Showing posts with label Suzuki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Suzuki. Show all posts

Monday, November 03, 2008

Easy Chicken Whatever...A Suzuki Mom Favorite

It has been said that "chicken is the canvas on which the chef paints..."
and, as any Suzuki Mom, or baseball mom, or swimmom, or bowling mom, or whatever knows, dinner prep on lesson day is rough.
Leftover night works for one night a week, but I can't squeeze two out of it. So, we have crockpot night.
One of the easiest options is to throw some skinless chicken (I use legs) into the crockpot, sprinkle lightly with Mrs. Dash, or Seasoned Salt, or something like that and cook it. High for 2 hours or Low for 3-4.
Then I pour on some sauce of some sort. Tonight it's Uncle Ben's Sweet and Sour. If I were in the states, I'd probably use a flavor packet of something.
Put it on some jasmine rice, and voila!

Friday, February 23, 2007

God-incidence of the Week

One of my prayers every morning for myself, my family and friends is that our steps would be ordered by God (from Psalm 37:23), so I frequently find that I have gone to the store that has the cut of meat I need on supersale or that I run into someone I need to speak to.
Occasionally, I see a series of events come together and I know that my steps are ordered and my prayer is answered. It’s beginning to happen more and more often, which shouldn’t surprise me, but does.
This is the account of one such series.
1st event: Several months ago, our friends the Ellises purchased a piano for their son, Andrew, who at age 16, had been playing on a digital piano and was at the point where he needed a real piano to progress in his study. I had been contemplating putting Blake in Suzuki piano lessons and, when Diane Ellis offered to loan me their digital piano I took that as confirmation that we should. We moved the digital piano to our apartment and Blake began piano lessons in January.
I somehow knew that that particular piano was not a permanent fixture in our home. This is unusual, since it is my “default” to try and purchase items that already reside in Brazil and this is a great piano that Diane would probably be willing to sell me. Anyway, I just knew deep inside that this piano wouldn’t live here long.
2nd event: I began to look on the internet for pianos, “just in case.” I found a model of a Casio that weighed only 13 kgs! Hammer-action, weighted, touch sensitive keys, full-sized keyboard, and very reasonably priced. It got great reviews for sound and feel, which are really important for a beginning piano student. The list price was $600, which is really low for a piano with all those features, but really high for a 7-year-old with questionable follow-through habits. Anyway, I found a site at that sometimes sells returned items, or scratch-and-dent items, at lower prices. I prayed for God to help me find that piano on a scratch-and-dent sale before we needed it. Those scratch-and-dent sale items go fast, and I didn’t have the time to check every day. So, I prayed for God to lead me to it at the right time. I then forgot about it.
3rd event: I spent a harrowing week week-before-last trying to schedule flights for our vacation to the states in July. Jeff’s parents are bringing us home to visit and so Jeff can complete another doctoral course. FINALLY, I was able to get us flights in and out of Philly. This means that we know that we’ll at Jeff’s parents’ house in July.
4th event: Thursday night 11 p.m. Mark Ellis calls to tell us that they are moving to São Paulo in a few months.
5th event: Friday morning I wake up realizing that I need to be able to put this piano on a truck to São Paulo in a few months and, if Blake is going to take lessons, we need a replacement.
6th event: I go to my email and find an email from Musician' advertising a “stupid deal of the day” sale. Their emails usually get caught up in one of our spam blocking setups, so I was surprised to see one in my Inbox. The deal was a $15 mike stand, but there was a link beside it to a Casio piano. It was the 13 kg piano on a scratch-and-dent sale (read $600 piano for $300)! I knew I had, at most, a couple of hours before someone else snatched it up. Because we had gotten our tickets to Philly, I had an address to ship to.
7th event: We had “just happened” to have a surplus in our account and had just gotten paid for the month, so it would be easy to make the purchase.
8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th events: I still had doubts. I prayed and decided I had at least an hour (we’re 3 hours ahead of US time, so it was still about 5 am on the east coast). I prayed and looked at some customer reviews on the web. My conversation with God went something like this:
OK, I think we’re supposed to do this, but can we really get a full-sized keyboard to Brazil? What if I buy it and we can’t get it back here?
First review read: “We bought this piano because we were moving overseas and we could take it in our checked baggage. . .”
Ok, God, I know I can get it to Brazil. But does it sound good? How can 13kg really have the feel of a real piano?
Scroll down, second reviewer: “We purchased this item for my wife who is an accomplished pianist. She has a grand piano and has played and taught piano (private and college level). . . She is happy with the tone quality and action of the keys. The Casio will definitely handle most of the music that she would play.”
Ok, God, if it works for a doctoral level pianist, it should work for our 7-year-old. But it’s still a Casio, not noted for quality.
Third reviewer: “I was astonished by the clavier. To me personally I preferred this key-feel above the standard Yamaha feel. The piano sounds were ok; above what I had expected of Casio.”
After visiting another review site of professional musicians, whose only beef with this model was its lack of a computer interface for composing (whatever that is!), I decided this was our piano and ordered it.
The 12th, last, and perhaps most amazing event was that Jeff agreed that we should get it!
It’s in Delaware now, waiting for us in July! Grandma and Grandad tested it for us today (see picture)!
Now, if God can just work some on the 7-year-old’s questionable follow through habits! That’s my next matter of prayer!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Well, I've made the plunge! Thursday I became not only a soccer mom to Blake, but a Suzuki mom to Parker. No, I didn't buy a very expensive 4-wheel-drive station wagon. No, I didn't buy him a tiny little motorcycle.
What is a Suzuki mom? The Suzuki method of music education is a method geared toward the very young. From the reading I've done, you're apparently supposed to begin at about 4 months gestation. The method adopts the principles used in language-learning to the learning of music. It uses LOTS of repetition and LOTS of listening. Basically, the child learns to play by ear.
Parker and I are terribly excited.
My Little Twinkler and I go every Thursday morning for a group music class, where 8-10 2-4-year-olds sing scales and songs, dance, and bang away on children's instruments. Parker loves it. On Thursday nights, we'll go to concerts and see older children play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" OVER AND OVER AND OVER. . .
At home between classes, we listen to CDs of the songs used in the classes. One song at a time, OVER AND OVER AND OVER. . .
In a year or so, we'll choose an instrument for Parker to begin learning. We can choose violin, viola, cello, guitar, piano, flute, or recorder.
I resisted the idea for awhile, because I didn't want to turn into the Martha Stewart of motherhood (a typical neurotic perfectionist) or push my kids too hard. Actually, it's not like that at all. The whole method is based on encouragement and celebrating the tiniest accomplishments.
Parker and I are terribly excited. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to put the CD on REPEAT . . .AGAIN.