2016: Simplify, Streamline, Self-Care (part 3)

STOP!!!!  Stop what you are doing right now!

Take a deep breath. 

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How did that feel?  Pretty great, right? Take another one. A slow, deep breath.  Remind yourself to simply breathe and take a second to step away from everything.

Close your eyes and take another deep breath.

 You’ve got this. 

When I feel myself starting to tense up and my shoulders slowly creeping toward my ears, I remind myself to stop, take a moment. Breathe. Remember, to breathe.

Previously, I’ve talked A LOT about self care in a series called “Love Yourself”.  However, it’s soooo important that I’m going to rehash it now.

Take at least a little time out of every single day to…you guessed it…


Do something (literally ANYTHING) for yourself.

We get so consumed in the tasks we “have” to do every day that we simply forget to take care of ourselves.  We forget that in order to care for our families, help other people, or be successful at work, that we first have to take care of our selves.  We have to make sure our proverbially batteries recharge at some point so they don’t shut down and power off entirely.

Self-Care can be ANYTHING!!!

It can be anything that helps you to recharge, unwind, relax, find yourself, or however you like to look at it. It just has to be something for YOU! No one else. JUST YOU!

Can it help someone along the way… sure, maybe. But, it has to help you!

How do I self-care: Jogging, baths, reading, cooking (when I WANT TO), playing piano (for fun), wine, drawing, watching Netflix with my husband, writing, going to the dog park (with the dog), taking pictures, organizing my closet, writing a blog post, shopping for home decor, taking a nap, calling my sister, yoga/pilates, coffee dates, meditating, coloring, massages, traveling, etc.

I want to know…

How do YOU self-care?

Inexpensive Props and Dual Purpose Furniture!

I get really excited about finding good deals and new ways to use things I already have! When we moved into our new office space we had to get a little creative because there isn’t a whole ton of room! This is especially true in our therapy room. We needed to have somewhere to put all of our instruments and props, but still leave enough room to conduct a therapy session.IMG_5633

We purchased two large metal cabinets to run along the back wall of the room and house all of our equipment. They have worked splendidly! When we were putting everything away, I noticed that we had a bunch of little magnets and a light bulb instantly went on! Magnets & Metal Cabinets! OF COURSE! Perfect way to do picture scheduling, highlight important things, and give clients another way to manipulate materials! Perfect! A couple of my clients love helping me put up the picture cards and pointing out where we are in our schedule. This large amount of metal space allows us to get creative and be flexible!

One of my favorite places to shop for inexpensive props is Dollar Tree! I love using them for seasonal items as well as year round props like stuffed animals, small instruments I can give to clients or use to breathing, magnets, stickers, and more! Recently, I used colorful scrunchies from dollar tree along with some cheap ribbon and made beautiful streamers to use in my sessions!

What creative ideas have you come up with for repurposing items or creating inexpensive props?IMG_6146IMG_6093



LOVE Yourself: Positive Thinking & Affirmations

Truth Telling: Growing up, I was not one of the popular kids, the pretty girls, the athletic type.  I didn’t have a huge group of friends, but I had a few outstanding ones.  We were the nerdy musical kids off in our own corner singing show tunes and running lines.  I was the overly-sensitive, stressed out, type-a kid who worried about getting all of my homework and everything else in my life  perfect.  I was talented, but I never thought I was good enough.  Never pretty enough.  Never smart enough. I started to focus on the negative parts of my body, my self, and wonder what I could fix or do differently.  I stressed about daily activities and tried putting a on face to make everyone think I was perfectly happy with myself and my world.  I struggled with insomnia and anxiety attacks for years.  Katey & Bri sining jr. high(That’s me on the left with the deer in the headlights expression)

It’s so easy to start spinning out of control thinking negatively.  It’s simple to point out flaws and what we dislike about ourselves and others.  We get caught up in everything awful and forget to look at the positives.  We forget that we are the ones in control and that we have the option to change our thinking.

There are a couple people in my life that I can thank for helping facilitate this change for me.  For helping me look at the world in a different light.  For helping me be happier with the life I was given and make choices that have brought me to the incredible life I am leading now.  I am eternally grateful for those people and their words.

Positive Thinking: You’ve probably heard the phrase The Power of Positive Thinking or something similar. No matter what you call it, I can tell you it works if you make it work for you.  Once you start your journey into thinking positively, it becomes easier and easier to stay in that mind set.  Now, I am in no way a guru or expert on this topic, but I can tell you what has worked to help get me in a more positive mindset.

  1. Recognize Beauty In the World Around – If I’m driving, out on a walk, or really anywhere, I look around for something beautiful, funny, or moving.  I take a second to think about it and smile knowing that there are wonderful things in this world. It helps brighten my day and change my outlook
  2. Compliment Strangers – Do you like someones shoes, hair, coat, bag, makeup, etc?  Let them know!!  They usually love to hear it and it’s a positive conversation starter.  People will often say something nice in return as well.  Plus it makes you feel good to make someone else feel good!
  3. Learn to Take a Compliment – If someone compliments you, it is usually for a specific reason.  Take a second to think about what they said and smile!  Don’t just shrug it off.  Really appreciate the positive words thrown your way!
  4. Write It Down – At the end of your day write down 3 positive things that happened. It can be anything!  Literally anything!  Get in the practice of finding good things in EVERY day.
  5. Say It Out Loud (affirmations)- Look in the mirror, at a friend, a spouse, or family member and tell them something you love about yourself.  Name something OUT LOUD that you like about you!

That last practice has been the most difficult for me and something I still work on EVERY day.  I had gotten in the habit of saying things like, “my hair looks awful”, “I look tired”, “I hate my______” ,etc.  Every time I said one of these things my husband got a saddened expression and let me know that he thought I was beautiful.  He knew that wasn’t enough to change my mind.  Now every time I say something negative he has me say 3 positive things about myself.  And honestly, it has helped immensely. I don’t need encouragement to look in the mirror and recognize that the person looking back at me is beautiful.   And yes, I still have my off days.  We all do.  But I spend much more of my time happy, smiling, and relaxed than I ever have before.

I’ve used the Say It Out Loud strategy with other individuals in my life as well.  When my students or clients get wrapped up in everything they think they are doing wrong,  I have them take  step back and tell me 3 positive things they did right and then we look for one thing we can work on instead of taking everything at once.  We break it down.  Recognize the good then make a small change.

What helps you think more positively?

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It’s a choice.  I choose these practices.  You can too.

Valentine’s Day Song Pack – Lullabies & Love Songs

To help you celebrate this Valentine’s Day, I’ve put together a pack of 4 Lullabies & Love Songs perfect for singing with your little one or anyone special in your life!

This pack has special holiday pricing at ONLY $6! With your purchase you will receive 4 original song recordings, instrumental tracks for each of the songs, and a booklet with the lyrics and chords for each tune!

Enjoy & Happy Valentine’s Day!


Listen & Learn for Leaders! – Launched TODAY!!!!!!!!!!


I am SO excited to share this news with you today! Since you are reading this, YOU are probably a leader in some fashion and this new series of resources is just for YOU!

Over the past few years, I have spent countless hours creating, crafting, recording, and putting into practice my own songs, materials, and session plans.  This past year I partnered with Rachel Rambach and together we have been producing even more quality materials and using them in our Early Childhood Groups.


Every few weeks,  Rachel and I sit down and plan the next session of our Listen & Learn for Little Ones classes. This is one of our favorite parts of the job — we both love brainstorming new songs, choosing how we will address specific goals, and then recording the new music we’ll put to use with our kiddos.

But we know that not all leaders like doing that same work. Maybe you are passionate about marketing but not songwriting. Perhaps putting together your curriculum together completely stresses you out, but you are passionate about putting songs into action with your students. It very well could be that you just aren’t interested in writing your own songs, but you need fresh material.

No matter which category you fall under, Katey and I created a resource for you. We’ve taken the classes that have already been put into action here at our studio in Springfield, IL and packaged them up so that you can do the same.


Today we are launching Listen & Learn for Leadersa collection of materials for ANYONE who uses music to help children learn and grow. These include:

  • Facilitator Packages: All the tools you need to facilitate a 45-minute early childhood music class, developed by board-certified music therapists, in one downloadable file. Each package contains a guide with list of instruments, materials and instructions/suggestions for each song, as well as a lyric packet for participants, chords for the facilitator, and collection of mp3s.
  • Song Mini-Packs: A collection of songs centered around one theme. Each song was written or adapted by us and utilized in our early childhood music classes. Mini-packs include an instructional guide, lyrics/chords, and mp3s.
  • VIP Membership: Receive every product in our catalog, along with extra videos, songs, and downloadables, on a bi-weekly basis right in your inbox.

And this is just a jumping off-point. We have lots of plans in the works for other resources and materials, and in the meantime will be sharing tips, techniques and tools regularly on the Listen & Learn for Leaders blog.

So please head over to the brand-new site and take a look around. If you have feedback to share, we’d love to hear it! Thanks for all YOU do as a leader in the lives of children.