Austin has been pitching me the idea of doing “pop art” for our dog Whiskey for a while. i did a few google image searches – and yes, of course it’s a thing. i have just a tiny little teensy bit of Photoshop know-how (thank you, high school) and knew that i should use the Pen tool to cut out Whiskey’s head of another photo. i simply changed the color of that layer, and switched out the background colors to find an assortment we liked. it took only a few minutes, even for a Photoshop beginner like me.
i stumbled on this great website called Easy Canvas Prints, based in Austin, TX, and saw that their 16 x 20 prints (what we ended up purchasing) are only $23 each! compared to CVS Photo ($45 each), Walgreens Photo ($60!!!) and Shutterfly ($80!!!!), Easy Canvas Prints was a steal. in an effort to be a smart shopper, i checked out their reviews on Facebook, which are mostly positive, before taking the plunge. we couldn’t be happier with our new pup art, and Whiskey looks right at home in front of his portraits.
according to the animal hospital that gave our puppy his first physical exam after he was found roaming the rough streets of Tulsa and eating out of garbage cans, Whiskey’s first birthday is this Wednesday, Aug. 16!
Austin and i adopted this little bug from Rescued N’ Ready Animal Foundation after i wore down Austin’s resistance to getting a dog with my excessive nagging.
we adopted Whiskey in December, but we already celebrate a ton of holidays in December (aka MY very important birthday, oh and also Jesus’s) so we’ll go ahead and celebrate Whiskey’s birthday in lieu of celebrating his adoption day.
first i took this guy to Biscuit Acres Dog Park at 91st & Yale. [Whiskey is sporting a Chai’s Choice front range harness]
after a very busy 15 minutes of running, sniffing butts and rolling in dirt, Whiskey was ready to go home.
for his birthday, i decided to make Whiskey a batch of homemade peanut butter banana oatmeal treats.
this recipe is so simple. it only has three ingredients: oats (1 1/2 cup), bananas (1 or 2, depending on how big they are) and creamy peanut butter (1/2 cup). a fourth ingredient, love, is optional, and does not affect the taste of the treat.
first, set the oven to 350 degrees (F).
next, you might find the oats easier to work with if you beat them into a powder with a food processor. it should look like sand.
in a separate bowl, mash together the banana and peanut butter. when it’s finished, it should look like oily, light-colored diarrhea. chunks of banana are fine.
set aside a small bit of the oat powder, maybe 1/4 cup. mix the rest of your concoctions together into a dough.
use the extra oat powder like a flour to dust a sheet of parchment paper. put the dough on the parchment paper, and fold over it so your rolling pin doesn’t stick to the dough. roll it out to about a quarter-inch thick. [if the treats are too thin, they’ll burn in the oven.]
use a cookie cutter to cut out your treats and lay them out onto a baking pan. i line it with aluminum foil first but if you want to make your baking pans dirty and disgusting, that’s fine.
stick these bad boys in the oven for about 15-18 minutes. they should be golden-brown when you take them out. let them cool for about 20 minutes before letting doggie have at ’em.
because there is banana in them, the treats should be eaten within 7-10 days.
you can keep them in a tupperware [or the carry-out tubs from PeiWei because you save all of those because you’re cheap].
finally, feed them to your doggie because he or she is a good boy or girl! happy birthday, Whiskey! your mama slaved over a hot oven for you!
RECIPE [without all the dumb commentary]
-1 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
-1 or 2 bananas
-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1. Set the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grind the 1 1/2 cup of oats into a powder using a food processor.
3. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and peanut butter into a mushy mess.
4. Set aside about 1/4 cup of oat powder. Mix the rest of the oat powder with the mushy peanut butter & banana mess into a dough.
5. Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thin. Cut out as many treats as you can get out of the dough.
6. Lay the treats onto a baking pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
7. Cool for about 20 minutes before feeding to your dog.
it has been a few years since my entire family took a vacation together. dad has been talking about Alaska ever since we visited 14ish years ago, so my brother and sister-in-law generously took us all back for a week-long tour.
the particular tour we booked is called Nature’s Best, through a company called Globus. it’s ideal because it’s a guided tour with lodging, activities, attractions and most meals already booked, meaning little planning and a lot of exploring on our parts.
i can’t get over the scenery; it’s just as beautiful as everyone says it is. the highlight of the trip, for me, came right in the middle: a double rainbow came out during our wilderness tour through the Denali National Park & Preserve. our wilderness tour guide shrugged it off, like, “yeah, that happens here.”
caribou blocking traffic
mother bear & two cubs
Alaskan State Bird, ptarmigan
our wilderness tour was eight hours long, on a school bus. no cell signal inside the park – just hours of looking for ‘the Big Five’: moose, caribou, Dall sheep, bear and coyote. we saw four out of the five – never spotted a coyote.
near the end of our trip we drove along the ocean to get to Anchorage. we left early in the morning, but it really doesn’t matter – in the summer, the sun stays up 20+ hours every day, so the beach looks this beautiful at all hours.
we got incredibly lucky and joined the Denali Club that week. Denali is the tallest mountain in North America, and it’s gorgeous – when you can see it. locals estimate the mountain is only visible about 30-percent of the time. otherwise, it’s too cloudy to see the peak. about an hour before we were leaving Talkeetna, i got a call from our hotel, the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. i’d put our room number down on the “Denali watch list,” which staff call as soon as the mountain is visible.
i’m in Heaven!
sister-in-law Ang holding a lil baby
another highlight: visiting the Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake. dog-sledding is no joke in Alaska; it’s actually the state sport. people who race in the Iditarod devote their entire lives to it: breeding dogs, training dogs, testing gear and clothing. winning the race doesn’t pay much at all – you win bragging rights and enough money to barely break even on all your shipping costs.
i’m now vacation-day-bankrupt, but it was worth it to spend time with my family in this raw, serene state. this type of vacation isn’t my ideal trip (think tropical, a lot of sleeping, eating and drinking on the beach), but my dad loved it, and that’s what matters.