December 23, 2012

A Puppy for Christmas?

Today I heard one of my friends talking about possibly getting her five year old a puppy for Christmas. She had a number of reasons why she felt like this year was the perfect year to let her son have the puppy he’s been asking for. Are you thinking about doing something similar for your child(ren) for Christmas or some other special occasion?

I’ve thought about it myself, but after doing a little bit of research, I have decided against it. Below are just a few things to think about before you bring home that little puppy on Christmas morning.

1.      How responsible is your child? If you are purchasing the puppy (or any other live animal) for your little one, and giving it to him/her as his/her own pet – then you need to take an objective look at how responsible your child is. At five, is your little one really old enough to care for a puppy like it should be cared for? And remember, a puppy doesn’t stay a “puppy” for long. They grow and get bigger and at a much faster rate than your child will, too. If you are still having to remind your child to brush his teeth, put clothe in the dirty clothes hamper and pick up toys before bed, then he/she probably isn’t ready for the responsibilities associated with caring for a puppy.

2.      Have you researched dog breeds? The worst thing you can do is call about an ad in the paper listing puppies for sale. Even if they are Golden Retriever pups, that particular breed may not be right for your family. Buying a family dog is not something that should done on a whim. To ensure everyone in your family loves the dog and that the dog will find it’s “forever” home with you and your family, you need to make sure you find the breed that’s right for you and your family. Visiting is a great place to start your research.

3.      Have you found a reputable breeder to buy from? Again, don’t answer an ad in the local paper advertising puppies for sale. Once you have determined the breed that will fit your family’s lifestyle the best, you need to find a reputable breeder to buy from. The national club for the breed you’ve chosen will most likely have reputable breeders listed on their website. These are the people you should buy from because they are breeding with the intention to better the breed. Your “backyard” breeders (like those who place ads in the newspapers) are just breeding to make money. When you purchase from a reputable breeder, you will most likely be placed on a waiting list. You should also expect to pay several hundred dollars, or more, for a dog. That might sound high, but it’s worth it knowing the dog is of sound breeding, decreasing the chances of serious health problems in the future.

As you can see there is a lot to consider when thinking about purchasing a puppy for your little one for Christmas. And, unless you have done your research and can answer the questions above in a positive manner, you should probably wait a while before adding a new(four-legged) member to the family. Sticking to gifts such as toys, new dresses, video games and books are probably more suitable.

December 20, 2012

Christmas Spirit

The Christmas season is one of my most favorite times of the year. Why? I love shopping for others. In fact, when my husband and I first got married, my husband got irritated with me because he thought I bought gifts for too many people. In his mind, we only had to buy gifts for our immediate family members and that was it. Well, it’s not that I love spending money or that I feel like I HAVE to get gifts for all of my family, friends and co-workers…it’s just something I like to do.
To me, that is what the spirit of Christmas is all about. It’s not about the things I think I need, but it’s about going out and looking for that special gift for the people I hold dearest. Thankfully, my husband has gotten a lot better about this over the past decade. Five years ago, we had our first child and in the last few years (since he’s been old enough to understand), both my husband and I have worked hard to show him what the spirit of Christmas is all about. If you’re wondering how you can help teach your young children what Christmas is all about, consider implementing some (or all) of the following ideas.
1. Talk about Santa, but keep the focus on giving. Most parents don’t want to take the magic out of Christmas for their kids and choose to incorporate Santa into their holiday traditions. I’m not any different. I remember believing in Santa and how exciting it made Christmas Eve, wondering if I would be up when he arrived or not. I want the same for my son, however, I don’t want him to only think about the things HE wants for Christmas. Therefore, my husband and I do talk about Santa (and take him to visit Santa too), but we always keep the emphasis on what Santa does…he gives to others because he gets great joy in bringing happiness to others.

2. Make a shopping list for others. Instead of focusing so much time and attention on writing a letter to Santa outlining all of the things our son wants for the holidays, we help him create a list of ideas for the types of gifts he can get other people. Since our son is only five, we keep the list pretty short: mommy, daddy, baby brother and grandparents.

3. Take him/her shopping. Next, take your little one shopping so he/she can pick out the gifts for the people on his/her shopping list. And, don’t worry if your child starts asking for toys for him/herself…mine does it on every trip. However, when we are shopping for others at Christmas, I do not let him get anything for himself. I always remind him that we are shopping for someone else and we need to think about what that person would like.
Believe it or not, those three little things have done a lot to teach my son what the real spirit of Christmas is about. He actually enjoys going to the store and picking out gifts for his family members. One of his favorite things to pick out is jewelry for his grandmothers…I just know that his future wife will love this trait! So, if you’re looking to help teach your little ones about what Christmas is all about, consider trying the ideas listed above.

December 14, 2012

Dieting during the Holidays

How to Maintain Your Weight Throughout the Holidays

For years I couldn’t figure out why people wait until January 1st to go and get a gym membership. Why not just get started on your weight-loss goals when the idea first strikes you? Well, because most of us think about losing weight around the time the holidays roll around because we start thinking about how much food we’ll be consuming at all those holiday gatherings. And, it’s easier to say, “I’ll just work it off after the holidays and losing weight can just be my New Year’s Resolution.”

I never used to worry about my weight during the holidays and enjoyed all the holiday goodies I wanted. However, once I became a mom that stopped. I had baby weight I had to get off, but I didn’t want to miss out on all the holiday treats so for three years I said, “I’ll start dieting on January 1st and by this time next year I’ll be back to my pre-pregnancy weight.” Yes, you read that right…for three years I did that before I really started losing weight.

It wasn’t the fact that I finally got serious about fitting into that little black dress or that I received a wake-up call from my doctor that caused me to start losing weight. It was actually the fact that my husband got a new job that required him to be away from home for up to two weeks at a time that sparked it. Again, I didn’t try to diet…I was just depressed about my husband being gone for so long. When I get depressed, I don’t eat much so the weight started to “fall” off. Then, when my husband was able to find a job closer to home, I made the decision to continue losing weight.

Naturally, this happened a few months before the holidays, but I was determined to keep losing weight. All I was doing was counting calories. I did The Biggest Loser method of taking my weight and multiplying it by seven (7) and that was the amount of calories I was allowed to eat. That’s it…no exercise. I actually lost about 35 pounds doing that. However, after losing all that weight, my husband and I got pregnant last November so last year, the holidays were again fun. I was pregnant, so that gave me a free pass, right?

Anyways, so here I am dieting again during the holidays. Only this time, I’m doing it the right way and including exercise into my regiment. I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but the challenge is to maintain my weight during the next month after all the holiday parties are over. Are you in a similar situation? Well, here’s a few tips for how to maintain your weight, and not bust your diet, during the holidays.

1.Don’t skip the gym. This is a big one for me. It’s so easy to skip going to the gym due to all of the holiday activities. However, going to the gym actually keeps my body’s metabolism up and burns calories, which means it won’t be detrimental if I eat more than usual at a holiday party.

2.Keep track of what you eat. It sounds a little extreme, but find a way to keep track of everything you eat (and drink) each day…even on the days of the parties. Studies have proven that we tend to eat less when we keep a diary of what we’re eating each day. The My Fitness Pal app for iPhone and Android is a great way to do this.

3.Give yourself a cheat day. Finally, give yourself a cheat day where you allow yourself to eat 500 or so more calories than usual. If you know you have a holiday party coming up, work really hard seven to ten days before the party to stay under your calorie goal and then make your cheat day the day of the party. And, don’t feel bad! Giving yourself a cheat day each week actually keeps your metabolism going!

As you try to lose weight, you should be learning how to change your lifestyle so once you reach your goal weight, you can maintain it. In order to do this, you have to learn how to manage your weight during the holidays when all of those fattening foods are around. It’s okay to indulge when it’s done in moderation.

December 7, 2012

Holiday Food Fun with Kids

When many of us think about Christmastime, we immediately start thinking about Christmas dresses, holiday plays and parties, how many Christmas gifts we have left to buy and a host of other things that have to get done (or attended) during this crazy time of year. However, while we’re worrying about everything we have to do before the holiday season is over, those of us with kids often forget that this is a magical time of year for them.

The three or four weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with excitement for kids. So, why not take advantage of this excitement and use it to create fun, lasting memories with your kids? One of the most fun ways to do this is by gathering together in the kitchen and making yummy treats the entire family can enjoy. Shoot, why limit it to family? Why not share the treats you make with your friends and/or neighbors? Below are some fun holiday food suggestions that you can make with your kids for a little additional holiday fun.

1. Jello Jigglers – There’s really nothing to this fun treat. All you need is a small baking pan and some jello mix. Spray a very light mist of cooking spray over the baking sheet. Next, prepare the jello as directed on the box but DO NOT add the cold water. (Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you may need two or three boxes of jello) Once mixed, pour the mixture in the baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator for three hours or until the jello is completely set up. Finally, get out your favorite holiday cookie cutters and let the kids cut out jello jigglers. Not only is this a fun activity for the kids, but it also makes for an easy snack too!

2. Caramel Marshmallows -  This is another easy (and fun) snack to make with the kids. You will need a bag of Kraft Caramels, a bag of large marshmallows and a box of rice crispy cereal. Simply unwrap and melt the caramels in a large bowl (don’t forget to add a little milk to ensure the caramel stays soft and edible). Once melted, let the kids dip the marshmallows in the caramel and then the rice crispy cereal. Place dipped marshmallows on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. You can refrigerate these treats or, if they are going to be eaten quickly, leave them at room temperature. Just make sure the caramel has cooled before eating.

3. Cookies, Breads and Candy – Three of the most popular things to make during the holidays are cookies, breads and holiday candy. If you are trying to figure out a nice gift for the neighbors, make these three things and take to the neighbors in a cute festive basket…they’ll love it. Be sure to include the kids in the process in order to make holiday memories and encourage the spirit of giving. Sugar cookies, banana bread and peppermint bark are a few of the easiest holiday treats you can make with kids!

December 4, 2012

What You Need to Know Before You Bring Home Baby

Are you expecting your first baby soon? Congratulations! Babies are truly little blessings for anyone who comes in contact with them…especially their parents. While you are probably over joyed with the idea of how much your life is going to change in the months after you bring the baby home, you do need to realize that while babies are fun (and a blessing), they are a lot of work. Bringing home a new baby can be difficult and stressful when you have unrealistic expectations. Below are just a few things that are good to know before you bring home your new little bundle of joy.

1. It may take months to establish a “real” schedule. When I was expecting my first baby, I was determined that I was not going to be one of those new moms who ran around looking ragged because I was going to make sure my baby was on a schedule. Looking back (five years later), I actually laugh at myself when I think about what I thought life with baby was going to be like.

The truth is that it took at least three months (if not more) before my son settled into a regular schedule of his own. The most frustrating thing, for me, in regards to the newborn stage was that as soon as I thought I had him and his schedule figured out, he would throw me a loop and change it up. So, don’t expect to settle into a rigid schedule right at first. Your little one is going to be calling the shots the first couple of months. Luckily for us, they don’t remember the days they had “control” over the family, giving us the ability to easily regain that control.

2. There is such a thing as too many clothes. Buying baby clothes is one of the most fun things when planning for a new baby. At least it was for me…and I had a boy! I can’t imagine how much fun shopping for a girl would be with all the fancy bows, irresistible baby dresses and shoes out there for them! Sadly, you really can buy too many clothes for your infant. Why? Babies generally grow pretty quickly once they come home, making it possible for them to outgrow outfits before they are ever worn. Therefore, try to keep your baby clothing purchases limited during the first year. If you don’t, you may find yourself wasting a lot of money.

3. You can hold a baby too much. I understand that this statement goes against what many of us want to believe, but it’s really true. Five years ago, when I had my son, he was held for 18 hours straight at the hospital. As a result, when we came home all my son wanted was to be held. And, don’t get me wrong, I wanted to hold him. However, I didn’t get anything done when I held him all day and all that did was teach him that he was always going to be held when he was awake. I slowly had to limit the amount of time I held him (in one setting). This allowed me to get the things I needed to done around the house and also taught him that it was okay to sit in his swing or lay on the floor for a little while by himself.

The only reason I’m bringing this up is because I don’t want you to feel guilty for putting your baby down for a while. Take this example, I have a friend who had a baby a few months ago and because she would hold the baby anytime she cried, the little girl instantly starts screaming when she is put down now. (She’s 5 months old) In addition, she won’t let anyone else hold her aside from her mother without screaming. This has my friend beyond stressed and she has even admitted that she shouldn’t have held her little one constantly. Therefore, don’t feel bad for not holding your baby all the time. They really can get held too much and when that happens, it’s incredibly hard to “break” them of the habit.

November 14, 2012

Girls Holiday Fashion 2012

As I am writing this blog post, I’m thinking about everything that I have to do tonight with my little guys as today is Halloween. So, you may think it’s a little odd that I’m writing a blog post about holiday fashion on Halloween, but the truth is that the holiday season actually starts in less than four weeks with Thanksgiving! And then, you have only got about four more weeks until Christmas is here…so, now is the time to start thinking about girls’ 2012 holiday fashion – if you want to be prepared when the holidays are really here!

As a mother of two little boys, I feel like I miss out a little because I don’t have all the options available to me that the mothers of girls do when it comes to shopping for clothes. However, I still love looking through the racks of little girls’ clothing…especially holiday formal wear for little girls! The fun thing about formal wear for girls is that there are so many options for you and your little one.

Colors – Girls have the ability to wear literally ANY color they want, which makes clothes shopping even more fun. However, around the holidays there are several colors that you really want to look for in a holiday dress. These include: red, burgundy, black, gold, silver and white. Navy blue and purple can also work as holiday dress colors too.

This year, we have a few dresses containing a lot of silver, which is a new concept for holiday dresses as the silver in previous holiday dresses is usually in the form of small accents. Purchasing a silver holiday dress for your little one will definitely make a beautiful holiday statement!

Lace – If you are not sold on the idea of a solid color holiday dress for your little one, then consider finding a dress with a detailed lace overlay. Adding an overlay of lacey detail to a dress will give it a very elegant, classy and traditional feel to the dress. At Kids Formal we have several lace overlay holiday dresses available.

Sashes and Jackets – Finally, if your little one already has a dress for the holidays, but you want to “jazz” it up a bit, you can always add a colored sash and/or a bolero jacket to the dress. These two accessories are simple, but very effective in transforming the look of a dress. Browse through our selection of sashes and jackets here.

November 8, 2012

Too Much Halloween Candy? Here is what to do

I’m not sure about you, but I’m not a big fan of Halloween now that I’m a parent. It’s not because I don’t enjoy helping the kids dress up and go trick-or-treating…it’s because of all the candy we come home with at the end of the night. Right now, I only have one child old enough to trick-or-treat, I can’t imagine what parents with two or more kids trick-or-treating come home with on Halloween night!

For me, the issue is that candy doesn’t have any nutritional value to it and has a horrible side effect on kids (it makes them crazy!), plus there’s too much of it collected in one night and we end up eating candy every day until Thanksgiving it seems. I know I’m not the only parent out there who feels this way, so I did a little research looking for ways to get rid of the extra candy. Below are some of the ideas I came across.

• Save It for Later – One of the best ways to save Halloween candy for later is to freeze it. Just like with meat and other perishable foods, candy can also be preserved by freezing. Why would you want to freeze candy? Some candy can be used for ice cream shakes or even a sundae or you could make your own sonic-like blast. Another idea is to keep candy like bite size snickers, mini reese’s pieces and rolo packs for cookies!

• Make a Healthy Snack – Combine some of the candy (M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, etc.) in a bowl with nuts, raisins, mini marshmallows and other yummy treats for a fun trail mix the kids will love munching on. Trail mix is good because the nuts contain all the protein kids need for a midday snack, but the candy gives it the sweet taste it needs to keep the kids coming back for more.

• Keep It for the Holidays – There’s no arguing that kids can get a lot of Halloween candy. Most parents don’t want their kids munching on it for weeks, but hate to throw it out because it’s good. The solution is to stash half of it (or more) away until the holidays roll around. This is an even better idea if you’re having Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinner(s) at your house as everyone loves candy. So, why not share?

• Keep for Emergencies – As parents, we have all been in out with the kids and need a good bribe to get us through the rest of the trip. Candy makes for an excellent bribe! So, stick it in your purse, the diaper bag…shoot, even the glove box in the car. Just make sure you have something other than chocolate in case your kids are wearing a boys formal suit or a special occasion dress!

October 29, 2012

Tips for New Parents

Parenthood is something many couples look forward to from the day they find out they’re expecting…some even from the day they get married! Having children is honestly one of the greatest blessings we will ever receive during this lifetime, however, it’s also the hardest job out there. I know when I was pregnant with my first child, I had all these wonderful thoughts about what it was going to be like having a baby and raising a child. Now, my first born is five and when I think about my initial thoughts about how parenthood would be, I just laugh.

I’ve learned a lot in the last five years and I can tell you, a lot of the things I swore I’d never do as a parent, I’ve done. If you or someone you know is expecting, then the following tips may be helpful. After all, there’s a lot more to raising kids than picking out the perfect holiday dress or tuxedo. It takes a lot of patience, determination and follow-through to be a good parent!

1. Say good-bye to a spotless house. Once you start acquiring baby clothes, accessories and furniture (before the baby arrives) your house will never be the same. A lot of new parents, myself included, have a hard time letting go of the idea that their home isn’t going to ever be spotless again. At least not for ten years or so. If you can accept that before the baby arrives, the better off you’ll be. That doesn’t mean you can’t get your house picked up and looking presentable before guests arrive. It just means that on a day-to-day basis, there will be something out of place whether it’s toys in the living room, a pile of clean laundry on the bed, dirty dishes in the sink or carpet that hasn’t been swept in a couple weeks…there will always be something, and that’s okay!

2. All babies and toddlers cry and throw fits. One of the most common things I hear my new-mom friends say is that they feel like bad moms when their babies cry and they can’t calm them down. Please, don’t feel this way! Most babies have a “cry” time and some develop colic, and there’s nothing you can do. Toddlers are the same way when they begin gaining independence. Throwing fits is just part of it. Just remember to stay calm and reassure yourself that every parent goes through these stages.

3. Hire a babysitter and go out! Finally, the best piece of advice I can give to new parents is to hire a babysitter and go out together as a couple…and don’t feel bad about it! You and your partner need time together without the baby so you don’t forget who you are as a couple. After all, in 18 years the child will be grown and moving out and it will just be you and your spouse again. So, whatever you do when raising kids, don’t ever feel bad about hiring a babysitter to spend some quality time together!

October 13, 2012

Going Crazy? Get Out!

While being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs, it can be a pretty stressful job too. And, a lot of times it feels like there is no relief from this job. This is especially true for those who are stay and/or work at home parents. When you aren’t taking care of the kiddos, you’re trying to get work done, bills paid or housecleaning done – all while being constantly interrupted. Plus, let’s face it, there are days when absolutely nothing gets done because the little ones are in need of our attention more.

Well, if you are like me, you often feel frustrated, tired, stressed and just plain grouchy at the end of the day. And, when I have a few days like this in a row, I swear I’m borderline crazy. Thankfully, I have found a few things that help me keep a more positive attitude and sanity, which make me a better mom for my kids. They all involve getting out of the house! Here they are:

•    Driving – It may sound a little weird, but there is just something about taking a drive (out of the city) and turning up the radio that helps me clear my mind. I have to do this when my oldest is at school and the baby has just been fed…and, yes, it is a “waste” of gas, but sometimes a small drive is all I need to feel refreshed.

•    Shopping – I’m no different than any other woman when it comes to shopping. I used to shop all the time, but once my husband and I had kids, those days became pretty scarce. So, it’s a pretty big deal when I’m able to enjoy a kid-free afternoon shopping. I try to do it at least once or twice a month. Of course, I spend most of my time away shopping for the kids (boys suits, dress shoes, toys, etc.), but that’s okay. It doesn’t really matter what I’m shopping for, once I come home I feel more like the “me” I know and less like the crazy person I felt like earlier.

•    Lunch Dates – Even if I have my youngest son (going on 2 months), meeting a friend for lunch is always a sure-fire way to bring my spirits back up. Just being able to sit down and talk with another adult helps me tremendously…even if it is only for an hour.

•    Girls’/Guys’ Night Out – Finally, when I’ve had a couple of stressful weeks or even a month, I try to plan a night out with some of my closest friends. Paying a sitter for a few hours is always worth the cost!

Just remember that just because we are now parents, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to get out and do the things we enjoyed before our kids came along. In fact, we should make time to continue doing them every now and then because spending a little time away from the kids always has a positive effect on us and how we treat our kids.

September 29, 2012

Buy Children’s Formalwear from KidsFormal

Finding children’s formal wear can be pretty hard, especially if you are on a budget. Another thing that may make it hard for you to find the right clothing for your kids is your location. If you aren’t close to a decent sized town, then your options for kids formal wear may be pretty slim…if there’s any at all. The good news is that because of Kids Formal, you don’t have to worry about where in Illinois you live because you’ll always have instant access to a multitude of great kids’ formal wear. And, best of all, our formal wear is all incredibly affordable!

Kids Formal is a family owned business that actually started in Chicago. Twenty-four years later and we’re still a family owned business providing people with the best children’s formal wear they can find. However, there are a few things different about us than there was in 1988 when we got started. First of all, we have more locations in several states. Secondly, we have fully embraced the internet and have an online store to ensure everyone has the ability to find the best formal wear for their kids, no matter where in Illinois they’re located (or in any other state for that matter).

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a nice boy’s suit for your son, a Christmas dress for your daughter, formal shoes, fancy socks, gloves, belts or any other accessory to go with your child’s formal outfit…we’ve got it. As mentioned above, the best part is that everything on our website is very affordable, making it easy for parents on tight budgets to still dress their kids in the formal wear they need for upcoming special events!

All you need to do is visit us at Kids Formal to get started. Our website is pretty easy to navigate as you can read through our categories on the left side of the screen and select the type of formal clothing you are in the market for. If you are looking for a dress in a particular color, click on our “flower girl dresses” category and then select the color of dress you want. You will then be shown all of the dresses we have in that color. As for accessories, simply select either “girls accessories” or “boys accessories” to be shown the various accessories we have available.

Once you’ve found the items you need and have added them to the cart, you’re ready to check out. The checkout process is incredibly easy, but if you have any questions, you can call our customer service at any time to get the help you need. Our checkout site is secure so you can be confident your information is safe. Your items will arrive within 5-10 business days – even if you live out in the “sticks”! So for your next kids’ formal wear purchase, visit us first!

September 24, 2012

Dressing Baby Up

Babies are arguably the most precious gifts we receive. Even through all the long nights, teething, fevers and poopy diapers…there just isn’t anything sweeter than a baby. While babies are wonderful and bring lots of joy to our lives, it’s undeniable that for the first year they do make things difficult sometimes. For example, once you bring a little one home from the hospital, it’s harder to go out at night with your spouse because now you have to find a babysitter and for a while, you might as well forget about staying out all night because the baby doesn’t sleep through the night yet.

Another difficulty, that Kids Formal helps parents out with is deciding how to get their little one all dressed up for a formal occasion. It can be quite a task to find a formal outfit in those tiny sizes. If you have a little girl, then you probably won’t have an issue finding the perfect baby dress for her, but boys are a little more difficult to dress, especially newborns. We do carry newborn suits and tuxedos, but because every baby differs in size (and fit), these don’t always work out the way we’d like them to. Below are a couple of ideas for how you can get your baby dressed up for that special event!

•    Dress Shirt with Slacks. Getting a baby boy all decked out to the nine’s in a suit and tie or tuxedo isn’t usually what most parents want to do. Even if everything fits perfectly, it may be uncomfortable for the newborn and let’s not even talk about the possibility of spit up. Another option is to find a small dress shirt for your little guy and pair it up with a newborn dress pant. With newborns, you don’t really even need to worry about shoes, dress socks will look fine, but they to make plenty of dress shoes for infants if you do want some.

•    Bows and Fancy Socks. You may not have a big enough budget to go out and by a new fancy baby dress for an upcoming formal event, and that’s okay! You can dress up any style of baby dress simply by purchasing a decorative bow and fancy socks for your little one to wear. The great thing about having a little girl today is that the styles (and prices) of all the bows being made for them are infinite – you will be able to find something that matches and is within your budget! Most of the bows for little girls today are designed to grab the attention of people right away, so if you find the right bow, the dress is naturally going to look more formal! And fancy socks just add a little something to her feet. You can’t go wrong with bows and fancy socks on your baby girl.

September 17, 2012

How to take care of a newborn with another baby at home

Believe it or not, there is a lot involved in caring for a new baby. I just recently had my second child, my first is almost 5, so this has been quite a transition for me. I didn’t realize how quickly I had forgotten how much there is to do with a newborn. The day I brought him home from the hospital, I got a quick reminder…and this time, it’s a little more intensive with another child at home.

It’s funny how when we’re expecting, we focus on all the little things. For instance, getting the nursery set up “just right” and picking out all of the baby’s first dresses, suits and other pieces of clothing seems to be extremely important when the baby is in the womb. And, let’s not forget those trips to the baby store where we pick out all of the things we can’t live without for the baby. The funny thing is that once the little one arrives, most of the things we planned on are not going to happen…and all of the items that we just had to have in order to be ready for the little one are not nearly as important as they once were. If you are expecting a little one or have just had a baby, then you may find the tips below helpful. I know I did…with both babies!

•    Sleep when the baby sleeps. It doesn’t matter how much (or little) sleep you are used to, once the baby gets here, you’re going to get less of it and you’ll be tired. During the time you are able to stay home with the baby, make sure you sleep when your little one does, if at all possible. This will make the late night feedings easier to handle. Just remember that if you don’t get enough sleep, it’s easier to get frustrated when the baby is up at 3 a.m. and doesn’t want to go to bed. It’s also easier to suffer from postpartum depression when you’re running on only a few hours of sleep every day. Sleep is important – so get it!

•    Don’t worry about spoiling your newborn. Some parents worry about spoiling their newborn by holding them too much or tending to them the minute they begin to cry. Don’t worry about this when you’ve got a “brand new” baby. The most important thing is that you are able to keep yourself sane and your baby taken care of. If this means that you have to spend 20 minutes rocking your baby after feeding to get him to sleep, that’s okay. You’ll have plenty of time to correct bad habits, and honestly, when a baby is this young – these “bad habits” really aren’t that bad, especially if they help you remain calm and collected.

•    Ask for help. Finally, taking care of a new baby is a tough task. Maybe you are a single parent or your spouse has a demanding job and isn’t home much. Or, maybe you’re just struggling with all of the new responsibilities and the crazy emotions that occur after having a baby. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, if you feel overwhelmed – don’t wait to ask for help. Most friends and family members want to help out, but don’t know how. Maybe all you need help with is preparing meals…ask your friends and family members if they would be willing to make a meal for you. Or, maybe you just need a couple hours of  to yourself. Ask a trusted friend or family member if they would be willing to watch the little one for a couple hours. The bottom line is that you understand that we all need help sometimes. With a new baby it’s important that you ask for help when you need it. Both your and the baby’s well-being depends on it.

September 8, 2012

Moms Need a Break Too

Working at a children’s formal wear shop has given me time to observe people during their busiest times. It doesn’t matter if they’re trying to find a flower girl dress for their upcoming wedding or a suit for a special church service, the majority of the moms (and some dads) who come in to our store are in somewhat of a hurry to check one more thing off their “to-do” lists. I’m a mom, so I can relate…we’re busy and running errands with our kids is generally the last thing we want to do after we get off work.

I mean, there’s a ton of other things that have to get done before the day is over too. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take some time off just for us too. Have you ever made it a point to give yourself a break and time to do something you really want to do…by yourself? I didn’t used to because I felt like there was just too much to do and it would all pile up on me if I didn’t keep up with it. But, I started to notice how cranky and irritable I was all the time. If something little was added to my agenda, I would feel overwhelmed and stress out about it.

That’s when I had a friend tell me she thought I needed to take a break for myself. This was something she did quite regularly. Her theory is that there will always be things to do, but when we take time for ourselves, the benefits outweigh the negatives (like not getting anything done at home during that time). I decided to give it a try and what I found was that even though I still had things to do when I got home, I was happier doing them. I had more patience for my husband and my kids and small things didn’t stress me out anymore. So, I decided to make time for myself on a regular basis. Here’s how I find time for myself.

1. I rest when my son rests. My son still takes a small nap every day. It’s usually no longer than 1-1 ½ hours and I take that time to rest myself. Sometimes, I lay down and take a nap myself, but other times I opt to sit on the couch and watch some television or curl up in my favorite chair and read. I’ve found that resting when my son rests is the easiest way to make sure I get some “me time” in every day.
2. Schedule lunch with a friend. This is something that happens maybe once or twice a month, at the most. It can be difficult to find time to meet with a friend for lunch, but it makes all the difference to me. Actually being able to sit down with another adult (without my son) and have an adult conversation is actually pretty therapeutic for me.

3. Get my hair and nails done. Finally, I didn’t used to be the type of girl you would find gushing about how much she looked forward to having her hair and nails done, but I am now. It’s not because I think I need to be pampered all the time (this only happens once every 4-6 weeks), but mainly because it gives me time alone where I get to go and relax. Plus, who doesn’t feel better when their hair is cut and styled and their nails are pretty?

If you haven’t made time for yourself lately and are feeling drained, irritable and edgy then make a point to make some time for yourself. You don’t have to do the things I suggested above if you don’t enjoy those things. The point is to find something you like to do (alone) and set aside time in your schedule to do it! You’ll feel better and your family will notice the difference too!

August 26, 2012

Tips for Parents with Back-to-School Blues

If you have little ones who you are sending off to school for the first time, or maybe this is their second, third or fourth year of school, it can be difficult. Most people try not to focus on themselves when it’s time to send their kids back to school, but for many parents with little ones, this time of the year can be emotional and somewhat sad. While we enjoy watching our kids grow and experience new things, we don’t necessarily like seeing them “grow up” and that’s exactly what they are doing when they begin school. They aren’t those little babies we carried around for so long wearing the cute little dresses or vest sets we picked out for them. Now, they’re growing up and starting to experience new situations on their own, as well as get their own opinions, without mom or dad.

Therefore, it’s completely normal for parents of young children to get the back-to-school blues too. This is especially true for parents who are able to stay at home for their children. It can be quite a shock for these parents when they walk into an empty, and silent, house for that first week (or month) after school starts. So, how can parents help get rid of the back-to-school blues?

•    Allow yourself a good cry. It’s okay to feel sad when you send your little one off to school. Once your little one is out of sight and you are able to get away from everyone for a bit, allow yourself to cry. Crying is actually good for you, believe it or not. It’s a way for your body to release emotions that are building up. Once you’re able to release all these emotions, you will find it easier to focus on other things and go about your day. Just make sure you wait until you are away from your child, the school and his/her friends before you begin crying.

•    Explore a new hobby/interest. Now that your little one is off to school, you’ve got time on your hands. Why not take advantage of this extra time to begin exploring a new (or old) interest? For instance, maybe you’ve always wanted to get a gym membership but haven’t had the time to go workout regularly? Get the gym membership and go work out after you drop your little one off at school each day. Or, maybe you’ve always wanted to take photography classes…sign up for one! Whatever it is that you’re interested in, now is the time to begin exploring it!

•    Get involved with the school. Another great way to ease your back-to-school blues is to get involved at the school. Sign up to help with parties in your child’s classroom. You can also sign up with the PTA and volunteer to go on field trips. Once you begin to get involved with the various things going on at the school, especially in your child’s classroom, you’ll notice the back-to-school blues fading.

August 22, 2012

Attitude and Behavior Charts for Toddlers

As many of you know, my son is 4 ½ years old. This is the latter stages of toddlerhood, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t deal with some of the bad attitudes and behaviors that toddlers exhibit. I’ll be honest, I’m a firstborn (if you haven’t read The Birth Order Book by Kevin Lehman, you need too) which means I’m very headstrong, legalistic and like to analyze everything. My son is also a firstborn, meaning he has many of the same traits I do. Needless to say, his attitude and behavior can easily wear me out as it’s like arguing with myself sometimes.

After doing some research online, I found a little information about attitude and behavior charts for kids and decided to try it out. Basically, all that this comprises of is drawing a chart with seven columns (one for each day of the week) and when I tell my son to do something and he does it with a good attitude or I tell him not to do something and he stops right when I tell him, he gets to put a smiley face (stamp) in the column for that day. Now, when he misbehaves or has a rotten attitude regarding something, he has to put a red X (stamp also) in the column.

At the end of each day, right before bed we count the number of smiley faces he has, write it down and then we add up the number of red X’s he has and write them. We subtract the number of X’s from the number of smiley faces and the total is how many “reward bucks” he earned for the day. I have a reward chart set up that has 10 different rewards listed on it – all worth different amounts of “reward bucks.” Some are simple and easy to reach…like snocones, candy and renting a movie. Others are more difficult and will require him to save his reward bucks…these are things like bowling, going to the movie and skate town (local roller skating rink).

We’ve only been doing this for a few days now and my husband and I have noticed a pretty big change in our son. Instead of telling him numerous times to do something, he usually does it right off the bat – and without grumbling about it too! The other thing we’ve noticed is that when he starts to get an attitude all we have to say is, “change your attitude,” and the problem stops.
My son is one who likes to “see” the progress he’s making, which is why the attitude and behavior chart has worked so well. He can literally see how good he’s been throughout the day by looking at the smiley faces on the chart. Plus, at the end of the day he gets to collect reward bucks if there are more smiley faces than X’s.

We have also started a small Chore Chart for our son too. Every day he’s responsible for doing certain things (brushing his teeth, making his bed, feeding the dog, picking up toys, etc.) and at the end of the week, we will pay him for the “work” he’s done. This has also helped eliminate many of the arguments we would have with him because now he knows he can earn his own money by doing the things on the list.

Additionally, it also helps at the store because we don’t have to go through the whole “can I have a toy, mom?” routine. He understands that by saving up his money, he can buy the toys he wants. So, whether it’s a couple of cool new shirts or the latest action figure that he wants, he is knows he’s got to save his money to buy them.

I know this isn’t the typical blog post you would expect from Kids Formal, but I know a lot of you have young children at home and are struggling to figure out how to get their attitudes and behaviors under control. The attitude and behavior chart seems to have transformed my child overnight, so I wanted to share the idea with you. Even the chore chart has made a big difference – and both charts teach something whether it’s simply math or money, which is always a bonus.
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August 16, 2012

Unscheduled Vacations and How to Pack for Them

While the majority of people are fortunate enough to schedule their vacations months (or more) in advance, there are still some people who don’t always get that lucky. Maybe you are a planner, but have recently been notified that you and your family will take an unscheduled vacation/getaway in a week or less. If you’re a parent, then your mind has probably went into overdrive trying to figure out how you are supposed to get you and your family packed and ready to go on such a short notice. Below are some tips to help you get the job done!

1. Make a List, Pronto. Shortly after you find out you’ll be taking a vacation, make a list of what you will need. Make your list around your destination. For example, if you’re going to be going somewhere close to the beach, you will need to make sure beach towels, sunscreen and flip-flops are all on your list. On the other hand, if you’re attending the impromptu wedding of a family member or friend, you’ll need to make sure your list includes dresses for girls and suits/tuxedos for boys, depending on how formal the event is. Basically, making a list immediately will help ensure that you don’t forget anything on your trip.

2. Do Laundry. One of the best tips for packing for quick trips is to do laundry immediately. Once you do laundry, pack the clothes you want to take on vacation right then. If they are packed, then you won’t wear them before leaving for your trip. In addition, you’ll have one less thing to worry about as your clothing will already be packed and ready to go.

3. Pack the Carry On First. If you are flying, then it’s best to pack your carry-on luggage first. Focus on the flight(s) and the layover(s) you will experience along the way. What items do you and your family members need the most during the in-transit time? Those are the items that should go in your carry-on luggage. Once you’ve got your carry-ons packed and ready to go, start packing the rest of your luggage. A lot of time can be wasted if you try to pack both sets of luggage at once because you aren’t able to decide which suitcase an item belongs in. However, if you pack them separately (carry-on first, bigger luggage second), you’ll find the process goes much quicker.

August 11, 2012

Getting Your Money Out of Little Suits

At one point or another, we all have to purchase a boy’s suit for our son. The problem a lot of us have with this is that boys’ suits and tuxedos cost a lot of money when you consider how quickly the little guys grow out of them. In most cases, we buy the suits for a special occasion and don’t put our little boys in them again after the event is over. However, there are a few things you can do to get a little extra money out of the boys’ suits you have to purchase.

1. Order a size bigger. Yes, I know you are ordering the suit for a specific event and don’t necessarily want it to be too big. However, if you order the suit a size bigger, the pants and the jacket should both be a little too long, but still fit decently around the body. All you have to do is take the suit in to be altered. Have the alterations person hem it so that when your son grows, you can simply let out the hem and he can reuse the suit.

2. Make it a point to wear the suit to other events. If you really want to get your money out of the boys’ suit you’ve just purchased, make sure your son wears it more than once. While you may have purchased it specifically for a wedding, there’s no reason your son can’t wear the suit to church…especially for special events like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas services. You can also have your son wear the suit to various school events also (school programs, recitals, “meet the players” sport night, etc.).

3. Keep it for later. If you haven’t finished having children, then store those expensive suits! You never know if your next one will be a boy. If it is, then you may be able to avoid buying another suit by saving your oldest son’s formal suits. This will definitely ensure that you get your money out of the suit!

4. Pass it on or sell it. If you know that you’re finished having children, then consider passing the suit on down to someone with a little boy who can’t afford to buy a brand new one. If you don’t know anyone who needs a little boy’s suit, then take a picture of it and post it on Facebook or Craigslist and sell it. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get some of your money back once you’re finished with it, right?

July 31, 2012

Toddlers and Anger Management

Okay, it’s truth time: How many of you have a toddler that seems to spin out-of-control at the slightest frustration? I have to admit, this is a quality my son possesses. It’s one that my husband and I are working diligently to get under control, especially since he will be entering pre-k in the next two months. I know we are not the only ones who are dealing with this problem, so I thought it would be beneficial to write a blog post with a few tips for how to help your toddler learn better anger management skills. My husband and I have been practicing these for a little over a week now and have already seen an improvement in our son’s behavior. Hopefully, you’ll find them helpful too.
1. Stay calm during a tantrum/emotional outburst. It is incredibly easy to let my son’s angry outbursts cause me to become angry too. However, if I’m angry when dealing with my son’s outburst, how will I teach him how to control his anger? The first thing my husband and I have had to do is learn how to remain calm during an emotional outburst from our son. This hasn’t been easy, believe me. But, it does help remedy the situation quicker.

2. Walk away from the child. We have also learned how to walk away from our son when he’s in the middle of a tantrum. There are two reasons for this. The first is that we now have a rule in our house where we won’t solve a problem until everyone is calm first. Obviously, in a tantrum, our son isn’t calm. The second reason for walking away is that it immediately takes away the attention our son is receiving from his tantrum. If there isn’t anyone there to pay attention to his outburst, why should he continue doing it? If you try this, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your child stops the behavior when he/she realizes you’re not watching.

3. Talk about our feelings and how to handle them. Another thing we do is talk about our feelings and how we handle them. My husband and I have started using real-life experiences to tell our son how they make us feel and what we need to do to calm down. For instance, if my son does something that makes me angry, I’ll say, “What you did has made me angry. I’m going to go in my room now and calm down before I talk to you.” Not only does this let my son know that I’m angry, but it also tells/shows him how I’m going to handle my feelings. Young children learn best by watching the adults around them, so if you want your child to learn how to handle his/her anger, be good role models yourself.

The tips above have proven to be helpful for my husband and I and hopefully they are for you too. One thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter if you’re at a wedding and your little one is dressed up in her little flower girl dress or if you’re at home and your son is in his pajamas – be consistent in how you handle the tantrums. If you aren’t consistent, then your child won’t learn how to handle his/her anger in a consistent, positive manner.

July 25, 2012

How to Teach Young Children How to Save Money

At some point, we realize (or we should) that our job as a parent isn't just about providing food, clothing and shelter for our children, but it’s also about teaching them how to become responsible individuals so that they will be able to make smart and responsible decisions once they leave our homes as adults. One of the things we have to teach our children if we want them to become responsible adults is how to save money.

I’m not sure about your children, but my 4 ½ year old is beginning to understand the difference between a penny, nickel, dime and quarter. He doesn’t understand the value of each, but he is able to tell us the names for each respective coin. My husband and I have been thinking for a while now that we need to begin teaching him what it means to save money and the importance of it. After all, he needs to understand the value of money and how we have to work for it and save our money in order to afford the things he enjoys, right?

Most young children understand that before they can leave the store with a new toy, mommy or daddy (or whoever is with them) has to give the checker something first. They just don’t understand that it’s money or where it comes from or the value of it. This is what I want to begin teaching my son, because I know in a couple of years his “wants” are going to be more expensive and he’s not going to have an appreciation for them if he doesn’t learn how to save up for them and pay for them himself. Below are a few tips I found while researching how to help children start saving money.

1. Use visual aids. Young children won’t get excited about saving money if they aren’t able to “see” that they’re making progress. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a clear jar where they can drop their coins into as they receive them. They’ll like watching the money jar fill up with coins, which will get them excited to continue putting money into it.

2. Create a goal chart. This is one idea I hadn’t thought about, but it makes sense. If your child wants a new holiday dress, shirt, toy, or any other item then help your child find a picture of the item they want, as well as the price. Figure up how many weeks of saving it will take your child before he/she will have enough money to buy the item. Get a piece of paper or a small poster board and glue the picture to the top of it and make enough squares for every day/week to symbolize how long your child has to save to reach his/her goal. Let him/her put stickers on each day/week so he/she can see how close they’re getting to reaching the goal!

3. Consider matching contributions. This is another idea I hadn’t thought about. If you give your child an allowance and require that he puts $1.00 in the “Save” jar, $1.00 in the “Church” jar and then the rest can go in the “Spend” jar, then consider rewarding him for putting extra in the “Save” jar by matching the amount of money he puts in the “Save” jar over the initial $1.00 you require. This will help him grasp the concept of earning interest and matching 401(k) programs, which will help in the future.

After all the research I did, the main thing I learned was that it’s important to make saving money fun for young children. When something is fun, they will want to continue to do it. This is why helping them find something to save for is beneficial – it gives them a goal to shoot for, which makes the whole process fun. In addition, I learned that it’s important for parents to lead by example, therefore, we should have a coin jar of our own where we put lose change, so our kids can see that saving is normal.

July 18, 2012

Preparing an Only Child for a New Baby

For the majority of parents, teaching an only child, or first born child, how to handle a new baby is something that we have to go through. This is something that I am going to have to go through in a couple of months as I have a 4 ½ year old son and will be delivering another baby boy at the first of August. I am starting to see that my son will have quite a bit of adjusting to do when the new little guy arrives as he’s not used to younger children following him around and messing with “his” toys. As a result, I have been doing a lot of research and have started to prepare my son for the arrival of his baby brother.

I know that I’m not the only woman out there who is about to go through this and so I thought you may find it beneficial to read a few tips for how to prepare your only child for a new baby sibling. Below are some of the ideas I have found and began to implement.

1. Get the child involved as soon as possible. Many experts believe that it’s best to get your first-born child involved in the pregnancy as soon as possible. For me, that was after I was already past the 12 week mark. My son is one who doesn’t like surprises, so telling him early was something we needed to do. To help him get excited about the new baby, we made sure that we included him in on the name-choosing process. We allowed our son to pick out the middle name for his brother. We’ve also taken him to several stores with us and let him pick out some little boy’s outfits for the baby as well as several toys. I think this has definitely helped him get excited about the upcoming arrival of his new baby brother.

2. Bring your child around younger children for play dates, etc. This was a good tip for me, because my son hadn’t been around many kids younger than himself. Taking him to school (3 year old program) was an adjustment this year but those were still all kids his own age. Luckily, I have a friend who just had a baby and another who has a 1 ½ year old little boy. Bringing my son around the baby is great because it has helped him get an idea of what it’s like to have a baby. It has also been good to set up play dates with my friend who has the 1 ½ year old because my son is learning how to handle himself around a young toddler who is following him around.

3. Do things with your first-born child alone. This is a tip that we will begin to implement right after the baby is born. As a first-born, only child my son is not used to having to compete for our attention. However, that will change the minute the new baby arrives. So, to make sure our son still feels loved and needed, my husband and I will take turns taking him out by himself so we are sure he gets the one-on-one time he needs. We also plan to take him to dinner, the movies or something similar at least once a month as a couple while his baby brother is with my parents for a few hours.

Thank you for reading this article.  Remember to visit us at Kids Formal for all your children's formal wear.

July 7, 2012

Traveling to Long Distance Weddings by Car

How to make kids feel comfortable during long distance drives.

Every once in a while we all travel to a beloved friend or family member’s long distance wedding by car. This is especially true for those who have young children at home as the price of gasoline is much cheaper than plane tickets are in today’s economy. Plus, it’s easy to make a vacation out of a trip to a long distance wedding and do some fun things with the kids while you’re away from home.

So, once you’ve gotten the vehicle packed with all the necessary wedding items (formal dress for you, little girl’s dress for your daughter, a boy’s suit for your son, an adult suit and tie set for your husband plus all the formal shoes and hair accessories), it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to keep your children entertained during the trip. Below are a few suggestions to help make the ride more bearable.

1.    Bring Reading Material and Coloring Books – The first thing you need to pack are some of your children’s favorite reading books. You may also have success by purchasing a few new books that they haven’t read and surprising them on the trip with them. If your children are too young to read on their own, then pack some coloring books and crayons to give them something to do.

2.    Play Games – Another great way to keep children entertained during a long car ride is to play games with them. Of course, these games have to be games that can be done in the vehicle. One of my son’s favorite games to play during road trips is “I Spy.” While I easily get bored with the game, my son will happily play this game for 30 minutes to an hour! A great game to play with older children on long car trips is the license plate game. Give each child a piece of paper and pencil and have them write down each new state license plate that they see on the ride. You can either put a time limit on the game or wait until you reach your destination to see who saw the most (different) license plates.

3.    Buy a DVD Player – Once of the great things about living in 2012 is now we have portable DVD players for vehicles. While you won’t want your children glued to the DVD player the entire drive, these nifty “gadgets” make it possible for adults to enjoy a conversation with each other during long-distance vehicle trips. I’m not sure about you, but if I’m able to get an hour break of the constant chatter coming from the back seat during a trip, I’m much more pleasant to be around – portable DVD players make this possible!

June 10, 2012

Tips for Saving Money on Fuel this Summer

For many of us, summer is officially here as our kids are now out of school for the next twelve weeks or so. If you’re like me, then this means you’ll be spending a little more time in the car driving from place to place. While I’m thankful that my son is only 4 ½ and I don’t have to do the extended amount of driving that many people with multiple kids who are older do, I will still be spending more time running around town than usual over the next few months.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that with the high cost of fuel today and the extra miles we’ll be putting on our vehicles, we’ll be spending more money this summer at the pump. If you’re interested in learning how you can save money on fuel this summer, keep reading. I’ve done a little researched and found out about some out-of-the-ordinary tricks for saving money on fuel.
1.    Service Regularly – Many of us are guilty of driving an extra 500, 1000 or more miles than we should before getting our oil changed and our vehicles properly serviced. This mistake can cost us money though…in fact, this can cause us to spend up to 20% more in fuel if we’ve got something like a bad air filter in the vehicle. So, make sure you get your vehicle serviced when it’s due – every 3,000-5,000 miles depending on your vehicle.

2.    Air Up the Tires – You may not realize this, but it actually costs you more money to drive a vehicle that has slightly deflated tires then it does to keep the tires full. Did you realize that when you drive on tires low in air, that you could be wasting up to $5 for every $20 of gas you put in your tank? So, next time you prepare to go on a lengthy trip (say an out of town wedding that your little one is the flower girl for), air the tires up and you’ll enjoy better fuel mileage.

3.    Use the Garage…For the Car – I know, right? What a novel idea…using the garage for the vehicle! I’m guilty of this myself – sometimes I park in the driveway instead of my garage because I’ve got too much stuff in the garage. However, during the summer months, it’s important to get the garage cleaned out and start parking the car in it because your car will stay cooler in the garage. Why is this important?  Your A/C uses fuel to run and when your vehicle sits outside in the summer, it gets extremely hot inside, which causes your A/C to work harder once you start it…costing you more money in fuel. So, park it in the garage and lessen the load for your A/C this summer.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and found the information helpful. While Kids Formal is dedicated to providing high-quality children’s formal wear (flower girl dresses, boys’ suits, girls hair accessories, christening gowns, boys accessories, etc.) we do strive to provide our customers with valuable information all parents can use. Hopefully, this article has done that for you!

May 16, 2012

Kids Formal Newsletter - May 15th 2012

Dear Valued Customer,

First, we want to let you know how much we appreciate your continued support and patronage, without you our business would not be thriving like it is today!

It’s hard to believe that we’re already in the middle of May and that summer is within sight. As we are preparing for the busy wedding season, we thought we would offer a few tips of what NOT to do when planning a wedding. Planning a wedding is a difficult task and it can get overwhelming and become easy to make some of the mistakes below. So, if you’re planning a wedding, just be mindful of some of these common mistakes made by former brides.

1.    Failure to Send Out Invitations in Time. It’s hard to imagine a bride-to-be who forgets to send out the wedding invitations in time. However, it does happen. In fact, just a few weeks ago a friend of mine was invited to a wedding by the bride (in person) because she had forgotten to send out the invitations in time. Many of the guests received their invitations four days before the wedding!

2.    Asking Bridesmaids to Wear Ill-Fitting Gowns. I know, you probably have a vision in your head of the exact bridesmaids’ dresses you want your girls to wear. However, while the dress may look outstanding on one or two of your friends, it may also look terrible on another. If this is the case, consider having each of your bridesmaids wear different styles of gowns…just all in the same color. If you don’t, the girl wearing the unflattering dress will be the one drawing the most attention and nobody wants that.

3.    Over-Decorating the Reception Hall. Most young women planning a wedding have a theme in mind for how they want the reception to be decorated. Generally this theme ties into the wedding colors chosen, the cakes and other key factors of the wedding. While you want your wedding theme to easily be detected by your guests, you don’t want to overdo it. Try to keep your decoration to a minimum so that your guests’ attention isn’t being pulled in a thousand different directions during the reception. You want them to notice the d├ęcor, but be able to focus on you and your spouse!

Again, thank you so much for your continued support at Kids Formal, we truly appreciate each and every one of you! And remember, the next time you need formal wear for your children or women’s dresses…come to us first! Our prices are hard to beat!

flower girl dresses

10% off plus FREE SHIPPING on your next order.  Use coupon code 'elvis' at checkout.

Have a wonderful week!

Your Friends at Kids Formal

May 12, 2012

Summer Grocery Shopping

You know, it’s not that our grocery shopping habits should dramatically change once summer rolls around, but due to the kids being home every day there will be some things that will change. If you’re like me, during the school year all you worry about is having enough food in the house for dinner and maybe a few light snacks (my son’s school provides breakfast for the kids). Therefore, with my son being home every day for the next three months my grocery shopping with change.

The main reason why my habits will change is because I will obviously need more food in the house to make it through the week and the foods I choose to purchase will need to provide my son with the energy he needs to make it through the day. It doesn’t matter if my little one will be home playing with his toys or will be carrying a ring down the aisle in a little boy's tuxedo for a friend’s wedding…a certain amount of energy is required for both of these occasions, and many others. Below are some of the changes I’ll be making to my grocery list this summer.

1.      More Fruit – I normally keep bananas in stock for quick after-school snacks, but bananas are not going to be the only fruit I need to stock this summer. Fruit is a great energy source and most kids love the taste of various types of fruit. Fruit can be enjoyed for breakfast, snacks or as part of a meal. Some of the fruits I’ll be purchasing this summer include strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes and kiwi.

2.      Real Fruit Juice – Again, I keep real fruit juice in the fridge during the school year, but we don’t go through it very fast when my son is in school. This will change this summer. So, I plan on stocking the fridge with some of the following real fruit juices: orange, apple and pineapple. I also like to buy the Simply Lemonade every now and then too. It’s natural lemonade made from real lemons without all of the preservatives found in other juices.

3.      Sandwich Materials – I’m not sure about you, but our summers are pretty busy around here, so there are many afternoons where I don’t have time to fix a full blown meal. This is when I break out the bread and make sandwiches for everyone. I use whole grain wheat bread for sandwiches. Sometimes we enjoy peanut butter (great source of protein) and jelly sandwiches and other times, I put deli meat on the sandwiches. For a side, I like to include carrot sticks with dip or filled celery sticks.


4/22/2012 Bridal Shower Gift Ideas
4/20/2012 Reward Systems for Children
4/16/2012 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Venue
4/15/2012 Summer Sports for Kids
4/15/2012 Preparing for Baby

Dear Valued Customer,

Can you believe it’s already the middle of August? August is a fun month because not only are we able to reflect on all the fun we had during the summer, but we are also looking forward to the school year ahead! This is true for both parents and children alike as kids are ready to go see old friends and make new ones and parents are usually ready for the break that the school year provides them after a long and busy summer.

To prepare for back-to-school parents have to shop for new school clothes for their little ones. While we are primarily a formal wear shop for kids, we do have some accessories that we think you should know about. For your convenience, we have several posted below!

Little girls love to accessorize just like women do and one way they can express themselves is with hair bows! has a wide variety of hair accessories for little girls of all ages. The featured bows above are just the beginning of what we have available!

Another great option for little girls is a bright and stylish head band! We have several different styles of head bands, but the ones showed above are our most popular as they work well for both formal and informal events. Plus, they are very affordable! offers girls a variety of various styles of shoes at affordable prices. We understand the importance of classy shoes, as well as, the need to keep prices low. If your little one needs a pair of shoes for the first day of school, head on over to our website and see what we have. You may be pleasantly surprised!

We do offer accessories for boys as well! If your son needs a great belt to wear to school, has several to choose from! We also offer a wide variety of other accessories that young boys may need for school. The benefit you will get when you purchase from is that we keep our prices very reasonable! In fact, you may be surprised when you see how low we keep our prices.

We also carry dress socks for boys. These particular socks are only $2.95! They are excellent quality and look great!

Finally, we also offer a nice selection of boys’ dress shoes. While we understand your son won’t need dress shoes to wear to school every day, we do realize that there are some school events that will call for dress shoes. Our dress shoes are of the highest quality and are still affordable.
We hope you find everything you need for your kids as the first day of school is swiftly approaching! Please visit to view all the accessories we have to offer. Whether it’s a hair bow, dress shoes or a belt for your son – we have affordable accessories for boys and girls to help prepare them for the upcoming school year!
Your Friends at

What Our customers are saying:
"Thank you! This has been the best online shopping experience I have had in a long time. You have excellent customer service, fast shipping and I am so excited to see my little one in the beautiful dress for her auntie's wedding. I will recommend you to everyone I know.
Again, thanks so much."
Breezy Beckler from Cortez, CO 81321
"By the way, the girls wore their dresses on Saturday and were absolutely
Christine Snell from Alexandria, VA
"So far my dealings with this company have been wonderful. I even gave your information to our local bridal shop, for their future orders. I look forward to more purchases from you too as my little one LOVES dressing up! :)"

Breezy Beckler from Cortez, CO 81321
"thank you very much and i will certainly pass your name onto friends who are in need of formal wear for their children.. thanks."
Carolyn Kammeier from West Chester, PA
Lovely products
"Your products are lovely and again, thank you"
monika olonia from Colorado Springs, Co

Shop in-store or online and receive 10% Off your entire order plus Free Shipping! Use coupon code: "elvis" at checkout or printout this email for in-store purchase.**

Dear Valued Customer,
The wedding season is officially underway along with many other springtime festivities. At, we understand that many of you are looking to save money whenever possible, especially with the prices of fuel on the rise. One of the best ways to do this is to shop online to find better deals than those offered by your local retailers. However, before you go out and begin making large purchases online, there are several things you should do first.

#1 – Read the Testimonials: The thing about ordering products online is that you aren’t at the store personally. Therefore, you don’t really know whether or not the merchant’s products are high-quality or not. You also aren’t able to personally see the level of customer service provided either. This is why it’s important that you read through all the testimonials you can find online about the online retailer you’re about to purchase from. Testimonials from previous customers will help ensure that your online shopping experience will be a successful one.

#2 – Read the Return Policy: It’s also important that you take the time to thoroughly read through the return policy of the online merchant you’re about to order from. If you can’t find one on the website, then you should call the customer service number provided and specifically ask for one. If there is no customer service number provided or the retailer doesn’t have a return policy, then it is probably best not to order from them. All trustworthy online retailers will have a return policy somewhere outlining their rules for returning merchandise.
#3 – Ask Questions: If you have any questions about the products on the website, the price, shipping policy or anything else, you need to ask a customer service representative. Don’t just assume that your “gut” feeling is correct, because it may not be. If you have any questions or concerns, you need to get answers before checkout.

#4 – Make Sure Your Information is Secure: Finally, when it comes time to pay for the items in your virtual shopping cart, you need to make sure that the final checkout page is secure before you enter your credit card information. To do this, simply look at the top of the screen where the website address is and if you see https:// then you know it’s a secure page. However, if you only see http://, then it is not a secure checkout page and your information isn’t protected. It’s all about the “s” before the colon.

If you are one of the thousands with little ones who are in need of formal attire this spring or summer, come to We have some of the best deals online for children’s formalwear, and we proudly stand behind the quality of our products, as well as, our customer service and security to ensure that you have the best online shopping experience possible. We are still currently offering free shipping, so please hurry on over!


Your Friends and