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Friday, April 29, 2011

Project 52: Week 17: Reflection

Obviously this is not a TRUE physical reflection, but she is in fact a reflection of me, in so many ways.  Everytime I see one of my girls pretending to do a "session" with eachother, it terrifies me.   Every single time they do something that is a reflection of me, or my life, it makes me realize, just how much, that the woman I am, impacts what they will become. Seriously..these girls are like little sponges.  They see things when you don't think they are watching, and they hear things when you do not think they are listening (even from a different room!)  Yeah, that is a lot of pressure for a mama of only girls.  But then, as soon as one of them comes up to me and says, "mom, we need to pray that our friends get home safe today" or "I really want to send the little girl we sponsor in another country a birthday present" or "I want to be a doctor, a zoo keeper, a rock star, a teacher, a photographer, and a mommy someday" heart swells and I realize, I am doing something right.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Project 52: Week 16: Sweet

We have had a lot of birthdays around here the last few weeks.  So I decided to try out the BIG TOP that my Angela got me, and bake a giant cuppycake for one of my newest friends here in Minot who had a birthday on Wednesday.  It came out really fun, so I am going to make a bunch of these for Jordy's Pinkalicious Birthday Party coming up in a couple of weeks..except..they will be PINK!

(Sadly, I have been so busy and out of the house this week, that this is the ONLY photo I took this week, that was not on my iPhone) I really want some freakin' cake!

1 month of Raw Feeding: Update!

So it has been one month since we started 100% raw feeding our 2 huskies.  Things have been going as well as we had hoped, but I wanted to give an update for all those that were interested after I posted my last blog entry about raw feeding.

Our grand total for raw feeding for this month was just over $50!!!  Our goal is to keep it under $75 each month so it will be less than what it was costing in dog food.  That $50 includes fresh meats, veggies, fruits, raw meaty bones, and rec bones.

We sort of changed up the feeding schedule for them slightly to cut back on time and prep.
AM-both dogs get a RMB (raw meaty bone) that is usually a chicken thigh, pork neck, or random pork, chicken or beef from the reduced price meat freezer.  This part costs about $1 a day or less.

PM- They get about 1.5 cups of food mixture which contains ground beef and a mixture of pureed veggies and fruits.   From what we were reading the puree really helps them digest it better and actually absorb the nutrients from the produce and makes it more worth feeding.

2-3x a week they get a rec bone which is usually a beef femur or a pork hock. (they consume the ENTIRE hock)

I go grocery shopping on Sundays while the girls are at AWANAS and get all the food for the week for them and the bill is anywhere from $10-$20 total for that week.  One week, my bill was actually only $3.24!!!!  (they ate alot of leftover veggies from stuff we were not going to use, and there were coupons on whole chickens making them practically score.)  It takes about an hour so to prep it all puree, and seperate into 2 bowls. (one gets frozen and taken out on Wednesday nights for the 2nd half the week)

We might eventually switch to just 100% raw meat only when we can be somewhere that has a larger varieties of meat accessible to us.  Right now the commissary is the easiest, and they only carry the basics.  Meat is all the need and is the most basic, and least effort way to raw feed.  The veggies and fruits are more of a filler than anything, and cuts down on some costs some.  100% meat will probably cost a little bit more when we switch, but there would be absolutly no prep for the week.

As far as accidents..the first 2 weeks, there was no one poop or pee accident.  Since then I think we have had a total of about 4 poop accidents (2 in her kennel, 2 on the floor) and 1 pee accident.  Totally not near as bad as the everyday poops and 3x a day pee she was having on regular dog food.

Behavior:  They both (especially Holly) has calmed down a bit, but still very playful.  They are listening better and just seem happier (probably because they do not have tummy aches anymore!)

No more bad dog breath! For real...their breath has no smell at all..doesn't stink, doesn't smell good.

Teeth-seriously white and clean.  They both had some plaque on the back teeth, and that is all completely gone, and we have no brushed their teeth once since starting the raw diet.

Coats-Much softer and a little bit shinier. (This is usually the least dramatic change and takes the longest to notice)  But this time last year, Kota's winter coat was coming out in huge far its coming out in smaller chunks or sparcely.

(Half puree-half chopped part way through the month, as you can see they get a lot of colors)

Holly 8 months (taken a couple weeks ago)

Kota 1.5 years (taken about 2 months ago)

We will for sure continue feeding them raw.  Traveling/PCSing with them will for sure be much more challenging for us, but I think we will be able to figure it all out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Project 52: Week 15: Girly!

I have 2 girls.
And yes, they are GIRLY girls.
I was never a GIRLY girl (but not exactly a tom-boy either).
But now,
My life is surrounded by rainbows, flowers, glitter, bows, pink and all things GIRLY.
And I wouldn't change it for anything.

It does make me happy also that both girls enjoying playing sports (and like us, not so much watching them...we would rather play!).  They will just wear pink jersey's, pink cleats, and any pink gear they see.
And I am okay with that.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Project 52: Week 14: Breakfast

I was getting ready to pour a bowl of cereal this morning, when it hit me that I had nothign planned for this week's Project 52 photo.  I took quite a few photos this week, but no theme that I could see.  Sooo...what better then to take a photo of when I was thinking of what to take a photo of???

Breakfast....Yes that is right...Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs.  Best. Cereal. Ever.  YUM

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dogs gone RAW

Please excuse that this post is sorta all over the place...I type the way I think and sometimes speak, which is not always in order.

As many of you know, both of our huskies have tummy problems.  We figured out that Kota had a very sensitive stomach very early on when we couldn't find a dog food that didn't give her horrible gas. We thought it had to do with chicken, gluten, high protein, or some sort of gross dog food additive.  Eventually we finally put her on very pricey dog foods that were made to help with digestion.  It was working okay, but we still we were not happy with her results.

Holly...well, she is now 8 months old, and up until 2 weeks ago, she was still having potty issues sometimes.  She would be fine for weeks, then all of a sudden start pooping in her kennel everyday, as well has having pee accidents in the house, pretty much everyday sometimes.  She has no bad gas at all that we have noticed, so we just kept thinking she was just naughty.  Then one day, it finally clicked.  Either she has worms, or her food is bothering her like Kota.  So, we dropped off a fecal sample at the vet, and put them both on a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice for 2 weeks.  We were ready to get rid of Holly...gone.  Her sample came back clean, and since the day we starrted that diet, Holly has had absolutly NO potty accidents in her kennel or in the house.  Kota has hardly had any bad gas at all.  The only time we noticed it was when she had a bunch of store bought treats.

We pretty much feel that spending $80 a month on dog food is out of control, when it makes your dogs sick.

With all of this, and alot of research we decided that we would switch the dogs to a raw diet.  Huskies thrive off of raw diets.  A raw diet consists of raw meats, fruits and veggies...completely uncooked.  The obvious origin of huskies is sled dogs.  Sled dogs pretty much lived off wild animals, fruits and veggies on long sled races.  Mushers did not pack food for the dogs, if they did it was just raw/frozen meats, and basically whatever food they packed for themselves, is what the dogs got.  Huskies are bread to be able to consume small whole animals such as chickens, rabbits, birds, etc.
So basically, this is the most natural food for them.  We chose to go with the BARF (bones and raw food) diet.  Our dogs have always gotten real, uncooked bones, from the butcher, that has meat, fat, and marrow still attached.  They get these 1-2 times a week. (beef raw bones, pork hock pones, whatever the commissary has available at the time, and are usually about .70 cents a pound, making a huge bone usually about $1 a piece)

Here is a list of some of the foods we have/will be giving them:
(most of these foods are very inexpensive and last more then one week when bought in a regular sized bag, such as carrots and potatos)

Ground beef
Chicken (whole entire chicken)
Beef liver
Pork Necks
Turkey Necks
various kinds of fish
red potatos
sweet potatos
eggs (entire egg, shell and all, 1-2 a week)
yogurt (helps with digestion)

Dogs have no need for grains (turns into sugar in their body) or dairy as adult dogs.

For us there are many benefits for doing the raw food with our dogs.  The main one, is so they are healthier.  Every dog food we have tried makes them sick.  Raw food diets have proven to improve dogs health, teeth (no need to brush the teeth on the BARF diet!), breath, skin, coat, energy, and behavior....within the first 2 weeks of starting. (We noticed all of the above, within 1 week)  The 2nd main reason is cost.  We were spending about $80 a month on premium dog foods.  The raw diet costs about $1 a day to sometimes $2 a day, depending on the quality of meats you buy, making it never more then $60 a month to feed our dogs. AWESOME.

Yes, there is a bit more work involved, starting with grocery shopping for them everyweek.  Some of the fruits and veggies you only have to buy every 3 weeks or so such as carrots, apples, potatos, and frozen veggies.  They last more then one week worth of food, so then it carries into the following weeks.  You do have buy fresh meat each week.  Everything gets chopped up into bite sized pieces, except bones, are given whole and raw.  The bones main purpose is to clean the teeth, and satisfy the chewing need.  We usually give them frozen REC bones 1-2 times a week, outside.  (they get large ones in the winter, that don't go bad because it's cold...smaller ones during the summer).  We usulaly give them these when we will be gone all day, or they have to be outside all day when we have guests.

The food takes about an hour or so to prepare, and is done once a week.  It is all thrown into a big pot, and then mixed together, and measured out into gladware containers.  The containers are seperated into one day of food, so we have a total of 7 containers.  They both get 1 cup, 2x a day, each. (A few times a week instead of a cup of food they get a RMB (raw meaty bone) which can consist of chicken thighs, pork necks, or any sort of meat with a soft, chewy bone still attached. A few times a week they also get a REC bone (recreational chewing bone).  These are usually beef femurs, or other hard bones that do not get consumed completely, but are mostly for the purpose of chewing.  Right now we are averaging about $5-$10 a week in food costs, which is awesome.  As warmer weather approaches, they will get more variety of food.  We are going to try to give them one unique food each week, that is more expensive, so they will only get it once in a while.  Also, there is alot of fruits and veggies we buy for us, like say a sack of potatos, we purchase for a meal, but only use half, the other half goes into the dog's food.  We also add any fruits, veggies, or meats we have that are getting close to expiring, that we do not use.

We will also being doing homemade treats from now on as well, as we figured out large amounts of store bought dog treats made kota get horrible gas.  So, the other day I bought a reduced sale 2 lb steak for about $2.  We are going to purchase a food dehydrator (we can make ourselves awesome jerky and dried snacks too!) and make treats that do not have to be stored in the fridge...hoping that lasts about a month or so if cut into tiny pieces).

We also purchased the most needed supplements for them today: Vitamin E, and Omega-3 Fish oil.
Supplements are not NEEDED if you chose to feed your dog fruits and veggies, but we decided to go ahead and supplement with the most needed and neccssary vitamins about 2x a week.

To sum up, yes it's more work, but it's very much worth it in cost, and our dogs no longer gassing us out of a room on a daily basis!

Photo I took a few days ago when I was working on preparing food.  I did all the veggies and fruits first.  This mixture contains: peas, apples, carrots, sweet potato, regular potato, and some old cauliflour that was getting ready to go bad. After this we added chicken and beef liver. 

I will try to post some more photos, later on, of the whole process.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Project 52: Week 13: Color

Today for part of our school work we did a simple little science experiment in the bathroom sink.  We mixed water with food coloring, and added oil.  The girls loved making lots of different colors, and seeing the different sized bubbles floating on top.  Abby said her favorite were when they would combine into a HUGE bubble.  Jordy, liked the teeny tiny ones best.  We thought it would be fun to take photos of them with my macro lens.

At the end Abby wanted to know what would happen if we added soap.  She gave me her guess, and it was correct:)  We loved how the reflection of the lights turned into rainbow colors when we added the soap! (kinda hard to see, you have to look really close!)