Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's Christmas Time

Winter break is finally hear and I have 3 weeks off till school starts up again. With extra time on my hands I've been able to clean the house again and decorate for Christmas. December 15th was Michael & I's 6th anniversary! So to celebrate we went to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Walt Disney World in Orlando. It was a wonderful time except for the fact that it was warm and muggy out that night. It sure didn't feel much like Christmas. Tonight though we have a cold front that has come in... It's going to get down to a cool 38 degrees. Finally some winter weather for us. It's been so hot this year.

Cinderella's Castle has icicles this year.

The parade was wonderful, made me think of being back at Disney when I was much younger.

With the cool weather tonight I got in the mood to finish up my Christmas decorating. I've been collecting the Dicken's Christmas Villages from Department 56 for several years now. I only put up a small part of my collection this year. Here is a sample of what it looks like.

And then of course.... here is the tree. Funny thing is last week I found one of the lights from the tree torn off and laying on the carpet. Which dog was it?! I guess I'll never know, no one is talking.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Oliver On Duty

Oliver was lucky enough to join Michael at the fire dept. last week for a sleep over. From what I hear he spent most of his morning playing with his new red rubber dog toy and then spent the afternoon sleeping. What a life. Apparently there was a complaint about his snoring during the night. Maybe Winston will be lucky enough to join him next time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Foil-Pack Taco Chicken Dinner

Calling all low carb eating friends, or those of you who love Mexican food. I made the following recipe tonight for dinner and it was wonderful. It came from Kraft Foods website. Plus it was so easy and clean up was even easier. Instead of salsa I used fresh chopped tomatoes, since I don't care for onions in my food. I didn't have any potatoes to put in this dish, but it was still very good. I think next time I may put black beans and corn in the mix.

Foil-Pack Taco Chicken Dinner
(Click on recipe name to go to website.)

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
4 tsp. TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Taco Seasoning Mix
2 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes
1 cup KRAFT Mexican Style Shredded Cheese
1/2 cup TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
1/4 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Sprinkle chicken evenly with seasoning mix. Place 1/2 cup of the potatoes on center of each of four large sheets of heavy-duty foil; top each with 1 chicken breast, 1/4 cup of the cheese and 2 Tbsp. of the salsa.
BRING up foil sides. Double fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place in single layer in 15x10x1-inch baking pan.
BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until chicken is cooked through (170°F) and potatoes are tender. Remove packets from oven. Let stand 5 min. Place one packet on each of four dinner plates. Cut slits in foil with sharp knife to release steam before opening. Top each serving with 1 Tbsp. of the sour cream.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I was in the grocery store the other day ... I was going to purchase some granola to put in my yogurt for the morning. I never knew granola was so darn stinking expensive! A small (very small bag) for $4.00! Are you kidding me? So since everything can be found on the internet, I did a search for homemade granola. I chose this one from Alton Brown on the Food Network website.

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Show: Good Eats
Episode: Oat Cuisine

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.
In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed. Store in a air tight container once completely cool. (Very important so the granola keeps its crunch.)

I'm not really fond of raisins in "things", so I left them out. I have to say I will never buy pre-made granola. This stuff tastes great. It did take some time to make, stirring the granola every 15min while toasting, but worth it. Plus you can create what every type of granola you want. Give it a try.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Winston Was Feeling Left Out

Well apparently Winston thought Zoe was getting all the attention, so he had to get cancer too. Our boy Winston is a repeat offender. He had 2 mast cell tumors three years ago. They were removed and never came back. So we thought we were in the clear. Then the other day we noticed two small masses, pencil eraser size. So off I took him to work to see what the masses were. The initial cytology showed mast cells. He had surgery on Thursday. When they were prepping for surgery they found a third mass, just as they did with Zoe. So once again we are waiting the results of the histopathology to see what grade the tumors are. His first bout with mast cell cancer was grade 1 ... so we're praying for those results again.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Infamous Gator

We live across from the lake in our neighborhood. Ever since we've lived here we have heard rumors about the gator in the lake. It's been over a year & there hasn't been a single sighting on this gator. Until today! It was just a small baby gator, maybe three feet long. So he wasn't much of a threat. Except for the fact that he has parents. Which I'm sure were somewhere close. I know we live in Florida and that gators are part of our environment, but it's not everyday you come this close to one. Aside from the infamous gator sighting we have been getting our share of rain over the past few weeks. And it's a good thing, because we really needed it.

Here's an update on Zoe. She has been walking outside on her own, I was carrying her before. She still stumbles once in awhile with her back feet, but otherwise has been doing great. Her tumors that were removed came back as mast cell grade 2. Not the best news, but not the worst either. The good news is that the doctor got "clean margins" when he removed the tumors. That means that the entire tumor was removed with no cancer cells left in that area. It doesn't guarantee that another cancerous tumor won't regrow there, but there's less of a chance.

Doesn't her incision look good!?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Zoe needs entertainment.

Zoe has been inside a small cage for three weeks now and she is getting a little stir crazy to say the least. She is almost climbing the walls of her cage at times. Thank goodness she is feeling much better. Her back legs have almost regained all their function. She has also recovered well from her tumor removal surgery. Now that she is feeling much better she thinks it's time to get out of the cage. Sadly for her, she does not have any "get out of jail" cards. She doesn't play board games very well. She does however get some free time out of her cage to stretch her legs or sit up on the couch with Michael & I. Her back is still healing though, so we have to be very careful with her. Zoe has really been very good in her cage. She has only started barking recently, mostly out of boredom I imagine. I went out today to get her some toys to keep her busy while caged up. They are called Busy Buddy toys. You can stuff pieces of food/treats inside these toys. As they are rolled around or chewed on, the treats will fall out. So far she is enjoying them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The flag goes back up.

Earlier in the year we got a nasty-gram from our association people about the pug flag. We had it displayed in the front of our townhouse in the shared landscaping. Apparently that is a violation. Even though the association couldn't give me the exact location of where to find this violation in the community handbook. I was told I could go in front of the board and ask for approval to display my flag. Are you kidding! That's crazy. So I just let it go, and took down the flag. As I was driving through our neighborhood the other day I noticed another townhouse has a flag up. A few other homes also have decorative items in the shared landscaping. So the flag is going back up! I did put the flag inside of the porch area, that way they can't say it's in the shares landscape area. We'll see how long it takes to get another nasty-gram.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I have good news and bad news on Zoe. She is recovering very well from IVDD. She only stumbles every once in a while & is almost walking normal again. We have been doing acupuncture along with homeopathic and conventional medicine. While we were in for acupuncture the other day I noticed a lump on her chest. The dermatologist looked at it and thought it was suspicious of cancer. She took a small sample and looked at it under the microscope, it was wall to wall mast cells. Pugs are prone to mast cell tumors. We went through this with Winston. His tumors came back as grade I. The easiest type to cure by simply removing the tumor. Zoe had three small masses removed and sent out to the lab. Hopefully they will come back as a low grade I. Our poor little Zoe, she turns 7 years old and gets two major issues in the same week.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

This year Michael worked at the St. Pete Beach fireworks show. Just as we did last year, I came along for a great show. You can't get any better seats. We sat inside a large roped off section around the launch sight of the fireworks. This keeps the public back and out of harms way. So we all sat back and got ready to watch a great show.

As the grand finale began a large explosion was seen on the ground. The rest of the fireworks then detonated on the ground. Everyone jumped up out of their seats and ran for cover. It felt as if we were in the middle of a war. The explosions were so loud that they blew out some of the windows from the hotel behind us. I have never witnessed anything like this. It was mass ciaos, everyone running for cover while screaming. There we several injuries but nothing major. Michael & I came away shook up, but without a scratch on us. Here is the link from a local news station with more information along with pictures and video. Click here.

A few days later I attended a bachelorette party for a friend that I work with. We were told to bring the usual practical joke gift. I thought it would be cute to make her a towel cake and fill it with things she will need for her honeymoon. I included sunscreen, Bath and Body Works pineapple lotion & body splash, Ibuprofen (For the next morning after a day spent drinking and basking in the sun.), Rolaids Plus [with gas relief] (For the next morning after eating to much on the cruise ship.), Chapstick, Tide to go stick and a small picture frame with "And they lived happily ever after..." printed inside. The best part about the towel cake is that the bottom was made out of two oversize bath towels embroidered with "Just Married". That way the newlyweds could take the towels with them on the cruise and use them to lay out by the pool. While the bride & groom got married Michael & got to watch their two fur kids, Toby and Gizmo. Our dogs had so much fun playing with them. It was our very own doggie park at home. :-)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Not a good weekend for Zoe.

Our poor dear Zoe is "down in the rear" as the veterinary folk say. On Thursday Michael & I went to a movie and came back three hours later to find Zoe panting and unable to walk without stumbling. I rushed her into the vet and it was determined that she has IVDD also known as intervertebral disk disease. One of her spinal disks is protruding onto her spinal cord causing loss of coordination to her legs. We're not sure what has caused this, and sometimes no trauma is needed for this to happen. So for now Zoe is on strict cage rest, steroids and pain medication. Hopefully with time the swelling causing her dysfunction will resolve and she will be walking normally again. If not we may have to consider surgery to correct the problem. Let's pray she will recover on her own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Comfort food.

Is this really bad for me? My indulgence consists of frozen yogurt, a banana, walnuts and fat free caramel sauce. How good does that sound! I know that eating the banana and walnuts alone would be much better for me, but I think I really am addicted to ice cream. Even though frozen yogurt doesn't taste exactly like ice cream, it comes very close. I need to go back to just having my Tevana tea at night after dinner. It is truly much better for me. Yesterday I found a recipe on the web for homemade Frosty Paws for dogs. Why did I never think about making my own. They really are easy to make, and then you know exactly what your dogs are eating. The recipe is as follows:

32 ounces vanilla yogurt
1 mashed banana or 1 jar of baby fruit
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey

Blend all together and freeze in either 3 ounce paper cups or ice cube trays. Microwave just a few seconds before serving.

You can find this recipe along with many others online at PetnBlog.

I went to Walmart and found the perfect Frosty Paw mold. It's a silicone cupcake pan. You just pour the mix into the mold cups, freeze overnight and the next morning you can pop the Frosty Paws right out. It couldn't be any easier. I then just stored them in a container in the freezer and we have a cool treat for the dogs.

Here's what I used.

We will be trying out the new treats tomorrow night. I'd like to say I'll be letting you know if the dogs liked them, but I'm sure they will be a big hit.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yummy drinks.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person. Here are some breakfast things the make waking up a little easier.

I love this coffee. It's got a mix of tropical coconut, hazelnut & caramel! What could be better. I like to add a little Coffee Mate Coconut Cream. It gives it a hint more of that great coconut flavor. You can buy this coffee at Costco or direct through Manattee Coffee online.

Some mornings eating breakfast is not an option. Due to running late or just not feeling like it. On those days I like to drink Nature's Plus Spiru-tein Chocolate Shake. I've tried various other chocolate breakfast shakes and I think this one tastes the best. It still has a slightly chalky flavor though. So to disguise this I like to add a teaspoon of instant coffee or a little peanut butter.

A great alternative to soda. IZZE is naturally sweet. No refined sugar, no caffeine, no artificial anything, ever. It's just natural fruit juice with a splash of sparkling water. My new favorite summer time drink.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Family trip to NY & NJ.

We all packed up and took a flight up north to see the family. Here are some photos of things we got to see and do.

A fire truck in action on the streets of NY.

A great view from Top of The Rock observation deck.

We took a drive out to Amish country in Lancaster, PA.
It's not every day you see this.

Michael got us tickets to the taping of the Late Show.

Yes we handed our brand new Canon to a stranger
and asked if she would take our picture... risky, I know.