March 01, 2016

Vote Jed Bartlett

If you're in a number of states - today is "Super Tuesday".  While I won't get all political on you - I will ask that you do your part and let your voice be heard by voting.  It's not only a right; it's a duty. (Yes, you can expect this pep talk again in November...)

As a registered Independent, I'm carefully weighing my options before I walk into my polling precinct today and wish I could say with absolute certainty how I'm going to vote when I get there.  The candidate I actually liked is gone.

In the meantime - I'm really wishing we could elect our favorite TV President.  In my case, it would be Jed Bartlett from The West Wing.  I could...OK, I do... watch The West Wing over and over again, and wish that I had as much confidence in any of our real life candidates as I do in that this character would do a better job.

Who's your favorite TV President?


February 02, 2016

Tuesdays at the Table - Lemon Squares

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Sorry for the lack of blog posts last week.  A nasty cold has been circulating around the office (and my family) and I finally fell victim.  It was bad enough that I called in sick to work twice last week...and that never happens!

Anyhow, lemon is one of my favorite flavors!  These lemon squares are very easy and a crowd-pleaser.  Or maybe they just make a girl with a cold feel good!

Lemon Squares

2 sticks butter, softened
2  cups sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
juice of two lemons (about 1/3 cup)
zest of two lemons
powdered sugar to decorate

In a large bowl, cream together butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 cups flour and salt.  Press into a greased and floured 9x13 baking dish.  Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, until the edges start to turn golden brown.

In a large bowl, combing the remaining flour and sugar.  Whisk in your eggs, followed by the lemon juice and lemon zest.  Pour your lemon mixture over the baked crust.  Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees, then allow to cool in the pan.

Dust with powdered sugar and slice into 24 bars.

What's cooking in your kitchen?


January 26, 2016

Tuesdays at the Table - Pull Apart Garlic Rolls

Have you all been matching the recipe micro-series Tasty puts out on Facebook and Buzzfeed's website?  For some reason I kept coming back to their garlic pull apart rolls.  So today I made them!  They are just as easy and delicious as they look in the video!

Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

1 tube refrigerated biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
½ tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Cut biscuits into fourths, and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter, garlic powder, parsley, and mozzarella, and mix with your hands, coating all of the biscuit pieces. Place the pieces in a muffin tin, three pieces per tin (you’ll have two extra — just use them in whichever tin you want). Bake for 15 minutes. Best served fresh out of the oven!

What's cooking in your kitchen?


January 25, 2016

Cake Smash!

Sunday I had the pleasure of accompanying my cousin Kristin to cake smash photo shoot.  What is a cake smash you ask?

smash cake n. a celebratory cake intended to be destroyed, especially by a child. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

Growing up, my mom made my brother and I each a tiny cake to smush into for our first birthdays. I still have the pictures my dad took as I demolished my cake in the midst of my birthday party.  The looks on the friends and family around me are almost as priceless as the look on my face at the texture and taste of yellow cake with chocolate frosting!

These days, professionally documenting a cake smash is all the rage! More often than not, it's done a few weeks before a first birthday and the pictures are either shown by mom/dad on social media on the birthday - or used for the birthday party invitation.

Sunday's photo shoot was for an absolutely adorable little girl, I'll call CC.  (Don't get me wrong, mom and dad were REALLY nice - but little CC was just the sweetest little thing!)

Prep: White backdrop and pink & green party decorations

Looking adorable in her party dress!

It took a little convincing - but she finally DOVE into her cake!

I can't show you pictures of the final product (yet).  Kristin is good, but needs a little more time to work her magic AND let Claire's parents see the pictures first.  Instead, here are a few other recent cake smashes! 

What are your thoughts on cake smash sessions?  Did you do it for your kids?


January 21, 2016

Five Reasons I Won't Adopt to You

Being in rescue is emotional.  It's full of highs - pulling a dog from a kill shelter moments before being put to sleep, saving a pregnant dog and watching them realize they can birth their pups in peace...and then NEVER be pregnant again, seeing the joy on the face of an adoptive family when we've found them the right match; and full of lows - fighting to get a dog healthy and it just doesn't succeed, watching a dog go through heartworm treatment and get sick and having to say "no" sometimes when we just don't have the resources to take even more dogs.

As any adoption coordinator will tell you, having to say "no" to an applicant is difficult.  And most of the time - we do it after trying to prompt better responses, reeducating an adopter, and well...just about anything we can think of to turn an applicant into the type of person that would do well with not just one of our dogs - but any dog.

But the fact remains - there are reasons that I just won't adopt to people.

  • If your yard is unfenced and you REFUSE to keep a dog leashed - I will not be adopting to you.  Dachshunds are scent hounds and will tune you out to follow their nose in pursuit of a squirrel, their pee-mail and that can get them into trouble.  I won't even tell you the heartbreaking stories of dogs who accidentally got out of their fenced yards never to be seen again. Or worse... You purposely let your dogs run?  Um...NO.

  • You don't see the need for heartworm preventative.  This is a nasty, nasty condition that could be prevented by a tablet (or topical solution) that costs about $20 a month.  If you won't invest $20 into your dog's health - I'm not confident you'll spend the money to treat them for other ailments, or God forbid, heartworm disease when they catch it from lack of preventative care. You won't be getting one of our dogs.

  • You won't consent to a home visit.  We aren't trying to invade your privacy or judge your me!  We just need to know that our dog is going into a home that is (reasonably) clean and safe.  Visiting you in person helps us get a grasp on what dog will do well with your lifestyle and environment.  When you say "no" make me say "no" back.

  • If your references can't say something nice about you.  I take references checks very seriously.  We check with your existing vet (if you have animals) and personal references.  These are individuals YOU are giving us to talk to.  When they think you won't be a good pet parent, or even scarier - tell us about the last dog you surrendered, we can't hand over one of our dogs.  We just can't.

  • Two words - outside dogs.  If you have dogs that spend their entire lives outside without adequate access to shelter - you are not going to be adopting from us.  This signifies to me that a dog is merely a possession to you. To me, to my rescue, dogs are family.  They deserve the love, the affection, the comforts, you would afford any other family member.  The lives our dogs led before coming into rescue is often a mystery to us - and we do our best to ensure the happy, healthy lives of our dogs moving forward. (Note: Please know I'm not casting judgement on hunting/herding dogs. While I'm not a huge fan of dogs specific to hunting, I understand the theory.  I know that these dogs have a "job", have safe, climate controlled kennels and are generally brought into a family environment at the end of the season.)


January 15, 2016

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!  It's been a while since the last time I've participated in one of April's link-ups.  I can't wait to swing by and see all your posts!

I was so surprised to hear that Alan Rickman passed away.  Like so many of you, I loved him as Severus Snape.  I will always think of him in that role, along with Harry in Love Actually, Metatron in Dogma, Hans Gruber in Die Hard...and so many others.

A photo posted by Nicole Fowler (@cole711) on

We got new iMacs at work this week.  I'm still getting used to it, but am LOVING the 27 inch screen, wireless mouse & keyboard, and the display on this thing is phenomenal! A terabyte of storage is pretty awesome too.

Everyone has been talking about Making a Murderer.  I think it might be time to binge watch it this weekend!

On a whim, my cousin Kristin and I decided to "knit the weather" this year. Above is an example of how the temperature breakdown works and suggested colors.  I decided to play with the colors a bit. I'll do a full post on it this weekend to show off how cold (but pretty) the Boston area in 2016! I should mention that I haven't actually started knitting yet...but do have a great spreadsheet of the temperature going.  Wish me luck!

A photo posted by Nicole Fowler (@cole711) on

Paisley has developed a love affair with my scarves lately.  Probably because the cold weather has FINALLY arrived around here.  I think it might be time to buy her her own little scarf.

What do you all have planned for your long weekend?


January 14, 2016

For the Dogs - My "Favorites" List

I am crazy about dogs.  But you all know that...and (thankfully) most of you appreciate that part of me!

I tend to buy most of my dogtastic items from Amazon.  It's easy to price shop, you know what you're getting...and hey, I already have Amazon Prime!  So, free shipping!

Here are a few of my current favorite items:

Nylabone Liquid Tartar Remover
This might not be the most fun place to start, but dachshunds have bad teeth.  Really.  As in "a trip to the dentist every year or so" bad.  I don't know if you've tried to brush your dogs teeth before, but some are less willing to participate than others.  If I can keep the tartar off their teeth by mixing in a little additive to their water, I'm all for it!

Outward Hound Slow Feeder Bowl
Mealtime can be like the Wild West in my house.  Yes, each of the dogs has their designated place to sit and wait for breakfast and dinner.  But are they quiet about it?!  Heck, no!  And two of them try to inhale their food instead of chewing!  I absolutely love slow feed bowls.  It keeps them interested and slows down the rate that they can get food in their mouths.  If you have a deep chested dog - you know that eating fast can cause bloat; something that scares me.  Just the prospect of saving myself and my dogs that kind of medical emergency is worth the bowls!

Jakks Plubber Dog Toys
These things are all the rage in my household.  Plush + rubber = plubber.  My herd are not aggressive chewers, but are known to take down a stuffy when they put their mind to it, so I prefer not to give them too many toys with stuffing.  Beckett is partial to this mallard!  It's medium rubber inside and covered in a nice plush on the outside.  Added bonus - when they throw the toys at each other (what, your dogs don't do that?!) you're less likely to bruise if you get in the way!

Earthbath Tea Tree Hot Spot & Itch Relief Spray
It doesn't happen often, but Beckett will get a hot spot from time to time.  My parent's spaniel is plagued by them.  It's her body's reaction to being stressed whenever they go on vacation.  This spray is all natural, smells good (kinda minty), and has helped poor Carmella so much.  A few spritzes take the itch away for her and it's enough to get her body healing.  I know a few people that use it between baths for all their dogs - it has oatmeal, vitamin E, aloe vera and teatree oil, so I bet the dogs love it!

Burt's Bees Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
Little secret...I don't like the scent of most dog shampoos, and some of them bother my asthma.  This shampoo doesn't smell much, rinses out quickly and I trust the brand.  The herd likes it too.  I mean, as much as they can for being anti-bath. Ha!  (P.S.  I might be holding a giveaway this dog shampoo next week...)

Poochie Bells
You're probably going to think this is nuts...but my dogs are bell trained when they want to go out.  It started for our family about 15 years ago when my mom put bells on the door for Christmas.  The dogs started hitting them when they wanted to go out, and the bells stayed at the end of the holiday season.  It was an easy system for the older dogs to teach the young dogs and they picked it up quickly!  Think it would work for you?

What are your favorite products?  Anything the dogs and I NEED to try?


I am an Amazon affiliate, If you *happen* to make a purchase of any of the linked products, I won't get rich.  But I just might be able to buy the pups a new bag of cookies...
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