About Me

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Phoenix, Arizona
Growing up my initials were OP, which was pretty cool in the 80's, right? Then I got married and my initials got updated to match our very texting obsessed era that we now live in (and shake our heads at)...OMG. For those who are texting illiterate, I'll spell it out..."Oh, My God!". I pity the girl whose initials are W.T.F. (I won't spell that one out. You can Google it or email me for an explaination on that one!)


2nd Year of Wedded Bliss

He did good.
When he went out on Tuesday evening to go buy me a card, I wanted so badly to ask him to not wait until Wednesday to buy me flowers. Since I knew I would be home all day Wednesday, I thought how lovely it would be to have flowers to enjoy all day long. But like a good wife, I held my tongue and let him do it his way, however he felt led. Imagine my joy when he returned home with these!! Turns out that he had the same thought. Just one of the many examples of how easy our marriage is. Things like this happen all the time.

Roses & eukalyptus smell sooooo good!
Here's a little snap-shot of our dinner at P.F. Changs

She's happy. He's happy.

We happy!!!

Two years down, a lifetime more to go.

Not about "Climate Change"

I'm listening to talk radio as I type up this blog. There's a record breaking blizzard in the northeast and of course, "global warming" is a hot topic right now.
Well, this blog is NOT about global war....er...climate change(?).
And aren't YOU glad about that!?

Now, on to more enjoyable things......
So, I did some cooking the other day.
Just a simple little recipe with just a few simple ingredients......

Ok, ok. I know it looks complicated but it's fun, creative and yummy! Since I first made these a few weeks ago, we eat them every single day. It's great with the morning coffee or as an afternoon snack (with the afternoon coffee). You can't beat these ingredients. Don't forget to keep them stored in the fridge or freezer. I will carry one in my bag all day long when I'm at school so I don't think they are too perishable.

Based on Jo-Ann's Power Bars recipe
on allrecipes.com.

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour-
you could use 1/2 protein powder if you have some.
1/2 cup wheat and barley nugget cereal (e.g. Grape-Nuts™)-
I've also added ground flax seed.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon-
I always add more and it's still never too much.
1 beaten egg-
I might leave out the yolk next time.
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons brown sugar -
I use less, depends on the sweetness of the other mix-ins I add.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil-
I don't use oil. I just up the applesauce amount.
1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds-
I've also added buckwheat-it's crunchy and high fiber!
1/4 cup chopped walnuts-
or whole almonds is great!
1 (7 ounce) bag chopped dried mixed fruit-
I used fresh shredded coconut, chocolate chips, & chopped dates in the batch pictured below. I've made a batch with big, plump golden raisins, dried pineapple, dried dates and white chocolate chips (and a touch of almond extract)! That batch was so moist! I cut these into bars and freeze them in quart sized bags. We LOVE these! You can't go wrong with this recipe. I've added peanut butter or almond butter and jelly (used less applesauce). Chocolate is a must for us. If you like coconut, it adds wonderful flavor.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a 9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, cereal, and cinnamon. Add the egg, applesauce, honey, brown sugar, and oil. Mix well. Stir in the sunflower seeds, walnuts, and dried fruit. Spread mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake 30 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned around the edges. Let cool. Use the foil to lift from the pan. Cut into bars or squares, and store in the refrigerator.

I guess I could show them cut up into bars, but I just don't have a picture of that.

Ginger, I hope you make these! :)

Another recipe I'm excited about is
Herbed Butter Crackers.
I never, ever, ever imagined I could make my own crackers!
Then I discovered this wonderful blog, Finding Joy in my Kitchen, that continues to thrill me with each recipe. She even has a recipe to make English Muffins! Hello!

Can you tell I love my breads?

So, I made the recipe and of course had to add stuff because that's just how I cook. Variety is truely the spice of life! Here you can see the ground flax seeds and maybe some sunflower seeds.

They are so yummy! She also has recipes for plain wheat crackers and cheese crackers.
How cool is that?!

Okay, now that I'm full of power bars and crackers, I think I'll go to the gym.


Menu Planning: Take Five

I post a link to Menu Planning Monday where lots of other bloggers link their blog menu plans. I've found it a great source of menu ideas and started following a few new foodie blogs just on my first visit. Monday: Carmelized chicken, baked zucchini, quinoa. Recipes from allrecipes.com
Tuesday: canned soup or chili, tortilla chips & salsa
Wednesday: Out to dinner for our 2nd Anniversary!!! I'm thinking P.F.Chang's. Lately we've only been going out to dinner to IHOP so this is quite a step up!
Thursday: Crockpot Beef for stir-fry. I think I was gonna make this last week but we had too many leftovers to eat instead.
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: I found these new ravioli at Costco....you want to know what flavor? You are gonna be jealous....Brie and Roasted Garlic Ravioli. I can't wait! Doesn't that sound amazing?

I don't have anything to say about last week's menu. The week just flew by. This week I only have to buy zucchini. Another easy week. Whew!


About something other than food....

Current coffee table reading material.

Nursing school.
It's not as relaxing to talk about as my cooking adventures.
But I want to tell you all alittle about it.
I'll start with the most important detail.
April 12.
That's when my final is.
Ahhh...I just have to sit and savor that detail. Seriously, I'm sitting here, staring at that sentence and I feel so warm and relaxed when I focus on that one little detail.
Until that date I have about 50 test and assignments to complete. I constantly tell myself,

"One day at a time. One assignment at a time.

You can do this. Just get things done, one thing at a time."

Here's a little excerpt of something I had to do this week. Guess what we are studying?

Disturbed sensory perception: auditory
auditory hallucinations as evidenced by
pt states “the medicine never makes the voices go away completely.”

Goal:Pt will contract to seek staff assistance at any point the hallucinations become distressing / intrusive to her functioning .

Assess for changes in pt affect, behavior, anxiety or agitation. Maintain an open, supportive and safe nurse-patient relationship to foster pt seeking help. Daily ask the pt directly if she has had or is hearing voices and what she is specifically hearing.

Pt will daily give a 1-10 scale rating to the level of intensity the voices are to her.

Intervention:Teach how to use the 1-10 scale and allow pt frequent opportunities to use the scale. Teach pt to recognize when medications and interventions are effective in controlling the intensity of intrusive thoughts.

Goal:Pt will verbalize 3 triggers to the hallucinations and 3 ways to avoid those triggers by 2/1.

Intervention:Provide nonthreatening conversation and group process time to assist pt in discovering stressors and needs that may underlie the cause of the hallucinations. Help pt identify ways to decrease stressors that trigger the voices. Help pt define past effective coping mechanisms or discover new ways/activities that are effective in distracting from the voices. Encourage participation in games, music, religious services and craft times.

Goal:Pt will verbalize voices are not distressing or intrusive to her daily functioning by 2/1.

Intervention:Encourage pt’s taking daily antipsychotics and group therapy classes. Monitor pt for possible need to titrate meds or needs for prn’s. Help pt identify when the voices are distressing to her by offering feedback on assessed nonverbal s/sx agitation.
Pt will verbalize 2 community activities or resources that she can turn to after d/c that will help minimize or avoid triggers to her hallucinations by 2/1.

Intervention:Assist pt with creating a list of the activities/events/resources she has used in the past that have helped reduce/avoid her triggers. Provide 3 community resources/events that pt can utilize after d/c that she has identified as ways to reduce/avoid triggers.

Yeah, I know, it's long. But it's only a fraction of the entire assignment. And, I'm kinda proud. I think I did a good job.

We are studying Critical Care and Psych this semester. Going really in-depth about the heart and the mind. Facinating. I feel challenged and competent and professional. A far cry from how I felt last semester....that would be, um, bored, underminded, powerless, ineffective.

I wish I could put into words the specifics of what I am enjoying learning about right now but I'm still processing the new information so I'd just sound unintelligent if I tried to summarize anything right now. Pretty much, I'm learning how to be a nurse in the ICU and that's pretty cool. I start ICU clinicals at the end of February and will do 12hr shifts every Saturday for 7 weeks. After April 12 I will start a 90 hr preceptorship at a hospital (hopefully in the area I selected-NICU). I will complete that rotation by mid-May and then I'M DONE!

Well, almost.....

I will have to take the RN licensing exam after I graduate. It must be important because it costs $500 to take it!

So much work to be done in just a few short months. I am learning so much about myself through this. Just how strong mentally, emotionally, intellectually am I? What expectations do I have for myself and how do I feel about myself when I don't meet those expectations? I don't have many answers except for one....YES! I'm gonna be SO glad when I am done!

One day at a time.

(now you know why I like to talk about cooking so much)


Menu Planning: Take Four

Monday: Frozen Ravioli (that's been in the freezer taking up valuable space for months!) with fresh broccoli (that I bought last week so it's really "not so fresh broccoli")

Tuesday: Salsa Meatloaf and instant potatoes

Wednesday: Salmon Patties, boxed mac & cheese, frozen veggies (I get the normandy style mix from Costco. VERY good.)

Thursday: Crockpot beef made into a stir-fry. Costco also has a frozen veggie stir-fry mix that we like.

Friday: Leftovers

Two great things about this week: Brian really helped with coming up with ideas and best of all, I don't need to do any grocery shopping! How lucky was that?

Last week menu went well. We were pleased with the recipes.

Polenta Veggie Bake

Doesn't he look pleased? He even volunteered for the photo.

Okay, he didn't suggest to BE in the photo with the food. That was my idea. He likes my ideas. Right sweetie? Like cutting his hair short like this. My idea. He likes it. We just click like that. Our 2 yr anniversary is this month. Seriously, it's been a piece of cake, being married to this sweet man.