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    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
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For the Kids: Musical Valentine Fun

Welcome to the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide on Traveling with Baby.  From now until February 14th, you’ll find great Valentine’s gift ideas for the whole family.  You’ll even have the opportunity to win some of the products featured on the Gift Guide–isn’t that lovely?

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Are you interested in wild and raucous sing-along fun with imaginative creatures and quantum physics for preschoolers?  Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke’s punky-folksy-bluesy-rockintainment album Rise and Shine is educational and creative for the kinda kid that wants to rock out at playtime.  Oh, and parents, you may find yourself singing along with these catchy tunes, too.

I Had a Little Dog describes a house full of pets that acted and sounded atypically from a gluttonous cat that acted like a pig to a swimming donkey that acted like a fish, this is visually-rich and entertaining song.

The quantum physics reference is in the fast-to-faster The Rattling Can song that describes how objects enclose others down to the quantum physics level–even if it’s just a vocabulary lesson with some fun references to sizes, it’s rip roarin’ fast and fun.

More than just a CD, it comes enclosed in a full color-illustrated board book for reading fun.

Dr. Dolly’s Favorite Track: #2 I Had a Little Dog

Calvin’s Favorite Track: #6 The Rattling Can

Note: If you play this album all the way through, your child may dance around the living room non-stop for all 11 tracks until he’s plumb exhausted and ready for a nap.

Get your own album plus board book for only $10.98 on Little Monster Records and Amazon.com.

WIN IT!

One (1) winner will receive a copy of Rise and Shine CD and illustrated board book (retail value $10.98).

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to February 14th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: Blog about the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide or this giveaway, then leave a comment with a link to your post.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Tweet (include @drdolly) about this giveaways or the Valentine’s Day gift guide, then leave a second comment telling me that you did with a link.

FOR A FOURTH ENTRY: Enter another contest on the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, and leave a comment telling me which one you entered.

*I received a product sample of Rise & Shine for the purpose of this review.  Read my full disclosure policy.
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*UPDATE* Congratulations to #7 Henria O!

For the Whole Family: Musical Valentines

Welcome to the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide on Traveling with Baby.  From now until February 14th, you’ll find great Valentine’s gift ideas for the whole family.  You’ll even have the opportunity to win some of the products featured on the Gift Guide–isn’t that lovely?

——————————————————————————————-

Musical valentine’s for the whole family and my top family album picks for January 2010:

Sunflow’s Under the Stars is a lush collection of lullabyes and soothing songs by Dublin-based duo and parents Nancy Falkow and Fran King.  Originally intended to be a “children’s album” it surpasses the limitations of that musical genre, and is instead an inspirational album for the entire family.

The songs alternate between the James Taylor and Paul McCartney vocal inspiration of King to the ethereal yet earthy pipes of Patty Griffin-influenced Falkow.  These are songs that will inspire you to sing your own original lullaby to your little one…and at the very least, you’ll enjoy singing along.

Under the Stars is a rich, instrumental and vocal masterpiece–truly a valentine to little loved ones.  This album is cherished in our home for relaxing and peaceful pleasures for all ages.

Get your video preview on the Sunflow MySpace page.

Dr. Dolly’s favorite track: #2 I Wish You Love

Calvin’s favorite track: #7 August Moon

The 10-track album is available for purchase via download or CD purchase through It’s About Music for $12.99.

Wholesome fun with delightful lyrics and earthy vocals make Earthworm Ensemble a musical treat.  There’s so many musical artists that collaborated on this So-Cal folksy-country-rock-rappin’ project that I’ll refer you to earthwormensemble.com for the full list.

The album roars to a start with “The Traveling Train” that choo-choos by with the most delicious cargo before winding down to a full-stop.  The Pizza Moon is a recipe rap about a dad cooking up a pizza for the kids while mom is out with friends at a Dave Matthews concert–totally creative and fun.

Our family had a living room hoe down from tracks 5 (Bang a Drum) to 9 (Walking Boy).  Our family do-si-doed and circled around and back again.  During track 7 (We are Birds), Calvin spontaneously started flapping his arms like a bird (and I followed his lead) and he sang along.  Instead of indoor soccer, I think dancing along to Earthworm Ensemble will be our new indoor evening family activity.

Truly, this green-a-licious album will have you licking your chops, stomping to the licks of your imaginary drum, and urge you to impulsively plant an organic garden.

Calvin’s favorite track: #1 The Traveling Train

Dr. Dolly’s Favorite Track: #8 Mama Loves You

Available on Amazon.com, Earthworm Ensemble retails for $16.99.

WIN IT!

Three (3) winners will receive a downloadable copy of Under the Stars (retail value $12.99).  The downloadable version will be available to the winners for 5 days (and they can share the download login and password with as many people as they like in that time frame!).

Two (2) winners will receive a copy of Earthworm Ensemble CD (retail value $16.99).

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to February 14th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: Blog about the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide or this giveaway, then leave a comment with a link to your post.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Tweet (include @drdolly) about this giveaways or the Valentine’s Day gift guide, then leave a second comment telling me that you did with a link.

FOR A FOURTH ENTRY: Enter another contest on the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, and leave a comment telling me which one you entered.

*I received product samples of Under the Stars and Earthworm Ensemble for the purpose of this review.  Read my full disclosure policy.
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*UPDATE* Congratulations to the winners: #1 Wehaf, #9 Julie L, #11 Laura B (Under the Stars); #4 MJ, #7 Henria O (Earthworm Ensemble).

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.
Subscribe // Twitter me: drdolly

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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Calvin’s Birthday Bash: Day 3

I was studying abroad in China in the late 1990’s when I first heard witnessed a breathtaking live performance of an erhu, an ancient Chinese bowed two-string instrument whose origins date back more than a thousand years.

It was breathtakingly beautiful and haunting.   You can watch a stirring erhu performance by Yu Hongmei.

Because I am half-Chinese (with some Japanese thrown in for good measure), I want our son to grow up with an appreciation for his cultural heritage through language, music, customs, and holidays.

One way to share the beauty of music and instruments from Asia is through a stellar release from Putumayo Kids: Asian Dreamland.  Lush, and peaceful lullabyes are performed with women’s (mamas’) voices and the rich orchestration of instruments from Asia.

asian dreamlandWIN IT!

putumayo kids logoOne winner will receive a copy of Putumayo Kids’ Asian Dreamland CD.

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 $13.99, Asian Dreamland is perfect accompaniment for infant massage, mom and baby yoga time, or a romantic dinner for two.

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…What kind of lullabyes do you sing (or listen to) with your child?   

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

**UPDATE**

Congrats to the winner, #5 AndreaT.

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Calvin’s Birthday Bash: Day 1

Calvin SmileI get to look at this precious face every day.  When he crinkles his nose in a smile, I can’t help but let the tensions of the day melt away as my face beams at his.

My son joins me at the office when I work three days a week.  On other days, we play together at the playground, in the back yard, or in the living room.

There is always music.

The soundtrack of our time together is full of laughter, applause, and clogging…well, at least foot-stomping.

As a nod to the year of my son’s birth, we’ve been jamming to Putumayo Kids’ 2007 release of Animal Playground.

animal playground

Picking our favorite tracks on this album wasn’t easy because there are so many marvelous musical treasures including a rip-roaring Italian version of Old MacDonald, Nella Vecchia Fattoria by Quartetto Cetra.  My heart soars from the ethereal beauty of The Littlest Birds by the Canadian band The Be Good Tanyas.  I enjoy grooving to the Latin and jazz rhythms produced with children’s voices and giggles in L’Otorhinocéros by the French group Les P’tits Loups du Jazz.

Putumayo Kids’ Animal Playground is on repeat in our CD player.  It’s the perfect album for a scenic drive, a birthday party, an afternoon of arts and crafts, or a living room dance floor.

Calvin’s favorite track: #1 Animal Crackers ~ Wee Hairy Beasties

Dr. Dolly’s favorite track: #11 Eagles ~ Terri Hendrix

Calvin’s Dad’s favorite track: #12 If A Dinosaur Was My Friend ~ Phil Melancon

The enhanced CD also includes a video for Asheba’s spirited Caribbean arrangement of the “No More Monkeys!” song.

Animal 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 Wildlife Conservation Society in support of its activities that save wildlife and wild lands.

WIN IT!

putumayo kids logoOne winner will receive a copy of Putumayo Kids’ Animal 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, Animal Playground is a wonderful gift for a birthday.prizeypick

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…what kind of music do you enjoy together as a family?

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

**UPDATE**

Congrats to #13, Jill L.

Subscribe // Twitter me: drdolly