Friday Fun: Songs for Survival – A Kindie Playlist for New England’s Winter 2015

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Almost survived Boston’s Winter 2015

I have been receiving reports from family and friends in New England about the crazy amounts of snow that Just. Keeps. Falling. My sister hasn’t worked on a Monday in about a month and recently remarked “This winter is no joke, Rebecca!” And if Boston-based kindie artist and event producer Karen K (for Kalafatas) is any indication, the prognosis is not good, my friends.  Not good at all.

I reached out to Karen earlier this week just to catch up, and she seemed, um, off, to say the least. Karen, the usually sunny front person to her band Karen K & the Jitterbugs and producer of the rockin’ Kids Really Rock family music festival, just didn’t seem like herself.  She spoke in short, frantic sentences as if she’d forgotten how to interact with humans, and her usual warmth was well, cold, as though it had been locked up in an icebox. I think her eye might have been twitching while she was talking to me.
Admittedly, I was a little worried about both of them, and the rest of my friends and family in the New England region. Especially after my sister sent me a photo of a 4-lane road in Boston reduced to 1 1/2 lanes. But music heals, right?  So I asked Karen to create a kindie playlist to describe her experience, and her mood – and the mood of Boston and the people of New England – since they’ve been hit by all this snow (and more is on the way!).  This was her response.
By the way, Boston is expecting more snow this weekend.  In the words of Karen herself, “God Speed, New England.  God Speed.”


A Friggin Snow-Tastic Kindie Playlist, with Love From Boston

Click on the song names below to download the music and support a kindie artist today! Especially ones that might be inside for the rest of the year.

  1. Snow Day – Justin Roberts, Jungle Gym
    Aw, Justin is right!  Snow days are so fun!  But I’m guessing a song entitled “Snow Day #416 And Counting” would have a completely different groove.  Like maybe a funeral march.  But you know. Just a guess.
  2. Salmon Song – Jazzy Ash, Home
    Because salmon reminds me of Alaska.  And Alaska reminds me that we basically live there now.
  3. S-N-O-W-M-A-N – Billy Kelly, Thank You for Joining the Happy Club
    Yeah.  It’s gotten so bad, we’re actually dreaming in S-N-O-W.
  4. Play With Me – Big Bang Boom – Songs Your Mom Will Like
    1) Play 2) With 3) Me.  The top three words uttered this winter in a household with children, next to 1) Snow Day 2) $&*&#* and 3) #(*^$@&
  5. Valentine – Laura Doherty, Shining Like a Star
    Hey, look at that!  You made so many crafty-hearty-cute-and-Pinterest-worthy Valentines over your snow days that you can send one to every person on your Holiday Card list!  Which is great, since you’ve been so busy complaining about the weather this winter, you completely forgot to mail your holidays cards.  Again.
  6. Don’t Wake the Baby – Audra Rox, I Can Do It By Myself
    Yes, whatever you do, do NOT wake the baby.  Or me. Try not to wake me.
  7. Glitter Everywhere – The Pop Ups, Appetite for Construction
    Endless inside time + crafts = of course. But not even a snowblower is gonna get that glitter out of your house. Ever. 
  8. Crayons in a Box – Steve Elci & Friends, Crayons in a Box
    Again, crayons second only to glitter.
  9. Daddy’s Snoring – Mister G, The Bossy E
    Yes. Yes, he is.  And it’s 3:00 in the afternoon.  On a Wednesday.
  10. Sippy Cup – Hullabaloo, Tall As A Tree
    Are we SURE that’s coffee in Mommy’s sippy cup?  ‘Cause it’s been snowing since October, and she seems a little off. Just sayin…
  11. Pancakes for Dinner – Karen K & the Jitterbugs, Pancakes for Dinner
    Because the key to snow day survival is a horrible, horrible diet.
  12. Who Stole the Cookies – Lucky Diaz & the Family Jam Band, A Potluck
    Seriously.  Who stole the last cookie?  Because roads are undriveable, stores are closed, and we’re stuck here with NO CHOCOLATE FOR THE NEXT THREE DAYS.
  13. PJs All Day – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, The Perfect Quirk
    “Honey, have you seen Offspring?”
    “Um, no…not in about 8 hours.” Translation: “Not since I went to work (in the dining room) and left you on the couch in the exact same position you are in now…”
  14. Time to Brush Our Teeth – Brady Rymer, Look at My Belly
    Because yes, you were snow-lucinating when you heard Michelle Obama say she is going to add teeth-brushing to the Let’s Move initiative as a legitimate form of exercise.  This totally. Does. Not. Count. 
  15. TV’s Watching Me – The Not-Its, Tag, You’re It!
    That moment you realize Peg is not really your daughter and you don’t own a Cat.  (Also, Meredith Baxter Birney is not your friend, and falling asleep on the couch watching Lifetime movies does not equal having a slumber party with her. I repeat:  This is not real and she is not your friend.  Wait, did you hear that?  What was that noise?  Ohmygodsomeone’sbreakinginandtryingtokillme… helpmeMeredithhelpme!!!!)
  16. Back to School – Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights, Bandwagon
    Did someone say school?  THERE’S SCHOOL TOMORROW????  OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygoshBestnewseverBestnewseverBestnews…Wait a minute.  Was there homework this week?  ((*R$^%*&(*)(^&$%#$#$*&^&$%$#%^*&!!!!!!!!
  17. Snow Day – Eric Herman and the Invisible Band, Snow Day!
    BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Yeah, like you’re ever going back to school. Forecast says more snow.  Translation:  You’re screwed.  (But, hey, at least this song is only 42 seconds long.  Unlike the MAMMOTH snow storm on the way…)
  18. M.T.A. – Ben Rudnick & Friends, Blast Off
    Poor Charlie.  If only he’s waited for Winter 2015, when Mayor Marty Walsh CLOSED THE MBTA COMPLETELY DOWN for 2 DAYS.  Ah, one man’s fate would have been so different.  Sorry, Charlie.
  19. Mean People – Lori Henriques, Outside My Door
    Because New Englanders are friendly as long as you don’t make eye contact or speak. And that’s on a sunny day.
  20. Snow Globe – Lunch Money, Original Friend
    Because we live in one.  Because we freakin’ live in one. (And also, glitter.)
  21. Meltdown – Justin Roberts, Meltdown!
    Because when the snow won’t melt, something has to.
  22. Amen!! – Josh & the Jamtones, Amen!! Holiday Singles Collection – EP
    Because right now all we can do is pray.  And because we know Tom Brady is listening, and that he can make this madness stop.
  23. Stop Your Sobbing – Stacey Peasley, Lucky Day
    Aw, you’re so right!  We should totally stop complaining.  Until summer, when I hear it’s gonna be SUPER hot…
  24. Happy Place – Mista Cookie Jar, & the Chocolate Chips, Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution
    We would like to go to there.
  25. The Very Best Thing – Trout Fishing in America, The Very Best Thing – Single
    Hear that, snow?  Love wins.  It isn’t always easy, but family is everything.  And having someone to share the crazy with is the very best thing.
  26. Forever Young – Randy Kaplan, The Kids Are All Id
    Because you’re not as old as that couch has made you feel.  Because you laughed deeper than the snow while frolicking outside with your Small Human.  And because let’s face it: You just binged watched 5 seasons of Parenthood and cried the entire time.

    BONUS TRACK:
  27. It’s a Sunny Day – Boogers, Extractum Victoris
    Hoooray!!!!! It’s Spring!!!!!!

    JUST KIDDING.  HERE’S THE REAL BONUS TRACK:
  28. Snow Day – Trout Fishing in America, Merry Fishes to All
    You silly fools.  Of COURSE that’s snow falling outside.  

God speed, New England, and see you on the other side. (In other words, August.  See you in August…)  

Playlist: A fine blend of kids’ music that rocks!

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Photo Steve

 

It’s always fun to gather up some great songs, and tuck them neatly into a playlist. Today I’m sharing a bunch of songs (new and previously released) that we’ve been jammin’ to. It’s been fun to revisit some “classics.”

As always, I recommend listening to the playlist in the following order and then mixing things up with a little “shuffle.” If you like what you hear, click on the links below the playlist and consider supporting these wonderful, independent artists.

Daylight – Dream Jam Band from the world of Nickhoo
Easy as 1,2,3 (Feat. Ellen Brackin Sevits) – Jamison Sevits from Get On Down!
Vroom – Todd McHatton from Super Audio Sunshine
Nose in a Book – The Not-Its! from Raise Your Hand
Monkeys Driving Cars – Billy Jonas and the Billy Jonas Band from Build It Back Again
Someday Some Morning Sometime – Little Miss Ann from Follow Me
Outside Sounds – Papa Crow from Full Moon, Full Moon
Jazzy – Kira Willey from How to be a Cloud
We Got The Bite – Gustafer Yellowgold from Gustafer Yellowgold’s Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom
Block House – The Pop Ups from Appetite for Construction
Food Songs – Alphabet Rockers from Go!
Everybody Dance – Josh and the Jamtones from Bear Hunt!
Food Calculator – Alphabet Rockers from Go!
Lines and Dots – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band from A Potluck
Rad – Play Date from Imagination
Nicky Nicky Knock Knock – The Dream Jam Band from Kidzapalooza Volume One
Don’t Ask Me Why – The Whirlygigs from Greetings from Cloud 9
A Fresh Start – Lucy Kalantari from Pockets Full of Joy
The Snow is  Falling Down – Josh and the Jamtones from Bear Hunt
Rattlesnakes – Walter Martin from We’re All Young Together
Not Too Young For A  Song – Randy Kaplan from Jam on Rye

Playlist: 2015 Best Children’s Album Grammy Nominees

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Best Children’s Album

 

The Grammy’s will be here before we know it! In anticipation of this event, here is a playlist featuring the 2015 Grammy Nominees for Best Children’s Album thanks to Sugar Mountain PR. Get to know the nominees through the Artist’s links below.

1 Brady RymerJust Say Hi!
2 The Okee Dokee BrothersThrough the Woods
3 The Pop UpsAll These Shapes
4 Secret Agent 23 SkidooImaginary Friend
5 HachetteAudioI Am Malala (Young Readers) by Malala Yousafzai, Read by Neela Vaswani

NOTE: There will be a special benefit concert featuring these nominees on February 7, 2015 at 10:30am in Hollywood, CA. Check out this link for more information and tickets.Proceeds from the event will go to Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides under-served public school children with free music classes and new instruments.

Backseat Yoga Breaks with Kira Willey

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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.


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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.

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