Friday, July 12, 2013

Treating Kennel Cough at Home!

Oh, hi there!  Did you think I dropped off the face of the earth and died?  Well, so did I there for a while.  I have been one busy mamba jamba lately, I tell ya!  I've been working full time, so I find that I don't quite have as much time as I used to.  Now that I'm on a break, I have a post that I hope you will find interesting.

I was thinking of calling this post "How to get your dog to take a nasty-tasting pill", but thought talking about kennel cough seemed a little more important.  My beautiful Lab Mix started coughing a few days ago.  A lot, especially at night.  It would produce a whitish foam and in a couple of instances, he would hack up some of his food.  He also had a runny nose. Poor little baby boy.

Eager to find some homeopathic (read "cheap") way to handle this, I set out on a Google search.  Within seconds, I found all sorts of remedies that mentioned really strange roots and herbs I've never heard of.  And I'm kind of a newbie natural living nerd, so I've heard of some crap that's weird!

Alas, I stumbled across Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker (presented by Mercola.com)  I shouldn't be surprised.  He's the same Dr. Mercola who recommends whole foods, natural cures and grain-free diets.  He runs one of the top 10 medical sites on the internet (that is completely self-funded, I might add).  All around good guy whom I trust.

Read this little excerpt from his site.  I highlighted two items that are very telling!!
Dr. Becker's Comments:

Kennel cough has a number of different causes, only one of which — the most common cause — is the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. Many people think bordetella is kennel cough, but that is technically inaccurate.
In fact, dogs that acquire the bordetella bacteria usually have a virus that makes them more vulnerable to infection. Some of these viruses are the canine adenovirus, distemper, canine herpes, and the parainfluenza virus.
Kennel cough is a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans.

        Many veterinarians recommend bordetella vaccines – either by injection or nasal mist          delivery. I’m not one of them, however.
Many boarding kennels, doggie daycare facilities, groomers and other similar businesses require dogs be vaccinated for kennel cough. Please understand the reason behind this requirement – it is to remove liability from those establishments. The truth is, these vaccines are ineffective and will not prevent your dog from getting kennel cough. The infection is caused by a wide variety of bacterial and viral agents, and no single vaccine can provide protection from them all. Nor will the vaccines treat an active infection. 
Here's a link to that page so you can read the whole thing if you'd like...Dr. Mercola
______________________________________________________________________

Now, imagine my surprise (and horror) when I read that!  Although...should we realllllllly be surprised that we're being duped into paying for unnecessary pet care when we pay for unnecessary 'health' care for ourselves all the time?

Of the items on his list of treatments, the only thing I had was Vitamin C, and lots of it!  So, I set out to give my little Happo his pill.  As a side note, I had to open capsules and separate them out and fill other capsules partway because the dose would be too high.  (Be sure to check for the correct dosage for your doggy).   I'm thinking my little cutie would jump right up and eat it with canned dog food I had it hidden in.  Nope.  Cheese, no.  Peanut butter, no.  Bread, no. Sticking it in his mouth and holding it shut, nope.  He spit it out every time and gave me the cold shoulder:

 Ohhhhhhhhh, Happo, how could you turn your back on Mommy this way?!?

So out of desperation, I began rummaging through the fridge to find something better to hide it in.  See, because it's Vitamin C, it's really acidic tasting.  Nobody wants that, especially a dog.  He could SMELL it in every single thing I hid it in.  He'd carefully eat around it, then spit it out.  Today, I finally found the trick!  Hot Dogs!  Here's my quick little tutorial on how to be extra sneaky.  I think the hot dog was just smelly enough that it covered up the pill smell.

Take a hot dog and cut it into 1" pieces.  Insert a straw into the center.  Use a disposable one...I failed to, then had to throw this one away cuz I knew I'd never get it clean.  The nasty smears you see behind the hot dog piece is just from where I cut the hot dog on the paper plate.
 Pull it out and here's what you'll have....a little hot dog plug.  You can blow it out the end and give it to your pup pup.
Take your capsule and shove it in the hole.
You can still see part of the pill, and he STILL didn't notice, ha ha ha!  Now, you might be thinking....uh, why not just shove the pill in the hot dog without creating a hole?  Well, cuz the pill was big enough that the hot dog wanted to split on me.  Boo.  If you have small pill, do try that first though!

Here's an action shot of him jumping to get his hot dog treat!  (I know...cell phone pix suck)
And here's his sweet little adorable face asking Mommy for MORE, please!   None the wiser, just like I had hoped!  OMG, I love his nose!  Isn't that one adorable nose?????  It's like a big black rubber ball that I just want to honk! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  Sorry...I'm smitten by this little fella!
So, that was two days ago that we started the Vitamin C.  I saw SIGNIFICANT improvement just on the first day!  Not kidding!  I was totally shocked.  Today, I think he has coughed twice.  While I'm a big fan of homeopathy, I really was skeptical about the treatment.  He isn't cured yet, but the improvement has been amazing.  I'm expecting tomorrow to be even better!  My other dog started exhibiting some signs of kennel cough, too.  It's highly contagious.  So, guess who else is on the regimen now?  If you have a few minutes, I'd highly recommend looking around Mercola's site.  Some awfully good information for doggies and humans!  What I like best is that my Happy Boy is getting better.  Just second to that is that I don't have a $100 vet bill I can't afford!  Yahooooooo!

UPDATE:  4 days later and the Hap is cured!  I continued to give him the vitamin C for a few days, but it was that quick!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cute Little Christmas Candy Sleigh

Just a quick little post to show you this adorable little candy sleigh my sister-in-law Jennifer made for all of the kids this year.  She found it on Pinterest, of course!  Isn't it cute?!
You can find instructions HERE.  I believe it says to use a glue gun but Jennifer used glue dots and glue lines.  Then you don't have to worry about melted chocolate or burned fingers!  Maybe you'll try this cute little craft yourself next year since I'm a day late and a dollar short!

"Real" American Cheese

I haven't purchased American cheese for over a year now.  Why?  Because it's not 'real' cheese!  It's nothing more than a bunch of oil and chemicals.  Seriously, don't buy it.  It has always tasted like plastic to me, especially the individually wrapped slices.  Those are sooooo gross.  On a quest to find a better alternative, I found this recipe and decided to make it for my son who misses American cheese.  It was a hit!  It really tastes like American, but without the plasticy aftertaste.  The recipe below makes 2/3 of a batch since I only had 1# of cheese on hand.

You'll need the following:
8oz Cheddar Cheese
8oz Jack or Mozzarella Cheese
1C + 2T Powdered Milk (I used powdered buttermilk because I didn't have the regular powdered milk)
1t Gelatin Powder (Unflavored)
1C HOT water
A Pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment
A Blender

Shred both of your cheeses.
Toss the hot water and gelatin into the blender and give it a whirl.  Guess I forgot to take a pic of that.  Then throw in your cheese and your powdered milk.  Use the liquefy setting and let it run until smooth.  If making a whole batch as shown on the link above, you'll probably have to do it in two batches.  I found that I can easily do this 2/3 of a batch in one fell swoop.  You'll need to scrape down the sides at least one time.
Smear it all into the plastic wrap-lined pan and cover the top with more plastic.  Throw it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, turn it over and slice!  I found that it was a little more spreadable than it was 'cuttable'.  Next time, I might add some more gelatin.  As a disclaimer, it could have been the fact that I used buttermilk powder, not really sure.  I kind of liked that it was spreadable, actually.  I used it for all sorts of things.  We spread it on crackers, made grilled cheese sandwiches.  It would be great in some mac and cheese.  If you want it more slice-able, I would probably double the gelatin.
 Does it melt?  You bet!!  Almost TOO melty!  Very American cheese-like!
Tommy gave it a big thumbs up!  That's all I needed to see!  I will definitely be making this frequently!  It's so easy and MUCH cheaper than those "American" Slices!

The Littlest Black Belt

I just have to take a minute to brag about my little guy and hope I don't sound like a butthead.  My son Tommy, who is only 7, earned his 1st Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do on December 15th.  He's one of the youngest black belts ever in our ATA school and I couldn't be more proud!  If you could have seen him when he started, you wouldn't even believe it was the same child.  Let's just put it this way...they couldn't even keep him out on the mats for the first few days.  Master K (7th degree Black Belt....that's HUGE!) sent the entire class to chase him down and bring him back.  When that didn't work, Tommy was benched for the entire next week because he couldn't follow instructions!  Tommy started TKD a few days after turning 3 and (thankfully) really enjoys it a lot now!  I give a lot of credit to Kassebaum's ATA Academy.  Master K really has a good way with the kids and his assistants, Mrs. Hedenskog and Mrs. Glassburner are outstanding!  If you know anyone who is interested in joining TKD, I highly recommend ATA.  They have locations all over the US.  No, I don't work for them, but I sure think they're great!  Here's my little guy, Master K and they board he broke at testing (signed by instructors).  If you look closely, you can see Tommy's black belt has been embroidered with his last name.  So exciting for him!
And here's a proud mama tying her baby's black belt (incorrectly I found out later) and giving her baby boy a huggy hug.

Christmas Cookies

I hope you all had a great Christmas!  Ours was really good!  We had several places to go but we had a lot of fun!  That was refreshing since I've had a case of the bah-humbugs this year!  I did manage to whip out a few batches of cookies though.  This year, I made three entirely new recipes just for the heck of it.  Rather than show you step by step, I'll just give you links to the recipes below.

Back Row: Caramel (Pecan) Cookies, some without pecans (hubby won't eat them) The ones with the pecans were the BOMB!!!)  Recipe here:  http://www.savoryreviews.com/2012/04/19/caramel-pecan-cookies/

Middle Row: Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

Front Row: Chewy Sugar Cookies dipped in different sugars/nonpareils

I hadn't been feeling well for the few days prior to Christmas, so I didn't make a ton of cookies this year. However, I would definitely make ALL of these again.  I loved loved loved the texture of the sugar and funfetti cookies.  They were really thin and crisp, yet chewy.  Totally addictive! I made a double batch of the funfetti ones and my husband wanted to keep them all for himself and not take them to anyone's house!  Greedy little bugger!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and didn't eat too much for a week straight (thus ruining your diet) like I did!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ten Minute Temporary Tie-Dye Tee

Say that 10 times fast!  The other day was Hippie Day at school and we had no tie-dyed shirt, so we made our own!  The total amount of hands-on work time was less than ten minutes.
Start by gathering your supplies.  You will need:
An old t-shirt
Several Stamp Pads
Rubber Bands
Foil or some other thing to protect your work surface
Spray bottle with water.

Place a few rubber bands around the t-shirt.  I decided to do it at regular intervals length-wise rather than all over the place.
Rub different colors of ink onto each section, all the way around.  Now that I think about it, you could use Stampin' UP re-inkers, too.  Those probably would have worked better, actually.
Spritz each section with water generously.  We want to wet it so the ink spreads.
From here you can do one of two things.  You can leave it as is, sitting on the counter overnight to dry. It will probably be a little wet where the rubber bands were.  Or you can do like I did since I needed it for the next morning and wanted it to be 100% dry and ready to go.  And I wasn't about to put that thing in my dryer!    I wrapped it in foil and baked it in the toaster oven for a half hour or so at 300 degrees.  Make sure the shirt is totally encased in the foil.  You don't want to start a fire!
It didn't get totally dry, but it was dry enough that it didn't drip everywhere when I hung it up.  In the morning, it was ready to go.  I just left it wrinkly.  I think it added to the hippie charm.
Now, I'm not 100% sure, but because I used Stampin' UP Classic Ink pads, I believe this will be able to be washed out!  Hence the word 'temporary' in the title.  I haven't tried to wash it yet as I'm waiting to wash it by itself.  I don't want to get it mixed up with our regular clothes by accident.  

Three Musketeers Bars

That's right!  Three Musketeer bars, at home!  First, let me tell you that I did NOT use the correct ingredients for this recipe at all, but they still came out fine.  They were not light and fluffy like Three Musketeers, which I personally enjoyed, and they tasted really good!  See, I was going off of memory when I was at the store...ha ha ha.  I should know better.

The original recipe calls for Cool Whip, but my brain was thinking Marshmallow Fluff!  Since that's what I mistakenly used, that's what I use for describing this recipe.  I also changed it half way through by adding in some marshmallows (because I used the small jar of fluff) and Malt Powder, which really tasted good.  If you want the original recipe that is probably much easier and doesn't involve my screw ups, you can click here. All of these changes are really starting to make me wonder why I'm even posting this, lol!
Here's what you'll need for my version:
2C Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
2C Milk Chocolate Chips
Marshmallow Fluff (Mine was 7oz, but should have gotten a bigger one)
2T Malted Milk Powder
Couple handfuls of mini marshmallows (not shown)

Start by melting your semi sweet chocolate chips in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds.
Stir in the entire jar of marshmallow fluff.
Hmmmm, not bad.  It was still pretty dense though.  Kind of stringy in a creepy way.
So, that's when I decided to add a couple of handfuls of mini marshmallows.
Using the mixer, I didn't even have to heat things up to get them to mix in.
I tasted it at this point and decided it just needed....something.  That something was malt powder!  I threw in a couple of tablespoons full.
Then I mixed that baby up and spread it in a parchment-lined 8 x 8 pan.
Now, here's where I totally screwed up.  I threw the whole thing in the freezer thinking they'd firm up well and cut into perfect little squares.  What really happened was that it came out something akin to petrified wood and I had to place a huge knife on the top, then whack it with a meat mallet just to get through the stuff!  Note: cool in fridge....do not freeze.
Heat up your milk chocolate in the microwave until melted.  Dip in your squares one by one.
Set on parchment until set.  You can also throw them in the fridge for a bit.
Once set, you can store then in a container with a lid.  I kept mine in the fridge because it was hot out when I made these.  Yes, it's been a while since I've posted anything.
In the fridge, they are still quite chewy, but very tasty.  They do soften up quite a bit when left at room temp though.  I'd liken the texture to a Tootsie Roll.  Not quite fluffy like the real deal, but in all honesty, that's what I've never liked about the real ones...the fluffy-ness.  Me no likey.
Of course, my taste-tester thought they were 'totally awesome'!  This is the face he made when I asked him 'to make a CUTE, smiling face while taking a bite'.  In retrospect, that might have been too many instructions at one time for a seven year old boy.
So, I tried one more time, this time instructing him to act like he was at least enjoying it.  Apparently, there is a fine line between enjoying it and about to get run over by a Mack truck.  I give up, LOL!  Little poop!