So Many Things...So Little Time

Hello All! I’m sorry it has been so long since my last post. I actually wrote this about a week ago and haven’t been able to post it. Things have been terribly busy. Here comes a long update…okay go!

Good news! We finally acquired internet for our apartment. Sadly, it is only a 3G wireless card, so Skyping is still not possible. The day we regain normal high speed internet will be a beautiful day. Until then, Skyping can only happen at church.

More good news is that I got a job. I am a teacher’s aide for the 1st grade at St. Paul and I tutor after school as well. This is my first experience in a classroom with children younger than 3rd grade. They are exhausting but they are also a good deal of fun as well. They say the funniest things. I wish I could record them all day long.

Here are some of the things they say:

First Grader: (After saying goodbye to his mom already moves to the doorway as she walks out) Goodbye Mom! I love you! Then he blew her a kiss... First Grader: (After saying goodbye to his mom already moves to the doorway as she walks out) Goodbye Mom! I love you! Then he blew her a kiss...(this one made my heart melt a little)

Miss Schultz: Please give me some examples of "How" questions.
First Grader: How do you do, partner?

Miss Schultz: God is watching you all the time.
First Grader: He knows where we are?
Different First Grader: Like how, with a map?

First Grader: (While very intensely staring at his hand) I wish I had four fingers like Mickey Mouse.

Miss Schultz: Peanuts are a healthy snack, except for Emilia, she can't have them.
First Grade Boy: She's electric.

First Grader: I dropped my pencil box; but it's okay, it didn't break. It's waterproof.

I do enjoy my time with them and my tutoring but working a straight 10 hours a day, five days a week, having choir and bells Tuesday night, small group Bible study Thursday night and Family Fun night on Friday night is wearing me (and Nate) out and causing our apartment to look like a warzone. (I am very aware that sentence is very long and most likely grammatically incorrect.) I keep looking to the first 2 days in November. There is no school so I should be able to get in some cleaning and possibly some baking and crafting. Those are high hopes but we’ll see. There’s always Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

Our weekends have been very busy too. Since we have been here, we went with the youth to the water park on South Padre Island, Schlitterbahn, (It blows my mind that they worked that name into a radio jingle). Nate went to the area’s confirmation retreat. There were several churches there and had a great time. They buried him in the sand and made him look like a mermaid.

One weekend Matt (the youth director) and I decided we would teach Brittany, one of the new teachers, how to cook. Our cooking lesson turned into an all day event. In the morning, I took her grocery shopping and taught her my secrets of savings. Then, we came back and made 6 meals. We had 3 crock pots going and did few meals in the oven. One of our oven meals was a very exciting experience; Matt put some chicken with some oil on it a little too close to the broiler in the oven. We heard a crackling noise, so I went to see what was going on. I opened the oven and there were flames. Now, instead of reacting to the situation, for some reason I saw the flames, calmly closed the oven door and simply said, “That’s a fire” and walked away. Matt and Nate quickly responded with “WHAT?!?!” and Matt turned off the oven.  I guess the flames shocked me. I made a new recipe that day, a simple, tator tot casserole that was delicious. I have never met a tator tot I didn’t like. Here is the recipe:

Tater-Tot Casserole
1 lb lean ground beef (I doubled the meat to make it go farther to feed 4)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can condensed cream of celery or cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
1 16oz package frozen tater tots
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Brown ground beef. season with salt & pepper.
  3. Add chopped onion, cook until tender.
  4. In a casserole dish, combine ground beef mixture & cream soup.
  5. Top mixture with tater tots.
  6. Bake , uncovered, for 30-40 minutes till bubbly and Tots are golden brown.
  7. remove from oven & top with cheese, return to oven until melted.
  8. Enjoy!

We also had a school pool party one weekend in which I needed to take a dessert. There is a reason I chose the dessert that I did. As most of you know, I am a sucker for a deal. The grocery store down here was having a deal that if you bought a $5 tortilla warmer, you would get 36 tortillas for free. These tortillas are the best tortillas I have ever had, however it failed to dawn on me that it would take a really long time for just Nate and I to eat 36 tortillas. This leads me to making the Apple Enchiladas which, if you like things really sweet, this is your dessert. I could only have a half of one, but they were delicious.

Apple Enchiladas

Cherries or peaches can be substituted for apples. (I used apples)

1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas (I used smaller ones which made them half the size and doubled the tortillas.)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water

  1. Spoon about one heaping quarter cup of pie filling evenly down the center of each tortilla.
  2. Sprinkle with cinnamon; roll up, tucking in edges; and place seam side down in prepared dish.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, white sugar, brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.
  4. Pour sauce over enchiladas and let stand 45 minutes.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Two weekends ago I had the chance to attend the Texas District Pastors’ Wives Retreat at Camp Lonestar. I was very impressed with the retreat. The committee did a great job picking topics that were very relevant to pastors’ wives and engaging speakers. That is a pretty big compliment coming from someone with the attention span of a first grader. I was able to see some lovely ladies that I haven’t seen in a while and also meet some new ones. I also had a great time driving up with the pastors’ wives from the valley. It is always a good time when you get to cross through a border patrol checkpoint (this one was not on the border). I left the retreat feeling refreshed and happy to be in the Texas District with such great women.

This past Sunday and Monday, Nate and I ventured up to San Antonio for our PALS gathering. PALS stands for Post Seminary Applied Learning and Support. That basically means that for the first 3 years of your ministry you come together with pastors and their wives from your area that are also in their first 3 years and talk about your experiences and the guys also have some study time. We have a great group from South Texas. We played some crazy bridge to get acquainted which if you haven’t played it, you really should. One of the best parts of the trip that had nothing to do with PALS was that there is a Panera near the church we were at up there and I was able to get a Cinnamon Crunch bagel. YUM.

That is all for now. God is Good.