drive me to the mall.

Mommy: No problem! What should I buy?

You can buy ANYTHING you want, but you have to pay because I’m broke.

–Kayla, age 6

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

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