Monday, May 31, 2010

Little Books for Little Cooks ~ Flower Garden

Little Books for Little Cooks 
 Mini Flower Quiches

  mini flower quiches

These little quiches disappeared so VERY quickly at our house. Green peppers aren’t generally well liked, but the kids didn’t complain one bit as they gobbled them up!

The Book Before You Cook…

by Eve Bunting

Summary: A little girl makes a birthday surprise for her mother. They buy soil, colorful plants and a window box and make a beautiful garden.

When It’s Time to Cook…

You’ll Need:

  • refrigerated pie crusts
  • flower shaped cookie cutter
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2-3 eggs, depending on size
  • 3 tsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped {optional}
  • celery {for garnishing}
  • mini muffin tin
  • non-stick cooking spray
To Make:

flowers collage

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. Be sure to spray the top of the pan as well as the insides of the tins to make it easier to remove the flowers after they bake.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Add sour cream, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, and salt.
  4. Roll out pie crust and use flower shaped cookie cutter to cut out flowers from the dough.
  5. Gently press the dough into the muffin tins so that the edges of the dough form a flower with a center to fill with the egg mixture. You will have to leave room between the flowers in the tin {see picture}.
  6. Fill flowers with about 2 Tbsp. of the egg mixture. Do not overfill since the eggs puff up a little during baking.
  7. Sprinkle each flower with a little green pepper.
  8. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned and center of the eggs are set.
  9. Slice cherry tomatoes and finely chop green pepper while the mini flower quiches are baking.
  10. Pop out the quiches and cool on a wire rack.
  11. Decorate your flowers with a slice of cherry tomato and use the celery as stems/leaves for your flowers.
Hope you enjoy this cooking activity with your little one! To see more featured books and activities, click here!
Little Books for Little Cooks is a bi-monthly feature that focuses on creating some edible fun with your little one.   We will share a fun book to read with your little one along with a cooking activity to do that ties in with the featured book. Sometimes there may be actual cooking involved…and sometimes just fun!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Get Real with God ~ Do You LIKE Your Children?

Do you like your children? My children are pretty much always with me. From the oldest, 15, to the youngest, 2, when I go somewhere, they go somewhere. Obviously there are times when my older children are out doing their own thing, but I have had plenty of opportunities for people to see me with my children in public. And without fail, especially if it’s during school hours, people want to talk about why my children are with me. Which leads me to mention homeschooling, which leads them to making (and saying) wrong assumptions about me and how wonderful I am, which leads them to tell me how they “could never DO THAT” and how “AWFUL” their children are. I’ve heard them talk that way about their teens and about their tots. And without fail, EVERY TIME, it makes me sad. Why is it that people don’t like their children? Why is it that people talk bad about their children to complete strangers? My children are far from perfect, but they are mine. They are a reflection of me and my husband and the way we’ve raised them. They are a testimony to God’s faithfulness and a sign of His blessing.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the Womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3

So in a way, if I speak awfully about my children, I am really speaking awfully about myself. I am a strong believer in what we speak “over” our children is what they will become. Like how Adam named Eve and in giving her that name spoke “mother” over all of God’s female creation! That’s why our children have the names they do, because every time we say their name, we are “speaking” their name over them. My oldest daughter’s name means “delightsomeness.” And let me tell you, she is a delight!

When I was a young mom, I was completely scared to have teenagers, from all the stories I’d heard, from all the teens I knew…I thought my own children were destined to be the same way. But you know what? I really like my teens, I really enjoy them, their personalities, their pushing against the fence to see what and who they can be and become. In fact, I was just telling my husband the other day how I actually think they are easier than the younger set! And I’m being totally truthful here. :0)

Our words are powerful. What we speak over our children is what they are going to become. If you are always saying, “You are so naughty!” “You are so dumb!” “You are so disobedient!” “You are so strong-willed” “You have such a poor attention span.” “You are crazy wild!” Don’t be surprised if they become that way. But on the other hand if you speak life: “I am so proud of you when you obey quickly and with joy!” “I love the way you share.” “You are so smart!” “I can’t believe how long you can sit and pay attention!” You will enjoy the fruits of your speech and reap a child that will live up to those good expectations and grow into teens that will surprise the world and give you opportunity to share your faith and beliefs. The world doesn’t expect much from their children, but we can expect all that God expects: obedience, joy and blessing!

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.” Proverbs 31:26

Delight in your children, they are your legacy, a reflection of God’s love, and your most prized possession!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Treats 4 Your Tot


Here are some more cool giveaways for tots/moms of tots, check them out below and let us know if you win something we told you about!!!!

~I do not take email requests to be added to this list, these are just personal favorites I find online, you are welcome to leave any giveaway links (TOT FRIENDLY ONLY) in the comments below.

Friday, May 28, 2010

In My Heart ~ Zz Revelation 3:19

Zz Revelation 3We made it to Z!  This is the last of our Songs for Saplings ABC Bible verses!  I have one more for you next week {a Father’s Day verse from the cd} and then we are moving on!  Stay tuned, we are excited to share with you what is coming up for this feature on Totally Tots!

Verses are from: Songs for Saplings: ABCs
(You can get it hereUSE discount code totallytots for 15% off, or you can purchase on Amazon here)

Find the PDF files to download here!

See our Raising Rock Stars posts here!

See our intro post about teaching Bible memory verses to tots here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Once Upon a Book ~ Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!


Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!
by Candace Fleming
Summary: Mr. McGreely had always dreamed of planting his very own garden. Once he decided to get his hands dirty and begin planting, he had to battle three hungry bunnies that would gnaw at his vegetables. No matter what Mr. McGreely did, the little bunnies would munch away in his garden. Once he finally thought he had outsmarted the bunnies for good, they in fact, outsmarted him!

Bible Verse

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16


The boys made their very own garden plans based on the Square Foot Garden. The boys got to plan out their very own imaginary garden with all of their favorite fruits and veggies. You can see more of their garden plans as well as download the printable template here. {Can you tell that one of my boys LOVES celery, i.e. the little green pieces of yarn?}


We integrated math into our garden plans. After the boys finished their plans, I asked them various questions like:
  • How many carrots did you plant?
  • Did you plant more strawberries than pumpkins?
  • How many more tomatoes than squash did you plant?
  • What did you plant the most of?
  • Which do you have more of…lettuce or cucumbers?
  • Which do you have less of…celery or blueberries?
Dramatic Play

We used our garden plans to act out part of the book. Like the Mr. McGreely we tried to keep our bunnies {foam rabbit shapes} out of our garden! We built a fence using our Zoobs to try to keep the bunnies out. This made for extra practice with motor skills and patterning.

album 5.19.10 035

We built a brick wall to try to keep the bunnies out. Positioning the “bricks” on the box to make the wall allowed for spatial awareness as well as extra practice with scissors and glue.

We even added a moat in our failed attempts at keeping the bunnies out. The boys worked on their fine motor skills by tearing apart pieces of blue scrap paper for the water.

All of the boys thoroughly enjoyed letting the bunnies muncha muncha muncha on all the yummy vegetables!


Plant a garden! The boys helped me plant our garden and had a blast. Although we did not plant all of the same fruits and veggies that they included on their garden plan, they were still thrilled to be able to help out and are anxiously anticipating our first harvest of the season!


My Garden Grows

My Garden Grows {extend one hand with palm up}
I’ll rake it with care. {make raking motion on palm with three fingers from other hand}
And then some seeds I’ll plant there. {point finger on palm to plant seeds}
The sun will shine. {make circle with hands}
The rain will fall. {flutter fingers like falling rain}
My garden will bloom and grow straight and tall. {cup hands and extend in the air}


Carrots of course! For a super fun carrot snack, be sure to check out this super cute carrot garden!

For more fun, check out the Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! lapbook at Homeschool Share.

Want to see what's coming next (and books we've done in the past)? Click here to see our Once Upon a Book webpage!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Now I Know My ABC's ~ Z is for Zebra

It's time for some fun alphabet crafts!! We hope you enjoy these! If you are new, you can visit our ABC webpage to find links to any other letters we have done, letters (with books listed) coming up, as well as all the fun crafty letters we have been working on. Be sure to check it out!

Next week we’ll be starting another round of alphabet crafts ~ but this time with lowercase letters, so stay tuned!


What Do Zebra's Do? ~ Tick Tock Books

Summary: The illustrations alone are adorable in this book. Learn about what zebras do, what they eat, and more.

 z zebra craft

What You’ll Need:

  • Black and white foam or construction paper
  • Pencil {to outline}
  • Scissors
  • Googly eye
  • Glue

zebra craft

How to Make the ‘Z” Zebra:

  1. Trace and cut an uppercase ‘Z’ out of the white foam sheet or construction paper. I used a foam sheet that was about 4" x 5" in size.
  2. Using the black foam, cut out a piece that can be used as the zebra’s mane. Use your scissors to ‘fringe’ the edge of the black foam, making it look more like hair.
  3. Use the excess white foam to cut out two ears for the zebra.
  4. Cut thin strips from the black foam to use as stripes for your zebra.
  5. Glue the mane onto your zebra. Add his ears.
  6. Add the black foam stripes to your zebra. Trim off any excess that hangs over the edge.
  7. Glue on your zebra’s eye and draw on a little nose and mouth.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Terrific Tot Sites ~ Tot School Highlights

The Terrific Tot Sites feature is designed to help you find fun and safe websites to visit with your toddler. Some of the sites are educational in nature and some are just plain fun! If this is your first time visiting, be sure to check out some of the toddler websites that we've featured in the past. Hope you enjoy this Terrific Tot Site!
This week I’d like to introduce you to Debbie from Our Cup of Tea. Deb is mom to three children ages 8, 5, and 2 and participates in Tot School with her daughter, Gabriella. She and her family have lived in England for the last five years, serving as missionaries. Here are a few of the fun activities that she does with her daughter:
Putting bracelets on a toilet paper holder {see all the things you can reuse educationally?}.
Stringing beads on pipecleaners.
Making up color trays with items from around the house.
Using marbles with a gumball machine.
Using shredded paper as a sensory table activity.
These are just a few of the activities that Debbie has done with her daughter. Be sure to stop by and visit her blog ~ it’s easy to visit her in England through the blog world! :)
Hope you enjoy this Terrific Tot Site! To see more featured sites, click here!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

From Tots to Teens ~ A Generation in Need


Last week I wrote a post about the next generation after spending time at Hershey Park with our daughters. A dear reader of mine sent me the following email after reading this post.

While I was eating my lunch, I read 1 Corinthians 1 :18-31
Isn't it true, that for us who are being saved by the cross it really is the power of God! The world thinks I'm so foolish to think I can afford to adopt, but for me it is the power of God working in my checkbook. The world thinks it is foolish to bring my kids to the Philippines, but for me it is the power of God to let them love as God loves and to experience His love in an orphanage. The world thinks it is so foolish for me to home-school, but for me it is the power of God working in my family. The world thinks it is so foolish for me to not earn money, but for me it is the power of God working for my joy. The world thinks it is so foolish for me to be an introvert, but for me it is the power of God working in my peaceful heart as He created me. The world thinks it is foolishness to take your daughter out to breakfast, but for me it is the power of God tying heart strings between me and my daughters. The world thinks it is foolish to give up the mountains and the ocean for a church, but for me it is the power of God working in my life, growing me and healing me from all the foolishness of this world. The world thinks it is foolishness to read the bible day after day, but for me it is the life changing power of God. The world thinks it is foolishness to love in selfless ways, but for me it is the power of God giving me honor and glory.

The world thinks it is foolishness to like me or to want me or to care about me. "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things- and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of HIM that I am in Christ Jesus!!!!!"


I can only speak from our personal experience and what I know is that unless you begin early teaching your children that He is enough – the world quickly sucks them into believing He is not enough. The world around them is trying to convince them how much they need and deserve.

That thinking and training breeds a generation into believing it is owed something versus believing they can do something worth while or give back what has been so freely given to them.

I have been singing Chris Tomlin’s song over and over again since our trip to Hershey Park* last week and thinking about how important it is that our children see me living this out to its fullest meaning. That I show them He is more than enough for me and them.

I am asking God to show me all the ways that I live in such a way that is not teaching them to look upon Jesus and trust in His all sufficient grace and love - as enough!

The world does believe we are fools for living without things or our lack of desire to keep up with the Jones'. But what they don’t understand is this simple truth – Jesus warns all those who call themselves a follower of His and believe upon Him -

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15 and verse 16 continues…

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

In order to teach our children this truth – we must NOT be lovers of this world and choose to look different and not fit in with what everyone else says is OK, normal and good for us. We must define ourselves by what God says is good, holy, pure and right.

We must raise our children to understand what it means to love all but not desire to be like all.

We must raise our children to understand what it means to live in this world but not become it.

We must raise our children to know the truth and desire to share it with the world.

We must raise our children to seek God’s best and trust His way is to prosper them, a plan for a good future filled with hope!

We must raise our children to believe they are worth more than precious silver or gold.

We must raise our children to dress in such a way that honors our King and Father in heaven.

We must raise our children to be wise and discerners of truth, good and evil.

We must raise our children to use God’s word in love to build others up and give them the hope in Christ Jesus.

If we do anything less we are training them to fit in with the world. We are training them to be enemies of God and seek the things that will surely burn when they stand before Him one day.

Honestly friends, no matter how much you wanted something and how hard you worked for it – sooner or later it lost its worth and importance to you.

Things of eternal importance never lose their value or worth.

We are not teaching our children to work for His approval – because it is already earned – Christ paid the full price for their lives! We are teaching our children they are working from that dept paid and His unfailing love for them. They don’t have to be the like world trying to earn more, get more and be more – they are already worth more to God than anything this world could ever offer them or us.

Isn’t it time we starting to live like our worth?

Time for each of us to wear our royal crown and live worthy of our King - walking in His grace and love – for all to taste and see just how good our God is!

I would love to hear from all of you – how can we come alongside this generation and help them become the change we all want to see?


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Treats 4 Your Tot


Here are some more cool giveaways for tots/moms of tots, check them out below and let us know if you win something we told you about!!!!

~I do not take email requests to be added to this list, these are just personal favorites I find online, you are welcome to leave any giveaway links (TOT FRIENDLY ONLY) in the comments below.

Friday, May 21, 2010

In My Heart ~ Yy Philippians 4:6

Yy Philippians 4
~I am working on getting an additional sheet added into the old printables to include the entire verse.  The later ones have both the shorter version from the CD and also the entire verse. I know some of you use these with older siblings too, I hope the additional sheet is helpful!  I will try to get them all updated soon!

Verses are from: Songs for Saplings: ABCs
(You can get it hereUSE discount code totallytots for 15% off, or you can purchase on Amazon here)

Find the PDF files to download here!

See our Raising Rock Stars posts here!

See our intro post about teaching Bible memory verses to tots here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Once Upon a Book ~ The Curious Garden & Jack’s Garden

by Peter Brown
Summary:  A curious boy named Liam explores his city and discovers a struggling garden located on an abandoned set of railroad tracks.  He adopts the garden, and with time and patience the garden grows and changes his entire city from a drab community to one full of color and beauty.  Liam shows how one person can make a difference.
Jack's Garden 
by Henry Cole
Summary:  In this easy to read, multiple age level book, children learn how Jack’s garden grows.  From seed to plant, follow Jack as things blossom and grow and thus invite insects and birds to live in his garden habitat. 
Bible Verse
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12: 1-2
Like Liam, our children can learn (as we teach them) to do everything for the Lord – even cleaning up toys or planting a garden.  And it is with God’s help, that they can learn to be different . . . and change their world for Christ!
Mixed Media Garden Flowers
We combined two crafts to create our Garden Flowers, from No Time For Flashcards and Everything Except the Grill.  I did this . . . because I am lazy.  Now, I would encourage you to let your children use their imagination.  I created guidelines and allowed them to accomplish the task.  I probably won’t frame their creations, BUT this was one of the most fun crafts we have done in a long time!
  • dandelions or garden flowers
  • washable paint
  • watercolor paper
  • toilet paper rolls
  • scissors
  • glue
  • tray or lid for paint
  • markers
  • I had the boys go and find their flowers (to create even more excitement for this craft, as they like to be hunters or detectives.)
  • While they are doing this, cut the toilet paper rolls into 4 parts.  Snip vertically into the smaller rolls ONLY 1/2 way down.  Fold or fan out the cut “petals.”  See No More Flash Cards for further instructions.
  • Have your child color the petals.
  • Once completed, set your 3-D flower petals aside.
  • With paint trays filled, have your child paint with the collected flower petals.  I would recommend smocks for this part of the craft! 
  • When the painting is done, allow your child to dip the toilet paper flower petal base into a tray of glue.
  • Attach the flower to the painting.
A Drab to Curiously Colorful Garden
Warning:  This craft should be done over two days . . . some Tots get tired.  (Not that I would have experienced that in my household!)
In the book, The Curious Garden, you will notice that the pictures change from brown and grey tones to bright pictures filled with all sorts of rainbow colors.  We attempted to mimic this for our Tot School.
  • paint, markers, or crayons
  • Q-Tips (if your child is painting)
  • 2 coloring pages of a garden printed on card stock.  (Ours are from Lucy Gardens, but you can find plenty by doing a search on Google.)  In hindsight, I wish I had used identical pintables to compare and contrast the difference in color once completed.
  • Using markers or paint, allow your child to decorate the page with only black, grey, white, and muted green colors.
TheCuriousGarden9 TheCuriousGarden10
  • After some time has elapsed (maybe a day), re-read The Curious Garden, and allow your child to color another picture using LOTS of colors.  Talk about which page they like better and why! 
Note:  My 5 year old colored this page, as I overwhelmed my Tot by doing too much at one time.

Want to see what's coming next (and books we've done in the past)? Click here to see our Once Upon a Book webpage!

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