Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

I love, love, love Boomwhackers.  If you haven’t ever heard of Boomwhackers, you are seriously deprived!  Think handchimes with colorful, tuned PVC pipe – perfect for rambunctious, eager children looking for something fun and musical to do.  I hope you enjoy the Christmas Boomwhackers.  I know I *did*!  🙂

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Every year the Christmas Spirit seems to strike me at some point in time for no particular rhyme or reason.  This past week has been so full of activities that were holiday-related that I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it’s struck tonight. 

Whatever the reason, I share this video with you of one of my all-time favorites, Nat King Cole, singing “The Christmas Song” written by Mel Torme and Bob Wells on a hot July afternoon in 1945.  While the audio of this clip is not the best reproduction, I love being able to actually watch Nat King Cole sing as well as hear his wonderful voice.  It brings back many warm, beautiful memories of my childhood.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Merry Christmas!


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I love this song!  For your listening pleasure, here’s Boogie Woogie Santa Claus.  Enjoy! 🙂


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Thank you, Charles Schulz!

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One of my very favorite videos to watch at this time of year is “Scrooge,” the musical version of “A Christmas Carol,” which starred Albert Finney.  It’s hard to say which scene is the best, but I’ve always especially enjoyed this one – “Christmas is for children young and old.”  Enjoy!


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One of the many musical hats that I wear is that of Children’s Choirs Coordinator at Zion Baptist Church in Covington, Georgia.  The Children’s Choirs, otherwise known as the Joyful Noise (preschool) and S.T.O.M.P. (grades 1 – 5) meet on Sunday afternoons at 4:45PM each week, beginning usually in mid-August after school starts. 

This year, due to various church activities which required some cancellations of our time slot, our choir year didn’t even begin until September 16th.  Our choir rehearsal schedule was often interrupted.  In October we missed one week due to Fall Break for Newton and Rockdale School Systems, who both use a balanced schedule.  In November, the Thanksgiving Celebration by the Adult Choir and Orchestra on November 18th meant that almost all of our teachers, including myself, were involved that Sunday afternoon preparing for the service that night, and our class didn’t get to meet that week, either.  

To catch up and give us additional rehearsals, at the beginning of November, I asked the children to come in not only 15 minutes earlier on Sunday afternoons (4:30 instead of 4:45), but also Wednesday afternoons at 5:30 before AWANA began at 6:00. 

This meant giving up precious play-time and hanging-out time with friends between dinner and AWANA on Wednesday nights and coming in earlier on Sunday afternoons – prime play time.  It meant that moms and dads had to make a special effort to get home from work on Wednesdays to pick up their child/ren and get them to the church.  I wasn’t sure, at first, how many would be willing to sacrifice any or all of that just to come to choir. 

Well, since most of my blog readers weren’t fortunate enough to be there tonight to hear them and see them in action, I can testify that these children did that and more.  They sang; they signed; they drummed; they danced, jived, and clapped.  They just kept on giving when most adults would have long given up, moaning, groaning, whining, and complaining.  I couldn’t have asked them to do anything any better than they did.  And they did it all with a smile on each face and a song in their hearts.

To their parents, thank you for your faithfulness in bringing the children to practice, for your willingness to put up with shifted schedules, for your patience when we ran late on Sunday afternoons, and especially for listening to us sing the same songs over and over and over again.  You have beautiful, loving children, and I know you know that, but every parent needs to hear that others think that, too.

To “my kids” as I call them, I love each and every one of you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wholehearted commitment to the choir and to your dedication to sing praises to the Lord.  You make Sunday afternoons more than worthwhile.  You put a smile on my face and in my heart, too.  

You guys rock!

S.T.O.M.P. Choir, Zion Baptist Church, Covington, Georgia

Hugs to you all from Miss Merri

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Christmas 2007


Christmas Control2

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a good mom all year.

I’ve fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited their doctor’s office more than my own doctor’s, and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son’s red crayon, on the back of a receipt, in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I’ll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

  • I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.
  • I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.
  • If you’re hauling big ticket items this year, I’d like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.
  • On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, “Yes, Mommy” to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don’t fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.
  • I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting “Don’t eat in the living room” and “Take your hands off your brother”, because my voice seems to be just out of my children’s hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.
  • If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a styrofoam container. 

If you don’t mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season.

Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely.

It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back.

Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in to dry off so you don’t catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,


P.S. One more thing …you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

Mom and Santa

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Kindermusik families at Masterworks Studio will have the opportunity to enjoy all of these marvelous activities in our Spring Semester beginning February 2, 2008.  From infants in Village to the oldest child in ABC Music & Me, we will be having a be-bopping good time!  😀

Village – Cock-a-Doodle-MOO!  

 Cock-a-Doodle-MOO!   ( 0 – 18 months)   

Hop on the hayride—it’s time to head for the farm! In the Cock-a-doodle-MOO! unit of Kindermusik Village, families will sing songs about the farm, including “Old MacDonald,” “Hayride,” and “Clever Cows.” They’ll engage in rituals and playful activities for baby and caregiver, including infant massage, lap bounces, exercise, and quiet time. During the week, families will enjoy their At Home Materials, looking through a playful picture book of animals and the sounds they make, as well as a CD of the songs heard in class and an instrument for music-making at home.   A fun, new addition to the Village At Home Materials to enhance music play at home is the Cock-a-Doodle-MOO! Sunshine Jingle.


CockadoodleMoo Village_Sunshine_Jingle

Village – DewDrops

DewDrops   ( 0 – 18 months)

Stop and smell the roses—and lily of the valley, and tulips, and pansies in our second Village unit.  In the DewDrops unit of Kindermusik Village, families will play and move together to songs about flowers, such as “Jasmine Flower,” “How Does Your Garden Grow?,” and “White Coral Bells.” They’ll also hear traditional Irish music: they’ll dance a jig, move to the “Irish Trot,” and exercise to “Did You Ever See a Lassie.” In their At Home Materials, families will receive a CD of beautifully arranged songs from class, a board book of flowers, and a DewDrops Flower instrument for music-making at home.

DewDrops Dew_Drops_Flower

To register for Village classes, please visit our Class Schedule.

Our Time – Away We Go!

Away We Go!   (18 months – 3.5 yrs)

Hop on the train, get in the car, board the plane, and Away We Go! This delightful, 15-lesson unit focuses on transportation, a favorite topic for toddlers who are on the go, go, go! Sing and play along with favorite songs, such as “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” and “Wheels on the Bus”. Explore fast and slow, smooth and bumpy, and high and low. Read stories about ways to get around. “Shiny Dinah” tells the story of a train, and “Giddy-Up!” has a horse, speedboat, racecar, and more to help you get where you want to go. Move, play, and sing together in developmentally appropriate activities created just for 1 1/2 to 3-year-olds.  Families will receive 2 CDs, a Home Activity Book, 2 storybooks (“Shiny Dinah” and “Giddy-Up!”), 2 harmonicas, and a train carrying box.


To register for Our Time classes, please visit our Class Schedule.

Imagine That!  – Toys I Make – Trips I Take

Toys I Make, Trips I Take   (3 – 5 years)

What’s more exciting to a 3 or 4-year-old than a new toy? How about an entire Toy Shop full of toys! And a full toy shop is exactly what your Kindermusik Imagine That! families will enjoy in an exceptional follow-up to the already highly regarded first unit of the curriculum, See What I Saw.

Toys I Make, Trips I Take is focused on creating a stimulating musical environment that integrates music, pretend play, story telling movement, and more.

Toys I Make, Trips I Take introduces the musical environment of a remarkable toy shop, filled with boats, trains, balls, jack-in-the-box and many other toys that bring a glimmer into a child’s eyes.  Your child will always remember the magic of the toy shop in Toys I Make –  Trips I Take.


At Home Materials include an Imagine That! backpack, 2 CDs, two literature books: “Tippity, Tippity, Too” and “If I Had a Big Blue Boat”, a Home Activity Book, the Toy Shop play set and drum.


To register for Imagine That! classes, please visit our Class Schedule.

ABC Music & Me – ages 4 – 6

ABC Music & Me

Designed for the preschooler and kindergartner, Kindermusik’s award-winning curriculum ABC Music & Me provides a warm, fun-filled place of learning that gives your child developmentally correct musical experiences including creative movement, focused listening, learning how to keep the beat to music, singing to develop singing skills, exploring instruments, as well as a weekly pre-reading piano lesson. Your child will soon have a lifelong companion in music!

This is a 15 week class, meeting for 45 minutes each week.  Parents join us for the last 10 minutes of each class. Monthly “At Home” materials include a CD of all the songs from each month’s lessons, a full color family guide full of activities to do with the child at home, and a new child sized instrument or prop every other month.

February – Sounds Abound

This month we’ll use a new instrument: our bodies. In class we’ll explore all the sounds we can make with our mouths, our bodies, and our own two hands. With your Student Kit find instructions for instruments made from found objects around the house and play along with the music. Do so and your preschooler develops an early understanding of technology and how one material can be used to make something else. Activities in your Student Kit help you bring these big ideas home when you take part in the listening, turn-taking, and sound-effect making activities. Student Kit includes CD and mini-literature magazine.

Sounds Abound-February

March – Dance With Me

This month, we’ll feature the music and dance of “one-two” rhythms, and “one-two-three” rhythms. In class, we’ll hear real instruments from the ballet and learn a few dance steps, too. Activities like dance, where your child follows a short sequence of instructions, helps to strengthen memory and his ability to follow directions. At home, play the CD in your Student Kit and let your preschooler show you a new step or two. Student Kit includes lummi sticks, CD, and mini-literature magazine.

April – Drums, Drums, Drums

This month your child will experience the concept of fractions through hearing and playing quarter and eighth notes. In class we’ll do “call and response” activities to the rhythmic sounds of African music. Meanwhile, your child will sharpen listening and attention skills, as well as fine tune you’re her ear to finding patterns. Play together the activities in your Student Kit, and you’ll help preschooler develop a strong foundation in math, rhythm and coordination, and critical listening. Student Kit includes CD and mini-literature magazine.

May – Feel the Music

Expressing herself and what she needs from teachers and friends is a necessary skill in school. So in class we’ll help your preschooler learn more about the words that help her describe the way she feels, while learning more about the emotions of others. Your Student Kit includes the same music and stories we’ll be talking about in class to help you open the door to the emotions your preschooler is learning to express. Student Kit includes a chickita, CD, and mini-literature magazine.

To register for ABC Music & Me classes, please visit our Class Schedule.

Family Time – Make Way For Music!

Family Time    kmfamilytimec-blog-thumb.jpg  (Newborn – 7 years)

In Make Way for Music!, families will sing, dance, and move their way through an exploration of several elements of music: beat and rhythm, concepts and contrasts (such as staccato and legato, high and low, the major scale, and arpeggios), the human voice, instrument families, and ensemble.

They’ll engage in developmentally appropriate activities that the whole family can enjoy together, including fingerplays, songs, circle dances, story time, and family jam. In their At Home Materials, families will receive two fingerdrums, one Sing, Play, & Grow home activity guide, two children’s storybooks (“Drum Circle” and “Animals on Parade”), a hand puppet and finger puppet of Rex (the lion member of Family Time’s Jellybean Band), and an instrument-matching board game. Get the family band together, and Make Way for Music!

 Make Way for Music!

To register for Family Time classes, please visit our Class Schedule.

Priority Registration

Priority Registration begins today through December 19th. This is available only to current Kindermusik families to give you first choice at the class day and time you want. Registering now with a $75 deposit ensures your child’s place is held in the class of your choice, and his/her home materials for next semester are here the first day of class. Priority Registration also gives you a $10 discount on tuition.  For online registration, please email me and I will send you the direct link for your specific class. Open registration for anyone to join us begins December 20th.

Payment Plan

Our Payment Plan is also available for those who would like to spread the cost of tuition out over several months. You decide whether or not you would rather have two, three, or even four payments.  Details on the payment plan and class schedules are available on my website here.


Be sure to tell your friends about our classes. Why?


For every paid registration that lists you as the referral, you will receive a $10 tuition credit toward your next class with no limit on the number of referrals.  Do you have more than one child?  Siblings also receive a 10% discount on tuition!

Santa’s Visit is just around the corner!

Merry Christmas!  

Give the gift that keeps on giving long after Christmas is over.  We have gift certificates available this year for Christmas. Why not put a Kindermusik class on your child’s wish list?  Grandparents, godparents, aunts or uncles can very easily play Santa at my website for your child’s class. Gift announcement cards are sent directly to the recipient as well as notification to the giver. What a terrific gift that keeps on giving!


As always, if you have any questions, I am always available via email: missmerri at masterworks-studio.com or by phone: 404.395.5247.

Whatever your age, whatever your interest, we have something for everyone at Masterworks Studio this year!

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As an older mom, I no longer have the immediate concern about the safety of the toys chosen for Christmas gifts.  This Christmas is the very first since 1978 that there haven’t been some kind of toys on one of my children’s Christmas lists which is kind of bittersweet for me in a way.  (Yes, I know, I should be grateful I don’t have to fight for Tickle Me Elmo Extreme or a Star Wars Starfighter or even a Nintendo Wii.)  I don’t know if I’ll even enter the doors of Toys R Us this year, which is a really weird rite of passage!

However, with all of the toy recalls this year and new rumblings of more problems in the toy industry’s oversight and monitoring of overseas manufacturers, there is cause for genuine concern.  On the online board of Kindermusik educators this morning, I read a post from an educator, a concerned mom herself, with these questions: 

I need some help.

I’m a newer mom and I’m confused about all the reporting and recalls that have been happening regarding lead paints in toys.

As I’m building my instrument and toy collection for classes, I feel confident anything purchased from KI has been tested for lead and will meet federal regulations.

But what about the things I’m purchasing outside of KI? How can I test these items for lead?

Or – at what age do I need to be less concerned about lead in toys for children?  I presume I’m most concerned for those babies and children who put toys and instruments in their mouths. 

Do I need to be concerned with plastic, wood and plush instruments/ toys? Or only those where paint can flake off?

Is there any one place to check for recalls on the lead paint?

These are all questions that any concerned mom would ask.  Until yesterday, I would have directed them to the Consumer Products Safety Commission site here.  Yesterday, however, I learned of a new site – Healthy Toys.org

 Healthy Toys Site Header

The subtitle of Healthy Toys says a great deal about what you will find there – The Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys.  You can search by name, brand, or type of toy.  You can even nominate a toy from your child’s collection for testing. 

The site will give you specific information on the chemicals found in the toys tested.  I typed in “Elmo” just to get an idea of what I might find.  I got two returns –  “Elmo’s Take-along Card Games” purchased at Dollar General Stores and the “Elmo Flashlight” purchased from Kmart. 

Just out of curiosity, I clicked on the card games, thinking that there really shouldn’t be that much to be worried about. They’re just cards, right?

Well, I was pleased and shocked with what I found. 

Healthytoys.org gives you highly detailed information – type of toy as well as a description of it, retailer it was purchased from, the distributor of the toy, the retailer code, where it was manufactured, and the test date/place as well as the test method which is also hyperlinked with further details about the test process.   To see this kind of information on one single toy was very nice.  However, the shocking part was what they actually found in this one toy.

High levels of lead, arsenic, and mercury were found with troublesome levels of chlorine/PVC and cadmium as well as traces of bromine and antimony.  The cards themselves were relatively harmless with only 3ppm (parts per million) of arsenic found.  The real culprit was the red carrying bag with a whopping 9,997 ppm of lead, 155,111 ppm of chlorine/PVC, and 984 ppm of arsenic. 

Most adults would probably shrug and just toss if off with a thought of, “Well, it’s only the bag it came in.  It won’t be played with.” 

But, as a mom of five as well as a Kindermusik educator that teaches very young children and babies, I can testify to the fact that this bag would, in all likelihood, wind up in some child’s mouth at some point because very young children, especially babies and toddlers, explore their world primarily through their mouth.  Given the fact that it’s red and probably enticing to the eye, it’s almost a sure thing that some child in this world would try it out in their mouth.  Would you want it to be yours?

The whole point of this post is not to rant about any one toy, but, instead, to provide badly needed information to concerned parents as well as extended family and friends.  If you’re wondering about the safety of your child’s toys or gifts planned for Christmas, do yourself a favor and zip over to HealthyToys.org

Be prepared for a possible delay in accessing their website due to extremely heavy traffic.  The site was slammed yesterday when they announced their opening.  I tried all through the day and couldn’t get in until late last night.  But it is well worth your time and effort for some peace of mind.  After all, it’s your child’s safety we’re talking about, right?

 Healthy Toys.org


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For your holiday listening pleasure,

a little something to start the Christmas season………… 😀


Thanks, Michelle & Sara!

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