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Archive for March, 2009

baby-bookThere are so many baby reference books out there, it’s hard to pick which ones to read. And with a newborn, who has time to browse through all the books out there? A lot of it has to do with your parenting style. My personal favorite is “The Baby Book” by William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN. I found that their philosophy matched mine, and it has become my Bible.

With my first born, I had a very difficult time getting her to sleep in her crib. She would cry the moment she was placed in it. It didn’t matter how long I let her cry it out (which was so painful for me to bear), she would only scream and cry louder. I tried all the tricks, such as making the bed warm, or adding an article of my clothing to make her more comfortable. Nothing worked, and NO ONE got any sleep. Then I stumbled on this book.

I like how the Sears authors approve of co-sleeping. Their argument is, “Why should the entire family be sleep-deprived, when you can all sleep soundly in one bed and wake up refreshed?” So true! Of course, they also recognize that each baby is different and that each baby has different needs. One might love to sleep in his own crib because they are sensitive to the movement and sounds of others, while another baby might feel secure being near her parents. Either way, this book doesn’t condemn any method. The authors just make you feel comfortable in the choices you make as parents. (Note: I’ve heard the disadvantages of co-sleeping, and that my daughter will never sleep in her own bed ever. I’m happy to say that was never a problem. She slept in her own bed when she was about a year old, and she still sleeps in her own bed.)

What baby books do you use? We’d love to hear what you recommend.

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There are so many ways to record your baby’s life and milestones. My mom kept a baby book for each of her children, and till this day, I treasure it! In fact, I love reading and comparing my development with my daughter’s development. My daughter started eating solid foods at 6 months, yet my mom had me eating steak and chicken at 4 months! Boy, have the times changed.

This is probably overkill (either because she’s my first child or I’m an over-achiever) but I have a baby book, a website (updated monthly), and several scrapbooks for my daughter. I can’t seem to stop recording her life! My husband asks every time I have filled yet another scrapbook, “So what are you going to do with these scrapbooks?”

Me: They’re mine! When she moves out and goes to college, I’m not giving these to her. I’m keeping them. These are MY memories.

Husband: So when are you going to stop scrapbooking and updating her website?

Me: When she’s graduated from high school. No. When she’s finished her doctorate. Wait! After she gets married. Uh… maybe when she has children. I don’t know. Don’t ask.

Do you do the same or am I just insane?

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800px-cliffs_of_moher_looking_northThis may come a week late (St. Paddy’s day was last week), but this week, our thoughts are off to Ireland! The lush landscapes, the hunt for the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow, and oh, yes, the Cliffs of Moher (better known as the “Cliffs of Insanity” – Princess Bride, anyone?) all beckon to us! There are so many reasons for wanting to jet off to Ireland; it’s not only the pub life in Dublin or the Paddywagon Tours of northern and southern Ireland, or meeting some of the friendliest people in the world (some whose name you could not say if you saw it written – e.g., Aiofe), and it’s not just the spectacle of the sheering of sheep each summer, or the “lovely” (not really) smell of the peat burning in the hearths, nor the surf towns off the west coast or the scenic drive of the ring of Kerry. It’s not just one of these things, but all of these things together, and more, that keep us dreaming of the day we will be in Ireland….for some of us, once again.

$599 — Explore Ireland: 6-Night Vacation incl. Car & Air

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Happy bakers!

Happy bakers in the kitchen!

…submitted by guest contributor: Dawn

“Wholesome” Brownies from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book (with comments from Dawn)

1  6-oz. package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 scant cup quick-cooking rolled oats
¼ cup wheat germ
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt, if desired
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 eggs
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 8 inch square pan (I usually double the recipe and put in a 13 X 9 pan, or a cookie sheet to make thinner brownies which are not as chewy as those made in a 13 X 9 pan).

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, melt the chocolate chips and the butter or margarine. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir the mixture until it is smooth. Set it aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, dry milk, baking powder, salt and nuts. Set the mixture aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, and mix in the brown and white sugars and the vanilla until the mixture is thick.  Stir in the melted-chocolate mixture. Fold in the oats mixture until it is just blended. Pour the batter in a greased 8 inch square baking pan.

4. Bake the brownies in a preheated  350F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is crisp but a toothpick  inserted in the center of the pan comes out slightly moist. Set the pan on a rack to cool completely before cutting the cake into 5 strips in each direction. (Cut in these small portions, only 85 calories each.)

Editor’s Note: This is one recipe that Dawn tells me she has made many times, so it must be good!! Should I be on the look-out for any in my mailbox? 😉

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Kids coming and going at our crazy-fun go-see!

Design Manager, Anna managing kids coming and going at our crazy-fun go-see!

January and February are always exciting months here at le top! During this time we finalize our new collection for the fall and winter – yes, we have to work that far ahead! – then we put together everything to show off our designs to buyers for the season. What does that take? In a word – lots!!! Our first step is getting in all our samples, and “fluffing” them (my word) for taking care of any little problems, hanging, pricing, tagging and finally shipping out a set of everything to our sales representatives located all over the United States.

Second big challenge – photography! This crazy fun task starts with a ‘go-see’ – fashion terminology for model tryouts (I think I promised a little “more” about our go-see a couple months ago when I  first wrote about this. Sorry it took so long – I’m only now coming up for air). This is always pure madness! The go-see is held at our corporate offices – and this year we had a huge turn-out – 128 darlings! Loads of energy – I wish I could bottle and sell it! We joke that we do our own version of “American Idol” – since Karen, our art director, Charly, and I all sit at a table and ‘see’ all the little cuties one by one as they try on our new styles. We look at how the clothes fit and whether the child seems to like doing the modeling – then we have to make some really difficult decisions! Once we have our cast, we start planning our actual photo shoot. Our fabulous photographer, Marcy Maloy met with Charly and me to discuss the details of sets, lighting and all the little details that go into making our magical photos.

This season all the stars aligned and we have great photographs and a very exciting collection! Our sales representatives are showing the samples to store buyers – and they love it! Of course the new fall collections will not be in stores until June, July and August – but here are a few sneak peeks from the photo shoot!le-top-fall-photo-shoot-09-1le-top-fall-photo-shoot-09-3

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pediped spring summer collection: Harvey

pediped™ footwear spring/summer collection: Harvey

You saw our fabulous “shoe closet” here at le•top a few weeks ago, all thanks to our friends at pediped™ footwear. Well, we just heard from them that their Spring/Summer 2009 collection is now available, and just in time for the warm weather, they’re boasting more sandals than ever! As a designer who admits to being a “shoe-aholic” (is that being redundant?), I appreciate how pediped has styles for every occasion, ensuring that your darlings look their best, while still providing comfort and support. pediped footwear is a natural complement to any le•top or rabbitmoon outfit – spring, summer, fall and winter! They have such a sweet company story, too: in their quest for the perfect soft-soled shoe for their first daughter, Angela and Brian Edgeworth just decided to do it themselves and launched pediped in 2004 – lucky daughter! 😉 This award winning company is known for their exceptional quality, unsurpassed comfort and distinctive styling. You can easily find pediped footwear in stores (in the U.S. and worldwide) or conveniently shop pediped online – they offer more than 120 designs for boys and girls between their two lines, Originals and Flex. Originals are soft-soled shoes for newborns to age 2+, and the Flex line offers rubber-soled shoes for children 1 to 6 years (EU sizes ranging from 17 to 29).

pediped™ footwear spring summer collection: Giselle

pediped™ footwear spring/summer collection: Giselle

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Miranda in Bloomin' Beauty. (Click on the image to see more from this le•top collection.)

Miranda in Bloomin' Beauty. (Click on the image to see more from this le•top collection.)

After a day spent with Grandma, I picked up my daughter to find this bright pink and purple hair attachment clamped to the back of my daughter’s head. “What in the heck is that?!” My mom replied, “Well, we were at the mall, and she saw a girl wearing it, and we asked where she got it from, and well, Miranda really liked it, so I bought it for her.”

Other things that my mom has gotten for my daughter are:

  • Hannah Montana crayons
  • High School Musical pens
  • Letting her get her nails done (in very light pink so I wouldn’t see it right away… sneaky!)
  • DVDs (claiming that she doesn’t have DVDs at home)
  • Sugary snacks such as chocolate covered pretzels, Dora yogurt and Hello Kitty cookies (claiming that mommy doesn’t get her good snacks)

I rolled my eyes and sighed, and thought about the days when I was a little girl and my mom refused to buy such sassy things. She always gave me the response, “If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you jump off, too?” Of course, now that she has a granddaughter who wants all these trendy things, my mom doesn’t even bat an eye. She gets it for her in a snap!

I wonder if I’ll be doing the same when I have grandkids. Probably. I guess it’s easy to spoil grandchildren than it is your own children.

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