Friday, March 23, 2012

Do something for a good cause... "Do Fun Stuff"

A friend recently pointed me towards a fun new blog, called Pacing the Panic Room and he works together to produce an album benefiting PRISMS, a foundation for research and support for Smith Magenis Syndrome, a rare and very unknown chromosomal defect. His son has this condition, and so he blogs about living with a special needs child and you know, life. He has a beautifully poetic outlook on things, so add him to  your reader or follow him or whatever, 'cause his is an amazing perspective on things!

But the CD, Do Fun Stuff, is an awesome compilation of songs for the 2-and-up set. I died laughing at the "Potty Time" song, because what parent has not sang a song about flushing, peeing, and wiping??? And Cracker Jackson has a song about ALL of it!! And it's not as bad as mine was: "Pee Pee in the Potty! Pee Pee in the Potty!"-- not my best work. I just can't carry a tune, so simple is better for me.

I love that there are 4 tracks by Rabbit on this album. I really enjoy their songs. I sing along to "When We Were Young" whenever it comes on the radio-- it's one of those songs where if you get in the car by yourself and it's on, you don't change the station, even though you prefer AltNation to XM Kid's Place Live. And so the cool thing about this album, is it totally fits into the mold of "Kindie Rock"-- it's music that kids can listen to, has lyrics they understand and enjoy, and it's a style that moms and dads like. "Morton the Caterpillar" is a soft, bittersweet track that talks about believing in yourself and trying again. And so cute-- Morton curls up in his sleeping bag in his "Pickle Tree" :) I love that! I want a pickle tree, and I hate pickles.

You can stream the CD from the widget below, but please go to ITunes and download it and support a good cause! Thanks Folks!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Big kid and little kid pick this week!

I am a little late this week because I was getting ready for a new addition to the family last week. My DH was in Hotlanta last week for the ACC tournament, and while he was out of NC I decided to ask him to get a tortoise for the girls. So I had to track down a tank, research species and find a pet store with one in stock. And so we now have added Rocky Supertortoise Drago to our menagerie. Totally worth the effort!

So today I have 2 picks for the "Got to Check Out" Bands. I rarely pick little kid songs, and but when @LadybugMusic tweeted me last week I went to their site and ITunes store. They have several albums out that they use for their children's dance & movement classes, so a lot of the finger play-type songs (like "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Open Shut Them") and so it is definitely little kid stuff. The voices are all your basic, preschool teacher kind of softness, so don't anticipate rocking out to Ladybug, but if you are looking for a good CD to take to playgroup next week this would be a lot more enjoyable that Rockabye Baby or The Wiggles. (Oh, don't get me started on The Wiggles!! Shivers down my spine. Please, Mr. Jeff or whoever-- just stop!) The thing about preschool music that makes it so difficult for grown folks, is that it is repetitive, simplistic and short to help develop their language skills, but then momma doesn't want to listen. There is just no getting around that. As our school counselors pointed out in one of the kindergarten readiness presentations last year, they need this key concept in pre-literacy skills, but some parents are foregoing the "little finger muscles" lessons and language lessons they gain from these songs. My advice is to sign up for a class, join a playgroup, or listen as part of your nap/bedtime routine, because kids learn through play, and Mother Goose is one of the ways they do that. So stick in the Ladybug Music CD and sing along!

So if you have finally grown past Mother Goose, and are now exploring the joys of hiphop, there are alternatives to Flo-Rida and Nicki Minaj (because we all LOVE our toddlers repeating rap lyrics, RIGHT?!?!) Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is totally awesome!! A copy of weeks ago I posted about the 2012 Grammy Awards,  where the compilation album that featured Skidoo won Best Children's Album. But my all-time favorite is "Luck"--funk, banjo and hiphop? Yes, Please! But the cool thing about Skidoo is always his practical advice, and his reassurance that the things about growing up is hard sometimes, and you don't always understand what's going on, but it'll be okay. He continues to nail this concept on his album, "Underground Playground" with "Mind Over Matter" and "Chase the Rain." But if your kids are big 23 Skidoo fans, check out the DVD "Spelunk the Funk!"-- the music video version of Underground Playground, with some live tracks from The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC. I'm sure the whole DVD is packed with the same fun, positive and energetic tracks as his CDs and shows!

My sister is a new mom-- her little boy will be one in June, and she is expecting baby number TWO in AUGUST!! (Yes, I have told her she is crazy. Every one else has too, by now, and so now we're going to put that to rest and say OMG, how FUN!! What a wild ride you're in for!) She wants to know-- Who are the best bands for the under two crowd? Comment below! Let's put together a great playlist for her!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Davy Jones, 1945-2012. Eternal Boyish Charm.

Sadly, singer and famous Monkee frontman passed away this week, and so we would like to take the chance to post some links for awesome Davy Jones music and videos. The Monkees were one of the first made-for-TV bands, which kicked off the whole man-made pop group phenomenon (I think I can accurately say the only earlier one would be Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Not too sure about that, though.) And Davy Jones' adorableness and mischievous twinkle really had quite an effect on us... I remember the reruns coming on when I was a little girl and loving the music. And, of COURSE, there was that Brady Bunch episode-- and I found out on his website that that was the most rerun show in syndication history-- how 'bout that?? I then discovered the Beatles and other great 60s bands, and moved on to be a classic rock and Alt-music girl, but now that I have children The Monkees has resurfaced and introduced a whole new generation to 1960s pop, which thrills me! I know it's cheesy, but in college even I rocked out to the music from Shrek, and have often included "I'm a Believer" on mixed CDs I've made for the girls! (And I recently found a stash of those, so maybe I will post some playlists here on the site soon!) 

But one thing about Jones that appeals to moms, is his sweet face and adorable voice, and he came back to the kid's music scene when he performed "Personal Penguin," the board book by author Sandra Boyton (and you can download a free copy on her website here, just scroll almost all the way to the bottom). We heard the announcement of his death this week and they played "Gonna Buy Me a Dog, from the album The Monkees. To kids growing up with music videos and YouTube, the clip of this song from the show is more their speed than many of the clips from old show from our youth-- for example, the episode of the Brady Bunch where he is recording, "Girl." A sweet song, but they play the whole song (just so cute how Marcia just sneaks into the studio and is like, "Please! I'm the President of his FAN club!" Ohhh, geez. Sure, Marcia, I'll play at your prom. But Davy Jones' music had a simple, light-hearted sugary feel like that. Awww, almost as cute as a penguin. We'll miss you, buddy. Thanks for being our Personal Penguin.

And in other news! We are off to see Dr. Seuss' The Lorax today, STARRING the girl's favorite singer (and Pant's idol, the whole reason she wants to learn to pick the fiddle), Taylor Swift, and Zac Efron, so we will see if they break out in song, and how we like the movie. I'm excited for this-- so far from the previews it looks like a good one. Happy Dr. Seuss' Birthday!