1. Ankle Boots for Boys

    We know that getting boys into dressier shoes can be a challenge. If it seems like he can’t wait to get out of those clunky dress shoes, it might be time to try out ankle boots.  

    With an ankle-length cut and minimal construction, ankle boots have been a staple on the menswear scene for a while now, and they’re popping up more and more in boys sizes.

    They’re an appealing choice for boys who are used to sneakers, because they’re easy to lace, usually come with some tread on the sole, and offer extra support because of their high cuff.

    They also come in splashy colors, like this pair:

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    These Florsheim ankle boots are genuine suede – very luxe.

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    These opt for a more toned-down look. The slightly pointed toe makes them extra sleek:

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    Even infants can get in on the trend!

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  2. The Brooklyn Nets Come to Cookie’s!

    The sound of children laughing was at an even higher pitch here at the Cookie’s store yesterday. Why? Because we proudly hosted our very tall neighbors, the Brooklyn Nets!

    The whole Nets team was here to accompany 150 needy kids on a fun-filled Christmas shopping spree! American Express provided each child with a $150 gift card, and the Nets were kind enough to volunteer their time as personal toy shoppers.

    Everyone came together to create some holiday magic. And the event was made even sweeter by Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream, who donated frozen treats.

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    We at Cookie’s are always finding new ways to improve our community and the lives of our customers, especially those who need an extra helping hand this time of year. This year we not only hosted some under-served kids for our charity event with the Nets, we also held our annual toy drive in the store. Every year we gather new and gently used toys to distribute to homeless shelters all over New York City.

    What do you and your family do to give back to the community during the holidays? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter @CookiesKids.

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    Couldn’t make to the event? That’s okay! We have tons of Nets merchandise all year round from hoodies to pajama pants. Show your support for Brooklyn’s baddest ballers!

     

  3. Pueblo Prints

    Pueblo prints are one of the hottest trends of the season, popping up on everything from shirts to shoes. You can recognize these prints by their geometric patterns, interlocking shapes, and absence of rounded edges. This is just the latest iteration of what has always been a popular aesthetic, especially in the American Southwest. In fact, Pueblo prints can be traced back to Navajo tapestries.

    This Mona Lisa blouse takes its inspiration from the Southwest in more ways than one. Not only does it sport a stunning Pueblo print, it also features Western shirt elements as well.

    This Derek Heart dress features metallic threading at the bodice and a Pueblo print at the skirt. It’s a dressy and elegant way to rock this season’s hottest print! 

    Nautica is known for its seafaring style, but with this dress they’ve managed to combine their preppy chic with a pop of Pueblo patterning. Perfect!  

     

  4. What to Wear to a Holiday Party

    With the holiday season in full swing, chances are high you and your family will find yourselves attending one or two holiday parties. Before you break out that yuletide sweater your girl can’t stand, check out some of our holiday picks. Who says holiday wear can’t be flattering and elegant?   

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    This Princess Faith dress is perfect for a night out. It comes in holiday colors and has a bow reminiscent of what you’d find on a present.

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    This Bonnie Jean dress is probably not going to make it into your girl’s daily rotation, but it does perfectly balance holiday flair with more traditional eveningwear elements.

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    This Youngland shrug is the perfect way to put a holiday spin on a party dress your girl already owns. It’s soft, snuggly, and exudes wintery festiveness.

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    These Mary Jane booties are the perfect companion to a holiday dress. The shoe is elegant and comfortable, while the bow features a holiday plaid. So festive! 

     

  5. Cookies (the Kind You Eat!)

    When you work at a place called CookiesKids.com, it’s hard not to think about cookies at least occasionally. While we don’t sell cookies (yet!), there are several self-proclaimed cookie experts around the CookiesKids.com office, including our founder, whose lifelong nickname is Cookie. Since the holidays are the best time to make and eat cookies, here’s the scoop on some of our favorites. Check out these recipes and ideas!  

    Every year around the holidays, we welcome back some seasonal cookies we forgot about, like gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies with all kinds of festive icing and decorations. These are wonderful, and if your family loves them, by all means make them. But when making holiday cookies, it’s important to keep two things in mind: longevity and moisture. Sugar and gingerbread cookies may look awesome, but they tend to dry out and harden quickly. This can be a problem if you’re trying to make cookies in advance for a holiday gathering; they’ll keep, but they won’t keep tasting good. This year try out these shortbread cookies instead. They keep for a long time, and the buttery taste is superior to both sugar and gingerbread cookies. Plus, you can decorate them just the same.    

    Moms and dads who make cookies for the holidays know that having a wide variety of bite-size cookies is a good idea. It seems like everyone who comes to your home pops them in their mouth – while they last, at least. The debate rages on as to which of these perfect popables is the best, but a perennial favorite seems to be the peanut butter blossom (above). Peanut butter and chocolate meet up on many occasions, but in cookie form they form an unstoppable bond. Pro tip: if left by a warm place, like by the fireside, the chocolate kisses get all melty – all the better.   

    Of course, just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t break out the classic chocolate chip. It seems like every family has their favorite recipe. All these people on Pinterest claim theirs is the best – and it’s pretty difficult to pick a winner. But you have to factor in just what style of chocolate chip cookie you and your family (and Santa) prefers. The soft kind? The crispy kind? The thin kind with a caramelized crust on the bottom? The kind that’s 90% chocolate chunks held together with a mere 10% dough? The kind with potato chips and coffee grounds in it?

    The choice is yours. Viva la cookie!  

     

  6. Making a Family Tree

    Looking for a fun indoor project to do with your kids? Try making a family tree. It’s a great excuse to go through your old family photos, teach your kids about their roots, and put your family in the context of history. It also lets your kids practice important academic skills like gathering, synthesizing, and presenting information.

    The holidays, a visit to the grandparents, or any other event that gets your extended family in the same room together is a good opportunity to start your family tree. You can have your kids gather and record firsthand biographical accounts from various family members. Kids can contact more distant relatives by phone or online to see if they have anything to contribute. Most kids love the idea of playing investigator. Their faces will really light up when they find out all the unique historical facts your family has to offer.

    You might also want to furnish your children with some firsthand documents and items. Gather family photos, heirlooms, and correspondences. Explain when and where the items came from and how they made their way into your home. Sharing something tangible with your kids allows them to appreciate that your forbearers were real people who led full lives.

    Use the internet to supplement the information your kids gather. Certain websites are devoted specifically to genealogies and family trees, and these can be good places to start. You can also use the web to get more general information for your kids. If your family came to America during the Potato Famine, print out some information on Irish History. Perhaps your family first arrived in New York City in the 1850s? Set the scene for your kids by printing out pictures, firsthand accounts, and historical facts about NYC in that era. If your kids are a bit older, you can let them do all the research on their own.

    A family tree can be an ongoing project, one your kids can work on for years to come. They can keep adding to it as they meet more relatives or the family welcomes new members. Even if your kids put their project away in a box for a while, chances are they’ll return to it one day, whether for a school project or to teach their own children about the family’s origins. It’s a project that could always use a little extra contribution – and always pays off. 

     

  7. Leather in Boys Clothes: Real or Faux?

    Leather is one of those materials that always seems to be in style. For boys, designers usually employ faux leather instead of the real stuff, which makes sense: real leather is too expensive a material for clothes that will soon be outgrown. Faux leather looks almost the same, but it’s lighter, easier to clean, and animal friendly.

    Check out some of these faux leather picks to spruce up your little guy’s look.   

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    This Akademiks jacket boasts a shiny faux leather exterior that’s softer and more pliable than traditional leather. It also won’t lose its luster as quickly. The fabric trim ensures comfort and offers a matte counterbalance to the faux leather’s shine.

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    These U.S. Polo Assn. sneakers pair a classic sneaker design with faux leather construction. The faux leather makes them a little dressier than typical sneakers, but they can still be worn in a casual context with jeans and a T.

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    The small amount of faux leather used in these Guess jeans goes along way, adding a pop of texture and color to the denim.

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    Every boy should have a leather belt, and this reversible one is a great choice. It’s an essential look for dress-up occasions like formals and graduations, but a belt like this can also add a touch of class to more everyday outfits.

     

  8. Birthdays on a Budget: Having a Blast without Breaking the Bank

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    The cost of a child’s birthday party can add up fast. Food for friends and family, appropriate entertainment – and don’t forget a present for the birthday boy or girl! Unfortunately, many parents find that spending more doesn’t necessarily mean getting more. Before you start booking the magician or renting the arcade, look over our affordable birthday solutions. You’ll find lots of ways you can give your kids and their friends a unique and memorable birthday without spending much at all.

    For spring and summer birthdays, a day on the lake is great fun. A quick internet search will reveal the parks in your area. In most cases, reserving a site with a fire pit and lake access is under $20. Some sites are free, but in those cases you’ll need to arrive early to stake your claim. Then all you need is a cooler full of hotdogs and any outdoor play things you have around the house. The parents can relax while the kids run around, swim, and make their own fun. As the day ends, gather everyone around the fire to sing Happy Birthday, open presents, and eat some birthday s’mores!

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    If the weather doesn’t permit, or you’re not around any lakes, you can organize a scavenger hunt. If you plan this properly it can cost you a total of $0. You can organize a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood, if weather permits, or at the local mall. Just create some clues based on your chosen location, split the guests into two or more teams with a few parents per team, then let them loose to solve the puzzle. Look online for inspiration; you’ll find lots of clues and riddles to incorporate into your hunt.

    Chances are there are some fun, low cost cultural institutions in your area. Museums, zoos, and historical sites are all affordable options. Call and ask about group rates or reduced rates for kids. Many such places will also have free days every now and again, though they do tend to become crowded on those days. Make sure to bring enough parents on your outing. Keeping track of so many rowdy kids in a crowded place can get tricky.

    When planning a birthday on a budget, it’s important to take advantage of all the resources available to you, from other parents to local attractions. With enough planning and creativity you can deliver a birthday experience your little one will never forget.  

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  9. Pajama Party Picks!

    The #1 rule for sleepover parties? Bring the right pajamas!

    There are favorite pajamas girls wear at home…and then there are the favorite pajamas they wear to the sleepover party. They’re totally different species. At-home pajamas can (and should) be threadbare and centuries old, but most girls want to show off a little bit at a sleepover party. That means their pajamas should be matching, fresh, and cute – not to mention comfy enough to last through a night of movies and mischief.  

    This pair of PJs is way too stylish for bedtime. Between the legging-fit pants and metallic “Chase Your Dreams” graphic, it’s more like a favorite outfit than pajamas. She might even wear it in the daytime.  

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    Kind of a punky, baseball shirt-inspired thing going on here…

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    Sometimes having cute PJs is as easy as showing off a favorite character, like Hello Kitty.

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    Other times, it means proclaiming oneself the future Mrs. Bieber.

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    The nightgown is making a comeback in a big way. Check out this one. Extra positivity! Extra glitter! 

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  10. Flu Season Tips for the Whole Family

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    At its best, the flu can be a few days in bed with a sore throat and other unpleasant symptoms. At its worst, it can require hospitalization. As with many illnesses, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. How can you prevent your family from getting the flu this season? Check out these no-nonsense tips!

    The best line of defense is a flu vaccine. Although everyone should get a flu vaccine, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) highly recommends the elderly, children between 6 months and 6 years, people with a preexisting illness, pregnant women, or anyone who works with the aforementioned groups get vaccinated. You can get a flu vaccine at your doctor’s office or pharmacy, usually at little to no cost.

    The typical flu vaccine prevents against the 3 major flu viruses. The antibodies it spurs your body to create, however, can help prevent many other forms of the flu. But even though the vaccine dramatically reduces your risk of contracting the flu, it doesn’t offer 100% protection. Vaccinated individuals will still be susceptible to certain forms of the flu virus. There are also a host of non-flu viruses that can cause similar symptoms.

    What else can you do to reduce the risk of getting sick? Scientist have found that people who have healthy habits overall are better equipped to fight the flu, and are sometimes able to get rid of it before symptoms appear at all. What’s your family doing to stay healthy? During flu season, take extra care that you and your family eat nutritiously, sleep enough, and exercise. Not only will this kind of behavior make you less likely to get the flu, it will make your case of the flu less severe if you do end up falling ill.

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    Another effective preventative measure is hand washing. Make sure to wash your hands constantly during flu season. Get your family in the habit of washing up before meals or after interacting with large groups of people. Use hot water and soap with at least 30 seconds of rigorous scrubbing, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

    People who do get sick, especially those who get a milder strain, tend to go about their daily lives and not stay home. The CDC warns against such behavior. The high communicability of the flu means interacting with people who aren’t sick puts them at risk. Your coughs and sneezes can infect people up to 6 feet away! The best thing you can do if you’re sick is stay home and minimize contact with others. And make sure your kids stay away from you, too – we know it’s hard not to give them hugs sometimes, but it’s for their own good.