• November 26, 2014

    National Dog Show Predictions

    Purina National Dog Show Feature Image

    Every year the American Kennel Club holds the National Dog Show in Philadelphia.  Watching the show has become a favorite part of my Thanksgiving tradition and I always cheer on the corgis.  *grin*

    This year, I thought it might be fun to try and predict the winning breeds.  First, though, we should talk about how the show actually works.

    There are seven categories and many breeds for each category: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Herding, and Non Sporting.

    Now, it is impossible to know which specific dogs will be selected as best in breed and represent their breed in the show we all see on TV.  This is because there is, first, a competition of each breed (sometimes hundreds of the same breed of dog will compete) to determine who is best in breed.  The animals who are determined as best in breed will go on the complete against the other winners in each category to be best in show.  Because of this, my guesses and hopes for which dog will win this year are purely guesses based on my preferences – not any kid of actual logic or ability to see how dogs from each group stand up againstthe others.

    Since 2004, the winners of best in show were (in order): Fox Terrier, Bull Terrier, Toy Poodle, Australian Shepherd, Pointer, Scottish Terrier, Irish Setter, Wire Fox Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, and American Foxhound.  I think I’m seeing a trend here… yes?

    No matter, things can always change, right?  So lets jump in and see what we think!

    Nova Scotia Duck Trolling Retriever

    Sporting breeds were bred to assist with hunting by locating, marking, flushing out, and retrieving wild game.  Breeds included in this group are: English Setter, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, Pointer, German Shorthaired, Pointer, Weimaraner, Vizsla, Brittany, German Wirehaired, Pointer, Wirehaired Pointing, Griffon, Spinone Italiano, Flat-Coated Retriever, Curly-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling, Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, American Water Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Sussex Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel (ASCOB), Cocker Spaniel (Parti-Color), Cocker Spaniel (Black)

    For the sporting group, I choose the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.  Not only are these dogs adorable, but they have a ridiculous name and probably deserve to win just for that.


    Afghan Hound, Saluki, Ibizan Hound, Pharaoh Hound, Greyhound, Whippet, Borzoi, Scottish Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound, American Foxhound, English Foxhound, Harrier, Beagle (15 inch), Beagle (13 inch), Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Norwegian Elkhound, Basenji, Black and Tan Coonhound, Bloodhound, Otterhound, Petit Bassett Griffon, Vendéen, Basset Hound, Dachshund (Smooth), Dachshund (Longhaired), Dachshund (Wirehaired), Plott

    For the hound group, my prediction is that the Beagle (let’s say the 15 inch) will win.  Beagles were bred for tracking and are stubborn, smart, and full to the brim with energy.  They also have beautiful coloring.


    The working breeds were bred for intelligence and strength.  These dogs have, historically, served as police dogs, guard dogs, and service animals.  Included breeds are: Doberman Pinscher, German Pinscher, Black Russian Terrier, Giant Schnauzer, Standard Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Bernese, Mountain Dog, Greater Swiss, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Akita, Boxer, Great Dane, Bullmastiff, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Portuguese Water Dog, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees, Kuvasz, Komondor, Anatolian, Shepherd Dog, Tibetan Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Chinook

    In this group, I’m going to vote for the Akita.  These dogs are known for their intelligence, assertiveness, and protective nature.  They can also be pretty aggressive, if not properly trained.  Akita’s are so soft looking and I want to cuddle one.

    West Highland Terrier

    Terriers were bred mostly in Britain for hunting small animals like rats and badgers.  They are fast, energetic, and brave animals.  Terrier breeds are: Airedale Terrier, Irish Terrier, Welsh Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Russell Terrier, Rat Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier, Border Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Manchester Terrier (Standard), Miniature Schnauzer, Australian Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Skye Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Sealyham Terrier, Glen of Imaal Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, White Bull Terrier (White), Colored Bull Terrier (Colored), Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Norwich Terrier

    I’m rather partial to the Westie (West Highland Terrier) because of their sweet personalities.  These little guys are affectionate and friendly, but much less hyperactive than many of the other terrier breeds.

    Yorkshire Terrier

    The toy breeds were always meant for companionship and to be kept as indoor pets.  This group includes: Italian Greyhound, Chinese Crested, Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Smooth Coat Chihuahua, Long Coat Chihuahua, Toy Fox Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Toy Manchester Terrier, Havanese, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Cavalier King Charles, Spaniel, English Toy Spaniel (B&PC), Japanese Chin, Papillon, Silky Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Affenpinscher, Brussels Griffon, Pug Pekingese

    I love Yorkshire terriers for this group.  The show dogs have such beautiful, long coats… I like to think about these dogs sitting on the laps of fancy ladies who have nothing else to do but brush their shiny coats.

    Pembroke Welsh Corgi

    Herding dogs were bred for just that, herding.  These are hard working, intelligent animals who, historically, worked on farms to move sheep and cattle from place to place.  Included in the herding breeds are: Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Briard, Collie (Rough), Collie (Smooth), Shetland Sheepdog, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Bearded Collie, Old English Sheepdog, Polish Lowland, Sheepdog, Puli, Canaan Dog, Australian Cattle Dog, Bouvier des Flandres, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, German Shepherd Dog, Swedish Vallhund, Beauceron

    I can’t recall ever seeing a Pembroke Welsh Corgi outperform the others in this category, but Ollie seems to think this is their year.  Let’s hope so!  *grin*

    Shiba Inu

    And last but not least, the nonsporting group which is literally just a catchall for the leftover breeds.  Because it’s a hodgepodge of different animals, it’s hard to think critically about what breed ought to win out over the others.  This group consists of: Poodle (Standard), Poodle (Miniature), Bichon Frise, Löwchen, Dalmatian, Finnish Spitz, Keeshonden, American Eskimo Dog, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, Shiba Inu, Schipperke, Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Spaniel, Tibetan Terrier, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, Bulldog

    My favorite is the shiba inu.  These dogs were bred in Japan as companions and hunters.  They are very pretty dogs and very loyal to their families.


    From these choices for best in breed, I would like to make my hopeful guess that a Pembroke Welsh Corgi will win the best in show.  I’m a little biased, though, so if a corgi can’t win, my second choice is the west highland terrier.

    I hope you’ll watch the National Dog Show with me tomorrow to see if my guesses and preferences match up with the reality!

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


    Photos and research is thanks to:




  • November 19, 2014

    Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread


    Baby, it’s cold outside!  And let me tell you, there is nothing like snow on the ground and ice in the air to make me want to spend all day in my kitchen making lovely treats!  So, today you’re in luck, because it’s freezing outside!

    While I love to bake, I have very little talent and even less patience for rolling dough and other time consuming things like that.  This makes monkey bread one of my favorite things to make… tastes just like cinnamon rolls, but without all the hassle!

    This recipe for monkey bread is special for fall, though, with the addition of pumpkin and pumpkin spice!  I hope you love it as much as I do… maybe even enough to make for Thanksgiving breakfast?  *hint hint*


    Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread Recipe

    By Erin Published: November 19, 2014

      Baby, it's cold outside!  And let me tell you, there is nothing like snow on the ground and ice in the air to make me want to spend …



      1. Gather Ingredients.
      2. Heat Oven to 350. For the Dough: Combine butter and sugar. Add 3 egg whites and beat until frothy. Add pumpkin puree, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well.
      3. For the filling: Combine final three ingredients in a separate bowl until crumbly.
      4. Put rounded tablespoons of the dough in a baking pan, sprinkle in the filling. Continue until all dough and filling is used.
      5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until bread tests cleanly with toothpick. Enjoy!

    • November 12, 2014

      DIY: Pennant Banner


      Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be to make time for thing s you really enjoy or things you really want to do.  Often these things are time consuming, expensive, or difficult.  People in general have a tendency to let our passions fall by the wayside as we focus on making it through the daily grind.  We work, we clean, we fulfill our obligations in the world and then we start it all over again tomorrow.

      I am learning more and more that this is how I tend to live my life.  It’s a big part of my upbringing – to work hard and to find pride in that work; to be strong and smart and never give up.  These aren’t bad things.  In fact, I’m pretty proud of who I am and what I do.  I am, however, learning to slow it down sometimes and make room for things that genuinely make me happy.  A friend of mine recently told me that too often people live to work but should really be working to live.  What’s the point of the daily grind if we never do anything we love?

      One of those things I love, but rarely make time for, is sewing.  I have always enjoyed crafting and creating and sewing can fill that need quite nicely.  So, for today, I have devised a very simple, but very fun sewing project tutorial for a double sided pennant banner.  I hope you enjoy taking the time to make one as much as I did!



      You will need:

      Fabric (I used pieces from two different charm packs)

      Bias Tape


      Sewing Machine (or a lot of free time to hand sew)

      Pinking Shears

      Fabric Pencil


      Step One: Choose your fabric.  You will need one 5×5 square of fabric for each side.  The fabric collections (and side of the banner) are autumn and Christmas themed.  Lay the sides together, back to back.



      Step Two: Create a pattern.  I used the cardboard piece that came with my charm packs to create a triangle.  Trace the pattern on one side of each set of fabric squares with your fabric pencil.  I did all of my pattern tracing on the autumn themed side to keep it simple.



      Step Three: Sew the two sides together along your lines.



      Step Four: Cut outside the lines you’ve sewn with the pinking shears.  This creates a decorative edge while also preventing the fabric from unraveling.

      Repeat steps two through four until you have enough pennant triangles for your banner.  I used the full 3 yards of bias tape for my banner and made fourteen triangles, but you can make yours as long or as short as you care to.  Just make sure to measure first so you know how many pennant triangles you need to make.



      Step Five: Once you’ve made all your pennant triangles, pin them in to the bias tape.  To ensure your banner is evenly spaced, simply fold the bias tape directly in half and place and equal number of pennant triangles on each side.  Easy!

      Now that you have everything pinned in place, sew along the edge to pull it all together.  I decided to sew two parallel lines along the bias tape to help with stability.



      Step Six: Hang up your pennant banner and admire your handiwork!  And when the season changes, just flip the banner around!




    • November 5, 2014

      Autumn Scavanger Hunt


      I love fall.  I love the changing leaves and the crisp air.  I love pumpkins and the harvest and drinking hot tea.  It’s beautiful, so every year I drag whoever will come with me out to look at the beauty.

      Sometimes, though, just driving around looking at the beauty can turn a little bit boring, you know?  So this year, I decided to take my husband on a scavenger hunt for fall things!  We had a lot of fun and got to take time to relax a little and enjoy the season.  So often, we don’t make the time for things like this and before we know it… it’s over.  So, I hope you’ll enjoy my pictures and maybe take your family on a little scavenger hunt as well!




      Yellow Tree

      Yellow Tree


      Tree with no Leaves

      Tree with no Leaves








      Halloween Decorations

      Halloween Decorations


      Barbed Wire

      Barbed Wire




      Red Barn

      Red Barn





      Fallen Leaves

      Fallen Leaves





      Interesting Front Door

      Interesting Front Door





      Old Car

      Old Car


      Some of these things were a lot harder to find than I thought they would be.  I also hadn’t really thought through how strange it would be to take pictures of houses where I didn’t know who lived inside.  That was especially troublesome to my hubby… but we did it!  We drove all over 3 different towns and found everything on the list!  When we weren’t taking pictures, we got to enjoy each other’s company and focus on us for a while.  It was lovely!  And, I could totally see this as a great activity for a family with kids…. maybe more things you can find just in a park or your own neighborhood?  There’s a lot you can do here to make things fun and fit your lifestyle and family’s needs.

      Happy scavenging!