Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mmmmm, Mmmmmmm, Mmmmmm

I don't know about you but I am a pumpkin fanatic! I look forward to fall so I can literally eat pumpkin anything for 2 months straight. I recently stumbled across a new recipe for pumpkin cookies that I will say, are to die for. I literally could eat a whole batch myself....as well as my in laws! In fact, I made them once the night before an event and within two hours the entire batch was gone! Oops...I just had to make more :-) 

Pumpkin season is almost over so I thought I would share the recipe so you as well could enjoy the deliciousness of these cookies! Really, they are heaven in a bite of pumpkin! :-) Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups light br sugar
1/2 cup butter.marg. softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 1/3 c chopped pecans
1/2 c vanilla chips

Preheat to 350. Grease cookie sheet.

In a large bowl beat brown sugar, butter, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and spices. Stir in pecans and vanilla chips. Drop onto sheet.

Bake 10-14 min or until lightly browned. Cool for 30 min or so.

I than put vanilla chips in a bown with a tiny bit of cooking oil....just a few drops and microwave to melt. I spoon it into a plastic bag and cut off the corner to than drizzle over the cookies.

"Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber,

You go and do something like this....and totally redeem yourself!" Oh yes, another ever famous line from Dumb & Dumber. Trav quotes this movie on a daily basis so naturally when we traveled to Colorado and were right there in front of Aspen, I heard the entire movie from start to finish straight from Trav's memory! =) 

As a birthday present from Trav, a chance to visit a friend and explore Colorado, we headed out to Denver the first weekend of October. I love traveling with Trav. We've developed a routine at the airport from checking in, to going through security, and of course finding the right seats on the plane. When we landed in Denver it was dark but the airport was lit up, looking like white capped mountains scattered across the dark sky. We picked up our little, tiny rental car and headed to find Littleton, CO. Christie, my roommate from Azusa, lives in Littleton as well as her parents. Her parents were kind enough to open their home for us to stay in because they were in the mountains at that time. Christie and her boyfriend, Brandon, took us to one delicious authentic Mexican restaurant for dinner. We ate till we couldn't walk. After, we debated heading out to downtown Denver, but we are all old folks now and decided just to sight see it from the car. ;)

The next morning, Christie took us to the cutest lil restaurant for breakfast in downtown Littleton, Cafe Terracota. I loved how it was in an old, town style house...it felt very quaint! Afterwards, Trav and I set out on our own lil adventure. We had some things we wanted to see before heading to the mountains with Christie and Brandon for the night. We first visited the new Columbine Memorial. It was breathtaking. They did an incredible job of honoring those who were killed and remembering their greatness. I was in awe as I read the tablets on each individual. I was amazed at how strong they were, their courage, and their faith. Some families chose to put poems or journal entries their child had written before the shooting. God works in mysterious ways and what they wrote about just weeks before they lost their lives is living on to teach others about why we are really here and what the end goal really is. It was only minutes before I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I know I will never forget that day. Watching the tv with my parents and the way I felt. Running along the edge of the memorial was a wall with quotes engraved from what people said that day as well as the days after as they recalled the events and emotions. I can't get Trav to read a book, but he read that entire wall. I glanced over to see him sitting in front of it and even from a distance I saw the glistening on his cheeks and knew he was feeling what I was feeling.

We drove around the high school after. Thank we headed up the street a little further to find my old home. We even found our old church that was right down the street! We met back up with the others and took off for the mountains! What a drive! The scenery was breathtaking! The road to their cabin was decorated with colorful aspen trees and I realized what we miss out on in California....fall. The Brady's cabin is picturesque...you feel like you are in a movie yet you feel like you are at home! Her parents have a yellow lab, Rory, who immediately took to Trav. Shocking, right?! Her two lil cousins were there who I have always heard so much about but it was fun to meet and play with them. All of us headed to the "town" to grab a bite for dinner. It was a fun BBQ place, much like Heros here in Fullerton, where you throw your peanut shells on the floor. Later that night Trav, Christie, Brandon, and I sat in the jacuzzi, talking under the starlit sky. It was wonderful!

Before heading back down the next day, Christie showed us one of her favorite hikes. Probably the most breathtaking hike I have ever been on. Pictures couldn't even capture how beautiful it was. We spent the afternoon cheering on the Broncos and bbqing at their house. We feel pretty blessed and thankful for their hospitality. They treated us like family the whole weekend. 

On our last night their, Trav and I got an ice cream craving so we drove to find a Dairy Queen. Along the way we stopped at the Super Target so Trav could check it out. Needless to say both of our jaws dropped when we went inside. This is unlike any Target you have seen. Lined across the front of the store was over 40 checkout lines. The grocery in this store was bigger than the Vons by my parents old house and I thought that was a big grocery! We walked the aisles in complete awe. There was even a self-serve candy section. How dangerous would that be if it was at Trav's store!?!? 

On our last day in the great CO we did some touring of our own. We headed out early to see the different fields. Finding the stadiums in different cities we visit is a tradition/hobby of ours and I just love it! We stopped by the Broncos first....but Tim was not there ;) We drove by the Pepsi Center next and let me tell you, that is one awesome arena! Soon after we had an appt at the Denver Mint. We took the tour and learned alot about the production of coins here in the US. We walked to the Capital building as well and loved the architecture. On our way to 16th St we found Coors Field, another awesome stadium and than Mermaid Bakery where we had to grab a cupcake even if it was 10am! We finished off our downtown touring with a hamburger at Good Eats.

Before heading to the airport we drove out to Golden, CO to tour the Coors Factory. Golden was not what I expected. Instead, it was this little town that mimicked what and old town would have been like back in the wild west days...I loved it! I will say the Coors tour was pretty neat. And, you get to sample at the end which is always fun. We walked around the downtown a bit after and again, fell in love. On our drive to the airport, we talked about everything we had crammed in during our short visit and the fun we had. We both fell in love with Colorado...it's a whole different world in so many ways! There are so many places we want to visit in the US....and so much history to see. We are already planning our next adventure. 

Now, you may think I am crazy for posting this song, but everytime we got in our car this song came on the radio and now whenever we hear it we think of Denver and our adventures.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Waaaayyyy Behind

Wow. It's been awhile since I have written about nursing school on here. Alot has gone on in the past month and I was so completely physically, mentally, and emotionally fried when my last term ended I simply couldn't bring myself to write about it as well. But now I am behind and I promise to write about our Colorado trip, my sister's visit from AZ, and our St.Louis trip after this! :-)

As you know last term I was in pediatrics, leadership, and mental health with two clinicals as well. It was an interesting term and I learned a ton. But man am I glad it's over with because it sucked everything out of me. When the time came for our exit exams, we learned that they would be given on three consecutive days. Now, you might think that is no big deal because it's just a final exam. Wrong. These exams are the death of me and I usually really like school. An "exit exam" is our way of showing the school that we have mastered the content in that area and should be allowed to move forward. It is a mock state board exam but focused in on just that particular subject. We are given a minute per question and a raw score we have to achieve to move forward. I studied my life away for mental health. I mean I literally locked myself in my room and did everything I could to master a subject I despise. That was the first exam on a Wednesday afternoon and...I passed. But as great as it felt to pass, I was still stressed because leadership was the next day and I hadn't even begun my review for it. Ahhh!

Leadership came and went...I barely passed but hey, passing is passing. Friday, our last day, was pediatrics. I don't mind studying peds. It just makes sense to me. Everything with peds seems like common sense or second nature which maybe should be a sign to me that I should be working in that field. That test came and went as well. As I walked out of the test room doors, it felt like a load had lifted off my shoulders. My friends were there waiting for me ( they had all passed all 3 test too!) and we kept quite till we got in the stair well and than the squeals let out! We made it! Only 9 more weeks of school and we are RNs! Praise the Lord! As I called my dad to tell him the good news, I had tears streaming down my cheeks. When I got home I couldn't move. I barely made it to my bed and I slept till 6 that night! Ha, guess my body new I needed a lil rest!

Sad to say though, we left behind a huge handful of classmates who did not make it till the next term with us. It's always hard because you become like a family and no one should be left behind. But our school really likes to ween people out and it's hard. 

So, my final term of nursing school has started. I have 7 weeks left. Scary?! Um, yes! I've already started applying to new grad programs and are anxiously waiting to hear back . Critical care is my main course and clinical this term. It's going to be good. Hard, but exciting. And the light at the end of the tunnel is so close! God is good =)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random Fact of the Week :)

I like random nursing facts. The things hat aren't highlighted or easily seen in text books. My critical care teacher is great at throwing in these random tid bits during lecture. Some come from her own personal experience out in the nursing world and others are just additional information.

My favorite this week was about brushing your teeth at night. My professor admitted that while she brushes her teeth 3 times a day it usually is not before bed. There are days when she was so tired that there was just no way she was going to use whatever small amount of energy she had left to scrub, floss, and Listerine up. Have you ever felt like that? I have. ( I promise I have good hygiene!) If I lay on my bed before doing my nightly routine, you will not get me back up. Of course, this is only after a 14 hour clinical or class day when I come home and can't feel my legs anymore. Last night I laid down on my bed and thought, " I'll just close my eyes for a minute!" ( It's never a minute. I would have been out for the count) But, as I was laying there, I remembered what Professor Bosveld had said causing my eyes to pop open and I scurried out of bed into the bathroom so I could brush away.

You see, if you don't brush your teeth at night all those icky, nasty germs in your mouth that have accumulated during the day become alive and active. We all aspirate in our sleep every night. So all those germs slide right on down the back of our mouths and into our lungs and this leaves us with......a cold.  Gross, huh? So, if you are looking for a natural remedy to prevent common colds this winter,....brush, floss, and swish any germs away every night. :-) 

Don't worry....that's not the only thing I learned in Critical Care on Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Will Follow

The Fish always seems to provide me with my weekly songs. And they always come at just the right moment where I know God is using the lyrics to speak directly to me. However, this song hasn't just stuck around for my weekly song, it's been much longer.
If you haven't heard "I Will Follow" by Chris Tomlin I am attaching the link below so you can. It's wonderful. Right now Trav and I are at an odd place. I'm finishing school. Trav is on the verge of being promoted. I'm figuring out my specialty. Trav is figuring out his lifelong career. We are still living at home. But in 10 or so weeks all of this could/will change. Where will we be in February you may ask? I don't know. Actually, I don't have the slightest idea. We could be right here in Brea. We could be in South County. Trav could be at Target. I could be at Choc. Trav could be coaching. I could be in Labor and Delivery working. We could be in San Diego, Arizona, Colorado, St. Louis, or Maine for all that matters. We have no idea what our future holds and it is slightly scary but really exciting.
It's easy for Trav and I to talk about "our" plans. Because we always know what's best for us, right? Ha. We have definitely learned that when praying for our future, it means letting go of our worries, concern, doubt, wonderment, and our own plans while laying it at the Lord's feet and saying, " Here. Lead us. Guide us. Place us where YOU have planned for the two of us to be." Yikes that is hard. It's taken a year and a half for Trav and I to be able to pray that with peaceful minds and a calm heart as we truly do trust He will lead us. There hasn't been a morning or an evening of each day for the past 1 1/2 years where we haven't joined together to pray for what's to come after nursing school. Trav always ends our prayers with, " Lord, let us follow you. Guide us to where you need us to be. " It's those words that Trav lifts up that either let me fall asleep with a restful mind or start my day with encouragement. The Lord is good and I know His plan for our life is going to be great whatever it may be.
It's interesting how we have grown over this time I've been in school. There were days I really doubted our future and was insistent about "my" plan. Than there were days Trav was worried and had his own plan in mind. But somewhere in the midst of all the nightly talks, the internet searching, the Concordia Chapel chats, and most importantly the prayers, we both came to one solid ground with only one thing for certain: It's not our plan and we want to openly with a gracious heart seek for what God has planned for us. It's exciting. Don't get me wrong though, I still freak out. I like to have things planned out and the unknown tends to freak me out big time. However, John Tesh told me the other morning ( Yes, he too speaks directly to me) " Never fear the unknown with a known God."
So we will work on not fearing the unknown. And we will continue to pray for His plan to unfold. (Sooner rather than later, Lord! ;) ) We do ask that you keep us in your prayers over these next 8 weeks. Nursing school has not just been something I've been going through. Trav has been every bit as deep into it as I have been and little does he know these last 8 weeks are going to be one heck of a ride! :-) But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Please pray that we are able to keep our focus on God's plan and the amazing things He has in store for us in this upcoming year. And that we never loose site of wanting to follow where He leads.