Archive for August, 2006

The Price of Children

This is just too good not to pass on to all. Something absolutely positive
for a change. I have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a
child, but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way.
It’s nice.

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to
18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker
shock! That doesn’t even touch college tuition.

Crying Baby

But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into:

* $8,896.66 a year,

* $741.38 a month, or
* $171.08 a week.
* That’s a mere $24.24 a day!
* Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is don’t have children if
you want to be “rich.” Actually, it is just the opposite. What do you get
for your $160,140?


* Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
* Glimpses of God every day.
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.

Girl with a cookie 

* A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
* A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how
your stocks performed that day.

 Mom and baby

For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to:

* finger-paint,
* carve pumpkins,
* play hide-and-seek,
* catch lightning bugs

You have an excuse to:
* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,

Winnie the Pooh

* watching Saturday morning cartoons,
* going to Disney movies, and
* wishing on stars.

* You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets
and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in
clay or Mother’s Day, and cards with backward letters for Father’s Day.

 Letter to Santa

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero
just for:

* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
* taking the training wheels off a bike,
* removing a splinter,
* filling a wading pool,
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never
wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

 Bubble Gum!

You get a front row seat to history to witness the:

* first step,
* first word,
* first bra,
* first date


* first time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree,
and if you’re lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called
grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology,
nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no
college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the
power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a
broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them
without limits. So, one day they will, like you, love without counting the
cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!

Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren!!!!!!!

 (Many thanks to Heidi Day for sending this to our online group!  If anyone knows the author of this composition, please send me the information so I can credit them directly.)

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Did you know that when different generations share common experiences such as traditional folk songs and rhymes, it helps them to develop a very precious, valuable but dwindling commodity – a sense of community?  When adults share childlike memories with their children, they not only connect the children with their ancestors, they also enrich their children’s childhood and enable their children to some day tap into their own delicious childhood memories in order to share that same repertoire with their children.

Did you know that Kindermusik provides great music from different cultures from around the world and this will provide a wonderful dimension to your musical listening experience as well as exposing your child to other cultural sounds?

Globe playing guitar

In our classes this fall, you will hear:

Zoom BuggyMay There Always Be Sunshine (Russia) Zum Gali Gali (Israel), The Keel Row (Northumberland), Suliram (Indonesia), Les raftsmen (Canada), Canoe Song (Native Americanish) and Polovtsian Dance (Poland).

Milk & Cookies – Barn Sull (Scandanavia), Duermete, mi nino (Latin America), Fais do-do (France), The Muffin Man (England), Shakin’ Shakin’ (Appalachia), Savez vous plantez les choux (France), and Shake Hands (African-American).

Hello Weather, Let’s Play Together – Sally Go ‘Round the Sun (North America), Morning Sun Has Risen (Israel), The Mulberry Bush (England), Japanese Rain Song (Japan), Uskudar (Turkey), Weggis Song (Switzerland), Funiculi Funicula (Italy), Lirum Larum (Germany), Siyahamba (Zulu), and Rain or Shine (Texas).

Here, There, Everywhere – My Kite (England), Sulla Lulla (Norway), Alle Meine Entlein (Germany), Sma Grodorna (Sweden), Shoo Fly (America), Water Come a Me Eye (Jamaica), Whisky Frisky (African-American), San Sereni (Puerto Rico), Zum Gali Gali (Israel) and Cantonese Lullaby (China).

Music truly is a universal language – and just to get you in a cross-cultural mood, here is Ernie singing to his Rubber Duckie in —– well, I’ll let you figure it out! 🙂

Many thanks to Darcie!

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The Elephant Song

From time to time, I like to surf through videos on Youtube.com, Google.com, and Yahoo! just to see if there’s anything that I’d like to share with my families.  Occasionally I’ll find something that I think everyone will enjoy and I think that this one is one of those.  So, pull up a chair, let the kids scramble up into your lap, turn up the sound, and enjoy!

I especially like the little boy’s parting remark: “Yoo-uhr sil-ly.”

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Zoom Buggy!

How many ways can you and your baby zoom in Kindermusik Village?

Hop in the Zoom Buggy and find out!

Through a variety of songs, chants, and instrumental selections you and Baby will experience the rumbling of a baby buggy, the squeaky stroller, the bumpa bumpa bumpa of the wagon, the train chugging up the track and much more. Familiar songs and old favorites such as “Lightly Row” and “Little Red Caboose” are interspersed with new and delightful tunes such as “Les Raftsmen”, “Ridin’ in a Buggy”, and “Ziggy Zag Zoom!”

Dream Pillow

In Dream Pillow, you will find a unique unit combining songs of nighttime and family love with stimulating, exuberant music and songs of cultures the world over. From chime ball play to “The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” to a bouncing, swooping dance to the Kletzmer tune “Tants, Tants Yidelekh”, from a swishing maypole made of humongous scarves to drumming along to “Aiken Drum”, this unit will offer a wide variety of stimulation for your baby’s growing body and brain.

Classes begin the week of September 7th!

For locations, dates and registration, please visit our Class Schedules page.

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Turn up your speakers, grab your child into your lap, and prepare to giggle and laugh as you remember what it was like the first time your child played with bubbles.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


And the music’s not bad either!

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From BabyZone.comRead Your Children a Story—and Boost Their Brainpower
 Baby Reading a Book

By Sarah Cooper

Reading aloud to infants and toddlers is beneficial in many ways, from hearing spoken language to feeling a heartbeat next to theirs. Literacy experts say that young children interact with books and reading in different ways at different ages. Here is a guide to your child’s reading habits from birth to age two and beyond.

As I read to my son over the first two years of his life, I often wondered how he interpreted the words, the pictures, and my tone of voice. When he lay on my lap at eight weeks, gazing at a bathrobe and a sandbox in Lucy Cousins’ Maisy’s Colors, how did he process these images? When he chose Richard Scarry’s Humperdink’s Busy Day over DK Publishing’s My First Body Board Book at 20 months, what attracted him to one and not the other?

Literacy experts do not understand everything about how very young children’s brains interact with books, but they do know that babies and toddlers respond to different elements of the reading experience. Here’s a guide into what might be going on in your little one’s brain as you read Jamberry one more time.

Young Babies: It’s About Attitude

For newborns, reading primarily fosters relationships with caregivers and creates positive attitudes toward books. In the first half of the first year, adults are laying a foundation for the baby to associate reading with happiness and connection.

“Newborns really are not so much interested in the books as they’re interested in the comfort and closeness of being held and the rhythm and the intonation of their adults’ voices,” says Dr. Ann Barbour, PhD, professor of early childhood education at California State University, Los Angeles. To promote this closeness, parents can read lullabies or nursery rhymes while holding babies in a comfortable position, Dr. Barbour says.

Newborns tend to enjoy looking at pictures of the human face, according to Drs. Stephen Herb and Sara Willoughby-Herb, PhDs, in their book Using Children’s Books in Preschool Settings. At this age, parents can “choose a few books that baby likes and reread them regularly.”

In addition, young infants “can really see vivid colors” and may like books that reflect that preference, says Sherry Wong, director of product strategy at the Talaris Research Institute in Seattle. The institute communicates research on early childhood development to parents.

Developmentally, hearing spoken language at an early age “promotes the development of speech centers in the brain,” allowing a baby to discriminate among and recognize different sounds, says Dr. Bob Stevens, PhD, associate professor of educational psychology at Penn State University. This “phonemic awareness” can help kids better understand a wide range of vocabulary words as they grow older.

However, children cannot really understand the content of books until they comprehend oral language, according to Dr. Margaret Moustafa, PhD, professor of education at California State University, Los Angeles. “Until children have enough spoken language to understand books read to them,” explains Dr. Moustafa, “all they can learn from being read to is activities associated with reading, such as how one turns pages.”

Older Babies: I Think This Might Mean Something

During the second half of the first year, children can focus more on books, partly because they are able to sit up. “It’s easier for me to read when I’m sitting or standing rather than lying down, too,” says Dr. Barbour, who is one of two content advisors for “A Place of Our Own,” a public television series on KCET in Los Angeles that promotes early literacy.

As they move toward age one, children start to understand that “pictures represent things in their environment,” that a picture of a ball symbolizes a real ball, Dr. Barbour says. Later, kids apply this connection to other symbols, such as numbers and letters.

Tapping into this new understanding of symbols, Drs. Herb and Willoughby-Herb suggest that a parent “point to and label something on each page” in a basic book. After a number of times reading the same book, the parent can “encourage baby to point to a particular item,” especially something she likes.

As children approach one year they “are starting to recognize that books really say something,” Dr. Barbour says—that words tell a story and convey meaning. Dr. Stevens calls this “print awareness” and sees it as a crucial basis for later formal reading instruction.

Young Toddlers: I Get It!

The year of astonishing growth from age one to two brings a sense of mastery and joy with familiar books. This age also introduces a physicality that parents can incorporate into reading.

If “books are part of [children’s] everyday experiences in their homes—they’re familiar, like toys—[kids] really just delight in being read to,” says Dr. Barbour. Young toddlers are much more interested in a book’s content than they were as babies and often treat reading as a “peek-a-boo game,” wanting to know what is on the next page, she adds.

As children begin speaking a few words, it is important to provide simple picture books that they can label and begin to repeat back to the parent, Wong says. Later in the second year, many toddlers also like rhyming books.

At this stage it is especially important to provide resilient board books for the child “so that she can ‘read’ and turn pages independently,” say Drs. Herb and Willoughby-Herb. These authors also suggest setting up an easily accessible bookshelf or other area so the child “can find her own books and put them away,” contributing to a sense of accomplishment in reading.

Given young toddlers’ fascination with moving around, what should parents do to keep them interested while reading? Most important, experts say, is to follow the child’s cues and not force the issue.

“Maybe the worst thing the parents can do is say, ‘It’s reading time,’” and march through the book page by page until they finish, says Wong. Instead, just keep reading while the child moves around. “They can be walking around the room, they can be crawling around the floor—you’re still telling a story,” Wong says. Reading at this age continues to be about associating books with pleasure and relationships, not about sitting absolutely quietly.

There are books out there for every child, “even the little people who hustle about and really don’t sit still,” says Dr. Herb, who is director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book at Penn State University. He also suggests taking advantage of natural “pin-down” times to read, such as highchair feeding or bedtime.

Two and Beyond: Interaction Is It

As they begin to talk, children transition from labeling pictures to having a dialogue with books. At this time, it is especially crucial to “follow their interests,” says Dr. Moustafa, such as the moon or trucks or even car exhaust pipes. As parents talk with their children about a passion, these conversations help create children’s “‘schemas,’ or knowledge of the world,” Dr. Moustafa says, allowing kids to make more sense of the subject.

Also key is to discuss stories with kids and make sure they understand the language and the meaning. “It is OK to focus on words,” such as, “Do you know what gigantic means?” and then talk about how that word appears in the story, says Dr. Stevens.

More generally, parents can read “in a way that enables the child to comprehend the story,” says Dr. Moustafa. “This could mean anticipating comprehension problems or responding to the child’s questions.” If a parent simply reads through a story in lockstep, without stopping for questions or checking to see if a child understands, the child might physically remove herself from the room in frustration, Dr. Moustafa says.

At Any Age: Follow Your Child’s Lead

During all stages of pre-reading development, parents can do the best for their children by noticing and responding to their cues, such as preferences for certain books and the desire to sit still or move around while reading. Parents will then “set the stage for children wanting to read,” Dr. Barbour says, and make reading part of everyday life.

By reading to their children frequently in this interactive and nurturing way, parents will also help kids develop skills that will help them in school, especially the ability to focus. “You can teach kids about phonemes, but if they can’t pay attention long enough to sound out a word, to see how print flows on the page,” Wong says, “then all the techniques in the world aren’t going to help.”

However, literacy experts strongly caution parents against trying to teach formal reading skills to young children—rather, parents should focus on building relationships.

“I’m always a little bit hesitant about talking about some of those fundamental literacy skills with young children, because it sometimes gives the impression that children should be doing these things,” Dr. Barbour says. “That really is not the case, and it tends to perhaps convey the impression to parents that they should be pushing things that are not appropriate for little ones.”

Above all, parents should have a light touch when reading aloud to infants and toddlers. “The key word in all of this is play,” Dr. Herb says. “If you treat prereading activities as playful, language as play . . . it’s much more likely you’ll have a highly literate and early literate child.”

For additional resources and to read this article in its entirety, please follow this link.

From Babyzone.com – a really good website for parenting resources

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Well, I’ve spent four of the last five evenings working on the Fall Schedule.  I’ve learned how to coordinate Mollyguard and Paypal with my website so that you, my families, can register online, even without immediate payment, to put your child’s name on the class roll. 

Mollyguard and Paypal are both safe, secure online payment methods and completely free!  You don’t have to have an account with Paypal to use the service, and the nice thing about Mollyguard is that you can register online and send payment via the U.S. Postal Service, if you prefer.  Or, you can save a stamp, and just click to pay online, using your credit card with Paypal.com. 

Solution Graphics

Classes are limited in size and Mollyguard has that limit firmly in place.  When the class fills, it fills, and Mollyguard no longer accepts registrations.

Best Value in Class

When looking for just the right class for your family and comparing one studio to another, be sure to check out the number of weeks per semester.  Some Kindermusik offerings are 5, 10, 12, or 15 weeks long.  All of our classes are clearly marked either 8, 10 or 15 weeks. 

 And be sure to tell your friends about the fall schedule.  For each paid referral, Masterworks Studio gives a $10 tuition credit for the next semester’s classes!  And don’t forget that siblings also receive discounted tuition as well.

Village – ages 0 – 18 months

Come join our fun this fall as we enjoy “Zoom Buggy!” and “Dream Pillow” in the Village classes.

Zoom Buggy 

How many ways can Baby and Parent zoom in Village?  Hop in the Zoom Buggy! and find out!  Through a variety of songs, chants, and instrumental selections you and Baby will experience the rumbling of a baby buggy, the squeaky stroller, the bumpa bumpa bumpa of the wagon, the train chugging up the track and much more.


Dream Pillow

Baby is the star in Dream Pillow, with each activity carefully planned to stimulate his developing brain, thereby promoting physical, social, cognitive, emotional, and language development.  But it is the parent who is watching and guiding this little star on the rise, and Dream Pillow, like all of the Village units, is written with the parent very much in mind. 

 Our Time (18 months – 3 years)

For our slightly older crowd, (ages 18 months – 3 years), Our Time’s Class “Milk and Cookies” is back!

 Milk and Cookies

Imagine the aroma of baking cookies, the coziness of the family kitchen, the chatter among sisters, brothers, grandmas, granddads, mom and dad, and the anticipation and excitement of having friends come to visit. These moments at home are times to be shared and treasured. These special moments are captured in Milk & Cookies.  As in the other units of Our Time, the central focus of Milk & Cookies is the toddler’s need for security balanced with his need for independence. Milk & Cookies songs and activities promote interaction between parent and child where the parent gently guides their child’s learning and the process of scaffolding takes place. Capturing the security, excitement and familiarity of “at home” moments is the ideal theme for empowering the parent to act as teacher through scaffolding. What better way for parents to lead their child than with familiar, everyday home activities such cooking in the kitchen, dusting and washing clothes?

Family Time

Family Time – ages 0 – 7

Sing. Musical instrument and prop-play throughout the semester builds strong finger muscles, and develops a sense of rhythm. Plus, hoops, scarves, and tumble-around activities develop coordination.

Play. Musical instrument and prop-play throughout the semester builds strong finger muscles, and develops a sense of rhythm. Plus, hoops, scarves, and tumble-around activities develop coordination. 

Move. With growing coordination and interest in their peers, younger children will watch the older ones and learn how to skip and gallop.

 Listen. Throughout the class, the children are listening to instruments, each other, and to specially designed opportunities to focus in on developing critical listening skills.  

Story Time. When children listen to a story in a group, they watch the reactions of each other, helping to stimulate curiosity, expand knowledge, and to develop a life-long love of reading.

Family Jam.  Everyone grabs an instrument and plays along with the music – helping children experiment with a with a variety of instruments and sounds.

In this one-room schoolhouse approach to learning, your children gets exposure to the emotional, and social skills they’ll need to for starting school, or on the playground.  We will explore all the different times of Our Kind of Day:  playtime, mealtime, clean-up time, bath time, and, of course, night time.  Come join us as we enjoy Family Time!

For Class Schedules and Availability, please click here.

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I love to hear a child laugh – really laugh – and when I saw this video, I just had to share it with my families.  These four little ones obviously love their daddy and his noises!


Doesn’t it just make you laugh, too?! 

Come join us in our Village classes this fall and hear the same laughter and squeals there!

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As a parent, you are called to do many things that you otherwise might not, as a consenting adult, do, such as watch kiddie videos and programs that are nothing more than glorified advertising for Madison Avenue. Back in the early ’80’s, every Saturday evening found our family of four (at that time) at the tube, enjoying some of the funniest, most well-written programming ever – the Muppet Show. While it was touted as something for the kids, the adults here on Thompson Mill Road enjoyed it then and still do today. And with a treasure like Dizzy Gillespie on, backed by Henson’s band, the Electric Mayhem, you were really in for a treat. Enjoy!

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Tax-Free Holiday - August 3-6. 2006

 (NB: The dates on the sign pictured above are incorrect!)

 This week, beginning on Thursday, August 3rd, and continuing through Sunday, August 6th, Georgians and those visiting our state will enjoy a sales tax holiday.  If you’ve been putting off buying those school supplies, now is the time to shop.  But be forewarned, if previous sales tax holidays were any example, there will be a lot of other folks out there with you!  Just like Santa, make your list before hand, check it twice, and plan on being there as early as possible on Thursday to hopefully avoid the crowds that come out in droves.

Here’s some information from the Georgia Department of Revenue’s site:

House Bill 1219 provides for a sales tax exemption from both state and local sales taxes for four (4) days, August 3 – 6, 2006, for covered items and specific energy efficient products.

During the sales tax holiday period, a sales tax exemption applies to purchases of tangible personal property in the following categories:

  • Articles of Clothing. The exemption applies to articles of clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item. Clothing accessories such as handbags, umbrellas, cuff links, handkerchiefs, jewelry, key cases, wallets, watches and watch bands, and ponytail holders and/or similar hair products are not exempt. See lists of exempt items.
  • Personal Computers. A single purchase of $1,500 or less of personal computers and/or related accessories is exempt. If the single purchase exceeds $1,500, the entire transaction is taxable. See list of exempt items.
  • General School Supplies. The exemption applies to the purchase of general school supplies with a sales price of $20 or less per item. See list of exempt items.
  • Energy Efficient Products. The purchase of energy efficient products with a sales price of $1,500 or less is exempt. The product must meet or exceed EPA and DOE standards for energy efficient products and be purchased for home or personal use. See list of exempt products .

The exemptions are intended for an individual’s personal use. The exemptions exclude items rented, leased, purchased by businesses, or purchased for resale. The exemptions do not apply to items sold at theme parks, entertainment complexes, hotels, restaurants, and airports.

Additional information is available at the DOR’s website:


This page also includes links to specific lists of tax-exempt items, including energy-efficient items. 

For exempt clothing and footwear:


For exempt computers and related accessories:


For exempt general school supplies:


For exempt energy efficient products:


So, if you’ve been thinking of buying a new refrigerator or washing machine, this weekend is one of the best times to make that purchase.  And for those of you with little ones not yet school-age, the tax holiday includes clothing for them as well as diapers!  Don’t forget – this Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

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