Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lucy Loves: Dog Toys, Accessories, Treats, and Activities

If you know us at all, you know that our dog, Lucy, is awfully important to us. Lucy is a vizsla mix breed, who we adopted from a shelter in June 2012. We adopted from the Sterling Animal Shelter in Sterling, MA. This shelter brings dogs up from overcrowded kill shelters in the south, or from Puerto Rico. They either spay or neuter the dogs, catch them up on immunizations, and help them to get ready to find their forever homes!

I liked the idea of adopting from a shelter where we could meet the dogs before committing. Many adoption organizations aren't able to do this, but it was helpful to ensure that the dog we chose was a good match for us. My parents adopted their dog from the same shelter, so we always knew we'd go there as well.

Lucy is a bit of a shy girl, especially around people she doesn't know. We like to take her out and about with us when we can to help her be more and more comfortable around strangers, but I think it's also her personality to be a bit reserved.

She loves lots of things, and I thought I'd share some of them with you all, so you can try them too, if you'd like!

First, we love Lupine brand collars, harnesses, and leashes. Lucy has a pretty petite head for her body, and so collars can slip off pretty easily. Combine this with a nervous (and smart!) dog, and you are looking at danger. We found this out quickly after she slipped out of her collar a few times, but felt like I couldn't be much tighter on her neck. This prompted us to try a harness with her, and we've never looked back. On the regular, she only wears a collar and leash out for bathroom trips, but for walks, car rides, hikes, etc., she wears the harness too. This way, she always will be wearing her identification if for some reason she did Houdini out again, but the harness has proven to be much more secure, so that hasn't been an issue.

Lupine products are made here in New Hampshire, and sold locally at smaller businesses, so it's a company we are happy to support. They guarantee their products, and will replace them even if chewed, so they are definitely worth the purchase! The adorable prints and bright colors are great, too. We own a couple of collars, leashes, and harnesses, and they have all held up really well.

When it gets cold here, which is several months out of the year, we add this double layer polar fleece jacket.  It definitely helps retain some body heat, and looking adorable doesn't hurt!

Another thing we love for Lucy is this CET brand vanilla mint toothpaste. It has worked wonders on cleaning Lucy's teeth and keeping them shiny and white. The scent is also great, and we know Lucy loves mint! I'll be honest, it also helps with doggy breath! It's an enzymatic toothpaste which our get recommended we look for. We use a Nylabone brand toothbrush, which has worked well. She isn't exactly begging to have her teeth brushed, but she tolerates it, and this has definitely helped get rid of plaque buildup in her back teeth.

Lucy loves her Kong. She gets a swipe of peanut butter and a couple of mini treats in it each day when Rich leaves for work, even now that she's not crated. I've always felt that a reward for good behavior as we leave is a distraction and an affirmation that we'll be back, and she'll be okay! We use a medium size, red kong. It's washable and durable. You can stuff it with all kinds of things, but good old peanut butter is a favorite here. 

Speaking of peanut butter, her favorite treats are these Newman's Own peanut butter heart cookies, and these homemade pumpkin peanut butter cookies.  The homemade recipe makes a ton, and I usually use cookie cutters for some, and then use a pizza cutter to make simple, quick squares. 

Kong also makes her favorite fetch toy, a tennis ball-like football.  It's a daily favorite in our house. 
Lucy is a big fan of stuffed animals with squeakers. She has quite a collection, and loves to fetch, tug, snuggle, and play. I was surprised when she didn't rip her first one apart, like every dog I grew up with. Ever since, we've loved adding to her clan.  Yes, that's an alligator.  Her name is Alice. :)

Lucy also loves...

Long walks:

That includes hiking...

Burrowing under blankets to take naps, or sleep at night:

Playing in the snow:

Green beans:

Do you have a dog? What does he or she love a lot?  We are always looking for fun new things for Lucy! 

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Has Sprung! Easy Spring Decor


Happy Monday!

I've been itching to add some pops of color and springy accents to our house ever since the snow started melting and the weather has been just a tad warmer!

I'll be honest, each year after packing all of Christmas away, I always need several weeks of clear surfaces and simplicity before I get the bug to really decorate again. While I did decorate just a tad for Valentine's Day, it was fairly short-lived, and that, too, has been put away for a while now.


Finally, with the onset of Spring, I had a few spring items that I've been slowly taking out and finding a space for. This weekend, I decided to head to our craft store to pick out some florals to brighten things up a bit.


I usually like to add a few pieces to my grandparents' hutch base, which lives in our dining room, and then to the shelves and dvd/PS3/board game bureau in the living room. Using some pretty faux flowers is an easy way to add lots of color and texture to a space.



The baby's breath are dried and leftover from my Valentine's Day roses from Rich. I love baby's breath, and knew I wanted to save the sprigs for an arrangement of some kind. I love these blue and white floral sprays with themin the clear vase. I will likely eventually cut the stems, but I wanted to try them in this vase before permanently altering them.

I have decorated this long and narrow basket for several holidays and seasons this year. In the fall, I filled it with some tiny, pumpkin-like gourds, then ornaments for Christmas, and then just the pinecones for a natural, wintery feel. Now, I have tucked in these bright green hydrangeas for a bright pop of color, and love them! I had green hydrangeas in our wedding flowers, so I wasn't surprised to find myself drawn to them again in the store. I tucked some light green and white polka-dot fabric in the bottom of the basket to add some more color.


Remember the aqua pitcher I found last weekend? I added a few different types of flowers to that, as well. I loved these hot pink ranunculus, white spray flowers, and bright yellow forsythia.


I also recently picked up some new placemats for our table. I swapped these white and turquoise ones out for the linen and cranberry mats that had a more fall or winter feel. I love the bright color and fresher look. I also am in love with this beautiful, hot pink tulip which is an Easter gift from my parents. Once it's done blooming, I'll plant the bulbs outside to enjoy next year!

How have you decorated for spring? I would love to see your ideas! Have a great week!

Also, in case you missed it, check out my fabric flower wreath project- another great way to add color to your home!

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