Friday, September 30, 2011

Keeping Up's FIRST GIVEAWAY!!!

Happy October!! Its GIVEAWAY Time!!

I know that it is not officially October until tomorrow but I just can not keep it in any longer. So here we go.

I can't believe that I am already at 75 posts!! I have really gotten into this blogging thing since the new year. Finding and reading new blogs that are such an inspiration to me and keep me going. Its been a rough year dotted with many blessings. In the spirit of the beginning of October 2011, I am SO excited to host my FIRST ever Giveaway here on Keeping Up!!

Halloween is coming up. I cannot say that it is my Favorite holiday, or that it ever was but I do look forward to it. I like all holidays because it is a great excuse for changing up the decor in our house. I want to enjoy my "Fall" decorations for a while before I completely start with the Halloween (I think your house should be decorated for Christmas more days than for Halloween - just me though). I like the idea of spooky fun decorations. I love Harry Potter, Bewitched, Halloweentown, Hocus Pocus, Charmed, and all of those fun "witchy" types of shows or movies or books, including the Olsen Twins movies.

I love giving out candy on Halloween. Growing up we lived down a long dark driveway so we hardly ever had any trick or treaters come to our house, so if they DID come they got either big candy bars OR lots of candy. I think the most we had one year was like 12 kids (including their parent chaperone's!) I was so excited when Thomas and I moved into a neighborhood with short driveways. I was looking forward to having lots of trick or treaters to give candy out to. We decorated our yard with a few tombstones, and our house was as decked out as we could afford that year with some spiders and a broom. We got a HUGE amount of candy and the most adorable candy bowl and turned all our lights on. We waited and waited. NOTHING. Not one trick or treater the WHOLE night. It was a bust and I was so disappointed. Last year we went even bigger. Got GIANT candy bars. More tombstones for the yard and more inside decorations too. We had all the lights on and blinds open. Our pumpkins were lit. And we waited and waited. We were up 200% we had TWO trick or treaters!! YAYA. They got like 5 candy bars each I was so excited, told them to tell their friends to come too, idk if they did or not but hey 2 is better than none! I am hoping that this year we at least get 2 if not even more would be fine with me. We have walkway lights and will really try to go all out this year. We will have KING size candy bars again. Some of the really good stuff....

I have already started some of my decorations. I have this adorable bat that I found at a great store in Sumner. Then I made these adorable little spiders. Aren't they just so cute??

Well I hope you like them because I am GIVING AWAY one of these cuties to help you start your decorations! That's right its FREE!! All you have to do to enter is become a follower on my blog and leave a comment in the comments section telling me what you love about Halloween. I will be accepting entries all weekend through 8pm on Monday October 3rd, I will post the winner at 8pm!!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jewelry Display

I have been contemplating ways to store/display my jewelry. I don't have a lot of it. I began thinking that I might want one of those faux paper mache deer heads that I have seen around. But that really isn't my thing. Our bedroom is styled the most contemporary of our whole house with a minor beachy theme. The beachy-ness comes from vintage coral and starfish post cards I got on our 1 year anniversary trip to Vancouver, BC. I framed them with sand colored mattes and black frames. Just this summer I spray painted the frames white to try and lighten up our room - it SO dark, from dark walls and dark furniture.

Anyways, back to the post. We have two "dead" corners in our room where there really isn't much I know what to do with. So in the dead corner near the bathroom I thought would be a great place to store/display/hang my jewelry. I found these great branch/coral looking wall hangers at Urban Outfitters and I just HAD to have them. I was inspired. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Thanks to my wonderful and beautiful mother, she got them for me. They are now up and doing their purpose. I still have a few more things that I need to get for this corner. Like a mirror and such.

But what do you think? Don't you just LOVE it?


PS my giveaway is coming up. Make sure you become a follower so that you can enter to win!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oh Beans

One of the neatest things about growing your own fruits and vegetables is trying new breeds that are not available in the markets. I failed to take a good picture of the Scarlet Runner Beans in bloom. They look just like any other climbing bean except they have bright red flowers rather than white ones. They really attract the butterflies and hummingbirds!!

I tried prepping these two ways. One way in the pods like green beans (their pod is a little stringy) and the other by shucking them. Here is what the actual bean looks like raw.

I also tried some new photo shop on these. But these were the actual colors of the beans. Below is how they turned out after I blanched them for freezing. The color of the water afterwards was beautiful. I wonder if I could have dyed some fabric in that water?? Oh well maybe next year.

Isn't it so interesting how different these beans look raw and cooked? Have you ever had any growing finds like these?

♥ Ashley

I would love to hear from my readers....if there are any. Post number 75 is coming up soon keep a lookout for a great giveaway!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

We Have A Milkman!

I feel so fortunate to live in an area where I can get Fresh Milk delivered right to my doorstep!! Smith Brothers Farms Milk (SBFM) delivers locally to the greater King and Pierce Counties in Washington. Click their link to see if you live in a delivery area!!

I grew up drinking this milk. It was so fun to go out every Tuesday, and get the milk out of the milk box and bring it into the house. We also could change our standing order to get specialty items like Egg Nog or breads and cheeses. It was a wonderful childhood memory. When I was in High School my parents stopped the deliveries (probably because now they had "slaves" to go to the store - ha). In hindsight I guess I thought that the Farm was not delivering anymore. But recently I have been to Tacoma Boys in Puyallup and they sell they at least are not out of business. But too since I do not live near where I grew up I did not think that home milk delivery was possible.

A couple months ago, I learned that Thomas' brother (my BIL) and girlfriend were getting SBFM delivered to their house. I figured that if THEY could get it delivered where they live then it MUST be possible for us. Oh the joys of reliving childhood memories!! I checked it out online. Sent in my contact information. Called several times. No reply. Finally saw them at the Puyallup Farmers Market and was able to sign up there. Then two weeks later we started getting the SBFM delivered to our house every other Wednesday!!! I learned too that the old milk box my parents had (a wood one) is really special since they do not make them anymore. The new ones are metal and insulated so the milk is good for about 11 hours in the box.

Another great thing about this milk is that it is fresh. Comes to you within two-three days of the cow being milked. It's not Ultra-Pasturized like the milk you get in the stores. So it's REAL shelf life is only about 14-16 days. Unlike store brands that are good for like 4 weeks since it takes about 1 1/2 weeks to get to the store. AND the milk you get from SBFM is hormone free!!! Follow the link I posted above and learn about the this wonderful Milk from a local farm in Kent!!

ps I am NOT getting paid for this. I am just so excited about getting this product and wanted to share it with you!!

Thank you all my lovely readers. If you want to comment, just click on the "comments" word just below my name!!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blog Giveaway at ATT!!

Hey all. I love checking out the blogs on my blog roll. I love it even more when they are hosting a give-away. This time, if I post about their give away, I get to enter a second time to win a $100 Gift Card to Pottery Barn!!!!

Go to All Things Thrifty and learn about Home Talk. You too can enter their give away!!! Go check it out and let me know what you think!

PS we are coming up close to post number 75 - I think I too will do a give away but you have to be a follower first!!


Friday, September 23, 2011

In Memory

Thomas has been talking about getting a Windmill like his Grandpa had. He remembers all the love and care his Grandpa put into this Windmill. Thomas has wanted one since we moved into our house. I had been reluctant because I was unsure of how it would look in our front yard. I didn't know how big he wanted. We did not think it was possible to get the one his Grandpa owned because it was at their old house that Grandma sold years after he passed away.

Thomas and I took a drive by trip so he could show me the old house, the Windmill was NOT there. We talked with Thomas' mom. She said the new owners must have gotten rid of it. To her recollection it was cemented into the ground. We soon were to find out that it was still in the family. Thomas' Uncle has retrieved it from the yard during the packing up process. Itself was not cemented but the cables that were holding it down were. He has had it in his back yard ever since.

Now it is at our house in our front yard. I am so happy that Thomas gets to honor his Grandpa this way and his dream has come true. I am very fond of this Windmill as well and cannot imagine our yard without it. It is the perfect addition.

What do you think? Do you have any family heirlooms that you display somewhere? Why are they meaningful to you?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Summer Harvest


According to my calculations, today is the last day of Summer. So here are some pictures of my Summer harvest today. It is quite appetizing, if I may say so.

This is also my attempt at having cool photography with my little camera.

Tomatoes -- Early Girls.
So excited to actually harvest some of these beauties this year.

Lemon Cucumbers.
They are a very mild flavor. Shaped like a lemon.

Green Beans.

Scarlet Beans.

Tomatoes and Cukes.

The whole harvest.

How has your harvest been?

Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads this. If you do please become a follower and leave comments. I am getting close to my 100th post and I am preparing for a give away.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pick a Colour

This is a new nail polish system that is out. I have heard about it and read about it. I am not the nail polish type...shocking, I know. (at least on my fingers)

Why am I not the type for finger nail polish? It never seems to stay on my nails. Somewhere between leaving the salon, getting out my keys, opening the door and starting the engine I have at least one chip if not many. Then I ask myself why I just spent my hard earned money on something so temporary that no one even gets to enjoy it but me for a whole 5 minutes? So I have been boycotting nail polish on my fingers.

Don't get me wrong I LOVE pedicures. My friend told me about this great nail salon in Auburn that is really "cheap" AND they automatically give you a Hot Rock Massage for like 15 minutes!! Pedicures are great. I love picking out bright colors for my toes. And the polish always lasts because my footwear mainly consists of tennis shoes - the joys of being a gym teacher. Nothing is worse in my mind that gnarly toes.

Back to shellac. As the picture above states - Its a 14 day manicure. Its very scientific. You do not get a lotion massage with a shellac manicure because the grease isn't good for the nails pre-polish. The order of the manicure: acetone to dry out your nail, special base coat and then you put your hands under a uv heat light (must be VERY hot), then the colour coat, back under the light, a SECOND colour coat and back under the light, finally a clear top coat and guessed it....back under the light. Then they spray a paper towel with acetone and rub each of your nails to smooth and polish your nails. A little oil on the cuticles and you are done.

At least that is the plan. But silly me. I figured if I was going for a 14 day mani - I might as well choose a bold colour. Bold I did choose its a dark black/purple colour. And of course as my luck would have it...the uv light I was using was NOT hot enough for such a dark colour, so half of my nails, yes you read that right, 5 of my nails bubbled and rippled. I had to soak them in pure warm acetone for about 8 minutes. So gross how the colour just peeled off, they still needed to use a scraper but, my oh my, does this stuff stick on. After I got the 5 repaired they gave me a lotion massage...Lucky me.

It's practically a miracle. I have gone 3 days with this mani and NO chipping. None, Nada, Nothing. Looks just like new! I even put 2 keys onto a key ring and you would never be able to tell if you looked at my nails. I am a believer. Shellac, you had me a Pick a Colour!!

But I did learn my lesson --- choose a lighter color to avoid mishaps.

Have you tried Shellac? What do you think of it?


Friday, September 16, 2011

Inspiration Room

I just love this room. I think it is so neat how the headboard spans the wall behind the side tables. The colors are so soothing and relaxing I love the grays with lavenders. And that chair!! is that to die for? I am so in love with the extra blanket folded up in the side table. I could spend hours in here.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

God Bless America

Ten years ago, I was shocked as I watched the TV and to see those two towers up in smoke, as I was getting ready to go to school. I cannot tell you what I learned that day, I just remember that all our school TV's were turned on to the news and we watched the coverage. We held a special assembly that day and many of our teachers and staff were available for anyone who needed to talk. I cannot believe that it has already been ten years.

It was and still is a devastating day.

Today we are remembering those who lost their lives 10 years ago. Thank you to all our fire fighters and police men/women who risked and gave their lives that day. An additional thank you to those in the military who have fought in the years since 9/11 for our nations freedom and liberty.

America is truly a resilient country.

God Bless America - Land That I Love.

Where were you 10 years ago? What do you remember?


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Praise the LORD

Well today is cause for a CELEBRATION!! After a stressful summer of collecting unemployment since I received a RIF letter in May, I got a job today!! It is for less "FTE" than last year but hey at least its a job. It was a whirlwind of a day and our Labor Day weekend was...lets just was emotional. But it ended up today as a relief. I learned a lot today and hopefully the district I work for did too.

I had a 0.9FTE position last year. Apparently according to the HR department and how they read the contract, they can only offer me or "call me back" for a "LIKE" position meaning the same FTE. Since the job they posted was for less than what I had they didn't even think of offering it to me...but really what is the likelihood in this economy that they would be able to find a 0.9fte this coming year in PE? I mean seriously people. Needless to say, I went down to the district office this morning to "clear things up". Told them I was willing to take a reduction in FTE if it meant that I could at least have a contracted job. I also informed them that it should be MY DECISION to make not theirs in regards to what I am willing to take for FTE. I can still apply for more FTE if it becomes available.

Long story short I am a 0.4FTE. I will be working two days a week and available to sub the other three days. I am keeping my eyes open and fingers crossed for more FTE in PE to become available in the district. While I am not going to be guaranteed the job I at least will get an interview. I am a very happy girl.

Praise the LORD for a job!! Now as for my other prayer requests are you there? are you listening?

What things have you been struggling with lately?


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stars Antiques - Store Tour

A few weeks ago, Thomas and I went to Portland OR, to celebrate my Momala's birthday. I cannot pass up the chance to check out Antique Stores there. Let me tell you this, aside from say Snohomish, WA I have found that Oregon (Portland in particular -b/c its the only place I have been) has THE BEST antiques, antique stores, and the prices are great!

Our first stop in Portland, was Stars Antique Mall. I love this store, I first found it when my MIL and I went to the Junk Salvation in Hilsboro in February this year, after the show we checked out Stars.

Here are some pictures and inspiration that I found at the store this time. Unfortunately, my camera died after only 4 read that FOUR pictures.

I love this look of old yarn and crochet thread rolled up. I think the texture alone is so great. I can imagine this in a bowl on a coffee table or a neat basket in the corner on the floor.

This is such a fun idea of how to use croquet balls and then to fill up old mason jars with goods. I think that a basket of the croquet balls would be a great inspiration and addition to a boys room.

I love the idea of making a permant keep forever "Yard Sale" or tag sale or garage sale (your choice) sign to use whenever you or a friend/neighbor is hosting one. You can guarantee that the rain will not ruin this sign.

This is my favorite find. These are vintage carriage blankets. I picked all three of them up and inspected them, they are in mint condition. This explaines the $350 price tag, But oh what I would do for one of these. The chair is beautiful as well. Well a girl can always dream.

If you are ever in the Portland area and need a great antique store to check out, I highly reccommend Stars.

What are some of your favorite antique stores that you like to frequent?