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Enter The Puddles Spring 2014 Photo Contest!

April 10th, 2014

Show off your tot’s smile and get A Free iPad Mini!

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Want to win a family friendly iPad Mini? It’s easy with Puddles Collection’s Easter themed photo contest! Submit a photo of your tot all dressed up in formal clothes to us between April 11 and May 10 to enter.

Once your photo has been entered, we will put it on the Puddles Collection official instagram and allow voting to begin (you can also submit your photo to us via your instagram account by using #puddlescollectioncontest). For every 5 likes a photo receives, one additional entry in our grand prize raffle for an iPad Mini is granted. Maximize your chances by getting as many of your friends and family to like the photo as possible!

So gather your friends and family and root on your little one in the Puddles Collection formal photo contest! Detailed information on contest rules and regulations are below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top 6 US Easter Destinations

April 18th, 2014

Looking for somewhere to take the girls and boys while they’re still dressed up in their Easter dresses and Easter suits? If you’re in the U.S., you might consider combining your Easter celebration with a uniquely American institution: the family road trip. Pack your baskets and fluff your tails! You’ve got a long road to hop.

easter egg basket

1. New Orleans Easter Parade

New Orleans boasts a wide variety of Easter parades. Several march through the historic French Quarter. The earliest parade ends conveniently right outside the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral, a great place to attend Easter Mass. And while you’re in New Orleans, sample some candy unique to the Gulf Coast. Every Easter, native N’awlins residents chow down on a chocolate-y marshmallow treat called Heavenly Hash. Save a couple for the road!

2. South Florida Eggstravaganza

Consider registering your kids for one of the largest annual Easter Egg Hunts in the United States. Every year, the Coastal Community Church in Coconut Grove hides thousands of eggs for the Eggstravaganza. It’s completely free – all you have to bring is some baskets, your kids, and lots of energy.

3. Washington D.C. 1789 Easter Brunch

Once the kids finish rolling their eggs down the White House lawn, they’ll have worked up quite an appetite. Consider making a reservation for Easter brunch or dinner at 1789, a favorite downtown restaurant of the city’s movers and shakers. You’ll get a delicious 3 course meal, during which the Easter Bunny himself will deliver candy to your table.

4.  Colorado Springs, The Thorn

Passion Plays have been a staple of Easter for hundreds and hundreds of years. In Colorado Springs, the old tradition got an over-the-top update. This exciting retelling of Jesus’ resurrection incorporates elements of the circus, including trapeze performances and other feats of acrobatics.

5. Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant

For a more traditional Easter pageant experience, join the Church of Latter Day Saints at the Mesa Temple for one of the biggest outdoor Easter pageants in the world. It takes place at sunrise and features an enormous, 450-member cast.

6. San Francisco’s Union Street Spring Celebration and Easter Parade

San Francisco’s eclectic, artsy community puts on a huge, family-friendly parade every Easter. But the parade of floats and classic cars is just the beginning. You’ll also find bouncy castles, a petting zoo, rides, costumed Easter characters and an outrageous Easter bonnet contest. Parents, take note: this is one family activity where you’re sure to be just as entertained as your kids.

Easter Calendar for Kids

April 17th, 2014

Easter Calendar for Kids

Before the religious Easter celebration, many Christians observe forty days of Lent, a time for foregoing some favorite foods or pastimes. Churchgoers have a whole calendar of reasons to make sure they’re stocked up on beautiful Easter dresses and adorable formal boys’ suits. Not every Christian church officially observes each of these days – but your kids will no doubt have friends that do, so keep everybody in the loop with a few Easter calendar facts.

girls easter dresses

Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras

No matter how you slice it, this is a day for digging in. In the Christian tradition, this Holy Tuesday comes right before the very first day of Lent. Because Lent requires some version of fasting, this is a day for indulgence before tightening the belt. In England, Shrove Tuesday revolves around the consumption of pancakes. Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in French) isn’t just in New Orleans. A number of traditionally Catholic, European countries also celebrate with large parades, wild behavior, and gluttony.

Ash Wednesday

On Ash Wednesday, many Christians attend a special ceremony to express their penitence and begin the 40 days of Lent. During this ceremony, priests apply the ashes of burned palm fronds from last year’s Palm Sunday to the foreheads of believers, in the shape of a cross. Traditionally, believers leave the cross on their foreheads, letting it fade on its own instead of washing it off.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday a week before Easter. When Jesus returned to Bethlehem, happy locals took it upon themselves to lay down the branches of palm trees on the path in front of him, to prevent dirt from the road from getting on his robes. On Palm Sunday, churches of many denominations often celebrate by starting the Sunday service with a processional of church members carrying palm fronds.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday takes place the Thursday before Easter Sunday, during the Holy Week. Maundy comes from an old word meaning last. This day commemorates Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. There aren’t many Maundy Thursday traditions still widely practiced today, but the story of the Last Supper is a dramatic one, represented in thousands of famous works of art.

Good Friday

According to tradition, the crucifixion took place on a Friday. In Medieval Europe (and to this day, in some parts of the world) Good Friday involves some gruesome acts of penitence. But hang in there, Easter’s right around the corner!

Easter Vigil

On the Saturday night before Easter Sunday, Catholic Churches light a special Easter Fire. Using the flames of the Easter Fire, a priest lights the Easter candle. From the Easter candle, congregants light their own individual candles, for a beautiful, candlelit ceremony.

Best Colors for Spring

April 10th, 2014

It’s not just Easter that makes pastels a popular choice for kids in the spring. Lighter colors reflect sunlight, while darker colors absorb it. So there you have it, the science of Easter colors. When you’re dressing children up for a formal occasion, encourage them to try something outside of their favorites. We don’t always think to wear the color that looks the best with our complexion!

Back in the 1980s, young beauties were supposed to find a season of colors that matched their skin tone, eye color and hair color. Supposedly, your coloring dictates how bright or how saturated a color palette you should use. These rules have gone out of style, but there are some basic rules of Color Theory to follow to ensure your child’s boys dress suit or girls Easter dress brings out their natural beauty.

green for spring

1. Green

In the list of favorite colors, green often gets short shrift. Green looks great with brown or hazel eyes, and will garner your red-haired child lots of compliments. We can explain this phenomenon using Color Theory – red and green look good together because they are opposite each other on a standard color wheel.

2. White with colorful details

A flower girl classic, you can’t beat the pastel-and-white combo for epitomizing a happy-go-lucky springtime feeling. Sashes and brightly colored bows make a white dress look more festive than formal. Since white is a cooler color, it makes pastels look especially bright by contrast.

3. Lavender

If you have a brown-eyed girl or boy, lavender will quickly become their best friend. A cool shade of lavender makes brown eyes look especially warm. Lavender is also a great color in a shade of pastel, and matches a beautifully-scented bouquet of everyone’s favorite springtime fragrance.

4. Yellow and Orange

Controversial color alert! Both of these serial offenders often look unflattering on adults. But while they can make grown-ups with pale skin look washed-out, children are more likely to have the ruddy complexion to pull it off. It also helps if they’ve been running around outside, developing a tan. The less pale the skin, the nicer it looks with especially bright colors. In pictures, kids dressed in yellow and orange really stand out from the crowd!

5. Pastels

Any shade of pastel will make your child look picture-perfect for spring. Because we associate lighter colors with new growth, pastels highlight your children’s youth and all-around cuteness.

Easter for Everyone

March 31st, 2014

In the western hemisphere we have celebrated spring since way back, maybe the beginning of time. But since then, we’ve found widely different ways to celebrate, even within the Christian tradition. Many Christians still make room for the Easter bunny, but he gets the spotlight only after an important church service.

easter candy

For Catholics, Easter is the most important holiday on the calendar – even more so than Christmas. If you’re only going to take communion once a year, the Church appoints Easter Mass as the perfect time. Easter in the Catholic Church has lots of steps. Easter vigil begins the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. This ceremony includes lighting special Easter candles. On the morning of Easter Mass, brightly-colored flowers appear around the altar, to match all the girls and boys in their colorful Easter dresses and boys dress suits.

Protestants have adopted the tradition of the Easter Sunday sunrise service. This tradition started in the 18th century with the Moravian denomination. It takes place at dawn to commemorate Mary’s early-morning discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb.

Most branches of Christianity observe some version of Lent. Nowadays, it’s generally up to the individual to decide what to forgo during the 40 days before Easter. Traditionally, Christians would eat a plain, mostly vegan diet during lent. Giving up something before Easter makes the secular tradition of baskets filled with candy especially exciting.

Nowadays it’s normal for all Christians to give up only a favorite food. Teenagers frequently give up something technology-related. Abstaining from social media has become increasingly popular – going without Facebook has swiftly become today’s equivalent of wandering alone in the desert.

No matter how you celebrate Easter, we can all get behind the Easter feast. Many popular foods have a practical purpose. Our penchant for Easter lamb descends from the traditional Passover meal. Ham became a popular Easter food because meat was often in short supply in early spring – pork could be cured during winter, and be ready to eat in time for Easter.

Our secular obsession with the Easter Bunny has a place in the traditional Easter spread. Bake a batch of cupcakes and decorate with white frosting and flaked coconut. Add some paper ears, glued to Popsicle sticks for easy removal. Then add a maraschino nose and some licorice whiskers. No matter how you celebrate Easter, we can all agree that cupcake bunny is pretty cute.

For all your formal Easter related celebrations, be sure to check out Puddles Collection. We have some of the highest quality yet affordable boys dress shoes, girls dresses, and boys dress clothing and more for dressing up your young ones.

Formal Outfits for Spring

March 24th, 2014

Bring it on, spring. Your child has spent most of the winter not being able to move their arms or legs in that giant parka grandma bought them. Free them from the tyranny of sweaters! In these 6 dressy springtime outfits, girls and boys will be able to enjoy the weather and charm the crowd at the same time. Any of these girls’ party dresses or boys’ outfits would be perfect for formal or semi-formal outdoor events. They’re made of light fabric and come in festive, springy patterns and colors.

girls spring dresses

1. Eyelet organza dress

This dress has a layered effect that won’t weigh down the wearer. Stylish eyelets form a white floral pattern over a layer of pink fabric. Made from thin, organza material, this sleeveless dress will keep your little girl feeling nice and cool well into the summer months.

2. Dress shirt and short pants

For a formal picnic or an outdoor church event, a jacket and tie will come across as a bit too stuffy. Instead your son can wear a brightly colored, button-down collared shirt, made from a breathable cotton blend. Pair it with a neutral short pant, and you’ll have an easy-going, yet definitely dressed-up springtime look for your son.

3. 3-Tier chiffon dress

Nothing says spring like light, chiffon fabric. This sleeveless dress is simple but girlishly elegant. The 3-tiers create a cascading effect, highlighting the airiness of the fabric. Available in a variety of light, floral colors, this dress would look equally at home at a school dance or a grown-up garden party.

4. Boys’ four piece suit

Ditch the jacket! In the warm weather, if you send your child out wearing a blazer they’ll inevitably take it off and stuff it in a corner, never to be seen or heard from again. This boys’ suit comes with a button-up shirt, a pair of dress pants, a tie, and a vest, for a complete formal look. You can order it in a variety of bold, jewel-tone colors.

5. Pillow case dress

This sweet little number is a style that only the youngest fashionistas can pull off. The pillow case dress gathers at the shoulders, tied at the seam with an adorable ribbon. At the hem, a pink frill gives the dress its pillow case shape. Your daughter will love this dress’s loose fit on warmer days.

 

Easter Clothes & Easter Candy

March 18th, 2014

Every Easter, the nation unites behind a two-pronged goal: Get candy, and eat too much of it. While many Easter traditions have been passed down through eons of folklore, popular Easter candies come to us by way of modern technological innovations. We have Industrialization to thank for baskets of candy instead of hard-boiled eggs. Thanks, Industrialization!

Chocolate Easter eggs didn’t start out as the sweet temptations we know today. Carved from a solid lump of dark, bitter chocolate, most 21st century children would spit them out in horror. In the 19th century, clever Dutchmen came up with a method for separating cocoa from cocoa butter, a process that made it easier to pour chocolate into a 3-dimensional mold. The addition of sugar soon followed. At the turn of the century, Cadbury introduced milk chocolate to their eggs, creating a candy similar to what we know and love today.

Careful not to get chocolate on your Easter outfit!

Once the Victorians had embraced the chocolate Easter egg, the chocolate Easter Bunny wasn’t far behind. In 1890, Robert L. Strohecker placed a 5-foot tall Easter Bunny statue outside his Pennsylvania drugstore to advertise his chocolate bunny treats. His marketing strategy worked – sales of chocolate Easter Bunnies have boomed ever since. In 1948, a World War II veteran named Robert Palmer created a hollow chocolate Bunny named Baby Binks. Binks made it big -today Palmer’s Reading, Pennsylvania candy company manufactures millions of chocolate bunnies every year.

In 1954, the Just Born candy manufacturer of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania started cranking out chick-shaped marshmallow candies at an industrial pace. (Something about the soil in Pennsylvania makes it ideal for candy production, I guess.) They had made the same confection in years prior, but making a Peep by hand is more labor-intensive than you might assume. In the 1960s, Just Born introduced the bunny-shaped Peep-alternative to a swinging new generation of sweet tooths. You heard me. Tooths.

Candy man William Schrafft advertised his jelly beans as a nice addition to care-packages for soldiers during the Civil War. His advertisement is the first official mention of jelly beans. These chewy candies probably trace their origin back to Turkish Delights, a gummy invented as a Christmas treat in the 18th century. Jelly beans became popular Easter staples in the 1930s, then got a boost in the 1960s when Ronald Reagan publicly declared his love for the candies. He claimed they helped him quit smoking.

Who knows what other evils Easter candy could help overcome? But try to save some for the children. And if they get any candy on their nice boys formal clothes or Easter dresses, try to forgive them – Easter only comes once a year!

Dressing Up Your Boy for Easter

March 17th, 2014

How does your little boy usually dress? Many tots regard clothes as a pointless obstacle between them and their mud-covered adventures. On Easter Sunday, show your friends and family just how well he cleans up. Even if he can’t tie his shoes (or his tie!) he can still pull off a few perfectly coordinated accessories. In a new boys dress suit and boys tie, the littlest man in your family may very well be the best-dressed.

easter boys dress suits

Easter Sunday isn’t the only occasion for showing off that suit. It’s never too early for your little boy to begin his patronage of the arts. Take him to watch the dramatic story of Easter unfold on stage. If his feet don’t reach the floor yet, even better – everyone can get a good look at his new dress shoes. Even if his usual accessories typically consist of jelly or mud, one day out of the year you can get him to trade in his favorite light-up sneakers for something more dashing. Spiffy white socks embroidered with the shape of a cross can subtly help his foot-ware fit the occasion.

Egg hunts can get a little frantic, so make sure your son’s outfit is ready to rumble. For not too much effort, a pair of suspenders can add some pizzazz to a more casual outfit. Rising temperatures come with increased reports of ants-in-pants syndrome, so alleviate most of those symptoms by opting for a short pant with your boy’s formal suit. As long as he can comfortably sprint to the candy, he won’t object to dressing up for Easter.

Another tip for keeping cool – lighter colors absorb less sunlight than dark colors, so opt for a light-colored suit if you’re going to spend a significant portion of Easter Sunday out of doors. Cotton blend materials will support good ventilation, an important factor if they’re required to sit still somewhere stuffy.

It’s a common misconception that pastel colors only work for girls. Nowadays, a fashionable gentleman doesn’t shy away from shades of powder blue and lavender that suit his complexion. Don’t let your son get caught up in “boy” colors versus “girl” colors. Let him know the entire color wheel is at his disposal. Spring is a time to celebrate color, so make sure your little one gets in on the party.

4 Tips for Best Behavior from Your Tot

March 12th, 2014

Bows on, shoes tied, hair brushed – the kids look perfect angels in their new suits and dresses. But will their behavior live up to their angelic appearance? Even the goodiest of goody two-shoes needs a little encouragement to get through those long church services. Keep these tricks in mind to ensure good behavior from the opening prayer through the closing hymn.

1. Food for thought

Nothing makes children forget how to behave like a rumbly tummy. Cover all your bases before you arrive: make sure everybody has some juice, goes to the bathroom, and eats a hearty breakfast. Before a formal event, make sure nobody eats anything with lots of sugar. That nixes candy and soda, but look out for less obvious culprits. Some juices and cereals have lots of added sugar or corn syrup. Caffeine is also a big no-no. Not only does it make fidgeting irresistible, it also increases the number of restroom trips and speeds up dehydration.

boys formal dress shirts

In case of emergencies, bring along a snack that doesn’t need crunching. Something like fruit leather (a healthy alternative to a fruit roll-up) is a fuss-free snack that won’t cause a ruckus.

2. Prepare them for what’s ahead

Children benefit from knowing what to expect from a lengthy event. Talk them through what’s going to happen. “First we’re going to sing, then we’re going to pray, then we’re going to hear the Easter story, then you’ll go up to Pastor Mark to get communion, we’ll pray again, and then we’ll leave.” Try repeating this enough so that they have the schedule memorized. If your child knows how far along they are in the service, they won’t feel overwhelmed by the suspicion that they may never, ever, get to those doughnuts in the foyer.

3. Become a master of distraction

To make sure that wandering attention span has somewhere to focus, bring along a coloring book and a few crayons. You can also find plenty of books that have endless pages of games for children to play on their own. Connecting the dots can increase your child’s patience by many tens of minutes.

4. The last resort

This might go against some conventional parenting wisdom, but it’ll do in a pinch. If your little one finds they don’t have the coping skills to sit still and keep quiet, sometimes a well-placed bribe can bring them around. Offer a round of hide-and-seek, or a favorite dinner as a reward for hanging in there a little longer.

But with any luck, if they get bored they’ll just take a nap.

4 Unusual Easter Traditions from Around the World

March 3rd, 2014

As we’ve covered in another post, our story of the Easter Bunny emigrated from Germany. The old country harbors many more Easter traditions steeped in folklore, some of which we’ll bet you’ve never heard of.

1. Sweden sees your bunny, and raises you witches

Easter in Sweden looks an awful lot like Halloween. Besides girls’ Easter dresses and boys’ dress suits, children in Sweden get to put a devilish spin on their Easter outfits. According to Swedish legend, when Judas gave up Jesus to the Roman soldiers, evil spirits emerged and started running amok. Ever since, during the week leading up to Easter, witches gather on the Swedish island of Blåkulla. To scare them off, Swedes build massive bonfires in their yards.

Children dress up as the Easter witches, known as påskkärring. Swedish witches look a little different from the American version. Instead of donning a pointed hat, children wrap scarves around their heads, put on an apron borrowed from the kitchen, and paint their cheeks red. Then they go from door to door, asking neighbors for candy. In exchange for sweets, children offer påskris, willow branches decorated with feathers. Households display the påskris in a vase, as a decorative reminder of the colorful season to come.

2. You can crack more than eggs in Corfu

easter for kidsOn the Grecian island of Corfu, solemn Easter traditions go right out the window. Along with lots (and lots) of pottery. Easter morning the island awakes to the sound of pottery crashing to the ground, tossed out of open windows. The reason for this tradition is lost to history, although some have suggested a vague connection to the theme of renewal – new season, new pottery.

3. Ukraine doesn’t mess around when it comes to egg-dying

Traditional Ukrainian egg-dying, called pysanky, proves that Ukrainians take their Easter crafts way more seriously than the rest of us. To make one of these eggs, an aspiring egg artist pokes a small hole in an uncooked egg’s shell and waits for the contents to drain. Then, oh-so-carefully, he or she uses a stylus dipped in wax to scrawl an intricate pattern on the empty shell. Once the design is complete, the egg gets several layers of dye. After the egg has dried, a candle melts away the wax lines, exposing the white shell and the delicate design.

4. That ambush was…refreshing?

In Hungary and Poland, April showers can get pretty personal. On Easter, children get a free pass to surprise people with splash attacks. They can use anything from an old-fashioned bucket to the latest in water gun technology. Both countries attach fertility to the custom – girls who get splashed become more fertile or are fated to marry the following year.