Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Monday

Have you ever wondered what was in some one's cart at the store? I know I sure have! So, I thought I would share mine :-)
 As I was picking out my red and orange bell peppers today I could not believe they were $2 a piece. What was even more shocking was that I was actually gonna spend $10 on bell peppers. Then I remembered that living in Arizona I don't have much of an option because nothing really grows here at this time of year with our 112 degree days. I then thought I should plant a garden and grow my own vegetables...then I remembered that not much grows here at this time of year, hence why I was spending $10 on bell peppers. I am kind of slow sometimes...sigh....

It is not like I am a big spender at the store. I try to go generic whenever I can so I can afford the important stuff -- like fruit and vegetables. I mean, let's face it I have "Sauve" body soap and lotion in my cart. Can't get much cheaper than that!

Do you cook differently depending on the time of year it is? I know we do! I do not like to turn my oven on at all between the months of June - September. If I can't make it on the stove top then we don't eat it. If I have to turn on the oven it heats the entire house up. Bad enough it feels like an oven outside. I certainly don't want to feel like a roasted pig on the inside.

I thought I would share with you a our menu for this week. All of which can be prepared on the stove or no heat at all.

Monday: BBQ Cheddar Chicken Roll up with salad
Tuesday: Fruit and almond salad with French bread
Wednesday: BLT salad with Steam Whistle Hot dogs
Thursday: Sausage Pepper Pasta
Friday: Brother's Pizza

Of course I had to buy stuff for sweet treats for the little people! They made these this afternoon:
 They are Oreo Pudding Pops and super easy to make! Just take 3.9 package of chocolate instant pudding mix and whip that with 2 c milk for 2 minutes. Then add 1/2 C cool whip thawed and 6 crushed oreos. Stir until blended and pour into small disposable cups and stick a Popsicle stick in each of them. Place in the freezer for about five hours. To loosen the cups just run warm water on the outside and it should come right out! Enjoy

Of course no shopping trip would be complete without picking up something for our new not a child.....a puppy! I could not resist. It was pink and silly :-)
Look at the teeth on that thing! :-)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thirst Quencher!

It is summer here in hell...I mean.....errrr.....Arizona. It just happens to feel like hell, but really it is only like 107 today. That is a cool down from the weekend in which it reached 117.  Living here for almost two decades I have learned to only get out of the house every other day and only once. The heat is exhausting and your day is over once you come back home because you have to recuperate from it. I am serious -- so not kidding right now. Anyways, one of my bribe tactics I use to get the kids out the door with me is treats. More specifically: drinks. Can you guess my favorite spot?
If you said Starbucks you are correct! However, that beautiful white cup of coffee that I am holding is not even an option for this time of year. Nope :-( Now I am doing my summer drink which is:

Are you ready?

It is an upside down iced venti cafe Americano with sugar free vanilla light cream (like two drops -- I hate cream. Bleak!) and more ice less water.

Go order that the next time you are at Starbucks and watch them go cross eyed. Good times!

As you can imagine Starbucks can get pricey -- especially when buying for yourself and three kiddos (chocolate milk no ice extra whip.....yeah! I am teaching them to be high maintenance drinkers too.)

I then discovered a cheaper option:

You got it! QT! Now the trick was to get the kids to ask for it instead of Starbucks. You see I had to recondition...brain it what you must! I had to get them to want it more than Starbucks. They needed to dream about it, fantasize about it and when ever they saw a cup think of "QT". Considering that my daughter has a serious crush on flavored crushed ice I knew she was my in!

Top that off with a gift card to QT for her for her birthday it was a painless transition. Now my kids like red straws...not green and 32 ounces....not 12. More importantly I am saving a lot of $$$!

So, from the bottom of my heart:
Thank you QT. Thank you for your frozen drinks. Thank you for your extensive drink bar and most importantly cheap prices. I will for ever be in your debt.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Furry Angels

I have been trying to come up with the perfect blog entry for our recent experience in our household and I can't. I am sorry...I have so much to say and so many emotions over what has happened in the last 8 weeks. So, I have decided to just let it flow and speak what is on my heart. I hope you have a few minutes to read this. Trust me, the pictures on this make it totally worth it! My family (those that are in my four walls of my house) own and run a Golden Retriever Kennel. We are breeders and about two months ago we had our first litter. 12 beautiful puppies!

When we first came up with the idea to breed we wanted to do it for two reason. The first and biggest reason was to make some money. I know...I know...that is horrible of me to say, but true. 70% of why I wanted to breed was for the opportunity to make money. The second reason was we really wanted to give back to society. We wanted to turn out some great service dogs and such. I had no idea how much this experience was going to impact society! Needless to say, once I helped birth the first puppy income reasons for doing this went out the window.

I could get into how I am really not an animal person and other background information that would just take a lot of time, but I won't do that. Let me just put it this way, I told Charlie when we first got married that the only dog I wanted for our family was a Golden Retriever. I did not grow up with dogs so I never really knew how much of an impact a dog can have on a family.

We decided to breed and did all of our advertising through the Internet and we placed a few business cards at our local feed store. All of our buyers with the exception of the first buyer got our name through our website/Internet. Our first buyers got our name off of the the business board at the feed store. We met our first buyers before we even knew if Cider was pregnant and we really liked them. We told them when we knew for sure that Cider was pregnant and they came for a few more visits. On the second visit they said they were praying for Cider and all the puppies. I thought that was such a sweet gesture and left it at that. I mean they were only cute dogs right? Did God have time for dogs? Come to find out this amazing couple prayed for Cider and the puppies each night and even had their small group praying for her too.

I don't know if you know anything about the average size litter of Golden Retrievers, but it is between 3 - 8 and usually 4 -6. Well, Cider pushed out 13 puppies. The last one died in the vet's office :-( and we were left with a dozen healthy Goldens! We kind of started to panic....I mean in our city, by law we are only permitted to have 4 grown dogs (over the age of 2), how were we going to find homes for 12 puppies? The economy is bad and people are traveling and spending money on that. Really? 12? Really? I was nervous. I thought we had bitten off more than we could chew. I also happened to fall in love with each and every one of them. I remember thinking that I sure hoped our first buyers were praying because only God could make this work.

Well, he did...ten fold and He left his fingerprints all over it! We were hoping that one of our dogs would go into service situations and 3 actually are going into service work! Two of the three were the two that Parker and I especially fell in love with. They happened to be the ones that got the most attention because of extra feedings and such. However, had it not been for the extra time with them and putting our hearts into it they might not have been selected.

Isn't it an honor and blessing to love something so much that it is hard to say good bye to it? That is how much we loved these dogs! Last week all of our puppies found their FURever homes. I don't think I have cried so much in a week like I did last week kissing my babies goodbye. So, let me introduce the litter, their owners and where they will be living:

First up is Orange Girl now named Chloe. This is the first buyers and their son. Chloe will be in our neighborhood!
 This is purple boy now named Jasper. This is our Sire's owner. She got first pick of the males. Jasper will live out his days in Tuscon AZ.
 This is yellow girl now named Lexi. She will live out her days in Mesa AZ.
 This is green boy now named Bentley. He will be living in Scottsdale AZ.
This is green girl. Her name is Sierra and she will be staying right here with me :-)
Isn't she cute? Yes, there are two pictures of us because this is my blog, so there :-P
This is the Blur and he will be a service dog for the Southeast Blind Association. The Blur was Parker's favorite dog. I am convinced that all the abuse my son put this poor animal through is the reason he will make a great service dog. Not really abuse....I am being sarcastic of course. He just treated him like the typical little boy treats a puppy. Call it what you must, but I would not want to be dragged around with my legs hanging down all the time. Yes.....yes...yes I stopped him from doing that to him. The Blur will be spending his days in Florida. I wonder if he gets to kick it on the beach?

A close up of the Blur in his vest. He was the talk of the airport and airplane indeed.

This is Red Girl and her name is either Izzy or Cassie. Her family still needs to vote on it! She will be living in New Mexico.

This is Yellow Boy. His name is Murphy and he will be living in southern AZ with his family.

This is Purple Girl. Her name is Dotty and she will be living in Prescott as a Mobility dog for her owner. Purple Girls is special to me because she was the smallest female and I bottle fed her. For some time we thought  that we would keep her so saying good bye was very hard. However, I am convinced that the extra attention she got from me will allow her to perform her duty well.

This is Blue Boy. His name.....oh my...this is hard because this just proves that God has a sense of humor....his name....oh my......his name is Dallas after the Dallas Cowboys. I just barfed in my mouth a little as I typed that. See, I don't like the Cowboys...enough said. However, this is a great dog and the owner is fantastic!
This is Red Boy. His name is Murphy and will be living in Goodyear AZ. He will be working with his owner as a therapy dog with disabled people in a clinic.
Last but not least, Orange Boy. Orange Boy was the runt of the litter and got lots of attention from me too. He actually will be living with his brother, Dallas in Tuscon AZ. I am not a big fan or advocate for litter mates living together, but their is an exception to the rule and this amazing family is the exception. Originally I was against the sale of these puppies together, but after extensive talks between owner and my business partner (AKA Charie) we knew it was the right thing to do for this family. Do you see the kid holding the dog? Well, when he found out Orange Boy was the runt of the litter it touched his heart and he set out to love him forever...this also happens to be his first puppy. Oh, and Orange Boy's name is Harlam.
Now, I could not end this without posting this last picture. Remember, how I told you that the Blur was my son's favorite dog? I ended up picking Parker up early from his summer program so he could say good bye to him (I thought it would be cruel to not let him say good bye even though Parker knew we were selling him) and this is that last picture. It is the Blur with Parker's Crypto. Why did we name him the Blur? We ran out of yarn when the puppies were born. That is how we told them apart...the color yarn they had on. I put red and blue on him because he I did not want to make a boy purple....well...Cider popped out the last boy and I had to resort to that anyways, but regardless he had red and blue. We are Smallville fans. It was a WB series about Superman before he was Superman. In the series he is called the BLUR. So Red/Blue boy eventually became the Blur.
I was discussing with Charlie how surreal this whole experience has been for our family and he said that it was because it was in God's hands all along. He then said that our first buyers prayers were probably very powerful and their faith made it so successful. I laid down after our talk....the last puppy had gone down and the whole family was emotionally and physically tired from the whole thing. My eyes were swollen from crying as they left for their new homes and I was proud of my family and my dogs as I drifted off to sleep. The last thought I had was that it could be God that did it or coincidences. I was abruptly woken up with the following scripture racing through my head: "The first shall be last and the last shall be first." See, the first born was the last to find a home and the last born was the first.
Coincidence or God?