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Today I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things from the winter season. Like all of you, my interests extend far beyond music education, so I’ll be including all of the other things I’ve loved this season too.

MUSIC ED

  • Fostering Social-Emotional Health in Elementary Music (pandemic edition)
    • It should be no surprise that I love everything Elizabeth posts on her blog, but this post in particular is so important right now. If you’re teaching any form of distance learning, this is a must read!
  • Four Ways to Analyze Repertoire for Racism and Sexism
    • If you aren’t already following Michelle on Instagram, you’re missing out on quality content. This post is full of awesome and practical ways for you to analyze repertoire and ensure that you’re placing only the best literature in front of your students.
  • Research to Real Life: practical applications of music education research for teachers
    • Heather breaks down and summarizes music education research so that it can be applied directly (and practically) to the classroom. I truly can’t pick a favorite post, they’re all wonderful. Instead, I suggest that you head over to her blog and search the tags on the right-hand side to narrow down your interests and let the learning commence!

FOOD

  • Sticky Buns
    • I use a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for these sticky sweet buns, and they’ve quickly become a household favorite. I would love to show you a photograph of them lovingly plated, but they just don’t last long enough. Here’s the recipe. Also, if you’re on the fence about an America’s Test Kitchen subscription, I can honestly say it’s my go-to for all my baking/cooking needs. I’m not affiliated with them, just a food-loving fan!
  • Lindt Lindor Strawberries and Cream Truffles
    • If you’re not into baking, these truffles are the next best thing. I mean, all Lindt Lindor truffles are amazing, but these just happen to be one of their limited edition flavors, so you have to get them while you can.

TV

  • Nadiya’s Time to Eat
    • If you’re a fan of The Great British Bake Off, then you’ll recognize Nadiya as the winner of season six. She has a new Netflix series called Time to Eat. It’s a feel-good show with lots of tips/cheats for quick meals and deserts. You can even grab all of her recipes for free HERE.
  • Derry Girls
    • I’ve mentioned this TV show before, but I’m watching it again and am reminded of how great it is. It’s a coming of age story that follows a group of teenagers during the 90’s in Derry, Northern Ireland. It mixes historical events of the time period with the typical growing pains of teenagers. If you’re in need of a good laugh, this is the show to watch.
  • The Mandalorian
    • This show is the only reason we have Disney Plus. You don’t need to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy it, though that does make it more satisfying.

VIDEO GAMES

I have to preface this by saying that I’m not at all an avid video game player. Most games stress me out due to time limits, battle scenes, and motion sickness (I’m looking at you Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles). However, my favorites this season are my ideal type, the kind that are calming, have no time limits, and have a perspective that doesn’t make me nauseous.

  • Animal Crossing
    • This game is why I have a Nintendo Switch (and no longer borrow my husband’s). Animal Crossing is worth triple the price based on how much it’s helped me survive the pandemic. You get to design and landscape your own island with your new island friends. You can plant flowers, go fishing, dig up fossils, create waterfalls, build items with recipes, create pixel art, and more. You can even change the theme tune of your island. It’s lovely.
  • Spiritfarer
    • This game is as equally calming and entertaining as Animal Crossing. It even shares many of the same activities, such as planting a garden, learning new recipes, meeting friends, and foraging for items. However, in this game your purpose is to help your friends pass over from the spirit world into the afterlife. While doing this, you’ll explore new islands using your incomprehensibly large boat, complete tasks for your friends, and gain new skills.

PETS

  • Ripple Rug
    • I think it’s safe to say that Doctor Watson (our cat) is as sick of being home all the time as we are, but this Ripple Rug has made a huge difference. It’s the only thing we’ve bought for him that he plays with everyday. If you own a cat, you know this is a huge deal. If given the choice between a milk ring and a $10 toy, they’ll choose the milk ring every time.
  • Yeowww! Stinkies Catnip Sardines Cat Toy
    • I’m thankful that this toy is sturdy, because Watson gnaws on it like no other. If your cats are only mildly interested in most catnips, you might give this one a try. I get mine from my local pet supplies store, but you can find them online.