Monday, December 19, 2011

The Give-away Winners are......

The give away winners are:
Heather, Mandie, Angelica and Anna.  Congratulations!  Please email me your addresses and I'll get them sent to the publishers who will mail you your CDs.

Thanks for reading my blog!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Give-Away is Here!

I'm feeling guilty because I have 4 CDs I haven't given away yet.  So here's your lucky chance to win a free Christmas gift!

Eclipse is a great acapella men's choir. The album features "ten new arrangements that are both inventive and engaging".

Wee Jambore and Playground
Hootenanny are two CDs that are
produced by musical parents whose children
attend the same preschool together.
Really fun to listen to.

Last, but not least is another Daddy plays guitar lullabies. This daddy really know how to play them!

 If you haven't been a winner before, please leave me a comment before Thursday.  Some of my readers have mentioned that they can't leave a comment.  So if this is happening to you--I'm sorry.  Instead you can email me at: and I'll enter you into the drawing.  I like comments--hint, hint, so please email me or leave a comment here.


Parenting Tip - Boycott Commercials-Make Your Own!

Commercialism.  Oh my gosh.  Are you sick of the tv commercials showing every toy imaginable and tired of your children begging you for everything they see?  If only you could ban tv watching from Oct through Dec.  I know lots of you do ban tv watching, and I applaud you.  But when you take something away, sometimes you have to put something back in.  Here’s an idea.


Let your kids watch videos.  NO, NOT VCR movies on tv. I’m talking about home videos.  All those videos you take at picnics and birthdays and holidays.  Make a folder of them and let your children watch them over and over again.  That’s what one of my daughters does.  She doesn’t have a tv, but her children love to watch family videos.


With this idea, you are actually dovetailing in several areas.  You are promoting and preserving family history by helping your children bond with the cousins and grandparents and their siblings they see on the movies and by reminding them of family traditions and family fun times.


You are encouraging memory recall and sequencing skills.  Kids are great at remembering details and when they watch the same family videos over and over again, they notice more details, recall the sequence of events and can see cause and effects that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.


But what if you don’t have any family videos?  Start taking some!  Better yet, let your children take some.  Give them your camera (not an expensive one, of course) and have them make a home tour video so you can remember your house in years to come.  Have them make a video of a sibling singing a song or saying the Pledge of Allegiance or reciting a poem.  Have them make an informational or educational video on “How to Make a Peanut Butter Sandwich” or “How to do a Somersault on the Trampoline.”  Let them make their own commercials trying to sell something.


Hey wait, what a great gift idea.  Buy an inexpensive camera for your child and see what fun he will have.  Creativity will ooze from his snapping photo finger tips. You never know, this just may be the stimulus for the next great Steven Spielberg.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Parenting Tip - The 12 Days of Christmas

Tis the Christmas season.


When  I look back on Christmases when my children were at home, the Christmases I remember most with fond memories are the years when we did the 12 days of Christmas for someone.  Several years in a row we did what we called, The Funny 12 Days of Christmas.”  My friend told me about it and I’ll pass it on. If you decide to do this, make sure you buy everything you need for the 12 days to begin with and type out the message for each day in advance.  That way you won’t be scrambling at the last minute to buy something and find you’ve run out of time (I speak from experience!)


On the first day of Christmas, your pixie friends gave to you,

Some pear treats from the tree the partridge flew away from. ( a can of pears or fresh pears)


On the second day of Christmas, your pixie friends gave to you

Some  yummy turtle doves (candy turtles on top of a bar of dove soap).


3rd day….some chicken noodle soup, compliments of the three French hens.


4th day…a telephone message pad designed by the four calling birds (telephone message pad)


5th day…five golden rings ( a can of sliced pineapple rings)


6th day... the eggs we found when we were looking for the six geese that laid them


7th day…the bubble bath left over from the seven swans after they went swimming.


8th day…the chocolate milk we got from the eight maids milking eight brown cows .


9th day…some canes used by the nine ladies who were out dancing all night—they needed the canes to get home! (candy canes)


10th day…some vitamins recommended for use by the 10 Lords we saw out leaping (or give them Ben gay instead)


11th day… some pickles since the pipers stopped piping and started picking a peck of pickled pickles (we changed it to whistle suckers one year and other years used candy bars and said the pipers decided to “hum a few bars”)


12th day…the drumsticks we wished the drummers had used when they were drumming (pretzels sticks—plain or dipped in chocolate).


Whatever you do this year to celebrate, make it simple, involve your family and enjoy it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

And the winners are......

Thanks, ladies for the quick comments.  I wish I had more of the living scriptures to give away, since they are so popular.

But the winners --in order of time of comment emailed--are:
Michelle - scripture video
Velika - Hilary Weeks
Liz - Carmen Rasmusen Herbert

Please email me your addresses ( send them to my email so they're private) and the publishers will mail you your CD's and DVD.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Give-Away!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I have been so richly blessed in my life.  I am living my dream.  Even though my husband passed away recently, I feel his love and God's love in my life everyday.

I have several free items to give away and thought today would be a great day to do a special give away.

To the first 3 people who leave me a comment I will send them one of these items (if you want one in particular, please let me know):

Hillary Weeks's CD- always great singing
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert became an overnight success on American Idol.  But along with the spotlight she has remained true to her standards of modesty, chastity and healthful living.

 The popular animated Book of Mormon stories.  This is the anniversary 25th edition of Nephi and the Brass Plates.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Music Tip - Help! My Child Wants to Quit

Lately I’ve had a couple of piano students that have started complaining about having to take piano lessons.  Shocking, I know!  The mothers have talked to me to ask for any advice and of course, I’m anxious and willing to give them some.  I’ll mention some of the things I’ve told the moms, and tell you the one that has really helped the most.

Here’s some ideas:
1.       Explain that you are a musical family and that’s what the kids in your family do-- take music lessons.  But then give them a time limit of when they can stop.  Maybe it’s when they reach a certain level or age or ability to play.

After that bombshell, give your child some sympathy/encouragement and support to make it fun.  Offer some incentives to keep practicing like purchasing them their own box of cereal—I know, that’s random.  But kids LOVE to get to choose a sugar cereal that you normally refuse to buy.

Or offer to do one of their chores while they practice.  My daughter loved to have me do her turn of washing the dishes while she practiced.

2.       Back off the practicing help.  My moms are Suzuki moms and have been trained to help their child practice at home.  Suzuki children start musical training early-like age 4 or 5 and need their mother’s help.  But by the time the child is 9 or 10, he needs to start learning independence and good practicing skills on his own.  This is a good time to start weaning the mother from the actual practice time session at home. 

This is the saving grace that has helped many a child.  I’ll tell the parent that now the student is old enough to start practicing on his own.  I’ll teach the student how he  should practice his pieces at home and how many times to play a piece and olay!  the fights at home now cease.  Mom is out of the picture and it’s the student and teacher and the pressure is off.

3.       Ask the student what kinds of songs he wants to learn to play.  As a teacher I need to sometimes back off on the classics and introduce more popular and fun pieces.

On my next post I’ll offer some ideas on helping a student practice effectively on his own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music Tip - Christmas Music

Now is the time (actually two weeks ago was the time--but I forgot to write this post).  So if you haven’t started, you better start RIGHT NOW!  What am I talking about?  Why Christmas music, of course--that is, having your children practice and play Christmas music on their instrument (piano, violin, banjo—whatever!)

I love to have my piano students practice Christmas music and it seems that they are much more willing to practice when it’s Christmas music, too.  I like to give them songs that are just a little easier than their usual reading songs.  I want them to be able to learn a song in one week’s time, not have to take several weeks to master it.  That way they can learn several songs during the season and enjoy playing them for recitals, or family or for grandma when she comes to visit.

I like to use Christmas songs as a good remedial sight reading exercise or a boost to a child’s reading self esteem.  Put a lower level song in front of them and challenge them to play it perfectly or with only a couple of mistakes.  Then help them realize how much they have learned in the past few months.

You can use primer level songs to reinforce or teach new notes.  Have your student say the name of the notes out loud while playing their piece.

This is my favorite site to get free folk and classical sheet music and they have lots of Christmas sheet music as well.

For my beginning Suzuki students who don’t know how to read music yet, I write out Jingle Bells for them in this format (EEE EEE EGCDE……).  It helps reinforce the names of the piano keys and they LOVE to play the song. Sometimes it helps to write the "Gs" a little bit higher  and the "Cs" and "Ds" a little bit lower to help them visualize where the keys are.

Don't forget to use lots of fun holiday stickers to reinforce practicing. 

Enjoy the season! Remember the reason!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Parenting Tip - Make Meal times--Memorable times!

Meal times—ugh! Sometimes that word conjures up “complaining, noise, eating-vegetable-fights”, etc. I remember one mealtime when I was a kid and all six of my siblings were being noisy. My parents were trying to get us quiet so we could say a blessing on the food, and my father loudly said, “silence is golden,” to which my younger brother asked, “is that why we’re so poor?”  I remember the whole family started laughing hysterically at that remark and it took another 5 minutes for us to quiet down so we could bless the food.


How can we make mealtimes not quite so hectic and more of a pleasant, memorable tradition (which, if you talk to the food nanny, you’ll see that it is a dying tradition)?


My son and daughter-in-law play 20 questions at dinnertime at their house.  When I visited them for a few days, I was quite amazed at how this game brought the noise level down and focused the grandkids on eating and thinking instead of complaining and fighting.



 And think of all the good side benefits for your children like: 1) involving the whole family (their 4 year old LOVES to think of the object but usually switches it 2 or 3 times during the game :) 

2) analyzing/categorizing objects into groups of  animal, vegetable or mineral  3) using deductive reasoning 4) using creativity 5) learning how to phrase a question….the list goes on and on. 


Time magazine says that "kids who dine with the folks are healthier, happier and better students, which is why a dying tradition is coming back."  

Meal times are a perfect time to let family members share their day.  School age children can tell one thing they learned that day.  Everyone can tell a funny thing that happened, or a service they did for someone or they can say something they are grateful for.  You can even listen to music or in my case, where it's just my mother in law and me--yes we have uncomfortable silences--I put on an uplifting talk to listen to.
But whatever you and your family do at mealtimes, make sure its FUN!

Because that’s what families do--they have fun together!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Parenting Tip - Cooperation!

I had a conversation with a fellow teacher at school the other day.  We were talking about children.  My children are all grown and I mentioned that it was so fun because they are my friends now.  Her children are in their teens and suddenly she has become the “policeman” and doesn’t enjoy the easy relationship they use to have.  She gets tired of being the parent who has to constantly monitor the video game playing and curfews and such.  She has become the “bad guy”.


That’s a hard time of life to go through when your children are learning how to become more independent. They want and demand lots of independence, yet they don’t quite know how to manage it.  Here’s some ideas on how you can keep a good relationship with your children through all the turmoil and growing up you all will experience.


Treat your children with respect.  They are people, albeit immature people.  They have feelings and want to be understood, so don’t talk down to them.  Don’t lecture and issue commands for them to follow.




Talk with them.  Understand their needs.  Tell them your needs.  It all goes back to Sesame Street and kindergarten when your child learned about COOPERATION.  Both children AND parents need to cooperate with each other.


Case in point:  video games.  Your son wants to play them nonstop.  You hate them.  Cooperate.  Talk about your child’s daily schedule and what needs to be done at what time.  How much time is there for playing video games each day?  Do other things need to be accomplished first, like chores, homework, etc?  Is there a way your son can earn more time to play---say by doing an extra job around the yard or house?


Above all, listen to how you talk to your children.  Don’t be sarcastic, demeaning, demanding, or derogatory.  Talk with love in your voice and your child will talk back to you that way.  And if she doesn’t, then sit down with her and express your love and concern and desire to work things out so you both feel happy about the situation.


Parenting IS work.  But oh, so rewarding when you invest the best of you and appreciate the best in your child.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Give-away Winners are......

Congratulations to "anonymous" (I have your email address, thanks) for winning the Disney CD, Velika for winning the Eyre book and Greg for winning the guitar lullabies CD.  I'll send your email addresses to the publishers.

I still have several more items to give away, so stay turned.....keep checking my blog!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Parenting Tip - BRR (Bedtime Reminiscence Routine)

My daughter in law told me something she does with my 17 month old grandson as part of his bedtime routine.  As she rocks him in the rocking chair, she goes over all the events of the day.  She enumerates what he ate for breakfast and how he played with his toys.  She mentions his nap time and lunch and anything else they did during the day.  Then she talks about when Daddy came home and they ate dinner, and how Daddy played with him and put his pajamas on. She said she discovered that when she does this and then puts him in his crib, he lays there peacefully without fussing.  But if she doesn’t go over the day’s routine, he seems to always cry when she puts him in bed and it takes longer for him to settle down.  Interesting, isn’t it?


I wonder if my daughter in law has counted up all the valuable skills she is teaching my grandson.  She is helping him learn about time value, and chronological order, about sequencing and prepositions like before and after.  She is teaching him science and astronomy as she talks about the sun shining during the day and the moon coming out at night, about climate and weather when she talks about the rain and the wind.  She’s teaching the days of the week.  She’s increasing his vocabulary as she uses adjectives to describe the soft fur on the bunny and the delicious taste of applesauce.


 I've been learning about autistic children and how they need structure and routine to their day. They even benefit from visual sequencing of their daily activities.  When their routine is changed or they are confused about what is happening, then a major meltdown can ensue.  My grandson is not autistic but he is approaching his “terrific twos” and anything that can help in making his life be more structured and less frustrating is good for not only him, but Mom too.


Wow. Who would have thought so much learning could come from 3 minutes of bedtime reminiscing?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Parenting Tip -No Fuss Hair Do Idea

Here's a great idea I saw my daughter do
when I visited her family last week.


While her daughters were eating breakfast, she combed and braided their hair.  Now this is a good idea, but she took a good idea and made it a GREAT idea.  She hated to try and figure out every morning how to do her two daughter’s hair, so she made photograph books that contained pictures of hairstyles from blogs she liked.  




 She also had a basket that contained everything she needed like combs, brush, rubberbands, etc. 


 In the basket was the “magic hairbrush”.  That’s what she called it.  Actually it is a brush that contains two different sizes of bristles and can brush through tangles “magically”.  It’s the truth—my granddaughters didn’t wince one time. She said it’s kind of expensive but so worth the money.    


So in about 4 minutes she had both hairdos done and the girls were ready to go to the bus stop. 
No fuss, no muss!  

Do you have any great time saving ideas to share?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Give-Away is Here!

I've been really behind in giving away some great CDs and a book.  So here's your chance to win a free prize.

Jenny Oaks Baker has come out with another fun CD called "Wish Upon a Star".  This CD is a tribute to the "Music of Walt Disney" and has some gorgeous orchestrated renditions of favorites like Colors of the Wind, Beauty and the Beast, A Dream is a Wish....and lots more.

Another CD   I'm giving away is "Lullaby Christmas".  I previously gave away one of the Daddy Plays Cds a few months ago called "Guitar Lullabies".  He does another great job of playing acoustic guitar with beautiful Christmas music that will have your child sleeping and dreaming sweet dreams.

The book I'm giving away is Linda Eyre and Shawni Eyre Pothier's "A Mother's Book of Secrets".  This is a mother-daughter team who write like they "have been there and are doing it now".  They share great thoughts and ideas that will lift and inspire you and encourage you to keep on trying.

I have lots more CDs and DVDs to share so keep reading my blog.  If you would like to enter this giveaway, leave me a comment.  Please be sure I have your email address, too.

Giveaway closes on Monday, Oct 31.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Music Tip -Ostinato

I’ve been teaching general music at school for 11 years.  Every year we talk about what an ostinato is and every year no one can remember from one week to the next what it is.  This always amazes and perplexes me because we play simple ostinatos on nonpitched and pitched instruments all the time as we use them to accompany chants and songs.

I decided that it is not that my students are dumb—it’s ME.  Evidently I’m not teaching the definition of an ostinato correctly. So I thought back to a brain research class I took and decided I need to teach the definition in a catchy, memorable way.  I decided to put the definition to a catchy tune. Here is what I came up with:

Did you notice the melody was the Hallelujah Chorus.  Thanks, Handel.  BTW, the kids are standing backwards so I could maintain their privacy on the internet.

I taught the song to the 3rd-6th graders and then had them go outside and sing it to the universe.  They looked at me like I was crazy but loved the idea of leaving the classroom.  We also walked down the sidewalk and sang it to the neighbors’ homes across the street from the school. At that point the students KNEW I was crazy.  But guess what?  Three weeks later, when I asked what an ostinato was, every child raised his arm and knew the answer.  And we all burst out singing,
    “Ostinato, ostinato, repeated pattern, repeated pattern”……….

Do you have something you are trying to teach your child at home?  Something he seems to never remember?  Put it to a song, make it silly and enjoy watching the astounding magic that will take place.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Music Tip -Download for Pout Pout Fish Song

I can't figure out how to give you a copy of the MP3 download for the Pout Pout Fish song.  So anyone who would like it, please email me, and I'll email the download to you.  Or....if anyone smart out there can tell me how to post it, I'll try it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Parenting Tip -Jellyfish

Here's a fun project you can make with your child.  A jellyfish in a bottle!

Info on how to make it is here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Music Tip - The Pout Pout Fish

This is my new favorite book.  It's about a fish who thinks he's a pout pout fish and has no other choice than to spread the "drearie wearies all over the place".  Then a new fish does something unexpected to him and changes his view of himself.  It's really cute. 

A dad wrote the cutest song to go with it.    I would love to get a copy of the music but haven't been able to contact the composer.  I even found out he lives in my city!  So if anyone knows Gordon G, please have him contact me!

UPDATE!  I did contact the composer of the song and he gave me an MP3 download.  I'll see if I have permission to post it. Thanks, Gordon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Parenting Tip -You are an Artist!

I listened to an interesting podcast today about the stained glass artist, Tom Holdman.   He is a young man who has created and made stained glass windows for LDS temples, Catholic churches, commercial buildings, residences and public art projects. What fascinated me the most about him though, was that he has a speech impediment.  And it was that disability that has shaped him into what he has become today. 


As I read more about Tom and his work with stained glass, I was amazed at how many thousands of small pieces of glass go into each window.  I thought of the hours and hours of time it took to work with so many pieces of glass to create a work of art.


I think that is one of the reasons we are fascinated and in awe of artists---at least that is why I am.  It not only takes talent, but it takes time and patience to create art.  Any art. 


I’m interested in quilting.  That medium uses many small pieces of fabric that are sewn together to create a beautiful masterpiece.   A great painting contains hundreds of strokes of paint.  A symphony is composed of note after note after note to make a beautiful harmonic masterpiece.


All great art takes time, patience and the willingness to let the work evolve into a creation of its own.


Mothers are artists.  We help create people.  We spend hours, weeks and years teaching and loving and showing patience through many small pieces of daily experiences.  We watch and wonder as our work of art begins to emerge into a beautiful masterpiece.


Do we view ourselves as artists or as bored and tired wives and mothers?  An artist works many hours alone with his project.  There is no one encouraging him while he is working laboriously and sometimes tediously on each project.  It is only at the unveiling that he is rewarded with the praise he deserves.


So it is with mothers.  Day in and day out we change diapers, cook meals, wash clothes and listen to whining children.  There is no one there to give us a high five and say “good job, Mom!”  But if we’re patient, if we keep in our mind’s eye the long range goal, and if we enjoy the small moments of each day, then we, too, will receive the praise and reward we deserve when our project is finished (is it ever finished?).


If we think of ourselves as artists, our daily struggles will seem more glamorous.  If we think of ourselves as artists we will view our “work” as a creative endeavor. If we think of ourselves as artists, we can enjoy the journey and feel gratitude for the magnificent work we have been entrusted with.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Music Tip - Black Socks

I got a message on facebook this week which said, “hi I  just remembered something I think it was you.. I was in 3rd grade and you were a sub one day you had brought your guitar and sang a song _ black socks they never get dirty the longer  you wear them the hurder they get some times i think I should wash them but some thing keeps telling me not yet not yet... was that you???”

I replied, “Oh my gosh!!!! You remembered!!!!! Yes, that was me. I'm famous (?) for that song-----I think. You just got one little word wrong, however. It's ...the longer you wear them the "stronger" they get. Stronger as in stiffness AND smell.”

She wrote back, “yeah it got stuck in my head i sang it to my little brother because he would wear his black socks for about a week,,,yuck... but now I know the song better an I'll be singing to my's funny that i remembered this was when I was 7 an now im”

The power of music---remembering a funny song 20 years later!

I did some research on this song so you, my wonderful readers, could enjoy it too.  Since this is a silly, camp style song, there are many versions.  Here are a couple:

Black socks, they never get dirty.
The longer you wear 'em, the stiffer they get.
Sometimes, I think of the laundry,
But something inside me says "Don't send them yet"

Black socks, they never get dirty.
The longer you wear them, the blacker they get.
Sometimes I think of the laundry;
But something keeps telling me don't wash them yet not yet, not yet, not yet...

And since I know you’re dying to hear the melody, here are a couple of versions I found online:

 This next version is sung as a round, which is how I taught it.

So there you have it.  Another silly song to add to your repertoire. Have fun singing!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Power of Unconditional Love

It’s been two and half weeks since my husband passed away.  My emotions have been up and down and all around several times a day.  My wonderful children have had to tell me repeatedly, that whatever I’m feeling is okay.  I can do no wrong.  Everything I’m feeling is right. 

For instance, my brothers drove from Texas, California and Utah to come to the funeral.  We have a close knit family and have always loved to play games together.  But during the days after the funeral I  couldn’t bring myself to go visit and play games with them.  I cloistered myself in my house, surrounded by my children and grandchildren and couldn’t interact with anyone else.  I felt guilty but my children reminded me that anything I felt was okay and no one was judging me.  My brothers understood and respected my need for seclusion.

As I pondered the gift of unconditional love my children and brothers gave me I thought of how powerful that gift was.  To know that I was loved for myself—not judged, and that anything I felt would be taken with an understanding heart by others was such a freeing and peaceful feeling.

Do we give our children unconditional love?  Do we accept their feelings, no matter how different they may be from ours and let them have those feelings?  Instead of saying things like “you shouldn’t be mad at your friend,” or “you shouldn’t be so sensitive,” maybe we could say things like “wow, you’re really upset about that” or “that really hurt your feelings didn’t it?”

There is power in communication--power in reaching heart to heart with our children, spouse and friends.  Letting our children talk about their feelings and explore them will help them own their feelings and learn how to control them.  Actions need to be controlled-you don’t hit because you’re mad, but you can be mad.  Then comes the teaching moments when you help your child explore why he is mad, and what he can do about it. 

We are all humans and we all have feelings.  Accepting our own feelings and others is a lifetime job.


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