Monday, August 23, 2010

Lasagna Obsession

This weekend I made my family a lasagna as well as one for Matt and I.  I use this recipe that my sister-in-law, Tammi, has used forever.  It's basically the only lasagna that I like.  A few years ago for Christmas Tammi gave all of us girls a hand made cook book of all of her favorite and best recipes.  I knew that the lasagna was going to be the first one I would attempt to make.

Since I first tried it and succeeded I've made it a handful of times and get more comfortable with it every time I do it now.  It's the easiest and simplest recipe for lasagna I've ever seen.  It doesn't require a lot of fancy spices or odd named vegetables.  I'm not much of a cook so keeping stuff simple is right up my alley. 

The recipe calls for three basic cheeses, parmesan (like Kraft shredded parmesan), mozzerella (whatever you do don't buy the imitation mozzerella... I learned the hard way), and ricotta.  Mix 'em all together and that's your cheese layer.  For the sauce, skip the whole making your own deal and just buy your favorite from the store.  I suggest Wal-Mart's generic brand Green Pepper and Mushroom.  I HATE mushrooms but you can't even tell there are mushrooms in the sauce.  It simply is the richest and thickest sauce that is inexpensive.  As for the noodles I never use the no-boil ones.  I think they don't bake well in the oven.  I take the time to boil my lasagna noodles.  Beyond that it's just layering all of those things.  No fancy spices and no vegetables.  You can use real ground beef (or chuck or whatever you meat people call it) or vegetarian ground beef substitute. 

If anyone is interested in the exact recipe let me know and I'll post it. 

In other news, we take Ellie to the groomers tomorrow for the first time so wish us luck!  She also went all night last night without going outside to go potty.  She slept really well and didn't wake up barking at me to take her out.  So proud of her! 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Wrap-Up

It's time to talk about things just randomly on my mind lately.  It's not Friday so I can't say "Four For Friday."  Dangit.

Guilty Pleasure Television

What can I say?  I'm a t.v. junky.  Get me hooked on a show and you best not interrupt me until the commercials come on.  Right now I find myself looking forward to specific shows every week.  It usually makes my night to see a great episode. 

A new season of "Weeds" just started back up and got off to a good start.  I'm going to miss Alanis though if this is really going to be the end of her.  On Tuesdays I watch "19 Kids and Counting" featuring the awesome Duggar family.  Right after that it's time to indulge in seeing teenagers try and be good parents on "Teen Mom."  Watching Farrah virtually let her daughter play with matches all while allowing herself to get scammed out of $3,000 is television gold.  Catelynn and Tyler 4 Ever.  <3

Wednesdays I watch "The Real World" which makes me yell at Ryan through my television.  I feel like there is also something on Thursdays that I watch and I just can't remember what it is.  Help me out if you know.


This weekend I saw my favorite band Rooney open for my old favorite band, Hanson.  Funny how things work out, huh?  Anyhoo, both ROCKED and I had such a great time in Chicago that I almost cried driving home. 

My friend Ed got me hooked on a new band called Gold Motel.  The lead singer, Greta, once sang lead for The Hush Sound.  I never listened to them but I sure do love Greta's voice.  If you're interested in checking them out I suggest the songs "Summer House" and "Stealing The Moonlight." 

Meryl Streep

t is now my goal to see all of her major films by the end of the year.  I recently fell in love with her after seeing "It's Complicated" in the theaters twice.  So far I've seen "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Sophie's Choice."  I highly recommend them both.  Not sure what my next pick will be but let's just say I'm glad I've seen "Mamma Mia" already so I won't have to watch it again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Favorite Band

One day back in 2002/2003 I was cleaning my room and had Vh1 on for some background noise.  Through my speakers came the most wicked crazy spectacluar sound I'd ever heard.  I turned around and sat down on my bed to watch what would become my favorite band... Rooney.  Their style was something so familiar yet so fresh and new to me.  It was like they knew exactly what I had been looking for in music.  They were able to give my ears something that had been missing.  "Blueside" changed my view on modern day rock bands. 

All through high school Rooney remained "my" band.  I got so many other people listening to them and hooked on their signature California sound.  Not once did I get to see them live in high school due to A- being young or B- lack of them touring close enough to my area.  Ironically enough in the summer of 2006 after I graduated they toured with my favorite singer of all time, Kelly Clarkson.  The tour was seriously MEANT for me.  What were the chances of Kelly picking my favorite band to tour with her?  So weird.  Anyways, I got to meet the guys after the show and was really impressed with how sweet they were.  Very normal and down to earth.  It was clear that after seeing them perform so well live that I needed to see them again and again to get my fill. 

I've kept myself somewhat involved in Rooney's "online" community over the years.  I like to keep updated on what's going on.  I saw them again live in 2008 in Detroit and then later that summer in Jackson.  Around came last December and I traveled to Chicago and then to Detroit the following day.  Drove back home in an honest to God BLIZZARD and almost died.  Legit.  Still I can't seem to get enough and I absolutely adore listening to them. 

The band just released their 3rd album back in June called "Eureka."  While all of the albums bring something a little bit different to the table I find myself in love with this one the most.  I feel like the guys got to do what they really wanted to with this album.  It's something that they can be proud of 100%.  Rooney is constantly touring and working on spreading their music.

Even after 3 albums, loads of touring, a number one single in Germany, and a loyal following, the band still hasn't hit it big.

My husband said to me the other day, "Why isn't Rooney on the radio?  Why aren't they huge?  They are such a great band!"  Of course I totally agree with him and I do think that there is a rhyme or reason as to why Rooney isn't more mainstream. 

To me Rooney's sound isn't like anything else.  While this is easily my favorite thing about them, it's not what Top 40 radio stations look for.  Lately it seems that the more a band sounds like another band the more popular they are. It's sad really but that's the way it is right now.

I also have to think about what FANS want.  As a fan of not just Rooney but of other musical acts, I think I have a good idea of what different types of fans look for.  Some fans want to meet their favorite band while still keeping the slight illusion that they are "untouchable."  Others already know how completely normal they are and admire their musicianship.  Having a good assortment of merchandise on hand at shows is always a must.  Obviously, this can all be done with sufficient touring.  Luckily, this is something that Rooney is great with.

Keeping up with an online community is a great way for a band to stay in touch with their fans and really listen to what they are saying.  Fans like to be heard.  It's as simple as that.  I think Rooney really needs to work on this aspect.  Maybe a little more activity here would help them reconnect.  In my opinion, all of the guys needs to do this.  Not just one or two of them. If the guys would post more on their forum, make more YouTube videos, be active on MySpace and Facebook, then I could see fans really getting involved.

I'm starting to think that the bottom line is simply giving a shit.  Are the guys in the band for their own personal purposes and not for fans at all?  Are they really working on gaining a larger fan base so they can expand?  It absolutely does not matter to me because I'm going to love and support them 100% no matter what.  I don't care if they are soley in the band for the sake of meeting women or to see the country.  I just want to hear their music and feel connected in some way. 

Maybe Rooney doesn't want to become a huge rock band.  That's always a possibility and is totally fine by me since I prefer small venues.  Haha.  But seriously, if they are content with the success that they have achieved then kudos to them.  They accomplished all that they were looking for.  If they are happy at the end of the day then that is what matters. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Living with Ellie - Everyone Poops

Updated on Ellie's health...
The vet checked her out and said that he wasn't sure what could be wrong but that her anus was swollen and red and we have to keep an eye on that until Thursday.  If she's still not eating or pooping then we have to take her back in to see him.

Luckily, last night around 11 p.m. she pooped!  She did drag her rear on the ground a bit though.  This morning she also pooped but didn't drag so maybe it's clearing up.  We may have to put Vaseline on her butt if it's still red tonight.  She also started eating properly again at breakfast this morning.  We'll see how she eats at lunch.

I can really tell that Matt has a bond with her that I think he wasn't expecting.  He really does find her undeniably adorable and loves having her around.  He started blowing into her face when she play bites him and it seems to be working so I think I'm going to start doing that. 

I think I'm going to take a break from all this poop talk and write about some other interesting things.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Living with Ellie - Week One

This weekend with Ellie went okay.  We had about 16 people over to our house on Saturday so she got to meet a lot of new folks and did really well with everyone.  Our families really seem to enjoy her! 

I tried walking with her but she just wasn't having it.  She kept pulling on the leash or biting it... or me.  I was so upset thinking about it Saturday night that I was in tears.  I just don't know what I'm doing wrong.  It's very frustrating.

Yesterday Matt was telling me about how well she walks for him on the leash.  I didn't totally believe it so Matt suggested we go for a short walk around the block.  We left the house around 7:00 p.m. and headed toward the park by our house.  We encountered an older woman who had a standard poodle.  She told us how much she liked Ellie and how friendly she was.  We let Ellie run free in the park until someone else came with a big german shepard.  At that point we left and walked down the street some more.  I seriously was amazed that after an HOUR of walking around the city with Ellie she was doing so well with minimal problems.  I walked in front of her and Matt.  He would make her stop at intersections and sit.  Which, SHE DID.  I'm seriously still mind blown by how well she behaves for him.  I'm just hoping one of these days she will walk like that for me.

At lunch and at dinner Ellie wouldn't really eat for me.  She would only eat if I hand fed her tiny bits of food.  Something seemed off but I didn't think too much of it until this morning when Matt said Ellie wouldn't poop.  She would squat repeatedly like she had to go but she was straining and barely anything would come out.  As he tried to walk her down the street she would keep stopping to drag her butt on the ground.  She did get a little bit out but then smeared it all over her back side.  Matt thought she needed a bath because she was so gross.  Matt bathed her quickly and I helped dry and brush her before I left for work.  Ellie still couldn't poop even after getting the dry fecal matter off of her ... for lack of a better word... hole. 

After looking up her symptoms I felt really concerned and told Matt that maybe we should take her to the vet.  He tried taking her outside one last time and she still couldn't go.  She even started crying when he brought her back inside.  Off to the vet they went and apparently he was in surgery so he couldn't look at her right then.  They said that he could look at her around 2:00 p.m. so that is when Matt is taking her back. 

Praying that the situation is minor and can be fixed with ease.  I feel so bad for her.  You can tell she is uncomfortable.  A little 3.5 pound puppy can only hold so much!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Living with Ellie - Day Three

Our little bundle of fluff is prooving to be a handful! 

Yesterday when I let Ellie out at 1:30 she did okay until I had to put her back in her crate.  She yelped and yelped.  Most of the time she'll do it for maybe a minute and then chill out.  This time she did it for like 5 minutes straight at least because she was still going at it when I walked out the door.  When I came back at 3:30 to let her out again I tried something new.  I sat in the bedroom with her while Ellie was in her crate.  I allowed her to mellow out and gave her a few treats for being quiet.  Then I walked away.  While she did bark when I left, she quieted down by the time I actually left the house.  Maybe staying with her for a while is the trick.  I'm working on doing positive reinforcements with her so she knows when she's doing something right. 

Ellie ate a good amount at dinner time and she did poop twice.  Her stool isn't all runny and gross anymore.  It's becoming more solid so that's awesome.  Don't ya love it when I talk about poop?!  ; )

The next obstacle in her training will definitely be the play biting.  I know it's a "pack" thing and that's what puppies do to each other when they are playing but, I'm not a puppy.  I certainly don't bite her so I don't want her biting me.  And she'll get ya anywhere!  Your arms, ankles, fingers, thighs, ASS!  Those tiny teeth hurt too!  I heard that a good way to get them to stop biting you is to yell "OW!" and then stop playing with them.  I told Matt about that so I think we'll start trying that and see if it helps Ellie understand right from wrong. 

Vinnie's curiosity with Ellie is progressing.  He wants to climb on her crate in the morning (which he can't because he falls through the cracks) and he seems more comfortable inching his way up to her crate when she is in there laying down or playing.  If she reacts to him being close though he'll back away.  When Vinnie was on his cat condo yesterday, Matt held Ellie and brought her close to him because he was trying to reach out and smell her.  They just calmly smelled each other and then we seperated them.  I don't want to overwhelm Vinnie because he is a timid cat and gets scared pretty easily.

Today we're going to go get Ellie a comb and brush.  Even though the foster bathed her Tuesday before we picked her up we're going to do it again because she has been in the wet grass and on some dirt.  My goal is to get her familar with being groomed so when she goes to the groomers it will be really easy. 

My neighbor lady once had a white poodle and she told me yesterday that the vet has eye drops that will help Ellie not tear so much.  The tearing has caused the hair around her eyes to develop a red/brown yeast rash.  We'll set up a vet appointment for her next week I think.  I'd like our vet to check her over.

That's all for now!  Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to blog about Vinnie and Ellie finally getting to interact.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Living with Ellie - Day Two

Yesterday was a great day with Ellie.  Matt said that she was really good all day for him and pretty much just slept.  After I got home from work and Matt and I ate dinner, my mom came over to spend some time with Ellie.  It's obvious that she is smittened with her cuteness and energy.  Mom brought over some of Colonel's old toys and ones that he had never played with at all.  She walked in the door with the very first toy I ever got Colonel and I almost started crying.  I remember getting that toy more than 6 years ago!

Ellie is a really playful puppy.  She is obviously wanting to chew on anything and everything.  She especially likes anything that is hanging off of your body.  Mom had brought over a rope toy and Ellie liked that the best.  Probably because two of the other toys weighed more than she does. 

Last night she didn't seem horribly interested in eating dinner.  She'd eat some but not scarf.  I'd have to keep turning her around and facing her towards her dish.  This morning on the other hand she ate and ate!  I was so proud of her and I'm very happy that she seems to accept the puppy food that we got for her from TSC.  Yay!

She slept wonderfully last night and we got her up at 3 a.m. for a potty break.  Around 5:30 Vinnie was able to come into the bedroom bravely and lay up with me.  He seemed very interested in what Ellie was doing... almost to the point where he was gonna climb on her crate.  I had to hold him back!  Eventually he left the bedroom and I got to go back to sleep.  Only thing was... 6:00 he came back in but this time he sat on the floor about 4 feet away from her crate just looking at her play with her plush toy.  I felt the need to watch him because I didn't want to fall asleep and then for him to swat at her if she scared him accidently.  It was so hard keeping my eyes open!  I waited and waited and waited for him to move along.  After 15 minutes or so he decided to move closer to her.  He was only about a foot away.  Ellie jumped up when she noticed him so close to her which caused Vinnie to take a step back.  She even let out a few yelps and Vinnie just stood there looking at her like she was some foolish puppy.  :) 

Around 6:45 I think he left and I went back to sleep only to be woken back up at 7:00 by the alarm.  I got up and took Ellie outside to go potty and then back in her crate she went until after I showered at which time I sat with her while she ate breakfast.  She sat in her crate for maybe 5 minutes until Matt could come get her to take her outside.  He watched her romp in the living room first doing a hilarious voice-over for her.  About a minute later she assumed the position and crapped on the floor.  And of all places, on the rug.  I saw her start to go and yelled, "No no no!"  I know I shouldn't have done that.  Reflex kicked in.  I've read a million times not to yell at a puppy when they mess on the floor because they don't know any better.  Still, I did it and felt so bad for doing it.  Matt scooped her up before she could finish and took her outside to complete her business.

Today will be tricky because not only is this Matt's 2nd shift work day but he got asked to come in early at 11 instead of 3.  I have to take two half hour lunches instead of a whole hour.  I have to let her out at 1:30 and again at 3:30.  I packed a PJ & J to hold me over.  ;)

I'm thinking of taking Ellie over to play with my brother's dogs Effie and Butters.  Effie is a pug and Butters is a puggle.  They can be really playful so they could help Ellie work off some of her energy.  I'm just a bit worried about Ellie getting tramped under Effie's big booty.  : )

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Living with Ellie - Day One

Matt and I drove down to Defiance, Ohio to take a look at a puppy we were interested in adopting.  The foster dad was at the house and after inviting us into the kitchen he grabbed the little female puppy out.  She was in a room blocked off with a baby gate along with a black maltipoo. 

She hopped her little legs over to Matt like a tiny pony and Matt knelt down squeeling, "aww awww ohhh awww!"  He later told me that he almost cried right then. 

We checked her body out.  All paws, teeth, eyes, and ears looked good to us.  We don't know exactly what to check for but she had all of her proper body parts so that was good.  She was fun to watch on the kitchen floor.  She would just casually stroll around and when Matt would tap his hands on the floor she'd get excited and run over to him. 

After talking with Doug (the foster dad) we knew she was the one for us.  We signed the adoption contract and got copies of her vet vaccination papers.  Into the car we went and she just sat there on my lap so nice and cute.  Once we reached Bryan, Ohio we decided that we were going to name her "Ellie" from the movie "Up."  Now is a good time to say that if you haven't seen the movie you really need to. 

We stopped in Bryan to get her a medium sized crate with a divider at a local pet store.  Luckily, that pet store had the crates $10 cheaper than anywhere in Sturgis.

After taking Ellie to see Matt and I's co-workers, my in-laws, and my brother's family, we went home to see Vinnie.  I set the cage with Ellie inside right in the living room.  We brought Vinnie out and he stopped dead in his tracks in the dining room after seeing her.  Ten minutes went by before he moved a muscle.  His tale finally calmed down and he started getting closer to the cage... stopping every so often just to keep checking her out.  Ellie was calm and just looked at him.  Eventually Vinnie was all the way at her cage and she was in the back sleeping like a rock.  He even laid down beside her cage and chilled out for a bit.

Matt and I competed with Ellie's new crate.  They need to make those things more idiot proof or something.  We put the divider up and I'm happy to report that the puppy has had no accidents in the crate itself.  She did go poop on my brother's floor however.  Haha!  We haven't had her out in our house just romping long enough to really test her properly.  But, it's still early so I don't expect it to come quickly. 

Ellie didn't care for being caged up suddenly after dinner.  She yelped and yelped.  It seemed that if we would leave the room or turn our backs to her that really upset her.  However, a few sessions of her yelping she only would bark like twice and then she'd be quiet.  At bed time she was SO great!  We moved her crate into the bedroom and once we turned the lights off and climbed into bed she yelped for about 30 seconds and then we didnt' hear a peep out of her the rest of the night.  I was a worried mommy and woke up quiet a few times just to check on her.  Every time she was snoozing.  At 3:00 a.m. Matt got up and took her outside to go potty.  I did the same after I woke up only I walked with her a bit. 

Walking might be a challenge with her if she remains so sluggish. I think she's just apprehensive at the moment.  Yesterday it was so dang hot I think she was just looking to rest.  I would tug on the leash and try and get her to move which only made her yelp like a pig.  After doing some reading I'm not going to tug anymore.  She can get praised and rewarded when she walks with me.  If she doesn't then she can just sit there.

One thing I noticed is that she has excessive tearing... especially in her left eye.  The redish brown color you see around her eyes are tear stains.  It's basically a yeast from bacteria building up.  I read some little tricks to helping her pH balance that will reduce the amount of staining.  I think we're gonna try and give her a bath sometime soon to see if we can get some of it off.  If anyone out there has insight into this it would be greatly appreciated.  Her poor eyes are covered up by wet red hair.  Distracting you from looking at how pretty the rest of her is!

I think that's all for now.  Will report more soon.  Oh!  And I will for sure be posting pictures of her all fluffy and clean very soon!

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Addition!

Wow, it's been almost 3 months since I've posted anything on this blog.  Sorry 'bout that readers.  Still I'm sure that inquiring minds would like to know what the hell has been up with me.

Sadly, not a lot has been up with me.  So instead of boring you with talking about work and family junk I will tell you that we are expecting a fourth addition to the Lantz family. 


Matt and I almost had a yorkiepoo but the sellers backed out and decided they couldn't sell her.  After getting over that heartbreak we decided to look into dog adoption.  Within 2 days of e-mailing on 4 dogs, all 4 had been adopted. We were feeling discouraged until we saw a new adoption pop up.  We e-mailed the foster parent and then found out that she also had several other applications and would have to call references over this past weekend.  None of my references ever got a phone call but Saturday evening I received an e-mail from the foster parent and she said that if we would like the puppy that she would be ours. 

She is an 8-10 week old Coton de Tulear.  I'm sure you're thinking, "huh?"  Coton's are a rare breed that originated in Madagascar.  They have "cotton" white fluffy hair that needs to be groomed and brushed regularly because it can get long and mat.  They can reach about 15 pounds making them a small but not "toy" sized dog.  They are very intelligent and loving. 

She checked out really well at the vet and they actually said she was one of the healthiest dogs that had come from a puppy mill.  Two thumbs up! 

Oh, and I don't want any of you to think we got her from a puppy mill directly.  How it works is rescues and shelters go to puppy auctions and purchase young pups in order to stop them from ever being bred by anyone else.  Overbreeding can lead to serious birth defects in litters.  It's a horrible chain of events that only leads to inhumane "breeders" getting more money in their pockets. 

We are excited and anxious for Vinnie, our 11 month old cat, to have a new playmate and sister.  I think Vinnie will have to warm up to the idea to having a dog in the house simply because he has been the center of attention for so long now.  He really is the apple of our eye and the best cat in the world. 

Right now the puppy has a very cute name, Annie.  Because it sounds so much like Vinnie we feel that we probably should change it.  Right now the top names in the running are Ilsa (Spring Awakening), Veda (My Girl), and Ellie (UP).  I'm leaning more towards Ilsa while Matt is leaning towards either Veda or Ellie.  No idea what we'll end up on though.  We'll probably decide once we meet her.

If we get to the foster's house and there is something wrong with the dog that we weren't informed of then we probably will not end up taking her.  But, if not, I'm 100% sure that we want to make her a part of our family. 

Here she is folks!