Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2016 Out Do Yourself Reading Challenge


Yes, I know I am late….but I am once again redoing the Out Do Yourself Reading Challenge.  I didn't do too great last year, and came no where near out doing the year before, but I also read several very long books, 1,000 pages or more.  So this year I am trying to out do last year!  There's a new sponsor this year, so make sure you check out her blog!





If your goal for 2016 is to read more, then this is the reading challenge for you! Are you up for the challenge?
Reading Challenge Details:
Runs January 1, 2016– December 31, 2016 (books read prior to 1/1/2016 do not count towards the challenge).
You can join anytime before September 30, 2016. Sign up in the linky at the bottom of this post.
The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more in 2016 than you did in 2015. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. You can move up a level as often as you’d like but no moving down. Remember, the idea is to challenge yourself.
Books can be any format (print, ebook, audio).
Books can be any genre (fiction, nonfiction, romance, mystery, etc.).
Novellas that are 100 pages in length (give or take), as well as full-length novels, will count for this reading challenge.
Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
To join the challenge, grab the 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge button below and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too.
You do not have to be a blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc., so as long as you have a dedicated shelf for the 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge and your profile is not private. The point of linking up is to have a place where people can see what you’re reading.
Levels:
Getting My Heart Rate Up: read 1–5 more books (or 250–1,499 more pages)
Out of Breath: read 6–10 more books (or 1,500–2,749 more pages)
Breaking a Sweat: read 11–15 more books (or 2,750–3,999 more pages)
I’m on Fire!: read 16+ more books (or 4,000+ more pages)

My goal for this year is 'Out Of Breath'  I read so few books last year that I'm going to go ahead and go for 6-10 more books!  Last year I only read 36 books (crazy, I know!), so that means I need to try to read 42-46 books this year.

  1. Lord John and the Hand of Devils ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  2. Lord John and the Private Matter ~ Dy DIana Gabaldon
  3. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  4. Lord John and the Custom of the Army ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  5. The Scottish Prisoner ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  6. Lord John and the Plague of Zombies ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  7. Brotherhood in Death ~ By J.D. Robb
  8. Finding Frasier ~ By Kc Dyer
  9. Cinder ~ By Marissa Meyer
  10. Scarlet ~ By Marissa Meyer
  11. Cress ~ By Marissa Meyer
  12. Winter ~ By Marissa Meyer
  13. Fairest ~ By Marissa Meyer
  14. Love Beyond Time ~ By Bethany Claire
  15. Love beyond Reason ~ By Bethany Claire
  16. A Conall Christmas ~ By Bethany Claire
  17. Love Beyond Hope ~ By Bethany Claire
  18. Love beyond Measure ~ By Bethany Claire
  19. In Due Time ~ By Bethany Claire
  20. Love Beyond Compare ~ By Bethany Claire
  21. Love Beyond Dreams ~ By Bethany Claire
  22. Love Beyond Belief ~ By Bethany Claire
  23. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ~ By Ransom Riggs

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hogwart's Running Club and Virtual Running

Most who have known me for a very long time know that many years ago I was a runner.  I liked running.  I did Cross Country in elementary school, I did Track my freshman year of High School, where I ran the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m runs (half mile, mile, and 2 mile).  I had outstanding times on my runs for the PRT in the Navy and was often times the first, or one of the first females to finish the run.

Like I said, that was all many years ago.  A few years ago I decided I wanted to pick up running again.  Josh and I signed up for a 5k and then I got strep the week before, which led to me having post streptococcal glomerulonephritis.  I didn't run, or even exercise for months while I dealt with the aftermath of that.  Josh started running, and was running 3-4 times a week.  I did some 5ks here and there over the last 2 years with him, but I didn't even bother training for those.

Last summer I finally started to workout again.  I found a class I liked, and I prefer the accountability taking a class at the gym offers me.  It's too easy for me to put stuff off because of the kids and their activities.   My last 5k was in June, the month before I started working out again.  Fast forward to Feb and I talked Josh into signing us up for another 5k.  I got a new personal best by 5 and a half minutes, and it was even a hilly course and windy that day!

Whew, that was a lot of back story!  Anyways, a few days before I ran that 5k, I stumbled across the Hogwarts Running Club.  Someone in one of my fitness groups posted about doing the Molly Weasley Ugly Jumper 5k.  I looked it up and discovered a world of Harry Potter and running.  I of course signed up for the Molly Weasley 5k.  Since it was my first race, I did double dip and count my live race for that race (I signed up the day before the race ended too, so I wanted to get it done).

I since have been surrounded by Harry Potter loving runners who encourage you and build you up, regardless of how much you run, or walk.  There is a great hall group for everyone in HRC to hang out  and talk, and then there is a room for each of the houses.  The 5k I did was on Feb 13th.  I have run every single weekend since then.  I also discovered other virtual race sites.  You sign up for the race, do the race on your own, and they send you a medal for completing it.  I did a memorial run for Alan Rickman, 3.94 miles!  I did a Pi day 5k, a 6.9k memorial run for David Bowie and Alan Rickman, and a square root day 5k.  I even did a 26.2 mile one over time (logged my miles every time I ran), so I basically did a marathon in a month to earn a cool medal.   In this time frame, I ran 4.2 miles (6.9k) without stopping, which was HUGE for me!  I ran it slower then usual, but I didn't stop, at all.  This last weekend I did the square root day 5k and I didn't stop at all!  My goal was to be able to run my next live race without stopping (which I had never done before).  After running my last 2 virtual races, 4.2 and 3.1 miles without stopping, I am sure I will be able to met that goal this saturday at my next live race!

I am signed up for the Hogwart's Running Clubs next race, which is a 13k!  I am breaking this one up, and have already done my first 2 miles for it.  You can sign up for at at www.hogwartsrunningclub.org.  I am also signed up to do my very first 10k for Earth day!  I am also doing a mad hatter 5k, and a May the fourth be with you 5k too.  I think I'm addicted to bling!  But it has me out there and running every weekend, and even some shorter runs during the week.  Even my kids are out running with us.  Austin and Jaidan are both doing the Mad Hatter run, and Jaidan is signed up for the Umbridge 13k too!

I know this post was a bit all over the place, and had no true point, but I wanted to talk about my accomplishments and my newest hobby!

Are you a runner?  Do you do any virtual races?  Would something centered around one of your fandoms peak your interest?
















Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Reading List Challenge!

Another year has come and gone, and it's time for a new reading challenge!  Yes, I love my reading challenges.  While I did not read a book for every item on last years list, I enjoyed the challenge and read several books that I normally would not have read…and I enjoyed them!  So I figured, why not try the list again?  This is Popsugar's 2016 reading list challenge (last years challenge was also from Popsugar).  I'll once again be participating with my friends.  Let the fun begin!




  • A book based on a fairy tale ~  Scarlet ~ By Marissa Meyers
  • A National Book Award winner ~
  • A YA bestseller ~
  • A book you haven't read since high school ~
  • A book set in your home state ~
  • A book translated to English ~
  • A romance set in the future ~
  • A book set in Europe ~  Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  • A book that's under 150 pages ~  Lord John and the Plague of Zombies ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  • A New York Time's bestseller ~
  • A book that's becoming a movie this year ~  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ~ By Ransom Riggs
  • A book recommended by someone you just met ~
  • A self-improvement book ~
  • A book you can finish in a day ~  Lord John and the Custom of the Army ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  • A book written by a celebrity ~
  • A political memoir ~
  • A book at least 100 years older then you ~
  • A book that's more then 600 pages ~
  • A book from Oprah's Book Club ~
  • A science-fiction novel ~  Winter ~ By Marissa Meyers
  • A book recommended by a family member ~
  • A graphic novel ~
  • A book that is published in 2016 ~
  • A book with a protagonist who has your occupation ~
  • A book that takes place during the summer ~
  • A book and it's prequel ~ Fairest and Cinder ~ By Marissa Meyer
  • A murder mystery ~  Brotherhood in Death ~ By J.D. Robb
  • A book written by a comedian ~
  • A dystopian novel ~  Cress ~ By Marissa Meyers
  • A book with a blue cover ~  Lord John and the Private Matter ~ Diana Gabaldon
  • A book of poetry ~
  • The first book you see in a bookstore ~
  • A classic book from the 20th century ~
  • A book from the library ~
  • An Autobiography ~
  • A book about a road trip ~  Finding Fraser ~ By KC Dyer
  • A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with ~
  • A satirical book ~
  • A book that takes place on an island ~  Lord John and the Scottish Prisioner ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  • A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy ~

Books that don't fit on the list :

  • Lord John and the Hand of Devils ~ By Diana Gabaldon
  • Love Beyond Time ~ By Bethany Claire
  • Love beyond Reason ~ By Bethany Claire
  • A Conall Christmas ~ By Bethany Claire
  • Love Beyond Hope ~ By Bethany Claire
  • Love beyond Measure ~ By Bethany Claire
  • In Due Time ~ By Bethany Claire
  • Love Beyond Compare ~ By Bethany Claire
  • Love Beyond Dreams ~ By Bethany Claire
  • Love Beyond Belief ~ By Bethany Claire

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Worm Compost Bin (DIY)

I went on Pinterest and I pinned, then later read a LOT of Pins about building a worm compost bin.  They are all basically the same info, with some minor differences.  But I will say one thing that bugged me.

'DIY compost bin for only $5!'  'Build your own worm compost bin for under $15!'

There were more titles along those lines…yes, the building materials can be that low…but the worms are right around $30 (unless you know someone with a worm compost bin who will give you some of their worms).

I personally think if you are going to say how cheap something is, you should include all expenses, yes, worms included.

With that being said, my worm compost bin cost right around $45, probably closer to $47.

Let me start by saying you can do a smaller bin (like I did) or a bigger bin.  The bigger then bin, the heavier it will be, which can be a factor when you are ready to harvest your compost.  That will also effect your price.  I went with 10 gallon rubbermaid bins I bought at walmart for just under $5 each.  You can do 1, 2 or 3 bins.  I personally did 3.  Some people do 1, and put a lid under it to catch any drippings (liquid you can add to water and put right into the garden).  Others will do 2 containers…they will have 1 on the bottom to catch any liquid, and then the one on top with the worms.  Then there are those that are like me, who do 3 bins.  The 3rd bin is set up like the other one that will hold worms…when the 1st bin is done, you put the other bin on top and the worms will slowly move to that bin.  Once they've all moved over you can take the middle bin out and use all your compost without having to go through it and removing your worms.  I'm all about the easier option!

So I bought 3 10 gallon rubbermaid bins for just under $5 each al Walmart.    Then I bought 4 pieces of PVC at Lowe's for $.60 each to set in the bottom bin so I could raise up the compost bin.  Finally I ordered my worms online.  I did a google search and compared prices at a few different places.  The cheapest for me was www.redworms.com (but it seems they are still a part of Uncle Jim's worm farm, cause that's what all my packaging said!).  I bought 1 pound of worms, and it was $30.98 (change part may be a tad bit off, but pretty sure that was it).  Oh yes…you need to uy Red Wiggler worms, not night crawlers or anything like that.  So just over $45.

I'll share some pictures, and tell you what I did :)





The first thing I did was drill 20 1/4 inch holes into the bottom of Bin 1.  You want to make sure you have holes in the lost points so any excess water will drip out.


Then I used a 1/16 inch drill bit to drill holes along the top for ventilation.  For both sets of holes I saw reports of people using different sizes, so you can choose different size holes if you'd like.  I put these holes about an inch apart all around the top.





Finally I drilled some holes in the lid too (you only need to do this with 1 of the lids, it's the only lid you will need to use)



Do the same steps to bin 2, so it'll be ready to g when you need it.

Then you stack bin 1 into the base and you are ready to go!!



I cut up a bunch of newspaper, then you want to get it wet.  Not soaking wet, you don't want it to be dripping.  I rang mine all out by hand, then I fluffed it out as I put it into the bin.  You'll want to put 3-4 inches in there.  The paper keeps th worms wet, but they'll eat it too, and it gives them some place to hide, which is why you want to fluff it out some, so they can move through it easily.  Then I threw some dirt on the top of the newspaper, they need grit to help them digest their food.




Then I added in my worms!!  I included the peat moss they had been packed in.  You want a 2 parts 'brown' (paper, leaves, grass, etc) to 1 part 'green' (table scraps)



Then I added in some of my kitchen scraps I had been saving for them.  You don't want to give them too much to start, so I only put in some, even though I  have a ton saved for them.



Then you want to put some more wet newspaper on top.  The newspaper on top protects them, and will also prevent fruit flies, because the food is covered.  I also added some grass, since Josh had mowed yesterday.  Then I took a piece of cardboard, I wet down 1 side of it and put it all on top to protect everything.  Eventually the worms will eat it too.


Then I was done!!  When ready to set up your next bin (after this one is full of the black gold) you'll add the newspaper and food etc then take the lid off the other bin, put the new bin on top, and they will go through the holes up into the new bin.


It was super quick and easy to set up.  I can't wait to see how my worms do, and to use their castings in my garden!!!