Sunday, September 11, 2016

College Tips

So this year, as you may know from my last post, I am participating in a wonderful experience called PSEO, which is literally college in High School.  Fun, right?  Sure.  It's great, but kinda scary, and with this comes the whole, "getting back into school routine" (which initself is scary enough).  So without further ado, I thought I'd let you know some things that I always try to do to get back into my school rythm, and how I've changed that rythm to adapt to my college experience.



1. Stay Healthy
I know that its not always fun to have to figure out good food to make and eat, but it is necessary.  I try to pack myself lunches the night before, things like salads in a jar, smoothies, or leftover foods that I can heat up in the microwave.
Have water by your side.  Like. All. The. Time.  I usually carry a water bottle with me througout school, and I end up drinking one bottle during each class period.  Then, when I get tired, bored, or distracted from anything else, I end up sipping from my water bottle.  (I've got a Camelbak).
Sleep.  I cannot stress how important sleep is.  I, by nature, am a morning person, so I can't say much for all you night owls, but for me, making sure to get enough sleep (7-8 hours) is essential to survival.  Also, I can tell, no matter how many coffees I drink, if I haven't had enough sleep.

2. Decorate!
Keep your books looking fun so you'll actually want to use them.  I use mead Cambridge notebooks: with college ruled paper, a hand file pouch, and a glance year-to-year calendar, the only downside is the boring front.  I have changed this, however, by cutting out different pieces of paper (triangles, or hexagons or something), and covering the plastic covers with wallpaper cut-outs or snippets of pictures I have taken.  One they are glued, I cover them with laminate, and I'm good to go!

3. Use a Planner
I never really used a planner until I started High School.  Now that I'm taking College classes, it is my life saver.  Different colors are used for different classes, so that way, without reading each note, I can know when a certain class has something due.  This also is where you can find out when you have those three large papers or presentations dues on the same day, so that you don't end up working on all of them the night before. (Also, please don't work on things the night before.  Just don't).

4. Find Your Study Type
Study type?  What I mean by this, is find out how you work best: without noise, with some noise, with a lot of noise, with others, etc.  I love to work when there are others in the room--I think it keeps me from getting distracted and checking facebook and other social media.

5.  Start Everything Now.  Like Right Away!
I know.  It can be hard, and a lot of people are procrastinators (or think you're a stupid nerd for starting things right away), but you will thank yourself.  Also your professor will, because they can see the difference.  Oh, and never forget, your grade will thank you, and those spontaneous road trips that you can take if you get things done right away will thank you too.  So basically everyone except for procrastinators will thank you.  Isn't that great?

6.  The Extra Tip for College students!
Use your college/university library database.  This is no joke.  I know you can look things up online and sometimes find good sources that are reliable, but it takes a lot of sifting.  With College Databases, you get all the good journals, and articles, and encylopedias and much more without having to look through hundreds of sketchy blogs to get there!

And that's it!  Hope you enjoyed!  Let me know your thoughts, or your great tips for college!

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Quiet Before the Storm

It looks like I've gotten into a weird once-every-two-months blog posting routine.  Oh well--life is busy and as I have one week before my college in high school experiene begins, I decided I should write about this quiet before the storm.
Having only two more years of high school is down right scary.  But it's things like this that test our faith, or at least my faith.  I often forget how easy I have it in this life of mine.  Yeah, I complain and groan about doing dishes or having to feed the cows (as much as I love them, I'm still selfish like that).  I get annoyed when people get excited about working when I am not.  And again I grumble and moan and complain.
Then I realize.  I've got it so easy.
This life of mine.  Man, I'm blessed.
I've got a lovely mom and dad.  I've got living and working grandparents whom I can visit and learn from and laugh with and love.  I've got siblings who are amazing--as much as I don't tell them.
I've got one smooth ride.
Still, in my awful untrusting I become scared. I forget that I've also got a God.  A saviour.  A friend who is way better than anyone I know or could meet.
It's times like these that I sit. Shocked at myself for forgetting that He's got a plan, and I don't need to worry about my life because He knows what's up.  He knows what I need and don't need.  Yeah-- a new car?  Nope.  I can get by with that 20 year old one with tranny issues.  It's wheels, and that's what I need.  Friends?  Yeah, I don't need a ton, so God has put the right people in my life as friends no matter their age.
I remember the often thought cliché, but oh so true verse, 
"I can do all through Christ who Strengthens me"
Phillippians 4:13
Yeah.  This life can be scary.  But that's 'cause we've all got tunnel vision.  We can't imagine or try to believe what God has planned.  We simply look ahead at the things presented to us at the moment and freak out.  'Cause with our tunnel vision, we can't see God.  We can't see what miracles he's working on the side.  
And it's times like these that I realize how utterly selfish I am and how much I forget to thank those around me for being there when I need them.  For showing me Christ-likeness in its fullest form.  For showing me what it means to be a Christian.
And times like these I hope and pray for strength to get through those freak out moments.
Times like these I know-- God has got a plan.  A great and wonderful plan, and I'm just here to be his person, and I've gotta trust like never before, that he's got me in his hand. 
Maybe not shielding me from the storm, but showing me how to survive.


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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Recipe: Red Currant Tart

Growing up with European foods in my house all the time, I had not known that not everyone in America enjoys, or knows about a lovely berry called the currant.  Though I was always most familiar with Black Currants, a few years back my dad and I bought two Red Currant bushes.  The past few years they have produced quite a few berries, but it was not till this year that I found enough to actually create something with them.  I believe the most common Red Currant creation would be a jam or a jelly, but since I did not have enough berries to go into that process (and no wish either ;) ) instead I searched for dessert recipes with Red Currants and finally found a lovely Meringue Tart Recipe.  The one daunting part of this recipe was the Meringue (because I had never made Meringue before), however it was quite easy, and I believe I have conquered yet another baking feat.
Without further ado, enjoy the pictures of red berries and meringue, and if you can find any Red Currants, please try this recipe out.  You will thank me and yourself... but mostly yourself, for doing so!



If you do not have an egg yolk separator (or could not find yours, like me) using the egg shell itself, works fine.  Simply gently move the egg from shell to shell, until all the egg white falls into one bowl, and place the yolk in another.
[pictured bottom left]


This is what your crust should look like after 15 or so minutes of baking.

When making meringue, be sure to beat enough--till the peaks are formed and it becomes a shiny white.

Voila!  Golden browned Meringue!

Aaaand Voila once again.  The finished product.

Here is the recipe, for your full enjoyment.

Red Currant Meringue Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup (187 grams) flour
1/4 cup (55 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 stick (1/2 cup or 113 grams) butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the filling:
2 egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (110 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) corn starch
2 cups (or 1-1/2 if you have around 250 grams) (250 grams) red currants, rinsed, removed from their stems and well-dried
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the softened butter and mix until combined. Stir in egg yolks and vanilla until a soft dough forms. Press evenly into a 9-inch pie pan, springform pan, or tart pan and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and cooked through.
While the crust is baking – make the meringue.
Combine the sugar and corn starch together in a small bowl. In a medium bowl begin whisking the egg whites, a pinch of salt and about a tablespoon of the sugar/cornstarch mixture. Beat for 2-3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Slowly, in several additions, add the remaining sugar/cornstarch to the egg whites until the mixture is glossy and holds its shape. Gently fold in the red currants. Immediately pour the meringue over the warm crust and bake the tart for about 15 minutes or until the top has browned slightly.
Let cool slightly and serve.
Recipe Source
Once again, please let me know if you try this recipe out, or if you have any other great recipes for Red Currant Desserts, or really anthing you could make with Red Currants.
And as always, have a fabulous rest of the week!

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pictures of the Week // 11

A Road trip to the Great Southern States of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and North Carolina happened last week with my family.
It was much needed.

Now, enjoy these pictures showing a slice of the South.

Louisville, KY

Louisville, KY

Louisville, KY

Mountain Laurel
Tri-State Peak, KY, WV, TN

Tri-State Peak

Tri-State Peak

Cumberland Gap Outlook
--Leaving your mark on large rocks is nothing new.  J.W. George from 1928 knew it was cool too--

Cumberland Gap Outlook

Cumberland Gap Outlook

Cumberland Gap Outlook

Cumberland Gap Outlook

Smoky Mountains

Abram's Falls ft. A bear cub, which, according to a nearby 12 year old, I, "Almost ran into it"
(Truthfully? I was 10 feet away before I saw it)

Abram's Falls

The Great Smoky Mountains

From driving hours on end (and being stuck in a vehicle with family for something called too long) to getting lost and winding up small dirt mountain roads and back down again, to almost getting stuck on the mountain because of car troubles, and finally swimming in the waterfalls, our Southern Adventure brought many lessons.  Patience.  Kindness.  Water.  All are musts in roadtripping, and when forgotten can lead to something not pretty.  When remembered, hearts burst full of joy, and memories, mostly wholesome, are born.
I wouldn't trade my family or this trip for the world.


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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Got Stains?

          We all own that one shirt.  Yep.  The one you bought and you love and then something happens called food, which falls onto that lovely shirt, and you suddenly have a mini heart attack and rush to the sink to try and stop the food from ruining the shirt.
          I owned one of these shirts I own one of these shirts.  It just so happened that the first day I wore it (in Florence, Italy) I dropped Gelato on it.  Tragic, I know.  I ran into the nearest museum bathroom when I realized, and tried washing out the gelato.  It did not quite work, and 11 months and a few coconut oil grease stains later, I decided to do something about the predicament.
          I had searched online for "how to get set in grease stains out of clothes" and found very drastic measures calling for spraying your garment with WD40...Something which I was not ready to perform on a delicate white chiffon.  After further searching I found an e-How (I know, e-How...) article on removing grease stains from delicate fabrics.  I read a long list, and finally found one that looked somewhat doable.
          First it said to place cardboard in between the shirt so the mixtures dont let the stain bleed through to the other side of the shirt.  Then it said to pour hydrogen peroxide onto the stain, clump a ton of baking soda on next, dab a bit of dawn soap, and scrub the stain with a toothbrush.  I forgot to put the hydrogen peroxide on first, but that's okay.  It still worked.
          What I ended up doing was wetting the stain with clean water (my water is softened since it is well water and I didn't want to risk that doing anything else to the stain), then I poured a bunch of baking soda on... literally.  I believe it was around 1/4 cup... maybe a little less.  Anyway, once I had finished putting it about 1/2 inch thick over the stain, I poured some hydrogen peroxide on-- I think it was a tablespoon or two, but I don't think that it really matters how much you use.  Next I squirted some dish soap on, and began scrubbing with the toothbrush.  The article suggested to leave the mixture sit on the stain for about 30-60 minutes.  I think I left it there close to an hour, so I'm not sure how well 30 minutes would work.
          I then proceeded to wash the shirt as I normally do by mixing cool clean water and a bit of laundry soap in a bowl and swishing the shirt around for a couple of minutes before rinsing and letting it air dry.
          Needless to say I was ecstatic to find out that may shirt no longer had gelato drips on the bottom, and was also free of coconut oil splatter.  Even though these stains weren't crazy visible to others, they still bugged me, and I thought I would never be able to get them out of such a delicate fabric.  I thought wrong, however, and I am now happy to have my shirt back to normal!
          I really hope this helps someone who thought they had lost a delicate dress shirt, and now have a way to fix it.  One thing I must point out-- the article said they did not know if it would discolor any darker chiffon or fragile material.  Obviously since I was fixing a cream area, I also do not know how it will affect a darker garment.  Make sure to test the project out on a inconspicuous area to see how the fabric reacts.
          That is all!  Now, if you have a delicate shirt which has been sitting in your closet that you never wear because it has grease stains, you have an alternative to throwing it away!  Let me know your thoughts on this method, or if you have another way that you remove other stains, please just leave a comment below--I would love to hear about it!  Have a wonderful day!

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Brownies. And that is All.

Hello Everyone!
I have emerged again from my hole called homework, and decided to post about this wonderful brownie recipe I made today.  I have always been boxed brownies biggest fan.  Even though I have friends who claim they will give me cancer, I do not cease to buy these delicious boxes of who-knows-what-is-in-them brownies.  However, sometimes I do not have brownies in a box, and still crave the gooey chocolate stuff we named brownies.  Thus, I reverted to looking up "Gooey Home Made Brownies" and found Karly's Blog.  She posted the recipe which I then proceeded to print and create.

          

Obviously since this was a wonderful recipe, I chose to share it with y'all.  So here you are-- a wonderful brownie recipe to add to your collection.  
**Side note, I used almost 1/2 cup less sugar than she called for... and they still tasted amazing.**

GOOD OL' HOMEMADE BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking dish.
In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely. Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow sugar mixture to boil.
Pour butter mixture into a large bowl or stand mixer
, beat in cocoa powder, eggs, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
Stir in the flour and chocolate chips until well combined.
Spread into prepared pan (batter will be very thick and sticky) and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out mostly clean. The edges should be set and the center should still look slightly moist, but not uncooked. Cool on a wire rack.
recipe from King Arthur Flour

          I sincerely hope you try this recipe--It may become your favorite!  However, if you already have a wonderful brownie recipe, please let me know.  I would love to find a couple different ones that work amazingly... because who doesn't love amazing brownies?  Have a wonderful week!
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Thursday, March 31, 2016

On Being a Nursing Student // An Essay

 

          I know I have not been active on here for a while, but since I came into some extra time, I thought I would post something.  One of my sisters is in nursing school.  She's got ambition, and talent, but that doesn't make the nursing program easy--especially when others ask her why she is studying to be a nurse rather than a surgeon.  A couple of weeks ago I was assigned an expository essay for my AP Composition class, and I was inspired to write this paper.  

This one goes out to all those hard working nursing students

_____________________________________________________________________________

The Misconceptions Concerning Nurses and Surgeons
            “Are you only going to become a nurse?—Why stop at nursing school—Why not go on to grad school and become a surgeon?—Why don’t you want to become a surgeon instead of…just a nurse?”  Questions like these plague this generation’s nursing students.  Not only do friends question these students’ paths for the future, wondering why they would stop their medical career at nursing, but also family and even teachers and professors.  Though there is no simple answer to why a nursing student would stay a nurse rather than become a surgeon, there is one vital reason which supports their decision—their personality.  Although some may believe that it is lack of ambition that causes a nursing student to not wish to become a surgeon, their decision is actually based on a knowledge of their strengths, such as medical knowledge and skill, as well as qualities specific to a nurse, such as empathy, their talent to serve under high stress and pressure, and their ability to bring comfort to their patients.
            Society holds a skewed image of today’s nurses.  What does the word nurse bring to mind?  Maybe a blonde wearing scrubs with a clipboard, or a red head positioning IVs into a patient’s arm.  While both of these mental images are correct, they limit society’s perspective of the real depth of a nurse’s job.  Contrary to popular belief, nurses do not simply pass medications or place IVs.  They help transition patients to and from hospital living.  They invest emotion into the woman who lost her baby to miscarriage.  They comfort the family grieving a loved one.  They encourage the child with leukemia to keep on fighting.  The University of Arizona: College of Nursing, write in their article, “6 Personality Traits of Successful Nursing,” the six important traits of a successful nurse, including the ability to be tenacious, gregarious, methodical, optimistic, patient, and empathetic.  First of all, tenacity is not only needed to understand the material nurses learn in school, but also have the determination to remember what do to with that information in chaotic circumstances.  Gregariousness, optimism, patience, and empathy all tie into the relationships found between patients and nurses.  Still, without these characteristics, nurses, who are there to not only help the health of the patients, but also the emotions, become overworked and impatient.  Even though these characteristics are not why nurses are hired, they remain some of the main reasons students still become nurses—so they can use their talents to help those around them every day.
            All this brings to question the real difference between nurses and surgeons.  Besides the obvious reasons that nurses do not perform such in-depth tasks and surgeries as surgeons do, what really sets them apart?  Some believe that it is the surgeon’s personality.  While most argue this is an incorrect stereotype, others claim that to some extent it is true.  Charles L. Bosk, PhD, recounts his finding a surgeon fitting this stereotype in his article, “Is the ‘Surgical Personality’ a Threat to Patient Safety?”  Bosk writes,
Later on, Bosk agrees that, while not every surgeon with whom he came in contact possessed this “surgical personality,” he stands by his conclusion that the surgeon stereotype exists.  Bosk goes on to explain that the surgeon personality exists not because of the surgeon’s ego.  Instead, it exists for the surgeon’s ability to perform such meticulous tasks as brain or heart surgery.  Furthermore, under the pressures found in the operating room, a surgeon must be able to go into surgery mode—to perform surgery without thinking about other things.  They must be able to shut out all distractions and not worry about what others think.  So, while a surgeon may be able to perform adequately under high pressure conditions without the surgeon’s personality, this personality aids surgeons in focusing on the tasks to which they are trusted—the lives to which they are trusted.  It is because of this personality difference that some students prefer to stay a nurse rather than work towards becoming a surgeon.  They know that they would perform better under the command of another, than become the ultimate authority in the operating room.
            A fairly common career path in the medical field is that of the Physician’s Assistant.  Though the tasks of a Physician’s Assistant may resemble those of a Physician, the difference between the two comes down to one thing: Physicians are able to perform a surgery.  This brings up one of the most common questions for students pursuing a career as a Physician’s Assistant.  Why stop there?  As with those who pursue a career in Nursing, not only do friends ask this question, but also family, teachers, and professors.  The problem here is that the person’s social circle is judging them for their decision.  It is a decision which the student makes because they know they would be better assisting the Physician, rather than performing the surgery themselves.  It is a decision which the student makes because they know that they would not be able to perform as ultimate authority under such high stress conditions produced in a surgical environment. It is a decision which the student makes because they know they are better at understanding people and people’s emotions rather than performing surgery.  Even though they perform the same basic tasks as the surgeon, they do not take the leading role in a surgery, and instead, use their talents to help serve, rather than command.
            While there are many arguments as to whether a nurse’s task is as taxing as that of a surgeon, it seems that it is in many ways—if not physically and mentally, then emotionally.  In reality the job of a nurse requires the ability to understand people on a physical as well as mental and emotional level—something which surgeons are not required to understand.  Even though some believe that anyone going into the medical field could become a surgeon, the truth remains: people cannot fit into molds they were not made for, and if a person contains more talent as an encourager rather than task giver, they should follow their life-long dreams and become not who people say they should be, but who they were created to be: a nurse.
Works Cited
Bosk, Charles L., PhD. "Is the 'Surgical Personality' a Threat to Patient Safety?" Patient Safety Network. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Apr. 2006. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
University of Arizona. "6 Personality Traits of Successful Nurses." University of Arizona: College of Nursing. University of Arizona, 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.


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