Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year!

Mrs. Aimee's Place - Part 4

Many of you know that we live on a farm, and I thought you might enjoy seeing what is going on there, since I have some fun news to share! This is a picture of one of our hens, Cotton Ball. She is a Silkie hen and is not quite a year old. We are very excited because she is "sittin' ". For those not versed in southern language, it means she is nesting and will have chicks. She just started, but I will share pictures of our new additions when they arrive.

more life with Mrs. Aimee

This is the gingerbread house that the girls and I made. Seems like life at Mrs. Aimee's place revolves alot around family and food, huh! Well, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to a game of Twister with my children.
Andy Mckee

Found this on my friend Molly's blog spot and thought it was amazing!

Mrs. Aimee's Place - Part 2

Well, we have been very busy here today! It was our annual Christmas candy-making day. It has been our tradition for several years now, for my daughters and I to get together with their Grandma and make Chirstmas goodies together. We put on some Christmas music and made a sticky mess! Today's menu included Gooey Butter Cake, Chocolate Caramel Bars, Toffee Bites, and Coconut Snow Balls, to name a few things. Hope you're having fun with your own holiday, family traditions. Stay tuned, and I'll see you soon.

Mrs. Aimee's Place

OK. I was thinking about Christmas break and how I am going to miss my students, so I decided to try something kind of fun. On various days during the break, I am going to post pictures or video of what's going on over here. I thought my students might enjoy seeing that Mrs. Aimee really does live somewhere other than that classroom! :-) I hope you and your children will post a response and let me know how you are. Merry Christmas and I'll see you soon!
Dan the Music Man - Criss Cross, Oh my Gosh!

This video is based on the concepts of a book called Brain Gym. It uses different movements to enhance cognitive development. For more information on this subject, you can also read Smart Moves, by Carla Hannaford. It is amazing how our brain and movement are connected!

***Stephen Cohen***

A red-jacketed band of half-human, half-animal musicians comes marching down the street, accompanied by a couple of oversized birds ... what an awesome introduction to Stephen Cohen's Here Comes the Band! With a smoky-voiced delivery, vocal phrasing a little like Rickie Lee Jones, and an intimate coffee house presentation, Portland resident Stephen Cohen whams, tickles, and strums the strings of his guitar, which acts as much a percussion instrument as a keeper of melody, intertwined with the tinkles, knocks, and wobbles of his handmade musical gear. Rhythms are suspended and sometimes done away with entirely in several songs, tying together everything in a cohesive dream-like collection of thoughts put to music. Sound too heavy for a kids' album? Au contraire, my little ones, for that's the amazing thing about this CD: yer tiny kids can sing right along with every single song on the album, while grownups can bask in the glow of Cohen's musical inventiveness. Even though Cohen has been recording since 1979, Here Comes the Band is his first album specifically for kids.

Soon-to-be Toddler Time classics include the mantra-like "Give Me That Toy!", the boppity "Mr. Knickerbocker" and "Baseball, Baseball". The controlled chaos of "The Elephant Walk" mirrors, coincidentally, sounds produced by bands of the Elephant 6 collective (Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, etc.), while the ethereal "Rain, Rain, Rain" fully utilizes Cohen's self-created percussion inventions. The three-part thread "Here Comes the Band / There Goes the Band / Sleepy Dreams (of the Band)" that runs through the CD gives Cohen a chance to name check his old group, the Talk Talk Band. By using a few tunes culled from some of his grownup albums, real life and fiction and Many Hats, Cohen shows his trust in kids' taste and intelligence. He's not making music for children, but just making music.

Not only do you get Cohen's wonderful songs, the CD is also packaged with a lyrics booklet full of artwork by Christopher Shotola-Hardt, instructions on making your own instruments, and explanations of everyone's duties in the making of a CD ("The producer chooses the songs..."). Check out more of Cohen's work, it's pretty inspiring and amazing.

get out of the box

Symbolic play, pretending an item is something that it is not, is an important part of our children's development. The age old example... You buy a new stove or other large item, and your children beg for the big box. It then becomes a car, house, boat, or any number of other wonderful things in your child's imagination. If you'll pardon the pun, they're thinking outside the box. I love how creative children can be. They are not bound by rules in their play. They can't even read the "rule book" yet. Later in life, these problem solving and adapting skills become useful not just in academics, but when life throws that curve ball at you. So as we prepare for the myriad of left over boxes this Christmas, don't forget to save a few to play in!
Kindermusik Inspirational Educator of the Year

Helen is a fellow Maestro in Outreach for Kindermusik International. Maestros in Outreach go out of their way to serve underprivileged and/or special needs children through Kindermusik. There are only five of us in the world right now, and I was so happy to see her honored as the Inspirational Educator of the Year at Kindermusik Convention last month! Congratulations Helen for a job well done!

***Chucky Woodbine***

A classic reborn! Years ago, Auburn University's student radio station, WEGL, was adamantly anti-commercial. During my senior year, I remember hearing this lo-fi, herkity jerkity, melodic song called "Double Feature" about, I think, monsters and secret messages on cereal boxes. Now, that memory would have completely faded into the ether of collegehood if not for ... TAH DAH! ... the reissue of Chucky Woodbine's Misleading.

This quartet from Massachussets made a cassette-only version of Misleading back in the late-80s that included songs about woodland creatures, bullies, and some weird guy named Fred Villari. Throw in a couple of instrumentals and a punk song called "Roadkill" (chorus: "Roadkill! Roadkill!"), and you have an amusingly silly, inventive, do-it-yourselfer worthy of way more exposure than it got.

Is this kids' music? I dunno, is "Yellow Submarine", or pretty much everything Jonathan Richman ever recorded? My point is that kids are smart and have incredibly varied tastes, so anything that seems entertaining and is a little off the beaten path (i.e. - doesn't come with tie-in merchandise) should be readily introduced to kids. Go ahead, let them hear what's out there and they'll decide what they like. If your upper-elementary kid is into quirky music, is thinking about starting a band, or just likes to decipher sometimes impenetrable lyrics, he'll dig Chucky Woodbine.

***Rockosaurus Rex***

HELL YES!!! Tired of hearing toy piano versions of your favorite Toddler Time classics? Prepare your preschoolers to have their faces rocked off by "Wheels On the Bus"; "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes"; and "This Old Man" as performed by our favorite prehistoric metal gods, Rockosaurus Rex!

All you grownups will probably get a bigger kick out of this musical project from Austin, Texas, than your young'uns, but hey! crank it up and see what they think. "All the Pretty Little Horses" is given a heavy dose of Metallica, while "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" is all Anthrax'ed out. In fact, quit reading this and head for the Rockosaurus Rex website immediately, so the rockin' can commence. There are plenty of clips from The Big Bang! to which one can thrust one's fist into the air.

Make sure to read their bio, have fun with the whole concept, and unite the world through metal. Like the Rockosaurus Rex creed says, "They have come to rock the children of Earth". Amen.