Archive for January, 2007

Be prepared to be amazed at Andy McKee and his musical talents.  I’ve really enjoyed not only listening, but watching him play.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I have!


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Having a child with an auto-immune disease, I am always concerned about staying healthy and not bringing home any germs that might cause havoc with anyone’s immune system.   Having now come down with a lovely case of what’s better known as “the crud”, I can tell you that I have been washing and washing and washing and washing my hands here at home and encouraging everyone in my family to do the same as well.   The only problem with washing one’s hands, especially children’s, is knowing how long to keep lathering and scrubbing.  Enter Squid Soap.

Squid Soap

Squid Soap works by applying a small ink mark on a person’s hand when they press the pump to dispense the soap.  The ink is completely safe for children and designed to wash off after 15-20 seconds of lathering, which is the time recommended by most doctors.  Squid Soap is lots of fun for kids since they love to get stamped, and makes handwashing fun instead of a chore.  Moms can always tell if the handwashing was done correctly if the stamp is completely gone.  And, besides, there’s that cute, stretchy squid toy on the top that I’m sure is loads of fun to play with!  

According to the SquidSoap website, you can find them at local Walmart Supercenter Stores.   And they have a really cute video on their site that demonstrates exactly how the dispenser works that I’ve linked below. 

Squid Soap Video

And if you’re wondering why I’m so obsessive about this issue, simply watch this.

Many thanks to Molly McGinn!

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This semester in Our Time and this month in ABC Music & Me, we visit the farm in our classes, making friends with the cows, pigs, ducks, sheep, and every other kind of animal we can find there.  So, just for fun, turn up your speakers, grab a child for your lap, and enjoy this video. 

Before long, you’ll all be singing, “Baa, neigh, cock-a-doodle-doo!”  😉


 Be sure to check out the Songspot at the right!  It’s guaranteed to get your toes tapping!

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for families with children is found at Wondertime.com.   I’ve had their name in my “Links” section on the right side of the blog page for a long time now. 

Today when I opened my email, I had received their latest free online newsletter.  It was chock full of wonderful goodies for children of all ages.


This month you will find a cute finger play for babies titled: “Here’s a Bunny!” 

Speak the following to your child:

Here’s a bunny,

(Raise two fingers of one hand, but don’t completely straighten them.)

With ears so funny, and here’s a hole in the ground.

(Wiggle the “ears” and make hole with other hand by curving fingers to thumb.)

At the first sound she hears, she pricks up her ears,

(Straighten fingers)

And pops right into the ground!

(Put straightened fingers into bunny hole)

Mom and baby doing fingerplay

For my ABC Music & Me families, this issue also has cutouts that are perfect to complement our theme of study – Around the Farm!

Wondertime Pig        Wondertime Rooster

They also give you backgrounds to match (like a red clapboard barn complete with a hayloft and the barn cat) and it’s all free online! 


Also, for preschoolers learning the alphabet, this month also has the first of a series of free ABC printables that are absolutely adorable and phonetically accurate!  You can hang these in your child’s room or choose from any one of the 26 unexpected ways to explore the wild world of letters that they provide.

For those of you experiencing the lastest snow of the season, there is also a recipe just perfect for you!

Maple Syrup and Snow Candy

(From Wondertime.com)

Maple Syrup and Snow Candy

1 cup of real maple syrup

1/4 cup salted butter

Fresh snow, vanilla ice cream, or shaved ice

Optional: dill pickles or saltines

1. Heat the syrup and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to avoid a boilover.  (This is done strictly by the parent.)

2. The mixture is ready 6 to 7 minutes after it begins to boil (220-234 degrees on a candy thermometer).  It should stiffen when dripped on a plate.

3. Remove from heat and cool for 2 minutes before pouring over the snow, ice cream, or ice.  It cools so quickly that kids can taste it right away.

4. Finish by nibbling some pickles or saltines – a sugarhouse tradition ” for getting the tastebuds back to normal”, according to Martha Boisvert of the North Hadley Sugar Shack in Massachusetts.

Mmmmm-mmmmm- good! 

Just like Grandma made in “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Wondertime Magazine

 And if you want the actual magazine to come to your home as I did, you can subscribe online for 66% off the cover price – $10 for 10 issues.  (Click on the cover above.)  Although my youngest will soon be 12, I’ve really enjoyed my own subscription and have recommended it many times to my Kindermusik classes as well as my children’s choirs.  The one warning I might give you is to make sure you have plenty of printer’s ink!  😉

So, go ahead and follow the links and enjoy the fun with your child!

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Kindermusik has a “sister” company, Do Re Me & You! that provides fabulous educational materials for children of all ages.  Listen to this song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd” from “America the Musical” ( page 10) and see if you can follow the secret code within the song. 

Underground Railroad

While slave owners thought they heard singing in the fields, the slaves were really passing on a message telling each other how to escape. The “drinking gourd” refers to the constellation we call the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper always hangs in the northern sky—the direction you go if you’re fleeing to Canada to escape slavery. “Left foot, peg foot” describes a one-legged man who would help the slaves on the way, the rest of the song describes the route. 

See if you can match the clues in the song to the stories and pictures on the quilt pictured above.

Order the “Follow the Drinking Gourd” story and song and others that make up America’s history in the online Kindermusik store.

Many thanks to Molly McGinn!

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Today marks the end of our Fall Semester.   As Family Time class wound down this afternoon, and we sang our good-bye song, “Sing Through the Week”, for the last time,  it was bittersweet to realize how much these children have grown over the past 4 months.  How much more will they have grown when I see them next?

So, to all my Kindermusik families, this video is from me, Miss Merri, to all of you!  See you in two weeks!


To learn more about “The Cuppycake Song”, visit Cuppycake.com.

To learn more about this little girl, Amy Castle,  and what she’s doing now, visit her page on the Cuppycake site. 

To purchase the CD entitled “Balloons” that this song originated from, visit either iTunes and purchase individual songs for $0.99,  or CDBaby.com where you can purchase a Collector’s Edition which comes with all the lyrics on a full color insert.  You can also hear samples from all the songs on the CD at either site. 

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Why Re-enroll?

A recent study found that repeated enrollment in Kindermusik improves a child’s ability to plan, guide, and control their own behavior.

  • “Children currently enrolled in Kindermusik showed higher levels of self-control than those never enrolled and those previously enrolled. …This suggests that in order for children to reap the benefit of increased self-control as a result of Kindermusik participation, it is important to have repeated and recent Kindermusik experiences and remain enrolled in the program.”

  • “Four-year-old children who had been exposed to Kindermusik for longer periods of time are better off in terms of self-control—namely a child’s ability to plan, guide, and control their own behavior—than similar children with less Kindermusik history.”

  • “These experiences, stop-go, high-low, fast-slow, short-long, and loud-soft, whereby children’s motor behavior is guided by the music, appear to be good exercise for young children’s emerging self-regulatory skills.”

Baby with ball

The study, “The Effects of Kindermusik on Behavioral Self-Regulation in Early Childhood,” was conducted in 2005 in the psychology department at George Mason University in Virginia.

Results were made available to Kindermusik in May, 2005. The study was conducted by Adam Winsler Ph.D and graduate student Lesley Ducenne in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University.

The 15-month study included 91 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who were split into three groups: 23 students currently enrolled in Kindermusik, 19 students previously enrolled in Kindermusik, and 49 students of similar family backgrounds from local preschools who had never had Kindermusik.

The children were observed doing a variety of tasks that required self-control such as slowing down their motor behavior, delaying their gratification, refraining from touching attractive but forbidden toys, quietly whispering, and compliance with instructions to initiate or stop certain behaviors. Parents also completed surveys.

The study was supervised by Adam Winsler, Ph.D, Applied Developmental Psychology in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University.

Boy playing recorder

Bottom line?  As Carla Hannaford said in “Smart Moves“:

“Environments that are rich with sensory experiences, allow freedom to explore, and have engaged parents increase the potential and are the ‘three major factors . . . [that] lead to competency in adulthood.’ “

You can find all this – and more – in Kindermusik!

We have something for everyone this spring in our Kindermusik classes.

 Check out our Class Schedules and find just the right class for you and your child!

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Gone in Four Seconds

I received a link to this video in my email and, after viewing it, I realized that I need to make changes myself in simple things like pulling into a gas station and pumping gas.  I never realized that driving a mini-van or a full-size van might be hazardous to my safety.  You’ll understand my dismay after viewing the video.  And after reading about several instances recently in Atlanta where carjackers actually stole vehicles from gas stations with children inside and viewing this video, I thought it was worthwhile to share with all of my families.


And here’s my very first New Year’s resolution – to be knowingly more aware of my surroundings and safer in 2007.

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