Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

Okay, I know Christmas itself is over, but our family is good at stretching celebrations. We have at least 3 more celebrations in as many days. This is typical for us. But next year, Christmas will be very different. We will have a little one running around. Well, not quite running as it will only be a few months old, but the holidays will have a different vibe with a baby. We can't wait to meet the little nugget- but that's about 21 weeks away. Hopefully in 2 weeks, we'll learn more about it at the 2nd trimester ultrasound. Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Vegetarian Chicken and Dumplings

We decided to significantly reduce our meat consumption a few years ago. I was surprised at how easy it would be. Really, we hardly miss meat. Well, with the exception of a few specific dishes- one of those being chicken and dumplings. Yum. Such a yummy, warm, hearty meal. It is especially tempting on a chilly, damp fall day in upstate New York. So, I figured a way around my dilemma. Chick'n and Dumplings cooked in the crock pot. Perfection.


Chick'n Stew

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cans (10 3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup

16 ounces chick'n (chicken substitute- for this recipe, I used Quorn Chick'n Tenders)

4 red potatoes

1 carrot

2 cups frozen peas

2 TBSP minced garlic

1 TBSP freshly ground sea salt

1 tsp sage

1 tsp tarragon

1 TBSP parsley flakes

1 bay leaf


1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp parsley flakes

1 beaten egg

3 TBSP milk

2 TBSP melted butter

Mix ingredients for stew in crock pot. Cover and cook on high heat for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Mix dumpling ingredients in a large bowl until mosit. Use a teaspoon to spoon dumplings into stew (makes about 16 dumplings). Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes. Spoon into individual bowls, salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dogs, Spring and healthy foods

Things are mostly back to normal after my crazy idea to foster Maggie. She-Ra and Maggie have made friends. There have even been a few snuggles. Sometimes, Maggie gets a little too excited when playing and She-Ra runs away, but she comes right back once Maggie calms down.

Quincy just loves having a buddy. We had an almost spring storm this week, and the dogs were having a ball frolicking in the snow.

Roxy remains less than thrilled that we are hosting a house guest, but she is out and about in the house. She does prefer to hang out in the bedroom, but that actually has its benefits, too. We have Roxy on a diet because she is like twice her ideal body weight. And the way we are doing this is to put out a measured amount of cat food for 30 minutes twice a day, and separating the cats for feeding time. So, Roxy is eating in the bedroom, and she seems okay with that.

In other news, the high 40-low 50 degree temperatures are just wonderful!! I was running errands yesterday without my winter jacked! In fact, a sweat shirt was perfect to keep me warm. And, I had my flip flops and sunglasses! Spring is in the air!

My father-in-law and his wife are coming over this afternoon! Andrew and I are excited about the visit! There are lots of benefits living in Albany (and some perks to being an hour away from our families), but it does get lonely. We get so excited when people come up here to visit! And I love hosting! Andrew and I are trying to eat more healthier than we had been (though we had basically cut out all meat) due to some health scares. We are trying to switch to the Mediterranean diet, but I'm having a hard time giving up cheese. Anyway, our heart healthy menu for today includes bruschetta, stuffed mushrooms, veggie stuffed shells, and a fruit crumble. Yum yum! Time to spring into action with the prep work!

Get out and enjoy the sunshine!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Setting In

The Maggie transition is slow. Maggie is doing fine with Quincy. Quincy has played more the last 2 days than he has in the last 2 months before. Granted, the playing is Quincy planing where he runs around for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, then takes a nice, long nap. Maggie is doing okay with us. She tends to like to bark, so we're training her out of that. She is learning to sit before we open a door. We took her for a walk yesterday, and she didn't pull too badly. The only issue is the cats. Maggie doesn't know how to be around cats. She's not vicious. Not at all. She just gets WAY too excited. She barks and jumps and chases them. Last night, Maggie found She-Ra in a closet. She-Ra was hissing and growling, but Maggie didn't take the hint. So She-Ra swatted and jumped at her face. That didn't deter Maggie. I was woken up no less than 5 times last night from Maggie/kitty interactions. Andrew was holding She-Ra this afternoon, and Maggie got really close and started to lick, lick, lick her. Roxy, will growl as soon as she sees Maggie. Maggie was doing really well with Roxy on Andrew's lap. She even laid down on the couch next to them. But as soon as Roxy moved, Maggie was up jumping, barking and chasing. We can't crate her for long periods of time. She doesn't tolerate it well, as evidenced by the scrape on the top of her nose. I contacted the rescue organization asking for tips, so I have a few things I plan to try.

But she really is such a sweet, silly dog. Andrew way trying to nap before work tonight. I tried to nap, too, since I haven't slept well the last few nights (Ahem- Maggie). Maggie climbed into bed. Whatever. We have Quincy in out bed anyway. But Maggie climbed all the way in- like under the blankets and sheets. Climbed straight in- with her head by our feet. And just slept there. So silly! She tries really hard to do the right thing, and just melts when you praise her. I'm sure a lot of her issues are because she's scared. All of the sudden, 2 days ago she was taken away from her family. She was with the same owner from puppyhood, and had a companion dog for the last 6 years. Talk about a shock. I hope she settles in. And I hope that she gets a new family soon. This girl deserves one.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Meet Maggie

We decided to try our hand at being foster parents. Foster dog parents, that is. Last week, I went to an adoption clinic for Peppertree Rescue to learn about fostering. I found out about a dog, Margaret (or Maggie) who was in need of foster placement. Maggie is an 8 year old hound mix. Her personality sounded pretty similar to Quincy. Andrew and I discussed it for a few days and decided to go for it.

We had planned to meet Maggie today, and if she and Quincy get along, I would bring her home. However, Andrew was working today. I was more than a little intimidated about the idea of bringing Quincy to the pet store, then coming home with 2 dogs in the car- I envisioned all sorts of calamities that range from dogs fighting in the back of the car to a firey car accident from the dogs knocking me unconscious from wrestling. So, to alleviate some of the stress involved, my amazing mom came up to help me for the afternoon (what a trooper!!).

My mom and I arrived at PetsMart as planned. We were the first of the group to get there. Maggie has a sister who was also being placed in a foster home. Quincy was howling and barking at other dogs- that little muffin loves the per store! After a few minutes, I saw Maggie arrive- I recognized her from her pictures. Quincy thought it was just great- he wanted to run and play. The paperwork took several minutes, and Maggie was getting anxious and pulling. To simplify things, we put Quincy in the car while Maggie's dad said good-bye.

When it was time, we opened up the back door to put Maggie in the car. Quincy did not understand why this stranger was getting in the car. So, he got all pissed off and jumped into the front seat. He refused to get in the back once my mom and I got into the car. He thought he would just be able to pout on Schmoopy's lap the whole ride home. Well, that boy was so stubborn, we couldn't get him into the back seat. So my mom just decided the best plan would be for her to ride in the back with Maggie.

Once we got home, we immediately went to the back yard so the dogs could run and play off leash. They were doing well, but then Quincy jumped off of the picnic table and hurt his leg- poor guy! We gave him one of his prn medications for his arthritis, and we took the party inside.

Andrew had a quick break this afternoon, so he stopped by the house to meet Maggie. She just melted! She climbed into his lap and fell asleep! She was not a happy girl when he had to go back to work. I bet she will be tickled pink when he gets home tomorrow morning!

The only problem so far has been the cats. Maggie was around cats when she was younger, but hasn't seen a cat in a while. Maggie saw Tiny sleeping on the bed, and she soooo wanted to play with her. The feeling was not mutual. Roxy was under the bed growling. I pulled Maggie out of the bedroom, and let the cats just chill in there. Last check, they were still hiding. Hopefully, calmer heads will prevail in the morning.

For the past hour or so, I have been surrounded by snoring dogs.

This is what I was hoping for. Hopefully Maggie and the cats will mellow out in the next day or two. I feel good by volunteering my time, home and love to help out this sweet girl. As I'm typing this, Maggie is sitting to my left and dreaming away- her little legs are twitching! :-)

If you know anybody in the Albany area that is interested in adopting a wonderful, playful, loving girl, tell them to contact Peppertree!

For now, Welcome to your temporary home, Maggie! We're glad to have you!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spring Fever

I have a bad fever...Spring Fever! It was so warm in the sun this afternoon. Quincy and I were just standing outside in the back yard, breathing fresh air and feeling the sun kiss our cheeks. I even wore my flip flops- which may not have been the best idea because the melting snow is leaving puddles of icy cold water around the yard.

I planted several plant cuttings that I have been rooting. Here's hoping they take!

And just look around- there are signs of spring everywhere! Quincy is starting to shed...

And the best part- the lilac is starting to bud (though probably prematurely...)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snowpocalypse 2013

The predictions were calamitous. Up to 2 feet of snow... Falling at a rate of 2-3 inches per hour. I was dreading looking outside this morning at 4:45 when Andrew's alarm went off (he got up extra early to allow time for shoveling and a slow commute in the storm). We were pleasantly surprised to find a mere 6 inches!! It only took like 10 minutes to get his car out. I was still worried about Andrew driving all the way to Schenectady, and I was not looking forward to sitting in the house waiting for him to call me to let me know he made it safely. So I shoveled out my car and sidewalk. But that only took a few minutes. There are some elderly people who live on my street- a couple in their 70s lives 4 houses up, and a man probably in his 80s lives 4 houses down. So, to occupy my time, I shoveled their houses out, and shoveled all of the houses in between. Yup. I shoveled from #14 to #28.

But, Albany had issued a snow emergency, which meant that at 8pm, all cars would have to be parked on the even side of the street. Then at 8pm tomorrow, all cars move to the odd side of the street. I spent my morning dreading that. Our road is a one way street with parking only on the odd side of the street. This means that tonight, in the cold and wind and dark and snow, I will have to fight with my neighbors for a parking spot on the even side of the street. But, while taking Quincy for a walk today, we found a miracle! I saw an open spot on the even side of the road around the corner. The spot was full of snow and had not been shoveled. So I moved my car from it's fully shoveled spot, but decided that I would get stuck if I tried to move into the new spot without shoveling it first. So I drove back to my shoveled spot, and walked over to the new spot to shovel that. Once my new spot was shoveled out, I ran as fast as I could back to my car so I could occupy it before some stranger swooped in and stole my newly shoveled spot. Whew!! Made it! But I did more shoveling so the new spot was as clean as my old spot. Then, I came inside only to see that the snow emergency has been lifted! So much shoveling!!

For the rest of the day, it's just me, Quincy and hot cocoa!