Our first Fall in the Valley

Hi Friends! Sorry it has been so long!

Things have been very busy for us. It has seemed so long since our last post. 

Something that I didn't get to include in my last post was that I attended the wedding of my good friend Rachel McCall, now Rachel Schlie. Her wedding was in a small town near Pittsburgh called Cabot, PA. My good friend Shayla picked me up from the airport and we had a great time catching up. Our friends from CUW, Matt and Katie Barry, were kind to open their home to us to stay while we were in town for the wedding. It was a beautiful wedding! I also had the pleasure of catching up and dancing with the lovely Al Chandler and Amanda Voss. It was so great to see everyone.

Nate's parents came to visit at the end of October. We had a great time with them. We went up to San Antonio with them since they had never been there. We had a nice time walking the Riverwalk and shopping at the Marketplace. We gave them a taste of authentic Mexican food, including Tamales! There is this excellent place called Delia's that has extraordinary Tamales. They are very popular to have at Christmas time and they are inexpensive which makes them even more delicious! Nate's parents ended up staying for a couple of extra days because of hurricane Sandy. Fortunately, they did not suffer any damage from that devastating storm. It was a very nice visit.

The day that Nate's parents left was the day of the Fall Festival at St. Paul. There were some carnival like rides. There were game booths, karaoke and some great food. There was also a cakewalk. This was the first time that Nate had ever experienced a cakewalk and he was glad that he would be able to finally partake in this tradition. Now the expression, "It's a cakewalk", finally makes sense to him. For the festival Nate and I dressed up as Buzz Lightyear and Jesse the Yodeling Cowgirl from Toy Story. It was a great night!

As many of you know, pastors and their families really can't travel home for the holidays. For Thanksgiving we were here with our close friends from the church, mostly the called workers who are in our situation, being far away from family and some others. We had an excellent potluck style Thanksgiving at our friends Carrie and Elin's house. We proceeded to play games, watch football and take naps. There was also Black Friday preparation. It was very nice. We are very blessed with a group of friends down here that serve as our "family".

Speaking of Black Friday, everyone knows that I love a good deal. Black Friday is a big day for me every year. Now, let's be clear. I am not a crazy Black Friday shopper. I will not set up camp outside a place of business three days before a sale is to start so that I can get a 60" tv for next to nothing. I will partake in the sales but I get there when the store opens or a little bit after and wait until everyone walks in and then I enter. However, my favorite Black Friday deals are the ones that are online with free shipping. Kohl's has great Black Friday deals and offers them all online with free shipping for orders over $50. I was finished with my Kohl's purchases on Wednesday and didn't even have to leave home, or so I thought. On Thanksgiving, I was talking with my friend Carrie while we were going through some ads, after we had returned from Target. A beautiful 7ft pre-lit Christmas Tree caught her eye in the Kohl's ad and we were back out. Kohl's was packed. They really need to invest in some better shopping carts because many of the Petsmart carts from next door had been commandeered for Kohl's shoppers. We found her Christmas tree after some hunting and then proceeded to spend a very slap happy hour and a half in line waiting to check out. It was actually really fun.

Things in 1st grade continue to go well. The students are still funny and sweet. This past week I subbed in 5th grade. It was a nice change of pace. I was pulled into 3rd grade last minute on Thursday to sub and the 1st graders were very concerned. I've learned that if you ever want to feel like a million bucks, just spend several months with a bunch of 1st graders, leave for about 3 days and then return. There were hugs and so many stories about what had happened while I was gone. It was so cute.

There was a dessert auction for the youth at St. Paul. and I make some delicious cupcakes that sold for $90! I found this recipe on Pinterest and was very glad that I did. In the process of making these, I mistook the speed lever for the tilt-lock lever on my Kitchen Aid mixer...twice. Needless to say, things got a little messy. Haha.

Here is the recipe:


Makes 22 cupcakes
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin puree (not canned pumpkin pie filling)
  • Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans (22 cups–you’ll have 2 less in one pan) with paper liners; set aside.
In medium bowl, blend the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, blend canola oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree and blend well. Add the flour mixture into this pumpkin mixture and stir until blended. Pour batter into muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans for about 5 minutes, then remove to completely cool on a wire rack.
You can make the frosting while cupcakes are cooling…
Makes enough to generously frost all your cupcakes! Halve the recipe if you want to frost your cupcakes more lightly.
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (regular or light), softened 
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 7 1/2 to 8 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Blend softened cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add in vanilla and cinnamon, blending everything well. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar a cup at a time, blending mixture after each addition. Frost cupcakes when they have completely cooled. If you’re not serving these soon after frosting them, refrigerate until ready to serve (because of the cream cheese in the frosting).

Source: http://nancycreative.com/2012/09/21/pumpkin-cupcakes-with-cinnamon-cream-cheese-frosting/
We also had a Chili Cook-off at St. Paul in which I tied for 3rd place with a recipe for Cincinnati Chili. It turned out good but I think it could have been better had I had more time to make the chili. 
2 lbs ground beef
2 cups chopped onions
4 cups beef stock
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 -3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate or 2 3/4 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons instant minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 bay leaves or 1/8 teaspoon bay leaf powder
chopped onion (optional)
finely shredded cheddar cheese (certainly NOT optional)
kidney bean (optional)
1. Brown ground beef and onion.
2. Drain.
3. Add beef stock to beef mixture and simmer 10 minutes.
4 Add remaining 13 ingredients, simmer uncovered 1 hour.
5. Remove bay leaf, skim off extra fat.
6. Serve over hot spaghetti, or hot dogs in buns for chili dogs.
7. Top with plenty of cheese and other optional toppings.

Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/skylike-chili-skyline-chili-copycat-110548?oc=linkback

That's all for this very long post. Sorry for the length and for the delay. I hope that you all are having a great approach to Christmas! God is Good!

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.

Hola, Howdy and Hello from Texas!

Hello from Texas! As you have noticed (or maybe not), I have changed our blog to Nate and Kate in the Lone Star State. Very exciting! (At least for me).

We have been in Texas for almost 3 weeks now. We are finally starting to get settled. We live in a part of Texas called "The Rio Grande Valley". It is not actually a valley, it is just a piece of flat land along the Rio Grande River. Since we have moved here, things have kind of been a comedy of errors. Now they are funny, not so much at the time. A week before we came down here the rental company that we are renting through told us that our newly built apartment would not be ready because the electric meters had not been installed yet. Obviously this is when panic set in because we had a moving truck coming from St. Louis a week from that day. Thankfully, we were able to move our stuff in. Sadly, we couldn't stay there for obvious reasons. We had a few very gracious members of the congregation take us in. We also had a very nice couple let us use their home because they were leaving for a mission trip. We got by just fine. We finally got electricity and then the air conditioner started leaking. After a firm message that I left on the rental company's answering machine, it was fixed the next day. We have been living in our apartment now for about a week. I have the kitchen unpacked which was a huge deal because I have way too much in that department, of course, nothing I am willing to part with. Haha. We are still working on the other rooms so that they don't look like a war zone. It might be a little bit yet before we invite people over or post pictures of our place to Facebook. I am very excited about the palm tree in our front yard!

Something that isn't so funny still is that we still don't have internet at our apartment. I know that people lived without it for a long time and still do, but this "first world problem" is killing me. You know it's bad when I, a person who isn't a big reader, reads a 385 page book in less than 24 hours. Even though we don't not have the internet right now, we have had the Olympics to keep us occupied. There is one thing for sure. Nate and I LOVE the Olympics! I have been glued to the TV for the past week. Today we had Dish installed with DVR, so I won't miss any of the coverage!

Nate was installed at St. Paul on July 22nd. It was a very nice welcome. My parents and sister came down for the occasion. We were so happy that they made the trip! We had a great meal after the service, consisting of some very tasty Mexican food. I am going to have to capitalize on living in this part of the country when it comes to learning how to make the native food. Since then, we have just been trying to get settled in both at home and Nate into his office. He is preaching for the first time at St. Paul tomorrow.

Here is a picture from the installation:

Well, that is all for now. Hopefully the next time I post there will be some pics of our place! God is good!

Friends, Family, Ordination and Serious Packing

Hello Everyone! The last month has been a crazy one! It started out with a great road trip. This was my "see all my girls before I move to Texas trip". First, I stopped in Lakefield, MN. This is where my good friend Amanda Ackermann married Dustin Voss. Even better, my lovely, Rachel McCall was her maid of honor. Rachel and Amanda were roommates of mine in college. I got to see two of my very best girls on the same day! The service was beautiful with a phenomenal sermon by Rev. Ken Klaus. It was a true country wedding. The wedding party rode in a wagon attached to a tractor to the reception site and partied until 1am. I couldn't even stay up that late. Rachel and I showcased our dance skills for all in attendance. It was a great night!

I then moved on to see our other roommate, Shannon. Shannon and I were roommates all four years of college. I hadn't seen her in 2 years and had never met her daughter! We had a great time reminiscing and joking around like no time had passed at all. Her daughter Emmalin is such a cutie and I am so grateful that I was able to spend quality time with the Grosnick family. Here is a picture of Emmalin and I.

After a few days in Central Wisconsin with the Grosnicks, I ventured to Cedarburg, WI to attend the wedding of Marcus and Vanessa Lane. They attended CUW with Nate and I. Marcus started his first year at the seminary last year and worked with Nate at Tower Tee. I had the opportunity to stay with some family friends, the Kelm's for a few days leading up to the wedding. In that time, I reunited with the groom's sister, one of my besties, Katie Lane. She has been a missionary in Peru for the past two years and I hadn't seen her in about a year. This is a picture Katie's mom took when we reunited at the mall. :)

Marcus and Vanessa's wedding was beautiful. Nate was able to join me for this one. The campus pastor from CUW, Steve Smith, who Nate and I both know very well, gave a great sermon. It was great to visit with him and his wife Loretta at the wedding. We were able to spend time with some great friends and dance the night away. If you haven't noticed, I love to dance. If there was a wedding reception every night, I would be in great shape. This was a great end to my trip to the North.

Pastor Smith and the Lovebirds 

Katie and I in our signature pose. There is a similar one from my wedding.

When we returned from the north, we kicked into high gear concerning packing for Texas. If there is one thing I really dislike, it is packing. It also didn't help that our window unit hasn't been doing much with the most intense heat wave St. Louis has seen in years. We are almost done! The moving truck comes Thursday!

After finishing my time working at LWML on July 3rd, the next day, Nate and I flew to Connecticut for his Ordination. He was ordained Sunday, July 8th at 3pm. It was a really wonderful service. The church was packed! Nate's childhood pastor and mentor, Pastor Hillenbrand, gave a wonderful sermon. The New England District President ordained Nate and gave him a shepherd's staff. The only drawback was the lack of air conditioning. It's funny because I come from a place where the thought of not having air conditioning in July, makes you want to cry. Luckily, Connecticut was not as hot has St. Louis but we did need a few fans. There was a very tasty meal following the service. Three words: Chocolate. Covered. Strawberries. Simply amazing. There were also some very yummy red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting made by Nate's cousin, Jonathan. That kid is talented with cupcakes. We concluded the fellowship at Nate's parent's house up the street, with his friends and family. There was also a very intense ping pong tournament at one point. I did not partake. Here are some pictures from the day.

Getting Ordained

All of the Clergy

Today we got up at 4am to catch our plane back to the Midwest. If I never get up at 4am again, it will be too soon. I am the opposite of an early riser. My parents used to have to pour cold water on me to get me out of bed. We made it home before noon, had lunch with my dad and continued packing. As I said before, the moving truck comes on Thursday and we will be driving to Texas on Saturday. It will be hard to leave our friends and family but exciting to start our new adventure in McAllen. Goodbye from the "Show Me" state; I will be writing to you all from the "Lonestar" state soon!

That's all for now. Good is good!

Cardinals,Traveling, and Preparing for a Move

Hi All,

Things have been non-stop since call day. We have been busy traveling and getting things ready for the move.

Because we are moving, I have been taking in as much of St. Louis that I can. I probably should not have eaten as much Ted Drewes in the last month. Haha. I have also been visiting Busch Stadium quite often. The staff of Lutheran High School South had some great tickets given to them, since my mom works there, we were blessed to receive some. We had two nights in a row of great seats at the Ballpark. My mom, Victoria, Dad and Steve all went together. It was a great time! I will miss the Cardinals a great deal.

I traveled to Wisconsin for the retirement party for one of my college professors, Dr. Mary Hilgendorf. She is excellent, CUW is going to be very different without her. I had a great time seeing her and hanging out with friends. I had a chance to spend a great deal of time with my friend Lindsey. We had lunch and then had a lovely time trying the samples at Costco. Got to love warehouse stores on the weekends. I had a chance to also spend some time with our family friends, the Kelm's. They put me up for the weekend. Their soon to be second grader and I played some quality kid games. We had a good time.

Nate graduated from Seminary! Call Day is a more climactic day than Graduation Day at the Seminary, but it's still a big day at the Sem.

Later in May, Nate and I traveled to McAllen, TX to check out our new church and find a place for us to live. We flew from St. Louis to Houston. Houston Hobby Airport is a hotbed of lovely people watching. I love to fly purely for the people watching. When my dad and I picked up my sister from the airport a couple of months ago, we got there an hour early just to people watch. People watching is just one reason that I love layovers. Some people hate layovers but I like to get off the plane and stretch my legs. We had lunch at Papa's Burger's. This restaurant is part of the Papa's restaurant chain that started in Dallas, TX. They have several different kinds of restaurants, American, Steakhouse, Cajun, Mexican and a few others. My dad loves their restaurants. We then sat down again in a prime people watching spot until our flight.

When we got to McAllen it was warm, but not as warm as we thought it would be. There is a constant breeze off the Gulf of Mexico that makes the heat bearable. Here is a picture to show you the breeze and the palm trees!

We then went to look at apartments right away. We were only there for a weekend and If we didn't find anything, we would be up a creek. It was actually pretty hard to find an apartment because McAllen had a couple of intense hail storms a month and a half before we went down there. These storms are very uncommon. They were so severe people had to move out of their homes while they were getting fixed, so they gobbled up all of the rental properties. We did find a two bedroom place about 15 minutes from the church. It has COUNTERSPACE!!!!! I'm so excited. The worst part of our apartment right now is that the kitchen is horrible. I can go back to cooking and baking! That means I will go back to posting new recipes on the blog.

The music director, Elin, gave us a wonderful tour of the church on Saturday. They have a beautiful sanctuary and they are finishing up a new portion of the school.

The Sanctuary

If you can't see it, the middle one, it says "howdy". Those banners are McAllen.

Prayer Garden outside the portable classrooms.

We then tried to take a trip to a restaurant across the river from the border. Nate wanted to see the other side. Sadly, we had some troubles with our GPS and with directions and we didn't end up making it. Part of the problem was that I am ridiculous and thought we might accidentally cross the border if we got lost (this clearly would not happen). My nervousness was part of the reason we turned around. After dinner, we spent the evening relaxing, mostly because I had contracted a pretty severe cold and wanted to sleep it off. 

We got up the next morning and went to St. Paul for church. It was very nice to meet all of the people. They were so nice and welcoming. I felt bad though because I was coughing, sneezing and my nose was running. It will be a great blessing to be part of their congregation. We then went out for a lovely lunch with the Senior Pastor and his wife. That night we had a nice dinner with Elin and her family, who were visiting from St. Louis as well.

Monday we secured our apartment and traveled home. 

Last weekend, Nate went to Mequon to go to Chris Davis' ordination. He was able to catch up with the people of Beautiful Savior in Mequon including Pastor Hillenbrand and his family. He said it was a great trip.

While Nate was gone, my mom and I started packing my kitchen. She is a genius. Every time I needed to figure out how to fit something into a box or wrap something, she had an answer. I spent the rest of the weekend with my family. My sister, Victoria, is leaving for Army ROTC officer training on Monday for a month. It was good to have some family time. 

I am currently in Iowa, on my way to Minnesota for my good friend, Amanda Ackermann's wedding. Amanda and I were roommates in college. Our other roommate, Rachel McCall, is her maid of honor, so I will be getting to have some quality girl time tomorrow. I will then be moving on to Wausau, WI to see our other roommate, Shannon. I finally get to meet her 1 year old daughter. I am super excited! I will then be making my way down to meet Nate in the Cedarburg/Mequon/Milwaukee area for the wedding of Vanessa Zellmer and Marcus Lane. I am very excited for their wedding not only because they are a great couple but also because I get to see Marcus' sister, Katie. She is returning from being a missionary in Peru and I haven't seen her in a little over a year. Busy and exciting trip before we head to Texas!

I think I may have mentioned this in the last post. Nate and I will be traveling to Connecticut for his ordination on July 8th. We will be there for a short time and then the moving company will be picking our stuff up on the 12th to take it to Texas. We will most likely be leaving St. Louis on the 14th. Nate will be installed on the 22nd of July in McAllen. If you would like more information about Nate's ordination or installation, just let me know!

So many things...so little time! Anyway, that's all. God is good!

Called to McAllen!

Hello Everyone!

I know it has been a while. I have partially not posted because we have been so busy and partially because I didn't want to post until we knew where we were being called.

Not in relation to call day or our move, I help out my parents at Lutheran High School South on the weekends when they have track meets. In the fall I would help with football games. My mom runs the concession stand and my dad does the grilling. I love being up there for these events. Some of the students I taught at King of Glory are in high school now and I can see some of them compete. I also run into random people. Last week I ran into my good friend Lyla Buuck! What a great surprise!

Now what you all are most curious about, we have been called to St. Paul Lutheran Church in McAllen, TX. This is a great church and school! We are so excited to be going down to McAllen. If you are wondering, gee, where is McAllen, TX, don't worry I will show you. McAllen, Texas is a border town on the border of Mexico. Some people may think wow, that is far south! It is, but it has so many opportunities and it will be a great adventure.  Here is a map to help you visualize:

St. Paul has a school which is a awesome! I am one of the biggest fans of Lutheran school, not just because I am a teacher but also because Lutheran schools are such a rich mission field.

We will be going to visit McAllen in two weeks to look for an apartment and see the church.

Fun facts about McAllen, TX (I don't know much about the town yet, so these are few):

  1. It's a border town, which is very unique. 
  2. It is about an hour or so from the beach! Loving that!
  3. The average temperature for 6 months out of the year is in the 90s. 
  4. There are outlet malls. (enough said)

We have a very busy couple of months ahead of us. I will be traveling to Minnesota and then working my way over to Milwaukee to attend two weddings and visit friends that live up north. I am very excited! Nate will be meeting me in Milwaukee for the second wedding.

We will be traveling to Connecticut for Nate's ordination on July 8th. If you would like more information about the ordination please contact Nate or I.

We will most likely be moving to McAllen in Mid-July and Nate will be installed on July 22nd.

We are so excited about starting a life in McAllen and getting settled in one place for more than a year. I have been moving at least once each year since 2005. I am tired. I want to stay settled for a while.

I'm sorry that I do not have a recipe for this post. I have been so busy that I have not cooked anything in so long. My top priority for a place in McAllen is a good kitchen and washer/dryer hook-ups. So look forward to more recipes in the future!

That's all for now. God is good!

Beginnings of Warmer Months

Hi Everyone! I am posting on time this month! Things have been laid back but fun this month. Nate and I celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary. It certainly doesn't feel like that long. When I think back on how many times we have moved in these two years, though, it seems a little bit longer. Haha. We went to P.F. Chang's for dinner. I hadn't been there since I was in high school and Nate and never been. To say that it was SO good is the understatement of the year. I love a place that gives me enough food for lunch for the next couple of days. We then came home and watched "The King's Speech". That is an excellent movie. Nate gave me a cookbook called Make the "Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch -- Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods" by Jennifer Reese. Nate's aunt Lynn told me about this book and she was right on when she said that it was really good. It is not just a cookbook that tells you what is more thrifty to make or buy. It explains what the hassle of each task will be and in many of the recipes she humorously explains how she came to her conclusion. When I have a bigger kitchen, this book is going to be used so much, it may fall apart.

 A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege to attend the Women's Leadership Institute Conference. I worked for WLI when I was in college at Concordia in Mequon. Going to this conference meant that I was able to see many close friends of mine and to meet and become friends with some great women. Seeing friends from out of town is amazing and exhausting. A great exhausting, though. We were up late both nights, one of which was daylight savings. I still don't think I have caught up on sleep but I know that it was completely worth it.

Because things are warming up here, it means that things are getting busier at Tower Tee. They have added back their summer shifts, so Nate is working more. He enjoys his work there and has recruited 2 more seminary students to work there, too. Tower Tee is becoming more Lutheran by the day.

I tried another great new recipe from Pinterest. I have never been much of a soup girl but lately homemade soups are very intriguing to me. This is a potato soup. Potatoes are, let's face it, one of God's great gifts to this earth along with cream cheese, buffalo wings, bacon and chocolate. I should stop that list now before it gets even longer. I love food too much. Back to the recipe. This may be the easiest recipe, ever. Using a crock-pot naturally simplifies things, but this one hardly takes any preparation before that.

Source for recipe and photo: http://pearls-handcuffs-happyhour.blogspot.com/2011/03/outback-aint-got-nothin-on-me.html


  • 1 30oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns 
  • 3 14oz. cans of chicken broth 
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup 
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper 
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese (Using Fat Free Cream Cheese is a bad idea in general, but in this case because it won't melt.) 

In a Crock-pot, combine everything EXCEPT for the cream cheese. Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat. About 1 hour before serving, add cream cheese and keep heated until thoroughly melted. Serve with cheese, sour cream, bacon bits (I made bacon and crumbled it, bacon bits aren't as good), green onions or whatever else you might like to top it with.

Baseball season is starting soon. Nate is getting very excited for his Yankees and I am ready for the Cardinals to defend their World Series title. It will be different for the Cards this year without Albert Pujlos and Tony LaRussa but change is good sometimes. Go Cards!

Please continue to pray for us and our seminary friends as Call Day quickly approaches. Changes are a-coming.

That is all for now. God is good!


There isn't much going on in the life of Nate and Katie right now. We are just living life until Nate is done with school.

Thanks to a sale from Southwest Airlines, about a month ago I had the privileged of going to visit one of my very best friends in the whole world, the lovely Rachel McCall. Rachel is a music director at a church in Fredricksburg, TX. I flew into San Antonio. Rachel picked me up and we went to the Alamo and the Riverwalk. Both of those were very cool. The rest of the weekend we spent time exploring the small town of Fredricksburg, going to all the little shops and taking pictures with everything hysterical we could find. We also took a trip to Luckenbach, TX. We heard some serious guitar picking there. Rachel's brother is the pastor of her church, so we had a good time hanging out with her brother, his wife and their four kids. We had so much fun cooking and staying in one room with bunk beds. It was like a weekend long slumber party. You are never too old for those, in my opinion. We even fed the ducks. We laughed until we cried. The weekend was simply amazing.

Some pics from the weekend...

This is where they shot a scene from Miss Congeniality!

Rachel's Church

Hanging out with Hondo!

Rachel...the Duck Whisperer!

Feeding the Ducks...

I tried a new recipe this month.

Like most women, I have been addicted to Pinterest for a while now. One of the things I love is the recipes. The Ranch Pulls from my last post were also discovered on Pinterest. I have an intolerance for tomatoes therefore, when it comes to Mexican food I am kind of limited. When I find a recipe that looks delicious and doesn't contain a great deal of tomatoes or tomato sauce I am totally in. Nate and I both really liked this recipe. I liked it because it was easy, quick and will be easy to freeze in the future when I finally get a house with a deep freeze someday. I cut the recipe in half when I made it.

Here is the source: http://www.budgetsavvydiva.com/2012/02/chicken-enchiladas/

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

Entree: 5 mins : 35 mins : 40 mins : 10

Simply the Best Enchiladas
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Corn Starch
2 cups chicken broth
1 Clove of Minced Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt and Pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 Finely Chopped Jalapenos seeded
1 Teaspoon of lime juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan.
In a medium size bowl mix – chicken, 1 cup of cheese, garlic – roll mixture into tortillas and place into pan.
In a sauce pan – melt the butter and stir in corn starch and cook for one minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Keep over heat until it bubbles and becomes thick. Stir in sour cream, chopped Jalapenos, lime, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Do not let it boil.
Pour mixture over enchiladas and top with the last cup of cheese.
Bake for 25 min – You will want to make sure the cheese has browned.

If any of you were wondering about our status in the call process, here is a little update. We have had four interviews in Indiana, Wisconsin and Texas. Call day is May 1st.

In five days, Nate and I will be celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary. Here is a pic from the big day. :)

It's been a while...oops

Hi everyone! I dropped the ball a little bit on the blog over the holidays. As everyone always says the holidays are a busy time. They were busy for us but that shouldn't be an excuse. A lot has happened since the last time I posted.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving in St. Louis with my family. My birthday was right after Thanksgiving and we had a great get together with family and friends. We went Fitz's in The Loop for dinner with the family. If you are in St. Louis, go to Fitz's, it's excellent. They make their own root beer, creme soda and orange soda. They also have great burgers! Then we headed over to Blueberry Hill to play darts and hang out with friends. Nate's birthday is 2 weeks after mine. We went out to dinner again with the family to Hodaks. Also a great place. It has probably the best fried chicken I have ever tasted. You should really check out the place if you are in the Lou sometime.

Christmas Eve we went out to dinner with Steve and his family. For those of you who don't know Steve, he is one of my dad's best friends. He and his family are part of our family. We then went to Christmas Eve church. On Christmas Day we went to church, opened presents and then went to Wiesehan Christmas (Steve's family). It was a lovely Christmas!

On Christmas Eve before church I decided to try a new recipe. I love chicken wings, a lot. I also have a deep passion for cream cheese. I decided to try a recipe that merged my two food loves. Buffalo chicken dip. mmmmmm. My sister and I were quite happy with this. I then took it to a night with some friends after Christmas. It has gotten some great reviews. The recipe is below. Here is the link to the website I got it from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/buffalo-chicken-dip/


2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing (I didn't use quite as much Ranch...depends on how tangy you want it)
3/4 cup pepper sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot®)...I used Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Dip...It's a little milder.
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4 inch pieces
1 (8 ounce) box chicken-flavored crackers

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers. I put mine in a little crock pot to keep it warm. MMMM.

The day after Christmas we flew to Connecticut to see Nate's family. We saw a lot of people there. It was actually a good year for us to go out for Christmas because a lot of Nate's family who doesn't live in Connecticut was visiting as well. They were very kind and waited until we got there to have Wollenberg Christmas. We saw his mom's family as well. Nate's grandma on his mom's side is having some health problems. Please keep her in your prayers. We had a chance to visit with Nate's friends from high school. Great trip overall.

I tried another recipe for one of the family gatherings in CT. It is called Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls. I know...you're hungry already. Here is the link for the website I got it from http://www.plainchicken.com/2011/07/cheddar-bacon-ranch-pulls.html.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls

1 unsliced loaf of (round is preferable) sourdough bread
8-12 oz cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
3 oz bag Oscar Mayer Real Bacon bits (I used the real deal)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp Ranch dressing mix

Using a sharp bread knife cut the bread going both directions. Do not cut through the bottom crust. Place slices of cheese in between cuts. Sprinkle bacon bits on bread, making sure to get in between cuts. Mix together butter and Ranch dressing mix. Pour over bread. Wrap in foil the entire loaf in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

On the day that we flew back, since we were flying out of NYC, we decided to go into the City. I don't know about you but ever since I saw Home Alone: Lost in New York, I have wanted to see the tree in Rockefeller Center. It was very cool. I think it would be even more awesome at night but this was still quite lovely. We also visited the M&M's store, Hershey Store, Times Square, Benton Park and the Nintendo Store. It was a nice little trip to the city.

We are now back in St. Louis, back to normal. Nate has been working hard with his Handbell group on some excellent pieces for the seminary talent show. It is going to be great. I will be traveling to Texas in a week to see my very wonderful friend Rachel McCall. I will try to keep the blog more updated as 2012 progresses.

That's all for now.

God is good!