Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday 5: Thoughts on Fostering

Happy Friday!  This weekend seemed like it was a long time coming.  While I have a busy weekend ahead, I'm really looking forward to it!  I'm linking up with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney for the Friday Five today.  Make sure to stop by!

So, my nice friend has been pretty stressed at work lately and when he was looking at the Lucky Dog website (he was going to help me drop off some donations and was checking the address....he doesn't just peruse the site for dogs like I do ha!) he came across this puppy and it was love.  Neither one of us has time for a puppy full time right now, but I figured we could at least over night foster so we can get a bit of a puppy fix.  I haven't fostered in so long, and I started thinking about the process and how it has changed for me over time.  If any of you have fostered before, feel free to comment below!  I would love to hear about your experiences!

1. I have to remember they aren't my dogs.  Maddux is the most spoiled pup in the world and I'm pretty sure the older he gets, the more I give him whatever he wants.  You never know what the foster pup's future family will want from them, so you have to give them more boundaries than you might give your pup.  Not always easy!

Bless her heart, Cream knew nothing about boundaries.

2.  It gets easier.  I used to be one of those people who said they could never foster because they would want to keep every dog.  (I actually almost did!  I feel in love with my first pup, and basically the only reason I didn't fill out paperwork to adopt her was because I wanted to prove to all the doubters that I could be a successful foster haha!)  I have mostly stuck to the over night fosters, so it is a little easier to say goodbye, but I have to admit there have been some tears!  I cried like a baby when I said goodbye to my first foster, and then I had a couple of other pups who were so scared and shy that I hated the thought of leaving them in boarding.  I was positive that there would always be water works, but surprisingly enough, I have gotten much better as time has gone on!

3. You are doing something great for these dogs.  Sometimes I have a hard time with fostering, because you are bringing a dog into your home for a short time, yet in that short time many of them get insanely comfortable.  They don't understand why they don't get to stay with you, and often they bond pretty quickly.  This is where I have to keep reminding myself that it is so much better than the alternative.  If I didn't offer them a place to crash for the night then they would be stuck in a scary shelter with an unpredictable future.  In the long run, they find their forever homes and can live the life that they deserve.  At this time, I know it wouldn't be fair for me to keep any of them on a permanent basis and if I did decide to adopt I wouldn't have room in my home to foster any others.

4. Adoption updates are the BEST.  Lucky Dog is really great at posting adoption updates, and I always get so excited when I see one of my former fosters loving their new homes.

5. Meet my new foster!  I'm so excited to hang out with this cutie and know he won't have any trouble finding a home.  Look at that face!  I'll be sure to post updates for you guys, but if you are interested in meeting him click here for more information.

Thanks to Lucky Dog for the picture!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 12, 2016

What I've Been Cooking Lately

Happy Friday!  Today I'm linking up with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney for the Friday Five!  Today's theme is food and drink, so I thought I'd share some of the things I've been cooking lately.  My parents gifted me with a new set of pots and pans and a cookbook for Christmas, so I've been more motivated in 2016 than usual to try out some recipes. 

1. Roasted vegetables.  Guys, I don't know how this has been off my radar for so long.  I'll admit that I often just toss some frozen vegetable steam fresh bags in the microwave, but these roasted vegetables are AWESOME.  I've done a couple batches of broccoli and some butternut squash.  Easy and delicious.  (I literally googled "roasted butternut squash" and "roasted broccoli" to find out how long to cook and the temperature.)

2. Runner's World Cookbook recipes.  This is probably my favorite cookbook I have ever owned.  The recipes are pretty simple for a non-chef like me and the ingredients are easy to come by.  One of my favorites is their lasagna.  It's so simple to throw together and incredibly good.  Every time I bring it to work for lunch my coworkers comment on how good it looks.  I usually throw in some zucchini in place of the mushrooms.  I also recently made the creamy potato and spinach soup.  I wasn't a huge fan of this (I just need to chew my food), but then I put it over some rice and it hit the spot. 

3. Mystery Writer's Cookbook recipes.  This was a fun gift I received for Christmas that features recipes from different mystery writers.  I really like this cookbook and the little stories that accompany the different author's recipes are fun to read.  I will admit though that at first I was nervous to make food by people with twisted minds (think Gillian Flynn!), but the chicken enchiladas and spicy crock pot pork are quick and easy to throw together and are well worth the effort of cooking. 

4. Mac and Cheese from Cook Yourself Thin.  I don't often use this cookbook because I find that the recipes generally take a long time to make and in my opinion aren't worth the effort.  I love this mac and cheese though.  I make it when I need a quick and easy week night meal.  While yes, it's still mac and cheese, it's better than a lot of other recipes out there for you, and it's definitely better than the boxed stuff I frequently ate in college.  Just a note--I always use normal cheese.  I don't believe in reduced fat cheese!

5. Recipes from Around the Web.  I make Kate's banana baked oatmeal at least once a month.  It's easy to make and feels a little more special than my typical bowl of oatmeal I eat during the week.  I also made Julie's frozen waffle breakfast strata with a few substitutions last weekend.  I had a different brand of waffles, and I substituted the sausage for bacon since it's what I had on hand.  I also added a little cheese, because what is bacon and eggs without some cheese? 

What have you been cooking lately? I'd love to hear some of your favorite cookbooks, too!  I like books with accessible ingredients that don't take a lot of pots and pans to make happen!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thinking Out Loud #3

Happy Thursday!  This week has been flying by and I can't believe we're almost to the weekend already.  It has been a busy week for this girl!  I'm linking up with Amanda for her Thinking Out Loud Thursday tradition.  Be sure to check out some of the other random thoughts.  I hope you guys are having a great week!

1. Grass is finally in sight!  It's muddy, but it's there.  We had just piles of snow after good ol' Jonas came to visit and I know my pup is happy that he can visit the backyard a little easier.

We've been having to stick to the roads lately, but sidewalks are finally clearing off!

2. I added some weight this week in Body Pump!  This was really exciting for me, but I've got to say a couple extra pounds makes a huge difference.  I'm taking the class through June, and I can't wait to see how strong I can get!

3. Speaking of Body Pump, I have had this song stuck in my head for days.  It's been our warm up for the past few weeks and then I heard it on the radio and haven't been able to get it out.  What can I say, Body Pump is my type of party!

4. Yoga is hard.  I know we've been over this, but man, my hamstrings are always sore the day after.  Although my instructor isn't someone who I would consider to be super zen like, I appreciate that she really wants us to understand how to do the poses correctly.  She takes the time to adjust us and wants us to understand where the effort and force should be coming from.  I wouldn't say that I'm getting any more flexible, but the poses are starting to feel more fluid now as I move between them and I am definitely more confident than I was when I first started. 

5. Mar is amazing (seriously, she keeps it real and is super encouraging!) and she is hosting an Instagram challenge.  Every day until February 14 you post a picture of how you are practicing self care.  You can read more about the challenge here.  Valentine's is all about that love and we can't forget to show ourselves a little!

6. Still trying to figure out what's going on with my pup.  We recently delivered a urine sample to our vet (yep, about as fun to collect as you're probably imagining) and it was once again inconclusive.  He's been on his liver supplement for a couple of weeks now though, so we're retesting his blood soon to see if his levels have improved.  Keep your fingers crossed for my little man!  I'm hoping we will have some answers soon.  (Just for the record, he is acting perfectly fine, but our vet was concerned when we got his yearly blood test results done.  She recommended the yearly tests when he reached "senior" status so that we can stay on top of his health.)

The picture of health!

7. This weekend I have 6 miles on the calendar.  I've had some great 5 milers the past couple of weeks, so even though I haven't been running a whole lot, I'm still excited to start getting into longer runs.  I have it mapped out so that I will do a 6, 7, 8, 9, and hopefully two 10 mile long runs before Shamrock.  I'm not going for a PR this time around (I just don't have the base built up), but there's no reason I shouldn't be able to have a strong race if I buckle down and get those long runs in. 

8. This week has been full of fresh veggies!  I got my first Hungry Harvest box and have been really enjoying it.  My box included kale, potatoes, a tomato, apples, some tangerines, a couple of pears, beets (eh not sure how I feel about those!), and broccoli.  I was surprised at how large the "mini harvest" option was and I feel good about the quality and quantity I received for the price I paid. (For all my fellow grad students--they have student discounts!) It's definitely worth looking into if you are looking for a fruit and veggie delivery service.  I forgot to snap a picture of the box before I unpacked it, but here's a picture of the box so that you can get an idea of how much produce you're getting! 

9.  My sister got me a subscription to Foot Cardigan for Christmas and I just got February's sock of the month.  How fun are these?

10.  I finally got a new plant for my zebra planter.  The mini poinsettia was a fun holiday plant, but we have moved on to the mini orchid.  Here's hoping I can keep it alive! 

Have a great rest of the week!