Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My new blog.

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Milk Shake brings all the boys to the...

Yeah yeah.... Had to grab your attention somehow!

So my favorite thing right now are these awesome milkshakes! They are yummy, healthy and vegan (if you like that sort of thing, I am trying to eat 'cleaner' but I still love my meat! jeez, that sounded bad) Anywho...

My favorite breakfast (or snack), besides yogurt (although I've been experimenting with oatmeal, not my favorite thing but the health benefits are awesome), has been Milkshakes! 
I have to warn you... since my camping trip this last weekend, my camera has decided to take a pooh on me. Honestly, I'm not sure it's the camera or the memory card, since I haven't had the time to look for my other memory card to try it out. I also think, since it had such beautiful scenery from the camping trip, it has refused to take (save) photos from anything less A- MAY-ZING! Anyway, on to my crappy phone photography.

I so wished this turned out as yummy as it is. Here is the recipe:

Wake me Up Before I Go Go Milkshake

1/2 frozen large banana ( The one in the picture was only partially frozen, I'm impatient...)
1/2 C Coconut milk (love the So Delicious) 
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp (or more depending on how you like it) Instant coffee
1/2 cup ice cubes (you can omit if you like, usually the frozen banana is plenty frozen goodness)
Sweetener (I usually don't, but sometimes the bananas just don't do it, so agave, stevia, etc. will certainly sweeten it up for you)

Blend (I use my super awesome Magic Bullet) until smooth and enjoy!

Of course there are many variations of this, sometimes I add chocolate chips (I like the Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa chips), or mint, or just the love (ahh) is plenty! haha! I've seen many variations of this all over the blogosphere and kind of made it my own.

I've heard rumors of these wonderful Apple-Bananas in Hawaii that sound so yum, I can't wait to try them someday (and bring an extra suitcase when I visit). After all you can freeze them!

Bananas and Coconuts (yeah, I know),


Monday, June 6, 2011

DIY Sprinkler

So last week the temperature started to rise FINALLY! It got into the 80's and so it was time to break out the sprinkler for kiddos. I went downstairs only to find that our sprinkler was broken. So I did what every person does when they need to fix something, I called my mom! Don't you? She said,"Funny you should ask because I got this email today, I'll send it to you and maybe it'll help." OK..

So inclosed in the forward was this picture:

Yup. Not going to lie, I laughed and thought it was a bit, um... ghetto. I was in a pinch and promised some sprinkler action. I will admit, it's pretty creative AND you're recycling!
I went through my recycle bin and hunted around for a 2 liter bottle, but since we really don't drink soda around here I couldn't find one. Darn! I did have a smaller version, and this is what I came up with:

I apologize for the bad quality (taken with the phone) and I could've found a better spot in the yard and not the one section where I cannot get grass to grow, but you get the idea.


Old hose that you can cut up
2 liter bottle (or similar)
Heavy duty tape (I didn't have duct tape, which probably would've been best, but packing tape sufficed)

I cut the hose about 3 feet from the part you would use to attach to another hose (or facet). Then on the cut side I wrapped the hose a couple times with tape so it would fit snug into the bottle. I then poked holes all over the bottle. I put the hose inside the bottle about an inch or two. I then wrapped the tape around the bottle and hose a few times making sure it was snug and to prevent any water leakage. I then connected it all to my good hose and turned the water on! Voila! DIY sprinkler in about 10 minutes! Be careful to turn the water on slowly so that the bottle fills with water slowly. You can then increase water as needed after water starts coming out of holes.

I don't imagine this working forever (or even the whole summer), but for now, it does the job! It's not ghetto if you're recycling and if the kids are having fun!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh My Beans!!!

Yeah, I know, but just hang in there with me....

So last week I went on a bean cooking/baking spree. It all started with hummus. I spend a lot of money on hummus and figured, given the ingredients, it's got to be cheaper to make than it is to buy. So I got my behind to the store and bought a bunch of cans of chickpeas. Another main ingredient is tahini, which my local grocery store did not have and I was too lazy to go store to store to find some with kiddos in tow. I figured I could make do without.

That very same week, as luck would have it, a blog I follow had a recipe for these Chocolate-Chip Blondies, made with... you guessed it, chickpeas!!! They are Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. For my benefit, they were basically pretty healthy and low in calories!. An since I've been working out a lot, of developed a sweet tooth that had never really existed, so I thought I'd give them a try. Plus a friend of my mom is allergic to gluten and has a hard time finding tasty desserts, I figured if they turned out OK, then I could send some her way.

So first came the hummus.

Turns out... you probably should use tahini. This turned out pretty good, and of course I ate it all, but it did feel like it was missing something. I searched a lot of recipes and created my out based on what I saw.

Tahini- Free Southwest Hummus

1 can (15 oz) Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas) drained
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Almond Butter (to sub for the lack of tahini)
1 diced green chili pepper (from the can, you can also use about 2 tablespoons of the pre-diced)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp Capers

Throw all the ingredients in your blender, food processor, or Magic Bullet (that's what I used) until creamy and enjoy! I should probably note that it's a good idea to save a couple tablespoons of the Chickpea juice from the can so that it's not too thick and blends a little easier.

I put hummus on just about EVERTHING, so this was nice to have on hand. Suprisingly, the calories were a little higher for this than my normal hummus, so I'm going to try to figure out how to make it a little less. This came out to about 85 calories per serving (2 tbsp) and my store bought is about 50. Mine was a little thicker, and theirs is more of a whipped consistency, so that my have something to do with it.

Moving on...
I came across the recipe for Chocolate- Chip Blondies, and I have to say they turned out VERY tasty! The kids loved them!! So I didn't feel so guilty about giving them (or myself for that matter) just one more piece. That being said, they were gone so fast I didn't even get a picture! I did make their cousin Snicker-doodle Blondies (turns out Mom's friend isn't a big chocolate fan).

So yum!!! Nice and chewy and downright... well... yummy!

I changed both recipes a little for what I had. I used 1/4 C of Splenda Blend (a prepackaged blend of Splenda and real sugar). So your actually only using 2 tbsp of sugar total. I found out that they have a Splenda Brown Sugar Blend so next time I will try that. Splenda is the only non sugar sweetener that I can stand the taste of, so I use it a lot for coffee and such. I also used Almond Butter for the 'nut butter' since mom is allergic to peanuts. I only used 2 tbsp instead of 3 (for calories) and upped the applesauce to 2 tbsp for consistency.

The third part of my bean extravaganza was Black Bean Burgers. I really love burgers, but never tried the black bean variety, so while shopping for my chickpeas, I grabbed some cans of black beans. I think they turned out very good. Kids even ate them!

Probably not the best picture to convince you of their tastiness, but I was limited.
After researching many recipes, here is what I came up with.

Black Bean Burgers

1 can (15 oz) Black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 egg (you can also just use the egg white if you choose)
1/4 C Ground Flax Seed (instead of flour or oats what a lot of recipes use)
1/4 C diced onion
1 tsp Cumin

Mix in blender, food processor or mixer (above) until you have a mold-able consistency. Make into patty as you would a regular burger. Using Olive Oil grill in pan about 8 minutes per side. I put a lid on for about half of the time to help cook the inside a little faster. Grab some buns and add your favorite burger condiments and enjoy! Use the Sandwich Thins for a little less calories and they worked perfectly. Kids really did like them, I should've taken a picture of that, because I wasn't sure they would either! 

Thank you for coming with me on my Bean Extravaganza! I'm sure my family thought I was loosing my mind that week, but just yesterday my daughter asked me to make some more blondies (and I did!) so I guess it payed off. Off to start studying (Summer semester started yesterday.... more on that later), have a great day!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Name is Desiree and I Have a Wordrobe Problem....

Yeah, you heard me right....
and anyone who has seen my closet or has helped me move has probably wanted to stage an intervention.

Since I have been on break (a whole three weeks) I have wanted to do some serious overhaulin on my bedroom and closet. Last semester took quite a toll, and my bedroom and laundry situation was quite neglected.

My goal was to get my room, study area and wardrobe situation completely organized and in tip top shape before the fury of the summer semester and plans of spending A LOT of time outside in the yard or at the pool with kiddos. So in true Desiree fashion, with school starting in less than a week away, I thought I'd better get to it.

I started by busting out on the washing of the clothes... realizing that my dresser and closet were already pretty full that I needed to start clearing out some room if I had any plans of putting any of these clothes away! So out came the garbage bags.....

and one... one... one.. one...

... I had filled six of these bags! I loaded them all in the truck to be taken to be donated in the morning.

Man oh man do I feel so much better! I have been able to put away all of the clean clothes with a little room to spare! I am not finished with my quest but I sure made quite a dent! Since I have gotten back into shape and lost weight, the first few bags of clothes to go were things that no longer fit. No desire to fit back into those puppies! The rest were things I just no longer wear and had been holding onto for sentimental reasons or felt guilty about getting rid of (because they were gifts, expensive, etc.) Some of them were things I've had since high school! Although I am proud to say they fit, I am NOT proud to say I wore them! Haha!

The only area I wont be cleaning out is the shoes... come on people baby steps! I did that last year and got rid of a bucket full of shoes, and since I haven't made many shoe purchases in the last year I am probably safe.

Anyone else on a spring cleaning binge lately?

I encourage it, very liberating!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I'm not a Blogger.... I'm not even a blo..

So, Yes, I do in fact have a blog as you can see, but I use the term very loosely. I read blogs, real blogs, from people who do it for a living and thank goodness I do not because I would be broke (haha too bad I already am).

So 2011 has already been quite a year for me. Lets start with the bad news first:

I am not super smart genius we all thought I was >Gasp< I know heartbreaking. It was for me when I realized it too.

I, Desiree, have to repeat a class. Awesome huh? My second semester Anatomy and Physiology class was quite a bit more difficult than I had planned. Not to mention having the crappiest instructor in the history of crappy instructors. Of course when someone isn't passing a class it's easy to blame the instructor so I will take partial-ish responsibility. I will not go into the hell I have been through with this instructor in this post, maybe another one, because it would take up the entire post. Since my semi-intention when I started this blog was to document my experiences as a nursing student, mother, etc. I feel it is deserving to discuss. I will be continuing the class all the way to the end, even though I know I wont pass, partially for financial aid reasons and in the words of Mr. Sheen, "defeat is not an option." (In case anyone isn't tired of hearing Charlie Sheen quotes)

My Microbiology class has been quite successful and doing well. It's very interesting and I find myself becoming a pseudo-germophobe. Oh, bacteria, how I respect thee.
I must mention that my Micro instructor is AWE-SOME. With her background and well rounded teaching style I am very surprised she is not teaching at the University level, but for my sake I am glad she isn't.

Moving on..

On January 17th I committed to getting back in shape and shedding the pounds I gained the last year or two. I have been quite successful and loving the results. Diet and exercise works... who knew? I've changed my eating habits and log every bit of food that touches my lips. I work out at home and invested in a gym membership. Although at first I felt a membership was a luxury I couldn't afford, I have found it very beneficial and have categorized it as a necessity. So much so that if I had to choose internet over gym membership, I might be checking my Facebook and blogs at school. So far it hasn't come down to that. I have lost 21 pounds so far and another 11 to go to reach my goal. My Fitness Pal has been my best friend and I strongly encourage anyone trying to loose weight/get in shape to use it. Plus it's free and has a iPhone/Android app which I heavily rely on.
Another motivating factor is I am training for the Tough Mudder in June in Beaver Creek. I have not official signed up yet, I'm saving my pennies (sign-up, lodging, painkillers, etc) and a recent unexpected trip set me back. I have committed myself to it though and hoping I can get in enough shape to survive, which is really my only goal... survival. I'm excited and a bit terrified.


Both are doing fabulous.
Ethan is wrapping up 1st grade and his favorite subject is recess, although he is also doing great academically. He's getting ready to cross-over from a Tiger scout to a Wolf and I am ready to cross over from a Den Leader to a non-Den Leader. I don't see that happening soon, but I hoping for someone to step up and take over. I like doing it, but with school right now I just don't have the time, money, energy to let it consume so much of my life, as I see many of the other den leaders have. It's certainly a bigger commitment than I had thought when I signed up, although I wasn't given a whole lot of information initially. I just couldn't tell Ethan no and he was so excited. I am hoping to get him into sports soon which is certainly more my speed, and he really wants to play soccer. He has taken up interest in the guitar, I even bought him one for Christmas. Nothing fancy, just a kid size learning guitar. So far he doesn't have the focus to learn, but likes playing around with it, which is good enough for me. 

Miss Maci is getting ready to turn 4 next week and we've been talking about putting her in a dance class soon. She is quite the performer and loves singing and dancing around the house. She is getting so smart and has recently learned to spell her name, I quote, "M-A-C- and a line with a dot." Cracks me up!

From our recent Royal Pic-a-nic in the back yard. I just realized the have my super eye squint when they smile. Haha!

Wholly guacamole it's late and I have written quite a long post.
Hope to post more often and keep all 2 of you who read this updated on school and training!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ready or Not...

So here we are, another semester. I can't believe how fast the time is flying by!

Last semester, though... last semester really sucked. I can't give any one reason why, but I didn't care for my instructors (I'm not the only one) and it didn't help. Just because one has the credentials, does not mean that one should teach. I was also suffering from a severe lack of motivation in the beginning of the semester, which lead to a constant game of catch up. Only one of my classes was difficult, but I ended up not doing so great in both. Again, not a great semester, but it's over with and I passed my classes, so moving on....

This semester though... this semester is going to rock! I can already feel it. My motivation is in overdrive. Don't get me wrong, the classes I have are difficult. Though they compliment each other nicely, I have been warned by a few (instructors included) that the combination of Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology II is not going to be easy.

I think my motivation this semester is partially due to the fact that I have very competent and pure awesome instructors, the kind that truly inspire you. I was even stopping myself from clapping in one of my classes during lecture, just for the mere fact that everything he said made sense! (Dork alert, I know) I know with instructors it can be a "win some loose some" situation and especially at the community college level, but this semester is a total WIN. I don't want to get ahead of myself since it's only been one week, but so far, they rock. They are tough and very strict, but if they know what they are doing and do it well, they can be. Also, I have successfully arranged a study group for my A&P II class, something I should have done last semester (live and learn).

Another thing that is helping is I've added working out to my daily schedule. Yes, another thing that I have squished into my schedule. I never really gained the "freshman 15" when I was in college after high school, the only significant gaining I've done was the "Knocked up 100." Yet, if there is a "freshman 15" for the unconventional returning student.... I managed to do it... and then some. So, I've put myself on a strict diet/workout regimen and it's been paying off. Not only is it paying off on the scale, but it's paying off on my motivation. I study after my morning workout (post shower) and it really helps my concentration. I know that there are studies that say exactly that, so I am not learning anything new.... but it's nice to see that they are right about it.

I am just so excited I had to share it, even if no one else cared. If I've totally bored you, I'm sorry I cannot refund the last 3 minutes of your life, assuming you made it here.

Study groups and Jillian Michaels workouts,


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Old School

So I've made a new discovery. Actually it's not new, it's been used for a long time, probably because it works.
The last week or so my kiddos have been having a hard time getting along. Sure they are siblings, so it's no surprise that there is going to be fighting from time to time. Yet between Ethan being home from school on break, the rustle and bustle of the holidays and the cold weather, it's gotten a little out of hand. We are all a little stir crazy.


The other day it was a back in forth thing where one or the other was in time out or in trouble, it was the only thing they could consistently take turns at. I was at my wits end and on top of it fighting off a bug. So I decided to initiate something from my school days.
Remember when a fight would break out in the hallway and both students would get into trouble no matter who started it? I remember thinking that it was so unfair for the person who didn't instigate. I realize now the reason they did it... it works. I have started making both kids accountable for arguments, fights, etc. no matter who "started it." Here is what I have found:

1) Less fights.
2) One or the other usually tries to dissolve the situation before the word "MOM!" breaks out. Not only is it quieter and more peaceful, but they are learning to resolve their own issues, great tool.
3) Less tattle telling. 
4) They too, don't think it's fair. Another important life lesson.

Of course with the tattle telling issue, I have to make myself clear which is tattle telling and what things need to be told as concerns for safety are more important.

I am sure all of this and so much more (for and against) are written in a plethora of Parenting books and magazines, and handful or so of which are collecting dust on my bookshelf or in a box in the crawlspace. I'll be honest, the only books I am reading right now are textbooks and I struggle with finding time for those, so they continue to sit. Not to mention all kids are different, (age and gender aside) what works for one, doesn't always work for the other and what works this month, probably wont work next.

If there is one thing about parenting that I have learned, is the rules of the game are constantly changing and even the smallest victories deserve the attention of a Super Bowl ring. This game play wont always work and there are always exceptions to rules, but right now as I type they are both coloring in peace and WWIII hasn't broke out over a navy blue crayon that they both HAVE TO use.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year

So here we are 2011. I'm feeling pretty neutral about the new year. 2010 was pretty good to me, so it was nice to seamlessly skate on into a new year with as much hopefulness that got me through 2010. 08 and 09 were not so great and I am very happy to see them far in my rear view mirror.
I'm not big on the resolution bit, so no resolutions for me. Don't get me wrong I have some goals for myself but I think putting them on a "list of resolutions' cheapens them and sets myself up for disappointment. 
My New Years Eve was laid back and quiet and it was so nice. The kiddos were at Dad's but I still rang in the New Year in great company.

One year ago I made the decision to go back to school for nursing and can't believe it has gone by so fast, only 13.75 years to go. Seriously, I'm not counting down the time quite yet, too soon for that and too overwhelming.
Ethan made the transition from Kindergarten to First grade and is doing very well. He also started Cub Scouts as I began my journey as his Den leader. I couldn't be more proud of my little man.
In April Maci turned 3 and is getting smarter and more independent by the day. My very independent "I can do it myself" little girl, and beneath the daily challenges she hands me, I am beaming with pride.
I was able to open my heart a bit to new people and things in 2010 and so far so good.   

I am excited for the things to come for 2011. By the end of my spring semester I will be able to put myself on the wait list for my fall back nursing program, which felt so far away last year.
Ethan will be crossing over from Tiger scouts this spring and will no longer be in the youngest Den in our pack, and I will have a tad more Den Leader knowledge under my belt. He will also be going from First to Second grade and moving closer to that day when my goodbye hugs and kisses will have to exist in the car since a) he won't want me to walk him to his classroom (which has already started) and b) even if he did let me walk him to his classroom, affection would be a big no-no in public. I have been warned by plenty, but for right now I will hold on to my PDA's for as long as I'm able to. He is and always will be my snuggle buddy.
Maci will be 4 this year and will be starting preschool. As she sits here next to me in her pink tutu and pink leggings and kitty cat shirt that says, fittingly, "smarty pants" it's harder to see her grow up than it has been for Ethan. Maybe because she is a girl, or my youngest or maybe since I wont be having anymore children. All very likely variables. Either way, she will continue to grow and I am excited to see the sweet, smart and independent person she will become. 

Overall, life is good, I am so lucky to have the people in my life who continue to stand by me and I am so proud to call them my friends and family. Happy 2011 All, I hope it is filled with awesomeness as mine is sure to be!