Halloween Costume Fails

So my Mom had (has?) this thing... she's not a huge fan of Halloween. Because she doesn't really like it, she vowed to never let her kids buy store bought costumes. She wasn't so extreme as to not let us participate, however, so we still got to dress up for Halloween. The difference was, all of our costumes had to be homemade, so while everyone else came in elaborate (and storebought) costumes, we went in the costumes my mother's creativity dreamed up. 

Now, my mom is actually really creative and came up with some awesome costume ideas. I wish I had pictures of all of them, but I don't, so you'll have to take a trip down memory lane with me using your imagination. 

Most of my costumes were wins- some were fails, and some that were wins resulted in fails. Without further introduction... 

Costume #1- A Nun
Yes, I dressed up as a nun for Halloween one year. Complete with a habit, a rosary, and my hands folded in prayer. Part of me remembers me not wanting to go as a nun for Halloween. This costume, however, turned out to be HUGE hit- everyone got a kick out of it seeing as I was at a Catholic School at the time. That was a good year.

Costume #2- A Black Cat
Now, you might be thinking, "Great, a black cat; a traditional Halloween costume." What you're not remember, though, is that all my costumes had to be homemade. What is black, a house staple, and something that can be easily shaped into a cat costume? Well a bunch of black trash bags naturally! 

Yes, that year I was a black cat. I, however, affectionately call in the year I went to school dressed in trash bags. I do remember kids asking, "Um, why are you wearing trash bags all over?" Clearly, they nor I shared my mother's creativity. This costume was a fail. 

Costume #3- A Headless Man
I wish I could have found a picture of this costume because it was totally baller. My mom fashioned one of my Dad's work shirts with stuffing and gloves at the end of the hands. This shirt was then put around a piece of poster board that slipped over my head. It was truly a work of art, and actually really looked like a headless dude. There was only one problem. I could barely see out of the costume. I had a tiny little peephole through one of the shirt's buttons and a small hole we had cut out of the poster board. 

Each Halloween, our school had a little costume parade where we would get on the stage with the rest of our grade to show off our Halloween costumes. We would stand on the stage for a few moments allowing everyone to look and then march off, allowing the next grade to come on. Well my lack of peripheral vision proved to be a huge problem in this little parade. I made it on stage okay, stood for awhile... and then a long while. I was wondering why on earth we were standing for so long! It wasn't until someone in my class marched back on stage, pulled my (fake) arm and whispered "Sarah, c'mon, we're finished!" 

That's right, folks, I had been left standing on the stage by myself. I couldn't see around me, so I had no clue. Unfortunately, I was old enough to feel mortified, and at that particular moment, I was pretty thankful my head was covered so that no one would see the embarrassment written all over my face. 

This year was a win that turned into a fail. The costume was clever and I got a lot of compliments when I went trick-or-treating that night, but I will never forget being left on my stage by myself. At least it makes for a good story now :-) 

Costume #4- A Nurse
I was a nurse long ago for Halloween. This was loooooong before I wanted to be a nurse. My Grandma was a nurse, and I think my mom took inspiration from her. Recently on Facebook I saw someone dressed up as a nurse for Halloween... I couldn't figure out why on earth they were wearing scrubs to the zoo, until I realized it was their costume... It was a little weird seeing someone dressed in a Halloween costume that reflects your career and your day-to-day reality.


Out of all the above costumes, I'm glad the nurse turned into reality. God forbid I ever become a black cat... or a headless man for that matter!!

What are some memorable costumes from your childhood? Did any of them go terribly wrong? Or terribly right? 
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DIY: Verse of the Week Board


So, awhile ago, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page a cute DIY she had created of a "verse of the week" board. Ever since I saw her project, I've wanted to do it myself, and finally decided to visit my local Hobby Lobby and buy the supplies and just.do.it. (Thanks, Nike). 

I have a desire to memorize more Scripture, and to have a reminder of God's promises always on my mind and in my heart. This "verse of the week" board does just that, and will be a lovely decoration to our apartment when we get it hung up. 

You need:
-a chalkboard or whiteboard 
-some fancy pens to write with or in my case, stickers, because I can't write straight
-1-2 sheets colored paper 
-any other little decorations you wish to add

Let's get this party started:

Start with your board and determine where you want you want it to say "verse of the week". As you can see in the picture above, I found a nifty chalk/cork board (Hobby Lobby for the win, in case you were wondering), and decided that I would put "verse of the week" on the cork part. This is so that I could easily change out my verse by simply erasing the chalkboard at the end of the week. 

Make a cutout that will be your background to your "Verse of the Week" 



If you're like me, you'll spend way too long doing this, and use every random item imaginable in your house to get it perfect. 




Finally! 


Use your ruler to set some straight lines for your text. 

(Also spend way too long doing this)

Use your pens (or stickers for the pretty-handwriting challenged people like me) to write out "Verse of the Week" on the background cutout you made earlier. 


Add your cutout to your board, along with any other cute decorations you feel like adding. 


Who else loves sunflowers?? 

Write your first verse up and get to memorizing and storing God's Word away in your heart.


(Note: depending on your chalkboard that you buy, you may need to attach some brackets to the back to make it hang-able). 

What are other creative ways you've found to store God's Word in your heart and remind yourself of His promises on a daily basis? 

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What I REALLY want to be when I grow up

(credit to Death to the Stock photo; text added by me)

I dig my job. I really do. Somehow dealing with screaming, sick children and tired, stressed out parents makes me feel useful, valuable, and fulfilled at the end of the day. 

And while I don't plan on switching careers anytime soon (if ever), sometimes I think about what other career sounds fun. I mean, really, am I the only one that does this?? 

I dream about being CEO in a large company, making six figures, working no weekends or holidays, and having little stress. 

I dream about being an awesome realtor, flipping real estate like nobody's business, and making millions. 

I dream about only working 3 months a year and having a six figure check at the end of it (haven't quite figured out what job that is exactly... except maybe becoming a Kardashian). 

Now I'm sure these dream jobs probably aren't as dreamy as they seem, but I don't really need to know that do I? 

But after dreaming all my dreams, I have figured out my true calling and that is a,

 Radio DJ

Seriously, what could be better than getting paid to talk? 

They always seem to have the best stories, and are up on the latest surveys and fun facts. 

They get to laugh really obnoxiously (of course I would never do that), and try to guess what they think might be interesting to their listeners. 

As an added bonus, if you're on the morning gig then you get up while it's still dark but then probably get outta there by 1pm... Right? 

The job sounds great, but I am definitely realistic about this job and have a couple fears.

(that's my fear face in case you were wondering)

Fear #1 there is a slight possibility (like less than 0.000001% I'm sure) that my laugh might be one of those laughs that causes people to switch the station immediately 

Fear #2 I may forget that the top 10 reasons you should have a regular bowel movement isn't appropriate for radio talk

Fear #3 And the last reason, but the most terrifying of them all is... I have a slightly deeper voice for a girl so would I be one of those DJs that people debate on whether they're a man or a woman? 

You know the type- you can't figure out if they're a manly girl or a girly man, and then if they have a gender neutral name like Aaron/Erin then you're really in trouble. 

Thankfully my name isn't gender neutral so people should figure it out... Eventually. 

Despite my fears, I think I would be a great radio DJ. I don't think my Bachelor's Degree in Nursing will help me much, but I have a lot of experience talking, so that'll count for something... right? 

What is your dream career? I'd love to hear!  

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Pediatric Nurse: How I Do What I Do


When I tell people I'm a pediatric nurse, the most common response almost always goes something like this: "Oh bless your heart, I could never do that! How do you do that? Seeing all those sick kids all day?" 

Depending on who I'm talking to, I'll either say something along the lines of "It's easier than you think; I love my job" or I'll go into detail about how I do what I do

You see, two years ago, I would have had the same reaction. I loved kids and I loved nursing, but I never thought I would be a pediatric nurse. I thought it would be too sad, too hard, and overall just something I wouldn't get into. 

Then in October 2012 I was in a patient's room at Children's Hospital Colorado (where I now work) during my pediatric clinical rotation when the Lord clearly spoke to my heart and said: 

"Sarah, tragic things will happen to these children regardless of whether or not you're a pediatric nurse. They will get sick, they will get in tragic accidents, and yes, some of them will die. If you are a pediatric nurse, however, you will be able to help these kids and their families in a time that they need it the most." 

From that moment on, my entire view towards pediatric nursing shifted. This moment dramatically impacted the way I view pediatric nursing, and is the #1 reason of why I am able to do what I do. 

I LOVE working with kids. 
This may be a given, but really, I love being with kids every single day. It's hard when they cry, and hard when they're mad at you, but kids are also the most forgiving human beings on this planet. The beauty of a child is that you'll walk in the door and receive a terrible stink eye, and then ten minutes later they'll invite you to color with them. And you tell me... in what other job would you be able to feel a child's belly and ask if there's monkeys living inside? 

I get to work with two generations at once 
There is the patient who is a child- my cares, the medicine, the assessments are all centered around them. But then there are often parents and legal guardians who are involved in the care. Many people think that this can be an annoyance- while dealing with tough family situations is often the hardest part of my job, dealing with great parents is often one of the best parts of my job.

I love being able to care for a child (one generation), and teach and equip the parents to then care for their child when they go home (a second generation). Parents are often eager to learn, and empowering them with the knowledge and skills they need to take care of their child at home is one of the aspects of my job that gives me the most satisfaction. 

And lets be honest, as someone who doesn't have my own kids (yet), I've learned a lot from watching the parents I come into contact with- both what I want to do as a parent and what I don't want to do. 

I work in hospital that's fun
The walls at my hospital are pink, yellow, green- you name it. There's paintings, paper cut-outs, and seasonal decorations on almost every wall.The floors have cool designs and everywhere you look there's something with a bright color. Crayons sit at the nurses station, and Frozen characters are found on every little girl's room number. My hospital is the farthest thing from sterile and cold, and for that, I am thankful

Employees are happy
Between the bright walls and (sometimes) smiling kids, I have found most of the people who work at my hospital quite cheerful. Sometimes it's hard, but I think working around kids means you either need (or get) an extra dose of smiles and happiness. That's good for my soul, and good for the patients' healing. 

Those are my 5 reasons of why I'm able to do what I do. Now that I've told you my reasons, do you think you could do it? Has your view of pediatric nursing changed at all? 

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My Engagement Days: Tips from a fiance-turned-wife


 Alex and I got engaged September 15, 2012 and got married exactly one year later on September 14, 2013. Our year engagement felt a little long to us, but we now know that it was perfect timing and God's plan for us. 

We both agreed that an engagement period of at least 4-6 months is preferable. We think waiting at least four months allows you time to prepare, seek the Lord, and exercise the self-control that will be needed even once you are married. However, we know that the Lord has different plans for different couples, and we aren't in any position to stand in the way of those plans. :) 

The year Alex and I spent engaged was full of a ton of change, but there are four things we intentionally did that maximized our engagement period, later helping us in our first year of marriage. 

Doing these four things won't mean that your first year of marriage will be bliss (it might be, it might not be!), but they will help prepare you for the journey that's ahead. 

When Alex and I got engaged, we met with a couple that we both deeply respect and love. They told us something we will never forget: "Most couples divorce over problems related to communication or money, so if you can target those two things then you will have a good foundation." This stuck with us, and our marriage preparations centered around these two things, so without further introduction... 

1. Enroll in a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class
Alex and I had talked about money prior to being engaged, but this class took our discussions to the next level. While there are a couple of things that we disagree with, the majority of what Dave Ramsey says is sound and logical advice that every American needs to hear. Since taking this class, we have recommended it to our friends (married, single, and engaged), because we think it is SO. IMPORTANT. 

This class opens up the floor for discussion about financial matters, and more importantly gives you the tools and steps necessary to start your marriage off on the right financial foot. Even if you think you are smart with money (Alex and I would consider ourselves good with money), there are valuable lessons to glean from Dave Ramsey's principles making it so so so worth your time and money. This class addresses debt, insurance, investments, and budgeting really giving you a solid knowledge base that will allow you to make smart financial decisions and not  find yourself 10 years down the road in your marriage wishing you hadn't made the dumb financial decisions you did. 

The classes are offered at local churches in almost every town. The class costs $70-90 and is a total of 13 sessions, but I can tell you that is the best time and money that I have ever spent. Truly. The fee includes all the materials, as well as a lifetime membership allowing you access to all the online resources.To find out more, head over here . 

Alex and I had our share of disagreements and fights during our first year of marriage, but not a single one was about money or finances, and we truly credit it to taking this class. Do it. Please. (And please feel free to ask me any questions you may have about it). 

2. Get premarital counseling. 
We addressed the issue of finances with step #1, and now we're addressing the issue of communication in step #2. No matter how long you've been together, how compatible you think you are, or how well you think you communicate, you will benefit from premarital counseling. Involving a third party exposes things that you may have not talked about before, and helps you explore issues that were discussed previously but not in depth. 

Premarital counseling is almost always offered through your church (and is a requirement in some churches), or you can get it through a local counseling agency. 

Our particular course was 6 weeks long and examined rules for communicating, intimacy, and dealing with extended family, to name a few. 

One thing that our premarital counseling did not include, that we would strongly recommend, is followup after the wedding. You can do all the counseling in the world but you don't really know what marriage is like until you're actually there. Actually being married will expose issues that no amount of counseling will reveal prior to the wedding day. See if the couple or pastor or counselor who is meeting with you will meet with you once or twice (or more!) after the wedding. This followup will help you work through issues that will inevitably arise following your wedding day. 

3. Read the book, "Before You Plan Your Wedding, Plan Your Marriage."
This book is written by Greg and Erin Smalley, and gives practical advice to breaking unhealthy patterns that are likely present in your relationship. We personally read this book in our engagement period and found it to be the most helpful. This book complemented and reinforced the lessons we were learning in our premarital counseling, and we both loved the practicality of its principles (think step-by-step guide). 

I have recommended this book to all the engaged couples that I know, as well as married, and single (but dating) friends because I believe the principles the authors talk about are invaluable at any point of your relationship with another person. I only wish I had read this book earlier in our relationship because it's advice would have saved Alex and I from falling into some of the ugly cycles and destructive patterns that we did. 

The last thing I want to point out is there is a ton of literature out there discussing marriage. You could spend years pouring through all the books that have been written on this topic. And to this point I want to say- don't overwhelm yourself with 3.2 million books that you feel like you have to read on marriage. If this book sounds like it is for you, great; if it doesn't, great. 

We read two books in our year engaged and two books only. Look at your options, decide which is best for you as a couple, and don't worry about the rest. It's easy to get trapped in thinking you should read 10 books on marriage before you walk down the aisle. Choose one or two to read during your engagement period and then work through the rest after you're married. You've got your whole life to read them all! 

4. Spend time together NOT doing wedding stuff
It's so easy when you're engaged to suddenly let all the time you spend with your significant other revolve around wedding planning. Fortunately, Alex and I didn't have a huge problem with this because #1 he didn't care too much about all the details and the ones he did care about I let him have control over, and #2 I wasn't much into wedding planning myself so our time together, for the most part, didn't include discussions about table decorations, dress colors, or flowers. 

A large majority of our time was spent in Financial Peace University and premarital classes, but we enjoyed what we were learning, and we were excited to be preparing for our future together. It's easy to get overwhelmed by books, classes, and things you are told you need to do to prepare for marriage, so we tell couples to pick and choose a few things and focus on those and (politely) ignore or decline the rest. 

And one of the most important things you can do is to have fun and just enjoy each other. After all, you're getting married and it's a beautiful time of life! 

Both of us would agree that engagement wasn't our favorite season of life, but we learned so many valuable lessons because we were intentional about preparing for marriage

Those are the four best things I did while  I was engaged. What do you think? What other things would you add?

Linking up with a Jack of All Trades 
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Five Goals For Fall




I'm a goals person. Setting goals helps me get stuff done and gives me purpose for my days beyond work, cleaning, and cooking. Can I get an amen?

Completing my two goals this summer (camping three times and climbing two 14ers) left me with a sense of accomplishment, and motivated me to make some goals for fall.

I know the latest blog craze is to set monthly goals, but that just seems a little daunting to me. Let's be honest, I'm writing my list for fall now and it's already halfway through October (how does that happen?) I've had these goals in my mind for longer than just today, but today they're going down in writing. I have until the first day of winter, December 21, to complete my goals. Or until I decide that fall is over which may be December 1st or it might be December 31st. 

Without further ado... 

1. Start working on our wedding scrapbook. 
 It's been over a year, and all our wedding pictures lie in my virtual Facebook album , and on the jump drive our photographer (my brother) gave me. 

I decided this is the season to change that so I bought some materials at Hobby Lobby (holla for 50% off!), started gathering some ideas, and hopefully will be off to a good start by the end of this season!

2. Increase the posting frequency on my blog to 2-3 times a week. 
If you've been around here for any sort of time, you've probably gathered I only write about once a week. This is partially because I second guess my post ideas and let my conscience tell me they're lame, partially because I'm getting used to the sheer amount of time it takes to put together a good quality post, and partially I've been working on my blog design a lot and sometimes find that more fun than actually writing posts (weird right?) 

All that to say, you can expect some more posts this fall! 

3. Get involved in one way at church 
The husband man and I just moved and fortunately found a church that we love on our very first week in Denver. I can't even begin to describe how much of a blessing this has been! Our very first time at church was their fall small group (they call it "house church") kickoff, so right away we were able to get plugged into that and have met some great people! 
We were in the process of getting more involved at our old church but our 45 minute commute and my work schedule made it really hard to find something that we could consistently commit to. Although my work schedule is still the same, we are a lot closer to this new church and would love to get more involved. We don't know what this is going to look like, but we are praying about it, and Alex (I'm at work) will be attending a type of "new member welcome gathering" on Sunday where he can find out where the help is needed. 

4. Be intentional about making connections and creating community
I realized not too long ago that a belief I've had since I was a kid was "If people want to hang out with you, they'll make an effort to reach out and see you." While I believe that there is some truth in this belief, I also have come to realize that thinking like this puts me in a position of waiting for people to befriend me which is #1 lonely and #2 not very effective. 

The Bible study I am currently working through examines King David's life, and in one of the more recent lessons, the study pointed out that David was one who initiated relationship. The study went on to examine a few passages that highlighted this, and it made me realize that, while there might be some truth to the above statement, I need to be willing to step out of my comfort zone and make new connections and create community. 

This could look different for different people, but right now my tentative idea is to text/reach out to 2-3 people that I've either never hung out with, or rarely hang out with, and see if they would like to do something. Maybe it'll turn out being more than 2-3 people, but for now that's my goal! 

5. Get ACLS and PALS certified
This is a goal that's 100% related to work and is actually my professional goal for the year at work, but it's something I've been wanting to do for about two years. ACLS stands for Advanced Cardiovascular Life support and PALS stands for Pediatric Advanced Life Support. 
These are two certifications that go more into depth regarding specific ways to treat life threatening conditions including lethal heart rhythms and shock. I'm signed up for the two classes mid-November and a good chunk of time will be spent doing case studies, simulations, and studying for both certification exams. My inner nerd is kind of excited. 

So, those are my five goals for fall. Do you like setting goals or not particularly? If you do, what are some of your goals? I'd love to hear them in the comments below so I can cheer you on!

(Joining in with all the lovely people at Goals with Grace and Jack of All Trades).
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A Monthly Date Challenge: Fondue & Beethoven



September is an exciting month in the love story of Alex and Sarah so our dates this month were a little more extravagant. 

September is the month we got engaged and exactly one year (and by exactly I mean to.the.day) tied the knot. So both of our date nights happened on our anniversary weekend as part of the celebration of our first year of marriage. We each still planned one and they were a surprise to the other person (I just love surprises!) 

Alex's Date

Alex's date happened the Saturday night before our anniversary the next day. 

He chose to do have us do something that neither of us had done before but always wanted to experience. 

And that was to attend a symphony orchestra concert!


But this wasn't a normal symphony performance in a stuffy auditorium. This was indeed a performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater- perhaps one of the most famous outdoor amphitheaters in the country. With good reason- the sound quality is awesome, and the stunning beauty of the rocks and Denver city lights in the background just takes your experience from good to awesome.



(see what I mean??)

My 6 foot 3 dirtbiking man just happens to really dig classical music and with my piano background, I like it too. I must say, though, that Alex likes it a lot more than I do. 

I realized this when the director sat down in front of the grand piano and started playing "Clair De Lune", and Alex turns to me and exclaims, "This is my favorite classical piece!!"

To which I thought, "You listen to classical music enough to have a "favorite piece"?" I am always learning about that man, that's for sure.



We snacked on skittles (because we're 5 years old) as we marveled at the talent of the symphony players, and watched for the musicians' reactions when the wind blew their sheet music off their music stands. 

All in all, it was a great night. It was so fun doing something completely new, that we'd never done before. If you've never seen an orchestra or symphony I vote go do it! Even if classical music isn't totally your thing, I bet you just might enjoy it! 

Sarah's Date 

Since Alex found a totally fun thing to do Saturday night, I had to follow it up with a fun dinner. A couple of years ago on our second year dating anniversary, we had gone to a local fondue restaurant in a little town outside of Colorado Springs. We loved the experience and I thought it would go to a similar type of restaurant that neither of us had been to- the Melting Pot

This place is a type of "fondue experience". Meaning that your meal is is a series of things that you dip in fondue- usually a cheese fondue for an appetizer, a broth fondue that you dip different kinds of meat in for the entree, and a chocolate fondue that you dip different fruits or sweets in for dessert.



In true Jenik fashion, I found a good deal that offered a 4-course meal as part of customer appreciation month. So we went all out- our bellies are not  used to four courses, that's for sure! And most of dinner we talked about how we should try this at home because it seems like such a simple and fun concept! 

We opened cards, fondued, and chatted the night away, reminiscing about our wedding a year ago.


That's another monthly date challenge in the books! I will say that these dates were a lot more expensive than we would normally do, so if you're looking for something on a budget, these ideas may not be the best... But we figured the splurge was worth it for a first anniversary! Come back next month for two more date ideas! 



Has anyone else gone to a symphony? Or tried fondue?

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