Friday, January 31, 2014

Preparation for nursing school...

A year and a half after deciding to go back to school for my dream career, nursing, I am in the home stretch. 

Thankfully, while getting my B.S. in Community Health Education from Texas A&M (before A&M had a nursing program), I got many of the prerequisites completed for nursing school. 

Unfortunately, or really fortunately, there is a 5 year limit on all upper level science courses. When did I graduate? I graduated from A&M in 2001 and returned to school in 2012. My sciences were uber-expired. I had to retake Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2, and Microbiology....each one at a time. While it took me a year in a half, I really enjoyed it because I learned SO MUCH! Being in my early 30's in college is much different from being in my late teens and in college!

I finished my final prereq this past Fall and began studying for the TEAS, the nursing school entrance exam. The application period opened January 15th and runs until April 15th. The earliest I could take the TEAS was January I signed up for it. 

No pressure, but this college accepts only your first attempt in an application cycle, which is once a year. I have been studying for the past two weeks to remember algebra, geometry, percentages, reading themes, grammar, punctuation, spelling, parts of speech, chemistry, biology, earth science, physics, biology, anatomy, and microbiology. 

My stomach was in knots yesterday. I woke up, took the children to school, and then had an 8:30 appointment with my doctor for my next round of immunizations to include with my nursing school application. Afterwards, I went straight to the college to drop off recommendation forms to the three professors that agreed to write them for me. I ran to the coffee shop for a french vanilla coffee and packet of Pop Tarts...the breakfast of champions! Then I headed to the library to get some last minute studying in. 

At about 11:00am, I went home to grab a quick lunch and watch Top Chef and vegetate for an hour before the test. I didn't want to feel overloaded. At 12:30, I walked into the testing room on campus and met up with the two other girls that would be taking the test with me. 

The proctors walked us through the process to set up an account and got us started. About 5 minutes into the test, it kicked all of us off and freaked us out. The proctors fixed it, and we got started again. About 15 minutes later, the college had a software update and it kicked us off the test again. Thankfully, that was the final interruption, and I charged ahead. 

At 3:10, I submitted the test, and the proctor told me to check the website in an hour for results. I am still not sure about what I want my results to be for acceptance into the program, because all it said in the application packet was, "To be competitive, you must receive a TEAS score higher than the national average." The highest grade on my practice tests was a 77. My personal goal was a "B" or better. 

By the time I got home, settled down, and the kids came home, it was time to log on and check my grade. I held my breath as the page loaded....the first percentage I saw was 64% and my heart sunk. But I soon realized that was the national average. My average was an 85%!!!! I literally jumped up and screamed!

Both the national and program average for the nursing program at my school is 64, so I feel very comfortable with an 85. Of course I would feel better with an "A", but the form listed a lot of positives. It ranked me in the top 95% nationally, it said my academic preparedness level was advanced, and my lowest grade in science was still over 20 points higher than the national average. All of these things made me feel better about my chances. 

I have all of my paperwork for the application packet spread across my bar. My rec letters have been sent out. I have filled out the official application and attached a photo. I have written the "Plan of Success" essay required and have copies of my CPR certification and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society information. I printed out the TEAS results page and have included it with the application. I have scheduled my final immunizations for next week and will have the official paperwork confirming them by Wednesday. I have gone to the registrar's office to fill out a transcript request to be sent to the college. I have a 4.0, a Bachelor of Science in Health Education, and 8 years of experience as a Developmental Specialist working with children with disabilities. Honestly, I have given this my all. There is nothing more I could have done in order to get in, and if I don't get in, I will be devastated. 

Do I have a back up plan? NO. I will wait another year and re-apply. God willing, I won't have to wait, and will find out by the end of May of my acceptance. Then Nursing school boot camp begins in July. I am so excited, I can hardly wait. This is what I should have done from the very beginning. The only thing I can say is that waiting until my 30's to return to school will allow me a wealth of life experience to apply to this career. 

Until then, I return to acting as a full time mom to my two boys. I return to crafting, volunteering, shuttling, playing with my kids, spending time with my husband, and maybe catching up on my housework. What a blessing it is to have a break! Wish me luck or send up a prayer on my behalf, please!!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

DIY mustache shirt

Last Friday was "Mustache" day at school as part of a district wide Kindness week. Each day had a theme, sort of like during Red Ribbon Week. 

So some friends and I shared paints and a mustache stamp, I had a plain white shirt already, and I printed out an outline of some glasses and cut it into a stencil. 

Painted it all black....feeling cool. 


The headboard

The headboard finally came in!!!!

Yay! Officially, completely done!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Race Car goodie bags....

I am slowly but surely working on preparations for Caleb's 11th birthday in March. When I get tired of studying for my nursing exam, I work on it!

Anyway, his birthday is going to be at our local race car track, and he is just inviting a few friends. Luckily, I came across this site that has printables for a race car party!

I am using several of her printables for Caleb's party including the bag toppers. 

So here is what I have done so far...

Each bag has two flame pencils, a race car sucker, some race car gummies, racing tattoos, and pit stop rubber bracelets, all from Oriental Trading Company.

I just printed out the toppers onto card stock, cut them out, and stapled them on the filled ziploc baggies, and called it a day. Yay!

Finished pre-teen boy's Nintendo themed room...

Well, I am going to go ahead and say this room is finished. Actually we are still waiting for the coordinating headboard to arrive, but we put my in-law's headboard on his bed in the meantime. 

All in all, I think it turned out really well. Caleb loves it and I think it meets his criteria for a more mature Nintendo themed room. Here are a few before and after pictures...

This first one shows the old cartoon theme that we did for him for Christmas when he was 6. The desk was given to us by my in-laws because they are moving. 

The picture frames, pixel wall clock, and black desk lamp are all from Ikea. The prints were googled and printed on my home printer.

I wish I had taken more before pictures, but the room was such a wreck...I just couldn't bring myself to do so,

Here is the new dresser and mirror with the "evolution of Nintendo" controller art on the wall...

The rug was from, the dresser is from Rambo's Furniture, and the "evolution" art was made by me using controllers my mother found and a shadow box from Hobby Lobby. 

Here is the bed and bedding with the temporary headboard. You can also see the matching end table with decor from the dollar store....

I tried to take another photo but the sun was giving a weird glare so this is the best I could get. I love this art work over his bed. It is mounted on wood and I LOVE it!!!

We can now breathe as it is finished. Caleb is happy, and now Jansen is begging to redo his room. Good grief, I need a break!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Valentine's for a 3rd grade class...

I'm a planner and I like to get things done early. You just never know what could happen or could come up. 

The last couple of years, I have really liked sending my kiddos to school with things that are not edible. Valentine's Day is way too full of sweets and snacks as it is. 

So this year, Jansen is my only child still in elementary school that trades Valentines. 

I ordered 24 star embellished sunglasses from Oriental Trading Company and they are pretty darn cute. 

Then I created  little tags from an inspiration from Pinterest and tied them to the glasses. 

Everything is done. Super cute!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Finished artwork for room

Today my mom and I went to Ikea to get the last few items for the wall art for Caleb's room. We are still waiting on the bed and desk to arrive, but the curtains arrived today. Yay!

Ok so here are the pieces of art that are in the room so far...

I love how each piece turned out. Caleb seems pretty happy with everything, but since this has been going on for two weeks now, I know he is ready for it just to be done. I know I sure am. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Custom gamer pillow

Caleb's gamer pillow came in today and he was so excited to see it. I had it customized on He immediately wanted a picture with it. 

This is his little gaming corner. He picked out the lime green orb chair, I had the pillow made, and the artwork was printed and framed. 

Again, we are looking for a way to make his room more mature but still have that gamer theme. 

Curtains come in tomorrow! I am also headed to Ikea with my mom for some additional artwork to hang over the desk we will be getting from my in-laws soon. 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pre-teen room sneak peek....

This week I have been sick as a perro! For real. I thought I just had a small virus that would go away on its own, but 8 days later I felt even worse. After 2 hours sitting in the doctor's office, I was diagnosed with sinusitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, and a double ear infection. Three meds later, I am feeling much better!

Anyway, while being sick, I had time to sit at my computer and plan more details for Caleb's room. We found a bedroom set on sale at our local furniture store and purchased it. Some of his pre-ordered items came in and some will be in this week. 

I have created a few items on the cheap so that we could purchase the new furniture. A great deal of his art work was googled and printed and put in dollar store frames. 

Here is a sneak peek of his end table...

Almost everything was from the dollar store. The lamp shade and base, the picture frame, and the alarm clock were all from the Dollar General, two blocks away from us. I love having a dollar store so close to us!

The little photo says, "Press A to start", which is a phrase any gamer is familiar with. 

The lamp shade is navy and light blue which coordinates with his bedding. 

I can't wait until it all comes together!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Transitioning to a pre-teen/teenager room

Our son, Caleb is almost 11 and is Autistic. He is doing wonderfully, but still is a bit behind. I would say, he has the mind of about an 8 or 9 year old. He just identifies better with younger children. 

However, when we challenge him a bit, he can usually rise to the occasion. Now that he is in intermediate school, we have told him no more character shirts, less character plush toys, and just an overall move toward more maturity. 

That said, it is time to redo his room a bit. He is obsessed with Nintendo, which is fine, but I wanted to make it a little more mature...some art work, etc. 

He chose his bedding, a chair, and a rug. I have searched the internet for art work that would be a bit older but still meet that Nintendo/Super Mario theme that he loves so much. 

My in laws are moving over 4 and a half hours away and won't be taking all of their furniture. So, Caleb is inheriting a full sized bed and headboard and a desk. We are on the lookout for a dresser and mirror and we are waiting for all his choices to be shipped. 

The Super Mario decals that we put all over his wall to create the feeling he is IN the game, ripped the paint off his walls. That was ok with me, because I wanted to repaint his walls anyway. We agreed on a nice, warm grey color to coordinate with his bedding. 

Here are a few of the things that he has picked out so far....

He chose this bedding...which shocked the heck out of me because there is no red in it. Red is his signature color!

He also chose this chair, which also shocked me since I was trying to encourage a large bean bag chair.

I had this made into a throw pillow made to put in the lime green chair....

He chose this rug, which will cover a portion of his laminate flooring. 

I ordered this artwork to go over his bed....he is LOVING it!

And we purchased some navy curtain panels to cover his two big windows. 

I am still looking at other forms of art work to go on his walls but don't want to order anything else until we get all the furniture in there. 

His headboard is one of those shelving/mirror headboards, so I am planning on covering the mirror with an upholstered square velcro-d to it. That way it covers up the mirror without damaging it. 

We cleaned out his room, organized his closet, and threw away 14 bags of trash and donated toys. Once the bed gets in, I will purchase some under-bed Rubbermaid containers to hold his massive amounts of Legos!

I cannot wait to get it done and he is surprisingly excited for the change. We are just at a stand still until everything comes in, so it may be another week or two until it is finished. It's ok though. It is going to be great!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Powell Family Christmas Caribbean Cruise: part 2

The next day we arrived in the Cayman Islands. 

Evidently at the end of the rainbow is the Cayman Islands!! Having been there before, we knew what to expect. We boarded a small tender boat 

and then traveled ashore. We arrived about an hour early so we were able to walk around the port a bit and do a little sight-seeing. 

Our excursion was hand selected by Jansen...a submarine ride. At first, I was very hesitant, but it turned out great. I only had one brief moment of panic, but thankfully, they had drinking water aboard that helped calm me down. 

After the ride, we went walking downtown, and found another Margaritaville that we went to eat lunch at. It was more fun than the Jamaican one! Buckets-o-nachos, dancing, water parks, music. 

It was fun! As we arrived back on the boat, it began raining. Staying inside for us was the plan. We sat under a covered area at the outdoor theater and enjoyed a Billy Joel concert!

The next morning we arrived in good old Cozumel. We were super excited to get here because we had an all inclusive excursion to Chakanaab park and I wanted to do a bunch of shopping at Puerta Maya. But, as fate would have it, it began to rain shortly after we stepped on the pier. 

We found our guide and waited for it to clear up...which only took about 15 minutes. But off in the distance, we could clearly see some major storm clouds. 

As we waited, we took advantage of the brief stoppage of rain and took a few pics. 

We jumped in a bus and headed to the park. We checked in and headed to the beach while it was sunny. 

Caleb and Jansen played in the sand while Dad got the snorkel gear ready. 

Caleb actually snorkled with Josh!

Then we started back to get tickets for the dolphin experience Jansen wanted. I told him I would do it with him, and as soon as we bought tickets, it began to pour. We froze in the pouring rain on that pier but we had our dolphin experience. 

Because of the rain, things were delayed, so by the time we were done, it was time to return to the boat. We didn't even get to eat! We were soaked and starving!!!

It was such a long walk back to the ship in the pouring rain and I was so disappointed that I didn't get to do any shopping there. Dang. 

After boarding the ship and taking showers, we headed for dinner, the magic show, some bingo, and some dessert. 

We spent the last day on the ship just relaxing and playing in the casino while the boys played in the camp. 

While we got on each other's nerves, while it rained, while things didn't turn out as we had hoped, we got to do things we had never done before. We spent time as a family. We had fun! It was a good vacation all in all.