Friday, July 30, 2010

Christmas in July

So you didn't believe me did you???... A few posts ago I told you about CHF's "7 for 7" for back to school, and how my wonderful wife (and I am not being sarcastic ;) stocks up when she finds great deals. I went on to say that when opportunities like the CHF "7 for 7" happen I am overjoyed that I get some of my storage space back! Well, I should have known that I was in trouble today when I got a text from Taylor reading- "Can I have the hall closet?" -as in "Can I clean out the hall closet and fill it with stuff that I have bought?" I knew she was organizing things because of our loss of extra baggage so I happily agreed.

Now, before we go any farther I have to admit that I am at fault for how this adventure ends. As I called Taylor on my way home, like I do every day, she told me that she bought something really cool, something that I would really want but I couldn't have. Oh great! I took a few guesses and after missing the target with Speed Racer and Madam Foster's toys (knowing she had been to Target and there was some kind of clearance going on) I gave up and actually forgot about the whole thing. That was until she pulled out the coolest stuffed robot in the world! I immediately named him and refused to give him back, and I am not exaggerating!!! I think I may have even threatened to throw a baseball at anyone who tired to take him away.

So I made a deal. We would go to our neighborhood Target (Taylor had previously shopped at the Mall Target) and find a replacement toy that I would buy to make up for the robot that I was claiming for myself. Oh boy was that a mistake. After a few aisles and seeing the sparkle in Taylor's eyes, I knew that I was in way over my head and I surrendered my wallet and an hour of my life to the love of my life. 75% off toys! So we shopped and shopped and shopped and at the end of the trip we had a a cart full of toys and checked out with a bill of $123! That my dear readers marks the most expensive robot that I have ever bought!

But we had fun! And you should have seen the look in the little girl's eyes, checking out next to us, as I piled boxes on to boxes of dolls, cars, balls, stuffed animals, and more, and then you should have seen the parents' eyes- full of fear hoping that our shopping spree wouldn't plant the seed of envy in their poor children's hearts... but all kidding aside, as much fun as we had shopping for these toys at such amazing low prices, we are so excited that they get to be wonderful blessings to the children who receive them! When Christmas time comes around they will slowly find their way into Christmas shoeboxes, Angel Tree drives, Toys for Tot's collection bins, and into the hands and homes of sweet little children who could just use a little love!

Later when we got home I was shown the bags that the robot came out of, something that went unspoken before our little journey... 80 more dollars of toys... did we really just spend $200 on toys?!?! But, at 75% off that is a $800 value!!! And these really are GOOD toys!

Well, all I can say is that this year for Christmas I am asking for a bigger hall closet!

One day, when we find a Memorial Box of our own, we will be sure to place in it a small robot to remind us of all the fun we had buying all these toys and the blessings that they were to the children in our cities and around the world! :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our Trip to Connecticut ~ Photo Edition

New Haven, CT

We visited Yale!

Frankie and Emma. :)

Boat tour!!

The Larson's!

Day trip to NYC!!!!!

Yup, that's King Candy and I at Toys R Us!

Blingin' it Big City style! ;)

Frankie and his new friend at the Make Your own Muppet place!

Me and the famous BIG Piano at FAO Schwarz!

Thanks for hosting us, Tia and Joey! It was great to see you guys and we had so much fun!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Menu Monday

Upon returning from Connecticut last Monday (update of our trip soon!) this is about all the food that was left in our apt...
Not bad right?? :)
We didn't get around to grocery shopping until mid-week, and we went to SA for the weekend so we shopped for just the last few weekdays...
PB&J all the way. (And we made pizza! I think it's our fav.)
We also picked up this incredibly delish burger on the way outta town for frees from Sonic! :D
And then tonight we bought for this week...
For dinner tonight...enchiladas!!!!!! They were sooooo good!!!!!

More pizza is on the menu for the rest of the week as well as good ol' chicken/rice/veggie casserole! It's good to be home! :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Back to School ~ Update

Like Frankie said, I love shopping for good deals! And after school starts, the school supplies go on clearance quick! It's like Christmas for me! I LOVE shopping for school supplies (almost as much as I love shopping for kid's toys ;) so when they go on clearance I can't help myself!

So, from last year, we already have 3 backpacks (each purchased for under $4!) and binders. To fill these for CHF we shopped last night at Target. Now that school supplies are in season again you can take advantage of more great sales! Pencils for $.44, gluesticks for $.25, eraser packs $.50, etc. With these low prices we filled our backpacks for only about $3!

Now, the other cool part is the rest of the stuff that I bought last year- notebooks for $.12, pencil pouches for $.37, and [really cool] rulers for $.37! (and a couple other nifty itmes.) CHF didn't ask for these school supplies, but Ecclesia did! They are collecting supplies for some 70+ kids who are living with their families in Houston as Iraqi refugees. Several churches are serving together to love these families as they rebuild life in the US. So one church is collecting backpacks, and our church is collecting supplies! I can put all my supplies to use and serve families in SA and Houston! How cool!



Something about Taylor that I love is that she is always, always, always, looking for great deals, and when she finds them she buys and stock piles. It's not always something that we would need, but things that she gives away. We have closets and boxes full of small socks, toys, shirts, underclothes, soaps, lotions, silent auction items, bug spray, sunblock, and so much more!

I joke with my family that August and December are my favorite months of the year, because around August we get to unload the silent auction gifts for the annual ALS benefit and in December we put together Christmas shoe boxes for orphans so there goes the rest and I get all my storage back! ;) Well, for a few days anyways, then the after Christmas sales begin and we start all over again...

Now thanks to CHF I can add July to my list of relief months. This month they are collecting 7 items or 7 Dollars for families with children in need. You can help by buying 7 school supply items (pencil, paper, scissors, binder, glue stick, eraser, new backpack) or by just donating $7 to cover the cost of these items. All of the help aids families that are struggling a little right now and can't exactly find the money to cover these few items for school. I know that this will truly bless them and show that there are really great people who love them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"From the Frontlines: Taylor & Frankie"

In May, Fred Martin (Director of Communications, CHF) was in town from California to shoot some video in San Antonio. He took the oppurtunity to invite us down to CHF so that he could meet us and interview us about our adventures with the Food Pak. We happily accepted! We got to meet him, visit our CHF friends, and answer some questions about what we are doing and why. It was really fun! We didn't really talk about it much here though because we weren't really sure of what was to come of it...well, while we were on vacation in CT, we recieved an email that our video had been posted! And what an amazing job they did! This video is a wonderful testimony and summary of what we are about and why we are choosing to challenge ourselves in our everyday eatting! Take a look!

It's really neat to be in the spotlight for a little bit, but even better is the way that God has already used us and will use this video to change and challenge others! (It's also really encouraging when people get excited about what we are doing.) To Him be the glory as we try to stay humble and as we continue to serve His children!

You can also watch the video:on Facebook
on YouTube
on the CHF website
(here, you can also see the awesome banner they made of us!)

Thank you, CHF for sharing our story!
Taylor and Frankie :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Menu Monday

Trip Update!
We are packing our bags and hitting the skies this week! Jet setting through 5 airports total...I don't think I would be excited to be sitting in 5 different airports (coming home makes it 9) on one trip but I am super excited this time because it means time with Taylor! We haven't seen each other in almost three weeks! Our destination is Milford, CT to visit our good friends Tia and Joey and their two little girls. We will be sure to take a lot of pictures! (We haven't posted any lately because Taylor took the camera on vacation so I'm left with grainy cell phone shots.)

For the past 6 months and 13 days we have been eating on a $10 a week grocery budget. We shop every two weeks and plan out our meals in advance. Sometimes we find great coupons that let us dine out for free. We don't turn down food when friends and family feel like blessing us. We donate what we spend monthly on food so others may eat too.

This has been our life this year. Another thing that we were doing is saving up any surplus grocery funds in a little cup for the trip we are about to make. And this morning I counted it all up! Drum roll please............................... $61 dollars and some change! Woah! That is like we didn't eat for a month and a half... not sure how we did it, but it's done! So we have about 60 dollars to take us through our 5 day mini vacation, which comes out to about $12 a day! Not bad when you have been living off $1.42 a day! We will make sure to make note of what we eat and if you know Taylor she will be taking pictures of every meal, too! ;)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Come Fly With Me

So, like I mentioned in our Menu Monday post we are taking a trip up North to visit some friends. We have been planing this trip since our friends moved away last Christmas. We moved the date a few times and now we finally have our tickets! Getting the tickets was a bit tricky, and we would like to share that story with you. We had to work really hard to figure out the flight plan. Taylor would be coming from Michigan and I would be flying out of Houston. The first obstacle was finding the airport that would give us the best price, and after going back and forth we chose Laguardia, which saved us about $200. We had some miles and thought that we could use them for Taylor's flight up there and I would just buy tickets for myself and for a one way trip for her to come home. Done! I was set and ready to go and she was good coming home. Our next step was to find a flight that would go from Detroit to New York that we could use our miles and not have Taylor alone in New York waiting for me too long... Well, we didn't get that far. The tickets were more then our miles and to add miles would be the same price to buy a ticket. So we went back online and booked her a flight with the airline that I was using and I was even able to time it so that after a 1 1/2 hour layover in Atlanta she would arrive 5 minutes after I did in New York! Our ticket purchases were somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks apart but it all seemed to work out!

Now this is where the story gets good- About a week ago, my boss asked me what days I was leaving so he could mark them down and he always ask "your not going to come up the day before you leave and ask to go half a day early so you can get to the airport or finish packing are you?" (he always asks that) I planned for this.... "Nope my flight leaves at 1:30 so I will be able to make it if I leave at lunch. Then I will be stopping in Atlanta for an hour and a half. Wait! What?" I double checked and called Taylor to get her passwords and looked at all the tickets and then checked the flight numbers. "No Way!" We were both going to Atlanta and then getting on the same plane to New York!!! Arriving at the same time, no one waiting around, no on having to be alone, and we would be able to see each other a whole 3 hours sooner! With the distance between the tickets being purchased no one ever went back to look at this, but it sure was great to know that we would be together!

This was just a great little reminder of how God loves to work! We are so excited to be going to see friends, and also each other after 18 days! :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Menu Monday - Party of 1

Well it is just me this week. Taylor has been gone for 1.... 2.... 3.... to many days to count. She has been with her family since last Monday and they drove up to Michigan the following Thursday. But I will see her again soon. Our trip up North together is coming up soon, really soon! As I fly to Atlanta, Taylor will join me and we will both hop on the same plane (we did not plan that part but it's great that God was watching out for us!) and we will be flying to New York. From there we aren't really sure what to do... we know we need to get to New Haven, CT, but whether it's by taxi, or train, or car is still up in the air - I have faith that it will all work it's way out.

So until then I have a few cans of tomato sauce, a box of pasta, and some cheese... looks like its pizzas and pasta again! Anybody want to join me?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Scott the Painter

Twitter has been a great means of communication for us as bloggers. We can tweet little highlights and have it appear here for you to read without having to write a whole post! Especially since lately it has been one of us writing and the other logging on to a computer 200 miles away and reading/editing then re-reading and so on and so on... we like to work as a team. :)

But Twitter is also great to hear about what other people are doing! We follow @scottthepainter, who is part of Ecclesia as the Artist in Residence. He paints meaningful and beautiful pieces of art during all four services. (Check out his blog here to see some of his really cool work). Some of his latest twitters have been about his trip to Liberia and we just wanted to share one of the videos from that trip.

If you would like to watch more awesome videos you can see them here on youtube.

Something else that Scott and his wife Holly are doing is called the Orphan Art Project. To read the full story please check out the link, but in just a few words he is creating art with African orphans and selling it to raise money for the orphanages. :)

There are so many great things going on at those sites and we just wanted to share them with you!