3 Reasons to Celebrate Your Pet’s Birthday

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Shasta turned three years old recently, and Taylor and I decided that it was a grand idea to throw her a small birthday party. It included music, games, and a dog-friendly cake. But, why even bother going through the effort of throwing such a thing for an animal who has no concept of time?

Here are our reasons.

Number 1:

Even if Shasta doesn’t have any true concept of years, or birthdays, and won’t understand why we are giving her extra treats, extra love, and new toys, she understands that it makes her very happy. Who doesn’t love a happy animal? She was so hype for the cake, and played with her new toys all afternoon.

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Number 2:

A dog birthday party requires no invitations, little cleanup (especially if you buy a cake mix like this Carob Cake Mix and Frosting) and you can make it as big of a deal as you want to. Shasta would have been off the wall for her birthday no matter what. She’s not going to sit there and cry like a child because we forgot to get the right kind of candles, or because her friend couldn’t make it. She’s happy, we’re happy, and we didn’t even have to put “real” clothes on.

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Number 3:

There are a lot of really awful things happening all over the world, every day. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the negatives, and forget the little positives. Shasta’s birthday was a small event that made so many people smile. Sometimes we all just need to have a slightly silly holiday where we can laugh, dance, and eat.

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Have you ever thrown a pup-party? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Games That Give Family Game Night a New Edge

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I love games. I have always enjoyed sitting down with some close friends or my family and challenging each other to a round of Monopoly, or some other game that had been dusted off for the evening. Games offer a special opportunity for us to sit down, see one another, and actually enjoy the company of others around us. Sometimes you’re working together, sometimes you’re working against each other, but at least you’re together.

Here I have compiled a list of some modern games that can amplify your family game night so that you don’t have to play Sorry! again this week.

1.) Betrayal At House On The Hill – 2nd Edition by Avalon Hill

I learned of this game through a friend, and we played it for hours. Not because it’s a long game, but because it was fun. The premise of this game is that every person selects a character from the game (think Clue) and your characters are trapped in a derelict house. The characters explore the house, by placing room tiles where they explore. In the room, you could get extra boost points for fighting, or movement, you could find a special item that will help you defeat “the bad guy,” or you could trigger an event that could change up the game. Each game is different depending on the cards drawn, and the dice rolled. This game is on the darker side, so it is rated 12+. It can have 3-6 players.

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2.) Pandemic Board Game by Z-Man Games

This game, like the above, is suggested for teenagers. It is designed for 2-4 Players, and it is similar to Betrayal of the House on the Hill in that you are assigned a character. This game, however, is intended to be slightly less…morbid. The premise is that each of you has set skills, and you must work cooperatively to destroy a dangerous and deadly disease before it causes a Pandemic. It has high ratings for a reason – it’s almost addicting. The game changes every time you play it, so it will keep you on the edge of your seat, too.

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3.) Ticket To Ride by Days of Wonder

Ticket To Ride has a younger age range than the others above. It is recommended for ages 8+ and can have 2-5 players. The idea of this game is that you have to try and visit as many cities in America that you can, in seven ‘days’ by travelling by train. The challenge is to get trains from city to city, which is how you earn points. The longer the distance, the more points you earn.

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The game also has an expansion package that you can buy:

Ticket To Ride 1910 Expansion

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4.) Hasbro Speak Out Game

You may have  seen this one making the rounds on Facebook this holiday season.Why?  Because nothing is more fun than watching your friends and family look completely idiotic. This game is comprised of mouthpieces, and when it is your teams turn, one team member puts the mouthpiece in and pronounces a sentence from a game card. Your partner has to guess what you are saying before the timer runs out. If they get it right, they get a card. The team with the most cards at the end of the game, wins.

This game is designated for ages 16+ because the mouthpieces are for adult mouths.

Find kid’s mouth pieces: Airgoesin 12pcs Kid Children Dental Oral Cheek Retractor Lip Opener Watch Ya Mouth Game Speak Out Game Lipless Game

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Valentine’s Day Gifts Your Man Will Actually Want.

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Alright. I am going to come out and say it. I am not in a relationship with a man, but I sure do know that they DO NOT want another throw away gift. Stop with the teddy bears, the funny boxers or ties with the hearts on them. Here is a list of some ideas, that would make your man’s Valentine’s day one to remember, instead of one that leaves useless junk.

Give them something they will like. Something that shows that you know him as well as he knows you. He deserves that, doesn’t he?

  1.  Has he ever expressed an interest in playing paintball with his buddies? Is there a billboard for a paintball center that always seems to catch his eye? Call around and see how much it would cost for him and his friends to go a few rounds. Join them – if you’re brave enough. Photo credit: LEGOpb
  2. Does he watch comedy specials on TV? Check out the websites of a few of his favorites, and see if they will be coming around any time soon. Get him tickets for a night of laughs, with you – the one he loves most. funny
  3. Athletic type? Get tickets to see a game with him. Baseball season is coming around soon. jv
  4. Does he drool when he looks at an exotic car? There are lots of locations around the U.S. where you can go to DRIVE some of those cars. See if you can make his day by letting him drive the car of his dreams.fer.jpg
  5. Another car idea – get him tickets to go to an auto show. Let him look at the new makes, models, and modded cars that are on show. auto
  6. Everyone has something they’ve always wanted to learn how to do. For me, its dancing. For your man, it might be playing the guitar, learning how to fly a small plane, or try golf. Get him a private lesson so he can test it out.plane
  7. Does he have a hobby? Get him something that suits his interest. Whether it’s video games or cooking, find a memorable gift that he can use.controller
  8. Find an arcade. Battle each other in silly games. Make it a challenge. arcade
  9. Give him Valentine’s day off. Tell him that YOU’RE planning the night. Maybe even go as far as finding a cozy getaway spot for the two of you. It might be nice for him to not have to worry about setting everything up.hotel
  10. If all of these are too expensive, or not his style…make him dinner. Food is the key to the heart. Grab his favorite drink. Have a relaxing, stress free night at home. Throw together a salad, and a little romance.

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Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. I do not claim these photos as my own, except from the title image.

The TOP Long-Lasting Dog Toys

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If you’re like me, you may have a dog that seems to chew through every single toy you give them. These toys don’t come cheap, and every time you see them tearing a new one to bits, your wallet cries a little bit more.

The solution? Buy some of these long-lasting dog toys, designed specifically to last. All of these have been tested by our own German Shepherd, Shasta. She is three, and loves a good challenge.

3. The Classic KONG, by KONG

Find it on Amazon:
KONG Extreme Dog Toy, Large, Black

This toys is one you can easily find at your local pet store. It makes this list because it is one of the top rated dog toys, and it more durable than others. It may not be THE MOST durable, but it will last a little longer than a stuffed toy. Shove some treats inside, and they’ll be more concerned about getting those out. Shasta still plays with her little pink puppy Kong, but they offer larger, more durable sizes.

2.  Jolly Ball Tug n Toss, by Jolly Pets.

Find it on Amazon:
Jolly Pets 8-Inch Tug-n-Toss, Red

We recommend the 8 inch style for a dog similar sized to Shasta. She loves to play tug with it, but its much stronger than a rope toy. This one is such a winner, that we got her another one to keep solely outside.

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1.The Varsity Ball, by Varsity Pets

Find it on Amazon: Varsity Pets Tennis Ball Design Dog Toy, Yellow

This is by far, the BEST toy we have ever bought for Shasta. She will run outside and play with this ball  for hours if you let her. It is so tough, they give it to Tigers to play with at zoos and rescue facilities. We have had ours for over a year, and it is still going strong. If you’re worried about the price tag – don’t be. It is a good investment compared to buying toys that will be gone before the night is over.

Please enjoy some action shots of Shasta enjoying the Varsity Ball.thatho1thatho2thatho3thatho4

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.