Monday, August 31, 2009

theme songs

Isn't it amazing the way that hearing a song can sometimes take you back to a particular time or place, and you get that eerie deja vu feeling passing over you real quick? I love that. Certain scents do that to me too.

This summer I put together a mix CD for our vacation drive up to Presque Isle. I used to be absolutely crazy for mix tapes, and I guess I'm not completely over them yet. In high school, my friends and I made them for each other all the time.

This CD was mostly current stuff that C and I are into right now: Adele, Beck, Feist, Kings of Leon, to name a few. (By the way, if you've not heard Adele, she's got an incredible voice and sings with such a sense of worldliness and experience for only being 19... my favorite track is "Cold Shoulder".)

So, for old times sake, I decided to throw in a couple favorite classics of ours, and wouldn't you know, J completely dug them and requests them every time we're in the car!

The first throwback on our vacation mix was Michael Penn's "No Myth". It was so cool when C and I randomly figured out that it was one of both of our favorites from the 80s/early 90s. Now I think we like it even more because of J's big grin when it comes on as he says, "Is this 'No Miff'?"

The other one is a little embarrassing. One that my dad used to sing a lot when we were kids and we just thought it was crazy nonsense. As a teen, I realized it was a real song when a friend had it on a mix tape. Harry Nilsson's "Coconut". I know, it's crazy!! But, let me tell ya, what's really crazy is when J is playing independently and he thinks no one is watching and he starts to sing:

put the lime in the coconut...
drink it all up...
then say, Doc-tah!!! (and he mimes holding a phone up to his ear)

Needless to say, my dad is mighty proud. I told him the other day that J got his funny genes from him. "Fine by me", he said with a wink.

Over the last year, we've really noticed that J seems particularly drawn to music. He'll stop what he's doing if he hears an interesting song on the radio or a tv commercial. He loves all instruments. He sings constantly as he plays, and also turns just about anything into an instrument.

I think we'd be crazy not to foster J's musical inclinations. No pressure or anything, but just get him exposed to lots of types and encourage him to be creative and have fun with it. I registered the two of us for Music Together, and I'm really excited to start classes in a couple of weeks. Their premise is right up our alley:

Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning.

What songs are stuck in your heads these days?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This weekend while mowing the lawn, C found a rabbit nest. Right smack in the middle of our backyard. The only reason he noticed it was that a teeny tiny brown cottontail shot out of the nest across the yard when the mower came close. Thankfully, the mower did not come too close and the nest was undisturbed. He scooped him up and the three of us ooohed and ahhhed over him for a few moments until we saw another one scamper out of the nest! C scooped that one up too, and then carefully nestled them back in among at least three other brothers and sisters, and abandoned the mowing.

It filled us with anxiety to think that they might be abandoned or that there was more that we should do to protect them from stray cats and the occasional hawk. But, a google search led me to a couple web sites that completely backed up our actions:

> handle them with gloves so as not to leave your scent on them (mothers may reject babies that pick up scents other than their own);

> do not relocate the nest (we debated on moving it to a less conspicuous spot, but decided not to, so that mama would be able to find it);

> nestle them back down under their nest and keep pets away.

According to what I read, rabbits are the "absent parents" of the animal world. Fathers are not involved in the care of babies at all. Mothers nurse their young 5 minutes a day, leave the nest during the day, and return at night. The baby bunnies leave the nest at quite a young age, only 2 weeks (!) and are completely independent by 3 or 4 weeks.

Please keep your fingers crossed that these little guys are doing alright and will soon be off on their own!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

kiddie art

I love easy crafts! And, I love to find tons of easy crafts all in one place! The Artful Parent turned me on to the fantastic books of MaryAnn Kohl awhile ago. We've done some of her projects and had a lot of fun.

But, check out this great website I found a couple weeks ago. First Palette provides tips and ideas to get those creative juices flowing and inspire kids (and adults) to create artwork together! A few were familiar but there are lots of ideas that are new and unique. They look interesting and fun without a huge mess or hassle. The crafts are broken down by age or by theme: nature, food art, alphabet/numbers, world and travel, etc. Each craft also includes a link to an Earth-friendly tip.

The site includes instructions on some "classic" art projects: like dioramas, leaf prints and rubbings, and vegetable prints. And lots of funky ones like a Sand Cake, Seed Mosaic, and Jingle Bell Painting! Two crafts really jumped out at the librarian in me. They'd be perfect activities to follow up on a couple of J's favorite books.

First, the Alphabet Coconut Tree looks like lots of fun to make. And, could there be a better story extender for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom?!! Read it and try it. Cement that Letter Knowledge into your kiddos' brains! "A told B, and B told C, I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree"

This other craft looks silly and fun, just like the book I'd pair it with. I think J will get a total kick out of coloring and illustrating a Body Flip Book. (Actually, I think my husband and I will have just as much fun with it.) Design a book filled with wacky wardrobes, cut your pages into thirds, and flip to see the crazy combinations. When we try this one, I might use a photo of J's face on each page to add to the silliness.

Doesn't it remind you of that book Ribbit! which could hardly be found on bookshelves last year? J got an autographed copy for Christmas and at first I don't think he quite got it... I think he thought, "where is the story in this book?" But, soon he started to see the hilarity in the way this poor frog (or frogs?) is costumed.

Oh, I almost forgot. Another great thing about First Palette is that they love to see what their crafts have inspired your kids to make. So, if you give one a try, you can also upload a photo of your work to be displayed on the site! Please stop back here too, and let me know to look for it.

Do you have any great arts and crafts resources to share?