Archive for February, 2008

Several readers have written me, asking if I had any information regarding a Sales Tax Holiday for 2008.  I did not have any new information to share, however, until today. 

Prompted by a comment and a request on an earlier sales tax post, this morning I contacted Charles Willey of the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Public Information office and asked for any information about tax holidays in 2008.  I was very pleasantly surprised to receive an initial response within 8 minutes of hitting the “send” key. 

Basically, the reason that there has been no information is that the state legislature has not yet passed a bill this legislative session authorizing a sales tax holiday. 

Later this morning, I received additional information from Mr. Charles Willey, Public Information Officer for the DOR. 

House Bill 948 has been introduced in the Georgia General Assembly to provide a sales tax holiday; however, the bill has not been adopted at this time.  This legislation allows for a general sales tax holiday from July 31, 2008 – August 3, 2008. It provides a sales tax holiday for energy efficient products on October 2 – 5, 2008.  You may view House Bill 948 at http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/pdf/hb948.pdf.  

Thank you, Mr. Willey, for your quick and timely follow-up.  This Georgia citizen greatly appreciates your efforts on our behalf!

UPDATE: Please visit this post from July 18, 2008 for the most up-to-date information.

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When you become a parent for the very first time and you hold your newborn baby in your arms, you savor that first moment of recognition that this tiny little being is a part of you that will continue on into the future, promising yourself that you will always remember that instant in time. 

As a new mother, you feel a little bit bereft of the close intimacy you alone shared with this individual while carrying him inside your body, nurturing him and protecting him over those forty weeks of gestation, only to have that special intimacy broken in the birthing process, and a new, different one established.  Now you must share this new little person with others.

As your child grows and develops, you watch over him and imagine what he will be like when he grows up, becomes an adult, and heads off into the future of his world, not your own.  Will he be a ballplayer or a veterinarian?  Will he become a musician like his dad and I?  Is there a teacher somewhere down inside? 

You thrill to each new development – from the very first smile, the first “da-da, da-da” even though you’d love to hear “ma-ma, ma-ma”, the first steps without holding your hands – all the way to graduation from college and being so proud of him that you just don’t think you could possibly hold it inside.

As the years pass, you hold your child and comfort him when he stumbles and falls as  a young boy, scraping knees and elbows.  Squeeze a shoulder and give a hug to your teenager when his world falls apart from a betrayal by a supposedly good friend, all the while your heart is aching for him and wishing you could make it all better like you did when he was small. 

And you dream—

You dream of a time when he will have someone all his own to cherish him, to stand alongside and support him, to hold him and comfort him when the bad times come. 

You pray for a lifelong companion that will be everything he needs – not only one who will love and care for him, but also one that will encourage him to grow and become all he possibly could be. 

You pray for an individual that comes from a good, stable family with love and laughter in their family history, with a faith that is strong and deep like your own.

You pray for that special someone who will look at your child and make his face light up and his heart race as your spouse does yours even after 33 years of marriage.

And when that happens – you can’t help but thank God and smile at His Goodness.

We are thrilled to announce that our son Matthew has asked a very special young lady, Kati Lestmann, to be his wife, and she has accepted!  😀

Matthew and Kati, Christmas, 2007

Welcome to our family, Kati, and it is my prayer that you feel as loved and welcomed as I did 33 years ago! 

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In our Village classes, you will hear a lovely rendition of the Shaker song, “Simple Gifts,” found on your home CD, that we use for rocking/bonding time in class.  Listen now as the Five Browns, two brothers and three sisters, play this exhiliarating arrangement of the same song, Simple Gifts, recognized from Copland’s Appalachian Spring, combined with the Largo theme from Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (from the New World).  Enjoy!


Check out the Songspot in the righthand column for yet another enjoyable version!

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Three Valentine Cupids

Fun Valentine’s Day 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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Our Time families have been chugga-chugging, riding the rails, building tunnels, and dancing to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” for the past two weeks.  I found this video on Youtube and thought you all would enjoy seeing as well as hearing what “the old banjo” is like!  For the best sound, be sure to turn up your sound as the sound level is low in this video.  Enjoy!  😀


Parents, when you offer your child a variety of musical genres to listen to, you are stimulating their brain in a variety of ways as well as widening their taste in music.  By giving them a “hook” of a song they recognize, you’re also providing a way to encourage them to listen to a type of music they might not be familiar with.  Be sure to check out the Sonific Songspot in the righthand column for another different jazz version of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” 

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To all my Chinese friends, students, and their families

Chinese New Year 2008 - the Year of the Rat

May your year be filled with all good things!


xin nein kuai le!

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In my newest Village class that met for the first time this morning, I had the pleasure of holding one of the youngest babies for a minute and enjoying that special “baby” fragrance – sweet and gentle – that every parent recognizes and remembers in conjunction with their own children.  Baby Bella was so cuddly and had the sweetest smile!  She had that wonderful “baby” scent, too.  I couldn’t help but remember very fondly the days when my own were that age.

As I read this article tonight, I realized that, in all likelihood, I had probably put who-knows-what on my children’s heads through the years as well as on their bodies, all in the interest of making them smell “clean” and “sweet” without even realizing that I might inadvertently have been putting chemicals into their systems that could harm.

Shampoo Baby

FYI – from AP.org:


by LINDSAY TANNER, AP Medical Writer- Mon Feb 4, 3:53 PM PST

CHICAGO – Baby shampoos, lotions and powders may expose infants to chemicals that have been linked with possible reproductive problems, a small study suggests.The chemicals, called phthalates, are found in many ordinary products including cosmetics, toys, vinyl flooring and medical supplies. They are used to stabilize fragrances and make plastics flexible.

In the study, they were found in elevated levels in the urine of babies who’d been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with baby products.

Phthalates (pronounced thowl-ates) are under attack by some environmental advocacy groups, but experts are uncertain what dangers, if any, they might pose. The federal government doesn’t limit their use, although California and some countries have restricted their use.

Animal studies have suggested that phthalates can cause reproductive birth defects and some activists believe they may cause reproductive problems in boys and early puberty in girls.

Rigorous scientific evidence in human studies is lacking. The current study offers no direct evidence that products the infants used contained phthalates, and no evidence that the chemicals in the babies’ urine caused any harm. Still, the results worried environmental groups that support restrictions on these chemicals.

“There is an obvious need for laws that force the beauty industry to clean up its act,” said Stacy Malkan of Health Care Without Harm.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, a University of Washington pediatrician, said, “The bottom line is that these chemicals likely do exist in products that we’re commonly using on our children and they potentially could cause health effects.”

Babies don’t usually need special lotions and powders, and water alone or shampoo in very small amounts is generally enough to clean infant hair, Sathyanarayana said.

Concerned parents can seek products labeled “phthalate-free,” or check labels for common phthalates, including DEP and DEHP.

But the chemicals often don’t appear on product labels. That’s because retail products aren’t required to list individual ingredients of fragrances, which are a common phthalate source.

The Food and Drug Administration “has no compelling evidence that phthalates pose a safety risk when used in cosmetics,” spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said. “Should new data emerge, we will inform the public as well as the industry.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the health effects in humans are uncertain.

“Although several studies in people have explored possible associations with developmental and reproductive outcomes (semen quality, genital development in boys, shortened pregnancy, and premature breast development in young girls), more research is needed,” a 2005 CDC report said.

The new study, which appears in February’s issue of the journal Pediatrics, involved 163 babies. Most were white, ages 2 to 28 months and living in California, Minnesota and Missouri.

The researchers measured levels of several phthalates in urine from diapers. They also asked the mothers about use in the previous 24 hours of baby products including lotions, powders, diaper creams and baby wipes.

All urine samples had detectable levels of at least one phthalate, and most had levels of several more. The highest levels were linked with shampoos, lotions and powders, and were most prevalent in babies younger than 8 months.

John Bailey, chief scientist at the Personal Care Products Council, questioned the methods and said the phthalates could have come from diapers, lab materials or other sources.

“Unfortunately, the researchers of this study did not test baby care products for the presence of phthalates or control for other possible routes of exposure,” Bailey said. ___

Pediatrics: http://www.pediatrics.org

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