A Storify Highlighting the Last 14 Posts

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Here is a Storify of my last 14 blog posts. The link below highlights some of the best posts from the last six months. Enjoy!

https://storify.com/signedNstitched/signednstitched

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Q & A

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Q & A

Earlier this year I wrote a post about Ten Things to Consider When Purchasing Children’s Clothes. In expanding on that idea, I did an interview with a toddler mother, asking her questions pertaining to how she shops and things she takes into consideration when shopping for her toddler.

Through this interview, came a lot of good insight and advice for parents who are unsure about what to look for when buying clothes for their child. Mariel Salinas shared with me factors she thinks about before making a purchase; problems she faces when looking for clothes for her son; how she tells what is good quality; what items she invests more in; things she avoids; and advice for new parents/shoppers of children’s clothes.

Mariel Salinas is a mother of a two-year-old, toddler, Aiden. She lives in Elk Grove, IL and is taking time off from working in retail to spend time with her son.

What are things you consider when shopping for your child?

I consider making sure it’s a comfortable fit for my toddler; nothing too tight or too loose and that it is weather appropriate.

What factors do you think about before making a purchase?

If he will be able to use the clothing items multiple times. I make sure it’s something he won’t outgrow to quickly.

Are there any problems you have faced when shopping?

Problems I have faced when shopping is his fit, sometimes, because he is skinny, but tall so he is in between sizes. Something may fit him length wise but might be too loose because he is skinny.

Does what stores are selling match up to what you are looking for in children’s clothing? 

Yes, I would say most stores do match up to what I’m looking for in children’s clothing.

How do you tell what is good quality?

I can tell when something is good quality by touching the material. Also if I can wash it multiple times and the colors don’t fade too quick or the clothes don’t shrink.

What items do you invest more in?

I buy jeans and tops more often, but invest in shoes, because shoes tend to last him a little longer.

Where do you shop for children’s clothes?

Gymboree and Gap Kids

Do you find yourself buying certain fabrics over others?

I shop for any kind of fabric, as long as it’s comfortable and not itchy or super tight.

Are there things you avoid?

I avoid anything that will shrink or tear easily; or tight and itchy material.

What advice do you have for new parents of toddlers that do not know how to shop?

My advice would be always make sure your toddler is comfortable in their clothing. Don’t buy too much clothing of the same size because they grow quickly, but enough of the size tht will last them for the winter or summer.

A Winter Full of Little Men

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A Winter Full of Little Men

No Shave November is moving into childrenswear.

It has been a recent trend that men are growing out their beards. Recently, Braun a consumer-goods company did a study showing out of 1,000 New York men surveyed, 67 percent have beards; and over half of the men say they feel more attractive with a beard. But what about taking it to the next step with children having beards?

Look no further, because now there are Beard Hats! Inspiring a world full of little men. Available from multiple online retailers, Amazon, as well as crafters on Etsy.

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The idea first caught my eye on a viral Facebook post. My initial reaction was these are so cute! I mean look at these pictures of babies and toddlers with beards looking like little men – they’re hilarious!

But then I think, in a way this is strange and society taking things too far. Children’s clothing nowadays include items that are far from innocence and whimsical youth. Clothes are becoming more and more like adult clothing. I think about celebrities’ children wearing cashmere sweaters, heels, leather jackets and bottoms, and fur coats and ponchos.

No baby should be wearing real leather. Or how about a toddler, who is just learning to walk well, throwing on some high heels? C’mon people.

Now when thinking about these beard hats, yes they are comical and cute, but what makes babies and kids cute is their baby face, not some thick facial hair. I’m at a 50/50 split between they’re cute and funny, but also strange at the same time and not your first thought to put on a child.

Now, these are not as ridiculous as putting your child in leather and fur, rather they are hilarious and fun. Imagine if these were really trending and every child you saw this winter was wearing a beard hat. There would be little men crawling and walking all over the place!

The plus side to these beard hats are using them for costumes and/or kids imagination. As you can see below, this boy can wake up one day and say I want to be a viking. He can put on his hat and transport himself back to the Viking Age in the year 1066.

I mean children have these broad, wild imaginations, why not get them something that doubles as a hat? Who know’s one day they will wake up and want to be a Viking?

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Or maybe just want to have a beard? Children think it is better off being all grown up, why not look like a grown man too?

Children will find these hats to be hilarious and will use it for dress up. They’ll say “look mom/dad I look like ____ ” Whoever they know who has a beard and will do an impersonation. Who knows you might get a couple good kicks out of one of these hats, thanks to your child’s imagination!

And if you aren’t fortunate enough to get some laughs out of these beard hats, at least your child will be very warm as these hats cover both the head and the face.

How-To Make a Craft Stick Star Ornament

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How-To Make a Craft Stick Star Ornament
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My Kindergarten Star Ornament Photo Credit: Shannon Blum

With the holidays right around the corner, I thought I would share a fun, easy craft. There are a ton of fun crafts you can make with craft sticks, especially ones for the holidays; and there are even different variations of stars you can make. This specific star ornament is the easiest, that toddlers and preschoolers can make but the results are so great, that it could be a fun craft for any age!

This is a craft I made as a child. It was one of the projects we did in my kindergarten class, making it 15 years old. The great thing is, I still have it today and hang it on my Christmas tree each year. That’ll tell you this craft is a great keepsake that will last you many years.

Let’s get started. Here is what you will need:

Craft Stick Star Ornament Supplies:

  • craft sticks (6 per star)
  • glue (glue gun works best to assemble the stick, so parental help is required – otherwise Elmer’s glue will do, or even wood glue; you can use Elmer’s glue for the decorating if you are using glitter, as that will work best.)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Add-ons (glitter, craft jewels, pompoms, buttons, foam pieces; anything imaginable – BE CREATIVE!)
  • String (to tie on finished product so it can hang)

Note: Parents can hot-glue the craft sticks ahead of time to prevent issues between the child and the glue gun. That way the child can do all the fun stuff and not feel they missed out on helping with a step.

Step 1: Take 3 craft sticks and glue them in the shape of a triangle. Do the same with the other 3 craft sticks.

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Glue Craft Sticks in a Triangle Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Triangle.gif

Step 2: Now that you have 2 assembled triangles, take one triangle and place it inverted (upside-down) on top of the other triangle and glue that down.

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Inverted Triangle Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Triangle.gif

You should now have what looks like a star (or as some people call it, the Star of David) all glued together.

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2 Triangles glued together (Star of David shape) Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Black_Star_of_David.svg

Step 3: This would be the step where you get to decide what is next. If your child is going to paint the star, this would be the step to do it. If your child is not going to paint the star, then this is the step to decorate with glitter.

Note: I sometimes find it best, if you are going to glitter the star, to cover the star in glue, then put glitter on a plate and just dip the star in the glitter. Another trick, to prevent mess, is to again, cover the star in glitter, hold it over a plate and shake the glitter onto the star, so the remnants end up on the plate rather than all over. If you are using multiple colors, place glue on the different sections of the star for each color.

Step 4: If you are painting and planning on decorating, too, once the paint is dry you are set to add whatever add-ons you thought imaginable.

Once your star is dry, you are ready to rock! Add a piece of string or ribbon to one of the points declared as the top, like a loop and hang wherever you like or on the tree!

Bonus:

To make this ornament even more special, as I did in kindergarten, add a picture to the middle of the star – using the star as a frame! This would be your final step, once everything is crafted and dried. These make great keepsakes and gifts that will last a lifetime.

Photo of mine, will be coming soon, once I set up my Christmas Tree!

 

A Letter to My Future Child

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A note to my readers: I find it strange what I am about to write. It feels weird to write to someone, I am not even sure will ever be in existence and in a way feel as though I could be jinxing myself. I was asked to write a letter to someone and I chose to write to my future child. I am not even sure how to properly write this but here is a small piece of what I would like to say…

Dear Future Child(ren),

It is 2015 and although you are a distant thought in my mind, I have decided to write you a letter that I have posted to my blog.

Currently, at age 20 I tell people I want five kids. I don’t know how that turned out, I guess I will see in the future.

As you probably know, mom was a double major in college, with fashion and journalism. I focused almost my entire senior year on childrenswear – in both majors. Therefor, I cannot wait to sew you clothes. As it is probably the only chance I get to sew, because it was always more of a passion than a career. I hope I will never embarrass you with handmade outfits and my explorative projects. Halloween will be our favorite time, as you will always have the best costume because we will make in together. The last couple years (presently), I always made my own costumes and liked them more than the over-priced poorly made ones at the store. Once you are only enough, if you want, I can teach you how to sew, too!

If I am to give you any trait, I hope it will be my creativity, as you can express yourself in your own creative ways. I will always promote positive creativity and I hope you find your voice in whatever that is. Arts are an expression and are a way to speak when words cannot.

I am here to tell you that I will always believe in you, accept you and back you 100%.

You will always have the freedom of choice. The choice to choose what you want to wear. The choice to choose what toys and games you want to play with. The choice to choose what sports and/or activities you want to participate in, if any. Do not let anyone tell you, you can’t.

As my parents told me, can’t is not in my vocabulary and it will not be in yours.

You can do whatever you set your mind to and I cannot wait to experience it all with you.

Love Always,

Mom

 

Question: What is your opinion of allowing your child to have a say in their clothing?

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Question: What is your opinion of allowing your child to have a say in their clothing?

I ask all my readers to take part in this question. My blog is an open and free environment to express opinions. Everyone has a different way in how they raise their children and no one can tell another how to parent their children. There is no correct answer to this question. Below I am going to share my answer to this question and I hope it invites others to start a conversation.

Now we know I am not a mother, so I am not writing on experience of parenthood, yet one day I hope to have a big family so I can answer as how I hope I would be in the future with my children.

What is your opinion of allowing your child to have a say in their clothing?

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Exploration as a child. Photo Credit: Shannon Blum

I find this question to be tough, as through doing research on parenting I have found that whatever you do in your household, might not follow through in the classroom causing confusion, embarrassment, bullying, etc.

I believe a child should have say in what they wear. After all, they are children and only have one childhood. This is their time to have fun and not have a dress code. Children, no matter the age, are in a state of crucial development. The decisions they make as a child, can affect the decisions they make in their future.

Although they are children, I feel one should always consider a conversation with a child. As a parent, if you do not agree with what your child picks out, instead of having an argument, talk it through – give your reasoning and have other options you and your child can agree upon. This is a compromise between the child and you, and that way the child will still feel as though they have a say in their decisions and are important.

This questions also leads me to one of the important topics I talked about earlier on here, gender neutrality. In my opinion, there is no harm in a child’s choice, again he/she is just a child. If my future son wanted to wear butterfly wings with a football jersey, I would let him.

We can all be superheroes and princesses, regardless of gender.

This is their imaginative time and they should be free to fully express and explore their imaginations. Let them decide for themselves the person they want to be. In a world where society decides what is right and wrong, it is time to fight back and in this case let your child decide what is right for them. Clothing, toys, activities, sports etc should not be defined under gender. Kids are kids, so let them be kids. Let them explore endless possibilities and create themselves. You will not be a bad parent by letting your child be imaginative.

Going back to my first statement to this question. If you allow your household to be a place for imagination, exploration and expression; school and daycare might not follow the same free-spirited rules. This can cause a problem to your child if not only other kids, but adults are telling your child that he/she should not wear something because it looks silly, or it’s for a boy or its for a girl.

Although I can see this as problematic, it leads me back to having a conversation with your child. This problem opens discussion between the parent and child. There are people in this world that follow society and gender norms. They are not used to seeing free-expression, but there is nothing wrong with what you are doing and I invite you to continue to be the imaginative, explorer you are!

To my readers, I hope my answer finds you happiness and inspires you to have engaging conversations with your children – they are brighter than you may think. I found some difficulty answering this without being a parent, but answered how I hoped to answer 10 years from now.

Don’t put limitations on children. Let their imagination fly.

Good Grief! Review of The Peanuts Movie

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Good Grief! Review of The Peanuts Movie

With ‘The Peanuts Movie’ coming out over the weekend, I had to share a review. Growing up I watched the Charlie Brown TV specials and also read the comics in the newspaper. With a lot of great animated movies coming out in the next few years, I would have never guessed a Peanuts movie, or at least not like this.

I, like many other reviewers, saw ‘The Peanuts Movie’ to be a progression of Peanuts and a 21st century portrayal of the original 1950 comic. With three-dimensional and photo-realistic animation, the franchise has come a long way since Charles Schultz’s line drawings.

The movie stays true to showing the struggles of childhood that we can all relate to, with the addition of humor, creating a movie that is successful for all ages to watch. In knowing an older crowd would come to watch, due to growing up with the Peanuts franchise, there was a goal to get the younger crowd in to watch the movie as well. Their marketing team succeeded, with 70 percent of the audience being family and 46 percent was under the age of 25.

The Wrap reviewed the movie as having nostalgia. Adults who grew up reading the comic strips and watching the TV specials including “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” couldn’t wait to see round-headed kid back in action. “The Peanuts Movie” maintained enough subtlety and intelligence that grown-ups could be entertained, and younger moviegoers would get a laugh.

I found the film to be very enjoyable, yet different than past productions. I could not say if that different was good or bad. The movie was heart warming and it was nice to see Charlie Brown on the big screen and make a come back into our lives.

Film critic, John Serba for MLive closed his review with, “The film has energy, style and heart. It generates a warm, nostalgic tug for older viewers, and is a charming welcome for franchise newcomers. But in personifying Charlie Brown as the embodiment of relentless failure, instead of fostering lament, the film ultimately suggests that joy and reward are realities too. Maybe that idea isn’t 100 percent true to the core theme of Charles Schulz’s life work, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing, either.”

People would not think that a computer-animated ‘Peanuts’ movie would be a hit, but it actually was. It was beautifully animated and for the most part stayed true to its origin. And again, it was refreshing to see Charlie Brown on the big screen in full color and animation.

For fun and how to create a photo like this one, go to http://www.peanutizeme.com and create yourself into your own Peanuts character. There are also fun games and interactive activities for the kids at http://www.peanutsmovie.com

Chicago’s Holiday Calendar of Events for Kids Starting in November

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Chicago’s Holiday Calendar of Events for Kids Starting in November

DreamWorks Animation’s Adventure : Join Shrek and his friends on a magical, interactive adventure to find Santa at the North Pole. When: Saturday, November 7, 10 a.m. – December 24; Where: 100 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL Book early and save! Receive a $5 discount on Adventures scheduled between November 7 – December 5! Make Reservations Now

Ice Skating in Millenium Park, When: Friday November 13, 12 p.m. – March 6 Where: Millenium Park, 201 E. Randolph St. Fee: Free admission, $12 skate rental

Christmas Around the World, Nobody does the holidays like MSI. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind seasonal celebration by joining us for Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light, a Chicago tradition which began in 1942. When: Thursday, November 19 – Sunday, January; Museum of Science & Industry, Where: 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Hyde Park, Daily 9:30-4, Fee $18, age 3-11 $11.

Official Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, In its 102nd year, the City of Chicago shakes things up by moving the event and tree itself to Millennium Park to create a winter campus that will include Cloud Gate, Maggie Daley Park, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and a hunt for Santa Claus. When: Tuesday, November 24 Where: Millennium Park, 55 N Michigan Ave Fee: Free

Holiday Windows at Macy’s, Walk from window to window to see a story displayed When: Tuesday, November 24 8 a.m. – January 3 Where: Macy’s, 111 N. State St. Fee: Free

Macy's Tree Walnut Room 2014 (Photo Credit: Shannon Blum)

Macy’s Tree Walnut Room 2014 (Photo Credit: Shannon Blum)

Thanksgiving Day Parade, Ring in your holiday season with the 2015 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade featuring classic gigantic balloons, marching bands, majestic horses, festive floats, performance groups, celebrities, and even an appearance from Ronald McDonald and Santa Claus. When: Thursday, November 26 Where: State Street between Congress Parkway and Randolph Street, 8 am Fee: Free

Lincoln Park’s Zoo Lights, Join us for the brilliance of this annual fun, free, family-oriented holiday celebration, featuring luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout zoo grounds. When: Friday, November 27-Saturday, January 3, Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St Fee: Free

Lincoln Park's Zoo Lights 2014 (Photo Credit: Shannon Blum)

Lincoln Park’s Zoo Lights 2014 (Photo Credit: Shannon Blum)

Illumination: Tree of Lights Tree Lights The Morton Arboretum returns with more lights, sights and sounds that will transform a Chicago-area wintertime walk in the woods into a colorful, inspiring experience like no other. When: November 20 – January 2, 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Where: The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rte. 53, Lisle, IL Fee: $17-20/adults; $11-13/children

It’s that time of year again, Halloween Time!

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It’s that time of year again, Halloween Time!

Halloween is probably my favorite holiday of the year. From dressing up in costumes, watching scary movies, going to haunted houses, decorating my own house, and passing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Today, October 25, I attended Naperville’s Halloween Happening event to check out what this year’s halloween costume trends are. As I have seen through other research, major costume trends for 2015 are Superheroes and Disney’s Frozen, for yet another year. Other trends seen for 2015 include Minions, Star Wars, Princesses, Pirates, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as the great classics! As you can see below Superheroes and Frozen reigned at Naperville’s Halloween Happening event. Thank you to all the parents that allowed me to take photos of your children today to be featured on here!

Cannot wait to see more great costumes on Halloween! Parents remember there’s only SIX more days till Halloween so if you have not gotten your child a costume yet, be sure to go out and get one this week. Enjoy trick-or-treating and Happy Halloween!

All photos taken by Shannon Blum.