Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Toddler Drum Set

Today Chauncey was playing with his musical instruments.  One at a time just wasn't enough, so he arranged them all into a pint sized drum set.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Song of the Month?

Well, things have been crazy since school started.  I've had great intentions, but it seams that the older my kids get, the less time I have after they go to bed at night.

Thanks to the church Christmas party I have a song to post today.

Once again, thanks to our good friends for going along with us.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Preschool Songs Live!

Tonight Chessy's best buddy and her family came over for dinner.  While they were here we recorded some of our preschool songs.  Most of the songs are the same ones from last week, but now they are cuter and you can sing along even if you don't read music.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Preschool Songs for October

Chesson is participating in a little preschool group, so each week I do a 15 minute music time with the kids.
Some of the moms were asking about the songs we are learning, so it seemed like a good idea to post the songs here.
So, here are most of the songs we will be singing in October.  These are also the songs we will be singing at the retirement home we are visiting the last week of October.  There will probably be more, but I thought it would be better to post some now, than not at all.  Click on the music to see a larger image.

2. She lived down by the old churchyard...
3. One night she thought she'd take a walk...
4. She walked down by the old graveyard...
5. She saw some bones a-laying around...
6. She went to the closet to get a broom...
7. She opened the door and "BOO!"

2. Now on that tree...
There was a branch...
The prettiest little branch...
That you ever did see...
The branch was on the tree
And the tree was in the hole
And the hole was in the ground,
And the green grass grew...
3. Now on that branch... There was a nest...
4. Now on that nest... There was an egg...
5. Now on that egg... There was a bird...
6. Now on that bird... There was a wing...
7. Now on that wind... There was a bug...
8. Now on that but... There was a germ...
9. Now on that germ... There was a smile...

Two Little Blackbirds
Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill.
One named Jack the other named Jill.
Fly away Jack, fly away Jill.
Come back Jack, come back Jill.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Over in the Meadow

While we were out west this summer we attended a family reunion for my mother's family.  There were about 100 people there, so although we had a nice big lodge, some of us were sleeping in tents.  (It's easier to put the kids to bed that way anyhow.)  So I was singing to my kids, trying to get them to calm down enough to go to sleep, in spite of the loud teenagers on the balcony, when my cousin, Jen, walked by and heard the song we were singing.  She didn't know it and asked about it.

I've been meaning to record it to post here, but haven't done it yet, so instead of putting off this post for yet another week I will post the lyrics and sheet music and hopefully get back to the recording later.

I have heard several different version of Over in the Meadow.  I like this one the best.  It can be found in storybook form by John Langstaff and illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky.  I think the words lay nicely.  There is also a beautiful version illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, but the words are a little different.  

We sing it at bed time, at preschool (it's a counting song), in the car, etc.  It was Chesson's favorite song for a while.  She always insisted on the number three that we put up middle finger, ring finger, and pinky.  We discovered many different ways to make three fingers. (There are a lot, try it.)

So, Jen, here's Over in the the Meadow, just for you.

Over in the meadow in the sand in the sun, 
Lived an  old mother turtle and her little turtle one. 
"Dig," said the mother.   "I dig," said the one;
So he dug and was glad in the sand in the sun. 
Over in the meadow where the tall grasses grew,
Lived an old mother fox and her little foxes two. 
"Run," said the mother.  "We run," said the two;
So they ran and were glad where the tall grasses grew.
Over in the meadow in a nest in the tree, 
Lived an old mother robin and here little birdies three.
"Sing," said the mother.  "We sing," said the three;
 So they sang and were glad in the nest in the tree. 
Over in the meadow in a tall sycamore, 
Lived an old mother chipmunk and her little chipmunks four.
"Play," said the mother.  "We play," said the four;
 So they played and were glad in that tall sycamore.
Over in the meadow in a new little hive, 
Lived an old mother bee and her honeybees five. 
"Buzz," said the mother.  "We buzz," said the five;
So they buzzed and were glad in their new beehive. 
Over in the meadow in a dam built of sticks, 
Lived an old mother beaver and her little beavers six. 
"Build," said the mother.  "We build," said the six;
So they built and were glad in the dam built of sticks. 
Over in the meadow where the green wet bog, 
Lived an old mother froggie and her seven pollywogs. 
"Swim," said the mother.  "We swim," said the ‘wogs;
So they swam and were glad in the green wet bog.
Over in the meadow as the day grew late,
Lived an old mother owl and her little owls eight. 
"Wink," said the mother,  "We wink," said the eight;
So they winked and were glad as the day grew late.
Over in the meadow in a web on the pine, 
Lived an old mother spider and her little spiders nine. 
"Spin," said the mother.  "We spin," said the nine;
So they spun and were glad in their web on the pine.
Over in the meadow in a warm little den, 
Lived an old mother rabbit and her little rabbits ten. 
"Hop," said the mother.  "We hop," said the ten;
So they hopped and were glad in their warm little den.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Listening to music can help you loose weight

Well, ok that might be a bit of a stretch, but here's the deal.
Today at book club we were discussing the book, Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink.  The premise of the book is that we have no idea how much we are eating and we often eat for many other reasons besides hunger.
One point that came up in our discussion was that as caregivers, aka moms, we often feel undernourished emotionally and we try to make up for that deficit with food.  When we feel down, or tired, or lonely, etc. we reach for something that will give us a little feel good moment and often the most convenient thing available is a cookie.  Hmmm.
Our conclusion was that what we really need are some quick and easy pick-me-up ideas that will actually nourish us for the long run, both physically and emotionally.  So we scrounged up a paper and pencil and had a little brainstorm.
One of the first ideas we came up with, right after hand cream, foot cream, and eye cream, was listening to positive music.
This link will take you to one of my favorite feel good songs.  Listen to it, feel good, and read through our list while rubbing some good smelling lotion on your hands.  Some ideas won't appeal/apply to you, but some might and I'm sure you'll think of others you will want to try.

Bells of Freedom by Jon Schmidt

Quick pick-me-ups instead of eating a cookie
Use hand cream
Drink herbal tea from a fancy teacup
Read a poem
Turn on some music
Sing a song
Turn off all the noisy things in the house
Take a two-minute time out
Put on some earrings
Send a short email to a far away friend
Eat an orange
Kiss somebody
Step outside for a minute
Put on clean fluffy socks
Play the piano
Use foot cream
Sing at the top of your lungs
Have an ice cold drink of water with a fancy straw
Brush your teeth
Do a yoga pose
Wear your favorite shirt
Brush your hair
Get out a toy the kids haven’t played with for a long time
Color a picture
Eat fruit or vegetables
Turn off/on all the lights
Open/close all the blinds
Close your eyes and breath deeply
Use eye cream
Zen garden, polish rocks
Clean a window
Sit in a sunny spot
List 5 blessings
Memorize/recite a scripture
Learn a new song
Thumb through an art book
Look at photo albums
Clean out a drawer
Trim your nails

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Don't Want to Live on the Moon

Since I missed last week I decided to add a second post this week.
My calendar says that this week is the anniversary of the first moon landing.
My radio tells me that the space shuttle is on its last mission.
It seemed like a good week for one of my very favorite Sesame Street songs ever.
This is the classic, but you can also find Ernie with his good friends Aaron Neville or Shawn Colvin.
I am a little sad about the Space Shuttle era ending. It's been around since I can remember. I suppose this is how my parents felt when the moon missions ended. I expect that something new, exciting and completely unexpected (at least by me) will come to take its place, but for today, I will just feel a little bit sad.

Brush Your Teeth and I'll Kiss You

This week's song was inspired by a trip to the dentist.
When I was a kid my dad would sing "the tooth brushing song."
So naturally, I sing it to my kids. They don't always hold still and open up on cue, but it makes the whole experience considerably more bearable.

No cavities this check up. Hooray!!
For those of you trying to place that tune, (and those of you who recognize it) here's a great little video.
Sleep well, and don't forget to brush your teeth.
ps. I decided I didn't need to number my posts anymore. It was satisfying at first to see that I didn't give up at number 2. Sometimes I require a lot of positive reinforcement.
pps. I took the video, loaded it onto the computer, and posted it to the blog all by myself while Keith was at scouts. This is a big deal for me. Now you can all send me lots of positive reinforcement. ;)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Week 7/Happy Birthday America!

This year we started a new family tradition of singing together after Sunday dinner. We sing a lot of rounds and fun songs. We also learn songs to go with the seasons and holidays. Each week in May we learned one verse of "America." By the 4th of July we could sing the entire song from memory, with only short pauses while someone remembers how the next verse begins.

Watching the parade on the 4th of July.
Chesson took a large paper grocery bag to collect her candy in. That's optimism.

America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)
My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrim's pride,
From every mountain side, let freedom ring.

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from al the trees,
Sweet freedom's song.
Let mortal tongues awake,
Let all that breathe partake,
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.

This song is great for the kids because it has a fairly limited range, less than one octave. Everyone can sing along without getting too high or too low. We also had fun practicing conducting in 3. It starts on beat one and goes along nice and steady with no surprises.

I have a thing for songs about singing. This one, especially verse 3, is all about singing the praises of our country (we have so much to be thankful for), and God who made it possible.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Song of the week #6/Goin' to the Zoo

Today's post is inspired by a trip to the zoo. Our zoo isn't all that big, but we like it. We can see the whole thing in one visit without getting too tired.
Invariably this song comes up in the car on the way there. The verses included here are the ones printed in "Gonna Sing My Head Off" by Tom Paxton, but there is no end to the verses we can create when we get in the mood.
Tom and Estella set sail through uncharted ... woodchips?
Echo, Chesson, and Tom ride those buckin' ... barrels?
Big Mike, American alligator, the newest attraction at the zoo. He displaced the flamingos. We were worried for a minute, but we found the flamingos safely standing around on one leg by some monkeys. This is where we ran out of batteries in the camera.

So, here's the family singing, and me strumming away at the guitar, "Goin' to the Zoo."

Why song of the week #5 is missing

Ok, so why is it so hard to post audio to the web? There are tons of sites (including blogger) that will let you post pictures and videos.
If you want to post an audio file you have to find a web hosting service and host the audio in your own web space. Then you can link it to your blog.

Our solution is to take the audio and make it a video with no picture. Then we can post it here. See song of the week #6.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spider Webs/Song of the Week #4

Click on the image to see it big enough to read.

Dream Catcher Lullaby is a common camp song. I first learned it from a fellow missionary when I was 21. She taught me the chorus and the descant and we had a good time singing it together. Many years later I found the song again and discovered that it had verses. Except for the first verse I didn't like them very much. (They were all about a guy who was going to be executed for his crimes.) So I wrote my own. There is a reason I don't have a career as a poet, but it's still fun to sing and it works well on the guitar.

My friend Pam and I performed it for a Relief Society activity once. I strummed the chords and she did some fancy picking. We are both altos, so if your voice won't go down to an A you'll want to get out the capo.

Special thanks to Melea for reminding me about this song (her kids are still singing it), and suggesting that I use it. I even got my guitar out today.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Little Bunny Purple Pants/Song of the Week #3

Little Bunny Purple Pants joined our family last year. Chesson was getting her third set of ear tubes plus having her adenoids removed. The surgical center had a pile of stuffed animals for the kids to choose from and Chesson was irresistibly drawn to the fluffy white bunny in the beautiful dress (with purple pants).
Surgery is a difficult business even if you don't include the illness or surgery itself. You have to arrive early in the morning and you can't eat breakfast so the child is tired and hungry and feeling a little worried by all the excitement. Parents are tired and tense. You have to wait in an unfamiliar place with nothing to do.
Then surgery.
Then you have to hold your terrified child as they come out of the anesthesia. Then wait a while until they are ready to go home.
In an attempt to keep Chesson calm through all of this Keith came up with a song that has become part of the family repertoire.
(Sung to the tune of "If your happy and you know it.")
If I stand on my head you can see my purple pants.
If I stand on my head you can see my purple pants.
But if I sit up tall and put my dress down low
I can wear purple pants and no one ever knows.

The dancing bunny is the best part. Chessy was still a little loopy when they got home from the hospital and showed us the song. The hysterical giggling was about the funniest thing I've ever seen.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Song of the Week II/Oh Henry!

Thomas and Estella performed in their school talent show today. So choosing the song of the week was a no brainer.
Unfortunately I can't load the video onto my blog, so you can't see how cute and funny my kids are. However, it saves you the discomfort of watching my wobbly, blurry video. (The autofocus was having a hard time.)

The song is "There's a Hole in the Bucket."
This song is a conversation between "Henry" and "Liza" over how to fix a hole in a bucket in order to haul water. It is also a circular song, meaning that the end meets back up with the beginning and if you wanted to you could just keep on singing all night long.

And here's a great recording of the song by Henry Belafonte and Odetta

We picked this song for several reasons
  • It had two parts and there were two kids involved
  • The verses flow logically from one to the next so it's easy to remember the words
  • There is good comedic potential
  • It isn't by Taylor Swift (Ok, we like Taylor as much as anybody, but she is pretty popular in elementary school talent shows.)
If anyone really wants to see the video, let me know and I'll email it to you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Song of the Week

Several weeks ago my good friend and her family were visiting. We talked about all the wonderful things she has accomplished while staying home with her nearly nine children. Most days I'm glad if everyone has food to eat and clean clothes to wear. There must be a place for me to participate in the rest of the world, to have a part of my life that is independent of my offspring, to maintain my skills, to have something to look forward to and work towards. It's a lofty goal. I'm not such a lofty person. So Keith suggested the song of the day on the blog. I'm not really sure how that works out yet, but I know that everyday is a bit much, so here it is: the very first song of the week.

I was thumbing through a very old song book I picked up at the thrift store for a quarter called "The New Blue Book of Favorite Songs" published in 1941. It's not very PC. Some of those Steven Foster songs have different words than I remember. You certainly wouldn't want to try to perform many of them now.

Eventually I came across a song that I had always sung like this: da da da da da da da da all through the night. Da da da da da da da da all through the night. etc
Not very interesting lyrics really, but it was all I knew. So I was glad to read the whole song and now I will share it with you. The title of the song is (surprise, surprise) All Through the Night by Harold Boulton and the melody is an Old Welsh Air

Sleep my child and peace attend thee All through the night;
Guardian angels God will send thee, All through the night,
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping, Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
I my loving vigil keeping All through the night.

While the moon her watch is keeping All through the night;
While the weary world is sleeping All through the night.
O'er thy spirit gently stealing, Visions of delight revealing,
Breathes a pure and holy feeling, All through the night.

For anyone who still happens to be reading here are some ideas for using this song with your family.
  • Ask children to hold, or pretend to hold, a baby doll and rock it gently to sleep as you sing.
  • Discuss whether the song should be sung loud or soft, fast or slow. (It is my experience that some smartalec will want to sing it loud and fast. Go ahead, it's kind of funny and illustrates the difference really well. After that you will have to sing the baby back to sleep again.)
  • The ending phrase "All through the night," is repeated three times in each stanza with the same melodic line. Children will catch onto that section very quickly. Invite them to sing it with you each time it comes around. (Then they can sing the song just like I did for the last 30 years.)
  • The first, second and last lines of each stanza have the exact same melody, but the third is different. To help children recognize which phrase is different create a long flowing movement for each phrase. Use the same movement for phrases that are the same and a contrasting movement for the one that is different.
So sing your baby a lullaby tonight and stay tuned for more fun songs to share with your family.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat:

I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:

I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me:

I was sick, and ye visited me:

I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me.
Matt. 25:35-36, 40

Love and gratitude to all you moms out there.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I came into the kitchen this morning and there was Chauncey standing by the fridge, cup in hand, trying to figure out the water dispenser. He looked up at me as if to say, "See how smart I am?" (The water dispenser on our fridge is considerably lower than most. Just right for the ambitious preschooler.) The camera wasn't handy, but boy was he cute. I helped him get some water, then pushed the child lock button.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ah Michigan

This morning we went outside to take Chesson to preschool.
The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the snow was falling and the thermometer read 10 degrees.
The kids sure enjoyed the foot and a half of snow and the two days off school last week.
Alicia spent one afternoon creating an Aztec temple out of cake. It took three boxes of cake mix, a few graham crackers and a lot of icing. It was delicious. Notice the snake decorations along the sides. This is very authentic. However, we decided not to try to make the gargoyles that go with them.