so how’s it going?

I haven’t talked about how dental school has been going for our family because I figured there wouldn’t be much to talk about until the first exam was completed.

Well, first exam completed and. . .first exam aced. Way to go, Rory!

But the dental school decided to award everyone with an A, even those who didn’t earn the A.

Here’s what happened:

A test is divided into two parts. For the first part they enter the cadaver lab where the dead body is fileted open, and a professor asks the students to identify various body parts, and they must spell every one of these correctly. And some of these body parts do have tricky names like the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Spell the body part wrong, get the question wrong.

Sidenote: I do believe this is why doctors are notorious for having bad handwriting. I think it’s a habit that starts in medical school. Write the answer illegibly, possibly get the answer right. Boom. Rory says no though.

Another sidenote: those cadavers? Your husband will be spending more time with this dead body than you. That is completely not made up. And you might be thinking, cadavers for dental students? Why?
Don’t know, glad it’s not me though.

Anyways. The second part is the written test, or multiple choice. This test is done on a computer of some sort. The students take this 60 question test in small groups. They can’t collaborate on the answers, they’re just in the room together. Something went goofy when Rory’s group was taking the test. Some glitch in the test that caused the students’ answers to erase, which the professor took full responsibility for and decided to just give them full credit for the test since it didn’t seem fair for them to take the test again and possibly do better or worse than the first go around.

The news that some students were awarded perfect scores on a portion of the test got out to others, and the dean decided to give the entire class perfect scores to avoid conflict.

This was obviously good news for every student, but bad news for Rory on a competitive level, because dental school is run off a ranking system, and Rory needed this test to get him started out at the top of his class so he can get accepted to the orthodontist program. So now everyone starts out on the same playing field. Minor setback, but I’m sure Rory will get an actual A next time 🙂

Rory is doing awesome though. He’s enjoying the things he’s learning, he’s getting used to being around his cadaver (which is an important skill to take away from dental school, right?), and he’s feeling really confident that he will be a top student. I’m so proud of him.

So that’s how the dental student is doing. How is the dental student’s wife doing?

In my first post, I acknowledged that I probably wouldn’t be seeing much of my husband. I just wasn’t expecting that to happen right away. Last week, Melissa went three days without seeing her daddy. He saw her because he came in to give her goodnight kisses.

Rory is out the door every morning at 7:30. He usually doesn’t come home until after 8 pm. Then he usually comes home to heat up the dinner I’d made earlier and study some more. Honestly I don’t know how he stays so energetic and happy all the time. Well, I do know. Mountain Dew. And he’s a naturally happy and positive person.

So it’s just me and my girl every day. I know I’ve done this arrangement before and it shouldn’t be that hard for me. I did it when Rory was taking classes at BYU-Idaho and then going to work until 9:30 pm every day. I did it when he studied for the DAT every day and night. It’s pretty much been this arrangement since Melissa was born, so I should be pretty much used to it, but it’s a little scarier to go through this time.

It’s scarier because Melissa is getting older, and harder to handle. She’s starting to go through that toddler-clinginess stage where she stands at my feet screaming and crying while I try to do the dishes, clean and cook. It’s impossible to get stuff done sometimes because she simply gets too upset to let me.

Then it’s scarier because soon I’ll be living this arrangement with two babies. And if this baby is anything like her older sister, boy do I have my work cut out for me.

It’s scarier because I don’t know how long it’ll last. I mean, I know it will be all over when he graduates, but what about while he’s in school? Is the first year of school the hardest? First two? Last two? All four? I have no idea. Where does it end, and when I can I have my family awake under the same roof at the same time?

There have been quite a few times since school has started when I slump down and start crying because the stress and the fear hit me all at once. Pregnancy hormones too.

So for now, wow, being a dental student’s wife is hard and we just started. But I know it will be worth it! According to Forbes, Orthodontist is the 5th best paying job in the country. Not to mention Rory will be his boss and set his own hours. I hope to never take it for granted!

I’m going to set some goals. I want to enroll in a prenatal yoga class. I feel so out of shape and sluggish! I need to get some exercise. I’m also hoping to meet some other mommies so I can get some social interaction for me and Melissa. Exercise and making friends! I think that will help a ton.

I also want to find some more activities that Melissa can do where she can learn, have fun, and interact with kids her age.

I also have my summer projects that need doing!

I’m grateful we live in Charleston. This was harder in Rexburg because for one thing it was freezing all the time, and it was such a small town with not much to do for toddlers. Charleston is a great place to raise a family.

This ended up turning into a bit of a pity party. Sorry! But part of the reason I started this blog was to document how it is being a dental student’s wife, hence the name. I promise I’ll add more recipes and projects because those are much more fun 🙂



some cravings get out of control

On a pregnancy/mommy message board I participate in, a mom was asking what kind of Greek food she could make, and baklava was brought up.

Baklava will always hold a special place in my heart. It was my late Lebanese grandmother’s thing (among many Lebanese dishes) to make, and she made some amazing baklava. No one else’s has ever come close.

It wasn’t just the flavors and textures that made my grandma’s (aka Grandma Odie) baklava so special. It was also the time and effort she put into it. She usually made trays of baklava for family gatherings like birthday parties, but as she got older, she started making me my own trays of baklava just because she knew I loved it so much.

Why does that mean so much to me? Baklava is hard stuff to make! She was in her mid-80s still making this and I know she couldn’t have been comfortable being on her feet for so long. It’s very time consuming and you need to be delicate. But she made it for me, and I know it made her happy.

I’d never attempted baklava before. All those layers. But that message board sparked a craving for baklava. I haven’t any since Grandma Odie died in February 2013. My mom cleared out her fridge and found a fresh, untouched tray of it. Either she was going to give it to someone she knew, or she was going to treat herself! So we took it home and enjoyed the last batch we’d ever have of Grandma Odie’s baklava.

I wanted to do her proud and satisfy my craving by making it myself rather than hunting it down already prepared.

The ingredients:
1 roll Phyllo dough (I used the Athens brand you can find at most grocery stores.)
4 cups walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs sugar
1 stick butter, melted
The syrup:
1/2 stick butter
1 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

350 degrees, 45 minutes

Thaw the phyllo dough according to the box’s instructions. Phyllo dough is a package of very thin sheets of dough. When baked, it is very light and flaky.
Grease a 9×13 pan with a stick of butter, and then melt that stick.


Lay your first sheet of dough over the pan. Cover the rest of the sheets while you work with a damp paper towel to keep your dough sheets from drying out.


Brush your dough with the melted butter. Repeat this step four times. The recipe I took inspiration from suggested buttering every other sheet. I say we’re making a dessert, dangit, so let’s go all out.
Plus, the extra butter keeps the baklava from being dry, and dry baklava is sad baklava. Grandma Odie was very generous with the butter


After buttering four layers of dough, sprinkle your walnuts (that have been mixed with the cinnamon and sugar) over the dough.

I drizzled a little butter over this, added another buttered sheet on top followed by three more buttered sheets.

Repeat this step so you have dough-walnuts-dough-walnuts-dough (2 layers of walnuts in total). You can make one big layer of walnuts, several small layers, or whatever you desire. I opted for one big layer followed by a smaller layer.

Make sure your last layer goes on nice and pretty since it’s the top layer and everyone sees it! It’s okay if your layers get slightly wrinkled or slightly torn, but a roll of phyllo dough comes with a lot of sheets, so feel free to start over if you tear one beyond repair. You will probably not run out!

I found the best way to handle each dough sheet was to scoop my hands underneath either side and gently lay it down flat like you’re putting it to bed. If I laid a sheet down any other way, it was more likely to tear.


Now cut your baklava into slices. Make sure you do this before baking! It will be a lot easier! You can slice in squares, diamonds, or whatever you like. I went for the diamonds, which was a little difficult, but I think anyway you slice it (ha), it’s going to be challenging to do it gently. I don’t know if there’s a better way, but I used a pizza cutter to slice mine. They came out a little bigger than expected.

Bake the baklava at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

While the baklava bakes, prepare your syrup. This is what makes the pastry sticky sweet when you eat it.

Combine 1/2 stick butter, 1 cup honey, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and 1.5 tbs vanilla extract in a saucepan. Heat to boil, then reduce heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat to help it continue to thicken.


As soon as your baklava is out of the oven, immediately pour half of your syrup evenly over it.


My syrup wasn’t very thick because I didn’t start working on it soon enough, but in the end it didn’t really matter because once it’s on the baklava, it will thicken in the fridge.


The thing about baklava is it’s not like a chocolate cookie — it’s not good fresh out of the oven. (Well maybe it could be, but I’ve never eaten it that way. Seems wrong.) Baklava should be chilled in the fridge for at least a few hours before enjoying.

I kept mine in the fridge all night since I finished making it at around 11 pm.


Okay, so how did it turn out overall? It was good; much better than I expected! Fresh beats store-bought any day, but I do have some alterations for next time:

1. Chop the walnuts more and toast them before adding to the baklava. Baklava is kind of a melt-in-your-mouth dessert, but the walnuts were a little too bulky to make mine like that.
2. More dough between the walnut layers. It seems like you’re adding enough layers during the process, but as you can see in the picture, it could’ve benefited from more layers. You get a ton in the package, so why not?
3. Grease the bottom of the pan better. The baklava isn’t hopelessly stuck to the bottom, but it could come off a little easier.

But the pros are it’s sticky sweet, buttery, and has that taste that reminds me of Grandma Odie’s. I’d say it’s a good substitute for her’s. I know she did things differently to it and I’m kicking myself for not finding out her recipe before she died.

The cool thing about baklava is you can add a lot to it to make it your own. You can add different nuts, different layering alterations, different flavors. Grandma Odie sometimes added rose water to her baklava. While it wasn’t my favorite spin on them, it did make it unique.

I recommend this recipe if you have a potluck of any kind coming up and you want to bring something besides the usual brownies and cookies. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!

I also recommend it if you are stricken with a sudden pregnancy craving like I was 🙂 My craving is satisfied! I’m very happy I went ahead and made my own batch from scratch. I know I’ll make it again.

Happy baking!



dining set makeover

Rory and I spent a lot of time dreaming how we would personalize our new Charleston home, and we came up with loads of ideas.

Then our student loan came in and ohhhhhkay, our budget doesn’t exactly allow us to go all Better Homes and Gardens crazy like we wanted. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t put a Furrows-spin on our house at all, we just have to be creative and do some work!

We’ve never lived anywhere beachy. We’re from Idaho, so our stuff looks very Idaho. A lot of it is also old stuff so it has that old stuff look. So basically, some of it just doesn’t look right in our new home.

Remember when I talked about my dining room set? It dates back to 1980-something and definitely looks it. Well, we decided to turn the old dark wood into something beach-meets-rustic.

dining set before

I’m sorry, this “before” picture is pitiful! It was during our painting adventure.

So to update this set and do it cheaply (and quickly, let’s be honest), we decided to spray paint everything with a sea foam green color, similar to the color our walls turned out to be.

dining set during

Well, Rory took care of that part since I’m pregnant and can’t be around the fumes.

Then we lightly painted over them with white chalk paint. Chalk paint is awesome because you don’t have to prime or sand your wood before getting to work. It sticks to any kind of wood and a little bit of it goes a long way.

We then sanded down the edges to give the wood that rustic look and some definition against the walls.

Hence the name, chalk paint does yield a chalky finish. Rory sprayed a lacquer over it to seal the paint, give it a slight shine, and make the wood washable. With little ones running around, you want your dining room set to be washable!

dining set after1

dining set after2

after dining set3

We are very pleased with our results! We always thought our original set was very “ehhh-whatever” looking and we always wanted a new one, but now we have one that feels new and it cost us less than $75, and it wasn’t too hard to do!

If you’re on a budget, this is the way to go.


P.S. I found my entertainment center. I decided to update a relic!

ent cent before ent cent before2

I found this big ol’ boy on Craigslist for $125. It doesn’t look like much now, but it’s getting a makeover similar to our dining set. I haven’t figured every detail out yet, so for now it’s sitting in our living room looking like this, but I have a feeling the end result will be just lovely! I already love the hiding places for Melissa’s toys and books.

it’s his favorite

9 times out of 10 when I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, the answer is, “Ooohh meatloaf!” He just gushes over it. Then one time I added bacon to the top and it was all over. He is all about the meatloaf with bacon.

To me, meatloaf is, well, meatloaf. It’s just a hunk of meat with some stuff in it and I would never order it at a restaurant or make it for just myself. But I make it for my husband because it makes his night when he comes home.

My recipe sprouted from a cookbook that I really like, but I’ve developed it into my own over the years.


1.5 lbs ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion, cooked
1/4 cup chopped green pepper, cooked
2 eggs
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
3/4 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried sage

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup bbq sauce
2 tbs brown sugar

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat coated with olive oil. Add your chopped onions and peppers. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until peppers are tender and onions are translucent. This step is very important. If you add your veggies to your meatloaf raw, they will be crunchy and bland.

Combine with the rest of your meatloaf ingredients and mix. It will end up looking somewhat like a brain.


And that’s okay.

Cook your bacon any way you’d like, but make sure it’s not fully cooked. I fry mine for a few minutes on each side. You’ll be adding this to the top of your raw meatloaf and baking it for almost an hour, so you don’t want your bacon fully cooked. How much is up to you! I used four strips tonight.

Meanwhile mix up your sauce. Pour it over the meatloaf.

Cut your bacon anyway you prefer and layer it in top of your meatloaf.


Pop in the oven which will be at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until the beef is no longer pink. Mine’s usually good just before the one hour mark.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a green veggie. I went with grilled broccoli tonight, but grilled asparagus with Hollandaise sauce is also a delicious complement.


(PS, use your KitchenAid to mash your potatoes. Your life just got a whole lot easier.)

Like I said, meatloaf is just alright with me, but I know these meaty dishes are a man’s dish, so I figured if it makes my husband so happy maybe it can make someone else’s husband happy too! The sauce makes it flavorful, the meat is moist and the bacon never hurts either!


little sister


We’re so excited to announce that our family is growing this year!

We were supposed to have found out the gender last week. This would have been ideal because Rory had not yet started dental school and was able to go to my 20 week appointment. This was my first time at an appointment in Charleston, so when I made the appointment I wanted to make sure I’d get my anatomy scan.

To make a long story short, when we got the office they said, “Oh we didn’t realize you’re 20 weeks already! We can’t get you an ultrasound until next week!”

Which meant Rory would have to miss it because dental school started this week (!). Poor Rory. He had to miss Melissa’s anatomy scan too.

Luckily my mom flew out to Charleston this week, so I had someone to keep Melissa entertained while baby #2 got her photo shoot.

I didn’t want to find out the gender before Rory, so the ultrasound tech sealed the information away in an envelope.


And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy to not peek before Rory got home!

My mom was given permission to look because I wanted her to get either a pink or blue cupcake and put it in a box so Rory and I could open it and find out together!

Both Rory and I were leaning team pink this time. I didn’t have a strong feeling either way (like with Melissa, I knew she was a girl and I would’ve been shocked if she was a boy). But with this one, I was kind of going back and forth, but I settled on girl as my final guess.

melissa cupcake 2 melissa cupcake

I am so excited to have another girl! Melissa and her sister will be 23 months apart and I hope they will be super close all their lives! Rory is excited too. He’d rather have all girls than boys, but we want at least two of each. Wouldn’t it be nice if our next two kids were boys?

As far as her name goes, this whole pregnancy we didn’t have a name settled for any gender. Even right after officially finding out we’re having a girl, our list had a total of 10 names and truthfully I was “ehhh” about them all.

But last night, one name came to me out of nowhere and I thought, “I think that’s it!” Rory really likes it too. We’re not sure on a middle name yet, but we have a few ideas.

But. I’m keeping it a secret until she’s born 🙂

This pregnancy has been a little different from my pregnancy with Melissa. I had morning sickness this time around. Everyone said I was having a boy because of that. It wasn’t too bad of sickness though. I threw up several times, but it was all over by about 12 weeks. I’m also carrying differently this time. What they say about showing sooner with your second pregnancy is SO. TRUE. I look like I’m 30 weeks already!

Like my first pregnancy, I’ve had no cravings so far. This baby throws a lot less punches than Melissa did. I felt both of their first kicks at 14 weeks, but this baby is a lot less hyper. (Fingers crossed that lasts after she’s born! haha)

ANATOMY SCAN 6.3.15_42


And here’s an outtake of Melissa’s cupcake photoshoot for fun:

melissa cupcake 3

😀 😀 😀