Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day! We had a fabulous extra-long weekend that consisted of a lot of Peace Corps research, running some errands, seeing some friends, eating a ton and lots of quality pool time. Oh, and packing for Athens because we are going tomorrow! I'm looking forward to spending time with my family and everyone in Athens again.

So in all of our Peace Corps research, we've found a lot of interesting stuff. Like that we can get a pet and/or some house help (hey, it's boosting the economy and giving someone a job!) and that they expect me to wear glasses for 2.5 years. Yikes. We've started a different blog to share that whole adventure with everyone, though so if you want to stalk us even more, you can do it here: Clearly there's not a lot going on right now but hopefully it will pick up soon!

Hope you had a great long weekend, too!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Peace Out

Remember how back in March, I mentioned that David and I went to Jacksonville for an interview for the Peace Corps? Our interview went great and we had a lot of fun exploring Jacksonville (until I got a nail in my tire and we spent all afternoon at Tire Kingdom....I digress) but our recruiter basically told us that we didn't have much of a shot - it's a competitive program to begin with and it is extra hard to place two people with different skills. She said she has couples who have been waiting for years for a placement, so not to hold our breath.

In the meantime we've been figuring out what we want to do. Stay in West Palm Beach? Go on mission trips? Move overseas? Move back to Atlanta? Oh the possibilities..

So Tuesday night, we were out and about when I got a call from our recruiter. My phone was on silent and I was listening to her voicemail when she started calling David. We've emailed a few times back and forth since the interview but don't talk on the phone much, so this was surprising. I caught her before she left her office and she said she had big news - she found a match for us so we have our nomination!

Assuming that I can get 30 hours of teaching experience in (which shouldn't be too hard), our nomination is to teach English (TEFL/TESL) in Eastern Europe/Central Asia beginning as soon as April/May of 2011. Nothing is set in stone with a nomination - things change often on their side and we still have a lot of paperwork/checks to clear (medical, dental, vision, legal, etc.) but it's exciting to have a plan!

None of the underdeveloped countries in E. Europe/C. Asia are on my "to visit" list but as we have researched them, they're starting to sound pretty cool. The countries that the Peace Corps considers to be "Eastern Europe/Central Asia" are: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Macedonia, Maldova, Romania, Ukraina, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan. If nothing else, there's a lot of history there, I've heard the food is good and the scenery looks pretty awesome.

Ciao America!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Haiti Pictures

After hours of uploading and rearranging, I think I finally have all of our Haiti pictures up! They still need editing/deleting and captions but I'll work on all that later. Here's the link:

And here's one of my favorite pictures: A few of us went to the Cuban hospital to pray with patients one day and got to visit the maternity ward. Everyone is in 1 big room, there is no a/c and these women are in some major pain, so it's pretty intense. They stay there to recoup after they have their babies though, and this cute little newborn didn't even have a name yet! I recommended Uga but I don't think they understood :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Groceries: May 24

I was really looking forward to grocery shopping today! We were super behind in couponing since we were busy packing before the trip, so we had almost a month's worth of coupons to put into our "database" and organize into folders (sad, right?). We finished it up last night during the Lost finale and were ready to hit Publix today. I had a feeling it was going to be a good week and I was right on - it was probably our best week yet.

The outcome? We spent $36.15 and saved $60.66!

Here's the breakdown:

4 Idahoan Mashed Potatoes (BOGO and $0.75 off)
2 Knorr Rice mixes (BOGO and $0.55 off)
2 boxes of Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn (BOGO and $0.40 off)
2 Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers - Broccoli & Sugar Snap Peas (BOGO and $0.50 off)
2 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pastas (BOGO and $1 off)
2 Fresh Express Salad Blends (BOGO)
1 box of Contact (I think it's cold/sinus medicine but it was $1.89 [originally $6.39] so I'll figure something out)
2 cans of Bush's black beans ($0.73 each)
1 box of GoGurt! (for $0.40!)
2 Ken's salad dressings (BOGO and $1 off)
2 Larabars ($1.25 for both)
1 bottle of Herbal Essences shampoo (for $1.39, originally $3.49)
1 pack of chicken sausage ($2.99, originally $5.99)
1 carton of Almond Breeze milk ($1.50, originally $3.29)
1 bottle Aussie Shampoo ($2.39)
1 bottle Aussie leave-in conditioner ($0.39!)
1 bottle Ecotrin (I think it's Asprin? $1.69. Originally $6.19)
1 box Purevia ($1.24, originally $3.69)
1 bottle Clearasil face pads (20% off and a $2 coupon made it $1.83)
1 jar Newman's Own pasta sauce ($1)
1 6-pack SlimFast (YUM! - $2.74)

It's just incredible to me that we got almost $100 worth of food for $36. I also love it because it means that we can give extra to the food bank and help out someone else. We're definitely starting to see our "stockpile" though, especially in the bathroom. We have enough shampoo and deodorant to last a lifetime and medicine for just about any illness either of us would ever get.

Monday, May 17, 2010


It's hard for me to believe that just 24 hours ago, I was stepping off a plane in Ft. Lauderdale from Haiti. The trip was incredible. I didn't really have any expectations going into the trip but everything about it blew. me. away. I'm still digesting most of what I saw and experienced while we were down there but it has given me a totally new outlook on my life, especially as I sit here in quiet and air conditioning - as neither of these would be possible in Haiti.

And as thankful as I am for what I have here, I really miss Haiti. I miss the chaos, the noise, the honking of cars and barking of dogs. I miss the people, the disorder of streets without traffic signs/lights and being called a "blanc." I miss dancing with kids, talking with my hands and the hospitality of everyone we met. I miss the sweet family we stayed with, Claudine, Jessica, Michelle, Christopher and all the sweet kids from the orphanage and school. It's hard to do anything without thinking of them and what they're doing right now, because whatever it is it is in extreme heat and poverty and likely includes a lot of dirt and mosquito bites. It just doesn't seem fair.

So thank you to everyone who prayed for us or supported us financially. It was literally a trip I'll never forget. More to come as I unpack my mind, my heart, and my suitcase.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Is Summer Making You Sweat?

Summer has officially come to south Florida and it is HOT here. I think the awesome winters make up for it but all this heat has made me bust out the sunscreen extra early this year.

If you're busy sweating like a pig too, you're in luck! Dove is pumping out coupons on their website that make 1 deodorant free this week at Publix (...unless you live in Florida, we get 2 for $0.79 - still a great deal!).

Click here to print the coupon for $1.50 off 1 Dove Deodorant (on the right hand side of the page).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

I feel like all we've done lately is go go go. And with the Haiti trip on the horizon, we've been extra busy lately. We've done a lot though, so here are some pictures to prove it :) We...

1. Ate at Tijuana Flats: It's no Barberitos (which I will be eating a lot of when we go to Athens in June) but I love, love, love Tijuana Flats. I fell in love with it in Orlando and they've been working on one near us for a while and it finally opened. My chicken tacos and I were finally reunited and it was pure bliss.

2. Volunteered at Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago Club for a Make-A-Wish event: There were a lot of hyphens in that. We've gotten really involved with the south Florida chapter of MAW and got to spend the day at a family fundraiser at Mar-A-Lago on Palm Beach Island.

The infamous American flag
Croquet course

3. Ate an authentic taco from a van on the side of the road: After our MAW event, we had some time to kill on that side of town and when we saw a real taco van, we had to stop. I love tacos and street food and this was definitely both. They had all kinds of crazy meats (like cow tongue and tripe) but we stuck with regular 'ol steak. So good!

4. Celebrated David's birthday in Orlando: Apparently all we eat is Mexican food. But our very favorite Mexican restaurant, Azteca de Oro is in Orlando so we went with our friends Arianne, Tommy, Joe and Christina to stuff ourselves full of queso.

The mariachi band sang!
5. Volunteered at the Great American Pie Festival: we could get free admission to the all-you-can-eat pie buffet.
I swear we did this to thousands of pies

6. ATE at the Great American Pie Festival: We literally stuffed our pieholes with a billion different kinds of pie. Most of it was corporate (no fresh baked pie from Granny's kitchen) but delicious, none-the-less.

7. Finished our trip to O-Town with lunch at Yellow Dog Eats: I've been waiting to try this place and it lived up to the hype. Fun, funky sandwiches, lots of atmosphere. Plus we got to see Arianne and Tommy again. Hooray!

8. Made the strawberry coconut pancakes I mentioned before: They were not as good as I was imagining and the strawberries burned when I flipped them over. Maybe we messed something up.

9. Played some tennis

10. Went to our friends Gary & Shila's wedding

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Groceries: May 2

Okay, so I think Tuesdays are going to be my grocery update days. I know no one else could care less but we almost always go to the store on Monday nights and it gets me so excited!

So last night, we bought:
4 Healthy Choice entrees ($2 off)
4 6-oz. Chobani Greek yogurts ($1 each but they were sold out of plain. Boo)
1 6-pack of Jello ($1 off)
1 Nivea body wash (Free!)
2 boxes of whole wheat pasta
1 Men's Nivea body wash (almost free - $0.89)
1 bottle of Aleeve ($1.99)
1 bag of Quaker rice cakes ($1)
1 DiGiornia 200 calorie pizza (Free!)
1 box of band-aids (Toy Story, of course - $0.50)
1 tube of Neosporin lip stuff ($1.99)
1 Colgate Wisp (Free!)
1 box of Colgate toothpaste ($0.15)
1 box of Carefree (Free!)
1 botttle of Pepto chewables (for Haiti...yikes. $2.20)
1 Dove deodorant ($1.29)
1 Sure deodorant ($0.89)
2 big bottles of Orville Redenbacher popcorn (BOGO + $1 off)
2 packs of chicken breasts (@$1.99/lb = $8)

For a grand total (inc. tax) of....$41.34. We saved $49.60 and I always love, love, love when we spend less than we save. Of course, we've been hoarding coupons like little squirrels but rolling our big basket o' savings to the car every Monday night just makes me giddy and it's totally worth it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

1 Week Until...

We leave for Haiti! I seriously can't believe at this time next week, we will be touching down in Port-Au-Prince but I'm so excited about getting there. I've been (very) s-l-o-w-l-y reading Mountains Beyond Mountains over the past few months, about Dr. Paul Farmer and his work in Haiti, which makes me even MORE excited about this trip. It is going to be a such a different culture and I'm pumped.

In honor of our trip, here is a little more information about what Haiti, what we'll be doing, and where we'll be going. Also, since David and I are both going, we need to raise double the support and are pretty far behind. If you or anyone you know have a heart for Haiti and want to support us financially, there is information at the bottom.

Haiti Mission Trip – May 2010
Destination: St. Marc, Haiti
Dates: May 10th-16th
Partner Ministry: Youth With a Mission (YWAM)

A few statistics about Haiti:
9 million people
80% unemployment
80% live in poverty (less than $2 a day)
90% of the children suffer from water born illness
30% of the children reach the third grade in education
1% of the people control nearly 50% of the wealth

On Monday, May 10th, our team of 17 men and women will be flying into Port Au Prince, Haiti and making the 2 hour drive up the coast to St. Marc. Still recovering from two years of brutal hurricanes and floods, St Marc has become a relief center for many of the hundreds of thousands of refugees from the January earthquake. YWAM has become a strategic partner, assisting the government and other organizations in the relief and restoration of this devastated nation.

Mission objectives:
Relief: Distribution of relief supplies (food, water, hygiene) to the thousands of refuges in St. Marc.
Construction: Assisting in the building of permanent homes and tents.
Medical: Helping with the clinic in St Marc, as well as bringing aid to remote areas.
Children: Loving on the many street kids and orphans who are in such desperate need of hope.
Gospel: Sharing the love and message of Christ through compassion, scripture and prayer.

Recent Activities at YWAM, Saint Marc:
  • Registration of over 12,000 refuges! Thousands have received food, medical and resources.
  • 73 containers full of food, medicine and building supplies have been distributed to the needy.
  • 3 Tent Communities have been formed in St. Marc with a fourth and fifth in process.
  • “Homes of Hope” is establishing the urbanization development of rural areas for refugees.
Please consider participating in this outreach through your prayers and financial support. Our team’s financial goal is $18,000. Donations may be made online or by mail. All donations will go directly toward this outreach. Please make checks out to “Christ Fellowship” with “Haiti Trip” in the memo.

Christ Fellowship
Attn. Outreach Department – Haiti
5343 Northlake Blvd
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418