DIY Easy Mac from Kraft blue box

I’m tired of paying almost $1 per container of Easy Mac, and all the “mug of macaroni” recipes I found on Pinterest resulted in cooked noodles with a blob of cheese on the side. My toddler refuses to eat leftover macaroni, so I needed to figure out the easiest way to turn the regular blue box of macaroni into toddler-size servings. From the regular Kraft Mac N Cheese box:

Pour 1/4 cup of noodles into a large microwave safe mug

Add 1/2 cup water

Microwave 3 minutes


Microwave 2 more minutes, then drain.  The mug will be really hot, so please don’t let your toddler help take it out of the microwave!

Measure out 2.5 teaspoons of the Kraft cheese, pour on top of the drained noodles

Add 1 tablespoon of milk

I didn’t add any butter and it was great, but you could add a tiny sliver (maybe 1/8 tbsp) if you want.

Now I don’t have to deal with cooking on the stove, or with all the weight gain from eating the rest of the macaroni before it goes bad. :)


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Sleep deprivation

After working night shift for several years, I thought I’d be able to effortlessly handle the sleep deprivation that comes from having an infant. I was wrong.

Although I can’t stand the idea of hunting, I took my two year old to Bass Pro Shop to see Santa last week. The store is huge, with a waterfall in the middle that flows into a large fish tank. The walls are lined with taxidermied deer heads, and while Samantha watched the fish, I looked from deer to deer. I felt terrible for them– did they know they were about to die to be hung on a wall? Did they have friends who missed them?  My gaze moved on to the taxidermied geese hanging from the ceiling. Those poor geese! Were they shot down while flying, or killed at close range? Next to the fish tank were two stuffed coyotes. Aww..  coyotes are so similar to dogs, and dogs are such loyal animals! There was a hunter posed near the coyotes, his thick fur hat partially hiding his face. That poor man! Did he have kids and a family?

I shook my head and grabbed Samantha’s hand, guiding her towards Santa’s Village. We’d only made it a few steps when I froze and looked back at the taxidermied hunter. It was, of course, a mannequin. How had I not realized that before? And most importantly, how could my brain just accept the fact that it thought there was a stuffed human standing in the middle of a store?

I need a nap.

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Things that made my toddler mad

~ Some crazy teenager was driving too fast.


~ I explained that the round pellet I made her drop was not, in fact, goat food.


~ This was the last time she was allowed on Skype.


~ I caught her sniffing the cart wipes.


~ I refused to put her in the pool to pet the penguins.


Don’t worry, she got to hug this statue.


~ I took too long making her lunch.


~ After five minutes of her whining, I let her eat butter on its own. She wasn’t mad until AFTER tasting it.


~ I let the dog help her find her ball.


~ I took her cart away after she rammed it into my heel three times.


~ I wasn’t pushing “Baby Paul” high enough (he’s in the swing on the left).


~ She wanted to be the pig.


~ The fireman refused to turn on the firetruck.


I wouldn’t let her climb this playground Ultimate Ninja Warrior training apparatus on her own.


~ I told her that this didn’t “count” as going pee on the potty.


~ I told her the cat was done playing.


~ I called her boat a “toy.” It is NOT a toy.


~ She realized the nail polish bottle was empty. But not until she’d done all ten toes.


~ I told her she wouldn’t fit in this box. She proved me wrong.


Same with this one.


~ I didn’t stop her from eating the paint.


Or from putting yogurt up her nose.


Or from painting her face with spaghetti.


~ I found her top-secret hiding place.


This one too.


And this one.


~ I stopped her from riding the cat.

DSC_0170  DSC_0194

~ The cat didn’t get a timeout for biting Samantha, but Samantha did for biting me. Don’t worry, I made it right.


~ I wouldn’t let her go to the store wearing only her Dad’s shoes.


Or mine.


~ I told her she had to share her cake.


~ I pointed out that her glasses were on upside down.


~ Made her do her own dishes.


~ I explained that not everyone is a Jayhawk fan. She told me she was too young for such devastating news.


~ She had to take turns driving the car.

Car with Scar

~ I wouldn’t let her hug the other end of the goat. She tried, twice.

Goat Hug

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Reasons nursing school is worth it:

1. You get to wear scrubs to school. Scrubs! The only thing more comfortable would be pajamas.

2. It prepares you to be a parent. Not because you learn how to diagnose and treat common childhood ailments, but because you learn how to function effectively on little to no sleep.

3. It will provide you with the opportunity to diagnose yourself with countless conditions. Don’t worry, 97% of the time, you’ll be wrong. The other 3%? They’ll come from your psych classes.

4. You’ll rediscover your childhood sense of humor (if you ever lost it). If you can’t laugh at farts and poop, you won’t survive.

5. You’ll make lifelong friends. You’ll think they’re crazy, until one day you realize that your mutual insanity is what makes the bond between you so strong.

6. Your non-medical friends and family will LOVE how you’re able to point out every inaccuracy on medical TV shows.

7. Gory movies will no longer bother you. That zombie tearing through someone’s carotid can’t compete with the abscess drainage you assisted with this morning.

8. Getting shots won’t bother you anymore. Not because being a nursing student somehow dulls your sense of pain, but because it’ll actually be a relief to be on the other end of the needle for once.

9. You’ll be prepared for anything. Well, until your first patient codes on you and you won’t even remember how to open the ambu bag. But don’t worry, it WILL come back to you. Just remember to breathe (between the cursing).

10. In the end, you’ll be a registered nurse. And NOTHING beats that.

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My day on the Mother/Baby unit

While working on a women’s post-op floor, I was asked to float to the mother/baby unit. I had a strong history in pediatrics, had shadowed a nurse there a few months before, and was told that taking care of the mothers would be “a piece of cake.” They were desperate for help, so I hesitantly agreed, hoping for the best.

One of the charge nurses showed me how to do a “fundal check” – this consists of pressing hard on the woman’s abdomen to feel where the uterus is and making sure it feels firm. It seemed simple enough.

They assigned me to several easy patients- women who had delivered the day before and should have been uncomplicated. Their IV’s had already been removed since they were no longer needed, and the women only needed to be checked on every few hours.

The first patient I assessed was an ER nurse in her late twenties who had delivered the cutest baby girl I’d ever seen. I’m not sure if it was the fact that my ID badge said “Women’s Surgery” instead of “Mother/Baby” or because I thought the closet was the bathroom, but she immediately asked if I was new.  I told her the truth– I was a “float.” She promised to take it easy on me, but mentioned that she’d noticed some heavy bleeding while going to the bathroom.

I fumbled through my fundal check, pressing on her abdomen as I’d been taught. But I didn’t feel her uterus. And as I pushed, I noticed a gigantic blood clot plop onto the bed between her legs. I’m not exaggerating, this thing was HUGE.

“Is that normal?” She pointed at the blood flowing from her body.

Yeah, I seriously doubted it. “I’ll be right back!” I said as I sprinted out the door.  The charge nurse hadn’t prepared me for this situation.

The hallway and nurses’ station were completely empty. I felt a huge lump in my throat and started to squeak when I breathed.

I ran to the nursery and thankfully there were two nurses there. “Is a clot this big normal?” I showed the size with my hands.

“Which room?” One of the nurses, Stacey, started running.  I took that as a “no.”

We ran to the room and the patient was still bleeding. “She’s hemorrhaging, we need Pitocin and to do a fundal massage,” the nurse said.

Maybe my memory is unreliable due to the state of shock I found myself in, but I swear that mother/baby nurse started punching my patient’s stomach. The patient was screaming, blood was gushing, I was crying… well I wasn’t actually crying but I wanted to. “You take over while I call the doctor,” the nurse told me.

I began “massaging” (beating) the poor woman’s stomach. Her uterus was starting to firm up, which I knew was a good sign. Several nurses appeared and took over. An IV was started, meds were given, doctors called… and finally, the patient stopped bleeding.

Once everything was cleaned up and the patient was considered stable again, the charge nurse apologized. “Usually patients only hemorrhage the day of delivery, but sometimes that happens. Sorry it happened to you.” 

“No problem. But I’m never coming back. Ever.” Even if I was given a proper orientation, I didn’t want to do that to a patient ever again. They called me five times over the next month begging me to come back, but I refused. I was scarred for life.

I do believe that everything happens for a reason, though.

A few years later, I was pregnant with Samantha.  I watched several biased birthing documentaries, such as The Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America. I didn’t believe most of what I heard or saw, but liked the idea of a home birth or going to a birthing center. After working in a hospital, I really wanted a more natural experience without all the machines and doctors. But something kept holding me back– the memory of that patient’s bleeding. Had she been at home, she could have easily bled out before she’d made it to the hospital.

I struggled with the decision for several months, and finally decided to deliver naturally, but at the hospital. That patient was my deciding factor. I had an extremely fast labor, and ended up having complications. Samantha was in distress and I had an emergency C-section. Samantha’s APGAR score was a 4, and she was taken straight to the NICU. The doctors and nurses saved her life, and although she had a rocky start, she’s perfectly healthy now. Had I delivered outside the hospital (at home or a birthing center), we would not have had the resources she desperately needed. I don’t want to even imagine what would have happened.

So now with every new milestone that Samantha reaches, I thank God that I had that horrible experience on mother/baby, because I truly believe that it saved my daughter’s life.

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Signs you’re becoming a nurse

1. You enter a restroom and the person before you forgot to flush. Instead of thinking, “EWWW..”, you think, “Semi-formed large BM…”
2. You start rating everything on a scale from 1 to 10.
3. When someone farts, you almost start cheering.
4. Grey’s Anatomy isn’t fun to watch anymore. You just spent all day at a hospital, why would you want to watch other people in a hospital?
5. When hanging out with friends, you start noticing how good their veins are, and deciding which vein you would start an IV on.
6. You realize you walk twice as fast now.
7. You start diagnosing strangers with medical conditions. “That woman has really big eyes- she had better see a doctor about her hyperthyroidism.”
8. When you are asked, “How was your day?” you respond, “How was YOUR day?” to avoid talking about it.
9. People start showing you their moles or ask you to look at their tonsils.
10. People in your life are now much more comfortable telling you very personal things, and you aren’t embarrassed by it.
11. You are allowed to say “SOB” to your boss. (shortness of breath)
12. You can recite all the normal serum lab values, but forget your own phone number.
13. You begin to appreciate the little things in life, such as being able to breathe.
14. When driving, instead of humming a song in your head, you are humming the respirator alarm signal. “do do de da da”

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