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Tuesday Travels: Music for Families

There’s some freshly released albums for families jamming in our CD player…

Ranky Tanky :: Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem

Incredible arrangements from a string quartet with rich, warm vocals.  Music Americana at its best.  Far more sophisticated and vintage than other albums in the “family music” genre–it’s simply a treasure trove of classic songs that all ages will adore.

Top tracks: #15 Bushel and a Peck, #16 Wildflowers

Note: As much as I love the gritty and bluesy feel of the title track, the entire song is about a woman whining about how depressed and down in the dumps she’s feeling while naming all the pains she feels throughout her body, including her “butt.”  I skip right over that track simply to avoid hearing my son repeat those words.  It’s not a foul-mouthed song, it’s just not the attitude nor vocabulary I want to hear from my two year-old.  Otherwise, I am in love with this album that is on repeat in my car (going on two months).

Ranky Tanky retails for $15, and it’s available at the Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem store.

More Story Songs & Sing Alongs :: Debbie & Friends

If Karen Carpenter performed songs for younger audiences, she’d sound like Debbie and Friends.  The sophomore release by a band with dinstinctly gorgeous lead vocalist who bring to stories to life through music with a style that hearkens back to the seventies (with a little rap thrown in for good measure).  10 tracks.

Download track #1 So, So Happy for free from the Debbie and Friends website.

Top Track: #3 Home Run Ronnie

More Story Songs & Silly Sing Alongs retails for $9.95 (plus $2 shipping) from Debbie & Friends and Amazon.com.

The Big Picture :: Uncle Rock

Eco-friendly message wrapped up in country rock–David Bowie, the Rolling Stones merged with Johnny Cash. Former bassist for the late 70′s punk group Fleshtones who’s also played a lead in a musical in London’s West End, Robert Burke Warren, (a.k.a. Uncle Rock) loves writing and performing for his son’s generation and their parents. 14 tracks.

Free download of There is No Way available on Uncle Rock’s website.

Top Track: #9 You Look Good in the Rain

The Big Picture is available for purchase on CD Baby for $13.97 for CD and $9.95 (MP3).

Note: I received samples of each album for the purpose of this review.  Read my full disclosure.

For the Whole Family: Go Waggaloo

Music that embodies a sunny day full of smiles and laughter just oozes through Go Waggaloo ($12) by Sarah Lee Guthrie and Family. A talented songwriter in her own right, Sarah Lee Guthrie is the daughter of folk legend Arlo Guthrie and the grand-daughter of famed folk artist Woody Guthrie. She continues the family tradition of creating incredible folk music by recording Go Waggaloo with her family and friends.

The title track and two others (Bright Clear Day, Fox and Goose) were written by Woody Guthrie and the unrecorded lyrics were provided to her by the Smithsonian when they asked her family,”Would you be interested in making a family record that doesn’t make you wanna jump out of a minivan?”.

Many of the songs were borne from daily activities such as cooking together, bath time, or road trips.  The album’s songs all have a timeless feel, even if the bluesy, folksy, and rockin’ collection hints at modernity with lyrical references to X-box and DVD’s in ”Cuz We’re Cousins.” Is it just me, or did I hear the piano theme to Halloween coursing through “Oni’s Ponies”?

Interested in trying before you buy?  Check out the streaming album available on Smithsonian Folkways.

The sultry, bluesy feel to Fox and The Goose will make you wanna dance.  Before you know it, the whole family will be clapping and singing along to a fun rendition of “She’ll Be Coming ’round The Mountain” and Sarah Lee Guthrie’s own “Take Me to Show and Tell.”

WIN IT!

One winner  will receive a copy of Go Waggaloo by Sarah Lee Guthrie and Family (retail value $11.98).

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to Friday, November 27th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: complete a quick 10-question reader demographic survey. Then, leave a second comment telling me that you did.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Blog or Tweet about the Holiday Gift Guide (or about this giveaway), then leave a second comment telling me that you tweeted or blogged with a link to your tweet/post.

Two copies of Go Waggaloo were provided for the purpose of this review and giveaway.
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UPDATE: Congratulations to the winner, #10 Heather M.

For the Whole Family: Putumayo Kids’ A Family Christmas CD

Music is a key component to adding the finishing touches on atmosphere in a retail store, a restaurant, and of course, the home.  I can’t think of any other holiday where you can listen to themed music for weeks on end. Great Christmas music fills your cup with good cheer as you plan and prepare a Thanksgiving meal, string lights, hang greens, and read the Christmas story with your family.

I’ve accumulated quite a collection of Christmas music albums over the years, and there are a handful of favorite albums that I want to share with my son as we re-introduce wonderful family holiday traditions and build lasting memories.

1. Charlie Brown Christmas ($14.99) – An album that’s heralded as a favorite for more than 40 years is definitely a classic.  My all-time favorite track is “Linus and Lucy,” but I’m also sentimental about “Christmastime is Here.”  Vince Guaraldi’s jazz genius at its best plus Christmas hymns sung by sweet children’s voices.

2. Merry Chris Rice ($3.99) – Only 4 MP3 downloads that make you wish he’d recorded 10 more tracks of fun and upbeat versions of great Christmas songs.  His Beach Boys’ inspired rendition of “Let It Snow” will melt your heart as you sing along.

3. A Family Christmas ($14.98) – An instant Christmas classic by Putumayo Kids.  It’s the perfect accompaniment for a family gathering or a Christmas party with well-loved Christmas songs performed by well-known artists including Brave Combo and Big Bad VooDoo Daddy.  Deana Carter’s version of “Winter Wonderland” is thoughtful and cozy–just wait until you hear the ending!

WIN IT!

One winner  will receive a copy of Putumayo Kids’ A Family Christmas CD (retail value $14.98).

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to Friday, November 27th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: complete a quick 10-question reader demographic survey. Then, leave a second comment telling me that you did.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Blog or Tweet about the Holiday Gift Guide (or about this giveaway), then leave a second comment telling me that you tweeted or blogged with a link to your tweet/post.

Thank you to Putumayo Kids for providing 2 copies of A Family Christmas for the purpose of this review and giveaway.
Subscribe // Twitter me: drdolly

UPDATE: Congratulations to the winner, #19 Heather M

Calvin’s Birthday Bash: Day 5

slide2 editAt the moment, my son is a a language sponge.  We’re seizing the opportunity to teach him a few words in Chinese, Hebrew, French, and a few other languages as we happen upon different cultures and languages in our city.

Although word repetition is the key to learning any language, even a first language, it’s also tremendously easy to learn new words and sounds with music.

Since last week, Calvin has been singing a discernible rendition of “Row Your Boat” and “Race Car”–I can’t wait to see what song he attempts to sing for me next!

My favorite way to share multilingual songs, cultural traditions, and exotic rhythms is through the quality selections available on Putumayo Kids’ albums.  One of their highest acclaimed and award-heavy albums of all time is the 1998 release of World Playground.  It was received with such praise and popularity that they created a sophomore release a few years later entitled World Playground 2.

world playground

The original World Playground started it all…soon thereafter were releases of country-specific playground or dreamland albums.  Putumayo Kids is the go-to label for fresh and ear-pleasing music with lyrics appropriate for children, yet full of world rhythms, instruments, and production appreciated by adults.

Calvin’s favorite track: #8 Manu Chaq ~ Bongo Bon

Dr. Dolly’s favorite track: #5 Home by Barna ~ Teresa Doyle

Calvin’s Dad’s favorite track: #1 Fatou Yo ~ Touré Kunda

World Playground retails for $14.99 on Amazon.com.  A portion of Putumayo World Music’s proceeds from the sale of this album will be donated to the non-profit Putumayo Cross-Cultural Initiative.

WIN IT!

putumayo kids logoOne winner will receive a copy of Putumayo Kids’ World Playground album.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post before Sunday, November 5th at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the contest rules all generic comments are ineligible.).  At $14.99, World Playground is a wonderful gift for a birthday or just because.

For more in-the-know fun on Putumayo World Music new releases, artist interviews, and more you can follow them on Twitter, and become a Putumayo World Music fan on Facebook.

YOUR TURN:

I want to know…if you could travel with your family anywhere, what destination would you pick?

Thank you to Putumayo Kids for providing a sample copy of World Playground CD for the purpose of this review.

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winner, #2 Aline.

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Health Happy Round-Up: Prevent Picky Eating

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

____________________________________________________________

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat their vegetables?  Are they having food strikes unless it’s a favorite cookie or mac ‘n cheese?

Mealtime doesn’t need to be battle time.  Here’s a few tips (with perseverance and patience) that will help your children eat their veggies and love it.

1. If you’re a picky eater, your kids will follow suit.

Nit and pick and your little one will copy you.  They’re watching every move you make.  However, if you regularly eat a wide variety of healthy foods such as fresh fruit, colorful vegetables, your kids will gobble up good food just because they know Mom and Dad get excited about it.

2. Eat meals at regularly scheduled times.

Kids (and adults) need a schedule for sleep and metabolism.  If meals are served at haphazard times on a daily basis, hunger and the body’s ability to efficiently process nutrition gets haywire.  Set regular mealtimes for breakfast and dinner (as a minimum), and soon you’ll discover your kids are regularly hungry around regularly scheduled mealtimes.

Regular mealtimes brings me to…

3. Don’t serve snacks 30 minutes before mealtimes. For some families, that window of time may need to be even greater.  The more physically and mentally active a child is, the greater his need for food to sustain his metabolism.  Some children need regular snacks between meals.  Make those snacks spaced well before meals, and make them count with good nutrition and energy sources: fruit, yogurt, low-acid cheese, or veggie sticks.  Skip the crackers and goldfish–tasty but just empty fillers that create insulin spikes and potential temper-tantrums.

4. Introduce your children to healthy foods in a fun way. Eat a wide variety of healthy foods on a regular basis.  Allow your children to help you prepare meals in the kitchen.  Even toddlers can help arrange veggie sticks on a tray or stir a yogurt sauce.  They can definitely help by tasting yummy foods while you prepare in the kitchen.  Name the foods, and allow them to see the colors and textures of produce from around the world.

The perfect setting for a lovely meal is music that enhances the appetite and sets a fun-filled mood.

Putumayo Kids produces yet another must-have collection of world music hits that is enjoyed by the entire family.  I’ve been thrilled with every release since we first started listening to Hawaiian Playground.  Putumayo Kids continues to unite exceptional artists from across the globe for a smorgasbord of yummy music in their July 28th release of Picnic Playground.picnic playgroundMy son loves to dance along to all of his Putumayo Playground CD’s, but I’ve never seen him quite so amused with an album as he is with Picnic Playground from the moment I first push PLAY.

Jumping.  Dancing.  Twirling.  Conducting.  Somersaulting.  Heaps of fun!

Folks, my son is singing along in French and English, and he’s only 20 months-old.  Song descriptions in the enclosed booklet are printed in English, French, and Spanish.

We love to play this album at dinnertime.  It’s perfect as background music for birthday parties, picnics, and cookouts on the patio.  This is the first album I’ve ever owned that features healthy and nutritional recipes for kids.

Dr. Dolly’s fave tracks:

  • #1 – Eat Like a Rainbow by Jay Mankita
  • #3  – Bolitas de Arroz con Pollo by Jose Conde y Ola Fresca

Calvin’s fave tracks (It was hard to narrow it down to just two):

  • #2 – Mes Parents Sont Bio by Pascal Parisot
  • #4 – Ice Cream by Asheba

Fret your palate with a delicious sampler.  Putumayo Kids’ Picnic Playground is available for purchase, beginning July 28th through Putumayo Kids website, or Amazon.com for $14.98.  Visit the Putumayo Kids site for more family fun.

If you happen to live in Massachusettes, New York, Washington, Oregon, or California, you could catch a live performance by artists from Picnic Playground.  Find out concert tour dates and locations at the new Putumayo blog!

Making the world a better place through music

To combat hunger and malnourishment, Putumayo Kids will donate 1% of proceeds from the sale of Picnic Playground CDs to Vitamin Angels, providing essential nutrients ot children in the U.S. and around the world.

WIN IT!

prizeypickTwo of you could win your own copy of Putumayo Kids Picnic Playground CD (retail value $14.98).

(Primary entry method, this must be completed first!) Leave a comment describing your favorite family picnic experience or memory.

EXTRA CREDIT

  • Earn two additional entries by blogging about the giveaway and linking to Traveling with Baby using “Putumayo Kids Picnic Playground” as the title in your blog’s post.  Then, leave two comments here with a link to your post.
  • Earn two additional entries by subscribing to Traveling with Baby’s RSS feed.  Leave (two) comments stating that you’re subscribed.
  • Earn another entry by following me (drdolly) and putumayokids on Twitter and tweeting this contest with the following RT @drdolly @putumayokids Win Putumayo Kids Picnic Playground CD on Traveling with Baby! http://tinyurl.com/ltvo4cLeave a comment with the weblink to your tweet.
  • Earn another entry by adding Traveling with Baby’s button to your website/blog.

Leave a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you to claim your prize, or it’ll go to another amazing person.  The contest is open to U.S. shipping addresses only.

This contest runs until 11:59PM (EST) on August 7th, 2009.

Two winners will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and e-mailed sometime shortly after August 7th. If a winner doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

Congratulations to the winners!  #15 Xenia and #6 Kim!

–By Dr. Dolly
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