Archive for February, 2007

I bet most of you can easily tell me where you were when the news began to spread of the horrible damage, of so many dead and dying, of entire communities that just vanished.  It reminds me a great deal of November, 1963 – for those of you old enough to remember – where were you when you heard that John F. Kennedy had been shot?

Hurricane Katrina 

      On August 29, 2005, I was planning out my fall semester for Kindermusik classes in a new location.  I watched with horror, as I know so many of you did, as the monster known as Katrina unloaded on the Gulf Coast.  Knowing what hurricane devastation is like personally from my parents’ experiences in 1972 and 1985,  I was transfixed at the thought of what would happen to New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Amazingly, New Orleans rode out Katrina’s landfall itself fairly well.  It was the breaks in the levees that resulted in the horrible flooding and all the misery, devastation,  and heartbreak that soon followed.  New Orleans is still in the process of cleaning up, rebuilding, and getting on with life as they know it there.   Thanks to some high-profile celebrities and talented hometown folks, there have been many fundraisers and help has been flowing to that beautiful, gracious city.

As I watched some of the coverage of the nightmare that unfolded in New Orleans in the days that followed, I didn’t stop to think through what I have known for years watching hurricanes in the Gulf headed toward Carrabelle, Florida – if you’re going to go through a hurricane, pray that  you’re on the west side of it, because the upper eastern quadrant is the one that really gets socked by the full force of the high velocity winds and storm surge.   That’s how my parents’ home was partially ripped out to sea by Hurricane Elena in 1985 and then all traces completely eradicated by Hurricane Kate just weeks later.  Now the Gulf of Mexico comes almost completely up to Highway 98 where Mama and Daddy once owned approximately a half acre of land with a 3-bedroom house sitting on it.

Radar shot of Katrina

You probably can’t tell from this image, but the Gulf coasts of Mississippi and Alabama were on that eastern side – where entire towns were wiped off the face of the earth and communities ripped apart.

You’re probably wondering why I’m bringing this up now – February 26, 2007 – 18 months later almost to the day.   The reason is that I’d like to share with you about a Kindermusik educator and her husband who are making a difference in their part of that world.

Ginger and John Bennett

Ginger and John Bennett were Georgia residents, but recently returned home to the Biloxi area in order to be near their families and to help out in the region.   Ginger is a certified, licensed music therapist as well as a Kindermusik educator.  John is a store manager for Lowe’s.  

Just after Katrina hit, John and Ginger became involved with an organization known as Mission Love Seeds (you can read more about MLS here) that was directly involved in hurricane relief to the area known as Ground Zero – formerly Pearlington and Waveland, Mississippi.  Over the past 18 months, Mission Love Seeds has taken monthly trips into the area, bringing badly needed supplies and help.  There is still such a need in that area that you don’t hear about on the news!

Tonight, in my inbox, I received a “Hurricane Update” from Ginger.  I am posting it here below:

“The weather on the Mississippi Gulf Coast has been absolutely incredible these last few days.  Yesterday the open sections of the beach were packed with people.  This is the first time since Katrina that I’ve seen so many people out enjoying the day. 


Mission Love Seeds continues our work in Pearlington.  We are excited to announce that many of the homes we’ve sponsored are complete or will be complete in the next few weeks.  This has given us room to be able to help more families.


I am writing to give each and everyone of you the opportunity to help us build a home for Kitty Doby. Walls of Hope donated a studded modular home and set it up on Kitty’s property.  She used the Salvation Army Grant of $10,000 to pay for her siding, windows, front and back doors as well as her heating/air system.  She has a beautiful house on the outside, however, the inside is just studs. 

Inside Kitty’s house

She needs walls, flooring, ceiling, lights, cabinets, etc.  You can see pictures of her house by clicking here.

I would love to be able to surprise her with all of her sheetrock and wiring supplies. I then thought of you all and came up with this idea of “sponsorship”.  If you would open your hearts and help provide Kitty with a piece of sheetrock or a foot of wire, I would be so grateful.  I went to Lowe’s and found the following pricing information:

  • 4×12 sheet of sheetrock is $14.97 – need 110 sheets
  • 4×8 sheet of sheetrock is $9.98 – need 150 sheets
  • 4×8 sheet of greensheet (for bathrooms) is $12.43 – need 20 sheets
  • 12/2 wiring is $0.25 a foot – need 2700 feet
  • single gang box is $0.25 – need 48 boxes
  • double gang box is $1.86 – need 12 boxes
  • 200 amp panel is $122 – need one panel
  • 20 amp circuit breakers are $7.84 – need 10
  • 15 amp circuit breakers are $2.93 – need 16
  • cfi breaker is $35.00 – need 2
  • socket panel is $77 – need 1

Your donation is tax deductible when you make your payment to Mission Love Seeds.  Please put “Kitty Doby” in the memo line.  Send all payments to my attention at:

Ginger Bennett

Mission Love Seeds

179 Saint Paul Street

Biloxi , Mississippi 39530


Thank you all so much for your continued support of rebuilding the Mississippi Gulf Coast .  Come visit!!!!



Ginger Bennett, NMT, MT-BC
Allegrow Music, Inc.


I’d like to challenge all of my Kindermusik families, piano students, friends, and colleagues to make a difference in this one person’s life.  Buy a couple of pieces of sheetrock ($30).  100 feet of wiring is only $25.  If just 27 people donated $25 each, Kitty’s house would be completely wired.  Two circuit breakers cost less than $16.  My family can go to McDonald’s or Wendy’s and easily spend over $25 for one meal.  How many fast-food meals for a family would it take to complete Kitty’s house? 

Kitty Doby’s house 

We might not be able to make a difference in large ways individually, but by donating funds collectively for Ginger’s friend, Kitty, we can show that we care and that the Gulf Coast has not been forgotten.  These people still need help and I, for one, don’t hear a lot about it any more through the media.   My check’s going in the mail tomorrow morning.  How about you?

If you’d like to view some of Ginger’s other online albums of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, follow this link.  Prepare yourself for complete and utter devastation. 

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When I first began blogging in April, 2006, I had no idea of how addictive it could become or of the fun and wonders along the way.  I’ve enjoyed sharing information, articles, music, and videos with my Kindermusik families in posts over the past 10 months.  From time to time, I’ve even gone back and resurrected some videos as they were favorites and requested from time to time. 


 Now, with WordPress.com’s newest addition, Vodpod, I can simply add videos to the sidebar of the blog near the top, directly under the calendar.  This week, you can easily find three videos that my students in ABC Music & MeOur Time’sFiddle-Dee-Dee“, and Family Time’sHere, There, and Everywhere” will all find particularly applicable.  

 Be sure to check out my “pod” and let me know what you think.  I plan to update and add additional videos as I find them.  I hope they are as much fun for you as they are for me.  If you have any particular videos from the past that you’d like to see again, feel free to drop me a line and let me know.  Enjoy!

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Super Busy Mom 

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.   The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house, and there was no sign of the dog.Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess.

A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.

In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.

In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes,looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened.

Tired Mom

He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door.

As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.

He looked at her bewildered and asked, “What happened here today?”

She again smiled and answered, “You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?”

“Yes,” was his incredulous reply.

She answered, “Well, today I didn’t do it.”


 Every child should have one of these!  🙂

Be Nice to My Mom, She’s Tired

 Many thanks to Kristen Lindstrom, KM Educator, for sharing this with us!

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Occasionally I run across something or someone who simply amazes me in what it or they do.  It’s even more amazing when it’s something that I know a little bit about.  As someone who has been a flutist 45 years now,  I find myself in awe at the artistry and physical stamina of Greg Pattillo who is not only a flutist, but a beatboxing flutist. 

What is beatboxing, you say? 

According to Wikipedia.org:

Beatboxing is the vocal percussion of hip hop culture and music. It is primarily concerned with the art of reproducing drum sounds using one’s voice, mouth, and nasal cavity.” 

All I honestly can say is that I am completely impressed with this man and his musical talents and skills to produce “Inspector Gadget” in all its fun and impressions of the Inspector himself. 



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Three Valentine Cupids

Fun Fingerplays for your Family

Five Little Hearts

Five little hearts, all in a row

The first one said, “I love you so.”

The second one said, “Will you be my Valentine?”

The third one said, “I will, if you’ll be mine.”

The fourth one said, “I’ll always be your friend.”

The fifth one said, “We’ll all be friends until the very end.”

How Many Valentines?

Valentines, valentines,

how many do you see?

Valentines, valentines:

One for Father, (hold up thumb)

One for Mother, (hold up pointer)

One for Grandma, (middle finger)

One for Sister, (ring finger)

One for Brother, (little finger)

And here is one for you!

(make heart shape with both thumbs and pointer fingers)

Do You Know the Little Love Bug?

(to be sung to “The Muffin Man”)

Do you know the little love bug,

the little love bug, the little love bug?

Do you know the little love bug

who comes on Valentine’s Day?

He comes to give a hug and kiss,

a hug and kiss, a hug and kiss.

He comes to give a hug and kiss

To (child’s name) on Valentine’s Day!

For Mom and Dad’s Enjoyment


“When you fall in love, I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.” (Harlen, 8 )

“To get a girl to fall in love with you… take her out to eat. Make sure it’s something she likes to eat. French fries usually works for me.” (Bart, 9)

“Love is foolish…..but I might try it sometime.” (Floyd, 9 )

“Once I’m done with kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife.” (Tom, 5)

“On the first date, most people tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.” Mike, 9

“Never kiss in front of other people. It’s embarrassing if anybody sees you. But if nobody sees you, I might be willing to try it with a handsome boy, but just for a few hours.” (Kelly, 9)

“It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need somebody to clean up after them.” (Lynette, 9)

“Love and Marriage: It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.” (Kenny, 7)

“Love; No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” (Jan, 9)

“Falling in love is like an avalanche where you have to run for your life.” (Roger, 9)

“If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.” (Leo, 7)

“It isn’t always just how you look. Look at me. I’m handsome like anything and I haven’t got anybody to marry me yet.” (Gary, 7)

“Lovers hold hands to make sure their rings don’t fall off because they paid good money for them.” (Dave, 8 )

“Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I have been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.” (Bobby, 8 )

“I’m not rushing into being in love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.” (Regina, 10)

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my Kindermusik Families!

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An Open Invitation

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Emily was putting pink frosting on the newly baked cake. Sitting up at the kitchen counter, she had a table knife in her hand with a large glob of that frosting on it. Her eyes were twinkling and that glob of frosting was getting really close to her mouth. So guess what Dad yelled!!!

“Don’t put the knife in your mouth!”

Guess what Emily did.

It was such a natural, impulsive response. And that frosting tasted so good! It was almost like she was doing exactly what Dad told her NOT to do. The natural reaction of the adult is to think the child is purposely disobeying. But it might not be exactly like that.

Think about it this way

When Emily was admiring that pink frosting. . ..what was she paying attention to? The frosting? Was she paying attention to Dad when he started to talk? I don’t think so.So by the time Emily realized that Dad was talking and shifted her attention to him, what did she hear?

Maybe the end of the sentence? I am not sure, but it is a possibility.

And here is another question

How would Emily have responded if Dad told her, “Put the knife down.”

Telling her what TO do may produce a very different result than telling her what NOT to do.

So there are really two issues here. . .

Get the child’s attention before communicating to her

A lot of communication to children occurs when they are doing something else. If they are paying attention to whatever they are doing, they may not shift their attention to the speaker.

Tell the child what TO do

After getting the child’s attention, helping him understand what he is supposed TO do will generally yield a better response. When the message is communicated in a clear straight forward way, there is less thinking that needs to be done to figure out what action to take. And what are some options?

Get the child’s attention before communicating

Say the child’s name
Use a gesture
Move so you get into her visual field
Show him an object or other visual cue to get him to look at you

Help children know what TO do

Use a prompt.

Hand him a tissue instead of saying “Don’t wipe your nose on your sleeve.”

Use a gesture.

Gestures can guide her to appropriate behavior. Point to the coat hook instead of “Don’t drop your coat on the floor.”

Model what you want

Offer “Let’s do it together.” That can encourage children to do things with more enthusiasm than you might get otherwise.

Call attention to the “problem”

Say “Oh, oh” “Oops!” “Look!” Then point to what needs to be done.
Look right at his face and clearly state what you want the child to do.

And what’s the bottom line?

We have our patterns. . .our standard ways of saying and doing things.
We can become so focused on trying to change our children that we don’t really think about our part in the interactions. Sometimes making small changes in what WE do can make huge changes in how our children respond. Little things can make a big difference. It is worth thinking about.

P.S. Sometimes people are so adamant about only saying positive things to children that they claim you should never use the word NO.

I don’t agree.

The world is full of caution and rules. Teaching students to understand what NO means is important for their safety and for effectively participating in the community. But if we communicate NO and DON’T all the time for everyday activities, those words lose their

Many thanks to Jenifer Covington for sharing with us!

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This video will give you a taste of what Our Time classes are like – for ages 18 months to 3 years old with a caregiver.  We have new Our Time classes beginning on Saturday mornings, February 17th, and Monday mornings, February 26th.  Come join our fun as we enjoy “Fiddle Dee Dee” and learn about the Animal Kingdom – especially farm animals!


Check out our class schedule here for which time fits your schedule!

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