Ask Away...: 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Simple Fall Porch Decor + A Giveaway!

So unlike a lot of bloggers, I don't have a big front porch that's covered up from the elements and has tons of space to display decor. Of course I wasn't going to let that stop me from decorating for Fall. So here's a look at what I did this year.


I got a wreath this year since I never had one for Fall before and I decided on a bright fireburst of faux leaves. We have a flag hanger thingy (whatever it's called) that we don't use for a flag so I use it to hang wreaths. This wreath was from Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Of course it's time to embrace my favorite flower, the MUM!! I went out and bought plenty of mums of all different sizes to display on the porch and the walkway. The little decorative things sitting inside of the flowerpots were from Dollar General.

The walkway is also decorated with some signage I had from the last two years that I found at Dollar General. These are covered by a slight overhang so I don't need to worry about them getting wet unless it's raining sideways.


This is my favorite part of our front porch decor. The faux carved pumpkin I've had for years since I was a kid actually. My mom used to put it outside of our house. I set it on top of a hay bale I got at JoAnn Fabrics. Then I found these adorable faux gourds and pumpkins at Walmart and stacked those around it. I like faux more than the real thing because I feel so wasteful if I buy real ones, then let them rot away. Plus if any little brats try to smash pumpkins they won't have any luck making a mess with these!

So even if you have a small porch you can still embrace the season and decorate! 

Another thing we updated in our home recently was the number sign on the front of the house. Ramsign is a company that makes beautiful house number plates that can be customized to your liking.   We love the blue and how it pops in this Dansborg House Number plate. I love this site because they even send you a proof for your approval before making anything. 

I love the high quality craftsmanship and the vibrant colors, especially the blue we chose. You definitely can't beat the nice glossy look either. Ramsign products are handmade using a special stenciling technique from the late 19th century and they are fully weatherproof which  means they can be outside all year long and the sign won't rust nor will the colors fade.  Each sign comes with a lifetime warranty.  All of their signs are revivals of classic signs from the 1850 to early 1900's eras before they were replaced with tin and plastic signs in the 20th century.  Despite this historical factor, I  love that they have a nice modern look while still respecting the classic style.    

And guess what!! Ramsign is giving one lucky reader a $50 gift certificate to their site! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

10 Reasons Why Winter Is Possibly The Best Season Of The Year

A few short weeks ago, the summer sun shone into our homes and lives as a beacon of all that is good in the world. There was time to relax, go on vacation, and spend time basking in the warmth and light of the sunlight. And then it was gone. Suddenly the night’s are drawing in, the air is turning cold, and the energy bills at home are beginning to rise as we feel the early nip of winter. Depressing isn’t it! Why did summer have to leave so soon? Big sigh! However....

Winter isn’t so bad! Okay, so we miss summer, and it didn’t last as long as it should. But perhaps we should stop looking so glum. There are loads of reasons why winter is awesome, and we have some of them right here. So if you are feeling blue, and many of us do over the winter months, maybe it’s time to cheer ourselves up. Here is why winter is quite possibly the best season of the year. Honestly!

1. You can reconfigure your wardrobe. Purge your summer outfits and restock with something new. From wooly coats to these fabulous farm to feet indoor shoes, now is the perfect time to think about your winter fashion. Not only that, but you don’t even have to choose what to wear every day. In short, you could wear absolutely everything, especially when it’s cold outside. Dress yourself in as many layers as you want, and show off your entire winter wardrobe to your mates in one go! You may need to ask them to turn the central heating down, however, or you will melt faster than a snowman.

2. You can eat soup every day! The perfect way to warm up your belly, there is nothing better than a nice hot soup with some crusty bread. Not only that, but think of those other foods that are perfect when you are in need of some inner warmth. Stew is a winter staple and can be left to simmer on your slow cooker while you’re out doing other things. Come home to the fresh smell of cooking and settle down for a tasty dinner. Chilli is awesome too, and so is a hot curry, perfect for heating up your taste buds. You have probably neglected these foods over the summer, so it’s time to get your chef’s hat on again and prepare something delicious.

3. Those cold mornings are a perfect excuse to spend an extra hour in bed. Yes, you may ruin your fitness plan, but do you really want to go out running in sleet and snow? Your wooly jumpers will hide the extra pounds you put on over the winter months, and you can resolve to get back outside in the New Year when the weather cheers up a little bit. For now, hibernate like a bear, and enjoy the luxury of your duvet.

4. Now is the perfect time to binge watch all your favorite shows on Netflix, or catch up with all your recordings on your Tivo. TV is awesome, and there are always great shows to watch, but if you are anything like us, you may have felt guilty sitting indoors watching the box when the sun was glaring at you through the window. Get back into your favorite shows, snuggle up in a blanket with your feet up, and escape for a few hours into your television.

5. Hot chocolate! Possibly the most enticing two words on the planet. Probably. You can drink as much of it as you want, topped off with whipped cream and marshmallows. Yummy. Of course, you may want to cut back if you’re thinking about your calories, but guess what? There are healthy hot chocolate recipes online, so you don’t need to worry so much when you’re sipping this most decadent of drinks.

6. You can finally stoke up the flames and use your fireplace. Probably dormant over the summer, you now have the excuse to sit in front of a crackling fire, armed with a glass of mulled wine and one of those books that have been gathering dust on the shelf. Don’t have an open fire? Fear not, you can buy an artificial one which pretty much looks the same, without having to reload it with fuel.

7. Snow! Is there anything greater? Well, there’s certainly nothing colder, but wrap up warm, and you can have enormous amounts of fun outside. Build a snowman, have crazy snowball fights and go sledding down the nearest hill. Unless you live in the arctic, the winter is the only season when snow falls, so make the most of the glorious white stuff while you can.

8. Party time! And guess what, we aren’t talking about indoor parties, either! You don’t want your guests treading through your carpets in their muddy boots. We are talking about having a
winter garden party. As crazy as this sounds, the winter is the perfect time for a social, toasting marshmallows on a bonfire, and drinking mulled wine with your besties while wrapped up in your winter woolies.

9. Winter is the time to spend with your family. During the summer, your kids were probably out every day doing their thing, while you were out doing yours. But now the weather is colder; you have the opportunity to huddle up together at home. Put down your smartphones and do something together. You could have a movie night or get out the board games, and create some special bonding moments together. Don’t have kids? Well, you now have extra time to spend with other loved ones. Wrap up warm with your partner under a blanket and have a kiss and a cuddle, and rekindle those flames that don’t come from the fireplace.

10. Christmas!!! Yay, it’s almost time for Christmas. Yes, we know this time can also be stressful, especially on your bank balance, but there are ways to cut the seasonal costs. Besides, Christmas isn’t only about splashing out the cash on expensive presents. It’s a time to be together with your loved ones, and reconnect with relatives you may not have seen for a long time. As the winter cold beats against the window, you can take a break from the outside world and focus on everything that matters. Christmas is a time to be thankful for all that you have in your life, so spread some festive cheer to those around you.

We hope you have a wonderful winter

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Monday, October 16, 2017

My First Post As A Married Woman

I'm back and I'm married!

As you know, last Thursday was our ceremony and over the weekend was our reception party.   The official photos aren't ready yet but I wanted to share some unofficial ones with you since I'm sure you're all excited to see.

Everything went great and I am so glad we chose to do things the way we did!  We saved money, stress, and time.  In the end, we have no regrets and it was a perfect day which is how it's supposed to be.

If you want to take a look back at my wedding planning journey go here.

I hope to have some of the official photos by next week.  Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How to Set Up a Bedroom for Twins: 5 Tips for the Perfect Sleeping Space

Setting up a baby’s room requires attention to detail, but does the process become twice as hard when you’re dealing with twins?

Not necessarily. Two bundles of joy are certainly a handful, but setting up their room to share doesn’t have to be a headache. That said, there are some major points to note during setup that every new parent of twins should consider.

Looking to set up your twins’ room minus any hassle? Keep these five tips in the back of your mind.

Create the Perfect Sleep Conditions
Here’s some for thought: in you want both of your bundles of joy to get a good night’s rest, you can’t afford for either of them to be uncomfortable during bedtime. This means taking extra measures to make sure that the conditions in your twins’ room are optimal for sleeping snuggly.

But how do you create the ideal environment for getting some shut-eye? Consider the following three elements for starters

·       Lighting: soft lights and shading solutions such as wooden blinds can keep harsh light out and help you make sure that it gets just dark enough when it’s time to put the twins to bed
·       Temperature: don’t run the risk of letting your babies get too warm during the night by investing in fans and the softest sheets you can find
·       Humidity: to ensure that your twins breathe easy, considering a humidifier or dehumidifier depending on the climate of your area

Know the Basics of Babyproofing
It doesn’t matter how many babies are sharing a room: babyproofing is crucial for any small child’s room to guarantee their safety and give you peace of mind. The bare minimum of babyproofing for your twins’ room include…

·       Strapping furniture to the wall to avoid any potential falling accidents
·       Steering away from any decorations with small pieces of dangling parts to avoid choking hazards
·       Eliminating any sharp furniture with the help of rubber edge protectors

Don’t Crowd the Room
Perhaps this seems obvious, but it’s to your benefit to take a “less is more” approach in order to give your twins ample room to roam as they get older. You don’t have to double-down on extra toys or furniture just because you have two babies, after all. To optimize space, make the room seem bigger by pushing furniture against the walls to create a less claustrophobic room for your children.

Figure Out Your Crib Situation
While there’s still some debate over whether or not your babies should sleep in the same crib, the choice is ultimately up to you. Two cribs means taking up more space, but it also decreases the likelihood of your children waking each other up. If you go the single crib route, investing in a crib divider is a smart move to saving space without having to buy a separate crib.

Think About the Long-Term
When you’re deciding on exactly where you’re going to set up your twins room, bear in mind whether or not your long-term plan is to have them share a space as toddlers. You might be a bit cramped in your current space; however, many parents do indeed opt for separate rooms as their twins age.

Either way, start thinking today what will eventually become of your twins’ current room and brainstorm furniture needs or arrangements you’ll need to make in the distant future to set up their rooms as toddlers.

Setting up the perfect bedroom for your twins doesn’t have to mean double trouble in terms of the work you put it in. By sticking to these tips, you can set up their sleeping space without breaking a sweat.

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We Are Getting Married This Week!

So obviously if you've been following along you know that our wedding is this week. Actually, our ceremony is tomorrow and our reception party is on Saturday. 

I can not wait!!! Tomorrow we will be at the judge's office by 10 am and then we're going to lunch afterwards with our parents.   Then I think we'll just relax the rest of the day because Friday will be nuts. 

The rental chairs and tables are being delivered Friday and that's the day for me to make all final arrangements.  Setting things up, moving stuff out of the garage into the basement, and cleaning the house and garage from top to bottom.  

I can not wait to share photos with you guys and I have a post coming up next month about how I got married on a budget and I'll break down the cost for every little detail. Let me just say, I didn't want to go over $2,500 and we stayed under that so YAY!!!!

This will be the last post until after the wedding. Thanks for following along and supporting me on my journey to do things different. 

Follow along on social media if you wanna see some pics and videos over the next few days!  I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (EllenR886).

Signing off from my last blog post as an unmarried gal!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Managing your Child’s Asthma: Tips to Reducing Asthma Triggers

Children at times seem like magnets; it seems they can catch any cold or virus strain within 100 miles. What parent doesn’t wonder why they don’t have their own parking spot at the pediatrician’s office. They spend so much time in waiting rooms they should have their mail forwarded there.
As agonizing as these pesky illnesses are, at least they are short-lived. For the one in 10 kids who suffer with asthma, it’s a whole different ballgame. Asthma is a life-long problem that children and their parents must face. Simple tasks like inhaling and exhaling exercises can be overwhelming. Numerous lifestyle changes are necessary but they can be accomplished relatively easy.
These little ones may have chronic inflammation in their lungs, but that typically doesn’t lessen their desire to want to run to the playground, take gymnastics or play ball. Exercise is vital for good health in anyone, especially children. Experts believe that the most effective way to keep your child’s asthma in check is to follow a strict medication regiment – and not limit physical activity. Exercise in moderation strengthen the lungs. Keeping an eye on pollen is recommended. On those days, it may not be advisable to participate in prolonged outdoor activities. And when outside, children with asthma should breathe through their nose instead of their mouth.

The Air we all Breathe

Our atmosphere is packed with an infinite number of particles that don’t drastically impact the respiratory system for most children. But for others, it can quickly spark an asthma attack. While living in a pristine bubble isn’t an option, there are ways to help your child avoid certain environmental pollutants by eliminating these common triggers that are in your control.
 5 Allergens your Child may be Allergic to
1.     Dust Mites in the house
2.     Pet dander
3.     Mold
4.     Cockroaches
5.     Pollen
5 Irritants to Avoid
1.     Smoke from cigarettes or cook-outs
2.     Air pollution
3.     Cold or dry air
4.     Various odors, fragrances
5.     Aerosol sprays and cleaning products

While you want to make your child’s life as normal as possible, you will certainly want to maintain regular appointments with their pediatrician and allergist. If your child is currently taking prescribed medication for asthma, encourage him or her to always keep it at hand.
Ideas to Improve Air Quality in your Home
1.     Mattress Covers
One of the most important and effective ways to protect your child’s mattress and pillows is to cover them with allergy-proof zippered encasing. Also, wash the bedding every one or two weeks in hot water.
2.     Wash stuffed animals frequently
3.     Vacuum and dust often
4.     Prohibit anyone from smoking in your home
5.     If possible, do not allow pets to sleep in your child’s bedroom
6.     Avoid fragrant candles or scented cleaning products

By keeping a journal of your child’s breathing activity, you can relay this information to the proper healthcare provider. Monitor the dates and time when the child is wheezing, coughing and being awakened during sleep due to breathlessness. Also note how often the child needs rescue meds.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Regular Exercise Is Essential for Your Cat’s Physical and Mental Health

Whether you have an indoor cat or an outdoor cat, there is a good chance it sleeps about 16 hours a day. This is normal, but when your cat is awake, it should be active to help maintain a healthy weight. Cat toys are one way to liven up your cat’s life, and there is a wide range of toys available that your cat can play with alone, with another cat or with you. Here are five of the main benefits of play for your cat.


A cat can get exercise in a variety of ways. Unlike a dog that may need to run for a while every day, a cat can get enough exercise by chasing string, fighting with siblings, or tackling a catnip mouse, feather boa or another specially designed cat toy. An indoor cat especially needs to use the skills it is born with, so it doesn’t become fat and lethargic and at risk of developing many diseases. Outdoor cats may have constant stimulation from different smells, insects, animals, leaves and other natural things.


Cats are naturally curious and like to examine their environment. They can get bored and lethargic if they don’t have enough to do, which is one reason they may sit on your keyboard when you have important work. Of course, it may also mean they want a treat, but cats need challenges in their lives. Cats can focus intensely even on the simplest toy, which helps keep them alert and interested especially if they have bouts of boredom.

Relieve Stress

Cats can be stressed too, and exhibit some symptoms such as urine marking, biting, scratching and aggression. Play, especially with toys that fascinate them like a perpetually spinning ball or a catnip mouse, relieves stress and helps stop anxiety from developing. It is natural for cats to hunt, hide and explore. When they don’t experience these outlets for energy, they can become stressed. Toys are designed to let cats use all their natural hunting skills.


Having fun lifts anyone’s mood and it is no different for cats. They enjoy playing with other pets, their owners and toys. If you are not available and don’t have any other pets, one or two toys may be just what the cat needs to stay active and engaged.

Interactive Play

Some toys are designed for you and your cat to play together. These are mainly used to simulate the hunt. You can control the toy to entice the cat to chase it and try to catch it. While always moving the toy away from the cat, you can judge when it is time to let the cat catch the prey. There is a wide variety of interactive toys available and your cat may have its favorite. It may help maintain the challenge to have a few different ones to vary the rules of the game.

Play is an important part of your cat’s physical and mental health, and to keep the excitement high, you should put the toys away after playtime. If they are left where the cat can find them whenever it wants, the toys will lose their thrill aspect. These are general tips for playing with your cat, but each cat has its own personality and individual playing style.

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Getting A Christmas Necklace For Your Girlfriend

Whether you are working, in school, or off at uni, you may find yourself in a situation where your relationship with your girlfriend has reached the level where you want to get her some jewelry that makes her feel special. 

As a man, if you choose a necklace that they actually like, you can send just the right message to them, i.e.  you care and you know them well enough to find something that they will appreciate for some time.

Of course, from your girlfriend's perspective, the necklace type that you pick out for her can also speak volumes about the nature of your relationship currently.

Here are some ways that you can send a message this Christmas by buying a specific type of necklace for your girlfriend:


Most people that care about the woman that they are dating realize that even if your relationship is casual as you approach the holidays, it is a nice gesture to get them something special like a necklace.  If you focus on costume jewelry that is actually made of gold or silver, they will likely keep the pieces for the rest of their life- something that will give you a special place in their heart or their memories for good.

Casual women's necklaces can be well-made and cost-competitive at online sites like  They may seem like a bauble, however, for many events, a bauble is what is called for and your girlfriend will certainly appreciate having something in that category.


If you and your girlfriend are well-educated or you are fans of history or the royalty, finding used jewelry that has classic cuts on the stones is one way to create a conversation starter for your girlfriend the next time she wears your gift to a party.  The biggest question that men often have when they get started looking at vintage jewelry is will your girlfriend actually wear it. 

In most cases, the answer is yes.  If there is real historic value there, the answer would be an emphatic yes.  If your girlfriend received a pearl from Amsterdam that is circa the date of the famous painting 'Woman with an earring', she will likely treasure it forever.  Similarly, there was a trend a few years ago to buy a coin online from an ancestor like King Manfred of Sicily and then hang it from a necklace that was made of pure gold or silver.  That type of historic recognition allowed women to honor their ancestors in a way that used true period pieces.  The nice thing about historic jewelry like that is that it doesn't actually cost that much to order the coin and the matching necklace.


If you have a more serious relationship or if you want to express that you would perhaps like to take your relationship to the next level at some point in the future, getting real stones and real gold and silver necklaces is an excellent way to do it.

Of course, instead of diamonds, if you choose ruby, sapphire, emerald, and opal, you can create quite the library of necklaces for your girlfriend without actually having to pay like you would have to with diamonds.  Different color gems can also allow your girlfriend to pretend that she is a princess because you will of course be able to afford more of them.

Finding the right necklace for your girlfriend over the holidays is one the most exciting purchases that you can make.  The more daring and understanding that you are, the bigger your reward will be if you get it right and find the objet of her desires.

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