August 28, 2017

That Time I Saw A Solar Eclipse...

Eclipse day happened! For about a year, my husband has been pretty excited for this eclipse and made plans for us to visit his grandparents in Fort Collins, Colorado. Then we could drive up to Wyoming to view the eclipse in the path of totality.

Wyoming is number fifty alphabetically among the states and in terms of population. Wyoming is a perfect place to escape the crowds and take in some of the beauty that the United States has to offer. Unless you go during the total solar eclipse. Which is totally what we did.

So day of, we packed up with my husband's grandparents and headed out to Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming. We took the freeway to and back roads back to Fort Collins. More for the scenery because traffic still existed.
But let me back up. the eclipse is where the sun, moon, and earth are in a direct line. It is pretty extraordinary!

At first when we put on the glasses, it looked like a cookie with a bite taken out of it. Thankfully there was not a glimmer of a cloud in site. When it got to the point where we could take off our glasses, the sky overhead was dark. There was a 360 sunset on the horizon and it was truly more amazing then I ever could have imagined.
I didn't even bother to take pictures. For 2 minutes and 30 seconds, look up a professional photographer's photos, it was truly unworldly. During totality, I was literally overcome. This was an awe inspiring moment. All too soon, it was over. Glasses needed to go back on.

I was not sure that the eclipse would live up to the hype. It didn't until totality happened and then it was way beyond what I was expecting. Truly a great moment in my life. My family in Ohio should be expecting me in 2024!

My husband also took me to my first Colorado Rockies Game (after 12 years together). It was fun, but unfortunately they lost!

I am paying the price for taking off to see the Eclipse. I am working 6 of 7 days now after the Eclipse. 12 hour shifts. Not fun.

Send help. And chocolate.

August 25, 2017

A Day In Zion National Park

My husband and I got an America The Beautiful annual park pass and we started enjoying visiting some new national parks. This called for a stop at Zion National Park!

While we only spent one day at Zion, we made the most of it! We based ourselves in Kanab Utah, filled up on water and snacks, put on those hiking shoes, and had an amazing day!

Zion has a mandatory shuttle system to reduce traffic congestion and make the park as accessible as possible since so many people (and rightfully so!) want to be there. The shuttle is free, runs frequently, and offers a nice place to rest your feet between hikes. Of course it is a crowded ride, but ultimately run very well.
In just one day, we managed to tackle 3 hikes and 8 miles over the course of just 6 hours, and we admit to not really planning out our route until we arrived. You may be surprised at what your can accomplish!

Angel's Landing
3.5 miles RT | 3 hours | 1,500 feet | Strenuous | Shuttle Stop: The Grotto

Angel's Landing is one of the two most popular hikes at Zion National Park. Knowing this, we got to Zion early and made sure this was our first hike. This was the most difficult hike we tackled. Some people stop before they get to the last half mile. This is because there is a scary scramble over a ridge that requires you to hold onto support chains. You are high up and it is not for the faint of heart. It is such a fun rush! I am so glad that we went as early as possible because it is a well traveled hike, however the scramble is hard to have two way traffic. As it got later in the day, it seemed there were too many people coming up.
Before you get up to the ridge there is a part of the hike called Walter's Wiggles. It is a series of 21 switchbacks that made me want to cut off my calves.
I made this sound so great...but I promise, once you get up there, you will be sweaty and vindicated once you reach the top. There is also the reward of an incredible view!

This hike will be most enjoyable for the physically fit. I consider myself to be of moderate fitness level, so I took it slowly, and managed to complete it in 2.5 hours. So give it a shot! You can always turn back!

Riverside Walk
2 miles RT | 1 hour | 60 feet | Easy | Shuttle Stop: Temple of Sinawava

After Angel's Landing, we wanted an easier walk The Riverside Walk is a short, easy trail that leads to the Narrows. The Narrows is a walk between the canyon and of Zion's most popular hikes. You have to hike through the river and so sometimes The Narrows get closed due to high water levels. We knew we were not going to be able to complete that hike in only one day, so we completed the Riverside Walk so we could see the beginning of The Narrows.

Emerald Pools
1.2-2.5 miles RT | 1.5 hours | 100-400 ft. climb | Easy to Strenuous | Shuttle Stop: Zion Lodge

Lastly we completed the Emerald Pools hike. There are three levels of the Emerald Pools trail: the Lower, Middle and Upper Pools. The level of difficulty of this hike depends on whether you choose to do the full trip. Should you choose to hike up to the Middle or Upper Pools.

This is the one trail we probably could have done with out, but it was because it rained the weeks leading up to our trip, leaving the pools a deep, muddy brown instead of their normal brilliant, remarkable green. Furthermore, it was the last hike of the day, and we were a little spent. The sun will do that to you!
Zion was beautiful. I would absolutely love to come back and spend more time there. Maybe tackle Canyon Overlook Trail, Observation Point, The Narrows, The Subway, Kolob Arch...the possibilities are endless!

What's your favorite hike in Zion National Park?

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!

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