Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve!

Celebrate with friends old and new, 
and reflect back on the wonderful memories that each year has brought...

Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ringing in 2016 Safely with Your Dog

Our dogs were never fans of fireworks and loud noises, especially as puppies.  Trying to keep them calm, relaxed and safe was always a priority.  Here are some tips to ring in 2016 safely with your furry friends!

New Year’s Eve is the night we say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. It’s an evening to enjoy and de-stress from the holiday season. While you may be looking forward to having a good time, there’s one member of your family who doesn’t quite care - your dog. In fact, most dogs just don’t like New Year’s Eve because of all the loud noises associated with it. Even the best dog fence can’t contain a dog who’s suddenly frightened by fireworks. Here’s some information on how you can ring in 2016 with your dog as safely as possible. 

Separate Your Dog from the Party
If you’re having a party or gathering at your home, your dog may be even less excited by New Year’s Eve. Because dogs have such sensitive ears, they tend to dislike large groups of people, loud music, noisemakers, and the like. Your dog will appreciate being kept away from the party, so use a spare room, gate, or invisible dog fence to separate them from the action. This will make things much easier on your dog’s ears. If you’re going out, leave your dog at home. 

Keep Your Dog Away from the Fireworks
You should never bring your dog with you to any fireworks displays, and you should keep your dog indoors if you can hear them from your house. If your neighbors might set off fireworks, keep your dog inside. It’s also dangerous for dogs to be outside if you’re setting off fireworks, because your dog could unexpectedly move into the path of a rocket and become seriously injured or killed. If people are going in and out of your house throughout the night, consider using a gate or  wireless dog fence in the doorway to ensure your dog can’t escape through an open door. 

Don’t Leave Alcohol or Snacks Within Reach
Alcohol is toxic to all living creatures, and it’s especially toxic to animals like dogs. Never allow your dog to drink alcoholic beverages, and do whatever you can do keep them out-of-reach. Ask your guests not to leave their cups unattended, because your dog may try to taste them, especially if the alcohol is mixed with anything sweet. Snacks can also become choking hazards, make your dog sick, or even cause life-threatening illnesses, so make sure guests know not to feed your dog or leave their plates unattended. 

Keep Your Dog on a Leash When Outdoors
If you do have to bring your dog outside, always keep them on a leash. Make sure their collar fits them properly, too, so they can’t slip out of it. If your dog hears a noise that scares them, they can react unpredictably, including making a run for it. If you rely on an electronic dog fence to keep your dog in your yard, realize that your dog may disregard the boundaries if they become very afraid. Do not leave your dog tethered on a leash, however; always make sure you are holding the leash so your dog cannot choke themselves or get tangled in it. 

Give Your Dog a Quiet Room to Sleep In 
The kindest thing you can do for your dog on New Year’s Eve is give them a quiet room to sleep in for the night. If you’re staying overnight somewhere and bringing your dog, consider bringing along a portable DIY electric fence so you can give your dog their own space in an area that’s farthest away from the noise as possible. Make sure your dog has food, plenty of water, and a comfortable bed and toys to play with. Items that your dog is used to will provide comfort and a sense of security on a night that’s not routine. 

Recognize Signs of Stress or Sickness
If you notice your dog vomiting, having diarrhea, or having difficulty breathing, be sure to call your vet’s office right away, as they may have ingested something toxic. You should also look out for signs that your dog is stressed out, which include cowering, panting, jumping, hiding, pacing, freezing, staring, and shaking. Any behavior that’s unusual for your dog is likely a sign of stress or being overwhelmed, so take your dog to a quiet, dark location to rest. Make sure they have plenty of water, because dehydration is a real risk when your dog is feeling stressed.

Resolve to Get Fit with Your Dog
If your New Year’s resolution revolves around your fitness goals, include your dog in your plans. As long as your dog is physically capable, exercise is incredibly important for their long-term health. Speak with your dog’s vet before making drastic changes to their activity level. Then, try to go on a walk or jog daily, or take a tennis ball outside and play catch. When walking your dog, use a properly fitting harness and keep them on a leash at all times. In the evening, use a reflective leash, harness, or coat to make your dog visible to cars. 

As long as your keep your dog’s well-being in the forefront of your mind, everyone can enjoy an evening free from preventable incidents. If your dog is upset on New Year’s Eve, be sure to give them a little TLC the next day and get back to your normal routine as quickly as possible. 

These New Year’s Eve safety tips were provided by our educational partner Dog Fence DIY.

How do you keep your pets safe during parties?

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Back to Blogging

Happy 2016

After taking more than a half year break, I'm back!  It took some time for me and my family to adjust, but I've settled into a full time position working from home.  Going forward I will keep this blog as a way to share and document the fun things our family does, places we go and things we try.  Here's to a great 2016 and beyond!

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

No Knead Bread

Here's a recipe for an easy no-knead bread that you need to try :). A dear friend made it for us, and then Gaigai (12 years old) decided to give it a try.  It's amazingly delicious - tastes like Italian bread fresh from the bakery!

In a medium bowl, combine 
3 c flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 c water

Incorporating by hand or with a spatula for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Coat inside of a second bowl with olive oil, and place dough in bowl.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest 12 -15 hours at room temperature.

Remove from bowl.  Fold once or twice. Let rest 15 minutes in bowl.  Next shape dough into ball.  Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, place dough seam side down and dust with flour.  Cover dough with another cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  30 minutes prior to baking, place 6-8 quart cast iron pot with lid in  oven to preheat.  Place dough seam side up in pot, cover with lid and bake 30 minutes.  Remove lid and bake 15-30 minutes uncovered until loaf is nicely browned.  Buon appetito!


Monday, January 5, 2015

Midweek Motivation

You may not control all the events that happen to you,
 but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
~Maya Angelou
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