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.

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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: 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.

No Fuss New Years Eve

Okay so most of us are guilty of doing everything last minute for the holidays simply because there aren’t enough hours in the day! From running around at work to getting everyone’s presents, we sometimes forget the other details that make a holiday party special. After strenuous planning for Christmas and Hanukkah, some of us are pooped come New Year’s Eve! No need to stress though, we’ve got a few easy tips that even the least creative of us can do!

For the Home

Who doesn’t love candles? They smell wonderful and cast a beautiful glow in any living space. These simple (and cheap!) DIY candles are sure to sparkle at your NYE party!

DIY Metallic/Glitter Candles

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What you will need:

  • Dollar store candles (any color, size, shape you prefer)
  • Candle holders
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Glitter (any color you prefer)
  • Metallic Spray Paint (any color you prefer)
  • Painters tape

Directions

  1. If you simply want metallic candles, spray two coats of the spray paint, or enough until the original candle color isn’t showing and let dry overnight. I recommend doing this two days in advance.
  2. If you only want sections of colors, use the use painters tape to mark off the areas you’d like to have the candle base color show. You can get creative and create designs with the painters tape! Spray paint exposed areas and Voila!
  3. For glitter candles, pretty much the same concept applies.
  4. For full on glitter candles, spray the entire candle with spray adhesive and roll in glitter. Spray another coat and roll in glitter once more and let dry overnight. Again, I recommend doing this at least two days in advance.
  5. You can use the painters tape to section off areas of glitter.
  6. If you really want to get creative, combine both the metallic paint and glitter!

Your Outfit

 


Do sequins, but do it right! You don’t want to end up looking like the NYE ball in Times Square or a disco ball at that! From sequined dress, sweaters, skirts, shorts and pants, the possibilities are endless.

Too scared to full on sequins? Sequined flats or pumps add sparkle to your outfit without drawing a lot of attention.</p>

Sequins aren’t your thing at all? Dress up your LBD with a statement necklace or bracelet and a bright pair of pumps!

Drinks


Champagne is a must for NYE without a doubt!  Remember our Sparkling Cranberry recipe from Thanksgiving? Whip up a batch of these sugary berries and lay them in your champagne flutes and pour a little bubbly over! This recipe can be done with a variety of berries if cranberries don’t suit your fancy. Little kids and Mommies-to-be coming to the party? Substitute champagne for sparkling apple cider or ginger ale for the same bubbly effect!

Appetizer

 


Baked brie…looks complicated and time consuming, but is soooo easy!

Ingredients

  • 1 large sheet of puff pastry dough
  • Cranberry chutney
  • Round of brie (do not remove rind)
  • 1 cup of Candied walnuts
  • 1/4 of a cup Brown Sugar
  • Assortment of crackers and breads
  • Apple Slices

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. On a non stick cookie sheet, lay out the puff pastry
  3. Put the brie round on the puff pastry. Make sure it is centered.
  4. Spread cranberry chutney on the top, fold dough over top, creating a little pouch. Cut off excess dough.
  5. Top with brown sugar and candied walnuts
  6.  Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes, pastry should be golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve with crackers, bread and apple slices.

Party Essential

 

This one is super easy and I guarantee takes little to no time. Confetti bags! Yes, as childish as this may sound, it’s a cute way for your guests to let loose at midnight.

What you will need: 

  • Confetti, especially “2013” confetti
  • Clear plastic cellophane bags, preferably the smaller ones
  • Colorful ribbon

Simple fill the baggies with confetti, tie with ribbon to create a little pouch, and hand them out to your guests right before the countdown and let them go crazy at midnight!  Of course noise makers are a must too!

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE TOTSY FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!

Memorable Moments of 2012 Bottled Up

The ball is dropping; the champagne is popping (or sparkling apple cider).It’s the second most wonderful time of the year! New Years! A time for new beginnings, new chapters, and a time to celebrate with the people most important in our lives. What better way to ring in the New Year than reflecting on the past year? If you’re throwing a NYE party or just spending a quiet evening at home, we’ve got a fun and easy way to get everyone involved and reflect on the most memorable moments of 2012.

NYE Memory Jar

What you will need:

  • A Mason jar or any empty container 
  • Sticky notes or Small pieces of paper
  • Different colored pens
  • A box of tissues (this could get emotional!)

If you’re throwing a NYE party, have your guests write down their most memorable moment of the year with their name and put it in the mason jar. Get the kids involved and help them write out their favorite memory of 2012. When everyone has contributed to the jar, read all of the memories aloud before the ball drops! You could even turn it into a guessing game, by not reading the names and have everyone try to figure out who wrote what! Make it a tradition and save the “memories” of each year the jar was brought out.

Even if you’re not having a NYE party and just spending a quiet evening at home, you can simply write down all your favorite aspects of the year and reflect with loved ones before midnight. No need to get the jar involved if you don’t want to.

There’s no need to make this more complicated than it is. Forget your holiday stress and the trials and tribulations of the past year. Hold onto the beautiful moments and life’s little blessings and surprises. NYE is not a time to think about how things may have gone wrong or could have gone much better as anticipated. Don’t completely toss the old year behind, rather take all the good things and bring them into 2013!

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Who Said You Can’t Wear White This Winter?

Contrary to everyone’s beliefs, white isn’t just for the spring/summer season (though I would not suggest wearing white linen pants in the winter…just saying), but it is definitely a winter time color. I mean helloooooo, snow is white! Anyways… Stop hiding behind your LBD and stand out in white. We’ve complied 5 ways to wear white this winter that anyone can pull off, I mean just check out these celebs.

White Blazer


Remember that white blazer you coveted all summer? Bring it out of storage! A white blazer +skinny jeans (or tights) + pumps + a  flowy blouse= the perfect equation for a super chic office holiday party or night out on the town.  Try adding a white blazer over your LBD for a great contrast. Kate Moss paired her white blazer nicely with a zip detail leather pant, grey top and black stilettos.

White Dress

 


A cream white dress is always a good investment for the holiday season. Retire your LBD and break out your LWD (little white dress). Add red , gold, or black pumps to complete the look. Even throw on a statement necklace to dress it up a bit more. Just as with any LBD, the possibilities are endless with an LWD! Pick a length and style you feel most comfortable in and have fun styling it up. Beyonce looked amazingly chic in this cream white dress. The fit couldn’t be more perfect!

Fur Vest (Faux or Real)


Rachel Roy is totally styling in her off white fur vest. Whether you go faux or real, a white fur vest is a great statement piece that will compliment almost any outfit. Black leather leggings or skinny jeans with a shimmery sweater underneath and cute booties = a super cute day look! Not ready for a bold white? Try an off white or white mixed with tan fur.

Ivory Coat

 

How could you go wrong with an ivory coat? An ivory coat is very classy and can freshen up any look.It is the perfect accent to any outfit . Try to find one that hits right above the knee with beautifully embellished buttons. Don’t want a white pea coat? Try a white puffer for an Aspen inspired looked! Just remember to keep warmth in mind! Not only do shoes, bags, and accessories make an outfit an overcoat can too! Do not sacrifice comfort for fashion when it comes to a winter coat, even if it just for dinner!

White suit

 

Dare to go head to toe in white? Julianne Hough does this white suit the justice it deserves with a bright red lip. Though a white suit is perfect for winter, do not try to revive your white linen suit from the summer. Opt for silk instead or a material that is guaranteed to keep you warm. Maybe even go for a Chanel inspired tweed for an ultra classic look. Pair with metallic pumps and a bold lip and you’re set!

Tell us, will you be wearing a white ensemble this winter? 

Kiss Dry Winter Skin Goodbye!

care for beautiful woman legs

Cold crisp air, snow, and bundling up! Who doesn’t love winter? Okay, maybe quite a few people don’t, but others love it! Whether you like winter or not, it is important to take care of your skin, no matter your age! Skin is the largest organ of the human body, serving as a protection barrier from outside intruders, so take care of it! Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your family’s skin soft and subtle this winter.

Stay hydrated

  • Not only is water good for health, your skin needs it too! It is just as important to stay hydrated during the winter as it is in the summer.

Sunscreen

  • Just because it isn’t 80 degrees outside doesn’t mean you need to retire your sunscreen. The suns harmful rays can still affect you in the winter. Opt for SPF 15+. There are plenty of oil-free ones available for your entire family. Try Aveeno as they have a variety of sunscreens to meet your family’s needs.

Face

  • Your face is the most exposed part of your body during the winter time; keep it moisturized! In order to prevent clogged pores and breakouts try oil-free, non-comedogenic face creams. Try Neutrogena, many of their products are already oil free.
  • Avoid licking your lips as saliva dries them out faster. Keep them smooth and silky beeswax based chapsticks and lip balms. Menthol chapsticks will dry your lips out faster and fruity flavored glosses, balms, and chapsticks tempt you to lick those lips! I don’t about you, but I can’t help but eat a strawberry lipgloss off my lips!

Showering

  • Avoid aggressive soaps as they dry out skin faster. Stick to brands such as Aveeno and Dove that are chock full of emollients and moisturizers.
  • Avoid super hot showers! Though it may feel amazing to take a hot shower after frolicking in the cold, it can quickly damage your skin. Instead shower with lukewarm water. Your skin will thank you! Also apply a moisturizer while your skin is still slightly damp. Your body will better absorb the lotion/cream.
  • Use a gentle exfoliator to remove dead, dry skin cells. Brown sugar, milk, and honey make a great DIY scrub!
  • Need to relax after a long day? Incorporate oatmeal into your bath to soothe dry, itchy skin.

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A Few Other Tips

  • Make sure your kids are bundled up properly. The less exposed their skin, the less it will dry out.
  • Aquaphor is great for the entire family (can even be used a chapstick).
  • Use a humidifier to keep the air in your home moist.
  • Try to find lotions and moisturizers that contain either lanolin, mineral oil, or petrolatum (also known as petroleum jelly), or a combination of the sort. These oils trap water in the skin, preventing your skin from drying out.