Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Parenting Tip #82 Illustrated Quotations

I found these photos in a drawer that reminded me of something I did with my children 20 years ago (whoa, that seems like a life time ago). My sister, who teaches school, always has her students memorize inspirational sayings. I decided that was a great idea and wanted to post some good sayings around my home to encourage my children to become better individuals. 

I thought it would be fun and help my children internalize these sayings if I had them illustrate the quotation. So I posed my children depicting the quote, took their picture and then made the sayings into small posters. I laminated the posters and hung them in different rooms around the house. It was so fun to do. 

I wonder if my children remember any of the quotes and if they have been an influence in their lives?
Here are some of the sayings:
Fair’s not there-so stop looking for it! (I must have said that to my kids a million times)

Best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen. Health and strength may fail. But what you have committed to your mind is yours forever. Louis LaMour

Great leaders are scarce. So I’m following myself.

Gossip has been well defined as putting two and two together and making five! Pascal

Here are just a few of some other sayings we illustrated:
Multiply yourself by 4 billion, then ask—would the world have peace? anonymous

Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive, easy to govern but impossible to enslave. Lord Brougham

It’s a shame to waste all these great photo posters. I wonder if they could benefit my grandchildren. They would love to see their own parents as a child illustrating "Fair's not there”. I think I’ll send some to my children and ask if they want to post them in their homes for awhile.

If any Grandmas are reading my blog, here is a way that YOU can make a difference in your grandchildren’s lives. You could photograph your grandchildren illustrating some of your favorite sayings or scriptures, then make the photos into a small poster and give it to your children to hang in their homes. 

Hey, maybe I can take the same quotation, but take a picture of the grandchildren illustrating it too, and have some then and now posters. Hurray for technology that makes it so easy to preserve memories and make it easy to have a picture be worth a thousand words.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Parenting Tip #81 The Value of WORK!

I’m really a lazy person—as far as working goes—in the house—cleaning.  My house doesn’t get that dirty anymore with no children around, only a husband and a mother-in-law.  So I can get by with cleaning a couple of hours on Saturday and tidying up throughout the week.  But am I grateful?  Am I happy?  No!  Every Saturday while I’m cleaning I’m thinking about how horrible it is and how much I would rather be doing something else.

This last Saturday I had to laugh at myself, listening to me grumble. “For pete’s sake”, I thought, “you only have to clean a few hours each week instead of constantly like in the good old days of 7 messy children living at home. You have it made in the shade!”

Interestingly enough, that night my daughter called to talk about the lesson she had to teach in Sunday School the next day. Guess what the topic was about? WORK! It was a good lesson for me to discuss with her. The Lord has commanded us to work and to teach our children to work. Why? Because it is an eternal principle. God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th. Idleness is not Godliness.
We are to teach our children to work.

I used to think my husband was lazy because he made our boys do everything. They had to help him fix this and do that. Now years later each of our boys have thanked their Dad for teaching them how to work. They are grateful they know how to do plumbing and car repairs and home maintenance.

I apologized to my daughter for not teaching her to be cheerful while working. I said I was always mad when the house was a mess and mad while trying to get everyone to start cleaning. She replied, “No sir. You always had music playing and you hid candy under the things we needed to pick up. We had fun!”

Oh. I guess I did do that sometimes.
And maybe I did a better job hiding my anger than I thought I did.

So I’m turning over a new leaf. I won’t be mad because I have to work. I’ll be grateful I can keep the commandment to work. And instead of hiding candy for me to find (though yes, I do eat chocolate before I clean the bathroom), I’ll listen to a podcast and take my mind off my drudgery.

“Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go….”

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Give-Away is Here!

I have another give away for you.  I have two children’s CDs that I have been asked to share.  They are both great and I’ve enjoyed listening to them.  One is called “ Daddy Plays: Guitar Lullabies” and it is a delightfully soothing collection of children’s songs played on, of course, the guitar.  It was so relaxing and enjoyable I wished I had a grandchild to hold and rock while listening to it!  It also made me want to grab my guitar and start practicing. The website is here or you can download the Cd here

The 2nd CD is called “Popcorn Bopping” and it is full of fun, jazzy version of lots of LDS children’s songs. These are performed by a children’s choir and are done in good taste.  Their version of  “Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked” made me want to dance instead of walk.  Really fun!
Please leave me a comment and I’ll have the giveaway winners announced next week, on June 30.  I’ve heard that some people aren’t able to leave a comment.  If you’re having trouble please email me your comment at: musicfortotsgiveaway@gmail.com

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Parenting Tip #80 Creative Outdoor Play

When I googled “let the children play” I came up with the music program for the children in Venezuela, but I also came up with a great blog with a post on literally letting children play. http://progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com/search/label/nature%20play

This blog post talked about using nature as children’s play ground and/or incorporating nature into your back yard. They used ideas such as sawed off log stumps to enclose a sand box or to be used as a stepping and walking wall. They planted climbing vines and trained them to form a tunnel or fort.

Children need play. They need to use their imaginations and creativity. Their play is the way they make sense of the world around them. It is how they imitate life and control things in their play environment that they can’t control in their real world environment.

Letting children use nature in their play helps them to feel comfortable in their world. Instead of manmade plastic action figures, they can use sticks and rocks to create their people. They can build their castles and forts with dirt or sand and feel the texture that is real and, well, earthy.
They can dig holes in the ground just for the pure enjoyment of digging.

Last year when Tac, one of my 3 year old grandsons was visiting, he started digging a hole in the ground. I thought, “Oh, that’s cute, he can’t do too much harm. After all, how long will a 3 year old boy stay in one place and dig?” Well I sure found out. Tac dug a hole about a foot wide and 6 inches deep in one afternoon and loved every minute of it. Was he dirty? Yes. Was he proud of his hole? YES! Did it do any harm? No, I covered it in after he went home.

During that same visit I took pictures of my grandchildren finding and posing with letters of the alphabet that they found in the back yard. It was so fun to hear them squeal and yell, “Hey, this looks like the letter A”, or whatever letter they found. Then I took the alphabet pictures and made it into an alphabet book and mailed it to them. I hope they remember the fun they had with grandma finding letters in the backyard.

So this summer, no need to run to Walmart to buy toys for your kids. Send them in the backyard and let them play, play, play

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Music Tip #77 Let the Children Play

I found two cool websites when looking for a movie for my husband and I to go to. I noticed that this week, June 23 (in Mesa) there is a one night premiere of a documentary entitled “Let the Children Play”. This movie features the work of Gustavo Dudamel, a conductor from Venezuela.

Dudamel works through a program called El Sistema, which teaches music to 300,000 of the poorest children in Venezuela. The effect is awe inspiring. The lives of the children become enriched and empowered and the effect on the community is just as great.

What does this mean to you? It is a reminder of the power of music on the lives of children. YOUR children. How can you use this power in your family?
1. Play music at home. Play classical, jazz, country (well…?), folk songs, choral, children’s music, the list goes on and on.
2. Enroll your children in music classes or private piano or string instruction.
3. Ensure that your child practices each day. Make it fun, play games, clap and cheer your child on
4. Enjoy music yourself. Sing around the house. Dance. Play music in the car.

Music is a gift. Make sure you use that gift for the benefit of your children. And you.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Music Tip #76 Folk Songs

Summer is here and piano practicing can go two ways—either lots more practicing gets done because school is out or less practicing gets done because vacations and trips interfere.  My experience is that LESS practicing gets done.  

I want my students to practice their note reading and sight reading skills this summer so I’m having them focus on learning folk songs.  I’m having them learn songs that are a little easier than what they usually play so they can learn them quickly and learn a lot of them.

First I ask my students if they know what folk songs are.  Some do, some don’t.  I tell them that folk songs are songs that have been passed down from one generation to another—songs that their grandparents know, that they know, and that their children will know, too—songs like Mary had a little lamb, Amazing Grace, Old MacDonald, etc.

Then I ask them how old they are.  However old they are will be how many folk songs I want them to learn this summer. And if they do, they’ll get some old fashioned candy to go along with the old fashioned songs they’ll learn!

There are a couple of great web pages where you can get free folk songs in levels 1-4.  I really like these:
and: http://www.gmajormusictheory.org/Freebies/freebies.html

Okay, students. On your mark, get set, go practice!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Parenting Tip #79 Run, not walk from evil

I want to talk some more about those negative images and thoughts that we all have. Something that Bruce Fordham said—who I quoted in my last post-- has made me stop and think. He said that you can’t get away from bad thoughts and images. Satan will make sure of that! His goal is to put temptations around us constantly. And that means those temptations are around our children constantly too.

We want to protect our children from ever seeing pornographic images on the internet or from seeing violence on t.v. or hearing swear words and sexual innuendos. But we can’t. There is much we can do, and should do, to reduce the evil our children will encounter, but there is nothing we can do to prevent them from eventually seeing and hearing something bad. Or even something very, very bad.

So what do we do? Teach our children what to do when they see evil. Teach them to immediately click the image away on the computer, turn the t.v. to a different station, walk away from images and swearing. Teach them to run, not walk, away from bad things.

But remember, our brain cannot replace thoughts with nothing. So next we need to teach our children what to do after they click, turn or run. And that is to replace the bad with something good. Have them choose a good song to sing, then practice with them singing the song. Ask them occasionally if they remember what song they will sing when they see something bad.

Let them choose a poem or scripture to say when they need to put good things in their brain. Choose a picture they will think about or a fun time they will immediately remember. Then role play and practice.

This would make a great family lesson to have with your children. Let them draw a picture of themselves with bad things inside their head (drawn as squiggles or scribbles). Then have them draw a picture of the good things they will put inside their head when confronted with an evil thought or picture.

If you can’t protect your children from ever seeing anything bad or evil, you CAN teach them what to do. And that’s the best protection you can give them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Parenting Tip #78 Replace Negative Thoughts

Has this scenario every happened at your house? You see your child picking her nose and you automatically say, “don’t pick your nose.” Your child keeps picking.
You tell yourself, “I’m not going to eat any chocolate today.” All day long you think of chocolate and finally break down and eat some.
The brain can’t replace thoughts with nothing, so whenever you want to change what you’re thinking, the brain will continue thinking about the negative thought unless you give it something else to think about. That’s what Bruce Fordham, psychotherapist, talked about in a podcast I recently listened to (http://radio.lds.org/programs/insights-episode-15?lang=eng).

You want your children to tell the truth, but you’re always asking, “are you lying to me?” You hate cleaning the kitchen and you keep thinking about how dirty it is and how MANY dishes there are and how long it will take. You are constantly telling your children, “Hurry up. You are so slow!”

Fordham tells us we need to replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts. We need to visualize the positive.

How do we do that? Catch your child telling the truth and say, “I appreciate it when you tell me the truth. I can trust you because I know you are honest.” Then go tell Dad or grandma how truthful your child is (in his hearing).

Visualize your clean kitchen. Feel the delicious cleanliness of it. Then put some music on, set the timer and sing and wash away those dishes.

Encourage your child with mentioning how quickly he is obeying. Say things like, “wow, thanks for trying to hurry. That really helps the whole family.”

Remember—replace negative thoughts with healthy, positive thoughts and visualizations of action.

Then, be patient with yourself and your family. Changes don’t happen overnight. Bad habits can only change when a GOOD habit is formed to take it’s place.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Music Tip #75 Composition Idea

I stumbled upon a piece of piano music that I fell in love with. Since it seems like I’m always late to find out what’s popular, I’m sure everyone has already heard of this composer and song. If you haven't, let me introduce you to a young Korean composer named Yiruma. The piece I’m talking about is called “River Flows in You”.
http://www.myspace.com/yiruma I gave this piece to two of my teenage piano students recently and knew I’d found a winner when they both came back to lessons the next week and had learned it!

I love to play “River Flows in You” myself, and one day as I was playing it, I analyzed the form and realized that the left hand plays the same chord progression throughout the whole song. The right hand plays a simple melody (verse or part A) and embellishes it with running notes and slight modifications in melody. Then the right hand plays a second melody (chorus or part B) with embellishments.

Wow, I thought, what a simple framework to have my teenage students try to write their own composition. So at their next lesson I helped them discover the form of the piece and the simple left hand chord progression (I love to let them discover things—then they internalize the concepts). I had them create their own four chord progression and play it several times, then asked them to play a simple melody with their right hand—creating it on the spot. They put the hands together and both students were pleased with what they had created in 5 minutes.

The next step was to embellish the melody and tweak it to keep it interesting. I sent my students home with encouragement to finish their piece. One student came back for help a couple of days later because she was going to perform her composition at a youth music recital for Church. I LOVE it when I can hook a student into music, and especially when they’re hooked to compose their own music.

Thank you, Yiruma.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Music Tip #74 Music and Writing Strategies

This year at school we set a goal to help boost writing scores by giving parents writing strategies they could do at home. We included them each month in our newsletter. Here's some ideas from my May newsletter:

The end of the school year and the beginning of summer are here and “what to do with the kids?” is an important question all parents ask.
Here are some writing ideas linked with music that might help keep your children in the learning zone:

1.Write new lyrics to familiar songs. Use folk songs as your starting point, then create new words to go with what you’re doing. If the chores need to get done, ask your child to write some cleaning up words to Mary Had a Little Lamb, or London Bridge. Here’s an example using the tune to Mary Had a Little Lamb:
My room looks so messy, Wow!
Messy, Wow! Messy, Wow!
My room looks so messy, Wow! I’d better clean it fast.

2.It’s really important for kindergarten-2nd grade age children to recognize rhyming words and be able to rhyme words themselves.
Start singing a song (again use folk or familiar songs) but only sing rhyming words, changing rhymes on each phrase. Encourage your child to join in. Here’s an example to the tune of 3 Blind Mice:
Sit, sit, sit,
Mit, mit, mit
Fit, fitfit, fit
Wit, witwit wit,
etc. (be prepared for silliness and laughing!) Then have your child write all the rhyming words you’ve sang.

3. Here’s a web site that teaches writing skills in the form of songs:
4.I found this book on Amazon but it is not in stock. You can do the same thing at home. They have children practice their writing skills while listening to music. Easy—you can do the same thing. Everything is more fun with music in the background. http://www.amazon.com/Callirobics-Pre-Writing-Skills-Music-Callirobics/dp/B001AH3AL8
5.Here’s another site that teaches cursive writing and has songs to enhance the learning

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Parenting Tip #77 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!
Will there be enough room?

Do you know this book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, written by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault? It’s a well loved preschool favorite that is in rhyme and tells what happens when the whole alphabet tries to climb a coconut tree.

I love children’s books and especially those which rhyme and have fun alliteration.
Isn’t this fun to say:
Skit skat skoodle doot.
Flip flop flee.
Everybody running to the coconut tree.
Mamas and papas
And uncles and aunts
Hug their little dears,
Then dust their pants.

There are so many fun things to do with rhymes; things that can benefit YOU as a mother. Are you having trouble getting children to brush their teeth? Challenge them to say “skit skat skoodle doot, flip flop flee” 10 times while they brush. That should be hilarious (but watch out for flying toothpaste).

Do you have trouble getting your baby to lie still while you change her diaper? Trouble with preschoolers getting dressed? Trouble with stubborn children eating dinner? Children not doing their chores or homework? Just start chanting sections from chicka chicka boom boom and soon you and they will be laughing and having fun and be surprised that the diaper is already changed, the clothes are on, the dinner eaten and the chores are done.

How about memorizing the whole book????? I just had talent show auditions at my school and I am always amazed at the Kindergarteners or first graders who recite long poems as if it is nothing [I meant your child memorize it—not you!]

Here’s another great phrase to memorize and say fast. Actually it’s a name: Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi- pip peri pembo, from the book Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel. Have your children who are fighting with siblings say that five times in a squeaky mouse voice and see if the atmosphere in your home doesn’t change really fast!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Give-away Winner is....

The give away winner of the CD entitled "Women of Hope" is Jenny. Shadow Mountain Records should be contacting you soon. Kimmie is the winner of the book!
Congratulations and thanks for reading!

I have two more CDs to give away real soon. So keep reading.


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