Friday Finds #163

Start the Year with Re-Reads!

Hello friends,

Welcome to another Friday! Is it your favorite day of the week? If not, it has good reason to be – or at least close to it.

What’s not to love about the feeling of another work cycle coming to a close?  A week of (hopefully satisfying) work done, a weekend to come, and the opportunity for a fresh start always looking you in the eye.

My offering to you at the end of this second full week of the year, my fellow teachers, is below. Don’t feel like you have to take in it all, pick a piece of the pie that’s just what you needed for this week whether it’s for your students, or just for you.



Looking for some ensemble music for your students this semester? Check out Lauren’s Ensemble Music Archives. (Lauren Lewandowski | Piano with Lauren)



Get Organized with Piano Repertoire ‘Elements and Outcomes’ sheet. (Rebekah Maxner)



After looking back at the last few years of my reading lists, I’ve realized while I have good intentions of including re-reads in my annual book consumption, it just wasn’t happening. So, this year I determined that the first books I read of the year will be re-reads. Smart, right?! This was a small but perfect habit change. Use what you have first. What was my first choice to re-read?

Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense & Sensibility (Mireille Guiliano). It may be written with the business world working woman as its focus but I found great advice and application as a working woman, period. I love all of her books.

That act drew me to take an inventory of all my books which inspired this post: Books for Piano Teachers Including My Top 3 Recommendations (Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry)



This would have been a good one to share a few weeks ago but oh, well. It’s still satisfying to look at. Best of 2019: Top 50 Photographs from Around the World. (My Modern Met)



Recognize that you are not the same person you were ten years ago. Your interests, tastes, and life circumstances have changed. Maybe it’s time for you to declutter your attachment to the title “Quilter” because that’s no longer who you are. Decide you’ll keep only those things that support who you are today.

Declutter Your Fantasy Self (Karen Trefzger | No Side Bar)



Looking to do some tidying this month? I purchased these bags to store our outdoor table’s chair cushions in and they were absolutely perfect. Be aware there are two sizes! Lifewit Clothes Storage Bag.




Add a little fun to your calendar. Sync your calendar with the Solar System (The New York Times)



Yep. Fed Up With Fundraisers on Facebook? You’re Not Alone (Tovia Smith | NPR)



The High Cost of Having a Baby in America: The average delivery now costs more than $4,500—even with insurance. (Olga Khazan | The Atlantic)



An easy way to spice up a simple hot dog. Sonoran Hot Dog (Michelle Tam | Nom Nom Paleo).

(Personally I found the wrapping of bacon not to work well because the inside of the bacon doesn’t brown nicely nor does it like to stay “wrapped” while cooking – even when I used toothpicks – so I pulled it off, cooked separately and simply placed one slice of bacon on each hot dog. Much easier.)


Please note that there may be links to Amazon in this post. Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.


Friday Finds #162

A Slow Start

How have you fared on your first week back to teaching? Personally, I’ve been tired all week (mostly from finally slowing down after a busy December), but it was still a good start.

I decided to give myself this week to as much rest as I could every morning and evening and it’s been divine. A couple of afternoons you may have even caught me in a long nap before afternoon students arrived. Next week I’ll kick in even more of my routine but for now, it felt good to start the year out slowly.



Two weeks ago I shared this article on Friday Finds #160, but it felt completely relevant to the idea of starting the year out with rest.

Starting the New Year with Rest (Amanda Beck | Morning by Morning)



Having a chalkboard to write a message to my students and other things for my studio is a GREAT idea (check out Joy Morin’s). However, because I have terrible handwriting and hate to write, it’s never been a good choice for me.

I finally decided to buy one of these cute letter boards instead.

This one from Amazon includes white and gold lettering as well as some fun cursive words, months, and days. Eventually, I’ll either end up with more than one of these or get a bigger one in addition to this one but it’s a good start!



The real scam of ‘influencer.’ (Seth Godin)


My mom and I went and watched It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood finally over Christmas break. It was a nice mother-daughter Sunday afternoon out.

Tom Hanks, of course, was brilliant as always. Here are some delightful stories about the goodness of the man who played Mr. Rogers.



Would you like to get a full look into what a 100% MLT (Music Learning Theory)-based piano lesson looks like? Here is a demonstration from this past year’s GIML Conference.



“I Can’t Wait to Practice!”: How Tonara is Revolutionizing the Practice World (Jennifer Foxx | Music Educator Resources)



The third season of Anne with an E is finally available on Netflix! Unfortunately, after this season, Netflix will no longer air the program. How sad!

Why the 1980s Anne of Green Gables is such a hard act to follow (Joanna Robinson | Vanity Fair)

Personally, I think the joint product of Anne with an E by CBN (Canadian Broadcasting Network) and Netflix is pretty great considering it was such a hard act to follow. Even my husband enjoys it!



Are you still working on your “to read” list for 2020? Check out a few of these recommendation lists:

Eye-Opening Books (The Lazy Genius)

The Best Books to Read at Every Age, from 1 to 100 (Book World Staff | The Washington Post)

Unputdownable: 17 Books I Read in 24 Hours or Less (because they were just that good) (Anne Bogel | The Modern Mrs. Darcy)

The 37 Best Business Books I’ve Ever Read (Michael Hyatt)



Green Giant Cauliflower Gnocchi

This freezer gnocchi are amazing! I simply followed the package instructions, then at the end, added a few tablespoons of pesto to the skillet. Serve alongside any protein! (We did smoked pork chops.)




What else can you make this week that’s simple? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Skillet Lemon Dill Chicken Thighs (Chungah Ree | Damn Delicious)

Jiffy Corn Casserole (Meghan Splawn | The Kitchn)



Please note that there may be links to Amazon in this post. Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Friday Finds #161

2020 Vision

OK, I’ll admit I didn’t come up with this week’s title completely on my own. I was inspired by Seth Godin’s post “Seeing Clearly in 2020.” LOL

It was the perfect title though for the first Friday Finds of 2020.

What will you see from this weekly post in the upcoming year? 

What will stay the same… This will continue to be a Piano Pantry staple in the same format each week with around 10 good things put together in one list just for you.

What will change… In the past month, I’ve been trying to freshen things up with two small tweaks. First, notice each week now has a title. The items may or may not necessarily all fit into that theme, but it will help distinguish each week a little more.

Also, my creative flair will change up the Friday Finds image according to themes, months, holidays, seasons, etc.

That all. 🙂

Just for fun, did you know that this isn’t the first time Friday Finds has gone through small changes?

Phase one – Every week was titled by the date. The most popular of those, Friday Finds 05.13.2016 was actually the last one! That only lasted two months (thankfully) until I realized how boring it was to just use the date.

Phase two – Every week was titled from two or three items on the list to try and catch your interest. The two most popular from this phase were:

Friday Finds: Bubble Wrap Voicing and Triscuits

Friday Finds: Potato Variations and a Flying Piano…Up, Up, and Away!

That lasted almost two years to the exact week!

I found it started to stress me out a little not only having to come up with the list and meta description (blogger stuff), but also pick the items that would create a catchy list in the title. So, phase three gave me a little mental break.

Phase three – When I announced the countdown to the big #100, I started titling them with the number. 96, 97, 98, 99, 100! (I follow Joy the Baker who titles her weekend list this way. I figured if it worked for her, it could work for me!)

That’s lasted just over a year and a half.

It was time for a little shakeup so I started testing it out using a simple title beginning with Friday Finds #158: The Spirit of Christmas, and liked it, so here we are. What do you think?

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Enjoy your first Friday Finds of 2020, my friends!




11 Pop Culture Predictions for 2020 (Jeva Lange | The Week)

The first one had me a little confused at first (dead movie stars will be the new (alive) movie stars) but otherwise, it’s quite an interesting list!



When I first told you about my New Year’s Spotify playlist, I didn’t have the list set to “public.” If you had a hard time accessing it, here’s the link again! Sorry!



Do you have to deal with this on a regular basis like Rebecca?

Cold church blues: practicing organ in the winter. (Rebekah Maxner)



Keep your mind sharp and take up a pastime for the winter months.

Why Jigsaw Puzzles Are Incredibly Good for You (Piece Out)

I’ve always liked the idea of doing jigsaw puzzles more regularly but it’s one of those things that always seems to remain a “desire” more than an action…



The BEST roller mat ever.

Crystal Clear Heavy Duty Hard Chair Mat, Can Be Used on Carpet or Hard Floor




A beautiful poem on the conversation between us and our pianos. “What Music Gives Us.” (Nicole Douglass | Tonara)



There are certain foods that I’m just weird with. Meatloaf, spaghetti, and chicken soup are the first that quickly come to mind. I’m not a big fan of any of them and it has to be pretty darn good for me to partake.

This chicken soup, however, I can handle (and it’s not chicken noodle soup). It uses Israeli Couscous!) The addition of ginger, garlic, turmeric, and fresh herbs make it rich in flavor and high in nutrient goodness. (Monique Volz | Ambitious Kitchen)

If you can’t find Israeli Couscous in your local grocery like me, get it on Amazon.




Casseroles in general area also a weird thing for me, but I love this King Ranch Casserole (Nealy Dozier | The Kitchn).

Traditionally made with all the “cream of” soups, they found a way to do it without those. Yea!



How Rich Is Ina Garten? Really, Really, Rich. (Naomi Tomky | The Kitchn)

I discovered a few more fun facts I didn’t know about one of my favorite chefs!



Giving up your 1st class seat on a plane? THAT’S a good deed to tell about. (The Week)



Please note that there may be links to Amazon in this post. Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Friday Finds #160

Ringing in the New Decade!

Happy last Friday of December (and of this decade!)

I was just looking back at old posts and realized that this is the first year I haven’t taken a break from Friday Finds through the holiday! Each year brings its own rhythm and this year I felt able to (and the desire to) keep things going.

Since I’ve been having fun adding themes to some the weekly Friday Finds recently (a trend that will continue into the new year), this week’s obvious theme is the upcoming turn into the next decade.

When I was a teenager in the ’90s, I explicitly remember not being concerned about the whole Y2K thing. However, the year 2020 always stuck in my mind as the year that was hard to fathom coming around. And yet, here we are.



Before we kick off the new year, let’s see what the best of 2019 gave us here on Piano Pantry. First off, the top Friday Finds posts from this past year:

#5Friday Finds #158: The Spirit of Christmas

#4Friday Finds #128 (April 12, 2019)

#3Friday Finds #138 (June 28, 2019)

#2 Friday Finds #148 (October 4, 2019

#1 – Friday Finds #150: Top 25 and a Giveaway! (of course)

I find it a little spooky that they all ended in the number eight…what’s up guys, do you have a thing with that number or something?



The Fabulous Five: Top Posts from 2019 (Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry)



Is your belly feeling heavy already after just one holiday? Try one of my favorite salads: Seriously Delicious Detox Salad (Ali Martin | Gimme Some Oven)

Or maybe a recipe I haven’t had a chance to make yet: The Best Detox Crockpot Lentil Soup (Lindsay Ostrom | Pinch of Yum)



Since we’ve been slowly hosting more these past months, I’ve noticed a need for an ice bucket.

We’re loving this silver galvanized one from Amazon. The inner bucket comes out for easy cleaning and the scoop which hangs on the bucket is easier than using small tongs to get one piece at a time.



As you may have noticed, I’ve been having fun making Spotify playlists this year. I love all kinds of music and having various playlists to use for even just one, two, or a few weeks out of the year is a great way to change it up!

I just started a New Year’s playlist to use over the next week. It’s still in progress, but feel free to follow and see where it ends up!



10 Kitchen Resolutions for a Happy, Delicious Year (Clotilde Dusoulier | Chocolate and Zucchini)

My top ones from this list are:

#1 – Make the Most of the Cookbooks You Already Own

I’m starting this year off cooking from Amy Chaplin’s (the other one) book: At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen

#5 – Keep Your Greens Fresh

Clotilde’s tips have helped me in the past but I haven’t been consistent. It’s time.

#9 – Eat More Plants

…and also, seafood. I’ve been doing much better with this in recent months. Monday nights have generally become seafood night if possible. A few  favorite seafood recipes:

Buffalo Shrimp Lettuce Wraps (Gina Homolka | Skinny Taste)

Tilapia “Clubs” (Rachel Ray |

Frittata with Tuna and Tomatoes (Giada de Laurentiis | Food Network)



My Favorites of the Decade (Kendra Adachi | The Lazy Genius)

This is a fun idea for a post. So often we get favorites and top lists from the past year, but of the past 10?! Not so often.



ALL 10 are great tips:

10 Rules to Read More Books This Year: How to Make Reading Central to Your Personal Growth in the Coming Year (Joel Miller |



On morning routines:

What if, instead of making resolutions to get up and go faster and faster, we resolve to think about our day “starting in the evening” and making rest a priority?

Starting the New Year with Rest (Amanda Beck | Morning by Morning)

The False Promise of Morning Routines: Why Everyone’s Mornings Seem More Productive Than Yours (Marina Koren | The Atlantic)



Thinking About the Winter of 2019 (Rachel Schultz)


See you next year!!!

XO Amy


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Friday Finds #159

Christmas Classics

This week our house has been buzzing with lots of construction!

Since the weekend before Thanksgiving, we’ve been working on finishing our stairwell. This was quite an involved task!

It included building and finishing the newel posts and handrails, removing the construction step treads, building and installing the outer and inner skirt boards, rebuilding/releveling the step bases (which has sagged slightly due to a year being unfinished), building the new treads, filling in nail holes, trimming, and painting.

The carpet is being installed as we speak (our final carpet install!) then we will put up the handrails and balisters.

On top of that, our master bathroom floor and shower are also getting tiled!

Long story short?

I’m thankful a friend encouraged me to schedule an extra week’s break over Christmas this year. It would have been impossible having students around this week!

Merry Christmas to you all!



Despite the busy week of construction, I still managed to make:

Poached Cod in Tomato Sauce (Michelle Tam | Nom Nom Paleo)

Seriously Delicious Detox Salad (Ali Martin | Gimme Some Oven)

Raspberry Orange Almond Muffins with Sprouted Wheat Flour (Amy Chaplin – the other one)



While we’re on the topic of food…

As far as baking goes, cookies are definitely my favorite (to eat and to bake!). You may be shocked then, to hear that the whole Christmas cookie “thing” has never been a “thing” in our family.

I think it’s because we already have way too many sweets as it is in December. The thought of baking 12 kinds of cookies just seems like a sugar-overload disaster waiting to happen.

This is more my language: My Favorite Christmas Cookies Aren’t Cookies at All — They’re Candied Orange Peels (Christopher Michel | The Kitchn)



CBS This Morning hosted a nice segment on Mariah Carey’s 25-year old Christmas classic, All I Want for Christmas is You. Songwriter Walter Afansieff shares the story of their collaboration while sitting at the piano.



I’ve been working on two Spotify Christmas playlists.

The first one I shared in my last Secret Letter (and maybe in another Friday Finds? I can’t remember…) It includes all of my favorite Christmas songs and albums from over the years (including said song above).

The second one is more of a Christmas worship-focused playlist. Feel free to follow either one. You can even use them to start your own playlist!



In the hustle and bustle of the season, don’t forget the people that are right in front of you.

THAT Person is More Important than Your Phone (Joshua Becker | Becoming Minimalist)



Last week, I shared a delicious Cookie Butter Puppy Chow one of my students gave me. It currently ranks as my all-time favorite, but in a close second is this Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow one of my husband’s co-workers made last year. (Lizzy Cox | Your Cup of Cake)

Do you have a favorite puppy chow recipe? Share it in the comments!



This SNL children’s clothing ad is absolutely hilarious!



Five ways Emily P. Freeman experiences sacred moments around the table. [The Next Right Thing Podcast, Ep. 104 Make Soup (And Eat It Too)]



Public libraries scraping late fines – now THAT’S a gift! (Emma Bowman | NPR)



I absolutely LOVE this mindset for giving gifts shared in this article by Christine Bailey on The Art of Simple.

“For gifts, we follow the plan of each child getting three gifts from us: Something you want, something you need, and a surprise.”

Since Drew and I don’t have kids, we don’t really have a special “rule” like this, but if I had children, I would definitely keep my gift-giving process along these lines.

Does your family have a special “rule” for gift giving?


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Friday Finds #158

The Spirit of Christmas

Can I tell you guys how much I enjoy writing these weekly finds? I don’t know why, but it often feels like therapy. Perhaps because it’s almost a way of recapping my own week – things I’ve found interesting, cooked, and discovered?

I was really dragging last night and this morning so, I decided to go out of my normal routine, stay in my P.J.’s a little longer, drink coffee, and write my weekly finds. The coffee in my cup is generally black, but a twit of cream felt like what my soul needed this morning – and it did.

Sometimes just a little change of routine or rest is all we need to give us the energy to do the next task. I’m ready.



One of my students gifted me with a bag of Cookie Butter Muddy Buddies (Bake Me Some Sugar). That night, I emailed the mom and asked for the recipe – it was that good. #bestpuppychowever

Here are her notes to me:

I always use rice Chex and white chocolate chips, but think cinnamon Chex and/or cinnamon chips would be good, too. It says to shake in a ziploc bag and dry it on a cookie sheet, but I always just do it all in a big bowl and it works just fine. I tossed in some broken up biscoff cookies for something extra, but that’s not necessary. And I’ve tried the generic brand of cookie butter and it doesn’t taste quite as good, in my opinion.

The addition of the biscoff cookies was brilliant and reeeaaaally tasty.



So, I had a dream two nights ago that included a few colleagues from the piano pedagogy world coming to my house for dinner…



Shopping local and supporting your local small business? This touching video by a family-owned hardware store says it all. #bestillmyheart (CNN)



Keeping up with “The Spirit of Christmas” is this one minute peek into this year’s White House Christmas decorations. (American Military News) Beautiful!



Add this Cranberry Mulled Wine to your holiday recipe list. (I haven’t made it yet myself, but I’m looking forward to it!) (Gimme Some Oven)



I’m generally assigned the meat for any of my family’s holiday dinners. We like to do turkey for Thanksgiving and ham for Christmas.

If you have a fresh ham, I like Paula Dean’s simple recipe.

If you have a cooked spiral-sliced bone-in ham, I like Cook’s Country’s Maple-Glazed Ham



I haven’t answered my phone in years. My voicemail states that I do not answer due to spam. Yes, I’m on our state’s do-not-call list, but it doesn’t make a difference. It’s not just me: How Robocalls Became America’s Most Prevalent Crime (The Week)



Recent winning recipes from my table to yours:

Ground Beef Taco Casserole (The Kitchn)

I would call this the best recipe I found this month! We used it on top of romaine lettuce as a taco salad and it was absolutely delicious. I will never make taco salad again simply using taco-seasoned ground beef. The pinto beans in this recipe really add a nice thick and creamy texture. It would be good as a hot dip as well!

Maple-Mustard Chicken (Mother Thyme)

Two tips: First, I would just mix together the chicken marinade then toss the chicken it rather than putting the chicken on top of the veggies then pouring the marinade it on top and turning to coat. Also, I would cut the potatoes into smaller sizes – like a 1/2 inch dice. They were still a little crunchy by the time the chicken was done.

Baked Chicken Thighs with Brussels and Sweet Potato (Skinny Taste)

The Best Energy Bites (Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)



The tile work is finishing up in our master bathroom so we’re getting ready to finally move out of a basement bedroom and into our master suite!

I’ve been on a heavy lookout for decorations and furnishings for the house in general (finally, the fun stuff!) and am loving these websites:

Overstock.comDuvet Cover

Hayneedle.comCard Display Holder

HobbyLobby.comGray Wire-Lined Basket Set (has several sites under its umbrella):

BirchLane.comPeachy Queen Upholstered Standard Bed


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Friday Finds #157

Another week of goodies from one fellow piano teacher to another!



A music theory parody on the “The Christmas Song” (a.k.a. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).



Get some winter-themed Japanese erasers to use as manipulatives over the next few months in your studio!

Kids go crazy over any kind of Japanese eraser. (Plus, they think you’re the coolest when you have fun little things like this!)


Those awesome erasers are just one of several items on my “minimalist list” of piano teacher must-haves. (Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry)



Felt mistletoe on Etsy. So cute!



Generally, our tree and decorations go up the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year due to various reasons, we’re delayed in the decorating festivities.

When Mr. Evergreen finally makes it into our living room though, I’m going to utilize these tips on How to Decorate a Christmas Tree Like a Pro (Williams Sonoma).



Let’s work to stay healthy over the holidays so we can enjoy it!

Germ-Alert: A Studio Teachers Guide to Staying Healthy (Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry)



Here’s what I made with our Thanksgiving leftovers this year.

Potato Cakes: Mix 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, with one egg (beaten), salt & pepper, 1/2 c. shredded parmesan or cheddar, and minced chives or scallions. Using 1/3 cup serving, form into a ball then flatten into a patty. Fry in a cast-iron skillet until golden. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Turkey Noodles: Bring 2 quarts leftover turkey broth (made by simmering the turkey bones in water) to a boil, add one large bag of noodles, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. Bring back to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes or until the noodles are done and the broth has reduced. Add leftover turkey, chopped. Simmer for 10 minutes to heat through.



A fun Instagram account to follow: NYT Cooking Comments.



The Dark Cloud of December (Sara E. Westfall)



December Fun: Christmas Games and Activities for Your Studio (Amy Chaplin | Piano Panty)



Hershey knows how to do it. #holidaylove

Which one is your favorite?


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Friday Finds #156

Hello, my friends!

How are you feeling? Are you bursting at the belt? Feeling lethargic? Sleepy because you got up at 2 am to go Black Friday shopping?

No matter what state you’re in today, let’s welcome the day for what it is and take a moment to focus on gratitude.



“Gratitude is where every positive attitude starts.” -Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy

“It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” -Dietrich Bonhoffer



A beautiful rendition of “Give Thanks” by Philipp Keveren & David Angell (Spotify)



Make Your Life Better by Saying Thank You in These 7 Situations (James Clear)



The Gift of Today – Lessons from a Monk (Michael Hyatt)



How a 17-Year Old is Helping to Feed 12,000 Homeless People



Life lessons: Man in Wheelchair Takes Head Coaching Job with “Let Me Run”



Is it Time for Us to Rethink How We Give Gifts? (Joshua Becker | Becoming Minimalist)



“Remember, the holidays are like a magnifying glass. Everything feels bigger during this season.” (Mary Carver |



Advent, the Birth of Christ is Too Big for One Day (Ed Stetzer | Christianity Today)



Five Holiday Movies Worth Bingeing This Season

We always manage to watch White Christmas at least once (usually while wrapping presents). I generally catch at least one or two Hallmark Christmas moves.

Share some of your favorite Christmas movies in the comments!



Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Friday Finds #155

Turkey day is just around the corner!

We have more than 25 days to enjoy our next holiday. Can we vow to put aside the excitement for what’s to come and give the next few days to the important celebration at hand? Hope so. 🙂

Have a great holiday week, everyone!



I’ve been working on a Thanksgiving playlist on Spotify this week.

Some of my favorites on the playlist include:

  • All Meat and No Potatoes (Louis Armstrong)
  • Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie (Jay & The Techniques)
  • Everybody Eats When They Come to My House (Cab Calloway)
  • Let’s Turkey Trot (Little Eva)
  • Mashed Potato Trot (Dee Dee Sharp)
  • Simple Living (Keith & Kristyn Getty)

Oh, who am I kidding…I love them all!! You’ll just have to listen and be delighted. 🙂


Watch 2018 National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman Perform her Thanksgiving Poem (CBS This Morning)



The Thanksgiving Reader for your gathering. (Seth Godin)



Feed Yourself: On diets, Bingeing and Abundance (Addie Zierman)

My favorite snippet from this article:

What does my body actually need – and is it the same as what your body needs? Is it possible for the soul to require chocolate or chicken soup even if the body itself doesn’t?…

What about joy? What about taste and texture and beauty and decadence? What about the way that food is all knotted around memories and emotions and nostalgia and fear?

What about lemonade bought from the neighbor kids on the way home from work? What about the pancakes served by the community Lion’s club or the Jell-O salad served by the church ladies or family pizza night?

To refuse these foods may save you calories, but does it cost you something else, something more precious, something more sustaining even than the food itself?



Just for fun, here are a few music-themed Thanksgiving jokes.

  • What’s the musical part of the turkey? The Drumstick
  • What kind of music did Pilgrim teenagers like? Plymouth Rock
  • What key do composers never write music in? Tur-key
  • What were the piano teacher’s two favorite foods at the Thanksgiving dinner? TurKEY and KEY lime pie!



Overcoming Envy (Joshua Becker | Becoming Minimalist)



After Receiving a Touching Piece of Fan Mail, Author Asks Teen to Collaborate on a Book (The Week)



These Nature Valley Breakfast Biscuits are the bomb! I try to not keep too many pre-packaged things like this around but these are soooo hard to resist! They also have a peanut butter version but they’re not half as good as the almond butter ones!



Put your order in this week for your advent calendar! Oh, so many to choose from.

I don’t normally purchase advent calendars like this but decided to have a little fun this year and decided to splurge on #7, Williams Sonoma’s Peppermint Bark Advent Calendar. I looovvveee their peppermint bark.



What about Advent Reading? Every year I have intentions to do advent reading but it never happens as I want. This year, I’m determined it will be different.

I’ve had this link saved in my Evernote account to help me decide on a book: 5 books for Advent Reading. They all sound incredibly good, but the first one made it into my Amazon cart for this year. I’m still keeping it bookmarked for years to come!


Do you do an advent calendar or reading each year? If so, what are your favorites? Share in the comments!



Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Friday Finds #154

We’re not quite to Thanksgiving yet, but if it’s not already on your mind you might be scrambling!

Over the next week, I plan on finalizing all my plans for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll look forward to sharing a list of what makes it onto our table!

As far as my studio goes, Thanksgiving week used to be group week but now I’m using it as a week “off” with only Monday students scheduled as a make-up for not having a lesson on Labor Day.

On Tuesday of that week, I’m excited to try something new! I offered an open “monitored” practice hour. I have four keyboards, so four students will come for one hour and I will rotate between them every five minutes or so. Four session times were made available to families: 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00.

If this goes well, I think this would be an excellent thing to do a few times a year and am looking forward to feedback from parents and students on whether they would like having more of these available.

Do you teach the week of Thanksgiving, take off, or hold group classes? If the latter, this week’s list is kicked off with a few Thanksgiving-themed items to get you started!



Two games from Susan Paradis: Chasing the Turkey and Save the Turkey

From Wendy Stevens: Melodic dictation of Thanksgiving tunes and Pumpkin pie listening thermometers



Thanksgiving sheet music for piano:

Now Thank We All Our God arranged by Leila Viss is currently on sale. Get is for single-use or as a studio license.

A Thanksgiving Prayer (elementary solo) by Wendy Stevens



As you’re making your own plans for the upcoming holidays, check out my holiday favorites list of favorite recipes, tools, Christmas albums, and more!



If we were lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s near us, I would be all over these mini Almond Florentine Cones filled with a creamy cheesecake filling. (The Kitchn)



A new culture term: Self-Partnered: The Sudden, Surprising Rise of the Single Positivity Movement (The Guardian)



Piano Safari just released their Older Student Level 3 books.



Amazon’s early holiday deals for the home kitchen.

The best thing on that list in my opinion is
#5 Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Food Storage Container 4.7 Cup (4-pack). Normally $23 on sale for $18.

I have one of the 9.6 cup containers as well and LOVE it. They have a three-pack of these on sale – normally $30 cut down to $23.



Yep, I’m a part of this so-named “micro-generation.” (Jorrie Varnie | Sammiches & Psych Meds)



Music Learning Theory basics made EASY. (Robin Giebelhausen)



Home cooking rocks. Consider making one of these in your kitchen.

Helen Corbitt’s Neiman Marcus Chicken Salad (Saveur)

I’m very picky about my chicken salads. This one is a favorite. My other favorite is this Avocado Chicken Salad from Simply Recipes.

Soba Noodle Salad (Giada de Laurentiis)

Delicious but a little spicier than I would like. Next time I’ll only use one teaspoon of wasabi paste instead of two. Also, I thought it was a little to saucy so maybe start with 2/3-3/4 of the sauce and add more if you think it needs it. I also added some cubed cold shrimp.

Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies (Giada de Laurentiis)

These cookies pack a slight yummy crunch as they use sugar in the raw instead of white or brown sugar. They’re a staple in my fall cookie repertoire! P.S. They’re vegan!


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.