Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bento update!

Hurrah! The cute Bento items I ordered arrived and we're really enjoying them. I didn't realize how small the Bento box that I ordered is - I've been using it for C6's snacks, or appetizers/sides/bits. The Hello Kitty cartoon character on the front of the box is "Shinkansen", the Japanese Bullet Train. Maybe he's the Japanese version of Thomas the Tank Engine. (Though we don't really know about him yet, shhhh. Don't tell C6! I tried watching that show and it was painfully boooooring! PAINFULLY!)

C6 is just crazy about the bear and bunny-shaped hard boiled eggs. He likes them with black pepper. No photos yet of the eggies (intact), but here's C6 enjoying some bueno Bento. This time it was avocado, blackberries, cheddar cheeeeez, and hard boiled egg slices. He gets very excited about opening it up to see what's inside! "My Bento box! My Bento box!"

Friday, April 27, 2007

C6 and Mummio's Music Roundup Part 2!

Welcome to another edition of C6 and Mummio's MUSIC ROUNDUP! (For Part 1, click away!) Here are a few more CDs and DVDs that have been keeping us singin' an' a-dancin' an' a-clappin' an' a-swayin' lately!

I have written before about how much we love Captain Bogg and Salty. The CD "Pegleg Tango" is one of C6's favorites. The tracks "Pieces of 8eight" and "Nellie The Elephant" are absolute gems. I love that the spoken intro to "Nellie the Elephant" is lifted from the intro to U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday". ("There's been a lot of talk about this song. Maybe too much talk. This is not a rebel song. This song is Nellie. The. Ellie. Phant.") I would love to hear the Dropkick Murphys perform these songs! Though, the Captain and his crew do rock out most mightily. This CD makes a fine soundtrack for all your pirate-y activities. It is so very swashbuckly! Highly recommended!

We have been fans of the compilation CD The Bottle Let Me Down for quite awhile now. It still enjoys a lot of airtime here, which is always a plus.The songs on this CD have a distinct retro feel to me. There's a lot of twang! Bluegrass! Rockabilly! Old Timey-ness! Why does it seem to me there's so much country-ish kids music? I'm learning to tolerate the twang. But I digress. There's a lot of nostalgic coolness as well - remember the song "Senor El Gato"? How 'bout "On Top of Spaghetti"? There's a sassy-n-sexyish version of "Rubber Ducky" by Kelly Hogan. Also included is an old fave of mine "The Crawdad Song" - C6 goes completely nuts (in a good way) during the mandolin and violin solos. I love that song! "Yougittaline and I'llgittapole, honey! Yougittaline and I'llgetapole, babe!" There are a lot of songs that are new to me, including "Funky Butt" which has been in heavy HEAVY rotation here. It is not a funk song - it is more of an old time New Orleans-ish style. It's about a...funky butt. "Open up the window, let the funk right out." HAhrHA! Potty humor! There is lots to love on this album - something for everyone. You can listen to some samples here.

Q: Are we not Devo? A: No, we are not Devo. We are Devo 2.0, or Dev2.o to be accurate. What the heck is this? It is Devo songs with kids singin' em. I got this last year for C6 and he enjoyed it a little bit, (liked watching the weird animations) but he wasn't exactly bowled over by it, so it went into hibernation for a little while. Until about a month ago, when he rediscovered it and wanted to watch and listen to it. All. The. Time.

So what is it, really? It is a CD and a DVD of 5 kids, between the ages of 10 and 13 "performing" Devo songs. They actually sing the songs, but fake-play the instruments (as far as I can tell). Devo (the original guys) recorded the music, slightly altered here and there to be more kid-friendly. (Although I have no idea why they changed the laugh in "Peekaboo" to an EVEN SCARIER laugh - and there's a creepy jester/clown character in the video to match - eek!) The lead singer is a girl who sings kind of in a low-ish register, and does a lot of fun, goofy moves. FUN! The drummer actually appears to know how to play drums. They seem to be having fun. The video is the kids "performing" in front of a videoscreen playing zany, very DEVO-ish animations. There are also some interviews and other materials, but to tell the truth, we haven't gotten that far, because C6 always wants to watch the performance part.

C6 is aaaaaalllllllll over this. We put on the CD in his room and he does his Devo ("Kid Devo" we call it) act. Yesterday, some of his stuffed animals became bandmates. He sings a little bit, and rocks out on his Wiggles guitar - or sometimes he'll be the keyboardist and set up his toy piano on a storage container so that it is the right height for "performing". His favorite tunes are "Uncontrollable Urge" and "Whip It". C6 genuinely LOVES this music. After we put C6 to bed at night, sometimes we'll hear him in his crib singing "Uncontrollable Urge": "Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah YeahyeahyeahyeahyeahYEAH!" I've played him "Real Devo" and he liked it well enough, but not with the same vigor. Hmmm.

For The Kids is another compilation I got quite awhile ago that has been a hit with both of us. There are tracks by Billy Bragg, Cake, Ivy, Guster, Bleu - lots of good stuff on here! The collection starts off with "Mahna Mahna" performed by Cake - this is such a fun, classic tune! C6 always gets out the percussion box and we play along to this one, in particular. The next tune "La La La La Lemon" is another fave. Do you remember this one from Sesame Street? I loved this song as a lass - it was sung by Bert on Sesame Street, and is done here by "Barenaked Ladies". We usually skip track 3, not because we don't like the song - It is "Rainbow Connection" - a great tune! - but Sarah McLachlan totally turned it into a WICKED DOWNER. Of course, that is our opinion. You might like it. (Dixie Chicks do a sweet version of the song on the compilation "Mary Had A Little Amp", see below.) Guster is next with "I've Got To Be Clean", a hilarious song about keepin' clean. We got this CD long before C6 was talking, and he learned how to say "Dirt" listening to this song. (it is a backup vocal at one point). On track 5, Dan Zanes performs "WonderWheel", a fantastic tune about riding the ferris wheel and being with your friends. We like this one A LOT. Geesh, I didn't really intend to go through ALL the tunes on this album - there are so many good ones! Bleu rocks out on "Snow Day", and Ivy does a gorgeous version of "Sing". The coolest version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" I've ever heard is here, done by Chantal/Raine Maida. C6 liked this song so much, I'd sing this version to him at bedtime, and he'd sing along in parts. Awwwww.

It is really a great bunch of music!

I picked up Twink's "The Broken Record" a little while ago, and, truth be told, it hasn't had much play time yet. It is sometimes hard to pry C6 away from his old faves to listen to something new, so it hasn't really been put to the test yet. But I certainly dig it. This is a very bizarre CD! Is is kid's music? Hmmm. I don't know! It is snippets of vintage childrens music recordings remixed and set to beats. A review in Tape Op magazine summed it up as "Disturbing and beautiful at the same time". ExACTly!!!! Listen to a few exerpts here and here to hear for yourself. When I bought this CD, I had no idea the man behind Twink, Mike Langlie, is a Boston guy. Well ALL RIGHT!!! Hurrah!

And then there's Mary Had A Little Amp. There are only a couple of tracks on this CD that C6 enjoys. But C6 likes those songs so much that I wouldn't call this a bad value. His fave songs are "Sing Along" by The Blue Man Group and "We Walk" by REM. "Rainbow Connection" performed by the Dixie Chicks is nice. Madonna's "Little Star" is good. Moby's "Anchovie" kind of okay. The rest? Errrrr. Bonnie Raitt, Roseanne Cash, Nancy Wilson, Indigo Girls just ain't our cuppa o.j. It seems like an odd mix of artists, doesn't it???

I'm going to mention Dan Zanes again - since seeing the concert, C6 has been really into watching the DVD. I like that the DVD contains live footage from a show at the Knitting Factory in NYC as well as other videos - animation, the videos we first saw on Noggin back in the day (2005) and this one, for the song "Jump Up". Everyone's havin' a good time!

That's it for now!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tortellini Soup...Simply YUM.

This recipe for "Cheese Tortellini in a Light Broth" is from the show Everyday Italian on the Food Network. It is the easiest thing in the world to make and is so very, very good. Try it! Next time I'll make the parmesan crisps to go with it, as suggested in the recipe. C6 really enjoyed it, but he wasn't crazy about the parsley. He is VERY into salt and pepper though.

Hooray for Everyday Italian!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Oswald The Octopus

I can't believe that I have yet to mention our fondness for Oswald the Octopus!

Before C6 was born, I was looking for wallpaper to decorate his room. I came across some adorable paper with a cartoon octopus sporting a derby hat, and his weiner dog, who looks like a hotdog in a bun. I fell in LOVE! I found out that this was Oswald the Octopus, and he had his very own show on the Noggin channel.

I tuned in to check out "Oswald" to see if I liked it. It is such a cute show - very gentle. Not hyper or in-your-face like some of the sheissen on kids tv. I loved it! (...and so I ordered the wallpaper!) Visually, the show is beeeyooootiful - really simple yet cool art and a soft, retro feel to the pallette. I was also drawn in by the music - the instrumentals with horns, piano, upright bass, flute. Some of the tunes are sung by Oswald, who is voiced by Fred Savage - The Wonder Years kid. Oswald's pal Henry (a penguin) is the voice of David Lander, who was Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley! And Tony Orlando, as Sammy Starfish, really swings. All of Oswald's friends, and the buildings and vehicles in Big City, are just so cool. It is just a really, really sweet little cartoon.

Soon after C6 came along, I purchased the CD Pop Goes The Octopus, and it has been a steady favorite. Certain tunes on the CD make me particularly nostalgic, remembering listening to Oswald with a snoozing 2 month old C6 held to my chest. Boy do we love this CD!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Here Come The 123s!

They Might Be Giants are releasing another CD/DVD of kids music! A sequel to "Here come the ABCs", it is called "Here come the 123s"! HURRAH!!!

C6 and I have adored "Here Come The ABCs" since he was teeeeeny tiny. "Flying V" was "our song" for the longest time - - - I used to twirl him around his room to this tune when he was wee. All of the songs on "Here Come The ABCs" are so well-crafted and chock full o' fun. And the videos are so silly and cute. What's not to love??? We are so looking forward to hearing the new songs!

Too bad the tour isn't all ages. Guess I'll have to ditch the li'l guy and head out to western MA to catch the show on me own! (n't!)

Nellie the Elephant

A little while back, I wrote about how C6 and I were totally in love with Captain Bogg and Salty. We still are! I bought the album and we dance to it pretty much daily. Calvin's favorite song is called "Nellie The Elephant" which sounds like it would be right at home on a Dropkick Murphys album. It is sort of a sea shanty that goes back and forth between a soft circus-y part and a rousing pub rock singalong. Every so often there is a part where the music stops and the singers start a note very soft and low and increase in volume as they slide up the scale. C6 drops to the floor and slowly stands up, lifting his hands up to the sky as we sing. Seriously - this is one of the best kids songs EVER. I found a little piece of video from a live Captain Bogg and Salty performance - it is only a tiny part of the song, but here it is:

I had never heard the song before. Have you? It so rocks! I just did a little checkin' aroun' and found that it was written in the '50s and was recorded in the '80s by The Toy Dolls. Dude! I'm not sure how I missed The Toy Dolls first time around - I really like this kind of music. Here is their version of "Nellie"- it is so much fun!

Here's another version, again, by The Toy Dolls - such dance moves!

...and look! How to play "Nellie the Elephant" on guitar, a lesson from Olga of The Toy Dolls.

How I love YouTube! There's even a version of The Dickies playing "Nellie" with Olga guesting. But I won't post it because I've already gotten carried away here...(um, y'think????)

(We really love this song!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Monster Rawk

C6 has really liked "Shiny Happy People" by REM for awhile now. (I know, "that's too bad". HArhAHRH!!!) We've been viewing this clip of REM and some muppets singing "Furry Happy Monsters. As excpected, C6 loves it - though he does get concerned when the monsters are all sad. "C'mon monsters! You don't have to cry! We can be happy!"

PS: Isn't that Kate Pierson muppet hottt?

Monday, April 2, 2007

To Make You Smile...

I know this has been out for quite some time, but yesterday was the first time C6 caught a glimpse of OK Go's video "Here It Goes Again" and he absolutely LOVED it. If you haven't seen it yet, or if you haven't seen it in awhile, go ahead and take a look! It'll brighten your day.

(We especially like the guy with the pink shirt and vest.)