When it comes to this time of year, I usually whine a little. Not because I don’t love Christmas or giving gifts, but because I have to figure out something different to do for my students once again.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE giving gifts to my students. It’s just the process of making my brain think about what to do this year that makes me often procrastinate. After getting down to the wire a few years ago, I vowed never again and right after Christmas, I purchased my gifts for the following year (ornaments). Bye-bye stress.
Crafts are not my strong suit so my kiddos will most likely never get a hand-made craft from me. Since I love to cook, however, homemade goodies have made it into the mix frequently.
The gifts I do each year often have to do with where life is for me at the moment. Don’t you agree? Some years money may be tight so gifts may be bulk-homemade and lest costly, and some years I may be too busy to put the effort into making something so I just purchase an item – even if it’s a little more costly. I would say I have spent anywhere between $1.25 – $5 per student but my comfort zone is around the $3 mark. It adds up quickly with a full studio!
Decorate your studio Christmas Tree with student Christmas-gift ornaments. Let them choose their ornament off the tree at their last lesson before Christmas Break. I really like these black onesfrom Amazon. Hobby Lobby has some gold sparkly versions of this same ornament as well.
*Note: At the time of this post, the price on Amazon is $22.99 for a dozen. You can get these at Oriental Trading for $15.99 but with shipping at $6.99, it makes a total of $24.36 with tax. If you have Amazon Prime it’s actually cheaper to order from Amazon!
A couple of weekends ago, I made quite a loop-de-loo around Indiana and Ohio. It started out with a 2-hour drive up to Bowling Green Ohio to present with Joy Morin to her local MTA chapter. It was our first time out (and our first session together!), Teaching the Way We Learn: First Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. We will be presenting the same session for Indiana and Kentucky MTA conferences this Fall. For details visit my speaking page.
After enjoying lunch with several Ohio teachers and one of Joy’s adult students who came to the session, I made the 3-hour trek down I-75 to Cincinnati where I attended my first Summit for MTNA Leadership.
Several weeks ago, I was lucky to get to participate in playing hostess to a wonderful group of piano teachers duringJoy Morin’s Piano Teacher Retreat, “Retreat at Piano Manor,“ where I got to play the role of foodie/caterer!
I thought it would be fun to share the weekend with you from my perspective including meals and recipes I used (links to those available online).
Keepin’ it Healthy
Knowing that we had a gluten-free guest, I decided it was easier to keep that in mind for the whole shebang. Needless to say, I think we ate pretty healthy! Now THAT’S the kind of grocery cart I could aspire to every week. Color and real food.
In the “Sound Recipes” series, I will review a cookbook from my collection and share the top, most “sound” recipes from the book that have become staples in my kitchen. You can expect to see a post in this series between 1-3 times a year.
Do you have a cookbook that’s like “home” to you – one that you go to over and over again? It may be the one you had the longest, the one your grandmother passed on, or the one with the most tried and true recipes.
After my husband and I married in 2002, I quickly learned that I needed to up-my-game from the recipes of my childhood. I wanted to learn to how to use more herbs as opposed to butter and sour cream for flavor and cook fresh vegetables rather than sprucing up canned.
With the help of the (new at the time) Americas Test Kitchen on Saturday morning PBS and Ina Garten in her Barefoot Contessa series on Food Network, I slowly began to experience food differently.
This was one of the first cookbooks I purchased and used outside of the church cookbooks from both of our childhoods and the Better Homes and Gardens one I got as a wedding present.
I swear everything Ina makes turns out perfect. Her recipes are truly “sound.”
Let me share with you why you would love this cookbook and some of my favorite recipes to tempt you. Continue reading
What a delightful time we had at the first annual Piano Pantry reader’s dinner!
Our party of 20 met on Monday night of the 2017 MTNA Conference in Baltimore at Ten Ten American Bistro. I was pleased to find such a great restaurant a convenient 5-minute walk from the Marriott. The interior was fabulous and the food matched the quality of the chic atmosphere.
This coming weekend much of America revels in Super Bowl Sunday. In honor of the upcoming festivities, today’s post is a round-up of ideas for the upcoming week.
I’ll be sharing some football-themed resources from around the web for this week’s lessons, a few of my favorite game-day eats to spark your taste buds before you hit the grocery, and a couple of personal memories of years past.
Today I want to share with you some of my favorite “healthy” recipes from all over the web.
I’m guilty like everyone else every January in redirecting my attention to healthier living. Is that a bad thing? Nah, I don’t think so. Even when I’m more conscious of maintaining healthy living over the holidays, I always feel I need a refresh and reboot in the weeks following. I’m usually sick of the sweets and crave vegetables more than ever.
This year more than anything, rather than focusing on what I “shouldn’t” eat to be healthy, I want to shift my attention more simply to what I SHOULD be eating. How can I get one more serving of veggies into my day? Did I eat at least one piece of fruit?
In the first couple months of the year, Drew and I eat at home more than ever. Last year I recall eating at home every meal in January, literally – not even takeout. I think it was more about the challenge for me than anything, but we did, and it was great! In doing so, I discovered some of the recipes I’m about to share with you today.
Who else is a sucker for “favorites” lists? For years I used to love reading Oprah’s favorites. It was usually the first page in the magazine I would read.
I’m ready to share some of my holiday favorites with you today including favorite holiday recipes from all over the web and my tradition of purchasing a new Christmas album every year.
Since I start listening to Christmas music the first of November – the same time I start Christmas pieces with my students, I figured it’s the perfect time to bring you my favorites. We’re planning our biggest holiday meal of the year – Thanksgiving, and simultaneously setting the mood for the Christmas season to come.
I’m not one to make the same recipes over and over so anytime you get a recommended recipe from me, it means it’s a keeper!
A couple of tips. First, when I used a regular soft taco shell size, I needed six tortillas. If you use the large burrito shells, you might be okay. Second, I found adding 1/2 cup of sour cream to the mixture helped make it more spreadable.
A nice variation is to add thin slices of ham on top of the spread before rolling.
In my new series, “Sound Recipes,” I will review a cookbook from my collection and share the top, most “sound” recipes from the book that have become staples in my kitchen. You can expect to see a post in this series between 1-3 times a year.
I love cookbooks. There’s something about flipping through pages of a beautiful cookbook that makes the prospect of cooking satisfying food every day more viable. Especially ones with glossy pages that aren’t too cumbersome to hold and have LOTS of photos.
Despite the fact that I love cookbooks, I’m careful not to purchase too many. Because I like to suck the life out of each one (make as many of the recipes as possible), if I get too many, it makes me feel like the possibility of making everything I want much less attainable.
I often start a cookbook, use it for a month or two then get bored and stop for several months. A year later, I return to it, remake some of the recipes I liked the first time (to confirm I still like them), then finish making everything else that appeals to me.
I always make notes directly on the pages of the cookbook including when I made it, how much I liked the recipe, if I would do it again, and any points to note for the next time.
This book, although not my favorite, just happened to be the one I came back to this summer because it’s healthy food. I always feel a little more inspired to eat healthy in the summer.
Hey there! Welcome to Piano Pantry where we talk about piano teaching, loving food, and living life. I'm Amy, my husband Drew and I live in Indiana. My favorite things include Mexican food, reading, organizing, and spending time with those I love.