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Archive for December, 2011

Definition of a tabby cat? Not just a striped or dotted cat, but also one of the cutest darn boutiques in Oakton, Virginia – The Tabby Cat! We had the chance to interview storeowner, Alexandra Craige, about her boutique that she opened almost 2 years ago and how it’s still going strong after 3 natural disasters in the local area. She definitely knows kids style and what’s on the radar for spring 2012 for boys and girls and gives us the scoop on what she loves for next season! Alex also gives us her ideas on fun snow day activities, things she swore she would never do now being a mom, and the best family hangouts in the area. Read more to find out the inside scoop about Tabby Cat and stop by for great shopping if you are in the local area!

Hunter Mill Plaza
2946-F Chain Bridge Road
Oakton, VA
703.255.0812

www.tabbycatkids.com

Mon – Fri: 9am-6pm
Fri – Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

CHECK-IN and JOIN The Tabby Cat’s Facebook page and click HERE

1.    Tell us the inspiration the name The Tabby Cat? How long has your store been around?
I did some online research on store names and realized that I really wanted something that was gender neutral and still cute and remember able! We have four Tabby Cats at home and although we’d love to bring them to work with us – we don’t. We opened last fall (2010) and it’s been a crazy and exciting time with 3 natural disasters during our first year while trying to build a customer base!

2.    It’s (almost) 2012 and resort and spring 2012 styles are coming into stores. What are your top 3 items (clothes, toys, giftables, etc.) for any parent shopping for warm weather items for a nice holiday vacation this winter?
For resort and spring 2012 NOTHING is cuter than the Le Top swimsuits for babies and infants! The bright colors and fun graphics makes the swimsuits pop out when you’re at the pool or beach. Then you can accessorize them with matching hats and cover-ups! So CUTE!

3.    Any special events that you have planned at your store for the New Year or even Valentine’s Day next month? Tell us the inside scoop about any special events and especially the fun deals we can expect!
Writing this 10 days before Christmas, I haven’t a clue what I’m doing after December 25th – hopefully my brain will reboot that day and I can focus on Valentine’s Day!

4.    Surviving yet another winter day this winter can be brutal for kids, what would be your snow day recommended activity – inside or out?
I love board games. The time that I get with my daughter when we play a board game makes for interesting conversation and competiveness between us. Outside in Northern Virginia can mean 60-25 degrees during the ‘winter’. Any time I can spend wandering in a park and checking out nature and teaching my daughter about our local fauna.

5. Although spring 2012 styles are coming soon, what would you suggest as the top 3 essentials in the winter that any parent should buy to brighten up their child’s wardrobe this winter?
I had a winter baby and I’m a huge fan of baby bundlers and anything fleece for babies (mits, hats, pullovers…).

6.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?”
Be like my mom…Just kidding. Maybe a better question for me would be what I swore I ‘would do’. And the big one for that was spend lots of time with her, make sure she had a good support system around her, instill in her the value of working for something, and not to take things or friends for granted.

7.    Describe the neighborhood of your store location in Oakton, VA? Did you grow up in the local area?
I grew up in the South East part of Washington, D.C. so nothing like Oakton, Virginia! Oakton is a small pocket inside Fairfax County (most populated county in VA) that’s not a town or a City. Oakton has a great community of residents and a really strong public and private schools in walking distance to the store. We have a great mix of residents who have raised their kids here and continue to stay after retirement, to young families moving in for good schools, access to lots of kid activities, and local shopping!

8.    What is the hottest trend for kids clothes and toys right now?
I think shoppers want quality products at a good price range, and that’s one of the reasons that Le Top sells so well for us. People love the feel, look and price!

9.    Where are the best/essential family hangouts and places to go around your store location?
We are lucky that we are in a shopping center that offers a good selection of kid-friendly restaurants that you can pick from. So coming to visit us you can make it more than a one-stop trip. There are so many places to go and things to do in Northern Virginia that there are several websites that help track all that information for you. We’ve have had a relationship with www.dullesmoms.com for almost a year now and really like this free website that lists kids’ activities in our area.

10.What Le Top or rabbitmoon Winter 2011 or Spring 2012 collection is your store’s favorite and why?
I really liked 2 dresses that were for Winter 2011 – Le Top’s “Starry Night” and“Candy Cane Cutie”Both were huge sellers and they looked so cute on the little girls!

Le Top "Starry Night" collection


The Tabby Cat

Hunter Mill Plaza
2946-F Chain Bridge Road
Oakton, VA
703.255.0812

www.tabbycatkids.com

 Mon – Fri: 9am-6pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

CHECK-IN and JOIN The Tabby Cat’s Facebook page and click HERE

 

 

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To those who say New Year’s Eve, with its late hours and reputation for excess, is a tough holiday to celebrate with kids, we only laugh and smile knowingly!

Here are some cute tips for packing your New Year’s Eve celebration with the kind of surprise and silliness children love. Happy New Year!

NOISEMAKER SHAKERS
Fill plastic film canisters halfway with corn kernels and decorate with shiny stickers. (Con-Tact or construction paper, glitter, fabric paint and opaque paint markers are also good for decorating.) We poked a hole in the canister’s cap (a parent’s job) and threaded curled ribbon through. Knot the ribbon on the underside of the cap, and let the rest stream out of the top.

STREAMERS
Staple lengths of crepe paper to an empty cardboard tube or a straw and decorate with abandon.

COUNTDOWN NUMBERS
Draw and color in the numbers 1 through 10 on poster boards–one number per board. At midnight, each child promenades down a flight of steps, number card held high, as the crowd yells out the number and cameras flash. “That was their moment,” says Susan. As the last child hits the last step, the streamers were blowing and the shakers were shaking. “You would just not believe how cool that turned out.”

MIDNIGHT BALLOON SHOWER
Here’s how to do it:

  • Line up two rectangular paper tablecloths and punch holes every 2 to 3 inches down one long side of each.
  • Stitch the tablecloths together with yarn, leaving a foot or so at the end for a rip cord.
  • Tape the cloth to the ceiling on three sides, leaving the side opposite the rip cord open. Tape the cord up separately, so it’s accessible. Let the center of the cloth hang down to allow space for the balloons.
  • Inflate at least 75 balloons.
  • Buy thin streamers and metallic confetti.
  • Stuff the cloth with balloons, then add the confetti and streamers on top. (Reverse it, and the confetti will weigh down the cloth and filter out ahead of time.) Tape up the last side of the cloth.
  • Let her rip! At the stroke of midnight, just one strong pull tears through the paper, releasing a cascade of balloons and confetti–followed by stomping feet and a cacophony of pops.

BUBBLE WRAP STOMP
Looking for a way to ring in the New Year that will have the crowd on its feet? Look no further than a packaging supply store. For just a few dollars, you can pick up several yards of large Bubble Wrap (or recycle Bubble Wrap that comes with holiday gifts). Just before midnight, unroll it on a hard surface, such as a wooden floor or driveway, and when the countdown concludes, join the fun with a “the Bubble Wrap Stomp.” It sounds like firecrackers!

CHECK OUT LE TOP’S CHILDREN’S CLOTHING
AT WWW.LETOP-USA.COM

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No, I did not say that!


Ugh! It’s bedtime. I need to go to bed…. Hello? Don’t either of you hear me?”

– Nathan, age 5

Editor’s Note: Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us by sending an email to editor@letop-usa.com!

Visit our home page
at www.letop-usa.com

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With the holidays here – your kids are probably eating cake, sugar cookies, cupcakes, and tons of candy (as we all like to do as kids)…and it can be tough as a parent to get your children to actually want to eat healthy when they eat more junk food during the holidays. Letting kids eat unhealthy food increases the chances they will become overweight and eat a poor diet as adults. Kids who eat a healthy diet are more likely to get enough nutrients, have more energy, build strong bones and muscles and maintain a healthy weight. Parents can encourage their children to make healthy eating choices by providing lots of healthy options, being patient and setting a good example.

Here are some tips on how to get your kiddo to eat healthy and persuade your little one not be such a picky eater!

1.  Make a schedule. Children need to eat every three to four hours: three meals, two snacks, and lots of fluids. If you plan for these, your child’s diet will be much more balanced and he’ll be less cranky, because he won’t be famished. Put a cooler in the car when you are out with your kids and keep it stocked with carrots, pretzels, yogurt, and water so we don’t have to rely on fast food.

2.  Plan dinners. If thinking about a weekly menu is too daunting, start with two or three days at a time. A good dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be balanced: whole-grain bread, rice, or pasta; a fruit or a vegetable; and a protein source like lean meat, cheese, or beans.

3.  Don’t become a short-order cook. Don’t get into the bad habit of preparing a meal for your kids and one for you and your partner. It can be exhausting. Prepare one meal for everybody and serve it family-style so the kids can pick and choose what they want. Children often mimic their parents’ behavior, so one of these days, they’ll eat most of the food you serve them.

4.  Introduce new foods slowly. Children are new-food-phobic by nature.

5.  Dip it. If your kids won’t eat vegetables, experiment with dips. One example is when your child tries your first veggie such as a carrot, dip it in ranch dressing or even hummus, salsa or some sort of yogurt-based dressing.

6.  Make mornings count. Most families don’t eat enough fiber on a daily basis, and breakfast is an easy place to sneak it in. Make up batches of whole-grain pancake and waffle batter that last all week. For a batch that serves five, sift together 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, 4 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 Tbs. sugar. When you’re ready to cook, mix in 2 Tbs. ground flax meal, 2 cups water, 3 Tbs. canola oil, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, and 2 Tbs. applesauce.

7.  Get kids cooking. If your children become involved in choosing or preparing meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve created. Take them to the store, and let them choose produce for you. If they’re old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad.

8.  Cut back on junk. Remember, you — not your kids — are in charge of the foods that enter the house. By having fewer junk foods around, you’ll force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.

9.  Allow treats. Having less healthy foods occasionally keeps them from becoming forbidden — and thus even more appealing. Even treat them to McDonald’s for lunch every so often.

10.  Have fun. The more creative the meal is, the greater the variety of foods my kids eat. We make smiley-face pancakes and give foods silly names. (Broccoli florets are “baby trees” or “dinosaur food.”) Anything mini is always a hit too. I often use cookie cutters to turn toast into hearts and stars, which the children love.

11.  Be a role model. If you’re constantly on a diet or have erratic eating habits, your children will grow up thinking that this sort of behavior is normal. Be honest with yourself about the kinds of food messages you’re sending. Trust your body to tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full, and your kids will learn to do the same.

12.  Adjust your attitude. Realize that what your kids eat over time is what matters. Having popcorn at the movies or eating an ice-cream sundae are some of life’s real pleasures. As long as you balance these times with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.

SEE ALL LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING
AT WWW.LETOP-USA.COM

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Plagiocephaly is a condition that causes a baby’s head to have a flat spot (flat head syndrome) or be misshapen.

The most common form is positional plagiocephaly. It occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to pressure on that area. Babies are vulnerable because their skull is soft and pliable when they’re born.

Positional plagiocephaly typically develops after birth when babies spend time in a position that puts pressure on one part of the skull. Because babies spend so much time lying on their back, for example, they may develop a flat spot where their head presses against the mattress.

Everyone’s skull is a bit asymmetrical. And in many cases, a flat spot on a baby’s head will round out on its own around 6 months of age, as she starts crawling and sitting up. Nevertheless, if you notice flattening of your baby’s head at any time, don’t wait and talk to your pediatrician. More severe cases of positional plagiocephaly can be corrected by having the baby wear a custom helmet or band for two to four months. Be sure to chat with your baby’s provider about head shape at each well-child checkup.

The Back to Sleep Campaign was launched in the early 1990s to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics started recommending placing babies on their backs when putting them to bed, the number of cases of SIDS has been cut in half, according to the CDC. That’s awesome!

But something that has increased since then is the number of cases of babies with flat head syndrome, sometimes referred to as positional plagiocephaly. If babies spend all of their time on their backs, it can lead to positional flattening or molding of the head.

A new report published this week in the journal Pediatrics contains new recommendations for pediatricians and parents on how to prevent and correct head flattening in babies. The number of babies diagnosed with the misshapen skull syndrome known as positional plagiocephaly has increased exponentially since safe sleep recommendations have had infants spending so much time on their backs, researchers found. And while they in no way suggest that parents ignore the recommended safe sleep practices, researchers suggest that pediatricians counsel parents from their babies’ very first checkups on ways to prevent and correct flattening heads.

CHECK OUT LE TOP BABY AND CHILDREN’S CLOTHING
AT WWW.LETOP-USA.COM

CNN.com lists 5 of the recommendations, which can help parents avoid placing their babies in skull-correcting helmets if the problem has not improved by 6 months of age:

  1. Increase “tummy” time, which is supervised time during the day when baby lies on its stomach. A baby should spend at least 30 to 60 minutes a day on it’s belly, something that can be done immediately after birth. This will help develop neck and shoulder muscles, says [the report’s lead author, Dr. James] Laughlin. It has also been shown to “enhance motor developmental scores,” according to this new report.
  2. The NIH recommends changing the direction your baby lies in the crib each week.  They say this change will encourage the baby to turn his or her head in different directions to avoid resting in the same position all the time.
  3. Some babies prefer to hold their head to one side. Laughlin suggests laying them down in a different way when they’re awake, so they have something interesting to look at on the opposite side. If you have them in a car seat or sitting in something else, you can also change the position to make the baby look in the opposite direction.
  4. Parents may find their babies sleep well sitting in a car seat, but this is another way they can develop an asymmetrical shape, especially in the first 6 months of life.  So experts suggest babies shouldn’t spend a prolonged period of time in a car seat (unless they are in a car of course) or bouncy seat.
  5. Cuddle!  The NIH says “getting cuddle time with the baby by holding him or her upright over one shoulder often during the day,” is another way to prevent flat spots.

CHECK OUT LE TOP BABY AND CHILDREN’S CLOTHING
AT
WWW.LETOP-USA.COM

 

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We caught up with cute kid’s boutique owner, Jan Gabrielson, of Nanny’s Children’s Shoppe in Sanibel, Florida. Aside from being envious of the great weather in Sanibel, we are even more envious of her amazing children’s store that is a must-go-to for cute kids clothing, accessories and much more – plus we hear she is having a 30% sale soon! She gives us the scoop on family hangouts around her store, her upcoming store events and her favorite Le Top Collection! Read more below!

 NANNY’S CHILDREN’S SHOPPE

2250 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel, FL 33957
239.395.1730
 

1.    Tell us the inspiration the name Nanny’s Children’s Shoppe? How long has your store been around?
Nanny’s has been on Sanibel since 1982. I purchased the store in 1999. I have moved the location over the years to it’s present home – an original cottage located on the main road and bicycle route.

2.    Any special events or fun holiday traditions that you have planned at your store for Christmas Eve or the New Year? Tell us the inside scoop about any special events and especially the fun deals we can expect!
Nanny’s participates every year in the annual Sanibel Island Luminary Night held the first Friday of December. This year we featured a local cartoonist and children’s author. The kids enjoyed cookies while drawing with him.  During the holidays, Nanny’s will have a 30% off sale in progress on fall merchandise.

Jan showing off the Le Top "Jolly Jurassic" collection t-shirt

3.    What’s your favorite holiday tradition and or nostalgic moment and why? Whether it be decorating the Christmas tree to eating peppermint bark to lighting the menorah candles to baking in the kitchen, etc…
At this time of the year, I enjoy wonderful friends and customers talking and sharing their stories and pictures of their children and grandchildren. Over the years in the children’s business I have seen them grow-up!

4.    What would you suggest as the top 3 essentials in the winter that any parent should buy to brighten up their child’s wardrobe this winter – especially for the warm-weather kiddos in Florida!
We find sun protection hats, shirts, and swim cover-ups to be a must-have in Florida.

5.    What is your favorite holiday film past or present for kids/family?
I absolutely love It’s A Wonderful Life.

Inside Nanny's featuring Le Top "Pizzazz" collection dresses and leggings (top), "Seeing Spots" collection (right wall)

6.    Will you be carrying any cute swimwear or Spring 2012 this January for parents looking to buy warm-weather clothing for holiday vacations? What are some hot items to look out for?
Nanny’s will be receiving lots of spring clothing items in January for all of our annual guests. The fashions for spring are so colorful and comfortable. We carry many knits that the children love. Being in Florida, you’ll find many ocean themed items….crabs, fish, lobsters. How about shark t-shirts for boys!

7.    Describe the neighborhood of your store location in Sanibel, Florida?
Nanny’s is located in the Sanibel Square near the very popular Sanibel Bean Coffee Shop.

8.    Where are the best/essential family hangouts and places to go around your store location?
Located right across the street from Nanny’s is the town park, a wonderful place for children to enjoy. Also, the Island Cow restaurant is a very popular spot to dine with children. The number one attraction on Sanibel for the whole family is the miles of beaches.

Le Top "Purrrfectly Pink" collection circle skirt dress and stripe footless tights

9.    What Le Top or rabbitmoon Winter 2011 collection is your store’s favorite and why?
The favorite in Nanny’s from the winter collection was Le Top’s “Purrfectly Pink” group. The soft colors and the twirl factor made this a must-have!


NANNY’S
CHILDREN’S SHOPPE

2250 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel, FL 33957
239.395.1730

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So there I was, it was 8pm on the night before my daughter’s last day of school before the winter break. I had signed up to collect money from the parents for gifts for the teachers and distribute it to our teachers. Before I went to bed I had cards to write for all 9 teachers (from the parents), figure out how much money to put in each envelope, plus, I wanted to give each of the teachers homemade cookies as a token of our appreciation.

I had baked up the cookies (sugar and chocolate chip), and then came the time to decorate the sugar cookies…

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post on how to frost. glaze and decorate you holiday cookies, go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=23048

 

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING 
AT
WWW.LETOP-USA.COM 

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