Friday, December 31, 2010

The Way to a Blogger's Heart

Happy New Year's Eve!

It's cold out there.  Stay warm and be safe!  TLB, the Main Squeeze, and I will be staying home and chillin' with friends. 

Check out the sweet stuff I got for Christmas. 

This awesome little number is from Delia's and it was under $20.  Thanks sister and brother in law!  

And...pretty stoked about this!   

Dog treat mix and doggie cookie cutters!  Can't wait to try these.  The friends who got us these must know the way to a blogger's heart.

And finally, a "just because" gift from my Mom and Dad after Christmas...

This will definitely sit somewhere near my desk.

Remember to be extra sensitive to your dog's needs tonight if he or she is afraid of fireworks!

See you in 2011!   

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Never Too Early...

...for New Year's resolutions! 

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and I am determined to have New Year's resolutions for 2011.  I've never been one to stick to them (or make them, really), but I want 2011 to be a better me year, so I made a little list today.

In 2011 I will strive to:

1.  Be positive!  Specifically, I will look on the bright side, help others to look on the bright side, and not speak ill of other people.  Remember what Thumper said...

If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all.  

For the record, Bambi is my favorite Disney movie.  What's yours?

2.  Run in some sort of competitive race.  I don't care what the length is, I just want to train for it, register for it, run in it, and get a ribbon.  Or medal.  Or t-shirt.  Or certificate.  You get the idea. 

3.  Blog more.  Right now I'm averaging about three posts a week, but I'd like to bump it up to four or five. 

4.  Come up with my own dog treat recipe.

5.  Take TLB for walks twice a day.  Yes, you heard it right.  Twice.  And to not use the rain as an excuse not to!

6.  Work on TLB's training at least three times a week for a minimum of fifteen minutes each time.    

Speaking of TLB, let's get on to the review.  

You may remember that TLB got some goodies in his Christmas stocking...

I cheated and gave him one of the sweet potato chunks on Christmas Eve. 

These bad boys were only $0.75 each!  Unfortunately, I don't know who, specifically, makes these sweet potatoes, because I plucked them from a little basket in an all-natural pet food store. 

One ingredient, people. 

Sweet potato.  Oh, yes. 

We discovered sweet potato when Teton was a little man.  It's great for dogs as a rawhide alternative.  Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and beta carotene, and when they are dehydrated like these treats were, they're a great, tough chew for dogs!  

Click on these pictures for links to our two favorite sweet potato dog treat companies!

In general, sweet potato chews can be a bit spendy, so it's pretty cool that we found these little buggers for so cheap!  They were nice and hard so it took TLB somewhere in the range of seven to 10 minutes to eat one. 

My only only thumbs down for this particular style of sweet potato chunk is that it's a tad too small.  Dogs who tend to get overly excited about new treats and gulp them down without a second thought may need extra supervision when consuming this particular style of sweet potato treat.

We love this treat, but because of the size issue, we give it a six out of 10.  If you haven't already introduced your dog to sweet potatoes, do!  They're a great alternative to rawhide and offer tons of great benefits.  

Have a wonderful night!     

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Are you singing the NSync song, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Are you beyond thrilled that I introduced/re-introduced you to this photo?  Be honest...some of you had it on your bedroom wall.  Ah, those were the days.  Who was your favorite NSyncer?  Mine was Chris.  Ha!  Or not.  Was he anyone's favorite?  

Anyway, Merry Christmas Eve!  

Someone's pumped...

And here's why.

Someone is also very spoiled.  

Cost of stocking stuffers for TLB:  Don't ask. 

Here's what's in the mix! 

One Happy Howie's Jumbo Lamb Sausage,   

One free range beef pizzle stick, one sliced elk antler, two sweet potato chunks,

One Himalayan Dog Chew, 

One five-pack of Merrick Turkey Steak Patties, and two bags of Zuke's Mini Naturals!

Couldn't pass up the Zuke's.  It's a two-pack! 

Chicken and Peanut Butter!  Mini Naturals are awesome training treats because they're teeny weeny. 

Someone may have gotten a "sneak peak," if you will, of his stocking stuffers, but more on that later.

Merry Christmas from TLB!   

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Trader Joe's Chicken Breast Strips

Good morning!  I took the week off.  Jealous? 

The fam is coming to town for the holidays this week so I have lots of cleaning, cooking, and organizing to do.  Hence, the week of vacation.  Stay tuned later this week for a blog on the goodies in TLB's stocking

Today we're reviewing Trader Joe's Chicken Breast Strips! 

One ingredient:  Dried Chicken Breast Fillet

This 4 oz bag cost $4.99 and it had about 10 of the chicken strips in it.  

Pretty much your standard chicken breast fillet.  Not too much to write home about. 

I love that it only has one ingredient.  And the price isn't too bad.  I've been either giving Teton a whole chicken strip or breaking them in half and giving him one half at a time.  Since they're harder, it's a good supplemental teeth-cleaning treat (if your dog takes his/her time, of course).


TLB and I give Trader Joe's Chicken Breast Strips a five out of 10.  To be honest, they're kinda boring.  If they were $3.99 a bag, I might up the rating.  We love that they have just one ingredient, but if we had to choose between this treat and another $4.99 chicken-based yummy, we would probably look elsewhere.

I love TJ's, but I think I'll stick to pet stores for TLB's goodies.

Have a good day! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Doggie Donut

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a doggie donut.

Admit it.  Were it not for the paw print cellophane, you may have reached for this "donut" if it were sitting on a friend's counter.   And for some, the paw print cellophane may not have mattered in the slightest.

Question:  Which is it?  Donut or doughnut?  

TLB doesn't care.  As long as it's made with carob instead of chocolate.  

Carob is pretty interesting stuff.  I tried to be vegan once and made some peanut butter cups from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet (check it out - it's a great book).  Instead of using chocolate chips I used carob chips.  They were good.  In a hippie, vegan, gee-these-taste-a-little-different sorta way. 

Anyway, on gourmet dog treats like this one ($1.99 per treat), carob is used to create the "frosting."  

TLB gets a gourmet treat like this probably two to three times a year.  They're gone in about 1.5 seconds, but it's fun to mix it up with something special. 

What's with the ghost sprinkles?

Unfortunately, I don't have an ingredient list on this treat, so I don't feel right giving it a rating.  I think you can guess that TLB liked it! 

Have a fantastic rest of your weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kleenex Required

Weekend (and week off!) in sight!  I'm one happy girl.

I won't be able to blog tonight because we're meeting with some friends for dinner, but I wanted to post an amazing video that I first saw on You Tube about a year ago.

Yes, you may need your Kleenex. 

Yes, you may want to save this for when you're at home so you can blubber as loudly as you want.

And yes, you may find yourself wrapping your arms around your dog, cat, child, or family member and saying through sobs, "You do make me proud!"

And if you don't, you are a heartless person. 

See you this weekend!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Salmon, Peas, and Blueberries, Oh, My!

I have to admit it.  Even though I don't want to, I love Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You."  I can't help myself from singing along when it pops up on my Pandora at work or in the car on the drive home.  I hate you, Mariah Carey.  But I love you, too. 

It definitely feels like Christmas in Washington.  Oooh!  That's another thing I really, really hate.  The song "Christmas in the Northwest."  If that song were a person I'd give it a knuckle sandwich.  

Anyway, as I was saying, it definitely feels like Christmas in Washington.  Dark, dreary, and wet.  That makes for one unhappy puppy because walks are few and far between these days.  I need to put on my big girl pants and just deal with it, but sometimes all I want to do is snuggle up on the couch with a cup of tea. 

On to the review! 

Tonight we're talking 'bout Taste of the Wild's Pacific Stream Canine Formula.  

That's a mouthful. 

I purchased this canned food on my epic trip to Pet Country a month or so ago.  It was somewhere around $2.99 for a 13.2 oz can.  Although TLB has some issues with switching his dry food, he's never had a problem with the one to three scoops of various wet foods that I've mixed in with his Natural Balance.

I think that mixing wet foods, vegetables, fish oils, and other healthy yummies in your dog's everyday dry food is a great way to mix things up.  It keeps things exciting!  You don't eat the same thing every day, do you?  

It doesn't have to break the bank, either.  My mom makes a rice, vegetable, and beef mixture for my parent's dog, and it's pretty cheap and easy!  Remember the pumpkin post?  That can of pumpkin cost $1.99!  Just make sure that whatever you use has minimal ingredients and is good for your dog.  

Since we're on the topic of ingredients, here's Taste of the Wild's Pacific Stream Canine Formula's ingredients...

Hi Stewie.

That's kind of hard to read, so here you go.

Salmon, fish broth, water, egg, peas, potato starch, sweet potatoes, potatoes, ocean fish, smoked salmon, guar gum, tomatoes, sodium tripolyphosphate, natural flavor, salt, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, chicory root, iron proteinate (source of chelated iron), zinc proteinate (source of chelated zinc), yucca schidigera extract, vitamin E supplement, cobalt proteinate (source of chelated cobalt), blueberries, raspberries, copper proteinate (source of chelated copper), manganese proteinate (source of chelated manganese), riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement

You can actually see the peas and potatoes in this mixture! 

Can you spot a pea?  There's a little one in the right upper corner.  

TLB obviously loves this stuff since the can is pretty much empty! 

Not only does it have peas, potatoes, salmon, and tomatoes, it has blueberries and raspberries, too!  Maybe a few scoops of this is like a dog's daily dose of fruits and vegetables. 

After I've filled Teton's bowl with his dry food (one cup of Natural Balance), I plop two scoops (three if I'm feeling generous and TLB seems extra hungry) of Taste of the Wild's PSCF into the bowl. 

There's that stinkin' pea! 

Next, I run a little water over the wet food and mix it all up!  Did you know that mixing a bit of water (warm is preferable) in with your dog's food will make the aroma stronger, thus making your dog more interested?  This can be particularly helpful if you have a dog that isn't eating well.

TLB really likes Taste of the Wild's PSCF.  I like it, too.  

What We Like

1.  It's not crazy expensive.  Most canned food is between two and three dollars, but some do run a bit more. 
2.  It's got a great ingredient list.  Salmon, peas, and blueberries, oh, my!  
3.  I love that the meat and other ingredients are chopped up into small pieces.  This makes the can last longer (more substance to one scoop than other brands equals less scoops needed) and allows it to blend better with the dry food.

I don't have anything to write under a "What We Don't Like" category so I'm not even gonna go there! 

TLB and I give Taste of the Wild's Pacific Stream Canine Formula an eight out of 10.  This is definitely being added to our "Must Haves" list!

Until next time!   

What is your least favorite Christmas song?  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If it ain't broke...

Happy Weekend!  I met my sister and a friend for brunch this morning near the local mall and boy, were the parking lots crowded.  It took no time at all for me to get home but forever for me to actually get on the freeway!  Times like this make me remember why I like online shopping so much. 

Remember a few weeks ago when I changed Teton's diet?  While the transition to the new food went pretty smoothly, TLB hasn't been the same since.  

My energetic little boy went from a happy, bouncy two-year-old to a depressed lazy bum!  No lie!  His energy level plummeted, he was farting non-stop (something he'd never had an issue with before), and his breath STUNK.  Like, clear-the-room kind of stunk.  

It took a little convincing from the Main Squeeze and some others that I discussed the problems with, but we switched TLB back to his old food this week and things have rapidly improved.  

What?  You don't label your Ziplocs?

I know that I picked a good dog food.  It just wasn't right for Teton. 

We had never experienced any problems with TLB's old food.  I just wanted something new and exciting that had a great reputation and a lack of recall issues.  I don't regret trying Earthborn Holistic's Primitive Natural, but I do feel bad for putting TLB through a diet change that didn't need to happen. 

Anyway, we're back to good ol' Natural Balance and TLB is back to normal. 

In other news, Santa Claus threw up all over the dining room table. 

I'm usually not all Martha Stewart about the holidays, but isn't this the cutest?!  And yes, there is a different kind of candy in each of those bowls. 

I busted out TLB's stocking today. 

He's obviously pretty thrilled. 

Isn't it cute?

Don't ask how much I paid for it.  Coughtwentydollarscoughcough.  It was too adorable to pass up. 

I think it's bigger than mine. 

Off to take care of some cleaning.  There are about 1.5 million pine needles plastered to the carpet that must be removed immediately. 

Do you buy your pets Christmas presents?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Darford's Liva Hearts

Hi there!  How's your week so far?

Tonight's review is on Darford's Liva Hearts!


I snagged a box of these bad boys at Marlene's Market today on a pop run.  "Pop" is soda for those of you non-Washingtonians.  Pop is more fun to say, therefore it is better.  

I hadn't been to Marlene's since my mom dragged me there in junior high, which I'm sure I didn't appreciate.  All of that tofu...those bulk grains and spices...the ear was definitely too much for me to handle back then.  But tonight I was put in charge of bringing drinks and since I'm obsessed with organic pop like Hansen's and Blue Sky (best root beer on the planet) I thought I'd give Marlene's a try.    

It wasn't bad.  It didn't smell like hippies or patchouli or anything like that, so I made my way through almost all of the aisles.  After I grabbed two packs of Blue Sky (Root Beer Encore and Black Cherry Cherish) I happened upon the pet aisle.  Go fig. 

It was there that I found Darford's Liva Hearts and Chick'n Fingers.  Side note: Why are they called chicken fingers?  Chickens don't have fingers.  At least they didn't last time I checked. 

I bought these $5.09 treats for two reasons.  

1) I wasn't feeling the product that I had initially planned on blogging about today. 
2) The packaging caught my eye.

Pretty good reasons, right?  

Maybe not, but I'm not about to admit that any purchase I've made was a bad one.

Ok, but seriously, this is a pretty cool concept.  In every Darford treat or food box is a little package of dog food that you, the purchaser, are encouraged to donate to a dog in need!

My heart is all gooey again.  

I'll be the first to admit that I'd never heard of Darford before tonight, but even if these treats totally sucked, I would still feel good about my purchase because it would feed a dog in need! 

FYI: There are lots of places to donate pet food, treats, and other items.  Try your local animal shelter or rescue group, your grocery store, food bank, church, etc.  

Here's the ingredient list:

Wheat Flour, Pork Liver, Chicken Fat (preserved naturally with mixed tocopherols and lecithin), Rolled Oat Flakes, Wheat Germ, Blackstrap Molasses, Flax Seeds, Eggs, Dried Kelp, Dried Brewer's Yeast, Yucca Schidigera Extract, and Rosemary Extract

I'm not a huge fan of the wheat flour, but I'm good with the other ingredients.  And for those who are freaked out by the chicken fat, never fear.  Chicken fat is a good source of essential fatty acids and has properties that promote healthy skin and coat.  

I like that Liva Hearts have flax seeds, dried kelp, and rosemary extract.  All three of these ingredients help prevent cancer and flax seed aids in digestion.  

TLB and Kasey liked these.  I actually think that Kasey liked this a bit more than Teton. 

This picture makes TLB look huge, but he's really not that much bigger than his uncle. 

We give Darford's Liva Hearts a five out of 10, and here's why:

What We Like

1. Ingredients - This has a lot of great stuff in it that benefits your pooch.  Of course, be mindful of that wheat flour for those of you whose fuzzy buddies have wheat allergies. 
2. Feel Good Qualities - This is the first product that we've reviewed that physically puts something in your hand to donate.  There's something about having a tangible object that just feels good.

What We Don't Like

1. Ingredients - More specifically, one ingredient.  Lose the wheat flour!  There are just too many dogs out there with allergies.  Why not make a product that every dog can enjoy?
2. Wow Factor - It isn't there.  Just another basic crunchy treat.  Sure, TLB likes it, but what sets it apart from other treats? 

I'm excited to be able to donate some food to a dog in need, but once this box of treats is empty I don't think we'll be buying another one.  It was a little too lackluster for me.  

TLB and I are off to play some fetch.  See you in a few days!  

What is your dog's favorite treat of all time? 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Wish List: Part Two

Good evening!  I'm in trouble, aren't I?  I can't believe that I haven't blogged since Tuesday.  And Tuesday literally feels like it was yesterday!  For whatever reason this has been a crazy week.  

Anyhoo, thank you to all of my loyal followers for giving me a reason to feel bad about myself!  Ha!  No, but seriously...I'm sorry that I dropped the ball and I promise to be better!  

Next week we'll get back into the swing of things with product reviews.  For now, here is Part Deux of TLB's Christmas Wish List! 

Wish #6:  Agility Jump 

No, TLB isn't training for an agility competition.  In fact, he isn't really a big fan of most agility activities.  We took a training class earlier this year where the last two classes were devoted to agility.  TLB got major stage fright during most of the exercises, but once he got the hang of the whole jumping thing he actually didn't mind it! 

I like agility because it uses your dog's noggin and his or her body!   

Now that we have a bit more room outside, I'd love to have an agility jump so Teton and I can practice and add more sweet tricks to our repertoire.  

Dog Agility Jump - Between $20 and $80 

Wish #7:  Merrick Turkey Patties

TLB loves these.  He's never turned them away, and trust me, he's turned plenty of other treats away.  Every time I'm at a pet store that has Merrick Turkey Patties I grab either a few (sometimes they are in a loose container) or a pack.  TLB got some in his stocking last Christmas and I have a feeling he'll get some this Christmas, too! 

And the ingredients?  Turkey.  That's it!  And, they're cheap.

Merrick Turkey Patties - $0.75 each

Wish #8:  "ADOPT" Shirt 

Yes, you're right.  This won't fit Teton.  But isn't it great?  Proceeds from this shirt go to support Adopt a Pet , which is a website much like PetFinder, where we found Teton!  

ADOPT shirt - $35 


Wish #9:  Ruff Wear's Track Jacket 

Once I get my s#@! together and start walking in the early mornings with my parents and TLB, I think we might want to upgrade to this bad boy. 

We were walking at 5:30 every morning (ouch) but I've slacked in a major way.  TLB has his "rave light" - a small blue and white light that I attach to his collar that blinks - but I think the Track Jacket would be a safer option.  Especially since half the time you can't see TLB's "rave light" because of all of his hair!  

Ruff Wear's Track Jacket - $34.95 

Wish #10:  Orvis Microfiber DogProof Coverlet

You know you're a Dog Mom when...

Ok, so is this a little overkill?  Or is it just so great that you're speechless?  TLB doesn't always sleep on the bed, but he does at least three nights a week.  He's a very clean and non-smelly dog, but he does shed and he definitely brings the occasional stank to the bed with him.  I love all things Orvis and I especially love that they have a great line of dog products.  

This coverlet is scratch-proof, which is great since TLB is a scratchin' fool before he lays down.

Orvis DogProof Coverlet and Shams - $204 

Whew!  Good thing I don't have unlimited funds!  

Off to relax in front of a good movie.  Have a great Sunday! 

What's on your dog's wish list this Christmas?