April is for Aesthetics

Guess what?!  It’s a new month which means it’s time for a new monthly challenge!!  I bet you were wondering if I would remember that it’s a new month…. 🙂

Last month’s challenge was Money March.  Our goal for the month was to take a more serious look at our finances and overall, I think we did a decent job.  We wanted to:

*figure out a way to really manage our debt (read the “debt” being student loans)

The way we have figured out how to manage our student loan debt (ok, ok my student loan debt) is by me starting my very own Mary Kay business. In the first month, things have gone very well and I am very much looking forward to what the future holds with this venture.  When it’s a great product, it makes it an easy sell!  We were also able to do a bit of research and figured out I will be able to have about $5,000 of student loans forgiven at the end of this school year.  Thanks to working at Title 1 schools!  Woo hoo!  Once that $5,000 chunk has been forgiven, we can refinance my loans at a lower interest rate.  Then with the extra money I’m making from Mary Kay, all of that will be going towards the loan payments.

*Set up a living will

With the living will we checked out a site called Legal Zoom, a site recommended by a good friend.  We figured out that it wasn’t so much a Living Will we wanted as much as we wanted a Living Trust.  It feels good knowing we have our meager things are accounted for if anything were to happen to us.

*Establish a food budget

A food budget was not created.  Instead we did a really good job of shopping at Aldi’s and making sure we ate at home.  We also took advantage of deals at Dillon’s using our Dillon’s Plus Card.  We have definitely gone from wanting to make sure we save money to thinking of grocery shopping as a game.  We’re dorks.  🙂

*Inquire about insurance

Unfortunately, I did not get the inquiry of insurance crossed off the list.  This is definitely something we still want to do, if nothing else just to make sure we’re getting the best deal possible for our situation.

So what do we have up our sleeves for this month?

Aesthetics.

Particularly for our yard.  Over the last seven years we have slowly landscaped our yard by updating existing flowerbeds and even adding a few.  But there are still a few things we would like to do to really make it feel nicer.

DSC_0847One way we would like to accomplish this is by clearing out this corner of random crap from over the years.  Some of the metal stuff is from our original window well.  And the concrete is from old fence posts in our yard.  I dug up at least one of those bad boys on my own. #iamwomanhearmeroar

I would love to be able to add a play set or some kind of a sand box to this area, but at this stage in life, just having a cleaned out corner will be amazing!

DSC_0848This flowerbed was added about two years ago this Spring.  I basically wanted to added some color to this area and took about 30 minutes one afternoon from getting home from school until I met Adam at a baseball game.  That was the fastest planting I ever done!  One of the things that we have going for us is that we have weed barrier fabric underneath the mulch.  My goal is to add landscaping brick to make it look more established.

DSC_0851This is a shot of our new window well with the old window well in the back.  Last Winter I was really worried that something, mainly an animal, would fall down in the well and then we would have to worry about getting it out.  Oh, who I am kidding, I would make Adam do it.  He’s so much braver than I!  🙂  So before that could happen, we bought a piece of lattice and laid it over the top.

Then left it.

So, now I would like to stain and seal it and add a bit of support to keep it from sagging in the middle.  And while we are at it, go ahead and add another covering to the other window.

I would have said I also wanted to add a flower bed but Adam, bless his sweet, sweet soul, laid the brick and added mulch a few weeks ago.  It looks fantastic!!!  Now we’re just waiting for the weeds grass to grow back in.

DSC_0853

To help make things look a little nicer, I moved the glider closer to the garden.  The lilac bushes are transplants from near the house.  When we first bought the house in 2008 this lilac bush was in bloom.  Gorgeous, gorgeous blooms.  Since then there wasn’t much to it and both Adam and I just assumed it had run it’s course.  Then when we had the egress window installed, our construction guys literally threw the bush into our tree row where we assumed they died.

NOPE.  They were turning green!  So, we transplanted them to this spot by the garden and have crossed our fingers they’ll thrive.

DSC_0854And, guess what?!  There are a few blooms!!!!

DSC_0856Our beloved chicken coop.  You probably thought I finished it last summer.

Nope.

There are a few pieces of siding that still need to be replaced and I need to paint the trim.

DSC_0859

DSC_0857Then there’s this area.  I probably wouldn’t mind the mess if you couldn’t see it from the road.  E-gads.  I definitely want to get this cleaned up!

So there’s the list for this month!  I’m pretty excited mainly because it gives me something to do outside and maybe (just maybe) I’ll get a tan!

What are you up to this spring?

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