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Vacationing with your pooch

3 Jul

Now that we have a cheeky little dog, we have to seriously re think all of our future vacations.  Do we board her somewhere when we’re gone?  Get someone to feed her and let her destroy the side yard in boredom?  What if you could bring your dog with you on vacation?  Today’s guest post has lots of dog friendly vacation ideas:

The world’s most dog-friendly places: Vacationing with your pooch

One of the reasons we take on a dog, along with those dreams of having a loyal, trusty companion, is for the lifestyle change that goes with having a pet. Owning a dog means long, healthy walks, even in rainy weather. When it comes to vacation time though, often the only alternative is to leave our hounds with friends or family or to find boarding kennels for them. But, there are lots of places across the globe which are perfect for dog-comes-too trips. If you can visit out of season, even better, as it will be easier for your pooch to explore. Here are just some of the best places to go with your pet:

Oregan, USA

Portland Oregan

While opting for a city break with your dog may not be the most obvious choice, pooches are incredibly pampered in Portland, Oregan. Nicknamed the Rose City, Portland has more than 30 dog parks and it also has an incredible number of pet message therapists so your dog will come home feeling incredibly relaxed. There are lots of dog-friendly eateries too, so, while in some places you might have to eat in your holiday accommodation or outside a bar or restaurant, in Portland, you could try Dog Lovers’ Night at the Tin Shed Garden Café (details) where, if you buy a meal, they get one free.

 

The Cornish coast

Dizzy on front lawn of Mullion Cove

Most dogs love the beach just as much as children do, the sand underneath their paws, the waves to splash in, the wide open spaces. And, there are few better places to take your pooch than England’s south-western corner. Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula is the perfect choice because, while some beaches ban dogs from the sands all the time or during the summer, there are 13 beaches along the Lizard which your pet can explore year-round. Parkdean’s Mullion site makes an ideal central base as the caravan park itself has pet-friendly bungalows and a dedicated dog walking route (details) and Mullion’s gorgeous cove is one of the most dog-welcoming.

Brittany, France

paques 05 cote sauvage0003

France is renowned as one of the most dog-friendly countries in the world. In most villages and towns, you’ll see dogs in pubs and restaurants and, if you’re ordering a meal, you’ll often find a bowl of water is brought out for Fido as you peruse the menu. The huge stretches of sand on Brittany’s Quiberon peninsula make it a good choice. Your dog can run across the flat, wide beaches to their heart’s content, something that is sure to tire out even the most exuberant of pooches. Most campsites in the area welcome dogs if you want to sleep under canvas with your pet.

Girona, Spain

Els Pirineus des de Rocacorba

Dog owners in Girona were recently told they must walk their pets for at least 20 minutes a day or face a fine of up to $500. The byelaw was brought in to cut down on the number of neighbourly disbutes arising from dogs left home alone to bark for hours. And, really, when you consider the beautiful countryside and coast that surrounds Girona, there’s really no excuse for not getting out and about to enjoy it with your dog. Many private villas offer dog-friendly accommodation and, for those looking for a strenuous workout, you can trek the Girona Pyrenees.

 

Lake Louise, Canada

lake louise

One of the dilemmas faced by dog owners in Canada is how to exercise their pet when temperatures plummet dangerously low. People are urged to walk small dogs for short amounts of time and to think about investing in dog boots to prevent paws becoming irritated by the salt put on sidewalks. But on a crisp, clean, sunny day, there can be few places in the world better to enjoy the Great Outdoors. There are more than 100 kilometers of dog-friendly trails at Lake Louise, so you never have to do the same walk twice on a break, and pet-friendly hotels including The Fairmont Chateau and the Lake Louise Inn.

They’re all breathtaking locations and, with so many places welcoming dogs, it just goes to show that you can appreciate the scenery together. There’s no need to leave Fido at home.

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Cariloha

28 Jun

I have a set of expensive Egyptian cotton sheets that we got on sale once.  They are silky and smooth, and pretty fantastic.  Or so I thought, until Cariloha sent me some of their bamboo sheet sets.  I was intrigued when they first contacted me to review them, as I’d never heard of bamboo sheets before.

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet.  I say plant because despite it’s tree-like appearance, bamboo is in the grass family.  It sends new shoots up every year, reaching maturity in 3-5 years.  Bamboo can be harvested continually without impacting the surrounding environment, making it a very sustainable alternative to cotton and also wood.  Needless to say, the thought of using bamboo for sheets and clothes is pretty exciting to a Sustainable Agriculture student such as myself.

Aaron and I put our new bamboo sheets on our queen sized bed, admiring their softness as we went.  When we were finished, we laid on them with the kids.  Our puppy Rosie wanted to check them out as well.  We had only had her for a week or so at the time and didn’t want her to miss out on our little family bed sheet snuggle.  Unfortunately, Rosie liked the sheets so much she didn’t want to get off of them.  Instead of going out to pee, she peed right there on the bed.  Luckily for us, we have a mattress protector under the sheets, but it was still pretty annoying.  I wanted to sleep on those sheets!!! Instead, we had to wash them and remake the bed with different, less soft and inviting sheets.  Humph.

Cariloha bamboo sheets

Cariloha bamboo sheets

I kept the pillow cases on though, and slept on them until time to change the sheets again because they are so soft, silky, and nice feeling on my skin.  I like them way better than my previous favourite egyptian cotton sheets.  I just wish the pillow cases had a little pocket for the end of the pillow to go in so they don’t come out, but I think that is just an American thing.  I don’t recall seeing any pillow cases in the U.S. like the ones we have over here in Australia.

Cariloha also sent me a lovely purple bamboo shirt.

This shirt is made out of bamboo

This shirt is made out of bamboo.

I like this shirt for so many reasons:  the colour is flattering on me (plus I love purple), the cut is flattering on me, it’s really soft, it wicks moisture away, which is important if you are a nervous sweater like me, it’s long enough to cover my butt crack when I bend over (because jeans these days always show the crack when bending!!), and best of all, the scoop neck is low enough to not look weird, but high enough that it doesn’t gape open and reveal my boobs when I bend over.  Mom’s do a lot of bending, so this is obviously very important, especially for someone like me whose nipples show (even if I’m wearing a bra)  when I bend over.

They also sent me a pair of bamboo pants.  I thought they would be perfect for travelling, comfortable, but also stylish.  I usually travel in workout pants or pyjama pants, so  these would be much more appropriate.

Bamboo linen pants.  They look so comfy.

Bamboo linen pants. They look so comfy.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t look at the sizing chart on Cariloha’s website and went for a size 4 instead of a size 2.  I usually wear a U.S. size 3, so I wanted to be on the safe side and go bigger rather than smaller.  The sizing chart is right there on the website, but I am unobservant and didn’t notice it and didn’t use it.  When I got the pants, I could put them on without unbuttoning them, even though I am pear shaped and usually have to pull and wiggle a bit to get pants over my hips.  I was swimming in them. I could tell that if they fit properly, they would be super comfortable though.  You would have to wear light coloured plain undies though, as they are a tad bit see-through.

I ended up giving the pants to a very excited friend who was already a fan of bamboo clothes.

I definitely recommend Cariloha’s products.  They are so soft, well made, comfortable, and sustainably produced.  To purchase Cariloha bamboo products, click here.

GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

Click here for entry to win a Cariloha sheet set, a pair of bamboo pants, OR a bamboo shirt of your choice.   Entry only open to those with a U.S. or Canadian address, must be 18 or over to enter.  Competition closes 12am 5 July EST.  Rafflecopter will choose a winner at random.

*I was given sheets, a shirt, and pants to review and keep, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Mouse in the house

1 Jun

“What’s with Rosie?” Aaron asked this morning as I walked out of the bedroom still half asleep after the kids jumped on us when their clock turned green at 6am.

Rosie was in the laundry room, barking whilst desperately scratching at the outside  door.  She went out her little doggie door a couple times, but quickly came back in again to scratch at the door.

“Maybe there’s a bug or something.”  I said.  She loves hunting things, and we get a lot of crickets in the house.  I probably should have investigated a bit, but it was my sleep in day, so I didn’t.  Instead, we ignored her while Aaron played with the kids and I made a cup of tea to take with me back to bed.

For ages, I could hear her scratching and barking.

When it was time for me to get up, the kids and I played fetch with her to get some of her excitement out.  Rosie chases after the ball like a little deer, bounding down the hallway randomly as she runs.  After I put the ball away, something small, black, and furry caught my eye.  It was scurrying very fast, but there was no mistaking it’s identity.  A mouse was making a break for the living room.  I only saw it for a few seconds before it disappeared behind the heavy bookshelf.

UrbMatinpost

Naturally, I did what most girls would do in that situation: I yelled for Aaron.  “AARON, THERE’S A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!”  Not only that, I was yelling to the kids as well.  “GET ON THE COUCH!  BOTH OF YOU, GET ON THE COUCH!!!!”

Because obviously all mice are rabid people eaters whose sole purpose in life is to bite me and my children, and I don’t think the kids would be particularly fond of rabies shots. Or the plague. Or hantavirus. Or whichever other diseases mice could possibly carry.

Aaron helped me pull the shelf away from the wall, revealing the little brown mouse hiding behind it.  Stupidly I called Rosie around to the pulled out side.  She ran in, scaring the mouse out the other side.  It ran frantically from the shelf to under the couch, out of Rosie’s reach.

They may be cute, but disease carrying, pooping everywhere mice have no place in a house. Unless it's in a cage.... Image courtesy of wikipedia.

They may be cute, but disease carrying, pooping everywhere mice have no place in a house. Unless it’s in a cage…. Image courtesy of wikipedia.

The kids were beside themselves with excitement, elated that they caught a glimpse of the cute little mouse.  Rosie ran around the couch, trying to find a way to fit herself under it so she could bag herself a hunting trophy.  We haven’t seen it since.  Maybe it’s still under the couch.  Maybe it’s under the shelf.  Maybe it’s in my bed.  I have no idea because we went to church this morning, via Bunnings to get mouse traps, so we were gone for almost 3 hours.  It could be anywhere by now.  Maybe there are more mice.  I don’t know.  Rosie did catch one outside a while ago (then she brought the dead mouse inside and put it in Aaron’s lap), after it/they chewed holes in the bag of dog food in the garage.

They also chewed holes in my potting soil.  And in the bag of dinosaur poop.  It’s not really dinosaur poop, it’s Dino fert, an organic fertiliser that has a cartoon dinosaur on the front and stinks. Daniel and Hannah called it dinosaur poop and the name stuck.

Yesterday I put all the soil, the dinosaur poop, and the lawn dressing into thick plastic garbage bins in the garage and swept up all the remnants that leaked out of the chewed bags.  I guess the mouse (mice maybe?) was hungry and came to the house instead.  It makes sense, but that doesn’t make it less annoying.

If only I’d listened to Rosie this morning when she so desperately wanted to get at the mouse that must have been between the screen door and the regular door in the laundry room.  Maybe then we wouldn’t have to set traps and dispose of a cute little annoying mouse probably with a broken neck from the snap trap.  Yuck.  But I don’t want it in the house either, so let’s hope the traps work.  Or that it comes out long enough for Rosie to get it. She would certainly love that.

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Puppies: dream vs. reality

7 Mar

Before getting Rosie, I had all these nice images in my head about what life would be like with a dog.

1. Dream: After a long day, the puppy would lay on my lap enjoying a pat and a cuddle.
Reality: Like a racing dog chasing a rabbit, Rosie thunders toward the couch, jumping onto my lap as her pointy claws scratch my legs.  Despite the scratches, I’m happy to finally have a moment of lap dog so I stroke her fur.  She lets me for about two seconds before she realises that my hand would be a fantastic chew toy.

2. Dream: When we’re outside in the back yard, the kids play together with Rosie, bearing the biggest grins on their faces that I’ve ever seen.
Reality: Rosie excitedly jumps up on them, accidentally clawing them in the process and makes them cry.  When the kids are playing with one of their outdoor toys, Rosie steals it and runs off. Daniel cries some more.

3. Dream: A dog will protect my vegetable patch from birds and other large pests.
Reality: She chases birds away only because she notices them whilst digging big holes in the garden, pulling leaves off of my beans, and pulling out and tearing apart anything that is not already established.  I even got a special plant that is supposed to deter dogs and keep them away from the garden in hopes of keeping her out.  She pulled it out and tore it up.

some of the holes in the garden.  This part of the garden isn't yet planted because it was finished too late for last seasons crops. Now if I plant anything, she tears it straight out.

some of the holes in the garden. This part of the garden isn’t yet planted because it was finished too late for last seasons crops. Now if I plant anything, she tears it straight out.

UrbMatinpost

4. Dream: Going for walks with the family would be an almost daily, fun activity, with our puppy loping along happily next to my heel.
Reality: The whole walk is spend trying to keep Rosie from tripping the kids by erratic walking/running/pulling.  My arm is dead by the time we get back from my attempts to keep her on one side only and not pulling like a maniac.

5. Dream: When in a playful mood, the kids and I can have lots of fun playing fetch with the dog.
Reality:  We throw the ball once and then she runs off with it.  Unless we have treats, in which case she brings it back and puts it at my feet knowingly every single time.

6. Dream: We could all enjoy watching Rosie frolicking about with her numerous toys when she’s in a playful mood.
Reality: Immediately she stashes all of her toys outside and then steals whatever she can (undies, shoes, kids’ toys, cups, toilet paper rolls, etc.) to chew to pieces inside.  I have lost numerous pairs of undies, a pair of pants, some of the kids’ art, pens, an expensive bra (one of only 3 that actually fit me properly), Aaron’s favourite shoes have a shoelace chewed clean off, and countless non-dog toys.  At first she stole whatever was on the floor.  We obviously started getting vigilant about putting things away, so now she takes things off shelves, out of laundry baskets, off tables, and off desks.  Things we would be happy for her to chew up outside, like small tree branches get taken inside and chewed to bits on Daniel’s pirate lounge.  The other day, she brought an earth worm inside and put it on the couch.  The night after that, she brought in two snails (one without a shell by the time she got it inside), a cockroach, and a cricket.  After playing with bugs to the point of death, she enjoys rolling on them to ingrain their stink into her fur.

One of Hannah's lovely drawings all chewed to pieces on the couch

One of Hannah’s lovely drawings all chewed to pieces on the couch

7. Dream: Visions of leisurely morning jogs with a dog running quietly by my side filled my head.
Reality: She is practically running on two legs because I have to hold her back so much, whilst at the same time she is darting this way and that, almost taking me out with every stride.  Even when I hold the leash below the handle to make it shorter, she still manages to trip me up.  Sometimes she stops suddenly.  The whole run is spent with my arm muscle engaged in vain attempts to keep her at only one of my sides.  The other night when I took her for a run, I dropped my phone after nearly falling over her and decided walking would be the safest option.  So much for our exercise.

The last run I tried to take Rosie on.

The last run I tried to take Rosie on.

9. Dream: Once trained, naughty behaviour would be a thing of the past.  Puppies don’t know what they aren’t supposed to do until you teach them.
Reality: Rosie does know what she is not supposed to do.  She just waits to do it until we’re not looking.  If we catch her in the act, she runs off immediately after only a glance in her direction.

10. Dream: The backyard we worked so hard to get looking nice, with lush green grass and a cleaned up cement patio thing would look a whole lot nicer with an adorable puppy running around.
Reality: Rosie is a digger. Everyday she digs holes.  As soon as we fill them in, she digs them up again, past bare earth to the point of dangerous ankle grabbing holes.  Bits of stuff she steals and chews up adorn the lawn and patio.  The thick plastic sheet I put on her dog crate when it’s outside is being systematically torn up each day and the little bits of chewed up plastic are strewn about on the patio, lawn, and even in the house.

Little bits of black plastic are everywhere

Little bits of black plastic are everywhere

One of the lawn holes.  Aaron tried to plant grass seeds in it after filling it up, but that didn't last very long.

One of the lawn holes. Aaron tried to plant grass seeds in it after filling it up, but that didn’t last very long.

She will settle down with age, right?

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The underwear monster

20 Feb

Aaron’s underwear.  Hannah’s and Daniel’s.  Mine.  Clean. Dirty.  New. Old. The underwear monster is firmly against discrimination.  At first our undies were only stolen if we carelessly left them on the ground, or in a newly folded clothes pile we lazily didn’t put away.

UrbMatinpost

As we caught on to the underwear monster though, we started making sure our undies were never, ever left out.  As soon as they are folded, we put them away.  When we get undressed for showers or baths, we put  our undies high up, out of reach until it goes in the hamper afterwards.

For a while, due to our vigilance, our underpants were safe.  But the underwear monster couldn’t resist.  She brazenly found new ways of fuelling her underwear addiction.  Despite the hamper being much taller than she is, she somehow managed to steal underpants without detection.  Today alone, I’ve lost two pairs.  They are now so full of holes that I had to put them in the bin.

When the kids forget to close their bedroom door, the underwear monster sneaks in, like a ninja in the night and snatches Hannah’s underwear from its home in a Dora the Explorer hanging pouch thing.  I think it’s supposed to house shoes, but whatever, underwear fits there too.

There is no stopping the underwear monster, she is an addict and underwear is her crack.

The underwear monster aka Rosie

The underwear monster aka Rosie

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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maggots

21 Jan

We don’t have a doggie door.  We plan to get one soon, but for right now, there is no such luxury.  For the first week or so when we got Rosie, we would just leave the back door open a little bit.  Just far enough so she could go out and in when she wanted/needed.  I wanted to make this whole potty training thing as easy for both of us as possible.

Unfortunately, with the open door, came the flies.  There were only a couple at first.  But then, seemingly overnight, their population exploded, which I suppose is not surprising considering a female lays 75-150 eggs per batch.  Flies were everywhere.  They followed us around the house trying to get moisture from our faces with their stupid sopping mouthparts, landing repeatedly despite our many attempts at the Aussie salute (for you non-Aussies, that means waving your hand(s) in front of your face to ward off flies).

a housefly and it's disgusting sopping mouthparts. Image courtesy of

a housefly and it’s disgusting sopping mouthparts. Image courtesy of jangala.co.uk

I made sure the bins in the house were tightly sealed.  I washed the dishes straight away after every meal, no food was left out, and I stopped leaving the back door open (resulting in lots of pee accidents).

But still, they lingered, copulating like wild dogs on our countertop, in the air, and in the bathroom, multiplying all the time.  At least when they are distracted by coitus, they’re easier to swat.

We cut the tops off two water bottles, inverted the top into the bottles like funnels, taped them on, and filled them with sugar syrup – home made fly traps.  A few flies wandered into the sticky liquid, unable to escape, but the majority of them flew on.

Upping the ante, we bought fly spray.  Aaron sprayed the bathroom and shut the door, killing about nine of the little buggers.  We covered everything in the kitchen with towels and he sprayed them as they slept on the kitchen ceiling.

Still there were more.  Not as many as before, but enough to be pretty darn annoying.

I went to clean the guinea pig cage yesterday morning and discovered about a thousand (I’m not even exaggerating, I mean, literally, a thousand) maggots in the bottom of the outside organics bin, and decided to kill them all.
 
Before finding the maggots, I remembered that Aaron said dog shampoo kills them, so yesterday morning when I was at the supermarket, I bought some.  Upon discovering the disgusting present in the bin, I promptly went online in search of the correct way to use said dog shampoo to kill the little suckers.
 
Unfortunately, only dog shampoos with a particular ingredient are useful in killing maggots.  The one I got does not have the needed ingredient.  Probably because I got one labelled “gentle.” My bad.  I did find a number of other ways to kill maggots though, so I picked one and got to work.
 
First, I chose the vinegar mixed with water trick, since I had a whole bunch of vinegar in the laundry cupboard (because I use it for cleaning and got it in bulk at Costco).  I poured it in, as well as down the sides of the bin to wash the creepers that were trying to escape back down into the pit of doom.  A bit later, I looked in the bin and found that a lot of them were still alive.
 
Another way to kill maggots is with boiling water, so I boiled a full pot of water in the kettle and poured that all over them too, then shut the lid to help lead them to their steamy deaths.
 
A bit later, I opened the lid of the bin again and peeked inside, nearly puking from the putrid smell of vinegar mixed with half cooked, off food scraps and dead maggots.  The whole bottom of the bin was covered in dead maggots, floating around in their watery grave, but a bunch more of the little brats were crawling up the sides of the bin, once again attempting escape.
 
A third way to kill maggots is with good old salt.  Just like with slugs and snails; pour it over them and watch them shrivel up as they dehydrate.
 
I grabbed our bulk salt container and headed back outside.  Before opening the bin, I salted all the escapees who had successfully exited the bin and were crawling around on the top of it, just outside the lids edge, and watched them shrivel up as they tried to wiggle away from the lethal dose of salt.
 
I opened the lid with my left hand and started salting more almost-escapees that were at the top of the bin.  As I salted them to their deaths, something hit my salting hand.  I glanced down at it immediately, realising with horror that a maggot had fallen off the bin lid and landed on my hand where it was currently wiggling around, mocking me.
 
A split second later, I was flapping my hand around like mad woman and accidentally dropped the whole bottle of salt into the pit of doom in the bottom of the bin.
 
I know it’s an organics bin, which is only for food scraps, twigs, grass, etc., but there was no way that I was sticking my hand all the way down into the festy bin full of putrid food and at least a thousand dead maggots.  So I shut the lid and ran off, leaving the hundred or so almost-escapees there in the bin, climbing the sides to freedom.
 
Oh well, at least I got most of them.
 
A couple hours later, I decided it was time to go back out again and finally clean the guinea pig cage, happy in the knowledge that most of the maggots were dead in the bin and I wouldn’t be merely adding dinner to their plates when I dumped the used straw into the bin.
 
I rolled the dirty straw up in the now urine soaked newspapers that lined the bottom of the guinea pig cage with gloved hands, in preparation to easily throw the whole bundle into the bin.
 
As I rolled, I was met with a horrible sight: hundreds of maggots had made their home in the bottom of the guinea pig cage, between the soiled newspapers and the green plastic.
 
I wish I still had the salt.  Or more vinegar (I used it all up in the bin).  Instead, I put the hose on jet stream mode and blasted those disgusting little creatures right out of there.
 
Hopefully, our that was the end of our fly problem.
 
The inside of the bin after all of my maggot killing. Only a few maggots escaped my wroth

The inside of the bin after all of my maggot killing. Only a few maggots escaped my wroth. I should have taken a before photo, but trust me, it’s better if you don’t see that.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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