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Category Archives: creativity

Believe in Magic: Whose Saree Now

Yes! It exists! Here’s the true story.

Earlier today I got a babysitter for the girls so I could do some work and take a walk. In the back of my mind and quickly scooting to the front of my mind, was the event I have tonight… my girls’ school auction with an Indian/Bollywood theme. I had planned on putting on a pretty dress and boots to attend and then got word that some moms were renting saris and really going all out.

On my walk I thought, “Hmm. I could go to the thrift store and see if they have anything – but that will take time and I just don’t know if I want to spend my time searching for a needle in a haystack”. As I continued my walk I saw a garage sale sign. I then said to myself, “Deb. Don’t go. You don’t need anymore stuff… you are challenged as it is, getting your stuff organized. There is nothing you need… except… a sari. What are the chances?'” I continued walking toward the sale, now picking up the pace a little bit, wondering about the magic that might be waiting for me.

DidiPop in a saree that's not actually a saree but a three piece Indian pant-suit that she called a saree. Electric blue!

DidiPop in a saree that’s not actually a saree but a three piece Indian pant-suit that she called a saree. Electric blue!

I walked up the driveway to a beautiful two-story mc-Mansion and peeked a the clothes. instead of searching, I asked the woman( and mom) there if she had anything Indian. She thought for a minute and then said, “Well, I do have a sari, upstairs”. I looked at her – about 2 inches shorter than me and about a size smaller. “Really?” I said. And she replied, “Yes, but it’s more expensive. I could go try and find it for you?”. I said, “How much do you think you want for it? I have a school event and I thought I’d try and dress for the occasion”. She said, “How’s $10?”. My eyes popped in excitement on the inside (on the outside I played it cool) “That would be alright”, I said as she went in the house to fetch it. She came back 3 minutes later with a white box. She unwrapped it and pulled out a 3 piece, beaded, electric blue pant-suit saree. I mean this thing is GORGEOUS.

I went inside to her bathroom and tried it on. A teeny bit tight n the waist- a teensy bit short in the the legs. But it all pretty much fit, and with the pants, the beaded tunic and the matching beaded scarf around my neck ~ I was completely transformed.

I picked up these shoes on sale at Nordstroms. They are silver beaded and actually comfy! Bangles on my wrists and dangling earrings

I picked up these shoes on sale at Nordstroms. They are silver beaded and actually comfy! Bangles on my wrists and dangling earrings

My husband really liked my new look as did my daughters. I felt regal and refined - like an Indian Rani.

My husband really liked my new look as did my daughters. I felt regal and refined – like an Indian Rani.

Wait ’til my husband sees me as a regal Indian woman! Next I will dash off to our local Indian restaurant to buy a bindi for my forehead. Later I’ll pull back my hair and study this Indian eye make-up video on youtube. How FUN! Any Dream Is Possible. DP

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Mother Yourself Up!

I am a busy mom (2 girls, 6 and 8), an artist and a teacher. My never-ending goal is to live life in a rich, thoughtful, loving and creative way. I overflow with love for my girls … and I need to make art (sing, write, play music, create smart videos…). My hope for my new two-fold site is to provide you with ideas to help you be a happier, more content mom (and woman) and also share thoughts that might inspire you in the parenting arena. And to provide fun, smart music for kids and families

I work at balance everyday… to balance the energy I give to my husband, family, friends, and to MYSELF…not to mention the house, the cooking, the bills, the pets and our school. I want to share what I learn, as I learn, about being happy and feeing that I am doing my dharma: living my life inline with that which I am actually destined to be doing.

I am  only child and realize that the connection between the child and the mother is magical, powerful, intense, scary, gigantic and mind-bending. My girls pick up on my moods and feelings – they are little psychic sponges. I felt my mom’s feelings DIRECTLY and still do. I believe that to be conscious of these connections as we are mothering will help us be better parents and help us to raise children who can individuate and thrive. The beauty of this philosophy is that, the better we take care of OURSELVES, the more connected and aware mothers we become to our CHILDREN.  Just like on the airplane, fasten your grown-up oxygen masks first, so that you can more effectively help your child.

I know I can live the rich, full life I have always dreamt of…. being an artist, a mother and a teacher. I know you can do it too! Really being who I want to be will support my kids in a positive way. By sharing my journey, I hope to inspire you and your kids. Living in tune with ourselves sets an example by showing, by doing. Actively honoring dreams, the inner world, the delicate balance of love, art and family AND sharing it here is the plan. Oh yeah! Mother yourself up baby!!

 

Carmelized Chocolate Matzoh

Cooking with Kids: Fun cooking project/teacher gift!
Want to do a fun project with your kids and make inexpensive and yummy treats for teachers and/or neighbors? Try this caramelized chocolate matzo! We went to a thrift store and found these cute dishes (50 cents each!) to hold this holiday treat. All told, these 4 containers cost about $5 each and took about 20 minutes to make!
p.s. i love baking with my children but do not enjoy the icky feeling of having eaten too much sugar.  My policy? Bake and Give… Bake and Give (but I do recommend having a few SMALL bites to enjoy before you giving it all away!)
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Chocolate-Caramelized  Matzoh



Makes approximately 30 pieces of candy

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4 to 6 sheets unsalted matzohs
1 cup unsalted butter1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
big pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup toasted sliced almonds (optional)
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges.
    Preheat the oven to 375F .
  2. Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.
  3. In a 4 quart heavy duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof spatula.
  4. Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it’s not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325, then replace the pan.
  5. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.
  6. If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs.
Let cool completely, then break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week. Or wrap up in pretty thrift store dishes with ribbon and make your teachers and neighbors HAPPY!
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Story Behind DidiPop’s new Holiday Video – Old content new again!

This video was so fun to make. I love making animated pieces for families and putting them up on youtube, but making my own takes forever! And hiring someone else to draw and animate is EXPENSIVE. ($1500 per minute!). So I went to fiverr.com , which is a really fun and innovative site. It’s a bunch of people who are willing to do, create and make just about anything for $5.

I found a person who had created this hand-drawn “inkman” and he said he would replace his logo

and add mine for $5. As I previewed it, it flashed on me that I had a song, “Charlie’s Revenge” that might work well with this video. (I named the tune with love, for one of my heroes Vince Girauldi who wrote and played all the Charlie Brown Christmas music. The title refers to the side story in Peanuts where Lucy is always snapping the football away from Charlie. In this piece, I like to imagine that he kicks the ball far and a way, finally!)

Anyway, Charlie’s Revenge was part of a group of instrumental pieces I had written for the

Weather Channel years ago. They used to play during the exciting radar portion of the broadcast (on the eights!). I dug out the piece and realized I didn’t have the original session file (I recorded it in Cubase back in 1997), so I brought the mp3 in to my protools programs, added percussion, brightened it up with a new snare and added some vocal “bah bahs” and a few words at the end. I edited it together in Adobe Premier and uploaded it to create a very cute, artsy, fun holiday greeting for DidiPop likers around the world.

The lesson? Technology has come so far, there are people out there creating good work. Go out and look for some and see if you can make your art better, promote your brand for less and have fun doing it. Oh yeah, and check out http://www.fiverr.com

 

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You get what you get, you don’t always get your needs met

Did this child get her needs met? Hmmmm

I never heard the saying, “You get what you get … don’t get upset” until I had little kids of my own. In fact, I once got into a passionate discussion over this phrase with some moms over organic salad in Santa Monica. A preschool teacher said it to Eli (a 3-year-old) and Eli’s mom was REALLY annoyed. Eli’s mom, Jill, said, “I don’t like the idea of anyone telling my son what he can or cannot feel”. I totally agreed with her,   but as we walked away from that dinner, I realized that I didn’t know what to do about it or how to fix it. Maybe we could create a  new phrase – a better motto –  that grown-ups could use to teach their children that they can’t always have everything they want when they want it. AND, that it’s ok to feel because of it.

Recently I have been studying spiritual psychology with Rabbi Mordecai Finley. He says when a person get angry,  (let’s call him Eli)  what’s really happening is that Eli is not getting his needs met. Finley recommends that Eli would understand more about his feelings if he could ask himself, “Why am I angry?”.  Now you are probably thinking, “How can Eli process this? He is only 3!”. That is where the parents come in.

As parents, maybe if we explained to our children that anger/sadness/frustration do not come from the world being “unfair” but from the natural order of things, kids might understand that their feelings are valid. Not getting one’s needs met are a part of life.  Maybe then, Eli might take his anger and translate it into sadness. Maybe then, Eli could experience the feeling of being “upset” and learn from it. He could grow into a more thoughtful person and use his emotions to teach himself about himself. He could learn that sweeping his feelings under the rug with the old “Don’t get upset” doesn’t work. All it does is create more frustration and a kind of “I’m bad… it’s wrong of me to have feelings” attitude. Shame.

After all, don’t we want to raise our kids to know themselves…first and foremost?

So – how about, “You get what you get, you don’t always get your needs met”
as a starting place for understanding disappointment? It’s not quite as succinct, but hey…it rhymes! And, most importantly, it works.

 

Musical Parenting Tip: Make up new words to songs you know

I like to accompany most activities in life with music. I sing A LOT. It’s just my nature. It’s also my nature to teach and I love teaching music to children. They are so excited about playing piano and learning songs. It is like I am giving them the tools to fly a 747. I sometimes feel that a piano looks like a wonderful spaceship to kids (and maybe to everyone). All those buttons and pedals – Come ON! Fly me To The Moon!

Back to today’s tip: Make up new words to songs you know. This is so easy and fun to do. Do it while driving, in the bathtub, on a picnic and in the grocery line! One really fun and funny one is to start with is The Alphabet Song (the traditional one). When you get to the last letter (or word) or each section, instead of singing the letter/word, make a raspberry sound (you know, the sound that comes from putting your tongue between your lips and gently blowing out on a “P” sound, letting your lips flutter in the wind). Let’s try it!

1, 2, ready, go:

a…b…c…d…e..f… PLLTHLTHTHLT!
h….i…j…k…l.m.n.o.. PLLTHLTHTHLT!
q…r…s……t….u…PLLTHLTHTHLT!
w….x….y…and PLLTHLTHTHLT!
Now I know my A… B… PLLTHLTHTHLT!
Next time won’t you sing with PLLTHLTHTHLT!

Isn’t that fun and funny? I sing it with my kids and I did it at a Didi Pop Show last night…kids love it! I mean they LAUGH HARD!

You may be thinking, “OK Didi Pop, this sounds fun, but what exactly does that teach?”

Firstly, it teaches the alphabet in a more cognitive way. Kids are not simply singing what they have memorized (a series of sounds accompanied by melody), they are thinking and processing about what comes next. They are also learning breathing technique (it takes a different kind of air flow to create the raspberries) and therefore, musical phrasing. It teaches creativity (they learn that words and sounds can be  substituted for other words/sounds) and empowers children around music and language (Yes! There are no rules! Music and language are tools that can be altered according to one’s mood!). It also inspires general silliness and family FUN. I mean, who doesn’t want to see their grandma singing:

h….i…j…k…l….m…n.o…… PLLTHLTHTHLT!

And here is my ABC song for you to enjoy!

 

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