August 21, 2017

A Day In The Life of a Charge Nurse

I realized my blog and Instagram make it seem like I am out adventuring and cooking all the time. But most of the time, a typical day for me is just all work and pretty boring. But I will go ahead and share what a typical work day as a Charge Nurse. My official title is Clinical Nurse Lead. Basically, I am just in charge of making sure my entire unit staff runs their shift smoothly. As always, some details are changed. And military time is part of my day so there it is!

0510: I have to get up. I shouldn't have stayed up till 2230 last night, but I did. Thankfully I prepared my breakfast, snacks, and lunch for grab and go last night.
0528: I really take no time to get ready in the morning. I just kind of get up and go. I also do it in the dark since Kevin does not have to be up for a couple of hours. I am out the door with some teeth brushed. concealer and mascara on, and some peach tea in my hand. Oh there is also that whole bit of getting dressed, throwing my hair in a pony tail, and putting as much deodorant on as I can.

0615: Arrive to work. Thankfully the traffic isn't bad this time of morning.

0630: Get report from the night shift charge nurse. I'll look over her info and put finishing touches on the daily schedule.

0700: Give a quick huddle report to my day shift staff.

0701: Do audits of staff reports, rooms, and answer night shift questions about random things (mainly schedules).
0800: Go to a morning hospital wide meeting.

0820: Chug some water, since I may not stop again to do so for a while. Eat a handful of almonds. Maybe a quick egg muffin too!

0900: Work, work, work, work, work. Day to day, everything is completely different. Usually I first speak with my unit's Case Manager and discuss all potential discharge patients and their needs for the day. Then for the rest of the time I am rounding on patients, putting out fires if a patient is unhappy, helping staff administer medications, admit patients, discharge patients, assess patients, and whatever they need me to do. 
1200: Meeting with the doctors on the unit with the Case Manager and try and ensure we have a cohesive plan of care in place

1300: Sit up at the front desk for the Unit Associate so she can take a lunch break. Enjoy a few more sips of water and handfuls of almonds.
1330: Thankfully the Unit Associate is back because there are 4 different things that need my attention right now. There is a patient needing IV pain medication and none of the nurses can get an IV started. There is another patient who wants to see whomever is in charge "right now!" There is a patient who came back from a cardiac cath procedure (a procedure to open up the coronary arteries after having a heart attack) and is having some bleeding complications. Continue to work, work, work. Everyday is completely different.

1500: Another hospital wide meeting. 

1530: Inhale my lunch, there are still people and things that need my attention. I usually do try and do lunch at 1130, but it often doesn't happen. So here I am, eating lunch late. Today it is chicken deli meat wrapped around some mayo and a pickle.

1700: Start working on my report sheet for the oncoming shift, start auditing staff charting, and creating the assignment sheet for the night shift staff.

1830: Report to the night shift nurse.

1900: Give a quick huddle report to my oncoming night shift staff.

1930: Drive home.

2015-2200: Get home, eat while watching a TV episode with Kevin. Thankfully he has dinner ready for me! Then shower, prep my uniform for the next day, get into bed, go through my Instagram and Snapchat, and fall asleep while watching the news.

So like I said, not that interesting.
But it is my life!

August 18, 2017

Hiking Sandia Crest

My husband has family who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Naturally when we went to visit, I had to find a hike to do!

Most people who visit Albuquerque are told to do the Sandia Tramway. It is a really great experience with beautiful views. But being that is something I have done, I decided to forgo that. Instead my husband and cousin and I drove up and hiked!

It was beautiful. We completed a loop combining two trails. The drive up the Sandia Crest Scenic Highway was beautiful and surprisingly quick.

South Crest La Luz Loop Trail
3.2 miles RT | 1.5 hours | 836 feet | Easy

This is a beautiful moderately trafficked loop.  What is really cool is the different environments. Going on the South Crest you are in forest and trees and on La Luz you are at the edge with rocky points and sweeping views of Albuquerque New Mexico.

There looks to be all sorts of really neat trails there. 
What a fun area to explore!

August 14, 2017

Five Fun Summer Camping Essentials

My dad's birthday is tomorrow. I wish I could be there to give him a big hug. He really is a great, great father. He taught me a lot and in honor of him, I thought I would pass on some of his wisdom.
Recently got into camping again after a ten year hiatus. My earliest memories of camping were with my dad. Camping, hunting, and fishing are his wheelhouse.

If you are thinking about getting back into camping or are just trying to figure out what to pack, here are my Five Fun Summer Camping Essentials that I plan to bring along on all my trips. Of course this omits a lot of stuff. Camping is an exercise in bringing a ton of stuff and there are quite a few basics not listed here.
Cooler Full of Prepped Healthy Meals + Snacks

My days of living off canned food and hot dogs while camping are no more! I bring meal prepping on the road with me and I like to have big cooler packed full of ready-to-cook meals. I do all the chopping in advance, so I am not doing at the campground.

Think fruit salad, veggies, hummus, nuts, beef jerky, dried fruit, trail mix, homemade breakfast burritos. Whatever! Your diet doesn’t have to take a vacation just because you do. Get creative! But totally dump your diet for Smores. A camping trip is not a camping trip without Smores.

First Aid Kit

Band aids, tegaderm, quick clot, ace wrap, ibuprofen, pepto, bug spray, sunscreen, aloe, and baby wipes among a couple of other things make sure that I am good to go in case camping takes a turn for the worst. Why baby wipes? Who doesn't love staying fresh with a baby wipe wipe down?!

The Basics

I am not about the life of trying to start fires in any other way except the easiest way possible, so I like a bit of lighter fluid! A saw also helps so that you can get the wood you need. Don't forget your other basics such as a table, folding chairs, flashlights, batteries, mallet, water, MORE water, iodine tablets in case you need more water, and a hand washing jug.

A Good Sleeping Bag

I am a fair weather camper. Nevertheless, I have a mummy bag because a good quality sleeping bag is worth it to me!


I love to have a couple of board games on hand. Phase 10, Catan, 7 Wonders Dual (if there is two of you), and some old fashioned playing cards are always fun games to bring!

What do you always have to have when you go camping?

August 11, 2017

Camping in Payson + Green Chile Stew

We went camping this past weekend. Gross but true, I have never had such few things to wash after a weekend trip away! Clothes aside, if you saw all the equipment we needed for this trip, you would think we were actually moving into the wilderness for two weeks, rather than just two days.

This is the second camping trip in a month. We are clearly going through a camping phase. I like the idea of getting away, nature, snacks, and wine. But that lasts for about two hours and then I look around and think, okay what now? I really can't sit still sometimes. I also don't like longer than two days.

Furthermore we haven't invested in camping equipment except for what my husband has. By the way, did I mention it is backpacking equipment? Yeah, no fitting an air mattress into a backpacking tent. 

We went with some friends. It was enjoyable to make meals for each other, play games, sit by the fire, shoot at targets, and explore a lake.

I was in charge of making some meals. I kept it simple stupid and dinner one night ended up being some Green Chile Stew and Smores. Did I take any pictures of my amazing stew? No of course not, but I did snap a few of us having a good time!
Look dad, that is my bulls eye!

And then here is an amazing stew for you to make at home or easy to make on a camping stove! Bonus, there was some left over for us so I didn't have to worry about dinner when I got home from the camping weekend!


2 pounds of beef chuck roast, cubed
1 onion, chopped
4 green chiles, chopped
1 can of Rotel
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
1 can of beef broth
2 potatoes, peeled and diced


Lightly oil the bottom of a stock pot. Add beef and onions and cook until onions translucent.

Add green chile, Rotel, cumin, garlic salt, and beef broth. Let simmer for an hour.

Add potatoes and simmer for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are done.

adapted from here

Easy, peasy, green chile squeezy!
What is your favorite dinner to make while camping?

August 7, 2017

Three Great Ways To Do A Burger

Summer is here and that means that my grill is on fire! Grilled chicken, steaks, and of course burgers are my go to!

My key to a good burger is a a simple recipe: a good grill master (thanks husband!), good ground beef (thanks parents!), and a good bun.

With those three things, you can't go wrong! Who doesn't love a good burger? I love a traditional burger as much as the next red blooded American, but I also love to dress up my burgers and enjoy!

Here are my three favorite ways to do up a burger:

Green Chili Cheese Burger
You better believe this New Mexican girl who loves her green chili loves it on a cheese burger!

Bacon Avocado Cheese Burger
I mean what is better than a burger? A burger with bacon. What is better than a burger with bacon? A burger with bacon AND avocado. So amazing.

Caramelized Onion Burger
Caramelize some onions and add some thousand island as a sauce and you have yourself a stepped up burger. For those of you who dare, add some chopped bacon. I know, this burger is not for the faint of heart...but totally worth it!

What is your favorite way to have a burger?

August 4, 2017

Visiting Calgary

Calgary Alberta! We had a couple days to explore there and it was nice! We flew into Calgary on Canada Day. Flying into Calgary on Canada Day in 2017 when the Canadians (eh!) are celebrating their 150th anniversary was both particularly exciting and a bit of a crowded nightmare, but I am convinced that Canada loves to party!

We flew out the day Calgary Stampede started where the city transforms itself into the Wild West! Lots to experience in Calgary. We used it as our gateway to get to the beautiful Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, and Yoho National Park.

Here are some of the best things to do in Calgary:

Prince's Island Park: Peace Bridge
This is where Canada Day was hosted. It is a beautiful area with walking paths, bike lanes, and gardens that hug the riverbank. To get across the river, there is a beautiful red bridge called The Peace Bridge. It is quite unique.

Stephen Avenue
My hotel lead right out to Stephen Avenue. It is a pedestrian only area that is surrounded by high rises and full of restaurants and bars. Quite a fun area.

Explore Art
Also a couple of steps away from my hotel was a beautiful building and the Wonderland sculpture. There are just other random art installations that draw your eye.

Canada Olympic Park
We were unable to do this on our trip, but there are some exciting thrill seeking activities here! It was built for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. There are both summer and winter activities there. Looks like fun!

Get Around
We rented a car. I had heard that the public transport wasn't all that great (still don't know if it is true) and we were planning on travelling the the mountains. But Calgary is a beautiful pedestrian friendly city. It is also a great biking community and I would recommend it!

I had read that there were amazing city views at Nose Hill Park. I didn't really do that much research, but I was very surprised when I got there. It is a huge grassland and the views weren't really that great. I would not recommend it.

Thanks for a nice stay Calgary!

July 21, 2017

Avocado, Corn, and Shrimp Salad

I love shrimp. Give it to me with some cocktail sauce, give it to me in a taco, give it to me in a salad, give it to me!

Last weekend, my husband took me to a concert in Phoenix. He took me to see Charlie Puth who was opening up for Shawn Mendes. Shawn was great, but I was really there for Charlie. I love his music. I tweeted about it and Charlie actually liked my tweet! I had a fan girl moment.

The concert demographic was very much young girls. What was sad is that most of them seemed to just be on their phones recording the entire thing instead of just really enjoying the concert and being in the moment. I had a crotchety old woman moment.

Before the concert that my husband so graciously sat through, we went out for Mexican food and of course I had tacos de camarones! I had a shrimp moment.

So in honor of my husband, I thought I would share his favorite salad. It makes me happy how much he loves this salad. So naturally, I love making it. I am having a husband moment.


4 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
3 strips of bacon, cooked and diced
1/2 lb. of large shrimp, peeled with tails off
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 cup of frozen corn
Buttermilk Pesto Dressing:
1/2 cup of milk
1.5 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/4 cup of pesto
1/2 cup of mayonnaise


To Make The Salad:
In a microwave safe bowl, add corn with a small bit of water. Cover with a plate with room enough for steam to let out. Microwave for about two minutes or until corn is steamed.

In a large skillet, fry bacon until crispy (about five minutes). Set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Add shrimp to the same skillet and saute until cooked and pink (about two minutes per side). Set aside your shrimp. Dice your bacon.

Assemble the salad by putting romaine lettuce down and topping with corn, avocado, bacon, and shrimp. Drizzle with Buttermilk Pesto Dressing (recipe below). Then enjoy!

To Make The Dressing:
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together milk and lemon juice and let sit for five minutes.

Then add pesto and mayonnaise and whisk together until blended. Transfer to a glass jar and drizzle all over this and other favorite salads!

Have you ever gone to a concert for the opening act?
What is your favorite shrimp recipe?

July 17, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, you have a piece of my heart. The Cinque Terre is a group of five small towns on the western coast of Italy. You can take day trips here, but I highly recommend staying and hiking and exploring! It was really and truly one of my favorite places in Italy.

Part of the charm of Cinque Terre is that there are not a lot of people. This is partly because of its inaccessibility. Local trains or some group travels are really your only way to get in. However, in the same breath, Rick Steves, UNESCO, and a bunch of other people are making this a very popular place to go. I always struggle with telling people about beautiful parts of nature. You don't want to overrun it with people, but you want to see and take in the beauty. So take the train to Monterosso, Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola, or Riomaggiore and begin to enjoy the magic that is the Cinque Terre!

Getting There
First off, getting there! We took a train from Florence to Riomaggiore. Well technically Florence to La Spezia. La Spezia is a town close to Cinque Terre that can provide you with regional trains to the Cinque Terre cities.

Getting to all of the other cities involved us hiking. I highly recommend doing that and visiting this post here for all that good info.

We stayed in a really great Airbnb in Riomaggiore. The host was extremely nice, the place was clean and private, and it was very close to the train station. That becomes important when you have luggage and will spend a lot of time walking around. We wanted to hike through all the towns so it was important for me to stay in either Riomaggiore or Monterosso. Riomaggiore was less crowded, and I like that!
Riomaggiore is the southernmost town. At the top of the town, you can explore a church with some awesome panoramic views.

We also enjoyed grabbing a pizza and bottle of wine and heading to the trailhead of The Lover's Lane (Check out this post about hiking through the Cinque Terre Cities) and just eating watching the sunset over the water. Having a bottle of wine out in a public place is totally acceptable in Italy btw...
Yeah that is fresh swordfish on that pizza and it was amazing. I took a picture and miss that pizza!

We then made it to the next town Manarola. We visited the Chiesa di San Lorenzo which was a beautiful church and looked at the beautiful views! Despite the clouds and some drizzling rain through here and Corniglia, it was beautifully colorful.

All of the towns were small, but Corniglia is the smallest. It is not directly on the water (the only of the five towns) and instead up on the cliffs with some great views. The town is postcard perfect with colorful homes lining the streets and providing a striking contrast against the jagged cliffs and ocean.

Vernazza is very picturesque. There are so many colorful buildings and a rocky beach. Prepare for lots of stairs down and up to a beautiful little city. Totally worth it though! The sun came out for us in this town and I just loved seeing the vibrant town alive.

We ended in Monterosso. We ended up having some amazing dinner at Trattoria Via Dell'amore. We got to Monterosso just time time as the sun was setting. It was beautiful. We were tired and hungry and enjoyed our time eating there. Of the five cities, it is the biggest and so there are many places to shop and eat here. We then took the train home to Riomaggiore, tired and happy from a good long day.

Have you been to the Cinque Terre?
If not, when are you planning on going?

July 14, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Bowl

I love buffalo sauce. It is so yummy and low carb! Eating buffalo chicken is a common occurrence for me, but of course trying it with the vegetable of the moment, Cauliflower was a must!

Just to show how popular riced cauliflower is, Trader Joe's is limiting customers to two bags of their riced cauliflower. But making your own in a food processor is so easy! People say the cons to using the food processor is cleaning it, but I think it is very easy to clean in my dishwasher. I like to buy a head of cauliflower and rice it all at one time. Before storing, I squeeze the rice through a cheese cloth. Sometimes I will do it again when I am ready to use it. I store it in my fridge for up to 5 days. I bet you could freeze it airtight for 3-6 months as well.

So instead while I am at Trader Joe's, I will just grab some wine and pass the riced cauliflower. I can make my own thank you very much!


1 chicken breast
1/4 cup Frank's Red Sauce
1 cup of riced cauliflower
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
Shredded fiesta blend cheese


Trim chicken breast and cut up into chunks. Place into pot of boiling water and cook through (about 5 minutes).

With two forks, shred chicken. Add Frank's and mix together. Set aside.

In a skillet add olive oil and garlic powder. Mix in riced cauliflower and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add riced cauliflower to bowls and top with chicken.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese and stir in. If it doesn't melt enough for your liking, you can zap it in the microwave. A sin I am sure to most, but I love me some easy microwaving and melted cheese.

What is your favorite way to eat riced cauliflower?
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