Around Here (September)


eating breakfast bowls (still)

drinking every flavor of LaCroix sparkling water

wearing gray booties

watching Girl Meets World

listening to my Suzuki repertoire (yes, teachers need to listen, too)

reading The Chosen by Chaim Potok

starting home preschool with Otto (we’re using this)

purging stuff all over our house

excited to begin a new writing adventure with MKE Moms Blog (the photo above is from our kickoff event)

embracing the signs of impending autumn


September Goals

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This month is all about new beginnings. Hubby and I joined a gym. I have new classes that I will be teaching. I’m going to start home preschool with my 2 year old. I’m getting a bit tired thinking of it all. But it’s all really exciting, too! Here’s a bit of what I’d like to accomplish this month:


– Complete the No-Brainer Wardrobe Workshop

– Compile fall capsule wardrobe (I use this to help me out)

– go without sugar, wheat, dairy, and alcohol all month (this will be so tough! eek!)

Family & Home

– declutter 100 items

– have a date night with my husband (we got off track in July)


– finish Helping Parents Practice and read Intelligent Music Teaching

– finish updating website… finally!

– practice for SECE class and get off to a good start!


– read The Chosen and The Homecoming

– host one Sunday Supper

– plan two Thrive Local events


Music Around Milwaukee – September 2015

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This month we are easing into the school year with just a couple of concerts. As a reminder, these concerts are either geared toward families with children or less expensive, which makes them more accessible to families with children, too. Hopefully you get a chance to see some beautiful live music this month!

Sunday, September 13 @ 3pm – FCS Symphony Sundays American Celebration (info here)

Sunday, September 13 @ 3pm – Fine Arts Quartet Series #1 (info here)

Around Here (August)

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eating breakfast bowls (rice, veggies, over-easy egg on top)

drinking iced Americanos (regular before noon, decaf after)

listening to the “Next to Normal” soundtrack

reading (and loving!) “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty

watching “3rd Rock from the Sun” on Netflix

enjoying my kid’s completely unprompted love of baseball

going to the State Fair with my family

playing lots of wedding gig music

organizing my little office corner

wearing maxi dresses

thinking about how small I am and how big God is

How I’ve Switched Up My Work Routine During the Busiest Time of the Year

IMG_0034It has been a ridiculously busy summer in our house. June was the only month that really felt like summer with swimming playdates and walks by the lake and Summerfest. As soon as July hit, it was a whirlwind. I was gone for teacher training at Suzuki Institutes over half of the month and my husband switched jobs. While he is on orientation, he has switched from his normal shift in the evenings to day shift. Most other times of the year, this wouldn’t be as big a deal. In fact, it might even be better, because he is home in the evenings to watch Otto while I teach. But it’s August, and as my fellow teachers know, planning for the upcoming school year takes loads of time. Even if I am not teaching in a classroom, there’s still calendars to figure out, lessons to plan, and policies to rewrite. I was overwhelmed with the thought of getting it all done before September. However, we’re almost halfway through the month, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like I might actually accomplish everything I set out to do. (I kinda have to, right?) Here’s how I’ve done it:

I let Otto play by himself. Okay, honestly, I do this all the time. We have a very independent 2-year-old who likes playing by himself. Awesome, right? But with all I need to get done, I’ve broken my rule of not using my computer and phone around him. When Kyle is working his normal shift, I will go work in my office (ahem… a corner or our bedroom) for 2-3 hours 2 or 3 days a week. This is usually when I get all my administrative work done. Well, this time has been gone with Kyle working day shift and I have more computer tasks than any other time of the year. Now I try to get up before Otto does so I can ready for the day. I wake Otto up (so happy he’s still sleeping in) and we eat breakfast. Then I turn on some music for him and get to work while he plays. I check on him often and this has been working great for us for the past couple of weeks!

I got help. We have been blessed so far that we haven’t needed a regular babysitter while I teach. Right now I keep my teaching hours in the later afternoon and evenings so my mom is able to come after work and pick up Otto so my parents can watch him while I have lessons. I have now realized that if Kyle was working day shift, we would have to pay for a babysitter at least a couple of times a week. It has totally given me a new appreciation for the evening hours we keep. While he’s been working day shift, however, I’ve been having someone come and watch Otto a couple of times a week. I’m so glad that it’s summer time, because a couple of my younger cousins have been able to come over to play with him, which he absolutely loves because he knows them so well. Plus, having family come makes it a bit more frugal than just hiring someone I don’t even know. It’s been a great solution for us!

Finally, when neither of these things is an option, I’m trying to really just enjoy my time being with my son one on one. He’s at such a great age and learning so much. We work on letters and numbers. We play tee ball. We listen to music and dance. As the old cliché goes, time really does pass too quickly. I feel like I blinked and he was 2. I’m sure I’ll blink again and he’ll be 18. For now, I’m focusing on being grateful for these days, even if they aren’t my most “productive.”


Space is still open in my studio for the fall! Visit my website for more information on violin lessons and early childhood music education!

August Goals


With summer coming to an end and the new semester of violin lessons fast approaching, I have been thinking about the future of my business, and in turn, this blog. It has been quiet around here for some time now. I felt I needed that time to process and plan. As bummed as I am that summer is almost over, I am excited about several new things I have coming up this fall, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. For now, I wanted to document my goals for myself as I prepare for the busy time ahead.


– Establish a bedtime routine

– Do 30+ minutes of cardio, 3x per week

– Pray daily, in the morning and evening

Family & Home 

– Complete Declutter Buddies course

– Plan September preschool activities for Otto


– Update website

– Read From Suzuki to Mozart and Helping Parents Practice

-Write two talks I will be giving in the fall


– Read Saint Anything and What Alice Forgot

– Host friends for two Sunday suppers



Spring Recital Recap

I don’t remember my very first violin recital because I was just 4. I didn’t play an actual song since I hadn’t started long before that. Instead, I played a finger exercise. It’s one of those things that helps you practice putting down your fingers correctly on your violin. The finger exercises I teach my students are portions of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star before they learn the whole song, so this was probably something very similar. To some, getting up on stage to play for less than 30 seconds probably seems like a waste of time. For a student’s parents, it’s a chance to see their child demonstrate all they’ve learned. And trust me, even a finger exercise on the violin is A LOT to learn. For the student, it’s even more valuable. It teaches them performance etiquette, like how to hold your violin and taking a bow. It teaches poise under stress. Because even in a very positive environment, like a studio recital, it can be very stressful to a little violinist who hasn’t been playing very long. And it teaches them that playing in front of people doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be fun.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we had our spring solo recital. Four of my students played pieces they had been working on for a very long time. My students pick their pieces a month ahead of time and in most cases, they are encouraged to pick a piece that isn’t the one they are working on when we pick. This sets them up for success in their performance because they are playing a piece with which they are completely comfortable.

Around that same time, I send my parents an image file of an invitation that they can email or print out to invite friends and family to our performance. I just started doing this for this last recital, but it’s something I will do every single time from now on.

Recital Invitation

I also arrange for refreshments to be served afterward. Right now, with the size of our studio, I really only need one person to bring a treat, since my mom is wonderful and helps me with this part of the evening, but my plan for the future is to have a sign up sheet for these events and ask the parents at the beginning of the year to sign up to bring something to one event.

I am also very fortunate to have a great space for my recitals. The basement of my church has a stage and it is large enough for us to set up chairs and the refreshment tables all at once. I am so grateful to have this space.

Finally, because we are so few in number, and because a couple of my students were unable to play, a good friend and colleague of mine came to play the Bach Double Violin Concerto. We had an absolute blast playing.

I just want to thank the families in my studio for their work with their children. It really made the whole evening wonderful because each of the students played from their heart. I am already looking forward to our recital next fall and can’t wait to see how they have grown!


Cherished Gifts (A Mother’s Day Giveaway!)

Cherished Gifts

If you read my goals post for this year, you know that I attempted reading the whole Bible this year. Attempted, and yes, by now, abandoned. It was a great idea and I think Diana did a wonderful thing by starting her group and sending out weekly encouragement and discussion posts.

As a Christian, I want to be in God’s Word every single day. As a mom who is daily frustrated and exhausted by taking care of an energetic almost 2-year-old, I crave my daily Bible study. I love the idea of waking before my son and getting time with a cup of coffee and my Bible. This is a habit I long to establish. Simply starting my day in God’s Word helps me to be a better mom and wife. But I am not a morning person. I’ve tried. I’ve read the articles that say anyone can be a morning person. I’ve followed the programs. I’ve been in accountability groups.

But the thing is, my husband works late, I teach in the evenings, and because of this, my kiddo is also a night owl. He is rarely in bed before 9pm. At the very least, by the time he’s in bed I need some time to myself before going to sleep. If I’m feeling really good and my hubby is at work, I do some work myself. If he’s home, we try to fit in some quality time for just us.

In this season, a morning routine including close to an hour of Bible study just isn’t realistic. Enter this beautiful book.

You guys, if you’re having trouble fitting in your Bible study, this is the book for you. If you’re a mama, you NEED it. It is the most encouraging book I’ve read in a long time. And every devotion points directly to Jesus, which is the most important thing of all. With this book, you can have meaningful, focused time in God’s Word in five minutes. Every devotion ends with a prayer and a suggestion for further study if you have more than a few minutes.

And the best part?

I’m giving away a copy. Just in time for Mother’s Day. This would make a great gift for any mom in your life, including yourself! Just enter the giveaway thingie below and next Friday I’ll announce the winner!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Music Around Milwaukee – May 2015

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It’s that time again where I round up a list of music events around the Milwaukee area. Many of these events are geared toward younger audiences and have a lower price point that is beneficial for families. Some of them are even free! Hopefully you are able to get out and see some of this fabulous music. (If you would like your event listed on future Music Around Milwaukee posts, please email me at


*FREE* Sunday May 3rd @ 2pm & 4:30pm – The Lutheran Chorale of Milwaukee Spring Concerts @ St. John’s Lutheran Church, Wauwatosa, WI

Sunday, May 3rd @ 3pm – FCS Symphony Sundays Russian Festival (info here)

Sunday, May 3rd @ 6pm – MYSO Fanfare and Finale (info here)

*FREE* Wednesday, May 6th @ 7pm – FCS Pajama Jamborees Spring Into Song (info here)

Saturday, May 9th @ 5pm – MYSO Rhythm and Blues (info here)

Sunday, May 10th @ 7pm – MYSO Metamorphosis (info here)

Friday, May 15th @ 7:30pm – Wisconsin Lutheran High School Prism Concert (info here)

Saturday, May 16th @ 7pm – MYSO Symphonic Celebration (info here)

Saturday, May 16th @ 7:30pm – Wisconsin Lutheran High School Prism Concert (info here)

Sunday, May 17th @ 2pm & 7:30pm – Wisconsin Lutheran High School Prism Concert (info here)

Sunday, May 17th @ 5pm – MYSO Sensational Strings (info here)

*FREE* Wednesday, May 27th @ 5:30pm – MYSO Progressions May Melodies (info here)

Music Around Milwaukee – April 2015

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April has a few really great FREE music opportunities, including a concert in which I am playing (on April 12th) and my violin studio’s spring recital (on April 24th.) I would love to see you at those events! I hope you’re able to find something to attend here in this list!

Friday, April 3rd @ 7:30pm – UWM Symphony Orchestra: Concerto Winners (info here)

*FREE* Tuesday, April 7th @ 7:30pm – Leonard Sorkin Institute of Chamber Music Spring Recital (info here)

*FREE* Sunday, April 12th @ 3pm – Martin Luther College and area children’s choirs perform John Rutter’s Mass of the Children (info here)

*FREE* Friday, April 24th @ 7pm – Abellimento Violin Studio Spring Recital (info here)

Friday, April 24th @ 7pm – MYSO Honor Recital (info here)

*FREE* Sunday, April 26th @ 2:30pm – Barcel Suzuki String Academy Brioso & St. Joseph Handbell Choir Spring Concert (info here)

Sunday, April 26th @ 3pm – University Community Orchestra Concert (info here)