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Homemade Chex Mix

Wednesday, December 30, 2009
My dad wasn't one to bake or cook, for that matter. But, there was one time of the year that he would cook. That was the day of our "Cookie Day" that we have once a year around Christmas. My dad (and later, and sometimes, with the help of my brother) would make homemade Chex Mix. Let's just say we always double or triple the recipe because it's that good. 


Because this is the first Christmas without my dad I figured I'd carry on the tradition and make the Chex Mix. I was ready to do it the old fashioned way until I read the box and realized they had a microwave way! Let's just say, I was excited!


Without further ado here is the microwave version of homemade chex mix:


First gather all your ingredients:




3
cups Corn Chex cereal
3
cups Rice Chex cereal
3
cups Wheat Chex cereal
1
cup mixed nuts
1
cup bite-size pretzels
1
cup garlic-flavor bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces--i didn't have them so i just omitted them :) 
6
tablespoons butter or margarine
2
tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2
teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4
teaspoon garlic powder
1/2
teaspoon onion powder


First mix together the 3 cups of Corn chex, 3 cups of Rice Chex, 3 cups Wheat Chex , 1 cup mixed nuts, 1 cup bite sized pretzels in a large microwavable bowl like so:







Next mix together all the other ingredients and place in a (smaller) microwavable bowl and microwave for 40 seconds. Until everything is melted. Mine took about a minute. Then take it out and stir it. Until it looks like so: 



Now pour the liquid seasoning mixture over the dry mixture. Stir until combined. Then place the large bowl into the microwave for 2 minutes then stir. then another 2 minutes then stir. then another 2 minutes then stir. (6 minutes; stopping to stir every 2 minutes). Then place in a single layer on paper towels for an hour like so:




Then store in an airtight container. ENJOY! :) 



This recipe is from the Chex website. Here's the link:Chex MIx


Sugar Cookies

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This year we didn't do our typical "cookie day." Quite frankly, Mom didn't want all those sweets around. But I just couldn't let the season go by without making any Christmas cookies. I found this really awesome recipe for sugar cookies: here.

They came out spectacular. This was my first time with egg-whiteless royal icing and I will never again use egg-whites. It came out perfect!

M and I made these, we didn't realize we had NO Christmas colored sprinkles. We got by with the purple, blue and pink sprinkles. I swear we can make anything work ;)

Then next day I decided to whip up another batch (because thats just how easy they were!) and I had spare time on my hands. I was more methodical this time. I made three colors of icing: red, green and white. And I only used 3 cookie cutters: christmas trees, light bulbs and stockings. This made it much easier! Here are the beautiful results:




Not too shabby, eh? It was a lot of fun. We ended up giving 80% away so mom was okay keeping the remainder in the house because they were just that good!


Happy Baking!

Blizzard of '09!

Monday, December 28, 2009
Remember here where I posted about all the snow we were supposed to get?!




well you tell me...


do you think we got what they predicted?!


Yup. plus some. For the first time in my memory the forecasters actually predicted less then what fell. We awoke to about 20+ inches of snow! And yes, even on the shoreline where I reside. It was sah-weet! The pictures above were actually taken a full 24 hours after the storm hit. It took that long for my friend J to get over with his snow-blower because his plow broke. He and my brother spent quite a bit of time snow-blowing us out. Of course they weren't annoyed by M and I standing on the porch snapping pictures ;) Nah...not while they were freezing their butts off! Not us!


It was fun. We baked. We watched movies. We ate. We really enjoyed being snowed in during the Blizzard of '09.


And for the record it really was considered a blizzard!

Christmastime 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009
Christmas 2009 was wonderful. Although it was bitter, being the first without my dad, we all managed to remember him as he would want to be remembered. He would not want us mourning him on such a wonderful holiday. We spent time with family, friends and, of course, and lots of delicious food.


Mom on Christmas morning opening her stocking.


P starting on his pile of presents!

I gave mom a few "sentimental" gifts. One was a calender which I made at Walmart{dot}com. It came out really nice! She of course cried. and cried. and cried.






Then I also made her a book (courtesy of my Aunt S who is a Creative Memories distributor) that had all the pictures we used for the picture boards at my dad's wake. I really like how it came out! And of course, she cried some more.


Poppy & Grandma came over later in the day after our traditional egg dish breakfast and nap time :) Poppy is a seasoned gift guesser. I swear. Put any gift in front of him and he will tell you exactly what it is. Sometimes I wonder how he got so good?!

Here's Grandma opening up her gifts. She let Poppy open the "big" joint gifts because he gets about as excited as a small child. It's so cute.

This was mom's Yorkshire pudding. YOWSA! How amazing does that look?! (Mind you, thats coming from a girl who doesn't eat the stuff!) She did an awesome job. Everyone agreed that it was her best one yet! Although, somehow I think we agree to that every year.

After dinner M&J came over for dessert and some laughs. See the exhibit below:

This is M taking a picture of Poppy who fell asleep as the girls were cleaning up the kitchen. I will give him this though, mom bought him the "I-need" from Brookstone and he was "trying it out" and apparently it is amazing because he fell fast asleep. Too funny!

Last but not least we had this homemade chocolate cream pie for dessert. It's Poppy's favorite so I thought I'd try my hand at making a homemade version complete with homemade whipped cream on top. It was delicious, if I do say so myself!

All in all it was a wonderful Christmas. Filled to the brim with great family, great friends and great food!

 Christmastime truly is my favorite time of all!

Christmas with Jesus

Friday, December 25, 2009
This Christmas is a bit more difficult than others. This is the first Christmas without my Dad. Believe me, I know he is in a better place. I am thankful for that. I am thankful he is painless. I know he is here in spirit, believe me, I feel him often. I know he will always be watching from above and constantly looking out for my family and I. It doesn’t negate the difficulty in not having him here with us in person. It’s just different.

My mom actually put this poem in our stockings last year. We were celebrating Christmas without my Mimi for the first time. In no way did I imagine this year this poem would give me comfort in the loss of my Dad. I hope this poem will give someone else going through the same feeling of loss during this holiday season, as it did for my family and I.

Merry Christmas From Heaven
I still hear the songs,
I still see the lights

I still feel your love on cold wintery nights

I still share your hopes and all of your cares
I’ll even remind you to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you, You still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment, to stay in His grace
I came here before you to help set your place

You don’t have to be perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip, If you continue the climb

To my family and friends,
Please be thankful today
I’m still close beside you,
In a new special way

I love you all dearly,
Now don’t shed a tear
Cause I’m spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year.
-John Wm. Mooney, Jr,

This Christmas is different, and that’s okay. Life changes and evolves. I am so grateful for all of the Christmases that I was able to spend with my Dad. I will take comfort in the fact that he is spending Christmas with Jesus this year.

Merry Christmas All! Cherish all of your time with your family and loved ones! 


Happy Birthday Jesus!

Traditions.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It’s no secret. I love traditions. I love how the things we do today (Christmas Eve) and Christmas Day I have been doing (most) years since I was born. I one day hope to pass these traditions on to my future children. Here are a list of some of our family traditions:

- We all go to church as a family on Christmas Eve—to the 5 o’clock children’s mass. It’s a beautiful service. Mom and I sing and help in the Children’s Choir. There is also a live nativity during the homily. It really does a great job of reminding us the true reason of the season.


- A few weeks (sometimes days) before Christmas Mom (and usually my sister) and I bake and decorate a bunch of Christmas cookies. We give them out as gifts, eat a bunch and keep some to serve on Christmas Eve and Day. Its such a delicious tradition :)

-Our tree is decorated with the ornaments that my Mom has given us each year. Each year she would give my brother, sister and I all matching ornaments (or sometimes different ones). She put the year on the back of them and then when we get married or move out to our own place we each have a set of ornaments to start off our new tree. It’s so fun to look back each year as we decorate the tree and remember what was going on in our lives when we got the particular ornament.

-Christmas Day we are not allowed to open ANY gifts or even our stockings until my Mom (and used to be my Dad) were up, out of bed and watching. That was always the trick when we were younger. Usually my brother would wake up first then he’d come wake me up. Then we would both bombard my parents’ room and beg them to get up. Mind you, this was all before the sun even came up!

-Christmas dinner is always Prime rib and Yorkshire pudding. Other holiday’s the menus may vary but not Christmas Day. I hate prime rib, actually. But, its always what we have and believe me, I always survive ;)

- After the aforementioned Christmas Eve Mass we always toodle around town and look at the beautiful Christmas lights. It’s one of my most favorite things to do this time of year. We have our typical spots: Bishops Cove, Mullen Hill…etc. It is such a fun thing to do and we’ve been doing it since…well, since I can remember!

I am so grateful to my parents for making these traditions “ours.” I can’t wait to do these fun traditions, and probably create more, with my future family. Traditions really bring a family closer together and it is so fun to spend genuine family time during this time of the year and always! Yet, we must always remember the true meaning of the season. The birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!

I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas Eve! Enjoy all of your traditions with your family!

Life & Death.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This post will surely be controversial. So be warned. It is not a happy, Christmas-y post. A part of me debated whether or not to even share this. But, in the end, I decided I would.

It is, indeed, a controversial topic. And, I’m okay with that. I figure, this is my little space of the blog world so I will say what I want;

Controversial or not.

In my line of work I come across quite a bit of controversy. And believe me, that’s putting it nicely.

There are some instances in which I just let it roll. I try my hardest to let it go because if I take in every single little thing that bothers me and let it get to me it will eventually eat me alive.

Alas, there are something’s that really ‘yank my chain’ so to speak. They eat me away no matter how hard I try to overlook them. Even though the decision isn’t mine to make, I still let it bother me.

There is a pretty narrow balance between life and death, believe it or not. I’ve had the pleasure (or displeasure?...depends how you look at it)to help strike that balance to keep the patient alive and most importantly enjoying life. But, in some situations,* when the latter of the two seems imminent I don’t believe people should be kept alive just to be just that…kept alive.

* I am in no way referencing everyone. Especially children and young adults. Children and young adults are amazingly resilient. Children and young adults (in my humble opinion) should have every single option exercised (and then some) to keep them alive. Miracles do happen, everyday and they are incredibly resilient.

During my clinical experience (and during other times in the hospital, such as my time spent shadowing recently in the ICU) I have seen multiple patients who have either expressed their desire to “stop fighting” and die a dignified death, or, they’ve had a stroke or another major incident and are clinically brain dead with absolutely no quality of life and they’re family (because the patients are deemed incompetent) wants every stop pulled. They want them to have a full code status, tubes inserted into every orifice (sorry to be so blunt), invasive procedures performed and every conceivable medical intervention performed just to keep their family member alive…

and for what?!

I’ll tell you what: it really makes me wonder. Is it because they really believe a miracle will occur and they’re brain dead family member will miraculously be healed? That the cancer will just up and disappear? The infection that has raided their body will completely reverse itself? Most likely not. That may be what they tell you, but I beg to differ. I firmly believe, in most cases*, they are doing it for themselves. Not necessarily to be blatantly selfish, but basically that is what it comes down to. This is where I draw the line.

This is where it starts to hit me on a deep, personal level. When you find yourself questioning wether your family member would want to be kept alive int heir current condition please question yourself: are you being selfish? Is this really fair to do to someone you love so deeply?

*Don’t get me wrong. I believe in God’s miraculous healing powers. There is though, a practical, scientific side to me as well. I mean c’mon I’ve been through my fair share of science classes and there are some instances (usually in reference to older or compromised patients) where it is next to impossible for the patient to be healed, no matter how hard it may be to accept. Maybe, just maybe this is God calling that person home, maybe it is their time. And that is why God is giving them such dismal odds. He wants them home with Him.

And you ask why this is such a personal, touchy subject to me? I experienced it first hand, that’s why. I was privy to the many conversations both at our local hospital and Yale as to whether to place a “DNR-Do not recessutate” and “DNI-Do not intubate” order in my dad’s chart. Don’t get me wrong that is a tough decision to make when you are already so worn down from the everyday mundane tasks of continuing to live your life while having a seriously ill family member in the hospital. But, am I ever thankful that we did have these talks with my dad while he was with it. While he was able to give his two sense because, we listened. We have always been a relatively “open” family. And these instances at the hospital made me forever thankful for that attribute of my family.

Also, we did have to make the heart-wrenching decision to “pull the plug” so to speak. It was in absolutely no way easy and the decision didn’t come lightly, in any sense of the word. We sat and we talked, as a family, with the rational input of the doctors and we came to the decision that keeping my dad alive any longer would be only for our benefit. Because, he was not there any longer. His body was just his shell. We prayed and we came to the decision that this is what Dad would want. He would not want to be kept alive by every mechanical mean possible just to have a beating heart, functional lungs and mediocre organs with absolutely no quality of life whatsoever. The decision was made and I can say, with out a doubt, that we followed my Dad’s wishes. And that is something I am thankful and proud of.

Now, I totally understand that not all cases are as “cut and dry” as my Dad’s was. My Dad was a sick, actually a very sick (at the end), man. I understand that sometimes patients land themselves in intensive care units because of truly, unfortunate accidents and you may not have had the time to sit down and have the deep, intense conversations that we had the privilege to have with my Dad before things got really bad. And those cases, in my opinion, are the most unfortunate of all.

That is where my last point comes in. I know theses aren’t my decisions to make for you and your family (whoever may be reading this…) and usually aren’t my place to queue in with my humble little opinion. There is one thing I do ask though: Determine what your family wants and get it in writing. I don’t care if you are the healthiest person on planet Earth. Accidents happen, everyday, to anyone, and, believe me they do not discriminate. Sit down, have a heart to heart with those you love most. Find out the nitty, gritty details. What they want to have done, what they don’t want and under what circumstances. Talk before the times get tough, before these conversations are actually a necessity. I can’t express to you the complete importance of up-to-date living wills. It may not be easy but it is so important. It really is a matter of life and death.

Let. It. Snow!

Saturday, December 19, 2009
The forecasters are predicting 12”+++ (and that is verbatim--directly from the mouths of those meteorologists) of the fluffy white stuff. That's quite an accumulation for our quiet corner of the state. Usually, we're lucky to get a dusting to an inch while the rest of the state gets comletely dumped on...So can I tell you how excited I am?!



Pretty darned excited!


That is, if it even snows. I remember one instance from my childhood… We were slated to get a huge HUGE BLIZZARD. I’m talking they talked it up and up and up. Everyone stayed home from school. The state basically shut down. Hah.



And we ended with a measly dusting. Seriously man?! Talk about a HUGE disappointment when you’re 10.



From that point forward I never quite trusted the weather forecasters. Because, remember, they’re job is the only job in which you can’t get fired (or even reprimanded), for being completely wrong time and again. So I’m pretty guarded when it comes to getting excited for a nice big ol’ nor’easter like this one is supposed to be.


If we do indeed end up with a foot plus of the white love I’ll be psyched and we’ll be snowed in! How fun!


I’ve got a few ideas of things I’d like to do. I plan to make cookies (but that involves a grocery store run and I’m pretty sure any and all grocery stores will be an absolute mad house today—it’ll be worth it—that’s what I’m telling myself anyways!), watch lots of movies, make a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup (which is simmering as I type), make homemade rolls and maybe even finish up my Christmas wrapping.



Oh how I would love a reason to stay inside and get things accomplished. Let’s all hope for my sake (and the sake of all the children who have their hopes up as I did that one year) that these good ol’ weather forecasters are dead on and we really do get dumped on! I sure wouldn’t mind!



xoJ

I'm Free.

Thursday, December 17, 2009
Today I was feeling a little blue. Just, one of those missing-those-I’ve-lost-in-the-past-year days. I was blah. Some days I just wake up feeling that way. No rhyme, no reason.

Maybe it’s one of those “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” deals? I’m not too sure.

But I do now know what to do when I get into these funks. My counselor and I have discussed these type of days over and over. We’ve decided my best choice on these days is to let myself feel the feelings. Really set aside time to

Feel it.

And that’s just what I do. Its part of the way I am grieving.  Then, when I feel I’m done for the day, I package it up into a box, and put it away in my mind…and go about my day as normally as possible. (the whole box deal is another story, for another post)

Lets just say…it so works. It gives me time to grieve yet it doesn’t allow the grieving to consume my life. That’s the balance I have been trying to strike. It’s a day-to-day struggle but I’m working on it.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t go on every single day. But when it does this is how I have learned to deal with it and deal with it I have.

But today was a bit different. On this particular day I was in the shower going about my morning routine and all of a sudden mom bursted into the bathroom and said “Mimi wanted me to find this, I needed to read this!” she proceeded to read:

I’m Free
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free,
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I  took God’s hand when I heard the call;
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I found that place at the close of day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss.
Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I’ve savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Life up your heart and share with me-
God wanted me now, God set me free.  ((by: Shannon Lee Mosele))


I think the being was a bit higher than Mimi (no offense or anything). I believe God set that poem in her path so that she could then set it in my path because it just so happened to be exactly what I needed…

to be set free.

Good Excuses.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I know this weekend recap is late.


but, I promise, I have a good excuse...


I took my final on Monday, in the most challenging class I have ever taken on, and I got an 86 and a 87 for my final grade! Whoo hoo!


I can officially say I am done with my first semester of nursing school...do you know how good that feels?!  1/4 of the way there to getting my RN!


Sorry, just had to gloat a bit :)


This weekend, surprisingly, I didn't study all that much. Saturday I worked, relaxed and hung out with M&J and R. We had a great time and watched the movie "Four Christmases"--such a good movie! Then Sunday, after church (in which there was a fantastic Homily I will post about soon. Promise!) I did devote the rest of my day to studying.  Then Sunday night instead of last minute cramming I watched Julie & Julia-- another awesome movie!


It all added up to a high final score and a B+ in the class!


I am both excited to be done but also slightly bored. What do I do with my life? Sure, we have 15+ chapters to (pre) read in our Maternity & Pediatric text and lots of pediatric and piggyback drug problems to practice for our med. math test but who wants to do those?!


I'm not going to worry about that stuff until I get back from GA (Jan 11th) that will give me 10 good days to prep for next semester. For now I am going to enjoy the holidays, spend time with my family and soak up the free time!


Oh ya...and probably blog a lot more! :)


Until then...enjoy your week!


xo J.

Bitter+Sweet

Sunday, December 13, 2009
= Bittersweet.

Friday was my last day of clinical.

The sweet comes from the fact that I have grown so much from that very first day. I started as a petrified first semester nursing student and I have grown quite substantially since then into a more confident, competent nursing student. I was able to care for my first, second, third, etc patient. I learned all about how the hospital system works: paperwork, assessments, and treatments. I experienced some challenging patients that I really know (hated to admit at the time) I grew from. There were days I’d get into my car after taking the shuttle back to our student parking and cry. Not because I was necessarily sad but because I was stressed, overwhelmed, and had a difficult day.

Those were the days in which, I feel, I grew the most. I am a different person than I was when I first entered 4.2 on the very first day of clinical.

I could have never grown as much as I did, as a student nurse, without the help of so many people.

That is where the bitter part comes in...

This ending of the semester came with many goodbyes.

The people I learned from on 4.2 were, truly, wonderful people. They were so willing to share their knowledge with me and helped to increase my confidence. I am going to miss them. They all took time out of their (VERY!) busy and hectic days to slow down and show me how things are done. I will be forever grateful to the RN’s, PCA’s and LPN’s for their help, support and knowledge. They helped me more than they probably even know.

My clinical instructor was another person who helped me immensely. “Mama A” as we affectionately referred to her as, was amazing. She is so full of wisdom and knowledge, especially when it comes to nursing. She knows how things really work in the field and she always shares that with us.  I am so grateful to her for all she taught me, and most importantly her honesty, during my first clinical semester

My clinical group was one fine group of ladies. Although I will be seeing them all next semester, we most likely won't be in the same clinical group. I can honestly say we all grew so much this semester. We all had the “deer in the headlights” look as we entered on the first day. Throughout the entire semester we leaned on each other and learned from each other. We all had different strengths and weaknesses and we all helped each other bridge the gaps. I am thankful for each and every one of them, whether it be for “lifting help” or the much needed boost of self confidence before I gave my first intramuscular injection.  They were there when I needed them most and I am so thankful I shared this first semester clinical journey with them.

I am both happy and sad to have completed my first semester of clinical experience. On the one hand  I am one step closer to graduating yet on the other hand I’m leaving behind 4.2 and all the wonderful staff there, Mama M, and my clinical group. I know next semester will present me with its own unique set of challenges but because of this learning experience and the relationships I have established during my first clinical semester I know that I will make and meet any challenge presented to me next semester and beyond.

Perfect Timing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009



I’ve always been one to be on time. I love being on time, actually. It makes me feel accomplished and peaceful. As I’m sure most know by now I love schedules and scheduling (Lord help my future children!). I have always loved to know what to expect as soon as the clock strikes noon, or two or five. I love timing! But I’m not talking about being on time today.

Today I’m talking about timing. Yep, there is a difference. And unfortunately, my timing really means NOTHING. Yup, you got it.

Absolutely nothing.

It’s God’s timing that matters. It is all in His timing.

That is where things start to get hairy for me…I really start to get into a time crunch. I wish my timing was superior. Really, I do! My dad would still be here because with my timing he would have lived until he was at least eighty—that way he could have met my future husband and kiddos (Oh, how I wish that was true!) On my timing I would have been a nurse in exactly TWO years after graduating. Not the oh-so-long four. Gar wouldn’t have been taken from this world so soon. Mimi would still be around making us laugh when all we want to do is cry. And on my timing many boyfriends’ past would have been “the one.” Obviously, God has other plans for me in this life. And to be quite frank,


my plans don't mean a single gosh-darned-thing.

A somewhat recent turn of events really got me thinking about this whole timing deal. When I sit and think about our relationship (Keith & I that is) I have a hard time with trying to figure “where it went wrong.” I have yet to still have that “Ah Hah” moment where it all goes from mud to crystal clear. I have, of course, been analyzing (and I’m certain, overanalyzing) everything that went on in those last few days. Where did I go wrong? What did we do wrong? Was there some huge, unfixable downfall? No.

Actually, really…No there wasn’t.

We got along great. We both shared in the same faith. We both had families that mean everything to us. We both love to save money. We both love to try new things and explore new places. We both love to travel. We both love to cuddle. We both love the ocean. We both are extremely close to our grandparents. We both have siblings who we’d do anything for. We complimented each other. A match made in heaven, you’re thinking? Right?

Nah. God had other timing in mind. Obviously he didn’t feel I was at the point in my life to engage in such a serious relationship. Maybe, I need to grieve more? Maybe, I need to finish getting my career in order? Maybe, I really don’t know! All I know is this latest relationship downfall was a huge, and I mean HUGE!, eye opener for me. I’ve realized that God knows everything that is going to happen in my life. Have I ever expressed to you all how that amazes me so?

No?

Well it does. It blows me away. I am so thankful he is in the drivers seat and not me. Because we all know I would have driven my car straight into the ground (so to speak…) years ago with all my nit-picky planning! I have come to realize one of my huge downfalls is my feeble attempt to plan 


absolutely. everything. in. my. life.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Some days I freely admit it and attempt to accept it. Other times it really irks me. Why do I think my timing overrides His? How could I be so naïve? So selfish? In reality if I just submitted myself to Him my path would be so much smoother. He knows all. He knows what is right for me...

Always. I am striving to learn to submit myself to Him and His timing. Because after all God’s timing is just that…

the perfect timing.

Weekend Recap.

Sunday, December 6, 2009
Well this weekend feels like it was awfully uneventful.

except there were events.

making it ummm, well, eventful afterall.

Anyways. Thursday & Friday I spent my days on floor 4.2 (my clinical home, for all you all who didn't know that). I had a challenging patient. Ha, thats to say the least. I was challenged. I learned. I am thankful I made it out alive...

moving on... Friday night i was BEAT. I mean, BEAT! I wrote up my clinical reflection, watched a movie with some favorites and hit the sack.

Saturday, just a typical Saturday. Went to work (and got an uninterrupted workout in!) and it was SLOW. I'm talking boring, didn't know what I could possibly do, couldn't wait for the clock to strike 12 boring. Then I did a tad bit of Christmas shopping with mom. Went and grabbed lunch. It was at lunch I decided (believe me, I had been going back and forth in my mind all day wether or not to) to text Keith. Bad idea. Good day went somewhat downhill fast. That's another post for another day. Let's just say, somedays you have to remind yourself why the past is considered just that...

your past.


Moving on. I put that aside and had an awesome afternoon/night with my two best; J&M.

Sunday I slept in and (GASP--didn't go to church!) studied all. day. long. It killed me, but it was for the best. I need to ace tomorrow's test and after today's all-day study session that is looking more and more like a possibility.

The semester is coming to a close! Tomorrow is exam number 5 (Yes the last one of the semester!). Then we have a review session. Clinicals on Thursday and Friday. Then final on Monday and my first semester of nursing school will be just that...

behind me!


I can't tell you how that excites me so! Here's to a good last-week-of-the-semester. Happy Sunday night all...

Pieces.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Today I had yet another counseling session. This is nothing new, I’ve been seeing a grief counselor, I'll refer to her as Dr. N, for some time since my Father's passing. She's awesome. She has helped me through a very difficult time. She has aided me in bettering myself. We have talked about some deep stuff, really deep stuff. We have dug up lots of my past that I have now learned affects who I am and what I do to this day. Today, though, at counseling I had somewhat of an epiphany.

Let’s start with the beginning…the reason this was even talked about to begin with. Lately, with any break-up I have been involved in, whether it is my doing or his, it has literally crushed me. Now, sure, some of it has to do with the depths of grief I am still dealing with but this latest break-up with Keith has been especially difficult. I realized, with the help of Dr. N, that I hate goodbyes because of the sheer finality of the goodbyes I have been forced to say in the past 18 months. In my mind every goodbye is final. And I am learning that is okay. But what I am also learning is that these goodbyes aren’t as final as I may have once thought they were.

See, that is where the title of this post comes in...

Pieces.

I realized today, that I am able to carry pieces of every single person I have lost in my life. Not just pieces of my Dad, Mimi and Gar but of everyone that I have had to part ways with for one reason or another. These pieces are memories and thoughts that I have of these people. These pieces are also lessons learned and tidbits of wisdom I have taken from these people.

The greatest part of this new concept is that these pieces can never, ever, ever be taken away from me. That is something that I take comfort in. These pieces are what comfort me when I am sad, they bring me up when I am down and they keep the memory of whomever it may be alive in my mind. I am forever grateful for Dr. N because she opened my eyes and made me realize that although these people may not be tangible in my life they are all very much still here. It is inevitable that I will say many more goodbyes in my lifetime but from now on I know that I will forever be able to keep their pieces with me. And, that in itself, gives me great comfort.

For pieces of me are still with them and pieces of them will forever be a part of me.

Craft. Time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I love homemade gifts. I have always loved receiving them. They are just so well...




...homemade! They're personal and meaningful. Which is why I love them so!


I (try!) to make something personal for various family members and friends each year. Christmas is always a good time to gift something that i've taken the time to make myself.


So in honor of my love of crafting here are the two gifts I have made for my favorite (and only!) nieces :)


First I took two unfinished, wooden frames (which I purchased at AcMoore, btw)


I painted them with acrylic paint


I then used matte modge podge to attach the corresponding scrapbook paper (which I had cut to size with an xacto knife)


Then is where the extra fun part comes in! I pulled out my new Cricut, well not really "pulled out" because it has already earned its own spot on my coveted craft table! anyways back on track...I typed and printed both of their names and random shapes that matched the scrapbook paper. I modge podged them in place.


Then I took some buttons and ribbon I had on hand and hot-glue-gunned them into place


--and Voila! They're finished and ready to be gifted!


A very personal and homemade Christmas gift for two of my favorite girls!


And incase you couldn't follow my step-by-step instructions whatsoever (because, you know me... I forgot to take step-by-step pictures) following are pictures of the finished (well almost finished--just need some pictures) gifts!







Happy Crafting!

Weekend Ramblings

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Lets start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.

Black Friday was a complete success! Mom and I nabbed some pretty good deals.

This little beauty above is just simply amazing. It was one of the many steals we grabbed. it's a Cricut Expressions (for all of you non-crafters out there!). Let's put it simply...I'm in love. It's so amazing. I just wish I had some more time to play with it.
Onto the other great deals. We bought my Poppy a 40” Sony Bravia from Walmart. He actually paid for it, we just grabbed it and carried it (IN THE POURING RAIN!) to the car. Needless to say he was thrilled! It’s always good to see a smile on his face :)

Also, we got lots of DVDs that were $2, $5, $6 and seasons of House and Weeds for $8. How can you beat those!? Nope, you cant!

We also got some other awesome deals that I can’t even think of. All in all it was a fantastic (EARLY!) morning of shopping.

And...below (just to document our accomplishment!) all of our loot!



Saturday involved lots of work and some errands as well as a great lunch out with my favorite CCSU student who just happened to be home for thanksgiving break. It was so nice to see her and spend some much needed quality catch-up time.

Sunday I was able to get so much accomplished. It felt so good. Church and choir practice started the day. Then mom and I started decorating the house for Christmas. I may be biased but our house looks so great decked out for the holidays. I just love it! Also throw in some errands, toe nail painting, cleaning, organizing, crafting and movie watching and it was all-in-all a fulfilling day!
I hope everyone had a successful Black Friday (If you were as crazy as I and woke at the crack of dawn to shop) and a fantastic weekend. Back to the grind tomorrow...

Swedish Apple Pie

Thursday, November 26, 2009

One word for the above picture.

Delicious.

As may or may not know I worked for about 4 years at an after-school program at a local elementary school. Each year we would host a "Thanksgiving Feast." Year after year a sweet mother of one of our after-schoolers would bring in this AMAZING Swedish Apple Pie. After begging for the recipe she finally gave in and gave it to each and every staff member.

I won't lie, it makes me wish I was Swedish. The crust forms an almost sugar cookie topping that is to die for! And its SIMPLE! I'm talking, super simple! As with any apple pie, the hardest part is peeling and slicing the apples. But no worries, it won't disappoint.

And so that you can make all your family wish they were Swedish...

Swedish Apple Pie:

4 or 5 large apples (I used Cortlands); peeled, cored & sliced thin
3/4 cup of melted butter (1.5 sticks)
2 T water
1 C flour
1 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 C walnuts (if desired)
1 T cinnamon
1 T sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix together the 1 T sugar and the 1 T cinnamon with the sliced apples. Pour apples into a pie plate. In another bowl mix the remaining ingredients and spread over the apples. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy!


Oh and...Happy Turkey Day All!

Give Thanks.

It is hard to pinpoint exactly what I am thankful for. I mean of course I am thankful for SO much. And that’s what makes nailing it down so, well, hard. I’m thankful I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. I am thankful that as the temperatures drop there is heat to keep me warm because sadly millions of people around the world don’t have those simple luxuries which makes me that much more thankful. But this year I’m talking about the more meaningful things. The things you really have to dig down deep for. You know those things that really hit home like…

God.

I am thankful to have God in my life. I am thankful for His mercy and His grace. It is because of those facts that I am saved. God has the power and He has, on multiple occasions, in this past year taught me many different facts of life. Through the death of my father He has taught me about life. And if it weren’t for Him I wouldn’t have life. He forgives me when I don’t feel like I can forgive myself. It never fails to amaze me. He gives me strength when I am down. It is because of him that I know someday I will see all of those I have lost in this life. For that I am thankful. I am thankful to know God and humbled to be touched by His overflowing grace and mercy.

Life.

I am thankful for life. I can’t imagine what some families are dealing with this holiday season. The utter loss that families are dealing with is incomprehensible for me… such as the families of the victims’ of the Fort Hood massacre, the family of the 16-year-old boy who collapsed and later died just a town away from ours and all the families of the servicemen who have given the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom. I have suffered my own losses which has made me that much more thankful and considerate of life. I am, literally, thankful I am able to be thankful this holiday season.

Love.


Cheesy isn’t it? I am thankful for
love. But no, seriously, it is so much more than that. The amount of love I have been shown throughout my life blows me away. It completely boggles my mind. Imagine a world without love…dark, dreary and ugly. And that is why I am thankful for love. Imagine those who can’t love or have never been shown love. I truly feel for those people, I wish I could show them love. Really, I do. It opens my eyes and makes me thankful for Gods love, my Mom’s love, my Dad’s love, the love my best friends show me and the countless other people who show or have shown me love. That is the love that has carried me through when the going gets tough. And to those who love me I am forever thankful for you.

So this season I challenge you to give thanks with a grateful heart. No matter what you are doing today, or any day for that matter, look around you, dig deep, and determine what you are truly thankful for. And if nothing more take one breath and be thankful for your life.

730.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
It has been 730 days since my dad’s cancer diagnosis.


This time of the year brings with it a lot of emotions. I am utterly amazed how much my life has changed in the last 730 days. It doesn’t seem like much but my life has unfolded in a way that I so never-in-a-million years would have expected. Yet, I am thankful for these past 730 days. I have been down the darkest paths of my life, I have faced the deepest valleys. I have cried myself to sleep many of times. I have wanted to wake up and find that what I was living was all a dream. My dad really was sick, he really was fighting the battle of his life and he really lose his battle to that terrible “C” word. Unfortunately, life is not like that. You can’t run out when the going gets tough.


I have grown closer to my family, friends but more importantly God. I know God has carried me through the darkest moments such as when I was standing there holding my dads hand knowing that things couldn’t get much worse and that it would probably be the last time I would ever see my dad alive and breathing. I remember that instance as clear as day. It stings to even think about that day or those moments. There is so much more I would have loved to tell my dad. There was so much more of my life I wish I could have shared with my dad.


God had other plans. I must accept these plans and never forget but learn to move on. I credit my friends and my family for lifting my spirits when I have been down. They have been that shoulder to cry on. They have listened to me when, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have listened to myself. These 730 days have definitely shown me who cares about me. I am thankful for that and for all of them. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I could not have made it through this past two years without each and every one of them.


Many days I can only take a moment at a time. I have learned that is okay. Other days come and go with only a few (if any) deep, harsh memories of the past. Again, I have learned; that’s okay. Some days my mom and I hug and cry for no reason other than we both miss dad. Both of our lives are a little bit dimmer now that he isn’t around. And, that’s okay.


I have learned all that I am feeling in these past 730 days is okay. Life does go on. The sun does rise the next day no matter what happened the night before. It may be difficult but in the end everything is okay.

Proud.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A few weekends ago I made my Poppy proud and went to St. Patricks Cathedral for their annual Red, White and Blue mass. He was so excited for me to see him in his uniform. Truth be told I had NEVER (in my 20 years of being) seen him in it! It was SO worth the early wake-up call (after the extremely late night at work) and the 30 minute drive. He looked so incredibly handsome in his uniform.


Don't you agree?

The mass was extremely touching. There was a full gun salute and many, many future, present and retired servicemen from all branches of the military. Not to mention all their family and friends. The seats were reserved and assigned--at church?! crazy!



What else is there to say?!

My Poppy makes me very proud! Thank you for your service!

Missing him...

Friday, July 3, 2009
This crazy class and work schedule has me a day late with this one. But yesterday did not go without lots of memories, tears and thinking...

It seems quite unreal to me that an entire 365 days have passed since I got that call while going over the George Washington bridge in NYC heading down to Georgia. I will never forget the complete and total shock I was in. Flying out to Utah to be with Gar’s family was the most important choice I made. It allowed me to be close to Gar, it allowed me a feeling of peace and it allowed me to be close to his amazing family. For the first time I knew he was at peace. A lot has changed in my life since then. It has been a whirlwind of a year. I have so many great memories of Gar. I could write a novel. His mannerisms and little quirks made me love him that much more. He left a gaping hole in my heart that no one will able to be able to fill, nor do I want anyone to. Yesterday, more than most days, I thought a lot about those memories. Of course, I allowed myself time to grieve but I wanted to focus more on the positives rather than the negative feelings. We shared so much together and for that I am extremely lucky. Gar, as he did for many people, taught me a ton. He taught me to love unconditionally, he taught me to be strong, he taught me to be myself, he taught me the feeling of true love. Gar touched my life in a way I can’t quite explain. I know he is up there smiling down on all of us, I know he loves us all and I feel that love every single day. I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend with Gar, the memories we were able to make and the love we got to share. He truly changed my life and because of him I will never ever be the same. I love you Gar!

Dear Spring '09 Semester,

Sunday, May 3, 2009
Well, you have proven to be the biggest challenge yet. With this week of finals fast approaching I can finally see the end in sight, and it's a wonderful thing. This semester has brought with it its fair share of struggles. Beginning with daily trips to Yale then about a month into it the loss of my dad. I can honestly say it has been far from easy. There were many of times I seriously thought of withdrawing and starting anew in the fall 09 semester. But a some special people in my life pushed me. Reminded me I could do it. And Gave me that extra bit of strength when I needed it most. Thank goodness for my great friends and family :)

The ending of this semester is also a little bittersweet. It is my last semester at Avery Point. It is where I began my college career. I will miss a lot about that wonderful place on the ocean. It brought to where I am today, most importantly it brought me closer to my goal of becoming a nurse. I have accomplished a lot. I have experienced a lot. I have stressed a lot. But, of course, and most important of all; I have learned a lot.

Well, thats it from me for now. I know. I know. I have been lame at posting on this blog. I promise I am trying to get better at it.

Dear TRCC Nursing Program,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thank you so much for accepting me into your nursing program! I know it will be difficult and challenging but at the same time I know how rewarding it will be. I am so grateful for this opportunity and so excited to get started. I won't lie, I doubted my ability to get into the program. But thanks for seeing past that and accepting me :)


I'll be seeing you in the Spring 2010 (or maybe, if i'm lucky, Fall 2009!)



Thanks again!

one excited nursing student :)

Memories...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Six months ago I lost my best friend. I still struggle with accepting this daily. I miss him more and more as the days go on. The holidays have been especially difficult, luckily they are almost over. I still wish I could have one last gar bear hug, one last talk, one last kiss. But since that is impossible I have all of our amazing memories to hang on to. So, for the six month anniversary (Jan. 2nd) I decided to share sixty of my favorite memories of Gar and of Us (in no particular order):

1) Our first date on the Niantic boardwalk.
2) Our trip to Boston with my mom, Cathy, and Kayt. And how he even went to body worlds with me.
3) Our first kiss at Pleasure beach on the second part of our first date... :)
4) How he loveeeeed the mango ice cream bomb I made.
5) He loved the color red (i think it had something to do with his hair)
6) The time we made homemade french fries because he wanted to make them like his dad.
7) Our trip out to SLC.
8) Going to Park City to ride the alpine slide and the zip line.
9) When we spent a night in vegas, how he somehow convinced me to go on ALL THREE of the crazy rides on top of the Stratasphere.
10) Watching the 2008 Superbowl together.
11) Christmas 2007. And how he insisted we have matching Boston Red Sox hats.
12) How excited he was to give me my ring and his surprise (the matching earrings).
13) Also the TONS of other little things he tried (unsucessfully) to stuff in my stocking :) There was just too much!
14) The fact that he was so excited to be able to buy gifts for everyone that year.
15) The wii. He wouldn't even wait for christmas for that gift!
16) How amazing he was at Tennis on the wii, and how he'd always kick my butt!
17) as well as in guitar hero.
18) How happy he was to be able to play his brother in guitar hero, the time difference was perfect because Gar was up so late anyways.
19) His love for Mountain Dew.
20) and CANDY! especially pixie sticks, orange sticks, and the willy wonka mix.
21) How happy he would be when I (or my mom) would make munester chicken.
22) Our walks at Harkness Park.
23) The camping trip we took to New Hampshire.
24) And...on that trip...when i thought we'd never have a fire on that COLD night because it began raining. But, he somehow managed to start one!
25) Our Troy's dates. He would always get the western burger with a side of onion rings and I would get a turkey sandwich with a side of fries.
26) The big, huge bags of bagels and bake goods he would bring to my house when he'd visit after working at Panera.
27) His excitement when he would find a great deal at Best Buy using his discount.
28) How beastly he was to wake up in the morning when he had to be at work at 5 or 6 am for the holiday season at Best Buy.
29) How cute he looked when he would wear a long sleeve shirt under his polos, he loved that.
30) The fact that he would rarely wear his winter coat, instead opting for the zip-up hoodie his Grandma Childs gave to him.
31) The night he took me to Olive Garden...and he left in the middle of dinner and came back to give me my ring with a rose. It was so meaningful.
32) Swimming in the pool at John's father's condo.
33) Our MANY good talks we had at the boardwalk.
34) When I had to save him at 2am because he had a flat and I had AAA. We sat in the New London Library and talked, and talked, and talked.
35) His dream of owning an Audi someday.
36) His dream of having 3 children. Because he loved having a brother and a sister.
37) The incredible amount of love he had for his nieces (and now nephew). He told me on our first date that he would do absolutely anything for his niece. That was something we surely had in common.
38) How happy he was to hang christmas lights in his bedroom.
39) His rubiks cube collection and how incredibly proud he was of it.
40) When he was so excited because we painted and hung all the shelves in his room for his collection.
41) When we painted his room. I ended up hating the color, so I grabbed a random color from our garage and started ragging it on. He said it would never compare to the amazing paint jobs his dad did in their house. And, it sure doesn't!
42) He could figure out any little game or gadget out there.
43) He loved sudko
44) mangos
45) video games
46) And a wide variety of music.
47) He introduced me to Ska music.
48) He was my rock when my dad was first diagnosed with cancer and spent alot of time in the hospital. I have no clue how I would have gotten through it without him.
49) Hiking at Zions.
50) He loved animals, especially cats. And they all loved him!
51) His strong faith, it was always there with him.
52) When we messed up the first 3 layers of the jello dessert for Christmas. And how upset it made him because it didn't look like it did back at home :)
53) How happy it made him to make the "out of this world biscuits" for Thanksgiving dinner, along with his dad's gravy. yum!
54) When we took Chloe to the aquarium. Also when we took her to the holiday lights festival in Mystic.
55) He wanted footsie pajama's SO badly.
56) His red hair. and his glow brows :)
57) And as much as i wasn't a fan of his tatoos, i still miss seeing them, especially his rubiks tattoo. They were definitelyn "Gar". :)
58) When we walked around the casino until 2 AM waiting for his friend Kenny to show up. haha!
59) He loved, loved, loved 24 and wimbledon tennis.
60) Above all I remember his warm heart and his kind soul. He will forever have a piece of my heart, and for that I am lucky.

There are so many, many, many more wonderful memories I have. I could probably fill up an entire book. But for now i'll just leave you with 60 of my most favorite. I'd love it if you would leave comments with your most favorite memories of Gar. I know he is still with us. I know he takes care of us all from above. But that doesn't take away the aching I feel when I think about him not being here to talk to. I definitely look forward to the day when I will meet up with him again.

Until then we have all of our memories...