Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jiggling for Gillio: Update #1


Check out my weight loss graph:

As you can see, it's been a rocky ride but the proof is in the progress.

If you recall, I had started a Dietbet in September.  I won $40.44, then turned around and placed that money into two bets- one bet for $25, another for $15.

I won, but by the skin of my teeth.  I made the goal, but only after doing two hours of cardio and basically sweating out 1/5 of a pound.  I won $34.45 on a $15 bet, and $44.64 on a $25 bet.

So in happy news,  the Gillio Fund has been updated!

My $25 I had invested in the first bet has grown into $79.09.
Guess what I'm going to do with it?  Yup.  I'm rolling this train right into healthy BMI town.  I joined someone's $25 bet, and started my very own $15 dietbet based upon my current love affair with a particular tasty sauce.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: The Sriracha SlimDown! 

If you've got a little additional ballast to lose, consider joining me.  The game starts on Tuesday (but you'll have two weeks after that date to join), and it'll run until December 3rd.  The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight in that time.

Can you do it?

It's only a $15 bet, too. So if you change your dietary habits in that time frame and avoid eating out as much as you're currently doing so, just think of how much money you could save.  $15 is a cheap price to pay for a powerful motivator. 

Click here to sign up! The Sriracha SlimDown

I'm hoping that this dietbet will be the one to move me from the 'Obese' category of the BMI scale to the 'Overweight.'  Small steps, but they're all adding up!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

We made an offer..

We put down an offer on 2 1/4 acres of raw land near my husband's family.  Please, please, please- if you know of some super-secret dance to appease the land gods, please perform it now. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jiggling for Gillio

I'm overweight.  I have been for a really long time. I've tried all sorts of dietary jiu-jitsu to regain control of my body; gluten-free, paleo, atkins, south beach, etc.  I'd lose some weight, but couldn't maintain the diet, and the weight would creep back on.

I've finally found the secret.  Better sit down, peeps.  Your minds are going to be BLOWN.

Are you ready?
Truly ready?

Drum roll, please!

........The secret to MY weight loss:
  1. Working out.  

  2. Eating in moderation.

Freaking groundbreaking, right?

Since August 15th, I've lost almost 15 pounds.  I've got a lot more to go, but I'm fitting into jeans I almost donated because I never thought I could fit into them. I'm down 4 notches on my belt. FOUR.

My favorite brand of torture?  Pilates.  Massive amounts of Pilates.  Pilates until I can no longer pick myself off the mat.  Pilates SO HARD I've burst into tears in the middle of them.  It isn't a coincidence that 'pilates' has the same number of letters as the word 'torture'.  But I love them.

And it's starting to show. 

But, I can't get ahead of myself.  I've got a lot of weight to lose and a long road ahead of me.  Which is why I'm DietBetting.

Dietbet is a social weight loss game.  You plunk down anywhere between $10-$100 and bet that you can lose 4% of your body weight in 28 days.  It's a lot harder than it seems. If you win, you get to split up the pot.  If not, well, the other players get to divvy up your money and you cry.

It sucks to lose.  Because everyone knows that you've lost and you get to read all of the "OMG, I JUST WON $50!!" posts and you know part of that is your money. 

So, yeah.  Don't lose.

Here's a brief video to sum it up:

But if you win?  Oh, the sweet, sweet joy of victory.  You are 4% lighter, you feel better about yourself AND you have just walked away with more money in your pocket.  It's pure, unadulterated joy.

So, ladies and gentlemen.  I'm dietbetting my way to victory.

I plunked down $25.  Won $40.  Then I turned around and rolled that money into TWO more bets.  If I win these bets, I'll roll them into MORE bets.  Until I reach my goal weight.

Why?  Well, besides the sheer motivation of putting all of my Dietbet money on the line, there is something that I'd love to have, something that will pair wonderfully with my future fit and toned self.

It's a planner.  A Gillio Compagna planner.

I stole these pictures from Gillio's website: more info on the Gillio Compagna here.

These sweet Gillio planners run about $400.  Yes, they're expensive.  Yes, they're divine.  But could you imagine how amazing it would be to groom a $25 bet into a $400 planner?  AND be a healthier version of myself?

Sign me up!

So, I'm calling my fitness and weight-loss quest "Jiggling for Gillio."  Because jiggling is precisely what happens whenever I do any form of cardio. 

I'm motivated.  I've got a plan.  I'm eating healthfully and challenging myself to be a stronger, healthier person.  

The coolest thing about the last dietbet is that out of 4552 players, a combined weight of 24,441 pounds was lost.  That's as much as two Tyrannosaurus rex! TWO.

That's a lot of weight!

Anyway, if we're hanging out and I turn down a delicious morsel of tastiness, don't be offended.  Or, if I am moving slowly because my muscles are crying at me, please understand.  There's some ch-ch-changes going on here that have to happen.  Things that should have happened years ago. 

Wish me luck!

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Brother is Learning How to Sew

My brother sent me a text message this morning with a simple request: 

"Do you know anyone with an extra sewing machine?  I want to learn to sew to save money."


Well, NO, I don't know anyone with an extra sewing machine.  But YES, you should buy one and YES, I'll help!

I called him up and logged into Amazon, and noticed that I had nearly $80 in unused Amazon Points (I have the Amazon Visa card and buy EVERYTHING on that card- I usually get about $50 back a month.)  My brother and I shopped the Warehouse Deals and found a nearly brand new machine that retails for $250 on sale for $93.69.  I used my points, and my brother ended up with a nice machine for $20 and change after taxes.

Here's said machine as seen on Amazon

So, yeah, Warehouse Deals.  Shop them.  They can be a bit tricky to find on Amazon's site.  When you're searching for an item, go to the right of the screen and click on the link that usually says "X New & Used From X Price" on the bottom of "More Buying Choices." 

Scroll down and see if you can find that same item that you're looking at through the warehouse- sometimes, it's as simple as the item is missing a box, or perhaps it was returned and can't be sold as new.   You can save a lot of money that way.

And here I was just going to buy a David Tennant cutout for my Doctor Who party I'm having in November with those points.  This one, in fact.

But now my brother will have a chance to learn a new skill and hopefully save some money.   I'm feeling pretty great about that.   And I'm looking forward to showing him the ropes.

In the meantime, I'm having fun browsing the internet for all sorts of tutorials that he might find useful.  For example:

1. Denim Fabric Basket Tutorial, from Threading My Way.

He could reuse those shredded jeans and make baskets out of them! These would be awesome for gathering notebooks, tools, tape measures, etc in the shop.  They're cute enough that he could really use them anywhere in the home.   Hello, extra storage bins for the nursery!  Especially if he lined them with this Dr. Seuss fabric.

2. Potato Grow Bags, from

Bags, used to grow potatoes.  No more digging in the soil to harvest your pommes de terre! This would be a great project for him, as he's an avid gardener (he keeps talking about growing potatoes- maybe next year he'll give it a shot), and he would probably enjoy a fast, confidence building project.  

And 3.  Baby Blocks!

I've got a bunch of foam left over from my own woodworking and sewing project (from that aforementioned loveseat project) that would be perfect reincarnated as play blocks for my brother's son.  Also, it'll teach him some stitching skills.  WIN.

So, there you have it.  My brother is learning to sew, and I think it's awesome.  He's also an avid builder, welder, DIYer extraordinaire (and yes, also an amateur boatbuilder- he started building his very own boat this summer!), so I'm very excited to see what great things he creates with this new tool.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Behold, a wild life summary appears!

I've attempted to post several times, and canned each attempt after getting frustrated with every post.  Nothing felt right.  Everything was disorganized and jumbled.  I have so much to say and yet none of it seemed important.

So, here we are, 6 months since my last post.   Let's summarize all the good/bad/whatever stuff!


Rio The Boat ( is currently being neglected.  I pushed pretty hard on the build over the summer, and ended up getting burned out by how much of life I was missing by focusing on a hunk of plywood that doesn't quite float yet.  The build is SUPPOSED to be fun, and when you're outside in 90F weather with high humidity, wearing long sleeves, jeans, and a respirator, it really, really sucks.  And when you're being accosted by spiders (this year, the spiders are everywhere, you can't walk 20 feet outside without getting tangled in a web), you can't help but get a little frustrated.   This is coupled by the joy of forgetting that you have epoxy on your hands and you, reflexively, try to get a spider/beetle/wasp off of your head, and instead smear epoxy all over your hair.  GOOD TIMES.  No, I haven't given up.  Yes, I still am proud and happy that I'm building a boat.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so why rush it?!


I'm a three-time aunt now.  My brother and his wife had a little boy on March 14th.   He's pretty cute!

My mom was married in Reno to her sweetheart of five years last month.

My husband's Aunt Bev entrusted us with her 1987 VW Westfalia, Casa Rodante, which we drove down to the aforementioned wedding.  It was amazing.  It's such a cool bus that I want to dedicate a post to it.  In the meantime, though, have a photo of its awesomeness:

Yup, custom plates in honor of Bev. 


Casa Crustante is serving us well.  BUT, there are things we need.   1.  Privacy from the nosy neighbors.  2. A Garage  3.  A big fence.  We don't like the area enough to invest in it.  In summary, we'll be moving in a few years.  More on that later.

Remember the property I grew up on?  Well, the land that raised three generations of my family was sold to the S'Klallam tribe for a paltry $285k.  I have, since moving out to the Seattle area, have wanted to move back.  It's where I thought I'd raise my own kids and grow old.  Now that it's no longer in the family, I had spiraled out a bit and have been struggling to figure out where I am supposed to be.   I know this may sound foreign to those of you without a long family history of staying in one spot, but that land was very important to my brother and me. 

The Condo:  We're renting it out right now to some friends, but will be placing it on the market on January 1, 2014.

Aaaand.. there's a bunch of other crap.  But that's it for now.  The weather is shining, the pull to make sawdust is strong, and I've got couches to build.  Yes, I'll be posting about that, too! Look, I've got three things to follow up on, now.  So stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cold Frame!

I've been intrigued by the concept of a cold frame for a while now.  Every gardening book seems to mention one, nearly every decent garden center sells them, and I couldn't help but wonder if having one could make gardening even more fun for me.

I waded into the over-full shed, pulled out some significant sized scraps, and got to work.

Here's the very beginning where it's essentially just a box. 

Now a bit of a box with a bit of a lid:

I added a middle brace to the lid to support the 8mm dual-paned polycarbonate for the top.  Then I painted.   Clark + Kensington makes a paint that can handle temperatures down to 35F.  Rio the Sailboat helped (incidentally, I've decided that this color, a Farrow and Ball shade called Green Blue, will be Rio's color). 

And before I knew it, I had a cold frame! Notice the cedar along the bottom- that's tacked on as a 'sacrificial' board.

And the interior.  I'm now the proud owner of a mini greenhouse. :) Total cost:  just under $50, considering I had most of the wood already. 

And while we're talking about gardening, please join me in ogling my soil.  How rich does that look?!  Let's hope 2013 is the best year for gardening yet.

In sad news, the property that I grew up on has been or is being sold. I remember all the long hours that my parents and my grandmother spent working and improving the land on that property.  I'm heartbroken to see it go.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chicken Salad Bar - AKA the Greenhouse

I built my three hens a little addition to the chicken run to use up some of the scrap hard wire cloth and lumber I had floating around in the shed.   It's a little 3'x3' pen that I can open up for their snacking pleasure.
 I have two points of access- the closest side in the photo below can be completely removed so I can muck it out / add more grass / whatever. 
 I threw in some grass seed that I had on hand and it's just starting to take off. 

I'll let them have access to it for an hour or so a day, once the grass is filled in and jungle-y.

My hope with this addition is to increase the nutritional value and production of the eggs that my hens provide.  I have no idea if it'll help or not, but I bet they'll have a blast destroying it. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mason Bees - Summary of 2012 Season and Preparing for Spring

I've just returned from the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.  My haul included a gorgeous blue zebra striped primrose (I didn't take a photo before I gave it to my neighbor- she loves primroses AND purple, and this pretty plant had her name written all over it), along with 7 dahlias, and, the pièce de résistance- more mason bee cocoons.

Mason bees are my current insect obsession.  I think we all should have one indigenous insect species to champion, and the blue western mason bee has impressed me so much that it's now a priority for my 2013 garden.  

Last year, I started with 20 cocoons and one small house.  Here's what it looked like at the end of the season:

There are two plugged tubes on the bottom of the nest box, which indicates that I have some sort of bee larvae waiting to be harvested.

There was significant water damage to my house though- water seeped into the bolts holding the house together, and along the roof.

Despite the issues, I still had some cocoons to harvest- 8 in total.

Behold, the contents of the tubes- I had 8 cocoons (3 female, 5 male), a dead mason bee, and a bunch of miscellaneous debris.

Here's a close up of the bee who decided to use my bee nest.  I promised her that I'd take care of her offspring to the best of my ability before burying her unceremoniously in the compost pile. 

A close up of the bee tube debris- the concave brown things are mud plugs- the yellow stuff is pollen- and the teeny tiny little bits are feces.

I made several mistakes in 2012 that I hope that I won't repeat in 2013:

1.  I didn't put my house in a sheltered area.  I had falsely assumed that the home would be sheltered well enough on its own.  Building something like this is a priority for me before putting out my cocoons:

2.  I'm going to release my cocoons in two different batches, perhaps 2 weeks apart.  My first 20 cocoons were soaked and soggy due to some crazy cold rain and due to the exposure issue I mentioned above- I can't imagine it was great to emerge under such chilly and wet conditions.

3.  Don't kill before you know what it is.  I thought I had a yellow jacket in my house (it was silhouetted against a bright window) and I killed it.  Afterwards, I discovered that I had murdered one of my own mason bees.  Whoops.  

Now I have a total of 37 cocoons in my fridge, thanks to Beediverse and Wild Birds Unlimited.  I'll be building a mason bee lodge here soon, and will have photos for you as soon as I'm finished!

 This is the perfect time of year to start a mason bee colony.  If you're so inclined, I highly recommend Crown Bees and Beediverse for both cocoons and information.