It’s Blue Ivy for Beyonce and Jay-Z

Beyonce announced her pregnancy at the MTV Video Awards with a not-so-subtle rub of her belly, garnering the most tweets about a specific subject in the history of Twitter. That record may have been shattered late last night when she gave birth to her daughter. An on-again, off-again insomniac, I was online when it started and within minutes it was a trending topic and was soon hailed as the youngest trending topic to date. Quite a fitting entrance for the offspring of  “The Queen of Everything” and “Hova.”

There has been much anticipation, speculation, and suggestion waiting on the announcement of the name of the baby of the entertainment world’s most successful couple.  Would her name be as “one-of-a-kind” as Beyonce or her sister Solange? Today, we have it—Blue Ivy. Not necessarily a “one-of-a-kind” name, but certainly rich with unique and very personal meaning.  Here’s the breakdown.
Ivy, as in IV, as in the Roman number 4.
“We all have special numbers in our lives and 4 is that for me. It’s the day I was born, my mother’s birthday and a lot of my friend’s birthdays; April 4th is my wedding date,”  she recently told Billboard Magazine. It’s also husband Jay-Z’s birthday, December 4th and the name of her 4th album as a solo-artist—’Four,’ released on June 4th.
The concept of naming after special numbers is not new to those who follow the trends of celebrity baby names. In July 2011, Victoria and David Beckham welcomed their first daughter, Harper Seven to their family. She weighed 7 pounds, was born in the 7th hour of the 7th month on the 7th day. The number 7 was David’s jersey number for Manchester United and the English national team.
Also in July 2011, actress Natalie Portman gave birth to her son named Alef—a name with much significance for the Jerusalem-born actress who feels a deep connection to Israel. Alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Soul singer Erykah Badu named her son (with Outkast’s Andre 3000) Seven, now 13 years old, explaining that 7 is a divine number and cannot be divided.
I have a soft-spot for names that are this rich with meaning.  I love that some names have legacies, traditions and sentiment to pass on.

Originally Published at Yummy Mummy Club

Happy Birthday Theo! (AKA Dr. Seuss)


Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! Of course I’ve found some interesting facts about his name for you:

  • His name is Theodor Seuss Geisel. Theodor is his father’s name too.
  • He was known as “Ted” to his family and friends.
  • Seuss is his mother’s maiden name.
  • Seuss, as we all say it, “Seuss” is the anglicized pronunciation of the German surname that he has noted rhymes with ‘voice.’ Zoyce.
  • He, himself, switched to the anglicized pronunciation, because most people said it this way and because it rhymes with goose as in “Mother Goose.”
  • He has also written under the pen name “Theo LeSieg,” which is his last name, Geisel, spelled backwards.
  • He started using “Seuss” as a pen name in college after he was caught drinking gin in his dorm room and the Dean forced him to abandon all of his extra-curricular activities, including the college magazine that he wrote for. To get around this, he started to use “Seuss.”
  • He added the “Dr.” before he actually became one (a Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature).
  • Ted was asked why he added the title “Dr.” to his pseudonym. He replied that his father had always wanted a doctor in the family.
  • He said that he adopted the name “Dr. Seuss” because he was saving his real name for the Great American Novel that he would one day write.
  • As a cartoonist for Jack-O-Lantern, the college’s humour magazine, he began to sign his work under the mock-scholarly title of “Dr. Theophrastus Seuss.”
  • He had no children of his own although he did have an imaginary daughter that he named Chrysanthemum-Pearl. As the story goes, he made her up with a mind to silence his friends who would endlessly brag about their children. He used to include her when he signed his Christmas cards and he even dedicated his second children’s book to her “The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins (1938) “To Chrysanthemum-Pearl (aged 89 months, going on 90).
  • Ted and wife Helen made up a “code” that was a phony law firm named Grimalkin, Drouberhannus, Knalbner and Fepp, and used it for secret messages.
  • One of NASA’s deep space explorers, the Data Relay Solar Electric Utility Spacecraft (DRSEUS) is called the “Dr. Seuss.”


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray

or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,

you’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!


Happy Birthday Theo!


Originally published at Yummy Mummy Club

Naima – an exotic flower in a rose garden… and on stage

Wednesday and Thursday nights at our house are all about American Idol.

Eric makes his famous popcorn as Hannah cheers on for her favourite Idols.
This week the Idol stage was missing perhaps one of it’s most dynamic
and passionate performers of Season 10 – Naima.

My daughter, Hannah, is 8 years old and has been watching American Idol with
us for the past couple of years. If there is a common thread in the
contestants that she roots for, it is that they are parents. Last year her
pick was Crystal Bowersox, mom to a toddler. This year, from the very
start, she favoured mom of 2, Naima Adedapo.

Her personal life aside, we loved to watch her take to the stage to “make it
her own”. She put all of herself into each song and she was a joy to watch
because it was more than a song, it was a performance. Everytime, she was
undeniably “Naima”.

Being an avid connoisseur of all things to do with names, my most memorable
Naima moment came from an interaction between her and Idol judge, Jennifer

“You’re like an exotic flower in a rose garden,” J-Lo told her. Naima’s
surprised and proud response: “That’s what my name means!” Jennifer
responded, “that’s exactly what you are.”

In an interview Naima shared that she was named after a ballad by jazz
composer John Coltrane. He wrote the song Naima for his daughter and
named it for his wife, Juanita Naima Grubbs. Additional searches for the
meaning of her name found that her name is of Arabic origin and means
delight and contentedness.

When parents choose names for their babies, they often consider the origin
and meaning behind them. When you choose a name based on what it means, you hope that in some small way, it has an impact on who they become. For Naima Adedapo, it clearly did.

Name Your Tune’s Guide to Music this summer with your family


Music for kids does not need to be only music for kids.

It’s never too early (or too late) to share some of your favourite “albums” (because that’s what they were called when you first bought them) with your kids. Ok, if your favourites are all Metallica, ACDC and Guns ’n Roses, maybe leave them on the shelf, but there are gems in your collection to share with your children that you can enjoy on your summer roadtrips and at the cottage. Our top picks that most people have in their ‘grown-up’ music collections that you should listen to with your kids include:

  • The Beatles
  • Anything Motown
  • Abba
  • Bob Marley
  • James Taylor
  • Elton John
  • The Beach Boys


Get Outside…it’s music festival season.

Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy music with your family as there are an abundance of music festivals across the country all season long. Jazz, Blues, Folk, World Music – there is something for everyone and by everyone, I include your children. You’ve taken them to see Sesame Street Live, The Wiggles and The Doodlebops, but there is nothing like a live show with a stage full of performers, instruments, singing and dancing.

3. HOW

Hear This: Hearing protection needs to be as important as sun protection.

We have all left rock concerts with ringing in our ears. For children, that same sensation can lead to damaged hearing loss that cannot be recovered.

There are products that will protect them that you might have seen before – Gwyneth Paltrow holding Apple who was wearing what look like big pink headphones that are actually noise–reducing hearing protection earmuffs. They retail for $40 and will make your music–loving–festival–going family safe this summer. I’m going to suggest that you’ll use these more than you think as they’re great at any event that is uncomfortably loud including airshows, fireworks, parades and even Sunday afternoon lawn mowing. Any noise that you have to shout over can cause hearing damage to children.

Gwyneth and Apple

Gwyneth and Apple

Where to buy: OR

Peltor KID Ear Muffs are specifically designed to be lightweight and comfortable enough for babies and kids up to age 7. They effectively attenuate harmful noises without shutting out other ambient sounds. With muffs you do not have to worry about getting a good fit or the plugs falling out when you are not looking. Another benefit to KID Muffs is that they do not pose a choking hazard, as earplugs sometimes can when used by very young, unsupervised children. Available in blue or pink. $29.99

How loud is too loud?

Dangerous levels:
150 dB = rock concert
140 dB = firearms, jet engine
130 dB = jackhammer
120 dB = jet plane take-off,
120 dB = ambulance siren
120 -140 dB = Motorcycles, firecrackers

Extremely loud:
105 dB = helicopter
100 – 115 dB = iPods used at maximum levels
100 dB = snowmobile, chain saw, pneumatic drill, night clubs
95 dB = motorcycle
90 dB = lawnmower, shop tools, truck traffic, subway
90 dB = noisy toys
80–96 dB = restaurants

Very loud:
80 dB = alarm clock, city street traffic
70 dB = vacuum cleaner

Normal levels:
60 dB = normal conversation
35 dB = whispered voice

Unsafe Levels of Exposure:

110 decibels or louder: regular exposure of more than one minute risks permanent hearing loss.
100 decibels: No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure is recommended.
85 decibels: Prolonged exposure to any noise above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss.

“Although being aware of decibel levels is an important factor in protecting one’s hearing, distance from the source of the sound and duration of exposure to the sound are equally important. A good rule of thumb is to avoid noises that are “too loud” and “too close” or that last “too long.”

- The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

My final thoughts on music and your kids this summer – you don’t keep your kids out of the sun, you protect them. Don’t keep them from the music, protect them. Get outside in the sun, enjoy the music and have a fabulous summer.

For Canadians, check out and in the US, check out to find outdoor summer music near you.

Top 5 Summer Songs from my own collection

By Eric Alper

Is it Summer that keeps us coming back to the fun rock and roll, or is it the other way around? With less than 3 weeks to go until the best season (sorry, snowshoers), we thought let’s take a look at our Top 5 Summer Songs – ever. Sunglasses and lotion at the ready, and here we go.

Summer In The City
The Lovin’ Spoonful

Probably the only song to feature a series of car horns (spot the classic Volkswagen Beetle beep), and ending up with a jackhammer sound in order to give the impressions of the sounds of the summer in the city, this former #1 song back in 1966 is a stone-cold classic. It’s been heard in The Simpsons, and covered by B.B. King, Joe Cocker, Quincy Jones and even Styx. All around, people lookin’ half dead… But at night, it’s a different world,” sings John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful. Indeed.


DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

The stunning transformation from feelgood rapper to serious movie star (he
is the only actor in history to have eight consecutive films gross over $100
million in the domestic box) literally started here. Using Kool & The Gang’s 1974 hit “Summer Madness”, as the base (or was it bass?) this joyous hit #1 on the Billboard R&B and Rap chart, and number 29 in Canada, where obviously Canadians were too busy dancing to the song to actually go out and buy it.


Summer Nights
Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson. errr…John Travolta and Olivia Newton–John

I was 8 when this came out and only recently found out none of the cast members, except for John and Olivia, actually provided vocals to the song. The soundtrack, Grease, ended up selling 56 bazillion copies around the world, and I’m still in possession of a few vinyl copies. I always thought Olivia was uncool before this, John was funny and slick being a Sweathog, and still do, in a way. Only in a Hollywood tale could they ever be together – do they kiss and tell about their love? Will they ever get together again? With impassioned vocals, the answer is only 90 minutes away. Everybody! Bu–ut oh, those su–ummer niiiiiiights!




Sugar, Sugar
The Archies

You might scoff at the notion of The Archies as “just” a cartoon band (may I introduce to you, Exhibit A, Gorrilaz) but in the height of 1969»s psychedelia, Woodstock, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Women this song was everywhere, becoming the biggest–selling song of the year. One of the writers of the song, Andy Kim, once told me since radio stations wouldn’t play The Archies, music directors were only told who it was after they promised to play it on the radio. Pure summer, pure camp memories for me, it’s still mentioned as a favorite among strange bedfellows – R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, George W. Bush, and members of Broken Social Scene.


We Got The Beat
The Go–Go’s

2 minutes, 32 seconds. That’s it. That’s all you need. By the time the intro of the drums kicks into the bass, there’s a sonic revelation for many teenagers – this was our time to dance. Deceptively simple on first or the 10,000th listen, the girl group perfectly captures an modern ode to getting your groove on the floor, hanging out, and looking cool, even as it gives a wink to the past by mentioning various early 60s dances, such as the Pony and the Watusi. It’s one of those songs that just comes from the sun. The Go–Gos were never able to make another song full of sustained joyness ever again – but then again, very few bands ever did.


A Growing Concern

This is a short story.

It runs in the family on both sides for generations. We are short.

I found Eric online. I don’t admit that often. He is, as he and his profile and his photo described: funny, charming, kind, creative, hard–working, music-loving and handsome with a great smile. All true but for this one thing: his profile stated that he was 5’3”. I thought, Perfect! A nice, music–loving guy, a few inches taller than me! Great!

As is turned out, we had a mutual friend that I credit with introducing us in person so that I didn’t technically meet my husband on the internet. Jodi brought him to my work-place to me one day, which surprised me almost as much as realizing that he was not 5’3” – he is 5 feet and almost 1 inch. Just like me.

Hannah was born weighing just under 7 pounds. Good and healthy. As she grew she was small and we were repeatedly told by her paediatrician that all is fine with the then familiar refrain, small parents – small child. It made sense. It fit.

When she was three years old, that refrain became less relevant. She wasn’t growing. A battering of invasive test revealed what for Hannah defined her stature as more than small parents–small child. She has Celiac Disease.

Celiac Disease is is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have Celiac Disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. When people with celiac disease eat foods gluten, their immune system responds by damaging or destroying villi, the lining of the small intestine that allow nutrients to be absorbed. Without healthy villi, a person becomes malnourished, no matter how much food one eats. Celiac Disease is managed solely though diet. By eliminating all gluten from her diet – her villi will heal, she will get the nutrients that she needs to thrive and grow. Almost three years later, we’re back on the charts and she’s growing at a normal rate.

But the refrain still holds true – small parents – small child. We’re a family and we fit. Hannah doesn’t realize that people often look at us with disbelief when she says she’s 8 years old and finishing Grade Two. We don’t care that she wears a size 5 in jeans and that she’s still in a 5–point harness car seat. None of that really matters to her either.

What matters to her is this: she can’t play on the monkey bars at the park like her friends, she can’t go on all of the water–slides, that she is often delegated to be the baby when playing house, and that she can’t hold a baseball bat as well as her neighbour who is 2 years younger than she is. These are things that matter when you’re 8.

And I don’t disregard it.

I remember what it was like. One of the most outstanding of all of my memories was in high school. I was slow–dancing with a guy at my prom. He was on the basketball team and more than a foot taller than me. Because he could, he picked me up as we danced, my feet dangling in the air. He smiled. They all did. It was cute. I was cute. Oh, how I wanted to be beautiful that night, like my friends. It was my prom.

Everyone looks at Hannah and says that she’s cute. And yes, she is. But I remember how I cringed at hearing that word so often. I look at my daughter, and see that she is beautiful – inside and out. I talk to her often about what is important. I am forever telling her that what I love the most about her is that she is beautiful – inside and out – that she is kind, generous and thoughtful. [Note to self: stop telling Hannah how cute she is and keep telling her that she's beautiful.]

When I talked to Eric last night about it, he told me that he had also recently talked with Hannah about it too. She was disheartened and discouraged playing baseball. He told me that he explained that because she’s small, she might have to work a little harder at some things. He told her that being small, however, will not be an obstacle for everything. He cited me as an example. Look at all that Mommy has accomplished. She’s not in the newspaper this week because she’s not tall. She’s in the newspaper this week because of what she has achieved. And that is why it’s always been ok with me that he said he is 5’3″.

When you stand tall, reach far, aim high or dream big – being short or being tall doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Alper Family

Photo By: CL Buchanan Photography

This post originally appeared at


How It Began

By Candace Alper
Published Monday, October 4, 2010

In working toward today’s launch over the past year, I have found myself looking back, recalling how it all began.

I am a Mompreneur in its most classic definition. My daughter, Hannah, was born in January 2003 and, like most Canadian moms, I looked forward to a full year of maternity leave with my baby girl. I loved everything about being a new mother and took it all in. I joined Mom & Baby groups, I went to Movies for Mommies and I looked forward to my husband coming home from work to enjoy our time together as a family.

By the time summer came, I was thinking about what it would be like to go back to work. We had been looking into daycare for Hannah and the reality started to sink in that my days with my daughter at home were numbered.

It was a time when “mompreneur” was not a buzzword and there was an abundance of inspirational success stories like there are today. Conversations about what I could do to be at home with our daughter dominated everything. One evening over dinner, the idea of Name Your Tune began to take shape.

We are a musical family. Eric has always worked in the music business. It is his passion. It is in his blood. His grandfather founded and owned one of Toronto’s landmark blues nightclubs. Our first date was a concert. His first gift to me was an acoustic guitar. Our first road trip was to see my favourite band. The first Mom & Baby group I joined was a music circle. We sang to Hannah all the time and it was when we noticed how she lit up when we would slip her name into as song that our idea grew into something more.

And so it began: a crazy idea about producing a CD featuring the child’s name in every song. We are a musical family – but not in the Guthrie way. Neither one of us can play an instrument or sing (Eric playing the drums in a band in high school doesn’t count nor does signing along with the Indigo Girls when I’m alone in the car with the volume turned up so loud that I can’t hear myself and I never did learn how to play that guitar).

We began to put together our wish list of talented friends who could bring our concept to life. One by one, they came over for dinner and one by one, they all responded in the same way, “Fun! I’m in!” We chose the songs and I started to rework them to include Hannah’s name.

We successfully presented a business plan to an investor and I took a crash-course in music production. Four months in a home recording studio, 700 names, 9 songs and countless late nights at the computer later, we had our initial recordings.

November 29, 2003 was my first gift show and our big debut. I made 30 CDs that day while people shopped around at the show.

At the time, we didn’t know where we were going with Name Your Tune. All we knew was we needed it to work in order to pay the bills and replace my pre-Hannah income. I did every gift show I could – at schools, churches, synagogues, community centers…wherever. People loved it. They called to order more and then their friends called to order.

Eric is a publicist in the music business and knew that our next step was to put it “out there”. We sent a copy to a friend at Today’s Parent and received our first review.

We look back now and realize how far we’ve come. When it began, Name Your Tune didn’t have a website. We took orders by email and by telephone and our business was all through word of mouth. That first review listed our email address “” and our home phone number.

Next we sent Name Your Tune CDs to the hosts of Breakfast Television in Toronto. They were running segments every Wednesday morning about hot, new and innovative products. I received a phone call on a Monday they were going to feature Name Your Tune on Wednesday. Within 36 hours we had a website.

There have been many other exciting turning points for Name Your Tune since then, including media, celebrities, retailers, customer testimonials, shows, four new songs and the addition of thousands of names to the original 700 names we started with.

The turning point that stands out for me on both a personal and professional level is when my best friend and her husband joined Name Your Tune as partners. Jessica and I met on the first day of nursery school and have been best friends ever since. With 35 years of friendship behind us we are now partners in business. Jessica and Mario bring fresh energy, knowledge and passion to Name Your Tune.

Other than planning a surprise trip to Walt Disney World for my daughter, what I’m about to tell you has been the hardest secret I have ever had to keep. Today, October 5th, 2010, I am excited to open my vault and share the news!

After a year in the making, we are proud to announce the release of our second volume: Name Your Tune 2.

We are proud that our Name Your Tune performers, Paul, Lenny, Barbara and Tim who have been with us since the beginning have again shared their dynamic talents with us. For Name Your Tune 2 they are joined by new talent that includes Erica Ehm, Dana Glickman, Jennifer Valentyne and Scott Stratten.

A special note of thanks to my friend and graphic designer, Lindsay Brewda of Grace Announcements, whose creative talent you see all over our new website. Not only did she collaborate with me in designing our personalized placemats and wall art, but she helped me to make my vision for our new website a reality. I hope that you enjoy looking around and shopping here and if you think it looks good, it is in large part because of Lindsay.

We dedicate Name Your Tune 2 our daughter Hannah, my nephews Jack and James, Jessica and Mario’s daughter Beth and also to all of you who are reading this and who have shared Name Your Tune with your family and friends over the last 7 years.