Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Discovery

Okay, I'm normally the last one to find out about really cool things, mostly websites, but I wanted to pass along my new discovery just in case any of you out there haven't found it yet. I love love love a website called Etsy. This website is a place where individuals can sell there homemade items. They have EVERYTHING! I will be getting most of my Christmas gifts from here. I'm such a sucker for homemade items.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friends in High Places

I recently read one of my friends blog about Sammy, who happens to be a mutual friend. I met Sammy the same time I met Chase, on a Campus Crusade for Christ summer project in New Jersey. He has a heart for challenging our generation to do more. Click HERE to hear his story. Thanks for sharing your heart Sammy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Family Goes to Six Flags

Chase's brother and sister-in-law, Tony and Melissa, came into town this weekend. Tony is in the army so they were/are moving from North Carolina to El Paso and Dallas just happens to be on the way. They stayed with us a couple nights which was GREAT because I haven't seen them since our wedding...almost 3 years ago! Tony was deployed to Afghanistan for 15 months and returned this past May.

Tony loves roller-coasters so he had the great idea of going to Six Flags. We googled 'six flags promo code' and found one that made the ticket price $24!!! It was a BEAUTIFUL day outside and we walked onto to almost every lines! We had a great time...well, except for the Texas couldn't pay me to go on that ride again. It's the largest wooden roller coaster in the world, and I think it should be re-named something like 'Whip Lash'. The last time I rode it I was in high school and I didn't remember it being that bad. I left the ride with a few bruises!

Chase and Tony deciding where to go next... I believe Batman was next.

Wow, don't they look a TON alike! But guess who's older.......nope, Tony is!

This was Batman for the second time. I like the ride but not enough to do it twice in one afternoon so I opted out.
There they go! Chase, Tony, and Melissa are in the very front.

My hubby and Tony are a sucker for games. I was amazed they only played one the entire day. Read the rules...

...okay, that sounds easy enough. I mean the guy working it did it with no hands! Surely it can't be that bad! Tony's up first...
...LOOK! There's the RED Rung! SO close!...
....Almost there.....wait! I think he's falling left! Oh No!
Okay, now it's Chase's turn. GO HUBBY!!!! Win that fish for me!!!

...getting closer!....

....Look at that determination and focus. But alas, he didn't quit make it....
...Let's take a look at the prize that I didn't get...
There you have it, a big. blue. fish/shark/thing. Bummer! I had a spot for it all picked out...sad face.
Yep, these pic's are still Six Flags.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

family, food, and editing

Family: Life finally slowed down for us a bit this week. Phew! Chase's brother and sister-in-law are coming to town this weekend which I'm really excited about for several reasons. I haven't seen them in almost 3 years, since our wedding!!! Yikes. They live in a land far far away so the only time we would normally see them is at Christmas. Chase's bro was serving in Afghanistan the last time we went to Idaho for Christmas and just got back in May. I'm also excited they are coming because it is forcing us to get the second bedroom together. Got to love deadlines!

Food: Todd, our pastor at Watermark, gave a message called "Why Storehouses are Stupid" this past Sunday. It was a good one and if you missed it, I highly recommend you listen to it. The gist of it was on giving and our heart behind it. Chase and I absolutely LOVE to give. Many times we have the "what if we won the lottery" conversation and dream about how we could give. We love to give things that are important to us, like date nights.

We re-evaluated our budget about a year ago and had to make a really hard decision. We have a TON of student loans...and when I say a ton, I mean a ton. Think of a really big number and add some more. We saw that our giving was actually pretty large but our debt payments weren't much more the minimums. All that to say, through much agony, prayer, and counsel we decided to significantly reduce our giving so that we could make larger debt payments.

After Todd's message on Sunday, Chase had a great idea. We could reduce our grocery money to next to nothing for one month and use that to give. We budget $250 a month for groceries which I'm normally able to do for even time I'll post about all the grocery stores I go to to save money. So our goal for one month would be to live off of $50 for all our groceries. This would mean a lot of oatmeal, beans, and rice. Don't worry, we'll take lots of vitamins to get our needed nutrients.

The reason why I'm even sharing this here is that I need some good beans and rice recipes. Do you have any you can share with me? Or another recipe idea that is really really really cheap to make.

Editing: I've never edited my photos but I'd like to start trying. I don't want to purchase anything yet so photoshop is out. If you know of a free editing website I'd love for you to share that with me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

cupcake fun!

My boss had a birthday on Friday. Now, I would normally make a full cake like these but I wanted to do something a little different this time. Bakerella makes cupcake pops which are SO adorable so I decided to give it a try. They were a HUGE hit. Here's how they turned out!

FYI, these take a LOT of time!

Apple Pie season

Last year around this time, we were staying with our friends, the Motl's, because Chase was still drilling in Arkadelphia. Lori decided to make a homemade apple pie which we all devoured in one sitting. We liked it so much, we made another one the next day. I fell in love with homemade apple pies that day... But it does need to be completely homemade, crust and all. I know I know, Chase now calls me "a food elitist". I was at the grocery store and saw some beautiful apples and immediately thought of the fall, the Motl's, and apple pie....yum.

Lindsay came over and help me make it because peeling, coring, and slicing apples takes FOREVER! Here's how it turned out!

Event #3: Lumber Jack Breakfast

We had a GREAT breakfast event this past weekend! We were a little worried about it since hurricane Ike was scheduled to hit Dallas that afternoon, but it turned out we had nothing to worry about. We served pancakes, bacon, sausage, fruit, bagels, juice, milk, and coffee. Chase and I were able to talk to many of the residents since we had such an awesome team help us. A big thanks to Chrys and Mike for taking some great pictures!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mail time!

I got a box in the mail yesterday that I wasn't expecting. Let's find out what I got!

An Immersion Blender!!!!! I'm SOOOOO excited! It got one last year at a garage sale for $ that's about all it was worth. Every time I use it, I get so frustrated because it does a horrible job! So I'm officially firing the garage sale blender because I've found it's replacement thanks to my father! This gift arrived just in time for soup season. I love making roasted tomato basil, butter-nut squash, and pumpkin soups during the fall season. YUM! Thanks dad!!!

What do you do when... have a TON of banana's left over from one of your events??? Make banana bread of course!!!

I learned a new trick while making the bread. If you have bananas that aren't ridiculously ripe, place them on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven (about 350 degrees) for 10 minutes. The outside will turn completely black but don't worry. This process ripens the banana by bringing out all the natural sugars. Let the bananas cool for a couple minutes and then mash them before incorporating them into the mixture. You will have the best banana bread ever!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Weekend Pics

My friend, Danielle, is a great photographer and posted a bunch of pics on her blog. Click HERE to see our wonderful time visiting LA. Thanks Danielle, miss you already!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Event #2: Breakfast-On-The-Go

This morning we had our second event as a Cares team. This one required a lot of prep work but very little work during the event. We stood at the gate and handed out bags with breakfast and later-in-the-day snacks. We also served freshly brewed Starbucks coffee in to-go cups. We prepared 50 bags but only had about 25 cars come through. It was an early morning but was well worth it. With an event like this there is very little relationship building but it gives us a chance to serve our residents in a way that makes them say 'wow, thanks.' I took some pic's for future reference purposes but thought I'd post them here.

Tis' the Season!

It's that time of year again....NFL starts tonight which means my hubby has been busy with fantasy football. Last night his group did their draft which meant focused time was needed. I think it's kind of neat because his group (there's probably a technical name for this but I don't know what it is...) is a bunch of guys he went to college with who are now spread out all over the states and even one guy serving in Iraq!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hollywood and Rodeo Dr.

Chase went to school with James, Joel, David at George Mason University. They were all involved in Crusade and became great friends. Over the last 2 1/2 years they all married wonderful women who have become my friends as well. Actually James and Danielle were on the same summer project as Chase and I so I've known Danielle as long as I've known Chase!
Joel and Amy moved out to Fullerton a year ago so Joel could go to seminary and work at a church. James and Danielle moved to Burbank in May so James could pursue his dream of making movies. David (who lives in DC with his bride Arielle) called Chase a couple months ago and said they were going to visit James and Joel in LA over Labor Day weekend....and the rest is history...Chase was on that like white-on-rice.

It was so neat to see our husbands reunite...they were like little boys again. They ate together, played games together, swam in the ocean together, fought together... We (the wives) looked at each other on many occasions and laughed at our hubbies.

Friday we went to Laguna Beach, Saturday we did Hollywood, Rodeo Rd, Malibu, and Third St. Promenade at Sana Monica. Sunday we went miniature golfing and hung out. What a weekend. Our camera battery died Saturday afternoon so I'll have to wait until Danielle posts her wonderful beach pictures to get the pics I'm missing.

Got to love the LA smog! The city is in the background of this photo...although you can barley see it through the smog.

James ran through the water trying NOT to get, Chase wanted to see if he could beat him. He did a pretty good job if I say so myself. Below are the results.