Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Latest Pins

I thought I would share some of my latest favorites from Pinterest.  If you love them, go ahead and click on the picture to find the source. Then you can pin it too! 

LOVE this...Some of my students need to understand this...
Pinned Image
(I can't seem to link this back to anything except my own pin, sorry 'bout that!)

This looks so easy, yummy, and healthy.  I'm going to try it today!
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Pinned Image

What a cute way to store cupcake wrappers!  Claire loves to make cupcakes and when I see cute or unique wrappers, I pick them up.  We have a lot in our pantry.  This would be a nice way to display them.  This is pretty and colorful plus practical because you can see what you have!
Pinned Image

I think this is just hilarious!  This pin is the link to the tutorial to make it!  Love it!
Pinned Image

I thought this was so cute and so easy.  Super cute decoration for a birthday party. 
You could also use just red and white and make them for Christmas decorations.
Pinned Image

Are you on Pinterest?  I think Pinterest is either a blessing or a curse.  I haven't decided which.  I'm addicted, and it is making me procrastinate on that pile of dirty laundry!  :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Canning Jar Ring Wreath

As I mentioned in a post last week, I have been a little addicted to making wreaths lately.  (Click here to see more.)  I have been "seeing" wreaths in all I do.  So when I was making spaghetti a few days ago and opened up a jar of canned tomatoes, the ring for the canning jar just jumped out at me.  It is round, like a wreath, and little and cute!  I was so excited to try it!

I began by using white tulle.  I cut strips of the tulle into 12 inch pieces.  I then tied them in a double knot around the ring, sliding them tight together and lining up each knot with the previous knot.  I found I liked the underside of the ring the best.  See here...

I did this all the way around the ring.  It was very quick work - actually only took a few minutes!  I cut one strip of tulle several  inches longer than the others to use to hang the wreath.

I found this cute ribbon for $1.00 for a spool of 4 ft. at Wal-Mart.  I used a hot pink polkadot on light pink ribbon, a light pink with hot pink ladybugs, and a glittery polkadot ribbon.  I cut these in shorter strips and tied them around the knot of the tulle. 

The hot pink ladybug ribbon inspired me to add a few more details.  I used my Cricut and cut a 3 inch "Love Bug" phrase and a 3 inch ladybug.  These shapes are from the Create-a-Critter Cricut cartridge.  I glued the cut-outs onto just a couple strips of
ribbon to hold it in place.

It is only about 10 inches in diameter.  The small size, with the pink ladybug ribbon and the "Love Bug" wording all goes together so well.  It is adorable, if I do say so myself! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Date Night: Concession Stands & Funeral Homes

This past Tuesday I blogged about a typical day in my life as a working mom.  If you missed it, you can click here to read it.  After putting my whole day in writing and taking a look at it from start to finish...well, there were a few things that really got my attention.  The biggest being, my husband, Ryan, was just sort of co-existing with me on that busy day.  We worked together to get the kids up and out the door in the morning and then we worked together to get them home, fed, bathed, and in bed, barely uttering a "good-night" to each other.  Kinda made me sad.  After all, it was the two of us alone that started this chaos, right - "all because two people fell in love."  I miss that man. 

So anyway, last night as we said "good-night" to each other I told him that that post made me realize we have been so busy we haven't even talked about anything more than the quick "how was your day?"  He said, "Yeah, I know but we have a date on Friday."  Yes!  And Friday is tomorrow and I CAN'T WAIT. 

Before our son, Hugh (8) was born, we went out a lot - dinner, movies, picnics, concerts, long drives...but as things go a baby changed things.  When Hugh was a bit older, around 3 or 4, we began "dating" again more often as we felt comfortable leaving him with grandparents or a babysitter.  We tried to go out together every week or every other week.  It was great.  And then along came Claire and shortly after that, Oliver and now...well, we'd almost like them to go out so we can just get a full night's sleep! 

It became very obvious to me one night last spring that the "dating" part of our marriage was changing when I realized I was kind of looking forward to our evening out alone.  And our evening out alone that night was....wait, you're gonna love this....working a concession stand at the baseball field and then a visitation for a church member at the funeral home.  Pathetic!  We had a babysitter from about 4:30 that evening until about 9:00.  We had signed up to run the concession stand since we're both teachers, Ryan is a Little League Coach, Hugh is a Little League get the picture.  And running the concession stand for a date isn't really all that bad.  We worked together scooping nacho cheese and making change, but during the down times we each had a hot dog and a pop (kind of like our picnics in the olden days!)  Also, during the not-so-busy times, we got to talk.  Then we ran home changed into dress clothes and had a 30 mile drive to the funeral home.  It was a beautiful spring night and I enjoyed the drive, sitting next to my handsome husband who was all dressed up and smelling good! Of course, the funeral home visitation was not fun.  Not fun at all.  But as we headed back to our car afterwards, Ryan looked at me with a twinkle in his eyes and said "Let's go get ice cream!"  Yeah!!!  He's so romantic!  We then got ice cream and decided we better go for a long drive while we ate it because we didn't want to pick up the kids and have them see that we got a treat without them.  So there we were, "date" night had become concession stands and funeral homes, and I actually really loved that evening!  I mean, hey, uninterrupted conversation, both of us all dressed up, hot dogs and ice cream, a beautiful drive on a spring evening, and we even held hands in the car.  Yes, our life together has really changed. 

But tomorrow!!!!  Tomorrow we are going out to eat at a very nice restaurant, a restaurant where we actually have reservations!!!  Woo, Hoo!!!  We will probably get dressed up, if the weather is nice we will probably go for a little walk in the beautiful city we are headed to, I bet he'll hold my hand, uninterrupted conversation....and...we probably will go grocery shopping.  We really do need some groceries.  But anyway, a few hours together, time to reconnect!  I'll take it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Giveaway Winner...

Many thanks to the 10 followers who left a comment sharing as a busy mom what they do for themselves.  It was so fun to read everyone's different ideas!  I can see that we all have to make an effort to make time for ourselves - it has to be a conscious decision (which sometimes requires a baby sitter!)  Again, thanks for taking part in the giveaway.  The winner, chosen using is...

True Random Number Service

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

#7 is Lori who said...

I love to have a date night with my husband or a girls night out with friends from high school or the occasional gathering with my college friends across the state.  On a little more regular basis, I love to read after the girls go to bed.

Congratulations, Lori!

This is what she won...

Check back again soon for another giveaway!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Glimpse of My Life

I always like to read "a day in the life" type of blog posts to see how different people, with different lives spend their time.  That's what I'm about to do here.  Sorry, there are no pictures.  Didn't think to do that today (or have time.)  Okay, here it goes...

4:50 a.m.  Alarm goes off.  I hit snooze.

5:00 a.m.  Alarm goes off again.  I hit snooze.

5:10 a.m.  Alarm goes off again.  Okay, this time I HAVE to get up!
I get up and hop in the shower.  I hop right out quickly not ever knowing how much time I have until the first child wakes up! Today was my lucky day - I got to get in and out of the shower, get dressed, hair and make - up done before anyone is up! I throw a load of laundry in the washer. Ryan gets up.

6:00 a.m.  Hugh gets up.  Shortly after that the other two are up.  Through her messy curls, Claire immediately demands "Chocolate milk and cartoons!!!" I get everyone something to drink (and realize we're now out of milk) and turn on cartoons.  Hugh gets himself ready for school.  I help Claire get ready and I get Oliver ready.  I throw everything into our bags.

6:55 a.m. Ryan and Hugh leave for school.  As they are walking out the door, I quickly shove a container of yogurt and an apple in Hugh's hand so he has something to eat for breakfast.  And that's when I realize we have no more yogurt or apples or bread or anything quick for breakfast...shoot!

7:15 a.m. Load up babies and all their stuff and head to McDonald's.  I get myself a large non-fat caramel mocha (Woo - Hoo!!) and get breakfast for the babies. 

7:30 a.m. Arrive at school, take kids to day care, take off coats and hats, unpack bags, get out their McDonald's breakfasts.  Claire gets mad because I didn't let her sign her own name when I signed her in at day care.  She begins crying huge tears!  UGH...I feel awful.  I hate starting the day like this.  I almost start crying too. There are no day care ladies around to help me out. I hug her tight and tell her I have to go and why doesn't she sit down and eat her pancakes.  She still cries and says she misses her daddy and asks me to call him and tell him she loves him.  I promise I will.  I finally sneak out of the day care room.

7:50 a.m.  I run back out to the parking lot to get my mocha and my school bag out of the van (had my hands full and couldn't carry anything more the first trip in!) Go on into my classroom.  Look over lesson plans and make sure I have everything ready for the day.  I call daddy and tell him Claire loves him.

8:05 a.m. My first class arrives - 18 preschoolers.  They are so sweet!  I always look forward to them coming in.  As they file in, their teacher tells me that on the way over to my room they were so excited to see what we were going to do because "it is always so fun!" I love it!  The teacher leaves and I began the activities I had planned.  We talk about families, read a story about families, and then learn a song about families.  We add some simple motions to the song.  They then beg for me to call their teacher and have her come early to hear them sing their new song.  I do and she does come early.  As the kids do their little performance, their teacher begins to cry.  The song is very touching about the love families have for each other and that family is all you really need.  I explain to them that sometimes grown-ups cry when they are happy.  She agrees that yes, the song made her so happy she got all teary-eyed!  :) Coats on, hugs, stickers, and they are on their way!

9:00 a.m  28 fourth graders!  They, too, are very fun, though in a different way!  Some of them head to the computers to continue working on a project we have going on right now and the rest of them sit on the floor to hear me read a book to them.  The book is about the history of the Star Spangled Banner.  They are really into it and we get side-tracked as they ask a million questions and discuss where they have traveled!  We then practice singing the Star Spangled Banner.  They are singing it for a varsity basketball game next week! 

9:55 a.m. 26 second graders!  We continue talking about author/illustrator/song writer, Sandra Boynton (see here) and read some of her books and listen to some of her songs.  We then learn a dance to one of her songs, "Barnyard Dance."  We then discuss an upcoming art project.  This group is rambunctious today!

10:50 a.m. 26 third graders!  Some of the students work in a small group finishing an art project that they have been working on.  I discuss an upcoming composer/artist research project that we will begin soon.  I then show them several books and discuss possible composers and artist they may choose.  This, of course, leads to much discussion and we all agree that Bach was cool!  Whew!  Good, Bach is cool! We then play a music game together.

11:45 a.m.  I leave the school, run home to let the dog out, get the mail, and then...oh, gosh, this is through the drive-thru at McDonald's for the second time today to get a bowl of broccoli soup.  Yes, McDonald's twice in one day!  I promise though, that's all I got! 

12:20 p.m. Afternoon group of preschools comes and we do the same activities we did in the morning.

12:55 p.m. I notice two little girls scratching their heads like crazy and remember that a third grader was sent home today with head lice.  UGH!  I send them to the nurse.  Luckily, they get the all-clear!  The classroom teacher and I both breathe a sigh of relief! I itch!

1:10 p.m.  25 first graders!  This is a really fun group!  We do what I had done with the second graders this morning.  We call the classroom teacher who comes a bit early to watch them do their barnyard dance!  Super cute!  She is thoroughly impressed!  I proudly said "Yes, they just learned it twenty minutes ago!"

2:00 p.m. 30 Kindergarteners - yes,  you read it right - 30!  I do the same "family" themed activities I did with the preschoolers.  We have time at the end of class to play a music game which takes much explaining and demonstrating.  We used Kidz Bop Music for the game and the kindergarteners just belted out the Kidz Bop version of "Fireworks" and "Dynamite."  So hilarious!  They are still singing and dancing when they leave my room!

3:00 p.m.  I check my email, call my husband, and meet with some colleagues about some paperwork we need to do.  I then work on a newsletter to send home in report cards.  I get it done but will have to print it tomorrow - keeping my fingers crossed the printer doesn't run out of toner!

4:30 p.m. Take all of my stuff to the van and then go back in the building to get the kids from day care.  (Hugh walks to his dad's classroom after school each day.)  When I get there, Oliver is sitting on a rocking horse gazing at Barney on the television.  I watch him watch Barney for a long time.  He is so precious. Then he sees me.  He grins a huge grin and excitedly tells me "tractor, tractor" as he points to all of the ride-on toys in the day care room.  None of them are really tractors.  I load up both kids and all their stuff and head home.

5:00 p.m.  ??? Huh??  What's for dinner?  We have nothing.  Claire is hopping around me begging for macaroni and cheese.  Ryan and Hugh come home, and I leave Ryan with all the kids and head to the store.  I pick up bananas, yogurt, a loaf of bread, a bag of oranges, milk, some deli meat, and a few other things.  As I am passing the frozen foods I suddenly remember that a third grader brought me a popsicle this afternoon in celebration of his birthday!  Oh, no!  I left the popsicle on my desk.  I quickly pay, load up the van and head back to the school.  Yup, there's the drippy popsicle but contained in its package still!  Whew...I avoided a sticky mess there!

6:00 p.m. All three kids rush to the door asking "what did you get?" as I struggle to bring in the groceries.  They then all try to open everything while I an trying to get dinner going.  We compromise and they eat slices of an orange while dinner is cooking. 

6:45 p.m. Ugh...this is much later than I like to have dinner...oh, well.  Dinner is baked Pollock, steamed vegetables, broccoli slaw, and oranges!  The kids love it and eat a lot!  I can not believe how much they eat lately.  It is ridiculous!  I spend most of dinner up and down, in and out of my seat trying to meet everyone's needs - "more milk, salt please, more broccoli, need a napkin, no...want a wet napkin."  Near the end of dinner, Oliver grabs a serving bowl from the table and flings it on the floor.  It shatters all over. of my good ones.  It was my fault.  I shouldn't have left it so close to him on the table.  Oh, well.  One less dish to wash!  We finish dinner and I give my family a little speech about how every night they are all snuggly, cozy in their beds while I am out in the kitchen cleaning up dinner.  I am able to get them all to help clear the table. 

7:15 p.m.  Rotate laundry, put another load in the washer. I peel Oliver's clothes off from him, toss them in the laundry room, and send him down the hall toward the bathroom.  He takes off running naked babbling "bath, bath, bath."  Unfortunately on the way to the bathroom he pees on the wood floor and slips in it and falls down.  I scoop him up and give him hugs and kisses.  The crying subsides.  I clean up the floor. All three kids get baths and pjs.

7:55 p.m.  I give Ryan "the look" as I say "It is almost 8:00"  which translates as "I AM TIRED AND WORN OUT AND I STILL HAVE MESSES TO CLEAN UP AND WE NEED TO DO MEDICINE, TEETH BRUSHING, STORIES, AND PRAYERS AND GET THESE LITTLE STINKERS IN BED RIGHT NOW!!!"  We work together at the bedtime routines and get the oldest two in bed.  Oliver, however, has his own agenda. 

8:30 p.m. I rock Oliver and sing songs I am making up as I go along about Boppa's tractors and horses and cows.  He listens quietly but has no intentions of sleep anytime soon. Every once in awhile he babbles "moo" or spits trying to make a horse sound.

9:00 p.m. I hand Oliver to Ryan and here I am...blogging!  Every once in a while Oliver gets away from him and toddles out here to babble something to me and grin and give me slobbery baby kisses!  I love it!

Very soon I will shut down the computer, rotate the laundry, pack bags for tomorrow, put away toys strewn all over living room floor, briefly consider what everyone might wear tomorrow, put Oliver into bed (asleep or awake, either way it is happening!)put on my pajamas, sit on the couch for a few minutes and cuddle my little dog, Lucy and watch a few minutes of television.  I will then climb into bed, say my own prayers, cuddle up with the blanket my mom made me for Christmas, kiss my hubby good-night (he will be fast asleep by now) and close my eyes. 

And there you have it!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Easy Chocolate Truffles

This chocolate truffle recipe is so easy and so delicious! They are very rich, filling little chocolate bites that would make the perfect little treat for your Valentine!

Here's what you need...

  • 1 12oz. bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sweet cream butter
  • 1 bag Heath English Toffee Bits
  • 1 bag Andes Creme De Mint Baking Chips
  • miniature cupcake liners

In a medium sauce pan melt the entire bag of milk chocolate chips with the whipping cream and the butter on low heat, stirring frequently. 

When the chocolate is smooth and the butter is completely melted, remove from heat.  Pour into a glass pie plate.

Refrigerate for about two hours.  The chocolate should become firm, but not too hard to scoop out.

Set out the cupcake liners individually so they are ready to go!
Pour the toffee bits in a small bowl.  Pour the mint chips in a separate bowl.

Using a spoon (I actually like to use a small cookie dough scoop), scoop out small spoonfuls of the chocolate.  Shape into a ball.  Drop ball into one of the bowls of toppings - either the toffee bits or the mint chips and roll until completely covered.  Then set the truffle into a cupcake liner.  Repeat process...over and over and over!  Roll some in the toffee and some in the mint chips for two different types of truffles.

Refrigerate truffles until ready to serve.

I like to put these on pretty plates or tucked in fancy little boxes to give as gifts.  I always get tons of compliments on these little treats!  And they are so easy!

Posted by Picasa

I usually use the mint chips and toffee chips when I make truffles, but you can try lots of other tasty toppings too.  In the past I have rolled them in nuts, coconut, sprinkles, and cookie crumbs.  I have also rolled them in red and white peppermint bark pieces as seen on the left side of the first photo.

Surprise your sweetie with these homemade treats this Valentine's Day!  They are sure to impress!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A 1st Birthday Party Fit for a Princess

We have had a great weekend!   One of the highlights of the weekend was attending a 1st Birthday Party for this little princess...

Isn't she a doll?  This is Claire, or as my Claire refers to her..."Baby Claire!" 

Baby Claire's mommy did a great job making her birthday special...

I love the bright colors in this banner!

And look at all these cupcakes! 

I will share the recipe for these on the left later! 

Baby Claire had fun with her best friend, Talia.

 My Claire thought baby Claire was so sweet!

The birthday girl having her lunch! 
Look at her cupcake hair decoration, her sparkly earrings, and her painted nails!
What a girl!
 And look at that skirt!
She is so stylish!

All the guests received a little fleece cupcake blanket with the birthday girl's picture on it!
My Claire LOVED that!  She said it was just what her baby doll (Rosabelle Elizabeth) needed!

It was a privilege to be part of Claire's 1st birthday celebration.
She had so many family and friends there on her special day.
She is obviously a very loved girl!

Taco Soup Recipe

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 packets of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1can ranchero beans
  • 1 can green chiles
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • shredded cheese (I like Sargento Bistro Blends with Taco Seasonings.)
  • sour cream

Brown meat and drain.  Return to pan and add 2 packets of taco seasoning and 1 cup water.  Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring to mix in seasoning.  Meanwhile, in large pot add corn, black beans, ranchero beans, green chiles, and diced tomatoes.  Add 1 cup water and stir together. Heat on medium-high heat. Add meat and continue to cook on medium-high heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.  Dish into soup bowls, add shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy! 

This is a super yummy, cozy soup that comes together quickly and the leftovers in your lunch the next day are even better! 


Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Fun Give-Away

*1/25/12 This giveaway is now closed.
I am excited to offer our first give away!  The winner will receive the scrapbook/paper crafting supplies you see here.  This includes alphabet stickers, two textured 12x12 sheets of cardstock, two 12x12 reversible papers, 1 sheet of punch-out die cuts, and a set of colored rub-ons.  AND...they all coordinate!  I love the browns, golds, and blues together. 

They are from the scrapbooking company formerly known as Top Line Creations.  I sell these products.  Let me also say...if you are not a scrapbooker YOU CAN STILL MAKE GREAT USE OF THESE PRODUCTS!!!  You can always use these type of supplies to decorate all kinds of, banners, signs, presentation boards, bulletin boards, wrapped gifts...really, anything!  And, who doesn't just love to win stuff?

To enter you must...

1. Be an official follower of Sister-Dipity.  If you are not yet, you can join by clicking on the
blue "Join this site" button to the right. 

2.  You must comment at the end of this post by answering this question:  
 As a busy mom, what do you do for yourself?

That's it!  Become a follower, leave a comment, and keep your fingers crossed!  I will randomly choose a winner on Wednesday.  Check back to see if you are a winner.

Peaches & Cream French Toast Recipe

Look what I made my family for breakfast today...

 Isn't it lovely? 

I found the recipe in the October 21, 2011 issue of All You magazine.  (I really like that magazine!)
Here it is...

  • 1 8-oz. loaf French bread, sliced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 15 oz. cans sliced peaches, packed in juice, drained
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

1.  Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.  Arrange bread in a tight, flat layer in dish. 

2.  In a large bowl, whisk eggs with milk, sugar, and vanilla until blended;  pour over bread.  Arrange peaches on topand sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

3. Remove baking dish from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat oven to 350.  Pour cream into a small pan; bring to a boil over high heat.  Cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.  Drizzle over peaches and bake, uncovered, until casserole is lightly browned on top and just cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Claire loves to help in the kitchen!

The Peaches & Cream French Toast was fast and easy.  I love recipes that you make the night before!  I love to wake up in the morning knowing I have something ready (or almost ready!)  Try it with a cup of coffee for a cozy winter breakfast treat!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tulle and Ribbon Wreath Tutorial

I have been a little obsessed with making wreaths lately.  I made all of these in the past few months (and many more!)  I have used ribbon, fabric, paper, raffia, greenery, silk flowers, pages of a music book...and I have attached them to wire floral wreath forms, styrofoam wreaths, grapevine wreaths, embroidery hoops, straw wreaths, and evergreen wreaths!  I've done some traditional and some a little more...
well, shall we just say, different. 
 I have really tried to be thinking "outside of the box" with my wreath projects! 

This is a wreath I recently made for a 3 year old girl for her birthday!

Materials I used...

-green wire wreath
-white tulle
-purple tulle
-purple sparkly tulle
-6 different types of ribbon, all either purple or with purple in them
*NOTE:  This takes a lot of tulle and a lot of ribbon. Sorry I can't tell you exactly how much tulle I used,  but I used 6 different types of ribbon with 15 feet per spool so that's 90 feet of ribbon.  You can use more or less, whatever strikes your fancy!

How I did it...
I started with a green wire wreath that I purchased at Hobby Lobby in the floral department.  It cost $2.47. 

This is some of the tulle and ribbon I used.  Hobby Lobby - 50% off!

I started by cutting the white tulle and the purple tulle into 16 inch strips.  I then tied each strip in half in a double knot on the inside circle of the wreath.  After tying them, I then tucked them underneath the next two circles of wire.  I did this process one section at a time.

I continued it all the way around the wreath form.

I then did the same process with the sparkly purple tulle and added it here and there around the wreath to add sparkle to the other white and purple tulle.  Then I cut my ribbon into strips about 6 inches in length and tied those in knots on the inner two rungs that were still exposed.  I did this over and over until I had all of the green wire frame completely covered  in tulle and ribbon.

When I finished, I hung it up and used scissors to trim any uneven strips of tulle from around the outside.

I really like how it turned out.  I had never made a purple tulle wreath before and it was fun to see it come together with all the different types of ribbon I chose.  The sparkly purple tulle was a bit messy to work with but really added some shine to the wreath.   My own three-year-old LOVED it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Great Children's Music

Since I am an elementary music teacher I have had the opportunity to check out lots of great children's music and try it out on my students and my own three munchkins!  I thought I would share with you some of my favorites as well as some favorites my students often request!  You can click on the name at the beginning of each review to get to their website. 

1.  Sandra Boynton 

Sandra Boynton is an author/illustrator/song writer with a great sense of humor! The humor in these books and in her music is entertaining for both kids and grown-ups alike.  She has published numerous books and I have chosen a few of my favorites to share with you here...

One Shoe Blues is a set that includes the storybook, the sheet music, and a DVD of the song written by Boynton and sung by B. B. King.  It is a wonderful way to introduce children to blues music.  In this story/song B.B. King can't find his left shoe.  He has the found the right shoe and has it sitting next to him but has looked everywhere and can not find the other shoe.  The book and movie have sock puppets who help him sing the song and sock puppet, "Momsock" tries to help him remember where he left it.  I especially enjoyed the DVD because there is a section on it where Sandra Boynton herself shares the story of putting the DVD together.  Again, her humor shines through and engages both adults and children.  This is a great book!

Blue Moo is a collection of songs and illustrations to go along with each song that resembles 50's music.  The top of the book says "17 Jukebox Hits from Way Back Never."  The songs may remind you of other popular songs you may remember from the 50's but with Boynton's own flair added.  This is a great collection and has adorable illustrations.

Boynton has several board books published that go along with songs from some of her storybook/CD collections.  These board books are perfect for little hands.  This book, Snuggle Puppy! (A Love Song) is very sweet.  It illustrates the love between a grown-up and child.  This book is based on her song, "Snuggle Puppy!" from the book/CD collection, Philadelphia Chickens. 

Boynton's humor along with her gift for illustrating and song writing, get me very time!  I am a HUGE fan!  Whenever one of her new books with CDs is out on the market, I have to have it!

2. Juice Box Heroes

No Sugar AddedLoose Tooth

Juice Box Heroes is new to me.  I recently discovered this music and am so glad I did!  This music is PERFECT for parents who grew up in the 80s or who just love 80s music.  These brothers had both been members of 80s bands in college but were unable to continue that shared passion when they became fathers.  They also found that it was not easy for parents to find appropriate music for their children that didn't become annoying to them!  They took some popular songs from "our time" and changed the lyrics to more kid-friendly topics.  For example, Madonna's "Material World" is now "Cheerio World."  And Bon Jovi's "Living On a Prayer" is now "Wearing Underwear" - about getting potty trained!  Any mom would love their song, "Don't Worry, Take a Nappy!"  I emailed them and told them how much my students and I enjoyed their music and asked if I could share their story on my blog.  This is what they had to say...

"Our story is pretty simple - we are 2 dads/brothers (with 5 young kids between us) who are passionate about music and think it's important to give kids lots of exposure to music of all types. Our lyrics are really inspired by 2 things: our own kids and our personal childhood memories. For example, we both have fond memories of having lemonade stands when we were kids - and actually wish it was more common today. "Fire Station" was inspired by a trip I took with my 4 year old son to a fire station - to him it was the coolest thing ever. "Cheerio World" is a combo of childhood memories (we've eaten a lot of cheerios in our time) and our own kids (it's really apparent that we live in a Cheerio World when you look at all the cheerios stuck in between the seats of our cars!)"
-Craig & Scott Coane

I'm telling you..if you are sick of the kid's music you have playing over and over again in your car, try these CDs!  These guys rock! Their songs are so fun, so clever, and so addictive!  My students love them and so do I!

3. Kidz Bop

I am so often impressed (and sometimes shocked) by how well my students (preschool-4th grade) know the words to songs on the radio.  Most of them can easily sing along to any pop rock or country song that is currently hitting the charts. The problem is, though, THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!  It is always rather sad and discouraging to me to hear a sweet little first grader belt out a song that, yes, is popular right now, but contains lyrics about adult relationships or adult experiences.  I'm sorry, but as a mama and a teacher, I think it is our responsibility to guide them toward music that will be meaningful to them now, as children.  I am so thankful for Kidz Bop.  They take "today's biggest hits" that kids hear on the radio and edit them so they are more appropriate for children and they record them with children singing the songs.  My students LOVE Kidz Bop music and are always so excited when a new CD comes out!
KIDZ BOP 21                       


3. CJ

I first discovered CJ's work when I attended a Shirley Handy conference in 1999 sponsored by the National Education Network.  Shirley Handy's workshops offered effective teaching strategies that focused on music, movement, and rhyme.  CJ is her son whom she "talked into" using his musical talent to work in collaboration with her to create children's music that supported her effort to assist educators with the reading/singing connection.  Some of the songs are traditional children's songs that CJ has re-done.  My three children, along with my elementary students, agree without a doubt that the best song by CJ is "Three Pigs Rock Out" from the "Once Upon a Rhyme" CD.  "Three Pigs Rock Out" is the story of the three little pigs put to music in a rock and roll style.  It is SO fun! We love rockin' out to it! 


4. Music K8

Music K8 is a company I use a lot as a music teacher.  I have a subscription to their bi-monthly magazine for teachers that includes sheet music and CDs.  Their website is one of my students' favorite sites to explore.  It allows students to create their own playlists and download songs - some for free and some for a small charge.  The site also has music games, puzzles, a "Piggy Saves the Music" video game, interactive coloring pages, and much more! There is also a parent page.  I love this company and feel very lucky to have them as a music resource to enrich the music education experience for my students!  Click on the picture below to see one of their music videos.  It is so cute!

Whacky Do Re Mi - Video

5. Barefoot Books

Barefoots Books has many sing-along books with CDs.  The illustrations in all the books are so colorful!  Barefoot Books says, "At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, inspiring them to read deeper, search further, and explore their own creative gifts.

This book, Port Side Pirates by Debbie Harter and Oscar Seaworthy, is my students' ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!!!  The illustrations are gorgeous and the song has such a catchy tune - one of those songs you will have stuck in your head for awhile!  I read this book to my first graders last year, taught them the song and some movements to go with it, and then we did a pirate ship art project. 
Port Side Pirates!                  

This is me with Hugh holding his pirate ship art project.  His sails said "S. S. Hugh."
Each of the kids had a copy of the chorus from "Port Side Pirates" on the corner of their art projects.

These are a couple other books with CDs that are also published by Barefoot Books.  Again, very catchy tunes and vibrant illustrations that children love! I own 8 of their book/CD sets.  My own three kiddos love listening to them in the van.  We all love them!