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Puppy Picnic

This time of year is so strange for me. I saw a meme the other day that basically sums it up…

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It’s just so true, especially for us teachers. See there are a few emotions taking place this time of year.

1- I look at the calendar, realize I haven’t worked in exactly 8 weeks, look at my optimistic and still stocked summer to-do-list and think what the fuck have I been doing for 2 months?!?!

2- Panic/guilt because I feel like I wasted summer and now feel the need to “do something” with my day, (so overrated btw)

3- I am sooooo ready to get back to life. To me, summer truly is a vacation. I don’t even feel like the same person. You know that feeling you get when you have been away for awhile and you’re just ready and anxious to get home? That “It’s a great place to visit but I wouldn’t wanna live there” type of a deal. That’s essentially my August.  Don’t get me wrong, having the summer off is INCREDIBLE but it’s just a temporary break from my life, which feels like it doesn’t start until the school year does.

Sidenote: You know how after you visit a new place for a while you start to pick up the accent? Well I  have  dog-owner-voice from just talking to my dog all day. Oooo you know the voice. “Who’s a good boy? Does someone need to go OUT? Who’s the most hansdomest boy in all the land?!” Yup-puke city. I neeeeeed to be back around adults all day.

So anyway, after a quiet reflection talking this over with Korben this morning at length, I decided to take advantage of having this beautiful sunny day off.

After a 3 mile walk around the neighborhood, breakfast, and binge watching 4 episodes of Friends on Netflix (yes, I watch a lot of tv and I’m not too ashamed of it) I headed down to a local pond with the pup, hoping to finally get him swimming and enjoying the water.

It took some leash pulling….

…but eventually he swam a bit! He however gets his love of the beach from Nolan, which means once he was out of the water he didn’t understand why we needed to be there and kept trying to escape to the car so we left.

We headed home and I threw together a picnic bag and headed to one of my favorite spots, the Grist Mill.

Puppy picnic! For lunch I packed leftover spaghetti squash, topped with ground turkey, marinara sauce, and a few spoonfuls of Ricotta. For Korben, I made a little doggy trail mix of various broken up treats and dry dog food. Plenty of water of course.

I was shocked at how good he was! While I read my book and soaked up the sun, he laid in the shade and kept a watchful eye on me and everyone who came near.

Sun’s out, tongue’s out!

After about an hr and a half we headed home from our puppy picnic and played in the back yard. Then around 4 I made myself a little snack and finished my book on the patio.

I finally had a ripe beefsteak tomato from the garden and I couldn’t wait to dive in! And yes, that is wine. Yes it was 4:00 on a Wednesday, but I have nowhere to be until August 28th. 😉






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Garden Update: #3

It’s been about a month since I posted a garden update and things are looking quite different out there!

First off, it’s total anarchy. In a shocking turn of events, the vines have subsided and the cherry tomato plants have taken power over the iron garden. We recently fenced in our yard, so I am debating just taking the fence down and letting everything run wild because right now it’s just holding the plants back in a bad way.

You can barely even see those stakes I put in in July. Note to self: get 6 food stakes next year. There are tomatoes EVERYWHERE so after I took this picture I did a little creative organizing so that the peppers could get some sun. On the plus side, everyday I am getting lots and lots of cherry tomatoes which are just my favorite!

This was two days worth of harvest. I have been popping these things like candy, but also enjoying them with a new-to-me hummus that my mom turned me onto.

So much flavor in this combo. I can’t wait for my beefsteaks to ripen, which seems to finally be happening. 


Remember that huge green pepper that I have been crushing on the last few months? Well he’s all grown up and starting to turn red!

And there are plenty of other peppers growing in the garden, some which will be red, others will stay green.

Cucumbers seem to be popping up everywhere, as those vines have stretched out throughout the whole garden. There are about 8 that I can see right now and each one is a unique shape.

I will say I am pretty disappointed with my squash. The squash plant leaves are huge and seem to be blocking the sun from getting to the roots and as a result two of my plants have completely rotted down to the roots. Although I have gotten a few good zucchini and summer squash…

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…most of the squash have started off great, and then start to rot before they get big enough to pick. Any idea why? There are still a few growing right now, one that should be pickable soon and a few flowers popping up so I am hoping new, healthy ones will grow over the next few weeks. 

I truly can’t believe how simple keeping the garden has been. I mean if I can do this, anyone can with the right space. And the fresh produce just tastes so much better than anything I can buy in the grocery store and much cheaper than our local farm’s produce. I highly recommend trying a home garden to everyone out there!






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Doggie Ice Cream

Another way to help your pup cool down is with a frosty treat. You can go to your grocery store and spend a fortune on products like Frosty Paws or you can use simple dog friendly ingredients found in your kitchen and make your own for a fraction, and I mean fraction of the cost.

The first time I went to make these treats, I used an ice cube tray to freeze the treats and it worked fine. They were a bit tricky to get out, but they held their shape in a freezer bag -no problem. I knew from the moment Korben scarfed down his first cube that I was going to be making these a ton, so I invested in some silicone doggie molds so I can freeze with ease and eventually use them to bake treats as well. As I said, ice cube trays work fine, but these were only $9.99 on Amazon.

The first ice cream flavor I tried was peanut butter banana. Peanut butter has natural fats and protein that is good for dogs, in moderation of course. However there can be some ingredients added to pb that can be harmful to pups so make sure you use a pb with a short and simple ingredient list.

In a bowl I mixed two bananas, a cup of non fat plain yogurt, and about a cup of peanut butter. I mixed it all together until it was pretty smooth, and then poured it into the molds. I ended up making a ghetto piping bag out of plastic bag to fill the molds more evenly. 

After a few hrs in the freezer these frosty paws were ready to go! They popped out so easily and looked adorable.

Korben could eat the whole plate at once. He loves these things!

The second batch I tried was blueberry coconut. I used a cup of plain fat free yogurt, 1 banana, 2/3 cup of coconut oil, 1/3 cup of water and blueberries. I blended the oil, water, yogurt, and banana together and before I poured it into the molds I filled each paw point with a blueberry. The mixture then got poured all over the berries.

These clearly look the best-no sticky peanut butter involved, and they smell amazing! Because coconut oil hardens so quickly when cooled, they held their shape very well. Coconut oil is great for dogs skin, immune system, digestion, bones, eyes, and even teeth! They can take it orally like in these doggy ice creams, or you can apply it topically to their skin or fur. Some dogs can be allergic but Korben seems to love it. Again, since we are trying to get him to put on a few more pounds, I’m not worried about the extra fat. Eventually when he’s at his goal weight I will up the water-to-coconut oil ratio.



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Doggie Ice Cake

One of the best things about being a dog owner, besides the overwhelming cuteness and the unconditional love, is that I have someone new to cook for! I mean come on, we all knew it wouldn’t be long before I was cooking for my pup.

In the last few weeks we have had some hot humid days so I have been looking for creative ways to cool Korben down. One thing I came across on Pinterest was the concept of an “ice cake”. Essentially it’s a giant ice cube with treats and toys frozen inside. I thought it would be such a fun and entertaining way for my pup to cool down after our afternoon walks. Now that I have gotten to know him and his favorite flavors, I got cooking-or freezing. Korben is still terrified of all toys (weird, right?), so for this cake I stuck to food.

I filled a plastic Tupperware container  about 4/5 of the way up with a mix of water and low sodium chicken broth. Then I picked some of Korben’s favorite treats and sprinkled them in. I tried to pick things that had different weights so that they wouldn’t all just sink to the bottom. This cake was filled with blueberries, a Trader Joe’s chicken strip treat (of course my dog is a TJ’s lover!) broken into large pieces, and half a hot dog sliced up really thin. It froze for about 3 hrs then I popped it out and let him have at it!

Oh man did he love it! He spent a good hour licking the cake, pulling out all the prizes and eventually chomping it to bits. 

I have made a few more since then, mixing in treats and leftover meat and vegetables from our dinners and Korben has loved them all. *I should note that our vet wants him to gain about 5 ish pounds because he’s still a bit ribby, so the extra food has been good for him. Once he gets to his goal weight, I will fill these cakes with much more water and broth and things like carrots, green beans, and lower cal dog treats. It’s a delicious way to keep the dog hydrated and occupied on these hot summer days!





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No Longer 20-Something

Well, I’m 30.

I’ve never been someone who really cares or worries about getting older. In fact, I have always enjoyed aging because for a long time I was a 20-something who looked like a 16 yr old and it sucked.  Side story: Whenever I go out to buy school supplies for my classroom, I get asked the same question, ” What high school do you go to?” I’m the fucking teacher!#$@$#$!$ I always want to yell but that’s a whole other blog post.

No longer being in my 20’s to me, means I don’t have to feel guilty about about choosing to sit on the couch in my pajamas over going out and being social. I’m old now! One thing I am NOT looking forward to is the increased frequency of  “When are you going to have kids?!” Clock is ticking, eggs are dying, motherhood will change your life, blah blah blah. At least when I got the question before I could say “Eh, we are still in our 20’s. Plenty of time!” but that defense no longer holds up. But to the dismay of our friends and family, we have at LEAST another year, maybe two before we want kids.

Never did I imagine that I would be where I am in life by the age of 30. Never. I have so many incredible things to celebrate.

I am so happily married…

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To have met and married my person at such a young age is something I am eternally grateful for. I know it’s very cliche but I cannot imagine my life without Nolan and having a partner to share all the ups and downs with.

I have my dream job. Like, dream. I am so fortunate to work in an incredible school system surrounded by so much support and community. To get to do what I love (and have gotten pretty good at!) and enjoy getting up every morning is something I never take for granted.

I own my own home which is something I never dreamed would happen before I was 30. It’s the most adult-thing in my life right now and the puzzle piece that makes me feel most successful.

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And I am a doggie-mommy

I mean come on-look at that face!! This little guy is my shadow and gives me that unconditional love that makes my heart just melt.

(yes, I have about 700 pictures of Korben on my phone)

It can feel really uncomfortable and like a faux pas to compliment yourself but I am just so proud of the life Nolan and I have built together and all the things we have both accomplished at our age. Too often we focus on what we still have left to do and all the goals we have yet to accomplish but it’s important to stop and savor life’s current flavors. So no, I didn’t freak out or have anxiety about exiting my 20’s. I’m so excited to see what changes, challenges, and adventures happen in the next few years!




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