Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday Elder Larsen

This week I am grateful for the willing spirit that so many of our missionaries have.  If they are asked to do something, even if it could be very inconvenient for them, they are willing to do it.  I was working on putting a choir together for a special meeting that we have coming up on November 19th. Only the missionaries in the Madrid area will be able to attend the meeting because of the long distances that the other missionaries would have to travel to get to the meeting.  I was sending reminder texts to the missionaries who were coming to the practice, on their preparation day, when I received a phone call. The missionaries told me that they had just gotten the text and they would be happy to come to the rehearsal if I needed them.  Then they added, very timidly, that they were in a city that is a long ways from Madrid, but, they would come if I wanted them to.  I had accidentally sent my text to Elder Smith instead of Hermana Smith.  They were very relieved when I told them that they didn't need to make the trip in for the practice.  I sure appreciate their willing spirit!

Last Monday, I was supposed to go on an outing with the hermanas, but I woke up feeling like I was coming down with a terrible cold.  I decided that a day of rest was what I needed.  Elder Larsen went to the office and then that night he started his driving school.  He is going through the very time-consuming, expensive process of getting a driver's license.  All week long, he attended classes from 5:00 to 9:00.  Because he was taking the metro, he left at 4:00 and got home at 10:00.  Each evening he compared his class to something: getting wisdom teeth pulled, ruptured appendix, Chinese torture, you get the picture.

Tuesday, I woke up feeling almost 100% better!  I was grateful and amazed!  I will just put it down as a little miracle.

I was happy to attend our district meeting.  It is always nice to spend a little time with the hermanas.

Elder Barlow gave a good lesson and helped us focus on what we can do to make sure that we are walking with God daily.  We talked about how we can be at peace if our thoughts and actions are in line with the Lord's will.  I love this scripture in 2 Corinthians 13:11
     Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind,
live in peace;
And the God of love and peace
will be with you.

Elder Koeven was a happy missionary this week because he got a package from home!

On Thursday, Caroline was out of school, so the three of us had quite the day of shopping.  We started out at the Pack's house, finalizing the plans for a project that Caroline is going to make for school.  She is going to make a rag quilt.  She has had very little sewing experience, so she will be learning some new skills.

We were able to find much better fabric selections than we found last year on the island when I was making blankets for our young adult missionaries.  We hadn't planned on plaids, but when that is what we found that coordinated with some solid colors, that is what  decided to use.

We also found a quilt shop that had the batting that we needed.  Hemana Pack is becoming quite the Spanish driver with her illegal corner parking.  How does that old saying go, "When is Spain, do as the Spaniards?"

We also went to Costco and I am embarrassed to say how many hours we were there.  We did have lunch and I was very pleased with my delicious Caesar Salad. Then we spent our time looking at all the wonderful "American" things that they have.  We compared prices and bought a carload of items.

We did not purchase the huge candy bar, but Caroline would have been happy if we had.
And we were so happy to find chocolate chips!

I might have caused a scene when I found bags of pecans for 13 euros.
I was so excited!
And, Krusteaz pancake mix,  just add water, is perfect 
for those mornings when we are fixing pancakes for 45 people!

We spent the night at the mission home Friday and Saturday night because the Packs were up north for interviews and a district conference.  This gave Caroline and I time to work on her quilt. Friday night, she had her first cutting lesson.  Even though she was very nervous when we first started, she learned how to use the rotary cutter and did a great job.
Here she has 225 squares.  Only 450 to go!

On Halloween, Elder Larsen's birthday, he got up early to go to the office.  So, I started my day in the kitchen at 7:30, where I stayed until 1:15 a.m.  I am glad that Caroline and I took a walk in the afternoon to enjoy the nice weather.  

I was cooking for Elder Larsen's birthday dinner - steak, baked potato, Jewish Sweet Bread, grilled asparagus, and his favorite raspberry jello salad.  I also was cooking black beans and pinto beans for the taco soup on Tuesday, and seven layer dip and chicken and enchilada sauce for the Sunday meal for the hermanas.

I made a red velvet birthday cake for Elder Larsen.  As you can tell from the photo, it was more like a volcano cake.  I get so frustrated with these ovens here.

If you know that Elder Larsen is 59, and you are confused by the candles that say 53, a closer look will reveal two other candles.  This was all we could find at the mission home.  I made the comment to the girls that Elder Larsen was a numbers man and he would think of a way for the candles to mean 59.  He did!  He said the two single candles meant that the 3 was squared, which would make the 9 to go with the 50!

Caroline also had Kristen and Tomo over for a little Halloween celebration.  We made pumpkin sugar cookies, and I was very happy that they iced all of them.  Our missionaries had to receive their cookies a day late because it was after midnight when we finished the cookies!

We had a delicious meal after church - honey lime enchiladas (I was so happy with how my sauce turned out,) seven layer dip and chips, raspberry jello salad, and sugar cookies.  It is always fun to be with these sweet girls!


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