Should You Get Your Kids a Dog for Their Birthday This Year? 5 Considerations to Make

Should You Get Your Kids a Dog for Their Birthday This Year? 5 Considerations to Make

Undoubtedly, receiving a puppy on their birthday is any kids’ idea of the perfect present. However, should you get them a puppy as a surprise? Will they be able to care for your pet for the years to come? 

It is undeniable that welcoming a pet into a household has wonderful benefits, from making your family more social to helping you adopt a more active lifestyle. 

However, before rushing to the nearest breeder, there are some considerations that any parent should do. Don’t underestimate these, as they can genuinely make a difference in the experience you will live with your dog for the years to come.

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Getting your kids ready to care for a dog

A dog can change the life and habits of a family, which is something to keep in mind before introducing a dog into a household. Even if you are fully conscious of these changes and ready to adapt, you should avoid surprising your little ones with a puppy for your birthday.

Instead, getting them to participate in the process can help them adapt to the idea of having to care for someone else. Something that you should communicate with your children before adopting a pet include:

  • The necessary change in habits – dogs, especially when they are still puppies, might need a precise routine to follow, which might not be the ideal for you. Indeed, a puppy might need to walk very early in the morning or late in the evening. Your kids should be aware that this is something they might have to attend to, even if it does not fit their schedules.
  • Training – a young puppy will not be house trained at the moment of adoption. You might be fully prepared for it, but your kids should learn to do their part towards it. 
  • Compassion and care  – a dog is a lifelong present that can drastically change everybody’s lives in your household. Your kids need to understand to treat him or her as part of the family and with respect. Indeed, dogs, especially when they are still puppies, are highly responsive to their surrounding environment. Their owner’s behavior can shape their personality and have a significant impact on their attitude.

Ultimately, as ASPCA suggests, pets should be gifted only to individuals that have expressed the desires of owning one, and they are familiar with the responsibilities that come with it. If you are giving a dog to children younger than 12, you should be ready to take full responsibility for training, development, and care.

Educating your kids

Undoubtedly, a dog can fill any children and adults with joy from the moment of bringing him or her into the household. However, your children need to understand that a dog is not a toy to play with until it becomes cumbersome to care for him. 

  • Statistics and choices

While it might not be the easiest of subjects for a conversation with your kids, they should be aware that 6.5 million pets end up in shelters every year just in the US. Speaking about these types of statistics might help them make a conscious choice regarding adopting a pet and sensibilize them to such topics. 

  • Spraying and neutering.

Preventing pets from reproducing is another way to control and limit the number of animals abandoned and currently in shelters. It is essential, especially if your family cannot care for more than one pet at a time.

  • Microchips and collars 

Caring for a dog might also mean that you have to take precautions in place if an excited puppy gets lost on your daily walks. If found by someone else, they need to have the pet owner’s contact details to return it.

  • Pet safety and emotional care 

Lastly, it is vital to instill in your child the importance of treating your dog with care and compassion. Indeed, these loving creatures might be their best friends for the years to come and bring considerable benefits to their development – such as reducing anxiety and providing protection. However, the relationship should be mutual and based on emotional care.

A pet comes with responsibilities.

If you have already decided that your family is ready to welcome a dog, you should not underestimate the responsibilities that come with it. As we have seen, in the case of children younger than 12, you might have to take full responsibility for the dog’s development.

However, as your children get older, you could consider splitting the pet care duties. You might decide to ask your children to feed or walk the dog once a day if this is possible. Alternatively, your little ones might be in charge of picking up the dog’s toys and reorganizing them. 

These might seem little tasks at first, but they can help any family deal with necessary daily tasks. Moreover, you can use this time to teach your children to be accountable and assume their responsibilities. All this might represent a steep learning curve for the whole family, but it will be worth it!

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A shelter dog vs. a breeder dog

After clarifying all the points above, it is time to decide on the adoption process. Purchasing a dog from a breeder and adopting it from a shelter has pros and cons. 

Adopting a dog from a shelter

A shelter dog is usually older and sometimes hybrids of mixed-breeds. These characteristics might prevent you from enjoying the puppy stage and have you deal with pre-existing issues. 

If you are not sure about the dog’s behavior and character, it can be dangerous to expose your kids to it. Indeed, if you don’t know how the dog can react in certain situations and what are triggers that can spike episodes of aggressiveness, you should speak to an expert first.

However, sometimes, in shelters, you can find well-behaved and trained dogs that belong to a specific breed. While they might still be older than a puppy, this choice can reduce the number of dogs euthanized each year.

Finding a breeder

On the other hand, deciding to purchase a dog from a respectable breeder allows you to have the first choice on its pedigree and breed. In turn, these characteristics help you choose the right dog for a family with kids. 

Wisely picking a breeder is essential in this case. Indeed, many breeders mainly focus on breeding puppies to increase their incomes. Such unethical practices can be highly detrimental to the health of the parents as well as for the puppies.

However, others are sustainable and knowledgeable and aim at breeding only healthy and high-quality puppies. If you have opted to purchase a dog from a breeder, head to this page to find a highly respectable breeder.

Picking the breed and the puppy

The choice of what dog to get has to take into consideration many factors. Aside from your budget and financial status, you should evaluate the size of your flat or house, as well as the time availability. Some breeds might be more kid-friendly, and some dogs might require a much higher level of exercise than others. 

Ultimately, while contemplating your kid’s opinion, you should speak to the rest of your family and experts before making a choice. When picking a puppy from a litter, remember that the puppy might become excited if the people around him are, and also, kids tend to make their choices based on emotions. Instead, it is vital to make this choice logically to find a puppy that matches your needs perfectly. 

 

Cinco de Mayo Celebration – Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Recipe

Cinco de Mayo Celebration – Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Recipe

It’s Cinco De Mayo again and to me that’s the best excuse for a celebration featuring Mexican food and drinks!  Not that I need a reason to enjoy Mexican food, I’m just crazy about it!  No one ever has to twist my arm into making a pitcher of Margaritas or a tray of tacos and burritos.

 

But Cinco De Mayo is still a great excuse to throw a party!  You don’t have to be Mexican in my opinion to celebrate.  But if you really must know the reason Cinco De Mayo is celebrated it’s a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.  Just in case you were thinking it’s the Mexican Independence day, it’s clearly not.  I believe the largest Cinco De Mayo celebration is in Puebla.

History aside Cinco De Mayo has become somewhat a part of American culture simple because it involves great food and drinks I think.  What ever the reason it’s a great time to throw a party or at the very least have a “Mexican” night with the family.

It doesn’t have to be an invite the whole neighborhood block party, you can keep it simple and have a pot luck with friends and family or simpler still enjoy some Mexican dishes with just the family.  Here’s a few fun ideas you can use to make your celebration fun for all!

Set up a Margarita Bar

Guests can help themselves to margaritas, you can serve the classic margarita or add a flavored one or two like mango and strawberry.

If you’ve got kids or for any one wanting something non-alcoholic (like the designated driver) put bottles of Jarrito in a tub of ice, don’t forget the bottle opener!

Or set up a Horchata bar with several flavors of this refreshing Mexican drink.

Put up a Pinata

Pinatas are always fun.  They’re colorful and full of candy, what’s not to like?  You can use your pinata as just decoration or you can actually have the kids break it.

If you consider breaking the pinata with a stick too violent, I’m a bit iffy on it too, you can cut a flap on the bottom of your pinata and attach ribbons or string to it.  The kids just have to tug on it to let the candy and other treats out.  This is a safer option specially when there are toddlers involved!

 

Set a colorful table!

Use colorful dinnerware at the table and as serving plates.

They don’t have to be ceramic, you can mix and match colorful paper or plastic plates.

 

Decorate with bright colors and props

Dust off the maracas and sombreros and haul out the serapes.  Use colorful balloons, fabrics, banners, paper lanterns and flowers to spruce up the party area.

Don’t forget colorful baskets they can hold everything from flatware to favors!

 

Serve lots and lots of Mexican Food!

Tacos, burritos, nachos, chimichangas, enchaladas, you name it!  Serve up lots of your favorites.  If you’re just wanting to keep it simple then focus on an entree like fajitas, and serve up sides of rice and beans.  But don’t forget the salsa and guacamole!

If you don’t  a lot of time to cook then whip up a pot of my Beef Barbacoa, you can use it in tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, or whatever you want.  Best of all it’s made in an Instant Pot and can be made in less than 2 hours.  Your friends and family will think you slaved over a hot stove all day!

Here’s the recipe!


Beef Barbacoa

Ingredients:

3-4 Lbs. Chuck Roast cut into large chunks

2 Tbs Minced Garlic

3-4 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (you can buy a can in the Mexican section of the grocery store) – chopped

1 (4oz) can of diced green chiles

1 Onion finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Bay Leaves

1 Tbs Cumin

1 Tbs Oregano

1 Tbs Sea Salt

1 Tbs Black Pepper

1/4 Tsp Ground cloves

3/4 Cup Beef Broth

2 Tbs Olive Oil

Directions:

Turn on pot to Saute and heat olive oil

Sear meat chunks in the oil

Add the remaining ingredients on top of the beef

Cover and make sure valve is set to “Sealing”

Change pot setting to Manual and adjust time to 60 minutes

Once it’s done let it sit in the pot for 15 minutes then carefully turn the valve to “venting” to depressurize the pot

 

Remove cover and shred beef – it shouldn’t take much to shred it by now the meat should be falling apart.

Leave in juices until ready to use

Use to fill tacos and burritos or to top nachos.  Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

You can store leftovers in its juices in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.

 

Beef Barabacoa Nachos, Beef Barbacoa Street Tacos, or Barbacoa Quesadillas are just a few dishes you can make using the Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa recipe!

 

Adult Halloween Cocktails

Adult Halloween Cocktails

Halloween is a time for kids, costumes, candies, and fun.  But who says it’s just for kids?  Halloween is loved by the big kids too!  Adults love to dress up and act silly too!  And we certainly enjoy the treats too!  My favorites are those bite sized chocolate bars, specially Snickers!  But if that spooky caldron  of Halloween Hawaiian Punch doesn’t quite do it for you, or you’re looking for something a bit boozy here are some fun Halloween Cocktails for you!

So get out your shakers and blenders and break out the booze to mix up some of these fiendishly yummy Halloween Cocktails!  They’ll be a spooktacular addition to your Adult Halloween Party.  Or you can whip some up and snuggle up with your partner once the kids are tucked in after a long night of trick or treating!  However you decide to imbibe please do so responsibly and don’t drink and drive!

halloween cocktailsThe Flavor Bender’s Witches Heart Halloween Cocktail looks ghoulishly lovely![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsWalking Dead fans will swoon over this Walker Blood Sangria from Cravings of a Lunatic. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

 

 

halloween cocktailsThe Black Beard Cocktail from Honestly Yum will surely chill your bones.  It looks pretty terrifying but don’t be daunted!  It’s a sweet cocktail made with spiced rum and chocolate stout. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsWhip up Tammilee’s (from Tammilee’s Tips) Candy Corn Cocktail.  It uses whipped cream vodka, yum![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

halloween cocktailsSmarty Had a Party mixes up this creamy concoction called Liquified Ghost. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsThis Witch’s Brew by Self Proclaimed Foodie is bewitchingly simple and tasty. [spacer

height=”20px” id=”2″] halloween cocktailsThe Tipsy Bartender’s Soul Reaper Cocktail is scary delish and packs quite a punch! [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsFor Rent’s Green Potion Halloween Cocktail is simple to mix.

 

 

 

Shop Halloween Party Supplies on Zazzle.com

Adult Halloween Party Ideas

Adult Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween is lots of fun.  I’ve mentioned many times that it’s my second most favorite holiday, second only to Christmas.  I love the décor, the costumes, trick or treaters, treats, and most of all the parties.  I’ve been planning and hosting Halloween parties since my kids were young, now we host them for the grandkids and their buddies.  But Halloween parties aren’t just for kids, adults love them too!

Throwing an adult Halloween party is pretty much like throwing a kids’ Halloween party, but with a bit more.  When throwing kids Halloween parties you to keep decorations less scary, the food simpler, the games and activities geared for the appropriate age groups, and of course the drinks all non-alcoholic.  Adult Halloween parties can be spookier and more sophisticated.  You can go to town with the décor; you can go for gory themes à la Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a subtler vintage theme like the Haunted Mansion, or a more sophisticated theme like maybe channeling trendy designers like Kate Spate and decorate with black and white stripes and polka dots.  Really the possibilities are endless.

Adult Halloween parties also require food that’s a bit heartier and more sophisticated than mummy pizzas.  You can spread out a dinner buffet or for small parties host a spooky sit down dinner.  And of course you can serve booze!

As for party activities you have lots to choose from, including some drinking games!  Or if you prefer you can watch scarier movies that you wouldn’t want the kids to watch.

Here are some ideas to help you plan your Adult Halloween Party this year!

adult halloween partyVintage Halloween décor from Wedding Paper Divas

You can order cool Halloween invites from them too!  Click here! (affiliate link)[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyHere’s a spooky idea from the Krazy Coupon Lady.  Glowing patio stairs!

Click here to learn how!

She’s got lots of ideas for decorating with glow sticks too![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyBubble, bubble toil and trouble!  I love this spooky cauldron from Home and Style![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyI love this classy dessert table by Smash Cake Southern California!

Sophisticated and spooky!

adult halloween partyFloating candles are cool, specially for Harry Potter fans!  Your theme can even be Harry Potter.

Learn how to do this and get more Harry Potter ideas from Eating Bender!  Click here![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyChic and sophisticated, I love this spooky stripe setting by Elle Decor!  It brings the trendy look of Kate Spade to mind.

adult halloween partyJello shots, literally”brain” dip!  Learn how from the Stylista!

adult halloween party
[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyFor drinking games with a Halloween twist check out Celebration’s ideas here!

This is the Halloween version of classic beer pong![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsAnd don’t forget the booze.  Click here for some spooktacular cocktail recipes from around the web![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Tiny Prints Halloween Invitations and Cards

Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween Party Ideas

Photo by Savvy Nana

Halloween is on Friday.  It’s not to late to throw a Halloween party.  When my kids were young we used to throw a pre-trick-or-treat party, it was lots of fun!

Consider inviting friends over for pot luck, it makes it easier to feed excited kids.  And making one dish to share is easier than preparing the whole dinner yourself.

A few games before hitting the streets gets the evening off to a good start.  Then wind things down after trick-or-treating by sharing a good Halloween book or watching a scary movie.

Here are a few ideas to jump start your party.

Dinner Suggestions:

A spooky twist on pigs-in-blankets.  These Mummy Dogs from Raining Hot Coupons are easy to make and will surly be a hit.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Halloween Party Ideas

Courtesy of Delish

Jack-o-Lantern Sandwiches from Delish.com are really just layers of ham and cheese baked in ready made pie crust.  If you prefer you can use slicked turkey or other cold cuts instead of the ham.

Halloween twist on deviled eggs by Delicious as it Looks.

Halloween Party Ideas

Courtesy of Momtastic

This spider web dip is a spooky variation of party favorite 7 Layer Dip from Momtastic.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Party

Courtesy of Just A Taste

Had to throw these adorable Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops from Just a Taste!  They are too cute!

 

 

 

 

 

This Pumpkin Fudge Eclair Cake from Inside Bru Crew Life looks super yummy!

Click here for recipe.

 

 

 

 

Halloween Party Ideas

Savvy Nana

Witches brew is always a hit at our parties.  Any punch will do, it’s the fog that makes this spooky fun.
DIY Dry Ice click here.
How to use dry ice in drinks safely click here.

For more Halloween dinner recipes click here!
For Homemade Halloween treat recipes click here!

 

 

Games:

Halloween Party Ideas

A fall party staple is bobbing for apples, if you don’t want to get wet try tying donuts on strings and let the players chomp away.

Halloween Party Ideas

Instead of pinning the tail on the donkey dis-assemble a jointed skeleton cut out and have the kids re-assembling it blind folded.

Halloween Party Ideas

Instead of a pinata try this Pop Goes the Pumpkin from MarthaStewart.com.  The Pumpkin makes a cute decoration and the kids will love popping the balloons to find their surprise.

Halloween Party Ideas

For some ghoulishly good fun have blind folded kids guess which body part they are touching.

Simply place assorted food in containers and have the blind folded child stick her hand in each container to feel around, she must guess the body part that is in each container.

Use peeled grapes for “eyes”, cold cooked spaghetti for “hair”,  etc.

When the fun and food are over gather your ghosts and goblins to trick-or-treat in the neighborhood.  By the end of the evening you will most likely have a group of over tired kids, wind them down with a quiet activity such as reading a Halloween book or watching a Halloween movie.


10 Best Bridal Shower Ideas

10 Best Bridal Shower Ideas

Four years ago we were planning my son’s summer wedding.  It was a fairly large wedding with just under 200 guests and we had over a year to plan it, but we were quite busy the whole year.

My two daughters were bridesmaids as were the bride’s two cousins, her maid of honor was her high school best friend.  We all assumed that the maid of honor would do her duty and plan both the bridal shower and a bachelorette party.  The bridesmaids offered their help about 7 months before the wedding; the MOH said she’d get back to them.

We were all shocked when one month before the wedding the MOH told the bridesmaids that the bride didn’t want  the shower nor party, and she, the MOH, didn’t have time to plan them.

A week later as we were putting welcome bags and favors together a discussion about a shower and bachelorette party ensued; the bride was waiting for her MOH to throw both.  We didn’t have a choice but to break the bad news to the bride, thankfully she didn’t quite have a melt down!  Instead she called a meeting with her bridal party for the next day, I was invited along.  It was an awkward meeting, but the MOH agreed she could make time to plan the parties, that is until she sent a text to the bride later that evening quitting!  She stated she was just too busy to take on MOH duties and didn’t like the bridesmaids.

This unnecessary drama was upsetting, but the bridesmaids stepped up to the plate.  The MOH was replaced by the bride’s cousin and another cousin was appointed bridesmaid, thankfully the gown fit the new bridesmaid and the old MOH returned it!

Once the dust settled we realized we had 2 weeks to plan and execute a bridal shower and a bachelorette party; and we didn’t even have a guest list!  Undaunted the girls set to work with the help of their mothers.  Together with various friends and relatives we were able to throw both events without anymore hitches!  Thank goodness for Party City!

Bridal Shower Ideas

Thankfully when my daughter got married the following year her bridal party planned her bridal shower and bachelorette party well in advance. The Las Vegas themed bridal shower was held at our house in honor of the Las Vegas wedding.  The bachelorette was in Las Vegas and didn’t require a whole lot of planning other than transportation.   The bridal party was very much on the ball and got everything done.  Their drama didn’t start until the day before the wedding!  But that’s a different story!

Bridal Shower IdeasBridal Shower Ideas
I hope no one else has to go thru the wedding drama we did, but if you do rest assured you can still plan and throw a great party at the last minute.  Whether the bridal shower you’re planning is last minute or not here are some ideas to help you get started.
Bridal Shower Ideas
Southern Blue Celebrations

A Paris/Chanel Bridal Shower is perfect for the bride who is a fashionista, is off to Paris on her honeymoon, or both.

You can get inexpensive Paris themed decor, like the Eiffel Tower, at Ross, TJ Maxx, discount stores and on Amazon.
You can change up the colors, but keep the black, it’s tres chic!

Serve dainty finger food, French macaroons, and don’t forget the champagne!

Bridal Shower Ideas
My Wedding Favors

An Italian Themed Shower for a bride who loves to cook, is going to Italy for her honeymoon, or both!

Set up food stations:  Pasta Bar, Italian Soda Bar, Bruschetta Station, Wine Bar, and even a Gelato Bar.

You can decorate with herbs planted in tomato sauce cans, and jars of assorted pastas, they can double as party favors and game prizes!

We did an Italian themed “Despidida del Soterra” (good-bye to singleness) when my daughter got married.  We served different types of pastas and sauces and lots of breadsticks and garlic bread.

Bridal Shower Ideas
Happy Wedd

Beach themed parties are always fun. It’s the perfect bridal shower theme, specially if the honeymoon’s at some romantic tropical island like Hawaii or Bora Bora.

Decor can be dreamy and bright, calling to mind tropical breezes and gentle ocean waves.
Use shells, wind chimes, and sandcastles to create a romantic background.

Serve fresh salads and seafood.  For dessert offer tropical fruit mousses or sorbets.

Bridal Shower Ideas
The Glamorous Housewife

Nothing screams romance more than a vintage garden tea party.  If you’re bride is a romantic it’s the perfect bridal shower theme for her.

Have it outdoors if weather permits.  Instead of tables and chairs lay out a pretty cloth to sit on and make it a picnic.
You’ll have ready made decor with the surrounding trees and flowers, enhance them with pretty lanterns you can hang from low tree branches.  Wildflowers in vintage bases add romance.

Serve tea sandwiches, scones, and other tea party fare on vintage china and teas in silver or pretty china teapots.
Don’t forget to line serving platters with paper doilies for added cuteness!

Bridal Shower Ideas
A Well Crafted Party

A Las Vegas theme is popular for bachelorette parties, but it works for a bridal shower as well.

The girls had one for my daughter, her wedding was in Las Vegas.  Decorating was easy and inexpensive; lots of playing cards, dice, and crap table/blackjack printed felt used as tablecloths.

Serve fun foods such as sliders, chips, dips, and mini tacos.

Bridal Shower Ideas
Paige’s Party Ideas

Pamper the bride and her guests with a spa bridal shower.  It’s a great way to unwind and visit with her friends before the big day.

You can set up DIY stations for facials and mani-pedis.  Your supplies can serve as decor and favors.

Serve fresh salads and infused water and play soothing background music.  With treatment like this everyone will be ready for the wedding on time!

Learn how to make your own bath salts click here!  They make great favors, pack them up in small jelly jars, too cute!

 

Bridal Shower Ideas

The Hostess with the Mostess

For the bride who loves to cook and bake or the bride who needs to learn how, a kitchen/cooking shower is a great idea.

You can plan on a cooking/baking demonstration as part of the event.  Have each guests bring their favorite recipe written on a recipe card to share with the bride.

Decorate with kitchen utensils and gadgets, they can double as favors or the bride can take them home for her own kitchen.

You can serve the bride’s favorite foods or just about anything you like.

 

 

 

 

 

Bridal Shower Ideas
Pretty My Party

For the elegant bride plan a Breakfast at Tiffany’s shower. It’ll be extra special if she happens to be an Audrey Hepburn fan too!

Your colors are set, Tiffany blue and white of course!  Decorate with strands of faux pearl necklaces, over sized “diamond” rings, and other bling.

You can set up a breakfast or brunch buffet, don’t forget the Mimosa or Bloody Mary Bar!

Bridal Shower Ideas
Amanda Erickson Design

For the bride going on a honeymoon cruise send her off in style with a nautical themed bridal shower.

Decorate with fishing nets, lighthouses, anchors, oars, and other seafaring gadgets.

Serve fresh seafood and salads, and set up a Bloody Mary Bar.

Bridal Shower Ideas
Brooklyn Limestone

Throw a Floating Umbrella Garden Party, it is a shower after all!  I just love this idea of using umbrellas for decor, it looks so fun!  I think it’s a great idea for a spring bridal shower.

You can make it a tea party and serve finger foods and tea cakes.  Use bright colors to make it fun.