Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Hoppy" Easter

     I hope everyone is having a "Hoppy" Easter!  We certainly are.  This year things were a bit different; instead of making the trip back to Louisiana, Monkey and I celebrated at quietly at home.  We attended two Easter egg hunts this weekend, which was fun.  This morning the Easter Bunny left Monkey a basket full of bath time goodies, and she was extremely happy about that.  Then we got all dressed up and went to brunch with two of my favorite Navy wives.  When we got back home we talked about the true meaning of Easter.
     Friday we talked about the crucifixion.  I made a small cross out of some scrap wood I had in the garage, and I explained how they were used in ancient Rome to punish people who had done really bad things.  I had her help me nail three nails into the cross and explained how they used to nail people that way when they were bad or had done horrible things.  Then I asked Monkey if Jesus had done anything bad.  She said, "No".  So then I asked, "Why did He die on the cross if He didn't do anything bad?"  She replied, "To get rid of our sins".  Next we talked about sin, about what it is and about how everyone sins.  She wrote the word "sin" on her doodle pad, and I asked her to draw a picture of any particular sin; she chose to draw a picture of her hitting the cat.

     Next I told her to swipe the board clean, and I explained that just like she swiped away the picture, Jesus wiped our sins away on the cross.  She then drew a picture of how that made her feel.  It was a giant smiley face!  Then to sum it all up we learned John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."


     Today we talked about the resurrection.  I had her help me act out the resurrection with her toys, and consequently her bunny is now named "Jesus".  Oops.  Oh well.  We talked about how the women went the tomb and found it empty and how Jesus conquered death so that we could have eternal life in Heaven.  Then we talked about how Jesus went up to Heaven to prepare a place for us.  It was a good talk, and she seemed to enjoy it.

     Of course, we didn't leave J out of the festivities.  As I mentioned in my last post, J recently received two care packages from us in the same day, and I was horrible and made him wait until Easter to open the second box (his words, not mine).  Well now that he's opened it, I think I'll share it with y'all.

     I lined this one in green construction paper, and aside from the small bit of grass, the eggs, and the bunny you see, I didn't do any decorating.  I left most of the package blank for Monkey to fill in this time.  That was a terrific idea, because I had a test to study for, and it took her quite a while to design the perfect Easter box for Daddy.  My only regret is that I didn't get a picture of her finished product.

     What I lacked in decoration on the outside, I made up for with creativity on the inside.  I had Monkey helps me stuff Easter eggs full of goodies.

     While she stuffed them, I wrote cheesy phrases on the outside of the eggs like, "Hoppy Easter", "SomeBunny loves/misses you, "Hop to see you soon", or "Love, your two chicks".  I am the queen of all things corny, so this was so much fun for me.  

     After stuffing the eggs, we filled our box with a few extra things such as Peeps, a giant Warhead Egg, and a book of devotionals for J.  Overall, I think it was a pretty good substitute for an Easter basket.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We're Going Nuts Without You!

     One thing you have to deal with in deployments is the unpredictability of the mail delivery system.  I sent my husband a care package on March 15, and another one on April 1.  He received both of them today.  O.o  I don't understand that, but I'm just happy they made it there.  I'm going to share the first one with y'all today, but I'm saving the second one for Sunday.  It's his Easter package, so he's not allowed to open it yet.  In the meantime, here's our "Nuts without you" package:

      As usual I started by lining a flat rate box with orange construction paper.  I then cut out letters for the message on the inside of the lids.  I enlisted Monkey's help with the pictures.  I asked her to make crazy faces, and well, this is the result:

     I also included some pictures of Monkey all dressed up for her Superhero Party.  Next I added a few acorns and one Planter's nut man to tie it all together.

     Next was the fun part: filling the box.  I had a ton of ideas, some of which are included in the actual box, but then my husband messed up the theme by requesting his favorite pair of combat boots (how dare he!).  I ran out of room, but here's a list of ideas in case you want to make one yourself:

  • Planter's nuts 
  • Clif Bars
  • Peanut butter or Nutella (or both)
  • Peanut M&Ms
  • Snickers bars
  • Homemade granola (for a recipe, click here)
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • any Chex Mix with nuts (can even be homemade)
  • Mr. Goodbars
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
     If y'all think of anything else, feel free to share.  


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Things She Does for Her Students

     I love Nursing school.  I have a couple of awesome teachers, and the class I'm in is filled with a variety of fun people from all different walks of life that just make learning fun.  I feel like I learn more in one day of class than I learned in an entire semester of my prereqs (with a few exceptions), and I'm excited to go to class every day.  And who wouldn't be with all the awesome things I get to do?  Take yesterday for example.  We were learning how to insert a catheter into a patient (no wait, I promise, it get better), and everyone in my group was a tad nervous because one of our instructors was watching us.  No big deal, but this instructor is not shy about calling you out for crossing a sterile field.  It's understandable when you are risking major infection in your patient if you preform the procedure incorrectly, but understanding her motives does not make my hands shake any less when she comes to watch.  I also kind of love and fear asking her questions.  She's been a nurse for a long time, so I know she has a wealth of knowledge that she is more than willing to share, but I'm going to be seeing her again and again throughout this program, so I don't want to make myself look like an idiot by asking a stupid question.  Yesterday I took the risk anyway.

     After I finished up inserting the catheter into our dummy, I asked my teacher about the proper method to cover a female patient for this procedure.  We had watched a video on the subject, but that just made it look like some kind of funky origami with a sheet, and I was at a loss and wanted some clarification.  My teacher shook her head for a minute, and I thought I was mentally being put on her idiot list, but then she popped her head up and asked, "How much are you willing to pay me?"  Confused, I let out a nervous laugh, but before I could ask what she meant, she sighed, and said, "The things I do for my students", before hopping up into the bed in front of our dummy.  Utterly baffled, I just stared at her for a second as she hiked up her knees to assume the position (Ladies, think of the way you sit when visiting your Ob/Gyn).  She hands me the sheet and tells me to get to it.  At this point the entire class is watching (and sniggering) as I wrap one corner of the sheet around one leg, and secure it under her foot, and then move around to the other side to wrap that leg.  Just as she is explaining to me how the blanket now allows easy access to the vagina for catheter insertions, lifting the sheet for emphasis, the other teacher walks in the lab with a cry of, "Oh my WORD!  What is going on?" before she busts into giggles at the sight of her fellow instructor.  The teacher on the bed just laughs and hops down, and now I will never forget how to drape a female patient to provide privacy during a catheter insertion.

     I really don't know where to even go from here, so here's a recipe:

Chicken Tamale Casserole
from Gonna Want Seconds Blog

2 1/4 cup shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can cream corn
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 (4 oz) can green chiles, chopped
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400.  Grease a 9x13" casserole dish.  Combine 1/4 cup cheese, milk, egg, cumin, cream corn, muffin mix, and green chiles in a large bowl.  Stir until moist.  Pour into casserole dish.  Bake for 15 minutes; pierce in several places with a fork.  Pour enchilada sauce over the top.  Top with chicken and 2 cups of cheese.  Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes more, or until cheese melts.  Remove from oven, and let sit 5 minutes.  Top with green onions before serving.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A "Super" Birthday

      My daughter will be 5 years old in an hour and five minutes.  The school-age years are upon me, and I don't know what I'm going to do.  My little girl is getting so big, and there's nothing I can do about it but enjoy it.  To celebrate, Monkey requested a superhero party.  Okay, that's not entirely true.  She wanted a Captain America party.  Then she wanted a Hulk party.  Next it was a Spiderman party.  Finally I said that we were having a superhero party, and that was that.  I'm not going to lie, I phoned it in a bit this year.  I had someone else made the cake.  *gasp*  I know!  What can I say?  Nursing school is time-consuming, but I did manage to make a few odds and ends to fit the theme.

     First and foremost were the invitations.  I took a few shots of Monkey in her Spider-Man top (from Gap) and her homemade tutu (for a tutorial, click here) perched in the tree in our back yard.  Then I headed over to Shutterfly to do the rest, and this is what I came up with:

     Next started off the decorations by keeping it simple.  I found out (through Pinterest, of course) that fake tattoos can be used on plastic or glass, so I decided to use that idea to decorate the cups for the party.  All you have to do is follow the interactions like you would for skin, and the tattoos will stick to the plastic the same way.

     I'm a fan of simple these days, and what could be simpler than phoning a friend?  I called upon my wonderful big sister to make this awesome banner for Monkey, and she did a fantastic job!

     The most awesome thing I made were these adorable felt masks for the kids (and the adults) at the party.

     I even decided to go with the theme and don one that went with my dress.

Spider-Girl and Batmom

     If you'd like to make some for your own little one, click here.  They were super fun.  I was glad to have them on hand in case one of the guests missed the memo about the costumes.  My in-laws certainly got the message, though:

     I saw an awesome idea on Pinterest about turning regular bubbles into themed bubbles for a party by simply wrapping designer Duct tape over the regular label.  And the make Avengers Duct tape :-)

     We also played this awesome Hawkeye version of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey". (I don't know what the deal is, but when you view the link the title is at the bottom of the page, but if you download it, it looks right.)  Of course, this was supposed to be a kids game...

     I was so excited to find Silly String at Walmart, and I had intended to have the kids shoot their "Spidey Webs" at various villains around the back yard (I was drawing on my games from Monkey's Toy Story party), but the adults at the party had other plans.  It was pretty much a free-for-all after that.  Even I got roped into it somehow, and Monkey had Silly String in her hair for the rest of the party because she refused to let me get it out.

   And to top it all off, I found a Spider-Man piƱata at Walmart and filled him with goodies before letting all the little ones take their aggression out on him.  I must say, Spidey's never been my favorite super hero, but he sure can take a beating!  Those kids were relentless.

  And now on to the fun part: the food!  My favorite appetizer was this awesome food-edition of Captain America's shield, which was made up of blueberries, two layers of sliced strawberries (you could do raspberries and strawberries, but raspberries are a tad more costly), and one layer of white cheddar cheese, and a prettily cut out white cheddar star.


     Next I enlisted my sister's (and her Cricut's) help in making these cute food labels:

   Meanwhile, in a crockpot I had Teriyaki Wings cooking under the label "Bat Wings", but I don't have a picture of that particular genius.  We also had Pizza Bites shaped into a giant 5 for the birthday girl, and if you'd like to see the tutorial for that, go here.  They were super easy to make, and the guests loved them.  Plus you can shape them to fit any theme, and I made them the night before and simply stuck them in the freezer until the next afternoon.  We also made "Hulk Cookies" which were simply Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies dyed green. Then, using this awesome sugar cookie recipe that I found for last year's party, I cut out and baked gingerbread men, and then (with the help of an awesome friend) we decorated them to look like a few of Monkey's favorite superheroes.  

Our poor superheroes need to put in some quality time at the gym.
      I had planned to let the kids decorate their own superhero cookie, so I left about a dozen cookies blank and had icing ready, but then the party got under way and I completely forgot, but I think that would have been fun to see what sort of super hero they would have made for themselves.  Oh well, we were too busy having fun to be creative ;-)

   Finally I sent the kids home with some Hulk-style goodie bags filled with Avengers-themed Play Paks, a Spider-Man glow stick, a pack of stickers, and one of the felt masks I had made.  

     I made the bag by buying green paper bags from the party section at Walmart, and then I came home and glued the purple "shorts" to the bottom of the bag, making sure the waistline was nice and jagged first, and then I used a Sharpie to freehand the rest.  

     I had a lot of fun this year planning, and putting all this together, and I think I like this minimalist attitude.  It's rather relaxing.  And Monkey didn't seem to think anything was missing.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Break

     I'm currently mourning the loss of my Spring Break.  I go back to school on Monday, and I'll be taking my first test in Fundamentals.  I'm not thinking about that right now, though.  Instead I want to focus on all the fun crafts I've been catching up with over this break.  As most of you know through Facebook, I had a lot of fun putting together my front flowerbed.  It's very whimsy, and I feel like it's very me :-)

Of course, I included my flag I made from an old wood pallet a few years ago.  

     The "books" were probably my favorite part.  I bought a cheap wood border from Lowe's, and I painted it to represent a few of my favorite novels.  I was originally planning on using it to cover up that black water gauge thing in the bed, but I didn't like the way it looked there, so I put it in the background, like a shelf of books waiting to be dusted off and read. 

     The tipsy flowerpot is one that I've seen time and again on Pinterest, but I had to make it my own by using my favorite color: purple!  The sign is also a Pinterest find, but there were no instructions.  Basically I had my husband break up an old wood pallet with a sledge hammer, and I painted 6 of the broken pieces as you see above.  The I purchased a 6' post from Lowe's and cut is down to about 5' before painting it red.  Then I simply screwed all the pieces onto the post, and there you have it.  I thought it tied in nicely with the books in the background.

     Not all my planting were whimsical, however.  I also managed to build myself a couple of 4x4 raised garden beds for my vegetables.  Here's one of them:

   I think I may have finally found that green thumb that most of the women in my family have always had.  That's an exciting thought to me, although my husband doesn't think I should be allowed to go to Lowe's alone anymore after I came home with two trees in my little Saturn Ion.  Good thing for me that he's in Africa ;-)

    Playing in the dirt hasn't been my only pastime since I've been on break.  I've also been studying (blah!), working on Monkey's birthday crafts (She's going to be 5, y'all!), and catching up on reading!  I haven't read a really good series since Harry Potter, but for Christmas my Moma Deana gave me the Song of Fire and Ice series, and I loved it!  They have cause quite the internal struggle, though, what with my responsible side scolding me for not studying, and my impulsive side telling me to forget school for a while and immerse myself in the Seven Kingdoms.  I finally finished the fifth one, and now I feel like an addict who can't get her fix.  I can't wait until the next book comes out!

     Tonight Monkey handed me yet another fun project.  Her daycare is doing a St. Patty's Day party on Monday, and I signed her up to bring the drinks, so after picking her up from school today, we went by the commissary and bought a few of those Juicy Juice juice boxes.  We got the apple juice, since they were in a green container, but I wanted them to fit the theme a bit better.  As Monkey was working on a few crafts of her own design I started playing with her construction paper.  Next thing I knew I was transforming 24 juice boxes into 24 leprechauns.

     Aren't they cute?  I found a free leprechaun clipart here.  I downloaded it, printed it, and cut it out. Using a hot glue gun, I glued a bit of green construction paper onto the front of each juice box, and then I add the leprechaun's face.  Using permanent marker I added the collar, the buttons, the belt, and the legs.  I had a lot of fun with this, and Monkey is excited to bring these little guys to class on Monday. 

     Well I suppose I ought to get some sleep.  I have to tackle the commissary on a Saturday payday tomorrow.  I'll need all my strength for that!  Goodnight all :-)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras, Y'all!

     I have a few minutes to spare before I rush back to studying, so in honor of Mardi Gras I want to share the awesome care package I just sent my husband:

     I had a lot of fun coming up with Louisiana/Mardi Gras items to put in this box. It made me a little homesick, to be honest.  We weren't able to go to any parades this year, but this made up for it a bit.

     First I lined the inside of the box with yellow, green, and purple construction paper like so:

I then decorated each flap with one word of the phrase, "Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler" like so:

     Next I filled the box with some Louisiana signatures, like these Zapp's potato chips, Tabasco sauce,  and Moon Pies like they throw at the parades.

     I also threw in some Clif bars, and some homemade Banana Bread in a jar.  Monkey contributed her own letters and drawings before we threw some Mardi Gras beads on top and shipped it off.  I'm sure J will enjoy his little bit of Mardi Gras in a box.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I'm a Nurse (What's Your Superpower?)

     I know many people who like to collect things.  I myself have gone through many phases of collecting things.  When Beanie Babies were the thing, my sister and I had our fair share of those cuddly little toys.  For a while I collected miniatures.  After that I started collecting spoons from all the different places I'd been.  Now that I'm an adult the Beanie Babies have been passed along; the miniatures have been stored away, and the collectible spoons have gone to the Goodwill.  There's still one thing I collect, however, and that is mugs.  I love collecting mugs because every morning when I sip my coffee or every evening as I revel in the warmth of my hot tea, I am reminded of something tied to the particular mug I'm holding.  I have a rather simple mug that's red on the outside and black on the inside.  It's a reminder of the first Valentine's Day J and I celebrated as a couple.  I bought him the mug with some of his favorite flavored teas and a copy of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations.  We drank all the tea, and the book was lost on J's first deployment, but that mug still remains.  There's another mug J bought when we went to the Renassaince Festival in Louisiana when I was pregnant with Monkey.  It's too big for me, but it's the perfect size for J and the amount of coffee he consumes in a day.  Another mug in my collection has a little cow who seems to be bathing in my tea.  The handle has broken off, but still I hang onto it because J brought it back to me from Spain.  Lately the one I've been reaching for more often than not is this one:

     This mug was a $0.25 find at a rummage sale a friend and I were perusing.  I saw this one and seized it.  I had a moment of guilt where I turned to my friend and said, "But I'm not a nurse, yet."  She urged me to get it anyway to use "as motivation".  I don't think either of us realized how much motivation this one little mug could lend.

     Before completing my prereqs, the words on this mug seemed proud, shouting, "I'm a NURSE!  What's your superpower?"  I would feel so smug as I sipped from it, thinking of how awesome I would be in my new scrubs, and how smart I would sound conversing with doctors in their own dialect, but then something happened.  Every morning...okay, every other morning.  I do wash the thing occasionally ;-)  Anyway, every other morning I would reach for the mug, read the words, "I'm a Nurse, What's your Superpower?" and I noticed that the words began to change.  These days the words seem more cautious, yet more comforting as well, "I'm a nurse." it says, and then it asks me, "What's your superpower?"  It's no longer a competition, no longer smug, no longer overly proud.  It's a challenge to find my "superpower", to find my compassion.  It's a reminder of the kind of person I truly want to be, not just the career I want to have.

     I may not be an RN now, but I can be a "nurse".  I can care and be compassionate.  I can put others first.  I can serve.  So, in a way I can be a "nurse", even now.  The Bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so shall he be..." (Proverbs 23:7).  Others refer the the psychology behind the rewards of positive thinking.  Even more people simply say that optimism, or the right attitude, will get you where you need to go.  I guess I'm calling on all of these principles to make it through the next 18 months, starting with this $0.25 mug.

Now I'm going to study so I can become an RN, and turn that rummage sale find into a prophetic mug :-)