Monday, January 21, 2013

The story of minor garbage disposal repair and why I hate Brussels sprouts.

I recently tried a recipe for Brussels sprouts. Veggies have never been my favorite food group and I am continually trying to find new veggie-based recipes to try.

I found a recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, Parmesan cheese...how could this go wrong? I think that the first mistake was the balsamic vinegar. And the second is that the recipe instructions have you roast the Brussels sprouts for 30 minutes, but that isn't anywhere near long enough.

The recipe was un-salvageable. I probably could have roasted the Brussels sprouts longer. But the taste still wouldn't have been better. So, in an attempt to avoid smelling the yucky Brussels sprouts until the next garbage day, I decided to shred the failed recipe in the disposal. I dumped the Brussels sprouts down the drain, ran the water, flipped the switch and heard the blades whirl around for a few moments...and then everything stopped. Silence.

I flipped the switch again. Nothing. Again...and again. Nada. I checked the breaker and it was fine. I had a little temper tantrum. I might have opened a bottle of wine. I unplugged the disposal and set about to retrieving the Brussels sprouts from the garbage disposal drain with a fork.

After fishing out all the Brussels sprouts I could, I put these tips to work. TA DAAA! The garbage disposal started working again and the Brussels sprouts finally made it to the garbage can. I cheered! I did a little happy dance! My hubs looked at me like I was crazy. Or tipsy. Or both.

Despite this recipe flop, I'm not giving up on Brussels sprouts completely. I even have a new Brussels sprout recipe on my list of new recipes to try. If you have a Brussels sprout recipe that tastes good please share it. Until I start to feel more adventurous again, I'm sticking with my delicious fail-safe broccoli recipe . YUM!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's bath time!

We have a gorgeous, energetic 7 year old husky mix. He has blue eyes that seem to ensnare you with their gaze. They are so mesmerizing you don't even realize he just invited himself onto the couch and stole your dinner off of your plate. He's that good.

He also sheds every second of every day. We have hair everywhere. We could probably take him to the groomer's every week to get his coat blown out to help with the constant shedding. But I have a hard enough time paying for a grooming appointment once a month. More frequent appointments are out of the question.

Maybe you have a dog and you've tried to bath him or her at home before. Maybe your dog loves taking a bath. Maybe you love it. Me and my dog? We didn't love it. If you have ever bathed your dog at home, you know that hosing the dog off outside is OK in the summer, but always works better if you don't live in an apartment and if you have a fenced in yard. Or maybe you've tried a bath in the tub or the shower stall and you can already hear the sound of sliding of toenails as you read this.

Our usual at-home bathing routine consisted of the dog sliding around the shower stall and freaking out, me getting drenched and straining my back, and both of us hating every single moment of the bath.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and find a better solution to the groomer bills and the bathtime struggle at home.

Recipe for a Peaceful Dog Bath

Ingredients

  • bathing tub - big enough for the dog to sit and stand, small enough for the dog to feel safe and secure inside the walls of the tub
  • yummy dog treats - some for training and some for reinforcement during the bath
  • homemade dog shampoo or other shampoo
  • small container or cup - you'll use this to pour water over your dog's face and other body parts
  • small tub that fits next to the bathing tub to store a little water
  • comb or brush - for a post-bath brushing
  • old T-Shirt that fits over your dog's head and body
  • 3-4 bath towels
  • 1 washcloth

Instructions

Step 1
Teach your dog to love the bathing tub. 

I used an old plastic bin that I had been using to store some random crap. I emptied the bin and placed it in the middle of the living room floor. Next, I tried getting my dog to hop inside, but he couldn't figure it out. 

Try your best to help the dog associate the bathing tub with something positive... like a yummy treat! If your dog is afraid of the tub, give him/her a treat for sitting as close as possible to the tub. Start to build his/her confidence about being near the tub. If your dog is afread of the tub, you might need to take this slowly until you build his/her confidence up. 

My pup wasn't afraid of the tub, so I lifted him up and placed him inside. He got treats for standing still inside the tub, sitting inside it, and staying for longer and longer times. We worked on getting used to the tub for probably 30 minutes. Once your dog is more comfortable with the bathing tub, put the bathing tub in the bathroom shower or tub and practice again. Next, take a break!

Step 2
Get your bathroom ready.

Place your bathing tub in the shower or bathtub. Get all your supplies at the ready. Fill your small tub with warm water. Put on your swimsuit. Have your treats close by. Get your dog! 

Step 3
Place your dog in the tub. It's bathing time!

Give your dog treats for cooperating every 5-10 minutes or as necessary. Start getting your dog wet by scooping the warm water in your small tub with the small container or cup you have. Pour that over the dog's coat. Avoid his face for now. 

Step 4
Soaking wet!

Soak your dog's coat by pouring water over the dog's coat with the small container/cup you're using. If you have a removable showerhead and it doesn't freak your dog out, use that for his/her body because it's much faster. Soak the entire coat. Soak your washcloth in clean water and use it to wet the fur around the dog's face.

Step 5
Sudsing.

Put soap on your hands and lather it into your dog's coat. Give your dog a gentle massage. Don't rush and encourage your dog to relax and enjoy the moment. Try to enjoy the moment yourself. Work the soap into the fur around your dog's face. 

Step 6
Rinsing.

Maybe you already do this next step, but it was a new one for me and my dog. Wet the washcloth and use it to wipe the soap from your dog's face. Usually I would gently spray the dog's face with water to wash off all the soap. This new approach was much more enjoyable for both of us and worked really well. Don't forget to keep giving your dog treats all throughout this process. Use the showerhead to rinse your dog, or use the cup full of water, or both. You might need to scoop out the dirty water from the bathing tub. I had to do this twice. Once your dog is totally rinsed off, scoop enough water out so that it will be easy and safe for the dog to get out of the tub. 

Step 7
Time to dry off!

While your dog is still in the bathing tub, start to dry their face and back. Dry their legs as best you can. Get another towel ready and have your T-Shirt close by. If your dog is capable and comfortable with jumping out of the bathing tub (think back to your practice runs earlier), instruct them to jump out. If not, lift them out of the bathing tub. Give them another treat and finish towelling them dry. Put the old T-Shirt on them to help soak up a little extra moisture from their coat. Let them run freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! This is my dog's favorite part.

Step 8
Enjoy a clean, good-smelling dog and love the extra $45 you saved by avoiding the groomers!

Step 9
After you have washed all the towels and the T-Shirt, pack it all away in the bathing tub. 

I chose to indulge my newly found smarts by having a marathon Netflix afternoon with my clean pup by my side. This bathing lasted about 2 weeks before it was time to get back in the bathtub. All the usual stress and backache was missing from the whole experience which sealed the deal for me. Share how you keep your dog fresh and clean!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Year, New House

We are in the process of buying our first house. So, this is a super exciting time...and also a scary, anxious and expensive time. Our house is close to a grade school, much closer to work and has recently been renovated so all we have to do is move in and make the place our own. Score!

We have a 100 (and counting) page idea book on how we'll decorate and design each room. My organization and creativity obsessions have taken over, I am THAT excited!! Visions of refinishing furniture, diying and thrifting are literally (click it! you won't regret it!) dancing in my head right now.

I think this year will be a good year. The last two have been filled with a lot of medical problems. But, both me and my spouse are finally healing and recovering. And since I've been managing my PCOS symptoms so much better than ever before in my life, I find that I actually have a lot more perspective on some of the crappy events that took place over the last two years. I can let the past be in the past.

My resolution this year is to be present in the moment. To accept myself as I am and not let worry or anxiousness about the past or the future overwhelm my emotions. I've been doing really well with this and I feel so much happier. At first I thought that I was just coping better with the challenging things in my life. Then, this week I decided to splurge a little in the food department and eat some yummy delivery pizza. Two days in a row, even. And on the second day, all the "zen" I had been feeling earlier in the week started to melt away. I was catching myself obsessing over non-issues and not being able to let go of these thoughts that kept needling into my head.

Have you ever been in this situation before? When it hits me, I know that the situation isn't a big deal, but I keep worrying that someone isn't happy with the situation or isn't happy with me or that something bad is going to happen next, even though that's entirely illogical. It seeps into my dreams and my entire day and I drive myself crazy trying to find a way to distract myself. The distractions, by the way, never ever work.

I realized today that the only thing I did differently this week compared with the last 6 weeks was eating the pizza two days in a row. And it's only been the last two days that I started to have these thoughts and feelings. Which left me wondering, could it really be that this pizza jacked up my insulin levels and left me with all these craptastic thoughts? I actually think the answer is "yes."

So, I guess I can't take all the credit for the new high-energy, happy vibes I have most of the time now. But at least I know that I'll get out of the funk I'm feeling and start to be happy and more peaceful again.

Tomorrow I'll start out the week with an awesome yoga class, a little paperwork at the office and more packing at home. I love packing! I found some great tips here and have been putting them to good use. THIRTY-SEVEN days until closing! I can't wait!