Toddlers and Technology

One of Totsy's own Niece

Our kids will never know what a life without wireless devices and touch screens is like. Their future may very well be like that of the Jetsons. But what effect does all this technology going to have on their young development. Have you seen the YouTube video of the baby using an iPad? The video captures her clearly understanding the iPad’s touch capabilities. Then, she is given an actual paper magazine and she thinks it’s broken because nothing happens when she taps the pages.  It’s a cute video. Really.

And its also evidence of one of today’s challenges as a parent. The what and how of parenting with technology. How much is too much? Will not using technology enough make it harder for children when they reach classes that require it? Where does a parent come down on balance?

Just like t.v., video games and cell phones, today’s technology presents another opportunity for parents to use it as a learning tool, but not allow it to become a fixture that replaces other educational or physical development opportunities. And certainly, it should not be used as a substitute parent.

Parents will use their smartphones and other devices to calm their kids down or keep them distracted during long waits and in public situations where a little technology might prevent a meltdown. Like most things in life, it’s a matter of balance. Our Totsy team dug a bit deeper into the situation to give you some of both the positives as well as the negatives surrounding Toddler’s and Technology.

Pros

  • Fine-tunes motor skills: Pushing keys and manipulating a mouse gives those tiny toddler hands and fingers the same type of valuable workout they get from finger painting or doodling (though without the creative kick of more artistic endeavors). This form of “finger activity” also hones in on hand-eye coordination, which will pay off for years to come as your little one learns to catch a ball, use scissors, or put together a tricky puzzle.
  • Teaches Cause and Effect: When your child taps a button or swipes the screen, something happens, encouraging curiosity.
  • Apps Targeted to Toddler’s: The App store has a plethora of apps targeted at toddlers. From flashcards that teach numbers and the alphabet, to learning a new language, to games that involve shapes and colors, your smartphone or tablet can be turned into a classroom.

Cons

  • Not Enough “Face Time”: Kids who are glued to a screen throughout the day are less likely to interact with other kids or adults. As humans, we need to interact with one another, developing emotional and social skills.
  • Lack of Activity: Too much screen time may make your little less active, even later on in life. Toddler’s need hands on time, feeling and touching everything, developing their senses. Get them to play with blocks, get muddy in dirt, or finger paint. Can they do that on your smartphone? Nope! Toddlers also need physical play; it helps build strong muscles and it’s a primary way little kids discover what their bodies can do.
  • Too Much Stimulation: According to Natural News, research presented at SLEEP 2010, the 24th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, has revealed that children who use technology late at night are more prone to develop cognitive problems than children who have regular sleeping patterns that do not involve staying up late on their computers and cell phone. Or in other words, after using technological devices too close to bedtime may make them antsy and hyper, disrupting their sleep schedule. Their bodies basically have been told, “you’re not ready for bed.”

Tune in tomorrow as Totsy’s Chief Mom shares her thought via video.

Revitalize Your Skin


Cold air, lack of sun, bundling up, means one thing…WINTER, which can also translate in to dull, pale, and even pasty skin (unless you’re in beautiful weather all year round…so jealous), which isn’t exactly “becoming.” Cold air, low humidity, and indoor heating combine to pull moisture from our skin, making us dry and lusterless. We should you how to keep your entire body moisturized this winter, but lets not forget what everyone sees the most: our face! This winter, revive your glow with these simple tips. Fake a summer vacation and get that refreshed, glowing look coveted all summer long; You’ll look as though you’ve been off for weeks!

Moisturize

 

  • Using a moisturizer is the most important aspect of any skin care regimen. If you don’t already do so, start! Slather on a rich, super moisturizing cream to instantly hydrate and plump skin. Look for one high in vitamins A, C, D, and E and oil-free as well to prevent clogging up pores. Moisturizers that include a sunscreen are an added bonus!
  • Moisturize your insides as well by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Green tea will also remove any unwanted impurities and help clear up your skin.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen! It should be applied to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors, even in the winter.
  • Fill your sink with lukewarm or cool water and add a few drops of oil. Coconut oil and Almond Oil are great choices. Hold your breath and soak your face for as long as you can. Come up for air and keep soaking for about 3-5 minutes. Your skin loves to soak up water, and you probably know that after having a long bath your skin feels the most soft and smooth. Finish your soak by immediately applying a light, unscented facial moisturizer and either let your skin air-dry or gently pat dry with a towel.
  • Use cool water when washing your face to avoid over drying and it’ll  keep your skin looking fresh.

Food for Thought


Get a naturally sun-kissed look by applying bronzer to your entire face and a rosy blush just on the apples of your cheeks. Don’t overdo it though! Remember, less is more!

Keep it Clean

 

The number one rule of maintaining healthy looking and flawless skin is to keep your hands off it. Your hands and fingertips are crawling with bacteria. You don’t want this on your face and seeping into your pores. This is the number one way breakouts occur!!!!

How To: Use Hashtags

If you know anything about us, you know that we love all things social media. From Twitter to Tumblr, Instagram to Facebook – we really don’t discriminate.

However, with the landscape of social media always influx, it’s hard to keep track of all that’s going on in the world. This is where hashtags come in. Hashtags are something you might be familiar with, particularly in Twitter. We are here to help you get up to speed using this super useful tool!

hashtag

Categorization

Hashtags are often used to categorize and group tweets to make it easier for people to follow a conversation, an event etc…

Next time you want to keep tabs on something, try searching for keywords in the search bar on Twitter. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the wave of information streaming your way.

Example: Tweets regarding the 2012 Presidential Debates used the hashtag #debates, to keep track of the online discussion.

Fun Fact: There were 7.2 million tweets during the second Presidential Debate – WOW

Discoverability 

Hashtags help get your tweet or Instagram photo discovered by others.

Some live by the philosophy that “the more hashtags, the better” and we’ve seen this trend especially on Instagram. We love hashtags and try and attach hashtags that we feel will peak people’s interests and let’s us share the things that inspire us seamlessly.

Example: #breakfast http://instagram.com/p/TGcG7WLQgN

Fun Fact: The most used hashtag on Instagram is (drum roll please)…. #love 

Have Fun 

There are no rules when it comes to social media, the beauty of it is that each person can make it their own – we love that.

Hashtag an inside joke with your friends or hashtag your own tweets so you can easily look back on it and see if anyone else joined in on your parade!

Example: http://go.totsy.com/WJ67nD #momsrule

Fun Fact: Beginning July 1, 2009, Twitter began to hyperlink all hashtags to search results containing all recent tweets mentioning the hashtag

Why I Love My Cast Iron Skillet

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For Christmas I received a 10″ Pre-seasoned Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.  At first glance, cast iron skillets might seem intimidating and they are heavy as heck!  I have to use two arms to lift the thing!  However, it really is worth the investment if you decide to purchase one. Here are 5 reasons why I love my cast iron skillet:

  1. Easy clean up:  You shouldn’t use soap on the iron skillet because it can strip away the seasoning. Just rinse with warm water and use a washcloth and salt to scrub if necessary and dry thoroughly to prevent rusting. Very important to apply a thin layer of oil after each cleaning.
  2. Multifunctional: take it camping. Transfer to the oven. Roast, fry, bake, braising, simmer, anything!
  3. Lasts forever: True that I’ve had it about 2 weeks now, but based on reviews and the tough material, I’m sure it will take me through a few decades and then some.
  4. Retains heat: Love this! I can prepare a dish and it will stay warm longer.
  5. Wide range of recipes:  Doing a quick search on Pinterest will pull up endless recipes to use with your cast iron skillet; cookies, pizza, baked eggs, etc!

Be sure to check back next Monday about how to care for your cast iron skillet.

Tell us, do you own a cast iron skillet?  How often do you use it?

Dine with Diana: Too Good To Be Healthy Veggie Quinoa

If you’re like me, you’re scrambling around this week trying to get the kids back to a respectable bedtime routine, trying to remember where you left off at work, unpacking from holiday trips, and just generally trying to keep your head screwed on.

Meanwhile, my kids will not stop asking for snacks and chocolate. Literally. They average about once an hour. In the morning they want a snack, not breakfast. And around 9am they start saying, “Can we please have chocolate now. We haven’t had any yet today!”

Now that they no longer get their way, they go into full tantrum mode in hopes of recreating the near free-reign eating they experienced during the break when grandparents, uncles and even laid back parents were caving in at every turn.

So now our challenge is to get us all back to eating normally again with a focus on nutritious and delicious meals. Oh yah, and you know me. Fast and easy are key.

Since we’ve all been eating hearty dishes with a lot of flavor and comfort to them over the holidays, I wanted to come up with something that would give our family the same comfort feelings without being full of fat and calories.

Hubs and I came up with this amazing Veggie Quinoa dish that can be used as a side, a full meal (don’t be afraid to add meat) or as Hubs did, as a bed for our roasted leg of lamb a few nights ago. Decadent for a post holiday meal, I know, but it really wasn’t heavy at all.

The flavors, nuttiness, textures and healthy-factor on this dish all add up to perfection for getting back on track at the dinner table this week.

Let me know how you serve it!

Xo,

Diana

Too Good To Be Healthy Veggie Quinoa

 quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 bag vegetable quinoa mix- I like Roland brand Garden
  • Yellow grape tomatoes cut in half
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Golden raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Top with raw Brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
    (amount of added ingredients is all to taste)

 Directions:

  1. Prepare the quinoa mix according to package instructions
  2. Toss in the yellow tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins, cranberries and mix
  3. Sprinkle top of each serving with the crispy raw Brussels sprouts

You can follow Totsy’s Chief Mom, Diana Heather on Twitter: @totsymom

10 Ways to Update your Wardrobe

New year, new you! Right? Dress up isn’t just for little girls, update your work wardrobe with 10 easy tips, even the most busiest woman can handle. No need to invest in entirely new wardrobe for the new year (unless that’s how you roll), but rather invest in some key pieces that are perfect for everyday. No fuss=a must for your daily routine.

1. Purge

Okay so this is a no brainer. Get rid of items you haven’t worn in years or are too big or too small. Narrow your wardrobe down to basics, key work pieces, night out items, and pretty much anything else you NEED. Don’t turn your wardrobe into an episode of Hoarders. Donate items that are still in wearable condition. Do this for the rest of the family and you’ll be amazed at what you find!

2. Necklace

 

Costume jewelry is a cute and inexpensive way to dress up your outfit. Or opt for a delicate, simple necklace with a small diamond on pendant that drops right at the collar bone for a classic look. Or pull a Carrie Bradshaw and don your nameplate necklace with pride.  Dig around your jewelry chest, you never know what you may find!

3. Capped Toe Pointy Shoes

The tapered toe may have fallen off fashions radar, but it is definitely making a comeback. They have the unique ability to visually elongate the leg, especially when paired with wide-leg trousers or a sleek pencil skirt. This season metal capped toes are totally in and add an extra oomph to any outfit. Black suede heel with a metal tapered toe is the way to go.

4. Pop Lip Color

 

Stop hiding behind chapsticks and lip balms. Bold reds are great for any complexion, with millions of shades to match. Red is one of the most universally wearable lipstick shades, and it’s a classic way to add both impact and femininity to your look. “In general, reds that are more blue-based are flattering on all skin tones, and they make your teeth look whiter to boot,” says James Boehmer, international lead makeup stylist for NARS Cosmetics. NARS’ Red Jungle  is a great way to go!

5. Oversized style watch

Who doesn’t love an oversized watch? Even the most delicate of wrists can dawn these masculine pieces. Choose the face size based on the size of your wrist. Make sure the face isn’t taking up your entire wrist and you want it to fit nice and snug so it isn’t banging against anything.

6. Fitted Blazer

 

Spend a few extra dollars on a blazer that contours and fits your body perfectly. Black and navy blue are two must haves for every wardrobe. Whether you dress it up with a pencil skirt or silk slack or wear it with jeans, a fitted blazer is one of those essential wardrobe items. Bold and daring? Try a leather blazer.

7. The “It” Bag

Face it women practically live in their bags. From makeup to medicine to random items, our bags hold it all! But lets not treat them as garbage bags! A sturdy doesn’t have to be an expensive one.  Look for one that can be used as a brief case as well, like a shopper, with multiple pockets to keep you organize. Black of course is the way to go, but if you dare try a cobalt blue or a vibrant orange to add some life to any outfit.

8. Silk Pants

 

Nothing screams classy than a beautiful pair of silk slacks. Whether harem or skinny is your style, these are sure to be a fit in your office. Pair with pumps, flats or wedged sneakers for an edgy look. Retire your jeans and try something new! You’ll definitely be more comfortable at work.

9. Delicate studs

Delicate studs + a pulled back up do= classy chic for work or a night out. Need I say more?

10. Retro T-shirt

 

Remember that fitted blazer I mentioned? Well grab an old school tee with your favorite team, band or character and throw it on underneath! With a pair of skinnies and those capped toe heels, you’ll look laid back yet well put together. Oh don’t forget your oversized watch and new work bag! Accessorize according to your preference.

How To: No Sew Pillow Cases

[sourc:www.jandofabrics.com]

 

New year, new beginnings, right? Correct! It may be a little too early for Spring cleaning, but who’s to say your home doesn’t need some freshening up? Not all of us have the budget to completely redecorate our homes for the new year, but there are are few tricks to add a breath of fresh air to your living space. One of our favorites is the No Sew Pillow Case. Yes, you read correctly, “no sew.” What could be better than that? If you’re sewing machine challenged just as we are, this DIY is right up your alley!

What you will need:

  • Standard throw pillow (preferably without any embellishments) 
  • A piece of fabric 3 times as wide plus a few more inches and twice as tall plus a few more inches as the pillow
  • Pinking shears

Steps

Use pinking shears to cut the fabric to avoid fraying.

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Start by folding the bottom half of the fabric to the center of the pillow.

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Then fold the top down to the center.

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Fold the edges of each end as if you’re wrapping a present.

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Bring one side over the top of the pillow. Repeat for the opposite side.

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Tie the ends in a square knot. To tie a square knot you take the fabric over-under then under-over.

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Voila!!

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Images courtesy of organizeyourstuffnow.com.