Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wedding Invite Christmas Ornament

So I am going to do a non-animal related post (gasp!). A few weeks ago, I found this on pintrest. I thought, "what a wonderful way to use up an old wedding invitation"! So I decided to make my own "deconstructed invite ornament". There are awesome instructions here but I thought I would post my own anyway.

  • Pen or pencil
  • Wedding/Bridal Shower/Baby Shower/whatever invitation
  • Empty Christmas Ornament (glass or plastic)
Total Cost: About 80 cents. I used a plastic ornament I bought from the craft store. Everything else was "free" because I already had it.

  1. Deconstruct the invite. Take off all of the bows, ribbons, vellum envelopes, and so on
  2. Cut the invite into quarter inch strips, preserving the words if possible. I cut some of my strips a little bigger just so that our names would be whole onto a strip.
  3. Wrap the strips around a pen to make the strips curly
  4. Insert into the ornament. I used a plastic one because I am clumsy and because I have a cat who may decide to play with said ornaments. I don't like having glass ornaments on my Christmas tree (at least not ones that I care about).
  5. You can insert various ribbons, embellishments, whatever into the ornament. I added a bow with a little rhinestone (I originally wanted to add it on the outside but it looked weird). I also cut some of the vellum into strips and inserted it into the ball.
  6. That is it! You can add embellishments to the outside of the ornament if desired. I took a piece of ribbon from the invite and tied it to the ornament to create a loop. If you want, you can stick the pen into the ornament and stir it around to distribute the loops.

 Here is a picture of the finished product:

Not as pretty as the one that inspired me to do this. Still, I like it :)

 It isn't the most amazing thing ever, but it cost me around 80 cents and it only took me 30 minutes. Oh, and I got to use up one of the dozen extra wedding invites.

And because I feel guilty about posting something that isn't is a picture of my leopard gecko sleeping with her head leaning against her hide rock. Yes, she is using her hide rock as a pillow :)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Owen Beach

So my husband and I took a lot of little trips this summer. One of the places we went to was Owen Beach on the Puget Sound. We found a lot of little critters on this trip.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge

A Harbor Seal out in the water. He was watching us :) 

A little crab

We also went looking for Western Fence Lizards.  You can also find them on southern-facing sandy beaches by the Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Here are some pictures of the one lizard my Husband caught.

Look at his pretty belly! I love that blue color :)
So there is my short post on our trip to Owen Beach. I can't wait to go back and find more western fence lizards :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Story of Us

My friend Missie over at Death by Chocolate Martini came up with an idea to post old and new pictures of us with our hubby. You should go check out her blog. It is awesome :)

So for those of you who haven't read the "about us" section, my husband and I met when we were very little kids (about 8 or 9...I can't remember exactly). I don't have any photos of us when we were that little.

This is the oldest picture of us I could find. This was before we were dating. I think we were about 13 years old. I am the one in the skirt and my husband is the guy holding the girl in the hoodie (my sister-in-law). My brother is the guy off to the side.

This is the first picture of us from when we first started dating. Homecoming 2006.

Labor day 2007. I was helping him paint his aunt's barn. 

Our senior prom (2009)

This was taken on a family road trip with his family. This was shortly after we got engaged in 2010 (we had a long engagement). 

May 15,  2011
This is a photo of us from our wedding. Look at how far we have come! From little kids to adults :)

I don't think there is much of a difference. Here is a picture of us acting like kids again on our honeymoon.

Disney World!
So that is the "story of us". I wish I had an animal version to share with you but I don't have any pictures of my husband and I holding animals together. Usually when we are out herping, it is just the two of us. So to avoid that cheesy "myspace" pose, my husband and I take photos of each other, not with each other. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Link Love: Meet Medusa

Every now and then I would like to post some links about cool stuff I find on the web. Here is an article about Medusa, the 25-ft-long reticulated python.


A zookeeper once told me that when multiple people are holding a large snake, the lucky ones get the middle :) She said, "One end has teeth, the other end poops".

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dog Grooming

So a few weeks ago, I got hired at Petco as a dog bather. I originally applied to be a store associate to kill some of my time, but for some reason I got hired to work in the salon (there was a computer error and the online application said store associate when they really needed a dog bather). Even though I have practically zero experience in this area, they hired me. The only real experience I had was bathing the family dog when I was younger. He was an Australian Shepherd and he needed a bath often because he used to get crap stuck in his skirt (eww). Anyway, when I went in for the interview, the manager and store associates were very excited. One of the girls ran to the manager and said, "Guess who you are interviewing...The snake lady"! My husband and I visit that branch on a weekly basis for crickets (we also adopted Squeezie from them), and they recognized me. So for those of you that want to work at a pet store that you frequently visit, make sure you stand out when you go to buy stuff. Someday when they have an opening, you might just get it :)

The only grooming experience I had was tending to Marty.

So I thought I would post some important things I learned about grooming in the last week.

I am actually pretty good at clipping nails. For those of you that want to clip your own dog's nails at home, here are a few tips I have learned:

  • The longer the nail, the longer the "quick". If your dogs nail's are very, very long, it will be impossible to get the nail short without causing the dog to bleed. I suggest getting the nails trimmed at a salon (around $10), and then doing it yourself at home later. It will be much easier to maintain the nails once they have been trimmed. 
  • If your dog has black nails, clip in small layers until you see a black dot in the center of the nail. That is the quick.
  •  Nails are very sharp when they are first cut! You can get a groomer to buff them after they are cut for just a little more. That will make the nails smooth. Also, buffing allows the groomer to get the nails shorter because it takes off small layers. 
  • Keep in mind that when you cut the nail with traditional cutters, it can pinch the quick, causing a little discomfort at the moment you clip the nail. Just be mindful when you are using the clippers and don't get upset if your dog yelps, pulls away, or tries to bite. 
Taking your dog to the professional groomers can be very healthy for it! Here are some benefits:

  • A typical bath or grooming package includes a check of your dog's anal glands.
  • A typical bath or grooming package includes an ear cleaning. This can help prevent infection. Also, in certain breeds, hair can grow in the ears and cause infection (the hair holds onto bacteria and prevents normal air flow to the ear). A groomer will pluck these hairs out (similar to you plucking your eyebrow hairs. It isn't comfortable but it shouldn't cause too much pain).
  • A groomer will examine your pet's overall health and alert you to any issues, such as possible skin allergies.
  • A toothbrushing service will help prevent tartar build-up that can lead to expensive tooth cleanings and even dental extractions! A large percentage of the surgeries at the vet clinic I work at are dental extractions. Trust me: you want to avoid this fate for your dog! Plus, who doesn't like getting rid of that nasty dog breath? 
Ewww! Doggy breath!

Some other things I know or have learned about grooming:
  • People often try to bathe their dogs at home. Sometimes, they do not rinse their dog well. We had a dog come in recently with itchy skin. When I rinsed her (before I put soap on her), the water coming off of her was very soapy. If you do wash your dog at home, make sure you RINSE! 
  • This is something I have known for awhile: If your dog has itchy skin, check your food before you blame the groomer (or yourself). A lot of dogs have food allergies! You would be surprised by the junk they put in dog and cat food. I was feeding my cat Friskies for awhile. Then I checked the label and realized the only things in his food that suggested meat were 1) Chicken by-product and 2) Beef Tallow. Uck! Check the food label, people!

Friskies makes my tummy hurt!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tipsoo Lake

So my husband and I live near the Cascade Mountains in Washington State (west side). It is absolutely beautiful over here, and there are lots of hiking opportunities within an hour of where we live. Last week, we decided to visit Tipsoo lake. Tipsoo is an alpine lake that sits at about 5300 ft above sea level. The lake is surrounded by beautiful alpine meadows. If you have never had the pleasure of seeing an alpine meadow in person, you seriously need to go out and visit one. They are so beautiful! Even though pictures don't really do the place justice, I thought I would share some.

While we were walking along the trail, we came across a couple that were dipping their feet in the water. We talked to them for a moment and then realized that there were several Cascade frogs sitting on the rocks right next to their feet! The couple didn't even see them! We grabbed one and took a few pictures.

Would you notice this little guy if he was at your feet?

Cascade frogs are endemic to the Cascades of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. They are also found in the Olympics in Washington. They are awesome little frogs. So next time you are out hiking in the woods or splashing in a creek in Western Washington, don't forget to look down :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Finding Animals in Unexpected Places: Disney World Part 1

I haven't posted anything on "herping" (finding reptiles and amphibians in the wild) yet. I thought I would start out with one of my favorite aspects of herping: finding herps in unexpected places. I really love finding any animal in an unexpected place. When you go out looking for an animal, or when you are in an environment where you expect to find a certain animal, it is cool enough when you spot a critter. But I think it is even cooler when you find animals in unusual or unexpected places. On our honeymoon trip to Disney World, for example, we found all sorts of interesting animals.

If I were to ask someone, "what sort of wild creatures would you expect me to find in Disney World"? Their first response would probably be seagulls and ducks (or mice, if they were trying to be cute). If they had been to Disney World before, they might say, "Egrets, Ibis, and little lizards (or anoles, if they knew about reptiles)". We found all of these animals in huge numbers on our trip without having to really look. I will start with these guys.

This photo was taken just before the duck decided my husband's camera strap was food (he did attempt to eat it, but H moved away just in time).

Aww! Duckling!

This is a brown anole.
Despite the fact that they are pretty easy to find, people don't seem to notice them.

This is an Egret. They seem to hang around the turkey leg carts at Disney World.

This is an ibis
So all of these animals are pretty common in Disney World. The reason why I am including them is because people don't seem to think they will find any sort of wild creature (besides the usual ducks and seagulls) on their vacation to a theme park.

It is hard to go an entire trip to Disney World without seeing ducks, seagulls, ibis, and egrets. But I did include one animal on this list that, while abundant, can be difficult to find. The brown anole.

Brown anoles are invasive to Florida. They compete with the Carolina Anole (AKA the green anole), which is native to Florida. 

The anoles seem to like resting on concrete and stone (anything that gets warm). I always find them on concrete dividers and stone benches around Disney World. I have also spotted them on trees and on the ground. They are very fast, so don't expect to catch them without a lizard noose. My husband (who has quite a bit of experience in this area) had a difficult time catching one. 

Since I am on the subject of anoles, I will mention the green anole. We only had a few confirmed green anole sightings on the entire trip. We always found them in bushes or trees. Here are some photos of a green anole we caught on the trip. 



That is it for part 1. Next time, I will talk about critters that are a little harder to find. Part 2 will include the pig frog, the southern toad, the florida softshell turtle, the mediterranean gecko, and a handful of other turtle species.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

There is Something Wrong with Me...

So one of my friends on facebook posted this link. It is about a 21-foot saltwater croc that got captured in the Philippines. And my first reaction was "Oh, cool! Look at this awesome animal! He is so big!" That isn't a really crazy first reaction. Maybe a little enthusiastic (and lacking in a healthy sense of fear)...but not crazy.

Then I watched a little bit of the video. And at one point during the video, someone grabs the crocodile's feet. And my reaction was "OMG! Look at his big feetsies! He is SO CUTE"! Yeah...there is something wrong with me. I think a 21-foot croc is adorable.

Awww! Who is a cute little man-eater?

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to go up to it and give it a big hug or anything. I am not a psycho who thinks that she can cuddle with crocodiles in her bed. All of my reptiles are in cages. With lids. And most of them have locks.  And the biggest reptile I own can barely eat a large rat. So no, I am not about to go "cootcie coo" and tickle a 21-foot crocodile. But I do think he is adorable in his own scaly way. Especially his feet :)

So am I the only one out there that sees this animal for a wonderfully powerful creature? Does anyone else see his picture and think he is just awesome? Maybe even a little cute? Maybe? Anybody?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Home Decor: Our Froggy Bathroom

When my husband and I first moved in together last year, I was surprised at the amount of reptile and amphibian-themed decor. Most of the things I could find were frog themed and were meant for children. Still, I never expected to find anything themed towards our slippery and scaly friends. Our apartment is now decorated with quite a bit of amphibian decor. We even have a froggy-themed bathroom!

I thought I would share some photos of the decor around our apartment. I will start with our bathroom. The items in our bathroom are more childish. The decor in our living room is a little bit more grown-up. Despite the fact that our bathroom is more child-friendly, our guests seem to get a kick out of it. I personally love our bathroom. I think the smiling frogs and bright green tones make the room very cheerful. I can't help but smile when I see those happy froggy faces!

Shower Curtain and Shower Hooks
Where we bought them: Target
Cost: About $15 for the curtain. I don't remember the cost of the hooks (somewhere in the $10-20 range)

Bath Mat
Where we bought it: Target
Cost: $30

Potpourri Dish
Where we bought it: Goodwill
Cost: $2

Where we bought it: I bought the picture (which is actually a postcard), the frame, and the picture mat at a local craft store.
Cost: About $12

Magazine Holder
Where we bought it: Target
Cost: $3

Soap Dish
Where we bought it: Target (it was a wedding present off of our target registry)
Cost: I think around $10

Toothbrush Holder
Where We Bought It: Walmart
Cost: About $5

Frog Towel
Where We Bought It: Target
Cost: About $10

Wastebasket (Croaks When the Lid Opens)
Where We Bought It: Target (another wedding present off of our registry)
Cost: I think about $30

So there is our bathroom. What do you think?