Thursday, March 20, 2014

Birth Stories

So you've read Story Number One where I became a mama,

     Story Number Two where my traumatic birth was redeemed, even down to the details,

Story Number Three where Esther arrived before the midwife even did...

     and Story Number Four where our precious baby boy was born two years ago now!

Each story is unique and magical and I am honored to have been blessed with each of these little ones to love and care for.  I realize its been slow on the blog - I'm still here.... just working on Story Number Five, to come in October!  :)  I enjoy writing, and am balancing my online time with homeschooling my kiddos and spending time loving on them.  I'll squeeze in a quick post whenever I have time, and of course stay tuned for Story Number Five in October!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Elk Antlers!

There are many different things for a puppy to chew on: shoes, the rug, the kids toys...

In researching what to buy for Poca to chew, I came across this article, and purchased a few Wholesome Hide rawhides.  She chewed through the chips too quickly, but one of the larger rolls lasted her quite some time.  On further searching, I saw "bully sticks" recommended.  Oh. my. goodness.  I could not even believe what those are made of.  Lets just say its much worse than a pig ear, which is nasty as well....

Finally I saw elk antlers recommended as a great choice for dogs to chew on.  I read about antlers on a few forums and then saw them in the local pet stores as well.  Antlers, phew, I can handle that.  Evidently elk antlers are the premium choice - deer antlers can splinter, but elk are just right.  Antlers are the perfect chew toy because they are naturally shed by elk and readily available.  There are no preservatives or crazy ingredients in them either.

I found Mountain Dog Chews and was really impressed with their website and philosophy.  They agreed to send some Elk antlers for us to try out - Poca could hardly wait for us to get them out of the package for her!

She has had these antlers for almost four months now (she is definitely not this tiny anymore!), and they have held up amazingly well.  She LOVES them and chews on them quite often.  Antlers are one of the only things that I am comfortable leaving in her crate with her because I know that she is not going to ingest too much or break them.

Mountain Dog Chews staff was very helpful with figuring out what type and size of antler to get Poca.  We  got some that were split down the center, allowing her to get to the yummy middle part without too much work.  This is one of her well loved antlers:

You can see that she is in no danger of swallowing or breaking it; its simply worn down all over.  Antlers can be pricey, but considering how long they have lasted her, they are well worth it.  I highly recommend picking some up for your dog, and highly recommend the quality and good service we received from Mountain Dog Chews.  Has your dog tried antlers?  They even come in some enormous sizes for those power chewer dogs!

Disclosure: We received a package of elk antlers in exchange for our honest review.  Poca gives them two paws up!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Safe Paw Ice Melt

Although winter is nearing an end, we are still getting snow here in Michigan!  It has been a winter full of snow, ice, and more snow and ice.  With Poca needing to go outside multiple times a day, I went searching for a safe ice melt for our back steps.  

 (see the lamp post?  totally buried!)

Poca is funny - she's scared of steps.  It took her the longest time to actually walk down the couple of stairs we have in the back.  At first she was so tiny that we carried her to where we wanted her to go potty, but we eventually had to coax her down the steps.  She still won't go down the back stairs into our basement without lots of encouragement.  As you can see, I really didn't want the steps to get icy and traumatize her further!

I looked up many different kids of ice melt and settled on Safe Paw.  Salt is actually not a good option for ice melting - it damages the environment and causes pain and irritation to pet paws.  Some companies take rock salt and simply smooth off the jagged edges, which doesn't really solve anything.  Others market chemicals mixed with salt or products that still contain hefty warnings on them.

I am not a scientist by any means, but in all my searching, Safe Paw came up as a winner each time.  It is guaranteed safe for children, the environment, pets, and your property.  It is also safe to use on my wooden steps.  I still used it sparingly because I didn't like Poca tracking it in - Isaac thought it was candy and would try to pick up the little pieces.  However, when I really needed it, Safe Paw seemed to provide just enough traction and melt that Poca could safely get down the steps.  I used it on our front sidewalk a few times also when it got too icy.  I'm happy we've found a safe brand to use!

Safe Paw sent us a jug of their ice melt to review.  Check out their FAQ for more information.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Crock Pot Lasagna (gluten and dairy free!)

I adapted this recipe from one I found somewhere on this blog.  I ended up changing the amounts quite a bit, but am ever grateful for the general idea.  This tastes like lasagna!

1 lb ground turkey, cooked with onion flakes and garlic salt
     (you could also use sausage and some Italian seasoning)
10 oz gluten free lasagna noodles
3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup almond milk
2 - 24oz spaghetti sauce jars

In Vitamix, blend 1/2 cup cashews and 1/2 cup milk.  After this is blended, add another 1/4 cup of cashews to thicken it up.  This is your "cashew cheese".  You could throw in some Daiya shredded cheese if you wanted to.

Spray crockpot with canola oil.  Layer meat and sauce, uncooked lasagna noodles, and cashew cheese.  Repeat several times.  Be sure the top is coated with enough sauce that the noodles are covered.

Cook on low 3-4 hours.

Isaac was a big fan!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dinosaur Hoodie

$4.50 hoodie on clearance at Target
+ a little bit of green felt
= one happy dinosaur boy

I used this post as my inspiration.

This is the trick: sew the diamonds on and then sew them closed.  Super easy!

Apparently dinosaurs wear sunglasses.