So here's what I've been up to.
Loving fall. Especially because I love my fleece.
Ambitions to ride my bike to work which haven't come to fruition yet.
Keith finished the CPA exam and has passed 3 with flying colors. The 4th is 99.99% in the bag, so we're done with that "lovely" season!
Bought tickets to Nicaragua for Spring Break! To see these awesome people!
Camping with my hubs to celebrate no more CPA. At a campsite that overlooked a spectacular view.
Being diagnosed with Mono and dormant TB in the same week. Fun times. LOTS of doctor's appointments.
Not watching TV.
Trying to be a creative and intentional teacher, plan ahead, invest in students' lives, communicate with parents, etc. Not there yet, but praying a lot.
And seeing these beautiful faces, clamoring to hug me in the halls, calling out "hola!" and "Señora Davis!" everyday.
It's interesting. When I was working at a desk, sitting all day, I would come home from work and sit more. Now that I'm on my feet all day, I actually come home with more energy. And I've been channeling that energy into cooking. So get ready for some food posts.
Tonight I made a delicious dinner. I modified this recipe and I want to share my version with you (because it's better ;). I served it with baked rice, which I'll share more about tomorrow and green beans. Yum!
Lick-the-Plate Chicken with Tomato Saute
2 chicken breasts
1 small container cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves*
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tblsp olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
small pat of butter
*You can also used chopped regular tomatoes, I added in one of our homegrown heirlooms today and it added a lot of flavor.
To prepare chicken, take one sheet of plastic wrap and sprinkle it with water. Place the chicken breasts on top of it and sprinkle with a little more water (the water prevents the chicken from tearing by reducing friction). Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and pound out the chicken breasts into an even 1/2-1" thickness with a meat pounder, rolling pin, or the bottom of a jar.
Spoon about a half cup of all-purpose flour on a plate. Mix in a pinch of salt and pepper and a dash of tarragon and italian seasoning. Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a stainless steel skillet over medium high heat. Dredge the chicken directly in the flour-seasoning mixture and shake off the excess. When a sprinkling of flour sizzles in the oil, place the chicken in the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the tomatoes to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper. As they let out juices, use a spatula to scrape up the burnt bits from the chicken. Saute for about 5-7 minutes until very soft and beginning to caramelize. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to med-low and add chicken back to the pan for about 5 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken a bit. Right before serving stir in a small pat of butter to finish the sauce and ENJOY! Like I said, we like this best with rice, it soaks up the delicious sauce perfectly.
Sorry for the long, iced-coffee-filled absence! Thanks for sticking with me. There is a good reason for my lack of blogging . . .
School starts tomorrow! It has been a whirl-wind couple of weeks trying to get my classroom ready and my mind wrapped around a plan for how to teach Spanish to 4 year olds all the way up to 8th graders. There have definitely been some stressful moments, but going into tomorrow, I feel good. A surprising lack of stress. I've learned over the few months of trying to get ready, thanks to some good advice, to be flexible and graceful with myself. Now I'm just looking forward to meeting the kids. Having them in my classroom finally, will be a much needed reminded that they are what all this craziness is really about. I'll start the day tomorrow and every morning with by 6th grade boys class! What a way to start the day! So please be praying for me tomorrow. For energy, peace, and a heart that would be set on Christ's glory and loving my students.
I brought a camera to school today to take a picture of my classroom for you guys, but I forgot to take it, so it'll have to wait for tomorrow! (Rest assured, thanks to a little help from my friends, it looks awesome!)
My first pot, made with a lot of help from the instructor. I really like it's form:
The next one was my first solo attempt, which collapsed a bit because I let the wall get to thin. But it was a lesson learned, and a pretty cool looking mistake. I'm going to try to make a handle out of the collapse:
And this is my pride and joy. A little honey pot of love:
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. -- Isaiah 64:8
It's time to finally announce on here what I've been up to for the past few months. As many of you know, and probably many don't, I just started a new job as a Spanish teacher/Development Associate at Cornerstone Schools of Alabama. I wanted to let know know what I'm up to, and point you the blog where I'll be assuming my Spanish teacher identity. And stay tuned friends, because I'm also going to let you know what you can do to HELP!
First, a little bit about this wonderful little school.
Cornerstone (check out the website) is an excellent private, Christian school in an urban area of Birmingham called Woodlawn. When I say urban I don’t mean “of or relating to a city or town,” I mean urban. You know, that word we white folks use when we try to politely describe a place that is majority black, majority poor, higher than average rate of crime, drugs, dilapidated houses, lower than average rate of opportunity, optimism, justice. That kind of urban. Which happens to be a few blocks away from my quaint and cozy little carriage-house apartment. Literally, the other side of the tracks. Well, I’m hoping to cross the tracks.
I will be teaching Spanish to all of the close to 275 beautiful children who attend Cornerstone, 4-year-olds through 8th graders. The school has never had a language program, so I’ll be developing the curriculum from scratch. In my spare time (ha!) I'll also be helping out with the development side of things by working on grants, updating the website, and such.
I have never taught before. Though I lived in Spain for 9 months, I am no where close to native proficiency. Until about 3 months ago I knew little to nothing about methods and curriculum for teaching Spanish to elementary schoolers.
Needless to say, I am (slightly) overwhelmed.
But, what matters, is that I know this is where I am called to be. Throughout the whole process I kept asking God, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” “I really don’t have to do this if you don’t think I’ll be good at it.” “In fact, maybe I really shouldn’t be getting myself into this so, uh, you can stop this at any point, just shut that door in my face, I’ll be okay.” But he didn’t. The doors were actually pretty much flung wide open, and the peace of knowing that the Lord would not call me to anything that he would not equip me to was enough to nudge me right on through.
So that’s where I am. I'm at the school now working on development, developing my curriculum, setting up my classroom, etc. I’m learning, gleaning every little bit of information I can out of websites, online journals, established programs, teacher blogs, books, friends. And I’m praying, not just to survive as an inexperienced, first-year teacher, but that I would fall in love with each and every child who walks through the doors of my classroom; that the Spirit would produce his fruit in my interaction with each of them; that children would love to learn in my classroom and that they would leave it filled up with knowledge, discovery, confidence, and love.
I don't want to hit you with too much information all at once, but stay tuned for more details on my Spanish teacher blog, and for information about how you can HELP me stock my classroom!
Hey everyone, sorry I never posted about my trip before we left, but we're still down here in Guatemala having a great time. Only two days left. I wish I could post a picture but I don't really have a way to upload any. It's been beautiful and I can't wait to tell stories and share images when we get back. The next couple days will be filled with interviews and taking pictures for the stories we are doing through Bedouins International. We'll be making one multimedia presentation for the ministry, Hearts for the Children, to use to share about their ministry as well as hopefully helping them update the website, and we're also putting together a presentation of the amazing testimony of a woman who came from a really harsh life on the streets--drug addiction, prostitution, violence--to meeting Jesus and receiving a completely new life free from all those things, working in ministry, with a stable marriage and family. Just reading it and hearing it from her has been a huge encouragement to me and to my faith in the power of the gospel to change lives. It's been good to use my Spanish, I wish I had more time for that, and don't worry . . . we haven't been lost in an earthquake or tsunami! Although the earthquake did wake me up on Wednesday night (everyone thought I was crazy until we saw the headlines!) Keep praying for us! Hasta Luego!
This week my beautiful friend Mandy came down to Bham with her sweet son Bennett and let me take some pictures of her for an EP she's working on. It was such a fun day, both for the chance to play photographer and to hang out with my friend. Here are a few of my favorites that we took in Stephen's studio. (Click the image to view it larger.)
No, we're not having a baby . . .
Homemade Falafel and Tzatziki1 15 oz. can chickpeas1 handful fresh, flat leaf parsley1/2 white or yellow onion1 small shallot1 clove minced garlic*1 1/2 teaspoons baking powdercuminred peppersaltpepper2 tablespoons all purpose flour (optional)1 cup greek yogurt1/2 cup shredded or pureed cucumber**2 tablespoons lemon juicesaltpeppercuminred pepper* I forgot the baking powder last night and it was fine. They will hold together better though if you add it.** I totally guessed on these quantities. Work based on the flavors and consistencies you are going for.In a food processor combine first 10 ingredients (chickpeas to pepper). Pulse until coarsely chopped and combined. You don't want to make hummus. Heat a couple tablespoons olive or vegetable oil in a sautee pan over medium-high heat. Form chickpea mixture into small patties and if you so desire dredge in a little bit of flour before placing in the heated oil. Brown the patties for about 2 minutes on each side until medium-dark brown. Place on a paper towel to cool.To make the Tzatziki sauce mix yogurt, pureed cucumber, lemon juice, and season to taste. Add yogurt or lemon juice to make it thicker or thinner for your preference. You could also add a little hot sauce if you want.To serve, slice warm pita bread and stuff the pocket with two falafel patties, your choice of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, etc. and top with tzatziki. I served it last night with a simple balsamic pasta salad. Enjoy!!!