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Category Archives: Holidays

Dads and Grads Gift Ideas

 

What a crazy time. I’ve got one graduating college, one graduating high-school, one graduating kindergarten, Father’s Dayand on top of all that, FLAG DAY!

Here are some gift ideas.

1. For the College Grad

When I graduated from Berkeley, my mom gave me a compass to help me navigate through the world. I still have it and will cherish it as a symbol of freedom and exploration. It also came in handy when I got lost on an island in the South China Sea. “Where is that bungalow of mine?”

2. For the High-school Grad

Half boy, half man, going off into the world but still with a foot back home. What could be better than a pet to take to college? A pet that you don’t have to feed, water or walk? Yes, you guessed it: a Pillow Pet! Having a nice snuggly friend waiting for him in his dorm-room after a late lecture will be comforting. Woof Woof.

3. For the Kinder Grad

Since many parents start giving an allowance around this time. Why not take your graduating kindergartner out for a great big banana split, and then to the local bank to set up a savings account?Many banks will set up a free account if you have other accounts at the branch. Kids love counting and saving money. I still remember the day I opened my account, I was seven and it was thrilling. I deposited $7.11.

4. For the Dad

For the baseball fans: my husband requested a book that looked deeply intriguing (to him). So maybe your baseball fan husband or dad will enjoy it too. It’s called “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched: Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn, and the Pitching Duel of the Century”. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.

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ChristmasTime is better than Christmas Day (Don’t end up in the ER!)

Our plan is to make Christmas more about the season than about the day. Hopefully it will keep our kids and our family centered and keep us safe too!

When I was a little girl, I would get so excited about Christmas that I would get sick. I’d work myself up into such an anxious state, my stomach would hurt and I’d almost lose my breath. My mom later told me she could not tell me Christmas was coming until 3 or 4 days before the actual day.

It is a crazy-huge concept for kids to digest isn’t it? Be good and if you are,  a magical man will fly with reindeer to the roof of your house, slide in through your fireplace, munch on your cookies and leave you your hearts’ desire, wrapped up in shiny paper and ribbons! And meanwhile, here honey, let’s make some fudge and eat some chocolate and cookie batter and stay up late and go on vacation and play play play. Talk about stimulation.

Delilah’s last two Christmases were scarred by over excitement. Two years ago she slammed her jaw into a cement wall (playing on Christmas afternoon) and last year she had a 103 temperature on Christmas day, ALL day. I just read that Christmas (especially the day after Christmas) finds many people in the Emergency Room. It’s just THAT exciting!

“How about the busiest day for emergency room care?  Any ideas?  It’s the day after Christmas.  After all the stress of trying to get thru the holidays – a lot of people end up in the hospital.”

So the way I having fun with it AND trying to keep the my girls a bit contained this year, is by talking about ChristmasTIME. Hannah (4) and Delilah (7) have 3 weeks off. That’s a lot of time! And in this “TIME” we will do all the fun and usual Christmas and Hanukkah stuff: bake, eat, sleep, wrap, deliver cookies to neighbors, sing, maybe go to some museums and take a trip to Big Sur. I talk about how lucky we are to be together and enjoy all of this time. It’s a lot of gratitude talk, and I think it’s calming for them and settling me down too!

Yes, they still ask me how many days til Christmas and Hanukkah (we celebrate everything around here), but I temper it with what is going on in the moment. Hopefully it will help them stay relaxed, get sleep at night and keep them healthy too.

p.s. Here is a fun thing to do at ChrsitmasTIME that you can do whenever the kids need a good holiday run-around. Hide N Seek in a xmas tree forest!

 

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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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Farmer’s Market teaches Seasons to Kids (and keeps them healthy!)

We like Sunday mornings here in Mar Vista. Every week we walk over to our local farmer’s market. I can’t remember what life was before we had fresh picked lettuce and fresh laid eggs available a few blocks from our doorstep. I was raised with frozen spinach in a box. It was the most disgusting, slimy, inedible stuff I’d ever seen or tasted! And even now, when I go to the “super market”, I pick up a tomato and wonder where it was born, how many chemicals are in it and how long it sat in a truck before it got into my hands. I appreciate all the people who worked hard to get that tomato to the super market, but there’s no question that I’d rather eat the one radiating vitamins that was picked this morning, an hour away from home.

Anyway, how lucky my girls (2 and 4) are to “know” fresh food. We wander, looking , tasting and smelling the wonderful summer fruits and veggies spread on the tables at the farmer’s market, or as we call it The Crepe Market. There is a french man there, Tierry, who whips up these delectable crepes. Sugar/Lime is now Delilah’s favorite.

The colors of the market are always breathtaking… it’s like a party for the senses and Hannah likes to touch everything – which is OK! (But not in Italy! Once I got slapped for touching a cucumber at a market!). We also get a great sense of seasonal change as we explore every week. For example, the peaches will only be GOOD for another 2 or 3 weeks, says the farmer who grows them. Oh how those white peaches have gotten us thru the summer, kept us cool and hydrated… and the yummy fresh peach yogurt we made with our wedding present ice cream maker. Alas… seasons change, fruits change, but last week we saw something REALLY exciting…. a few small pumpkins in a pile, glowing in the sun, calling us toward the fall and saying, “BOO!”

 

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Lyrics to "Potatoes and Cabbage" by DidiPop

I love, just LOVE, knowing that children all over the world are learning from DidiPop. I am driven to teach (and always have been) and since I can’t swing a teaching trip to Brazil this week, this will have to do.

I got this email from a tracher in Brazil this morning:

On Mar 11, 2011, at 10:29 AM, Júlia wrote:
Hello,
My name is Julia and I am an English teacher in Brazil. I got to know your work during a search for material to use in my St. Patrick’s day class, and simply adored your music! I’m going to show it to my 5 year old cousin and use it in my classes as well.
I was wondering if you could send me the lyrics for “Potatoes and Cabbage” so that the students can sing along to it!
Thank you very much, and congratulations!
Julia 

Thanks Julia! Here they are:

Potatoes and Cabbage (lyrics) ©Poppinksongs 2011

St. Patrick’s Day is so much fun
Coloring shamrocks in the sun
So do a dance and bang a drum
And eat potatoes and cabbage

St Paddy’s got a history
He was kind and good you see
He followed all his magic dreams
And ate potatoes and cabbage

He was kidnapped at 16
By Irish raiders cruel and mean but
He got away and studied and prayed
And ate potatoes and cabbage

He brought the Irish people faith
He built a church, became a saint
Some people say he scared the snakes
And ate potatoes and cabbage

We celebrate March 17
So don’t get pinched and wear some green
Welcome in the sunny spring and
Eat potatoes and cabbage

Let’s be Irish, sing a song and
Look for clovers on the lawn
A leprechaun may come a long he’ll be
Eating potatoes and cabbage
Eating potatoes and cabbage
Eating potatoes and cabbage

Happy Paddy’s Day to you!

 

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