One year


One year ago today we brought home our first rescue dog, Casey.  She had a rough start in her young life.  She was fortunate to have a mother that managed to find the right people to save them all.  Casey came from a litter of two sisters (Ella and Dallas) and one brother (Finn).  Their mother was Bree.

Shortly after being rescued Casey and Dallas became very ill.  From what I was told it was touch and go for both of them.  I am thankful there were professionals out there willing to do what it takes to save two stray pups!

Casey was considered a shy/timid dog.  Take note I used the word “was”!  I swear when she came home we spent at least the first two months on the floor.  She needed you down low.  She did not like to have her head touched.  Still not crazy about it from someone she does not know.  Noises, people, cars etc. would cause her to become scared.  To the point of shaking, with her tail tucked and sometimes she even whimpered.  Her crate became her safe place.  You could see her whole body relax every time she walked in her crate.  We left the door open for her so she had access anytime she felt anxious.  We would stay sitting on the floor in the living room but often she would go to her crate.  She would come and look at us to make sure we were still there before retreating to her safe place.  The only time she uses her crate now is when we are not home!

Waiting for a treat

Waiting for a treat

Casey had a hard time bonding with my husband because of his travel schedule.  Typically he is gone Monday thru Friday.  He had only a few days a week to attempt to win her over.  I thought he was going to cry, after about 6 to 8 weeks, she actually laid in the living room floor with him and watched TV for the night.  It was a beautiful thing.

Playing with a toy

Playing with a toy

The key to bringing Casey out of her shell was truly nothing more than patience.  There were days it felt like we had digressed.  We were like new parents with each new milestone!  She did not run to her crate when Brian came home…CELEBRATE.  She let us touch and actually pet her head…WAHOO.  Her tail has not been tucked for several weeks…PARTAY!    Eventually she joined a party of about 25 people and did not run when they acknowledged her…okay already having a party so…YAH!  She stands at the top of the stairs and stares down delivery people instead of hiding in the dining room…YES!  We are still celebrating milestones a year later!  She went out in the front yard without a leash and came to us when we called!  That was an OMG moment! LOL

I can not begin to thank the foster family and organization that saved our Casey and our Dallas!  Crystal, Chris and Alex went above and beyond to care for the litter and their mother.  First by Chris and Crystal knowing that they had to bring them home instead of taking them to a shelter!  Then by caring for them when they were so sick.  The time it took to teach them their manners, basic commands, crate training and house training.  My family and I will always be grateful for Crystal, Chris and Alex.  After all they saved two of our family members!

Taken last week. Using her sister Dallas as a pillow.

Taken last week. Using her sister Dallas as a pillow.


Almond Joy Brownies

Here I was minding my own business. Eating a relatively health snack while I surf. Only to come across this recipe! OH MY GOODNESS!

Cook AZ I Do

Almond Joy Brownies

If you like Mounds or Almond Joy candy bars, you are going to love this recipe!  It tastes like a mounds candy bar ran into a brownie, only better because the chocolate on top of the coconut layer is so thick and dark.  They are extremely rich so a 9×13 pan will go a long way.  I highly advise eating some, and then getting them out of the house immediately by sharing them with your friends and neighbors because they are very addicting. Plus your neighbors will love you for it.  Your friends will be friends for life, and your neighbors will never want to move away once you give them one of these brownies!:)

Even though this recipe has 3 layers, it is pretty simple to make. The top ganache layer is just melted cream and chocolate chips.  The heavenly middle layer is a mixture of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and powdered sugar.   And, for the bottom layer you can use…

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Penny and Roo

After we brought Casey home we needed to find a vet.  Several people recommend good ones close to home.  A co-worker of my husband suggested we try the vet she uses.  It was not close to us but she said they are worth the drive.  I called to make an appointment.  I was pleased with the way they handled the call and me! 😉  Being a first time pet owner, as an adult, I had a lot of questions.  They were extremely patient with me.  For which I was grateful!  Since the first phone call we, Casey, Dallas and their humans, have become very comfortable with the staff at Duluth Animal Hospital.

Not only the staff but some of their own pets.  Yes, they are allowed and seemingly encouraged to bring their pets to work.  There are two pets that have recently become celebrities in their own right.  Let me introduce you to Penny the Silkie chicken and Roo the Chihuahua.

Roo is happy to share his bed with Penny!

Roo is happy to share his bed with Penny!

Here is a link where you can read about their story.  I will tell you a little bit about my experience with them.  I have to admit I have never been a fan of the Chihuahua’s.  My Aunt had one when I was a young girl.  That dog was mean!  So I associated the nastiness with the whole breed.  Not fair, I know.  Well, then I met Roo.  He begs to be picked up, when you do he snuggles in and wiggles about to find just the right spot in your arms.  He looks at you with those beautiful eyes and you just melt.  You can’t help but fall in love with him!

Penny walks around making sure everything is in order!  She loves when people come in to see her.  She is so soft and does not seem to mind being petted by young and old a like.  She tolerates people like me introducing her to their animals.  Casey was not real sure what to do with Penny.  She sniffed her feathers.  Penny clucked…not sure it was a “cluck” per-say but it was a noise Casey had never heard before!  Casey just watched her and Penny went about her day as usual.

Fun in the snow!

Fun in the snow!

This was taken when Atlanta had the snow and ice storm.  Just two friends checking out the white stuff.  Thankfully Roo did not get stuck.  If he had I have no doubt Penny would have pushed him out of the snow drift!

Penny checking to see if Roo is feeling better.

Penny checking to see if Roo is feeling better.

Here you can see how much they care for each other.  Roo was sick last week.  Penny is, well, behaving like a mother hen and making sure he is okay! 🙂  What a beautiful friendship these two have with each other.  I find it so cool I can witness this first hand every time we visit the vets office.  Which…by the way…is tomorrow!


Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Every month we get a newsletter from our energy co-op.  It is around 7 pages with helpful hints on saving energy, what is going on in the community and charitable donations.  I will leaf through it and read an article that may catch my attention.  The very first thing I do is look on the back cover for the monthly recipe!  Recipes are sent in from other readers and printed on the last page.

The cheesecake is from the March 2014 issue.  There is no name listed as to who sent it in but I sure am glad they did!


  • 4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 stick (8 ounces) margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sugar, divided (3/4 cup and 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups peanuts, coarsely chopped, divided (1 cup and 1/2 cup)
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 1.2 tablespoons juice of fresh lime
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter


  1. To make the crust: In large bowl, place graham cracker crumbs, margarine, 3/4 cup of the sugar, eggs and 1 cup of the chopped peanuts.  Mix with a fork until thoroughly combined.  Press mixture into a greased 9-inch pie pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
  2. To make filling:  In large bowl, whip cream cheese and remaining sugar with an electric mixer for about 4 minutes or until fluffy.  Add vanilla, zest of lime and lime juice.  Beat at medium speed for about three minutes.  Fold in peanut butter.  Beat for three minutes or until light and fluffy.
  3. Spoon mixture into baked pie shell; use spatula to smooth filling.  Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.  Freeze overnight.
  4. Thaw for one hour before slicing.  Sprinkle each slice with remaining chopped peanuts.

Ham ‘N Cheese Quiche

I don’t think you can go wrong with a quiche.  They are easy, good, freeze well and people seem to love them.  You add a nice salad and you have dinner.  Add some fruit and you have a good hearty breakfast.

Ham ‘N’ Cheese Quiche 

Yield: 2 quiches (6 servings each)

2 pastry shells (9 inch)
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
4 eggs
2 cups half and half cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Line unpricked pastry shells with a double thickness of heavy duty foil.  Bake at 400 for 5 minutes.  Remove foil, bake 5 minutes longer.
  2. Divide ham, cheese and onion between the shells.  In a bowl, whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper.  Pour into shells.  Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.  Or cover edges with foil and bake at 400 for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
To Use Frozen Quiche:  Completely thaw in the refrigerator.  Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking as directed.

Notes:  Super easy and quick!  I have wanted to use shredded swiss and see how it tasted but have not done it yet. 

Creamy Chicken Casserole

This is an easy recipe.  I got it from Taste of Home, Fall Freezer Meals, October 27, 2010.  I love how it makes two so I can freeze one.  It helps a lot on those busy nights where you just don’t want to cook.  Yet for some reason the people in your home want to eat!  😉
Creamy Chicken Casserole  Yield: 2 Casseroles (5 servings each)
4 cups uncooked egg noodles
4 cups of cubed cooked chicken
1 package (16 ounces) frozen peas and carrots
2 cups milk
2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.  Drain noodles; add to chicken mixture.
  2. Transfer to two greased 8 inch square baking dishes.  Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months.  Cover and bake remaining casserole at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through.
To Use Frozen Casserole:  Thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.  Cover and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes or until heated through, stirring twice.
Notes:  Make sure you use a microwave safe pan!!  I used the disposable pans before reading the reheating directions.  Not a big deal I just threw it in the oven and baked it.  Instead of the frozen peas and carrots I have used frozen mixed vegetables.  Good either way.

Then there were two

I have been MIA from my blog in part because of Casey.  If you remember we adopted Casey in April of 2013.  She had a bad knee and required surgery.  She was down from July until September.  If you think it is difficult keeping a sick toddler calm try doing it with a dog!  Poor girl had a rough summer!  No walking, running or climbing stairs for 2 months!  Crate or confined to a very small area in the house.  She was allowed to go outside on a leash to go to the bathroom and that was it.

She was a champ and did well.  For the most part!  Naturally she was antsy and a bit confused as to why she suddenly had so many restrictions.  But, we got through.  Then she started having a bit of a problem with the pin that had been put in her knee.  That required a second surgery to remove the pin!  She could not catch a break.

The other reason I have been  MIA is because once Casey was healed we brought home her sister (same litter), Dallas!  We had talked about a second dog but were not sure we could handle a second one.  I called to see if Dallas was still available.  She was.  Their foster Mom was thrilled that we were considering bringing Dallas home.  I went and saw Dallas alone just to make sure she was still the sweet girl we remembered.  The second time I brought Casey.  Just to make sure they still remembered each other.  They did!!  Both were very happy to see the other.  It was so cute!


Dallas is home!

Stretching those long legs

Stretching those long legs

Dallas came home five months and one day after Casey!  They behave like typical sisters.  They fight, play, explore, jockey for attention and love! One minute they will be wrestling for a ball and the next they will be all curled up together taking a nap.

Nap time!

Nap time!

The dynamic of our home has changed so much over the last 10 months.  We always laughed but we laugh so much more.  All three of us humans are calmer and more relaxed.  My husband says no matter how bad a day he has had when he walks in the house and these two come running…nothing else matters!

Dallas and Casey...look at those faces!

Dallas and Casey…look at those faces!

Italian Quiche

Italian Quiche 
Yield: 2 quiches (6 servings each)
2 unbaked pastry shells (9 inch)
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
4 cups (16 ounces) finely shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Line unpricked pastry shells with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil.  Bake at 400 for 4 minutes. remove foil; bake 4 minutes longer.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Spoon sausage into pastry shells, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Top with onion and peppers.  In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and garlic.  Pour over peppers, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Cover and freeze one quiche for up to 3 months.  Cover edges of remaining quiche loosely with foil; place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
To Use Frozen Quiche:  Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw).  Cover edges of crust loosely with foil; place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
NOTES:  I have used hot sausage and it is really good!  Use deep dish pie crusts.  It is hard to get all the ingredients in the pie crust but they will fit!  I have baked both and taken one out just as it starts to set up, let it cool and then put it in the freezer.  We get at least 8 servings out of one quiche.
Recipe from Taste of Home, Fall Freezer Meals, October 27, 2010

Mosquito Traps

Since we got Casey many things have changed for us. I have met more of our neighbors as we take walks. I have always thought our neighborhood would make a good walking place. I was correct. The big thing that has come to our attention is how we have neglected our backyard. It was always mowed on a regular basis. However, since we spend more time out there we notice that we should have done more. Much more!

One thing that is a big, biting, itchy problem are the mosquito’s! I can not really say that they are a bigger problem this year than in the past. But, it sure seems like the are rabid this year! We can go out during the day and they will be there waiting to bite us. I have read where you should not go out when they are most active…early morning and dusk. Well here in Georgia they seem to be active ALL day!

With the problem I have been searching for ways to control the mosquito population. With a dog I hesitate to use chemicals. I would prefer a more natural way. So this started me searching. I am curious if anyone has used one of these listed below and had any success.

I found this one at Mother Earth News.  I must admit I was looking for something a bit more easy.  Another one I found was at Thrifty Fun.  This one is more my speed!  I do wonder how many of these would I need to control the mosquito’s.  I liked the feedback left on the article as well.  People mentioned some alternatives.

Any help that you can offer would be fantastic.  If you have a better way or a better website for me to explore please post it for me.  My family and I, plus the dog, would be grateful!


I thought I might tell you all a little bit about how we  decided to adopt a rescue dog.  From previous post you know I had been wanting a dog for some time.  I spent a great deal of time online looking at different websites.  I started with our county animal shelter.  They have a web site that lists the dogs available for adoption.  Just basic information is given on the animal.  Mostly because that is all they have!  They are not able to tell you about the personality of the animal.  Nor do they know about any training the dog may have.  This made me a bit hesitant to adopt from the county shelter.  Being a first time adult dog owner I needed as much information about the dog as possible.

One thing that I do love about our animal shelter is the have a wonderful program for some of the dogs.  It is called Operation Second Chance  and is a jail dog program.

This program is designed to save the lives of dogs destined for death in our local shelter. Once here, the dogs reside with the inmates chosen to work with them and those inmates will train them in basic obedience. The inmates will also learn to groom and care for the animals. Not only is the dog getting a second chance, but the inmates are learning valuable social and vocational skills that will help them become more productive citizens once they are released from jail. Hopefully, those inmates involved in the program will not return to jail again once they are released.

The program is at no cost to the taxpayers of Gwinnett County. The care, food, training and vet services for the dogs are all being provided through volunteers and the Society of Humane Friends. Society of Humane Friends is responsible for all adoptions through this program. Please contact the organization if you are interested in giving one of these very deserving dogs a forever home.

I was checking Operation Second Chance web site often.  The site is very basic.  Very few photos of the dogs.  Descriptions are minimal but they get the information across.  If a dog that would have fit our household had been available we would have adopted a jailhouse dog in a heartbeat!

I spent some time at  I like that you can truly narrow your search down to what you want.  Most animals have a decent description.  They also list the rescue agencies that have the animals.  So you can go to their web sites.  Providing they have one.  I did find this site a little overwhelming at the magnitude, even after I narrowed my search, of dogs needing homes!  If you are not an advocate for spaying or neutering your pet go to Pet Finder!  You will be once you leave the site!

Searching Pet Finder did eventually lead me to Humane League of Lake Lanier.  They have pictures and descriptions of the animals they foster.  Each description let me know if the dog was house trained, was good with kids, other dogs or cats.  There were a couple dogs that stood out.  Dallas and Casey.

I filled out the application, faxed it to them and waited to hear back.  Later in the week I received a phone call from the foster mom of Dallas and Casey.  After talking about what we wanted in a dog Dallas was ruled out.  She needed to be around other dogs.  We were only looking for one pet.  So we turned our attention to Casey.  The foster mom was very honest about Casey being a shy, timid dog which would bring special challenges.  She expressed a concern about our not having any experience with shy, timid animals.  But, she agreed to do a meeting.

My son and I met Casey for the first time at a local Pet Smart.  We walked around the store for a bit allowing her to get use to us before going to a private room.  She did not really pay us any attention.  She did take treats from us.  She did sniff us from what seemed head to toe!  This first meeting was not just to see if Casey would take to us.  It was also so the foster mom could check us out as well.  Understandable!  The next day my husband and I went to have another meeting with Casey.  After having met all the people in the household we got the thumbs up.

The last thing that happened before we were able to call Casey ours was the home visit.  The foster mom came and checked the yard, house and neighborhood.  She let us know what problem areas she saw…knick knacks to low, things that could and would be chewed, a couple areas of fencing that needed repair etc..  We filled out the paperwork, wrote the check and Casey became a part of our family!

I hope this gives anyone thinking about adopting a rescue dog an idea of the process.  I am sure it is different with each rescue or shelter.  However, the basics should be fairly universal.

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