Thursday, March 31, 2011

GIVEAWAY WINNER! Simply Fido Nap Mat & Organic Toy

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Thank you to everyone who entered to win a Simply Fido Nap Mat & Organic Toy!

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SimplyFido_311_ZeusKThe winner has been selected by random number generator...

Congratulations to Dawn and Fuji!  The Lapdogs sure hope Fuji loves her new nap mat and toy... and they said she should try to share with her brother Randy.


Thank you again to everyone who entered and a special hello to our new followers!  Stay tuned for more wonderful doggy reviews and giveaways coming soon!

Got Bed?

Happy Dogs on Thursday!  I am not at all happy with the April Fool's joke that Mother Nature has planned for us tomorrow.  Seriously?  I was joking that we might see a white Easter this year... now I might actually start planning for it.  sigh

Is your house overrun with full of dog beds like mine is? The Lapdogs especially love the big round ones we get at BJ's Wholesale and here's what happened when Mama brought home a new one.  Shiny new beds = magic beds in our house and of course, everyone wants to be on the new bed (when they're not on the couch or the humans bed, of course). 

Lola immediate put the bed to proper use, albiet a little backwards...

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Zeus just wanted to lounge... and pose.   I think he thought this was another Doggy Spokesmodel job.

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"Wut, ya menz dis izn't a revu?  Iz not gettin nom-noms?"

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Then his siblings came to pester...

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Teutul, "Hey Mumz, take MY pichurrr on da newz bed!"

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While all the hoopla was going on, Sophie acted as The Observer...

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Mama still needs to go toss the oldest, rattiest bed out... snowy spring cleaning anyone?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Doggy Spokesmodel

Happy a few words on Wordless Wednesday!  Zeus has been hard at work helping his Daddy get the new Legends race car ready.  I'm just not sure if his role is the Hooligan Motorsports Spokesmodel or Guard Dog... you decide! (*We are looking for 2011 sponsors... if you are interested or know a business that may be, let us know*)

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

REVIEW: Bread Making: A Home Course

Bread Making: A Home Course
Crafting the Perfect Loaf from Crust to Crumb
by Lauren Chattman
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (April 1, 2011)

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There's nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread straight from the oven, right?  I love fresh bread and while I've toyed with the idea of a bread machine from time to time, they are expensive.  Not to mention they take up counter space that I don't have to give up.  So for me, "fresh" bread means it comes from can or the freezer and into my oven.  However, that may soon change with the arrival of Bread Making: A Home Course: Crafting the Perfect Loaf, from Crust to Crumb.

Bread Making: A Home Course is a handbook to lead beginners confidently through every step needed to master the core bread-making techinques.  I've never baked bread from scratch before... except for one those "friendship loaves" that everyone says they want to take a starter bag of, but then they end up tossing the funky smelling bag out the window mid-week.  I did make one of those once, but playing with yeast and letting it rise was just never my thing.  I always thought it was more trouble than it was worth.  So imagine my delight when I read that all of the recipes in Bread Making: A Home Course call for instant yeast, which apparently is quite easy to use (a big plus for this novice).  For those of you with more experience, don't worry.  A handy conversion chart is included so that you can use your weapon, er... yeast of choice.

Bread Making: A Home Course is very user friendly and has been formatted so that readers can enter at the point where they feel most comfortable and advance to higher levels at their own pace.  Ingredients, Equipment and The Basic Steps are all thoroughly covered in their own chapters.  The Techniques and Recipes are broken out into six chapters: Simple Breads from Straight Doughs, Baking with Yeasted Pre-ferments, Sourdough Baking, Yeasted Flatbreads, Whole-Grain Breads and Bread Machine Baking (another delightful surprise when I realized that I really don't need a bread machine to produce fabulous artisan loafs right in my own kitchen). 

Author Lauren Chattman has anticipated all of the questions new bakers might have and provides answers to nearly every situation that is likely to arise in my the new home bread baker's kitchen.  Her step by step instructions are clear and easy to follow and the illustrations are helpful, especially in the Equipment chapter.

While I haven't had a chance to get my baking on just yet, I look forward to creating delicious breads soon... Ciabatta, English Muffins, Raisin-Walnut, Challah... you're all on my list!  If you're looking to get your knead on, check out Bread Making: A Home Course (we can compare notes as we bake this summer).  I would bet that even experienced bread bakers will find this book quite useful and enjoy having it on their kitchen bookshelf!

About the Author: Lauren Chattman has worked as a professional pastry chef and has written 10 books, including The Baking Answer Book.  She apprenticed under Francois Payard, a noted third-generation French pastry chef in New York City, before running her own kitchen.  Lauren has collaborated with former White House Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier on Dessert University and with Daniel Leader on Local Breads, which won an International Association of Culinary Proffesionals award.  You can find some of Lauren's demonstrations on Howdini.com.  Lauren currently lives in New York with her family. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

REVIEW: Freedom No-Pull Harness

Freedom No-Pull Harness
Where to Find: Wiggles Wags & Whiskers

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We recently got to review the Freedom No-Pull Harness from Wiggles Wags & Whiskers and I'll start right off by saying, this human gives it 2 thumbs way up!

Zeus_harness_22111mAll of the Lapdogs wear martingale collars on a daily basis, but when going for walks, I prefer the added control and safety of a harness.  Since they have not had any formal obedience training and we're pretty laxed about things, they all tend to be easily distracted and are pullers to some respect.  Due to his size and shape, it has been quite a quest to find the harness for Zeus. 


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Wearing just the harness
 With a 21" neck and 39.5" chest, a proper fit has always been an issue.  I'd buy something to fit his chest, but it would end up being too loose for his neck.  The Freedom No-Pull Harness has four points of adjustability, which means it can be adjusted to fit literally any dog body shape or type and after discussing sizes with the representative, we opted for the 2XL size.  It's a perfect fit!

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Wearing the harness and his regular collar


Comfort is another issue when selecting a harness.  Some are so stiff, they can cut into the dog's legs.  The Freedom No-Pull Harness' comfort conscious design features nylon edges turned out and a super soft Swiss velvet lining to prevent rubbing and chaffing behind the legs.

Zeus_harness_22111bWith fit and comfort checked off the list, the next important feature is durability.  Clearly, my baby is a big boy and this is very important.  The Freedom No-Pull Harness features stainless steel d-rings to ensure it is more than strong enough to hold even the strongest dogs in check and the heavy duty nylon webbing is sewn using industrial X-stitching machines .

Zeus_22111cWith my 3 main concerns all properly checked off - fit, comfort and durability - the no pull design is next.  The Freedom No-Pull Harness features a martingale loop on the back of the harness, to tighten slightly around the dog's chest and discourage pulling, as well as a connection in the front that allows you to redirect attention back to you to make training your dog easy.  The harness is available separately or as a deluxe training package which includes a matching 2 connection leash and training brouchure.  This special leash allows you to connect to the front and back of the harness simultaneously, or connect to the back of the harness and a collar at the same time, providing additional control over your dog.  We received this fabulous deluxe package and used the harness with the leash connected to the front and back.  I feel this gave me added control with Zeus and love the style.  (In the outside photos he is wearing his normal collar as well, but we did not hook the leash up to that) 
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The Freedom No-Pull Harness is 100% Made in the USA - which is a huge plus in our book -and is available in 20 different colors.  Not only does it fit well, but it is easy to get on and off.  There is no fussing, once adjusted properly it literally goes on in seconds!  We love it and couldn't be more pleased.  If you're looking for a no pull style harness, whether your dog is 14 or 250 pounds, look no further than the Freedom No-Pull Harness.  You won't be disappointed... and neither will your pooch, who I'm sure will get to go for more walks!
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Reviewing a harness is hard work... time to rest.

Friday, March 25, 2011

FO Friday!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!  This is going to be one of those this 'n that, catch-up rambling posts, so grab a cuppa your favorite beverage and here we go...

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LOOK! I actually have not one, but two FO's to show... proof that I really do still knit (and my UFO pile is starting to decrease, even if very slowly).

The Breeze Baby Block hat is one of those patterns I go back to again and again.  I think this one kinda looks like an Easter Egg, don't you?  Not sure just who it's for yet...

I started hats for my sister's kids and what a surprise didn't finish them before spring supposedly sprung, so they will be Christmas gifts... which meanss I'm one up on the great Christmas Knit list for 2011!  I did the Tasseled Topper - minus the tassel - from 60 Quick Knits for Amber (Twisted Torque from the same book is OTN for Austin).  Her only request was pink, but I figured I had better pick something that was easy for her Mom to care for... Trip to AC Moore resulted in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice.  For a 100% acrylic, I loved working with it.  It was easy on the hands and comes in a decent selection of colors... yes, I'd use it again.  The second photo is more true to color. 
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Although I haven't exactly been cranking out the stitch markers lately (I really do need to work on that), I am happy to report that Lapdog Creations markers have been recently added to two cool Treasuries on Etsy... check out "Greetings From New Hampshire" and "Boogity Boogity Boogity - Let's go racing!"

Anyone catch my Bruins put a whopping on the Canadeins last nightWhat a game!  "A 3 on 5 shorty... back to Montreal they go, soundly beaten!" - that just might have been one of the best plays of the season! It's almost playoff time... Go B's!

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RESCUE - Adopt a Pet!
I just received the adorable "RESCUE - Adopt a Pet" tag that I won in Sugar The Golden Retriever's giveaway and I heart it!  Check out the other cute pet tag accessories for your key chain/bag at Sugar Paw's House - they also have some great ID tags for your pet, collars and treats too.

I'm leaving you today with some Friday Fill-Ins... Happy Weekend everyone!

1. Why does it have to be so difficult.

2. Your voice is equal to mine.

3. My favorite breakfast includes bacon... because what breakfast would be complete without it.

4. You Had Me At Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness was the last book I read and finished.

5. I am SO glad there is a "block" button on Facebook. 
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Miles Smith Farm, July 2010

6. Flowers would make me feel better right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a new episode of Fringe, tomorrow my plans include a visit to Miles Smith Farm to pick up the prize I won in their scavenger hunt and Sunday, I want to knit, watch the Fontana race, and have a quiet day!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Lapdogs Blooper Reel

Happy Dogs on Thursday, Thanksful Thursday, Little Friday!  I'm thankful that although the white crap is flying around once again today, it is only flurries...

Did you see our review of the Simply Fido bamboo Nap Mat and the organic Oliver Dog Ring toy?  Simply Fido was kind enough to allow us to give away one of the awesome nap mats and toys, so make sure you wag on over and enter if you haven't already!  We had quite the photo shoot on Sunday and I ended up with way too many cute photos... and almost as many funny outtakes!

Zeus... sleeping on the job or contemplating something?

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Teutul... time out, got an itch!
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Can I puh-leeze have it now???
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Lola's just trying nap, but her pesky little sister won't go away....

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Speaking of napping... Zeus has a habit of getting on the couch and flinging pillows all over the place.  The nap mat was no exception to this game...

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Since those white flakes are flying here once again, I'll leave you with some pictures of what we do inside when it's really snowing outside...

The girls work on looking pretty...

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The Hooey Hounds get a little curious...

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And love to goof around...

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Zeus says "Huh, stay insidz?  Naaah... Iz goin outsidz to playz in da snow!"

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