Friday, July 2, 2010

Big Lake Camping Trip - Part 1

Ryan and I have always been lovers of the outdoors. With the absolute crazyiness of coordinating our schedules, we have not been able to take a camping trip yet. The number 1 priority on our wedding registry was not dishes, corning ware, or neat kitchen tools (although, I got some great ones at our shower -- and I LOVE kitchen tools). Our #1 priority was getting a good supply of quality camping gear.

And that we did!

So last weekend we took a 5 1/2 hour trek up the mountains to Big Lake, AZ located in the White Mountains. It's actually close to the New Mexico border.

This couldn't have been a better escape from the 100+ temps Tucson has been experiences. It was in the 70's during the day and 40's at night.

So here is part 1 of our short, but amazing adventure!
Thursday morning, I had my Critical Care final. So, we had everything packed up Wednesday night. After my final - I came home and got everything to the door. When Ryan got home from work - the car was loaded within 20 minutes!
We definitely don't have the desired "out-doorsy" vehicle. That Civic Hybrid was seriously packed to the brim.
And we were on the road by 1:00 p.m. Thursday! (I even let Ryan wear his dorky hat in spirit of the trip)
We made a stop on the side of the road on the way to enjoy some sites. But really, we stopped to let the Hybrid battery recharge. Although Hybrid cars are excellent for gas. THey are not excellent for mountainous driving. Every time we would have a steady incline for a few miles - it wouldn't go much faster than 45 mph.

It made for good memories.
This is looking down on the "Little Colorado River". It created some gorgeous canyons!
We broke up our driving trip - and stayed in Show Low, AZ Thursday night. It's a tourist town. Our hotel receptionist recommended the finest steak house in town.

Let me just say this: all the waiter staff had southern accents (somehow, in AZ), and none of them had a full set of teeth. Maybe it was just that night? I'm nots sure. But I am not exaggerating.

You can't really tell by the picture, but about 40% of the Christmas lights are burnt out. Cute.
I'm going to be honest and say - don't go to this restaraunt if you're in the area. I had the Marlin and Ryan had the Primed Rib. It wasn't anything to write home about.....

Friday morning we were up early and ready to hit the road! We only had a 1 1/2 hour drive, so we were able to kind of "take our time".

We arrived wiht a great welcome to the camp site. It even had our name on the site :-)

We got right to work - and set up the tent. For a 1st time ever assembling the tent - it went quite smooth!

We then split off and did our "usual roles". Ryan created an "onning" with tarp and rope (just in case it rains).

Good thing he had that instinct and thank GOD we set up when we did. For 15 minutes after we got all set up - it was hailing!!!

While Ryan did his set up - I did a quick vacuum job of the tent, set up the air mattress, sleeping bags, etc.
Who says you can't bring a vacuum cleaner on a camping trip?? ;)

As I stated - 15 minutes after this picture was started down-pouring out of no-where.

So we huddled up in the tent, pulled out the crosswork puzzles and playing cards, poured ourselves a cocktail - and took advantage of "being stuck with no stresses".

Normally, I'm the type of person that would go crazy being in a confined space like that. But the 2-3 hours flew! We had a great time with lots of good laughs. It's kind of nice to have a few hours where you can say "I can't do anything right now but play cards and spend time with my loved one!"

After the rain stopped - the sun came out.

And Ryan attempted a fire. Which was quite tricky since EVERYTHING was wet.

So we resorted to lighter fluid.

After our fire was going. It was time to get cooking!

I had pre-cut up carrots and onions before the trip. I chopped up some potatoes and threw them in a foil-packet with the veggies and some seasoning.

We threw the packets directly on the fire.

We also browned some ground beef on the cast iron pot (on our grill).

And the outcome was delicious!

After dinner, we took a walk down to the lake to see the sun set.

And the view was breathtaking.

The day of rain created the most incredible views of steam rising from the ground!

And the sunset was picture-perfect!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July already?!

It's time for the monthly update. I feel sheepish saying this, for I know the summer goes WAY TOO FAST. But, summer isn't all that pleasant in AZ. 109, 105, 106, 109, hot hot hot. Plus, the closer to August 20 (graduation) - the happier I am.

But, I will continue to pray this summer goes slowly for all my loves up north! :)

Current Music:

-My sister Lisa burned a Glee Season 1 soundtrack for me, and I am definitely enjoying it. I've also loving the Neil Diamond - it frequented our camping trip :)
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure:
Red licorice. I bought a bag for our camping trip, didn't finish the bag on the trip - so have been snacking on it. Yum. I love licorice. Black or red.

Current Colors:
Anything but purple! I am so sick of wearing my ugly, purple, scrubs. Purple is my school color. I will never wear this color again after I graduate......

I did buy a orangy-pink colored sundress a few weeks ago. Sounds ugly - but with a nice's kind of striking! I'm kinda digging that color!
Current Obsessions:
Camping. I fell absolutely in love with it last weekend. There is nothing more amazing than being out in the wilderness with no phones, no worries, no concerns! And it's so gorgeous! I am obsessed with waking up in a tent hearing the world. :)
Current Drink:
Besides way too much coffee......

Diet Cherry 7-up. Yum. It claims to have Vitamin E?! :) So that means it's good for me!

Current Song:
Hmmm... Because of my current Neil Diamond kick - I will say "Forever in Bluejeans"
Current Movie:
I'm going to be honest - I haven't seen a movie in a while! About 2 weeks ago, however - Ryan had a "poker night" on a Friday. Which meant I took a break from studying, poured myself a glass of wine, and watched  a chick flick - "When Harry Met Sally". And that sure did brighten my day!

Current TV Shows:
The Office. I love that show. It brightens my day any day.
Current Wish-List:
New running shoes. A new stethoscope (which I will be purchasing upon graduation in 53 days). Rain! A decrease in the temperatures.
Current Needs:
-My sunburnt scalp to heal. I was a good girl on our trip - and applied sunscreen - but our day out on the boat I got a burnt scalp. Owwww.
-More days in the week!
Current Triumph:
Official grades haven't been posted - but - I am pretty sure (how things are looking) I got an A in Critical Care. I was shooting for better than a C. So yay!

I went a whole weekend without showering, and didn't complain ONCE. This is huge.
Current Bane of my Existence:
Percutaneous Coronary Interventions. My Capstone.

Current Goals:
-Have a great experience in Practicum and learn as much possible.
-Write a bangin' Capstone presentation.
-Swim 1.5 miles. That may not be a lot to some - but I am NOT a "swimmer" by nature.

Current Indulgence:
Cantelope and peaches. It's super cheap here this time of the year.
Oh, and pickled beets. Holy cow, have I been eating a lot of those lately! Yum. Ryan always knows when I've been snacking on them because my tongue and lips will be REALLY red.
Current Blessings:
-My education! The end is in site.
-The world that God has given us. I truely got up-close and personal with how amazing nature is this past weekend!

Current Slang or Saying:
I have been saying "Oh Lord" or "Oh Lordy" quite frequently lately.

Current (Fav) Outfit:
Swimming suit! The only way I can be outdoors and not miserable is in a pool!
Current Excitement:
It's the 4th of July weekend! Yay! Even though I am extremely bummed we won't be at the lakes with family - we have a fun weekend planned anyways! I'm also excited to start my practicum clinicals next Friday!

Current Mood:
Well now that I'm getting "a handle" on my Capstone paper - I am light and happy! But, Lord, this morning - I was a MONSTER of a crab! :-(

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wellness Wednesday: Comfort Food?

Sometimes I have evenings where I don't feel like marinating meat, prepping vegetables, seasoning the meal to perfection, and cooking a delicious concoction.

However, to stay in the budget and healthy - eating out isn't an option either.

So, I resort to comfort food.

Nights like this occur when:
-the husband is out of town
-Sunday evenings after a busy weekend
-at the end of a long, crazy, never-ending day

But often comfort foods/easy-quick meals include frozen pizza, mac n' cheese (ish), macoroni & ketchup (one of my favorites).

But here is something I've found as my "go-to" comfort meal. And it's full of good fiber and veggies! And it's even gluten free (for my GF readers :D)
Painfully easy, but delicious! Trust me on this one.

-1 can black beans or kidney beans or red beans (whatever your feeling or whatever is in your pantry!)
-1 can stewed tomatoes
-Chop up some red/green/yellow peppers
-Chop up some onions
-Throw a few sprigs of fresh cilantro or parsley (or dried if you don't have fresh herbs)
-Cook 1/2 cup of Quinoa (that way you'll have left-overs)

Throw it all together in a bowl or plate. It's kind of a soupy, pasta-like, delicious concoction! And if you're really feeling the need for comfort (like when I'm craving mac 'n' ketchup) - I even put a little ketchup on top.

(So, as you can see - my Wellness Wednesday is kind of lame this week. But, I've been writing a giant Capstone paper. All I can think about is angioplasty, CABG, and other things related to heart disease.
I. Am. So. Over. It. !!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Greetings everyone! We have returned from our camping trip, and reality is hitting hard! I have been working on my Capstone paper since 6:00 am -- and am realllly wishing I was miles up in the mountains, secluded in the forest, away from nursing school again! ;)

But, I'm home. *sigh*.

I will be doing a vacation recap....soon. But in the my ten! :)

1. What was/is your favorite live action (meaning not animated) kids movie?
Hm...I don't know how "action-y" this is...but I loved the Parent Trap. The new one. I don't think I ever saw the original? But, oh, how I wanted to be a twin, and go to a cool summer camp, and be Lindsay Lohan.

Wow, I'm really glad that dream never came true. You know, "being Lindsay Lohan" and all. I would be a crack-head. In rehab. So sad! What ever happened to our innocent little red-headed Lindsay?!

2. What is a bad habit you have? Are you working on breaking it?
Fidgeting. Good Lord, I feel sorry for anyone who has to talk to me face-to-face - espcially if I'm feeling nervous or stressed out. If there is something in my range that I can pick up and fidget with - I am sure to do so. Sometimes, I think I shall resort to sitting on my hands to stop this dreadful habit!

3. Describe your father in 3 words.

4. Which character in the Breakfast Club were you most like in the ’80s?
None of them, really. I had nerdy tendencies like the blonde guy- but I was more of a "band nerd" or "speech geek" than "academic nerd". I definitely was no jock. I cared about how I looked, so I had a little "Molly Ringwald" in me - but,  what teenager isn't concerned about that.

Thank GOD I wasn't the weird nympho-girl who didn't talk - and used her dandruff to make art.....
5. Name 5 songs you know ALL the lyrics to.
Oh boy. This may be interesting
1. Music Box - Regina Spektor
2. Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash (Thanks to my brother Kevin)
3. Ironic - Alanis Morissette
4. Everything - Michael Buble
5. Shelter from the Storm - Bob Dylan

6. Do you make pancakes from scratch or a box mix?
I don't make pancakes. I'm not a fan, and Ryan isn't crazy about them either.

However, I once tried making Buckwheat pancakes in my early days of cooking? They were frightening. I bet they were 1/2 thick, and the middle was gooey, and the outside was charred black. After that, we just quit having pancakes.

7. What was your worst job ever? Why?
Without a doubt, "Cleaning Lady Extraordinaire" of the AmericInn Suites of Grand Forks, ND.

My shift was Saturday and Sunday 8-2. However, it was really 8-6. And my boss? I'm pretty sure she's in a psych ward now. I would be on my hands and knees scrubbing floors, and she would come come check on me with her annoying Alabama accent and accuse me of missing pieces of hair - when CLEARLY there was no hair. She was actually crazy.

I have so many stories I could tell just from the 4 shifts I worked at that job. Wow.
8. What was your favorite class in high school?
I loved Chemistry. I had an incredible science teacher, Mrs. Larson - who put her heart and soul into education. And on top of that, I just love chemistry in general.
9. Favorite summer guilty pleasure?
I'm going to have to say Margaritas. Or popsicles - banana popsicles. Or roasted marshmallows. However, it's too hot in AZ to roast marshmallows in the summer. But I did get my share on the camping trip this weekend. Yum! No guilt there!

10. Please share your best money saving tip!
Money saving? What's that? :P
-Don't work! Then you have no money to spend!
.....Oh, how I can't wait to graduate, get a job, and get this odd thing called a "pay check"....