Archive for December, 2010

While out shopping the other day, Lilah was telling me all the things she liked and wanted at that moment – it seems that commercials are already having an impact on her. She was struggling with the concept of “Wait for Christmas” or “Put that on your Christmas or birthday list”. Lilah was relentless and I finally gave in on an item from the $1 bin. When I did, she loudly proclaimed:

You are such a good mom!”

All of the people around me laughed. I guess that she’s learned about positive re-enforcement. I wonder if she is as aware as I am of what she’s doing. 🙂

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Sugar cookies always look so cute but can be daunting! Make it easier on yourself with this EASY cookie recipe that only takes about 15 minutes to whip up!  Perfect for kids’ parties, an afterschool snack or a sweet treat for your child’s classroom during the holidays. The key ingredient here is buttermilk! Or as another idea, pre-bake the cookies before the kids get home and make it an after school activity or better yet a snowy/rainy day activity for the holidays!

This post has been moved to our website. To view the recipe click on this link: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=14600




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Here are some cute and cheap ideas to cut down on wrapping time (yes, stop staying up until 1am trying to wrap crazy Christmas gifts) with these ideas:

1) Band Together
Skip ribbon and use supersize rubber bands to hold stacked boxes in place.

2) North Pole Carryall
For oversized toys and playthings, aka your own extra-large gift bag by adding strips of red duct tape to a white garbage bag.

3) Be Green and use a nice napkin tied with scrap ribbon!
Bundle a plate of homemade cookies or brownies in a reusable napkin tied with a scrap of ribbon.

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Wishing Kai Schrieber, who 2-years-old today, a very sweet birthday! Son of actress Naomi Watts and actor daddy Liev Schreiber will celebrate this stud’s birthday with elder brother Sasha (3-years-old). This will be Kai’s first birthday celebration in California since they moved from New York! We think he should bring a little holiday spirit to California in our Reindeer Games outfit this Christmas season. Click on the photo to view the outfit detail. 

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Make this craft and begin on December 14th for a countdown of 12 days ‘til Christmas for your little ones! This craft is almost like an Advent calendar, but only for 12 days and made of baby or kid socks.  What you do is take 12 stray socks (all moms know you have them stuffed in your drawers) or a mix of new ones in festive colors and take a long ribbon along a mantle or railing and hang them with clothes pins.  Stuff each mini “sock” aka stocking with a small toy or candy. Make sure the toy is age-appropriate in case of choking hazards. Then, starting on December 14th countdown 12 days ‘til Christmas and take down one sock a day, and let your child pull out the surprise. Make sure to clip the socks back up on the ribbon after the gift has been removed. This makes the countdown ‘til Christmas fun!

What You Need:

  • 12 socks
  • Ribbon
  • Number stickers
  • Round stickers
  • Pushpins
  • Mini clothespins or regular clothespins work too


  1. Gather 12 single socks — in colors that go well together (vary the sizes, if you like). Lay them out in the order you want to hang them, leaving spaces in between.
  2. Cut the ribbon to the desired length; to find how long it should be, measure across the row of socks and add 12 inches (ours was 72 inches).
  3. Use number stickers to label each sock. If one has a busy pattern, place the number on top of a solid round sticker so that it’s easier to read.
  4. Tack the ends of the ribbon to a railing or mantle; if you like, you can fasten the ribbon in several places to make a few swags.
  5. Use mini clothespins to clip the socks to the ribbon; overlap them if you need to save space.
  6. Tuck a gift inside each. If the item is heavy, use a larger clothespin to secure the sock.

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We sat down with Kathleen Gibbons owner of Belles and Beaux, one of the cutest and most unique children’s clothing boutiques located in Gahanna, Ohio. This boutique has a wide variety of clothes from infants to big kids, and you can count on the owner being there all the time to personally help you. Read more about how the boutique was founded and her holiday essentials!

1.     What was the inspiration behind the name Belles and Beaux?
Kathleen: It is in honor of my late husband. My good friend and I thought of the name together and felt it was very special.

Sextuplets (wearing Le Top elf outfits) from Belles and Beau photo with Santa

2.     Describe the neighborhood where your store is located. Did you grow up in the local area? Is it the same as it was growing up?
Kathleen: We are located in a small suburb between Gahanna and New Albany – it is a very upscale neighborhood with many growing, young families.

I grew up in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Growing up in that area, our family had friends that owned a local children’s boutique.  At that time we knew we didn’t want to open up another children’s store in that area and compete against our family friends.  One day, I was at a baby shower where it dawned on me where to open a children’s boutique.  I had actually brought Le Top to the baby shower, it was a gingerbread type outfit (can you believe I remember?) for the baby. At the shower, there were SO many repeat and multiple Gap gifts for the mommy-to-be, and I thought to myself – there needed to be a boutique on this side of town (Gahanna, OH)! Six months later, my store was born. Before opening the boutique, I was a social worker, so the whole children’s industry was very new to me!

3.     What would you suggest as the top 3 essentials in the winter that any parent should buy to brighten up their child’s wardrobe?
Kathleen: Always have a white faux fur coat, hat and muff purse from Le Top.

4.     What is your favorite holiday film past or present for kids/family?
Kathleen: It’s A Wonderful Life by Frank Capra from 1946 – a classic!

5.     Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?” Please share!
Kathleen: I would never put my kids in scrunchy head bands! I feel that kids tend to want to dress themselves, but sometimes its better if you help them pick out what they wear (just not scrunchy headbands!).

6.     The holidays are around the corner – what are your top 5 items (clothes, toys, giftables, etc.) for any parent shopping for the holidays at your store?

  1. Hair accessories – for sure! We have local women that make corkers and big bows. We are known for it! Have probably sold 10,000 bows since I opened the store 10 years ago!
  2. Elf oufits from Le Top or Let It Snow! – they are phenomenal. We actually have special hair accessories made for these outfits!
  3. Christmas PJs – these are always big with our customers!
  4. Outerwear – a jacket is great for the winter to keep you warm!
  5. Musical dolls – We have Clara from the Nutcracker and Sugar Plum Fairy dolls. There is a local Nutcracker ballet and these dolls are really nice to accompany the big ballet event during the holidays!

7.     What’s your favorite holiday tradition and or nostalgic moment and why? Whether it be decorating the Christmas tree to eating peppermint bark to lighting the menorah candles to baking in the kitchen, etc…
Kathleen: I would say my favorite holiday tradition is probably Christmas Eve mass with my family, nieces, nephews, and more – there are over 20 of us!

8.     Any special events or fun holiday traditions that you have planned at your store?
This is our 10th year of photos with Santa and a Gingerbread and Tea fashion show. It is actually our15th year of sponsoring the fashion show!

9.     Tell us your best parenting tip you know or would want to give to a new parent.
Kathleen: My best parenting tip? Enjoy them!

10.     What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line or Rabbitmoon do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Kathleen: Let it Snow! Collection for sure!! Or All Wrapped Up! Collection. I loved that too!

Belles and Beaux
1249 North Hamilton Road
Gahanna, OH 43230
‪(614) 473-2000

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This winter, I don’t even have time to bake gingerbread, much less Christmas shop, but I love the idea of a cute little gingerbread house at the doorway when people come over my house.  I was trying to find a fun recipe and activity that is good for kids and easy on time for parents. See below this easy-breezy activity, and super festive too!

TIP: Use royal icing -- piped from a resealable plastic bag with a corner snipped off -- to hold houses together and "glue on" decorations. When adhering pieces, hold in place one minute to set.

Top right picture includes below ingredients:
To make your own little guy, slice off the top and bottom of a white gumdrop, and press it onto a soft swirl candy; use a piece of red gumdrop for a hat and two nonpareils for eyes. The cottage, which is studded with cinnamon candies, has a sour-belt roof, a heart-shape candy-cane window, and a graham cracker door. Letters destined for the North Pole are hidden inside a mailbox created with a swirl candy, a piece of a candy cane, and a gumdrop; the flag is cut from a stick of gum.

Cookie Cottage How-To
1. With a serrated knife, saw a graham cracker into 2 squares. Saw off top corners of another cracker to create a peaked roof; make 2.

2. Pipe icing onto bottom and straight edges of a peaked piece. Place on an upside-down paper plate; use a small object, such as a spice jar, to prop it up. Repeat to pipe icing onto edges of a square piece, and adhere it to peaked cracker. Remove spice jar, and adhere other pieces with icing.

3. Saw a cracker into 2 squares for the roof. If desired, spread icing onto roof pieces and decorate with candy; let dry. Pipe icing onto top edges of house, and adhere roof pieces. To display, place plates on a tray and cover with shredded coconut snow.

No time to go to the mall for that perfect outfit for your little one.

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This little beauty has a sparkle in her eye and a smile that lights up a room. We are proud to have New Yorker, Madison (4-years-old), as our Darling of the Day!

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Did you know that you can see babies yawning and stretching on ultrasounds before they are born? In some babies you can prompt a yawn in the delivery room by gently stroking the cheek.

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=14474



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As early as pre-school or daycare every child has teachers that call out to the kids, “Line up shortest to tallest!” A child recognizes his or her height and the differences very early in life, but for most kids, height isn’t something they can change. It might be that girls feel too tall and boys feel too short. So how do you know when your child is a toddler how tall the will end up? My mom has some crazy mathematical equation that she thinks determines a child’s height. She tried it with me as a child and told me when I was growing up I would be really tall – I am only 5’ 5”. The equation didn’t work! Ha! Well, here are the hard facts.

This post has been moved to our website. Please visit it at http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=14460


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