Thursday, November 15, 2012

Halloween Party

I'm alive! October was an incredibly busy month. A lot happened. November has been pretty busy so far, too! But first things first. Audie is doing good and growing like a weed. Today we took a trip to the vet and he weighs 32 pounds!! It's hard to believe how much he's grown over the past four months. Sometimes I think he grows overnight! He's also starting to grow out of the puppy stage (thank goodness!). I've noticed in the past couple weeks that he is much more calm inside, especially were it's been cold. He is glued to our gas fire! If he is walking by it and it comes on he just melts into the floor. We've been putting his kennel in front of it every night and we never hear a peep out of him. His two favorite places are in front of the fire or in the rocking chair. Not just our rocking chair either. My parents watched him for us one evening and he broke the puppy gate down to the living room, bolted to the chair my Dad was sitting in and slept for about an hour! He's such a cuddler! 
 On to the party. It was a blast! I think all the kids had fun. It's getting a bit more challenging to find things they all like to do since the boys are getting older. We had a couple scavenger hunting games, my sister printed off bones that had to be assembled on someone correctly, and then we told spooky stories in the witch's lair I made. All in all, I think everyone had a good time. Take a look!

Audie was a black widow
Audie the spider, I'm a fuzzy-tail fly, and Pat is the spiderweb
Here's a better look at my fuzzy tail and wings!
We stepped into the witch's lair for scary stories! It looked much better in the dark. You don't get the full effect with the flash on. I gathered some sticks to put under that cauldron and put some tea lights inside. They flickered to look like a flame. This is a plastic caldron with an fog machine inside (half off at Kroger!). I also made all the kids Harry Potter wands.
To get the spider egg effect, I took about 20 pairs of Pat's socks and stuffed them in to some white knee highs. Then I hung them from the ceiling and put spiders on them. It looked pretty cool.
These don't look like much here but in the dark they were pretty neat. They're toilet paper and paper towel rolls with eye holes cut out. Then you put a glow stick inside and it looks like spooky eyes are staring at you.
Hope you had a great Halloween and have a happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Spice Tags

I know what you're going to ask so let's get to it. Audie is doing great! He does have some puppy issues (biting, running away with our shoes, stubbornness) but we're working on it. We've actually started him in an obedience class in Morehead, KY at Tin Woof Inn. We all love it!! The class is really more to teach us how to deal with him and all his puppy energy. We've learned several tricks and some essential commands like come and stay. Audie has done super well. He's the smartest one in his class, too! Another reason we like the class so much is it wears him out! He goes right to sleep when we get home and we get some great candid moments like this:
This is his sleep style of choice

In other news at the country bumpkin household, I thought of something that has helped me out a lot. As I am a short person, I have difficultly seeing in the cabinets. The worst is our spice cabinet. All the spices are at eye level which is good but almost all of them are in the same bottle. It takes forever to find the ones I need! I have to keep lifting all the spices trying to find what I need and it's usually at the very back or mixed in the middle somewhere and I end up checking a lot of things twice. I'll have to say I'm pretty proud of myself that this whole idea I had didn't come from Pinterest (although the tags I found inspired it). I decided that I would print out these tags and tape them on my spices. That way I would be able to read the tags instead of lifting every single spice in there! It turned out great! See for yourself:

I even color coded some of them (I know, I'm a dork!)

I just love these chevron stripe tags. Print your own HERE
That's about all the new stuff. I'm starting to plan for our haunted basement tour again this year. I'll let you in on what I come up with. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Audie is finally here!

Excited to get started!
Well folks, the day has come and gone. Our little Audie has finally made it to his permanent home! We embarked on our journey last Friday evening and decided to spend the night in Athens, AL since it was a six hour drive from our house. We could have made it in one go but we would have been so tired we wouldn't have been able to enjoy much once we got back. Plus, it's fun to spend the night away from home once in a while. So we headed out and made it into Athens around 10:00 PM or so. We were dog tired (pun intended) when we got in so we set our alarms and hit the hay.
All things considered (excitement and the threat of bed bugs) we slept pretty well. Around 7:00 AM our alarm went off and we were excited to get ready to head out. However, we realized we were in a different time zone and were actually one hour ahead of what it really was. That was probably one of the longest hours ever. It's like when you are little and waiting for Christmas. You know you need to sleep a little longer but you just can't!! After what felt like days, the hour passed and we started getting ready. We packed in record time and hit the road!
 After just a few months shy of a year waiting, we were actually on our way to pick up our puppy!! I've always been a dog person. Since I was just a little tyke I've always had a dog. I haven't had one since my little yorkie, Pepper, passed away several years back. Pat and I didn't actually think we'd get a dog so soon. We thought we would build our dream home on a big farm first. Then we would have room to let one run, but the urge and want was just too much for us. It also helps to find the movie "Marley and Me" on while you're trying to convince someone to get a dog. That will turn the tides!

Here we are just one mile away from little Audie. Were we really ready for this? Were we about to bite off more than we could chew? So far, we've stayed pretty active in our marriage. Yeah, we're pretty boring sometimes but we do like to travel every now and then or just take off to a friend's house in the evening. Were we ready to give all that up or could we find a way incorporate him into our lives? Too late to turn back now.
We pulled in the drive way of Spin Top Kennel, looked at each other, and I asked,  "Are you ready?". I got a very confident yes and we got out of the car. Not long after David Holt met us. He was thrilled to see us and couldn't wait to get our puppy. We followed him over to the kennel where he left us waiting in front of a gate. We were looking around at all the grown dogs. They were doing so well. None of them were barking. They were just standing and curiously watching David as he walked through the kennel. David rounded a corner out of sight. How big would Audie be? Huge?! Tiny? Would he like us? Would he travel well? Would he like his new home? Then, David came back around the corner holding Audie under his arm. He was such a handsome pup! He didn't bark or wine. David sat Audie down and he immediately started sniffing around. It didn't take him long to find us and we were instantly in love with him. His little, stubby tail was wagging as fast as it could go. He was jumping up and down, licking and sniffing and letting us love on him.
We all walked back over to the car to take care of the final paperwork. David talked with us a long time about good ways to train bird dogs. He was such a great help and made us very comfortable. David is a fine person. He really went out of his way to help us find a puppy and I think he found the perfect one. The whole time we were talking, Audie was snooping around. He never barked or cried. He didn't wander too far away from us. We could always see him. He played with leaves and jumped on unsuspecting grass. He was a happy puppy.

The time came to leave. We loaded him up, put some new toys in the crate, and set off for home. Now the moment of truth and the key to our sanity for the six hour drive home. Would he wine the whole way back? He only cried for about 10 minutes after we left, then settled on down for a nap. Perfect!! Who could ask for anything better?! You wouldn't have even known he was there.
We drove a while and then stopped to get some previsions. We hadn't gotten any food for him yet so we stopped at a near by Publix (I so wish they would put one in KY! We just love it!) and got us some lunch, complete with puppy food. When I came back out Pat let Audie out for a walk on the thin strip of grass in front of the car. For the 15 minutes I was gone he said there were tons of people who stopped to pet him and drove by oooh and awing at how cute he was! I immediately swelled up with pride. Yeah, that's my pup. Back in the crate he went and he took it like a champ.
We stopped at a big rest area for lunch and play time. Even there we were stopped a time or two so people could pet him. Audie's little nose sure got it's workout there. He sniffed of everything! Even attacked branches twice his size! He's so brave. And he sure knows who is buddy is. He and Pat made in instant connection.  After we got him good and tired, we set off for home.
Audie loves his Pupaw
After hours of travel time and a few more stops, we were getting closer to home. We stopped by the in-laws to swap vehicles and let Audie run without the leash. The cat that abides there was less than thrilled to see a little pup running around the place but Pat's parents were eager to meet him. Audie is their second grand-dog. As you can see they took right up with him.
After some visiting time, we loaded up and headed home. We pulled in the drive way, picked him up out of the crate, and let him run around at his new home. His first encounter was with the two little cats Dad keeps in his barn. They were pretty hungry and were out scouting around. They are very friendly and when they came up to rub on Pat's leg they got a big surprise! As soon as Pat moved out of the way and they saw Audie they went running into the near by bushes! I think it scared Audie a little too. That didn't stop him from sniffing and exploring though. That little nose and legs were going a mile a minute. When we took him inside it was the same thing. We unloaded all his things and gave him the grand tour of his new home.
We all settled down in the living room to play and it was wonderful. We were all so happy to be together in our home. Our little family. Look how cute he is!
He already has two favorite toys. This rope and a squeaky duck. It only took one time to show him his dog bed and now that is exactly where he goes when he's out of his crate. He loves it!
The next day we got to hang around the house playing and working on house training. He played and slept and seems really happy. We've loved having him with us.

Yesterday was his first day of work as a partner at the Trent Law Office. He really had his nose to the grind. He'll be covering a lot of ground this way.
Hard at work!
Audie gets better at potty training everyday and even tries to play with the cats. He's getting more used to us and his new home. We are adapting pretty well too. It's a big change. It's like looking after a baby but we are ready to make the transition (not a baby just yet). We love our little Audie and everyday we have spent with him so far. I'll keep you updated on new things and his progress. We're just glad he's finally here!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

We Finally Got One!

After nearly nine months of searching and waiting, we finally got the news we've been hoping for: we have a puppy waiting for us! Little Audie is here and ready to be picked up!

David, at Spin To Kennel, has been so wonderful to work with. Two litters were born and another was due any day about four weeks ago. Last week we heard that all the pups in the last litter were still born and the male pups in the first two were already spoken for. I think David empathized with our situation from the previous breeders and knew we wanted one so bad. He bought two puppies from a friend who used his dogs to breed and is letting us buy one! We are SO excited and we actually got to see our pup!

 Isn't he adorable?!

We won't be able to pick him up this weekend but we will defiantly being heading out the next! Pat is really happy that Audie will be here in time to take him out in the field for hunting season. It is really important to get them out there as soon as possible. I'm going to do my best not to spoil him....but I can't promise that.

I just want to go ahead and tell you now so you can prepare. The week after we come back from picking him up I'm going to bombard you with pictures! Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Set Back

Well, we've had a few set backs in getting little Audie, but not to worry. We will still be puppy parents in about six weeks. As you know, we were going to get him from Muddy Creek Kennels. However, due to recent events we have choose another breeder. Would you like to know what made us change our mind? I'll tell you.

First, it was going to be 700 mile trip for us. I don't think either the dog or us would have been very comfortable with that. Second, the entire time we were contacting Muddy Creek and discussing procedures, they never mentioned that a deposit was REQUIRED. They did tell us at one point if we wanted to send one we could, so we did thinking that would guarantee us a puppy. I'm sure it would have too, if they hadn't have lost it!! Pat sent them an email not long after we sent the deposit in making sure they received it. They didn't respond to us until over a month later saying they didn't get it! Naturally, Pat replied asking if they still had a puppy for us. Muddy Creek said, "Yes, we have a puppy for you." From this news, we thought everything was fine and we could go pick him up. We were actually planning to next Saturday. I called them back today to make sure everything was on the up and up when we got more bad news. They didn't have any male puppies left. They sold one, someone had a deposit on the other, and the last one they were keeping for breeding purposes. There were other litters but they wouldn't be ready to pick up for another couple of weeks. That's when we found out that the deposit was "require". Needless to say, we felt jipped. So what have we done?

After discovering they never received our deposit, we started looking for other breeders thinking that Muddy Creek would not have a puppy for us (which they didn't). We found Spin Top Kennel just north east of Athens, Alabama. We've been in contact with the breeder and he seems super nice. He got back with us after our first email almost immediately and at 12:00 at night! Not only is he very nice and timely, he is also 200 miles closer and his puppies are cheaper (not to say they are any less then the other puppies). Want to know how he socializes his puppies? His grand-kids come and play with them!  How adorable is that?! Another up-side is that we should be able to pick which one we want. Muddy Creek said they were just too busy to post pictures of their puppies, so I'm really glad we'll be able to see them instead of going on someone's word. There are two litters (I think) that are due any day. At Spin Top Kennel, they ween the puppies at four weeks and then get them vaccinated at five weeks. After six weeks we can bring one home.

We are so excited to welcome little Audie into our home. We have already got a few things for him: a crate and bed, bowls, a brush, some toys, and I picked up a dog bone cookie cutter for when I make him treats! We were really hoping to bring him home soon but I think this is going to work out better anyway. Hopefully there will be no more mishaps and our little family will be one more member bigger in six weeks.

Wish us luck!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Canning for the Fourth

So what was the Trent household doing for the fourth of July? Canning! What could be more patriotic than growing your own food and storing it yourself for harder times? Since Pat and I were married I've really want to learn how, so my Mom was finally able to show me. We had a huge mess of beans that came in so we got to work. All together we canned 54 quarts of green beans! It's not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The pressure canner is a bit intimidating but if you follow the directions and make sure to be careful with it, it's not that bad at all! Take a look!
The first step is to, obviously, pick the beans. We picked 6 buckets full!! Next you should wash them off (especially if it rains because the dirt will bounce up on them). We sprayed them off with the water-hose on the back porch and then washed them again in buckets. Next you'll have to string and break them as demonstrated by my Dad, an expert in the field of Bean Breaking. 
Next you get to wash them again! Just to make sure you've got all the dirt off of them. Who would want to bite into gritty beans?!
Once your beans are washed put them on to cook. Mom said she lets her's cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat or until all the other supplies are ready for canning. She said the beans will turn a different shade of green and you'll know they are ready then as well.
Either before you put the beans on to cook or directly after, you should wash and put your jars in the oven to heat up. This will sterilize them. It is SO important to make sure everything you work with is sterile when you are canning. Turn the oven on a low heat and leave the jars in until you are ready to can.
You will also need to sterilize the jar lids in boiling water.
Once your beans are ready, fill the sterile jars with the beans and water they were boiled in. Fill the jar up to the bottom of where you screw the lid on and make sure water is covering the beans. Screw the lid on as tightly as you can get it. Before you put any jars in the pressure canner, fill the bottom with water and heat. Every canner should come with instructions on what heat and how high to fill with water. Our canner would hold 7 quarts. Once you place seven jars in the canner slide the lid on and wait until steam starts to come out the top before you add the weight. Our canner called for 10 pounds of pressure for 30 minutes for green beans. Once steam comes out, add the weight then wait about 7 minutes before you start the 30 minutes of cooking time. This will allow the proper pressure to build to cook the beans. Monitor the heat so that the weight has a steady, slow roll. When the weight is on the canner it will roll around.  
After the 30 minutes is over set the canner off the heat for another 30 minutes so the pressure can go down. You can take a case knife and gently lift the weight to see if there is any pressure left. If steam comes out from under the weight either let it sit longer or continue to slowly release the pressure by lifting the weight with the knife. Be very careful if you choose to do it this way! If there is not steam, remove the weight and ALWAYS open the lid away from your body. Just in case there is any pressure left inside.
The finished product! Lots of beans for winter!
These are the ones I canned on my own from start to finish. So happy!
I wanted to can or freeze my sugar-snap peas but they were too delicious and gone too soon. We'll be planting more of them next year.

 What's on our canning agenda next? Probably more beans! I would also like to learn how to make my Mom-In-Law's tomato soup. It's delicious! Especially on cold, snowy days. What are you storing?