Saturday, July 16, 2011


We've been on a bit of a fostering hiatus lately since we've been really busy and adjusting to new work schedules (despite the economy both the hubs and I have managed to to transition to new jobs in the last several months without any down time).  Anyway, I couldn't say no anymore when I got an email, sent specifically to me that said


So even though we're still crazy busy (even busier, actually, we just started doing a boot camp class this week), we decided that we've got things under control enough to take Kansas in (my conscience wouldn't let me do anything else).

Sunday afternoon the one year old Aussie named Kansas made the trip from Pittsfield, IL up to Chicagoland along with a Dalmatian and Chocolate Lab.  And on Monday instead of being put down he got put under to get neutered and got to wake up afterward and come home with me.  He already got a bath and once I finish brushing the burrs out of his fur he'll be good as new!

Kansas has been great so far.  He is super, super sweet and gentle.  He's been great with Lenny and Waldo - Waldo actually isn't afraid of Kansas and will come into the same room as him to hang out instead of just watching everything from the top of the stairs.

Kansas showing off how good he is with the cats

Kansas is already house trained; he's not quite crate trained yet, but every time he's crated he cries and barks for shorter periods of time before calming down and taking a nap.  Right now he sticks to my leg like glue when we go out in the yard or for a walk, but I think as he gets more comfortable he'll become more confident and start exploring on his own a bit more.  I'm really excited to watch his personality really start to come out.

Kansas and Dash hanging out together

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White and Blueberry Muffins

Happy 4th of July! 

This morning I found myself face to face with a mostly full carton of blueberries in my fridge.  Now, I like blueberries as much as the next guy, but the hubs and I aren't such blueberry fanatics that we could eat 2+ cups of them on our own before they go bad.  Dash woke us up extra early this morning, so I decided to take advantage of the morning and bake some blueberry muffins.

I got this recipe from my mom and modified it a little; this recipe also works for chocolate chip muffins or pretty much whatever else you feel like tossing in there.  You can increase the amount of whole wheat flour or eliminate it all together depending on what you're in the mood for - the proportion doesn't really matter as long as you end up with 2 cups of some kind of flour total.  This makes about a dozen muffins, but I doubled it so I could use all of my blueberries.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs baking powder

1 egg
1/3 cup oil (I used olive oil - melted butter would also work instead of oil)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400F.  Blend the wet ingredients together.  Blend the dry ingredients together and then combine with the wet ingredients.  After rinsing the blueberries, sprinkle about a teaspoon of flour on them to coat - this will help the blueberries stay suspended in the batter so they won't all just sink to the bottom.  Mix the blueberries into the batter.

Grease a muffin pan and add the batter (I put about 1/3 cup into each muffin).

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Allow muffins to cool for a few minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack.

Try not to burn your mouth with the molten blueberries as you shove the muffins into your mouth!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weave! Weave! Weave!

Eeps, it's been a while since my last post!  Going to try and post more regularly!

About a month ago we wrapped up an agility class for Dash.  It was so fun and Dash was a total rockstar!  It's definitely something we want to try and continue to do with him.  Dash is a smarty pants with lots of energy whose main goal in life is to be with his people and make them happy, so it's a perfect fit.  Check out some videos from the last day of class!

Awesome, right?!  And pretty much all of the mistakes that he made were really my fault.  Turns out there's almost as much to learn as a handler as the dog does for agility.  You have to know what path to take, how to direct your dog, what to say and all that jazz.  Good times were had by all.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Foster Wall of Fame

This is a collection of pictures featuring some of our fosters from the last 3 years.

Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty proud of the fact that we don't even have room to showcase all of our foster dogs, even with 20 frames.

This project was really inexpensive and easy to do.  I bought all of these picture frames at the dollar store, Ikea and Hobby Lobby and didn't pay more than $3 for any of them - most were only $1.  I got no more than two of any one frame and didn't really pay attention to the color of the frames because a can of spray paint solved that problem.

To get all of the frames to hang neatly on the wall and avoid putting a thousand holes in the wall, I carefully laid out a pattern.  I traced each picture frame on a piece of paper, marked where a nail would go to hang the frame and labelled it so I would know which was which.

Using painter's tape to hold them in place, I took all of the paper cut out frames and laid them out on my dining room table, rearranging until I came up with a pattern I liked.  I measured the size of the rectangle the frames created all together.

Using a level, yard stick and more painters tape I marked the edges of the large rectangle on the wall.  Then I moved all of the cut outs from my dining room table to the wall.  I put the nails where I had marked on the cut outs and then put the frames up - this is easiest if you put in all the nails through the cut outs and then remove/replace the cut outs/frames one by one so you don't get confused about what goes where.  I think I only ended up having to fix one or two of the placements when it was all said and done - not bad if you ask me!  I put all of the extra pictures I had printed in a photo album to keep on the entryway table (which you can sort of see in this less than stellar photograph).

I like seeing all the fun pictures and adorable faces.  And I think it looks great on the wall and is a nice conversation piece, too.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hippity Hop

Happy Zombie Jesus Day, everyone!

Dash is rocking his bunny ears but stole and ate his adorable bunny cookie before I could get a picture.  Oh well.  Here's to another great day to get delicious, seasonal candy on sale and eat ourselves sick.  Happy holidays!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Keep an Eye on Your Olive Oyl

Because Bluto is swinging by!  Almost four weeks ago I picked him up after work.  Bluto is an Australian Shepherd and I would guess about a year old.  Even though he had just been neutered when I got him he was go-go-go!  I knew he and Dash would be buds and we'd probably have to stop them from wrestling since Bluto was supposed to stay quiet for a week or two to recover from surgery (yeah, right!).

Bluto is a confident dog; not fearful at all.  But he was really stressed the first few days with us.  And I can't really blame him.  On Sunday he made the trek from Pittsfield, IL to the suburbs of Chicago.  On Monday morning he was neutered and got a few remaining vaccines and in the evening I picked him up and brought him home.  It's a lot to take in!  So even though Bluto was wanting to play with Dash and exploring the house he would.not.stop.panting.  At all.  Or sit still.  For four days.  The e-collar he was wearing was just soaking wet with drool from all the panting, so we were constantly refilling the water bowl so he wouldn't get dehydrated.

Aside from the frantic panting I could really see Bluto's potential.  He was very smart and generally well mannered (except for the thrashing when you'd try to crate or leash him - ha!), not to mention gorgeous!  By Thursday Bluto started to relax a little bit and he was doing great by Saturday.  Which worked out well for him, because he got adopted that day, just a week after arriving to us.  It also kept us out of trouble, because I think if we had Bluto for too long we would have a really hard time letting him go.  I mean come on, then we'd have matching orange/grey sets of both our cats and dogs!  That would also make fostering trickier though, so it really was for the best.

Bluto, now named Harley, has a shepherd mix doggie sister and a teenage human sister, both of whom he's going to have lots of fun playing with!

Side note: Okay, so Bluto is the name of Popeye's nemesis.  Basically Bluto has a crush on Olive Oyl, Popeye's girlfriend, and keeps trying to kidnap her.  Um, what?!  That's practically cartoon date rape!  Anyway, I was kind of surprised by it because I never noticed when I watched Popeye as a kid.  So weird!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Snack

Dash hopes everyone enjoyed their St. Patrick's Day as much as he did with his special cookie.


The humans ate corned beef made the same way as last year.  Brainstorm for next year is to use sweet potatoes!

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Decoration Inspiration

The other day I finally decided on a color scheme for our guest room.  Something that has plagued me since we moved in 2.5 years ago.

Anyway, I happened to find myself at Home Goods just a few days later and as I was walking around I saw some bedding that I liked.  I took a picture with my phone so I could keep it in mind.

Then I found an awesome vase that complemented the bedding.  I had to have it.  It spoke to me.  It said, "Carolyn, I am awesome.  And there is only one of me.  If you leave me, I might not be here when you return, and you might regret it forever.  Seize the moment and put me in your cart!".  So I did.

With vase in cart I made a decision.  I was going to redecorate the guest room  I scurried back to the bedding and put it in my cart.  Of course, I would want some other accessories besides the vase.  I found 2 fun picture frames and into the cart they went. 

It would be nice to have a lamp by the bed for reading.  Several trips up and down the lamp aisles later I found the perfect one, hiding behind two other lamps in a corner.  I even found some cool art to hang on the wall that goes with my idea for a collection that I've been thinking about for quite some time now.

Thomas and I decided that if I was going to go to the effort of redecorating the whole guest room, we should really put in a queen sized bed.  The twin is fine when our guests are flying solo, but often they come in pairs...kind of like clown fish...

The twin bed we have now has a ton of storage underneath it, which I am not about to give up.  I'm eyeing this storage bed from Ikea.

photos from Ikea's website

Tons of space to put stuff under the bed.  And the headboard has shelves and the top is really wide, so the cats can still have a perch to look out the window (yes, I am a crazy person who chooses furniture based on her animals' hobbies).  I might paint the whole thing brown so it will sort of match the dressers we already have in the guest room, which we plan on keeping there.  Not 100% decided on that yet though.

I'm hoping to have the room mostly done for when my parents come visit in the middle of March, and totally done by the end of the month.  So we'll see how that goes!

* * * BONUS! * * *

I also found this a-freaking-dorable cat bowl at Home Goods.  Lenny and Waldo don't really have their own water bowls, we just use some bowls from an old set of dinnerware.  I had to get this for them.  Two, actually.  I mean, come on, it looks just like them - how could I not?  And at $4 a piece it seemed like a deal to me!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Southern Comfort

Alice finally went home to her forever family on Saturday.  It was a long time coming; a delayed spay appointment and prearranged vacation meant Alice's new parents had to wait nearly a month to meet her.  They have incredible patience!

When Mike and Patty arrived at our house Alice warmed right up to them and gave out lots of her signature kisses. 

An hour or two later and the new family headed home way down south (okay, it's more like halfway down Illinois, but still quite the long haul to get a new pup!).  Mike and Patty were super nice; we know they're going to spoil Alice and that she'll have a fabulous life with them.

Being bashful about a new collar

On their way home Mike and Patty even sent me some pictures of Alice sleeping in the backseat of their Corvette (um, awesome!). 

Later on they called to say that Alice and her big (and I do mean big) sister Holly the Great Dane were getting along nicely.  And Alice is now named Savanna.

The house is a little quieter; we had Alice nearly 2 months and she and Dash wrestled nearly every waking moment of that.  We're really happy that Alice is going to have a canine companion in her forever home!  And of course we know she's going to get loved to pieces by her humans!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hunk of Love

I just found out Hunk got adopted - woohoo!  Hunk was actually adopted by a neighbor of another volunteer at the rescue and is now named Charley. His new family has 3 older kids and a cat to keep him busy.  The cast came off and his leg healed up just fine.  Looks like he's enjoying the snow, too!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's a Blizzaster!



The Snowpocalypse

Snowprah Windfreeze says 
"You get a shovel!  And you get a shovel!  And you get a shovel!"


A Gigantic Clusterflake

Inglorious Blizzerds

Motherflakin' Flakes on the Motherflakin' Plain 

I've heard so many of these I don't even know who to give credit to for all of them (although my favorite is still Blizzaster).  We even had ThunderSnow!  I don't know if you've ever heard thunder during a crazy snowstorm (or any snowstorm) but it's pretty bizarre.

We'll start with some views from the street.

Someone on a snowmobile at the park across the street from us (usually reserved for little league and soccer games)

The street in front of our house (see the tip of the fire hydrant peeking out?)

Our driveway - it took Thomas over and hour of shoveling and at least 3 hours with a big snowblower to finally get the driveway and our sidewalk cleared.  The piles of snow have actually grown from this as a result of subsequent rounds from the plow trucks.

A car parked in front of our house while they helped some people down the street dig out their driveway

Now we'll move to some views of the yard.  Keep in mind that our fence is 5 feet high.

The backyard by the kitchen

The front of the house

The front of the screen room (I love the swoop of snow on the roof)

Our garage and driveway

The front of the fence

The front corner of the house

Inside of our front fence gate

The inside of front fence gate from different angle

I love this shot of the siding on the garage

Thomas' Miata was parked in the driveway for the storm - see the side view mirror?

I think the official count has us finishing up around 20" of snow, making it the area's third largest snowstorm in recorded history.  A storm in 1967 with 23" and one in 1999 with 21" eeking out ahead of this year's snow storm.

It's pretty fun to see all of the snow drifts.  Starting Tuesday afternoon you couldn't see much of anything.  Almost all of our windows were at least 80% covered in snow and aside from that there was almost zero visibility outside, so either way about all you could see could only be described as white.

Some snow made its way past our storm doors and stuck to our front and back doors.  If you opened almost any double hung window in our home you could make several respectably sized snowballs from the snow trapped between the screen and the glass.  There are drifts of snow in our backyard that are over 4 feet tall.  When Dash and Alice run around in the yard they sort of hop around like bunnies because I think they just sort of top out at their bellies in a lot of places and aren't actually standing on anything solid.

Thomas took a picture of his feet while standing in one of the drifts of snow

The dogs had a blast running around outside in the aftermath on Wednesday

On Tuesday night we kept wondering why whenever the dogs would come in from a quick potty break in the yard Alice would look fine and Dash looked like the Abominable Snowman.  Then on Wednesday we realized it was because Dash was spending his time doing this...

Alice is on the lookout while Dash searches for buried treasure in the snow

And of course they wrestled in the snow.  I assure you there are two dogs in these pictures, but I can't really tell where one begins and the other ends.

Dash pulling himself out of the deep end of the snow

This is one of my absolute favorite pictures from the Blizzaster - Alice leaping through the air like some kind of ninja puppy

Thomas couldn't resist jumping into the snow, and Dash couldn't resist trying to rescue him (from what I'm not sure, but he was bound and determined to rescue Thomas from something)

So we survived the snowstorm with no casualties.  We didn't even lose power.  And we both got a day off of work!

Also, Thomas gets credit for most of these pictures.  I came outside for a few minutes to admire his handiwork of clearing the snow and to check out the historic weather, but that was it.  I would have much preferred going sledding, but instead I spent almost ever other moment last week laid up in bed with the flu.  In case you've been considering getting the flu yourself, I do not recommend it.  At all.  Without a doubt one of the least pleasurable experiences of my life.  Get your flu shots, kids!  I put off getting mine this year and that is not a mistake I will soon be repeating.

Oh, and we got a few more inches of snow today!  With all the fuss of the snow last week I guess the weather people figured their jobs were done and as far as I can tell, completely forgot to inform us of this weekend's impending snow.  It's nothing compared to what we got on Tuesday and Wednesday, but we're kind of running out of places to put all this extra snow.  The roads don't even have all of the lanes cleared yet, which is a problem I doubt will be resolved anytime soon.  But at least everything looks like a lovely Winter Wonderland.