Today marks the Chinese New Year as we welcome in the year of the dragon. It's been a while since I made Arie some treats, so I decided to put a fun twist on it: Let's make fortune cookie treats for the new year! Fortunately, someone had already had that creative genius . The Doggy Dessert Chef had a recipe and a game plan ready for use! I put to to the test tonight in the kitchen.
You're going to need whole wheat flower, two eggs, chicken broth, butter, and baking powder.
Get your ingredients ready to mix. You'll need a cup of butter, 3 and 1/2 cups flower, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and 1/2 tsp. baking powder.
You're ready to make the cookies!
I love my rolling pin. It's so much better than the empty wine bottle I used to use (no joke).
Okay okay, so the inspiration cookie isn't an actual step. Still, I did find that having this cookie (preserved from the Chinese we ordered a few nights ago) was helpful, even though the Doggy Dessert Chef's directions were simple and easy to follow. Also, who doesn't love fortune cookies? This little baby was set to be my reward while the pet-friendly ones were in the oven.
While the cookies baked, I wondered if Arie would enjoy them as much as she was thinking she would. My inspiration cookie had the answer.
The cookies cooled after coming out of the oven. While not as pretty as the Doggy Dessert Chef's, I still think they were a valiant effort.
Answer to my question and the smart ass fortune? Arie loves the treats. This is a recipe I have to use every Chinese New Year, otherwise there might be a strike on White German Shepherd cuteness in my apartment. Happy New Year everyone!
***Even though we wrote this on Monday for the holiday, our friend Kol suggested we include it in the Tasty Tuesday blog hop! Be sure to check out the other tasty recipes!
...You're still here?
Thanks for sticking it out, faithful friends and readers. As many of you know, this year has been momentous for us at Life With Arie. We just started our blog this fall, and life has done nothing but go into warped speed since. Our break in posts has been due to a move, which, with two dogs, two cats, and two people, you can bet is no small feat, as well as all of the holidays and fun. To help you forgive me for my absence, check out this adorable picture of my parent's dachshund...in a santa hat and sweater. Before you get pissy, we only put it on him long enough for the photo:
Since the move, we've been working through a few struggles: 1) Fighting through technically difficulties with our wireless, 2) A persistent cold that just won't quit, 3) Major movements in my work (good things, but time consuming), and 4) Packing/Moving/Unpacking. All of these challenges are manageable and several are very positive things, but they are a time suck that keeps us away from you!
Our break from blogging will end this weekend, when you'll get the 411 (who just had a middle school or high school flashback? You know you did) on our move, fun photos of everyone's favorite White German Shepherd (you know she is, don't deny it) during the move, and some details on what's coming up for us and Atlanta pet lovers everywhere.
While you wait... you can still read a little Life with Arie! Our good friend Sara and her husband just welcomed a gorgeous baby girl into their lives. Sara is a regular blogger on her site, "Life in these times," and has been blogging non-stop about soon to be mommy goodness. To give her a break now that her little one is here, Sara enlisted the pens, er, fingers, of her blogging buddies to write guest posts so that she and her husband Z would have a little time to welcome in their bundle. I wrote a guest post on bringing Arie home and how adopting a pet is a step similar to mommyhood (kind of). Be sure to read it here!
Has it really been 12 days? (Hangs head in shame). My absence requires a little bit of explanation (and a lot of your forgiveness).
We're getting ready to move.
Before you heave out a deep sigh of anguish of thinking you'll have to visit Life With Arie at a new URL (again), don't panic. This is not an online move. This is a real, physical, box up everything and pray it doesn't snow move. Arie, the cats and I have a new apartment that we'll be settling into the first week in January (I repeat...pray it doesn't snow!), and we're starting to get ready. The cats think that they're helpful....we don't quite agree.
Even as summer clothing, unnecessary bath and kitchen items, and decorative elements find their way into boxes with labels and head for the garage, I'm pulling other items out of boxes. Why? It's Christmas time. Christmas is my number one favorite holiday, and I love to decorate and have a festive home. I won't go a year without a Christmas tree or some form of acknowledgement, so the tree will just have to be repacked before the big move. The goal is to have everything in boxes and downstairs besides the bare minimum (sofa folded down into bed, changes of clothes, and basic toiletries)...and the Christmas tree...by the 24th. We'll see if that happens. Now. It's time to share in the awesomeness that is our Christmas tree.
This little faux Christmas tree is one I've had for years. Yes, fake trees aren't the greenest option, and yes, they are made with terrible chemicals. At this point though, I've had the tree for a while. Disposing of it is even worse for the environment, and I fear the dangers of having a real tree around the animals. So for now, this sparse, Charlie Brown fake friend is sticking it out. Still...Charles...as I have named my tree...looks pretty nice when he's completely decked out.
I love fun and kitschy ornaments, so we have a fun mix of ornaments from my childhood, various baubles, handmade ornaments from the people friendly Ten Thousand Villages (great source for decor and more year round, with a good heart) and fun knit letters from Target. That last item ended up in an "M" for Moore, since they didn't have a K for me, a "B" for Briseis (no J for Jasper, I'm afraid), and Arie's first ornament on the tree:
The "A" may not be a pretty white like Arie's White German Shepherd coat, but the fun green and red fit her sparkling personality. Before you panic again, the baubles on the tree are plastic. My cats can be a little bit like Simon's Cat in their pursuit of the tree, so we go as non-breakable as possible.
If you're not acquainted with Simon's Cat, well, you need to be:
So, after much rambling, Arie and I have been away from the keyboard (except for work) to pack and get ready for the holidays. We'll have another trip to see my family in South Carolina next week, so expect a fun post about that. In addition, be on the look out for our coverage of the Grand Opening of the Atlanta Humane Society's Mansell Campus, our delicious visit to Lucky's in Alpharetta, and a fun pet-friendly day for the Reindog Parade at Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
Have you decorated for Christmas yet with your pet? Share your photos, holiday horror stories, and more us on our Facebook page. It needs your love.
Let's face it. Everyone loves presents. You can say that the holidays are all about togetherness and family, which they are, but that doesn't mean that people still don't like receiving gifts. In our last post, we covered mine and Arie's drool worthy wishlist for the holidays. The reason we presented it though, is that this year we will not be able to get anything on it. At all. We're moving to a more Arie friendly locale, and as many people know, moving gets expensive. Instead, these are the items my White German Shepherd and I will be enjoying this year, off our low cost/free Christmas gifts for pet lovers list:
Wish List Item #1 The Sappy Trio of Love, Patience, and Time.
We decided to get our heart-warming items out of the way all at once. Sappy though they may be, they are also the best things that you can give your pet, or pet lovers that you know and love. When it comes to giving them to your own four legged family, patience and time are the things that new pet lovers most often don't account for. Hundreds of thousands of animals end up in shelters every year because people underestimate how much time and patience pets need. By taking the time to properly train your pet and to play with them and enrich their lives, and by being patient through their mistakes, you ensure that the love you feel for that cute little ball of fur continues and grows on even when their old and ornery. You can help other pet lovers by giving them patience and time as well--help your friend by walking their dog twice a week, or taking their cat on weekends that they're away. Help them and encourage them through training.
Wish List Item #2 Home made cookies! er...treats.
We've all seen the numerous recalls on pet food and treats and many of us deal with pet allergies every day. While most of us still have companies that we trust, (Arie and I are Nutro enthusiasts), it's fun and rewarding to bake treats in the kitchen you trust the most--You're own! Before you hop on the baking train, be sure you know what you're making is good for your pet, and you may even want to talk to your vet. After you do your homework, get baking! We make peanut butter treats and liver bites (smelly, but beloved) for Arie and Shady, and they love'em!
Wish List Item #3 Belly scratches.
I mean really, have you ever met a dog that didn't go NUTS for a belly scratch? Briseis, our cat, loves them too!
Wish List Item #4 A spa night at home.
Animal people are animal people. Hated by few, understood by many, and fiercely devoted to our own kind, animal people hold a special place in their hearts, souls, and wallets for our four legged friends. We're often guilty of over committing, and that can stretch us too thin, bringing unnecessary stress and fatigue. At least once a month, I let Arie go play with Randy or have a quiet night in the other room while I take a long hot bath, do my nails, and have some me time. There's nothing like a steaming tub and a chilled whiskey (wine is for sissy's...or at least migraines) to give you some R&R.
Wish List Item #5 Further your education.
An educated pet parent is a good pet parent. Give the gift of a pet CPR class, which are usually very affordable, or even just spend some free time with a trainer you know. Use your time and maybe a few bucks to educate yourself and your friends more on animals, what they need, and how to have your best relationship with them possible.
What are the free or affordable gifts that you give to your pets, yourself, and other pet lovers? Share your ideas so we can add them to the list!
Right before Thanksgiving we discussed the idea of two gift lists for you and your pet, or, in particular, for Arie and me. We're starting out with super-amazing-oh-my-goodness-I-wish-I-could wish list. These are the items that we would love to have in our home for our pets, to make our lives a tiny bit easier or just to give the dog and the cats some amusement. Thanks to moving and the holidays, we're on a very tight budget, so each of these will have to wait:
Wish List Item #1 A Roomba iRobot Vacuum
For a long time I thought Roomba's were a joke. There was no way a little robotic vacuum could do a really good job on your carpet--That was until I saw my friend Jorden's in action. That baby scooted around her apartment perfectly, and the most attractive feature was how it handled her dog's hair. Arie, as a typical White German Shepherd with a double coat, sheds little white strands of fur all day along, leaving a light dusting like a first snow on our carpet within a day or two. Daily vacuuming can be an arduous task--a little robotic help would be appreciated!
Wish List Item #2 The Automatic Litter Box
Arie's two siblings are two black cats, Jasper and Briseis. While I love them, they do produce a lot of...well, you know. As dogs sometimes do, Arie and Shady have a bad habit of trying to get into the litter box as well, so between regular scooping and playing defense with the dogs, the litter box can be a major point of hassle on our home. Automatic scooping would help move the temptation away from the dogs and make daily maintenance a little easier.
Wish List Item #3 Biters by Meirav Barzilay
I have to admit...I stole this idea from Lauren and Claire...again...but these toys are epic-ly awesome. Yes, I said epic-ly awesome like an intoxicated frat boy, or Bill & Ted, but they're just that cool. These designer toys (oh so chic) tear apart for dogs who like to rip and tear their toys, revealing treats and more. At $4.95 a pop, they're also cheaper than the stuffing-less toys that Arie has now.
Wish List Item #4 The Coco Dog Bed from Oscar and Lulu
I have a confession...I'm kind of a design whore...and I use that word in the nicest way possible. After writing for interior design firms, architects, and more, I have spent way too much time looking at the latest in modern interior design to ever go back to just throwing furniture together. Now, I work to hone the design and aesthetic of my home. One trend I'm absolutely in love with is the grey trend. Grey has efficiently and effectively surpassed brown as the go-to neutral, and I love these. These dog beds from Oscar and Lulu are trendy, chic, well made, and have the perfect color palette for our new apartment (more on the move in a later post).
Wish List Item #5 Greenies for Joints
While they may not seem splurge gift list worthy, Greenies can be pretty pricey, especially when the size appropriate for your 95 lb. jaws of steel German Shepherd is higher than the teeny weeny ones that work for most dogs. As a breed prone to hip and joint issues, the Greenies for Joints are perfect for Arie, and still help keep her teeth and breath clean and minty-fresh.
What items top your dream pet list? Share your Wish list in a comment.
Arie and I are back home visiting my family in the land of the South. My parents live in a rural area on a fair amount of acreage that used to be my grandfather's dairy farm; it's perfect for Arie, as the White German Shepherd in her desperately needs a good free range run, and there is nothing like an open field to let her go. She loves running her heart out, playing catch and fetch, and sniffing all of the nature-smells that she gets here and not-so-much when we're home in our much more urban setting of Atlanta.
After running out some of that pent up energy from the car ride, she was kind enough to pose for a few photos. Here she is getting in touch with her inner famous German Shepherd, and giving me her best Rin-Tin-Tin:
Coming home is always a great experience for me. If you've spent any of your childhood on a farm, dairy, ranch, etc, you may be having a few of the same sentiments that I do: You can build a new life wherever you move to, but if you're from an agricultural family, you'll probably always feel a little tug at your heartstrings when you revisit the family land or just the country in general. My love of animals and nature started at my parents home, and when I go back there I can't help but feel like I'm back in touch with my roots. I love how happy Arie gets as well--Once again: New smells + lots of space = ecstatic white shepherd.
As much as she would like to be, however, our beloved Arie is not the star of the holidays. This little diva, Vanna, is my grandparents' Pomeranian. She is spoiled rotten, and an epic attention hog when family visits:
These are the dogs of my Thanksgiving break, minus my parent's little dachsund, who happens to be quite camera shy. It's great to have the family together, from those on two legs to those on four. Today, I'm thankful for every single one of them, as without them, I wouldn't be the person I am today, and vice versa. After a day full of turkey, family, memories, and fun, I know this is a bit more of a personal post, without much pet-loving-information for you, but it just seems right.
How was your Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for this year?
I want to start this post off by saying that the holidays are not all about gifts. Holidays are about spending time with the people you care about, whether their family, friends, or the voices in your head, and about taking some time to sit back and reflect on life, appreciating all of the little things (like Caramel Brulée Lattes at Starbucks and Arie's big brown eyes as they stand out against her white fur). Still, part of celebrating the holidays is by showing the people we love how much we care about them by giving them something they value: a gift.
This year brings an interesting light on holiday giving: Arie and I are moving into a new apartment in January (more on that pursuit later), but the cost of moving basically absorbs our holiday gift budget--and then some. To celebrate our frugal holiday season, we're going to go over two gift lists for pet owners and the pets they love: The oh-my-goodness-I-can't-believe-you're-this-AWESOME list, and the holy-moses-who-knew-something-this-affordable-could-be-so-AWESOME list.
What items would be on your holiday lists this year? (For a few ideas, check out the post that inspired this one on our friend's blog, Life With Claire) On one, share your absolute dream gifts, whether they're just a special chew toy or a house with great pet capabilities. On the other, share the little things in life that are free or VERY affordable and why they're such great gifts for your pet or pet-loving people.
We'll be covering each list this week, so stay tuned to the blog to see what they contain. For those of you who met us at the Dog Dash 5K or the Atlanta Pet Expo, we'll be sharing our coverage of those events this week as well.
Greenies, one of best known names in pet treats, focuses on helping pets have a healthy mouth by giving them treats that help keep their teeth clean and shining (They have not paid me or given me any incentive to write this other than the love and devotion my pups have to their product). I've always appreciated the goal behind the Greenies brand and what they do; now they're giving back with the Greenies Healthy Smile award!
I have entered Arie in the contest and would love it if you would vote for her. Here are 10 reasons why voting for her photo is an excellent idea:
I love bringing you daily tips on living with pets, product reviews, tales of the tails in my home, and more. This week, as you can tell, that has not happened. I do not like to fail my readers, and I hate leaving you without updates; here is our exciting update:
While we haven't been writing blogs, Life With Arie writer, Katherine, and the pooch herself, Arie, have been beyond busy working to make Life With Arie an even better online experience for you. I, Katherine, have been busy establishing a domain and reassigning Life with Arie to a server, which inadvertently destroyed our blog design, which, as you can see, I'm slowly working to regain. This weekend I am also spending time at the Bark World 2011 conference, and I must say, this event is AMAZING. In other news, I also had my first day of volunteer work with the Atlanta Pet Rescue, and Sunday, after the conference, I'm headed to Chattapoochie, a pet fest in Duluth.
Arie has been busy being the subject of many a photo, testing out products like new toys, and getting lots of beauty rest after long hours of play and long walks in the cooling fall weather. It's not exactly a tough job, but some dog has to do it.
So, to reward you and thank you for your amazing patience, which has been tried with my own, and for your excitement for things to come, I want to tell you some of what we have planned for you:
Many people love animals. Many of those people love dogs. A good number of those people love White German Shepherds. A few people love MY White German Shepherd. However, only I get to love the bond between Arie and me.
The bond between a pet parent and their pet is something unbreakable and beyond special. You get to know them in a way others don't, and you grow to love little things about them. Like a human best friend, their oddities and quirks become endearing and some of the things you love about them most. For a few examples, here's my top 5 list for Arie:
1. I love the fact that my dog is GINORMOUS. There is nothing more hilarious than walking a giant dog. Why? people. I love people watching, and seeing how people react to her cracks. me. up. "OH. That's a BIG dog." is a common statement. Some people will switch sidewalks to avoid her. Others, like a five-year-old in my neighborhood, want to get up close and personal. "Can I ride your puppy? She looks like a pony!" (I kid you not. It was said).
2. I love the fact that my dog honks. Yes, honks. Arie is a very vocal pup for a dog that doesn't bark often. She sighs. She grumbles. She "honks", or at least that's what I call the noise she makes when she's over tired or exasperated. It's reminiscent of a moose, which is fitting--If she had been male, her name would have been Moose.
3. When she was a pup, she looked like a bat. If you've ever seen a German Shepherd puppy, their ears look like they could take flight at any minute. Hilarious.
4. Shake in Arie language means a lot. Arie has come to associate "Shake" with making sure that things are okay. When we taught her to shake, she thought it was the best thing ever. Now, when she's in trouble, or if I'm ill about something, she comes over to shake, as if to say "It's okay mom, right?"
5. I love the fact that she's a White German Shepherd. Having a WGSD is like having a hipster hair cut and a classic home. On one hand, you have something that's trendy and cool, a little controversial, and a little rare so that it gets appreciated. It's ever-changing, and constantly evolving. On the other, you have an amazing, classic and comfortable companion that makes you feel at ease, that you know will be with you for life, and that is all your own. WGSD are something that took time to create--Arie is from a breed that was built on decades of work and effort to make an amazing dog.