8.31.2011

Med School: Year Two (??!?!)

Well, I think that my mother was the only one that noticed, so I'll go ahead and point it out - the blog has a new title caption.  I figured it was about time to ditch the "newly-wedded" portion of my blog theme here...I mean 15 months of marriage puts us out of newly-wed stage, right?  And then I realized that I'm not married to a new medical school student now either....I'm married to a second year medical school student.  

Hold the phone.  Second year?  

Yikes!  When did that happen, exactly??  I mean, obviously, I know when (in the last 365 days).  But honestly, it shocks me that we're heading into year two.  It strikes me as humorous to think that at this time last year, I was in a desperate panic mildly nervous about what med school would be like or look like or feel like for us.  There were some (very realistic) fears running a happy race through and around my brain: Would I ever see the Hubby?  Would he really be doing school for 60-80 hours a week?  Would we have enough time for us?  What would I do every night while he studied??

Now, going into our second year of this crazy journey called medicine, my worries have been (for the most part) relieved.  Yes, I will see my husband.  He might be studying, but he will be at home as much as he realistically can be.  Yes, he will be doing school for 60-80 hours each week, but he needs to stay on top of school.  If he starts to feel behind, he'll get stressed out, which stresses me out.  Being proactive and prepared means less stress for everyone.  Yes, we have enough time for us, but quality time together changes.  Instead of a date night out somewhere every week, it might be a quiet and relaxing evening in, curled up on the couch, watching an NCIS rerun.  And while the Hubby studies every night?  There's cooking, crafting, reading and phone calls to far away friends to occupy this girl.  I think have thoroughly learned the art of self-entertainment!

I would say that the biggest key to enjoying (yes, enjoying!) medical school would be to understand that it is a sacrifice for both the student and the spouse.  The time, effort and money spent on medical school means that there isn't going to be excessive time, energy or money for other things.  The student is sacrificing to be in medical school, while the spouse is sacrificing because of medical school.  The student might lose their free time (and some might say freedom), but the spouse loses spending time with their spouse.  But, in the end, it will be worth it...or so they tell me!  No matter what happens, how many hours are spent in the books, how much loan money is taken out, if test scores are lower than hoped or you don't get your first choice on Match Day...in the end...you're in it together!

The hardest part of beginning med school are the countless unknowns that are all looming.  If you're just starting this whole med school journey and have any questions or concerns or qualms about medical school, feel free to send me an email at mdschoolmrs(at)gmail(dot)com.  I'd love to shed some light wherever I can!

8.21.2011

Saving Money in Med School: Daily Deal Sites

Welcome to Part 3 of my Saving Money in Medical School Series: Daily Deal Sites!  (If you missed the first two installments, you can read them here Part 1: Coupons 101 and here Part 2: General Money Saving Websites).

Basically, there are two types of Daily Deal Sites: Local and Online.  Each day, these sites will feature one or several companies who offer their goods or services for 50-90% off the normal price.  Most of these sites will give you a $2 or $5 or even $10 credit when you sign up, making their deals even sweeter!

My favorite local Daily Deal Sites, where you can purchase vouchers for various businesses in your local area are:


BuyWithMe

For local daily deals, after purchasing the voucher, you simply print it out and take it into the business (after making sure to read the fine print!).  Some of the deals and steals that either I've gotten or know people who have purchased through these sites include: spa services (massage, hair treatments and cuts, facials, nails, etc), retail stores, many local restaurants (a great way to try a new place without needing to worry too much if you'll like it or not!), dry cleaning, car washes, sky diving, golfing, rock climbing & white water rafting (obviously not in MI!), museum admissions, health club memberships....the list goes on and on!

Online daily deal sites offer promotions that are used to purchase goods from online merchants.  After you purchase an online daily deal, you will be emailed the promo code or the other instructions on how to redeem the deal at the online merchant's website.  And before you ask why I subscribe to a site called "MamaSource"....I have nieces and nephews, and every other person that I know is having a baby....can you say shower gifts??

Deal Pulp
Bitsy Bug
Eversave
MamaSource

The Clymb (all outdoors/adventure/hiking/camping)

These online daily deal sites feature things such as kids gear (clothing, books, meal supplies, toys, accessories, cloth diapers, etc), adult gear (beauty and fitness supplies, accessories, jewelry, clothing, etc), vitamins and supplements, meal planning, cases of wine, home furnishings and photo printing websites...basically anything you can imagine!

I love using Daily Deal sites to buy gifts for people (Christmas half off? Yes, please!), to enjoy a dinner out or to do something fun on the cheap with the Hubby, and to treat myself to the occasional (much-needed) pampering!  Another idea is if you're planning on vacationing somewhere, sign up for the local daily deals a few weeks in advance.  You might be able to score an awesome deal on something fun to do while you're there or try out local restaurants, instead of sticking with the dreaded chain restaurants!

Yes, those links are my personal referral links, and if you sign up through them and buy a deal, I'll get a credit to those sites.  Be nice and use my links, because  I wrote this post for you, and we all love kickbacks for sharing the good news about great deals!

8.19.2011

Most Beautiful Place in America!

Check it out!  A special little location in the northwest corner of the Lower Peninsula was voted the 'Most Beautiful Place in America' by Good Morning America.  Look at this video and prepare to be amazed that something so gorgeous is, indeed, located in here!  

Photo Source
Sleeping Bear Dunes has a special place in our hearts, as it is where the Hubby proposed to me!  As you can see, it was a little gray the day we were there...


But that was okay....mainly because of this:


And then, we rode home on the motorcycle in a torrential downpour.  The rest, as they say, is history. 

8.17.2011

Domestic. Fail.

So y'all know that I've been wicked busy right?   I am telling you this story, not because I am proud of the fact that it happened, but simply to reassure you that this blog is not the only thing suffering from my chaotic schedule.  (The following conversation, which occurred last weekend, is paraphrased.  Heavily).

Hubby: Wife, let us enjoy a bottle of wine this evening.  

Wife:  That sounds lovely, dear husband.  Please select a bottle from our mildly tacky wine rack full of sale priced wine from Meijer wine cellar.  

Hubby (carefully selecting a bottle): My goodness!  The amount of dust on this bottle gives it the appearance of being well-aged and expensive...I believe that we should drink this one. 

Domestic.  Fail.  

I'm going to go dust now.  

8.10.2011

Saving Money in Med School: General Money Saving Websites

Continuing onward from Coupons 101 in my little "Saving Money in Medical School" series, here are a few of my favorite general money saving websites.  I use them for various purposes, and have found that it's best to limit yourself to just a few different websites.  There are hundreds of money saving websites and one could spend all day trying to read them all.  Find a few favorites and stick with them to actually see some deals and steals!

Money Saving Mom (She’s the one that got me hooked on couponing!).
Mojo Savings (This one normally has a “best price on diapers” weekly feature, as well as pretty much every freebie sample in the world).
Saving Addiction (Does Meijer match-ups...Midwesterner's unite!).

These sites will do the weekly “match-ups” of the sales fliers to the current coupons (how they keep track of all of those coupons, I have no idea!).  Here’s an example of a Meijer weekly match-up.  Also, these sites often use a lot of “coupon lingo,” here are some definitions of common couponing terms for you so you aren’t saying “ONYO what??”

These websites will also direct you to special coupons that might not be on the normal coupon printing websites.  They’ll also have samples you can sign up for – lots of travel size shampoo, toothpaste, etc, which is always handy!  I keep samples in our second bathroom so that when people are visiting, they can use them if they forgot something.

And of course there is the Drugstore Game…which I “play” at Walgreens.  It’s because of the drugstore game that the Hubby has forbidden me to buy toothpaste unless I can get it for free (or make money!).  

Next time, I'll share my favorite daily deal websites and how they work!  

8.06.2011

Meet Franklin

Have I mentioned Frank before?  I've been spending a lot of QT with him lately.  Normally between 12-14 hours a day.  And before you wonder if the Hubby's getting jealous, don't worry.  Frank is my work truck.  

I know, you're wondering, seriously?  Does this girl really name all of her modes of transportation (aka Indy and Isra)?  It's not true, I promise.  My car doesn't have a name.  Neither does the Hubby's.   But when you spend as much time in a truck as I do, you can't just call it "the truck."  That simply doesn't do it justice.  He's got personality, and I may or may not talk to him and encourage him through sticky situations.  

(Think I'm a total quack yet?)

Frank may be a little bit older...and he may have a few bumps and bruises and dents and scratches...but he's my Frank!  


We've had our fair share of adventures together.  A couple of winters ago, we slid into a ditch together-tow truck to the rescue.  A few summers back, we got wicked stuck in a swamp-farmer with a tractor to the rescue.  Last year, a deer (a fawn, actually, spots and all), careened into the driver's side door-there was no chance of rescue for that baby deer.  This past week, Frank had a little temper tantrum while working...his steering completely went out!  We had absolutely nothing - the steering wheel would rotate completely and the tires stayed completely straight.  Thank the high heavens that we were only going about 10 mph down a road rather than 70 mph on the freeway! 


Thank you to AAA for towing our behinds, to Amanda C. for finding us a dealership and to Mike the service man for tracking down the rare part that broke in Frank's steering column!  People are so great ;)

8.02.2011

Pumpkin Pie (dairy-free!)

Remember a couple of months ago when I made a dairy-free pumpkin pie for the Hubby's birthday?  I'm finally (FINALLY) getting around to sharing this recipe with you.  It is so delicious that you can't even tell that it is made without evaporated milk (and without using a weird substitute like tofu, because y'all?  The jiggly consistency of tofu grosses me out.  That stuff is just not natural).

The secret ingredient to this dairy-free pumpkin pie?  Coconut milk!  I have my friend Anne (of the famous cinnamon baked oatmeal!) to thank for cluing me in on this secret.  What would I do without her??

My ingredient picks:


Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients
1 recipe for single-crust pie
1 15-oz can pumpkin
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
2 slightly beaten eggs
3/4 cup coconut milk/cream/half-and-half (I use lite coconut milk)

Directions
Line a  nine-inch pie plate with crust.  For filling, combine pumpkin, sugar, and spices in a medium bowl.  Add eggs.  Beat lightly with fork just until combined.  Gradually add milk; stir until combined.  Pour filling into pastry.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  Refrigerate within 2 hours.


The end result? Pure deliciousness.
Please don't mind my crust; I have yet to perfect a homemade crust!  They taste great, despite looking a little bit...rustic ;)
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