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Archive for the ‘Childhood’ Category


Best Friends. Whether they’re called a BFF, a best buddy, an old-school blood brother or some other name, most children know there’s a difference between an acquaintance, a friend and a best friend by the time they reach Kindergarten. My best friend growing up was Mika – I remember meeting her on the lawn at a park during lunchtime at school and we both bonded over our height and being half Asian.

While children are capable of being friends with lots of different kids, they tend to gravitate toward and spend more time with those with whom they have the most in common. Often, that results in kids pairing up into “best friends” – the friend who understands them most, listens, provides a reality check or just has their back.

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On a road trip very late in the evening a little girl was sleeping soundly in her car seat. Her parents turned onto a gravel road. After a few minutes her dad saw a rabbit hop across their path and exclaimed, “Wabbit Season!” Within a couple of seconds a voice from the back seat shouted.

Duck Season!”

– Lilah, age 5

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

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Soda in a sippy cup? NOPE! But researchers say that when a baby’s bottle or cup is filled with juice — even the 100 percent, all-natural, no-sugar-added stuff — parents might as well be pouring Pepsi. Last night I was filling my nieces sippy bottles with “fresh cold” water as they like to call it (a.k.a. bottled cold water fresh out of the refrigerator)….was it a little over the top to pour super cold water in a bottle? Not really when I thought more about it.

Many people mistakenly believe that as long as you are drinking fruit juice, it’s healthy even though it’s sweet, but this is a dangerous misconception that is fueling the rising rates of weight gain, obesity, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes in the United States and other developed nations.

Consumption of sweetened beverages has been associated with the rise in childhood obesity. The USDA’s publication “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010” estimates that obesity rate in children age 6 to 11 increased from 4 percent in the early 1970s to 20 percent in 2007 to 2008. Many factors have contributed to this disturbing statistic, including beverage intake. This reminds me of many children who drink juice over soda because parents might think its healthier, but isn’t it a lot of sugar? What happen to water? What’s really better – soda or juice?

Though healthy in moderation, juice essentially is water and sugar. In fact, a 12-ounce bottle of grape soda has 159 calories. The same amount of unsweetened grape juice packs 228 calories.

Quick Tips: Fruit Juice is NOT a Healthy Beverage

  • First off, most fruit drinks on the market should be more aptly named flavored sugar-water, because many contain next to no real juice.
  • If your fruit juice is actually labeled a “fruit drink,” “fruit beverage,” or “fruit cocktail,” it’s because it does not contain 100% juice.
  • In fact, according to the Discovery graphic, on average fruit drinks contain just 10% fruit juice!

Make Your Children Aware
As a parent, it’s important to talk to your kids not only about the health implications of drinking soda, but also those from drinking all sugary beverages such as fruit juice and fruit drinks.

  • Children’s exposure to TV ads for sugary drinks from Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple Group nearly doubled from 2008 to 2010.
  • MyCokeRewards.com was the most-visited sugary drink company website with 170,000 unique youth visitors per month (42,000 of whom were young children and 129,000 were teens); Capri Sun’s website was the second-most viewed site, attracting 35,000 young children and 35,000 teens per month.
  • Twenty-one sugary drink brands had YouTube channels in 2010 with more than 229 million views by June 2011, including 158 million views for the Red Bull channel alone.
  • Coca-Cola was the most popular of all brands on Facebook, with more than 30 million fans; Red Bull and Monster ranked 5th and 15th, with more than 20 million and 11 million fans, respectively.

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So What Should Your Child Drink? Kicking your kid’s soda habit starts at home.
Instead of soda or juice, offer your children water or low-fat or non-fat milk. As children age, their calcium requirements go up, not down, so your growing child should be drinking plenty of milk, too. To help your children cut back on sugary drinks, don’t stock them at home. This will help them understand that sodas are for special occasions, not a daily treat.

4 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT JUICE VS. SODA 

Caloric Intake
In terms of calories, soda and juice contain similar amounts. A 1-cup serving of cola contains 91 calories, whereas the same size serving of orange juice contains 122 calories. In terms of fighting childhood obesity, neither beverage offers a clear advantage. Combined with reduced physical activity, consumption of either beverage sets up the scenario for weight gain.

Nutrient Intake
Juice offers a clear nutritional advantage over soda. A 1-cup serving of cola contains virtually no vitamins and only trace amounts of calcium, iron or phosphorus. A 1-cup serving of orange juice, on the other hand, provides over 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C. It is also a good dietary source of potassium and vitamin A. Cola has 22 g of total sugar to orange juice’s 20 g. By consuming juice rather than soda, you have the satisfaction that you have chosen the healthier beverage.

Caffeine Content
One concern you may have with soda is its caffeine content. The actual amount varies with the type of soda. A cup of cola contains about 64 mg of caffeine. By contrast, coffee contains 60 to 150 mg. Consumption of caffeine can cause headaches and dizziness in some individuals. The risk also exists for caffeine toxicity. A study from University of Miami researchers, published in the March 2011 issue of “Pediatrics,” explains that high consumption of caffeine in children with existing health conditions such as diabetes or behavioral disorders can lead to adverse effects.

Obesity
Soft drink consumption has increased 300 percent from 1988 to 2008. A study from Wayne State University School of Nursing in Michigan, published in the February 2008 issue of the “Journal of the School of Nursing,” reports that between 56 to 85 percent of school-aged children consume at least one soft drink daily. The study also points out that for every soft drink consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times. Juice doesn’t fare much better. A study from the University of California, Davis, published in the November 2002 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” found that fructose consumption was also associated with weight gain and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. These findings suggest that consumption of all sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited in children.

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To your kids, shopping for new clothes, gear, and school supplies may be the only good thing about going back to school. Here are some back-to-school shopping tips to get you in the mood for fall clothes in the middle of summer!

Shop Le Top’s NEW pre-fall arrivals and click HERE 

  • Start early. If you haven’t already, try to get your child’s school supply list from the school. Or compile your own list of items (backpack, notebooks, pencils, pens, etc.) you think your kid will need right away versus items (calculator, text book covers, Spanish dictionary, winter coat) that can wait till later in the school year.
  • Shop at home first. It’s easy to forget in August that you’ve packed away extra school supplies last spring. Try to find as many items on your list around the house before you hit the aisles. Chances are, you probably have binders, colored pencils and highlighters left over from last year. Once you’ve completed your search, gather everything together to determine where you can save.
  • Make a list and a budget and keep it with you at all times. You never know when you might stumble onto a sale on your way to the dentist or the grocery store.
  • Buy a lunch box. You can save so much money when you send your kids to school with a homemade lunch. Added bonus: It’s likely to be a healthier choice. And you can monitor the cost of your homemade lunch purchases by using grocery store coupons, packing leftovers and reusing water bottles.

Also check out Rabbitmoon’s mix and match styles HERE

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You and your kids will have so much fun with these pool noodle activities! A pool noodle is a tube of polyethylene foam, sometimes with a hollow center. The noodles are commonly used during swimming for play and exercise but have many more uses. The foam is soft, yet strong-featured and makes a great tool for creative game play out of the water. Foam noodles do not cause damage to people or gym floors, are super cheap and can be cut apart to make game accessories.

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Summer is really here and so are fun beach days with the kids. What do kids tend to bring home with them? SAND! In their shoes, beach bags or even in sand pails because they can’t bear to part with the beach. Here is a fun activity – sand candles – to make use of all of that extra sand and continue your kiddo’s fun on a hot summer day!

Tip: For extra fun add sea shells from the beach to the top of your candle mold to add a little “beachy” effect!

TOOLS NEEDED: 

  • Large heat-proof mixing bowl
  • Sand
  • Empty 1-pound coffee can
  • Paraffin or old candle stubs
  • Candle wicking
  • Thin wood dowel or stick

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Fill the bowl three quarters full with slightly damp sand and ask your child to dig a mold about the size of his fist.
  2. Using your hands, bend one side of the coffee can rim to form a spout. Fill the can halfway with paraffin and set it in a saucepan that’s one fourth filled with water. (Never place the can directly on the burner.) Then melt the wax over very low heat; when it has melted, turn off the heat.
  3. Cut the wicking to 6 to 8 inches longer than your mold is deep. Rest the dowel across the bowl’s top and tie one end of the wick around it. Press the other end into the bottom of the mold.
  4. Now it’s the adult’s job to carefully pour the wax into the mold until it reaches about 1 inch from the top.
  5. Once the candle is cool, remove it from the mold, brush off any excess sand, and trim the wick.

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What is better than something delicious, creamy and cool on a hot summer day? Vanilla pudding pops for your kiddo! Check out this great recipe!

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