Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday #3

Why does the standard "Slow Children at Play" sign look like a child darting out into the road?

This week it wasn't a child. It was the neighbors beloved dog that darted out into the street at an unfortunate time. That sad incident and the fence blowing over remind me how much we take our safety for granted.

This week I'm thankful for the safety we enjoy and those who make that safety possible, our military, our police force, our good neighbors, and most of our our Maker.

What are your thankful for?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Music Monday - Bead Counter Excitement

Our family practice rating went WAY up this week. In fact Saturday morning I delayed starting our family job time because the kids decided on their own to practice all at the same time. The youngest pianist practiced on a small electric keyboard (I don't have two pianos) - not the best for all the time practice, but it was fine for one day.

Random Tabs Selected from Random Reinforcement Chart
Random reinforcement has worked wonders this week. In fact my five year old demanded his own chart. I'm not teaching him piano yet, but he has other things he is working on and we use the chart for that.

Pros: lots more practicing,
     fewer reminders needed
Cons: a few tears when the randomness didn't work in their favor
     the toddler likes to pull a chair over to where the charts are and lift the flaps

But, what does this have to do with bead counters you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Midweek a package came in the mail. It contained bead counters for our mini musicians! The musicians were excited..... until the first time they practiced and realized that playing each piece 10 times is more than they were practicing up to this point. Then we had some complaints, but by the next day they were eager to use their new bead counters and play the random reinforcement game again. Win, win in my book. More practicing this week and longer, better practicing this week!
Bead Counters

Bead Counter Close Up - isn't it pretty?

So where can you get a fancy bead counter you ask? I'll tell you. Leslie at The Practice Shoppe has bead counters and other nifty stuff to help make practicing fun. The small pictures on her website don't really do justice to the quality of the bead counters she sells. Things I like about the bead counters:
   1. they are a handmade product
   2. they are super sturdy. Miss Toddler has been carrying them around testing this.
   3. the wire is super thick - not going to get easily bent out of shape
   4. the beads are a nice size - not too small
   5. they are colorful and there are lots of designs to choose from
   6. they are a great toddler toy when not being used for music practice

The bead counters are a great asset to our music program and they would be a great asset to yours. Go visit The Practice Shoppe and find one your musician will love whether it be camo, or dogs, or tie dye the Practice Shoppe has designs for everyone.

Disclaimer: the bead counters were received as part of a trade agreement. The opinions expressed are min and mine only. But get one for your musician and I think you'll like it as much as I like mine!

Southpaw Crafts Again - Glass Etching Designs

Occasionally I have to have some serious crafting fun with others. So this week I have invited some friends over to etch glass. Here are the design possibilities I'm offering. Obviously the names will be personalized. If you're local and would like to come please contact me and I'll give you the details.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Lovers Tote Bag

Book lovers will rule the world... as soon as we finish one more chapter.
Do you love books as much as my kids do? Do your kids ever beg to finish the chapter before going to bed, doing their chores etc? Mine do.

When my oldest bibliophile was invited to a birthday party for an equally voracious reader I made this tote as a present. Oh the possibilities!!! Here is a cute version of the runner up quote found here on etsy.

Book Poster / Quote Print / Funny Poster / Outside of a Dog a Book is Mans Best Friend - Groucho Marx

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday #2

Today when I woke up from a nap I knew exactly what to be thankful for today - NAPS!! I'm thankful when my children take them and I'm thankful when I get to take one too. Here's how that famous stuffed bear put it, "Let's begin by taking a smallish nap or two..." Found here on etsy. Naps are a great part of my de-frazzlement when I'm beginning to feel like a candle burned at both ends or a stick of dynamite with a short fuse. So here's to NAPS! What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Winnie the Pooh "Let's begin by taking a smallish nap or two" quote 8X10 Poster Print
Nap Time is the Best Time

Monday, February 18, 2013

Music Monday - Getting Motivated

Backside of Random Reinforcement Chart
So last week was intro week. And the kids did practice..... a little. Mr. Z is practiced the most. Studies show that random reinforcement works better in the long run that scheduled expected reinforcement. Enter: Random Reinforcement Chart!! These charts have 28 flaps (perforated at the top). Each chart has 6 sparkly smiley faces. I posted them on the wall. After a child has practiced for the day they can pick a flap to remove. If they get a smiley face they get to pick from my prize collection. The prizes are random too because they have to choose from one of two small mailboxes. They can shake them but they can't open them until they choose. The current prize collection features items from Valentine's day clearance.

Yesterday everyone practiced (a first in a few days). Today is a school holiday and everyone practiced before 9 am without being reminded! I wonder how long this will last.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Source for Printable Gratitude Quote

Welcome to Thankful Thursday! It's my goal to be more appreciative of the blessings in my life (at least once a week on Thursday).

What am I thankful for today/this week?

I'm thankful for a wonderful husband who works so very hard to support our family. He surprised me with a card yesterday (a day early - this is historic) for Valentine's Day!

Share what you are thankful for in the comments.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's "Boxes" - Cardstock in Craft Cutter Tips

Today I got inspired by my forced stay-at-home-because-my-kid-puked-this-morning status and decided to do something about those Valentine's Day Mailboxes my kids are supposed to bring to school this week.

I used my craft cutter to resize and cut out this heart box and the kids decorated them. I love that my 5 year old put "Mom" on one for me!

A few tips for those who are new to using craft cutters for cutting cardstock (that's me).

#1 Not all cardstock is created equal. My machine shredded one card and did the next one perfectly on the same settings.

#2 Not all cardstock in a multi-color pack is the same quality. The pink that shredded and the red that didn't were in the same pack. (Now if I could just figure out how to predict which colors are bad quality.....)

#3 I found it easier to roll the mat away from the cardstock than to pick the pieces off of the mat. Of course this problem may be solved with the removal spatula that I've been too cheap to buy!

#4 Every craft is easier without the help of a toddler. (Umm, yeah. I knew that but thought I could be super crafty mom anyway. Isn't she cute? Yes I'm biased I'm her Mom!)

What super craftiness have you been up to lately?

 photo 28535494b_zps93e8fa7e.jpg

I've linked to "Tag, You're It", and "Time for You" .

Monday, February 11, 2013

Music Monday - The Beginning

J Practicing Piano Upside Down = FUN!!

Welcome to the first ever Music Monday!

I'm a crafter + musician = crafty musician! I love good clean humor and I think practicing music can be fun. My children don't always agree with me on that last statement, but we are working on it.

On Music Mondays I want to share what is working (or not working) for me as I help my own children learn the joys of music.
Mom - maker of music and crafts and piano teacher to Miss J and Mr. Z.

Miss K. - 5th grader in school strings program learning violin

Miss J. - 3rd grader learning piano

Mr. Z. - 1st grader beginning piano (first lesson earlier this month)

So practicing upside down isn't recommended all the time, but it is fun to try once in a while.

Leave a comment and tell me what makes practicing fun for your mini musician.

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