Where Did The Week Go?

It’s been about two weeks since we have any sort of rain.  Our temps have been nice, not hot, but nice and welcoming finally the arrival of Spring.  But, it appears that our temps are going to drop again for this weekend and a storm will be blowing in later today.  We need the rain.

I was outside with the dogs this morning and happened to look up and saw a beautiful deer just standing in our neighbors yard.  Man, it was so beautiful just standing there eating their lilac tree.  It started to stomp its front hoof at me when I approached to take a photograph.  Silly deer.  They are so wonderful to watch walking around the neighborhood, and are definitely a lot bigger when you are close enough to them.  The only thing that I despise about them is when they head on over to our yard and start to munch on all of our plants.  They are destructive.

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We worked on getting our raised garden together and filled with new garden soil over the weekend.  We had 3 yards of garden soil delivered on Saturday, and Sunday we worked on getting all of that soil in the raised garden, and on Monday morning, woke up sore.  (figured that would happen)

ROY WORKING IN GARDEN

VAL WORKING IN GARDEN

Not to mention that I got sunburned on my back.  You forget about putting on any sunscreen this early in the year, and you definitely pay for it later, like I am now.  My back is peeling like how a snake sheds it skin.  Yuck!  We also had to put up the 6 foot high fence around the garden again, like we did last year, to keep the deer out.  We even have a wood door to walk into the garden too, pretty cool, eh?  Now, our next problem to address is how to keep the chipmunks away from pulling our seeds out of the ground like they did last year.  So, what we are going to do, is cut the bottom off all of the plastic Creamora bottles we have been saving and place the  bottles over the seeds and seedlings when they start to emerge from the soil, just to keep the chippies away.  (oh yeah, you leave the top off the bottle too, to let air in)

Roy got a lot of things planted over the weekend as he was chomping at the bit to get the garden started already.  We had a great day to do this on Sunday.  After all the new soil was added to the garden, he planted us some Romaine Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson Leaf Lettuce, Zucchini, and some Jack Be Little Pumpkins.  We had no luck last year with our zucchini, so this year I hope we have a better shot at getting some as I am dying to make some homemade zucchini bread.  Yum!

At this time of year, we are always busy.  Right now, I am still working my way around the house painting.  Trying to fit that in around all of the outside work to do.  Since we loved the Behr Gobi Desert color we painted in the bedroom, we decided to do the kitchen in it too.  The kitchen was only painted white, so adding a tad of color to it really looks beautiful.  It’s a very nice neutral color, and once I get a few things up on the wall, like photographs of the dogs in nice black frames, it will look marvelous!

We also got a nice new rain barrel from our new neighbors last week.  Since we almost passed out from the water bills last year watering the garden, we were so thankful and appreciative that we were able to get this rain barrel.  This will definitely save us lots of money on watering the garden this summer.  So, we have the rain barrel now, and we had to figure out how to hook it up since we never had one before.  We did research online and found lots of places that had parts to hook to the rain barrel, but when I was in KMart, I purchased a “gutter extension” flexible hose for $10.99 that worked perfectly for our needs.  I got my jigsaw out and cut a hole on top of the rain barrel in the size of the one end of the flexible hose, made sure the hose fit perfectly, then took our sharp garden scissors and cut the gutter.  After that, it was basically all done, as I just had to slide the gutter into the flexible hose and the hookup was complete.  With the rain storm arriving later today, we can’t wait to start collecting water!

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RAIN BARREL

Once this cold spell passes us this weekend, I am going to start taking all of our plants outside for small increments to harden them off.  After a week of doing this, they will be ready to be planted into the garden.  Man, I can’t even tell you how excited we are about picking our first pile of fresh home grown veggies!  I can taste my first tomato salad now!  And, I can’t wait to show you the progression of our garden too with photographs.  I also thought it would be really neat to do a slideshow of the garden.  What I was thinking, was to take a photograph of the garden every Monday morning from the same spot, and so on, and see how the garden grows in week increments!  It should look like the garden is growing right in front of you!

Bella and I took a walk in the park the other day and talked with a few people.  Bella met this adorable little girl who fed her doggie treats.  Bella was so nice to her and even gave her a little kissie on her nose.  The little girl giggled.  Bella also got to meet a small doggie on our walk named Buster.  Both Buster and Bella did their funny thing of running around in circles like little tazmanian devils.  It was funny to watch!

BELLA AND VAL ON SLIDE

BELLA SIDEWALK CHALK

Bella meets Buster in the Park

Bella meets Buster in the Park

I am not sure where this whole week went.  it just seemed to fly by in a blink of an eye.  I can’t believe it’s Friday already.  What do you have planned for your weekend?

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When Gardening is just a dream…for now

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The new year has just arrived, we’re covered in snow from head to toe, and we anxiously await the gardening season, as the 2013 garden catalogs start arriving in the mail.  Every time I head outside to the backyard with the dogs, I stand there in the cold waiting for them to (ya know), and I look at our snow covered raised garden bed.  Our garden bed is completely covered in snow, as sad as it may be, but I hear it calling me from under all that cold white stuff.  Our strawberries are buried under the safe bed of straw we laid before the cold hit us, and we hope that they will produce for us this year.  We planted them last year and knew that they would not produce in their first year, but they grew big and strong through the growing season, so we hope they have a good chance at coming back.  

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We know that we have not had much snow for our season up until the day after Christmas, when we got hit badly many many days in a row, and we know that we will not see our last bit of snow either, as this season seems to last so long.  And, when we get up to that day called Ground Hog’s Day, we always know that the outcome will always be “six more weeks of winter”, as that is always the case.

Nonetheless, day dreaming of gardening is huge with all gardeners as we sit and wait for the weather to start clearing up, the soil starting to thaw, and that last report of a frost warning to arrive for our growing zone.  But, before all of that happens, most gardeners start their seeds indoors.  Since I am chomping at the bit to watch our little seeds starting to emerge from the soil under the warm grow lights, I planted a few Romaine Seeds yesterday in a Figi water bottle.  I cut the top off of the bottle and filled it with our good garden soil and dropped in a couple of Romaine Seeds and covered them up nicely.  Now I wait.  The seed pack said it would take at least 10 days for germination, but I am watching the top of the soil every time I walk by the water bottle!  LOL  

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Last year, we had some of our plants not do that well, like our beans, zucchini, and cucumbers, but this year we will correct those issues to ensure our plants will produce.  We knew our beans were in trouble from the start, but we kept hoping that they would produce.  As for our zucchini, we would have had an abundance of them if it were not for the damn chipmunks who ate the seeds (while in the dirt), or the chewed the plants when they sprouted a little.  But this year, we are going to fix that issue by placing water bottles over the spot we plant the seed so the chipmunks can’t eat them.  (you just take small water bottles and cut the bottom of the bottle off and then remove the cap so air can get in)

Sifting through our Burpee catalog and other gardening catalogs surely makes a gardener drool, as they dream of the day when they can walk out to their garden and pick some fresh vegetables for dinner, and can enjoy a nice salad with home grown tomatoes & cucs! Ah, the joys of summer are only a few months away, but being able to wait for its arrival, is another thing.  I just can’t personally wait for the days when I can walk outside in flip flops again – gosh, I miss that a lot.  It’s going to be a long winter, bummer.  

What are you going to plant in your garden this year?  

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A Christmas Story

On December 26th we had the opportunity to visit a historic landmark in Cleveland, Ohio – A Christmas Story House.  The original mailbox from the movie still stands proudly in front of the house. 

In 1983, director/producer Bob Clark chose this location in Cleveland to film what ended up being a true holiday classic.  The house has been fully restored and you can walk through the entire house and relive all the memorable scenes from the movie, like hiding under the kitchen sink like Randy did, or run through the backyard in the footsteps of Black Bart, take a picture with the famous leg lamp in the front window, or hold the bar of Lifebouy soap on the shelf in the bathroom.  Yep, it’s all there, all the items can be found just like in the movie!

You can visit the Christmas Story House too and walk away with an incredible experience, not to mention a lot of photographs!  (we walked away with 149 photographs) And, if you are lucky like we were, you will be able to actually meet “Randy” (Ian Petrella) and snag an autograph!  It was the neatest experience actually getting the chance to meet Ian, something that we will never forget!  (Thanks Ian!)  This is a photo of our autographed poster that Ian signed for us!

The Christmas Story House is located at 3159 W. 11th Street, Cleveland, OH  44109 and you can reach them by phone at (216) 298-4919 or by visiting the website at www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com   It’s open year round, so head on over when you can so you too can experience this holiday classic for yourself!

Here are some fun facts that you may not know:
The film makers came to Cleveland so that they could shoot the department store scenes at Higbee’s.  After scouting around the mid-west, they found a store that was willing to go through the commotion of a production.  Most significantly, Higbee’s was willing to leave their Christmas decorations up well past the holiday.  Higbee’s also kept the Santa slide that was made for the movie and used it for several years after the movie’s release in 1983. 

Bob Clark appeared in the movie as the neighbor, Swede, who admires the Old Man’s leg lamp from the sidewalk.  (click on photo to read the Old Man’s lines)

Jean Shepherd appears in the movie as the grumpy man at Higbees who tells Ralphie where the line starts….and ends.  Jean is also a writer and a radio talk show host, a native of Hammond, IN, enchanted audiences with his adventures of Ralphie and the fictional town of Hohman.  Most of the stories in the movie were adapted from his book, “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash”.  Shepherd, who is also the narrator of the movie, worked closely with the production.

The film makers sent scouts throughout the urban neighborhoods to find the perfect Ralphie house.  This house was chosen because it had three primary attributes that were needed:  1) The house sits at a T-Intersection and these are often used in movies as they allow for a greater scope and mobility for the cameras, 2) The double wide lot next door at the “Bumpus House” gave the crew space for their trucks and equipment, along with room to see Raphie’s house clearly, and 3) The steel mills are clearly visible in the distance and serve as a perfect backdrop to tell an urban industrial tale.

The film makers rented out the house for the production, but actually did very little filming on the inside.  The on location scenes were edited together with what was done on the soundstage in Toronto.

In 2005, the previous owners put the house for sale on eBay.  Once he saw it, Leg Lamp lover, Brian Jones, knew this gem had to be shared.  Brian purchased the home for $150,000 and spent nearly a quarter million more to create a destination location for fans of this holiday classic movie.  The familiar green and gold exterior was brought back to its movie glory while the inside of the home was completely renovated to replicate the original set.

A Walk Through The Christmas Story House – What we saw
Upon entering the house, the first item we saw was the Fragile (FRA-GEE-LAY “It must be Italian”) crate with a leg lamp next to it.  After watching the movie hundreds of times throughout the years, it is hard to say the word “fragile” the way it should be pronounced, as this phrase from the movie is definitely a classic.

We headed into the living room where the famous leg lamp was on display in the front window, that shined into the night on Cleveland Street like the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.  The old floor model radio was standing proudly against the wall where Ralphie & Randy used to sit on the floor and listened to the Little Orphan Annie Show.  (Stay tuned for Annie’s next secret message…)  Proudly standing in the corner of the room was the Parker’s family Christmas tree where you can find the Old Man’s blue bowling ball and Ralphie’s Red Rider BB Gun leaning against the wall.

Lying on the floor by the tree was a huge pile of extension cords that the Old Man always seemed to plug in one too many.

As we turned around, we were happily surprised as Randy (Ian Petrella) walked into the living room!  WOW, we’re going to actually get to meet Randy from the movie, how cool is that!  We waited for our turn and snapped some quick photographs of Ian as he signed autographs “Oink Oink”.  He looked definitely different from what we remembered the younger Randy looked like, but heck, we all have to grow up sooner or later, right?  I did ask Ian if he still hid under sinks, and he said “not any more“.

The Kitchen:
Before we headed upstairs, we checked out the kitchen and the first thing we saw was Randy’s pink bib sitting on the dinner table.  Standing there, you started reliving the kitchen scenes in your head where Randy would not eat and his Mom encouraged him to eat like a little piggy, Oink Oink, and when you turned around you saw the kitchen sink.  That is where Randy hid crying because he thought “Daddy’s going to kill Ralphie“.

 

Your first instinct was to crawl under the kitchen sink to see if you could fit where Randy hid, and I did just that!  (I fit!)  I still could not believe that we were actually in a house where a movie was shot, that was so unbelievable and the neatest experience.  While in the kitchen, you will find the Old Man’s newspaper folded at his prominent spot at the dinner table, with a pile of his puzzles that he always tried to figure out.   The one thing that we were looking for in the kitchen and did not find, was the thermostat nob that the Mom always turned down, but it was not in kitchen as this shot was done on location in Ontario, not at this house.

 

The Upstairs: Ralphie & Randy’s Room & the Bathroom
Upon heading up the stairs, your first thought from the movie was when Ralphie was standing at the top of the stairs in the bunny suit that Aunt Clara made for him. (she always makes him the cutest things, but he was a pink nightmare for sure)  On your walk up the stairs hung so proudly photographs of Ralphie, Randy, Mom and the Old Man.  When you reached the top of the stairs, the first item you saw was the old black phone that the Mom used to phone Mrs. Schwartz to tell her what her son had taught Ralphie to say (Schwartz definitely got his that night, but Ralphie learned all of his bad words from his Old Man). 

We entered the bathroom and the first item we noticed was the Lifebouy soap sitting on the shelf, and it definitely looked a little used from all the times Ralphie got his mouth washed out. LOL  When you turned around, you saw the laundry hamper pulled in front of the toilet where Randy sat while using his secret decoder pen – only to find out that what he would reveal was actually “a crummy commercial for Ovaltine!”


The room next to the bathroom looked like the Mom’s sewing/ironing room.  It was decorated with some really nice old wallpaper and furniture and while we were looking around the room we noticed an old LOOK Magazine.  This magazine is where Ralphie hid his ad for the Red Rider BB Gun in hopes she would come across it while reading.

Upon entering Ralphie & Randy’s room, the first thing we noticed was a huge pile of pink bunny outfits laying at the foot of Randy’s bed.  Their bedroom was decorated with sailboat wallpaper and they had light blue bedspreads where they laid dreaming of what they wanted for Christmas.

Their bookshelfs were decorated with old wood blocks that you just had to laugh at because you saw written out in these blocks – Ralphie, Randy, Old Man, Bumpus, and of course, Oh Fudge.  Ralphie’s desk was placed in front of one of the front windows as it was in the movie where he crawled over his desk to see his Old Man’s arrival home and watched the Bumpus’s dogs chase him to the front door.

Ralphie also sat at his desk when he had to do his homework assignment and write a theme – “What I Want for Christmas“.  He feverishly wrote as the words flew onto the page of why he should get a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas, but all he got from everyone is… “You’ll shoot your eyes out!” – A classic BB Gun denial comment from adults.

The last part of the tour was the backyard where Ralphie engulfed in play with his new BB gun and pretended to protect his family from Black Bart.  Their old shed in the backyard was renovated back to its original glory as you can recall when Black Bart and his croanies crawled all over it as well as the back fence.  While standing in the backyard, all I was waiting for was Black Bart’s horse to come riding up from behind the fence to carry him away as Ralphie yells to him “The next time I see you, you’ll be pushing up daisies!”

Visiting the Christmas Story House was truly a great experience and we hope that you have enjoyed our post of what we saw and hope that you too can visit this historical home one day and relive the classic moments from the movie for yourself.



Santa’s Reindeer Are in our Neighborhood!

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We heard that Santa and a few of his reindeer would be visiting our neighborhood, so we just had to check it out today.  Santa brought two of his reindeer to a neighborhood plaza by us and we got to see them close up.  We did not get the chance to pet them, but we got close enough to get some great photographs!  Seeing a reindeer this close was pretty cool this close to Christmas time, so they better rest up to pull the sleigh!  Santa was inside posing for pictures with the kids, and I poked my head inside the door to snag a quick photo of him.  He smiled when he looked my way.  Here are some of the photographs that I snapped while standing outside in the 40 degree temps.  It was well worth it. 

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Welcome Our New Addition to Nikitaland: Introducing Bella

We are proud to announce that on Friday night, we added a new addition to Nikitaland as we adopted a new little bundle of energy & joy from the APL at the Adopt Around the Clock 24-Hour Pet Marathon.  There were 400 dogs & cats that needed to find their forever homes, so it was no surprise to us when we arrived and PetSmart’s parking lot was jammed packed with cars & people all over the place.   Cages were all over the place under tents in the parking lot filled with adoptable dogs and puppies and inside PetSmart it was filled with all the kitties and cats.  It was like a Furry-Palooza going on and we were so glad to see the great turnout that this event had.   We heard that the adoption goal was 300 pets, and we think that the total adopted was 237, so a lot of animals got to go home and start their new lives in their forever homes and that is awesome!  This is one great photo of how happy one certain puppy was to be adopted by a nice couple!  (Thanks Annette for adopting me!)

We spent a lot of time walking around meeting & greeting all of the dogs & puppies and when we saw a new batch of animals arriving, we knew that we had found our new puppy.  Bella, is what we named our new puppy, but it took us until Saturday morning to figure out what to name her.  She arrived in one of the vehicles from the APL and we saw her on the lap of one of the employees, and when she was brought into the tent area, we followed her.  We could not take our eyes off of her.  We ran into Uncle Dave from the APL who helped us with our adoption of Nikita two years ago and he took Bella out of her cage so we could hold her.  It was love at first sight!  We did a lot of thinking while we were there and wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing, as we had Nikita on our mind and wanted to make sure that she would be ok with a new puppy in the house, but after deliberating a bit, we decided to adopt Bella.

We had to head into PetSmart to grab a bag of puppy food since we did not have any at home, and PetSmart had given us a lot of coupons with our adoption, so our first bag of food was on them!  Thanks PetSmart!  Bella was already drawing attention from everyone who walked by us as they all had to pet her.  It seemed like deja vu all over again, as this is what happened when we walked through the store with Nikita just two years earlier.  We were finally on our way home with our new puppy, and we found out that not long after we left a huge thunder storm hit and a lot of the tents were blown down and they had to move all of the animals inside PetSmart, but all the dogs were safe which was good to hear.

As for me, I have not been able to sleep much since Friday night, since I have nominated myself to take Bella out every time she woke up to cut down on the accidents in the house.  I nominated myself so Daddy could get a good nights sleep as he has a very important job and we don’t want him heading into work with little sleep.  We love Daddy so much & want to thank him for everything! We were lucky when we adopted Nikita, as she did not whine or whimper not even once from the first day we brought her home, but Bella is a completely different story.  Friday night was hell from all the crying, but with each day that has passed, she has gotten a lot better at night and sleeps quite a few hours before she wakes up and needs to head outside.  Phew, I knew this was not going to be easy, but we did a good thing and gave another little puppy it’s forever home.

Nikita took to Bella quite well, and was wagging her tail when we brought her into the house for the first time.  It will take a little time for her to get used to having another dog in the house, but we feel that she will be ok.  We had noticed that Nikita was a little anxious or stressed a little because she was drooling all over the place like a Saint Bernard.  When we took Bella to the vets on Saturday for her first check up and she weighed in at 8.6 pounds, and Nikita got her nails clipped while we were there, we had asked the vet what the drooling was all about and he confirmed that she was a little stressed with the new puppy, but it will pass.  As of today, Nikita has not drooled, and that is a good thing!  The one thing though that Bella is doing to Nikita is running behind her and biting Nikita’s fluffy tail and Nikita hates this & runs like mad to get away from her.  Hopefully in time, Bella will be cured of this so she does not stress out Nikita.

On Sunday, Nikita took a little break from Bella and sat down on the couch to watch the Browns Game.  The Browns were playing the Philadelphia Eagles and unfortunately, they lost by ONE POINT!  Ouch, that hurts.

We have a lot to celebrate this week as Nikitaland is turning two years old on the 14th, and what better way to celebrate our two years than with two beautiful dogs, Nikita and Bella.  Nikitaland is now Nikitaland & Co., because we have made room for one more fluffy pup in our life, with lots of love to share.  Not only do we have two reasons to celebrate, but I have a third reason.  It’s because I get to spend every day with the love of my life to which I owe everything to.  (thanks for everything my Sweets!)

One of the neat things about Bella is that she is portraying some of the same traits that Nikita did when she was a puppy, as climbing into the fridge as Bella did this and went straight for Daddy’s wine bottle and started licking it (just leave some for Daddy when he gets home).

So, stay tuned as we will have many more stories to tell with the addition to our happy home!  Enjoy our small sampling of photographs of Bella, as we are sure that there will be many many more to come!  Enjoy & welcome Bella to her forever home!

The Times Are Changing

As I sit here enjoying my second cup of coffee, I notice that the sleeves of my sweatshirt are covered with dog hair.  I just finished brushing Nikita outside as it is a nice cool crisp morning and thought that she would enjoy sitting on the porch with Mommy while getting groomed.  She loved it, and sat there so nicely on the porch watching the cars pass the house and a few morning walkers.  I can tell by the amount of hair I remove off of her that the seasons are changing, just like how we recently noticed that it is also getting darker outside earlier.  I even had to change the timer for the lights in the flower bed to come on a little earlier.  With this realization of the seasons changing, it kinda makes me sad.

Gosh, I remember just yesterday (well actually, a few months ago) how excited we were to finally start our very first garden, and now, the garden will be coming to an end in a month.  It was our first time gardening and we have learned quite a bit doing research, and learned a lot from our neighbor who also gardens and has the most incredible garden this year.  We know for sure that we will be picking his brain over the winter and will get help from him on how to start our tomato plants indoors for next year, because the tomatoes that we started indoors flopped.  They started off really nice and they appeared that they would be ok, but we failed miserably and they all passed away and we had to purchase more tomato plants.  What we find mind-blowing are the Juliet Tomato’s that our neighbor is growing.  He only has two of these plants in his garden, but they have produced probably hundreds of tomatoes!  We are amazed by what he has picked from these two plants in his garden.  The Juliet Tomato is a longer skinny tomato and a lot meatier, kinda the size of two cherry tomatoes.  So next year, we will probably not plant any cherry tomatoes, rather we will plant two Juliet plants and will have more tomatoes than we know what to do with – nice!

The times are a changing, just like the weather.  We have finally and thankfully got out of the 100 degree days where you could fry an egg on the driveway, to a more respectable temperature where you can cut the grass without sweating like a pig.   With the weather changing, it also gets us excited because we know that Halloween is just around the corner, under 80 days now.  Yeah!  And pretty soon we can pull out all of the wood tombstones that we made last year and proudly place them in the front graveyard.  We painted some funny things on our tombstones like “economy” which was painted in white on a black tombstone with red blood dripping from it, and we also painted a white tombstone with “high gas prices killed me” on it with a little red gas can on the front.  Everyone in our neighborhood just loved these tombstones and laughed every time they saw them.  Q:  What should we paint on our tombstones for this year?  Leave your comments below and let us know! 

The month of August has been quite eventful for us, as Nikita got a bath at the beginning of the month before her Revolution treatment, and just like she does every week, she gets her teeth brushed too.  Yes, we brush our dogs teeth and you should too.  Brushing their teeth will help prevent gum disease, not to mention, will keep her pearly whites looking great!

Daddy and Mommy also took me to the APL for a visit one weekend, and I got to meet a couple of dogs.  One was a beautiful black german shepherd who did not like me and I huddled by Daddy for protection.  We found out that he did not get along with other dogs too well, but he has been adopted into a good home, so that is good to know.   Daddy and Mommy also went to a neighboring city to see a Pet Fair that was going on over the weekend and they got to meet a lot of nice dogs & puppies.  They also met a beautiful german shepherd named Rocky that was a police dog for the Cleveland Metroparks.  Rocky even had his own badge too on his collar which was so neat to see. 

We also had a Staples truck driver who was making a delivery to our house, actually hit our mailbox while he was pulling away from the curb.  He ripped the mailbox door off and it is hanging now and the entire box is squished.  It took about a week for this to get taken care of, after numerous emails and phone calls, but now we found out that we can go out and get another mailbox and send Staples our receipt and they will reimburse us for the expense.  We are glad to hear that they will pay for another box, because with all the rain we have had lately, it stinks because the mail inside the box gets wet, not to mention that it could fall out of the box.

The Browns had their first pre-season game last Friday and they won!  Yeah!  We adorned our front door with our Browns banner and hope that it helps! Yeah, I know it does not actually count as a “win” but if you are a Browns fan, a W is a W whether or not it actually counts.  We’ll see what happens this year for the Browns as we got a new owner, so we’ll see what changes are in store for us!  Hopefully more “W’s”!  Maybe perhaps my driveway drawings are helping out!?  Daddy got Mommy a few cans of sidewalk chalk and she leaves Daddy messages all the time on the driveway to make him smile.  Then, when Daddy leaves for work in the morning, his backup monitor in his car will show the notes that we leave for him and hopefully it makes him smile when he leaves for the day! 

How has your August been so far?  What have you been up to?  What plans do you have for the Fall?  Share with us!

The only thing that we need to figure out and we need to do this real soon, is what should Nikita be for Halloween?  Since we hand make all of her costumes, we need to start thinking about what to make for her.  Any suggestions?  Nikita was a Fairy for her first Halloween and we dressed her up in a pink tutu with a frilly pink collar made from felt and beads, and last year she was a Lion which was made from a brown baby blanket and white fur and felt.  Now, this year I am stumped at what she should be.  Perhaps we could dress her up like Madonna with pointed boobies?  Let us know what you think!

Birthday Hangover

I have been napping all day!  I celebrated way too much yesterday on my birthday and I am one pooped doggie!  I got up once because I heard the UPS truck heading down the road, and I always run to the window to see them, then I put myself back to bed.  I got up a little later to grab a quick bite to eat, then back to napping.  Man, I just realized that I did not get any sleep yesterday because I spent the entire day chasing balloons all around the house, breaking a few along the way, and then my party started and when I finally hit the hay, I was dog tired. 

I had such a great time at my birthday party, as my Grandma, Auntie and my Uncle Steve (our next door neighbor) came over to help celebrate me turning two.  We dined on the cake pops that Mommy made for the party and Auntie brought over some cupcakes too, drank a little vino and everyone enjoyed watching me open my presents.  Uncle Steve even brought over his new little black lab puppy named Mollie to the party and we are getting acquainted as I just met her the other day for the first time.  Mollie was so adorable and I can’t wait to enjoy some great times with her. 

I got some great gifts and loved all of them!  I even got a free toy from PetSupplies Plus that sent me a postcard to pick up my free toy and Daddy & Mommy took me to the store so I could pick something out.  I chose a purple eggplant for my free toy, as I thought it was appropriate since Daddy & Mommy are now gardeners and this toy is so much fun because it has this really strange squeaker in it.  (kinda like a really old car horn sound)  I can’t believe that PetSmart did not send me a postcard for a free toy because Daddy has spent a lot of money at that store and they could have at least given me a free toy for my birthday!  (Hey PetSmart… if you are reading this, how come I did not get a free toy for my birthday?) 

My Auntie and Grandma got me my favorite dry doggie food and four cans of squishy too (Thanks for the good food and making sure my tummy is full), and Uncle Steve got me a stuffed beaver and some Bonz.  (Thanks Uncle Steve)  Daddy & Mommy got me a new Raised Food Dish so I don’t have to bend down to eat or drink.  It is the perfect height for me to eat which is better for  my digestion.  (Thanks Daddy for thinking of me)  And Mommy found me a really cool sterling silver starfish to hang on my collar and it makes me look like a “star”!   Thanks to everyone for all the great gifts as I loved them all! 

I can’t believe how dog tired I am today though.  I don’t know how some of you do it, but I am one pooped dog.  Perhaps tomorrow I will feel better.  But I had the best birthday ever and enjoyed all of the company, toys, and treats!

Here’s some of the photographs of my wonderful day!

Counting Down The Days Until 2

It seemed like yesterday when I had my 1st birthday and was showered with presents, chew toys, a cake, and had to wear one of those pointed birthday hats (gosh, I hated that hat!) and now, I have less than a week before I turn 2!  I am so excited and I can’t wait to open more presents.  I heard Daddy & Mommy talking the other day about “something” and I could not make it out, because you know how us doggies work….”we listen only for the words we know” and all other words are just spoken and we ignore them.  Well, I can’t figure it out what they were talking about, and now some big box arrived the other day and they would not let me look in it, rats!  That magical box must hold one good present if they won’t show me.  Can’t I open it early?  No?  Oh well, I’ll wait until next week.  Mommy is also planning on getting me something special as I heard her say that she is going “bye bye” over the weekend to pick up my gift – I wonder if I can go with her?  That Daddy & Mommy of mine are so special as they spoil me throughout the year, but as any doggie knows, “we always have room for more toys”.

So make sure you SAVE THE DATE:  7-18-12 is my birthday and I’m turning two!  Also, make sure you check back on that day to see the coolest post ever… ME growing up and the story behind how I got here.

With the excitement of my Birthday news, we have also been busy over here tending to the garden.  That is a full time job in itself, as every day brings news of our veggies maturing, and different ways we are trying to keep the deer and the chippies from eating our pumpkins and flowers. 

We noticed earlier this week that we have our first zucchini growing quite quickly, and we just picked our first batch of cherry tomatoes today, with our beefsteak tomatoes now starting to turn colors too!  That is such great news!  We also even have a tiny, and I mean tiny, Jack Be Little Pumpkin that has formed this week, and it is so adorable, if you could call a pumpkin adorable, but we do.  When we blow up the photo of our little Jack, it appears that it is all fuzzy.  Never knew that a pumpkin started off fuzzy, but I guess the little Jacks do.  Our Red Warty Thing Pumpkin plant gets larger every day and as we mentioned before, the stalk on this thing is HUGE!  It is like a small tree trunk!  So, we can’t wait to see how the actual pumpkin will look after it starts forming. 

We are also working on setting up a date to meet our first blog friends from Soulsby Farm.  Dan & his wife from Soulsby Farm has an awesome farm in Hudson, OH and we follow their blog.  They have a really great blog with great tips and photographs all about their farm & family.  So, if you want to checkout their blog, make sure that you tell them that Nikita referred you!  We’ll update you with lots of pictures after our visit to their farm, so you won’t want to miss that!

Here’s some photographs of our “Garden Guy” showing off our veggies progress:

Click to Enlarge our little fuzzy Jack Be Little Pumpkin

Squeaky Clean

If there is one thing that us dogs don’t like…it’s baths!  I don’t actually know how I started not liking them, but nonetheless, I get all squeamish and run when I hear the bath water in the tub.  I remember when I was adopted back in 2010 and I was a little puffy ball of fur, Mommy gave me my first bath in the kitchen sink.  I am sure most of us had baths in there, but now that we are all grown, the kitchen sink won’t do as we have outgrown those small stainless steel receptacles for washing dishes and on occasion a dog.  So, we now have to head into the bathroom to get squeaky clean. 

We know that some of you might wash your dog outside to reduce all of the “shaking” we do while getting a bath, but when you are outside, there are a lot of distractions and us dogs aren’t confined which actually does make giving us a bath harder.  So, when I get a bath in the bath tub, Mommy always closes the shower doors to keep me in and confined.  Now that I am a bit over 60+ pounds, she needs help getting me into the tub and that is where Daddy comes in helps out.  It takes both of them to safely get me in and out of the tub.  Mommy always washes my head and face last, because us dogs don’t shake while getting a bath if our head does not get wet.  (well, it works for me at least)  After Mommy lathers me up real good, and washes all of the dirt off me, gets my tail & behind real good, she uses the shower nozzle to rinse me, then she hand washes my face and is careful not to get any water in my ears.  Although it seems like an eternity that I am in the bath tub, I have heard that it only takes a few minutes.  Daddy helps Mommy lift me out of the tub and always makes sure that I have a towel over my back to keep the shaking down to a minimum.  I get fluffed up real nice and finally I am let go to run around the house like a Tasmanian devil.  Not sure why I do this, but it happens every time I get a bath.  The last time I got a bath, I actually ran around the house with my towel on my back and Daddy & Mommy laughed at me.  I don’t get bathed every month, as I am mostly German Shepherd (the other part I am an Akita) and our coats need the pertinent oil in it to keep a nice shiny coat.

Mommy does have a neat tip for all of you who have a German Shepherd or Lab, or any other dog who has a coat like them and how to clean our coats in between a real bath.  What you do is take a clean small spray bottle and fill it with water and two tablespoons of white distilled vinegar.  Then just spray or mist your dog with this mixture all over and then rub a towel over them to dry.  Just don’t use this in the dog’s face!  What the part vinegar does is takes away the “dog smell” from your dog and the vinegar also “shines” your dog’s coat.  It works every time!  They will smell like vinegar for a little bit, but the smell goes away and so does the dog smell.  (I don’t know about you, but I like smelling like a dog!)

What are some of your dog bathing rituals that you do?  Does your doggie run and hide when it’s bath time?

Schnoodle Dies While Getting a Groom

We are sickened to hear on the news yesterday that a local Pet Supplies Plus store is responsible for a dog’s death while it was in the store for a shampoo & a groom as it resulted in the hanging death of 2 year old Nannie the Schnoodle.  This poor saddened family lost their family pet.  So how do you prevent a groomer from harming your four-legged loved one?

Nannie was left unattended on the grooming table in the groomer noose, while the groomer left the room.  The news reports said that her paws were bloody probably trying to get back up on the table.  The groomer could be charged with animal neglect which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

This news report has truly saddened us, not to mention we feel for the family who has lost their four-legged loved one.  I cannot even imagine what the family is going through right now and how sad and heart broken they must be after taking their dog in for a simple shampoo and a groom to end in the death of your pet.

If anyone knows how to setup up a collection fund for this family so they can get another dog, let us know.  Hopefully, perhaps an animal shelter could donate a new dog to this family.  We know that it won’t take the place of Nannie, but it could lessen their sorrows. 

To the family of Nannie, we are so sorry for your loss and you will be in our prayers today.

Here is the link to the news story & video:  http://fox8.com/2012/06/22/groomer-expected-to-be-charged-in-dogs-death/