Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Simply Made ~ Clothespin People

We threw these together after watching one of the girls' videos by Karyn Henley. In a video about organizing things, Karyn Henley puts a cardboard house together and features some clothespin people in the home. Our final outcome isn't exactly like hers. Here's what we whipped up on the spur of the moment . . .

Materials used for the clothespin people:
End Result:
As you can see, I quickly covered a cereal box with coloured paper (Grace's choice). We just taped it on so Grace could start playing with it right away. She drew a snowman at the front of the house. If I had stopped to think while cutting the doors to this "house" I would've made the doors high enough to fit the clothespin people (LOL). Remember we "whipped this up" in a jiffy.
This is the "backyard."The "backyard" was decorated using some stickers we had on hand. The clothespin people were having a "party" in the backyard.

This Simply Made post was written by Erna, you can visit her at her blogs, The Beautiful Soujourn and Simply Lapbooks. Thanks Erna for sharing such a neat idea!

Tot Food ~ What's on YOUR Tot's Plate?

Welcome to our new Tuesday edition of *What's on YOUR Tot's Plate?* if you'd like to join up, please write a post on your own blog and link to Mr. Linky below!

You can just share the photos, or also share any info about what was on the plate (did your tot like it, what was it, how to make it, etc.). If you missed our examples from the first week, you can see them here. I hope to begin sharing our plates soon, but I am not much of a lunch-maker right now in these last weeks of pregnancy!

You can ONLY link to the weekly Mr Linky if you write a post exclusively for this, link to that exact post (not your homepage), and provide a link back to Totally Tots in your post. I hate to be a meanie-but we gotta have rules or it won't work! If you have any questions, let me know. If you need help with how to do a direct link, go here and scroll down to see a photo-tutorial (just ignore the Tot School part). You are welcome to add your "What's on Your Tot's Plate" link anytime between now and Friday. We will put up a new Mr Linky each Saturday.

You can right click and copy the graphic at the top of this post if you would like to use it in your post. You certainly don't have to, but are welcome to.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bible Bites ~ I AM...Week 5

Week 5: I am the vine. John 15:1

If you live in an area of the world where your vines are producing fruit right now, get outside and take a look at that fruit together. Notice how the fruit that is attached to the vine is growing, beautiful, and tasty. Notice that the fruit that has fallen off of the vine is shriveled and squashed.

If you live in an area of the world where the vines are still shivering in the cold (like ours are!), the grocery store will have to suffice. With your tot, examine the vine-ripened tomatoes or the grapes. Point out that the fruit could only grow while it was attached to the vine. That's how it receives it's food and water.

Explain that Jesus is like that vine. If we stay attached to Him, by talking with Him and obeying His Word, we will produce beautiful fruit in our hearts: fruit like love and joy and kindness. (Of course, you know you've gotta sample some of that delicious vine-ripened fruit!)

Memorize the verse and draw a vine around your poster, attaching a picture of each person in your family. As you work on this project, you can say, "Our family stays attached to the vine: Jesus!" You can get images to download for your poster here too!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Now I Know My ABCs ~ Introduction

Today is the start of a really fun day: We will be doing a Weekly Alphabet Post with simple crafts, and lessons to introduce the alphabet. The end result of this fun 26 weeks will be a homemade alphabet book with both a craft page and activity page for each letter! I hope you and your LO's enjoy this!

To kick off this fun new event we will be focusing on the alphabet as a whole with a wonderful book that I think most of us know:

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin (there is also a video/dvd out too by scholastic that is great you won't be able to get the song out of your head and your LO's will love it!)

Summary: In a rhythmic alphabet chant, all the letters race one another up the coconut tree. Young readers and their parents can joyfully recite the familiar rhythmic refrain

Some other great Alphabet books:

Eric Carle ABC by Eric Carle
How to Build an A by Sara Midda
Alligator Alphabet by Stella Blackstone
Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming
A+ Alphabet books: everything from Pets, Toys, Food you name it he probably made a alphabet book about it:) we really like them!

So go to your library and check out Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and some other great alphabet books and have a Letter Rich week!

Dishwasher/Fridge Coconut Tree:

  • Coconut tree printout
  • crayons, or markers
  • if possible: laminate or have have laminated
  • magnetic letters
  • tape

To Make:

  • Print out and color your coconut tree
  • Cut out the coconut tree and laminate (if you can) for extra durabilty
  • Tape to your dishwasher or fridge (anything magnetic would work)
  • Get out your alphabet magnets
  • As you read the book a second time put each letter up the coconut tree

Playdoh Coconut Tree:


  • Coconut Tree Printout
  • crayons or markers
  • big piece of construction paper
  • laminate or have laminated
  • playdoh
  • alphabet cookie cutters

To Make:

  • Print out and Color your coconut tree
  • Cut out the coconut tree and glue onto big piece of construction paper
  • laminate or have laminated for extra durabilty
  • Get out your playdoh and alphabet cookie cutters
    and play and talk about each letter

Some extra fun throughout the week:

** Read the book everyday before starting each alphabet activity!

  • Write the letters on your sidewalk or driveway in a line and have LO hop on them as you say them.
  • Play the ABC ZOO game or the Learn your ABC's on Toddler Games
  • Use foam letters on the bathroom wall during bath time.
  • Squirt shaving cream on the dining room table (it will clean that table like you won't believe) and draw letters and let LO draw in the shaving cream its a great fine motor skill activity and a great prewriting activity I did with my toddlers and early 3's they loved it and sometimes they even made letters with out even knowing it!:).
  • If you've never seen the Chicka Chicka Tot Book, go here to see if your tot might like it! (it is geared more towards the older tots)
  • Visit Starfall to work on ABCs with your tot!

Get Real with God ~ Wet Feet


I snuck out of bed at 5:45, crept down the stairs, threw on my walking “gear", shoved another piece of wood on the fire, laced up my trusty, tennis shoes and headed out the door expecting to hit the pavement and begin my “sacred” morning walk. Instead, I was met with freezing cold wind and a sheet of ice. Knowing that turning back would throw off my whole morning, mostly my frame of mind, I decided to go anyway. You see, my morning walk, is more necessary to me than my morning cup of coffee. It is my exercise time. It is the one time in my day when I am truly alone. No little voices call my name and demand attention, other than the ones in my own head that is. I am able to think through things that are bothering me or need my mental attention without interruption or I am able to plan out my day. Most importantly in the quietness of the early morning, I am able to meet with my Heavenly Father. Some mornings I just walk and listen. Other mornings I feel like I am beating down His door with my requests and questions, much like my children do to me as soon as their little feet hit the floor. It is during this time that I most feel His presence, where I get renewed, and encouraged. It is for this reason that I plowed on down the icy pavement.

This particular morning, my feet did not have sure footing. They slipped from one slick spot to the next. The going was slow. My calves and thighs burned like no other. Most mornings I enjoyed watching the world around me awaken, but this morning I couldn’t take my eyes off of the ground in front of me for fear of hitting a patch of ice and breaking my neck. Halfway through the walk I realized that I was exhausted, not enjoying myself, and I hadn’t even said good morning to God. Instead of feeling renewed, filled up, and ready to meet the day, I felt worn out, discouraged and ready to get home. The scary thing was I recognized that feeling all to well. You know……tired, on unsure footing, far from home, alone and not because you want to be, ready to be done and like you have hardly spoken to God at all in ages? You know what I am talking about right? And it hit me….this is what happens when all I do is let God into a little part of my life. The planned, boxed in little part, where I am capable of hearing Him because nothing else is going on or distracting me. While I had been getting up early to meet with Him, I had been leaving Him at the back door when I got home and plowing into my day on my own. On the solid pavement days, I did ok on my own was able to look up a few times say a quick prayer and go about my business, but on those days that threatened to kick my physical and spiritual you know what, I was so focused on getting from one moment to the next that I didn’t even look up and I ended up feeling like I did on that icy morning. Tired and done.

I know that getting in that alone time with God is important, but it really doesn’t mean that much if I keep Him in that little alone time box. He wants out. He wants to meet with me during the day. He wants my eyes to be on Him even when, or should I say, especially when, the way is rough or slick. I imagine that He dislikes being left at the backdoor of my heart more than he dislikes being left at the backdoor of my house. Not because He wants to control me but because He wants to lift me up and carry me through the days that I can’t walk through on my own. Point is…. He doesn’t want me to be alone.

Psalms 25:4 &5... Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

So on that cold morning I made it to the end of my walk, calves burning from exertion and my feet wet from all the puddles I stepped in along the way, because I was so busy looking up- up at my Father.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tot Food ~ Moving to Tuesday's!

We are moving the weekly Mr Linky to Tuesday's, to make it more accessible to moms who take a computer break over the weekend! Save your posts and link them up on Tuesday! If you haven't written your post yet, here's how to get started and join in the lunch-sharing fun...

You can just share the photos, or also share any info about what was on the plate (did your tot like it, what was it, how to make it, etc.). If you missed our examples from the first week, you can see them here.

You can ONLY link to the weekly Mr Linky if you write a post exclusively for this, link to that exact post (not your homepage), and provide a link back to Totally Tots in your post. I hate to be a meanie-but we gotta have rules or it won't work! If you have any questions, let me know. If you need help with how to do a direct link, go here and scroll down to see a photo-tutorial (just ignore the Tot School part). You are welcome to add your "What's on Your Tot's Plate" link anytime between Tuesday and Monday of the following week-be sure to come back to see other plates later in the week. We will put up a new Mr Linky each Tuesday.

You can right click and copy the graphic at the top of this post if you would like to use it in your post. You certainly don't have to, but are welcome to.

Crafty Corner ~ Mixing Colors

I have been teaching the kids how to mix secondary colors. Last week we did this project... I sprayed shaving creme into three ziplock bags, then added yellow/blue, blue/red, and yellow/red. The kids squished them to make green, purple, and orange.After the colors were mixed we dumped the shaving creme into a pan and swirled it around. Next the kids took white card stock and laid it on the mixture.I then wiped the creme off with a napkin, and this is the finished product.
This Crafty Corner post was written by Abbie, you can visit her at her blog, Second Star to the Right and Straight on Till Morning. Thanks Abbie for sharing this great craft idea!

Friday, March 27, 2009

TOTally Working for Me ~ Kissing Shoes

My mom told me about a little girl at her school who has 'kissing shoes'. Her mom put smiley faces on the inside of sole of each shoe. When the two smiley faces "kiss", she knows her shoes are on the right feet.

It has worked great with my Girlygirl. Now I only needed to ask Girlygirl "Can they kiss?" She knows to check her shoes and it works great since she hates to be wrong. My goal is for her to remember to look and make sure they can kiss before putting them on. Girlygirl is learning and most days she gets it now!

This TOTally Working for Me post was written by Mary. You can visit Mary at A Mom Learning More Everyday. Thanks Mary for the great tip!

Do you have something that is working for you and your tot? We'd love to hear about it!

Terrific Tot Sites ~ Toddler Toddler

Toddler Toddler is a neat site with many great ideas for tots. There are a lot of ads on the site, so it isn't the easitest to navigate, but if you can get past that-you'll find some neat things! At the top of the site, there are links to their main categories, I am going to feature their ACTIVITIES category and share some of my favorites with you.

ABC and 123 Activities
Younger Toddler Activities

Most Popular

Shapes and Colors

Hope you enjoy this Terrific Tot Site! To see more featured sites, click here!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Celebrating YOUR Tot ~ Last call for April Tots!

This is the last call for April Birthday Tots! Does your tot have a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th birthday in April? If so... We need your info March 30, in order to include your tot in our monthly post, which will be up the first week of April!

AND, if you have a May Birthday Tot, we will need your info by April 17 (this is earlier than normal because I have a scheduled c-section on April 28!). If I happen to have her early, the May Bday post might be a bit delayed!!

Once Upon a Book ~ Duckie's Rainbow


Duckie's Rainbow by Frances Berry

Summary: Turn the graduated pages of this unique shaped book to help Duckie find her way home -- and you'll marvel at the dazzling rainbow that appears when she gets there. Duckie is in a hurry to get home. She walks through a red poppy field, hops under an orange bridge, waddles around a yellow cornfield, rushes past a big green tree, and paddles across a deep blue pond. By the time she reaches her nest, purple clouds have begun to rain, but don't worry -- the book's rounded pages, each one smaller than the last, form a spectacular rainbow on the last spread! With the boldest of colors and enchantingly simple shapes, Frances Barry's collage illustrations combine with an ingenious format for an eye-popping concept-book debut.

We love this book, the rainbow slowly appears before your LO's eyes!! You can talk about each color and see each color as it is added to rainbow at the end of the book.

Rainbow Stew:


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • food coloring
  • Ziploc baggies (6 total)
  • tape

To Make:

  • place all ingredients into a saucepan and stir until all blended and no lumps
  • cook until thick
  • divide into 3 bowls, now add your food coloring: add blue to one, red to one and yellow to the other (mix the color in so your stew is all that color)
  • Color Mixing: in 3 baggies place the following combo
    Put Blue/Red in one baggie
    Put Blue/Yellow in one baggie
    Put Red/Yellow in one baggie

  • Seal up the baggies and place inside another baggie. If you think your LO will be tempted to open it tape the top shut!
  • Now let them smash, squeeze the colors together and make a new color!

For an added bonus print this color mixing rainbow worksheet:Rainbow Pasta Rainbow/Necklace


  • Rainbow worksheet or draw one yourself
  • baggies
  • food coloring
  • wax paper lined cookie sheet
  • colored pasta

To Make:

  • place your pasta into a baggie, add some food coloring and seal the baggie
  • give to your LO and let them shake it up until pasta is covered
  • open and lay out on wax paper
  • repeat to color more pasta different colors
  • let pasta dry (this is very fast)
  • get out your Rainbow and some glue and have LO squeeze glue on to the rainbow and place pasta all over it to make their own Rainbow
Or ...
get out some yarn and pipe cleaner and string colored pasta to make necklaces and bracelets!

Stay Tuned...For our next Once Upon A Book, we will be starting our monthly theme all about the POND! Our first book will be In the Small, Small Pond.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Did You Know ~ Organic Skin Care

Did you know that food isn't the only area we should be cautious about when it comes to organic choices? I am personally a new convert to organic skin/hair care products, and after getting over my financial concerns, I feel great about our decision as a family. We are not 100% organic for me and my husband, or even our oldest kids, but I am going 100% for our new baby and plan to stay that way until she is at least 3-the critical years. We are NOT rich, this is a sacrifice we are choosing to make, honestly if I thought we could afford it I would convert our entire family with every product-I just need to be wise :).

As for organic baby skin/hair care products, I feel it is the next step for us (we have already switched all foods to organic for our littlest ones, and mostly organic for us bigger ones). I want to give our baby the best chance to NOT be adversely affected by the chemicals she is exposed to. My husband battled cancer this past year (and WON) and it really got me going again about the chemicals we are exposed to.

Let me say, I am NO expert in this area, but here is where I began reading and learning...

Safe Mama (here is the direct link to all of her posts about Skin Care)

Here is a very recent article about this issue:

USA Today article (here's Safe Mam's post regarding this article and the findings of the study)

I now check all of our products here at Skin Deep. I was pleased to find that some of the kid's products we use regularly are in the "Moderate Hazard Zone" (ex: Huggies Extra Sensitive Fragrance Free wash) but that still wasn't OK for our newest arrival. I scoured the list of products that received a 0-1 rating and decided on #3 on their list, which is the shampoo/baby wash from this company...

Part of the reason I chose this line is because I LOVE the smell of coconut, and that was the scent option they feature! Here you can see more of Nature's Paradise Baby Organics ratings. I ordered their big bottle of wash, the baby gift basket (so I could try the other baby items) and I also ordered a few products for the bigger members of the family (they had free shipping for orders totalling $100!)! There was also a coupon code for an additional 15% off, simple09. I am not sure when this coupon code expires though.

I hope to have Jill and/or Laura piggy back off of this post and share their thoughts on natural and organic skin care in the next couple of weeks. There are many areas I know very little about! I hope to get their thoughts on summer skin care specifically as we all think about how to best protect our tots from the sun and from BUGS!!!!



Lia is 13 monthsold; she cradles anyone and everything that will snuggle into her arms, talks on the phone, and laughs at her big sister. She'll toss all of your markers, toys, and blocks on the floor and - thankfully - plunk them back again when you want to clean up; she'll let you kiss her until your satisfied, and eat your snack if she can get her hands on it. (But even if she eats your snack, she won't be satisfied until she sits down to a real wholesome meal.) You'll know she's tired when she dives into her crib and cuddles her face into her little blankie. Her full name means "Herald of Good News who is heard!"

Her (and Mommy's) Top Ten Tot School Tools...
  1. LeapFrog Learn-Around Playground
  2. Baby doll, blanket, and bottle
  3. FP Stacking Tower
  4. FP Shape Sorter
  5. Mommy's make-up bag
  6. Melissa and Doug Wooden Blocks
  7. Woofi the Missionary Dog
  8. Melissa and Doug Instruments
  9. Stainless Steel bowl and wooden spoon
  10. Wee Sing Bible Songs

Her Favorite DVD...

  1. Steve Green's Hide'em in Your Heart Vol. 2 DVD + Cd
  2. Signing Time sign language DVDs (check your library!)

Her Favorite Books...

  1. Binky
  2. Daddy and Me
  3. I Know a Rhino
  4. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear
  5. Bear Snores On

Lia's Mommy blogs at 10 Million Miles

Do you want your tot to be featured one week? Go here to read more details!