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Author: Keeks

I am a nurse, lover of life, spazztastic dinosaur, explorer, adventurer, nerd (kinda), natural hippie attempter, optimist, postcard enthusiast, pen pal, missionary, exerciser, health conscious, tea addict who gets confused in life and loves living it.
Why Nursing?

Why Nursing?

One of my friends/coworkers asked me the other day –

“Why did you go into nursing?”

“Why Nursing?”

Oh gosh, what a question. After these last few months, I have seriously asked myself “WHY?” so many times and have honestly forgotten why I went into this career. So let me try to tell you why I chose nursing.

What has helped me keep going during this slump in the career? To be frank, paychecks and student loans. I got bills to pay!! Yes, this may seem cold, but you don’t have to keep reading if you don’t want to. I’m pretty sure everyone has gone through questioning their career.

Why is there a slump and why am I questioning this? Maybe I am just not where I should be in my career; or maybe the where I am has me so drained I have nothing left to give. I have a strong feeling it is the latter reason to be frank. My job is wiping me out emotionally, mentally, and now it has taken a toll physically.

Now, to answer the question. I went into nursing because it was a fluid career. Nursing gave me an opportunity to travel and find a job anywhere I went. That is honestly why I went into nursing. I was not one of those people who went in initially because they really wanted to help people and cared about people. For me, that came later as I started to develop in my clinicals. I care about people, but I am not always the best at communicating how to them.

I graduated five years ago. Wow, that feels like a lifetime ago. If you’re a student nurse or even a new nurse you should keep a journal of their first few years in the real world. I wish I would have kept one during these past two years on a Medical-Surgical floor. Journals are amazing at self-discovery and reflection. All I have is my memories of how new I was a couple of years ago and how familiar it is to me now.

Why nursing? I am seriously unable to answer that still. I don’t know why nursing. I don’t even particularly think I’m all that good at it. I recognize that is something you’d never want to hear your nurse say, but it is the truth. I feel confident in my nursing skills, I just suck at bedside manner. I think inside my head a lot. However, overall, I’m gonna do my best to get you (the patient) better. I just need my patients to HELP me HELP them. That’s a whole other blog post and maybe a huge reason I am just feeling so burnt out on this whole nursing career.

Margarita Chicken

Margarita Chicken

This whole week began with me asking my hubby what he wanted for dinners this week. He simply replied with “Mexican”. Therefore, I spent the next couple hours searching for more traditional dishes than the ones I usually make. I grew up for a good portion of my life in New Mexico and worked in a Mexican restaurant as my first legitimate job (I was a newspaper girl before that). Working around the spices and living amongst the Tex-Mex food definitely left a lasting impression. My family now loves our Christmas enchiladas at Christmas time and the different New Mexican dishes I cook throughout the year.

Living in New Mexico definitely changed my food preferences for the better. Hot and spicy food is a staple in our household, no matter the ethnicity. For the last few months I have been toying with the idea of trying different ethnic cooking each month. The plan for that hasn’t really come around, as I haven’t made one; however, it does seem that it is just gonna happen as it happens.

My Husband teases he married me because I know how to cook, and for my spicy red enchiladas with their homemade sauce and homemade everything else. He teases he married me based on my creativity and ability in the kitchen…. not gonna lie, it really isn’t a bad reason.

Having someone who has very supportive with my passions has been so instrumental in encouraging me to continue cooking new, creative dishes. He never complains about any type of dish I make and is excited for all of the meals I cook. It is wonderful being with someone who supports and isn’t critical of me trying new things.

Ok, on to the point of this post. The Margarita Chicken was delicious, tasty, tender, and a great start to our Mexican meal filled week.

This dish is focused on the lime and tequila flavor, so you won’t find a lot of extra spices added. Paired with the turmeric rice and the beer beans this Street Taco Dinner did not disappoint. It is easy to make and prepare since we are using a crock pot. The rice and beans only take about 20 to 30 minutes to finish making it is a perfect weeknight meal.

So here we go, Mexican week started with Margarita chicken tacos.

Margarita Crock Pot Chicken

Servings: 8-10/Prep: 20minutes/Cook:6+hour

Ingredients

4 – 6 Chicken breasts

5 Limes (for juicing)

1 Lime (for zesting and slicing)

1 Orange

1 Onion (red/yellow)

2 Jalapeños

½ – ¾ cup Dark Tequila

1tsp. Cumin

1tsp. Chili Powder

Directions

Start by Juicing all your 5 limes and your one orange.

Zest your 1 lime and slice it into a few slices.

Mince up the Jalapeno and onion.

Layer the onion on the bottom of your crock pot.

Place the chicken on the onion.

Put the Cumin and Chili powder on top of that.

Add all your juice from the limes and orange, as well as the tequila at this point.

Turn your crock pot on low and let the chicken cook for at least 6 hours. 

After it cooked, take the chicken out, put it in a separate bowl, and shred it.

Pour the liquid from the chicken into a pan on the stove, add some honey, reduce it down and thicken it with Arrowroot Powder (or your preferred way to thicken things).

Add the chicken to this and mixed it up. I found the liquid too runny, this is why I thickened it.

Serving Suggestion

To complete your meal, top the tacos with guacamole, cojito cheese, and purple cabbage on white corn soft taco shells.

Pair with turmeric rice and beer beans.

Til next time!

Keeks

Crochet for days!

Crochet for days!

HOOORAY! This is CROCHET FOR DAYS! Because we did this Mood Scarf for 31 days! KitKat and I finished our Mood Scarf, ok ok – we are 85% done. We have to crochet the border on it, she needs to sew in ends, and then wash and block! How exciting! It only took us close to three months since that is the amount of time she is with us in those three months! As we were finishing up the scarf yesterday, for our last day, she was already asking to do ANOTHER project! What the heck?! ALREADY?! Let’s finish this one first — Looks over to the five projects I have in the works at this very moment. Oh dear, she watches me too well doesn’t she?

 

Anyway, cool things I liked about doing the Mood Scarf.

  1. I got to do a project with KitKat (step-daughter of awesomeness).
  2. It encouraged both of us to really dig into what mood we were feeling that day – in its own way it was a mindfulness journey.
  3. We both ended on the same color/mood we started our scarves on.

I would tell anyone, ANYONE, who is into crochet or knitting to do a mood scarf of their very own if they are looking for a project. I really enjoyed it. It is a quick (I mean a month-long project but it really doesn’t take very long to do each day), the results are fun and fabulous, and you really have to be honest with yourself.

What do I plan on doing with the left over yarn from the Mood Scarf project? I plan on finishing my other projects first, is what I would say if my hubby asked me that question. But since I asked for you cause you’re curious, I’m gonna make a ripple picnic blanket with it and some other yarn from my stash! HAH! Just don’t tell the husband.

The Days are all crocheted on and are as long as the kitchen island!
Just me goofily wearing my scarf. It is very big!
KitKat showing how tall hers is on the second to last day we had left to crochet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here was our layout for your viewing pleasure and maybe project inspiration.

Keek’s and KitKat’s Mindfulness Mood Scarf

Our Moods and colours

  • Adventurous/Excited – Purple
  • Happy – Orange
  • Calm/Relaxed/Peaceful/Content – Sky Blue
  • Average/Neutral/Med – Green
  • Bored – Brown
  • Sad/Hopeless – Dark Blue
  • Unsettled/Mixed emotion – Yellow
  • Stressed/Overwhelmed/Frustrated – Black
  • Fear/Uncertainty – Grey
  • Angry/Upset/Irritated – Red

Our Method:

  • Materials
    • Crochet hook – 5.5mm (I/9)US
    • Yarn – 1 Skien of each color should be fine (we used Red Heart Super Saver, wash it with fabric softener and it softens up nicely)
    • Moods/Feelings/Emotions
  • Pattern
    • Moss stitch
      • chain 26 +1
      • Row 1 – skin 1ch from end, *sl st into next ch, hdc, rep from * turn
      • Row 2 – ch1, *sl st, hdc, rep from * to end
      • Repeat row 2 throughout scarf

I had a lot of the yarn already in my stash from other projects, but KitKat and I purchased four more skeins at the beginning because we wanted a lot more emotion options added. I have seen other plans that only have found colours, but we felt that there needed to be a broader range of choices. Having done that, I am glad we did. The reason I have more than one emotion for each colour is because sometimes those emotions all seem to go hand in hand for me.

I hope this helps and inspires you, because that’s why I do these things.

Til next time,

Keeks

January Temperature Blanket

January Temperature Blanket

OK! January on the Temperature Blanket is completed! It stretches across our kitchen island and is currently six inches tall (the growing side).

Well, January is done!! Wow, already one month down of this year and onto the next. January, in parts, flew by and in other parts seemed to just drag on. Concerning work, the hospital is super full this month so work has been crazy, busy, and awful. We have a few nurses out due to injury and our floor is just overburdened at the moment, and as usual it seems in healthcare, we are understaffed.

Well, onto the temperature blanket, this picture is the 31 days done! It is looking pretty good so far. I’m excited to see how it turns out. The colors are much more vivid in person. That has really helped in the colour changes and keeping it fun and interesting.  There is one green row in there, the bright one, that’s when it hit above 53degrees.

 

Black Tea Hair Wash

Black Tea Hair Wash

Once a week, I do a black tea hair wash/soak. I first started this because I noticed I was shedding so much hair!! After researching, I found a natural solution could be doing a tea soak. The black tea also blocks hair loss (I was shedding puppies daily) because it has caffeine and can block DHT which causes the hair loss. So it reduces the shedding! For me this has proven to be true. Concerning cosmetic benefits, it helps bring a brighter shine to hair and naturally darkens it and brings out my natural highlights. The green tea helps stimulate hair follicles and prevents shedding, it gives the hair a shine, can help strengthen hair, and can help with dandruff. Thankfully, at this time in my life, I am not dealing with a dandruff issue. Hahaha.

I have been happy about doing my tea rinse and will continue to keep it part of my weekly routine. 

My method

Tea Items:

2 Tablespoons of equally mixed black and green tea.
30 drops of Rosemary
15 drops of Texas Cedar wood
10-15 drops of whatever other oils you’d like
1/2 tsp. honey
– sometimes I will add Sandalwood, Lavender, Bergamot, lemon, orange, tangerine.

My mix tends to smell very earthy and I love it.

Utensils:

A bowl
A pitcher
A Shower cap

What I do:

Boil water – I boil 1Litre
Add tea and oils
Let steep for a few hours or overnight
Take to bath and rinse

I always take a bath when I do the rinse. Bring a bowl and pitcher, because when you rinse your hair you will want to rinse it over a bowl to catch it a few times. I rinse my hair about 5 to 10 times over, place a shower cap on and let it sit for 20 – 30 minutes.

During this time, I listen to music, meditation sequences, or watch a show. There is always chamomile or lavender in my bath. So relax for the 20 or so minutes, listen,  put a facemask on, and let the tea just soak in.

Rinse after 20 or 30 minutes. You can shampoo/condition if you want; I do not.

Dry and style. You’re done! Repeat in a week.

Also, my hair grows very quickly.

Granny Square Blanket

Granny Square Blanket

See, scarf was my initial thought.

I have learned so much from doing this project. This project started because I wanted to learn how to make Granny Squares. I thought of making a scarf to begin with as it is a simple, beginner level project. I used Red Heart Yarn, and I had to continue using it. My colours are Aran, Dark Orchid, Teal, Jade, and Sky Blue.

The six ways I did my squares. I made 20 of each for a total of 120.

I kept making squares and decided to make it into a lap blanket because making “Granny Squares is fun!” (she said). I finished up some of the squares and somehow thought that making 120 squares would be an excellent idea. Ok, note, making 120 squares was not an excellent idea during the process of making them; however, now they are done, it was a fantastic idea!

I have finally attached them all together. This project has taken over 2 years to complete from first idea to final. I finally decided back in November of 2016 that I was going to get on with it and just get it done. Now, as of Friday (January 6th,2017) all of the squares are together. I had a marathon on Friday and attached 27 squares.

This was the diagonal pattern that I first tried out and didn’t like.

When decided how to do the orientation for my squares in a certain pattern I laid them out on the floor in front of the fire-place. This first picture here was my first idea of how to pattern them. It was in a simple diagonal patter. I didn’t really like it though. It made me feel like there was just more to the blanket. So I tried a different pattern for the squares. This one had the squares coming up to a point in the middle. The Husband had fun watching me shuffle around on the floor laying the blocks out, changing my mind, laying them out again, not liking it again and then changing my mind and piling them into their piles again. The final pattern is here.

This is the final pattern that I attached them together in.

This was my final idea. I liked it. I started in the bottom right corner there with that square and I started to attached them This project was an enjoyable project and I would say for any avid crocheter who is in love with Granny Squares to do a GS Blanket. The end result will be something you can be proud of for decades! I will post my method of craziness next time. This time I wanted to just blog about what I’ve done.

Til next time,

Keeks

Mood Scarf

Mood Scarf

This past week I told Katie about the project I found for us to do together. I figured it out a few weeks ago, but I was finally able to share with her this past week while she (and Matthew) were with us for Christmas. The reason I thought about this project was because of my excitement to do my Temperature Blanket. I have been wanting to find a simple and productive project for Katie and I for a while and I finally landed on it. 

On December 27th Katie and I went yarn shopping to JoAnn’s for only four colors that we need. The rest of the colours I had in my stash. I spent a lot of time thinking about the emotions to place on our chart plus the colours to coordinate. Katie helped me as well and she picked out the colours we went and shopped for. JoAnn’s was having a good deal on the yarn, something I was happy for because I also wanted to show Katie that we didn’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy our project.

Katie is doing well with her crochet and didn’t want to do single stitch. I thought the Moss stitch with this pattern would do well for her. At first she thought it would be easy, but somehow she started with 27 stitches and then now has 18. I told her I guess it isn’t as easy as she thinks.

I have titled it our Mindfulness Mood Scarf. Katie even mentioned that she has enjoyed this scarf so far because it has already been making her really think about how she is feeling throughout the day.

Katie and I have chosen the same emotions, but on different days. Our scarves have all the same colours in it but in different patterns. She added green to hers yesterday and topped it off with an Adventurous/Excited today because she enjoyed playing with her brother and riding on her bike.

For those of you wanting to do a Mood Scarf yourself, let me show our plan. Realize, we chose a lot of colours and emotions and you can change things as you see fit for you. I have seen plans with 5 to 6 colours. I am hoping to do another one of these, once Katie and I have completed ours, with a friend. I am thinking about the next way to do my colours and emotion pairing.

I have enjoyed doing this with her so much already. Having the half hour or so each evening to sit at the kitchen table, crochet, chat, and just be with each other has been very enjoyable so far.

I’m excited to see how it grows.

 

Til next time,

Keeks

Teriyaki, Digestives, and Frigid Weather

Teriyaki, Digestives, and Frigid Weather

Over the weekend I made teriyaki and some homemade digestives. I was happy with all the results. I was nervous about making teriyaki. How the heck was I going to achieve the flavor Mark and I love about teriyaki without coming short. I’ve used teriyaki sauces before, they were disappointing compared to what you get at all the teriyaki places here. I don’t know why. Maybe they use the same thing, but since it comes in the take-out boxes from the shop it seems to taste special. 

I did use a jar of Kona Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce, but I spiced it up a bit with a few extra ingredients. Once I added those and tasted it, I knew I hit the jackpot with it. I left the chicken marinating for about three days in the teriyaki marinade, that was unintentional, but ended up being wonderful. I also found a recipe that is VERY close to my very favorite dressing from the simple little salad they always seem to serve as a side. When I first had teriyaki when we moved to Seattle I thought the simple salad was a funny little side, then I tasted that plain-looking dressing and LOVED it and typically had the teriyaki for the salad. I found the dressing recipe by Mom’s Dish called China Coast Salad Dressing. Next time I make it, I will not use as much sesame seed oil and honesty, will most likely start with none and see how that tastes. Not a bad start though on a path to find the perfect sauce/dressing to pair with that simple teriyaki salad.

My next mission this last weekend was to try making homemade digestives. You see, they are something my husband loves. I’m not talking a small infatuation here, I’m talking full on obsession. They are the reason he gets out of the bed in the mornings, braves the cold morning air in the hallway and kitchen, put water in the kettle, and makes us tea. He does all that just because he knows he has a biscuit tin in the tea cupboard that contains his dark chocolate digestives. He literally gets up to have one every morning. So I made some of my own. I used King Arthur recipe I found as a starter recipe. I then added some chocolate to the top once they had cooled and BAM they were finished. I was surprised with how easy and simple they actually were to make.

Well, that’s all for now. The weekend was cold and dreary. I slept a lot more than I am proud of but I know I needed it. I cooked a bit, crocheted a bit, explored a bit, and then started my Monday back off at work for a bit. I worked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is now Wednesday evening and I have more to prepare for our Christmas Celebrations. I’m excited to do some cooking the next two days! But mostly I’m excited to rest. My endo has been flaring up and it has been wiping me out.

Til next time.

Crochet Temperature Blanket

Crochet Temperature Blanket

This coming year, 2017, I have decided to crochet a temperature blanket.img_7794 I missed this bandwagon last year and didn’t hear about a temperature blanket until October this year, but I am beyond excited to start mine and finish mine next year. A lot of people I follow on Instagram in my crocheting/knitting community are still working on a Temperature Blanket, and I was inspired by them. My favourite has been Olivesandpickles and her projects. She has given me some great tips and has directed me to other people with other ideas. Some of the people I have found have gotten behind, had to place their’s on hold due to life, and are on track to finish theirs at the end of this month. But overall I love ALL of their results. As a person who has had a blanket in the works for the last three years, I get life getting in the way of things.

img_7798It started last weekend (though I had been thinking of it for three months). After thinking and prepping myself in my head, I finally got started on my plan. I had a lot of fun laying out the yarn, organizing the colour scheme of the yarn, and choosing the shades of yarn. A lot of the yarn actually comes from my stash, and I only had to buy a few skeins to fill in the gaps.

After laying out the yarn on the floor and being satisfied with the way the colours flowed, I snipped a bit of each color and taimg_7802ped them into my journal. This is the journal I will be keeping for the entire blanket. I used Crochet Crowd’s yarn thermometer PDF; I didn’t use the same yarn as is on their’s, temperature gauge, or colour ideas. I broke up the shades more for my Pacific Northwest area weather. It should be interesting to see how it grows and changes through the year.
The point of the Temperature Blanket is to use the temperature from the same time each day and crochet a row of the corresponding yarn for that temperature. I already have my yarn and colours picked out. I have my temperatures planned. January 1st, I start my chain and first row honestly. I’m excited to start. In preparation, I have been really busy working on my Granny Square Blanket.

Here’s my plan, in case you want to copy it or use it as a plan. If you read this and like it please add/tag me on Instagram (@keeks.wanderer) img_7981and follow my progress. I will update as I go, letting any readers know my successes and setbacks with the blanket.

I hope the best for you in your projects and coming year. I felt that having this blanket as a year long project would encourage me to blog more as well as have a goal. Another goal I have for next year is to garden more. This year my endo has really set me back in my gardening and it has been very frustrating for me. This next year will be a challenge. Also, I am going to challenge myself to write a blog on my path with endo, It has been an interesting one as of late.

Til next time,

Keeks

 

 

 

 

Stressful “Sundays”

Stressful “Sundays”

Today is my Sunday. I love being productive, active, and industrious. I do not like the typical “Lazy Sunday” that most people seem to greatly enjoy. They stress me out. Take today for example. My to do list looks like this:

-Dog walk–>also take him to park to throw the ball.
-Make tomato sauce
-Adulting stuffs (bills and scheduling things)
-Donuts and a game
-Elliptical
-Tea soak and take a bath
-Make Apple pie
-Make Chicken and Leek pie
(which also means I have to make homemade pastry— more below about that)
-Laundry
-Blog Post
-Eat dinner
-Work on crochet project
-Make lunches for work the next few days.
and as always, the after dinner dog walk — no matter the weather.

And guess what?! Aside from eating the dinner and the “To-Do’s” beyond that point…. I’ve done it all! The donuts were impromptu — but enjoyable.

I love being productive. I love having tasks and things to do …. I don’t like aimless days, today was my perfect “Sunday”.

Now, pastry crust. You see, the first time I made homemade pastry crust it was a disaster. Absolute bloody disaster. I was not good at it. The proportions kept being off and just wrong! I threw a tantrum, I hated it, and hubby had to bring me wine. Eventually we used cheater pastry. Hubby kept letting me know I wasn’t a failure and that I was just learning (*sigh* I am really hard on myself). However, that didn’t stop me from trying again….. over and over and over. Tonight, guess what, first attempt I got it. There was no mucking about. It came out perfectly the first time. Maybe I just didn’t overthink it this time.

With that said, my pies are just about done in the oven. Hubby and I get to enjoy them, take our walk, I will then make my lunch and finish up my laundry, then we will sit down and watch Gotham or DarkMatter and I will work on my crochet project.

Cheers!