Friday, August 23, 2013

Monthly Report Card- August 2013

The end of August has come and here's how my resolutions went.

Do the thirty day shred- B

I am still currently doing it but due to some unforeseen circumstances I missed three days so I wasn't able to finish it this month but I'll be done in just a couple more days! It has definitely challenged me a lot. I think that once I'm done with it I'll keep doing level one every other day or something just to keep the muscle I built up. 

Stick to my diet- B

I have done pretty well. Again, due to the same unforeseen circumstances, I had about three or four days straight where I cheated but besides that I've done well. 

Read Galations, Ephesians, Phillipians and Colossians- A

Achieved! I appreciated only having sixteen chapters to read, which made it far more relaxed for me.

Read or re-read at least three books- A

I finished Dragonhaven (which I can't exactly recommend... it was okay but had some problems). I also read The Return of the Shadow and Psmith Journalist, which I do recommend. :)

Write at least three more blog posts this month- A

Yes I did it! I wrote this one about my obsessions, this one that included delicous recipes that you should all try, and this one that was about how my first week of nursing school is going. 

Pray Daily- D

I am working on developing this into a habit. I didn't pray every night but I did pray some nights. There have been many things that have been going on in my life right now that have given me reason to pray but it is good for me to remember that even if everything is going well I should still be praying. 

Start of school well- A

I was planning on being really on top of it and having stuff done ahead of time but unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, that didn't get done. However, despite that I believe I started of pretty well and I am keeping on track of all that I need to do.


I crossed two items off my bucket list.... I learned to swing dance and I learned to waltz. I'm not saying I'm good at swing dancing or waltzing, but I know how to. Proficiency is yet to come. 

Final Grade- B (I'm guesstimating on that but I think I'm right) 

Life has been busy, hectic, and stressful but life goes on. My grandparents did get into the assisted living home they were hoping to so last week we moved them in and so far it is going well. My sister and I ended up moving back into their old house again, this time though because my grandparents want someone living in it and keeping it up. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

First Week of Nursing School

In my Butler Student Nursing Association shirt.
In my scrubs that I will
wear for clinicals.
School and my first semester of nursing school started this past Monday and oh my has it been an experience! First off, I can't believe I am FINALLY IN THE NURSING PROGRAM!!!! Sorry, my enthusiasm just spurted out of my fingertips. But seriously, it is such a weird feeling to know that I am really in the program and well on my way to being a nurse. It has been quite time consuming so far and I certainly haven't found myself with spare moments yet. When I'm not in class there are power points to listen to or text books to read and of course if I finish up with those there is all of the extra credit work that I know my grade will need. My first test is this coming Tuesday! (insert panic attack here) Hopefully I'll do alright on that. :)

It is odd not having several classes to balance my time between. I am so used to having several different teachers, several different groups of students, several everything. Now, whether I like it or not, I have the same teachers and the same students (the students for the next two years!). Thankfully though I like my teachers and fellow students. I imagine I'll have a lot more adjusting I'll have to do in the future as the nursing program goes on.

So far I am learning about the basic nursing process, ethics, terminology... all that fun stuff. About mid September I'll start my clinicals (insert another panic attack here), which will be a very interesting (definition of interesting is up to you but I think you know what I mean) experience.

I'm still working at the library but only twelve hours a week thank goodness! I don't know what is going to happen when I am done with nursing school and I have to work as a nurse and leave the librarian profession. Shriveling up and dying seems likely. Don't get me wrong though, I think I'll like nursing. If I didn't think I would, I wouldn't be going to school for it. But I love my work, I love my bosses, and it will be sad to leave. Once a librarian always a librarian I say!

So who else has started school? Is it fun? Challenging? Boring? Comment below and let me know! (notice how that rhymed? Yeah, I'm just clever that way. ;))

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Desserts... You Can't Go Wrong!

Today I just wanted to share a couple of my favorite desserts that have both peanut butter and chocolate in them and therefore are absolutely delicious. The peanut butter marshmallow brownies are especially good and I got a purple ribbon on them on them at the county fair. You'll notice in both of the recipes there is coffee involved in them and that is because it helps bring out the flavor of the chocolate... you will not actually taste any coffee flavor. 
So here are the recipes! :)

Chocolate Cake 
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. 
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. 
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost as desired. 
Yields: One 9X13 pan or two 9 inch round baking pans
Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing (for Chocolate Cake)
1/3 cup softened butter
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 T milk
In a bowl, cream butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Stir in powdered sugar, cocoa, salt and enough milk to achieve a spreading consistency. 
Yields- 1 1/2 cups... enough to go over a 9X13 cake though a double batch would make the cake doubly delicious. :)
Peanut Butter Marshmallow Brownies
For the Brownies
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp espresso powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 butter 
7 oz dark or semi sweet chocolate
For the Peanut Butter Marshmallow Mixture
1/2 cup butter
1 (11 oz) bag of butterscotch chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
For the Brownies
Preheat oven to 350˚. In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla on high for at least ten minutes. A meringue like consistency is needed. 
In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate and microwave on high for thirty seconds. Stir and repeat until chocolate has completely melted and is smooth.
With mixer running, slowly add the chocolate. Then add the flour mixture until just combined. 
Pour into a greased 9X13 pan Bake for 25 minutes or until is matte and a bit cracked. Don't over bake... the brownies will set as they cool. Allow the brownies to cool 10-15 minutes before topping with the peanut butter marshmallow mixture.
For the Peanut Butter Marshmallow Mixture
Melt butterscotch chips and peanut butter together (in double boiler or microwave). Add marshmallows and stir. 
Pour mixture on top of brownies and evenly spread over them. Allow to come to room temperature before putting them in the refrigerator to firm them up. 
Cut into squares and serve. 
Yields: One 9X13 pan... about twenty brownies.

Try these recipes out... hopefully you'll love them as much as my family and I do. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Things I Geek out/Obsess Over

If you've been reading my blog long enough, or know me in person, you'll probably already know most of these... but here it goes... things I geek out/obsess over.

  1. Jane Austen and her books- Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book... has been for years. I love all of her other books too and I honestly can't get enough of them. One of the things that I will get worked up about when it comes to Austen's novels is anyone trying to call them romance novels... no, just no! Read this earlier post to see why I would NEVER give them such a title. 
  2. Tolkien and his books- This is kind of recent... since the beginning of the year... I fell in love with The Lord of the Rings. So far I have read it about five times, The Hobbit too many times to mention, and The Silmarillion once. Currently I am reading the first in a series of four books compiled by Christopher Tolkien (JRR Tokien's son) that includes Tolkien's drafts and notes of The Lord of the Rings. It is super fascinating to see how the story evolved. I was reading reviews of it on Goodreads and one person said that only a person obsessed over Tolkien would read them. That made me smile, and then laugh, and then smile again. :) 
  3. The heart... anatomically speaking. Most of you will know I am going to be starting nursing school in just a couple weeks. All of my preparatory classes for that... Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Pathophsyiology... have caused me to have a fascination with the whole human body, but especially the heart. My dream is to see open heart surgery. Don't even get me started on how cool I think that would be. 
Those are probably my three biggest obsessions at this point in my life. You will have noticed two of them have to do with books... and yes, in general, I tend to geek out/obsess over books. Austen and Tolkien are just my favorites. 
What do you geek out/obsess over? Comment and let me know! :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Monthly Resolutions- August 2013

I'm making this as simple as I can so I won't fail miserably... like last month. Here goes.

Do the thirty day shred

So I hit a plateau in my weight loss and it was recommended to me to try some more intense workout to kickstart losing weight again. So I chose Jillian Michaels thirty day shred. I did my first day of it yesterday and I'm pretty sore right now. I'm not really looking forward to these next twenty nine days.

Stick to my diet

Besides the normal calorie counting I'm also going to try and cut down on processed foods. I really don't eat too many of them already but I'm going to try and cut down on them even more. 

Read through Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians

If I counted the chapters right that should only be sixteen chapters, which isn't much but I'm trying to take it easy this month. 

Read or re-read at least three books this month

Only three. Hopefully I'll do more but I am really just bogged down with so many things that I'd like to lower my goal for this month.

Write at least three more blog posts this month

Just three. I can do that... right?

Pray daily

Self explanatory.

Start of school well

I can't believe that I'm going to be starting nursing school in just a couple weeks!!!! I want to be well prepared, have a cheerful attitude, and start off with a bang. 

I'm trying to make it simple this month with the same goals I normally do but just less intense... except the thirty day shred... that's intense. :(

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Monthly Report Card- July 2013

I really didn't want to write this post... because this month was an epic failure. These things do happen... I know... I just wish they didn't happen to me. So here's the bad news.

Read or re-read at least ten books- F

I finished re-reading The Return of the King, read The Phantom of the Opera, and got a good chunk of the way through Dragonhaven. That's it. 

Exercise in some form fifteen minutes six times per week-A


Stick to my diet-A

Trudging along. 

Cut down on electronics time- D


Write at least five more blog posts this month- F

Obviously if you have been reading my blog you will have noticed that I only ever did one other post.

Read through 1 and 2 Corinthians- A


Memorize that scripture


Try at least three new recipes- A

Yes! I did do that! And it was fun! I made peach pie bars, banana bread, and... and I'm super proud of this one... made my own bagels. All were absolutely delicious. 

Start Praying- B

I've been pretty good about this... but not perfect.

Be patient with what the future brings- D

I'm not a patient person... and I don't take things in stride. :( Update on this... my grandparents have moved in with my family for the present until they are able to get in to an assisted living home.

I really just didn't have a good month as far as resolutions go and in a lot of other ways as well. I did have tons of fun, don't get me wrong, but I was very busy and I'm so tired. VBS was a blast and we just got down with the county fair, which was also fun, but both wore me out a lot. I want another summer... where I get to relax more. I wish. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.
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