After having a fun day hanging out with my husband yesterday, I am in the office working, working, working today. So excited to be having our first ever Dino Drop Off Play Day at the studio on Monday. Parents will be dropping off their preschool/young school aged children to play, sing, dance, craft and hear stories about dinosaurs. I have so many ideas of things for us to do, that I thought maybe a blog post was in order as well. I know not everyone can attend on Monday but, maybe you can have your own dino day at home.

If you are on Pinterest, I have created a board. You can find it here. Dino Party Plans

Likewise, I would strongly suggest the CD “Most Amazing Dinosaur Songs” by Music for Little People. My sister bought me this CD a couple years ago, but this is the first time I have had an opportunity to use it. If you search for this CD on Google, there is also a link to the lyrics. So fun! I checked and this album is also available on iTunes.

Our activities on Monday are going to include doing a dinosaur dig – finding little dino trinkets after excavating through sand, making individual volcanos on paper plates which we will then use for finger painting, playing some color matching games and shape sorting, having dino egg races, creating dino dioramas that the children will then be allowed to take home and recreate over and over again, play dough play, dinosaur stomp dancing, bubble play, and parachute play. With all this activity, I know some down time has to be worked in (and we only have three hours), so each child will bring snack, and we will interject our high activity moments with some stories.

There are TONS of books – both fiction and non-fiction written on this subject for 4-8 year olds. Here is a very non-comprehensive book list, but these are written by some of my favorite children’s authors, or are ones I own (denoted by *).

*How Do Dinosaurs… (series of books) by Jane Yolen

*Dinosaurs Galore – Andreae Giles

*Mine-O-Saur – by Sudipta

*Dinosaurumpus – by Tony Mitton

*Dinosaur Roar – by Paul and Henrietta Stickland

*Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp – by Carol Diggory Shields

*Dinosaurs Love Underpants – By Claire Freedman

Dinosaurs by Gail Gibbons

Kids Can Draw Dinosaurs – by Philippe Legendre

Dinosaurs Don’t Dinosaurs Do – by Steve Bjorkman

Dinosaurs Dinosaurs by Byron Barton

Dancing with the Dinosaurs by Jane Clarke

Dinosaur Roar Butterflies Soar by Bob Barner

Dizzy Dinosaurs: Silly Dino Poems by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Too Many Dinosaurs by Mercer Meyer

ABC Dinosaurs by Jan Pienkowski

Flapdoodle Dinosaurs: A Colorful Pop-Up Book

If The Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most

My Visit to the Dinosaurs by Aliki

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs by Paul Stickland

Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs by Sandra Boynton

Good Night Dinosaurs by Judy Sierra

There are just two spots left for our Dino Day Drop Off. If you are interested in the details and want to to sign up, see our website

**Please note – the Family Time playdate listed on the same page is closed! We will plan another soon.


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June 23, 2012 · 2:06 pm

My Mom Wears Many Hats

I know many of my readers are parents of small children, or perhaps daycare providers. When I started this blog, my children were still rather young. That has changed. My younger daughter, Hannah, is heading to seventh grade next year, as tall as I am, and very smart. Sarah, as I mentioned in a previous post is headed for college. I still have reminders of the girls being little though. I’m so glad I have kept these seemingly simple pieces of paper and drawings. They really connect me to those younger years. Every once in a while, one I have forgotten about reappears. Such was the case last night. Sarah is doing some cleaning and organizing of our storage building. The following was on the table this morning. We believe it was from Mother’s Day when she was in 4th or 5th grade – judging from the writing and the things she says. Remember to put a date on things when you save them!!!

My mom wears many hats in our family.

My mom is a teacher. She taught me how to…. sew and quilt my very own quilt. She also taught me how to be responsible to stay home alone. My least favorite thing she taught me was to clean my room. P.S. its still not clean.

My mom is a chauffeur. She drives me to… chorus every Thursday. During basketball season to basketball every Tuesday. And to home from Girl Scouts every other Thursday.

My mom is a cook. I love it when she makes… hamburgers their (sic) always perfect. Chocolate cookies behir always extremely chocolate. Last her homemade pizza its always really cheesy.

My mom is an engineer. She can always fix…. my BIG and I mean big mistakes. She can also always fix me when I am bad. Last she can always fix my heart when it hurts.

My mom is a magician. She can always find lost things. Once she found… money in my pants along with my ring and watch. Then she found my take home folder which actually happened many times.

My mom is a nurse. She always makes me feel better when… she supports my thoughts and telling me I’m just as good as anyone else. Also when she makes me sleep when I’m sick.

My mom is the best mother in the world because… she can stand all this craziness day after day. Also because she can keep everything calm sometimes. Last because she lets me be so social and busy when she’s the driver.

#1 MOM!

I doubt I could get her to do this again, but I wonder what she would say now 8-9 years later. It is amazing to me the little things that you think don’t have any impact (driving to chorus, cheesy pizza, encouragement) that don’t seem like a lot at the time that obviously impact your child. Remember to make time to be present with your child every day! YOU make the difference.


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Filed under Parent-itis, Personal Thoughts

Time with Children – fleeting and precious

We have crossed a new threshold of parenthood. Our older daughter, Sarah, graduated with honors from Alexander High School this past weekend. Many people have asked me if I am sad, if I cried etc. My answer is “No, I feel like WE made it.” One thing I have reflected upon though is how quickly these eighteen years have flown by. And, how precious the time we have spent together as a family has been. My life goals always involved being a wife and mother. We have made it a point to have dinner around the table as much as possible (it gets much harder as the children get older and have more activities). We have tried to take day trips, celebrate birthdays, play games, and create events that not only serve as family time in the moment, but hopefully, have created lifelong memories of time spent together. 

For me, Monday, the last Marching Band performance for Sarah, was actually more moving and bittersweet than the actual graduation ceremony on Sunday. Band – all band (marching, jazz, symphonic, pit orchestra, Communiversity) has been Sarah’s focus for the past several years. As a band booster, and parent, it has been my life with her too. We all donned the Red Polo and went to one last Memorial Day celebration with her. For Greg and I, we are not done. Hannah is budding into a very good little horn player and is already talking about marching. Greg is still the assistant band director for Alexander High School. BUT, this thing we have shared and lived with Sarah has now come to an end. 

Sarah is starting a new chapter of her life. She has decided to continue in music by majoring Music Therapy at Ohio University. This summer she will play in the All Ohio State Fair Band for the final time (yep that’s one can bring tears to my eyes just typing this) and she will be attending Ohio State University’s flute camp to prepare for her college studies. 

While moved by how far we have come, and being immensely proud of the amazing mature young woman Greg and I have been blessed to raise, I am excited to continue to watch her grow and develop. I am excited to see how our relationship can change, as my duties of parenting have switched from correction and rearing and molding, to supporting, cheering and encouraging. 

For those of you still in the sleepless nights, potty training, food battles (Sarah went through a long period of not eating pizza of all things), imaginary friends (we will never forget Beemie), elementary school field trips, middle school projects, and middle and high school drama (especially if you have girls), hang in there. Treasure the moments. They are truly fleeting even if it doesn’t seem so. Find activities to do. Take time to put the phone, computer, book, sewing, cleaning – distractions – away and truly focus on the time you have with your children at home. You will never regret the time you took to read, sing, cuddle, comfort, or correct your child! 


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Filed under Classroom Reflections

Today 5/22 is Buy or Make a Musical Instrument Day!

What a great activity for children and their parents. Anything can be a musical instrument – pots and pans, cans of snacks, two sticks found in the backyard, a rake on the ground. Look around, listen, let creativity abound. There are many websites with great ideas for making musical instruments with children if you want something more complex. I like this site

Once you make your instrument, have a descriptive discussion – how is it played (shaken.struck, blown?), is it loud/quiet, do you sit to play it or could you march with it? 

Here’s a picture of one of our recent Young Child 4 graduates with an instrument he made to bring to class a couple of years ago. 

I would love to see/hear your creations. Email pictures/videos to Please let me know if I have permission to share them here on the blog. Have a  great day! Image

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Poetry is a topic that is often scary to people – even those who love to read. As a child, I thought poetry to be difficult to understand, uninteresting to read and in general, not for me. But, I have come to realize that there is lots of poetry I have always loved. Lyrics to songs are poetry, Shel Silverstein writes poetry, rhyming couplets such as in some Dr. Seuss books is poetry. I began to reconsider my views and now enjoy reading poetry often.

My Simply Music students have been doing some composing recently. The way I get them started (as most are resistant and think it difficult) is to help the write a Haiku (3 lines, 17 syllables total) and then create a 5 finger pattern melody to go with it. Most have branched out into writing their own verse, or taking longer poems and creating beautiful melodies to go with them. Two of my students have been using verses from Robert Lewis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verse”. I decided to look on YouTube to see if anyone else has done this.

The music used in the following video is not newly composed, but I loved it because many of the tunes and melodies are ones we are using in Kindermusik. The verse is from RLS and the high school performers are top-notch. Enjoy….

I will be sharing more poetry and video throughout the month both here and on Facebook – enjoy!

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April 2, 2012 · 8:03 am

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

The following verse was sent to me by my mom yesterday. Unfortunately, I do not know the original author. Please, if you know who wrote this verse, let me know so appropriate credit can be cited. This is so true and just confirms how important each of our jobs as parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend, example is. The children definitely are our future and our legacy.


A message every adult should read because children
are watching you and doing as you do, no t as you say.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you hang my
first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately
wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a
stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind
to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make my
favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little
things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a
prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always
talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make a
meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I
learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you take care
of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have
to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw how you
handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t
feel good, and I learned that I would have to be
responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw tears come
from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things
hurt, but it’s all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw that you
cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I learned most of
life’s lessons that I need to know to be a good and
productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I looked at you and
wanted to say, ‘Thanks for all the things I saw when
you thought I wasn’t looking.’

Each of us (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend)
influences the life of a child.

How will you touch the life of someone today? Just by
sending this to someone else, you will probably make
them at least think about their influence on others.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.


Filed under Parent-itis, Personal Thoughts, Professional Observations


We made it! The preparation and anticipation are done. Now is the time to celebrate. We had a beautiful day with Greg’s parents, brother and a new friend from Rwanda yesterday ( he is a co-worker of my brother-in-law here without family). He speaks very good English but understands French better. Good thing Brian has a pocket translator. Tough to explain things like peppermint (candy canes) and pumpkin rolls but I think he enjoyed himself and I loved having him here.

I heard a song yesterday called, Your Last Childhood Christmas, I realized that this is Sarah’s. Next year, technically, she will only be visiting. Weird how the time seems to fly. Greg and I are celebrating our 20th Christmas together. That is more than I celebrated with my parents at home.

Well, the coffee is brewing, and Hannah is tormenting Sarah to get out of bed – “you can sleep in the car on the way to Grandma’s – get up – seriously – it’s Christmas”. So much for Peace on Earth:)

Merry Christmas – I have enjoyed writing this for the past 25 days. I hope I have new material after the holidays.

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