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2 Mar

Doga. Some people will probably think this is kind of goofy, but this can be just what you need when you are looking for a good “cheer up” activity. How can you not smile when you look at your pooches little face? Any time I roll out my yoga mat, Kai is right under my nose trying to play or snuggle up with me. I decided to try to embrace her wanting to hang out with me on my yoga mat, which brought me to doga…yoga with your pooch.

There isn’t a science to dog yoga poses, and I wouldn’t say it’s comparable with the different types of yoga practices. You can think of it as a good time to relax, both you and your dog, while having a nice stretching and bonding session. I had received a doga book from a friend a while back, and have looked at different websites, but in the end, I’ll just incorporate Kai into some basic seated floor poses and stretches.

It makes me laugh how relaxed Kai gets when she hops on the mat with me. After she figures out I’m trying to relax and not play, she’ll settle in and let me give her a little belly rub and a good stretch. She’ll turn into playdough and let me mold her as I stretch and move around too. Denali, our German Shepherd, will usually lay close enough to keep a watchful eye, but not too close that she gets sucked into a sun salutation. Ha!

Denali didn't want to miss out on the action!

I find that this is a great way to settle down after a long day. I get some nice gentle stretching in and Kai does too! Not to mention a little massage and snuggle for her. Some people like to use their dogs as a weight to add pressure and create a deeper stretch. I haven’t gotten to this doga point with Kai, but who knows, maybe sometime in the future. Dogs are so playful in nature, so don’t fret if Fido isn’t too keen on laying in shavasana. You could even try attempting your first doga session after you’ve taken them on a long walk or run so they are ready to lay down and relax a little.

Once they see how fun and relaxing it can be, they’ll be puppy dog eyeing you to let them on your mat the next time you pull it out.

Have any of you ever tried incorporating your pooch into a yoga pose or two with you? Let us know how it went!

Kiwi Magazine’s Apple-Parsley Cookies

17 Aug

I’m always looking for healthy treats for our dog Max. He’s been going through some training lately to get him ready for the new baby girl we are expecting any day now and to “increase his confidence” with new tricks (as our trainer explained to us). Max has what I call a “sensitive ecosystem” so we are careful about what food he gets. Rarely any human food and limited on the treats. His digestive track just doesn’t tolerate a whole lot.

I found a couple of great things recently. Number One – Kiwi magazine (Gotta love their slogan: Growing families the natural and organic way). Number Two – the great dog treat recipe I found inside Kiwi’s July 2011 issue. The main article this recipe came from was about throwing “a pooch party”. Sounds fun, but not on my current agenda with a baby on the way. So I opted for just whipping up the recipe this time. We’ll plan a party later on.

I was not able to find this recipe to link to online, so here it is:

Apple-Parsley Cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes chill time

Bake time: 15 minutes

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour, plus more as needed

½ tsp salt

1 cup parsley, chopped

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup honey

2 Tbsp all-natural peanut butter

1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined. If the mixture is sticky, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.

Transfer the dough to a clean surface and use your hands to flatten into a disk. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough about ¼ inch thick. Use a small, bone shaped cookie cutter (or any shape of your choosing) to cut the dough and transfer to the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Allow to cool on wire rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Cookies will keep for up to a week in an airtight container or up to three months in the freezer. Makes 50 to 60 cookies.

What great little treats this recipe made! The dough was so easy to roll out so it made the whole prep process super simple. While making this recipe, my food processor and I had a little disagreement, which I lost and ended up with 4 stitches (I don’t want to talk about it). So the chill time for the disk of dough definitely exceeded the “up to 24 hours” recommended in the recipe. It was in the fridge for about 48 hours before I had a chance to roll it out and bake the cookies. No big deal, the dough was still great and easy to roll!

Max can’t get enough of anything peanut butter flavored, so these treats were a hit with him! Strangely enough, my husband also stole a few cookies off of the cooling rack. Not too sure about that… I didn’t have a dog bone cookie cutter so I just used the mini cookie cutters I had on hand: an apple, star, leaf, chili pepper, and heart. Sometimes Max doesn’t play so well with his girlfriend Kai (Joanna’s yorkie), but he is excited to give her a few dog treats as a gift. He chose the hearts and chili peppers – probably to show his love and let her know that Kai still makes him hot…even though he’s been fixed. Check out this post to see a picture of the two lovebirds together.

Always be mindful of the food you are giving your pets. Like I mentioned with Max’s food sensitivities, there are some things I avoid giving to him. Do not try this recipe if you know of any food allergies or issues that will affect your pooch.

What pet treat ingredient makes your dog go crazy?

Skeeter Blocker Naturale

5 Aug

I learned recently that mosquitoes are more attracted to me right now because I’m pregnant. What?? I attracted mosquitoes like crazy before I got pregnant! They like me more now? Turns out that mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and because I’m exhaling more of that these days…here come the itchy bug bites!

While I really can’t handle swatting away those annoying little creatures, I’m faced with the reality that it is summer, I’m spending time outside, and there is that risk we don’t like to think about like the West Nile virus. I’ve gotta come up with someway to protect myself without the use of toxic bug sprays and anything involving DEET. Some research shows that DEET is safe when used as recommended in pregnant women, but I’d prefer to go in a more natural direction.

I was at my favorite South Shore farmers’ market recently and picked up an all natural insect repellent made by the St. Ann Center of Milwaukee. St. Ann’s is a community based organization that provides health and educational resources for children, frail adults, and their caregivers. The insect repellent they sell has some pretty basic ingredients: Witch hazel, lemongrass, peppermint, thyme, oils, and water. Lovin’ the non-toxic love coming from this spray! Plus, it really does work. I’ve been spraying it on before taking Max for walks at night and it has worked like a charm. The smell of the spray is delightful and fresh and doesn’t bother my skin at all. It is even safe for use with pets, so I gave Max a light spray as well so the bugs wouldn’t bother him either.

If you can’t get a hold of this particular St. Ann’s Insect Repellent from the South Shore farmers’ market, try dabbing lavender oil on your wrists and neck to give off an aroma to keep away the mosquitoes. Lavender is a pretty common essential oil to have around the house, so maybe you already have easy access! Here are a few other tips to keep those pesky guys at bay:

  • Choose light over dark clothing
  • Mow your lawn and do not allow water to stand in buckets or watering cans
  • Plant basil near to where you hang out outside. It works as a natural deterrent.
  • Turn on a fan. Mosquitoes don’t like a constant breeze.

Has anyone else found a non-toxic insect repellent they’ve tried and loved?

Dish on your Dog

13 Apr

I thought it would be very fitting to talk about your dog’s diet today. We had a mishap with our german shepherd on Monday and she decided to taste, or should I say eat, all of those beautiful egg seedlings I posted about on Sunday! That’s right, she ate every last one of them and left a mess of dirt on the floor that Ryan, bless his heart, cleaned up. Who would have thought eggshells, dirt, and seeds would sound appetizing to a pooch? She’s like a goat! I think she’d eat a tin can if she could! HA!

With all of this thought about what dogs eat, I came across a great article in my Natural Dog magazine. I love this magazine for its holistic approach to doggie wellness along with its great stories and fantastic dog pictures. For any dog lover out there, this magazine is sure to find a warm and fuzzy place in your heart. It has some great informational articles as well that you can apply to your pups life if you so please. I like a mag that can have all of these qualities.

The article that really stood out to me in this issue was talking about your dog’s diet. It showed how easy it can be to help improve the quality of nutrition they are taking in with their daily meals. It was titled, Variety is the Spice of Life, which was very fitting for the information it presented.  It discussed the health improvements that can be seen in dogs that are fed their traditional quality dry dog food diet along with the rotating addition of fresh, healthy foods in their dish.  I liked that they had input from veterinarians who supported this type of diet, along with pet success stories of eating this way. Something else I found pretty sweet was the fact that there isn’t much different you have to do as your pup’s chef. It’s as simple as adding a few fun veggies, fruit, dairy, or protein to their dish of commercial dog food.

We have always given our dogs healthy “human treats” they love like baby carrots, apples, bananas, you name it and they’ll probably eat it. I mean, Denali will even go as far as eating dirt stuffed eggshells! When you think about it, it must get pretty boring eating the same meal day in and day out…could you imagine? Putting in a few extra treaties during each meal can add variety for their palate along with providing a little bonus to their nutritional intake.  I have found our dogs love a little plain yogurt with nearly any fruit or veggie sprinkled in.

Homemade diets for dogs can be tedious and very time consuming. I thought this was a great idea for the everyday person who is looking to make their pups a little healthier and happier without all the fuss homemade diets can have. If you are wondering what is safe for your pooch to eat you can check out the ASPCA website. They have a great review of foods to avoid with your pet. Your dog is bound to give you a little extra TLC after this diet change. Who wouldn’t want a few extra kisses and pooch snuggles!

Let us know what you have tried adding to their diets. We ‘d love to hear!

As a side note: If you know your dog is sensitive to new foods you may want to introduce them one at a time to determine how they tolerate them. Here’s to a happy and healthy dog!


13 Mar

Looking for a product that is a good scrub-a-dub for just about anything? I thought it was about time to share one of my favorite liquid soaps with you.  I love when a product is multi-purpose…more bang for the buck! Did I mention it’s eco-friendly too? Maybe you’ll want to give it a try for your Sunday tidy session.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps are a must-have product in any household. Whether you are just looking for a fantastic soap, a versatile product, or a company whose mission is to preserve this beautiful place we live-Dr. Bronner’s products are calling your name.

Founder, Emanuel Bronner, came from a German-Jewish soapmaking background dating back to 1858. As a third generation master soapmaker he brought his pure, high quality soap formula and dream to the U.S. and started Dr. Bronner’s Soaps in 1948. This company has been thriving since. How could it not with such care and integrity put into every product they have created?! This company continues to remain transparent in the creation of their USDA organic and certified fair trade products, all while voicing their message of world and cultural unity. Profits are shared with note worthy causes and charities worldwide.

I remember the first time I saw Dr. Bronner products. I was walking through the co-op in Stevens Point and saw the Pure-Castile Soap bottle and had to take a look at all the words and writing on it. I thought it was a “co-op thing”, but then started seeing it at regular grocery stores, REI, and even Target. I realized I wasn’t the only one that had discovered the soap secret!

We usually keep a couple bottles of the Pure-Castile Soap in the shower for variety. They suds up so well into a rich velvety lather-no worries, it’s the coconut oil that causes this reaction. You won’t find any sodium lauryl sulfates floating around in these bubbles!

This soap is seriously MULTI-PURPOSE: you can use it for house cleaning, laundry detergent, facial spa treatments, body wash, hair wash, dog wash (Kai smells so fresh after a lavender wash – her hair feels so clean and fluffy), car wash (you won’t feel bad about these eco-friendly suds washing into the grass), even tooth “paste” and mouth wash! This list could go on…but I think you get the point!

I have tried a few of their other products, including their Lavender Coconut Lotion and Lip Balm. All of which have held up to the quality of their liquid castile soap.  I’m looking forward to trying their hair conditioner. I’ll report back to you!

I hope you are able to try one or all of these amazing products. I have found them to be a great addition to our household. You’ll feel good using a product that is good for you, good for the earth, all while supporting a company with a good cause.

Any Dr. Bronner products on your shelf?