Puppy 101

Today I want to write about something i know a little about…owning a puppy. (Considering I have one of my own.)Getting a dog is not something you should take lightly. There are so many factors to take in for consideration. Today I will be sharing some advice and tips that helped Devin and I with our fur baby, Otto Falcore.
First thing first:
Decide whether you want to buy or adopt. This is more a personal choice. My advice either way you go it to RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH.There are a lot of good AKC breeders to choose from.Just make sure they know what they are doing and don’t go for the first one you find. Look around and compare. Take your time.Devin and I actually found Otto through Craiglist. Now let me just say that I don’t recommend going through Craiglist, just because you can’t be 100% on what youre getting. We got lucky because Otto’s previous owners had all the paperwork and information on our little guy. Plus they allowed us to meet him BEFORE deciding whether to get him. If you choose to adopt, make sure the dog is perfect for you and your family.
Also keep in mind your living situation. Do you live in a big house or small apartment? How big is your yard? You want to provide the right environment for the dog. It is not ideal to get a big breed dog if you have no yard.Carefully think if the dog has enough space.
Money. Owning a dog is costly. Of course it also depends on how much your’e willing to spend on your dog. But lets face it…dogs need things. Like food, bed, crate, toys, treats, shampoo the list is endless.You also have to take in the size of the dog ( bigger dogs eat a lot more food.) and any health concerns some breeds are known for which can add up in insurance for your pet or visits to the vet ( which are not cheap.) Which bring me on to the subject about shots. Make sure they are up to date to keep your dog healthy.
Another thing to keep in mind is your schedule.Do you work full time? Are you busy? Is it a good timing? Do you have a partner? Are you able to provide time to take a dog for a walk or potty break?Are there children in the household or thinking about kids? Puppies need A lot of attention and supervising. It wouldn’t be fair to the dog if you can’t provide it with your time.
So you got your puppy…Now what?

We got Otto on October 2014. I didn’t know at the time how a puppy would change our life.
I clearly recall being at work while Devin went to pick him up.I was itching to clock out and rush home, knowing what was waiting for me.
Shortly after meeting Otto,and playing and holding him we went to Petco. We bought him a bed, toys, treats, pads and everything we thought he would need…safe to say we spent a small fortune.
The first month was a life adjustment. It was overwhelming at first. We had to constantly watch him.He was running around all over the place, he was chewing on EVERYTHING, and would whine once we left his sight.For a month all our attention and focus was on Otto. He would sleep in the room with us (keep in mind puppies get scare and nervous in a new place and new people. Try setting the bed in the bedroom with you until it gets adjusted)
Luckily at the time our schedule was able to have someone with Otto at all times. Once he was more settled and got used to the new place and just more comfortable it was easier to find the right balance.

 Some essentials that we found useful with Otto

A small collection of toys: Dogs do get bored of toys quickly, but I do notice that there a couple that that get play with more than others. With that said, it’s a good idea to switch it up for their brain stimulation.
Dog Bed: Now you dont need a huge bed. Especially for a puppy. The bed grows with the dog. We  got Otto a small bed at first, and we would upgrade the bed as we went along.
A crate: Crate training is ideal in my opinion. We started crate training Otto so we could keep him from peeing in the house while we were gone. We placed a bed in there with some puppy pads( we got a big crate so he could have plenty space) and we would soothe and distract him with treats or toy when we would go out.But now he is more than okay to roam free around the house while were out of the house. The crate area is now a time-out area.
Potty Pads and Urine Cleaner: Toilet training Otto was no easy task. Make sure wherever your dog pees in the rug or carpet or anywhere to really clean the area and get all the urine odor out, or they will forever think thats there “potty spot,” If you live where you dont have a yard to let your dog out, consider making a spot their “potty spot” If you live in apartments with a patio place puppy pads in a corner. That way the puppy will learn the designated area to do it’s business. Keep in mind the”general thumb rule” The amount of hours a dog can hold it is the years of dog + 1. EX Otto is 2 yr old so 2+1=3hrs. If you think your dog has to go outside don’t hesitate to take it out..
Harness: A harness is a great idea. I prefer them to regular leashes. They’re more comfortable and they’re great for tugging. Otto is complete useless walking on a leash. He has to stop and sniff at everything, he gets to exited and tries running off. A harness works wonders.
The Vet: Finding a vet for me was a process. I probably googled and yelped all the vets in my town. I asked family and friends about the vets they go to. Once you find a vet that you and your dog are comfortable with it’s important to keep up with check ups and shots. Otto has 1 checkup a year, maybe 2 just to make sure he’s healthy and that his shots are up to date.I highly recommend getting your dog micro shipped. It’s not expensive and its just a good precaution to have in case he runs off or if some one takes him, you can track them down. You can learn so much from your vet. From how much to feed your dog, ideal weight for your dog, what is a good diet for dog, any health concerns with your dog breed and so so so much more. I will also suggest to get your dog used to being handled from the beginning. Touch their ears, their paws  their mouth, tails, nails…your vet and groomer will thank you.
Puppy Classes: Anytime someone tells me they are getting a puppy the first thing i tell them is to get PUPPY CLASSES! Sometimes you can find puppy sessions from your vet. Just ask! You get a lot of benefits from puppy classes. It helps you train basic tricks like sit and lay down.They teach you what to train, when to train and how to train. Teaches you about dog behavior and how to react to bad behavior. And great tips like making sure the WHOLE household is on the same page when training your dog. We did a lot of positive reinforcement. When Otto would go to the restroom outside or when he would sit or roll over we would cheer and clap. I know there are breeds of dogs that are food- oriented. Otto was definitely one so we would reward him with treats while being careful not to over treat.
Training treats that we used were small bits of cooked chicken, Bits of steam brocolli and baby carrots. Mainly the idea is “small but delicious”. You can use big treats just break them off into smaller pieces. Make sure that you balance the treats and food because again you don’t want to over feed.
Some tricks that Otto knows are sit;lay down; wait and leave it and roll over. Wait and leave it were important for me to teach him because i didnt want him getting into thing that could potentially be harmful to him. And wait because i got some advice from a friend, basically you want wait in case he gets to excited and wants to run off. And teach him to wait for his food because you don’t want him to rush toward a bowl of food especially if there are other dogs around(some dogs can get aggressive with their food) and that way Otto waits for my okay.
Socialize: You want to get your dog socialized with other dogs. Be careful to socialize NOT traumatize.A bad experience can really stress out your dog in the future. Otto was attacked by a pitbull last summer and to this day he gets skittish when he’s surrounded by big dogs.You dont want to overwhelm your dog. Introduce them with new experiences slowly. Like swimming. Some dogs love the water if yours doesnt try introducing it in steps. Otto wouldnt get in the water without us. Slowly but surely he got in.I would play fetch with him, but each time I would throw the stick farther in the water. He only goes where he could touch the ground though.
Seperation Anxiety: When we first got Otto he did suffer a bit from separation anxiety. We worked on getting him used to being alone. We found some ways to comfort Otto. Dont’t make a big deal before when leaving your dog(no kisses goodbye)and dont make it a big deal when you return We left one of our throw blankets in his bed (you can use any clothing…just make sure it smells like you)We also used the radio as a safety cue that we would be back.
Bath Time: Otto hates bath time. I usually give him his bath in the kitchen sink.I think the bathtub is too big that it actually scares him, and its a lot easier since the kitchen sink has an attachment. But when I do give him baths in the bathtub i fill in the tub,(just until the water hits his belly) and I do not have the water running.I think the noise startles him. I always finish bath time with a treat. Some dogs love bath, mine simply does not.
Schedule: Okay so I know people that dont necessarily follow a schedule, but we do.We find it makes our life a whole lot easier. Devin and I are both working graveyard at the moment and this is our schedule.
5am-6am: Devin gets home, and lets him out potty. Sometimes theyll go straight to bed or hang out at the house.
730am: I get home and ill take him for his morning walk. Otto is a small doggy and doesnt need long walks.
800am-845am: We leave out his breakfast for 45 minutes. (be careful to not free-feed, dogs will eat just because they’re bored and they are higher risk to become overweight)
After that we usually hang out at the house and most of the time we take him out with us, only if wont have to stay in the car by himself…in that case we just leave him home.
7pm: we give him a second walk. And again just a quick 15 -20 min. walk. and ill put out his dinner for 45 mins.
11pm: Devin takes him out potty one last time before leaving for work.
And again…i know lots and lots of people who dont have a schedule. But what works for us doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

It takes a lot of consideration about taking in the responsibility of a dog, but it’s honestly the most rewarding thing ever. I don’t know what I would do without Otto. I can’t remember life without him.He has just become such a important massive part of our family and life.When Devin and I got otto we were dealing with a miscarriage, and I truthfully believe that Otto helped us deal. He filled in that void that was missing and gave us someone to take care for.
He is such a character, he loves to cuddle. Hes genuinely my best friend. I cant even imagine my life without him. My house feels empty when hes not there. Taking care of a dog or a pet is such hard work but I would do it over again 100%. It’s like i dont know what I would do if i didn’t have Otto. We just consider ourselves lucky for having this amazing member of our family.
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Memorial Day Weekend

Let me start by saying that I can’t believe we’re half way into the year. Can time slow down?
I hope everyone had a great weekend, and with it being Memorial Day. The weather was absolute perfection. Devin and I spent our weekend mostly at the lake with some and friends.
Thursday: Because it was my night off, Devin and I packed up some food, drinks and Otto and headed off to the lake. We met up with a friend that was sailing his boat, we beached our boat and spent the day in the water. Devin and I had a picnic on the boat while our friend sailed around. The water was completely still, I couldn’t ask for better weather. We planned on going again the next day, but when we woke up we were surprised that Thursday took a lot  from us. So instead we decided to stay home and relax.1114112211211130114111441135

Saturday: We headed up to Stampede, which is about 15 minutes from Lake Boca. This was my first time going to Stampede this year…let me tell you i thought that Boca was filled up, Boca is nothing compared to Stampede. Stampede was maybe 3 times bigger than Boca.   This time we didn’t take the boat, but the jetski. Although our jetski was not working correctly (something about the engine not having the right settings or something) So Devin and his friends were in the water most of the day. I stayed at the camp with my friend and her baby and of course my baby…Otto Bear. We talked and went for a walk around the lake and trees. I enjoyed laying in the sun, talking with friends and Otto had a blast playing with the other dogs around. And again we took the next to relax and recuperate.

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Monday: We met up with Devin’s brother and sister in law and some friends. We jumped in the boat and went to go find a cove to set up camp at. We got there a bit late and all the good spots were taken but we found a spot back in the lake . Devin and the boys went fishing while Hanna and i stayed at shore. We layed out in the sand and had some “girl talk”. We got in the water (not very long because it was still cold). We played with Otto and actually got him to in the water. We grilled up some food, joked around and had some good music playing. I did forget my camera this day so the only pictures I have is from the gopro while I waited to set up the camp.(be aware mostly are of Otto…no surprise)
Overall I had a great weekend. It;s definitely starting to feel like summer.
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XOXO

Boca Reservoir

Lake Boca can be found in the Tahoe National Forest. About 25 miles from home. Boca was my home away from home last summer. Camping, fishing loading your boats and jet skis are free at this camp site which is always a plus, especially since most of the other campsite has raised their prices. Its close and it’s cheap what more can a girl ask for?
As we were driving to the campground I was in complete awe as I saw how full the lake was.  The drought has taken it’s toll on the lake, but all the snow and rain showers we have been receiving has paid off. seeing it so big, vast and full has me giddy on the inside and itching for summer.
The water runs up almost to the entrance of the campsite. if your’e not a local let me assure you this is a big deal. Last summer we had to drive in about a mile or two from the entrance just to get to shore. The spot were all the cars kept getting stuck in the mud last year is completely underwater today.
The weather has been so lovely lately, Devin and I with a couple of friends decided it was a perfect day to go spend at the lake. It was such a nice day to be on a boat. Glass water, the sun warming up the skin, fishing, (even though i couldn’t get a bite)some good music and some good vibes. We found some secluded beaches and some coves ( This girl just found her next camping site). We anchored the boat and walked along this trail where we found a perfect spot to have a picnic overlooking the WHOLE lake. Playing some Iration and Rebelution as we drifted around the lake. What other way to get over the Monday Blues?
Even though I was running on no sleep( since I had to work the day before and that night) absolutely worth it!
If today was a sneak peek on what’s in store for summer…I’m stoked and can not wait!
#XOXO

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is one of my to go places in the summer (along with Tahoe and Boca). With it being 20-30 minutes away, its always a good choice to go and hang out.
Whether it will be camping, sailing on the boat or when you just need to get out of town for a bit. And that’s exactly what we did last night. Some of our friends went camping and Devin and I tagged along. Though we didn’t stay overnight because I had to be at work at 10pm but that didn’t stop us going for a bit.
I mean stay home or go hang out with some friends… choice was pretty clear.
We cooked up some brats and caught up around the fire, Otto ran on the sand and it was perfect. The water is still a bit too cold to get in but that didn’t stop the fishermen (Pyramid is popular with the fishers)
I forgot how beautiful it is, especially when the sun is setting. I have to confess I didnt take many pictures but I’ll post the ones i did get to snap, but don’t worry this is first of many lake trips.

Also

XOXO

Positive Vibes

Springtime has officially begun. By far my favorite time of the year.Flowers blooming ( even though these allergies are killing me)pastel colors, Easter, the sun starting to warm up, (excluding the snow storm we were hit by a couple of days ago)and my birthday month…no big deal or anything.
And yet with all of these exciting these coming up I still couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was off. It wasn’t until Friday night while I was talking to Devin that I found the perfect explanation of my feelings. “Stuck in a rut”
I was home alone earlier that day, it was a beautif
ul day. Seventy degrees, birds chirping and Otto playing non-stop with his toy and all day I felt bummed for no apparent reason. I have a bad habit on focusing on the bad things about myself too much.I’m not really one to talks about my feelings. Actually whenever the subject comes up I feel like I’m choking. My anxiety takes over and my brain goes utterly blank. I tend to keep it to myself. It’s easier to deal with (or so I think)and I confess it ignites many arguments with Devin.He tries time after time to open me up, and he said something the other night that stuck with.
  Stop with the negativity, and focus on the positive
​Life has not turned out the way I planned it back when I was in high school. I’m nearly 24 and I feel as if I have accomplished nothing with my life.i feel like i disappointed myself. Like I was letting myself down. As if I was wasting my life away. I was throwing myself a pity party which I had to leave behind. I have to concentrate on the good. Yes, I made mistakes in life but who hasn’t.  there are many situations when I should’ve chosen the other way.  After all I was reminded that I am the person I am today because if those choices. I have been through countless experiences because of those choices. From joyous occasions to the ones that left me in broken pieces. No one is perfect. So instead of obsessing over the things I don’t have, or because I’m not where i want to be…I will appreciate the things that I do have. Thankful for the job that I have for it brings food and shelter. Thankful for Devin who builds me up everyday and puts up with me. Grateful that I get to wake up everyday with my furry baby licking my face. i need to remind myself to focus on the good. Remind myself that I’m beautiful, smart, kind, that I’m a good person. To remind myself that there will always be something negative, that life isn’t always peachy, but that  I shouldn’t let it overcome the good.To work on myself everyday, to better the person I am, To better myself to the person that I do want to be. This is a reminder for myself and to you to love one self. To be kind to yourself.Its time to kick the negativity to the curb. i f your stuck in a rut, get out.
Dance to some music. Take your pup for a walk, if you don’t have a pet go yourself for a walk. get out of the house. enjoy the sun and some fresh air. go for a workout and get your heart pumping .Find a hobby , find something that you enjoy. There are so many things that can be done//seen//heard instead of dwelling on things that you don’t have, or on the place in life that your’e in.

Everyone has challenges.
Everyone has problems.
Everyone is going through their own battles.
Life is going to hit you hard sometimes.
And that’s okay.
It’s okay to be sad,
It’s okay to be unsure.
When everything is dark, don’t forget to love yourself.
​Enjoy each day. Enjoy the little things. Enjoy Life.

Let’s Catch Up

I wanted to have a bit of a catch up, talk about what’s been going on, what’s been happening recently, and some things I’ve been working on One of the biggest change that has been taking place is that Devin and I have finally moved into a new house! Words cannot describe how ecstatic I am to have found such a perfect place.although I will miss the river and having my job in walking distance, I’m ready to embrace this change and excited to start making this house homey and cozy.God has seriously blessed Devin and I with such a great place.It is everything we were looking for and not to mention that Otto loves all the running and exploring space.One of my favorite things about the new house other than that i have a sun room is that we are surrounded by animals. Most of my new neighbors have chickens or horses. I find real comfort when I;m relaxing on my porch and i can hear the chickens and the horses neighing.This month has basically been a month of sorting everything out and settling in from the house to the food pantry and its been great.
School. School has always been in the back of my head and I always tell myself ” next semester is it, that’s the semester I go back to school” but i never follow through. People always told me once you take a break, it”s hard to go back and let me tell you in my case… boy were they right. So I decided enough was enough and started a school fund to start saving money ( I owe from the last semester i attended). Because of that, bills and other expenses I’m on a pretty tight budget, but it”s all right. I need to stop being lazy and think about my future. I honestly love school. I love learning new things. I’m taking some refresher courses to be ready by the time August comes through.So pray for me that everything goes according to plan and hopefully fingers crossed I will be attending school in Fall 2016.
I can tell you now that I’m not the most organized person, especially since I’m planning on going back to school.  My desk is always piled up with papers and it’s a hot mess.One of my goals is to become an organized person. I”m pretty much excited because now I have an excuse to buy new notebooks, pens , post its, and highlighters. I find it strangely satisfying buying organization items.
Another thing I’m currently working on is getting my drivers license. I know, what 23 year old doesn’t have her license. In my defense i lived right in town so I always had everything within walking distance, and if I need to go somewhere Devin would always take me. When I was younger i didn’t quite follow the rules and received some traffic tickets, well I almost have it all paid off and then I could take the driving test. Now that I live away from town its time to get serious and start driving myself.So I’m looking forward to that day.
Bible study is also on my list. I’m really bad at reading the bible, I always go to work with the intention to read the bible at least a couple of hours but next thing you know 8 hours have past by and I have not even opened it. I’m going to make it my mission to read the bible every night. Though I want to go get a new bible because the one I have now is in the KJV and it makes it difficult for me to understand.
Lastly I’m working on my fitness. I recently came across a cycling bike and I have been using it every morning. I’m stoked because I don’t go to the gym very often,( although I really should since I’m paying for it) I either don’t have the energy to go or I have stuff to do before i go to work at nights but this way at least I can work out in the comfort of my home.

I know that I rambled on and on, but God has placed so many changes in life , I can’t believe how blessed Devin and I  are. we often forget how rich we really are. There are so many people with so much less, I forget to thank god for all the blessing he has brought to my life. I’m eager to see what else He has in store for me.

Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcake w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

12801378_1253989204628858_3587759086458820082_n                It has come to an end of my vacation i decided to bust out my Kitchenaid and bake some goodies! I was searching through pinterest looking for a recipe until i came across a yummy chocolately cupcake recipe. It lead me to a wonderful blog full of delicious recipes, which you can find here.
Now the original recipe calls for a salted caramel frosting, which to be honest it’s what actually caught my eye, but as i was baking my recipe book flip the page and I made an oopies and made a different frosting. I was bummed because I LOVE everything that has to do with salted caramel but as I was running low on butter I kept the Cinnamon frosting and it worked out.

First you will want to get all your ingredients set up and ready.

You Will Need

  • 1 Cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter.
  • 8 ounces ( 1 cup) of chopped dark chocolate.
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs ( room temp.)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

For Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter ( softened)
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

What You Want To Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Stir until butter and chocolate are melted.
  3. Add brown sugar, espresso powder and vanilla extract, whisk until smooth and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
  4. Once it’s some what cooled add eggs ( one at a time). Mix in flour, salt and baking powder ( be careful not to over mix)
  5. Fold in bittersweet chocolate chips.
  6. Place in cupcake sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Now as you are baking the cupcakes, and waiting for them to cool, it’s time to prepare the Frosting!

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth
  2. Add confectioners sugar ( a bit at a time)
  3. Add vanilla extract and the ground cinnamon
  4. Beat until fluffy.

Once the cupcakes are cooled you may add the frosting. Be careful not to ice them while hot, it will make the frosting melt.

Also a tip: Piping is alot harder that it looks ( at least it was for me) but practice makes perfect…right?!?!

If anyone tries this out, let me know ow it turns out. I absolutely love it. The cinnamon frosting works although next time i will definitely will make sure I have the salted caramel frosting.

 

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