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