Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Parker's Spring Piano Recital!


Our sweet little man has been obsessed with symphonies and orchestras since before he could talk. It's an understatement when I say he's an old soul. At age two, he had his heart set on playing the violin, but alas, it's quite difficult (impossible) to find violin classes for a two-year-old. Last year when he turned three, we toured the music school downtown, which accepts three-year-olds on a limited basis. After his interview they suggested Sweet P begin with piano - and to our surprise, he was all for it! He began lessons at the start of their school year, September of 2016. 

Parker took lessons once a week with Mrs. Kish, every Wednesday at 4pm (and of course practiced almost every day at home, as per the conservatory requirement). He played a very simple Jingle Bells in a small, informal Christmas recital in December, and I just assumed that, because of his age, he would skip the bigger spring recital. But lo and behold, a few months back Mrs. Kish asked Parker to select music for the spring recital. I just about died when she played the different pieces for him - I had no idea how he was going to get there, having only been playing a few months and being just three-years-old at that point. 


Parker selected Quiet River, and over the next several lessons picked up chords and mastered the song. It was amazing to see the look of pride in his face each time he played, and most every time he practiced at home. Playing the piano really is something he has grown to adore.


The spring recital was held at The Cooper House, a gigantic historical house downtown. 




Parker was third to present, and watching him walk right up to the piano in front of the entire audience made me so proud! (I also may have let out an involuntary giggle because after the first two elementary-aged performers, Parker looked comically tiny. I forget that he's four.) His teacher helped him place his music on the stand and push the piano bench in because he literally couldn't reach! Ha! But really, the fact that his music school expected this participation from him - for him to play a piece by himself, in front of the crowd - was really remarkable. I feel it shows what happens when expectations are set high, and I really couldn't be happier. My Mama nerves were much calmer this presentation compared to December, and I actually let out a breath and was able to listen this time, once he was past the first few bars and I knew he had it down.


The best part, of course, was seeing the pride and sense of accomplishment on this excited face.


Also, a huge thank-you to Parker's teacher this year for her dedication, patience, and guidance - and also for believing in our little guy!


Proud parents!


Afterwards, Parker selected Baskin Robbins for celebratory ice cream.

I worked at the local B&R all through high school, and they somehow all smell the same. 


Yay for our littlest pianist! 




Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Faves - Beach Edition

We kicked off May with a trip to Cape San Blas, Florida, and today I'm sharing all my favorites from our week on the beach! Cape San Blas was the perfect sleepy little beach community - it boasted a whopping three restaurants and one "trading post"/general store that also housed a teeny, tiny donut stand (where we picked up hot, freshly made donuts that I'm still dreaming about). We loved the emptiness of the beach- when going away on vacay we kind of look for the opposite of a crowd or a scene - and that's exactly what we got! Here are the items I couldn't have done the week without... 
1. 


Y'all this cover-up is my top favorite. It's the perfect weight, material, and length - and because it's Lilly it comes in amazing colors and gorgeous prints. Also, let's stop for a minute and admire the tassels.


Those tassels held up to a machine wash after we returned from the beach (I just air dried post-wash). I was worried they wouldn't look the same, but they're still perfect. 


This tunic had me covered walking out to the beach, as well as for mid-day runs to the local restaurant for baskets of fried seafood goodness for lunch. The cover-up was darling and comfortable, and it's going to be perfect at the pool this summer as well. 



2.


I picked up several different sunscreens for our trip, and this one was by far my favorite. I love a spray (so easy!) and the scent was fantastic! Their kids version was my top pick for Parker. 


3.
A beach read : The Husband's Secret


I started and finished this book, another Liane Moriarty read, while we were in Florida. I love her formula of crime/murder-mystry while jumping from character to character for different perspectives. What I really wanted to take with me, though, was this new release by Paula Hawkins. Alas, my library hold had not come up yet! I'm still waiting (not so patiently) and every so often I'm this close to ordering it from Amazon! 


I toted my book in my old straw beach bag which was on its last leg and has since been tossed. This was actually fine by me because all the new ones available out there are so bright and colorful!! I'm swooning over the pom adorned one above, but the tassel trend is so much fun too. The two totes below are super similar, but can you spot that one is a splurge and one is a steal? Click to see if you're correct!






4.
Graphic Tees!

 Sunnies | Tee | Shorts | Sandals

Old Navy has the best selection of graphic tees right now, and for a fraction of the price you'd find elsewhere. I loved them with J.Crew shorts for post-beach/pool lounging inside the house.








5.


Our sweet Nashville friends (whom we shared the beach house and vacay with) discovered these awesome vacuum lined tumblers (they actually gifted me mine way back in the fall to keep my coffee hot after hearing about how I'd microwave my morning cup fifty times while trying to drink it). These babies were perfect for PiƱa Coladas - like kept them super cold all. day. long. The cups really are amazing - you totally need to see for yourself! Our friends also brought along these straws for the trip. I loved that they were super soft (so they didn't accidently poke anyone) and they color coded the drinks so we always knew whose was whose.



Happy beach days! What are your must-haves for visiting the coast?








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Monday, May 15, 2017

What We Do With Our Strawberries


It's that time of year - strawberry season!


Whether you're picking your own, getting baskets from your CSA, or buying a bucket at the farmer's market, you might end up with strawberries for days. We certainly have (we even got more this week from our CSA). Whenever we get new strawberries in the house, I always wash and slice some to have on hand, and leave the rest unwashed in an open container (I've read it's best not to wash until you're ready to use - I've had them last about a week this way). The ready-to-use washed and sliced ones are perfect for topping yogurt...


Adding to a sandwich...

Or blending into a vanilla milkshake to make a strawberry one (I also added vanilla bean to this one, yum).


I tried two new recipes with our fresh strawberries - the first was for Strawberry Biscuits (recipe from Southern Living found here).

They were a bit of work and made the kitchen a hot mess, but they were delicious. Not very sweet, and perfect to snack on any time of day :)


The other recipe was for this Strawberry Salad with Strawberry-Poppyseed Vinaigrette. I cheated and instead of making goat cheese croutons, I just subbed in plain crumbled goat cheese (because, #momlife).


I also tweaked the dressing (I reduced the amount of sugar) - it was so pretty in person!

Towards the end of the week when the strawberries look like they're on their way out, I rinse and slice the remaining ones and freeze on a baking sheet (then transfer to ziplock baggies). My friend Courtney does this step with half her strawberries the first day she gets them, so that's another option.



Frozen ones are great for smoothies and baking. This past week I unearthed the recipe for Strawberry Freeze (which calls for frozen strawberries), courtesy of my college roommate, Lindsay.


I literally hadn't made it since we were in undergrad, so it was such the trip down memory lane! It's the perfect fun, summery dessert to serve a crowd (or to keep in your freezer and nibble on each night, oops).


Just a note - I used my stand mixer, something we did not have in our Santa Barbara apartment. I think the stand mixer is a million times stronger because instead of 20 minutes of beating, I did maybe 10 (and stopped once the mixture tripled in size and started overflowing over the mixing bowl).


If you're like this cutie and you just need more strawberry goodness, click here for my blog post from a couple years ago with my other favorite strawberry recipes!


Who else is loving strawberry season?



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