Saturday, February 9, 2013


For the first six months of my teaching career, I barely taught the children any songs. I just couldn't figure out how to work it into our day, I didn't know where to start. Fortunately, I went to a workshop on music in the classroom, and got some good ideas to kickstart me. Since then (about a year ago now) I have introduced close to a hundred songs to my students. These are, for the most part, songs that I love to sing. I have always enjoyed singing and especially folk songs. I absolutely love singing, even if I don't sound good, and children love singing as well, so I'm greatly looking forward to teaching these and other songs to my own children in the near future. Children are capable of learning songs that might seem "way above their level" to some adults. Many parents are shocked that their four year old children can sing all the states in alphabetical order, or sing in French, Latin and other languages. They really are amazing creatures, and songs are such a great way to introduce not only new vocabulary and musical interest, but a love a music and sense of community that comes from singing together. Obviously there's a wide variety here; some are for very young children, some for slightly older, but all of them are essential in my mind. In addition, there are hymns, church songs, Christmas and other holiday music, classical music, and of course, more modern, popular music that should also be introduced. These are ones I don't want to forget though! 

This Land is Your Land
Amazing Grace
Polly Wolly Doodle
Short'nin' Bread
Oh, Dear! What can the matter be?
The Bear went over the mountain
Old Dan Tucker
Little Liza Jane
Turkey in the Straw
Buffalo Gals
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Shoo, Fly
Two Little Blackbirds
Pop! Goes the Weasel
Jack and Jill
If You're Happy
This Old Man
Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmit
One, Two Buckle My Shoe
Rain, Rain Go away
The Star Spangled Banner
You're a grand old flag
Anchors Aweigh
Stars and Stripes forever
America The Beautiful
My Country Tis of thee
I've been Workin' on the Railroad
Sweet Betsy from Pike
Yankee Doodle 
When Johnny Comes Marching home
Erie Canal
Who did swallow Jonah?
Dry Bones
Father's Whiskers
Michael Finnegan
The Ants go marching
Bill Grogan's Goat
There's a hole in the middle of the sea
She waded in the water
Do your ears hang low
There's a hole in the bucket
99 Bottles of Pop
My hand on my head
My hands upon my head I place
My hat, it has three corners
Down by the bay
The green grass grows all around
Old King Cole
Hot cross buns
All through the night
Hush little baby
Sing a song of Sixpence
Brahms' Lullaby
The Farmer in the Dell
Engine number 9
The Grand old duke of york
London bridge
Did you ever see a lassie?
A tisket, a tasket
Skip to my lou
Oats, peas, beans
Say, Say oh playmate
Frere Jacques
Fifty Nifty United States
Bazooka Bubblegum
Open Shut them
Baby Shark
A round is a circle
I don't like to say Goodbye
This Pretty planet
Everything else by Tom Chapin
Name song (banana fana)
Dona Nobis Pacem
Here we go round the mulberry bush
He's got the whole world in his hands
Home on the range
Row row row your boat
Michael row your boat ashore
She'll be coming round the mountain
Take me out to the Ball game
Puff the magic dragon
John Henry
Battle hymn of the republic
Oh Suzannah
Go Down Moses
Go Tell it on the mountain
Goodbye, Old paint
Hush little baby
I've been working on the railroad
Looby Loo
Onward Christian Soldiers
Over the river and through the woods
Swing low, sweet chariot
This little light of mine
When the saints go marching in
You are my sunshine
It rained a mist
What shall we do with the baby o
Good morning to you
Name song (all day long)
I love you a bushel and a peck
White Coral Bells
Getting to know you
Chairs to mend
Too-ay Too-ay
Mango fandango
You can't make a turtle come out
Mail myself to you
Christmas is coming
Good king wenceslas
Robin in the rain
Black socks
Sleeping bunnies
All through the night
My grandfather's clock
Hey diddle diddle
I saw three ships
Lightly row
Now I lay me down to sleep
Johnny Appleseed
For the golden corn
As the deer pants
Song of sixpence
Simple simon
Bluebird in and out the window
Ode to joy (in english and german!)
I'd do anything (oliver)
Do a deer
Zipa dee doo dah
Battle hymn of the republic
Lean on me
My bonnie lies over the ocean
Oh what a beautiful morning
Simple Gifts
Auld Lang Syne
You can call me Al
Homeward Bound
All Paul Simon/Simon & Garfunkel
Beatles stuff

Monday, October 8, 2012

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70

I started researching carseats a long time ago. As a Montessorian, and a fan of baby-wearing, I was never a fan of the baby bucket movement, and had no interest in ever using an infant carrier car seat. Why buy two car seats when one will do the job? But I had to make sure to find one that was ideal for both brand new infants and older kids. Ideally, I wanted a single car seat that would last from newborn until the child could make the transition to a booster. (When that should happen is for another post...)

So, I research all the convertible carseats out there. There are many I like (including this one which is very cool but way out of my price range...) but the one I was most excited by is the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70. Though it didn't seem very popular, and I hadn't seen many reviews from people who actually chose it, it seemed perfect to me! It will last rear-facing from 4 pounds to 40 (important since I plan to rear-face my children as long as is humanly possible!) and forward facing from 40-70 pounds. By 70 pounds, the child should easily be ready for a booster, and could be much sooner. My only worry is the child outgrowing the height limit before the weight, but I really can't speculate on how tall my children will be, and I may have to take that into consideration at a later time.

The Pria has everything else I'm interested in, though! Great for a tiny infant. Quite safe. Very adjustable harness. Awesome colors and style (why hello, grey and black! long time no see!) don't hurt the package.

So this seat has been on my list for over a year. I kept an eye out for information on the seat, because I'm curious how it works for others. Today, I found a review of this very seat on The Art of Making a Baby! I knew they'd been using this seat for a while, but this review gave me even more confidence in my choice to hop right into this convertible seat from the start.

She confirms that her baby at least (and many babies, in my estimation) prefer a roomier seat that is not constricting, that allows them to sit up and look around, and that keeps them cooler. She also notes that she had very little interest in using a car seat as a carrier, and would have been happy to have the convertible from the beginning. It's so nice to see real proof that something I like works for real people. They're running a giveaway on the seat over there today, so if you're interested, check it out!

I'll probably say more about car seats and my various opinions on them in the future, but I'm confidant in my decision at this point!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Movies Worth Seeing

A much shorter list than the books....

Disclaimer: I believe these should only be seen after the age of six, and in some cases much later than that, and only after the children are familiar with the book if it exists!

The Lord of the Rings
The Sound of Music
Star Wars 4-6
The Little Princess
Little House on the Prairie
Finding Nemo
Willie the Sparrow
Toy Story
Home Alone
E. T.
Free Willy
Homeward Bound
Charlie Brown Holiday movies
The Lion King
Indiana Jones
Original Charlotte's Web
Mary Poppins
The Princess Bride
Back to the Future
October Sky
The Land Before Time
The Brave Little Toaster

Read Aloud Books

This list is vastly derived from the list of books I recall my parents reading to us. In no particular order:

-The Hobbit
-The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
-All the Harry Potter books
-The Chronicles of Narnia
-The Mouse and the Motorcycle
-The Boxcar Children
-The Secret Garden
-Stuart Little
-Harriet the Spy
-Treasure Island
-Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer
-Little Women
-Le Petit Prince
-Peter Pan
-American Girl books
-Beatrix Potter
-From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
-Everything by Madeline L'Engle
-All the Ramona Quimby books
-Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
-The Giver
-Charlotte's Web
-My side of the Mountain
-Bridge to Terebithia
-Walk Two Moons
-A Cricket in Times Square
-The View from Saturday
-The Witch of Blackbird Pond
-The Family Under the Bridge
-Misty of Chincoteague
-Stuff by Jerry Spinelli
-Stuff by Beverly Cleary
-Johnny Tremain
-Robinson Crusoe
-The Swiss Family Robinson
-Smiling Hill Farm
-All the Little House on the Prairie books
-Pippi Longstocking
-Julie of the Wolves
-Black Beauty
-Caddie Woodlawn
-Number the Stars
-The Trumpet of the Swan
-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
-Watership Down
-The Winnie the Pooh books
-Paddington Bear
-Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass
-The Wizard of Oz
-Roald Dahl books
-Anne of Green Gables
-The Wind in the Willows
-Cheaper by the dozen
-My side of the Mountain
-Ender's game
-Hans Brinker
-The Borrowers
-Where the Red Fern Grows
-A Little Princess
-The Bible
-To Kill a Mockingbird
-Oliver Twist
-Hound of Baskervilles & other Sherlock Holmes
-Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy
-Foundation Trilogy
-The Golden Compass series
-Gulliver's Travels
-Lorna Doone
-The Sword in the Stone
-Jules Verne

Ones I haven't read but have been recommended to me:

mysterious benedict society
chronicles of pryridian - lloyd alexander
island of the blue dolphins
the rag coat
incredible journey
the magic faraway tree


I'm going to do a short series of posts that I can add to and update with songs, stories, books, and (gasp!) even movies and TV shows that I think are worth exposing my children to. Things always come up and I worry that I won't remember them all, so I'll file them here, and it'll allow me to think about them, and what age is most appropriate, etc.


It's a month into the school year, and things have been going pretty well! I can't believe how much easier, smoother, and less stressful the second year is. It's not all puppies and roses, but I'm not a puddle on the floor either.

Something I've been loving recently is singing with the kids. I didn't realize how much I missed it! I have always loved singing, despite my complete inability to do so pleasantly. I remember my family telling me to shut up in the car on numerous occasions...

But kids love singing with me and I only infrequently feel like they think I sound bad, so that's big progress. One of the things I am most looking forward to with my own children is singing to and with them. This is something that can be worked into all stages of life. I love singing to a newborn, making up cute rhymes for a younger toddler, and teaching songs to kids who can sing them back. I love singing in the car, in the shower, anywhere.

There are so many categories of songs that I can't wait to share with my future family: folk songs (like Clementine!), camp songs, church songs, Christmas songs, hymns, songs I know from teaching, popular songs, classic songs, Tom Chapin songs.... there is so much, and it's all so new to children. I love how much the kids in my class love learning new songs, and how absolutely joy-infused they appear while singing. I love the amount of knowledge and vocabulary that gets packed into songs. I'm so proud that they can sing all the fifty states in order - even the littlest ones! This will stick with them forever, and I love that.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I've been channeling my desire for creative output into making holiday decorations and ornaments. Well, so far, I've mostly planned and researched them, and made a few passable items. I'm looking forward to putting a dent in my craft stash, making some beautiful items, and perhaps coming up with some gift-worthy things in there. Mostly, though, I am trying to fill up the empty evenings this fall where I have too little energy to do anything exciting, but too much restlessness to do less. I have a ton of ideas, and I'll be posting them as they are actualized.