Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pups at Play

I took this little video clip this morning with our old Kodak digital camera, so the quality isn't that great, nor is the lighting.  But, you can see how the puppies are just discovering how much fun their siblings are, not to mention rolling around, and batting at the air and each other with their little paws.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Puppy Mush

Even though the puppies are quite young (just under 4 weeks), they are ready to be introduced to puppy chow.  For the first couple of days, though, I made them up formula and let them learn to lap it up.  Then, I soaked the puppy chow in the formula and mashed it up so that they could eat it easily.  It took a little bit for them to figure out that the puppy mush was tasty, but once they did, the puppies were excited to jump right in and eat it (literally and figuratively).  Buddy, our smaller, darker-colored sweetheart of a puppy was the most enthusiastic on the first day.  Today, all four jumped right in and started eating. 

Buddy, chowing down.

He's serious about his food.

Getting right into the puppy mush, and loving it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Puppy Love

How can you not adore this little guy?  He is so soft, sweet, and a precious little bundle.  Yep, we are having fun with the puppies.  They are 3 1/2 weeks now, they just took their first steps a few days ago, are starting to go potty on the paper I put out for them on one end of their whelping box, and are tasting formula out of a bowl for the first time as a beginning of their weaning process.  So, the great puppy adventure in our household continues. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wheeler Works

My sister-in-law, Sarah, has a lot of experience in fashion and design and is very talented.  Recently she started up her own business and is selling her products on Etsy.  She is creating beautiful scarves that are luxurious and one-of-a kind.  Take a look at her shop here.

This is just one of her beautiful creations!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

First Steps

The puppies are a little over 3 weeks now and getting cuter by the day.  Their eyes opened up a few days ago and just last night, they all started taking their very first steps.  It was really, very adorable.  The girls and I all stood around cheering them on. 

Getting curious!

They love to stay warm by sleeping in a pile.

Up on her feet and walking for the first time.

Enough pictures already!  Can I go back to napping now? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Teaching the Puppies Early

I'm pretty sure that these are going to be very well socialized and tolerant puppies as the girls want to include them in the little details of their lives.  Here, the puppies are helping the girls with their homework.  
Doing math with Selah.

Reading with Arianna.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


The adventurers, with the birthday girl, front and center.


A couple of weeks ago, our second oldest daughter turned 8.  It also turned out to be the day after the puppies were born, so things were pretty hectic around the house at the time.  We already had a plan to use some LEGOLAND tickets that were given to us to take some of the girls on a birthday excursion.  So, despite the lack of sleep and much exhaustion, my valiant hubby, who is also a wonderful dad, got up and took our middle three for a very, full day at LEGOLAND.  My oldest, #1, and youngest, #5, stayed home with me, for which I was very thankful because Isabella was a huge help to me that day, not only with puppy care, but also helping out with her baby sister.  While they were gone, I did manage to bake a carrot cake for the birthday girl, about the only non-puppy related project I did that day.  The girls returned late, exhausted, but very exited and happy about the fun day they had at LEGOLAND for Selah's birthday. 

Volvo driving school with stoplights, streets signs, and all. 

3 happy campers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Playing with Pups

The girls have given the puppies temporary names while they are at our house because it is easier to call them by a name than say, "Let's pet the little one." or "How much does the blond one weigh today?".  The girls will be emotionally attached to the puppies, I am sure, and be sad when they leave, but it is all part of learning about life on the "farm" and living in the country. 

Dakota with Buddy.

Livia holding Prince Eric.

Arianna with Ellie, our big girl.

Selah, cuddling with Jake.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Family Favorite for Dinner

Making pizza at home has been a favorite for our family since the kids were tiny.  At first, I would pick up pizza dough from Trader Joe's in a bag and use that, but after a while, I wasn't loving the taste of the crust that much and thought I could probably do better at home.  I started using a pizza crust recipe from one of my bread machine cookbooks and the recipe is a real winner (my bread machine gets most of its use just for making dough because I prefer to bake my breads in the oven, but even so it is useful for dough making).  I modified the recipe because I like to use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose unbleached flour instead of all white flour like the original calls for.  Here is the recipe:

2 lbs. of pizza dough  -  Add ingredients to the bread machine bowl in the order you see them.
Usually makes 3 medium-sized pizzas.
(This recipe can be made, also, in a Kitchen Aid mixer; after mixing and kneading for about 2 minutes with the machine, just leave it covered and in a warm place and let it rise for about an hour before using.)

1 1/2 c. warm water
2 Tbl. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/4 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp. dry yeast

Over the years, our eating habits have changed.  I used to, easily, use a whole pound of mozzarella in one night of pizza making.  And, of course, we loved to put pepperoni and Italian sausage on our pizza along with lots of other toppings.  Now, we don't eat meat, dairy, or eggs.  When we decided to eat a vegan diet at home, I wondered if our pizza days were behind us and determined to keep the tradition alive even without some of the more usual pizza ingredients.  I have found the key to making a great vegan pizza is to make sure you have plenty of toppings on it.  Honestly, I don't even miss the cheese anymore and like a base of spinach or other greens on the bottom just as much.  My girls still request pizza night just as often and love it with whatever toppings we happen to have on hand that day.  Here was one of our recent pizzas.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Persimmon Butter

In December, I wrote about using persimmons and my new-found like of this fruit.  On two occasions, I made batches of persimmon butter using my crockpot.  This recipe was so easy and the result is great!  I freeze what I can't use in a few weeks and then put some in the fridge for immediate consumption.  I've been enjoying it on my toast in the mornings for many weeks now.

This picture was taken from the recipe site, but mine looked just as good as this.

I did make a couple of changes.  I replaced the 1/4 c. agave nectar with 1/4 c. honey.  Also, I didn't put in individual spices; I just used pumpkin pie spice and put in the amount I liked, to taste. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Puppy Pics

Day 1 - So tiny and learning to eat.

Mommy and baby hanging out.

Snoozing under mama dog's leg.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Puppy Learning Curve

Things I didn't realize about having puppies until now:

1.  The puppies and their mother's milk have a very distinct smell.  I am putting a lot of clothing into the laundry after a day spent caring for them and we are running an air purifier in their room to keep the air smelling a little better in there.

2.  No need for a personal weight-loss plan in the new year.  Caring for puppies instead of myself 24/7 means unintended weight loss by virtue of the fact that I either keep forgetting to eat or put it off when something needs to be done for either them or my 5 children. 

3.  How even though the puppies aren't at their cutest when they are born, they still tug at your heartstrings when you look at their vulnerable, little faces and hold their tender, soft little bodies.  I know the challenge is not getting too attached because they will go to a new home in a couple of months.  Needless to say, they will be well-loved and used to lots of family attention. 

4.  I didn't know if Lilah would be a great mama dog or not, but she is wonderful.  She is so patient and lays with the puppies for hours on end as they eat and sleep.  She is anxious to get back to them even when she needs to get up for  a eat/stretch/potty break. 

5.  On Day 1, I said to myself, "I don't think I can do this again"; that's how exhausting delivering and caring for puppies on Day 1 was.  By Day 4-5, I'm saying, "OK, this gets a little easier with each day; I think I can do this again."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A New Year - 2013

I can't believe 2013 is already here and we are 6 days into it.  I had thought I would blog more over the kids' Christmas break, but then it is always busy around the house on a vacation, so alas my blogging went by the wayside.  Then, on Jan. 2, our dog Lilah, that we bred a couple of months ago with a Goldendoodle, went into labor 5 days early and we now have four, small little Goldendoodles at home.  Thank goodness, my hubby was still on his Christmas break for a few more days because the last few days have been a blur of delivering puppies, caring for our wonderful mama dog, making sure our little "preemies" are being looked after 24/7, and getting a lot less sleep than usual.  I have to say, after having had 5 newborns (but not at the same time, thankfully), that puppies are even more work in the first few days.  There are more than 1, even when they are sleeping I keep a close eye on them so that Lilah doesn't accidentally roll on them, and due to their size, they need a little extra help getting the hang of eating off of mama.  From all that I've read, the first week of a puppy's life is pretty critical and when it comes to animal care, I can be a bit obsessive, so between the house, kids, and puppies things are pretty busy around here.  So, 2013 in our household has come in with a whirlwind and I for one, am just hanging for the ride.  To all those I know and don't know out there, Happy New Year and may God bless you richly in this coming year!