Friday, December 30, 2011

Introducing ~ LaToya


I'm a single, homeschooling mom of two bouncing boys {Bubba and Chubba}. I'm also a grad student. I graduated from law school in May 2011 and am currently working on a Master's Degree in Social Work so that I can open up my own God-centered adoption and pregnancy center. I'm also a Sunday School teacher for the little ones at my church.

In my spare time (haha) I love to read novels, write, listen to music and watch old movies. I live for the quiet moments of the day which are few and far between with my rambunctious young men running around the house. I'm going to contribute to Once Upon a Book here at Totally Tots and I'm so excited to be a part of this great team of ladies. I blog about my life at Christian Momma.


Introducing ~ Michelle

IMG_0407I am an Elementary School teacher turned stay at home mom.  I really enjoyed  teaching 1st and 4th grade and am so excited to share my love of teaching and learning with my two daughters, Emily (4 1/2 year old) and Juliette (2 year old) and my wonderful husband Michael who is always there to support me on my different projects and ideas. Our family loves books, puzzles, cooking, crafts, music and most of all God. We are always looking for new and fun ideas
for learning about the world God created for us.

I am looking forward to being a part of Totally Tots and sharing some great hands on learning activities in the Totally Tots feature: Little Hands on ABC's and 123's.  You can also find me on my blog A Mommy's Adventures where I host stART a weekly book and activity link-up.


Introducing ~ Sarah

I’m striving to glorify God in all I do and live in the world and not of it. Supporting my husband and raising our children to glorify God is my ministry. We enjoy living as natural as possible. It’s been 5+ years down our organic-lifestyle road, and I’m constantly learning more and trying new things. My crunchy and green journey started when I was pregnant with Aaron, we took the Bradley Method class and I also began to make my own household cleaners. Since then, I think my friends and family might say I’m pretty weird in my homebirthing, babywearing, kefir & kombucha growing, grain soaking, Young Living oils wearing ways. But I’m okay with that.

Here at Totally Tots I will be writing for the What’s in the Tub? feature. Away from Totally Tots, you can find me blogging at Simply Sarah or networking on Twitter. In my (limited amount of) free time, I enjoy photographing our life with my Nikon and reading great literature with my book club. If I happen to be blessed with more time beyond that I paint. Mostly abstract. I love color and have many future paintings brewing in my head.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Once Upon A Book~ A Christmas Prayer

Book Summary: A precious little child wanders through the house on a snowy Christmas night offering a prayer of thanks and blessing. The child finishes with thanks to God for the greatest Gift of all. Noting all the characters in the Nativity, this lovable little nighttime prayer book has interactive dialogue and soothing rhyme for a child to repeat as they look around their world at Christmastime.

I'm not sure about you, but the month of December is super crazy at our house! Add a very colicky new baby to the mix, and normal school activities just about didn't happen for us this month. When we did find a few spare moments for school activities, we chose to make memories and focus on Jesus.

We did Truth in the Tinsel for Advent. Since we were crafting every day, this counted as our art and then some! Jonah loved them all and he learned so much! His favorite part was having his very own tree in his room that held all of his Truth in the Tinsel ornaments.


Retelling/Imaginative Play:

Jonah loved playing with our Wooden Nativity Puzzle Playset to retell the Nativity story. (This Nativity Puzzle was a gift several years ago. I can't find the exact puzzle online to link to, but this Wooden Framed Puzzle - NATIVITY SCENE SET - Colored Components is the closest thing I can find on Amazon. Our puzzle is from Peaceful Joinings Puzzle Co.) On occasion, I would find extra characters and cars at the Nativity.


Letters, Numbers, & Writing:
Jonah enjoyed the Nativity Preschool Pack from 1+1+1=1. He was especially proud that he wrote the beginning letters all by himself and didn't want to erase it until Daddy saw his writing.

Fine Motor/Caring for Others:
Jonah helped me make some Christmas goodies for his Sunday School teachers. Unwrapping the Hershey's Kisses was perfect work for his little hands! (Photo from my Instagram stream)

I hope your CHRISTmas was full of memories and Jesus, too! Blessings for the New Year!

New and Updated Features for 2012!!

Over the last two months we’ve been working behind the scenes to tweak a few of our features and planning a fun new one for you all! Our new schedule and team of writers will start on the 1st of January, but we wanted to give you a little ‘heads up’ to get you excited about what is coming!!!

Ready for a little sneak peek into the 2012 Totally Tots year??

Montessori at Home

We are so excited to introduce a new feature called Montessori at Home! This once a month post will be written by Jodi and featuring ideas that are talked about in John Bowman’s ebook, Montessori at Home. John has also been writing monthly guest posts called the Montessori Minute over at 1+1+1=1.

While we are saying a goodbye to a few of our features {for now} and also a few of our writers from this past year, we do have many that will be staying with us and continuing on during the upcoming year as well!

Continuing Features and Writers…

In addition to the new features above, we also have some writers that will be switching around behind the scenes and taking over some of our current features. Here’s a quick look at the list of monthly features and the writers behind the posts.

~ Crafty Corner….Mama Jenn will continue to write this feature.

~ In My Heart…Val will continue to write this feature.

~ Little Hands-on ABC’s and 123’s ~ Michelle will be taking over this feature.

~ Mommy Made Printables…Carisa will continue to write this feature.

~ Now I Know My ABC’s…Carisa will be writing this feature.

~ Once Upon a Book…Maureen, LaToya, and Sara will be writing for this feature.

~ Play With Me…Jolanthe will continue to write this feature.

~ Simply Made….Sara will continue to write this feature.

~ Treats 4 Your Tot…Carisa will write this feature.

~ What’s in the Tub?…Sarah will be writing this feature.

Stay tuned over the next few days to meet the new writers that will be joining the 2012 Totally Tots Team! We’re excited to have some AMAZING ladies on our new team!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Now I Know My ABC’s ` Zz is for Zoo

My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
Summary: A nice twist on a zoo book, Michael Hall pairs animals with various emotions. The artwork is designed to incorporate several heart shapes in each colorful animal. It is simple yet so captivating! The simple rhymes and bold pictures wonderfully illustrate how love can be many different things, such as eager as a beaver, steady as a yak or silly as a seal.
Theme Ideas:
I first read this book with my current 5 yr. old last year. I loved it! The book is so simple yet there are so many things to discuss! We like to count how many hearts make up each animal on each page. It is so fun to see how all the animals are made out of hearts! (This book would also make a nice Valentine’s Day book.)

You cannot read this book without trying to make some of the animals! :) You can find the instructions plus printable patterns for the seal and the frog at Spell Outloud.
Since I knew we would be talking about animals, I purchased a package of zoo animal foam stickers. The first activity we did was sort the stickers by animal (or plant—there were trees included). I used an old party platter for this activity. While sorting, we named the animals and went over the first sound of each animal’s name.

Next we played a counting game. I took a 12x12 piece of paper and folded it into fourths. Then I wrote the name of each animal in its “cage” aka square. My daughter rolled the dice to see how many of that animal needed to go in the cage.
For some reason she rolled a 5 most of the time :) There were additional stickers on the back of the page too.
She asked to do her own zoo picture with the stickers. This was her final result. She concentrated so hard peeling off the sticker backing on the animals. That was a great way to practice fine motor skills.
We went over our poem/handwriting and coloring page. You can find the download under the Letter Z.
We pulled out our Target Dollar Spot puzzles and worked on them again.
The girls gathered up their stuffed animals and played zoo.
We originally did this activity while studying plants, but it would be fun to do while talking about zoo animals too! Fill Zoo Pal cups with planting soil. Sprinkle grass seed and cover with a little more dirt. Lightly spray with water and watch the animals grow hair!
Check out the following themes for more animal ideas:
Gg is for gorilla
Jj is for jungle
Ll is for lion
Pp is for panda
Other ABC Resources
ABC Printables from Homeschool Creations
Letter of the Week Curriculum from COAH
ABC Flashcards and More from 1+1+1=1
ABC Letter Crafts
Songs for Saplings ABC Verses

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Simply Made: DIY Chopstick Tongs

A favorite tool around our house to work on the pincer grasp, transferring objects, and concentration are tongs/tweezers. We use them for all sorts of fine motor fun!

I really like the Easy Grip Tweezers from Learning Resources. They are great for chubby little hands! But recently, my son lost interest in practicing transferring objects using them. He said he was getting "too big" for them and that it was "too easy." If I'm being honest, he was right about the easy part. I decided it was time to make it a little harder and add the novelty of a new tool into the mix.


My inspiration came from our favorite Japanese restaurant. While eating there, they brought my son a pair of kid chopsticks and he thought they were the coolest thing ever. On our way out, I asked if we could have an extra set of chopsticks to use at home. When we got home, I got right down to making a set of tongs/tweezers with a little more difficulty involved.

  • Clean pair of chopsticks
  • strip of paper (about 1 inch wide)
  • tape
  • rubber band
  • scissors
Cut a strip of paper about 1 inch wide. Starting on the small end, tightly roll the strip of paper. Secure the end with tape.


Place the rolled up paper in between the chopsticks and twist the rubber band around--you'll need to go above and below the paper to secure it. I used trial and error (and some simple machine knowledge from elementary school) to figure out the best placement for the paper. You will need to leave some space at the top and move the paper down toward the middle. Play around with the placement and the thickness of the paper roll.

Once your Chopstick Tongs are working, it's time to start playing! Have your tot transfer pom-poms, cotton balls, etc. to work on their pincer grasp (handwriting muscles).

Since it is the beginning of Winter, my son transferred "snowballs" AKA cotton balls (you could use white pom-poms, too). The Chopstick Tongs are a little more difficult to control and was just the change that my little guy needed to grab his attention again.
Want some more fine motor inspiration? Check out my Fine Motor Fun board on Pinterest!


    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Get Real with God ~ What Will You Adore?

    This is the song that is playing continually through my head!  It’s not about snow or Santa Clause; it’s not about elves or a little baby in a manger.  It’s a fairly simple song, yet it says so much!

    This is the full grown Christ we worship and Adore, the Resurrected One, The Living One.

    To adore means to worship with GREAT and ALL-Consuming Love!  Please don’t forget to send your adoration straight up to heaven this Christmas! I think it’s easy to get our adoration misplaced this time of year.  Of course we love the sights and sounds and smells of Christmas.  Of course we love giving our little ones gifts and seeing the joy on their faces.  Of course we love to read the Christmas Story and to watch those special once a year movies.  We love the snow, the peppermint mocha’s and seasonal music.  But the heart of Christmas is all about Adoration.  Adoring the One who came, who died, and who rose again! 

    Let your hearts be filled with Love for our Risen King!  All Glory and Honor and Adoration belong to Him!

    Possibility 3
    Merry, Merry CHRISTmas, from my family to yours!

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Merry Christmas!!

    We’ll be taking a short break from posting for the rest of this week so that our team can enjoy Christmas with their families ~ and you can too!

    Praying you all have a WONDERFUL Christmas!!


    Friday, December 16, 2011

    In My Heart ~ Psalm 136:1-6 & 26

    His Love Endures {Psalm 136:1-6 & 26} is #10 from Seeds of Praise.

    Full Page Verse Printable… image
    Verse Mini Book {which could also be cut into mini flash cards to have kids put the verse in order}…  image
    Copy Work Tracers {print & cursive}  image
    Copy Work Sheets…  image
    Full Verse Coloring Pages… image

    Visit the main Seeds Family Worship Printables page here.

    Visit Seeds Family Worship to learn more about their ministry here!