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Archive for January, 2012


Last week was Chinese New Year and the start of the year of the Dragon! In Chinese culture, many Chinese women in China are superstitious in feeling that because the year of the dragon is the “luckiest” year in the lunar calendar, they need to scramble to have a “dragon baby” this Chinese Zodiac year.  I have been reading that there has been a surge in the number of mainland China women going to Hong Kong to give birth in order to avoid China’s one-child policy, which is now prompting authorities to cap the number of births permitted in the former British colony.

Parents across China right now are aspiring to produce “Dragon Babies” in the hope that the symbol, long associated with emperors, power and intelligence will bring wealth and luck. Doctors have warned some women may even turn to illegal means to dodge the cap. Newspapers have reported cases of mainland women illegally crossing the border and skirting the rules by going straight to emergency rooms in public hospitals to deliver their babies. As a special administrative region within China, Hong Kong largely runs its own affairs under the “one country, two systems formula.” Hong Kong also has its own currency and legal system — the “one child” rule does not apply. Who knew that the year of the Dragon could cause a baby boom! I thought you might find this topic interesting – what are your thoughts on the topic? Next year is the year of the snake in the lunar calendar and it is speculated there will be a drop in baby births in China.

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

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Sunday is the Super Bowl and you are most likely going to someone’s house to watch the game or you are throwing the party! Here is a fun recipe adults and kids love, and can be a great hostess gift or your “go-to” finger food for your soirees.

Panko-Crusted Chicken Bites with Apricot-Mustard Sauce Recipe

Serves: 12

INGREDIENTS:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup apricot jam or preserves
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

DIRECTIONS: 

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit with a wire rack. Spray with cooking spray; set aside.

2.    Place flour in a large bowl and season very generously with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs in another large bowl with 2 tablespoons water until well combined. Place the breadcrumbs in a third large bowl, and drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat. Stir in cheese and cayenne and mix well.

3.    Place chicken pieces in the seasoned flour and toss to coat. Working in 3 batches, shake off any excess flour from chicken pieces and transfer to egg mixture; stir to combine. Transfer coated chicken pieces with a slotted spoon to the breadcrumb mixture and toss until completely coated. Place the breaded chicken pieces on a rack-lined baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart. Repeat process until all the chicken is breaded. Bake until golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes.

4.    In a small bowl, stir the apricot jam, mustard, and thyme together until combined. Allow chicken to cool 10 minutes before serving with apricot mustard mixture.

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

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This Sunday is the big game – Giants versus the Patriots – and that means lots of kids, lots of TV sports watching and lots of food! Entertain your little ones with these semi-healthy sweet treats at superbowl for dessert! They are also great to nibble on during the game, I mean, aren’t we all big kids?

p.s. – these are great for a next day kid-friendly lunch-box treat!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Timing: 45 minutes
(includes cooling time)
Yield: Makes 16

Chewy Oatmeal Blondie Brownies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
    (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 ½ cups of baking mix (see below)

Baking Mix Recipe: (whisk together and store in a sealed container for next time!)

  • 6      cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3      cups of sugar
  • 2      tablespoons baking powder
  • 1      tablespoon of salt

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter. Line bottom and two sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both sides. Butter paper, and set pan aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, and beat until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add Baking Mix; mix just until combined. Mix in 3/4 cup oats. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Using an offset metal spatula or table knife, smooth batter evenly. Sprinkle with remaining oats, pressing gently to adhere. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan 30 minutes.
  4. Using overhang, transfer blondie (still on paper) to a wire rack to cool completely. Place on a cutting board (peel off paper); using a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares.

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

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This week we interviewed Adrian Anderson of the cutest children’s boutique in Conover, North Carolina – Polka Dots & Patticakes. She was sweeter than sweet, and definitely knows what her customers love and what’s hot for kid’s style and gear. As a mom herself, she knows exactly what must-have items any mom needs this spring, the fab town hangouts, and even admits to what she swore she would never do as a parent. She is as down to earth as it gets and the products in her store are the best of the best. Read more about one of Le Top’s favorite retailers! Check it out.

Polka Dots & Patticakes

111 1st Avenue South, Suite A
Conover, NC 28613
828.292.9882

 www.polkadotsandpatticakes.com

 CHECK-IN and JOIN
Polka Dots & Patticakes
Facebook page and click HERE



1.    Tell us the inspiration behind the name Polka Dots & Patticakes? How long has your store been around?
Every time that I think of children, I think of Polka Dots. I knew that I wanted to do something with this name. I told my husband that I needed to come up with something to go along with Polka Dots & he said what about Patticakes? Perfect!Patty Cake is a childhood game that we all remember from our childhood. My special spelling is just to make the name unique. I started my business in October 2010.

2.    Spring 2012 styles are coming into stores and brightening up any family’s winter wardrobe. What are your top 3 items (clothes, toys, giftables, etc.) for any parent shopping for warm weather items for a nice holiday vacation this winter?
Ju Ju Be Diaper BagsJu Ju Be bags are always great for trips or for a mom-on-the-go. With all of their compartments and pockets, you have a place for everything you will need. They even have a Mommy pocket to keep your personal things separate! I also have Stack n’ Seals from Innobaby that make carrying a snack with you while on the go a breeze. I would also pick up some great cotton styles to keep your little one stylish yet comfortable on the trip.

3.    Any special events that you have planned at your store for Valentine’s Day? Tell us the inside scoop about any special events and especially the fun deals we can expect!
I plan on having a Grandmother’s night at the store when more of my spring product comes in. I will have tea and cookies and show my collections to them and give them the opportunity to purchase outfits for their little ones with a discount. I also plan on having a few specials throughout the spring season online and in store.

4.    What is your favorite Valentine’s Day candy and why?
Conversation Hearts—I love to pick out little messages to give my Valentine, my husband John.

5.    What are a few common baby names that you have seen trending for the new moms that come to your store?
Emma, Grace and Olivia for little girls; Aiden and Jackson for little boys.

Adrian and her beautiful daughter Logan (who is wearing an outfit from the Le Top Spring 2011 "Daisy" collection)

6.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?”
I swore that I wouldn’t talk about her all the time, but how can you help it? She is my world and I love her so much! She is our pride and joy.

7.    Describe the neighborhood of your store location in Conover, North Carolina? Did you grow up in the local area?
I grew up in a town about thirty minutes away from Conover called Lenoir.  Conover is a quaint town in the Western Piedmont area of NC. Everyone knows everyone and people are nice and friendly.

8.    What are the hottest trends for kids clothes right now?
With warmer weather on its way, tunics and capris for girls will be popular in the spring and fun skirts with tops for summer.  One-pieces are always great for infant and toddler boys during the summer.

9.    Where are the best/essential family hangouts and places to go around your store location?
If you are looking for a fun family day outing, you could visit the Catawba Science CenterThey have tons of activities and fun things for the kids to do. For soft play, go-carts, putt putt, lazer tag, and arcade games you could take the kids to Hickory Dickory Dock. It is also great for birthday parties too.

10.    What Le Top or Rabbitmoon Spring 2012 collection is your store’s favorite and why?
My favorite collection from Le Top is “Sun and Sea”.  When it starts to warm up, I want to be at the beach and this collection would look so cute on my tan little girl after a fun day at the beach.  All the bright colors are so beautiful.  Makes me look forward to those long summer days filled with sunshine and sand.

Polka Dots & Patticakes

111 1st Avenue South, Suite A
Conover, NC 28613
828.292.9882

www.polkadotsandpatticakes.com

 CHECK-IN and JOIN Polka Dots & Patticakes
Facebook page and click HERE

Tunic and stripe capri with ruffle cuff from the Le Top “Sun and Sea" collection

 

 

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Many times we sing to our children to pass the time, stop them from crying, make a car trip go a little more smoothly, etc. But do our kids know the meaning behind many of the songs we sing? Probably not. We’ve all grown up with similar variations of the same nursery rhymes and children’s songs. Many of us don’t realize is that there is generally an extensive history, as well as a surprising past, behind most of these popular songs. Reading, songs and rhymes are a very important for the development of your child.  They not only help with using and understanding words, but give you child and interest in these areas.

This post has been moved to our website. Please visit it at http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=23647

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

 

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No, I did not say that!

 

Mommy, I’m going to make you a chart for all the chores that you do. You’ll get a sticker each time you do a chore. Yours is going to be really big because you do A LOT!”

– Carson, age 5

Editor’s Note: Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us by sending an email to editor@letop-usa.com!

Visit our home page at
www.letop-usa.com

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner…how to make your kiddo’s morning complete with sweet love? Are you feeling “soft-hearted” (ha ha)? Make hot cocoa for your little one this Valentine’s Day with cute heart marshmallows.

Reach for some marshmallows and transform them into confections of affection. Start by greasing a heart-shaped petit four cutter or aspic cutter with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Cut several marshmallows in half horizontally, and then press the cutter into the center of each one. Float the marshmallows and the cutouts on hot chocolate.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped or shaved semi-sweet chocolate

 DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring all ingredients to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until chocolate has melted (do not let boil).
  2. Pour into mugs, and serve.

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

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