Ask Away Blog: October 2017

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Rat Happy

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

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Before you cringe and freak out, remember, don't believe the stuff you hear. Rats are amazing pets!   Ever since I was a teenager I've owned at least one rat at a time as a pet.  I love them so much because they remind me of dogs - they are smart, can be trained, and love interacting with humans.


It's so funny because people are quick to assume rats are dirty and icky but that's actually far from the truth. Domesticated rats are obsessively clean critters. In fact after a few minutes of handling Charlotte, she stops and cleans herself.  She has an organized cage where she stores food far away from where she uses the potty.


Rats are just so sweet and intelligent and for those of you that are planning to add a rat to your home, here are some great tips to help keep them happy!




 
Toys are Crucial
Toys help rats explore, embrace their instincts, and gives them something to do so they don't get bored. Rats can actually have failing health if they are bored, neglected, and lonely so the least you can do when you're not handling them is give them something fun. Charlotte loves her Lava Ledge from Chewy. It's basically a pumice rock and it's great for a variety of critters and attaches easily to the inside of their cage.  It has pet safe coloring, and  it allows rats to chew and keep their teeth filed down.   Charlotte uses hers daily! She also climbs all over it.

There are also wooden chews you can give rats, bells, crinkle toys, and when you let them out to play many a rat has become a fan of small stuffed animals and balls. I had a rat that used to roll a ball at me when I rolled it towards him. See, I told you they were smart!


Human Interaction is A Must
Rats LOVE interacting not only with other rats but with humans. They are naturally social creatures.  Start them young so they get used to handling.  I hold Charlotte at least once a day for 5-10 minutes and up to an hour on the days that I'm not super  busy.  She's perfectly content crawling up my arms and then sitting on my lap while I watch TV.


I always tell people that rats are great pets for kids because they don't get nippy.  Rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and mice are actually not big fans of being handled and they can get uncomfortable and bitey.  A regularly handled rat is ecstatic to get some human attention.

Proper Nutrition and Hydration = Happiness
Just like any animal, rats need proper nutrition.  A quality pellet food will suffice and use nuts/berries as treats.  A food that is nothing but seeds and berries is actually comparable to a person eating junk food.  Also, always have fresh water in a water bottle available to your ratty.


I use treats as a reward after Charlotte has good behavior like when I hold her and she doesn't bite me, I make sure she gets a yogurt drop when I put her back in the cage.

Clean their Cage Once A Month
Rats are very low maintenance and a once a month cage cleaning is all it usually takes for Charlotte. I just have James hold her while I dump her old bedding into a garbage bag and then fill her cage with new fresh bedding. 

So as you can see, it's really not that hard to make a pet rat happy.  That's just another reason they make such great pets!








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Happy Halloween from My Wolfpack








Happy Halloween from...
 Rocky the Lumberjack

Pixie the Lion

Stella the little Mexican Chihuahua


Grace the Football player




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Books I Recommend Your Read [October]

Monday, October 30, 2017

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A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor
This was such a fun read.  It was full of emotion about two sisters and a guy named Alex that get stranded on an island after their boat explodes.  Determined to get home despite the drama waiting for them, the two sisters have to come to terms with what has happened in the past and one of the sisters is head over heels for Alex.

Reluctant Hero by Michael Benfante

This is a book about Michael Benfante who survived the World Trade Center attacks and carried a woman to safety.  But this isn't just about that day. It's how his life fell apart in the years after and how he rebuilt. Great read.


City of Refuge by Tom Piazza

This was a great fiction read based on Hurricane Katrina and how it affected the different people of New Orleans.  It is amazing how the author shows the different ways in which it traumatizes people and causes them to rebuild.
This Is Where We Live by Janelle Brown
I love Janelle Brown and she's done it again, weaving together a story of financial hardship and a rocky marriage between Claudia and Jeremy.  I felt totally emotional along with the characters the entire way through the book wondering if they were going to make it or not. You'll have to see for yourself!


The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall
This was a completely realistic fictional story about a family that is rocked by a scandal.  It details how the community reacts and how the scandal with the dad (and students) affects each family member.  It's tragic but stuff starts to turn around in odd ways.  I loved this book and really felt like I was standing there in person watching it all unfold.


The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
Oh my God I don't think I can properly put into words how amazing this book is. You will have to experience it for yourself.  Basically it's about Gabe and Lucy who meet on September 11th at school.   Then they date for a while and have a very heated relationship.  They go their separate ways but over the years they continue to reconnect and cross each other's paths.  Lucy tries to move on in her life and settles for a new man and eventually has children to him.  She still stays in contact (even secretly) with Gabe.  One day, she gets a phone call that changes everything.   You CAN NOT GUESS the ending to this book. AMAZING.  I felt so many emotions during this story.  For sure one of my favorite books.



The Hot One by Carolyn Murnick
This is an AMAZING memoir that I could really relate with.  Carolyn and Ashley are best friends as children and they go down two different paths as they grow older.  At age 22, Ashley is brutally murdered and Carolyn sets off on a mission over the next 10 years to figure out what happened to her friend that led her to a horrific fate. I lost my best friend at age 22 to different circumstances but a lot of how Carolyn copes and what she thinks and feels (as unique as it is) was very similar to me. A must read FOR SURE!








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How To Have A Perfectly Simple Night In

Thursday, October 26, 2017

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Now that we are a married couple we are boring. Just kidding! We have always been boring. No, I'm really just kidding. We aren't boring at all we are just simple and laid back and we like to stay in and relax most nights.   That doesn't mean it's boring because trust me we definitely have fun.  So today I figured I'd put together a post on how to have a perfectly simple night in and really enjoy it.

Choose An Activity
You may not have a ton of choices but I normally choose between a game night or a movie.  Pick your activity and clear your schedules. Let friends know that you aren't available that night!

Limit Phone Usage
If you really want to enjoy a night in, get rid of distractions! That means put away your laptop and tablet and mute your phones!  I actually put mine in the bedroom on the charger so I can't even check it.

Get Your Drink of Choice
Whether it's beer, mocktails, or wine, make sure you stock up on whatever you'd like to indulge in. For me, it's a simple glass of wine and for James it's a simple bottle or 2 of beer. 

Choose Delicious Foods
So this is my favorite part of the night. You can indulge in whatever you like but I love making my own little cheese and cracked board!



This part is so easy because really all you need are some good cheese and cracker options.





My favorite crackers these days are Jarlsberg Cheese Crisps! I like to make little cheese and cracker sandwiches but these are also so delicious to have on their own.  In fact they come in different delicious flavors. 




As for cheese, I love the Jarlsberg Cheese Snacks and the cheese block.   It has a nice nutty flavor and their cheeses are naturally lactose and gluten free which means James can definitely enjoy them!





And the best part is you can munch away without any judgement because it's you and your house.  And if your spouse is there they can do the same.

This is the perfect idea for staying in on super chilly nights or even once the winter hits and it snows.   



And if you are like me and you have 4 dogs - you want them out of your hair so make sure you keep them entertained. I always toss them a treat or two. Purina Pro Plan Tender Strips from Chewy  are perfect because they have a soft texture so it's easy on the tiny teeth my dogs have and they love the lamb flavor! When I want to give them a smaller amount I just tear the treat into bits but honestly, they will take their time consuming this if I give them the whole thing so it keeps them out of my hair! They are really easy for them to digest as well so I can enjoy my night in without having to worry about upset dog tummies!


How do you spend your evenings in?





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Scenes from Our Wedding

Tuesday, October 24, 2017








So as you all know, we got married on October 12th and had a reception on October 14th.   It was amazing.  I wanted to share some photos with you guys and I am also excited to post next month about how I managed to get married for under $2,500.

So for the ceremony these are just a few of many more photos to come.   It was an amazing time. The whole ceremony took not even 10 minutes, the judge was hilarious and awesome, and our parents were so glad to be there.   My dad even got to walk me down the aisle!










Now the reception was A LOT of work.  I did pretty much all of it by crafting stuff or shopping for great deals.  It took about 9 hours to set up and decorate the day before.













I can't wait to share with you how I did it all within my budget in a couple of weeks. So keep checking back!









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FabFitFun Fall Box Favorites Giveaway (Worth Over $160!)

Monday, October 23, 2017

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So hopefully you all remember my FabFitFun Fall Box post here.  If not, check it out and refresh yourselves so you know what you can win!   One lucky winner will get several goodies from the Fall box! 

Up for grabs are: 


IMM Living Coxet Wire Heart Ceramic Jewelry Holder - So this piece was named after a geometer who believed that music and geometry are linked.   Kinda cool, and it's a nice minimalistic piece to hold jewelry or just use as regular room d├ęcor! It's got a value of $33. 
 
Private Party Gym Bag - Not only is there an adorable phrase on this bag but I love the denim wash and the nice cotton handles.  The zipper compartment on the outside seals everything tightly inside and there's even an inner pocket to keep things safe.  It's got a value of $59.
 

Organic Carbon + Coconut Teeth Whitening Powder and Toothbrush - How cool!  A natural way to whiten teeth with the power of activated charcoal.  This is perfect for me since I adore wine and coffee but despise what it does to my teeth.  Average value $43.95.



Trestique Matte Color + Shiny Balm Lip Crayon - Lip crayons are a favorite of mine because it makes it so easy to apply color and I just love that it's a 2-in-1 product.  It has a value of $28!


Good luck!






a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Our Simple Fall Porch Decor + A Giveaway!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017








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.


My First Post As A Married Woman

Monday, October 16, 2017







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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017



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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