I LOVE to bake.
Whoa, totally got some deja vous as wrote that statement.
I think I've started 6 posts this way, but it's the truth! I love to bake!
Know what I love to bake the most? Okay, yes you're right it's cupcakes, but my second favorite thing to bake is cookies and cookies are a Christmas staple in my family.
Today I'm sharing 3 my favorite (easy) Christmas cookie recipes.
These are delicious and so easy that you can totally make them with your kids or just enjoy them yourself.
At one point Nestlé changed the recipe on the back of their chocolate chip package and my mom wasn't impressed. She dug out the old church cookbook and found the original recipe which made for much better cookies. Thankfully there are others who felt the same way and stored it in their online cookbook. :)
I've make this sugar cookie recipe every year with my nephew since he was 3. While the recipe doesn't specify it, this cookie is perfect for cutout cookies. We've done everything from Zombie Santa (cookies that we touched too soon and created deformed shapes), to Christmas trees, angels, and ornaments. Add a little colored icing and make it an afternoon of baking and decorating. We weren't able to make them together this year, but it'll make next year's cookies even more special!
Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies
I came across this recipe a few years ago when I was doing an elimination diet to identify potential food allergies & sensitivities. I didn't want to completely give up chocolate cookies and I loved this flourless cookie so much, it has now replaced my regular chocolate cookie as a Christmas staple.
Picture this: You've opened your new brick & mortar studio and had your first week of lessons. You straighten up your lesson room then head to the office to shut things down for the weekend.
On your way you glance at the waiting room...the floor is filthy.
You poke your head into another lesson room...there's dust everywhere.
You look in the bathroom...did they even try to aim, how are we out of paper towels already and why is the sink covered in bubbles?
You're exhausted and really want to go home, but if you leave it you'll still have to deal with it Monday morning.
So you spend the next 2+ hours scrubbing the entire place. Your husband calls to make sure you're okay and asks why you're not home yet. You burst into tears because you're completely spent and aren't even half-way finished cleaning.
Welcome to business ownership.
The realities of owning a business with a brick and mortar location can be overwhelming at times. We need the most help with "menial" tasks at the beginning, while we're still getting our bearings in the business world. The problem is that's the time we need help the most is the time when we typically can't afford to hire said help.
This is where I was a couple of years ago. I did (still do, but not for long) EVERYTHING for the business side of my studio and I was on the verge of burning out.
I hired teachers to help me teach new students, but couldn't afford to have someone come clean, or take phone calls while I taught, or run my social media accounts, or handle advertising. It was all on me. And I was at the end of my rope.
That's when I discovered how important it is to have solid systems. I carved some time out of my day off and did some research. Once I got past the "a business owner should never clean the toilet" advice, I found that the most successful system for me would be a cleaning schedule.
A cleaning schedule? Like a chores chart? Really?!
Yes, really. And yes, it really helps.
I tried a few "premade" schedules, but found them either lacking or overwhelming, so I created my own schedule.
I divide each day's tasks into two categories, before teaching and after teaching. I should note, this is a mental division of tasks. They're all just written out on the schedule. When I come in, I get my self unpacked and start the firsts thing on the cleaning schedule. When I'm done teaching, I finish the list and we're ready to start again the next day.
I'm still tweaking the schedule to suit my needs, but I have to say, the academy stays clean and I get to keep my sanity.
Want to get your hands on an editable version of my cleaning schedule? Click here to download your own free editable copy.
I started my career as an elementary band director. A far cry off from where I am today, but not far off from where I wanted to be (or so I thought).
Sadly, those first two years of teaching in public schools were the only two really good years for me. This is not at all a reflection on my students or the programs.
When I graduated, public schools were at the beginning of their difficult times and music and art teachers were bearing the brunt of it. Needless to say, I got out.
One of the things I took away from that experience was how much kids benefit from little snippets of information combined with instant gratification.
We all know how long it takes to get to the point in learning an instrument where you can make music that's fun and recognizable.
To encourage my students along the way, I decided to start posting a "Music Question of the Week" on the white board in my band room. Students would come in for their lesson and get a piece of candy (something I hear you can't do anymore) for knowing the answer.
I've altered this for the academy to "Music Symbol of the Week". It works the same way as the question, but is a little more focused on music symbols rather than general knowledge.
And if they don't know the answer because they haven't learned it yet, students write it down and learn about it before going into their lesson.
Get your copy of the 2021 Music Symbol of the Week Calendar here.