40 Halloween Costumes For Babies & Toddlers

I’ll be honest: one of the reasons I wanted to have kids was so I could dress them up for Halloween. For example, last year we couldn’t decide on just one costume, so my husband and I dressed our daughter up as Tinkerbell AND Hulk Hogan. Much as I enjoy it, though, it can be hard to come up with truly awesome costume ideas. For you parents who need a little help in that department, here’s a list of some great Halloween costumes for babies and toddlers to get those creative juices flowing.

40 Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies and Toddlers via Tipsaholic

40 Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies and Toddlers via Tipsaholic

Classic Halloween costumes

It’s hard to go wrong with one of these Halloween staples.

Candy corn costume





Candy corn



What do baby humans and baby animals have in common? They’re just so dang cute!

Sock monkey baby costume





Sock monkey

Turtle (bonus points for multiple kids dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!)


Familiar characters

Instantly recognizable, one of these classics is always a good choice.

Superhero costumes

Thing 1 and Thing 2 (Perfect for twins or siblings close in age.)

Cabbage Patch Kid

Superheroes (Tiny Clark Kent! Tiny Batgirl! Tiny capes for everyone!)

Garden gnome

Athletes (specific players or generic “baseball player” type costumes)



As if tiny toes weren’t delicious enough, these costumes will make you want to gobble your little ones right up.

Cotton candy

Ice cream cone

Gummy bear




Fairy Tales

You could stick to Disney classics (what little girl doesn’t want to be a princess for a day?) or take a page out of these other old favorites.


Little red riding hood

Hansel & Gretel

Goldilocks (and the three bears, of course)

The 3 little pigs

Jack and the beanstalk


Movie/TV Characters 

There are about a million costume ideas in your home movie library. Re-watch some of your old favorites to get inspired.

Oompa Loompa costume

Star Wars (Ewok, R2D2)

Muppets (Kermit, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch…pick your favorite!)

Nacho Libre

Napoleon Dynamite

Oompa Loompa (from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)


Parent/baby costumes

If you’re going to spend the evening together, you might as well match! Several of these work best if you use a baby carrier like a Moby Wrap and build your costume around it.

A spider on a web

A mama kangaroo and her joey

A chef with a lobster in a pot

A popcorn vendor and a bag of popcorn


Stroller Costumes

If baby isn’t mobile yet, why not turn your stroller into part of her Halloween costume?

Mouse in a trap costume

Mouse in a trap

Construction worker in a bulldozer

Hot air balloon

NASCAR driver


Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing.

For more ideas, check out Remodelaholic’s Halloween costume idea Pinterest board!

For more Halloween tips check out these ideas:

10 spooky kids crafts for Halloween via Tipsaholic.com          5 Quick and Easy Halloween Party Treats via Tipsaholic          5 Quick and Easy Spooky Halloween Decorations via Tipsaholic.com

10 Spooky Kid Crafts            Halloween Party Treats           Spooky Halloween Decorations


Red Velvet Recipe Roundup

Raise your hand if you love red velvet! It’s one of my all-time favorites, and I love that holidays like Valentines Day, Independence Day, and Christmas give me an excuse to bust out the red food coloring. Here’s a roundup of red velvet recipes that includes cookies, crepes, and–of course–lots of cream cheese!

Red Velvet Mania: 12 delicious red velvet recipes | Tipsaholic.com

12 Yummy Red Velvet Recipes via Tipsaholic

Red Velvet Brownies

Chewier and richer than cake, smothered in cream cheese frosting and white chocolate curls, these brownies look absolutely decadent.


Red Velvet Swirl Brownies

A layer of brownies on the bottom and a swirly brownies-and-cream-cheese layer on top. Sounds like a winner to me!


Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

These are just so cute. Cream cheese frosting sandwiched between two fluffy red cookies…it’s the perfect little afternoon treat.


Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

I’ve made these cookies twice now and they were a hit both times. They’re delicious, they’re pretty, and they come together quickly. Cookies don’t get much better than that.


Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls 

Cream cheese frosting and cinnamon rolls were made for each other. Just add red and you’ve got a festive Valentines Day breakfast!


Red Velvet Cheese Ball

I usually think “savory” when I hear “cheese ball”, but this sweet version looks awfully intriguing. Served with vanilla wafers or graham crackers, it would be a great addition to any party.


Red Velvet Fudge

It’s fudge. It’s red. It looks friggin delicious. Do I really need convince you to try this one?


Red Velvet Hot Cocoa

I would love to snuggle up by a fire with a cup of this on a snowy evening. Of course I live in Phoenix, so that’s probably not going to happen, but a girl can dream, right?


Red Velvet Crepes

It’s probably best that crepes take so much effort to make because I might eat them every day. This version would be a great breakfast in bed for your sweetheart on Valentines Day.


Red Velvet Poke Cake

If that last one sounds a little high on the difficulty scale, try this gooey treat with cake mix, instant cheesecake pudding mix, Cool-Whip, and Oreos. Easy peasy.


Red Velvet Sheet Cake

When you’re feeding a crowd–say for a Valentines party–sheet cakes are definitely the way to go.


Red Velvet Layer Cake

Last but not least, for the traditionalist, this is my favorite red velvet layer cake recipe. I kind of want to eat the frosting on, well, everything.


Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing.


Image sources (from bottom left, clockwise):  1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

How to Make Hair Grow Faster

Whether you’re trying to grow out a bad haircut or just want a little extra length, here is some advice from a few of my favorite hair stylists on how to make your hair grow faster.

How to make your hair grow faster via Tipsaholic

9 Secrets to Make Your Hair Grow Faster

1. Eat healthy food.

A healthier body means healthier hair, and when your hair is healthy, it grows well and is less prone to breakage. Quality input means quality output, right? A diet rich in fruits and veggies, healthy fats and proteins, and necessary vitamins and nutrients will keep your hair in the best possible shape.


2. Drink lots of water.

Again, if you keep your body healthy, it will show in your hair. Staying hydrated is important, so keep a water bottle close by and drink up.


3. Take vitamins.

If you are eating a well-balanced diet, chances are good that your vitamin needs are being met. Still, many women swear by taking prenatal vitamins or biotin supplements to make hair grow faster. It’s all about ensuring that your body has the fuel it needs to be as healthy as possible. (Just be mindful that it is possible to overdose on certain vitamins and cause your body–and your hair–more damage than good.)


4. Use the right shampoo and conditioner.

Harsh cleansers can dry your hair and cause it to break more easily. And your conditioner may not be as moisturizing as you think, despite what the packaging says. Before purchasing shampoo or conditioner, find out what’s in them. Look for products that do not contain sulfates or alcohols. The best conditioners will include oils such as jojoba, cocoa, shea, or avocado at the top of the list of ingredients.


5. Don’t wash your hair as often.

This can be a tough one, especially if your hair tends to be greasy and/or limp. But the more you wash your hair, the more likely you are to be stripping it of necessary oils and damaging the protective cuticle. Try not washing it one day a week to start; aim for washing every other day or even less frequently. (And remember that dry shampoo can be a life saver on those in between days!)


6. Avoid heat.

Blow drying, curling, straightening…heat can be extremely damaging to your hair. And when the goal is to make hair grow faster, deliberately ruining it is probably not a great idea! Cut back on how much you use your styling tools, and use a lower heat setting when you do use them.


7. Avoid harsh chemicals and dyes.

A friend of mine was just bemoaning the fact that her beautifully highlighted hair was starting to break off near her scalp. Her color was great, but the stubby chunks of hair made her question whether it was worth it to stay quite so blonde. It’s best for your hair to avoid dyes altogether, but let’s be realistic: playing with colors, hiding grays, and adding highlights can be great for your confidence! If you do dye your hair, be sure to use gentle, color-safe shampoos and extremely moisturizing conditioners (see tip #4) to help counteract the damage from all those chemicals.


8. Get regular trims.

This might seem counter-intuitive, since cutting it frequently won’t actually help make hair grow faster. It will seem to grow faster, though. Regular trims keep split ends in check and helps you avoid that growing-out-an-awkward-haircut look. Not cutting your hair for a year will certainly give you more length, but if the ends look rough and damaged or your layers are awkward and shaggy, your long hair is not going to be nearly as pretty as you imagined.


9. Know your limits.

All hair is not created equal. Curly or straight, oily or dry, thick or fine, voluminous or flat, dark or fair…your hair type will be the ultimate determining factor in how long it can grow. Some hair types just break more easily than others, so shorter cuts work better. Other hair types get tangled and difficult to manage, making long hair impractical. Know yourself. Be honest about how much effort you are willing to put into maintaining long hair.

Regardless of what kind of hair you have, you should do what you can to keep it healthy and beautiful. But don’t expect it to be something it’s not. If waist-length beachy waves are not realistic for you, then rock that  pixie cut or mass of ringlets and know that you look fantastic.


Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing.

6 Features of an Organized Closet

6 Features of an Organized Closet | Tipsaholic.com #home #organization #closet


You’ve already purged your closet of everything you don’t wear anymore. Now you need to organize it so that your remaining clothing stays in good condition and is easily accessible. After all, if you can’t see it or get to it, you’re never going to wear it!  The following six features of an organized closet will help you know how to get your clothes in order.


Long Hanging Clothes

Most closet rods are at a height that is ideal for long hanging items like dresses and long coats. Be sure to use the appropriate hangers for each item: shaped hangers with broader shoulders for coats and suits, no-slip velvet hangers for delicate items, and wood or plastic for everything else. Please straighten out all those old wire hangers and roast some marshmallows on them, because that’s about all they’re good for!


Short Hanging Clothes

Skirts, pants, and shirts don’t actually take up much vertical space in your closet. By installing two rods–one about 40 inches above the floor, the other about 40 inches above that–you can double the amount of clothing you can hang in the same sizes space. Not handy with a screwdriver? Not to worry! If your current closet rod is high enough, you can use one of these closet doublers to do pretty much the same thing. Again, be sure to use the right hanger for your clothes. Skirts should be clipped to straight hangers, as should pants. You can also fold pants over open-ended hangers like these. Tops belong on plastic, wood, or no-slip velvet hangers.


Folded Clothes

Everyone has their preferences for how to fold a pair of socks or pair of jeans, but no matter how you do it, there are a couple key things to keep in mind for your folded items. Don’t stack your folded clothing too high. For one thing, you’ll forget about the stuff on the bottom of the stack. For another, those bottom pieces will get smashed and creased from the weight of everything on top. Four pairs of pants, six sweaters, or eight t-shirts is a good rule of thumb. Stack like items together, and keep each stack separate by using dividers or bins. Match socks before throwing them into a drawer; even better, use small dividers to keep pairs of socks separate and visible.



We are probably all guilty of tossing our shoes into a jumbled mess on the floor of the closet (or living room…or bedroom…or entryway…) but this greatly diminishes the life of your shoes. Storing shoes properly not only helps you know where they are and what shoes you have–so you don’t end up accidentally buying a sixth pair of black heels–but also keeps them looking neat and clean. For people with the floor space, stacking shoe shelves are a great way to organize and display each pair. Over-the-door and other hanging options are ideal for people with less room to work with. Special occasion shoes should be boxed up and labeled so they don’t get dusty or damaged when not being worn, and tall boots should be stored upright with shapers inside to keep them from folding over and getting creases.



Make sure your jewelry, scarves, and other accessories have a place to live too. But don’t just toss them into a drawer or on a shelf! Each piece needs its own little home, or else your necklaces will end up in a knotted jumble and you’ll be forever searching for matching earrings. See where you have a little extra space to work with and put it to good use. Wall mounted or over-the-door jewelry organizers great for walk-in closets, compartmentalized trays can slide into an unused drawer, and hanging pouches take up very little real estate on a closet rod. Scarves, ties, and belts can be rolled up stored like socks in a drawer, hung on individual wall hooks, or stored on a hanging organizer on your closet rod. Purses should be stored upright on a shelf or in a box.


Seasonal Clothes

This category includes things like sweaters, gloves, warm scarves, and coats for winter, and swimsuits, sundresses, and sandals for summer. Store these items in the harder-to-reach spaces in your closet: high shelves, the end of the closet rod, on the floor in the very back, etc. That way they won’t distract from the clothing that is seasonally appropriate right now. Fold knits carefully and store them in clearly labeled boxes. Hang silks, linens, and other delicate fabrics inside garment bags so they won’t have deep creases when you get them out again. Add a cedar block to each box, or include a hanging block inside a garment bag, to prevent pests from munching on your clothes while you’re not wearing them.

Check our archives for more helpful hints on keeping your closets organized!


Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing.


Featured image courtesy of The Hanger Depot.

Playlist: Kids’ Music Even Parents Will Love

Kids' Music Even Parents Will Love - Tipsaholic.com


The way kids absorb everything they hear and repeat it back unfiltered can be a little scary sometimes. My girls love music, but I’m hesitant to turn on the radio sometimes for fear they’ll pick up on some of the more, uh, unsavory lyrics being sung. Rather than listen to mind-numbing kids’ songs, though, I’ve tried to find music they can sing along with that also appeals to me. These are some of my favorite collections of kids’ music that even parents will love.


playlist: kids songs even parents will love

You Are My Sunshine by Elizabeth Mitchell

Pretty much everything by Elizabeth Mitchell is fantastic and it’s hard to decide which of her albums is the best. This one is a top contender, though. Accompanied by little more than a guitar, she sings old favorites like “Skip to My Lou”, “Here Comes My Baby”, and of course “You Are My Sunshine.” I’ve found this album is perfect for calming grumpy little ones (and big ones too!) on long car rides. Check out Little Seed, a collection of Woody Guthrie covers, and You Are My Little Bird for more of Mitchell’s work.


Yo Gabba Gabba! Music Is Awesome (Songs from the TV show)

If you aren’t already familiar with Yo Gabba Gabba!, you should know two things: 1) it’s a kid’s show created by the lead singer of the Aquabats and 2) they have a segment called “The Super Music Friends Show” where popular singers and bands give a mini-concert. With songs about sharing and washing your hands and the like, they’re clearly geared toward the littles. But since they include bands like Mates of State, Chromeo, The Shins, and (of course) The Aquabats, you’ll probably enjoy it as much as your kids do. Our favorite songs include “Lovely, Love My Family” by the Roots (vol. 1) and “Balloons” by The Postmarks (vol. 3).


Tumble Bee by Laura Veirs

This album gets more play at our house than almost any other because it’s just so good! It contains songs that you are probably familiar with but may have forgotten about, such as “King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O” and “Jamaica Farewell”. Laura Veirs somehow makes these old songs seem new again and will have you tapping your toe and singing along in no time. The track we listen to most, “All the Pretty Little Horses”, is about as lovely and haunting a lullaby as I’ve ever heard.


The Johnny Cash Children’s Album by Johnny Cash

That’s right: the Man In Black made an album of children’s music. And it’s awesome. Try listening to “Dinosaur Song” or “Nasty Dan” without grinning from ear to ear. I dare you. It can’t be done.


Here Come the ABCs by They Might Be Giants

Let’s be honest. Most of the music They Might Be Giants has written could be children’s songs. (“Particle Man” anyone?) This album is specifically geared toward kids, though, with every song related somehow to the alphabet. “Alphabet of Nations” is a fun list of countries around the world, which my map-loving daughter loves, and “Z Y X” is perfect for my husband, who is always trying to teach her to say the alphabet backwards. TMBG might be an acquired taste, but this album is full of weirdly catchy tunes that are easy for both parents and kids to enjoy.


BONUS: The folks over at Sesame Street are geniuses at parody. Cookie Monster singing “Share It Maybe” (a spoof on Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe”) is a favorite at our house, but we also love to watch the characters sing with Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Train, and others. Each song is hilarious in its own right and definitely worth a listen. To my knowledge, they aren’t available to purchase, but you can find them collected on YouTube. I highly recommend pulling them up and singing along!


Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing.

12 Love Notes For Your Valentine

12 Love Notes for Your Valentine

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‘Tis the season of love, my friendswhich means it’s time to step up your romance game. Not great at expressing your feelings? Kind of hate those corny valentine cards? Never fear! Here are 12 easy ways to write love notes for your valentine, now or any time of year!

tipsaholic title divider - 12 Love Notes for Your Valentine

3×5 cards

Small enough that you don’t have to write much, 3×5 cards are perfect for short, sweet love notes. Write down a few things you love about your valentine on different cards and leave them in places you know they’ll be found.

The bathroom mirror

Lipstick on the mirror is romantic and makes a big statement, but cleaning it off can be a pain. Using your finger to write on a fogged-up mirror after a shower is sweet and spontaneous, but your message won’t be very easy to see. A dry-erase marker is a great middle ground: easy to see, easy to clean, and it definitely won’t go unnoticed.

Sidewalk chalk

This is another high impact, low effort way to write love notes. Draw some hearts on the walkway to your front door, leave a big cheesy message in the driveway, or write “I love you!” on the back patio for them to find later

Napkin notes

Write “I love you!” on a napkin and tuck it in your sweetheart’s lunch. Bonus points for including a couple chocolate kisses with their PB&J!


Hershey kisses, Sweet Tarts, and other candies make for easy love-related puns. Use your honey’s favorite candy to express your love. “I love you to (Reese’s) pieces!” or “You’re my favorite person in the Milky Way!” Get creative!

Fortune cookies  

Make your own fortune cookies using this tutorial, or order cookies with custom messages. Then treat your love to a Chinese feast–homemade or takeout–with a sweet surprise ending.

Magnetic poetry

When you only have certain words available, you have to get a little creative. This set is perfect for Valentine’s Day, but you can also write loves notes for your favorite geek, attempt to channel your inner Shakespeare, or even get a little risque with your poetry, if that’s how you roll!

Mix CD

Not good with words? Express your love through song and make a mix CD! You could include the songs you danced to at your wedding, hits from his or her favorite band, or compile the cheesiest 80’s ballads you can think of. Then slip it into their car for them to listen to on their morning commute.

Calendars & to-do lists

If they use a phone or tablet to keep track of their calendar, set up a reminder at a random time on a random day. When it pops up unexpectedly, they’ll find a sweet little message from you. For those who still use paper planners, write your note on a future date so they’ll find it in a week or two.

Computer desktop

I had a college roommate who loved to surprise me with notes like this. She’d scrawl a random message in Paint, save it, and replace my desktop image with her message. You can do the same thing in Photoshop or any other image-editing software to make it look a little more polished, and can use your image as a background for your valentine’s laptop, tablet, phone, or all of the above.

Social media or email

Send your significant other a quick “thinking of you” message via his or her favorite social media platform. Not comfortable with PDA? Even Instagram has private messaging now, so you can be as mushy as you want without worrying about who might read it. (Be careful when sending messages to work email accounts, though, as some employers have strict email policies. You don’t want to get anyone in trouble!)

Snail mail

Who doesn’t love getting actual mail in their mailbox? Send a handwritten love note via the good ol’ USPS, the way people did before all this technology made letters such a rare treat. Even the shortest letter feels extra special when it has a stamp on it.

Do you have a favorite way to leave love notes for your valentine? Share in the comments!


12 Love Notes for Your Valentine - Tipsaholic.com

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Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing.

Six Household Uses for Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most versatile things in your cupboard. It can be used in lieu of dozens of specialized household products. Here are just a few ways a bottle of vinegar can freshen up your home.

 Six Household Uses for Vinegar


6 household Uses for Vinegar

Cleaning kitchen and bathroom surfaces

Kitchens and bathrooms have two things in common: they’re the two rooms that seem to get the dirtiest the fastest, and they’re the two rooms that you want to be as clean as possible. Vinegar’s ability to disinfect and remove unpleasant odors makes it an ideal product to use in both. In the kitchen, you’ll find that vinegar will cut through grease on stovetops and range hoods; in the bathroom, it will get rid of both mildew and mildew stains. For most cleaning purposes, a mixture of 4 parts hot water and 1 part vinegar will do the job. For extra grungy surfaces, use vinegar undiluted.

Cleaning appliances

For the same reasons listed above—disinfecting, deodorizing, and cutting through tough grime—vinegar is great for cleaning out the insides of microwaves and refrigerators. In fact, it’s a better choice than other household cleaning products, since it won’t leave a chemical residue that might leach into your food. Two parts hot water, one part vinegar, and a squirt of dish soap will leave the insides of your appliances sparkling. Bonus: undiluted vinegar is great for polishing stainless steel, so you can use it on the outside of your fridge too!

Dissolving mineral deposits from hard water

Whether it’s a ring inside the toilet, crust on a shower head, or buildup in your dishwasher, vinegar can take care of it. For bathroom buildup, soak the problem area with undiluted vinegar to soften it before scrubbing it away. Run a quick cycle with nothing in the dishwasher but a small bowl full of vinegar on the top rack.

Unclogging and deodorizing drains

Got a stinky garbage disposal or a slow-draining tub? Vinegar to the rescue! Try pouring ½ cup of salt and 2 cups of boiling vinegar in, then rinsing with warm water. If that doesn’t do the trick, use baking soda instead of salt.

Removing sticker residue

Peeling off a price tag is rarely as easy as just peeling it off. More often than not, you’re left with some sticker remnants that just won’t come off. Try wiping that stubborn mess with a damp washcloth and some vinegar. So much better!

Freshening, softening, and brightening laundry

There’s little need for expensive bleaches and fabric softeners when you have some white vinegar on hand. Add a cup to the rinse cycle of your laundry and you’ll see some incredible results: brighter whites, less lint and static, and softer fabrics. Vinegar is especially great on funky smelling towels, dishrags, or cloth diapers, since it kills any bacteria and helps eliminate any lingering odors.

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6 Ways Teach Your Toddler To Love Reading

Your child may not start to learn to read until kindergarten, but that doesn’t mean he or she can’t love reading before then. Toddlers love to explore and learn and try new things, so age two to five is a great time to show them how much fun a good book can be. Here are six ways to help you teach your toddler to love reading!

Teach Your Toddler To Love Reading via Tipsaholic.com

Make books available

This is so obvious it almost doesn’t need to be said, but you need to have some books on hand if you’re going to teach your toddler to love reading. Whether you buy them new or gently used, or just have a rotating pile borrowed from the library, make sure to have at least a few children’s books in your home at all times. If you don’t want to have a ton of picture books cluttering up your house, an anthology of children’s books is a great way to have lots of stories without sacrificing a ton of shelf space.


Let them play with books

This is a hard one for me. As a serious bibliophile, it sometimes pains me to let very young children handle books. What if they tear a page? What if they chew on it? What if they ruin it?? I’ve had to get over my need for pristine books, though, and just let the kids explore. Toddlers learn about the world by testing their limits and using as many senses as possible. Turning pages, throwing books, and yes, sometimes gnawing on the covers are all just ways for kids to figure out how books work. By allowing them to play with books, I’m teaching my girls that books are meant to be enjoyed, not just left on a shelf to collect dust. Any special books are kept out of reach, but the rest of our collection is available for any child to look at…or sit on or stack into a big pile or push around in a stroller, as the case may be!


Make reading part of your daily routine

I mentioned this when talking about how to teach your baby to love reading, and will probably say it again: children thrive on predictability. Find fifteen minutes in your day to have regular story time with your toddler, whether it’s right after dinner or before you leave for work in the morning or while your older kids work on homework after school. That one-on-one time will become precious to both of you, and your toddler will associate feelings of love, peace, and contentment with reading.


Have snacks on hand

Toddlers are busy! Sitting still and being quiet aren’t exactly their favorite things to do, but if you’re going to read together, both are necessary. So how do you keep your little one occupied while you read? Feed her. You read while she munches on apple slices.  She may seem to be paying more attention to her snack than to the story, but you might also be surprised how closely she is listening.


Talk about what you are reading

Reading the same books over and over again can get boring. Shake things up by talking about the pictures or asking your toddler questions about the story. Have your child identify colors, count objects, look for certain shapes or letters on a page, or make predictions about what will happen next. Activities like these can help build vocabulary, foster creativity, and improve reading comprehension.

You can also talk about books when you aren’t reading. Spotting a baby bird at the park might remind you of Are You My Mother? Reading books like How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? can be helpful in teaching table manners. Harry the Dirty Dog could spark conversations about dogs, or baths, or how fun it is to play outside in the dirt. Include the stories you read in your day-to-day conversations to help your child connect them to real life.


Let them participate

When reading familiar books–the ones you’ve read a thousand times–let your toddler help you. This works especially well with rhyming books. For example, I will read, “I do not like…” and my daughter says, “Green eggs and ham,” then I read, “I do not like them…” and she says, “Sam-I-Am!” Your child will learn to pay closer attention and follow along, because he never knows when it will be his turn to “read” the next part!


Go to the library

Libraries are a great place for toddlers to learn to love reading. Many have regularly scheduled story times for young children, usually with interactive elements like songs or finger games. Talk to your librarians about ways to foster a love of reading at home. They can recommend the best new books, point you toward great classics, give you ideas for making reading fun, and suggest other resources in the community or online that can help you. If you don’t know where the nearest library to you is, look it up on LibWeb and start taking advantage of this great–and free!–resource.


Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing

5 Ways To Teach Your Baby To Love Reading

5 Ways To Help Your Baby Love Reading via Tipsaholic #baby #reading #parenting #books

Reading is important. We all know this. But is it important to read to babies? Will they even notice? Will it make a difference? YES! It is never too early to start! Here are some ideas to help teach your baby to love reading from an early age.

5 Ways To Help Your Baby Love Reading via Tipsaholic.com

1. Start sooner than you think you should

You’d be hard-pressed to teach an 18-month-old how to read, and a newborn isn’t going to know the difference between you reading and you babbling at her. So why read to them when they’re so young? Because it helps you form a habit of reading to them. That habit will prove beneficial down the road when they reach an age where they can learn to read, when they start writing their first book reports, and on through their school years. If you start reading to them daily from day one, you’re more likely to keep reading to them as they grow.

But what do you read to an infant? Simple. Skip the picture books and find something you want to read. Before my oldest turned one, we made it through The Hobbit and the entire Harry Potter series, one chapter at a time, as I nursed her before bed. Hit up the library, find yourself a good novel or memoir or self-help book, and read it aloud to your baby. If you have older kids, read age-appropriate books to them and baby at the same time. Hooray for double-dipping!


2. Make it a daily routine

Children thrive on predictability, so don’t just make a habit of reading to them every day; make a habit of reading to them at a certain time every day. Whether that is right after breakfast, before nap time, or after you get home from work is not important. What matters is that you make it part of your daily routine. You might be surprised at how much you both look forward to your fifteen minute break from the busyness of the day to snuggle and read together.


3. Choose books with bold, bright pictures and/or rhythmic, rhyming words

Once your baby becomes more social, you’ll probably want to put down Bossypants and start reading picture books together. Even before they fully understand the words you’re reading, they’ll appreciate great illustrations. Bright images are help stimulate brain development, and they help make books more interesting and memorable. Interactive books — such as Pat the Bunny or this pop-up version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar –are also great entertainment for short attentions spans.

As language develops, rhythm and rhyme will start to interest your baby as much as the pictures do. Don’t you think simple song lyrics are much easier to remember than long, boring sentences? Your baby feels the same way. He is more likely to be engaged if the story has a sing-song quality to it. He is also more likely to start memorizing those words later on, which is a good first step toward reading.


4. Read the same books over and over

It’s good to read a variety of books with your baby, but choose a few that you rotate through every few days. I have probably read Green Eggs and Ham and Goodnight Moon a thousand times, but my girls still love them. Repeatedly reading old favorites is not only comforting, but as language develops it will help them start to memorize the words. As I mentioned before, that is a good first step toward learning to read.


5. Make it fun!

Let’s face it: a lot of children’s books are boring for adults, especially if you are reading them over and over and over again. So shake things up a little. Share a bowl of strawberries while reading The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. Do an overly dramatic reading of Llama Llama Red PajamaSing when you read Miss Mary Mack. (Come on…you remember how the tune goes!) Use puppets or stuffed animals to act out a story, or pretend to have them read it instead of you. Whatever you do, have fun with it. Your baby will be delighted at your antics, and you’ll be actively engaged instead of bored out of your gourd.

The takeaway here is that if you want your baby to learn to love reading, you should love reading too. And the only way for your baby to see that is for you to show her how much you enjoy it. So don’t be afraid to get silly and have some fun!


Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing

7 Great and Classic ABC Books for Every Family

There is no lack of variation on the alphabet book theme, and every family with young kids probably has at least one or two ABC books. However, some authors manage to take a simple subject and make it new and fun again. Here are seven great ABC books that are favorites at our house.

7 Great Classic ABC Books for Every Family | Tipsaholic.com #reading #books #abcs #kids

7 Great Classic ABC Books via Tipsaholic

Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss

Big D, little d, what begins with D? Dr. Seuss at his finest, laying on the nonsense rhymes that somehow stick with you. After having read this one a hundred times together, my two-year-old likes to tell me she’s “itchy itchy Ichabod, I, I, I!” when she gets a mosquito bite.

Animal Alphabet: Slide and Seek the ABCs by Alex A. Lluch

First you see “A is for…”, then you slide a little panel over to reveal an alligator. Each letter gets its own window and animal. Not only is it beautifully illustrated, it’s also sturdy enough for little hands to slide the panels back and forth without sustaining much (if any) damage. A definite plus for parents with, ahem, enthusiastic little readers!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

All the lower-case letters are racing each other to the top of the coconut tree…until they come crashing down! With simple, bright images, an easy rhythm, and a silly premise, it’s no wonder this one is a perennial favorite among toddlers.

A Is for Angry: An Animal and Adjective Alphabet by Sandra Boynton

This book takes alliteration to silly new levels, with as many words as possible worked in for each letter. It’s silly and funny…exactly what you’d expect from Sandra Boynton.

B Is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC by June Sobel

If your kiddo loves big trucks and heavy machinery, this is a must-have. The pictures show bulldozers, cranes, and excavators hard at work, as simple rhymes take you through the alphabet.

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

There’s no story here; just gorgeous illustrations. Not only will this book help your child learn the alphabet–both upper- and lower-case letters–but it will also introduce them to delicious fruits and vegetables that begin with each letter.

Animalia by Graeme Base

This book is as much fun for parents and older kids as it is for the little ones. The words are simple alliterations–“crafty crimson cats carefully catching crusty crayfish” for example–but the pictures are what makes this book a treasure. Every page is full of exquisite details, and you could easily lose track of time searching for all the things that begin with any given letter.


Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing