Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2011


I grew up with a Sharpei breed dog and her name was Piglet. I feel like every family is like the Disney’s 101 Dalmations and every family tends to find pets that fit their personality. We have some fabulous Le Top collections coming up from our pre-fall collection that are called “A Walk in the Park” that are so cute for kids who love dogs! Some doctors suggest that it’s ideal to bring home your family’s furry friend when your child is 5 or 6; at this age kids fully comprehend that pets are living creatures and not moving stuffed animals.

In a study of 5-year-olds at Purdue University, more than 40 percent said they turn to their pet when they feel sad, angry, or have a secret to share. The study also found that 5- and 6-year-old pet owners expressed more empathy to their peers than those who don’t have an animal around the house.

Here are some tips on how to pick your perfect pet!

1.  It’s All About Space
Where you live should be a factor in the type of pet you choose. In general, the bigger the pet, the more space it needs. If you live in a small space, look for smaller animals like a hamster, a cat, or a smaller breed of dog such as a Jack Russel Terrier. If you have a lot of extra room, a larger animal such as a Rottweiler may be a possibility for you. Fish are a good choice for most spaces as long as you take into consideration the fact that the fish will grow and may need a large tank.

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

2.  Family Dynamics
If you have children, you should take their ages into account when you are choosing a family pet. Younger children are generally more compatible with animals they don’t play with, such as fish. Older children can learn to handle and take responsibility for most pets. Another consideration is your child’s activity level. A puppy may be better suited to a house with an active child, while an older dog will be better suited to a family with a calmer child.

3.  The Time Factor
Your family’s schedule should be a big consideration when you are choosing a family pet. Fish, reptiles such as snakes, amphibians such as frogs, and small animals such as hamsters are good for a family that is rarely home or that doesn’t want to have to walk an animal. Birds are good for a family that is home often but doesn’t want to walk an animal. Dogs and cats are good pets for a family that is home a lot and that want a real companion that needs attention and training.

4.  Care Considerations
Every pet will need some type of care. Take into consideration the amount of time and money you are willing to spend on your pet. Also, consider food, bedding, accessories, veterinary bills and housing needs. The amount of time you will spend cleaning up after your pet is something you should also think about.

5.  Pet Allergies?
Some pets have dander and fur such as cats, dogs and birds. My fiancé has a Labradoodle (a Labrador dog and Poodle mixed) that is hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed which is great for kids with allergies! If anyone in your family has allergies, take their allergies into consideration when you are choosing a family pet. Think about any bedding that the pet might need since some people are allergic to certain types of trees and grasses. Some pets need a substrate made of pine shavings or moss. Pets that will spend time outside may bring in dust and pollen, which are both allergens.

Good luck in your pet hunt!

Read Full Post »

I started eating sushi when I was a toddler – yes, I am half Chinese, so perhaps the concept of rice that I was accustomed to made sushi more appealing, but I do remember LOVING tuna!! Especially dousing it in soy sauce (not so healthy – ha!). Many parents are skeptical about sushi because of the mercury content in tuna and other fish, but as long as it is in moderation and from a safe/clean restaurant or from a clean grocery store that sells “sushi grade” tuna, I think you and your children are fine. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that fish and shellfish under 12 oz. per week are an important part of a healthy diet for children and pregnant or nursing women. I see sushi as a great way to incorporate a more international diet palate for your child, and also can be quite healthy!

19% of all children are classified as obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It seems as though children are always hungry, but turn their noses up at healthier food and opt for greasy (French fries / burgers / chicken tenders) or sugary foods instead. Not quite ready to give your kids raw fish? You can always use cooked food such as shrimp tempura or even making sandwiches look like sushi!

Disguising healthy foods by using fun ways of making nutritious snacks for children can take the focus on the ingredients and make healthy snacking an interesting part of your child’s day.

Sandwich Sushi
Sandwiches can be made nutritious with whole wheat bread and lean meat ingredients, but they might not always be attractive to children who’d rather have a peanut butter and jelly on white. Making sandwiches into sushi shapes and allowing kids to eat with chopsticks make it more fun. Make your sandwiches with ingredients that can be easily rolled, including meat and cheese. Then, flatten the sandwich and roll tightly. Slice the roll into half-inch thick pieces and offer with chopsticks.

Snack Art
Cut up a variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, cheese and lean meat, into bite-sized squares, triangles and circles. Have your child wash her hands, and then set out a clean plate for her to make nutritious snack art using the shapes available. She’ll be enjoying making faces and pictures so much that she’ll hardly even notice as she pops a few pieces into her mouth for sampling. Once the picture is done, challenge her to eat everything on her plate.

Read Full Post »

No, I did not say that!

(Little Sister), be quiet. It’s hard to love you when you are so loud.”

– Austin, age 4

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

Read Full Post »

Le Top "Heart's Delight" Swimsuit

I spend most of my weekends in the summer by the pool in the Hamptons and typically it is Bob Marley’s greatest hits on repeat. I love music, and especially a variety of music, but I know it can be tough if you have a big family for everyone to agree upon the music, and especially for it to be appropriate for the kids too!

20 Songs for your Summer Jam Playlist from Le Top:

  1. “Pressure Drop” – Toots & The Maytals
  2. “Crazy (Singer Version)” – Gnarls Barkley
  3. “Dog Days Are Over” – Florence and The Machine
  4. “Rock Lobster” – B 52s
  5. “California Girls” – The Beach Boys
  6. “Steal My Kisses” – Ben Harper
  7. “No Rain” – Blind Melon
  8. “Could You Be Loved” – Bob Marley
  9. “Dancing in the Moonlight” – King Harvest
  10. “Under the Boardwalk” – The Drifters
  11. “Build me Up Buttercup” – The Foundations
  12. “Viva La Vida” – Coldplay
  13. “Take it Easy” – Eagles
  14. “Over My Head” – The Fray
  15. “Coconut” – Harry Nilsson
  16. “Wasting Time” – Jack Johnson
  17. “I Want You Back” – Jackson 5
  18. “Carolina in My Mind” – James Taylor
  19. “Margaritaville” – Jimmy Buffet
  20. “Sunday Morning” – Maroon 5

 What are some of your favorites? Enjoy and boogie down at the pool!

Read Full Post »


The past couple of years Le Top employees have supported a program near and dear to our hearts through Volunteers of America, called Operation Backpack. The program collects necessary back-to-school supplies and disburses them to Greater Sacramento, CA area homeless and disadvantaged families, as well as agencies and school districts. I know summer has just started but the new school year is fast approaching and these children are lacking the basics to start school off on the right track. Operation Backpack is accepting filled backpacks or supplies from July 8-22, 2011. If you or a group you are involved in would like to donate or participate see how you do it below (taken from the Volunteers of America website.)

Give Back. Give a Pack.

1. Individuals

  • Pick a school supply list.
  • Purchase a new backpack filled with school supplies according to the grade level of your choice.
  • Securely tag the backpack with the school supply list and bring to one of the participating drop-off locations between July 8 and 22.

2. Groups – Join the 100 Pack!

  • The 100 Pack celebrates Volunteers of America’s 100th anniversary of providing human services in Greater Sacramento. By joining today, your group commits to sponsoring its very own Operation Backpack drive, and collecting as many new backpacks and school supplies as possible.
  • Introduce your personal network of friends, family, neighbors, colleagues and social groups to Operation Backpack and start today!

Volunteer

  • Volunteers are crucial to the success of Operation Backpack. Starting in late-June, and continuing through the first week of August, volunteers are needed to fulfill a variety of roles, including: Runners; Sorters; and Pick-a-Pack Day Event Assistants.
  • For more details and to sign up, please visit the Operation Backpack Volunteer page.

Support Kids Now!

  • Don’t have time to shop or volunteer, but still want to make a difference? Visit the online donation page to make a contribution today!

For additional information on Operation Backpack, please see the list of supporting pages to the left, or contact them at OperationBackpack@voa-sac.org, or 916.442.3691.

Read Full Post »

We are running low on our Darling of the Day photos and are reaching out to you to share your precious photos with us. We LOVE to see our reader’s amazingly beautiful, funny, and inspirational children. If you have a Darling (or two) in your life that you’d like to share with us, please send us their photo by emailing to editor@letop-usa.com. Be sure to include the name of the child(ren), age, and a little bit about them or the photo. There is no age limit and the children do not have to be wearing the Le Top clothing brand. We can’t wait to see them all! 🙂 We will inform you in advance of the Thursday that we will be sharing your cutie with our readers. Until then, click away!

Read Full Post »

Lilah is wearing "Chameleon Camouflage" collection tee & convertible parachute pants

My little tomboy, Lilah, really wants to go camping this summer. If this weather ever decides to cooperate, we’ll be taking her. She has been telling us that she wants to wear her favorite pair of Le Top cargo shorts (from a past season “Camp Out” collection) on the trip, the trouble is she’s outgrown them. I just HAD to bring her home something new to replace them – lucky girl. She put the whole outfit on the second I showed it to her. It’s from the Le Top Summer 2011 “Chameleon Camouflage” collection.  A sporty tee-shirt with lightweight parachute pants that convert into shorts is like having two outfits in one. The pants have tons of pockets to carry all those necessities for a child’s adventure. Though they are little big, since they are really designed for boys, I think they are adorable on her. Now …the weather.

Read Full Post »

We interviewed our favorite online swim retailer that carries everything from the top beach gear to the best family and children’s swimwear! They know the “do’s” and “don’ts” in warm-weather swim style – read below for the latest and greatest tips from the fabulous buying team from the SwimOutlet.com.

SwimOutlet.com
www.swimoutlet.com

Join SwimOutlet.com’s Facebook page and click HERE
Become a Twitter fan of SwimOutlet.com HERE

 

1. What was the inspiration/ behind starting e-store – swimoutlet.com?
SwimOutlet.com started as a website called SwimLessions.com. Our CEO had the idea to create a website where swim students could connect to instructors. The site grew to include locators for public pools, directories for swim schools and an aquatic job board.

Selling swim products was the next step in its natural progression. Today, SwimOutlet.com is the largest online specialty shop for swimming, water polo, fashion, beach, and surf products in the US.

2.  Tell us about any special online promotions that you have planned this summer and fun deals we can expect!
Our e-store has promotions and deals throughout the year! Sign up for our newsletter or check out our ‘clearance corner’ to get the lowest prices on swimwear. 

3. Summer break is here and families are travelling and in need of fabulous swimwear and swim products. What are 3 family swimwear must-have items that are available at your online store for summer?

Our top 3 must-have items for the summer:

  • Sun protection: Protect you and your family from sunburn this summer! Here are our suggestions: Sun blocks, sunscreens, sun suits, UV protective swimwear, cover ups, sunglasses, and hats!
  • Swim aids: Help your child gain confidence in the water! Arm bands, swim vests, flotation suits and USCG approved life jackets are great options!
  • Goggles: SwimOutlet carries a variety of swim goggles including: Competitive, prescription,
    snorkel, and kids goggles!

4.  What are this season’s latest trends for kid’s swimwear? Tell us 3 “do’s” and 3 “don’ts” in kid swimwear style.  

This season’s hottest trends in kids’ swimwear are ruffles, bright colors, and floral.

The 3 “do’s” in kids’ swimwear style are:

  • UV protective materials: Rashguards, sun suits, cover-ups, and hats.
  • Comfortable fit: The more comfortable the swimwear, the more your kids will enjoy wearing it. Choose a swimsuit not too tight or loose; if your child is between sizes, pick the larger size for them to grow into.
  • Popular styles include: One pieces, tankinis, bikinis, and monkinis for girls and boardshorts, volley shorts, and surf styles for boys.

The 3 “don’ts” in kids’ swimwear are:

  • String tops and bottoms: These are sure to fall off active children!
  • White swimwear: Dirt is more likely to show up on lighter suits.
  • Complicated: Buy swimwear that is easy to put on / take off!

5.  What are qualities parents should look for in children’s swimwear? Wearability? Comfort? UV protection? Please tell us your 3 rules to buying perfect children’s swimwear!

  • Definitely comfort
  • Easy to put on / take off
  • Fun for your child

6.  What are your top 3 best selling beach gear items that you would suggest as the perfect “go-to” items for a family on vacation? 

  • Beach umbrellas
  • Towables
  • Beach games and toys

Le Top "Beachy Keen Monokini"

7.  What swimwear or cover-up piece from Le Top do you love from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection?
We love Le Top’s Monokinis—they are absolutely adorable! The entire Ship Ahoy! collection is a close second!

SwimOutlet.com
www.SwimOutlet.com 

Join SwimOutlet.com’s Facebook
page  by clicking HERE

Become a Twitter fan of
SwimOutlet.com HERE

Read Full Post »

Tonight I am having my first dinner party in my new apartment  – yay and yay! I decided to get crazy and put some labor into making a side dish of fava beans. They are so simple and very in season right now. The worst part? Peeling the beans out of their shell. That’s when I thought (not like slave labor), that it would be really fun to have a kid help me shell beans and teach your child/niece/nephew/grandchild the inner workings of a bean! So it will be a tasty snack and neat to see what the inside of a bean looks like for kids!

Fava beans have a brief season and are the national food of Egypt. I mentioned that favas are a labor of love, and here’s why: Fava beans come in a rather large pod (6 inches or so), which only contains about 3-4 beans per pod. They must be removed from the pod (not as simple as shelling peas), blanched, and then shelled again – favas have a secondary husk, which must be removed before eating. But! Without further ado, here’s a little tutorial. I hope it makes sense without pictures.

Fava Beans with Olive Oil and Parmesan
– Serves 2 as a little snack

  • 1 pound fava bean pods
  • Favas removed from pods (further description of husking follows; removing them from the pods should be self-explanatory)
  • Really good extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Good Parmesan

DIRECTIONS:
Place the favas in boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Rinse in cold water and begin the second shelling. Of course, as with all tedious things, there’s an easy way: (for a right-handed person) take the fava bean in your left hand, between thumb and forefinger, “belly” (hollow, scooped out side) up, with the sprout end (sometimes has a black striped) towards your right hand. With your right hand, hold a small paring knife perpendicular to the bean, cut horizontally across the sprout end, making a tiny slit. Squeeze the bean out of the husk; it should pop right out. Repeat, ad nauseum, remembering the whole time how delicious favas are and how much you are going to enjoy them.

Bring another pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add the husked beans and boil for another 2 minutes. Rinse the beans lightly in cold water and
drain well. Place on plates and drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add just a few tiny grates of Parmesan.

Eat, savoring bean by bean, enjoying the fruits of your labor.


How to Grow Beans with your Kids @ Home in a Jar: 

Steps:

  1. Fill the cup with 2 inches of water
  2. Drop the two beans in the cup of water
  3. Leave the beans to soak overnight
  4. The following day, drain/empty the water from cup and take the beans out of the cup
  5. Fill the test tubes just over half way with the potting soil and place each bean inside the test tubes and fill the jar with more soil
  6. Place the test tubes in a well light and warm spot and be sure to water them every day.
  7. Watch the beans. They will begin to swell, then split. Then a small root will grow out of the bottom of the bean, reaching for the bottom of the jar. Soon, a small shoot will grow out of the top of the bean, reaching towards the top of the jar. When the temperature outside is warm enough, transfer the plants to your outside garden.
  8. Keep a close watch each day as you will be able to see how quickly the plants will grow.
  9. Have your children write a report, keep charts or color pictures–whatever they can do–to record this experiment.

Note:  Use a jar, clear plastic cups or a clear plastic container and plant the beans by the sides of the container so that you can watch the beans grow by looking through the clear container.

Did you know that plants need water to live?  As well as absorbing water from the atmosphere (air) through their leaves, they suck water up through their stems.

Read Full Post »

This little cutie, Cam-Ly (3-years-old), comes to us from Le Top’s hometown of Richmond, CA. While preparing for her recent birthday party she was ‘helping’ mom frost the cupcakes. When they were all done she asked if she could have some of the remaining frosting…well, she made the most of it by getting as much on her as she ate. What can I say, she knows how to have a good time. 🙂

Cam-Ly loves Yo Gabba Gabba, doing gymnastics ON her parents, and is one of the most vivacious, independent, and happy girls I’ve ever met. Mom and Dad must be so proud! Congratulations to Cam-Ly for being today’s Le Top Darling of the Day!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »