Spray paint love

If you live in the Midwest and have access to Menards, just wanted to let you know about an awesome promotion they currently have on spray paint.

Rust-Oleum, my favorite brand of spray paint (primarily because it works well and is decently priced), is on sale for $2.99 per can, with a $1 mail-in-rebate.  A final price of $1.99...I've never seen that great of a price!

While we're discussing paint prices, can we talk about how much hobby/craft stores charge for spray paint?  Between $5-$8 per can.  That's ridiculous!  Man up and head to your local hardware store to finish your DIY projects at a reasonable cost!  

Aqua, Eden and Fire Orange, all in satin.
Aren't these colors just luscious?  I have big plans for them!

photo source

What have you been spray painting lately?


Classic Whole Wheat Dinner Roll Recipe

I absolutely love any variety of homemade bread.  Not only do I enjoy eating it, I enjoy making it.  There is just something so wonderful and pure about mixing all of the ingredients together and kneading it with your own hands, letting it rise and shaping it into a delicious, yummy, carb-filled creation, just like people have been doing for hundreds and hundreds of years.  

That's about as close to poetic as I get  ;)  Seriously though, this recipe is divine.  I cut it out of some magazine a long time ago, but had no idea which.  Because I believe in good blogging etiquette, I googled until I found it: apparently the original recipe came from Fleischmann's Yeast, as that linked recipe is practically identical to mine!   I did lessen the amount of sugar slightly - shocker ;)  My method varies slightly from theirs too...less time with the beaters!

Classic Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
Prep: 40 minutes  Rise: 30 minutes  Bake: 15-18 minutes
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
4.5 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk (or milk substitute - plain soy, almond or rice work nicely)
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. butter, margarine, or coconut oil or spread
1+ cups of all purpose flour

Combine the whole wheat flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120 degrees to 130 degrees F). Add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at low/medium speed with electric mixer.  Stir in 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface, adding additional flour as needed to keep from sticking, until smooth and elastic (about 6 to 8 minutes). Cover the dough with the bowl; let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into balls (see below!). Place in greased 8 or 9-inch round pan - three rolls in the center, and nine around the edges. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  The rolls will be touching after they've risen - this is what you want.  Score the tops with a sharp knife if desired.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Bake fully risen rolls for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown (or internal temperature of 180-190 degrees). Remove from pan; brush with additional melted butter, if desired. Pull apart and serve warm.

Need help shaping your rolls?  Basically, I just pat my dough down into a disk and cut it in half, and half again, so that I have quarters.  Each quarter of dough needs to be divided into thirds, so that you'll end up with 12 dinner rolls total.  After forming the dough into a ball, I use this technique (starting at 1:15) to shape the rolls - basically cupping the dough ball in your hand on the counter, and letting gravity and the counter form it into a nice shape for you.

If you've never made any type of yeast bread before, I would encourage you to try this one.  I never really realized there was a fear of yeast among some of the bakers of the world - no one ever told me that yeast can be finicky, so the first time I made a bread, I just did what the directions said.  And thankfully it worked.  The trick is to get your liquid nice and warm - a little warmer than you'd choose to have it to take a shower, but not scalding hot.

And that's it!  Just over a half an hour of hands-on time, and you'll be rewarded with some delicious and traditional whole wheat rolls. 

I'll be sharing the yummy goodness with these parties this week...Come join the fun!


MS3: Choosing a Clinical Track

This week, my husband was given his first bit of information about his third year of medical school.  Third year is this mysterious, looming thing - I really am not sure what to expect with regards to how many hours a week to expect him to be at the hospital or even if it is Monday-Friday, or if weekends are included...Really, I'm clueless.  Everything is currently culminating in Step 1 and I just don't really know what to expect beyond that.

The third year of medical school is clinically-based, and consists of six clerkships, each lasting eight weeks.  There are six different tracks that students take (which is a fancy way of saying in which order they do their clerkships). Basically, my husband takes his boards, has a week off, and is then thrown into the hospital setting for the first time after a quick orientation.  

Broken down, this results in the following schedule for his entire year:
  • June 16: Step 1 boards
  • June 17-24: Summer Break!
  • June 25-28: Orientation
  • July 2-August 24: 1st clerkship
  • August 27-October 19: 2nd clerkship
  • October 22-December 14: 3rd clerkship
  • December 15-January 6: Winter Break!
  • January 7-March 1: 4th clerkship
  • March 4-April 26: 5th clerkship
  • April 27-May 5: Spring Break!
  • May 6-June 28: 6th clerkship
  • June 29-July 7: Summer Break! 

The clerkships are in the following areas: Jr. Surgery, Family Medicine, Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Internal Medicine.

So here is where I come to you, you wiser med wives: is there a method to the madness to deciding in what order the clerkships should be completed?  Are we correct in assuming that the clerkships that my husband thinks he will like/might want to specialize in he should try to do first?  Which of the above mentioned rotations are considered to be the most difficult/time consuming/have more nights or weekends?  On the flip side, are any of them generally lighter or easier?  And just a couple of general questions about this whole "third year of medical school" thing - will my husband be gifted with a pager for next year, and if so, is he going to be called in at all hours of the night on a regular basis?  Is it possible to request "days off" during third year?  We've got quite a few weddings this year, and I'm just wondering if I will be truly beginning the time of my life when I'm the married-girl-with-no-date for most events.

Thanks everyone - this is why I love the blogging community of med wives! 


Refusal (a post about weather).

If every winter was guaranteed to be like the current one, I'd have no about qualms staying in this great state forever.   

Average high in March? 44 degrees.  
Today's record high temperature? 76 degrees.
Today's high? 85 degrees.

Average low in March? 27 degrees.
Today's record low temperature? 9 degrees.
Today's low?  62 degrees. 

We are literally FORTY degrees above normal.  This is, obviously, unheard of.  This hasn't been a strange or random occurrence today: the past eight days have been in the 70's and 80's, and the next two days are predicted to be this warm as well. We have set new record temperatures March 14, 16, 17, 19, 20 and 21, and tied the record on the 18th. The trees have all budded.  Daffodils have bloomed.  Magnolia trees are in full beauty.  

Our apartment is the top floor in our building, facing the southwest.  From about one in the afternoon until dusk, the sun just beats on our apartment.  Which, of course, results in the following, something we normally only experience in July and August:

Temperature outside on our balcony, baking in the sun: 92*.  Temperature inside our home: 86*... 

Isn't that just nuts?  But we 100% absolutely refuse to turn on our air conditioning in March.  Refuse!  Any other winter, and we would still have significant snow on the ground still, so it just seems so wrong to turn on the AC.  

Proof that it is actually that warm in here...Our pantry is currently the coolest room in the entire home:

Coconut Oil is normally a solid, like Crisco-consistency almost.  It liquifies between 76-80 degrees.  Which we've obviously surpassed, as you can see by the fact that it's nearly completely liquid!

It is, unfortunately, going to cool down over the weekend, to lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s.  Still unseasonably warm, just not tanning on the balcony warm ;)  I'll take anything over snow though! 

PS-how unbelievable is it that it's been warmer here several days than it was when we were in Mexico??!  


Vacacione a México

It might feel like we just booked our trip to Mexico a few days ago, but we are already there and back!  We spent last week, from Sunday the 4th through Saturday the 10th in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  In spite of my mild worries after those cruise ship passengers were robbed in Puerto Vallarta ten days before we were leaving, we felt completely safe the entire time.  The weather was beyond perfect - low 80s in the afternoon, high 60s at night.  Warm enough for me, but not so hot as to make my husband miserable.  

There was a mild snowstorm predicted for Sunday morning, so we gave ourselves a bit of extra time to make the long drive to the airport, leaving our house at 4am (I know, stop complaining).  We ended up not having quite as much snow as we expected, so we had plenty of time to enjoy a big breakfast at the Macaroni Grill in the airport.  Complete with crayons! 

Our resort was the Barcelo Puerto Vallarta: a beautiful, medium-sized property.  It was a little bit off the beaten track of the city, surrounded by jungle and mountains.  The vegetation was lush, the palm trees some of the tallest we'd ever seen and the pools were freezing cold sparkling. 
Clockwise from the top left: 
The view from our balcony at night.
Obligatory picture by the pool (never once got in past my knees!).
Massive palm tree, with mountains in the background.
Watermelon fruit carvings at breakfast.

Our room was very spacious: bedroom, bathroom, sitting room with sofa and table, and a separate living room with a sofa and two chairs.  There was a view of the ocean, pools and gardens from our balcony.

While we spent the vast majority of our vacation poolside, me reading (for pleasure), the Hubby reading (about cardiology/Step 1), we still found plenty of time for fun and adventures, such as:  

A massage by the ocean:

Exploring the beach, regardless of the fact that it was more gravel than sand: 
Clockwise from top left:
 Houses in the mountains neighboring our resort.  
Being careful not to let the waves get me - if I thought the pool was cold...
One of the many snorkeling boats, next to our future home ;)
Spear fisherman that we watched catch his dinner.
Feet + sand.
Sunset after dinner one evening.

Venturing into the city of Puerto Vallarta:
 Clockwise from top left:
On the boardwalk by the beach downtown.
Amazing sand sculpture, roughly seven feet tall and so intricately detailed!
Church in town: Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The local bus we rode into town for 7 pesos each (just over $1 for both of us, vs. a $15 taxi fare each direction!).  We might have been frugal, but it was a somewhat terrifying, nauseating ride.  
Wishing well sand sculpture. 

Another adventure that was booked: a day of whale watching and snorkeling.  However, due to my pansy stomach not being able to handle Mexico very well, we ended up having to cancel the excursion.  After an entire night by the toilet, a visit to the resort doctor in the morning, four Mexican prescriptions, and a day of sleeping later, we were back to the fun!  Saturday afternoon, while riding to the airport with three other couples, we discovered that half of each pair got sick during their stay....oh, Mexico!  

I cannot tell you with any confidence at what time we arrived home...it was late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.  Thanks to the time change, flying into a time zone different than the one we live in, and Springing Forward, I believe it was the equivalent of about 2am.  We are so, SO glad we booked the trip.  The first two days, we just kept saying how happy we were to be there - proof enough to us that we needed it.  My main concern was the Hubby getting enough study time in during the trip - spring break is supposed to be a big Board Prep time.  As expected, the Hubby didn't study quite as much as he would have had we stayed home, but he did study pool-side every day and while on the plane.  He didn't feel more stressed coming home.  I mean, I guess talk to us after boards for the true review, but right now, it was the best decision for us.  The Hubby is just buckling down during these next few unseasonably warm days and pretending like he doesn't have a motorcycle to distract him from his books.   

Even though it's back to real life, we're still dreaming of being here...


The Changing Face of Coupon Users

Couponers are a hot topic lately.  According to the article titled Well-Off, Educated and Tech Savvy: The New Couponer, "Households with incomes of $100,000 or more are twice as likely to coupon as those who earn less than $35,000. College-degree holders are also twice as likely to use coupons as those who did not graduate from high school."

Do you suppose that the above is true because people who earn more money feel the need to be more careful with their income?  Being completely a little frugal myself, I just found it a rather interesting read.