THANKFUL For Everything

I am truly THANKFUL for everything.  Having a roof over my head, food on the table, a warm bed to rest in at the end of a long day, the sweetest guy in the whole world, two of the best dogs around, and everything else that encompasses my world.  I don’t live the high life, but a life that is full of joy and lots of the little things that matter the most to me.  For these things, I am truly thankful for what I have.

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I was looking at our Christmas tree the other night, and I am just a little overwhelmed at the amount of gifts under the tree.  Yes, a lot of them are for our family and I hope they truly love what we hand-picked for them, and I am sure they will.

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I take gift giving very seriously.  I don’t just run out and pick something up, I do a lot of thinking of what to get the recipient and what they like, and then I make my selection. But it does not stop there for me.  I have to make the gift look beautiful, and probably too pretty to open. But it is supposed to be opened, ripped open, tear that paper up and see what is inside.  Just save the ribbon bows for me!  I don’t know how I do it, but I find the most beautiful wrapping paper around and it just makes the gift look fabulous.  Wrapping up the gifts is just as fun as picking them out. I know it is a lot of work to get them to look so pretty, but that is something that I truly enjoy.

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NIKITA SITTING BY BACK DOORBut this year was a little different, as I was able to do some gift giving myself from the money I earned dog sitting this year.  Since I have not worked in a few years, it made me feel so good that I could spoil my Sweetie this holiday season.  He deserves all of the gifts under our tree, and more.  He puts up with me on a daily basis, but he is also spoiled by having a nice warm dinner on the table every night he arrives home, a warm welcome from the dogs, and a glass of wine to ease his long day at the office. Life is good.  It is the little things in life that matter the most, and those are the ones that I truly treasure.

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I also treasure all of the people, whom I call friends now, since I started blogging.  I have been enlightened by their thoughts, wisdom, and humor, as we share so much in common.  For all of you who love Nikitaland, we are truly thankful for you!  You brighten my day every time one of your posts hits my in-box, to which I can’t wait to read.  A lot of you are craftier than me, (if that is possible – LOL) and I would love to be able to get together with you to do some major craft projects and set the world on fire, while others take animal welfare to the highest level and I adore all that you do for those who cannot speak!  All of you mean the world to me, and just in case you didn’t know it, I love each and every one of you so much.

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We take animal welfare seriously too, that is why we always collect donations each year for the annual Pledge For Pets Fundraiser for the APL.  We head out into the neighborhood and collect donations from our friends, neighbors, and local businesses to help make an animals life better and to help them find their forever homes.  If you are new to this blog, please watch around February for our announcement and link so you can make a donation to the APL too.  Every donation helps, even if it’s a dollar, or five, it all adds up.  We have exceeded our goal every year and we want to make next year no exception.

There is so much to be thankful for this year, and I am, truly thankful for many many things.  My Sweetie, our dogs, a bountiful garden, our love for Halloween, great neighbors, a wonderful family, a green plush lawn in the summer, grilling burgers, a good cup of coffee, and much more. Thank you everyone for making 2013 such a great year for me.

HAPPY 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY NIKITALAND

It’s funny in a way, when I sit back and remember how Nikitaland was created just two years ago and it’s all because we needed kitty food.  We headed off to PetSmart to pick up some kitty food early so we could get home in time to watch the first Cleveland Browns game of the season.  Never in a million years would we have thought that we would be coming home with a puppy!  We have told this story probably a million times, but it is a good story to tell, and a happy one at that.

Nikita came from a litter of seven puppies, and after being born their mommy was poisoned with anti freeze and died.  The APL came to the rescue and took all the puppies who were in dire need of food and homes.  A foster Mom named Brea took in all seven of the puppies (bless her soul) and had to feed them around the clock to keep them healthy, and what a chore that was!  When the pups were old enough to be adopted, it was time for them to find their permanent homes.

That is where our story began.  We headed up to PetSmart to pick up some kitty food and we noticed that the APL had setup a pet fair in the parking lot, so we decided to head on over to see all the animals.  Oh how you just wanted to bring them all home with you as each and every one of them were adorable.  Then, we saw this little make-shift pen that had a bunch of puppies in it.  We walked over and looked inside and we could not resist picking one up.  At that moment we never imagined that we would be taking this puppy home with us, but we enjoyed the puppy kisses from her and snuggled her right back.  We set her back in the pen and Roy turned to me and asked “What do you think?”.  I said “What do you mean – – what do I think?”  Then he said, “Want to get her?”  I said “Are you serious?”  He said, “Yeah”.  So we bent back over and picked her up and it was all history after that!  The only thing at the time that made us sad (but only for a few seconds) was that another couple was looking at the same puppy we were and if we would have deliberated any longer, we might have lost out on this particular puppy.

So now we are holding our first dog and can take her home, but we had to first head into PetSmart to pick up everything we would need for a puppy, from a cage, to food, a collar and leash, and lots of toys!  As she sat in my arms all comfortable from her long day of looking adorable, she can now feel comfortable and confident that she was heading home to her new forever home.

When we first brought home Nikita, everyone came out of the woodwork and had to come visit her, then came the piles of emails of everyone asking for us to send them some photographs of her,  and finally I had the idea to just create a blog and share the link with everyone, then they could follow along our journey with our new puppy in her forever home.  That solved everything, for the moment, but what I did not realize that by starting a blog, that it would attract so much attention and almost 22,000 visitors later in two years, have met some of the most wonderful people & pets through the blog.  Our daily visitor counts sky rocketed with each new post, along with new subscribers, and most importantly new friends, as we shared our love for animals and tons of great stories.

So through the years, our love for writing has grown and a great blog was born.  I only wonder that if they had such things like blogs back when I was in school, how my writing style would have changed or grown to what it is now.  I could only imagine the things that I would have wrote about over the years, like perhaps my first new car (a Mustang GT), or lousy dates, friends, and parenting advice that I will never forget that I got from my Mom.  It would have been a real thrill to have read all of that and I am sure that most of you have gone through the same things growing up.

But now, being older, we appreciate different things, quieter things, and are just plain happy to stay at home, don’t you agree?  Nothing can compare to being in your own home, safe and sound, with your family and that includes the four-legged ones too, as they are just as big a part of the family as anyone else.  We treat them like humans some times, sometimes treat them better than our better halfs, but all in all, everything works out in the end, because we all love one another unconditionally.  Love is patient, love is kind, love is understanding, and even when people throw harsh comments at you, it rolls right off because why would anyone waste their breath to respond to people like that?  They are just probably unhappy in their own life and feel the need to criticize your life for some unknown reason, but never fear, I will laugh it off because I have a better heart.

With two years of blogging under my belt, I can say that we have experienced the best two years of being pet owners, have the nicest and most adorable dog named Nikita who is so soft that you can’t resist snuggling every time you see her, and now since we have adopted a new puppy last week named Bella, the next two years plus will have many more adventures as both Nikita and Bella become forever friends.

Nikitaland is a place where you can visit with a good cup of coffee and find some great stories, look at awesome photographs, pick up a new DIY craft idea or a recipe or two, but it will always leave you with a smile on your face, and perhaps a new friend too!

So, Happy 2 Year Anniversary Nikitaland and here’s to many more years to come and many more friends that we will meet along the way!

THANK YOU for Liking Us!

Nikitaland just hit our 500th “Like” on our blog!  A great big thank you goes out to all of you who have clicked on that little “Like” button on one of our posts.  We are so glad and grateful that you thought that our posts were worthy of a “Like” and we hope that you continue to “Like” us for years to come.

But, we want to send a shout out to Thoughts Appear who actually was the 500th “Like” on our blog!  Thanks Thoughtsy for “Liking” our post today and helping us reach yet another goal in the blog world.  We appreciate it!

This is another great example on how your blog can be recognized, get traffic, meet new and exciting bloggers, and make some great friends, like we have.  Also don’t forget, that even though you have clicked “Like” on a post, everyone still loves to receive comments too, so leave a comment today and make a new friend!

Thanks again Thoughtsy for helping us reach another goal in the blog world, and thanks to everyone who has “Liked” us along the way!  We love you, Man!

Meet the Soulsby’s

Sunday was Mommy’s birthday, but she is not divulging how old she is.  (I guess when you get to a certain age, you don’t discuss your age anymore)  Her day started off with opening up birthday cards and a gift from Daddy and she had a surprise visit from Auntie who showered her with gifts (thanks Auntie) and a surprise birthday cake that Daddy snuck into the house.  (thanks Daddy, that was so thoughtful & delicious too)  After Auntie left, Mommy and Daddy had to hurry up & get ready as they were heading out to Hudson, OH to meet their very first blog friends, Dan & Mindy from Soulsby Farm.  The ride out to Hudson was only about 35 minutes, but our GPS system made it interesting because it kept telling us to make an “illegal u-turn” on Route 8.  When we heard the system telling us to do a “u-ie”, and we were like, “you’re kidding, right?”  We ignored the GPS lady who apparently was on crack and continued on our way.

We arrived at the Soulsby’s around 11am and saw Dan on his riding mower with his daughter Zoey making their final cuts before he came over to greet us.  Mindy was outside and had the nicest smile and a warm welcome for us.  We got to meet Jake, their dog who never actually let me pet him, even though I tried a few times, he kept running away.  We got to view their farm and the first stop was the chicken coop.  It was so cool to see chickens running around as we live in the city and don’t have the opportunity to see things like this.  Dan asked Roy if he wanted to hold a chicken, and I thought that he would say no, but he did!  I was surprised and immediately grabbed my camera to snap some great shots of this, as this is something that would go in our photo album for sure!  Roy was a good sport and held the chicken and even snuggled it for a minute and all I kept thinking was “you’re gonna get your eye poked“, but that never happened.  These were happy, nice chickens so no accidents to report.  We walked into the chicken coop to actually witness a chicken laying an egg and Dan yelled over to Roy “pick it up to see how warm it is“.  (another great photo op)  Little Zoey was running around chasing the chickens as it appears that she loves them and just wanted to pet them.  By the way, the hens lay eggs everyday, so they do not have a shortage on “what’s for breakfast” on their farm!

Dan said that he made the mistake by giving the chickens some uncut cucumbers one day and they liked it, but now they walk all around the cucumber patch and help themself.  He leaves some “decoy” cucs out in the field so they eat those instead of the unpicked ones. 

Zoey was helping Mindy pick some cherry tomatoes, but she needed a little help to only pick the “red” ones.  She was so adorable in the garden, and had so much fun walking around with us.  Dan and Mindy had rows and rows of tomatoes that were fully stocked with green ripening tomatoes that would make anyone salivate.   Dan even offered us a stalk to eat of his freshly picked celery and on my first bite, it tasted like it already had salt on it.  That was so incredible! 

As we continued through his garden, we walked further out on his property to find rows of corn, peas, sunflowers, and lots of fresh fragrant basil.  Then, to our amazement, we saw all the rows of the pumpkins!  WOW!  Dan’s pumpkin patch puts our little patch that we’re growing to shame!  We walked up and down the rows to see if we could find any little pumpkins growing and we found quite a few.  Mommy always gets a kick out of the little pumpkin “feelers” that unroll and attach themselves to whatever is around them, and she got a neat photo of one of the feelers attached to one little blade of grass. 

The heat on Sunday was unbearable, so we went inside for awhile and chatted.  We found out that Mindy is a graphic designer and has an etsy shop where she sells her hand drawn artwork.  We were blown away with the prints that she showed us, as Mommy absolutely LOVED the little tomato design that Mindy drew and wants that one badly!  If you want to checkout Mindy’s designs on etsy, here is the link ZOEYZOO.   If you have kids, you will definitely want to watch Mindy’s etsy shop to see her new arrivals.

With all good things, sometimes they must come to an end.  As we waved goodbye to Dan, Mindy & Zoey there is one thing that we will never forget, our new friends that were the nicest people you would ever meet.  Mommy had the best birthday ever and loved all of her cards, gifts, cake and the nicest visit ever that made her birthday so special.  Now, it’s our turn to invite Dan & Mindy over to our house for dinner and they can see our garden, which is a lot smaller than theirs, but we are proud of it.  (So, Dan & Mindy, pick out a Saturday that is good for you & let us know so Mommy can whip up something delicious for all of us!)  We are so happy that we got to meet our first blog friends ever and hope to one day meet some more!  Thanks to everyone who made Mommy’s birthday so special, as it is a day that she & Daddy will never forget.