Yeah, so the last two weeks I’ve been a slacker-only posting Friday Favorites. Sigh…I could list all the excuses, but they don’t matter. So, goal for next week-at least three posts. Hold me to it.
We all know dental care is important for humans, but did you also know it’s just as important for your dogs? I intend to do a post devoted solely to canine dental care, but for today I’m just going to post my favorite doggy toothpaste.
We love our veterinarian and the staff at Avenue Animal Hospital. If you live near Mount Juliet, Tennessee check them out. Tell them Jack, Jade, and Damon sent you. Here’s their website. They also have a Facebook page.
Time for Friday favorites. But before I get started, I have to say a huge TGIF!!! This week just about did me in.
Enough of that. On to this weeks faves.
ChuckIt Balls for Dogs
These orange and blue balls keep our Border Collie and our German Shepherd mix entertained for hours at a time. Which means Daniel and I are also entertained for hours. They are durable, easily cleaned, and difficult to destroy. Though our small bully breed mix has successfully destroyed them in the past. But he had to work at it. If you have dogs, try this toy.
Blog Paws Community
If you love animals, blog, and/or blog about animals you owe it to yourself to check out Blog Paws. Anything you need to blog about your favorite critters is there. If you’re looking to monetize your pet blog, you can find help there. They host a yearly conference where participants can network with each other as well as industry giants.
My Coffee Cup
Daniel bought me this cup several years ago at the LIfeway store in downtown Nashville. For no reason. Not my birthday. Not our anniversary. Just because he was thinking of me and wanted me to know. How could this not be my favorite coffee mug? It makes me smile just to see it.
What do you love? What new product have you recently discovered and can’t live without? What old thing laying around the house have recently rediscovered? Tell us-show us! And have a great weekend.
Since I really enjoy Friday Favorites posts on other people’s blogs, I thought I’d join the fun. Every Friday I’d mention a few of my favorite things. And, yes, there will be recipes involved.
When I started trying to cook more so we would eat out less, one thing Daniel really missed was potato wedges. You know, those greasy, completely unhealthy things you can get at pretty much any grocery deli. So, off to Pinterest I went. Seriously, how may recipes for potato wedges can there be? Found one to try. While a little time consuming, it’s very simple, and very, very delicious. Also pretty versatile. You can change up the taste based on which seasonings you use. Click here http://www.rockrecipes.com/baked-wedge-fries/ to find the recipe.
My iPad Air 2
Yeah, I love this thing. Full disclosure: this is the first Apple product I’ve used. I’ve been a PC and Android woman all along. But when my desktop computer died, I needed a quick and easy solution. Since my Android tablet was upgrade eligible at Verizon, I decided to try the iPad. Of course I read reviews and played with the store demo first. But I think I made the right decision. In fact I’ve decided to save my money for a MacBook Air instead of buying another PC desktop.
International Delight Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer
Seriously, y’all, it’s so much better than Coffee-Mate’s version of the winter favorite. It’s much more pepperminty. If you enjoy Peppermint Mocha check it out.
What are some of your current favorites? What item have you discovered recently you can’t imagine ever going without?
This is the year of the seriously tightened budget in our household. Since we’re now well into October I’m in full “what are we doing about Christmas” mode.
Enter a well-timed epiphany.
How about a handmade Christmas? After all, I do make jewelry. I have some basic wire working skills. I can sometimes sew a straight line.
But can I make meaningful gifts that don’t look like a pre-K Sunday School project? We’ll see.
Heading over to Pinterest now to start my idea board. I’ll update weekly as I try to make this work.
Have you ever done a totally handmade Christmas? How did it work out? Where did you come up with ideas? Was it less costly than buying gifts?
Work-life balance. Eat healthy. Exercise. Spend time together. Eat home cooked meals. Eat out less.
Those suggestions bombard us all day long. How to do it all?
Daniel and I committed to getting healthier. As part of living a healthier lifestyle, we committed to working out three days each week, and to eating out much less often.
This means we, and by we I mean mostly I, have to cook.
After working all day.
Now don’t misunderstand. I enjoy cooking. And, I’m pretty good at it most of the time. But planning, buying, and cooking meals can be at least as tiring as working.
I got some great advice on Lauren Greutman’s blog. Part of that advice was to plan a menu for the week, then make the shopping list from the menu. We’ve been doing that for several weeks now. It’s made a huge difference in our meal selection.
Before meal planning the drive home from work might go something like this:
Daniel: You got any ideas about supper?
Me: Not really. What do you want?
Daniel: I don’t know. What are the choices?
Me: I’m too tired to think about it. Wanna just drive through somewhere?
Daniel: Sure. Where do you want to go?
And so on, and so on.
Not only did this add calories by the gazillions, it drained our bank account. There were several months we spent $300-$400 PER MONTH eating out. Not fancy meals, but Sonic, McDonalds, Firehouse Subs, etc. And, we’re just feeding two people.
I will mention that part of what forced the issue was that Daniel quit his part time job (which was in addition to his full time job) in May. We immediately lost $600/month of income. Eating out had to be the first thing to go.
Another effect of eating home cooked meals is that we re-learned what real food tastes like. And, it’s good!
But, because we both work full time, and are pretty much always tired in the evenings, I’ve had to find some meals that are reasonably health, but easy and fast.
Pinterest rocks for finding recipes. Really. Recipes for any kind of food you can imagine.
But one of our faves is one I just came up with myself out of stuff I had on hand. Daniel named it chicken nachos.
1 can of chicken breast, drained
1 can of beans, drained (We prefer black beans, but pinto or kidney beans work well too.)
1 can of tomatoes with green chilis
1/2 small sweet yellow onion, diced
1 TBSP olive oil
shredded Mexican style cheese
Seasonings of choice (I use chili powder, garlic powder, basil, thyme, oregano, black pepper, and a dash of salt.)
In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Once heated (a minute, maybe) add the diced onion, chicken, beans, tomatoes with green chilis, and seasoning.
Heat until hot and some of the liquid has cooked out.
Place a layer of tortilla chips on a small plate.
Spoon chicken mixture on top of chips.
Top with cheese.
This takes seriously 10 minutes to make and costs less than $3/serving. I have not figured the nutrition information, but it’s not horrible. I promise you it’s better than a fast food cheeseburger and fries.
What tips have you found helpful to reduce eating out? Where’s your favorite place to look for new recipes?