Labor Day Watermelon Appetizer

Posted on August 22nd, 2014 by Diana

A fun way to start of Labor Day Weekend is with these fun Watermelon Appetizers. The best part about them is that they are healthy and the kids can help make them – they’re pretty cute too!

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Supplies:

  • 10 toothpicks
  • 1 large star cookie cutter
  • 1 small star cookie cutter

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of watermelon, cut as thick as the cookie cutter
  • 5 slices smoked provolone cheese
  • 20 blueberries

Instructions

  1. Remove the rind form the sliced watermelon, set on cutting board.
  2. Using the large star cookie cutter, cut out star shaped pieces.
  3. Using the small star cookie cutter, cut out cheese stars. Arrange watermelon stars on serving platter, place cheese stars on top, thread 2 blueberries on each toothpick and pierce through the center of each appetizer.
  4. Keep refrigerated until serving!
  5. Enjoy!!

Le Top Darling of the Week: Atticus

Posted on August 21st, 2014 by Diana

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This easy going fellow is Atticus, and he is our Le Top Darling of the Week today. Atticus is one day short of being 3 years-old– Happy Birthday Atticus! In the photo above Atticus is wearing his favorite Le Top tractor t-shirt. From his choice in wardrobe to his hobbies, Atticus likes anything that “goes”. At home you’ll find Atticus playing trains, planes, or cars and when he’s out and about he loves to ride any and all trains – is there a career as a conductor in his future?

Atticus has two pet cats, Hammie and Vladimir. His favorite foods at the moment are peanut butter and pancakes – not at the same time! However, he’s not a fan of veggies, but what kid is?!

We are told that Atticus loves to laugh and make others laugh. He’s very outgoing, and loves to make new friends wherever he goes. Atticus loves to dance and at a recent family wedding wasn’t afraid to boogie in front of an audience. Since then, he keeps asking to go back to the “dance party.” Fun!

Congratulations Atticus on being the Le Top Darling of the Week and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Getting Your Kids on a Sleep Schedule

Posted on August 18th, 2014 by Diana

With back-to-school in full effect or shortly around the corner one of the most important things you can do as a parent is get your kids on a sound sleep schedule. All summer long your kids have probably been staying up a little later at night and sleeping in a little longer in the morning. Isn’t that the whole point of summer?! So when back-to-school time rolls around, they may find themselves sleep-deprived, which can impact their ability to learn and participate.  I know for me getting back in the swing of things or should I say the sleep of things was the hardest adjustment when going back to school. There are several tips you can follow to get your kiddos back on track in time for the first day of school. Remember – kids need A LOT of sleep!

  • Start the back-to-school sleeping routine early, about two to three weeks prior to the first day of school.
  • Set the time. If once school starts the wake up time will be 6:30 a.m. that means that the bedtime should be around 8 p.m. since school aged children need approximately 10-11 hours of sleep per night.
  • Turn off electronics in the house, especially in their rooms, to help your kids wind down. All electronics — TV, video games, computers, and cell phones — should be turned off an hour before bedtime.
  • Nix the caffeine after lunchtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and it can keep kids (and adults) up at night.
  • Keep their room dark, cool, and quiet – the ideal sleeping environment.
  • Set the rules and explain the expectations. For example, make clear the number of stories to be read, the time for lights out, and acceptable reasons to call for parents. Let them know what the rules are, and stick with them.
  • Practice what you preach, so if they are going you bed early so should you.  Setting a good example is the best way to show your kids the importance of getting a good night sleep.

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Le Top Darling of the Week: Ashley

Posted on August 14th, 2014 by Diana

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This little cutie pie is 12-month-old, Ashley, and she is our adorable Darling of the Week today. In the photo above Ashley is wearing a dress from the Imagine collection by our sister company, Rabbitmoon. Ashley loves music and dancing, her favorite activities are Baby Rhymes and Playtime at her local Public Library. We are told that Ashley is bubbly, sweet, and friendly – we call that the complete package! Ashley already has eight teeth with two more on the way. Her favorite foods are milk, bananas, yogurt, sweet potatoes and apple sauce, but she is not a fan of peas! On her down time Ashley likes to cuddle with her favorite pink poodle lovey and a bunny lovey and spend time with her 16-year-old-cat, Gianni. A fun fact about Ashley is that she’s had six haircuts since the age of four months.

We’re so excited to have Ashley as the Le Top Darling of the Week!

Le Top Darling of the Week: Brycen

Posted on August 7th, 2014 by Diana

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This happy-go-lucky fellow is 10-month-old, Brycen, the Le Top Darling of the Week today. We are told that Brycen has a very bubbly and friendly personality and that whenever he meets someone new he flashes them a big smile – probably just as adorable as the one in the pictures above! Brycen is a very photogenic young man and was recently signed to an agency in San Francisco – congrats Brycen, that is quite an accomplishment!

When Brycen is not busy modeling he likes to relax with his favorite stuffed monkey and lion by watching basketball on TV (his favorite team is the Golden State Warriors – yay!), roll and scoot around the house, and pet his dogs – he has 3! Plus 2 cats! Can you say animal lover?! Brycen’s favorite foods at the moment are carrots, baby yogurt, and baby puffs; however he’s not too crazy about apple sauce.

Brycen’s mom told us that he was only 2lbs 15 oz. when he was born and now he’s up to almost 20 lbs. – that is awesome Brycen!

We’re so excited to have Brycen as the Le Top Darling of the Week today! Congratulations Brycen!

First Day of School Cinnamon Rolls

Posted on August 5th, 2014 by Diana

I remember when I was in elementary school the school year didn’t start until the Wednesday after Labor Day, but with each passing year school seems to be starting earlier and earlier – even as early as July!  I always looked forward to the first day of school (nerves aside) because my mom would make it a very special day. She would take the morning off from work so that she could drive us to school instead of having us walk (our regular method of getting to school) and she would always make us special “First Day of School Cinnamon Rolls”.  These Cinnamon Rolls were special to us because we were rarely allowed to eat anything this sweet for breakfast and we also knew they were quite time consuming to make.

Even if you don’t go the “First Day of School Cinnamon Rolls” route it is important to make the first day of school special for your kiddo as it is a very nerving and exciting time plus it’s always fun to build new family traditions!

First Day of School Cinnamon Rolls

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Ingredients & Measurements:

Rolls:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
  • 3/4 cup warmed whole milk or heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cinnamon or Sugar to  layer
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted softened butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for buttering pan)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (for sprinkling over buttered pan)

Frosting:

  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 8 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Place yeast and sugar into stand mixer then add warm water and gently stir. Let sit until yeast has doubled, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix melted butter and warm milk. Add butter and milk mixture to yeast mixture with the dough hook attachment on low speed then add sugar and egg mixing until combined.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add 2 cups of flour mixture to the mixer at a time scraping sides of bowl, continuing to add remaining flour until the dough starts to clean sides of mixing bowl.
  4. Knead dough on low speed for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Place dough onto a floured counter and knead dough until it does not stick to your hands.
  6. Place dough into a large bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a barely warm oven for 45-60 minutes, until dough doubles in size.
  7. Remove dough from bowl and place onto a floured counter top. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough into an approximate 14×19 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch in thickness.
  8. Spread softened butter over entire surface of dough.
  9. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over buttered dough.
  10. Starting at long end of dough, carefully roll into a log shape. Using dental floss or knife, cut rolls into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  11. Take 4 tablespoons softened butter and spread over 13×17 inch jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper then sprinkle with brown sugar.
  12. Place 4 rolls per row close to each other, about 1/2 inches apart.
  13. Place into a barely warm oven (turn oven to warm for 5 minutes, then turn off right before placing rolls in oven to let rise) for 45-60 minutes or until rolls have doubled in size.
  14.  Remove rolls from oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  15. Bake rolls for 15-17 minutes or until rolls are golden brown and baked through. Set aside to cool slightly.
  16.  Place cream cheese and butter into your clean stand mixer bowl and beat until smooth and combined.
  17. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved.
  18. Spread cream cheese frosting over warm rolls.
  19. Serve warm or let cool and enjoy room temperature. Yum!

Le Top Darling of the Week: Carlosabel

Posted on July 31st, 2014 by Diana

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This little maritime cutie is 3-week-old Carlosabel. He is the precious Le Top Darling of the Week today. Carlosabel is pictured here wearing a nautical outfit from the Le Top Baby line – nautical really seems to be the theme for many of the Le Top Darlings!

Carlosabel weighed 7 lbs. 13oz and was 20 and half inches when he was born. He is spending his days doing the regular newborn baby duties – sleeping, eating, and figuring out how to balance his head. We are told he smiles a lot while he is sleeping – how sweet! Carlosabel’s parents are excited to start exploring with him as soon as they can, they plan to take him on bike rides around beautiful California and on family road trips in the semi that his father drives – how fun! We see lots of adventure in Carlosabel’s future! They are also looking forward to having Carlosabel baptized later this year.

Congratulations to Carlosabel on being the youngest Le Top Darling of the Week!
Shop more nautical looks from Le Top for babies here!

Le Top Spring 2015 Photo Shoot & Tips for Photographing Kids

Posted on July 29th, 2014 by Diana

If you’re an avid Le Top follower you should know that last week we had the Le Top Spring 2015 Photo Shoot – so much fun! We had some seriously adorable boys and girls at our corporate office in sunny Concord, California model 28 brand new collections from the Spring 2015 line. Sarah Hebenstreit of Modern Kids Photography and her amazing team took over 3,500 photos – yes 3,500!

Now, by no means am I a professional photographer, however after a few days on the set I thought I would share some tips on how to take that perfectly adorable Instagram and Facebook worthy photo of your number one model.

  1. Have Patience – Sometimes when you really want to take their picture you will get a lot of nothing for a while or they may start to act shy or (don’t say it) cry.  Even kids that like to take pictures can act this way when they are natural hams any other day. It’s like stage fright. For example my niece on most days will demand that I take a picture of her with my phone, but the day I actually want to snap some cute photos she will hide behind her hands for a solid 30 minutes until she is ready. You (the photographer) just have to wait it out, eventually they will come around.
  2. Have Fun- The team we had on the set of the photo shoot was great at having fun with the kids and warming them up before taking pictures which definitely put the kids at ease. So be silly, tell them a story, tickle them, so that they focus less on the camera and more on the fun they are having.
  3. Be Ready - Be ready for anything with kids! Expect the unexpected and be ready to shoot it. Take lots of pictures then choose the best one.
  4. Get On Their Level- I noticed that our photographer, Sarah, always shot at eye level with the kids and asked everyone in the room to stay low. You don’t want to intimidate your model by looking over them. Get on their level when shooting their pictures; it’s also the best way to capture their beautiful eyes and adorable smile.
  5. Let the Child Run the Show- The sooner you accept that the child is in charge the smoother the photo session will go and the more fun you both will have. Don’t try and make them do anything and don’t get upset if they don’t want to do something that you want them do. Just go with the flow!

We cannot wait to share all the adorable photos we took from the Le Top Spring 2015 Photo Shoot! Here’s a peek at a few favorites!

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Le Top Darling of the Week: Max

Posted on July 24th, 2014 by Diana

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Today’s nautical cutie is 14-month-old Max. The picture here was taken this past 4th of July.  Max is wearing a t-shirt from the Le Top Spring 2013 Anchors Away Collection – we are told he loves how soft Le Top clothing feels against his gentle baby skin!

Max loves to spend his days chasing after his dog siblings and helping his Mommy water flowers – how sweet! His favorite food at the moment is watermelon. A fun fact about Max is that he was almost 10 lbs. when he was born!

Congratulations to Max on being the handsome Le Top  Darling of the Week.
Shop more nautical looks from Le Top for boys here!

Anytime S’mores Dip

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Diana

If your family loves to go camping this is the perfect recipe for you – Anytime S’mores Dip! It tastes just like s’mores, but you can make it at home and anytime you want to. This dip is absolutely delicious and your kiddos will thank you for this special treat that doesn’t include bug bites and sleeping outdoors – not like that isn’t fun too!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1-¼ cup Marshmallows, Divided
  • Graham Crackers For Dipping

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, add chocolate chips, milk and 1 cup of your marshmallows.
  3. Mix continuously over medium heat until all your ingredients are melted and smooth.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape chocolate mixture into a small casserole dish.
  5. Top with remaining marshmallows.
  6. Place dish under broiler for approximately 60 seconds or until the top has started to brown.
  7. Dip your graham crackers and enjoy!

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