What’s For Dinner?

Here we go with something new. I’m going to try and put up something about how I occasionally get some bits of somewhat healthy food into my kids. Did you even know I like to cook? Really, I do.

Do I cook? Well, these days it is not as often as I might like. Note that I do not consider opening a can of soup or heating up a frozen pizza cooking. Why don’t I cook as often as I used to? Well, I sometimes refer to them as Thing 1, Thing 2 and Thing 3. You see, once you have 3 of them the names become meaningless, “whoever you are – just do it!”

I have piles of wonderful cookbooks and I watch the cooking shows, some of them anyway. I love Top Chef. Rachel Ray and her 30 minute meals are REALLY appealing. Imagine whipping up something fabulous and healthy for the family in just 30 minutes. She can do that. I’m a pretty good cook. I can do that too!

I have discovered a couple of major difference between myself and Rachel though. First, I am clearly not as organized as she is. I can’t walk to my pantry and pull out everything I will need for each component of the meal in one trip. I go about 15 times. At least half of those trips are because, as I get a few more years under my belt, I all too often find myself standing in the pantry with no notion of what I am looking for. I’m sure Rachel has a nice producer to constantly redirect her thoughts. My little producers do redirect my thoughts but it usually has little to do with what I am TRYING to accomplish.

So, without further ado here are the Basic Rules of Cooking in my kitchen:

1. No Campbell’s soup. If I see a recipe with that ingredient I run the other way.
2. No Cool Whip. Ditto.
3. I am all for healthy food but sometimes you just have to have a little (or a LOT) of the other stuff.
4. If I can make extra and keep it in the freezer it is a winner!
5. Kids don’t always have to like it. They only have to try it. Will I make them something else? Are you kidding?! They have all chosen at various times to go to bed without dinner and not a one of them looks like they are wasting away.
6. I love the idea of those Rachel Ray 30 minutes but let’s get real. Those 30 minute meals take 1-2 hours when you add in homework, breaking up fights, answering the phone, pulling a toddler off your leg – again, cleaning up spills, finding the lost ________, bandaging the _________, etc.

So, stay tuned for some kitchen ideas. I won’t bother to call them fast, mega healthy, or even appealing to all kids. In real life I don’t think that stuff exists!

Kindermusik or Private Lessons

Q: My kindergardener or 1st grader shows interest in learning music. Should I enroll her in private lessons? Or Kindermusik?
A: As her parents, only you can make that decision, but here is some information that may help you to make the right choice for your child.

Q: What is Kindermusik for the Young Child?
A: Kindermusik for the Young Child is the culmination of early childhood musical development; in addition to movement, instrumental play, singing, and creating, Young Child students begin to learn musical notation (note and rhythmic), and begin learning to play a melody instrument, the glockenspiel. We also learn pre-keyboarding skills to transfer the knowledge of the glockenspiel to the piano. Young Child was designed for Kindergarten and First Grade students. Please be aware that Young Child is a sequential, two year curriculum – new students may join in second (Spring) semester as class space allows, with the understanding that the family and child will work with the teacher to catch up on concepts and learning covered in the first (Fall) semester.
Children in Young Child class are beginning to read, enjoy puzzles and games, and like to socialize with other children in their age range. They follow directions reliably, and can answer abstract questions, such as “how do you think a composer can make music sound like birds?” He or she enjoys singing, is eager to learn, and can work independently for short periods towards a set goal. These children are ready to begin understanding concepts of practice, proper handling of an instrument, and playing a tune as opposed to exploring ways of creating sound on an instrument. These fundamental ideas are the foundation for Young Child, and through them, we learn about music in a way that makes the learning more natural and easy than private lessons are for children just entering grade school.

Fellow Kindermusik teacher Tabby wrote this great answer to questions that I am asked all the time by parents. We are now taking registrations for all of our fall classes including Young Child.


Is it high or low? Is it loud or soft? Can you be small or big? Children learn best when these contrasts are used. This is a main idea that children need to learn in the pre-school years. Understanding contrasting concepts is a significant aspect of cognitive development. The capacity to learn relationships between ideas and then apply the learned information to other situations is highly related to a child’s success in school.

Reading Aloud

Reading to a child on a regular basis benefits her in several ways. Reading increases her knowledge of the world, vocabulary, familiarity with written language, and interest in becoming literate. I encourage you to read to your child at home as well as involving her in activities where reading aloud is incorporated (e.g. Kindermusik, preschool, library storytimes). Did you know that the larger the variety of fluent readers a child hears, the more they learn?

Up and Down the Elevator

Even the littlest babies love to play this game. My kids would still be playing if I could still lift the big ones! Lift your little one up slowly over head. Use your voice to slide up as well. Do the same on the way down. Don’t pass up the opportunity in both directions for a peck on the cheek and an “I love you!” This is also a great time to work on the signs for UP and DOWN. Your baby/ child is learning trust as well as up and down in a great multi-sensory fashion.

Movement and Learning

When dancing together, children quickly learn to work within the group dynamic. Movement becomes the road to communication, fostering both social interaction and cooperation. As parents/caregivers, you know that children love to move their bodies! Structured dance allows for this form of expression while also giving the opportunity for children to learn how they understand themselves in relation to others.
LEARN AT HOME! The next time your child has a playdate, be sure to include some dancing music to turn your playdate into a dance party. Join in on the fun yourself for some exercise and a quick energy burst!