Age Appropriate Children’s Clothing

A few weeks ago I published a post titled; Mission Impossible: Raising confident children in a superficial and over-sexed society? In that post I addressed the fact that our little kindergartener wears a size 8 (thanks to the combination of daddy who is 6’-6” and mommy 5’-9”) and it seems like the fashion industry feels as though she should be dressing as a pre-teen. I continue to express the difficult time I have finding appropriate clothing for her. Particularly shorts and skirts that cover her bum when she bends over and shirts that cover her mid-drift are extremely difficult to locate. Our 6-year-old shouldn’t have to spend hours trying on clothing, at least not yet, pre-teens, sure, but trying on tons of clothes is agony to a 6-year-old (and the mama who is the recipient of the said agony which is often expressed in whining and repetitive questions, lol!). So, when I came across children’s clothing that was actually appropriate for children I felt like my prayers had been answered and I could put the agonizing fitting room drama behind me, at least for a few years.

What kind of bloggy mom would I be if I kept this to myself? The answer, a horrible one!  So, for the other mothers out there who are also suffering long hours in the fitting room, wasting beautiful weekend afternoons in department stores desperately hunting for your child’s size in appropriate fashions, it is time to reclaim your weekends and sanity with La-di-da! La-di-da offers adorable, quality, age appropriate designer children’s clothing .

I have to warn you, the designers on this site are amazing, you will want to buy one of everything once you see the high-end design quality, for a fraction of the cost, that each displays. Here are two of my favorites…

Bellerose I really enjoy the look of this designer.  The clothing is very feminine but juvenile with cute polka dots and summer floral prints that allude to a warm summer’s day on the beach with the family.

 

 

Eva & Oli  is another designer whose children’s clothing I really admire.  Eva & Oli clothing has a relaxing whimsical feel that your kiddos will look so darn cute in! Here are a few of the items I can’t wait to see my kiddos in……

What do you think? Cute, age appropriate, and still fashion conscious, the total package, right!? Checkout the site today and tell me which designers are your favorites. 

Weekend Wonder, Awe, and Appreciation

We had such a wonderful extended weekend and I hope your family did too! Thought I would share the relaxing weekend we had in town.  It was so nice to just hangout around the house on Saturday, we literally did not go anywhere and it was beautiful.  Our toddler had fun picking wild flowers and scooting in her scooter.  Our preschooler rode his bike up and down the sidewalk while our kindergartener created wonderful masterpieces on the sidewalk.  And mommy actually got to sit down and sip on tea, imagine that!

Sunday was a day for celebration! We celebrated Pentecost at our house by making a beautiful centerpiece that displayed the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and sang Happy Birthday to the church.

Memorial Day was all about gratitude and spending time with family. The day started off with a magnificent parade that exemplified community connectivity.

Honor Our Military

Let’s honor our military,

The men and women who serve,

Whose dedication to our country

Does not falter, halt or swerve.

Let’s respect them for their courage;

They’re ready to do what’s right

To keep America safe,

So we can sleep better at night.

Let’s support and defend our soldiers,

Whose hardships are brutal and cruel,

Whose discipline we can’t imagine,

Who follow each order and rule.

Here’s to those who choose to be warriors

And their helpers good and true;

They’re fighting for American values;

They’re fighting for me and you.

By Joanna Fuchs

How was your weekend? Did you have family and friends over? Did you have a cookout? Dish!

Bloom Book Review and Skype with the author, Kelle Hampton

A few month back Table for More blogger, Allie, contacted me about this great opportunity.  She has been following the blog, Enjoying the Small Things for quite some time. Kelle Hampton, from Enjoying the Small Things blogs about her life and most recently a huge surprise she received at the birth of her second child, Nella.  Allie shared Kelle’s blog with the other moms in our book club to see if we might be interested in pre-ordering the book and receive a chance to skype with the author Kelle Hampton.  We all agreed that the blog was well written and intriguing, Kelle had a unique story and we wanted to read more. That was back in March and fast forward to today and we have almost all completed the book and Table for More blogger Allie had us all over to her home to skype with the author Friday. But before I get ahead of myself….

What others have said about Bloom……

The desire to be cool was very annoying.  I don’t really appreciate grown-ups starting sentences with “Dude” and the endless references to cold beers for this and that occasion/feeling/trial/triumph struck me as very odd.  A good editor makes a writer sound better.  Where was the editor for this book?  Mommy Life

 

I really liked the basic look of the book in general. It is filled with photo after beautiful photo of Kelle, Nella, and Lainey…. not to mention the rest of their family and Kelle’s amazing group of friends. It feels like you are looking at a scrapbook, and the text is a casual conversation Kelle is having with you; telling her story. Because this is Kelle’s story, not necessarily Nella’s. This is not a book about Down’s Syndrome, but rather about a mother loving her daughter who just happens to have Down’s Syndrome. Sarah Reads to Much

 

When I first read the story of Nella Cordelia’s birth a little over two years ago, I found it all to be unreal.  So much of it seemed staged, and there was very little I could relate to – from the Martha Stewart-esque party favors, to the full makeup while giving birth, to the photos that seemed absolutely intended for a vast audience.  Most of all, I just couldn’t swallow the notion that this woman “got over it” – her baby’s surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome – so quickly and virtually effortlessly.  It seemed that within 24 hours, she was fine with the whole thing, and I called bullshit. Turn the Page

My take…..

I feel like this book is getting a bad rap. The Book Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected–A Memoir is without a doubt beautiful, I thoroughly enjoyed the reprieve from the words on the page and viewing the amazing photographs Kelle included. Are they out of this world and almost perfect, of course they are but Kelle is a photographer. She has the eye of a photographer and her experience has taught her what will and will not work when it comes to photography. So why should we expect anything less than a perfect shot. Also, let’s face it, as moms don’t we want the world seeing only the best possible pictures of our families?

I think that Kelle is an amazing descriptive writer; I enjoyed reading the analogies she included along her journey.  Then again, I am an analogy girl; I can connect better with a story after hearing the analogy.  I realize some people are not that way but I do think everyone reads a book hoping to make some sort of connection and it is there, the connection, which I feel the book was slightly lacking at first.

At the beginning of the book, while reading Kelle’s excitement for the impending birth of her second child it had me recalling the birth of my second child and I so desperately wanted to find that similarly that we shared but I struggled. I went to the hospital with my husband but I preferred to labor without any distractions, I needed to focus my mind so I could get through the intense portions of labor.  I then requested that my husband, I, and our new bundle of joy share those first few hours alone, to bond, to dream, in order to relish for future memory. So our birth stories were quite different.  I felt like instead of Nella’s birth story being about Nella it was supposed to be more about Kelle, and a “look what I did” celebration. But upon the arrival of what should have been a “perfect baby” for this “perfect celebration” God intervened.  I was a little bit taken back by the idea that it had never even entered into her mind that her child could have some type of deformity or health issue. My husband and I decided to forgo any pre-testing with our three children but in the back of my mind I had to prepare myself for the “what if”.  I had always thought all mothers did that but perhaps not.

I think Kelle was incredibly courageous to share such raw emotions with her readers. Not many moms that I know would have the bravery to be so brutally honest about how they feel especially when it comes to their child.   One such experience Kelle shared was when she walked into Target and she wanted to hide Nella from the crowds, not knowing how to explain that she has Down syndrome.  Kelle seemed to have been overly worried and concerned about what others thought and it seems like that is her Mount Everest, she needs to climb that mountain now, and maybe she will address this in a future book? But, where I could relate and what I thought was the most profound aspect of the book was her support system.

Without a doubt the most amazing part of this book and the main focus throughout was Kelle’s family and friends. This book had me calling up my mom and saying thank you for all she and my father have done for me and my brother and sister.  It had me texting, emailing, and calling friends to catch-up. It had me thanking God for the amazing support system I have and for that, the opportunity to realized how blessed I am, I most definitely say thank you Kelle.  You can’t help but wonder who would be there for you, in a similar situation. Which one of your friends would come into the bathroom with you after giving birth? Who would spend the night with you in the hospital? Who would have the courage to say some outlandish things because they know you need to laugh? Who? Kelle may have received some darn right mean reviews but I can’t help but think those women are hurting perhaps because they realized they may not have received the waves of support that Kelle did.

I think people, moms,  begin reading this book with the intention of learning about what it feels like to find out you have a child with down syndrome, but I think that is the wrong focus of the book, it is called Bloom for a reason.  In order for a flower to bloom it requires soil, water, sun, and a little attention never hurt.  We are the same as those flowers; we grow and bloom based upon the necessary elements and sometimes those are different for each of us.  I personally feel that faith, family, and friendship are the elements that allow us to bloom into the magnificent people who God had intended. Each of those elements is clearly present in Kelle’s life and I thank her for allowing so many to come into her garden of life and watch her Bloom.

It was so wonderful to have the opportunity to skype with Kelle at Allie’s home.  Thank you Table for More for introducing me to Enjoying the Small Things and ultimately the book Bloom and the opportunity to skype with Kelle about her amazing support network while sitting with mine.

Kelle, I also wish you many more blessings and that your garden of life does expand very soon. God bless you and your family,

Kat

Have your read Bloom? What is your take? Have you had something happen in your life that allowed you to grow as a person? Do you have an amazing support network of friends? Any particular scenario you wish to share regarding your support network?

Pentecost Activities for Children

Pentecost is this coming Sunday, May 27, 2012.  Pentecost marks the end of the Easter season.

The Story of Pentecost

Pentecost commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the apostles. After Jesus rose on Easter, he appeared to the apostles over the next 40 days, teaching them the significance of what had happened to Him. They listened, but didn’t really understand, so Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, who would enlighten them and give them everything they would need to carry the Good News to people all over the world.

Then Jesus ascended into heaven, and the apostles were more confused than ever!

They gathered in an upper room with the mother of Jesus to pray. Ten days later they heard a loud noise, and the Holy Spirit descended upon them in tongues of fire. When that happened, they received spiritual gifts that transformed their lives and gave them the power to touch the lives of other people.

They ran into the streets and began to tell people about Jesus. Each person in the crowd understood the apostles in his or her own language. Thousands became believers that day.

Today we celebrate Pentecost as the birthday of the Church.

Source: http://www.osv.com/OSV4MeNav/ChurchSeasons/PentecostTheHolySpirit/tabid/8386/Default.aspx

Prayer 

Father of light, from whom every good gift comes, send Your Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, and by the flame of Your wisdom open the horizons of our minds. Loosen our tongues to sing Your praise in words beyond the power of speech, for without Your Spirit man could never raise his voice in words of peace or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord, who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

One of the most important lessons a mother/ parent can teach their children is how to listen to the Holy Spirit.  A great way to encourage your children to listen is to engage in a conversation after mass.  Ask your children what message they heard in the readings, in the music, in the homily that seemed to speak to their souls. Then help them to recognize that that is how the Holy Spirit works in their lives.

 

Here are some additional activities that you can share with your children:

 

 

http://www.sermons4kids.com/pentecost_jumble.htm

Read this story and have your child color the coloring page that accompanies it http://littlelambsministry.freeservers.com/storyholyspiritcomes.htm

Crafts:

http://catholicblogger1.blogspot.com/2009/04/lesson-plan-pentecost.html

 

http://busywithblessings.blogspot.com/2009/05/ways-to-celebrate-pentecost.html

http://dawnathome.typepad.com/by_sun_and_candlelight/2007/05/cupcakes_and_a_.html

Food:

Since Pentecost is also known as “Whitsunday,” and one tradition is to serve white foods.  Last year we had powdered sugar doughnuts and white hot chocolate with breakfast and an afternoon snack of milk and Macaroons. Shower of Roses

For dessert, A Cake for Pentecost, complete with the mighty wind to blow out the candles. This is such a hit each year, and I plan on making it again!

Make Holy Spirit Crackers, like the ones inspired by Alice from our Easter Tea.

How do you plan on celebrating Pentecost? Do you have a family tradition?

End of School Year Teacher’s Gifts: Lemon Sugar Scrub

Last year we had a Moms Spa Night with our playgroup and it was amazing! We had a massage therapist on hand giving massages throughout the night, there was decadent desserts, savory treats, wine, and conversations flowing like a river, it was the best!  The main event that evening was, Cortnie, the owner of Spa Fogo, who came and discussed the important of skin care with all the moms. Most of us had 3 rough spot that can be so embarrassing and totally exposed in our summer wardrobe; elbow, knees, and ankles.  She mentioned one of the most important steps towards minimizing these rough patches, a step that we moms often forget, mostly due to time constraints, exfoliation.  In an effort to get us on the path towards eliminating our rough patches of dry skin she had us each make a sugar scrub that we could take home and use as an exfoliator. Ever since that night I have been hooked on this simple recipe for making your own sugar scrub. No more spending a lot of money at the bath and body stores, all you need is sugar, oil, and whatever essential oil/scent you wish to include.

So, fast forward to today and the end of the school year is here!! Along with the end of the school year comes gifts for the amazing teacher that give so much of themselves to our children each and every day.  I am so grateful for the compassion, patience, and guidance teacher give our children.  After I drop my children off at school know I can go on about my day knowing that my child is being well cared for by their teacher and that is a feeling that can hold no monetary value. So then, what do you get the amazing person that greatly influences your child and puts your mommy mind at ease when you are not present?

While I wish I could give each of them a day at the Spa because, let’s face it, they totally deserve that, can you imagine being with 28 preschoolers or 24 Kindergarteners every day? So, I figure why not give them a little bit of the Spa treatment at home with some Lemon Sugar Scrub!! I know I always feel like a million bucks after shaving and using the sugar scrub so hopefully they will also enjoy the renewing feeling that comes after exfoliating with a sugar scrub. I have also found it to be extremely useful in the kitchen after I have handled garlic, onions, or fish. It is also great after gardening, my hands look disgusting, caked with soil but the sugar scrub makes them good as new.

Here are the simple steps to make Sugar Scrub for the special teachers in your life or make some just for yourself, because you deserve it too!

Ingredients:

(This recipe will fill 6 12 oz Mason Jars)

6 cups of sugar

2 cups of oil (I like using olive oil but it can detract from the lemon or essential oil scent so I have been using 1 cup olive oil and 1 cup canola oil)

7 Tablespoon lemon juice (or you can add an essential oil like lavender, vanilla, peppermint, I have seen recipes where pumpkin pie spice has been used, coffee grounds and cocoa, baby oil, your imagination is the limit)

Directions:

Simply mix everything together, the sugar, oil, and whatever scent you prefer.

To decorate the Mason Jars I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased yellow fabric to glue on the top of the jar. I just use a good old glue stick.

Next I added the monogram to the top and black and white ribbon to tie the craft stick to the jar. The stick is necessary to stir the scrub before use since the oil and sugar will separate. It is also helpful for removing scrub from the jar.

Finished product….

This is what my kiddos are giving their teachers’ this year but we have many many more years ahead so please spill, what are you giving, have given, or plan to give in the future, to your children’s teachers? Or, maybe you are a teacher, what are some of the gifts you received that you really enjoyed? Any gifts we should avoid?

Stonyfield Sponsored Play date at the Park!

What started off as an unsure morning thanks to the weather forecast which called for a 60% chance of rain actually ended up being quite enjoyable!  The moms from our local playgroup met up with us at Wildwood Metro Park for what would be a fun-filled morning.

The kiddos had so much fun seeing each other; a lot of the PRESCHOOL CHILDREN in our group had preschool on opposite days so they really didn’t get a chance to see each other that much during the school year. We also have a few moms that had BABIES within the past few months and due to their little immune systems haven’t attended a play date in a while so it was so nice to see them and their little ones.  We also had our small group of TODDLERS who I like to call our “regulars” in attendance.  Any mother who has had a toddler know that getting out in the morning and playing is the key to burning up that energy so that they nap in the afternoon, and play they did…

The best part about having Stonyfield sponsor this playdate was the fact that they have something for every age group in our playgroup.

BABIES…Yo Baby

 

TODDLERS….Yo Toddler

PRESCHOOLERS….Yo Kids

(These are great for school lunches. Place them in the freezer and then in the morning put them in your child’s lunch bag and it helps keep food cold and is perfect to eat by lunch time.)

And Stonyfield didn’t forget the woman who brought them to the playdate and who care so much about their children’s health as well as their own, the one, and the only amazing person who manages to do it all, MOMS!! They provided us with a 32oz of the French Vanilla Yogurt as well as 2 samples of their Greek Oikois yogurt.

 

I also brought along Bear Naked Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch and fresh red ripe strawberries for moms (and some kiddos) to enjoy a parfait. It tasted amazing; it was just what the moms needed in order to continue chasing after toddlers, pushing preschoolers on the swing, and kibitzing with the other moms (that can get exhausting).

Speaking of kibitzing, ALL the moms agreed that they like the fact that Stonyfield is organic and contains no pesticide, which is definitely a plus considering there has been a link to exposure to pesticides and behavioral problems like ADHD. We all liked the fact that our children actually liked it and ate it!! Far too often moms purchase healthy food and the kiddos don’t eat it but not when it comes to Stonyfield yogurt. The babies, toddlers, preschooler, and moms all liked the superior taste. But, we have decided that it might be best if we keep the fact that it is good for a you a little secret from the kiddos since they, as they put it, just like how much fun it is to grab a tube and squeeze!

Thank you Stonyfield for sponsoring this fun play date through the variety of your products you provided and the coupons!!

Have you ever tried Stonyfield? What is your favorite flavor? Have a fun way of eating your yogurt? Please share

How much are you willing to spend on a child’s B-day Party?

Ok, so I have gone to a significant amount of birthday parties this year. Between my 4-year-old and my 6-year-old social butterfly I have had the opportunity to observe many moms in this Birthday Chaos Mode. We have attended bug themes, princess themes, dancer themes, super hero, dinosaur, cowboy, you name it and I am sure there has been a correlating themed birthday party we attended. Since when did a child’s birthday party become such a huge production?

The vast amount of time, energy, and money that is sunk into these occasions astounds me at times.  I always thought the big, break the bank party people threw was for weddings, not the case any more. My husband and I were discussing this birthday party epidemic the other day and we were trying to determine how this crazy birthday party revolution evolved.  When we were children we did not have birthday parties till we were at least 6 years of age and even then they were often smaller scale gatherings.  We would have a hand full of friends over to play pin the tail on the donkey, make a pretty picture, have some cake, and call it a day.  Granted every now and again I would have a friend whose parents would have a party for their child at a fast-food restaurant or even at the pool that they were members of but, again, it often wasn’t anything to elaborate.  So when did this birthday party revolution occur and how has it evolved into such a spectacle?

Was it a 4-year-old who woke up one morning and declared that he wanted a bounce house, a clown, tons of candy, cookies, cake, cupcakes, trampoline, pony, dancers, goody bags trimmed in gold that Donald Trump would be jealous of, and an outlandish gift that is not appropriate for my age that all my friends will envy.  Or perhaps we should blame MTV?  After all isn’t that the easiest was out? Why take responsibility as the parents, no, let’s blame entertainment media.  Did this all start because of the MTV elaborate show Sweet Sixteen where parents, mind you often millionaire parents, throw teenagers parties that any bride would be envious of? Perhaps the over the top party idea was then imbedded to memory and was unconsciously referenced when it came time for the 4 year olds birthday? Or maybe a mother really asked her child what they wanted for their party and they made their every wish come true? I don’t know about you, but if I actually threw the party my 4-year-old wanted there would be a space ship in our backyard, perhaps a few fire trucks as a safety precaution in the front, the Wiggles dancing on the roof, and Yo Gabba Gabba characters being shot out of cannons on the side of the house.  Oh, and the cake would be tons of PB & Jelly sandwiches in the shape of the spaceship in the backyard (don’t be surprised if you actually see this type of party on some celebrity reality show- talk about crazy!).

I guess we will never know the true culprit, who first entertained these crazy competitive, over the top parties but the crazy bus needs to be put out of commission. The elaborate birthday parties are making moms go wild and not in the cool crazy way. We are talking scary, nuts, veins bulging from their foreheads way.   It is not a pretty sight for anyone to witness let alone a poor, innocent, 4-year-old.  Why are these moms driving themselves crazy to have the best birthday party for their child? We get it, you love your child but don’t you love them enough to provide boundaries and limits to their expectations.  If you are starting off so elaborate at 4 how are you supposed to top it at their next birthday?  These moms are not only competing with each other but they are also competing with themselves.  If you have more than one child each party must be better than the last. 

Moms there is no need to break the bank when it comes to your child’s birthday party, keep it low-key.  Have fun planning the party with your child.  Bottom line and most importantly enjoy the day.  Your baby will never turn 3 or 4 or whatever age again, soak it in mom and designate another parent or girlfriend as your photographer that day.  You will be so busy with the activities that you will not have the time to take a lot of pictures, you will treasure them later.

So, how much is too much to spend on a child’s birthday, how much did you spend on your child’s last birthday? What is the most elaborate child’s birthday party you have attended? Any one happen to see the Real Housewives of OC last week? Alexis, a mother fo 3 young children had an elaborate party for her twin 4 year-old daughters (the entire thing was rather humorous if you are looking for a good laugh) and she had puppies for the guest to take home (like on Bridesmaids), how pissed would you be if you were one of those children’s parents who attended the party?