Verses

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cat-Dog

I have determined that we did not get a cat from the shelter a couple months ago. I am fairly certain we got an orange dog that looks like a cat.

She is unlike any cat we've owned as a couple yet. Which basically means any cat I've ever owned.

But that's okay because I'm pretty sure she is a dog.

For example, she seeks us out to get petted on. No cat I've known or heard of does that - at least not with the several times a day frequency that she does. The dog doesn't even ask to be petted or cuddled as much as she does.

She will even WAKE ME UP in the middle of the night to get attention. Anyone who knows me just said, "oh no!" in a deep scared voice. I need my sleep.

She also will push her nose under the edge of your hand to get you to pet her. Only dogs do that, right?

She will crawl into your lap to get petted and go to sleep on it.

She chases balls and carries them around in her mouth.

She likes to sleep at my feet when I'm in bed.

She DROOLS when you pet her.

She begs for our food (I know all animals probably do that until they are taught better but still).

She chews shoes. grrr

And the mother of all of them: I caught her drinking out of the toilet yesterday. Our dog doesn't even do that.

I think Rocky has decided that she must have some dog in her too. They play a strange game of tag where they take turns chasing each other. First he'll chase her into the living room, then she'll chase him into the hall. Then they switch and do it again. I have to admit it's pretty funny to watch.

I guess we chose well when we picked her. She fits right in with our weirdo family.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Freezer Clean

I don't really have a recipe today because I am currently cleaning out my freezer somewhat. That means we're having Manicotti (with my frozen ricotta), Pizza with toppings that are not our normal fare, Creamy vegetable soup from the frozen clearanced half and half, Pot pie (with the frozen collected leftover mix of veggies), Apple Pie (with a bag of frozen apples I found in the back) and other yummy stuff.

 Having a freezer that is actively being rotated is good for any household. When you do this, at least once a year if not more, you're making sure that food doesn't get freezer burn or end up buried for seven years so that it has to get thrown out.

That means you don't waste food -- which is kind of the reason you throw it into the freezer in the first place, right? So it doesn't go to waste.

It can also be fun, believe it or not. Finding something in there and determining to use it forces you, at times, to think creatively with your menu. Or, at the very least, to make something you haven't had in a while. Most of the time, if that 'something I haven't made in a while' is a thing that everyone likes, the reason I haven't made it in a while is because it is time consuming or I have to think ahead to make it. So that gives me a good excuse.

It also is self-supporting in a way -- seeing that little bit of space you made keeps you going. Seeing that empty shelf you cleaned out encourages you to work on another one. And so forth. When you're all done, you can look inside and see everything you have, probably a little bit organized, and it makes you feel pretty good.

If you need a more gradual approach to cleaning out your freezer, you can always just make a list of things in it that you'd like to use and then incorporate one or two meals a week that use those ingredients until you've emptied your list.

This can be good for your budget too. It means you're using things you have already rather than going out and buying more. And you can make room for when you come across that great deal at the store or farmer's market.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This One's for the Dogs

 The last time Hubby took Rocky to the vet's office, as he was checking out, the receptionist said, "There's that stocky boy." Hubby looked at Rocky and said, " You hear that? She's calling you fat." She said something about not using that particular word and they chatted some more.

But the little experience led to his designation at home as 'Stocky Rocky.'  And he has always had a bit of a weight problem. While he is full - blooded Min Pin and supposedly his father was only 9 pounds, I have had less and less confidence in the breeder we bought him from as the years have passed.

And, frankly, I think we might end up in trouble for it if we somehow managed to keep him below 10 pounds. He just seems more muscular than that. He is overweight though and by several pounds.

That is something we have been working on -- well, I have. Part of the reason he is overweight is that Hubby seems to believe he should have dog treats on a regular and consistent basis.

In addition to the fact that this makes him overweight, it also tends to upset his stomach (which is particularly sensitive -- he's had pancreatitus twice already). I got a little pushy about it a couple weeks before we went on our little trip to Arkansas for Independence day. That's why he has a little bit of a waist in these pictures.




Now that we've gotten back, Hubby and I were talking about this and we've decided to try something different.

I've lost weight solely from taking a lot of additives out of our diet so why not the four-legged members of our family as well. A couple of years ago, I remember one of the bloggers I read regularly discussing how she fed her dogs. She had done it the same way for all of their 10 years and they had only needed one vet visit for an issue (a parasite). In addition, her vet had commented on their good health and diet.





So we decided to give it a try. A lot of the recipes I've found called for raw meat but her recipe is cooked due to stomach sensitivities in one of her dogs. Sound familiar? It sounded like just the ticket to us.

We've been giving it a try. Rocky loves the food so far and would gladly take more of it. The other reason he's overweight is that he's kind of a pig.

We've been giving him 1/4 cup three times a day plus his CET chew (for his teeth). This is based on his ideal weight of 8 to 10 lbs as opposed to the 18 pounds he currently weighs.

I had to google how much he needed to have per day. I tried to use a dog food calculator that calculated his ideal weight but it was very confusing. So, in the end, I just converted her dog's weight (she is in Australia and uses metric) to pounds and divided it to come up with Rocky's serving. If he were more active or younger, I might increase it slightly or conversely decrease it for a much older dog.

We initially planned to give him 1/4 cup twice a day by using that conversion and his chew in between but he walked around staring at us like we were starving him and began banging his food dish in protest. Since he's quite a bit larger than his ideal weight right now, we decided it might be better to take his amounts down to the correct one a little more gradually. That way he wouldn't think he wasn't being tortured and we didn't have to endure his mournful looks. And we seem to have hit the right amount with the three times a day.

He seems to think that his new food is awesome and the only time he's had stomach issues was the morning after Hubby gave him two or three treats one night. I pointed out AGAIN that they are pretty rich for his tummy.

Another benefit -- one that I really like -- is that I now know exactly what is in his food. No chemicals or additives I can't pronounce.

And I'm looking forward to comparing his health once we complete our little experiment.

Once he is eating twice a day, this recipe will make enough to last just over a month. It costs around $8. The bags of food we've been buying have been about the same so knowing he's getting something better in quality is worth it.

And if it saves us just one vet bill (like the $500 one for his first bout of pancreatitus), that will have been well worth the little bit of time it takes to make this.

You can read about her experience with the recipe here, here and here. This is her recipe which we used (converted).

Appx. 2 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1½ cups raw brown or white rice
1 cup raw barley OR lentils
1 cup raw pasta
2 cups chopped vegetables - it can be whatever you have on hand but NOT ONIONS or LEEKS.
1 spoonful of Vegemite or peanut butter (optional - we didn't use it)
Water

Place all the above ingredients into a big stockpot. Cover with water and stir to break up the ground beef. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. When it's finished cooking, top up the stockpot to the rim with water and leave to cool.
When it's cold, place into portion sized plastic containers and freeze until you need them.

One note: Dogs are omnivores so this works for them. Cats, however, are true carnivores. You would need to use something different for them. Since Calista is still a kitten, we haven't changed her diet and probably won't, at least until she is an adult. She still needs more calories as a kitten not to mention other needs as she grows.

Friday, July 11, 2014

VBS

Rugrat attended her first VBS a few weeks ago. Always before, we have been either scheduled for something else or I didn't think she could handle the chaos of it (when she was still adjusting) or it didn't work out for some other reason. This one proved, however, the perfect one for her first. It was a Dr. Suess theme. And the cat in the hat (just about her favorite character) was very prevalent in it.





I kind of wish it had been a week earlier or later since she ended up being up over an hour past her bedtime every night and we could tell the rest of the week. That sleep didn't get caught up on either before we made our 4th of July trip. But all in all, she handled it fairly well.

And she had a great time! She asked each night if she could go back and requested that I wash her t-shirt each day so she could wear it again.

The youth minister (though he could have stood to work on his rhythmic reading of his lines) dressed up as the Cat in the Hat each night and endured so she decided he was awesome too.

I think we'll definitely make an effort not to let her miss it from now on.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mildly Disturbing


Found this the other day. What has Rugrat done to her poor Ken doll? Isn't he tortured enough with that terrible haircut? And now this?

I can't decide if this is funny or weird. How 'bout you?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On the Road Now

Just before leaving for my mom's, we hit another milestone in our family.


Dude tested and got his permit! Next is to take him on the road. He has to wait six months before he can test and he'll have some drives with the driving school in that time as well but the majority of it will be with good ole' mom and dad.

Prayers always appreciated. :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day Weekend

 For Independence Day, we visited my mom's lakehouse on Lake Ouachita in Arkansas. We went out on the boat on both Friday and Saturday to enjoy the lake.

Here are some pictures from the day:





















On Saturday evening, everyone except for my mom and us had to head back due to obligations at their congregations. My mom was really wanting to go to the weekly bluegrass festival in town (Mount Ida) so Hubby, Rugrat and I bit the bullet :) and went along.



Rugrat seemed to be having a pretty good time. Mom taught her how to tap her knee in rhythm to the music (this guy at the very right edge of the picture was two-hander expert knee tapper -- fun to watch).



She even jumped up and "Wah hoo"-ed a few times and stood up to dance along, much to the delight of the lady sitting behind us.

Mom got her a possum (I can only guess that this is some Mt. Ida thing)


 and a little can of possum meat


whose ingredients list includes: "tire tracks, possum fur, bones, asphalt, gravel, road sludge, and more." Mmmm, mmm, mmm!

We visited the local church the next morning, hung out some more, and then headed for home that evening to collapse. It was a fun weekend and we all enjoyed ourselves.