Celebrations, Four Legged Fun, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites: BarkBox

This week we celebrated a very special birthday in our house –  our loveable hound dog turned 6 on August 19!

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I have always made an effort to celebrate the dog’s birthdays in our house, but this one was particularly meaningful to me because it is the first 6th birthday we have gotten to celebrate.  Our sweet Bullini sadly passed shortly before her 6th birthday.

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For her birthday, I baked Nova a birthday cake and the kids and I went to the pet store and picked out a couple new toys for the dogs to enjoy.

On top of that, I had decided to sign up for BarkBox last month and our first one arrived at the end of July.  As eager as I was to see what was inside, I decided to hold off opening it until Nova’s birthday.  Both dogs, and the kids, couldn’t wait to see what was inside the box.

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I was hesitant ordering the BarkBox, but after good reviews from my sister I decided to take a chance.  I was super impressed with the first box and can’t wait to get our next!  The dogs love the Bixbi Chicken Jerky Treats and the Healthy Dogma Coconut Flavor Barkers smell so good that I am not even disgusted by the fact that my 2 year old keeps sticking them in her mouth!  I also was worried about the quality of toy, but the Loopies Floppy Fishbone passed my tug test and looks like it will actually stand up to my heavy pullers.

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We are blessed to have Nova in our lives.  She is so sweet and loving.  The kids crawl all over her and she is nothing but patient with them.  One of Keira’s first words was, of course, “dog” and she was quick to expand it to “hound dog”.  Nova is a sensitive soul and hides if there is too much noise or excitement, but never strays too far from the family.  Her favorite spot in the new house has become the back bench and it brings a smile to my face everytime I see her curled up back there as I am going about my day.

Happy Birthday Bassanova!  And thank you BarkBox for providing such a great product for the fur legged members of our family.

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Celebrations, Four Legged Fun, Two Legged Fun

All I wanted for Christmas and more!

Christmas has come and gone so I figured it is about time I get back to posting.

We had a great Christmas! This year there were very few gifts under the tree for myself, but it was absolutely perfect. As lovely as the new cookware I received from my own mom and my mother-in-law was, I was way more excited to see what the kids got and their reactions to all the new toys and books. Christmas has definitely changed in our house and I am very happy to have it now be all about the kids.

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Well, maybe not ALL about the kids – the dogs didn’t get forgotten either.

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It was Rumbull’s first Christmas and it didn’t take him long to sniff out his stocking and figure out what was up.  He watched longingly as we set the gifts out on Christmas Eve and he was the first “kid” up Christmas morning wanting to get into the pile.

Thanks to our Christmas Book countdown, my 19 month old also had the unwrapping thing down pat.  On Christmas Eve, she was raring to go the moment we got to Grandma and Grandpa’s and she saw the pile under the tree.  She was even lucky enough to get the biggest gift under Grandma and Grandpa’s tree – a Little Tikes Cozy Truck!

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The bottom right picture is a bit blurry, but I included it because it captured my favorite Christmas memory.  Camden had been asking for a Vtech Switch & Go Dino since October so he was ecstatic that his gift from his little sister was the triceratops.  We asked him to thank her and he gave her the biggest hug I have ever seen.  Melt my heart!

The kids were both asleep by the time we got home from opening gifts on Christmas Eve, but that made it easy for Santa to get everything set out for round two on Christmas morning.

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In the morning, Camden was very excited to find that Santa had eaten his cookies and had a drink of milk.  He immediately went for his stocking and started opening it all before I could even convince him to wait for his sister.

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Between ourselves, grandparents, aunts and uncles, the kids were definitely spoiled, but Camden did a good job thanking everyone and acting grateful for all his gifts.

Unfortunately we saved the best item for the very last and the reaction to his brand new iPad from daddy was less then we were hoping for.  Instead of being over the top excited, he acted sad that we were replacing his old, shattered iPad.  Luckily, it only took a few minutes of coaxing and walking him through the new iPad for him to understand that it still had all his same apps and that he wasn’t losing anything by giving up the broken tablet.  As was expected, it is now his favorite gift!

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My husband and I made the decision not to bother with gifts to each other since we have a lot of items to buy for the new house in the upcoming months.  I certainly didn’t feel like I was missing out by not having something to unwrap from him and we made up for it by picking up a few nice things on boxing day.  Except for some boxing week shopping, we stayed home for much of the Christmas break and had a very lazy two weeks watching movies and keeping inside out of the cold.

It was a nice Christmas and I am hoping next year will be that much better with everyone settled into our new house. The only thing really missing was my sweet Bullini, but she certainly was not forgotten amidst all the chaos with a special place on the mantle.

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I hope the 2013 Christmas season was just as Merry for all of you!

Four Legged Fun, Gift Ideas

Friday Favorites: Santa is Coming to Edmonton Book

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It amazes me how quickly stores make the switch from Halloween into full  Christmas mode.  It is hard not to feel a slight bit of panic November 1st when the Christmas decorations fill the shelves, holiday music fills the air, and you realize Christmas is just around the corner.  I hate the crowds, but I love shopping this time of year and seeing all the Christmas themed clothing, toys, decorations, housewares and books.

This year I am hoping to start a new tradition with the kids.  One of the ideas I have seen floating around the internet is to wrap a stack of books for them to open in the night’s leading up to Christmas.  Books are already part of our bedtime routine so I thought this would be a great way to bring a bit more Christmas magic and excitement into our house.  I have seen it done as a 30 day advent calendar, but I think I will shorten it and have enough books wrapped  to read for the 12 days before Christmas.

We already have a few Christmas books that I will wrap, but I stopped at Cole’s bookstore yesterday to quickly browse and see if there was anything new that caught my eye.  I was immediately drawn to a stack of books titled Santa is Coming to Ottawa by Steve Smallman.  I picked it up, disappointed it wasn’t Santa is Coming to Edmonton and then was delighted to discover that exact title hidden beneath the Ottawa edition.  As I flipped through the pages and saw the references to neighbourhoods and landmarks in our city, I knew it was a perfect Christmas book to add to our growing collection.

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The illustrations in this book are beautiful and I love that they show the familiar landmarks like the High Level Bridge, Art Gallery, Muttart Conservatory and Rexall Place.  I am not sure my kids will be quite old enough to recognize and pick them out this year, but I see them getting excited over it in the upcoming years.  My three year old has just started asking about where we live and trying to figure the world around us, so I really love the relevancy of this book.

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This book is just one of many in the series.  Other major Canadian cities that Santa is Coming to include Calgary, Vancouver, Hull, Ottawa, Toronto or just Canada.  For my American friends, there is a wide variety of titles that cover states and major cities from across the country.  And, because he is a British author, there is a vast range of English and European titles such as London, Belfast, and Scotland.

And  if these still don’t work for you?  There is simply Santa is Coming to My House.

Visit the Chapters/Indigo/Coles website to find all the Santa is Coming to titles.

Celebrations, Everyday Life, Four Legged Fun, Parties

Happy Birthday Hound Dog! Plus a doggie cake recipe

I border on the edge of crazy when it comes to my dogs.  They are dressed in themed costumes at Halloween, they each have their own stocking that gets filled at Christmas and birthdays are always celebrated with gifts and treats.  Nova’s 5th birthday on August 19 was no exception.  I baked her a homemade birthday cake using this recipe and made some vanilla raspberry cupcakes for the human members of our family to help celebrate.

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Bassanova is a half basset hound and half English bulldog mix.  She came into our lives as a total impulse purchase after I spotted her behind the glass at the pet store.  I tried to walk away.  I really did.  She was just such an adorably unique mix that, before even consulting my husband, I found myself turning around and offering up my credit card to make her part of our family.

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The kids absolutely adore her and she is one of the sweetest, most sensitive dogs I have ever met.  At 70 lbs, she is way too big to be a lap dog but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find her way up for a snuggle.

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Happy Birthday sweet girl!  Thank you for bringing such joy to our lives.