Thursday, December 22, 2011

A few last minute updates from 2011

Hello, all!  As it turns out, you ARE hearing from me before Christmas and New Year's - lucky you!

I've received some gifts from students this past week that can't go without sharing:
A baby poinsettia!
A customized bookmark!
A bouquet of flowers...that will last forever!
I've received so many generous gifts from students, coworkers, and bosses, and I'd like to publicly thank all of them!  

I'd also like to show you a couple of the beautiful homemade gifts I've received from my roomie the last couple of years - she's so talented!
They're blocks and can be set up in a variety of ways!
A quote from the infamous "whatever" student (again - he's 5):
Me: "Can you tell me what a waltz is?"  (We'd talked about it last week.)
Him (without missing a beat): "When you get married."

Finally, no post would be complete without a Charlie-ism:
Charlie's most recent obsession is to get in the dryer when it's warm (and usually when there are toasty, clean clothes still in there).  He silently sneaks in when one is taking clothes out and is content to sit inside till it returns to room temperature.  Apparently, he's not as perceptive as he could be, because the other night he jumped in while the dryer was being loaded with wet clothes...and without my roomie knowing.  She started the dryer and it went around twice before she was able to open it to investigate the loud "thump" she heard.  Out jumped a pretty unphased Charlie.  We'll see if he tries to get in again after that ride!

Have a very blessed Christmas, and I'll see you next year (a favorite line of many students this week)!


Favorites of the day:
clean sheets + electric blanket
my Cranberry Cider candle

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Coop!

Hello and happy one week before Christmas!

I know this week is going to fly by, so I wanted to get this post out there before time gets away from me. 

The following is my Christmas letter for this year.  Some of you have already read it, and it won't be news to most of you, but thought someone might want to read it:

Dear friends,                                                                                                              
I hope this finds you well as the year comes to an end.  As we endure the craziness this time of year brings, may we all remember the Reason for the season and take time to soak in the beauty and nostalgia of Christmas.  In honor of my love of baking and trying new recipes, I’d like to give you a glimpse at my year in the form of a recipe.  Enjoy! 

Kensy’s Recipe for 2011
1 refurbished chicken coop (and 2 terrific landlords)         
1 city (Lincoln, NE)                                                
a few really great roommates                                       
1 new cat, Charlie (from local shelter)
2 wonderful parents (empty nesters in Topeka)               
1 amazing brother (junior in mechanical engineering at KSU)
1 blog (and many faithful readers!) –
5 jobs (each with its own spectacular boss and fabulous coworkers)
37 music students (give or take a few depending on the time of year; including mostly piano, except for one trumpet student (more during the summertime) and many precious musical moments)
2 Bible studies (young adults and single women)             
several handy and helpful local mechanics
1 band tour to Denver (Yes, I already graduated.  They needed a horn player, and I was able to play the part.)
2 summer trips to Colorado (one to Denver for a cousin’s wedding and one to Estes Park with the family and church/friend group from Topeka), both beautiful and indescribably incredible
3 college friends on a trip to Fort Lauderdale, FL (first non-school-related, non-family vacation…and it was glorious!)
1 run-out weekend mission trip to Joplin, MO (including distribution center help and fellowship with young adult Bible study members)
a couple trips to Topeka (Fourth of July, player piano party, Thanksgiving,
numerous hours spent with friends and family (watching movies, playing games, eating, dancing, etc.)           

Evenly mix jobs in with ingredients listed above them, sprinkling in other ingredients occasionally, until just combined.  Pour into mold made of countless God-given blessings and bake at varying temperatures for 365 days.  Leave finished product in plain view for the purpose of remembering and enjoying the process of its creation, but anticipate the similar, but deliciously different, year to come.
Yield: 1 year/365 days/8,760 hours/525,600 minutes (cue Rent song)
Note: an eligible bachelor would accompany this recipe well, if one can be located… : )

Here's Charlie modeling his Christmas outfit for my parents when we were home for Thanksgiving.  Surprisingly, he doesn't mind it - he actually seems to like the hood part and only tries to take it off if the neck or belt straps are too tight.

Here begin the Christmas card picture attempts (I only included a few)...I'd like to say a big "thank you!" to our photographer!  : )
This was the "good one" from the night.
This is blurry, but such a cute moment!  When he sits sweetly under the tree, I sometimes wonder if he is trying to remind me that he was my favorite Christmas present last year.  : )
So, there you have it!  You might be hearing from me again before the end of the year, but if not, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Favorites of the day:
yesterday's festivities (student recital, parents, friends, and the Nutcracker)
Christmas music
great coworkers

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Never a dull moment...

Happy end of "hump day," everyone!  I have a couple stories I don't want to forget to share, so you get them now!  Enjoy...

First of all, here are a few additions to my duties as "music librarian":
-fish nurturer (above and beyond "fish feeder")
-greeting card maker/signer
-social media developer
-personal schedule updater
-"apprentice ornithologist"
-master binding machine operator

The 2-yr.-old I nanny for has picked up on the "See you later, alligator!" salutation I've occasionally given her brother.  Now, she says it to me before I leave, so I get to say, "After awhile, crocodile!" in response.  : )  Also, if you have any idea what oil-absorbing sheets are, you should ask me about a story I have about them...haha

As somewhat embarrassing as this story is, it's worth sharing:
Remember the "whatever" response I got from a student last week?  The following conversation was with the same 5-yr.-old at his lesson this week while I was teaching a technique for jumping down to play a loud, low note on the piano by pretending something you're holding high on top of your hand just fell off and your hand falls in exhaustion (I won't take credit for it - it was in the book):
Me: What's the heaviest thing you can think of?
Him: What's "heaviest?"
Me: Something that's really big and hard to pick up is a truck or a house.
Him: Or a world?
Me: Yes!  So, we're going to pretend...
Him (interrupting me): "And you're heavy."
Me: Excuse me?
Him: Grownups are heavy.
Me: Yes, grownups are heavier than kids.  (then continued with my explanation of the technique)

There really isn't anything more to say after that...

Have a wonderful rest of the week and stay warm!


Favorites of the day:
how much Charlie loves to play with the badminton birdie we brought back from Topeka (what's left of it, that is...)
Christmas decorations
Walgreen's photo center's satisfaction guarantee  : )

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Does it scare YOU?

Well, now that some of you think I'm the crazy cat lady, I have a "normal" update to remind you that I'm not that girl (cue Wicked song).

I hope you all have had a good week back after a nice long weekend!  Mine has gone well and very quickly!

I wanted to share this conversation I had with a 5-yr.-old student yesterday:
Me: Would you like some invitations to give people you'd like to invite to our recital?
Him (immediately): Whatever.
Me: What?
Him: Whatever.
Me: What do you mean by 'whatever'?
Him: I guess I'd probably just be ok if I didn't get any.
Me: You don't want to invite anyone to hear you play?
Him: No.
Me: It would probably be more polite to just say, "No, thank you," then.
Him: No, thank you.

Is he 13?!  Sheesh.  He's not a mean or impolite kiddo, so this was a bit of a shocker for me.  It makes me wonder where kids are getting their social skills these days, because I don't think this type of interaction is out of the ordinary for children of all ages nowadays.

I've had a few conversations with various friends lately about our fear of potentially raising children in today's world/culture.  The future of technology alone blows my mind and kind-of frightens me.  I wonder whether or not our parents' and/or grandparents' generations had the same fear(s) and how they feel now about that "future" that had become the present.

I'll leave it at that, for now.  Thoughts?

Happy December!

Favorites of the day:
checking things off to-do and grocery lists
my brother
exciting news!
my electric blanket

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving: Charlie-style

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, everyone!  Charlie, here.  It's been awhile since I wrote about anything going on with me, so I thought I'd tell you about my trip to Topeka!  That's right - I got to go home with Kensy for the holiday week/end.  I was so very thankful to not be left home alone for those few days.  I hope you were also not home alone.  : )

Kensy helped me document my trip with some pictures - enjoy!
After our long drives to this place, Q and I were both pretty sleepy...even though I slept in Kensy's lap almost the whole way.  Yeah...I wasn't too excited about riding the whole way in that cat carrier, so I asked (maybe too loudly) to be let out.
They have a laundry basket here?!
Ah, yes.  I love these!
Then, Q gave me a ride in it!
Then, I got sick.
Just kidding - this actually isn't what it looks like.  I'm just really obsessed with toilets and was excited to figure out how a different one works.  I wasn't drinking out of it in this picture, but that doesn't mean I never did...
I got a little tired of everyone trying to play with me, so I found a cozy corner by the piano rolls.
Look!  I found the tub - my favorite!
Do you think water comes out of this faucet, too?
Yep - sure does!

AND the drain cover comes off here, too!  Too bad I couldn't get my paw further down this one, though...
Even though I couldn't get on top of the cabinets here, I still supervised the kitchen like I do at home while Kensy was making these...
What a fun new toy for my Thanksgiving day alone!  After playing with it awhile, I figured out the top comes out/off, so I could get the ball out no problem...I don't think the designers counted on me being able to do that.  It was still fun, though!
I never get the chance to leave footprints on cars like other kitties do, so I made up for it during my time in the garage!
As much as I liked exploring the garage, I quickly figured out how to ask to be let back inside (i.e. meowing politely)...and how not to ask (i.e. scratching at the door).
I was glad Kensy brought one of my straws for me to play with.  I do love straws!
Kensy let me hang out on her bed for awhile...
...she's so nice!
Even though I'd never really seen stairs before, I was a pro at navigating them!
Kensy and Q let me watch The Office with them!
It was fun to watch the guys put up the Christmas lights.  I wish I could've helped!
I had soooo much fun over the weekend, but it sure wore me out!  I sat/slept quietly in the car on the way to Manhattan, while Kensy hung out with Q and some other great people, AND all the way back to the coop.  Once we got back, I made sure everything was as I left it and settled in for a good night's sleep on my favorite pillow.

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving and the week is off to a great start!


Favorites of the day:
 safe traveling
the new toys I brought back from Topeka

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving thanks, of course!

Howdy!  I hope this finds you staying warm and enjoying the end of fall!

Since Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, I thought I'd share a few things I'm glad to have in my life.  : )

In no particular order, I'm thankful for:
flexibility (as in time and activities, not body - haha)
my employers
my students
our young adult and single women's Bible studies
coupons/sales/bargains  : )

The list goes on and on...and on, of course.  I'm thankful for life in general, right now!  I'm blessed in countless ways and by so many people each and every day.  There's really no other way to explain how grateful I am.  Most of all, I'm thankful for God's amazing grace.  I hope I am expressing my thankfulness for this each and every day as I live my life for Him.

In other news, I'm contributing these surprise (no longer a surprise, I guess!) treats to the Thanksgiving table this year:
I did a little research to accurately name this group of's a "rafter."
Also, wanted to share this: Last week, I received 3 treats from 3 different students on 3 different days - Tuesday was a mini mini loaf of banana chip bread (yes, a MINI mini loaf - it was sooo cute!), Wednesday was a red velvet cupcake, and Thursday was homemade and personally decorated sugar cookies!

That's all from here.  Maybe you could leave a comment about something you're thankful for!  : )


Favorites of the day:
jam sessions (I was spoiled by the amount of these in college...they're too few and far between nowadays and need to happen far more often!)
something we bought for Charlie
roomie weekends
family time!
subbing at a wonderful school...and actually getting to teach!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes...part 2

Hello all!  Hope your week is off to a fantastic/awesome/stupendous start (after filling out 38 student evaluations this weekend, my synonym bank is pretty full)!

I have a few kiddo quotes for you:

Conversation I had with a student at her lesson on her 6th birthday (some of you may have already seen this on Facebook):
Student: "Do you have a daughter?"
Me: "No.  I don't have a husband."
Student: "Oh. (pause) I have an uncle.  He doesn't have anybody.  He came over for my birthday.  He lives alone in his house."
Me: "Oh?  How old is he?"

Student: laughs and says, "Oh, he's a grownup." (as if I thought he was a child living alone)

When filling in "all about me" pages to put in Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes at a family's open house (which they held for the purpose of filling a lot of these boxes!), some finished "I love Jesus because..." with the following phrases:
...he is magic.
...he is speshel (translation: special).
...he dide (translation: died) on the cross for us.

Finally, a quote from the 4-yr.-old I nanny for...who is "off" dairy products and knows he's not supposed to eat them:
After reading books and getting into bed, I turned his music on for the night.  We sang to the first song, "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" during which he asked, "Does that man make dairy-free muffins?"  I replied, "I don't know, but I bet he would if you asked nicely!"

There's more where that came from, I'm sure!  Never a dull moment...

Enjoy the rest of the week!


Favorites of the day:
Cherry on Top (with coupons and gift cards)
Husker football

Friday, November 11, 2011

Do you know what today is...?!

Yes, it's 11-11-11 (better make a couple really great wishes at 11:11 a.m. & p.m.).

Yes, it's Veteran's Day (and I'd like to express my deepest gratitude to all who have served and are serving in the various branches of the armed forces).

BUT, it is ALSO the one-year anniversary of this blog!  Can you believe it?!  About a month ago, I looked back through my posts to remind myself when I started this "project" and had prepared to be prepared to write something deep and meaningful about what this year of blogging has entailed.  Then, sure enough, I realized late last night that the day had crept up on me!  So, instead of a lengthy reflection, you get a few semi-deep thoughts.  Not sure whether or not to apologize about that...  : )

This year has brought so many small changes, big blessings, new people, exciting opportunities, unforgettable experiences...and I've been so glad to be able to share it all with such a receptive audience!  I so very much appreciate your faithful reading, positive feedback, and support as I continue on this path God has laid out before me.

As a small tribute (or something to that effect), I'd really like to know your favorite "Scoop from The Coop" post/quote/picture.  Hopefully you've figured out the comment section, by now.  If not, there's a post about it!  Or you could contact me via one of the many other ways technology allows for these days.

Here's to another year...or more!


P.S. I did not win the costume contest - FYI.  I came in a close second to a beautiful Renaissance lady with a homemade headdress.  : )

Favorites of the day:
yoga classes
having a working car (after its second trip to the mechanic...and an additional replaced headlight)
discovering new pieces of information/meanings in the Bible

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Martin Luther.

Hi there!

So, in honor of Reformation Day, the sermon at church on Sunday was all about the life, teachings, and music of Martin Luther.  It took a sermon like that to remind me just how monumental Luther's actions were.  I feel like we should be reminded of what he did more than once a year, because it was kind-of a big deal.  : )

Can you imagine sticking up for your beliefs in a way that so drastically and completely changes the course and vehicle for the beliefs of others for generations upon generations to come?!  (I know there are plenty of others who have done so over the course of history, but I'm going to stick to Luther, for now.)  I wonder how fully he understood/realized the implications of his actions at the time.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Luther's "actions," here's an explanation in a nutshell: He believed salvation cannot be bought with money or earned through good deeds, but rather, it is freely given by the grace of God.  This was a new concept in his time, and it went against the Roman Catholic Church's teachings.  Luther stood firm in his beliefs, though, and went public with them, resulting in his excommunication.  Subsequently, he went into hiding and too this time to translate the Bible from Latin to German, making it much more accessible for the people.  Basically, he initiated the Protestant Reformation.  Wohoo!

This all led me to another thought: Why do we have so many denominations within the Protestant church?  I know, of course, there is plenty of explanation to be found in history, research, and others' commentary - some of which I have heard/read - but I'm looking to dig deeper.  Are these divisions something Satan caused, or were they prescribed by God?  Were they meant to cause conflict and bitterness among believers, or were they created to allow for a variety of traditions, music, etc. for believers to choose from and ultimately find their niche?  Maybe there is commentary on this, too, that I should seek out.  For now, though, I'm just speculating "out loud."

I don't believe in a hierarchy of denominations, mostly because I don't know the answers to the questions above.  All I know is this: We are all sinners and are saved by the grace of God through the death of His Son on the cross.  The choice of whether or not to accept this grace is ours to make.  Upon accepting this gift of eternal life, our life on Earth should be a reflection of God's love and mercy.

I'll leave it at that, for now.  I hope none of this offended anyone - it certainly was not meant to.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on any and all of this, as usual.  At the very least, I hope it made you think a bit...and maybe be thankful for Martin Luther.  : )

On a lighter note, here's a student story for you: 
After taking pictures in our Halloween costumes, one of my students said, "There's two kinds of cheeses: the kind you say when you smile for a picture and the kinds you eat.  I like the kind you eat best.  cheddar jack is my favorite, and then just plain cheddar.  What's your favorite?"  This was the kiddo, by the way, who dressed up as Beaker from the Muppets.  Best. costume. ever.  Here's a link to his picture on Boo at the Zoo's contest site (I think you might have to copy and paste it): 
AND here's a link to the video he sang/acted out for me:

Take care,

P.S. FYI - voting for the costume contest ends tomorrow (Friday).

Favorites of the day:
freshly-washed flannel sheets, towels, and PJ's
best friend visits : )

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

The long-awaited costume pictures are here!
A Queen Bee and a Spelling Bee!  : )
Charlie the Angel...haha
: )
I'll let you know the results of the costume contest as soon as they're released!  Until then, enjoy the day and the treats that come with it.  : )


P.S. Happy Reformation Day, too!  So incredibly thankful for the life, music, and teachings of Martin Luther.

Favorites of the day:
getting to see my students in costume!
wearing leggings and flip-flops to work
candy corn and peanuts

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"I won't be able to come in today..."

Happy weekend, everyone!  Hope you all had a lovely week and are enjoying some R&R today.

I just had one quick story from this week.

On Tuesday, before heading to nanny for the day, my car key wouldn't turn in the ignition.  I troubleshooted for awhile before calling my dad, then AAA and a mechanic.  Got to ride in the tow truck as we took Paulette to the mechanic to find out the ignition module needed to be replaced.  Thanks to my wonderful, helpful relatives/neighbors and very accommodating bosses, I was hardly inconvenienced while she was being fixed...and after paying an arm and a leg, we're good to go and back on the road.

While I was waiting helplessly for the tow truck that morning, I took a few minutes to read my daily devotional.  The verse for that day's entry was, "[Jesus said,] Apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5, and the first sentence read, "Have you ever felt helpless, powerless to do anything about a situation that you wish you could change?"  I think I laughed out loud and said, "Thanks, God."  The rest of the entry discussed the importance of prayer in all situations, but especially in those in which you feel helpless.  God calls us to rely on Him, rather than our own resources, during these times.  Needless to say, I said a little prayer and was at peace with the situation the rest of the time.  Hope you can find the same peace in similar situations.

That's all, for now!  Listening to the Huskers play a great game, so far!

Get excited for the Halloween costume...and contest!


Favorites of the day:
sweet potatoes and butternut squash (with butter and brown sugar, of course)
days off
Ivanna Cone

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just call me Susie in "Susie Homemaker."  : )

I was recently introduced to the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I've made, yet.  It can be found by clicking here, or below:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

While I was making these, I had PBS on in the background.  Charlie was very entertained by Bob Ross painting happy little trees.  Don't know whether he was trying to help him paint or trying to get his brush.

Also, I've mostly completed my Halloween costume.  Though the money I saved by making it has probably been made up in labor hours, it provided a good self-taught refresher course in sewing!  I'd love to include pictures, but we're having a costume contest at the studio on Halloween, and my costume is top secret.  Don't worry, though - pictures of the costume and the trophy I'll win will follow shortly.  : )

This weekend was another excellent one and was topped off with meeting a few solid Christian guys...who happen to be Husker football players!
Marcel Jones
Jared Crick
Rex Burkhead
What great role models for all those aspiring football players!  And what an inspiration and testimony to fans, young and old!
Enjoy the last(?) bit of warm weather!  My flip-flops came out of hibernation for it!  : )
Favorites of the day:

family time
the weather
Lincoln, NE