Over the Holiday weekend, I finished reading "Swagger" by Lisa Bloom. This book was recommended to me, and I don't usually read much non-fiction but this one caught my interest. I had read "Cinderella Ate my Daughter" last fall & this seemed like a similar book.

I have to say, I loved it. A lot. Lisa Bloom pretty much tore into the American culture, aspects from education to parenting to music to prison. It was compelling, gripping & motivating. I actually stayed up late to finish it because I didn't want to put it down. That usually only happens with books like "Harry Potter." :D

After I finished the book I wanted to share it, make others understand. I'm pretty sure I annoyed my family with the facts & ideas shared in the book. I absolutely recommend this book, whether you are a parent, a teacher - just read it.

16. Read 50 books (37/50) 


Jordan Lake

3. Go camping 4 times (4/4) COMPLETE! 

We went camping at Jordan Lake for the first weekend in October. It was our first experience at Jordan Lake, and overall we really liked it. We had a lake front site so we could walk right down for a swim. This was great with a preschooler. Glen & I took turns swimming with Caleb so the other could cook/clean. 

 Jordan Lake is beautiful. We drove to the dam and saw tons of hawks. There was a nice hiking trail. The nature center at the welcome building was really fascinating and we all enjoyed the displays there. The weekend we were there was their annual Heritage festival so Caleb got to make a corn husk doll, paint with marbles, get his face painted etc. It was a really well put together event. 

Now the part we didn't like about Jordan Lake were the facilities. Glen & I both grew up camping at State Parks so we know what to expect with campground bathrooms. Jordan Lake left a lot to be desired. The "convenience" bathroom had broken faucets, non-functioning hand dryers, no lights at night and did not appear to be tidied up daily. The larger bathroom with the showers had missing doors on the majority of the shower stalls. There were not enough lights to actually see when you were in the shower. When I took a shower, someone had actually taken a dump in one of the stalls. {Needless to say, I took a QUICK shower!} Neither of us were impressed with the way the facilities were maintained, it showed that the park staff/rangers cared little for the park. I'm not sure if the other camping areas were different, but I can camp at Falls Lake without having to worry about that. The rangers at Falls Lake keep their facilities great! 

So that probably concludes our camping until the Spring! We have found a great groove for our camping with a dog & a preschooler - I can't wait until our next trip! 


Pixar "Up" Party

I've been meaning to post this, since..February! Haha. Caleb is now 3.5 so let's say this post is in honor of his half birthday:)

I wanted to do something fun & original for Caleb's 3rd birthday. It was his first official party so it was very special to me. Caleb had been obsessed with the movie Up, and I decided it would be a perfect theme. I hit up Google & Pinterest for inspiration, and the best party was created!

The movie Up is about Mr. Frederickson - who uses balloons to fly his home to Paradise Falls. I blew up balloons and used a needle/thread to string them together. I criss-crossed them across the ceiling


Disney has these AWESOME printables available on their site. I printed them out at Office Max, and enlisted the help of my husband to assemble them. They were A LOT of work! There is a lot of small cuts and folds, but the end result was so worth it! We put Russell and Mr. Frederickson on the table, and hung the house above.

I covered the coffee table with easel paper, put out some crayons & birthday stickers. This was a fun activity which stayed on my table for a few weeks!

We had the Up soundtrack playing on the TV, with a slideshow of a combination of Caleb's photos & shots from the movie. The cupcakes were my favorite part! I got the idea from Bakerella. I used colored toothpicks to hold the donut holes up. They were just so cute!

Party favors were Up Golden Books which I ordered from Amazon. I tied a balloon around each one. We also gave out Kool-aid playdoh kits (which were leftover from our Valentine's day party!). 

Here are just a few other shots of our party!

75. Host a theme party - Complete!! 


Getting my sport on!

We are spending this weekend at my parents' house, along with my sister and her kids. Today was a perfect day, starting off with sausage biscuits and coffee, and ending the day with s'mores by the river. I was able to get two checks on my 101 list today!

Catch A Fish -
This morning we went fishing at a local pond. Caleb {with the help of Grandpa} was the first to catch a fish. I kept getting nibbles and sneaky worm stealers, I didn't think I would actually catch one. But I got skillz! I snagged a little sunfish. We had a really fun time fishing!

Go Crabbing -
After an afternoon swimming at Emerald Isle Beach, we went to the Croatan Forest to cookout. While my dad fired up the grill, we hung out on the dock and caught crabs. We used turkey necks and strings. Since we forgot a net, it required a lot of skill to get the crab out of the water! Caroline seemed to be the best at it. I got a blue crab, we saw fish and Earl caught some shrimp. It was super relaxing and just as fun as I remember it from my childhood.

I felt like an accomplished sportsman as we headed home! What a day:)

I'm blogging from my phone so I'll update my sidebar later....


Pullen Park

94. Play at Pullen Park & ride a paddle boat 

First off, I gotta say I had no idea how much work it was to power a paddle boat. It has been years since I was on one! Caleb spent part of our ride "helping" while I sat in the back, so Glen was on his own. I don't know how he had the leg strength for that. Go Glen! :)

Anyway. Glen had an extra day off this week, so we headed over to Pullen Park to enjoy some time together. We rode the carousel, train, kiddie boats & played at the park. We finished up with a ride on the paddle boat. We went around the entire lake & under the bridge. Caleb had a blast seeing all the ducks and turtles up close. 

The Artist

"The Artist" is a film about a silent movie actor, George Valentin. The film shows how his life changes during the arrival of talking pictures. "The Artist" was released in 2011, and won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2012.

The movie is {almost entirely} a silent film. At first, I had my doubts to whether this movie would grab me. But it was mesmerizing. The music was fantastic, perfectly capturing each scene. The movie is classic, perfectly recreating the era of George Valentin. It was a simple, timeless story that was just wonderful. I was amazed at how much I connected with the characters, considering it was a silent movie.

This is a very different film, but I think its definitely worth watching! I watched it alone, and I hope Glen will watch it again with me:)

11. Watch 5 movies that have won “Best Picture” Academy Awards (3/5) 


Wine & Sushi

4. Visit a NC winery 
Yesterday was our 5th wedding anniversary. My mom has Caleb for the weekend, so we took the opportunity to visit Chatham Hill Winery in Morrisville. We did a tour of the winery & saw all the barrels of wine plus their fancy machines. It's actually a rather small place with only a handful of employees, but they produce a lot of wine. I learned that it takes about 3lbs of grapes to make 1 bottle of wine. We got to taste 8 of their wines. I bought a bottle of Peach wine, which is very sweet but it was something different I enjoyed. 

16. Read 50 books (36/50)
This morning I finished reading "The Girls." This was a fiction novel about conjoined twins, written entirely from their perspective. It was a fairly simple story, but the voices in the novel were fascinating, involved & well written. 

45. Update Caleb’s baby book 
Last week I took a few hours & finished updating Caleb's baby book. It had a lot of empty spaces, but most of the information was on his blog. I'm glad to say its finally done! I do have a few more pictures to put in from his 3rd birthday - but that's the easy part! 

31. Try sushi (again) 
For our anniversary dinner, we ordered take-out sushi from ShabaShabu in Raleigh. I've had sushi once before and wasn't a big fan. I definitely felt I had to give it another try. We ordered California roll, tuna roll, bagel roll & salmon roll. I tried all of them. The California roll was my favorite, but I still am not a sushi fan.  I ate a bit, then Glen finished my plate:) Oh well, at least I tried! 


Catching up!

I'm rather behind on posting on my blog. I'm running out of time to complete my goals! I've been rather busy enjoying my summer with my family. But this is what I've accomplished so far!

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (20/20) 

  • Last week Caleb & I painted with bubbles. I mixed together paint & bubble mixture in a cake pan. We used a straw to blow bubbles in it, then held our construction paper on top. The bubbles pop on the paper making an interesting effect. It was fun making the bubbles, but overall a disappointing project. Maybe my mixture wasn't strong enough - or our color wasn't bright enough. Worth revisiting in the future. 
  • Earlier in the Spring, Caleb made robin foot art. He LOVES painting with his feet. This was one of the first projects that he really added his own embellishments. The pictures above show the robin Caleb did all by himself, and the one I put the touches on:) I love both of them! 
64. Buy a present for Glen just because 
  • This summer Kangaroo Express (the local gas station/convenience store) is selling Roo Cups. The cups are $7 and you can refill them all summer long with slushies & soda for .25! I thought this would be a fun treat for Glen. I reserved the cup on their website, and hurried in to snag my cup. (Last summer they sold out in a flash!) Caleb & I made a trip to the bank to withdraw $10 in quarters. I surprised Glen with a roll of quarters & his very own Roo Cup. He has been enjoying stopping on his way home from work! Sometimes Caleb & I snag his cup and share a slushie too:) 
44. Rearrange and hang wall art/family pictures
I wrote this goal when we were living in Wilson. In our home there I had a big pile of frames that were "homeless" sitting behind our couch. Since moving to Raleigh, I've found homes on our walls for all of our art & photos. Our immediate family is featured in the living room, extended family along the hall and there is a mix of art/photos in our bedrooms. Recently I moved Caleb's toys into his bedroom - leaving a huge empty wall space in our living room. I moved some frames around & created an art line to display Caleb's crafts. I love it! The large family picture is from our Spring shoot with Melissa Berg Photography. I plan on updating at least 1 of the 2 frames on this wall with Caleb's 3 year pictures. I gotta get on that! 

30. Wear a dress/skirt everyday for a week 
  • I adore wearing skirts in the summer. It is cool, light & makes me feel very feminine. I started out July wearing only skirts/dresses, and have not worn much else this month. I snagged some skirts at a great sale at Belk earlier this season - so I have a decent selection. 
16. Read 50 books (35/50) 
98. Accomplish something noteworthy that wasn’t on my list 

I've been pondering on what I would do to consider this goal complete. I think this is a pretty good choice. Glen & I became foster dog parents last week! A friend of mine in GA had posted on her Facebook about a neglected pup who needed a foster home. Glen & I talked about it and decided to take on the task. Joey came to us after living in a small outdoor pen for years. He has never lived in a home, enjoyed belly rubs or taken a walk. He has been great with us so far - he's already house trained, and is learning basic commands. I'm excited to work with local rescues to find Joey's forever home. 
Joey does have heartworm, and may have some other health issues pop up. You can read more about his story & contribute to his health care here


Swimming & camping with the tadpoles!

3. Go camping 4 times (3/4) 

We had a fantastic camping trip in June to Jones Lake State Park. It was a beautiful location. The lake was shallow and warm, perfect for swimming with a toddler. We found tadpoles, which was a huge hit with Caleb. The camp ground was spacious and well maintained. The lake was comfortably close to the campground. We rode our bikes to & from the lake. It was just lovely all around. We swam, napped, hiked, rode bikes and explored. We tried out some new camping cuisine including banana boats, Jiffy Popcorn & English muffin pizzas. I will say the temperature in June was REALLY hot. One night we went out for dinner just to enjoy some air conditioning for a few hours! I much prefer camping in the cooler weather. Our next trip is planned for Labor Day! 

This last picture is Caleb holding a tadpole. The first night we were there the tadpoles had 2 legs. A few days later, they had 4. What an awesome science lesson:) 


No shoes, No shirt, No problems!

77. Have 10 "at home" date nights (4/10)

I planned an awesome date night for Glen earlier this month. After Caleb was in bed, I sent him to Target to pick up my prescription and a 6 pack of Bud Light Lime. As soon as he was out the door, I was a busy girl!

My theme was a beach movie night. I moved our hammock & stand into the living room! I had our coffee table with dinner set out - all "party" foods - chips/salsa, mini pizzas, buffalo wings and honey bbq chicken bites. I played Kenny Chesney's song, "No shoes, no shirt, no problem" and was all ready for Glen. He was sure surprised when he got back :) We watched "The Beach" while enjoying our beer and dinner. It was a really fun night!


A is for Alligator

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (18/20) 

This week Caleb & I are focusing on the letter A. Our first project was an Alligator "A." I drew a big capital A on green paper and we cut it out together. Caleb used a glue stick to add on some scary teeth and googly eyes. I think its a really fun way to reinforce letter recognition, although Caleb insists it is a crocodile. :)

I got this idea from various sites around the web, although this link is my favorite!


40. Record every $ spent and categorize it

Glen & I keep track of our income and expenses via Quicken. I cannot speak highly enough about it. It tracks all of our projected finances, so we can make the right decision today about whether or not to make a purchase. I love using it! One of the features I like is the categories. Each transaction is sorted so we can easily see where our money went.

I thought this would be a great month to do a detailed look at our money. My current job is moving, and I will be unemployed for a large part of the summer. My income allows us to live a little more comfortably. I want us to be able to enjoy the summer - camping, beach, the zoo, etc! We will be keeping a close eye on spending so we can afford the fun stuff.

Here is our spending chart for April. There are a few areas I can see we need to focus on heading into the summer.

  • Auto was 13% of our income, which for April totals $457!!! Eesh, that is a lot of money on gas. ($30 of that was for service). My new nephew, Ethan was born in April. That equaled a separate trip for myself & Glen to visit family. I also took a day to visit later in the month. Each visit to my parents is about 250 miles round trip, plus a trip to town from their home is 40 miles round trip. My car gets about 20 miles to the gallon, so a trip to visit costs approximately $50. But they are so worth it :D
  • Household is a broad category term. Pretty much anything I spend at Target is "household." We all know a trip to Target for diapers ends up including a few extras. This month Glen received a bonus at work, so we used some of that money to purchase new clothes, and stock up on household basics (dog food, trash bags, etc.) We normally do not spend that much in that area. 
  • Pet care was extra expensive this month. I let the flea protection on Taffy (our dog) expire and fleas invaded our home. The fleas themselves were not hard to get rid of, but they tore up our poor cat Asia. Apparently fleas prefer cats, and she has long hair that they loved. :( We had to take her to the vet to get her skin cared for. This is an out of the ordinary expense, but to be expected with pets...
Overall I wasn't surprised by our spending. There are always "unplanned" things that pop up, whether it be a vet appointment or car repair. Glen & I are interested to see how we will manage this summer on one income. We will be making cuts in areas such as those extra trips to Target, and avoiding the drive-thru so we can enjoy the memorable luxuries like a day trip to the beach! 


What I've been Reading

Divergent & Insurgent
My friends have been raving about a series by Veronica Roth. I heard it compared to The Hunger Games, but to me they were extremely different. Divergent is about a dystopian society in which adults choose a faction to live in. Their faction is decides how they live, and is more important than their family. The heroine of the story is 16 year old Beatrice Prior, who discovers this is not such an easy decision and her society isn't as perfect as it seems.

There are two books out in this series, and a third is to be published in 2013. I finished both of the books in a few days, I couldn't put them down!

The Fault in Our Stars
This book came highly recommended from the Twitters. It is a young adult novel about 16 year old Hazel who is fighting a battle with cancer. This story dealt with a lot of deep topics, and the emotions of the characters were intense & interesting. It was a good read, but didn't 100% captivate me.

Next on my "to read" list is the Fifty Shades of Grey series. I have heard very, very mixed reviews on this series. I'm curious to see what all the fuss is about!

What are you reading lately?

16. Read 50 books (34/50)


Camping at Falls Lake

3. Go camping 4 times (2/4) 
I'm rather shocked, and slightly embarrassed at how infrequently we have been camping since Caleb was born. Glen & I both love camping. It's such a fun, cheap, wholesome way to enjoy time together as a family. We {finally} pinned down a weekend and made plans to camp at Falls Lake Recreation Area. This is the third time we have camped here, it's just a lovely destination and only 30 minutes from home. The last times we camped there were in November & January, so I was excited to enjoy some warmer weather!! 

Camping with a puppy & a toddler was an adventure. There were plenty of potty training mishaps, skinned knees and more ticks than anyone would want. But we all had a perfectly lovely time. We swam, rode bikes, hiked, played at the park, worked together and roasted plenty of marshmallows. Caleb cried when we left, and keeps asking when we are camping again! It was also wonderful being disconnected from our phones & the distractions that come with technology. 

We are already tentatively planning our next camping trip for Father's Day weekend. We have 3 nights, 4 days. I'm considering heading West and taking advantage of our NC Zoo Memberhsip. Or we may stick closer to home. Any suggestions? Anyone want to join us? :D 



Caleb and I made a lion today. I used various ideas from Pinterest as inspiration. We painted a plate yellow, sorted out tricolor pasta to make an orange mane, and glued on his face! It's such a cute product and we both enjoyed making him.


The Invention of Hugo Cabret

16. Read 50 books (31/50)

I just finished reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I had seen the movie after the Academy Awards. The movie was captivating, and several of my friends mentioned reading the book. I borrowed it from the library and was not sure what to expect! The book is over 500 pages, a graphic novel and from the children's section. Hmmm. I finished it in a little over an hour and was left with a MEH feeling. I felt the novel was rushed, and didn't include a lot of details. The graphics inside are beautiful and extremely detailed, but they didn't capture me as strongly as words. Perhaps watching the movie first ruined it for me. The movie was amazing, lots of detail, again just captivating. 

I guess my final piece of advice is, see the movie. :D 


Two Year Update

It's been two years since I started this blog.

Here is the link to my 1 year update. 

And here's what I've accomplished so far! 

  • 42 goals are completed
  • 9 goals are in progress
  • 50 goals are untouched
  • I have until January 2013 to complete my list.
A lot of things on my list should be easy to do, I just have to take the time to DO IT! Less than a year to go, I want to complete a bunch more! My brain is already bouncing around ideas for 101 goals, take two! :D 

Dino Toes!

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (16/20) 

One rainy day last month, Caleb & I made dinosaur toes. I used this blog for our inspiration. This project was a big fat flop. We used paint instead of tissue paper. The paint barely covered the tissue boxes, then chipped off in big chunks all over the floor when it dried. Needless to say, they landed in the trash can when Caleb wasn't paying attention. But, we had fun making them and it's all about the process, not the product :)

Blueberry Belches

61. Have ten date nights (10/10) COMPLETE!

My parents surprised us on Friday by taking Caleb for the night. He got to swim at their hotel, go to the zoo and have a fun trip with Grandma.

Glen & I took advantage of our kid free evening to go see The Hunger Games! Woot! We both really enjoyed the novels, and the movie didn't disappoint. After the movie, we walked over to the Lynnwood Grill for their "Garbage Pizza" and a few beers. The beer special was Sweetwater Blue which is a light beer with a hint of blueberry. It was SO good. Glen didn't even mind when I belched in his face - it smelled like blueberries! BWAHAHA!

We finished the evening with a stroll through Target and snagged some clearance. Clothes shopping without a todder = priceless.


61. Have ten date nights (9/10)

Glen & I got out a few weeks ago for a movie date. After an awful experience at Raleighwood (don't go there!), we headed over to the $2 Carmike Theater. "Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows" was playing. We had an hour to kill before it started, so we ate a pint of Ben N Jerry's in the car:) We both enjoyed the movie, and our inexpensive date night. 

Caleb spent the night with his grandmother & saw "The Rescuers" for the first time! 


Craft Crazy Caleb!

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (15/20) 

Caleb & I had a busy morning crafting today. It made our rainy Monday a little more fun!

I had been wanting to make some pine cone bird feeders for our bushes outside. We have a lovely pair of Cardinals living there. Caleb & I see them regularly. He loves looking for the red bird when we're outside, and was super excited to learn that Mr. Bird had a wife! Using Crisco and bird seed, we whipped up two feeders and hung them outside. I was totally surprised to see Mr Cardinal outside within 5 minutes chowing down....yay!

Our second task was painting! We started off with a plate full of paint. Caleb started off finger painting, then used his brushes and finished off by driving cars through the wet paint! I had seen the car idea on one of my favorite blogs and was itching to try it with Caleb.

Caleb was done with this painting, but wanted to paint more so I put down a fresh piece of paper for him. We used his hand prints to make flowers in different colors. (Something I had seen on Pinterest!!) We thought the stems looked like cacti:) I may cut these out and glue them on to a different paper to make something worth hanging.

At this point, I was done but Caleb was not! He said I want to do a craft! I grabbed my phone, and looked through my Kids Craft board on Pinterest to find an idea. We cut out a rain drop from aluminum foil, used a glue stick to put it on construction paper and then blue/white dot paint on top! I really like how it came out.

And OMG Blogger is ANNOYING with their new setup! I was trying to put pictures in an orderly manner & have given up! What is the issue? AGHHH! Maybe I get why so many people have switched to WordPress. 


Caleb's First Valentine

Caleb cut out his own heart, which I think is adorable. He thinks it looks like a circle! I had out the googly eyes for another project, and he wanted to glue them on his heart.

This is art project 11 out of 20!

I'm also publishing my first post from my smart phone:)


January Roundup!

34. No eating out (for 30 days)
YAY! We decided January would be a month for no eating out. Our only planned exceptions were for date night. We actually ate out once, while traveling to my parent's for a day trip. But I didn't ever run through the drive through, I ensured I ate breakfast before leaving the house. We finished the month by starting a new diet/meal plan. I feel so much healthier, and our wallets are a lot happier. :) 

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (10/20) 
Caleb & I followed this tutorial to make penguin cards. I was attempting to make black paint, but ended up with a lovely shade of purple. So we made purple penguins! Caleb loved making his foot print. He practiced cutting while I made the beaks. Then he used a glue stick to attach it all together. I wrote "Just waddling by..." on the front with a thank you note on the back. CUTE! 

61. Have ten date nights (8/10) 
Glen & I had TWO nights out this month. Can I get a woot woot?! We spent our first night using a Groupon to Buffalo Brothers. I had a really yummy pretzel sandwich burger. Afterwards we went to Verizon to upgrade our cell phones. We ended up with fancy smart phones! Can I get another woot woot?! :) 

Our second date was out to Chili's. We had one of their meal deals, which included 2 margaritas, Loaded cheese fries, 2 entrees and a molten Oreo cake. The food was amazing, our server was fun - it was a great night. 

60. Mail out 10 thank you notes (10/10) COMPLETE! 
I sent out thank you notes from Caleb to our family for his Christmas presents, using our penguin craft project! 

8. Visit the zoo 3 times. (3/3) COMPLETE!

One very cold day in December, Glen, Caleb & I took a trip to the zoo. It was fantastic! We had the zoo to ourselves and enjoyed every second. There were a lot of animals out and about. We ate a picnic lunch in front of the gorillas. The seals & otters were both out swimming/playing. It was just such a wonderful visit. We bought a family  membership so will definitely be back in the Spring!!!

7. Visit the aquarium 3 times. (2/3)

After Christmas we took a morning to go visit the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Caleb was a rebellious 3 year old, extra tired out from all the Christmas festivities. He was a bit of a bear but we had a nice visit. He especially liked the sea horses and alligators! Here are crabby Caleb & crabby Grandpa!! 


The Lightning Thief

16. Read 50 books (30/50)

I just finished reading "The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan. It's part of a young adult series, Percy Jackson & The Olympians. This is the first book in the series. My husband, sister & oldest nephew have all read this book and raved about it! I had seen the movie, and was only slightly interested in the book. I decided to give it a whirl & it was a great book! I think the movie ruined it for me a little. The movie absolutely butchered the book (as usual), so I was expecting something different. Overall I really enjoyed the book and am excited to see how the series pans out. I think I will enjoy the next book much more going into it with zero expectations.