Saturday, March 30, 2013

Social ramblings.

Let me just tell you my thoughts here.
It seems the pressing social matter right now is marriage. Who should be allowed to be married to who, what people's relationships should be called, etc. I've seen debate after debate on Facebook, and all have been pretty much the same. One side saying hateful, hurtful things about homosexuals, and the other saying hateful hurtful things against religious people. After briefly skimming the news feed on my Velcro Danes Facebook profile I just had to stop and wonder: do these people not realize that hate breeds hate? Do they not realize that hate and judgement in the name of religion makes no sense? DO they not realize that hate and judgement in the name of acceptance and tolerance also makes no sense. Can neither side of this debate voice where they stand without name calling, hate, and violence?
It's sad, really. It's sad that so many people use platforms as excuses to be hateful and cruel to fellow man. I don't understand how people feel justified in speaking so ugly to people. When did thinking differently than someone become an excuse to insult their intelligence or character? Why is there such an us/ them mentality when really we're all just PEOPLE.
Where do I stand? Well, all over the place, really. I'm Mormon. I'm also not a judgmental jerk. I have my own personal beliefs and it doesn't even matter what those are. My stance is against spewing hate... of ANY kind. Furthermore, I think there are certain places the government doesn't belong. The government doesn't belong in my body. The government doesn't belong in my healthcare. The government doesn't belong in my marriage. And that applies to everyone. It's not the government's business. I think so long as people aren't hurting anyone, the government ought to shut up. Be it gay marriage, polygamy, polyamory... whatever. Relationships between consenting adults, where no abuse is taking place ought to stay between those consenting adults. Period.
I think my biggest thing is that regardless of what YOU believe, if you can't convey it without name calling, cruelty, insults, or anger... keep it to yourself. Everyone thinks differently, and that's OK. What's not ok is treating other human beings like crap.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Moving On Up

So, I'm a little spontaneous sometimes.
We've been talking about selling our house for a YEAR now. We bought it looking for something that would cost no more than rent, but at the same time we'd be investing money every month in our own property rather than throwing it away on rent. We knew we'd stay "about two years" and that at that point we'd want to move on to greener pastures so to speak. Well. it's been two years now, and we're ready to move on. It's not that there's anything wrong with our house, it's just that we know it's not HOME. Not our long-term home anyway. We are so eager to get settled into the place we will stay long-term... the neighborhood we will put down roots.... the home we will raise our kids, and of COURSE a better yard for our Danebabies to play.
So, I get a text from our awesome Realtor just touching base on if we still wanted to sell since my litters of puppies are raised and out of the house. Honestly, the day I got the message I was still so overwhelmingly behind and trying do de-puppy the house I didn't even respond. I knew I had at least a solid month or two of cleaning, packing, laundry... and the dreaded boarding of MY dogs for the process. It was really easy to just put selling off for Summer. Summer seemed like a good time to deal with all that. Well, that was last Monday. I got a wild hair and just decided to get things moving. We listed Tuesday. WOOT. There's still some things that should be done around the house to make it more appealing to buyers, and I'll be working on that this week before we head to Vegas for Easter weekend, but the bulk of it all is as done as it's going to get.
So, to kick of this whole officially-selling-the-house business, we went and looked at a listing that had caught my eye big time. I pretty much fell in love with it, but it sold before we even had a chance to make an offer. It was really disappointing and honestly left a sour taste in my mouth for the entire house hunting experience. I don't even want to go LOOK until our house is sold and done with.
Either way.... we're moving, and hopefully within the next two months, and that's exciting.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Piper's First Day of "School"

We started training today with Piper. I enrolled her at Calling all Dogs up in Holladay, UT because I wanted her to get used to people/places/dogs that aren't in her usual routine, so Ruff House seemed like not the best idea, since she knows Becki so well already, and those dogs are generally the same as the dogs she plays with on the rare occasion she goes to daycare. She doesn't particularly like daycare, so she doesn't go much at all. Well. OK. Let's be real. She's gone twice for an hour each time and then I miss her too much to leave her.
So, we show up 5 minutes late. Embarrassing. There was an accident on the ramp to the 215, and EVERYONE had to slow down and look, so even though I left with PLENTY of time, thinking we would be super early... such is my luck. Everyone is all sitting and they obviously started without us. I felt like an idiot walking in. Nevermind the fact that I walked in carrying my 45 lb puppy, who is convinced that leashes are evil, and therefore must pull back and thrash wildly. (hey, cut me some slack here, we DID enroll in training classes, did we not!?)
It becomes very clear very fast that Piper is going to be the naughty kid at school. She had a lot to "say" about the fact she couldn't go play with the other dogs. She did fairly well with learning her commands, though. Her attention span is kind of dingy in new places, but I was still proud of her. She is having a tough time with learning "down" and really only will do it on surfaces she finds comfy. This does not include the rubber flooring at the training facility, much to my dismay.
All in all, it went well. She was amazing with some things, and needs improvement with others. Pretty predictable for a baby, I think. I look forward to working with her on our "homework" this week, and going back to class next Monday and showing our improvement. I want to keep her in classes pretty much constantly, I just have a LOT of stuff going on this Summer. Hopefully it will work out. I love my little Piper. <3

And there, now this is no longer a food blog. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bring on Summertime.

I usually don't love Summertime. Something about being hot all the time, and everything smelling bad (um. I live with kind of a lot of dogs.) just kinda..... well, it makes me cranky. Like, really cranky. I've never liked the sun, it gives me headaches and my skin burns easily. I don't like the hot, it's always made me feel sick and I completely loose my appetite.
But. Let it be known. I'm excited for Summer this year. Why? Because I have so much fun crap planned. In fact, I've got stuff planned like... soon. And am booked til August. So, for real, if stuff is going on I will have to see if I can pencil it in. HA.

March 23 I have Hale Theater with my mom.
March 31 is Easter, which means all kinds of family crap. Like dinner. mmmm, family dinner. Now, we're not good at much, but my family sure makes damn good food. Which is probably also why most of us are, or have been.... fat.
April 5-7 we are going to Las Vegas to visit Jon's family.
At some point in April I am hauling dumbface brindlebutt (that's Braxton for those of you not in the loop on nicknames) up to Idaho to stud a friend's beautiful harl Dane. Plus, that means spending 4ish days with my amazing friends, and that makes me happy too! I love Jon & Natalie and all their girly dogs! I hope I don't have to move the Vegas trip but will if necessary. Can't plan too far ahead while waiting for ladies to ovulate!
April 26 Jon graduated from UVU with his bachelor's in Forensic Science. FINALLY.
May 10-22 I have a San Diego trip and cruise with Jon. Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World, beach... I like going back to my hometown as a lame tourist. We also will spend a night in Vegas and will get to meet Jon's new baby half sister.
May 30 I have a Kenny Chesney concert in Boise, ID.
June 14 I have a Tim McGraw concert in Salt Lake
June 28-July 1 I have a Lake Powell trip with Mitch/Jeannene and my grandparents. (Piper will be having her first boating experience, too)
July 18 I have a Kenny Chesney concert in Salt Lake
July 25-30 I have a Lake Powell trip with my whole family

I almost kinda sorta feel like I'm super cool and have a life again. Only not quite.
On top of that, we really really really really really really wanna sell this house this Summer and MOVE. That would be the absolute best thing that could possibly happen. Meanwhile, we will have Piper in training working towards getting her in Rally-O at a competing level, and hopefully we can talk Jon's family into making some visits up here so we can see them more too. And maybe weekenders at Strawberry or Deer Creek... just to get the boat out more. And family BBQs are bound to happen. I LOVE my family so much and we seem to spend so much more time together in the Summer. AND, and... we have season passes to 7 Peaks. woooot. AND, hopefully Jon will get started in his career in forensics. Hopefully.
 I don't even know WHICH part I am most excited for, to be honest. I'm really excited to go on a cruise for the first time in my life, since I've never gone on one before. I'm also really excited to see Jon's family, since it honestly doesn't happen often enough. (they should just move to Utah already...) and I'm excited to go to the lake. I LOVE boating, there's nowhere else I'd rather be. I'm also excited to have a trip to the lake that's less camping out, more exploring with my brother and grandparents.
And hopefully, by the end of all this, I'll be pregnant. Ok, highly unlikely.... but it doesn't hurt to hope, right? I just hope that time goes by quickly.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Zucchini is disgusting. Period.

Hello internet world! Ok, fine. Hello Tanya, my only reader.
I must be accountable for last week's food challenge in which the ingredient was zucchini. Let me tell you how that went.
I have had zucchini several times in my life, prepared all different ways, BUT it had been several years since then and Jon hadn't ever really eaten it so I decided it qualified. I want to like it, it seems like everyone in my family grows it all Summer and ends up with way too much and then they can't give it away, and so since I know I'd have a bunch of sources of it all Summer now was a good time to give it another try, so I did.
I made a pesto dish, because quite frankly... I freaking LOVE LOVE LOVE pesto and I didn't think there was anything this creamy green deliciousness couldn't turn into a scrumpdiddlyumptious dish. And then in came zucchini. The texture kind of made me want to puke. I hated it. It was awful. I found myself scraping the pesto sauce off of it and eating just that. Jon liked the Zucchini, though.
So, I only made one zucchini dish this week. The challenge was to make two, but to be honest... I still dub it a success because I'm not sure there's anything that can be done to this food to make it taste good to me. There wasn't a flavor profile issue. (again pesto= crack) there was just something about it that made my taste buds want to die. I'm not making it again. Ever.
I think this week's ingredient is going to be butternut squash. I'm having a hard time keeping up with making new things because if I don't like them, then Jon ends up with a TON of left overs for lunches, and that's no fun. I hate wasting food. Jon is a garbage disposal and will eat anything. Seriously. Anything. Me..... not so much.
I feel like this is turning into a food blog. It's not supposed to be a food blog!I should start posting about dogs again. Or something.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eggy McEggplant

OK. The first week of March came and went. We made it through this week of the challenge, but also made some discoveries on how we want to structure future challenges. More on that later.

Our food this week? Eggplant.
I know, super common, but somehow... not only had I never had it, but I'd never MADE it, and neither had Jon. It started with about two hours of googling eggplant recipes. Armed with my ingredient lists, we went off to Sprouts! There, I gathered everything I needed, then stood in front of an array of eggplant while googling "how to pick a good eggplant" and reading page after page of eggplant-picking wisdom. So, there I stood, smart phone in hand, reading about this mysterious purple fruit. Color, density, size, shape... all components of finding the perfect plant. I picked them up, tapped them, checked for soft spots, looked for blemishes. 45 minutes later, I walked out feeling particularly pleased with myself and confident that I got the best eggplant in the store. (OK, so I wasn't confident at all, but details schmetails.)

The two eggplant recipes we tried were the following:
Baked Eggplant
Eggplant Pizza

The verdict: we liked it. I really have google to thank, as I read pages on proper salting, draining, and pressing the flesh of this fruit prior to frying and baking. We quite enjoyed both dishes though. I think both will be thrown into the cycle of repeat dishes in our house.

Now, while we stuck to all the rules of our challenge, there's a few things that I'm going to change. It allows too much wiggle room, we've gone out too much and I don't FEEL as good. The whole point of these challenges is to make making healthier choices FUN. I like to set goals, and I like meeting them even more.

Friday, March 8, 2013

March Food Challenge

I'm late posting this, but quite frankly I only have one reader I'm aware of (hi, Tanya!) and I make the rules around this here blog.
Really, posting is more about keeping us accountable for the goals we set.

There is no budget this month. None. At all. We want to get a feel for what our food budget is on a month to month basis without being overly conscious of it. I really want to see just HOW much money we are wasting, and how much of it goes to undesirable food products. I'm honestly a little afraid of the results. Especially knowing that we CAN go on so little each month, I'm afraid I will literally be ashamed to find out what the typical tab is.
BUT, there has to be some kind of challenge, right? Right.

March Food Challenge

  • Each week (Monday- Sunday) we must try a new food item.
  • This can be something we've tasted before, but nothing that has been a regular part of our diet for any length of our married life. Neither of us can have prepared it previously. See, I haven't tried many different things. I kind of grew up eating the same things frequently (as I think most families do) so there's a LOT of really common things I have never tried. Like eggplant. and brussel sprouts. and leeks. Now, I'm not about to go making a eggplant/sprout/leek casserole any time soon. (well, I'm not making ANY casserole any time soon. Perhaps one day I will blog about my true feelings on casserole.) 
  • The new food MUST be a fruit or vegetable. 
  • Must try each of the new foods prepared in two different ways. The idea is to hopefully find NEW healthy dishes that we can throw in our little rotation of dinners that will replace some of the processed stuff we used to eat and give variety. 

So, that's it. That's the challenge. I think I'm going to do some kind of weird grocery/ food thing every month this year. Perhaps we will go vegetarian for a month. What I can say is this week we ate out WAY too much. It just kind of happened. Chuck was in town, so we went out, and then we went out with my mom, and then we went on a double date, and then tonight we were both up north at the same time. That's 4 times in a week. I can honestly say... I feel it. I feel kinda gross. I credit several factors for my weight loss, but I credit how I FEEL completely to the positive food choices we've been making and since falling off the bandwagon this week, my body is feeling the difference. Convenience foods are such a huge issue. It's time to get back in gear and make those good choices again. My body will thank me for it.

WOAH, where's my hair?!

Every now and then I get ideas, and occasionally they are good ideas.
Actually, who am I kidding? My ideas are always awesome. Except that one time.
Anyway, so I'm like... sooooo close to my 100lb loss mark I can taste it. (much to my dismay, it doesn't taste like cheesecake.) I thought I deserved a little treat for myself. (nope, still not cheesecake.) For the four years I was fat, I quite frankly stopped caring about little things like... what I looked like. I'm really honestly not sure how I was lucky enough to snag Jon at my worst. Must have been my undeniable charm. Anyway, point is... while I'm still the ME I always have been, I care about those things again. Not to the point I'm completely vein, but you know... I shower and stuff. (that was a joke. I always showered.)
So, what was this non-cheesecakey treat for myself? A haircut.
Now, this may not sound like a big deal, and perhaps it's not for most people, but I've never actually been to a fancy schmancy salon before in my life, ever, and I don't think I've had a haircut that wasn't done in a kitchen (or back yard) for like... gosh... 10 years? Just about. And my hair was being all... well, hairy... and I was just ready for a change. SOOO... I hacked it all off. Well, technically I didn't do it, Becka at Aura Hair Salon in SLC did... and I AM SO HAPPY. The length she suggested wasn't a length I would have gone, but obviously I know nothing about hair or I wouldn't have had such a frizzy mess to begin with.

My first look at it was like... WOAH, where's my hair... (psst, Mom and Tanya, I know exactly how you read that line.) but you know, I like it. That's right, I LIKE MY HAIR. For the first time in 23 years, I like my hair. Not only that, but I learned how to take care of it better. Apparently this junk has been growing out of my scalp for my entire life and I'm just NOW learning what the heck to do with it. Oh well, better late than ever. 
Now I'm gonna go sleep on my face because I'm afraid I won't be able to ever get my hair to look like this again, and heaven forbid I smash it...

The end. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

To do list: Place 20 Puppies in homes (CHECK!) Next up: sell the house.

We made it through another successful round of Great Dane puppies. Well, technically two rounds.
All twenty puppies found great homes, and I will be sending the last puppy off to Chicago on Friday morning. I'm so blessed with how many amazing people my Danes have brought into my life.
Zailey will also be spayed and retired in April. It's so tough to make that call, but three runts in two litters, all with over bites, and out of different sires, I just feel like it's the right thing to do. Such a shame too because she's the most amazing mother ever. Seriously.
I have no litters planned until mid-late 2014, and so many things that need to happen between now and then!

In other Dane news, Timber's biopsy results came back and she does NOT have cancer. Her leg ("wrist"?) is just very swollen, and there's some infection in there... but IT'S NOT CANCER. I am so relieved. That was seriously the longest two week wait of my life. I was so worried about my pretty girl. A culture on the infection, the right antibiotics, and we will knock this thing out of the park. The whole waiting period really was a reminder of just how fragile life is, and to not take for granted anything. Regardless, reminder duly noted, and I'm glad she doesn't have cancer. She's only two years old. I plan on her being a part of our family for at LEAST another 10. At least.

From one project onto the next.

Now we are really working on getting our house sold and moving. I can't wait to finally move to the home that I can honestly see raising my family in. After experiencing our first home, we know exactly what things we can and can not compromise on. I hope it doesn't turn into too much of a nightmare.

I'm really hoping that once we're in the new house, we can start actively pursuing adoption again- assuming we're not pregnant by then, which at this point isn't looking very likely anyway. I feel so blessed for everything I have. Jon and I are healthy. We have stable income. He's so close to graduating college. We have a roof over our heads, and soon will have the house we really want for the long haul. We are surrounded by my family, and Jon's parents have BOTH talked about moving up here, too. We've got great friends. Velcro Danes is going so well. But, I'd be lying if I didn't say there's just... something... missing. Something that would make the whole picture complete. I hope 2013 is our year, I really do. But this is the third year in a row we've said that, so who knows!

We have some super fun Summer plans going on this year. Of course the family trip to Lake Powell, and then we're trying to work out a trip to Lake Mead as well... and we have a super fun trip to Disney World planned for after graduation. I. AM. SO. EXCITED. Is it May yet?

And, tomorrow... I'm cutting off all my hair. All of it. Gone. Done.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

February Food Challenge Accountability!

Today was March 1st, which means our February Food Challenge has come to an end! We made it with spending less than $100 on groceries for the entire month, and cleaned out some of the pre packages processed type foods out of the pantry and freezer, most of which we will never buy again. The breakdown on where the money went is below:
**Disclaimer, prices do not reflect the 15% student discount we get at Sprouts Farmer's Market on Thursdays.

Veggies/Fruits/ Fresh Herbs- $10.53
Organic Celery, Organic Carrots, Fresh Parsely, Red Potatoes, Organic Cauliflower, Organic Roma Tomatoes

Meat & Eggs- $27.07
Fresh free-range chicken (never frozen), Grass-Fed Organic Ground Beef, organic eggs

Dairy- $44.49
Organic Raw Cheese, Organic Cottage Cheese, Organic Cream Cheese, European Style Organic Butter,  Raw [pasture-fed] Organic Milk, Yogurt

Other- $16.01
Egg Noodles, All Natural Salad Dressing, Buffalo Sauce, Pizza Sauce, Almond Butter, Smart Bagels (all natural version of Bagel thins)

Some observations: the total costs make it LOOK like we didn't get much fruits/ veggies, but really they are just not as pricey. We ate fresh foods every day. We are not believers in pasteurized dairy, and believe that dairy is one area that quality can not be compromised on. Based on personal experience, going from really really limited dairy and not really thinking that people should eat/drink dairy AT ALL... going to a diet pretty heavy in raw dairy products, including several glasses of raw milk a day, not only do I LOOK better, but I FEEL better. I won't ever drink pasteurized, homogenized milk again. Ever. Quality meats are worth paying for. We eat so little meat  that it's really not a big deal to spend more for quality, but I don't think I could go back to lesser quality meats for any reason.

Raw Milk Info

There's room for improvement for sure. We could knock out more of the processed stuff in favor for more fruits and veggies. We could cut back on breads and sugars. We could be better about eating the food rainbow. But really, considering we were completely trapped in a horrible fast food habit several months ago, it feels so good to be eating real foods.

Stay Tuned for March's Food Challenge!