Fabulous Fall Giveaway!

September 22nd is a bittersweet date. It’s the first day of fall, which means saying goodbye to summer, sandals, and sundresses. For many, it means embracing the chance to get reacquainted with cozy sweaters, fun boots, and pumpkin-spiced everything.

And for me, it also means I turn another year old.

Yep, today is my birthday! I have big plans to spend the day doing fun things like paying bills, organizing my closet, and using the occasion as an excuse to eat something chocolatey on an hourly basis.

I know, I’m going WILD, right?

But when some fellow blogger friends suggested hosting another giveaway to start today of all days, I said “Heck yeah!” What better way to celebrate my birthday than by giving YOU a chance to win some cold hard cash?

I’m a giver like that.

First, let’s meet the the bloggers who have joined forces to offer up this Fabulous Fall Giveaway!

Fabulous Fall Giveaway

Down the left side: Jen, Jessica and Julia.  And then down the right side: JeanaeGina and Rachel.
When you get a moment, do me a big favor and go check them out!

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is participate in the Rafflecopter below. The funds will be transferred immediately via Paypal once the winner has been notified. And then, you know, the winner might want to head out and buy a new fall sweater. Or a pumpkin-spiced pumpkin. Totally up to you, winner. Go nuts.

Good luck!

I Heart America: Giveaway!

Can you smell it? It’s the aroma of summer. Sunscreen, bug spray, chlorine, and grilled food. So much of that for me is tied to the 4th of July, which is just 5 days away! I have big plans to celebrate with family. We’ll watch a parade, my kids will try not to get 2nd degree burns from sparklers, and I’ll gain 3-5 pounds. It’s gonna be epic.

And I want you to have an epic weekend too!  I’ve teamed up with a few blogger friends for a giveaway. Because wouldn’t it be better to celebrate America’s Birthday with $100 extra bucks in your pocket?

Before we get to the details, let me introduce my friends!
From bottom left -> up: GinaJeanaeAllieRachelJen and Julia. Seriously, I heart these amazing, funny and talented ladies. Please, please, please, check them out!

Now for the details, comment below with one thing you love about America. Optional entries are liking and following us through various social media channels. Giveaway ends Friday at 5:00 P.M. EST and winner will be announced shortly after. The funds will be transferred immediately via Paypal once the winner has been notified. Voila! A weekend of fun, $100 richer!

Ready, Set, GO!

New Music by Suzi Shelton: “Smile In My Heart”

Not to brag or anything, but I used to have a reputation of being an Ice Queen.  And no, I don’t mean like Elsa.

I mean, I could see the sappiest, tear jerker of a movie and not get in the least bit misty.  I would sail through weddings without even needing to stock tissues in my purse.  And I certainly never choked up while listening to music.

That is, until I became a mother.

Now that I have given birth to and take care of two little people who have turned my world upside down and made me see life differently, I’ve become a softie.  Heck, I couldn’t even make it through that during the Winter Olympics without dabbing my eyes a bit and faking a yawn as a lame attempt at covering my emotions.

And then, I hear songs like “I See You For You” off of Suzi Shelton’s latest family album, and I get all blubbery.

Suzi Shelton

Seeing the world through the eyes of your child, and seeing your child for the simple beauty and joy that they are is something I get now that I’m a parent.  And Suzi Shelton, a parent herself, has penned some songs that mimic my heart’s hopes and aspirations for my own children.

Smile In My Heart CD - coverAward winning family musician Suzi Shelton has just released her third solo family album, “Smile In My Heart”.  With a voice that is clear and strong, Suzi Shelton sings tunes that speak to both young children and parents of young children.

While the lyrics and content of her latest album are a bit too “little kid”-sounding for my brood, Suzi Shelton’s latest album is perfect for kids in the 2-4 years old circuit. She reminds me of Laurie Berkner in the way you can actually hear these two musical gems smiling when they sing.

While “I See You For You” is my favorite song on the album, there are several tracks that get my heart all mushy and warm.

“Smile In My Heart” is the touching title track of the album, with strings adding a nice warmth to a song about spreading love.  The first time I heard it, I was reminded of a conversation I had with my daughter when she asked where she was before she set up camp in my uterus.  Surely, Suzi Shelton probably could have answered my daughter’s question much more eloquently than I did.

Another standout on the album is “Tomboy In a Princess Dress” which addresses my favorite little girl combination of toughness and femininity.  “Let Your Light Shine”, sung with Michael Messner, is an inspiring and empowering song about dreaming big, opening up to your heart’s desires and not giving up.

The album also includes songs with a variety of sounds and styles.  “It’s a Beautiful Day “ transports me back to the days I wore bellbottom corduroy pants and bounced around on our velour couch to The Brady Bunch’s “Sunshine Day”.  The breezy tune “Wings Of a Bird” has a bit of a calypso feel to it, and the Appalachian folk song “Jubilee” lends itself to toe-tapping and dancing.

Suzi Shelton cover’s “Ice Cream Man by Jonathan Richman (remember him from Something About Mary?) in an ode to that diary king of summer, complete with a fake-out ending and rocking reprise.

“Go, Fire Truck, Go” was co-written by one of Shelton’s 4 year-old students and gives little ones plenty of room to interact in call and response style, with prompts to go and stop.  The video is pretty adorable as well!

Rounding out the album are the fun tracks “Banjo Pickin’ Girl”, “Pony Boy” and “Cinnamon Bear”.

If you’re lucky to live in New York, be sure to check out Suzi’s lineup of shows in Brooklyn this May:   http://www.suzishelton.com/gig/

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m giving one lucky winner a copy of Suzi Shelton’s CD!  All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter widget below by 11:59pm on Friday, May 9th.  Open to anyone 18 and over in the contiguous United States.

And to all of you mothers out there, hope you have a fantastic Mother’s Day!


New Music by Danny Weinkauf : “No School Today”

I can remember the first time I gave my mom a lame excuse for missing school.  I believe I woke up sweaty, feverish, a tad nauseous, and completely unable to attend 3rd Grade.

Two hours later, I was driving my Barbie around the living room in her Corvette without any hint of a temperature, and ate my grilled turkey sandwich without a hitch.

To say I got busted would be an understatement.

Once my parents sniffed out I was perfectly fine, I got an earful, along with my Barbie privileges taken away.

Calling in sick to school or work when you’re really not is something that probably everyone has attempted at some point.  So, naturally, that topic is perfect fodder for a children’s music song, and Danny Weinkauf has stepped up the plate to deliver an album that’s perfect for both sick and healthy days.

Danny Weinkauf, best known for his work as a bassist for They Might Be Giants, is personally responsible for the  awesome “I Am a Paleontologist” on TMBG’s album Here Comes Science.

No School TodayHe has an impressive list of song-writing credits for television, commercials, and film.  And now he can add solo children’s music album to his list of credits.  No School Today will be released on April 29th.

Weinkauf’s album feels like a relative of his work with They Might Be Giants but taken many steps further.  His sound makes me think of my college days, spent listening to Robyn Hitchcock (and NOT skipping class, I should say, in case my mother is reading this) with it’s rock-pop tunes and driving, “stick with you” melodies.  Reason enough to make this album a hit with both parents and children, alike.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Marsupial”, with its groovy baseline and syncopated chorus.  Another favorite is “Ballad of Ben”, a tribute to the artistic genius of Ben Folds with Folds-like “soft punk” and sophisticated piano-work.

Weinkauf wrote “Archaeology” as a follow up to the popular “I Am a Paleontologist” because fans often confused the two fields when approaching him.  The song has a very Elvis Costello feel, and explains what an archaeologist does, much like his take on paleontology.

Beloved children’s musician Laurie Berkner lends her distinctive voice to “Our Love Fits.”  This tune shows off Weinkauf’s sharp wit and humor, and Berkner and Weinkauf’s vocals go together, so the song says, like “the Mia to the Farrow.”

“No School Today” is an alternative rock list of ailments to skip school, with a great beat and lyrics that force you to bob your head in both rhythm and familiarity.

Danny Weinkauf premiered the video for this song last week, and I’m hooked! My first thought was remembering those cult classic sock puppets .  Anyone?

But I digress.  Check out this awesome video!

“Ice Cream” starts by doing it’s due diligence in touting the nutritional benefits of healthy eating, then confesses the truth that most of us know too well:  ice cream just tastes better.  The slightly-punk “The Moon is Made of Cheese” is a theory that would make Neil DeGrasse Tyson quiver in his shoes.  And “The Kidney That Lived in Four People”, featuring Hank Green, closes the album with lyrics based on a true story of one kidney that was donated many times over.

No School Today also includes interjects short and sweet tunes in to the mix, with the quirky “Whipped Cream” (a list of favorite treats with a funky backbeat), “Hey!” (the leadoff song to the album), “Oh No Oh Yeah”  and “Lullaby for Quinn.”

Danny Weinkauf’s son Kai sings lead vocals on many songs on the album, including “Champion of the Spelling Bee”, “Ambivalent”(a song for flip-floppers, short and to the point) and “Cast My Vote.” He also sings lead on the most mellow tune of the album, “Together We Can Fly” and while Kai’s voice is unique and fitting, I would have liked to hear Danny’s take on this one.

Whether you’re home with that “nasty cough” you’ve called in sick with, or alive and well and looking for music to dance with your kids in the kitchen to, Danny Weinkauf’s No School Today is sure to cure what ails you.

For a limited time only, you can access a FREE song download of the song “No School Today” by going HERE.

Danny Weinkauf’s No School Today will be available on iTunes and Amazon on April 29th, but  because I adore this album so much, I’m giving one away to a lucky reader who can give me the best No School Today excuse!  C’mon, let’s here them! What is the silliest/funniest/most creative tactic you’ve either used or heard for skipping school?

All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter widget below, leaving a comment and doing a couple of social media things, by 11:59pm on Friday, April 18th.  Open to anyone 18 and over in the contiguous United States.

Good luck, and I can’t wait to hear what excuses you have!

National Reading Month!

When my daughter started Pre-Kindergarten this past fall, she was ambivalent about anything educational.  We’d try working with her on her letters, and she’d give it a half-try.  For example, I’d draw a “T” on a piece of paper and ask her what letter it was.  Without even looking at what I’d written, she’s just spout off what ever answer came to mind.

“It’s a B!”

“No, try again.”


But then, something clicked recently.  Suddenly the alphabet makes sense, and more importantly, they’re making sense in a string.  As in words.  She’s spot reading certain words now, and actively trying to sound out letters to read words she sees at school and at home.

And it’s awesome.

It also makes me feel like patting myself and my husband on the back for reading to our kids so early and so often.

Which makes me super happy to celebrate National Reading Month.

National Reading Month.jpg

A while back, I featured Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke’s album Pleased To Meet You, which featured the fun and zany song “Animal Alphabet”.

In honor of National Reading Month, for one week only, Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke are offering a FREE SONG DOWNLOAD! All you have to do is head over to their Soundcloud page and click the download button, now through March 25th.

There’s also an accompanying “Animal Alphabet” app available from iTunes for 99 cents from Mibblio that features an alphabet made out of animals.  A literary zoo, so to speak.

To celebrate National Reading Month in style, I’m hosting a giveaway, with not one, but TWO prizes!  One lucky winner will receive a CD copy of Key Wild & Mr. Clarke’s Pleased to Meet You.  And another winner will receive a free app download.  All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter widget below by Wednesday, March 26th at 11:59pm EST.  Open to contiguous U.S. residents only.

Good luck and HAPPY READING!