Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Creamy Noodles

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What a day!  Michael is out of town on a fishing trip, so this morning was crazy again.  What can I tell you?  I don’t function well without him.  We’ve been married for 23 years and have had kids for 13 years.  We’ve learned how to do things together – with each of us “specializing” in something.  When one of us is gone, everything just feels funky and nothing seems right.

Christopher had to be at school early (that seems to happen a lot this school year!) for a cappella practice, so I skipped my morning alone time and woke everybody up a  little early.  By the time I had them both up and dressed, I had biscuits in the oven, lunches packed, and dinner in the crock pot.  Whew!  We put Brees in his crate, rolled the garbage down to the curb and took off.  A few minutes later, I had dropped Christopher off at school and driven to my school – just a couple of miles away from his.  Elizabeth and I settled in.  She fixed her hair – she almost always waits and does that at school – and studied for a math vocabulary test.  I sharpened pencils.  A lot of pencils.  Okay, I sharpened 100 pencils.  All the grade levels are drawing this week, so I sharpened enough so that I could switch them out halfway through the day.  I read something this past weekend saying that it is National Teddy Bear Week.  I don’t really know if that’s true because somebody always seems to come up with some bizarre holiday, but I took the idea and ran with it.  All the kids who come to me this week are drawing bears of some kind.  And so far, they’re loving it.

I had already had fifth grade, fourth grade, and kindergarten and was all set for third grade.  The class who came to me was happy and excited.  It’s nice to have a class that kids are happy to come to!  Their teacher spoke in low tones to me about her concerns for her own teenage daughter.  Word had come that the high school her daughter attends had had a bomb threat and all of the students had been evacuated to the stadium.  She was torn between waiting to see what happened and just going to get her daughter.  She left and I got on with my class.

At the end of their time with me, they head to lunch.  I ate my lunch in my room and prepared for my next class – second grade.  The teacher of this class is one of my dearest friends.  She told me quietly that Christopher’s school – as well as two other local high schools – had also received bomb threats.  She said she would let me know if she heard anything else.

I’m a professional.  I conducted that class as if nothing was going on outside the walls of my classroom.  But I can’t tell you a single detail about that class.  Because just as I sat down to use the projector to teach them to draw a teddy bear step-by-step, my iPad (which I was using to play soft music for art time) flashed a text message from Christopher.  It said simply,  “Bomb threat.  I love you, Mama.”  So while we talked about symmetry and how to make the bear look the same on both sides and how they could use crayons to shade his fur in different ways, I really only had one thing on my mind:  I want to get to my child.  NOW.

The class left and my last class of the day came in.  A sweet first grade class.  We were drawing very special bears in this class, so I passed out supplies and we got to work.  Another text.  “We’re at Calvary.”  I breathed a little easier.  The school’s evacuation site is apparently our church, which is just a few steps away from the school.  I relaxed and knew that he was safe – and that he would feel safe within the walls of the church that he has attended since before he was born!  I turned my iPad face-down so I could concentrate on my class.

When my first graders left, I called my school office to let them know that I was going to get Christopher.  I picked up my phone before I left and saw a few newer text messages.  “We’re in the sanctuary”  “Can you come get me?  Bring your license.”  “Mama, it’s crazy here.  Please come.”  The last message wasn’t frantic.  It was frustrated.  Nearly 1,000 kids in the sanctuary of our church probably made for a wild, hectic scene.  Add to that, the anxious parents coming to get their babies and you have one crazy place!  I passed several firetrucks, an ambulance, and lots of other vehicles with flashy lights that were blocking the entrance to the school and funneling traffic to the church.  I entered the church and made my way to the sanctuary.  I was told to go to the front and tell them my child’s name.  They would announce it and I could sign him out.  I never made it to the front.  Christopher saw me and came immediately.  You’d be very proud.  I did not embarrass him by grabbing him in a bear hug and checking him for injuries.  I simply gave my license to a lady who checked it and had me sign my name, verifying that I had picked him up.

We went back to my school and the school day ended.  I had duty in the lobby with the car riders.  I found out from one of the administrators that 60 students had been checked out from our school by parents who were either worried about our proximity to the middle school or just wanted all their babies in one place.  I couldn’t blame them for either reason.  Elizabeth attends an afterschool fitness program, so Christopher and I waited for her.

When we finally got home, I was so glad to have dinner in the crock pot!  This is a great meal that my family loves.  I say that a lot, but it’s really true.  My guys are easy to please and they love home-cooked meals!

Pork Chops with Creamy Noodles

  • 2-3 pounds of boneless pork chops
  • 2 cans of cream of something soup
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 pound of egg noodles

Place the pork chops in the slow cooker.  Pour the soup over them.  Add the salt and pepper.  Stir to mix.  Cook on low all day (6-8 hours).  When you get home, put salted water on to boil for the noodles.  Stir the pork chop mixture.  The pork chops will seriously fall apart.  Taste for seasoning.  I usually add a little more salt.  Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain completely.  Add noodles to the sauce.  Stir, switch heat to high, and cook for 15-20 more minutes.

Well Duh #1:  I say “cream of something soup” because you can really do this with any of those kinds of soups.  I used cream of chicken this time.  I usually use cream of mushroom – that’s our favorite! – but you can use whatever you have on hand.

Well Duh #2:  Don’t add water to the mixture.  You don’t need it.  I promise!

No matter how crazy our day was, getting this picture made me feel better:

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That is one happy guy!  I’m so glad that he got to go on this trip!  He totally deserves some down time.  He does so much for us – and for so many other people – that it’s great to see him take a little time for himself and enjoy it.  That bass weighed in at a whopping 10 pounds, 13 ounces!  Don’t worry.  They released that big fella and he’s back to swimming already!  Congratulations, honey!

We saw on the news this evening that all of the locations had been cleared and that the threats are believed to be a hoax.  I’m so grateful that nobody was hurt during the evacuations that were caused so senselessly.  All they served to do was scare kids, worry parents, and stress faculty members – who are already under enough stress!

Hug your people.  Tell them you love them and you appreciate them.  You never know what each day will bring.

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