Monday, July 30, 2012

Puppies / Dogs And The Food They Eat....

I have been REALLY battling getting Max to eat his food for I think I can say a month now... Yes, a MONTH!! He would happily eat my food, but when it came to his food he would just sniff it and leave it. I became worried, once he got sick one morning (he does this now and then when he hasn't eaten (empty stomach) for a while, so it was nothing new to me). He was checked out by our AMAZING vet Dr. Harbeck at Banfield Pet Hospital - I take Max to the one in Brighton, Michigan. They really are such an amazing bunch of people that work there, ALL of them treat the pets that go in there like they are their own (which I really wanted). Anyways back to Max's checkup, they said nothing was wrong, and to not give up on Blue Buffalo food, and to try mix the wet food with his kibble. Which I did and one night he ate a small bit of the mixed food, and when I tried to give him just the wet food, he wouldn't eat the full amount.

Yesterday I tried 1/4 cup of kibble (the recommended amount is 1/2 cup),warm water and a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and he gobbled that up. I rewarded him with excitement and a treat :) I then hoped I hadn't gotten too excited too quickly, and that it would work tonight too. I decided to buy some Mozzarella cheese instead, because Parmesan cheese is rich, it has a lot of salt in it, even though I was only putting in a LIGHT sprinkle of the cheese and swishing it around, I still wanted to be on the safer side. Tonight I tried the same thing again and he turned away from it (UGH!!), so I decided to just open up a NEW bag of food and do the 1/4 cup kibble, water and Parmesan cheese and see what would happen, and he GOBBLED it up in now time!! So again I rewarded him with excitement and a treat. I put in the other 1/4 cup kibble and JUST put in warm water and mixed it around a bit and he ate half of it, and I rewarded him again!! Soooo, I think I have sorted out the issue, fur-mommy had to open a new bag of fresh food! Not sure what is wrong with the food that was almost finished, but I am throwing that out and starting a new bag. Not sure if it is because it's in a plastic container from the pet store, and I should rather keep the food in the bag... So hopefully I haven't jumped the gun here and gotten too excited about it too soon! LOL... So glad I don't need to switch food brands, my gut tells me this food is the best, and my gut is always right! :))

So a new fresh bag of food was a HIT!! Thank goodness... Hopefully this is a continuous thing now and he will be back to eating his food again! :)

This is the food I feed him, I love it because it is Holistic and the FIRST INGREDIENT is MEAT!! I started him on the Freedom range because he started scratching a lot, once I started this Grain Free food the bulk of his scratching has stopped....

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A New Brother Or Sister For Max?....

Today we went to the Utica Pet Supply Shop where I fell in love with Max to see if I actually really did want a new brother or sister for Max...

I went there interested in seeing a Morkie (a Maltese and Yorkie mix), but ended up loving a pure white Maltese (female) and another Shih Poo (male) like Max, but this Shih Poo was a mix of white and brown. He has the most adorable face JUST like my Max, and he is 9 week sold, but I am not entirely sure if I am totally sold or ready to get another pup yet... I know Max would LOVE having a playmate, but I keep asking myself if I am ready to share my love yet, (I hope this doesn't sound mean, lol)...

I really think I should get another one when I am REALLY feeling ready etc... I am still in two minds about it though....

I wonder how many other fellow international people I know get the need for a pet??

Here are two recent pics of my baby Max from our trip to visit the puppies today :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore & Roasted Broccoli....

On Sunday I made a Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore dish. This idea came about when reading my friend Nikki's blog and she had made some amazing Roasted Broccoli, see the recipe here.

The Chicken came out pretty nice, it was my first time ever trying something like that, and I was pretty proud of myself, haha.... It was SO easy too, and with the Roasted Broccoli to accompany it, it was amazing :) I also made little desserts for after, I did cheat a bit and buy the "cake baskets" at Kroger, lol...But the rest I just thought would go nice together and so just tried it out. See the Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore recipe below.

I have noticed that when ever I have cooked chicken in a Crockpot, it ALWAYS comes out amazingly juicy and delicious. I have made a whole chicken in my Crockpot, but I don't seem to have blogged about it (boo!) not too sure why, but I have made two other Chicken dishes in my Crockpot :
Chicken Soup and Chicken and Dumplings - have a look, and I dare you to try them out :)

Chicken Cacciatore Recipe :

3lbs. bone in chicken thighs, skin removed
14 oz. can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
6 oz. can of tomato paste
1 cup of chicken broth
1 onion, sliced
4 colves of garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry red wine (I just bought the cheapest I could find)
1 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning (Kroger has it for $1)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Place all ingredients except cornstarch and water in 4-5 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender.

If you want a thicker sauce, combine cornstarch and water in small bowl and mix well. Stir into crockpot; cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes until thickened. Serve with hot cooked pasta, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pancakes / Crepes....

For some reason on Friday I suddenly got this urge for some Pancakes. You know... the South African Pancakes, not the US Pancakes (crumpets as we South Africans know them).

For my American readers, Pancakes are similar to Crepes here in the US :) I have always wondered since I was an Au Pair here, why they are called different names - I still don't know why. I couldn't find a recipe online that sounded right, all the ones I found didn't sound like the ones our family would have made at home... So while on Skype on Saturday morning with my Mom, she got me the recipe out of a recipe book of hers :) On top of craving for Pancakes I also had the craving for Nestle Treat Caramel... Oh the taste of that sweet sweet caramel in the tin!! I knew though that I may have a problem finding it here, so once again I set out on a "Facebook Mission" and asked anyone that is here if they know where I can get it... Again Carla knew exactly what it was called and told me where to get it, along with Hilda :) SO here is what the caramel treat is called in the US : Nestle Lechera Dulce Leche Caramel it is AMAZE!!!!

I made Cinnamon and Sugar Pancakes and also Banana and Caramel Pancakes - both amazing :))

Here is the recipe :

2 Cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 ml Salt
2 Eggs
25 ml Oil
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Water
12.5 ml Lemon Juice / Vinegar (I used Lemon Juice)
12.5 ml Oil

1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl
2. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy
3. Add the milk, water, oil, lemon juice / vinegar (whichever you choose) into the 
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients
5. Pour in the egg mixture
6. Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth (I used a whisk to help with the lumps)
7. Heat a heavy pan (I used the heat between medium and high and it was perfect, 
    just test it out though, all stoves can be quite different)
8. Use the 12.5 ml oil in the pan (I tried two different ways, first I poured it all in, 
    coated the bottom of the pan then poured it back into the bowl I had it in, then 
    poured the mixture in, it didn't work too well, because the mixture didn't stick 
    to the pan enough. So I tried by putting a bit of oil onto a scrunched up paper 
    towel and rubbed it all over the bottom of the pan, poured the batter in and 
    spread it around to make a thin layer and it worked GREAT!!)
9. Let pan get nice and hot
10. Pour mixture to the bottom of the pan. With the size pan I used, I found that a 
      1/3 cup was the PERFECT amount to make a thin layer
11. I waited until the mixture was mostly "dried out" and used a spatula to flip it - 
      you can flip the pan if you like - that didn't work out too well for me! LOL
12. Allow to brown slightly on the other side
13. Slip onto a plate and sprinkle or spread your filling and roll up (keep warm in 
       the oven on warm)

Makes 20 Pancakes.

You can also make Savory Pancakes by adding the following to the Pancake and rolling it up :

Chicken and White Sauce
Chicken / Ham, Mushrooms or Asparagus and White Sauce
Cottage Cheese, Chopped Celery / Chives, Salt and Paprika
Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and Paprika and put it under the grill

They really are so easy and so GOOD!! :) Try them sometime!!

KLOUT ~ Have You Heard About It?...

Have you heard of KLOUT?

Well I hadn't heard of KLOUT until just recently. I will admit that I am still trying to figure out how it all works. But so far I have got that you use it to network all your social media things like Facebook (your personal, your page if you have one etc.), Twitter etc.

You have a score near your photo, and every time you get a +K and you add a list or influence etc onto your profile your score goes up, and every so many +K's you have you end up being able to claim a perk. My first perk I claimed was a photo book from Shutterfly, you can go and have a look at my profile here to see what it looks like. Its really great to get some free things, so if you can join and get your friends and family to join in on the fun, not only do you get to score on some awesome free things, they all do too!! :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater Shooting - A Sad Day For All....

I am sure by now that everyone has heard about the terrible Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater Shooting, Fox News are calling is "Movie Massacre", that happened on Friday early morning, just after midnight when the third movie in the Batman movies called "The Dark Night Rises".

There are a lot of survivor stories that are surfacing, millions of tweets from survivors and other people that were in other movie theaters that were evacuated, and they are terribly sad!! I had to stop myself from reading them all, if I carried on I think I would end up going through a whole box of Kleenex!! There is one survivor story that I couldn't stop reading and just had to share it via my blog to whoever reads it. It is written by a Mother that took her two teenage girls to the movie and was in the theater when it happened and they all survived. It is a good read and shows you how great God really is!! Please pay no attention to the few people with horrible comments, most of the comments are positive though. I felt it was a good thing for me to share this!

Please go and read her blog post here.

RIP all victims that unfortunately didn't make it!! Prayers and love to ALL involved and their families!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL....

World Vision ~ I Sponsor Two Little Girls....

As many of you know, I decided to sponsor two children through World Vision last year. I have always been affected by seeing the poverty in some countries, and with me being a South African, I thought where else to sponsor a child/children but from a country you come from and know so well. So I chose two girls in an African country called Senegal. Their names are Amy (5) and Mbenda (5).

I have received two letters from them (well written by their helper at World Vision) and I have written letters to them and sent out one Birthday Card already, the other birthday card near the end of the year! It is so exciting for me to do this and know I am helping a child, or in my case children out.

While I still need to write my second letter back to the girls, I have also made up a fun package to send them each. I just got some colored markers, pencil crayons, a pen, a pencil, fun sharpener and fun eraser, and put them into a cute pencil case, with a pad of paper. They both love to draw me little pictures, so I thought it would be nice to send them some colorful things that they would enjoy and have for themselves. I can't wait to get the packages off to them and hear how they like them :)

Help sponsor a child. Go here, it only costs $75 a month.

Here are two pics of the packages I've made for them.

Make Your Home Smell Amazing....

I have been trying new things to try and make our apartment smell good (not that it smells bad or anything), but everything I've tried either doesn't last long, or you can't smell it at all. A few weeks ago we went to a friends place and all her rooms smelt so good, when we went into her eldest daughters room (we were having a look at her new place), I had to ask her what it was. I think she said it was a Sentsy that she had. They seem to be pretty popular, they are pretty pricey though and I haven't been able to find a person that sells them yet.

While I was in Walmart (again, lol) I saw these Scented Wax Warmers, so I decided to get one and try it out. I chose the design I did because it reminded me of Melissa, so I now would have something in my home to remind me of another family member and would hopefully make it smell good.

So far it has worked really well. It's really awesome. I just got a small tray of some wax I wanted to try out, I put one block of the wax on the lid and plug the scenter in and the wax melts and an amazing aroma starts filling the whole place :) It wasn't too expensive either, the Scented Wax Warmer was $10 and the Wax Trays are $2 each, I think the wax trays are a little expensive though....

The Warmer

The Wax Cubes

Right Now I'm Enjoying The Smell Of The Mountain Twiglight Wax As It Melts :)

A Wax Cube Is Enough To Fill The Whole Apartment With An Amazing Scent

This Was The Blue (Obviously) Wax That I Had Used First

Monday, July 16, 2012

Have You Tried The New Starbucks Refreshers Sparkling Yet?....

Starbucks have these new drinks out called Refreshers, the other day they were giving them to customers for free, but I unfortunately missed out on the free deal... :(

I was at Walmart on Friday and saw these new Starbucks cans near the Pepsi's etc., I went over to see what hey were and they were to my surprise Refreshers but sparkling ones. They had three different flavors so I decided to get some to try out at home. So when I got home I decided to try the Raspberry Pomegranate one and yesterday the Orange Melon one. They are actually pretty good, you should really try them if you can :) Here is what they look like....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Save Money During Summer And Year Round....

I'm sure most of us can agree that this year Summer has hit HARD with the heat, with a week of high temperatures a lot of households were using their aircons to keep cool. I know I have been hit hard by both the heat AND the bill.

So I decided to do a few changes around the apartment and be frugal with cooling the apartment down and keeping it cool.

Thanks to DTE Energy here are some ideas :

*  Cook outside on a grill as much as possible. Use your stove’s exhaust fan to blow
   hot air out of your kitchen when cooking indoors.

*  Run your dishwasher in the evening when outdoor temperatures are lower. Let
   your dishes air-dry rather than using the drying feature.

*  Keep your thermostat set as high as comfortably possible. For every degree
   above 72 degrees that you set your thermostat, you could reduce your cooling bill
   by 3 percent.

*  Try to wash only full loads in your dishwasher. Use short cycles. Short cycles use
   less energy and work just as well for everything but the dirtiest dishes.

*  Use drapes, curtains or blinds to keep windows covered during the day to reduce
   heat from the sun.

*  Use ceiling fans to provide additional cooling and better air circulation. Turn off
   ceiling fans when leaving the room.

*  Keep shrubbery and flowers away from your central air conditioner’s outdoor heat
   exchanger to maximize efficiency.

*  Turn off electronic devices when not in use. Home electronics account for up to
   15 percent of household electricity use, and many devices draw a small amount
   of power even when witched off. These include TVs, VCRs, stereos, personal
   computers, monitors and printers.

*  Keep your refrigerator between 36 and 38 degrees, and the freezer compartment
   between 0 and 5 degrees. Keep the coils and condensers free of dust.

*  Wash clothes with cold water. About 90 percent of the energy used for washing
   clothes is for heating the water.

*  Instead of always using a dryer, consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines.

Get a FREE $10 Lowe's Gift Card When You Plant A Tweet....

Thanks to Budget Savvy Diva we can all get a FREE $10 Lowe's Gift Card, all we have to do is plant a Tweet :) To start off, go and sign up here and click on the green button that says "Plant a Tweet", and then post it to your Facebook wall, Pin it on Pinterest and if you have a Twitter account tweet it and get people to Retweet it for you, easy as that :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Closet "Makeover"....

I am quickly running out of space in this small apartment, and find that the closets end up getting SO messy after I tidy them up a bit so quickly (I now know how my Mom felt / still feels, lol). One of the main closets that was annoying me a lot is what is supposed to be the "Coat Closet", but it is now labelled the "Misc. Closet", it became a horrible site for me to look at when I opened it and I always thought about it because I use it daily to get Max's food, the vacuum cleaner is in there, etc., we do use it as a Coat Closet, but also for odds and ends that we have no place for in the Kitchen (hence the "Misc. Closet" label :)).

Last night I decided to order a 3' wire shelf at Walmart to try and add extra shelf space. So I got it ordered and chose to pick it up at Walmart this morning. This is what it looks like (the online picture) :

While walking around I saw a 2 pack wire Stacking Baskets I liked them and thought they would be nice to have, because at the moment I just had them in packets randomly in the closet, but I decided to wait and get them another time in case I didn't have enough space, so I checked it out first. I got home and had a good look at the closet and tried to imagine what I could do with the Stacking Baskets, as in where I could put them etc. I had a good idea of what I wanted and thought it would work well. Dustin was out so I called him and asked him to please pick the 2 pack Stacking Baskets I had (I was a bit worried he would get the wrong ones, but he got the right ones luckily. :)

This is what they look like :

Dustin also got me a Drill :D here is what it looks like (I'm wanting to get a mini Pink Drill though, so this one will actually be Dustin's) :

This is my Pink Apollo Toolkit, that I got from the family I work for, for Valentines Day this year :)

So I had everything I needed and was excited to start the closet makeover :) Here are pics of me doing my thang :)....

Yes I used a hole as the nose on the cartoon face :) Just to make it a little fun :)

And here are the before and after pics....

You can see in the after pic, that I hung the Stacking Baskets to the wire shelf. I attached them with  zip-ties, and it worked amazingly :)

Hopefully I'll still be happy with this for a LONG time :) So this is how I spent my Birthday afternoon, it was a TON of fun :)

Happy Birthday To Me....

So the title says it all. Today is my birthday - I turned 26 years old (OH NOOOO!!). I can't believe I now only have FOUR years left until I turn 30!! So freaking scary to think about!

I got SO many lovely messages on FB and text messages, thank you all so much (to those who read this anyways :)), it made me feel so special and blessed to know you all.... I work for an amazing family and they gave me WAY too many gift for my birthday on Thursday (I have Fridays off this month). All the gifts I so appreciated, and will use for sure, they were way generous! It made me feel good to know how much they appreciate me, I feel it every day, but for my birthday they expressed it in a way I never expected - thank you Grimes Family :)

Thanks Dustin for the cute card and cooking breakfast....

Thank you also to my amazing family for Skyping with me almost ALL morning, it was great seeing my Cousins and Aunt and Uncle again...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Free Glasses At

I have been meaning to blog about my experience ordering myself some new glasses online thanks to a referral from my friend Carla.

I have been wanting (and needing) new glasses SO badly for a few years now, but at home they were always too expensive for me to get, I became really desperate a few weeks ago and posted a status on Facebook asking if my friends in the US knew if I would be able to save money by buying frames from a store and taking then to an optometrist to put the lenses in. That's when Carla told me about, and that I can get my first pair free. I thought BONUS, and went to have a quick squiz.... To my shock it really did say "first pair free" (not that I didn't believe her, I just thought it was too good to be true, lol). They have an AMAZING selection to chose from (first amazing thing). The only downer is that you can't try them on first, BUT the second amazing thing about this company is that they have a 365 day return, where you can return the glasses if you don't like them, and THEY pay for the shipping!!

Sound too good to be true to you too?? Well it sure is true :) anyways I wanted to try something totally new, I have been so over my small "oval rectangular" metal glasses I had always chosen since I was in 3rd Grade, and went for a TOTAL change, I went for rectangular, plastic, thick framed glasses and just hoped for the best when I tried them on.

Now for the third amazing thing. Shipping is FREE on orders over $99, my frames themselves were $88 but I got those for free and so only paid for my lenses and tax. Shipping said I would receive them a week from them being sent out. Well I ordered them on a Saturday afternoon, they shipped out on Sunday and they arrived on Tuesday, TWO business days later I had my new glasses, I tried them on and I loved them (after a little while :)).

The fourth amazing thing, I was so extremely happy with the speedy shipping and the way they looked on me, that I got excited and searched for them on Facebook and wrote on their wall. I was then asked to enter their "fan of the week" competition. So I did, by taking a pic of myself with my new glasses and the box they came in. If I won I would receive a $25 "gift card" and my pic would be posted on their Facebook page. About a week later a guy named Justin emailed me and told me I had won, and gave me a code to use for my "gift card" prize (it's for real, it works) and said my pic would be up too ( that hasn't happened yet though :( ). I'll just carry on waiting, might not even happen, but I was quite excited about family back home seeing it and friends, I know it would probably have been good "advertising" for them :) probably still can be!

Here are the pics :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Instagram ~ A New Crazy Obsession Of Mine....

A few months ago I got an iPod (sold to me by Malana when she got hers, lol, I just fell in love with it). The last few months Instagram has become such a popular way to take pics and I have been super jealous and wanted to get an iPhone just so I could have Instagram. But about a month ago I had some sort of light bulb moment and thought to search for the Instagram app on my iPod and see if I could have it on it, well I sure could. I was super excited, and have been playing around with it now and then ever since.

Thought I would post some of the pics I've taken with it on here :)