Open your children’s entertainment slow cooker and throw in some Jack’s Big Music Show, mix it with your favorite Food Network Chef and throw in a sprinkle of Pee Wee’s Playhouse and you have Clare Crespo’s The Yummyfun Kooking Series.

YummyFunThe Yummyfun Kooking Series is part of Clare Crespo’s cooking-themed Yummyfun brand for kids. For those who have yet to sample this delicious project, Clare has put out three themed cooking DVDs for kids (“Spring Has Sprung,” “Monkeying Around in the Kitchen,” and “Spookyfun”) as well as a monthly recipe club for families called The Yummyfun Kooking Club. The brand is also supported by a robust website located at Yummyfun.com.

Clare’s cooking skills have already inspired two best-selling cookbook/artbook mashups (The Secret Life of Food, Hey There, Cupcake! ), regular appearances on morning shows like The Today Show, NPR visits and even offbeat jobs like creating a food portrait of artist Beck. As for her experience working with kids and kids’ entertainment, Clare taught themed cooking classes to kids at The Blue School in NYC and The New School of Cooking in Los Angeles. She has also art directed a segment for Yo Gabba Gabba and designed pirate food for SpongeBob SquarePants. Meanwhile, she has kept busy with her “adult” cooking projects as well as her work as an artist.

As for the show itself, Clare’s love for food and art is clearly on display in this quality independent production that brings together her endearing personality, kid-friendly recipes, puppets and a very cool house band. We watched the “Monkeying Around in the Kitchen” episode and Maia was glued to the screen as “Yummyclare” taught us how to make Monkey Pops (chocolate covered bananas), Banana Dogs (bananas on hot dog buns) and Hawaiian Shirt Punch (fruit punch with pretty fruit slices). Clare’s persona is sweet, pleasant and subtly quirky. Drop-ins from scientist Safari Geoff, a musical visit from The Tastebuds, a few puppets and a unique kitchen set will capture the interest of kids not likely to sit still for a cooking-only show. While each episode turns up a bit short at only 17-minutes, I do hope this project gets attention from a TV network or distributor so we can start to see more episodes.

The Yummyfun Kooking Series is available online (www.yummyfun.com and www.amazon.com) and families can also join The Yummyfun Kooking Club at the official site.

In the meantime, check out some sample clips below!

COVER ART Rockin' Rollin' and Ridin' low res
Frezza doing some rockin’, rollin’ and ridin’

Despite my obvious love for quality kids’ music,  I often worry I may be stumbling into Raffi or Wiggles territory with some artists. As in, kid-tested, daddy-not-approved. While I seem to have blind faith in any music coming out of Yo Gabba Gabba, or any indie artists going kindie, I have a very “guilty-until-proven-innocent” approach to most musicians making music for children.

When I had the chance to check out Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck’s new album, Rockin’, Rollin’ and Ridin‘, I was, as usual, worried what I was in for.  However, upon popping it into the CD player and hitting shuffle, I was instantly surprised by the power-pop rock song “Superman,” which immediately made it to daddy-approved status.  Nope, Mr. Raffi Cavoukian or that wacky quartet from Sydney never got their  power-pop on like this. And before I knew it, I was dancing along to electronic-disco song “Robot Dancer,” an instant favorite for my little beat-loving preschool-diva. And the fun continued with “Rocketship,” a countdown-to-takeoff chant. Speaking of chanting, Frezza & Co even got Roscoe Orman, that’s Gordon from Sesame Street to your little ones, to join in for the call-and-response song “Key-O.” This album also features the band’s theme song, “Big Truck,” in a bluesy rock makeover that is made for some high-energy toddler dancing.

Apparently,  leader singer Frezza has a pedigreed background in kids’ music. After leaving regional theatre to start a family, she started creating curricula for the Music Together program. Eventually, she went on to release her first CD of kids’ music and created the Big Truck band. Rockin’, Rollin’ and Ridin’ is the fifth album from this seasoned seven-person troupe, who have already been touring for years. And like any successful kids’ artists, Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck have got the Noggin seal of approval, with featured appearance on Jack’s Big Music Show and Move to the Music.

Rockin’, Rollin’ and Ridin’ is hitting shelves on November 10 and will also be available on their official website.

Check out the video for the band’s theme song, “Big Truck.”

We have two nightly, alternating bedtime traditions in our house.

1. Storytime

Life’s a party in The Jimmies’ videos. Life's a party in The Jimmies' videos.

2. “Watching Music”

While the first in pretty self-explanatory, the latter may need some clarification.

Maia is a music-junkie, and enjoys anything to which she can sing, dance or rock out. Once upon a time, after streaming an episode of Caillou, we showed her a music video on YouTube and a nightly tradition was born.

“Watching Music” now consists of firing up the laptop and watching kindie-centric music videos available online. Alternatively, we have also ripped some of Maia’s favorite music DVDs onto an iPod for her to enjoy on shuffle mode. We call it her own little MTV, minus the bad reality shows.

Believe it or not, there is an ample amount of resources online for finding kid-targeted music videos. Here are a few ways to get your own kiddie music video network going in your house.

Jitterbug.tv – This online destination strictly shows music videos for kids.  It is a great resource and one we have used often to find new artists and new videos.

GimmieJimmies.com (Video Page) - One can spend multiple nights just watching the videos on this site. The detail, artistry and sheer fun put into each video by this NYC-based band has to be seen to believe.  There should be a kids category at the VMAs based on their videos alone.

Zooglobble’s YouTube Channel - Stefan Shepherd’s Zooglobble website is well known by kindie music lovers worldwide. He has also set up a YouTube channel as well with links to hours of music videos and live performances of kids and family music.

“Jack’s Big Music Show” Music Videos – You are sure to chance upon one of the many  music videos from this show on JitterBug or Zooglobble. However, this is a one-stop source for the music videos pulled from this show.  (Maia’s favorite video, Lisa Loeb’s Jenny Jenkins, comes from this show.)

Xilisoft DVD Convertor Software – Taking some of Maia’s favorite music DVDs, we have used this software to rip individual files onto our iPod so we can also watch videos on the “big screen.”

Some of the ripped DVDs in our private iPod mix include:

PokeyPup – This is a great place to shop for music DVDs, as it concentrates on kids entertainment only.

Below are a few of our favorites videos for the sampling.

Lisa Loeb – Jenny Jenkins

Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang – Farm Animal Friends

Justin Roberts – Pop Fly

Renee & Jeremy – It’s a Big World

The Jimmies – Cool To Be Uncool