Full Circle

289 days is a long time. It takes less time to grow a baby from scratch. It’s a lot more than the days in in a school year. I spent 289 days away from my work in the emergency department. But thankfully, as of this week, I get to stop counting!

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’tis the season for back to school pictures, so I had Ben shoot my back to work picture.

I had a great appointment with my surgeon last week. Not only did he give me the clearance to return to full-duty, but he said these magical words: “The patients who are doing as well as you at 5 months out are the ones who have great outcomes 5 years out.” What I’ve been waiting to hear! Work was an important step, but more important to me was how this injury would impact my life down the road.

So, Monday August 17, 2015 was my first day back in the ED! It went really well. I’m going right back to 12 hour shifts, which is definitely a challenge. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned while having to relearn how to walk, it’s that something that seems difficult or painful at first won’t stay that way. My second day was more of a challenge than the first, but my charge nurses are great and willing to put me in an assignment that will work for me.

So it feels like everything has come full circle. My leg is no longer holding me back. It’s not perfect, but it probably won’t ever be.

While this little journey is coming to an end, I’m not closing my blog. I still want to share things with everyone. I have less time for yummy kitchen stuff, but I still want to post yummy stuff for you.

Thanks for your support along the way! Your words and well-wishes have helped me greatly. Onward and upward now 🙂

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Quick and Cool Cucumber Salad

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As promised, I put less than 2 months between blog posts! Win.

Aren’t you just loving all the summer vegetables that are in season? We have sweet corn a few times a week, and people from work have been bringing in arm-fulls of extra vegetables from their gardens.

I love a good side salad, but sometimes I want to make something just a bit different as a side dish. My mom makes some mean marinated veggies with Good Seasonings Italian dressing mix, but for some reason I can’t seem to replicate it.  This recipe is just a bit different, and it’s quick to pull everything together with stuff you have on hand.

FullSizeRender (18)I used cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and kalamata olives to put a Greek twist on it. (It really, seriously needed some feta.) I’ve made it with just cucumbers before, and that’s great too. You could make an italian version with some fresh basil and a little mozzarella, and I’ve heard just cucumbers with fresh cilantro is good as well. This is a recipe you can change to fit whatever you’re making it with.

Plus, no cooking. Just whip this up and let it sit overnight or for a few hours and it’s good to go!

Quick and Cool Cucumber Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced or chopped

1 1/2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

1 tsp honey

1 tsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients, and toss to coat. Can be served immediately, but is best if it has time to marinate. Serve chilled. Adapted from Bethenny Frankel’s SkinnyGirl recipe at http://www.bethenny.com

Hope you enjoy it! What have you been doing with all the summer fruits and veggies?

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Summer hiatus! And A World Blogger Award Nomination!

Well look at that. It’s August. I have terribly neglected my blog during the last couple of months, but it’s Michigan and it’s summer! I think Michigan’s finest season is summer and I’ve been busy balancing work and rehab with enjoying all there is to do this time of the year. Check the pictures for some highlights of my summer so far.

Tiger baseball! I didn't think I'd make it to a game until early fall because it's hard to sit for so long, but we celebrated the 4th of July at Comerica Park.
Tiger baseball! I didn’t think I’d make it to a game until early fall because it’s hard to sit for so long, but we celebrated the 4th of July at Comerica Park.

So, update on my leg: progress is slowing. I’m continuing to use the weight machines at the gym to strengthen my bad leg, and that’s going well. Lots of grinding in my knee joint, but it’s not painful. My biggest complaint really is the swelling in my ankle and foot after a day of sitting/standing.

 We went to a friend's wedding on the coast of Lake Michigan. The view was breathtaking!

We went to a friend’s wedding on the coast of Lake Michigan. The view was breathtaking!

With work, I plan ahead and wear compression socks (I have some great ones by a company called Sockwell that I just love!). But it creeps up on me at times I don’t realize it, and before I know it I’m sitting at a wedding with an ankle the size of a grapefruit. I just got a new compression sleeve from Meijer that has openings for the toes and the heel, so I can wear it with sandals. So far it seems pretty helpful! I’m doing seated work in a cardiology office, but I definitely feel better if I’m active. It’s hard trying to balance rest with just enough activity to keep my joint loose. Ben and I went for a 1 mile walk last week, and I was pretty proud of that. Getting the endurance back is tough.

Going into this beautiful summer season, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to enjoy very much of it because of my leg. Thankfully, that hasn’t really been the case at all! I think the only thing I would really like to do but will likely put off until next year is a tubing trip.

My next x-ray is August 12, and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that Dr. will clear me for some short shifts in the ER!

In other news, I was nominated by Sadie at Sadie’s Nest for a World Blogger award! She just posted a killer frozen hot chocolate recipe that I can’t wait to try. Thanks for the nomination, Sadie!wpid-sisterhood-of-world-blogger-award

The Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, including a link back to their site.

2. Put the award logo on your blog.

3. Answer the ten questions the blogger has sent you.

4. Create ten new questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Nominate ten people of your own. (You can notify them to make them aware)

(I only nominated five. I’m a wimp.)

The award rules:

1. What is your favorite activity (aside from blogging)?

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Ben and I after the wedding. The perfect setting for a selfie.

Baking and cooking! I really like decorating cookies, and am working to get better at it. Creating something that looks too good to eat is my goal!

2. Who is your biggest blogging inspiration?

Jen @ Carlsbad Cravings. Her food photography is amazing and always makes me hungry. Her recipes are top-notch and I definitely recommend her Sweet & Sour Chicken.

3. Is there a dish you are intimidated to try to make?

Generally any meat dish that involves more than just baking is overwhelming to me. I love pulled chicken & pork, but cannot master the art of the pulling.

4. What did you eat for breakfast?

A banana and blueberry muffin I made. I subbed coconut extract for vanilla and it was delish!

5. Where is your dream destination?

Paris!

6. If you had 1 more hour in a day, how would you use it?

Cleaning. I would get in the habit of cleaning 1 room a day so I never had to spend a Saturday cleaning the whole house!

7. For traveling do you prefer boat, plane, train or automobile?

Boat.

8. Skiing in the Alps or bumming it on the beach?

The beach, but only because I don’t ski. I’m not much of a beach person, though.

9. Have you ever done karaoke?

Yes, but it has been a while.

10. What’s your favorite form of pampering.

Hands (or feet?) down, a pedicure. It’s the ultimate.

My first-ever Coast Guard Fest. Will definitely go back to see the spectacular fireworks show.
My first-ever Coast Guard Fest. Will definitely go back to see the spectacular fireworks show.

My nominees:

1. Jen @ Carlsbad Cravings

2. Liz @ Liz Marie Blog

3. Jessica @ How Sweet It is

4. Julia @ Lemon Stripes

5. Kate @ Kate’s Creative Space

My questions are:

1. What do you love most about the city you live in?

2. You find $20 in your coat pocket. What do you spend it on?

3. What is your go-to store for gifts?

4. Early bird or night owl?

5. Mexican or italian food?

6. Favorite Disney movie?

7. What do you look forward to most about fall?

8. What’s the one thing on your to-do list that you’re procrastinating?

9. Name one state that you haven’t visited yet but want to.

10. What do you love most about blogging?

The next few weeks are busy again with tons of fun stuff, but I’ll try to post a recipe for a yummy cucumber and tomato salad I made for dinner tonight.

Cheers!

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I’ve always loved the idea of summer…

Sorry for the really long hiatus! I haven’t had much to write about. I’m just over here walking, going up and down the stairs, doing all kinds of other things all by myself. It’s exciting!

This lemon slice was exclusively for photo purposes. I don't sit around my house drinking perfect lavender lemonade with perfect little lemon slices. I pour it in a glass with some ice (if we have any) and drink it down.
This lemon slice was exclusively for photo purposes. I don’t sit around my house drinking perfect lavender lemonade with perfect little lemon slices. I pour it in a glass with some ice (if we have any) and drink it down.

So I was in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher today and obviously it made sense to make lemonade while I was up. It’s just what you do, right?

So, I juiced a bag of lemons, made some simple syrup, and then I thought “well, since I’m here, I should just add some lavender.”

And just like that, I had my favorite summer treat. Lavender lemonade.

So first you boil the water and sugar, making simple syrup. Once the water is boiling, add some lavender buds. You can find these at your local spice market or on Etsy. Let the water steep with the lavender for an hour. You’ll have to resist the urge to fall asleep.

In the meantime, juice some lemons. You can certainly use store-bought lemon juice, I have before. It’ll work in a pinch but it’s not as life changing as fresh lemon juice. So you get yourself a good juicer (I have this one from Pampered Chef and I love it.) and put in the work.

Mix it all together with some ice water and you’re done! Pour yourself a glass and enjoy yourself some summer.

Lavender Lemonade

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
  • 1 cup of lemon juice (from 8 small lemons)
  • 2 1/2 cups ice water

Boil 2 1/2 cups water with sugar. Add lavender, cover, and steep for 1 hour. Drain lavender buds from water, reserving liquid.

Pour reserved lavender/sugar/water mixture into a pitcher,  add lemon juice and ice water. Stir well, and serve over ice.

Can you believe that a month ago I couldn’t even walk and now I’m making lemonade?! I’m so excited about my progress so far. My next x-ray is June 9th, and hopefully this will show that the graft is healing well. My surgeon already told me that if it doesn’t show healing it doesn’t mean it won’t, just that it needs a little more time to catch on.

Thanks for all the kind words on Facebook, it has really meant a lot!

I can do hard things

I never meant to put this much time between my last post and thidrew_crutchess one. I wish I could say that I’ve been, like, super busy but we all know that would be a lie. I’ve always been one of those people that is a lot more productive with a busy schedule. Like, if I have one thing to do I’m less likely to get up and do it than if I have 10 things.

Anyway, I’m officially almost done with the non-weight-bearing portion of my trip. (Happy to report I am out of my post-op hole. Those narcs were not a good trip.) This has been harder than I thought it would be, less painful than I thought it would be, and (like everyone said it would) it has gone by faster than I thought it would.

So, here’s a bulleted list to summarize my progress for those of you interested:

  • I can bend my leg to approximately 90 degrees passively, a little more if I help it.
  • I have read 2 books, and am halfway through a third.
  • I learned to knit. Seriously, if you find yourself in a similar predicament to my own, I highly encourage it.
  • I am this close to getting my leg perfectly straight.
  • I can sleep on my side again, which is exciting. I am not a back sleeper, plus I have a pressure ulcer from positioning during surgery on my butt cheek, so laying on my side is sweet, sweet comfort.
  • The cat can safely walk across my knee without it hurting.
  • I have watched 4 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Seriously? Seriously. I feel like it’s helping me keep my edge. (By picking out all the errors, not by giving me actual medical knowledge. Who knew so many people flatlined during plastic surgery!)
  • I’ve found a way to venture up the stairs, if only to take a shower.
  • I will never, ever take simple things for granted. When this is all over and I can carry my own glass of iced tea to the table, I will be a happy girl.
  • My husband should probably be considered for some type of sainthood.

Until next time,

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Housewarming in a Jar

Two of our closest friends, Kevin and Ashleigh bought a house last week and I am so excited for them! It’s completely adorable and I know that they’re going to make it into such a reflection of their style. It’s great to have 2 more friends to share the burden fun of owning a house.

When we bought our house, Ashleigh bought me a whole rubbermaid tote filled with cleaning supplies. It was such a fitting gift seeing as how I hate cleaning and don’t have a great stock of supplies that work well. It was really helpful to have all this stuff around when we were tearing up the house to get it ready to move in.

I wanted to do something equally helpful for her, so I thought back to all the little things we needed in those weeks of in-between. I also took to pinterest for some inspiration, of course. So, I went to the HouseHoldWords etsy store and bought one mailbox decal with their new address on it. From amazon, I got a glass canister to put all my little gifts in. This thing is huge! It will be the ultimate cookie jar for them. I put the decal on the canister and it was ready to fill!

I slowly collected things as I was out shopping. Of course, you could put whatever you wanted in it, but here’s a run-down of what I put in.

  • A happy housewarming card
  • Goo-gone to get the goo off all the pretty new things to be bought!
  • Painter’s tape for lots, and lots, and lots of painting.
  • A box cutter for moving boxes and opening new boxes.
  • Batteries. We seemed to need more batteries than ever when we moved. New remotes, appliances, etc.
  • A notepad for jotting down a list before you go to the hardware store. (Let’s face it: you’re going to make three trips anyway.)
  • Hand soap for washing off all the grime and paint before digging into the third night of take-out in a row.
  • Band-aids, for use with the box cutter.
  • Tylenol for sore backs, heads, and egos.
  • Two beers to enjoy once you’ve decided to throw in the towel and call a professional plumber.
  • A Lowe’s gift card.

I tied it all together with a patterned ribbon and it was all set to go! They had a whole group of friends and family over for an empty house party. Pizza, tours, and lawn chairs brought everyone to celebrate this wonderful occasion.

Congratulations, Kevin and Ashleigh! Enjoy making lots of memories in your new home.

Coming later this week…carrot cake muffins. See you then!

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Sweets for the Sweet!

I love to bake. I love, love, love it. I am obsessive about almond extract in everything and I’m learning how to work with bread dough. I’ve tried and failed at macarons (I’ll try again soon), and I’ve never attempted cheesecake.

But I like to think I do all right with cookies. I don’t make very many cookies in the beginning of the year because I go a bit overboard with Christmas cookies, but I wanted to work on my royal icing technique for some Valentine’s Day treats.

I found the most killer recipe over at Sally’s Baking Addiction. Her Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are perfect. Think Panera perfect. I spent the afternoon making them festive with some royal icing, and my Valentine loved them.

My loot!

What was different about Sally’s recipe was that the dough is chilled once it’s already rolled out into sheets, but before cutting the shapes. It was really easy to just put the dough outside in the sub-zero temps, and bring it in a few hours later.

I’ve only worked with royal icing once, but I think I did okay. This was also the first time I used the marbling technique. I feel stupid for not trying it before. It was so easy! This recipe for the icing is from the meringue powder container. I used a different one at Christmas and I prefer this one. It tastes great!

Royal Icing
3 tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
6 tablespoons warm water

Whip the meringue powder with 3 tablespoons of water until foamy. Add confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time. Add 1 tablespoon water between each cup of powdered sugar.

You need 2 different consistencies of icing: piping and flooding consistency. Piping consistency should be about the consistency of whipped cream. Flooding consistency should be similar to maple syrup. With the piping icing, outline whatever design you want and (once it’s dry) fill it with the flooding icing. To do the polka dots/stripes/etc, I used a squeeze bottle with the background icing still wet. When you do this, the icing has a flat effect. You can certainly wait until the background icing dries and your cookies will be more 3-dimensional.

This cookie makes me think of v-tach. At least I still have my nurse humor. 😉

I tried to vary up my designs. Some turned out better than others, but when hubs came home, he said “Wow, they’re so cool looking!”

Win.

Always,

Welcome!

Hi everyone! I’m Jen, and I’m a twenty-not-almost-thirty-something nurse living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I live with husband, Ben, Chloe the cat, and Shadow the dog in a cute little house on Bridge street.

Up until November 2014, I was working full time in a local Emergency Department. In my spare time, which seemed so minimal, I baked, cooked, cleaned (ok…sometimes), and of course decorated our home.

Then, one beautiful Saturday  morning changed everything. I was 25 minutes into a fun shift at work when I fell while caring for a patient and dislocated my right knee. I spent the next month navigating the workman’s compensation system waiting to see the orthopedist. Once I did, I found out I would need not one, but two surgeries to repair the damage I’d done. I tore my medial patelofemoral ligament and tore off cartilage from the base of my femur. The cartilage tear requires a cadaver graft to repair, so I’m “on a list” waiting for that.

(Day 1 after injury…the whole gang kept my company on the couch.)

(Robo-leg! I’ve since ditched this brace and am working on also ditching my limp.)

In the meantime, my routine has changed kind of a lot. I’ve (temporarily) hung up my scrubs and have all the time in the world to pursue new hobbies. Being a stay-at-home wife is an interesting role, so I hope you enjoy reading my blog! Stay tuned for more updates.