Totsy’s Top 5 Holiday Pins

Happy holidays! Nothing new, but you all know that we here at Totsy LOVE Pinterest!  We are practically addicted ;-).  We have rounded up out top 5 pins for the holidays!  These are just some of our favorites, but you can enjoy the holiday season with more pins from our Tis the Season board!

5) Heart- (and belly-warming) hot chocolateLove this idea! Put whipped cream on a cookie sheet, freeze, then use heart cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes.  Add to a steamy cup of hot chocolate!

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4) Candy cane tablescape. Perfect for the holiday season – simple and festive!

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3) Christmas tree cupcake.  How adorable is this??

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2) Winter cocktails. Our favorite? The hot toddy. Warms you from the inside out!  Find the recipe on our blog along with a few of our other favorite winter cocktails.

Glass of hot toddy with cinnamon and anise. Shallow dof.

1) Cutie holiday photo op. We couldn’t help but smile at this little snowman! Have you ever had a creative and festive photo op with your child?

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That’s all from us folks!  Don’t forget to follow and pin with us on Pinterest.

Share with us your favorite holiday pins by pasting in the comments below.

Happy holidays to your family from us here at Totsy!

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5 Ways to Wrap a Gift with Brown Paper Bags

At Totsy, we love to do our part to help the environment. That means recycling everyday, using a water filter to reduce plastic bottle waste, cutting down on printing and planting a tree for every first purchase.  So this year, we decided to forego wrapping paper and reuse paper shopping bags instead to do a small part to help our planet.  Here are some fun ideas we came across on the web when wrapping for the holiday season.  You can use brown paper shopping bags from grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Simply cut them flat, remove the handles and make sure the printed side is facing towards the gift when wrapping.

1.  Glitter Ribbon. Simple and pretty, we love how glitter works beautifully with the brown paper bag. Learn to tie this pretty bow.

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2.  Snowflake overlay. Cutting paper snowflakes is a craft we used to do as kids.  We’re sure your kids will enjoy doing them as well!  Use colored computer paper and supervise as they get creative. Then overlay them to the wrapped gift and tie with simple white string.

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3.  Typographic gift wrap. This is very clean looking and makes the recipient’s name stand out. Read the full post on how to create this simple and crafty gift wrap.

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4. Winter  green.  Sometimes a simple arrangement can go a long way. We love the acorns and touch of sprigs. Find instructions on arrangement here.

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5. DIY printed wrapping paper. Finally, if you’re looking for something with more oomph, try this easy DIY project for patterned wrapping paper. The kids would love this! Get creative!

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Tell us, will you be getting creative this year when wrapping your gifts? Share in the comments below!

Dine With Autumn: Savory Stuffed Pumpkin

I’ve been saving this recipe for Halloween time, eagerly awaiting the chance to share with y’all. Another squash recipe? I know I know, but it’s that time of year. And this is one of the most ridiculously delicious things you will ever taste. The stuffing bubbles together and the pumpkin flesh is tender and flavorful, it’s a taste fiesta. Plus the kids will love to get involved, let them help stuff the pumpkin or choose and sub-in different ingredients. Bacon instead of Canadian ham, rice instead of bread, you really can’t go wrong.

Savory Stuffed Pumpkin

Time: 2.5 hours (30 min assembly, 90-120 min cook time)

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 small-medium pumpkin (approx. 4 lbs)
  •  ½ lb stale bread – ½ inch cubes
  • ½ lb white cheese shredded – cheddar or gruyere
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 5-6 rounds Canadian Ham – diced
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 Tb fresh thyme – chopped
  • 1 Tb. Fresh rosemary – chopped
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste – may be unnecessary due to salt in meat & cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Prepare the pumpkin as you would before a Halloween carving, carefully cutting a wide circle to lift away the stem and removing all seeds and strings.
  3. Once it’s clean, rub the inside with a moderate amount of salt and pepper.
  4. In a separate large bowl, gently toss together all of your ingredients.
  5. You may need just a bit more or less cream – just make sure all the bread is soaked through but not swimming.
  6. Now stuff that gourd! Your happy little pumpkin should be filled almost to the top but not overflowing, otherwise you’ll have a mess.
  7. Return the stem circle to its original location and place the whole pumpkin on a lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 90-120 min, or until pumpkin can be easily pierced with a knife and the ingredients are hot and bubbly.
  9. Serve in slices with your favorite green salad. Bon Appetit!

 

 

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CAR SEAT SAFETY TIPS

 

TOTSY.com and nationally renowned Car Seat Lady Dr. Alisa Baer have banded together to make sure parents are up-to-date on car seat safety for Baby Safety Month! Do you know the latest best practices for car seats and boosters? The answers may be different than what you’ve learned in the past! Join us for expert knowledge on how to keep your kids safe in the car!

Basics:

1. Use a safety restraint on EVERY trip, no matter how short.  Studies show that most crashes with children occur within 10 minutes of home and on roads with speed limits of 45mph or less.

2. A properly installed car seat goes a long way but a good driver goes further. That means no texting, talking on the phone, or any other distractions like comforting your fussy baby. If the baby gets restless, pull over or keep your eye out for great deals on soft toys on sites like TOTSY to keep in the car.

Buying a car seat:

3. Every car seat sold in the US must pass the same rigorous crash tests so every car seat is safe as long as you use it properly every time and it fits your child and car.  Online sites like TOTSY.com offer periodic sales for car seats and boosters at 40% – 90% off so keep an eye out for those special deals.

Where to place:

4. The center is 43% safer than the side – so whenever possible, install your child’s car seat in the center. With two kids, keep the older child in the center as they are typically less protected than the baby.

The best fit:

5. Snug harness straps and a snug fit of the car seat to the car gives your child a parachute landing in a car crash – as slow and gentle as possible while loose harness straps or a loose car seat can cause injury.

When to change:

6. The right order of progression is rear-facing till at least age 2 => forward-facing => booster => seat belt => front seat.  Don’t rush your child to the next stage as every step is a decrease in your child’s safety and don’t worry if their legs look cramped in a rear-facing car seat—babies are flexible! Your toddler is too big for rear-facing when their head is one inch or less of the convertible car seat top or at the weight limit, which is 35-40 pounds for most seats.

7. Forward facing is ALWAYS better with a tether!  Tethers keep your child’s brain and spinal cord safer by decreasing how far your child’s head will move forward in a crash by 6-8 inches.

8. Keep your child in a five-point harness until they are at least four years old, at least 40 pounds and mature enough to sit still in a booster. With many five-point harnesses going to 60 or more pounds, school age kids can continue to ride in a five-point harness before transitioning to a booster.

9. Don’t skip the booster! They keep the lap belt properly positioned on a child’s strong hip bones, not on their abdomen where it can cause internal injuries in a crash.

10. Your child is ready to ride without a booster when they pass The 5-Step Test (for most kids, this is around age 10).

The 5-Step Test   ©SafetyBeltSafe USA

1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?

2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?

3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?

4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs.

5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

 

If you can say yes to all 5 questions, the child is safe to ride without a booster.

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