Archives for the month of: August, 2013


Bye Bye Erin

Today we wish our fantastic Erin farewell as she heads off to continue her studies at the University of Minnesota.  You will be greatly missed Erin.

As Julie Childs told us “a party without cake is really just a meeting”.

triple layer cake at totally Kids

So of course we had a cake especially for Erin. You can always pretend bake a cake!


Julia Childs

One hundred and two years ago today Julia Childs, the Queen of cooking was born.  With her goal of adapting sophisticated French cuisine for mainstream Americans, she wrote a two-volume cookbook called Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was considered groundbreaking. Her cookbook has since become a standard guide for the culinary community.  Julia became a television icon with her popular cooking show The French Chef.

Anthony Bourdain says: “Julia Child was the single most important, influential and game-changing figure in the history of American gastronomy”. “Everything tracks back to her. And though uniquely situated to do so, she never endorsed a thing: not a pot, not a pan, not a chain of restaurants, not a spice blend, apron or boil-in-the-bag dinner. She will be remembered for what she did on this earth, which was to inspire millions to cook — and eat — better”.

blue retro kitchen at Totally Kids

Julia once shared, “I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” Don’t let your little ones wait until they are 32, start practice cooking now.

Then Julia had her ideas on standard kitchen appliances – “Every woman should have a blowtorch”.

Totally Kids fun furniture & toys does not have pretend blowtorches yet, but this little mixer is always a hit with the younger cooking set.

Baking Set at Totally Kids fun furniture and toys

Farewell dear Erin and Happy Birthday Julia.

And with Julia’s signature sign-off may we too say: Bon appétit!

Happiness is not a destination

Stella Loft at Totally Kids fun furniture and toys

Every school year parents and students dutifully trudge through the malls in search of the perfect sneaker or the cool new outfit for the coming school year.  However, it’s unlikely that the new shoe or shirt will benefit them as much as a new design in the bedroom.  That’s because a bedroom makeover will create new interest and energy – what feng shui calls “chi” – in the bedroom that will benefit a child.

According to feng shui, the Chinese technique for design and arrangement, rooms that have good energy, or “chi”, create happier, well-adjusted children.  Feng shui theories suggest that for a child’s room to have good “chi,” the room must follow certain guidelines such as that they must be restful, promote good relationships others and generate good self-esteem.  Perhaps most importantly, harmonious children’s bedrooms encourage good study habits and promote greater success in school.

What does it take to promote greater success in school?  According to feng shui, the following seven tips are key to creating rooms that inspire kids to study.

1. The room must have a desk.

It sounds obvious, but many kids’ only workspace is either a bed, the bedroom floor, or the family dining table.  Every child needs a suitable study area in the bedroom that includes a desk, chair, and a lamp.  Children with study areas are more likely to study.  Better still, having a study area keeps all the school books and papers confined to the child’s room.  Feng shui also believes it’s best for children to study facing the northeast, the direction of wisdom and learning.

2.  Ground your kids.

Buy your kids a globe to promote interest in geography and to help “ground” them and encourage them to study.  Add a globe in the Northeast corner of the bedroom, if possible.

3.  Create an achievement corner.

Every child needs to have recognition for a job well done.  A perfect way to gain this is to create an achievement corner on the South wall of the bedroom.  According to feng shui, this is the recognition area and is a good place to pin up awards, papers with good grades, letters of recommendation, ribbons or trophies.

4.  Hang a crystal in the Northeast corner of the room.

Crystals are used to make computer chips faster.  Hang a crystal in the study location to create more “study” chi and to help sharpen the child’s ability to “process” or think!

5.  Put your child in the command position.

Avoid having children face a wall when studying because this represents an obstacle.  They should be able to see the door when someone enters.

6.  Display maps and other educational artwork.

Maps are another way to ground educational pursuits.  They encourage “worldly” interest and curiosity and they make suitable images for a child’s room. Avoid scary creatures, pictures depicting violence, or sad or dark subjects.

7.  Eliminate TV from the bedroom.

Sadly many of today’s children have TVs in their bedrooms.  This is a feng shui no-no because it can make children much less likely to study and rest fully.  If your child doesn’t study as much as you would like and has a TV in the bedroom, ask yourself what is more important:  television or school?

8.  Shells and fish are symbols of education.

Conch shells and koi or goldfish are excellent symbols of educational success.  Place the conch shell in the Northeast corner of the bedroom.  Or, hang a picture of koi or goldfish in the Northeast corner.  It is not recommended to keep live fish in the bedroom as water in the bedroom is associated with loss.

9.  Make a space for books and school materials.

When kids come home from school they should have a place to put their backpacks and books.  There should also be a place for them to hang coats and hats and take off shoes.  If your kids put their books on the stairs this is especially important because anyone using the stairs will be stepping over the books.  This symbollically puts education “under your feet.”  Make sure books are not put on the stairs but have a regular “home” when the kids come in the door.

10.  Activate the wisdom direction.

The Northeast sector should be activated appropriately with a globe, a lamp, and/or a quartz crystal or geode.  Other objects would include anything made of porcelain or earth, such as a vase.  A rock collection is another excellent way to energize this sector.

11.  Careful about what you place under the stairs.

If you have stairs in your home, you will want to make sure there is nothing there that can be harmful to your family.  In particular, water located under stairs poses a threat to children in the home — and to their education.  If the space under your stairs is open, try to close it up.  If you can’t, then place a heavy object such as a statue here.  If there is a closet located here, make sure it is filled with family possessions, such as holiday decorations, suitcases, or other household items.  Avoid placing books in here, however, as this can cause studies to falter.

Thank you so much Kathryn for these helpful tips for school success!

Kathryn Weber is the publisher of the Red Lotus Letter Feng Shui E-zine and certified feng shui consultant in authentic Chinese feng shui. Kathryn helps her readers improve their lives and generate more wealth with feng shui. For more information and to receive her FREE  E-book “Easy Money – 3 Steps to Building Massive Wealth with Feng Shui” visit and learn the fast and fun way how feng shui can make your life more prosperous and abundant!

Solar S'mores This Science Saturday let’s cook up some Solar S’mores and at the same time learn about the greenhouse effect! (atmospheric gases allow sunlight to pass through to the earth’s surface but keeps the heat it generates from escaping back into space)

Build your own solar oven from a pizza box.  There is a foil flap for gathering sunlight, then reflecting it down through plastic and into the solar oven, doubling the amount of light. By placing a sheet of absorbing black paper on the bottom of the pizza box the light is converted to heat. As more light hits the black paper, more heat is created and trapped. After an hour or so on a sunny day, the oven can be as hot as 275 degrees which is hot enough to melt chocolate and marshmallows without a campfire.

Hop over to NASA’s Climate Kids for instructions on building your solar oven and how to make the Solar S’mores.

photo credit: Spoonful


Are you are a “choosy mom” who has an even choosier child who thinks Sushi is Yucki? Jif has a three ingredient, three step, and three minute recipe she will find yummi.

This week’s Recipe For Fun is brought to you by, you guessed it – Jif.  We had so much fun making our own kid pleasing Sushi.  Who likes crusts anyway?  The chopsticks though, they will take a while to master.  Hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.


  • 2 tablespoons Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 tablespoons jam, jelly or pPreserves of your choice
  • 2 slices bread


  1. REMOVE crusts from bread. With a rolling pin or large soup can, completely flatten bread.
  2. SPREAD 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1 tablespoon fruit spread on each slice of bread
  3. ROLL each slice into a tight spiral. Cut each spiral into 4 pieces.

Love Yourself

Dog Days

This week’s Recipe for Fun features a dog in a dog. The idea is simple and is a fun cook together with young children. You simply bake a hot dog inside a dog shaped portion of dough.

If you’re kinda feeling the Dog Days of Summer, give this a try. Watch the instructions on video that walks you through the recipe.

Dog Biscuits

And…please do not forget your pooch.  Kids will have a grand time preparing these biscuits for their favorite dogs.  Gather round and watch this how to do it video put on by kids having fun at Highlights.

Woof, woof!  Higgins, the Totally Kids Shop Dog approved.