Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My goal these days, because school is so crazy, is to just post once a month. So of course, here I am on November 30th at 11:37 at night. Procrastination = motivation.

Here is the latest update on Mr. Jon and I.

Jon interviewed at Temple University at the start of the month. He really liked the school and had a great experience there. He says he feels his interview went well... but you can never know for sure with these things. He should hear back from them soon, but no matter what happens, he is keeping up a positive attitude.

He really liked getting the experience of interviewing at a school. Temple in particular had some really cool state-of-the-art features and technology, and the campus seemed really nice. Philly would be a huge change for us, but we are open to wherever the Lord wants us to go.

My schooling is plugging along, I wish I could fit how much information I am learning into my head. Sometimes it feels like I just can't connect all the dots- I have so much information around me all the time! I wish I could just be a super-therapist and know it all. But I am growing, and that is a good feeling.

I have two more weeks of class until Christmas break. This is the normal stress-time for me. About 3 weeks before the end it all seems to be crashing down. But now I can normalize that feeling. I don't know what it is, but making lists seems to de-stress me quite a bit (and from what I hear this works for a lot of other people as well) I have now deemed my ritual end-of-the-quarter-to-do-list just "THE LIST". It is that epic. I got to cross off a couple of things today and that felt good.

Jon and I had a wonderful thanksgiving with Jon's cousins in Orange County. We ran a 5k in the morning and enjoyed a day without any worries.

It wouldn't feel right to post in November without listing what we are thankful for...

Here is what we say thank you for in our prayers each night:

1. our apartment (seriously, so close to school and the clinic, Jon takes the shuttle, stuff doesn't break and we actually like to hang out in it.)
2. Our working car (can I hear an amen?)
3. Jon's job (remember this time last year? And that sales job that Jon didn't exactly love? Now he has a job he likes, hes good at, and gets paid for!)
4. My education (while I might be a stress bucket- that's just because I'm so busy soaking in the awesomeness of what I am learning. I know I will miss it when its over.)
5. Our families (they just can't be beat. Period.)
6. Our friends (our connection to the outside world- they keep us laughing through it all.)
7. The gospel (so much happiness in our lives, purpose, meaning. Our family theme for the last two year: FAITH not fear!)

I am sure that there is a lot more things to be thankful for. But I am going to save up my word count and start putting those words into those 5 papers I need to get done in the next two weeks (I wish that was an exaggeration).

We are thankful, we are happy, we are hopeful. So onto the end of the year and into the merriest month of them all.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I've changed my past goal of writing weekly, to now just trying to write monthly. I wish I had lots of fun stuff to share, but things have been pretty steady over here.

1. Jon ended up re-scheduling his interview at Temple so that he could get a better deal on flights (so expensive!). So now he will be going near the beginning of November, wish him luck! It is fun to learn about Philadelphia a little bit and consider living somewhere completely different. While this is only an interview, I really like looking at various apartments and land marks for wherever Jon applies and/or interviews.

2. I am keepin' on with school. Classes aren't too bad this quarter, but the clinical work is getting heavier. I am having more clients and more clients that keep coming (which means harder working stages of therapy and bigger problems). I also am on the hunt for my "final case" which is an incredibly important aspect of graduating from our program. But I love saying that I only have about 8 months left of school, that feels pretty amazing.

3. We are looking forward to Halloween. The trunk or treat is this weekend, I think it will be fun to see the little kids we teach at church one year later! I can't believe we have been their teachers for a year, they are so funny. They are also doing the children's program in church this Sunday so I am really looking forward to them performing for the whole church.

4. Jon and I are training for a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. It is only a 5K, which is about 3 miles, but Jon and I are not big fans of running. It has been two years since my half marathon, so I think I have "recovered" from my total hate of running. Plus, training with Jon makes it way more fun. We have been pretty happy with our training so far.

5. I forgot to mention that Jon and I went to a Death Cab for Cutie concert in Santa Barbara for my birthday. It was am-aaaa-zing. I am so glad that Jon thought of such a sweet gift idea. I truly felt like they played all of my favorite songs. I was really touched when they played this one because everyone in the venue was singing along very softly...

Jon and I are going great and are glad that life is moving forward. We are excited to see where we end up in the next couple of years and we are doing our best to enjoy the journey.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things of Note

The end of September has come so quickly. It has been a really excellent month, lots of fun things have been happening in the Van Wickle clan.

First off- I passed my comp exam! The ugly, long, awful one about everything learned in my first year? Yeah, happy to have that over with. Thank heavens!

Second- Jon has been offered an interview at Temple University for med school! This is his first interview and we are really excited. The school is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and he interviews in about two weeks and a half weeks.

I took a week off from clients, before school started, last week. It was really wonderful to get some time to myself. I got to see my Aunt, Uncle and cousins, a dear friend from when I went to school in Idaho, and read a good book. At the end of the week Jon and I headed home to visit the fam. We got to go to an Alpaca farm for the afternoon, it was so great.

Jon was a little weary of the alpacas at first, especially since they're the cousins of llamas... who can be kind of mean. But he warmed up to them enough to take this great "family picture." (I don't know why it looks like I don't have any eye brows in this picture....)

The view from the farm was amazing. You could see the ocean, even on this overcast day. The people who own it have about 120 alpacas. Each one can cost into the thousands of dollars- their super soft fur is a money maker! When you pet them it feels like you're touching the softest carpet on earth, and it doesn't smell at all. It was pretty cool to learn about the animals.

I love this picture with all the boys and mom. The alpaca being held is only one month old!

I got to celebrate an early birthday with my family on Sunday while were up there, it was great to see everyone and take some time off.

The new fall quarter has started this week. I have a case class, couples therapy, qualitative research, and religion in the family. I think it will be a busy but productive quarter.

Jon is working and doing an excellent job- he loves what he does and the people he works with. It makes all the difference for him! He is happy and looking forward to what comes next with school. We will keep everyone updated with any more good news (or at least, we hope there is more good news to share!).

I am already looking forward to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the upcoming holiday season. And for temperatures below the 90s! This year has been packed full of new experiences, I can't wait to see what the new few months bring us.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Isn't fall the best season? It has the best fashion, delicious apples, great weather, and prep for Christmas (not to mention, my birthday).

Jon and I have been staying busy since my last blog post (sorry.. they have been so sporadic). Today I took a big, ugly, long exam of everything I learned my first year here at Loma Linda. That test has been weighing on my mind all summer long and I am soo glad it is over (or hopefully over, assuming I've passed).

The most exciting thing Jon and I have done in the last few weeks is going to Seattle with the Van Wickle's for his cousin's, Kaitlin, wedding. It was such a great trip and a beautiful wedding.

The three boys with their cousin- they have such a sweet relationship:

This wedding venue was perfect! Right on the lake, intimate, and of course perfect weather that day.

How cute is this chalkboard itinerary? All of the details were so well thought out.

Jon and I were so happy to be there- and Jon looks really good in Jake's sunglasses (pretty sure he wore them for half of the trip)

Ok, everywhere we went had these beautiful lakes, right on the property of whoever's home we were at. It was picture perfect.

Jon and I are so glad we got to go with the Van Wickle's, we had such a good time being on vacation with them. Including celebrating Jake's birthday, touring around Seattle, and going to a baseball game (I learned a lot from my father-in-law!).

As of right now, Jon is still hoping for some interviews for medical school. We haven't heard from very many schools so we are still hopeful. And I am seeing clients regularly, co-leading an anger management group, and as of today having NO school working looming over me! Tonight we are going to celebrate (date night of course), and tomorrow we are going to go to Universal Studios. Woot!

I hope fall proves once again to be a fun and fabulous season!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hello Summer

Ahh, summer. No class, working on papers, seeing clients, going out in the sun, swimming, studying occasionally, soo nice. Here is what we have been up to lately.

1. I finished The Help and loooved it. I have not seen the movie yet, but I intend to. I highly recommend the book.

2. Jon and I went camping at Point Mugu with some friends. We had so much fun making foil dinners, playing games and sleeping right by the beach. The next morning we had french toast and checked out some rock climbing areas.

Morning after sleeping on the beach:

Me with Claire, my friends adorable baby:

Rock climbing:

Jon and I then decided to surprise our parents and drive home for the weekend. It was so great to see them and just hang out at home.

3. The following weekend we went home again so that I could get together with my good friends from elementary school. Jon also planned a fun surfing day with his dad.

It was SO amazing to see these girls, I seriously have the smartest and most accomplished friends.

Rachel R: going to Boston to teach students at a charter school who are very behind their grade level.
Christina: working at a huge non-profit based in LA that helps a variety of populations, does event planning and grant writing.
Madi: going to law school at the University of Virginia, starting this fall.

4. Jon and I have been keeping ourselves busy. We are trying to take up tennis, but currently we are really bad! It is still fun to learn something new together.

Jon has been staying very busy at work and is liking his job so much.
I am trying my best to stay productive with the school work I should be getting done this summer.

We are looking forward to enjoying the rest of the summer and all that comes with it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I am the proud new owner of this book:

However, Jon has hidden it from me. Hidden MY book somewhere in MY apartment (ok, our apartment). I have been dying to read this, it has been recommended to me repeatedly. But I have one last project to do for this quarter- 10 pages of my modality paper are due this Thursday. Then it is freedom. Well, freedom from classes at least. So I am going to be working extra hard to earn some escapism with this little gem.

In other news...
Jon got his first pay check!
And I made the deans list at school (Crazy, right?).

One more week until some serious book reading takes place, camping with friends, going to the pool in between seeing clients, cooking healthy dinners and taking care of me. And Jon. He deserves a couple months of good dinners and a clean apartment after a year of "can you help me out please?!" What a guy... (even if he does hide books from me.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Blog,

I have not forgotten about you. Sorry that I haven't written on you for a while now. I miss reading what all my blog-friends have to say.

I really wish I could write you about all the things going on recently...
like how my one-week groups class was really intense
and how Jon is so happy to have his job but it is taking the school forever to get him on payroll.
I also wish I could write all about our fabulous trip to SB, and the three lovely couples we brought along with us.

Its too bad that my 3 classes (being done in 5 weeks) and my two 30 page papers are consuming my life. Not to mention my little fever I'm sitting with right now.

Nevertheless, we are keeping on. And of course, I haven't forgotten about you blog. Someday, I will get back to you.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Good News

Everyone could use a little good news in their life right?

Here is what has been going on for us lately:

1. Remember how Jon was volunteering 30+ hours a week as a research assistant at Loma Linda? Well- they offered him a full time job! Hooray! Jon and I are ecstatic. This is what we hoped for all along- a full time job that is related to medicine.
To be more specific, he works in a perinatal biology lab. He works on an experiment that pretty much takes all day (8 hours)that is really meticulous. He measures protein levels in different cells that come from cerebral arteries (obviously Jon told me that because I have no idea what I'm talking about). He is really enjoying the position because it keeps his interest and he is learning so much.
Now he just has to go through the LLU hiring system, which is notoriously long, to get hired. We are hoping he can be hired on by July.

2. I am finished with this quarter! This horrible, long, demanding quarter. I don't know what it was but this quarter seemed like the most difficult to me. This also means that I am half way done with my masters! This time next year and I will be graduating (oh that sounds soo nice...).
While I am happy this quarter is over, it certainly doesn't start getting easy. Next week I will be involved in a one-week intensive class, the week after that is a break but I have tons of work to do at the clinic. Then- one month intensive summer classes begin! I guess I'll get a break when I graduate. But I am happy to work hard and enjoy my classes and work. It will still be a lot but it will be a new start.

That sums up our good news. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

MCAT, San Diego, Research & the End of the Quarter

Well, Jon finally got his MCAT scores, yay! He did well, within the top 15% of everyone who takes the exam. He was testing at a slightly higher score but has come to terms with what he got and is excited to apply and get things moving. He is turning his first set of applications (before secondaries.. its a little confusing) on June 1st. Go Jon!

Our anniversary trip to San Diego was divine. It was a well needed vacation. Whenever school gets grueling I think back to the ocean, farmers market, Coronado island and wandering around the boardwalk. Heavenly. I am so glad we took a break.

Yay, love.

I dream of going to the farmers market on Saturday morning and getting flowers for floral arrangements... particularly with sunflowers. One of my favorites.

Ocean... I miss you.

Jon is volunteering 30+ hours a week in a research lab in the hospital. I got to see his lab the other day and it is so fun- all complicated and messy. And Jon gets to wear a lab coat which I think is adorable (he doesn't seem to think its that cool though). He is really enjoying the research and hoping it will turn into a job (cross your fingers!!)

I only have two more weeks left in the quarter. As much as I am enjoying all the learning and the experience of grad school- I am not going to miss this quarter. I've been working hard to get all my papers and projects done. Tomorrow will be nice because I have the day off to really work on some papers.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Anniversary, Mum's Day & New Things

So many wonderful things to write about today...

First of all, Happy 3 year Anniversary to Mr. Jon and I! It was so nice to have my parents visit us the weekend before and take us out to a nice anniversary dinner. These three years have been amazing. I think this year has given us the most outward stress in our marriage but I find it so reassuring that through it all we love each other even more.

Jon is the best decision I've ever made...

We went out to breakfast on May 2nd to celebrate, but I was gone for the rest of the day. So to really celebrate our special day we have booked a weekend trip to San Diego! I am so excited (and thankful to my parents for this gift), I am ready to have a weekend of nothing but Jon + Me + Sun.

This Sunday is such a special day, I am so thankful for my mom! And I know how thankful Jon is for his mom! We are so lucky to have such powerful, kind, nurturing and spiritual women in our lives. They are such an example to me, I hope to be like both of them some day. Love you guys... happy mother's day!

Life is moving forward at rapid speed...

-Jon should get his MCAT scores sometime this week. The anticipation is occupying our thoughts and conversations. How exciting; I am finding it fun to focus so much on what is to come for Jon.

-I am busy at school (what's new?), this week will be pretty killer. I think I have almost every hour scheduled, yikes! I am learning a lot and doing my best to appreciate this rigorous education.

-Jon got a cool new research volunteer position at Loma Linda. He is helping a charming old doctor (who resembles Einstein) in studying molecular biology in pre-natal and new infant development.

We have so many things to look forward to, I can't wait for this crazy week to get moving so Jon and I can start our anniversary trip this weekend! Woohoo.

Happy Mother's Day everyone, have a beautiful day!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, family and friends!
Easter is such a beautiful holiday, for me it represents all things new. I love that it is in spring time, when new flowers are popping up everywhere. Jon and I even saw some baby geese the other day, it was perfect.

Things have been busy the past couple of weeks, this quarter is proving itself to be my most difficult yet. Academically its not off-the-charts, but 15 credits alongside 15-20 hours a week of work is taking its toll (I am finding therapeutic work to be much more tiring than anything I've done before). I am thankful I have Jon to keep things in perspective. The other day I was lying in bed thinking about the priorities in my life when I realized work came no closer than fifth on my list. Its all about balance.

Jon and I enjoyed our weekend and tried our best to give ourselves a break. After working on school work on Saturday, Jon took me to the local Smiley Library. It was possibly the cutest library I've ever seen- the building is old and charming. We got library cards and checked out some fun books (even one for me to read on the weekends).

We also made Easter Baskets for each other. This was fun because Easter definitely has the best candy of any holiday. It was fun to pick things out for each other and to share.

Have you guys had these mini-eggs? Because seriously, they are a-ma-zing. If you didn't get any for Easter I recommend them. Jon and I are big fans of cadburry, but this has to be one of our favorite things. They are simple but delish.

I love to make Jon take awkward photos...

I am a dork...

We taught our little primary kids today and they were all way too excited about candy and eggs to pay us too much attention, but I think we might have gotten just a little bit of the true meaning of Easter into their heads.

He is risen.

We have been relaxing today, reading our books and making our calendars for the upcoming week.

I hope this week will be productive and positive for ourselves and for you.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Jon took the MCAT yesterday! Finally, it is over! (So long as there is a score over 30, haha)

Jon said he felt like he focused well. He also said it was really difficult. He really appreciated the prayers and support of family and friends- he really felt like that gave him confidence and calm. Now he can confidently say he thinks he will get a score somewhere between a 25-40. We laugh because that is a HUGE range. You never really know. We will find out in about 30 days.

That was our big news of the week.

To celebrate we went and saw The King's Speech (re-opened in theaters as a pg-13 movie, yay!). It was fun to have a night out and we looooved the movie.

Thanks everyone for your love and support as Jon prepared for this exam. It really meant the world to both of us.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

General Conference

This weekend is one of spiritual growth and enlightenment. General conference is one of my very favorite occasions. I love hearing the words of our church leaders- they are always so inspired. You can watch it live or browse past messages here:

Jon requested that I make a quiche, I think it is his new favorite food. He is calling it "conference quiche" and is wanting to make it a tradition. I like that.

This week has flown by- classes have started up and this quarter is going to be busy busy busy. But it has motivated me to get organized so I am hoping it will be a productive kind of busy.
Jon is trying not to burn out on MCAT study. Only one more week... he is so ready. He has faith, not fear.

In the midst of this crazy time of life, I am going to focus on the words and thoughts shared in conference. The main quotes that are on my mind right now are:
"Be kind to the poor"
"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary, use words" -St Francis

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hello Blogging World

Sorry it has been so long. So many things have been happening, and now that spring break is in session, I have some time to write about it!

First and foremost, happy birthday to Mr. Jon! He turned the big 2-3 on the 15th. We celebrated with Cafe Rio, an ice cream cake to die for and some of his favorite shows. We are heading north to Goleta this weekend to celebrate his big day (as well as his brother's) with the family.

Since my last post I am happy to say that I have now seen four clients. I have been scheduled five. So things are definitely moving along at the clinic- hopefully all the clients will come back (haha).
I also have been facilitating parenting groups at the YWCA and loving it. Unfortunately I can't do it next quarter because of our new schedule but I hope to pick it up again soon after.

Speaking of which... after this week we officially start spring quarter. I have quite a few classes and am working regularly at the clinic. It will be interesting to see how things shake out with my schedule. Sometimes it feels like this program is flying by- other times it feels like I can't believe I have a whole year left. Either way I am learning tons and loving it.

Jon has his one-week internship for phlebotomy this week. His internship is in Victorville, despite the commute it seems to be going very well. He has already had more than 25 successful "sticks" and is really getting the hang of things.

After Jon's internship is over he has only TWO WEEKS until he takes the MCAT. We are hoping all of his hard work will pay off. We know he has studied to the best of his ability, now we are just praying that God make up the rest.

The weather in California has been moody, it can't make up its mind if it is sunny, rainy or cloudy. But I like it just the same. We are happy to be where we are. Sometimes I can't believe I am in graduate school (it even feels weird to type that out) and I can't believe Jon is progressing so much in his plans for med school. It feels a little unreal. But I am thankful for the things that keep my grounded: my family, my friends and my faith. God bless.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


It is my brother, James, birthday today. Happy birthday James!

As a present, I know he would love it if you checked out his new website:
It is a place where fans come together to talk sports- chat live, read articles, etc.

End of February

Well, Valentine's day was lovely.

This was from our delish homemade dinner over the weekend.
I am kind of obsessed with how cute our mis-matched fiestaware looks.

On Monday I left Jon some sweet notes and chocolate. That evening his tutoring was canceled and he took me out to Chinese food! A rare treat since it isn't his favorite. We shared everything and couldn't even finish half of it. It was so yummy and I got left overs for the rest of the week. I also got a lovely rose, a sweet note, and my favorite ice cream in the refrigerator! Jon sure has made an effort to realize my favorite holiday and that means so much to me, he is such a sweetie. I am a lucky gal.

(Do you love our vase- yummm berry lemonade!)

This week has been exciting.

Jon: Jon had his last week of his phlebotomy course. Hasn't it gone by so quickly? There was a midterm and a final and Jon got the high score of the class in both. On their last day of class they have to "check out." This means that they go through the entire phlebotomy procedure (with a classmate as the patient) in front of the class and teacher. They have to do everything perfectly or else they get a "re-try." Sometimes people do everything perfectly but they don't get blood, they can still pass but it can feel kind of discouraging.

Jon was the only person to get blood and PASS on the first try! Go Jon! Jon was so relieved after. He had been nervous about not getting blood or not passing off.

Now, this week, Jon takes a national exam to certify him as a phlebotomist. After that he does a one week externship with a local lab. A lot of the time people can get jobs through their externship, we sure hope this is the case.

Jon is being very successful in his studying for the MCAT. He takes the test in April, so whenever he hears that his birthday is coming up (March 15th) he gets nervous. I think we should give him a "congratulations its not April, you still have time to study!" party. He does feel like he has gone over all the information they can test him on, but now it is a matter of getting the answers right and perfecting his test taking. Jon has relied on the Lord so much in this experience, I am proud of him. He used to get really anxious and obsessed about his scores, but he knows now that he is studying the best he can and relying on God for the rest. He knows this is what he is supposed to be doing right now. That takes a lot of faith but I know he will be blessed for it.

Rachel: After 3 scheduled clients and lots of nerves/anxiety, all three of my clients have canceled. Yup. Still haven't seen a client. At least I am no longer nervous when I am assigned someone, I just don't really believe that they will show up (ha). I do have another one scheduled this Wednesday, so maybe that will be the day! If not, its not a big deal, but I would like to get my "first" out of the way.

I have been staying busy with my group homes and I am getting another home next week (teenage girls, it will be so different than my little boys!). The group homes, while very chaotic and tiring, have started to feel rewarding. I love the looks on the faces of the kids when things finally start to click, or they really begin to understand something.
One of the projects we did was decorating shoe boxes with the labels people give us on the outside of the box, and decorating who we really are on the inside of the box. After they had decorated the outside my partner and I went around to each kid one-by-one and told them we wanted to do something strange- we wanted them to tear off the outside labels. We explained that it might leave a mark or it might hurt, but it would be worth it. Our kids faces were priceless as they tore off the negative labels they had received in their short lives. One kid totally got it, and he took the positive things about himself from the inside and put them on the outside. He told me that now that his negative labels were gone he could act the way that he truly is inside. I was cheering and doing cartwheels inside myself- he totally got it! I walked away from the day feeling really energized.

I have also been co-facilitating parenting groups for court mandated parents. This week I am presenting the meat of the material, I am fairly nervous. We have people who have teenagers, people who have been in prison and have just met their children for the first time, people who have had their kids taken away for child endangerment, people who were not parented well themselves... it is overwhelming. Most of the time I sit their and wonder why I am allowed to teach these folks. But I feel very privileged and honored to hear their stories, I am so thankful they let me into their lives. It takes a lot of courage to come to those classes and open up.

So- lots has been going on. These last couple of days we have stayed out of the rain, tried to make a fire in the fire place, and watched movies. We like hanging out with each other and are soo glad to have so much time together right now.

February was a good month, lets hope March is even better...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! My very favorite holiday, a day to appreciate and express the love you have for those you love! Growing up Valentine's was always a family-affair, I would always make treats for my friends and I saw the holiday as a friendly one. Saturday Jon and I made a yummy dinner, what a treat. I even have a couple surprises up my sleeve for tomorrow (shh!).

As for our last week, things have been moving along. I didn't end up seeing my first client, they cancelled. But I have been to the group homes for two weeks now. It is nerve-racking, exciting, sad, enlightening, over-whelming, chaotic and inspiring job. These kids have been through more than I can explain but they are so funny and cute. At least, most of the time. They are definitely love-able.

Jon is already half way through his phlebotomy program (woohoo!). He is taking blood every class day now and is always practicing trying to find my veins. Lucky for me I have a little more fat on my arms (ahem) so it is a bit more challenging to find veins on me rather than on him. Also, I think Jon looks really cute in his scrubs.

This week is a new week and I am looking forward to it. Have a fantastic Valentine's day, spread the love, no matter your relationship status!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Well here is what you need to know...

Jon: He is loving his phlebotomy class and looks forward to going every single class day. He is volunteering at a blood bank where he gets to give people snacks and make sure they don't faint.

Rachel: Went to my first group home last Monday for therapy/education for the kids. It was an adventure, the kids make me laugh. I have my first client this week. Oh boy. After Wednesday I might need therapy of my own.

Us: We are soo excited to go to cousin Kaitlin's wedding in Seattle this August. We can't wait to visit the beautiful city again, have fun with the family and celebrate such a happy occasion!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Favorite Recipes

I think going to a Seventh-Day-Adventist school is having a good influence on me. I love all their healthy recipes and I really like eating vegetarian-friendly food. Jon and I have almost completely cut out red meat (except when we go out to eat or when we go home). We also are more open to eating more vegetarian meals throughout the week.

Here are two of my new favorite recipes...

1. Red Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Don't run away from the word salad! This is so delicious, Jon and I ate a whole batch in only 3-4 days. You will be impressed by that when you see how much food this makes... It is totally delicious and completely healthy. The cilantro-lime dressing adds a real kick which made it a favorite for Jon. It also is easy, since it really is just chopping and throwing everything together. And it keeps well in the fridge.
Just an FYI- the directions have you use a complicated method for cooking the quinoa. I just followed the box directions and let it cool, then mixed it all together. It turned out great.

Here are the links:
Step-by-step Pictures

PS I didn't use the jalepenos or the cumin. It seems like you can add or take out just about whatever you like.

2. Whole Wheat Sticks
So this recipe is a little bit more of a treat/snack. My friend from the program made these for a group of us and apparently they are a favorite at the Loma-Linda Market. They are a cookie/bread texture and are totally yummy. It doesn't hurt that there is tons of whole wheat flour and very little sugar. It also makes a large batch so we have lots left over to last us at least the week.

Here you go:

Whole Wheat Sticks

(Like the ones at the Loma Linda Market)

4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup White Flour
1 Cup Kamut Flour (optional; you can substitute 1 additional cup of WW flour)
1 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 Cup Coconut flakes
1 ½ teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
¼ Cup White Sugar
¼ Cup Brown Sugar

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

⅔ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 ½ Cups Water
2 Teaspoons Almond Extract

Mix wet ingredients into a temporary emulsion and pour onto the dry ingredients. Knead
for five minutes and roll out onto cookie sheets. Dough should be ¼ - ½ inch thick. Use
a pizza cutter to cut into 1 inch wide sticks.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until they golden-brown.

PS I couldn't find plain coconut flakes so I used sweetened (oops, a little more sugar) but they still turned out tasty. Also, the dough is a little hard to work with since it is not refined white flour, but just put some muscle into it and trust that it will taste super yummy.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Quick Update

Here is the latest on Jon and I.

Jon: currently studying like mad for the MCAT but it is starting to feel like it is paying off with some good scores. Jon is going to start a phlebotomy course at the end of this month that is 4 weeks long. We are crossing our fingers this leads to a good job, with good hours and fair pay.

Rachel: trying to get back into the swing of things with school. Classes are a bit crazy as usual. I am starting all my supervision for when I actually start meeting with clients. I may be a little over-excited because I signed myself up to do a lot of things, but I really couldn't be any happier. Foster homes, grief camp, and parenting courses, in addition to therapy? Sounds good to me.

Us: We made our home look cuter yesterday. We finally got an area rug for our colorless room, some pictures on the wall and a nice clock. We also made a yummy quiche, thanks to my mom's recipe, and homemade ice cream for some friends. Jon is the best, he is such a good sport with those sorts of things.

Life is happy at the Van Wickle home. I wish you the same.

New Years 2011

It is about time I write about Jon and my excellent New Years day adventures. New years eve was not all that exciting because Jon convinced me to go to sleep early in order to get up and get going quickly for New Years day.

Well, my birthday this present was a little bit of an IOU. Jon promised me he would take me to universal studios once our finances got in order. With Christmas and all the joy that came with it, we decided it would be alright to indulge in a little fun. I was so excited to go- Jon went quite a bit as a kid but I had never been.

This is the homemade IOU I got from Jon on my birthday- finally turning it in for use! Of course, since we got our tickets during Grinchmas we have season passes, hooray!

We went to get a bite to eat before we entered the park and ended up on the Hollywood walk of fame! This was totally unplanned but a treat for us since neither of us had been in that part of downtown Hollywood before.

We even ran into a statue of the world's tallest man, I couldn't resist a photo-op.

Once we got into the park it was all fun! There were hardly any lines that lasted more than a few minutes. The park got busier later in the day, but for the most part it was easy sailing. Jon was the best tour guide, he really knew the ins and outs of the park.

Jon's favorite part, and definitely one of the highlights for me, is the backlot tour. They have a portion now where you get to see all the cars from famous movies. I think Jon was in heaven. I even got a shot of the Delorian from Back to the Future, one of our favorites!

This is the Desperate Housewives street, Wisteria Lane. I had to take a picture of how bright Eva Longoria's house is! You can't really tell in the picture either, but it is a seriously intense shade of yellow. But of course you would never notice how bright those colors are in the show, you don't even question it. Also, all those flowers in their yards are fake. It was a trip.

Water world was an adventure, Jon was definitely excited for this part. It was kind of a cold day so we stayed clear of the splash zone.

We randomly ran into Jon's college roommate from UCSD and his girlfriend while we were there. It was nice to catch up and see them for a little bit.

The day was complete fun and I am so glad we got to go together. It was a perfect birthday present and great start to the new year. Happy 2011!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas 2010

Christmas was a little different this year since Jon had to work quite a bit during our normal school break. But we were soo glad to spend time with our families.

Christmas eve was a blast- keeping with tradition we went to church with the Van Wickle's, had a delicious dinner and got into the Chrismas spirit.

Christmas day at the Van Wickle's we went geocaching thanks to mom VW's latest toy. It was a total blast to go to the lake and other local areas to search (but it was mighty cold that day!).

Check out the cool hats cousin Kaitlin got the boys, I love them!

Our beautiful lake... and mom VW way out there searching haha

So sweet, love this pic!

We loved being with all the Tate's together for the afternoon. In the evening we got to see Tangled which was a totally cute family movie.

Since Jon and I are starving students I pinched our pennies this year and made some homemade gifts.

Homemade peppermint hot chocolate for the boys...

Personalized stationary for the girls... this is Jessica's

Christmas was a fun adventure, I was home, back and forth between Redlands and SB many times but I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with family.

Next years!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Coming Soon...

Updates on Christmas, New Years, and other recent adventures. Along with a new blog header. But for now... the start of school is keeping me busy. Stay tuned for future blog posts.

Post Edit: Changing our blog header does not mean we are pregnant! It just means that it is no longer 2010. Oh boy, that is how rumors get started.