Category Archives: John

Mass Cooking

One thing I love about blogs is all the great ideas and information you can learn from them! Not from mine obviously, but all the cooking, organizing, homemaking-type blogs I read give me more ideas than I know what to do with sometimes.

Working night shifts has made it difficult for John and I to get any sort of routine going because well, we just don’t have a routine! My weekly schedule is always changing and with my sleep schedule being even more hay-wire, you just never know when dinner will be on the table. Thanks to my hungry husband (and very merciful to his sometimes lazy wife!), we just about always have something on the table, and lately it’s been 75% prepared by the hubs. I know, he’s great, isn’t he? :) He’s the king of eggs-in-a-hole (Thanks to Pioneer Woman’s cookbook!) and of gourmet salads (all courtesy of the amazing prices at Costco!).

But really, I do like to cook and want to do that for me and my husband, so the other day I tried out something new. I cooked four of our favorite freezable dinners in one night! Seemed strange to both me and John since I haven’t cooked a meal in probably at least a couple weeks. Although it took me a little longer than I planned (and we did end up going to church on empty stomachs because I also threw in a jog with the dog in the midst of it all, oops!), but I think it’s something I will do again but hopefully not for a couple weeks! (Yes I am the queen of run-on sentences!)

The four meals I cooked:
1. Chili con turkey (a very healthy chili that we’ve enjoyed for a couple years from a diet book of John’s)
2. White mexican hotdish, but it was brown in our case since we used brown rice instead of white (from the lovely and talented Heidi)
3. Fiesta chicken enchiladas (from kraft magazine)
4. Italian hotdish (from one of my women’s church group leaders).

I finally put all my Pyrex baking dishes and Corningware to good use! But I keep forgetting about the super cute new red Fiestaware baking dish I got for my birthday… that’ll be used next time. :)

One of the best parts of this mass cooking idea (actually it was called Once-a-Month cooking, but I haven’t gotten that good at planning quite yet), is that you only have to dirty your kitchen (and I mean really dirty) once every couple weeks or once every month, you only really need to clean a big sink full of dishes every so often, you only use your oven for a couple hours, you don’t get tempted to buy fast food or take out so much because you know that there’s always something already prepared, and of course, dinner is ready in 10 minutes without any prep every night for at least a couple weeks!

Here’s a link to Frugal Mom dot net’s once-a-month cooking information, and even a way to buy her comprehensive guide (something I MIGHT invest in).

And another blog I just found, actually, about this topic which looks to be a good read!

I still have so much to learn, but at least now I’ll have food in my tummy to get me through reading up over the next couple weeks!


Soup and Fajitas

I ended up making a couple things after my last post that were great and helped me use up some of those ingredients. One was Heidi’s potato soup, which was amazing! Funny thing is that my Papa (Grandpa) asked me for the recipe (on facebook, even more funny) and he accidentally put 3 cups of flour instead of 1/3 cup… oops.

So tasty though, when made right! Thanks Heidi!

I also tried making my own homemade pasta sauce using canned diced tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley and a couple other ingredients. These weren’t really on my “list”, but it was something I had been meaning to try for awhile. It came out runnier than I would have liked, but it was much more flavorful than I would have imagined it to be. I even got to use my immersion blender that my mother-in-law got me for Christmas. Yay! That’s definitely going to come in handy over the years.

And to top it all off, tonight I made fajitas for the very first time with my new-ish cast iron skillet. You have to understand, this is my husband’s absolute favorite meal, so he’s been nudging me to make them for a while now. I’ve always been afraid to for some reason. It was so easy! I used a recipe from and used these cute mini sweet peppers that I picked up from Costco with my mom. All in all, great quick meal.

Husband was VERY pleased, and even more pleased when I did the dishes right afterward. Sometimes it’s amazing how I forget to do those simple things to bless him.

His response? “I also really like ice cream and beer…” Oh dear.

Scared but Trusting

Yesterday, I got a voice message from my manager saying that I’ll be getting something in the mail regarding layoffs and voluntary hour cutbacks. Oh dear.

She basically said that I still do have my job, but as of next week there will be another round of rebidding for nursing jobs, meaning that the higher seniority nurses who are laid off will be able to take a whole or part of a lower seniority nurse’s job. Since I’m 0.8 (almost full time), my shift is day/night (not desirable), and I’m in the float pool (requires extra training and more flexibility), I’m hoping that those more experienced nurses will not want my job or will perhaps only take part of my FTE (full-time equivalent, which is 0.8).

I won’t find out until next Tuesday though. Please be praying for me. If I lose my job, it will be really difficult to find another nursing job right now because pretty much every hospital around here is on hiring freezes due to the bad economy and needing to save money.  I’ve been applying to any positions I can find, but most of them require 1yr experience or more specialized training/experience (like ICU or ER experience).

This could really affect John being able to go back to school in the Spring, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. John did get a temporary job that will start on November 30th, so at least we’ll have something!  This is only a month long job though.

I am a little scared of what would happen if I lose my job, but I have to remember that last year we were living off of John’s job working as a lifegaurd and swimming instructor. We were just fine and God provided for us. And if we have to put off John’s schooling, it won’t hurt anyone, it will just thwart OUR plans a little more.

God has His plans and we should trust in His sovereignty and that whatever comes our way was by His loving hands. And it’s for our good, whether we realize it or not. Isn’t that amazing?

Name That Dog

Funny thing happened this morning. I woke up at 5am and was wide awake and actually did not want to sleep anymore. This is revolutionary for me… but is most likely because I zonked out last night at 7pm. Gosh, do you think work wears me out? Only two days on day shift and I’m just about ready for a weekend. I’m really enjoying my job, but since I’m still pretty new, there is far too much to learn every day which just kills the brain energy, and the rest of me follows suit. 

Other than work, John and I have been pretty busy around here. But when I actually think about it, not too much is really going on. John is still trying to find a job for the winter season before he heads back to Stout in January. He’s so excited about school, which makes me happy. I can’t wait for when he can be done with it and have a career that he’s really passionate about. I know he also really looks forward to allowing me to possibly not have to work as much and eventually have time to raise kids. Speaking of which, I had a dream last night that I was suddenly 5 months pregnant. Boy, was that weird!!

We’re also in the midst of trying to plan (but not get ahead of ourselves) for some future investments in two things.

1) A dog! We both loooove dogs and would like to get one when we move to Hudson, WI in May of next year when our rent is up.

Which obviously brings us to the next possible investment:

2) A house! Eventually… probably not for a couple years actually. But we are trying to buckle down lately on the spending of money department so that we can pay off all debt and actually be able to save for a good down payment on a single-family home in that cute town of Hudson. Did I already mention on here that we love it there? Trying not to think about it too much for now though, since I can quickly become inpatient and ungrateful for what we do have now. 

So, what we’re really planning for next is:

3) Another apartment, but IN Hudson! Baby steps, people. But we would like to get a dog that can be active but still able to live in an apartment.  

I don’t know if John and I want to even mention what type of dog we’re currently set on. It’s like how parents don’t want to reveal the names of their soon to be born children so that people don’t talk them out of it (or make fun of their favorite names!). That might sound unwise, but as long as we do thorough research, I think it’s okay to not invite others’ opinions.  It is just a dog, right? Possibly 15 years worth though… 

How about we make a game out of it? (Yes, I know I’m lame.) It’s a reddish/brownish/golden dog… medium sized… short hair…. does NOT smell (YAY!)… or shed!… loves to run around a lot…. but is also very cuddly!… and has very few health problems!   Name that dog!

The Usual

Just about every day I think for a second that I should probably blog about something, but nothing interesting comes to mind. I’m aware that I’m not a gifted writer or creative in that respect, which is fine, but I love blogs and wish I could keep up with mine more often! Honestly the last couple weeks haven’t consisted of much more than the usual: work, sleep, cook, exercise, read, etc.. One exciting thing happened today, they turned on the heat in our building! YAY! That brings me joy since the past couple nights (weeks?) I’ve been shivering as I crawl into bed. I love being able to snuggle under layers and layers of blankets and covers, but when it takes a good 15 minutes just to warm up enough to relax, that’s just no way to go to bed. In other news, I’ve been sick the past week or so and it just hasn’t left me yet. I think these next couple days I should start feeling better, I pray!  John is leaving for a men’s retreat with our church and I work all weekend, so hopefully I can feel better enough to get some good cleaning done around here.

Well, that’s about it. I told you nothing too thrilling. I hope all is well on your end!

Split Rock

John and I went up to the north shore (aka Lake Superior shore in MN) and camped right by Split Rock lighthouse this week for two days and nights. It was so wonderful to get away and just BE together. Kinda weird at first, I’ll admit, but we kept busy with walking around, sitting by the fire (and of course, eating lots of s’mores!), takings beautiful pictures of the view we had of the lighthouse, lounging in our hammock, and playing with the chipmunks that visited us every couple hours. I loved not having any TV, internet or cell phone access for over two days. The sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs lulled me to sleep… even though my face was pretty chilled as I lay in my mummy-bag sleeping bag. This almost 10 yr old North Face sleeping bag is finally getting the use it was made for!

We’ll definitely be making camping trips like this as often as we can; it was very relaxing and fun and beautiful. I know John really enjoyed getting to use all the camping gear and gadgets that he’s been collecting since we got married last summer. I hardly had to plan or pack anything other than my clothes and toiletries (they had bathrooms AND showers!!) and John took care of the rest. He did so well! Our dehydrated thai food and chicken dumpling mixes that we tried weren’t all that bad! I think I might have even said that I would order them at a restaurant if I could… amazing.

I will post some pictures as soon as I get around to it, probably later tonight or this weekend. I have the weekend off this weekend, after only working Sunday, Thursday and Friday this week. I love not having to work M-F now. Although it makes it difficult to plan things with people, it really helps when my work week is broken up with a day or two (or three!) off every now and then. But, I need to plan meals for the next two weeks this weekend because starting Monday night I start night shifts again…. yay. Pictures to come soon; there’s some really good ones!

It’s a Miracle!

I passed my NCLEX-RN!!!! :D  This is the nursing boards exam that allows me to actually practice as a registered nurse! I took it yesterday morning and was 100% sure that I had failed. Yesterday was rough because I had to wait until this morning to find out if I passed or not. I’m sooooo excited!!! It’s a miracle from the LORD that I passed, because I felt like I guessed on half the questions. It was very difficult!! But apparently they think I’m competent enough to be a nurse now, and I’m happy with that! :)  God sure did answer a lot of prayers by having me pass!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a month. I’ve been studying and doing random other things since then, like going to the MN Zoo with my mom and my brother’s kids, going to my sister’s bridal shower, going to my cousin’s wedding reception… well, not that much really, but the past two weeks have pretty much been strictly studying. Now that I’m “free” from the burden of studying, I can do things like write in my blog again! Yippee! Oh and laundry, I get to do that again! ;) My husband will like that. He goes through clothes faster than I can clean them. Since we moved here, what, three months ago? I haven’t been able to catch up with laundry.

So, next week is my older sister’s (my only sister) wedding!!! It’s out in Massachusetts where her and her fiance met and live. They’ll be moving to Iowa after they get married because her husband will start working at Grinnell College, cool huh? Which means, they’ll be MUCH closer to us and the rest of the family! I’m psyched about that! :)  I’m glad that I passed my boards too so that next week I don’t feel down about it, but can just let go and enjoy the week. We’ll be staying in Boston for a day just to tour around, since we have never been there, and then on Wednesday we’ll head over to mid-MA where the festivities will take place and have a couple days before the wedding on Friday. One minor detail… I haven’t been fitting into my bridesmaid dress all that well lately, so I’ve put myself on a bit of a temporary restriction from all things sweet/carb-y…. cakes, cookies, crackers, pretzels, etc. And, I’m going to work out like nutso these next few days before we leave. Hopefully it will be enough to squeeze me into the dress!! It’s very pretty!

Off to eat the turkey chili that I just cooked up…. at 8:30am. :) We had no milk and I hardly ate anything yesterday, so I figured a nice healthy hearty meal/breakfast was in order. I like cooking a lot too, so it’s  kinda a way to celebrate.  :)

My nursing job starts on the 21st! Can’t wait!!