Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ironing board make over

My mini ironing board has been with me through the thick and thin for about 8 years. I love how compact and light weight it is, but it's cover just isn't up to par anymore. I don't really want to tote something so dingy to my class so I vowed to redo it.

I doubt this is really post worthy because it was so easy. At first I was going to make a pattern and sew a cover with fancy elastic and all that jazz. Then I came to my senses and decided to just staple it into place since the original was. The hardest and longest part was trying to figure out where John stored his staple gun and staples. I didn't even take off the old cover because why should I?

Here it is all finished, it took me a whole half hour and most of that half hour was spent pushing droolly Winston away (notice towel to wipe off drool). I hope to finish my craft room in gray one day so I for once thought ahead. The ironing board will now be the star off my class with it's beautiful new wardrobe.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Starbucksish Morning Buns

I adore Starbucks' morning buns, they're my morning fuel, but it's not economical for me to stop at Starbucks every morning to get one. Especially since I'll talk myself into a tall Salted Caramel Mocha, the drink of the Gods, as well.

So I set out to find a recipe so that I could eat one (or 12) and save $7. I found one, but then of course I had to tweak it to make it healthier...well as healthy as you can get with a cinnamon sugar topping...
They are amazing if I do say so myself and I not modest, so I do.

Morning buns

1 ½ cups applesauce (I used the applesauce I made so it had cinnamon in it)
1 ¾ cup sugar (I use stevia)
4 large eggs
6 cups flour (I use 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat)
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 2/3 cups of milk (0% works just as well as 2%)

Here's where I don't skimp on the "baddies", For dipping:
10+ Tbs. butter
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 350°F. In a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine applesauce and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in. Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Add the milk until just mixed in, the batter will be very thick (if too thick add more milk). Spray standard-size muffin tin. Scoop batter into each tin half full. Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes.

Melt the butter for the dipping mixture. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tin, dip the tops into melted better and then cinnamon sugar.

Mini muffins: It'll make around 72 mini mounds of goodness. 1 Tbs. of batter in each cup – 14 to 18 minute cooking time.

John and I will take 4 minis each to work every morning. I shove all of mine in my mouth at one time hamster style because they're that good!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's!

We never really do much for Valentine's, usually just our taxes because we're exciting like that, but this year it just happened that something fell around Love Day.
We're not going to be doing much tonight, I'll make a nice dinner and we'll be enjoying a quiet evening at home.
Saturday we have tickets to see Ballet West's Cinderella and Sunday we'll be having dinner at Ruth's Chris.

I finished one Valentine's project up last weekend. It's not my favorite Wood Connection project since I seemed to hit a lot of bumps while doing it, but it's still cute.

I'm disappointed in myself because I didn't get the Valentine's wreath I've been working on for far too long done. I was close, but Sophi decided to help one night and lost a lot of my pieces so I lost my motivation. I hope to get it done within the next couple weeks. 

I hope everyone has someone to love today!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Operation Cut Winston's Nails

Winston used to be super easy to get his nails trimmed, then wobblers came along and he started being a pain. We'd try to trim his nails and he'd try to bite us. We were worrying more about Winston walking again so nails came last on my list so we just had the vet in Indiana trim them when he was under for the beads in October.
Then truthfully for a while there I didn't think Winston would be with us long enough to get another trim.
Winston's nails are like hawk talons now so it was time to worry about them again. Right after his bead implants we started playing with his feet again so he'd get comfortable. He stopped trying to bite us, but still looked really uncomfortable when we'd touch his feet. I think he doesn't have good feeling so it makes him unhappy.

I bought a muzzle in preparation, but I hoped we wouldn't have to use it. Sunday evening I cut up cheese cubes to keep him distracted and John trimmed the front nails, muzzle free. I was slimmed up to my elbows in Winston spit, but he was fully focused on me and John got some length off. We didn't get the dew claws (I hate dew claws so much) or back feet done. Those are for another day and another slime trip. I'm sure the muzzle will have to be used so we can focus better since his nails are black.

I'd like to get them back to a normal length and stop hearing the clacking of nails on the floors, but because of how long we've let them get (total shame on us) it's going to take some time. Once a week for 6 months at least, but probably more like a year.

In other news Winston seems to be getting better at using the stairs, he seems to be thinking more about his foot placement and I'm hoping it's building up his back leg strength. He's also a tiny bit less annoying when he's downstairs, not much, but he's trying.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Raw feeding un-wrapped

We've been feeding the dogs raw for about a year now so I figured I'd talk about what it's like for us. Many people who like the benefits of raw diets for their pets still don't do it because of cost and time. For us it's not that much more expensive than the top brand food we were feeding the dogs so that's not the killer, but the time to get it ready is a tad painful.

First off, we have to go to different locations to get the meat depending on sales or if it's just available at a butcher. Then when we get home we have to wait for the meat to thaw enough that we can prep it and split it up into meals. Some places will pack it up into what quantities you ask for, but that costs more and with how much it is to feed Winston we just ask for everything in bulk. So boxes or bags of meat are hanging out in our kitchen (we try to get it in the sink, but it won't always fit) for an overnight thawing up to a couple days and then comes the fun part. Just as a reference, it takes us an hour to get through 40 pounds of ground pork.

I open the bags/boxes and dump as much as I can into the sink. Then while John is preparing the meat and separating it out into portions I label ziplock bags with dog names.

Here John is de-fating a chicken quarter, when we first started the fat was too much for Winston's system and giving him the squirts, now his body has adapted and we keep the fat on.

After John does all the prep he weighs the meat on our food scale so we can get close to 4 pounds for Winston, a little over a 1/4 for Enna and 1/2 pound for Makoa. Then I open the bag, he plops in the meat and I seal it and stick it on the counter and wait until he's ready for me again.

Look at Enna licking those lips, hoping that John will drop a bite down to her.

Enna and Makoa's turkeys. One turkey neck weighs about 1 pound so John cuts them into pieces for the little ones.

More Turkey necks!

Once everything is ready to go it heads down to our standing freezer.
I know the freezer looks gross, that's what happens when the cooling fan goes out and everything thaws for a day until you notice. 
The door holds the organs and Enna and Makoa's food and the main part is Winston. We just filled it with pork, deer and elk. Turkey will be ordered at the end of the month and will fill the bottom shelf for Winston.

We have a calendar on the door of the fridge and when food goes in John updates it to who gets what on what days and when I need to re-order food. Then that info goes into my phone so I'll remember to call.We have it set up perfectly now that food will run out at different times of the month (or months) so that we only have to fork over cash sparingly and not in one huge chunk. The dogs are also fasted once a week to let their digestive systems take a rest. You may worry that they're going hungry, but remember that in the wild, wolves can go days without eating. Research showed that letting them rest once a week will help them live longer.

If you're only feeding little dogs you'll go forever on 40 pounds of meat, I bought chicken necks for Enna & Makoa in October and I won't have to buy them again until March. But feeding a big dog means you'll be going through big quantities quickly, 40 pounds of pork only gets us through two months with all three dogs eating it.  

When it's feeding time the bony or smelly pieces get eaten outside, that way I don't have to mop my kitchen floor, make sure they stay in the kitchen or put up with the smell of tripe or chicken necks. I learned that the hard way when Enna decided that under our bed was the best place to eat turkey necks.
The ground stuff they eat in their bowls in the kitchen since they usually inhale it any nothing ends up on the floor.

The benefits of raw have been great. All the dogs coats are shiny and soft and their teeth are really clean. Winston used to have an oily texture and constant dog smell which have both gone away. He also has stayed a healthy weight for his size.
Enna actually is excited to eat now when with kibble she'd take a few bits and then wander away. The vet always complained that she was underweight during her yearly check-ups, but at the last one he gave her two thumbs up.
Makoa plumped up 5 extra pounds with kibble and getting it off him was hard, after 6 months on raw he's down to a healthy weight and looks fantastic. Also the vet no longer hassles me about getting his teeth cleaned anymore.
 We still do some supplements because we feel its necessary. Winston gets glucosamine for his joints and everyone gets salmon oil because it's easier for us then doing fish (only Makoa will eat whole fish). 

I would say that one downfall to raw is traveling; it isn't always the easiest and the more dogs you have to more difficult it gets. We haven't gone camping yet, but with road trips I need to make sure we have enough ice and room in a cooler...or one of their very own...and a fridge/freezer to put stuff in or we have to stop to pick stuff up.
There is dehydrated stuff that you can buy for outrageous prices that we might resort to if we'll be camping for long periods of time and deffinately if we go backpacking with the dogs. Packing light does not equal 20 pounds of dog food.

Raw hasn't been as easy as opening a bag of kibble and it can be time consuming, but we won't be quitting any time soon. We're enjoying the benefits and plan on doing it for quite some time. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

December's block of the month

I'm a month behind in blocks so I finished December's last Sunday.
It was such a nice weekend, I just wish I would have gotten more sewing done.

Saturday morning my parents came over to visit and after John and I went to see Zero Dark Thirty. After the movie we met up with some old friends for a visit.

Sunday I got up to start sewing and then took a break to go drool over some salt water fish at a local store. We still can't buy, but we're dreaming.
I came home to finish sewing the block before the Super Bowl. My new sewing machine was not pleasing me for the first half hour, but it was all user error so once I got it figured out It was a breeze.

It is my favorite block and really fun to put together. Just one more block and then I'll have to start putting the quilt together. I have no idea what I'll do with said quilt so I guess I should start brainstorming...

Once I was finished with block I helped John get ready for our own little party of two Super Bowl. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with some great food and a warm fire. A post on my new Lamborghini of sewing machines soon.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I should be thrilled, but instead I'm annoyed...

So ever since my post about Winston coming down to join us he has come down EVERY time we've been downstairs. That's a lot of stairs since we spend 90% of our time at home in our basement.
One tiny problem with this....HE'S ANNOYING!!!

You'd think having a dog for a year and a half we'd have gotten used to having him around, but about a year of that time he hasn't wanted to come downstairs so we never gotten into a good ebb and flow. The other dogs usually find a bone to chew or sleep somewhere in the room never bothering us (until they get up to chase the cat out of the room 27 times in 5 minutes), but Winston just can't do that.

If he's not hogging all the nylabones from Enna and Makoa, he's hovering over them to get theirs. Which then causes a commotion while Enna or Makoa tell him to leave them the F*** alone. If he's not causing a fight, he's standing with his face squarely in our laps, drooling on our pants or he's trying to climb onto the couch for the 100th time even though we tell him no.
It usually takes him a good half hour to actually just settle down and sleep and then we all try to move as silently as possible to not wake him and start the whole endeavor all over again. This usually means to go without potty breaks and absolutely no popcorn making.

Also unlike the other dogs he is very much not allowed in my craft room. I don't want him sliming my fabrics, getting in my way and driving the other dogs crazy while I sew. So the other night when I was in there working and John wasn't home he didn't know what to do with himself. I'd hear him start coming downstairs and I'd go out to supervise (not that I could really do much if a 150 pound dog decided to start sliding down) to make sure he'd make it down, but then it was back into my craft room. He'd then stand around crying because he didn't want to be alone and finally decided that maybe upstairs was where he wanted to be. So then I had to help him up, which I actually can do, so my walls don't take another beating.
Then I turned off all the basement and kitchen lights making the stairwell dark hoping that would deter him from coming. I then got about an hour of peace and quiet with Enna and Makoa at my feet while I sewed.
My weekend sewing mornings are sure not going to be productive if I'll be spending most of my time babysitting him on the stairs and keeping him entertained.

Don't get my wrong, I'm happy that he's deciding to join us and I'm sure that this is making his life more enjoyable.  I just hope that soon he finds his place in our ecosystem and it won't be such a burden to have him with us. I also need John to agree to selling our microfiber couch so Sir Drools A Lot will stop leaving a coat of spit in his wake.