Archive for the 'Review Wednesday' Category

Halloween Mixtape!

halloweenLeaves rustle and the chill of the autumn breeze tingles your spine. Aliens, superheroes, wild beasts, curious creatures and masked monsters are at every turn – EEK! It’s Halloween! On this magical night of kiddie cosplay, a child’s imagination is king. Our Halloween Mixtape is chock-full of  tunes by musicians who dare your little trick-or-treaters to dream, dress up, be thankful for their treats, share their treasures and of course, dance and sing along like it’s Saturday night, every night. No tricks here, just good jams:

Side A: Boos and Ghouls

  1. UFO – “Did they pull us into space? Or am I just a head-case? Or maybe I’m now part of the alien race?” Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights, from “Bandwagon” 
  2. Superhero You “Doing this, doing that, doing all that we could, using our power for good!” Steve Songs, from “Orangutan Van”
  3. Wild Things – “I love when they do the wild romp in the jungle and the swamp.” Miss Nina, from “Sha Doo Be Doop”
  4. Space Monkey – “If I could hang please from that big piece of cheese, I’d be the first monkey on Mars.” Jambo, from “Hootenanny”
  5. What Do You Wanna Be?“Farmer, doctor, fireman, what do you want to be?” Milkshake, from “Got a Minute?”
  6. Song in the Trees – “There’s a song in my dreams, it’s calling me … it’s singing ‘oooooh.'”  Preschool of Rock, from “Everything Makes a Sound”
  7. Share“Share, you’ll get a turn, too.” Renee & Jeremy from “The Best Foot Forward Series: SHARE!”
  8. Tyrannosaurus “You’re the mightiest beast to ever feast!” Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band, from “I’m So Glad”

Side B: Tricks, Treats and Treasure So Sweet

  1. Tattoo Me“Tattoo me with dragons and skulls that stick right to me.” Recess Monkey, from Deep Sea Diver
  2. Walkin’ The Dog“If you don’t know how to do it, I’ll show you how to walk that dog.” Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble, from “I Like Everything About You (Yes I Do!)”
  3. My Treasure“You’re my treasure, carried you the whole way home to my dresser.” Recess Monkey, from “Desert Island Disc”
  4. Move Like Saturday Night“I can see by the look in your eyes, you’re ready to move like Saturday Ni-i-ight. “ Francis England, from “Blink of an Eye”
  5. Itsy Bitsy Spider“The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out.” Frankie D & Steven Bernstein, from “15 Songs Every Kid Should Know (and Will Love!)
  6. The Colors of the Sky“When nighttime arrives, the white moon shines above.”  Johnette Downing, from “Reading Rocks”
  7. Only Take What You Need“Choose a little, use it a lot and only take what you need.” Earth Mama, from “The Best Foot Forward Series: Gratitude Attitude”
  8. Whatever I Want To Be “Let’s run around and be just what we want!” Young Avenue Kids, from “Whatever I Want To Be”

CDs

Photo 1: http://mrpottersfuntimeblog.blogspot.com; photo 2: Mommy’s Alright.

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Sound It Out: Children’s Music Reviews

Children’s music has come a LOOONG way. I won’t name names, but not too long ago, a singing purple dinosaur roamed the earth. Thankfully, times have changed and now our children have access to everything from beloved folk songs given the indie rock treatment to pop punk with a friendly message. I admit to head bobbing to the better kids’ music out there and I would without a doubt take my family to see these bands live. In that vein, Mommy’s Alright will regularly round up some of the best new children’s music via “Sound It Out” posts. Here’s what we’re jamming to now …

Frances England: “Mind of My Own” – It doesn’t hurt that Frances England is ADORABLE, but looks aside, her indie-folk ditties are additively upbeat and imaginative. She so channels Ani DiFranco in “Cookies & Milk” and I’m falling hard for her aquatic homage to “friend of the ocean” Jacques Cousteau.

LISTEN: www.francesengland.com/music.php


The Boogers: “Let’s Go!” – It’s a no-brainer to combine the basic three-chord, two-minutes-or-fewer arrangements of punk legends The Ramones with the simplicity of children’s song lyrics. But in the wrong hands, it could be a complete disaster. Thankfully The Boogers came along and nailed it. With catchy pop punk tracks like “Let’s Go!” and “I’m Ridin’ My Bike,” The Boogers will definitely tide your tot over until he’s ready for the “Blitzkrieg Bop.”

LISTEN: http://www.meet-the-boogers.com


Keller Williams: “Kids” – Twangy Keller Williams is another artist who really gets it: simple, folk music with lyrics that are catchy and memorable combined with some background vocals by kids equals children’s music gold. It doesn’t hurt that it’s completely tolerable to mom and dad from a few-minute ride to preschool to a road trip. And, um, “Mama Tooted” is cracking me up right now. “It was not me/It was not you … It was mama – mama tooted.” Ha ha!

Listen: http://kellerwilliams.shop.musictoday.com/Dept.aspx?cp=34597_40577

Justin Roberts: “Jungle Gym” – With James Taylorish vocals and a super-catchy, jangly sound, Justin Roberts lives up to his hype. I’m really digging the horns in “Sleepoverland” and “Gym Class Parachute” was the story of my life in Mrs. Houlihan’s kindergarten class ca. 1983. Looked forward to that every single day.

LISTEN: www.justinroberts.org/music.php


Elizabeth Mitchell: “Sunny Day” – This album is a breath of fresh air because it features simple sing-along songs for all ages. I particularly dig the traditional American folk pieces (“This Little Light of Mine”) and  ethnic nursery rhymes (“Tsuki”). I also love that Elizabeth Mitchell’s husband Daniel Littleton and their daughter Storey make numerous cameos, giving it that real family-oriented feel without sounding corny or contrived.

LISTEN: www.folkways.si.edu/explore_folkways/sunny_day.aspx

Laurie Berkner Band: “Best Of” – Laurie Berkner Band super fans and newbies alike will want this disc. Between her playful songs about rocket ships, bumblebees and pigs, pretty harmonies and sing-along leanings, it’s no wonder her music is so well-loved. “Fast and Slow” is still my favorite with its jig-ability and changing tempos. You might have seen the uber-cute vid on Nick Jr.

LISTEN: www.laurieberkner.com/site/music.php


DidiPop: “Goes to Hawaii” – What better place to draw inspiration for a children’s album than where the ukuleles riff in a tropical breeze, the ocean is at your doorstep and plumeria of every color seem to appear out of thin air? A word of caution, though: DidiPop “Goes to Hawaii” could end up being the most expensive album you ever buy your kids – no doubt they are going to want to see what all the fuss is about in the Aloha State.

LISTEN: www.didipop.com/listen.php

Review Wednesday: Nûby

Nûby? No thanks.

My personal feeling about graduating children from bottles/the boob to sippy cups is that what’s the diff? I think most sippy cup spouts are glamorized nipples anyway. And the fact that the sucking motion is involved vs. sipping, I have to wonder what is being taught by replacing a bottle with a sippy cup? I think as parents, we’re just kind of lazy and don’t want to deal with spilled milk. I speak for myself.

I know my kid is capable of drinking from a cup (because he has), but do I want to offer him a cup full of milk at ever meal when he has a track record of spilling, tipping and throwing things? A cup of milk or water is TOO tempting for my lil stinker. So we use sippies.

At any rate, the majority of sippies we’ve received or purchased ourselves is just fine. But there is one in particular that I’m not a huge fan of – Nûby. It looks like a baby bottle that is flattened, and given a modern design and handles. Pronounced nuh-bee.

Nûby is fugly and has a pretentious spelling. And function-wise, at least for my kid, it’s ineffective. There is no leak protection, so when tipped, it spills out. And the spout is so soft and supple, it reminds me too much of a bottle nipple. Maybe Nûby is designed for the earliest phases of sippy cup training?

Washing Nûby is a chore. The ring and spout are pretty simple to separate for cleaning, but I’ve had a hell of a time putting them back together.

I just read some Amazon reviews to make sure I’m not crazy and sure enough, people are squawking about the same problems I’ve had and did the same thing I did when they’d “had enough” – trashed ’em.

Review Wednesday: Training Toothpaste

We choo-choo-choose the training toothpaste!

Ollie is a big eater and has the chompers to manage his appetite. I can’t complain. He’ll eat almost anything, which is great because his diet is largely whole foods, whole milk and water. No junk, no juice and no processed foods. Has he had fries? Of course. And he is enamored with them. But he only gets them sporadically.

Anyway, with food comes plaque buildup and with buildup comes the necessity of brushing. As a self-proclaimed oral hygiene freak, you won’t see Mountain Dew mouth in my family. But I was really struggling to brush Ollie’s teeth recently.

I got the kiddie toothbrush with the cartoon character on it, but he just wasn’t feeling it. Anytime I got the brush into his little pursed mouth, my brushing attempts were always a haphazard and ended in tears. I tried to get him to mimic me fake brushing my teeth like I read about on some parent message board — that kind of worked. But I finally ended up using damp cotton rounds and wiping his pearly whites. I know it sounds odd, but I figured it’s no different than a washcloth, which I also heard is an alternative to a brush. That was the only thing that seemed to work.

My pediatrician wasn’t impressed, though, stating there wasn’t enough friction with the cotton, and gave me all sorts of ideas like brushing along with the William Tell Overture to brushing fun. Mkay.

I settled on trying “training toothpaste” – another suggestion she gave me. She said kids largely end up liking the taste and swallowing the toothpaste, but it gets the brush in there and they chew on it and work it around. And the paste is safe. Good enough for me.

I got Orajel training toothpaste with Thomas the Tank Engine on the box. Training toothpaste does not have fluoride in it, therefore if swallowed, it is not harmful. Too much fluoride during the years of tooth development can result in fluorosis, which creates defects in tooth enamel. Ick.

The Orajel seemed to go over well. Ollie does just what Doc said he would (chews on the brush), but the key is the brush is in his mouth. I interrupt him occasionally to actually brush and let him resume chewing.

So the Orajel gets a sparkling review from this chick’s kid.


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