A Long Overdue Pupdate

Thursday, August 17, 2017

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a full post about the dogs. They get mentioned a lot, but my last puppy update post was over five years ago…when they were actually still puppies (and Jelly didn’t exist)! I can’t get over how little Abby is in those pictures! Anyway, a full post dedicated to our three little fur nuggets is long overdue.

Let’s start with my first born - Ringo turned six a few weeks ago! Part of me can’t believe it’s already been six years and another part can’t remember life without that crazy guy.

Ringo is the first cattle dog I’ve ever had and honestly the first one I’ve ever been around. When I announced that we were getting him almost six years ago a couple people with cattle dogs left warnings about how crazy they can be. They weren’t kidding. He’s definitely a handful…although it’s gotten A LOT easier as he gets older. I love Ringo very much, but I don’t think I’d ever get another cattle dog and wouldn’t recommend one unless you live a certain lifestyle.

Of course with all that energy comes a big personality! He’s seriously the quirkiest dog I’ve ever met. We always joke that life is never boring when Ringo is around. He gets really upset when someone gets in the shower, so he lets his frustrations out by barking and wildly swinging his toys around. It’s entertaining unless you’re trying to sleep…Speaking of sleep, he’s turned into my little nighttime cuddle bug. He likes to sneak onto the bed in the middle of the night and sleep with me. Sometimes I have to kick him off because he’s trying to sleep on top of me, but usually I can fall back asleep and I love having that sweet guy snuggled next to me.

When I first started dating Adam and he came over for the first time, Ringo sat on the cushion next to us and stared him down the whole night. He wasn’t sure of this new guy or his intentions. Of course now Adam is his favorite person in the whole world. He’s definitely a man’s dog and is so happy to finally have a guy in his life who loves him back just as much.

Of course Abby loved Adam right away because Abby is the typical loving lab. She likes pretty much everybody, but is definitely the guard dog of the house. Ringo and Jelly are the bark, but Abby would be the bite if it came down to that.

Abby’s my little shadow and she follows me everywhere. She sleeps in the bathroom while I get ready in the morning, lays by the stove while I cook, and cuddles with me on the couch every night. She’s totally my ride or die chick.

I’ve loved every dog that I’ve ever had, but Abby is definitely the doggie love of my life. Please don’t think that means I love Ringo and Jelly any less or give them less attention/treats. I just have an extra special bond with Abby. She’s 100% my dog and I’m 100% her person (vs. Ringo who prefers Adam).

We’ve had to take Abby to the vet a couple times this year because we’ve found a few small growths. She has one on her face and one on both of her hind legs. The one on her face was the first one we saw and had tested. The leg ones were more recent. They all ended up being just benign fatty tumors, which apparently can be common with labs. So luckily it was nothing serious and my sweet baby dog is a healthy girl.

And lastly, let’s talk about our newest addition: Jelly! Jelly has integrated into our family so easily and I’m so happy that we decided to adopt her. Let’s be honest, it was just a matter of time before we foster failed.

She’s such a great little dog and is so fun to have around. Jelly’s the perfect mixture of wild and sweet. We’ve had no problems with her and the other dogs getting along. They play and mess with each other, but no fights. She doesn’t mind being third banana in the house, but also doesn’t take any of their nonsense. 

Jelly does have one pretty weird quirk: gnawing. She gnaws on our sheets, her toys, and pretty much anything fabric. It doesn’t damage anything, so we’re not too worried about it. I think it’s how she deals with anxiety or overstimulation. We don’t know how long she was a stray, but she spent time in the pound and then two years with the rescue group waiting for a home. She hasn’t had a stable environment in a long time, so hopefully this will stop with time.

As much as I originally didn’t want a third dog, it’s been so much fun having her around and introducing her to new things. She is so well behaved in the car, but is still nervous going to new places. When we took her to the vet to get her shots, she would not go in the door. I had to pick her up and carry her in. The first time we took her to the dog park, she wouldn’t move away from the gate. I eventually took her to the timid dog area and she just hid under a bench. Of course she loved it the second time. Right now we’re trying to get her into the swimming pool. She won’t get in on her own, but she’ll let us hold her in the pool. She’s definitely getting braver about getting closer to the edge and her front feet fell onto the step once and she didn’t completely freak out. It might take another season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up liking the pool.

So, that’s the latest news on our three fur balls. Having three dogs can be exhausting (and expensive), but it’s so worth it. I love coming home to those three happy faces every day. No matter how bad my day was they always make it better.

Visiting Independence Hall + The Liberty Bell

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A few weeks ago I shared the first post from my trip to Philadelphia…a trip that I took almost two years ago! As I mentioned in that post, it was a business trip, so we didn’t have a lot of time to explore. We had to be at the office for two of the days, but we were able to work a half day on our last day. One of my coworkers had never been to Philadelphia before either, so we decided to take that morning off and play tourist. Of course when you’re in Philadelphia for the first time, you have to visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

We wanted to beat the crowds (and finish early enough to work the afternoon) so we met bright and early to get tickets. Entrance to Independence Hall is by tour only and timed tickets are required March-December. Same day tickets are free and available at the Independence Visitor Center starting at 8:30 a.m. You can also reserve in advance online for $1.50 fee. Anyway, we arrived at 8:30 and got tickets for the first tour of the day at 9 a.m.

I know my tip is always to start early, but it really makes such a huge difference in dealing with crowds. We were on the first tour of the day, so there were only a few other people on the tour with us and there was no line at the security screening area. It’s also a great opportunity to get pictures without other people in them.

The tour of Independence Hall was led by a NPS ranger and it was really interesting. The Assembly Room is where the Continental Congress declared Independence in 1776 and debated and signed the U.S. Constitution in 1787. It’s kind of surreal to stand in one of the most historic rooms in the United States. 'Murica!

The desk and chair in the middle of the room was George Washington’s spot. There’s a sun carved into the back of Washington’s chair and it became known as the Rising Sun Chair because of an observation made by Benjamin Franklin.

Next door to Independence Hall is Congress Hall. This is where Congress met while Philadelphia was the temporary capital of the U.S. from 1790 to 1800. Presidents George Washington (second term) and John Adams both took the oath of office in this building. The first floor was where the House of Representatives met and the Senate chamber was upstairs.


Once we finished the tour (it took about 40 minutes) we walked over to the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell is located at The Liberty Bell Center, right by Independence Hall. Admission is free and no tickets are required. The Liberty Bell is obviously the main draw, but there are some pretty interesting exhibits lining the way to the bell. Topics range from the original State House bell to the famous crack to the inscription on the bell (Leviticus 25:10 in the Old Testament:… Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof).

Even if you want to read most of the exhibit information, you won’t need more than 30 minutes to see the Liberty Bell. Because we started so early, we finished our visit to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in time to still have breakfast. We ended up going around the corner to the Red Owl Tavern and I had some AMAZING French toast. Highly recommend!

If you have more time in the area (and don’t have to go back to work…boo), there are plenty of other historical/interesting places within walking distance: Christ Church, Betsy Ross House, United States Mint, National Constitution Center, and many more! I think a tour of the U.S. Mint would be really interesting…hopefully next time!

Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center are managed by the National Park Service, so be sure to check their sites for hours and information before visiting.

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Learning How to Compost

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Adam and I have been talking about starting a compost pile for over a year now. It’s another one of those things that we’ve been meaning to do, but keep putting off. I even put a compost bin in my Amazon shopping cart at one point, but never pulled the trigger. So when we found a compost tumbler at our community garage sale for only $20, we knew it was a sign.

*This post contains affiliate links.

I had looked at the exact same one on Amazon (Lifetime 80-Gal Compost Tumbler) months ago, but didn’t want to spend the money (currently $130). I seriously can’t believe we got it for only $20! Anyway, it was full of big twigs and large branches when we bought it (they were WAY too big for composting) so I quickly cleaned it out and it was good as new!

Before we could start composting, we had to figure out where to keep our new tumbler. After doing some research it’s recommended to place them in partial sun. You’ll want some sun so the mixture will heat up, but you don’t want it to get too hot in there. We also had to think about ease of access. It would be nice to have it near the house so it’s easier to fill, but it also makes sense to keep it near the garden where we’ll actually use the compost. After taking all of that into consideration, we decided to put it next to the shed. It ended up being the best place for partial shade and with the hot temps in Phoenix we figured that was more important that having to walk some extra steps to fill it.

We’re still new at composting, so I taped this free compost list printable from Not Just a Housewife on the inside of a kitchen cabinet. It’s a helpful reminder for what we can/cannot put in our composting tumbler.

We’re also using this countertop OXO Good Grips compost bin to collect our scraps. We empty it every couple of days, so we haven’t had any issues with flies or smell.

So now we’re just working on filling our compost tumbler. I bought a bag of compost starter on Amazon, so I’m hoping that’ll help us create our first successful batch of compost. If you compost and have any suggestions for us, please leave them in the comments. We’re still figuring this out, so we’d love advice from compost pros.

Oh, and if you want to start your own compost bin, but don’t want to spend the money on a tumbler or bother building a bin, check with your city trash program. Our city provides compost containers (modified trash bins) for only a $5 delivery fee.

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