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 :-)

P.S.---If you want one of these mugs for your own, I found them on Amazon.  They even have different colors.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentine in a Box

    I know it's a little early, but since J already got his package, I thought I'd share our Valentine's Day goodies we sent off.  I had a lot of fun putting this one together, and J seemed to enjoy digging into all the fun stuff inside.  First I got one of the large flat-rate boxes from the Post office, and then I decorated the inside by lining the box with some pretty scrapbook paper I found on sale at Walmart, like so:

  Next, along the flaps I wrote, "I have loved you 2,529 days".  I found a cool website that tells you the exact amount of days between one event and the next.  You can check that out here.  All I did was type in the day we started dating and the date I planned for him to see the box (Valentine's Day) and voila!

  Next I cut out little hearts and big hearts from construction paper, and I had Monkey decorate them with glitter glue.  On each one I wrote, "I love you like..." on the front and something super cheesy on the back.  Here's all the cheesiness laid out before I glued them front to back:

    Monkey and I had fun coming up with the different ways we love J.  Some examples were things like, "I love you like Sheldon Cooper loves his spot" or "I love you like Flash loves running", etc.  J's favorite was, "I love you like Gollum loves his precioussss", which reminds me of this awesomeness:

   Next, I began to add different treats with equally corny messages attached:

     Of course, I added the little message hearts that are a Valentine's Day staple.  And finally, what would a care package be without some homemade goodies?  I did a few pink cakes in jars, and I added some icing to the package.  I also found a recipe for plain biscotti, because they ship well, being a hard cookie, and J isn't one for super fancy, complicated recipes.  So I thought these biscotti would be the perfect fit.  Here's the recipe from Allrecipes.com:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 TBS baking powder
1 TBS anise extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, beat together oil, eggs, sugar, and anise extract until well blended.  Combine flour and baking powder.  Add to egg mixture, stirring to form a dough.  Divide dough in half.  Shape each piece into a roll until it's as long as your baking sheet (or close enough).  Place each onto a cookie sheet.  Press down to 1/2 inch thickness.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from baking sheet to cool on a wire rack.  Once cooled, slice each into 1/2 inch slices.  Place slices, cut side up back onto baking sheet.  Bake 6-10 minutes more on each side.  They should be slightly toasted.


     I forgot to get a picture of the entire box once everything was in there all nice a cute, but J sent me one after he dug into it a little.

     I asked J to send a picture of himself with the box, so that Monkey could see he had gotten it.  He obliged with this:

 Monkey said he's guarding his box from anyone else who might want to eat his goodies.  I guess...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mama Said Be a Nurse

     It's February now!  That means one month closer to homecoming, and I can't wait to have my J back home.  I need someone to keep Monkey entertained ;-)  February means this semester is almost over, and if I survive it, by the end of this month I will be entering the Nursing program (like, for real, y'all)!  I just have to pass Dosage Calculations first.  When I say that people are all, "Oh, you've got that," but I don't think they quite get it unless they're in the class.  "Passing" Dosage Calculations does not mean I have to simply not make an F.  In order to pass we have to have a 90 average.  Even when I tell people that, they're still insistent, "Oh, you'll be fine, you make A's all the time."  Then I have to dig a little deeper and explain we only have 4 tests, and each test has had either 10 or 20 questions on it.  This means each question is worth 5 or ten points, so if you miss only one or two questions there's your 90.  If you miss more....well...

     It's no wonder I ate half a pan of homemade brownies by myself over the past week.  I'm stressing out, but I'm determined to make it.  To fail this would mean waiting until the Fall to start the Nursing Program, and I'm so tired of waiting!  I just want to get started so I can finish.  I know there's more stress ahead, but I'm ready for it.  If I can just pass Dosage Cal...

    At any rate I found a rather funny Nursing video the other day, and I shared it with my mom because I blame her for telling me to go into this field.  Don't get me wrong, I want to be a nurse, but my mom has always pushed it too, so this goes out to my loving Mom.  It's all your fault, woman!

      I hope you got a laugh out of that video like I did.  Now let me share a recipe and send you on your way.  Here's another recipe Monkey and I made from her new Paula Deen's Kid's Cookbook Monkey received for Christmas:

Monkey Bread
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 cans refrigerator biscuits (10 biscuits each)
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a shallow dish mix together white sugar and cinnamon.  Remove biscuits from the tubes, and cut into quarters.  Place each piece of biscuit into the cinnamon sugar and shake it around until it's coated.
At this point I had to help: Place butter and brown sugar into a small pot over low heat, and let butter melt, stirring to mix.  Once completely mixed, turn off the stove and remove from heat.
Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray; place the biscuit pieces into the bundt pan evenly.  Pour the brown sugar mixture over biscuits.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from oven, and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
To serve, turn Bundt pan upside-down on a large plate or a serving platter.  The Monkey bread should fall right out.  Let cool for a few more minutes before eating.