Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Orlando Florida... Here I Come!

Don't forget!
The $50 Pen Factory Giveaway ends TODAY!


I'm so glad to be off work for OVER A WEEK!
And to be going to Universal Studios.

But don't worry!
I'm not leaving you guys without a few sitters for supervision...
Wouldn't want ya'll to get too wild.
Might try to throw some crazy party while I'm gone ;)

Anyways, I've got TONS of guest posts lined up from AWESOME bloggers such as:

Love of Family & Home
Dixie Delights
Young & Crafty
Craft Geek
Ms. Smartie Pants
Kitty Cats & Airplanes
Vibrant Serenity
The Taylor House

You WON'T want to miss any of them!

Ok now to get some of my Harry Potter obsession out of the way...

Some Harry Potter stuff...

And then I kinda stalked Nichole's harrypotter Pinterest board...

Source: imgfave.com via Nic on Pinterest

If you've never seen the actual video for that last one, you need to.
Just google for it.

And I went a little FaceInHole.com crazy.

My boyfriend is Harry Potter.
Don't tell anyone.

Nichole as Ginny Weasley.

Ginny, is it ok if I have a thing for your brother?

Ok this one is SO not Harry Potter related, but I just had to share it!

Technically, he was Cedric...

See you guys in 9 days!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Loaded Mashed Potatoes {and other potato recipes}

So I kinda have an addiction to potatoes.

Mashed potatoes.
Baked potatoes.
French Fries.
Potato Soup.
Cheesy Potatoes.
Onion Potatoes.
Red Potatoes.
Yukon Potatoes.
New Potatoes.

Potato, Potato, Potato.

Well, anyways.
I love potatoes.

So a while back the BFF Nichole and I were having a "I've had a bad day so let's make all the Pinterest recipes we can possible squeeze into one night" kind of nights.

And one of the recipes we made were for these Loaded Mashed Potatoes over at The Girl Who Ate Everything.

The only changes we made are that we left out the nutmeg, and we didn't have any bacon so we used these "real" bacon pieces found in the salad section (not bacon bits).

And we may have added more cheese and bacon.
But really, can you ever have too much cheese and bacon?

Ready to see ours?
Before you look at these pictures I suggest you grab a napkin or something.
You know.
To wipe up the drool.

Ok, here's how ours came out:


Can you say HEAVENLY?
These mashed potatoes were SO good!
Nichole and I ate SO many potatoes that night.

I think I need to make some again.

Here's the pin from where we pinned it:

And here's a collection of all the other potato recipes I've pinned on Pinterest.
I may need to make a separate board for just potato recipes.

Brace yourself.
This is a lot of recipes.

Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes:

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes:

Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole:

"Crack" Potatoes:

Scalloped Potatoes:

Cheesy Grilled Potatoes:

Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole:

Roasted Potato Stacks:

Crash Hot Potatoes:

Ranch Potatoes:

Spicy Oven Fries:

Source: mnn.com via Courtney on Pinterest

Cheese and Potato Bacon Rounds:

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes:

Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes:

Parmesan Garlic Roasted Potatoes:

Loaded Baked Potato Soup:

Potato, Corn, & Leek Chowder:

Crispy Potato Roast:

Corn & Potato Chowder:

I think I'll have potatoes for lunch.

Do you have any good Potato Recipes?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Losing My First Patient

*Disclaimer: this may be a sensitive subject for many readers*

So as many of you know, I've been a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse for a little over a year now.
And recently I lost my first patient.
Which is hard.
Because it's a little baby.
Only a few short hours in this world.
And it was hard for me.

I knew before the baby arrived that it was not going to make it.
So I had a little time to prepare myself.
But no amount of time REALLY prepares you.

When the baby arrived in the NICU, I buried myself in my work.
I took vital signs, helped start an IV, did everything the doctor and nurse practitioner told me.
I was doing ok, I was doing my job.
But then I looked up.
I looked into the eyes of the nurse practitioner and they were filled with tears.
"I just want to hold her, to rock her," she told me.
It was that moment that the severity of the situation hit me.
And it hit me like a train going 200 mph.
This baby wasn't going to make it.
And I felt myself fighting back tears from that moment on.

As the family began arriving, it got harder to deal.
Seeing their faces, watching tears slide down their cheeks.
Some of the family began praying, praying for a miracle.
My faith side of me wanted to hope with them, hope for a miracle.
But my medical side of me knew the severity, knew that we probably would not see a miracle.

Other nurses, the nurse practitioner, the doctor, they all kept asking me if I was ok.
Did I need a break, do I need some water, do I just need to get away for a minute?
I declined at first, I just needed to do what I could for this little baby.
I slipped my finger into the baby's hand and gently stroked her hand with my thumb.
She gave my finger a little squeeze, as if telling me, "Thank you".
Then, I knew I could no longer hold back the tears.
I asked another nurse to stand by as I slipped to the break room for a drink.
I fell back into some of the lockers as I chocked out a few tears.
I was doing everything I could, but I wasn't going to save this baby.

I came back, with tear stained cheeks, avoiding the eyes of the family.
Things were getting bad.
The baby's mom was still in recovery.
It was at that moment that I really started praying.
"God, please just let mom make it up here in time, let her see her baby, let her hold her little girl."

My prayers were answered as mom was wheeled up.
I carefully wrapped up her little girl and handed her to mom.
The respiratory therapist held the ventilator (breathing tube) tubing for so long.

After a while, it became inevitable that there was nothing more we could do.
Those parents had to make the hardest decision any parent would have to make.
They had to make the decision to remove life support from their little baby.
I stopped the IV fluids, gave the last dose of pain medication, and the respiratory therapist removed the breathing tube.

Mom was able to hold her little baby girl until she slipped into Heaven.
The doctor listened for a heart beat a little while later.
I saw him look at the nurse practitioner and then the clock and I knew.
Tears poured from so many eyes at that moment.

I stood to the side until mom was finished holding her baby.
As the family began slipping out, one lady looked me in the eyes with her hand on my shoulder.
"Thank you," she said. "I know you did everything you could. Thank you."
My voice caught and I was at a loss for words.
What does one say in this instant?
I'm sorry?
I wish I could have done more?
No words will ever be enough to express the pain I felt for this family.

I took the baby back from mom so she could get settled into her own room and we could do the things we needed to.
I cleaned the baby up, combed her hair, lathered her in lotion, and put a sweet dress and booties on her.
This part was so difficult for me.
I kept waiting for a sound, a movement, anything.
There were several moments were I would just stop and look intently, sure that I had seen breathing, but there was none.

Even though I knew the life had left this little baby, I still handled her as delicately as I could, probably more carefully than I would a still living baby.
I carefully swaddled her, placed her in a crib, and then delicately covered the crib with a blanket.
I slowly pushed the baby to the mom's room, as the doctor explained everything to her.
I left the family alone for as long as they wanted, to spend time holding their baby.

As I made my way back to the NICU and glanced into the room, I felt tears begin to resurface.
Blankets were strewn across the room.
IV and medication packaging was crumpled on the floor.
The half empty cups of water from the family were scattered around the room, the ice long ago melted.
It was so quiet.

I began grabbing things to place in the memory box for the family.
The blankets she had been wrapped in.
The baby wash and lotion and comb we had cleaned her with.
A clean diaper.
A lock of hair we had obtained.
The footprints and hand prints.
The disposable camera we had taken pictures with.

The family called me a while later, ready to let go now.
I brought the memory box to them.
I reached to take the little girl from mom and place her in the crib.
"Come see," I said to the baby, the words catching in my throat.
That's what I say when I pick up all of the babies I take care of.

I gently placed her in the crib and left to bring her back to the NICU.
A family member stopped me.
"Thank you. Thank you for everything you've done tonight."
I couldn't form any words so I simply nodded and slipped out of the room.

With the help of my wonderful coworkers, we finished our necessary things.
I just kept thinking, "She's so cold."
I wanted to hold her close, warm her body, though I knew I could not.

After everything was over, I was drained.
My job was technically finished, but that night will be in my memory forever.
I will never forget that sweet little angel's face.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Homemade Java Chip Mocha Frappe

I have never been a coffee person.
Even through college and being a nurse, I have never gotten hooked.
But one thing I've recently come to enjoy, however, are mocha frappes.
For instance, the one from McDonald's... LOVE!
And don't get me started on Hastings' White Chocolate version.

When I was younger I always remembered my mom making her own version.
So I hit her up for the recipe and now I'm going to share it with you guys!

Homemade Java Chip Mocha Frappe


Chocolate Drink (NOT chocolate milk)
Maxwell House Instant Coffee
Chocolate Syrup
Caramel Syrup
Chocolates (like dove chocolate or you could use chocolate chips)
Whipped Cream (optional)

My mom and I both have these personal blenders by Hamilton Beach.
You can get them from Walmart.
Fill it about 3/4 of the way with ice.

Now add the chocolate drink to just below the top of the ice.

Now add a spoonful of the instant coffee.
You can totally customize here by adding more or less to your tastes.
When I didn't like coffee, I would just omit it entirely for a chocolate drink instead.

Now add a nice squirt of chocolate syrup.
Again, as much as you like.

Also add a small squirt of caramel syrup.

Also add in your chocolates.
I used 3 dove chocolates but you can do whatever you want.

Now, blend well until smooth.
You can taste it at this point and add more chocolate, coffee, or caramel as desired.
I thought mine needed more chocolate syrup so that's what I did.

Pour into a glass.
Top with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and caramel syrup.
Insert straw.

So yummy!

Do you like coffee?
What your favorite kind of coffee drink?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Trying to Motivate Myself to Exercise

So the boyfriend and I have started P90x.
And I have SO much trouble motivating myself.
I made him do it with me so he'll make me.
Or try to make me.
Because there have been several days where I'm just too dang tired.
Especially after a night shift.
I'm too tired to do much of anything.
And then this weather has made me sick.
But maybe I'm just making excuses.

I swear.... it's like going to the dentist.
I know I should work out and stuff.
Cause it's supposed to be good for me and all.
And people say you feel good after working out.
Well not me.
I just feel tired.
And hungry.

I don't wannnnnaaaa!
You can't make me!

Ok... I think my little kid fit is over.
For now.
Until I have to work out again.
Which is tomorrow.

This pin on Pinterest accurately describes my feelings:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Much Needed Vacation

I'm going on vacation!
Orlando, Florida to be exact.
I'm leaving Feb 1 and will be gone a little over a week.

I know what you're thinking.
"Why would you go to Florida in the middle of winter?"
We're going to Universal Studios.
Mostly for Harry Potter World.
And it'll be more "real" when it's colder.
Like we're really at Hogwarts :)

Any suggestions on places to go, places to eat while we're there?

And I won't be leaving you guys hanging! I've got several AMAZING bloggers lined up with some AWESOME guest posts for you all! I know you'll love it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

1/25 What's New Wednesdays

First off... WOOOO! 600 Followers! Giveaway coming SOON!

But don't forget about the $50 Pen Factory Giveaway going on NOW!

Alright... check out a few of the FABULOUS things linked up last week!

This Spicy Gluten Free Texas Trash over at Permanent Posies looks SUPER GOOD!

I'm LOVING this Rag Quilt over at Craft Geek! And easy to make!

Mmmmmm! Fancy Restaurant Style Mashed Potatoes over at Everywhere Orange!

Now.... It's time to see what's new with you!

Add as many recipes, crafts, DIY, etc... as you'd like!

Please... don't link to your main blog page, shops, giveaways, etc.

And please make sure to visit others and comment on their stuff too!

Look for featured ones next week too!
Your link up could be a favorite!

Grab the NEW button and share with others!

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