Backseat Yoga Breaks with Kira Willey


Happy New Year! Are you guys back into the swing of things yet? For our family, getting back into a regular routine – getting up early, getting lunch and snack made and to school on time – has taken some extra strength and mind power from reserves that feel depleted. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of rushing and catching up with very little downtime. Plus, getting into a cold car for the morning commute makes everyone just a little more tense and uncomfortable. Thankfully, there is a solution!

Shortly before the holidays, Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live (ch. 78) started airing Kira Willey’s “Backseat Yoga Breaks” every morning on The Absolutely Mindy Show (7-10 am ET). These short breaks air sporadically throughout the show and offer everyone a chance to relax and get focused. Thankfully, our commute is long enough for us to enjoy these little breaks (which are also somehow nicely timed with the heat kicking in).

Today I am so excited to deliver three NEW yoga breaks to you! These breaks are so easy and are presented in a fun way with language that kids will be able to relate to and even find playful. I especially love the idea of setting an intention and thinking positively about how we would like our day to go. Kira’s helpful prompts encourage thoughtful conversations, providing a nice pathway to connect with your kids. The car is usually so quiet in the morning as we listen to the radio and work on trying to wake up our faces. Listening to Kira’s gentle voice guide us through setting an intention has helped break the silence. It’s also given my daughter an opportunity to share what’s on her mind, and even seek advice on how to handle certain situations with friends at school. I love it!

Feel free to enjoy these little breaks whenever you need them throughout your day. I use them on my own as well since I am on the computer all day and tend to hold tension in my shoulders and neck.

1- BUNNY BREATH (helps focus/energizes)

Sit up tall, and bring your hands in front of you like bunny paws. Wiggle your bunny nose as you take quick little breaths in, (sniff, sniff, sniff!) and then let it all the way out. Once more, take some bunny breaths in (sniff, sniff, sniff!) and then let it all the way out. Do this a few more times if you like it! Bunny breaths give us energy, and can help us focus. Have a great day!

2 – HOW TO BE A CLOUD (calming/improves self-awareness)

Sit up tall, close your eyes, and imagine you’re outside on a warm day. Now imagine you’re a cloud in the sky. What kind of a cloud are you? Are you a fluffy white cloud, or a dark gray cloud? If you’re a storm cloud, you can let your angry raindrops just fall away. Maybe you’re a sparkly cloud, full of snowflakes.  You can be any kind you want.  Take a long breath in, let it all the way out, and open your eyes.

3 – SET AN INTENTION (positive thinking)

Close your eyes, think about how you’d like your day to go, and finish this sentence in your mind… “Today, I’m going to be… ” Maybe you finish it with “helpful,” or “friendly!”…There are lots of things we have to do that we don’t have a choice about, but we do have a choice about how we act. So you decide how to finish the sentence, and if you want to, tell your grownup about it. And have a great day!

More about Kira

howcoverKira Willey is a nationally recognized musician and yoga teacher based in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. She is also the creator of Fireflies Musical Yoga for Kids. Kira is passionate about helping children learn relaxation techniques that also help strengthen their minds in a way that leads to better focus and concentration. Kira’s latest release, How To Be A Cloud, contains a full set of 13 songs followed by 9 tracks featuring yoga instruction, and is packaged with a booklet illustrating yoga poses. Kira is also the host of a new yoga-for-kids series of interstitial programs airing on selected PBS TV affiliates which you can check out here. In September 2014, she led sessions with hundreds of teachers at the National Kids Yoga Conference in Washington DC.

Check out the additional tension-relieving yoga breaks below and through this link. Also, make sure to visit Kira’s official page for news, music downloads and events.

These backseat yoga breaks have become like apps for the body and mind. If you find yourself feeling anxious or in need of a brief reprieve, Kira’s got a yoga break for that. Need to reduce the tension in your shoulders, or perhaps, like me, you need a little assistance waking up your face? Kira’s got a yoga break for that, too! They truly are useful for all ages (see additional yoga breaks at the bottom of this post)!

Gentle Neck Stretch
Sit up nice and tall, and close your eyes. Gently shake your head like you’re saying no, and then nod your head like you’re saying yes. Slowly and gently let your head fall to the right. Now, bring it down and forward toward your chest, and roll it to the left side. Lean your head back just a little, as if you’re looking up toward the sky, but keep your eyes closed. Now,  let’s roll the other way: gently lean your head to the left, roll it down to the front, and lean your head to the right side. Come back to center, take a long breath in, let it all the way out, and open your eyes.

Shoulder squeeze
Sit up tall, and pull your belly in. Squeeze your shoulders up toward your ears, take a big breath in, and let it out as you slowly drop your shoulders back down. Once more, squeeze your shoulders up toward your ears, take a breath in. Let it out as you slowly drop your shoulders back down. Do this a few more times if it feels good.

Full body squeeze
Let’s wake up our bodies by squeezing all of our muscles. Start with scrunching up your toes, then squeeze all the muscles in your legs, make your belly really strong, and squeeze the muscles in your arms. Make your hands into fists, scrunch up your face and squeeze your eyes shut. Take a breath in, and as you let it out, slowly let all those muscles go, and relax your whole body.

Wake Up Your Face <— YES, PLEASE! Kira is awesome!

Music and presence for the holidays

The best part of the holidays is Sharing Presence

The best part of the holidays is sharing presence

When I first saw the above comic, I was instantly struck by the profundity of its meaning. Amidst all of the holiday hubbub, I tend to overlook the true end result as I focus on finding just the right gifts, braving the lines at the post office, and getting ready for travel. Whether it’s being with family, pets, friends, or a larger community, being in the presence of people/loved ones really brings the best kind of presents.

Music is another source of joy, especially during the holidays. We’ve been listening to classics from previous playlists, as well as a few new items mentioned below that have definitely added to the sentiment of presence.

Below you will find a nice mix of Chanukah and Christmas music. Enjoy!

Light” – Lisa Loeb

Sometimes it’s hard for me to come up with just the right words to describe a song. Sometimes, a song’s composition is so striking that I can’t help but first “feel” the song. I hear it, yet the music is so rich, so deep that the sounds take me away.

Lisa Loeb’s new Chanukah single, “Light,” does exactly that. It’s a gorgeous song that radiates like the warm glow of freshly lit candles. Renee Stahl, singer-songwriter and one half of the kindie group Renee & Jeremy, harmoniously echoes Loeb with a quiet intensity, filling the air with a special sense of hope. Loeb wrote the song in honor of Chanukah, and to remind us that we can all continue to shine brightly and steadily, with or without the flame.

All I Want For Chanukah is a Ukulele” – Alison Faith Levy with Karla Kane of The Corner Laughers

What can happen in a matter of two weeks? One of the Bay Area’s finest musicians, Alison Faith Levy, expertly answers that question with grace and ease. Inspired by the ukulele tutorials we have been doing over at Moms Making Music, Levy went out and bought herself a uke, learned how to play it AND wrote and produced an original Chanukulele (Chanukah + Ukulele) song and video! In just 2 weeks! And it’s a great song! If you don’t own a uke yet, you might just be inspired to pick one up after watching this video.

You can sing along with Alison by reading the lyrics she posted on her official site.

Interested in learning how to play the ukulele? Learn along with us through our tutorials at the Moms Making Music Facebook page after you enjoy Alison’s performance in the video below.

Got the SpiritMist a Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips

Back with another holiday jingle, MCJ and the Chocolate Chips come together to spread love, warmth and spirit with a soul-filled throwback to the classic sounds of the 50s. “Got the Spirit” captures the essence of being present during the holiday season by encouraging us to slow down, take a breath, and rock on with our Superbad selves as we soak up the good vibrations of those around us.

Dance because it’s chilly.
Shake until we’re silly.
Slow it down…take a breath.
Now think about the little things
That make you feel so blessed.

One Blue Candle” – Readeez

Michael Rachap, creator of Readeez, produces original songs and pairs them with animated, lyric videos in an effort to promote a better understanding of the quirky “rules” of the English language, i.e. knowing how letter sounds change when they are next to a vowel. By pairing music with lyrics and illustrations learning is reinforced through visual prompts that aid in pronunciation and foster a deeper understanding of basic concepts. We love watching Readeez videos and with each one, I can point out and talk with my daughter about the differences between what we see, hear and speak.

Readeez’s latest video is an original Chanukah (or Hanukkah depending on your spelling preference) song called “One Blue Candle,” which is in honor of the one blue candle that diligently lights each candle on the menorah every night of Chanukah. It’s part counting song, part holiday song. Simple, but like any Readeez video, colorful, informative and meaningful.

Favorite Cousin” – The Pop Ups

The Pop Ups bring a “family jam” to the fold with “Favorite Cousin” which, as the name indicates, is about celebrating with your favorite extended family member(s).

I Walk So Slow Under the Mistletoe” – Walter Martin feat. Kat Edmonson

If this song happened to show up at a holiday party and pour itself a cup of egg nog, it would not be weird at all. “I Walk So Slow Under the Mistletoe,” is a whimsical little song that captures the spirit of tradition sprinkled with just the right amount of kitsch. Martin pairs up with singer-songwriter Kat Edmonson whose unique voice blends in a nice dose of retro sweetness.

Martin explains, “I love holiday music, and I tried to pump up all of its wonderful clichés: dreamy romance, choral singing, sleigh bells…etc. I want people to feel like they’re sitting on a gumdrop sofa inside a gingerbread house while it’s raining candy canes and eggnog.”

Edmonson also appears on Martin’s debut children’s album, We’re All Young Together, in “Hey Sister.” I really love the pairing of these two timeless-sounding voices.


Bobs & Lolo – Wave Your Antlers (Album review)

I love holiday music that doesn’t try too hard to be holiday music. Sure, most holiday music is covers of covers and renditions of originals but some carry a particularly nostalgic sound that captures the joy of the season in a way that feels authentic and is wonderful to hear on repeat.

British Columbia duo, Bobs and Lolo, created a holiday album called Wave Your Antlers with 15 songs that make things warm and cozy with both originals and classics (“Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” for example). There is a lot of fun packed into these songs which includes the introduction to a Christmas moose, named “Chris Moose,” naturally (see video below). “Go Freeze” offers the opportunity for a family game of freeze dance, while the unexpected rendition of “Dona Nobis Pacem,” which is latin for “Grant us peace,” gives you some downtime and pairs beautifully with candlelight.

Robyn Hardy (Bobs) and Lorraine Pond (Lolo) harmonize in a way that is reminiscent of the Dixie Chicks which is most notably heard on “Old Toy Trains,” a sweet song which is a slight lullaby or soft nudge encouraging little ones to get some sleep in preparation for the arrival of the man in red. Their joy is infectious which is another part of what makes this album so lovely. You can’t help but get happy as you sing right along with them. This album has become a family favorite which I envision being a part of our collection for years to come.

Enjoy the below video playlist which features a selection from Wave Your Antlers, including: “Chris Moose” (official), “Frosty the Snowman” (lyric), “Old Toy Trains” (lyric), “Up Up Up” (official), and “Go Freeze” (official).

FREE MUSIC: Somethin’s cookin’! Thanksgiving Playlist before the feast!

Thanksgiving is the holiday before the holiday rush starts. It’s the pause, the calm before the holiday storm. Although, this year it felt like Christmas started the day after Halloween as Christmas villages, gold garland and colorful striped candy canes made a fresh appearance on fully stocked shelves.

As I was thinking more about today’s post, the general food theme, and the feast that comes along with the upcoming holiday, three words came to mind: comfort, memories and gratitude. Each of the following songs filled me with an unexpected eagerness for the holidays. Feelings of comfort flooded through my body as I thought about spending time with family I don’t get to see very often. Memories of being glued to the television, wide-eyed, watching big balloons float along in the parade filled me with joy. Gratitude for accomplishments, friends and the love that I am surrounded by every day swelled my heart. Sure, there’s a bit of wacky in there, too, but what would the holidays be without a bit of madness?!

It’s funny to think that songs, related to food, would bring forth these emotions, but that’s the power of music! And now I get to share them with you. As Cathy Fink says in her song below, “Bon Appétit!”

Spread the love by sharing these tracks with your family and friends. Download the Soundcloud playlist for FREE through Friday, November 20, 2014 . If you like what you hear (I promise you will!) consider supporting the artists by clicking on their corresponding links below.

Having trouble playing the Soundcloud songs? Follow this link.

Song List

1. Kira Willey music – “The Mixing Bowl
2. LisaLoeb – “The Disappointing Pancake”
3. Heidi Swedeberg and the Sukey Jump Band – “My Cup Of Tea”
4. Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke – “Eggplant Man
5. Brady Rymer – “Picky Eater
6. Danny Weinkauf – “Whipped Cream
7. Okee Dokee Brothers – “Big Rock Candy Mountain
8. Cathy Fink – “Bon Appetit

Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips – “Gratitude

Naturally, Mista Cookie Jar, Miss Ava Flava and the rest of the Chocolate Chip crew bring heartfelt words with a big bang of soul. On the below track, MCJ gets brassy with the sax, adding some pizazz to the mix (this guy has endless talent!) while reminding us to “give thanks” by spreading our love everywhere because “Gratitude is contagious“! So true! Check out the rest of the song’s lyrics here.




Tune in: Happy Halloween playlist that will lift your spirits!

FullSizeRenderAs the days creep closer and closer to Halloween, we are firing up our playlist and enjoying not-so-terrifying tunes as we parade around in our costumes and finish decorating our jack-o-lanterns.

Below the Spotify playlist you will also find a new video by Todd McHatton and a groovy new song from Charity and the Jam Band called “Halloween” delivering the most essential reminder: No matter what you’re gonna be for Halloween, you can still dance in your costume!


If you like what you hear, please consider supporting these artists by purchasing/downloading these songs through the links below. Please note that these links are also affiliate links which help support this blog.

Monsters” by Jazzy Ash (from Home)

Monster Boogie” by Laurie Berkner (from Buzz Buzz and The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band)

“Dance LIke A Monster” by Play Date (from Imagination)

“Costume Party” by The Pop Ups (from Appetite for Construction)

“Them Bones (feat. Outtasite)” by Caspar Babypants (from Sing Along!)

“Always Be A Unicorn” by Helen Austin (from Always Be A Unicorn)

“Every Little Monster” by Todd McHatton (from Super Audio Sunshine)

“Gettin’ Down On Halloween” by Boxtop Jenkins (fromYou’re Happier When You’re Happy)

“Three Little Pumpkins” by Little Miss Ann (from Follow Me)

“Five Little Pumpkins” by Raffi (from Singable Songs for the Very Young)

“Scared Scare Crow” by Caspar Babypants (from Hot Dog!)

“Where Do Monsters Go?” by Ratboy Jr. (from Champions of the Universe)

“Confusing Costume” by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights (from Good Egg)

“I’m Not Afraid Anymore” by Papa Crow (from Things That Roar)

Want more Halloween fun, check out the Halloween Digest featuring videos by The Hipwaders, Mista Cookie Jar and Play Date and a fun Halloween word activity!

Shiver me timbers! It’s National Talk Like A Pirate Day!


Stand tall, me hearties, and be counted! Today is National Talk Like A Pirate Day! In honor of this holiday, I thought I’d share a few pirate songs and a list of pirate books that regularly make the top of our reading list at home. Enjoy mateys!

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – Imaginary Friend
Josh and the Jamtones – Pirate’s Life
Recess Monkey – The Seven Cs
The Hipwaders – Song of the Paleo Pirates
The Whizpops! – Anglerfish
Clint Perry and the Boo Hoo Crew – Pirate Booty
Billy Harley – Pirate Song

Di51uLNXsLUsL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_rty Joe the Pirate by Bill Harley
Bill Harley is one of our favorite storytellers! In this pirate adventure we get to meet Dirty Joe who sails the seas looking for dirty socks! But he’s not alone. Dirty Annie is equally as fierce. With a hilarious twist, Dirty Joe is caught completely off guard.


Here’s a clip of Harley performing “The Ballad of Dirty Joe” [courtesy of YouTube]

51j56W4BuLL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_The Barefoot Book of Pirates by Richard Walker
This swashbuckling anthology is equivalent to a World Music compilation of pirate tales as each story comes from a different country. It’s a great book to read aloud as it introduces kids to characters such as “The captain in the German tale, Kobold and the Pirates; others, like young Mochimitsu in the Japanese tale, are friendly and funny.” Even Robin Hood makes an unexpected appearance!


61pX9LP-hJLThe Night Pirates: Pop Up Adventure by Peter Harris
The main character, Tom, is awakened one night by a band of girl pirates who invite him along on their adventure to steal treasure from grown-ups on a far away island. It’s a silly tale that is filled with colorful illustrations and simple words for practicing readers. It is also a wonderful book to read aloud.

Back to School Playlist 2014

Our Back to school playlist is filled with some upbeat, rockin’ jams that get us energized and ready to start our day. Take a listen and pump up the volume whether you are carpoolin’ it with some friends or just driving in with your own crew.

Listen to it straight through or put it on shuffle to mix things up a bit (and give each song a chance). Either way, you’ll enjoy what you hear!

Please also remember to support the artists by visiting their band pages, and consider purchasing the songs you like through the band’s store, Amazon, iTunes, or CDBaby.

The Not-Its
Play Date
The Pop Ups
Gustafer Yellowgold
Alphabet Rockers
The Hipwaders
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Rainbow Beast and the Rock Band Land Rockers
The Short Films
Nick Bayard
The Corner Laughers
Brady Rymer
Dan Crow
Josh and the Jamtones
Steve Elci
Danny Weinkauf
The Whizpops
The Whirlygigs
Walter Martin

This list is growing and we’d love to hear what you’re listening to as well. Leave us a note! Sharing is caring!

Rox in Sox 2014 Playlist: Children’s Book and Music Festival

rox in sox logo

S is for summer and songs and SOX as in Rox in Sox, an Oregon-based children’s music and literature festival. In its second year, Rox in Sox will once again present an all-star lineup of kindie musicians for FREE. This is an incredible opportunity for those in the area. And if you are thinking about a weekend getaway, this is an excellent reason for you to check the Pacific Northwest off your bucket list of places to visit.

Great Day – The Not-Its!
Inner Rock Child – Mista Cookie Jar
Wired – Recess Monkey
Gotta Be Me – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Man Gave Names To All The Animals – Aaron Nigel Smith
Mr. Rabbit – Red Yarn

FREE DOWNLOAD: Give Dad the gift of music! Enjoy a free Father’s Day playlist!

Sunday is Father’s Day and whether you are going on an adventure, giving a little one a shoulder ride or enveloping your cubs in the best bear hug ever, make it a musical day with the following playlist specially crafted by Beth Benz-Clucas of Sugar Mountain PR. Bonus: This playlist is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD through June 18.

The following list contains stellar songs by some rockstar kindie folks, as well as a prominent father figure responsible for spreading love and joy to so many children world-wide. There’s a whole lotta love in this playlist!

Below is the full track listing, as well as the artists’ websites where you can learn more about them, find out where they are playing, and find other ways to connect and show your support.

Additionally, if you click into each song in Soundcloud, you will find some fun facts about the artist and/or the song itself.

Brady Rymer – “Light of Love” from his forthcoming album “Just Say Hi!” –
Raffi – “Love Bug” from his forthcoming album “Love Bug” –
The Not-Its! – “Love is Love” from their forthcoming album “Raise Your Hand” – http;//
Suzi Shelton – “Ten Thousand Kisses” from her award-winning album “Smply Suzi” –
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band – “When I Grow Up” from the album “Lishy Lou and Lucky Too” –
The Pop Ups – “Feelings Change” – from their GRAMMY nominated album “Radio Jungle” –
Sugar Free Allstars – “My Daddy’s Record Collection” – from their new vinyl 45 release –
Eric Herman – “Elephant Song (Snail’s pace version)” – a new version of his hit song, with his two daughters –

Father’s Day 2014 continued + FREE DOWNLOAD

In addition to the preceding list, here are some other Father’s Day songs that you will absolutely enjoy.

The WhirlyGigs – “Every Day In Every Way” –  from the forthcoming Greetings from Cloud 9. This rag-timey jingle celebrates the love a Dad has for his daughter as it rings out, “you know I love ya girl, every way I can!” followed up with the promise of never-ending support. To download the song, enter ‘0’ into the price field. FREE DOWNLOAD through Father’s Day.


Justin Roberts“Dad Caught Stars” from Not Naptime. This one will always hold a special place in my heart as I recall my own childhood “catching stars” with my Dad on summer nights. Poignant and eloquent with a touch of magic.

Frances England – “Daddy-O” from Fascinating Creatures – there’s no denying the grace and beauty found within Frances England’s music. “Daddy-O” is a beautiful, sentimental song that will melt your heart(s). Keep a tissue close by.

Bill Harley – “Walk Around the Block” from The Best Candy in the Whole World. Humorous banter between a Dad and his son resulting in the delay of bedtime. Dad’s (and Mom’s) will have no problem relating to this song.

Darryl Tookes and Joe Beck “Daddy’s Always Here” from Precious Child – Love Songs & Lullabies. This video contains a collage of images featuring Dad’s with children of all ages. Set to a soothing lullaby, it’s a sentimental trip down memory lane.