Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Monday

This week, instead of talking about what we will be eating we would like to share with you instead why we are doing this and who it helps.

Hearts of Hope for Haiti

Sometimes questions get asked in our home like: "What are we doing?" "Why are we doing this?" "How is this helping anyone?" "Is it time for dinner yet?" Well, we aren't really sure what we are doing sometimes and even now it's not fully clear. The overall idea still comes from the statement that we made during the Food Pak challenge- if other families are surviving for so little then we should be able to, as well. For what we were spending on food we were able to feed not only our family but another just by becoming aware of how much we eat and how much we spend and waste. So as part of this new challenge we have said that what we spend we will give. 40 dollars a month of food for us, and 40 dollars a month for charities- mostly food and water focused non-profits. For January, we felt like we were called to give away from such charities however, because of the earthquakes in Haiti.

Taylor's littlest brother and sister, Teddi and Brogan, go to school at Randolph Elementary School, in San Antonio. In response to the need in Haiti the school started making hearts, lots and lots of hearts. Students, teachers, and parents all helped to make clay hearts, and they sold them at the school, at restaurants, in shops, all for $10 each and all of the proceeds went to the Red Cross for Haiti relief. They had an amazing turnout and more than doubled their goal, all while teaching the students (and the community!) what a little love and teamwork can do for those in need! For more details see the news clips below. (The first on tells the whole story, the second one is shorter and gives an update.)

"Hearts of Hope for Haiti" KSAT 12

We weren't really sure about what we would do to help Haiti- who to give to, what to provide, how much to give... I think it was so very overwhelming for a lot of people and we just didn't know what to do. It hit a little closer to home though, a couple of weeks later when we found out some very sad news- four of the kids we sponsored at Christmas in Haiti were victims to the earthquake. And even though the only connection we had to them was a picture and a name, our hearts broke when we heard the news. We knew then that we had to do something.

So if you have started to put 2 and 2 together you can tell where we went with this... we bought 4 "Hearts of Hope" in memory of our 4 kids for our $40 donation this month (January).

Now, we have a beautiful reminder of the these precious children and were able to help out those left in devastation. We continue to pray for the people of Haiti as well as those providing assistance.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What you're missing out on if you're not "Hip2Save"!

Exciting Update!
This is a collection of stuff from last Monday through today. We've been busy! Check out the stats below.

Total Value: $130.56
Total Paid: $4.61
Total Saved: $125.95 (96%)


I was so "hip" 2day! :D

I frequently take advantage of and for neat-o freebies and awesome deals! I just wanted to share this particular deal with you from today- all thanks to our friend Collin at Hip2Save!

Check it out:
Guess how much I paid for all these wonderful little items?! Ready...? Drumroll please...!
A grand total of $.31!!!! (Total savings of $14.09!) Amazing, I know! It made my day!

Here's how it worked:
Target currently is having lots of great deals where when you buy a certain amount of participating items you recieve a $5 Target giftcard. These little oatmeals were priced at just $1.02, and after buying 5 you get the $5 Target giftcard! $.10 total for 5 Oatmeals! :D This is so accessbile without any couponing, hurry go do it!! (I also used a $1 off coupon to make them completely free and took $.80 off the rest of my purchase!)

The Picktureka (very fun!) card game was priced at just $5.24, so with a $5 off coupon = $.24!

The travel size bottle of Baby Shampoo costs $.97, but with a $1 off coupon (that doesn't exclude travel size ;) I received $.03 off my total purchase.

The Orbit gum was on sale for $2 and I also had $1 coupon for this. With all the other discounts off my total, this came out to be just $.07!

To make this deal even better, I received a Target giftcard for Christmas, so that $.31 didn't even come out of pocket! Ha! Love it. :)

*To just browse some awesome coupons visit!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Monday - Plan B

Last week's shopping didn’t go as planned. We tried to save money by using gift cards and handouts but we still ended up spending almost the full budget. Well, this week we finally got it! When Taylor’s mom was here last she introduced us to Big Lots grocery shopping. Cheap groceries!!! What a great find! This inspired us to do a whole four weeks with Big Lots! And to help us further save money for our trip (that has now been pushed back to June- which gives us even more time to save! ;) we found a coupon for 20% off our total purchase!

So basically, we ended up buying a month of groceries for just over $27!! (Plus milk and bread as needed.) We put the money we saved using the coupon into our "vacation cup" and now we are about $12 up! Now we may be able to eat off the McDonald's dollar menu all the way up to New Haven! LOL! But we still have a few ideas to save up even more... that's for a later post.

Check out some of our great prices! (For a larger picture, just click!)

Have a good week! Also we will hopefully be posting about our giving for January this week, so stay tuned!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Christmas Gifts ~ Given and Received

We are finally getting around to posting our Christmas gifts! We were so excited about it in December, but we couldn't post about it until the recipients had opened their gifts as not to spoil all the great surprises! (And obviously we couldn't post about the gifts we received until after we opened them! lol!) And believe it or not, we just recently finished gifting! Since we went to Michigan to celebrate with my family during Christmas, Frankie's sister and mom came up to celebrate before, and we finally now made it down to Devine to celebrate with his dad and step mom! Way to drag it on, I know! But we've gifted and now it's time to share!

The big idea this year was to spend less on our gifts for our family members so that we could spend more in honor of them to help others. It's just a win-win deal! So to spend less, we had to get creative! We took advantage of sales, made handmade gifts, bought via cheaper dealers, and just simply cut back! With the saved money we donated a set amount according to individual interests or to correspond with the gifts! It was really fun choosing what and how to donate for each person!

Here's what we did!: (For larger pictures, just click.)

Slippers for Frankie's Dad and Rose and shoes through Children's Hunger Fund!

A sewing machine cover for Frankie's mom, and seeds through World Vision. The fabric on the inside of the reversible, homemade cover represents the seeds.

A purse for Frankie's sister and medicines through World Vision! Also represented on the inside of the reversible, homemade purse! (Kathy is a pharmacy tech!)

Crackers and cheese for Dad with a wine tray! (An "add your own wine kit"!) But we turned the wine to water and donated through charity:water!

A picture and scripture we put together for mom, along with a donation to Morning Star Foundation, an orphanage very dear to her heart.

For my older brother, his all time favorite movie that he didn't own and a good ol' Food Pak! ("Stealing from the rich to give to the poor!" lol! Cept we didn't steal it!)

For my younger Brother, a movie he wanted and a donation to a homeless ministry that he loves.

For the little kids, we made a set of wooden people to go with their wooden block set. We also donated toys through Children's Hunger Fund!

And here's some of the awesome gifts we received!:

A whole bunch of change for "Chump Change for Pump Change" for Ecclesia, a beautiful painting purchased through the Etsy shop "Water for Christmas" (all proceeds went towards clean water projects!), a cook book for eating simply! ;), a "Water for Christmas" water bottle, TOMs shoes giftcards!!!, H2Africa decals for our cars, a "Water for Christmas" bracelet :D, and a Product (RED) shirt whose proceeds benefit Aids medicine!

Thanks to our wonderful families for these gifts, and for teaching us that giving is even greater than receiving and that receiving can also be giving! :D Merry Christmas, everyone! ;)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Some delicious picture updates since last night...

The finished product from Frankie's baking last night! It was delicious, the best bread we've made yet!

Our FREE breakfast at Denny's this morning! It was great, and the restaurant suprisingly wasn't overflowing yet (we were up at 5:30 to make it there by 5:50)! It was actually a pretty slow crowd, but I'm sure it will pick up real fast so march on over and get yours!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Monday Double Post

Sorry for the delay, last week was just one of those weeks. :/

We had a great plan, but it just didn't work out... I had received a CVS giftcard worth $10 and we had stockpiled some food items from when my mom visited. We figured that together, it would feed us for a whole cycle of two weeks and that we could save that $20 and put it towards our vacation food. [This was the start of our plan to save money for when we visit some friends in the spring. We figured we would be eating out on this "mini-vacation" and would need to budget accordingly- by saving on groceries when we could and stashing the cash for later.] Well, turns out, CVS is a terrible place to buy groceries! They didn't have everything we needed and what they did have couldn't be bought with $10. So we scrapped the whole CVS deal and headed to Kroger to spend just ten dollars to go with what we already had. We just didn't pull it off though, seeing how we needed such things as jelly, honey, and syrup (things that need purchased only every so often but are costly on a $20 budget.) So we had an off week and didn't get around to blogging about it. Here's what we ended up with:

The milk and everything to the right of it is what we bought at Kroger for a total over $19. (The chocolate milk was free, though!) Everything to the left is what Mom picked up for us at BigLots while they were visiting. (She likes to contribute to our food projects, and we greatly appreciate it!)


On to this week...

We experienced our first "Meal in a Box" yesterday (pictured above)! It was amazingly, delicious and will be abundant in our future! The cost for the box is just $2 and it has ~5 servings (about 2 dinners for us) complete with meat! It really is incredible.

We are also looking forward to using our coupons for a free piece of fish at Long John Silver's! We have lots of instant potatoes still from a great deal scenario last year that will pair up for a yummy dinner!

Speaking of free- tomorrow (2/9) Denny's is giving away free Grand Slam breakfasts from 6a to 2p! Find one near you and enjoy the goodness!

Also, another small group dinner awaits us this Wednesday! These are always delicious! We are trying to think creatively to contribute in the near future! (Maybe the CVS giftcard could come into play here...)

For a treat this week, Frankie is working on a couple of loaves of homemade bread tonight! So good! (And he scored a pack of free Golden Oreos! Yum!)

Gotta go to bed early now! Waking up to try to beat the crowds to Denny's in the morning! ;)