Archive for May, 2011

Paulo is wearing "Hop To It!" from Le Top's 2011 Spring/Summer Collection.

The sun came out in Northern California and it got HOT! I guess TC and I had the same idea. It’s time to cool down those kids and let them have fun with water. Paulo packed his backpack with his swim trunks and a towel and headed over to his friend’s house for their weekly playdate. Splish, splash! Let’s go have some fun.

Sadly, the weekend came and it was cold and windy once again. Make up your mind, Sunshine! You’re either in or you’re out.

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They may not sparkle or burst into the air, but these cupcakes are just the thing for your Memorial Day celebration. Pick up any flavor of boxed cake mix (white, yellow or chocolate or even Funfetti) at a local grocery store, bake cupcakes in foil cups, spread them generously with white frosting, and decorate with fresh blueberries and raspberries. Voila and enjoy as a summer treat!


  • Boxed cake mix
  • Pre-made frosting (vanilla)
  • Rasberries
  • Blueberries
  • Foil cupcake cups

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Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner and families will be travelling all over to visit their friends and find a bit of sun to kick off the summer. My parents refused to drive further than Los Angeles growing up (I am from the San Francisco Bay Area, California), but we found ways to pass the hours on the 6 hour car drive to “la-la-land.” Here are some fun ideas for you and your family up to age 7:

1. The Alphabet Game
Ages 5 and up: One person chooses the right-hand side of the road, and someone else the left. Each player looks for letters of the alphabet that appear on signs or license plates on their side. The object of the game is to point out all the letters of the alphabet in order, from A to Z. The first person to spot the entire alphabet wins.

2. The Animal Name Game
Ages 6 and up: One person names an animal. Then each person in order has to name another animal (no repeating!) that starts with the last letter of the previous animal named. There are no winners or losers in this game. With older children, try the game with TV shows, or geographical categories such as cities or countries.

3. Twenty Questions
Ages 4 and up: One person secretly thinks of either an animal, mineral, or vegetable. The other players then take turns asking yes-or-no questions, such as “Can it fly?” or “Does it grow in the ground?” After the players have asked 20 questions, each player gets a chance to make a guess.

4. Telephone
Ages 4 and up: A child whispers a story to someone else in the car. That person whispers the same story — as close to a word-for-word recount as possible — to a third person, and so on. The last person to hear the story repeats it out loud so everyone can hear. Invariably, some of the story will have been lost in the translation, and the resulting garbled message usually inspires a good laugh.

5. The Theme Song Game
Ages 5 and up: One person hums the tune to a favorite TV show, and everyone else tries to name the show as fast as possible. The first person to guess correctly hums the next song.

6. Memory Test
Ages 6 and up: The first person says “A is for —” filling in the blank with any word beginning with the letter A, such as “apple.” The second person comes up with a word for the letter B, such as “book,” but must also repeat the “A” word: “A is for apple, B is for book.” Continue through the alphabet, each person taking several turns and reciting more and more letters and words. By the time you reach the letter Z, that player will recite the whole alphabet and its corresponding words. However, if you’re playing with younger kids you may want to choose an earlier letter than “Z” to be the final one.

7. Secret Place Race
Ages 7 and up: One person looks at a road map and finds a small town, village, river, etc. That person announces the name of the place she has chosen. A second player has 60 seconds to look at the map and try to find the secret place.

8. Restaurant Race
Ages 5 and up: Each player chooses a restaurant, such as Burger King, Taco Bell, McDonalds, etc. Players earn points by spotting their restaurant off the road, on a billboard, on exit markers, on Food/Fuel signs, or by hearing it mentioned on the radio. Impose a time limit — say, 20 minutes — and then add up the points.

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A man carries a young girl who was rescued after being trapped with her mother in their home (Image by AP)

Family is about coming together and helping one another. As many of you know, there were massive and devastating tornadoes that hit families and residents very early this morning Joplin, Missouri. Le Top family sends our thoughts and prayers to those affected by this unfortunate and terrible disaster.

Much of the city’s south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins.

Fire chief Mitch Randles estimated that 25 to 30% of the city was damaged, and said his own home was among the buildings destroyed as the twister swept through this city of about 50,000 people some 160 miles south of Kansas City.

Find ways to help the families of Joplin, Missouri below

St. John’s has been updating its Facebook page through since the storm hit.

And another Facebook page has been established to help located people in the area.

Emergency officials are asking sightseers to stay away from the area while the damage is assessed. To volunteer, call 1-800-427-4626 or click here.

The Red Cross says volunteers are being mobilized and a shelter has been set up at Missouri Southern State College at 3950 E. Newman Road in Joplin at the Leggett & Platt Ath Center.

To locate a loved one, or report yourself safe and well, click here.  

For nurses or doctors looking to help, call (417) 832-9500 for the Greater Ozarks chapter of the Red Cross.

Health professionals are also encouraged to register to volunteer through the Show-Me Response website.  

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is asking all first responders to go to Joplin to a command post at 34th & Main.

Click here for a list of Red Cross shelters.

Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information or referrals are urged to call 211.

The United Way’s 211 service number is now available for most areas in Missouri. In areas where the 211 number is not operational, citizens can call 1-800-427-4626.

The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is in need of type “O” blood. If you’d like to donate, click here for a list of donation sites.

Weather and emergency information also are available on the state of Missouri’s website, MO.gov.

Senator Roy blunt is also urging everyone to proceed safely and use extra precautions. He says to call his office (417) 877-7814 for help.

And another Facebook page has been established to help link pets with their owners.

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A lot of parents are giving singer Gwen Stefani a hard time about her son, Kingston, 2 years-old, and bleaching his hair. I personally don’t think it is that wrong. Is it wrong to paint a little girl’s fingernails? It is all beauty and outer aesthetic, so I don’t think it is that wrong. If a mom was forcing a child to bleach their hair because they wanted her or him to look “cool,” that is another subject, but if a child asks to do it, and it doesn’t hurt his or her health, why not? Part of her son probably wanting to dye his hair is about wanting to be “like mommy” which is a big compliment seeing how she is stylish and a successful, young parent.

When I look at her son Kingston with a matching platinum hairstyle, I think it is super fabulous and there is no such thing as too young for bleach….well, unless it was a baby. 🙂

Do you think it is okay to dye a child’s hair?

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Today we are thrilled to interview Sandy Coonley, owner of One Stop Kid Shop in Malvern, PA for our Store Spotlight. Sandy is an active member of her Victorian era community, has a great take on dressing a stylish child, and a bright and beautiful store jammed packed with everything a kid could want. Read more to discover today’s “Premier Store Spotlight” with children’s boutique One Stop Kid Shop. Enjoy!

One Stop Kid Shop
131 West King Street
Malvern, PA 19355

Join One Stop Kid Shop’s Facebook page and click HERE 

1.    What was your inspiration behind opening your children’s clothing store – One Stop Kid Shop?
Sandy: I have been in retail my whole life. I have a degree in Retail Management from Syracuse University. Until I had children, I worked in many positions for a variety of stores, including being a clothing buyer and a store manager. I was working at a children’s store when my youngest child left for college, and at the same time the owner of the store decided to close. So it was a natural progression for me to take over and in 2009 One Stop Kid Shop was born!

2.    Tell us about any special events that you have planned at your store this coming summer and fun deals we can expect.
Sandy: We just had our Anniversary Sale. I mailed postcards to my customers. On each card was a peel off sticker and under the sticker was a discount ranging from 20% to 40% off their entire purchase. We challenged the customer not to peel off the sticker until they came into the store. One Stop Kid Shop will have a red, white & blue sale before July 4th – keep a look out and come by!

3.    Describe the neighborhood of Malvern, Pennsylvania where your store is located. Did you grow up in the local area?
Sandy: Malvern is a small Victorian era town with Victorian street lamps and brick pavers. All the stores, restaurants and businesses are locally and independently owned. The business owners all know each other by name as well as their customers and delivery people. Though I did not grow up in Malvern, the area has been my home for 22 years.

4.    Memorial Day and summer break for kids is just around the corner. What are 3 vacation clothing must-have items that are in your store for summer?

5.    Where are your favorite family hangouts in the Malvern area?
Sandy: YMCA – they have activities for kids, families and adults. The YMCA has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, several gyms, workout facilities and sports fields. My children went to preschool and summer camp there, and today when they are home they go to the weight room to get in a workout.

6.    Tell us about a “special” moment that made your day working at your store.
When the children try on clothes we ask them to give us a fashion show. Some of them are shy at first, but to see the confidence on their faces when they come out of the fitting room and spin around always brightens my day.

Le Top wall featuring outfits (clockwise from top left) from our spring 2011 “Flutterbye Butterfly”, “Beachy Keen Monokinis”, “Poppies”, “Puppy Pals”, “Heart’s Delight”, and “Hop To It!” collections

7.    What do you think are the 3 perfect ingredients if there was a “recipe” for dressing a stylish child? Always having solid basics? The perfect tutu? Great jeans that are durable for the everyday play of boys? Tell us your ‘secret recipe’ on style.
Sandy: Every boy needs a pair of chinos or twill pants that can be dressed up with a dress shirt and tie or a polo shirt or just be casual with a t-shirt. A basic navy blue blazer is a must in every boy’s wardrobe. For girls, she needs leggings in basic colors that also can be dressed up or down depending on what she wears on top. No girl’s wardrobe is complete without a fancy dress that makes her feel like a princess.

8.    Sesame Street is instrumental in the lives and homes of so many families and children throughout the ears, who was/is your favorite character and why?
Sandy: Elmo – he is full of life and laughter. He is always inquisitive and optimistic. 

9.    What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line or Rabbitmoon do you love from the Spring/Summer 2011?
Sandy: Le Top’s “School of Fun” Collection – I love the styling and bright colors.  This collection started selling as soon as it was put on the sales floor.

Le Top's "School of Fun" collection

One Stop Kid Shop
131 West King Street
Malvern, PA 19355

 Join One Stop Kid Shop’s Facebook page and click HERE

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Kingston Rossdale riding in a taxi, son of singer Gwen Stefani.

I live in New York City and most families in New York City (Manhattan) don’t own cars and often have their children sit in their laps when they travel around the city since it is such short distances. On the one hand, I understand how difficult it would be to bring a car seat with you anywhere you go in the city because they are extremely heavy, but also I think about the safety of the children. I am shocked that there isn’t laws in place to have taxis have car seats or something along those lines of built in car seats with the number of children in the city. According to Wikipedia, “Since 2000, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan has grown by more than 32%.” In addition, “The latest details from the 2010 census suggest that Manhattan has become a more attractive place for younger people — it was the only borough to register gains in both children under 5 and in its 15-to-34-year-old population. ‘It suggests an attraction to Manhattan for parents who can afford to live there,’ said William H. Frey, a demographer for the Brookings Institution,” according to the New York Times. Which brought me to the bigger parenting thought of – what exact age is it appropriate to get rid of the car seat and actually have your child use a seatbelt, which would be perfect for taxis in New York!

Here is how to know when your child can safely wear a seatbelt:
Kids can start wearing a regular seatbelt when they can easily rest their back against the seat of the car and bend their knees over the edge of the seat. Usually, this happens when kids are between 8 and 12 years old and around 4′ 9″ tall.

Make sure the lap belt fits comfortably across the thighs (not the stomach) and that your child is not slouching. The shoulder strap should go across the chest and shoulder, and never goes beneath a child’s arm, behind the back, or across the neck. Seatbelts must be worn correctly for them to work properly.

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No, I did not say that!

Daddy always gives me things you say I can’t have. Daddy doesn’t really listen.”

– Jocelyn, age 4

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

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Photo By: Alison Dyer for PEOPLE

Singer Joey McIntyre has revealed the sex of the baby he and wife Barrett are expecting later this month, just in time for summer — and it’s a girl!

Perfect for springtime and summer, the Le Top Baby “Baby Darling” Collection eyelet dress and panty with matching sunhat is a perfect gift to dress up their first little girl.


The soft silhouette of this white eyelet lace dress is fully lined in pink fine cotton with flutter sleeves and matching ruffle panty for subtle femininity and comfort. Ruched bodice, rosettes, pink satin ribbon accents and eyelet trims finish this lavish ensemble. Dress back snaps and elasticized panty for easy dressing.

The New Kids on the Block singer, 38, is already a parent to sons Griffin Thomas, 3 1/2, and Rhys Edward, 17 months.

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Picking a name you absolutely love is definitely difficult when your husband might love one name and you love another. Many times people fantasize about what to name their babies for years before they get pregnant, but the reality can be somewhat less fantastic because you want to pick a name you feel really great about — a name that fits the kind of boy or girl you imagine you might have. You could also take the route of “you name this baby, and I’ll take the next one,” but that assumes you’ll have more than one child and requires one partner to have enough patience to wait until the next! I have definitely heard mothers who say, “Well I am having the baby so I get to name it!” but it is important that it is a joint decision between you and your partner.

As pregnancy progresses, I bet you are bombarded by friends and family members with opinions, as well as your own inner dialogue about the baby: names that are so in they’re over, names about to be so in they will be over, names that were never in for good reason, and so on.

Sometimes a good solution is combining names. For example, use the last letter of a name that you love. Combine your favorites! For example if you like Lilliane and he likes Ella, you can put them together as Elliana. Think of it like Brad Pitt and Angelie Jolie and calling them Brangelina!

It’s always a nice tribute to name a child after a beloved grandpop or great-aunt, but while some old-fashioned names are back in style, others can seem dorky and not that great. Fortunately, you can honor a relative by using your relative’s name as a middle name, or consider names that are similar.

My best advice is to give yourself some factors: first initials, ending sounds, unique spellings, names that connect to experiences you’ve shared with your loved one, to one of your families or pasts, etc. Prioritizing will bring the list to a manageable length. Also, always remember to say the full name aloud as well as look at it written down. Lastly, another thing you can do is stop talking to people about the name choice. If YOU like it, you can use it.

It’s quite possible that your feelings about “getting the right name” might not make you feel less anxious as soon as the certificate is signed. It is completely normal for a name to feel “weird” or “wrong” for a while after the baby is born about his or her name. You will have plenty of times to hear people say it and you to say it, but it will become more clear as your baby develops. But once it ‘clicks’ and you have a good feeling, there’s a pretty good chance that whatever name you pick is going to feel very right.

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