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Posts Tagged ‘childhood memories’


Who here grew up playing in a portable pool at Grandma’s house? Raise a hand? I did! I personally grew up with a pool in my backyard, but remember as a child going to play at friends’ houses or Grandma’s house where there would be a portable pool to make the warm weather heat of summer a little bit more bearable. I live in New York now and even my nieces play in a portable pool on a city roofdeck because pools are scarce in the city…what was really shocking to find out this week was a new study that suggests portable or inflatable swimming pools are a greater danger to children than many parents likely realize, leading to one death every five days in the United States during warm months. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, provides harrowing descriptions of 209 backyard drownings and 35 near-drownings that have occurred in portable pools from 2001 to 2009. Scarily, I found out this study is the first U.S. research to probe the role portable pools have played in deaths or near-drownings.

Researchers restricted their study to include wading pools less than 45 centimeters deep to inflatable and soft-sided pools measuring about one meter deep.

The study, published Monday, June 20, 2011 in the journal Pediatrics, found that 209 children died in these pools between 2001 and 2009. In addition, there were 35 near-drownings reported during the same time period. The researchers reported on accidents that occurred in water depths ranging from two inches to four feet. One accident involved a parent who fell asleep in a wading pool while holding a child. Other accidents occurred during lapses in pool supervision when a parent left to answer the phone or was distracted by yard work. Two 9-year-old girls drowned in an inflatable pool after becoming entangled in a pool cover. In another case, 3-year-old twins died after leaving their home undetected and jumping into a neighbor’s unsecured four-foot-deep portable pool.

According to the study, 94 per cent of children were under age five and 56 per cent of the victims were boys. The children were also more likely to be in their own yard when the incident happened, with 73 per cent of incidents taking place there.

In this Aug. 7, 2007 file photo, Todd Fuentes, 4, left, plays with Adrian Girald, 7, second from right, and Anthony Zollinger, second from left, as his father Eugene Fuentes, right, looks on in a portable pool in Brooklyn, New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

“The anecdotal evidence was suggesting that because portable pools are readily available in many convenience stores and malls, and they’re relatively cheap, parents would pick them up, take them home, quickly assemble them, and all this would be done without a lot of forethought about the safety aspects,” said senior author, Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Why is there a trend in buying portable pools?
Portable pools have become a popular and affordable alternative to expensive in-ground pools or stationary above-ground pools. Unlike the fragile, inflatable pools of the past, portable pools today are sturdy and large, including some that can be filled with as much as water as a small in-ground pool. Large wading pools typically cost $100 or less, whereas very large portable pools can cost $1,000 or less. By comparison, in-ground pools can cost $30,000 or more.

The downside of portable pools?
The downside of portable pools is that they often lack the security fences and gates that most local zoning authorities typically require to surround in-ground and above-ground pools. Among the portable pool drownings that were reviewed by the Pediatrics study, at least 47 could have been prevented if the pool had been surrounded by fencing.

The researchers acknowledge that no single strategy can completely prevent a death or near drowning, and so advocate a multi-pronged approach. On the one hand, manufacturers should develop affordable safety devices for portable pools, including fencing, alarms and safety covers, which are common for in-ground pools. They also say better consumer-education programs are needed to make parents aware of the pools’ risks.

According to the study, children were under adult supervision in only 43 per cent of the cases.

In-ground pools must have fencing on all four sides, while portable pools can be put anywhere on a property, she said. In my opinion, many consumers assume such pools are safer because of their smaller size and that there is only a couple of inches of water, so it’s not that big of a worry. Portable pools can be extremely dangers and should be treated the same way parents see larger built-in backyard pools with the same importance of adult supervision.

“The thing about drowning is that it’s simply different than most other types of injuries, because if you fall from playground equipment, you usually get another chance,” he said. “With drowning, it’s quick, it’s silent and it’s final. That’s why it’s so important to prevent these events from occurring in the first place,” say Dr. Smith.

Note: Researchers obtained data for this study from the four U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission data banks: the Death Certificate file, the Injury/Potential Injury Incident file, the In-Depth Investigation file, and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Bottom line mommies and daddies? If you are going to use a portable or inflatable pool – you must be vigilant the entire time, never leave your child unattended and treat it as if it were an actual pool in your backyard. What’s an alternative? I loved sprinklers in the grass as a kid – shockingly they are really fun and kids always find a way to make a game or two of it in the summer heat!

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This post came to us from our design intern extraordinaire, Krystle.

When I was younger, my dad used to take my sister and I to Buchanan Field Airport to watch the airplanes land and take- off. I remember seeing the small planes come and go through endless blue sky and thought of how fascinating it would be to fly. Now, many years later, I look into the eyes of my two little ones and see the same look of amazement.

Devin looked at home on the airfield in his Le Top "Take Flight" fall 2011 waffle weave shirt and corduroy pant set, along with the matching faux leather aviator jacket

Devin, my 5 year-old son, attends Concord Preschool at Baldwin Park, California. His teachers also shared this experience of the airport with their own children, and wanted share it with their students as well…so, they coordinated their very first field trip to the airport!. 

Chloe, my 3 year-old daughter, Devin and I met his class at a playground that sits on the edge of the runway. It consists of a few picnic tables, a “play” airplane and tower, a huge airfield painting on the ground, and bleachers…all within a gated area where the kids can run free. Right away, Devin ran off to pretend he was an airplane with his friends. Chloe, being her shy self, stayed by my side and watched the others with curiosity.

After about 30 minutes of playtime, all if the children gathered on the bleachers to listen to the airport guide explain the safety rules. The classy eagerly formed a single file line behind they teacher so that they could pass through the gate onto the actual runway.

On the runway, there were 3 model vehicles; a small red airplane, a huge Osh Kosh striker fire truck and a military helicopter. First, they looked at the airplane and each little pilot got a turn to sit in the cockpit and pretend to take off. Next, they went to the florescent yellow fire truck with extra big off-roading tires and listened to a fireman explain his duties on the field. They stood in line so one-by-one they could peek inside the enormous engine. Then, last but not least, they walked over to the helicopter where they got to climb a ladder inside and feel what it’s like to ride in a powerful machine that helps protect our country. With a big smile on his face, Devin sat in the pilot’s seat and waved at us through the window.

After all of the excitement, everyone got little hungry so we headed back to the playground for snack time. They enjoyed their bagged lunches of string cheese, grapes, Cheez-its and Capri Sun, while watching planes touch down on the runway. When they were all refueled, the kids disbursed once again. Even Chloe warmed up a bit and found her spot in the pilot’s seat of the play airplane.

I was very happy to share this experience with my kids. After years of seeing planes fly above our house, they were finally able to see where they were coming from. They learned about airplanes, safety, community, and most of off all, how to let their imaginations fly free.

Chloe couldn't be happier in her Le Top "Pocket Full of Posies" corduroy drop waist dress and tights

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The winter chill has arrived and the leaves are changing colors. I took a walk through Central Park in New York City (my hometown) this past weekend and admired all of the leaves and how beautiful nature can be in the ‘big city.’ I was inspired by a childhood activity that is fun for kids and great for parents as a piece of art for the coveted refrigerator door. Preserve the beauty of fall leaves with leaf-rubbing (leaf impressions) art on paper! Read more to find out how this easy (and inexpensive idea) is fun for a winter day. Next time you are out walking ith your kids, collect leaves of different shapes and sizes. When you are choosing leaves to rub, pick leaves with raised veins or texture to ensure the rubbings will come out crisp and clear.

Need:

  • Leaves
  • White paper
  • Crayons or soft-lead pencils

Steps:

  • Rub a variety of leaves using white tissue paper and crayons or soft-lead pencils.
  • Place the leaves under the paper and gently rub the impression on the tissue paper.
  • Cut each leaf impression out and arrange them on a white piece of paper.
  • Special step: Use a hold puncher and punch one hole in each leaf impression. Use thread or clear fishing line to tie the leaves together and string the line in a window as a decoration!
  • Discard leaves in garbage

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I may have been the only kid in the world who was happy when the summer weather started to end.  Shorter days and longer nights meant that it was truly dark outside when I went to bed and got to feel like I’d stayed up late even though I hadn’t.  Most importantly though—the end of summer weather meant that the rainy season was coming, and, if I was lucky, that meant blackouts.

As an adult blackouts are kind of annoying because they keep me from getting work done (or worse, they interrupt my DVR recordings), but once the initial annoyance passes and I’m left trying to figure out how to entertain myself without any kind of technology, I think back to my childhood and can’t help but smile.  I loved blackouts as a kid.

I loved wandering around the house with candles and flashlights.  It was like my own adventure; the house was familiar and yet strangely foreign.  The best part about power outages though, was that I always learned really cool things when we had no power.

When I couldn’t watch movies, I learned that movies were just a series of still images shown one right after the other (at least they were when I was growing up, back in the days before digital movie projectors) and from that I learned how to make flip books (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flip_book).  When we couldn’t use the refrigerator, Mom told me about how people used to preserve foods before refrigerators existed and explained the canning and drying processes.  I learned that I was better at jigsaw puzzles than my brother and sister, but that my sister will always win Scrabble games, and my bother somehow has ridiculous luck with Yahtzee dice.  My dad taught me how to make the best couch forts and paper airplanes.  My mom taught me to sew things by hand and my grandmother taught me how to knit.  Grandma also taught me a lot of different card games (due to a blackout, I learned to play poker when I was 11).  

My family has always been big on finding teachable moments, and blackouts were prime time for learning about how the world was before electricity.  Blackouts were like my own personal time machine; I learned a lot about the way things used to be done because I was living the same way people used to.  (And when I started learning about the Oregon Trail in school, I felt a connection with the covered wagon travelers—I knew about how they had to preserve food, sew clothes by hand, and entertain themselves with cards and dice.) 

So the next time a blackout rolls through your neighborhood, instead of packing up the kids and going somewhere that still has power, use the blackout as an opportunity to teach your kids a little practical history.  Spend a few hours learning about the way things used to be done and creating your own entertainment; you’ll have a lot of fun spending time with your family (and when the power comes back on, I guarantee that you’ll have a renewed love for your light switches).

If you live in an area with a relatively stable power grid and don’t have blackouts very often, make your own!  (Bonus:  Blackouts created by hand equal electricity bill savings created by hand.)  Find the breakers for your house or apartment and just flip the main.  You’ll have to reset the clocks on your microwave and stove (and don’t forget your alarm clock!), but at least you probably won’t have to deal with the dreaded VCR clock my dad always complained about. 

Here’s some ideas for electricity free activities:

  • Hide batteries and flashlights around the house and go on a treasure hunt (complete with maps and clues) to find them before it gets dark.
  • Make your own beef jerky, just like people did before they could keep meat in refrigerators.  (Bonus:  Use the jerky as snacks for the following week.  Home made jerky is also a cool show and tell item—kids will love the ‘I made it myself’ factor.)
  • Knit scarves for cold weather.  (Learn to knit here:  http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/how-to-knit.htm or here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uw-nUvGrBY)
  • Create a flip book.
  • Have a paper airplane race.
  • Using sheets, turn your entire living room into a giant fort (and see how the sheets glow when you light them from inside with flashlights).
  • Lay out an area on your floor and get the whole family to put together a giant jigsaw puzzle.  (Make your own smaller puzzles by cutting magazine pictures or drawings into interesting shapes.)
  • Act out your favorite movies, or even better, write your own play!  (Or use puppets made from socks or paper bags to act them out.)
  • Cook outside.  Fire up the grill or cook hotdogs over an open fire in the backyard. (Be safe and use a fire pit or make sure to line your fire with stones to keep it in one place.)
  • Hand write letters to friends and family members telling them how much you love them.
  • Stargaze.  If the power is out in your neighborhood, there will be less ambient light and the stars should be more visible.

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This little Le Top piggy went to market to interview one of our favorite premier store retailers for this Friday’s “Store Spotlight” – Tiny Toes.  Boutique mother, Tina Lewis and daughter, Karen Jacobs, tell us about working as a mother and daughter duo business, what Karen packed away in her lunch (and what melted), and what’s hot from the Le Top Fall 2010 collection.

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1.     Where did the name Tiny Toes come from?
Karen: A mother and grandmother’s “mild” obsession with my sons little toes. 🙂

2.     How long have you been working as mother and daughter duo in the business? How would you describe the benefits of “keeping the business in the family”?
Karen: We started the store together just over 4 years ago and are still going strong.  We love helping new moms select all the gear and goodies for their new arrivals–particularly when they come shopping with their moms.  We each bring something different to the table, whether it is a different perspective on what moms versus grandmoms like to buy or our skills in merchandising versus marketing. 

3.     What is one special or fun fact about your store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
Karen: Our fixture system came from IKEA, so by the time we opened our doors we had assembled a collection of over 200 Allen wrenches.  We still have them should you ever find yourself in need of one.

4.     What sets you apart as a successful children’s store?
Karen: We really make an effort to get to know our customers. We work hard to remember things like grandchildren’s sizes, who loves which brands, what outfits have already been purchased by other family members and more.  We have wonderful customers and we really enjoy going the extra mile to make their shopping experience special and fun.

5.     Describe the neighborhood of Bel Air, Maryland where your store is located.
Karen: Bel Air is a sleeper suburb of Baltimore. We’re a bit in the country, but with great access to both Baltimore and Philadelphia. Our store is located on a historic main street with lots of other independent shops.  The area is continuing to grow and expand and we have been very fortunate to be part of this growth.

6.     Back to school is here – do you remember what you wanted to wear on your first day of school or a childhood memory of your first day at school? Can you share a picture of how your mother dressed you when you were a child?
Karen: Per my mom–a yellow polly flinders dress–I hope the photos have all gone missing 🙂

7.      Tell us about the school lunches your mom or dad made for you when you were a kid? What would someone find inside your brown paper bag?
Karen: One time in kindergarten we were given ice cream for a special treat.  I couldn’t finish mine, so I packed it back up in my lunchbox and brought it home for later. You can only imagine the mess mom found when she opened that lunch box.

8.     What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child for fall? Any hot trends?
Karen:
We love separates for back-to-school time. September can still be hot, so we love to find short sleeve tees, tops and dresses that will work for a great “fall” back to school photo but that can be layered later on and worn throughout the fall and winter season.  And we’re always on the look out for lines that bridge the gap between comfort (number one priority for the pre-school set) and fashion.

9.     If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to break into children’s retail, what would it be?
Karen: Ask tons of questions-of your sales reps, other store owners, other businesses in your area.  It’s amazing what you can learn from others experience.  Once you are open ask those questions of your customers–they continue to be our best source of information on what will work in our store.

10.     What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Karen:
We have a photo board in our store where customers post pictures of their children in Tiny Toe’s outfits.  We love seeing the children who we dressed for coming home (from the hospital) now come in shopping for pre-school outfits. Having a small part in creating special memories for those families is one of our favorite parts of the job.

11.     What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Karen: The Pocket Full of Posies dress with tights and coordinating cardigan.

Le Top Pocket Full of Posies ensemble

Tiny Toes
4 North Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
410.420.6727
http://www.shoptinytoes.com

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Lilah (wearing a short dress and capri leggings from the rabbitmoon 'cupcake' collection) and Ozzy

Throughout my childhood, we had a total of 2 dogs, 4 cats, a guinea pig, and fish. I loved them all. I had to learn how to care for them by feeding, bathing, walking, and playing with them. I hated having to clean their litter boxes or move their doodie (my term for poop at that time) to a place in the yard, and bury it.  Despite this, I loved playing with them!  It taught me to be gentle, kind, loving, and responsible.

Lilah is so pleased to be carrying her Kasha kitty

A few years into my husband and my relationship, we adopted 2 sibling cats to practice being a family. We gave them tons of love and eventually they came around from their feral ways. When I became pregnant (6 months later) my female cat, Kasha, would sleep up against my stomach (which she had never done before). She seemed to know there was a little life inside me. Obviously when my daughter Lilah was born, it was a huge change for all of us (including the kitties!). Most cats don’t take well to crying babies (plus they get much less attention), but since my cats were still young themselves, they seemed to get used to it pretty quickly. Kasha stuck close to Lilah, but slightly out of her range. Ozzy (my other cat) generally stayed at least 10 feet away from her.

What I can say now is that Lilah adores her kitties. They tolerate her laying on them, carrying them around the house, and throwing balls, Frisbees and whatever else she thinks they’ll like. So far her responsibilities are just to love and play with them, retrieve them if they get out in the yard, and know exactly where they are at all times (she took this on without being asked). Eventually I will give her more tasks like I was given as a child.  Maybe in a few years we could add a dog to mix, but for now, I think our family of 5 is just …purrfect.

VISIT THE LE TOP HOME…
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VISIT THE RABBITMOON HOME…
www.rabbitmoon-usa.com

 

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In the multi-cultural environment of le•top we celebrate many holidays – but on February 14th – when most people were buying valentines – we were buying…FIRECRACKERS!  One of our favorite holidays is celebrating the beginning of the lunar New Year – Chinese New Year.   Our fearless leader (my husband Paul) was born in Hong Kong, and we have a great time every year when we celebrate his favorite childhood holiday. 

The most spectacular (and very loud) part of the celebration is setting off firecrackers in front of our building.  Why?  To rid ourselves of any lurking ‘evil spirits’ and start the new year off with a (literal) BANG!  This year we set off 20,000 firecrackers!  We warn our neighbors – and everyone enjoys the spectacle.  We follow this up with a luncheon here in our office – Chinese food of course!  Yummy!

The cycle of the Chinese Zodiac consists of 12 animal signs and the Year of 2010 is the Year of a Golden Tiger, which began on February 14, 2010 and ends on February 2, 2011.   It is a sign of courage. This fearless and fiery fighter is revered by the ancient Chinese as the sign that wards off the three main disasters of a household: fire, thieves and ghosts.  On New Year’s Day itself, it is beneficial to celebrate, to be happy, to have smiling faces, and to refrain from scowling, quarreling, or criticizing anyone.

Year of the Tiger

The Chinese believe that children have qualities that reflect their birth year, so for new ‘tiger’ babies here is what you can anticipate:

Courageous, active, and self-assured.   Optimistic, passionate and independent.  Rebellious, dynamic, and unpredictable.  Quick tempered but considerate.   Affectionate but careless.  The Tiger is a natural born leader and symbolizes power, passion and daring.

People born in the Year of the Tiger are generally well liked because of their charming personalities.  Tigers are fond of competitions. They simply cannot pass up a challenge.  They may appear cool and are unpredictable, and it would be unwise to underestimate their reactions.  Natural leaders, they have a strong sense of their own dignity.  They are intelligent, alert, and farsighted.  Good strategists and tacticians, they often have a hidden agenda.  As long as they do not risk their luck too often, and keep their restless nature under control, they will enjoy success and happiness.  Generally speaking, people born in the Year of the Tiger are fond of playing, and full of enthusiasm and sentiment. 

Famous Tiger People:  Agatha Christie, Crystal Gayle, Cybil Shepherd, Demi Moore, Hilary Swank, Jodie Foster, Marilyn Monroe, Mary Queen of Scots, Penelope Cruz, Queen Elizabeth II, Rosie O’Donnell, and Tom Cruise.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!  Happy New Year!  Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous year of the Tiger!

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