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Wednesday, April 28, 2010


A few years ago, my grandmother had a stroke.  She called me after she had called the ambulance, at about 7 am.  Having worked in a hospital for many years, I'd heard many stories about long waits in the ER Waiting Room.  So as I threw on my clothes, I also grabbed my current project and I headed out the door.

Once we were in the ER, we were actually seen by the doctor immediately.  But after they ran some tests, we had to wait for results.  After being told she was being admitted, we waited some more for a bed to be ready upstairs for her.

A few weeks later, back at home, my grandmother once again called the ambulance and then me.  I again grabbed my project and put on clothes (she really likes calling the ambulance at 6:30 in the morning).  This time I also grabbed a water bottle and snacks.  She'd had a heart attack.  After a few repeats of this, I had what to grab down pat.  I also learned the items that I needed to grab for Nana.  If you didn't know, many times once the EMTs have put their patient into the ambulance, they start some basic care before driving to the hospital.  In my experiences with Nana, this took 10-15 minutes.  This also allows time for putting together your bag or gathering items for the patient.

This past December, my Mom called and said the ambulance was on its way to her house to pick up my Dad.  Knowing she had a few minutes and there wasn't anything she needed to be doing for Dad, I encouraged her to put together some items for her at the hospital - a project, a book, snacks, etc.  She hadn't thought about that; she'd was focused on my dad.

Since Mom found my thoughts helpful, I decided to share them as my Works for Me Wednesday tip this week.

Here are items to grab for yourself:
  • project to do (knitting, crochet - something that is easy to grab and doesn't require space to spread out your stuff)
  • book to read/crossword puzzles/sudoku
  • water bottle
  • snacks
  • cash (to purchase food in the cafeteria or vending machines)
  • cell phone (check your charge- you may want to grab your charger too)
  • or address book with phone numbers if you don't have a cell phone with the numbers saved
  • calling card
Here are items to grab for the patient (many of these are for if you think they'll be admitted):
  • project (If I'm the patient, I generally bring a project; but this will depend on the condition of the patient)
  • a book to read/crossword puzzles/sudoku/toys (especially important if patient is a child)
  • family picture (if it looks like they'll be admitted, this can bring a little bit of home to their room)
  • wallet with ID, insurance information
  • a change of clothes, including underwear, socks and shoes (Nana always seemed to go to the hospital in her pajamas)
  • toothbrush (when admitted, this will be provided by the hospital, but the patient may really wish for their own)
  • hairbrush
  • If they are an 80/90 year old female, you better grab the basic makeup supplies (for Nana, this was always more important than anything else except clothes)
  • keys (especially if you don't live with the patient, you don't want them to be released and have no way to get into their home).
I know that if you are heading to the ER, you're not likely to look up my blog to find this post.  But I'm hoping that some of these ideas will stick with you if you find yourself in the situation of preparing to head to the ER.  They definitely Work for Me!  For more Works for Me Wednesday, check out We are THAT Family!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WFMW - Parking Backwards

For the past few years, we've had season tickets for our local Symphony Orchestra.  When we would arrive in the parking garage, we noticed a lot of people parking backwards in the parking spots.  Hmm.  Then we decided to try it.  Wow!  We could get out of our parking spot so much faster because others leaving were more willing to let us in the line and when they weren't, we can nudge forward into the line much easier.  So now we park this way any time we can when we go to an event.

When school started this year, Princess1 changed schools.  With the new school, it is very easy to park in the school's lot and walk up to the door to pick her up.  One day I decided to try parking backwards at the school.  It worked!  I can pull out so much easier and the traffic is lighter when I'm trying to park than when I'm trying to leave.  The biggest reason I do this now - safety!  By being parked backwards, I can pull out and clearly see where all the other kids are at as they make their way to their vehicles.  No more blind spots!

This works for me!  For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, check out We are THAT Family.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WFMW - Reusing School Papers

I don't know about other schools but Princess1 is in 1st Grade and brings home a TON of papers.  This includes her artwork, others homework assignments, papers she started to write a story on but only wrote one word, flyers, newsletters, etc.  I was feeling guilty about throwing so much paper away.  And then I realized that I could reuse some and recycle some (and of course save those most precious ones).  How do I reuse them?  If the paper is 8 1/2 x 11 and in decent condition (not folded, wrinkled, torn, etc), and is only printed on one side, I put it in my printer to print coupons!  Coupons only need 1 side to be printed on and the clerks at the grocery store don't care what's on the reverse side as long as the barcode is readable.

That works for me.  I feel less guilty because I'm not just throwing everything away and I'm saving money in two ways - not buying as much paper AND using coupons.

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, check out We are THAT Family.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sausage Gravy

A yummy, full of calories, recipe from my Mom.  We grew up eating Biscuits and Gravy and this is the gravy recipe we used.

Sausage Gravy

1 1/2 cup milk
3 T flour
3 T grease drippings
1 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Instead of the grease drippings, I always cook my sausage and leave it in the pan with the grease - unless the grease seems like a LOT (plus I normally double the recipe) so I'm estimating the amount of grease in my pan.  It definitely seems like some sausage creates more grease than others so I just eyeball it after cooking the sausage.  I also use a roll or links - if I use links, I pull out a few to eat as links and cut up the rest; you could do the same with patties.

In a cup with a lid (or something else you can shake), put flour, salt and pepper.  Pour in half of the milk (3/4 cup).  Put lid on container and shake until flour is mixed with milk.

With grease drippings in your large frying pan (and the sausage crumbs), pour milk mixture into pan.  Stir.  Then add the remaining milk to pan.  Stir and cook until thickened to your preference.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Anniversary Chicken

My friend Denise made this for dinner on one of our trips to visit her family.  It was so yummy I had to have the recipe!  She served it with roasted green beans which has now become one of my and Adam's favorites too.

Anniversary Chicken

2 T vegetable oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup teriyaki basting sauce
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 (3 ounce) can bacon bits
1 T chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large skilled, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned.
Place browned chicken breasts in a 9x13 baking dish.  Brush with teriyaki sauce, then spoon on Ranch.  Sprinkle with cheese, green onions and bacon bits.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.  Garnish with parsley and serve.

Source:  "Anniversary Chicken I" recipe by VICKI117 on