Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Trials of Ollie

Many of my friends already know that over the past couple of weeks, we've had a real life health scare of our newest family member, Ollie.

You might remember that Santa brought Ollie to Bean for this past Christmas.  He was so tiny and precious when we first met him.

A couple of weeks ago, right after Easter, he came in the house one evening after being in the back yard most of the day and just wasn't himself.  He normally bounds in the door, jumps on everything, swishes his little tail all over and licks everything and everyone in sight.  This night he barely crawled in the door.  We knew immediately something was wrong.   We couldn't get him to eat anything and all he wanted to do was lie down. He was also breathing heavily and had a constant slight whine.  He just wasn't feeling well and you could definitely tell it.

Hubz took him to the vet the next morning.  He was diagnosed with parvo.  This is a virus that usually affects puppies and can attack either their stomachs or their hearts.  If it is in their stomach, there is usually an 80% survival rate.

Ollie had to be quarantined at the vet and he was put on continuous IV drips, both fluids and antibiotics.  He was pitiful.

The vet told us that some dogs recover in two days, some a week and the longest they had ever seen it take was two weeks.  Ollie was their eight days.  They also said that parvo was a disease that would give a pet a good day, then a bad day and back and forth.

Ollie didn't have many good days.  He couldn't keep the fluids down and he wasn't responding to the meds. Bean and I stopped by a few times to visit him and he hardly acknowledged us for most of those visits.  He went in on a Monday, I believe, and when we went on Saturday to visit, he was at his lowest point.  The doctor was not very optimistic for his chances.  I was heartbroken.

I can't explain to you why this got to me so.  I grew up on a farm.  Sometimes the viewpoint on animals was that you don't get too close because more than likely, the animal won't be around very long.  Now there have always been exceptions to that rule, but that's how you are taught to think of them so you won't allow yourself to get too attached.  I don't think that's how I view animals now but it was what was taught to me and I know that I always try to remind myself "be careful, don't get so attached".  But like I said, there are always exceptions and as I've gotten older and off the farm, I have attached myself to a few wonderful furry friends that are more family than "farm animal".  My long-time best friend, Willy, our black lab, passed away last year and it devastated me.  He was with me during the passing of my mom, a divorce, a new marriage, many, many months of crying over not having a baby, all kinds of stuff.  He always had time for me and his favorite thing to do was to lie at my feet and just be there for me.

When Ollie came along, I kept thinking he couldn't measure up to Willy.  But then when Ollie got sick, it hit me just how much I had become attached to this little guy without realizing it.  So it just broke my heart to see him lying there in his cage at the vet with those sad Beagle eyes and knowing we just had to wait to see.

That Saturday the vet pretty much told me if things didn't turn around fast that by Monday, we'd have to make a decision on Ollie's future.  I just couldn't imagine our house without this little fella in it.  He's only 5 months old.  It wasn't fair.

But on Sunday we got a call from the vet saying that Ollie was starting to respond to the meds and starting to act like a Beagle by being curious about his environment for the first time since he'd been there.  Monday and Tuesday brought even more good news.  He was slowly recovering, keeping his food down and becoming more and more active.  I can tell you all that if you had seen him on that Saturday, you would know that the way he was acting on Tuesday was definitely a miracle.  There's no other word for it.  Divine intervention for sure.  Some don't believe that's possible for animals.  I grew up around quite a few with that outlook.  But I think if God made it, he cares about it.  And I know he healed our Ollie after many, many of our prayers and many, many of our friends' prayers on our behalf.  For those I will always be grateful.

Ollie got to come home and is now almost back to his old self.  He lost a lot of weight and still gets tired out.  But his "wagger" is back and he will lick you until you can't take it any more.  His whole fanny swishes about when he wags his tail and he has found  his Beagle voice again, and doesn't mind using it!

Here's the first picture I tried to take of Ollie once he was home but he didn't want to be still so I could take it.

Thanks to all our wonderful friends for sending their prayers Ollie's way.

Another update to obtaining my Kindle Fire!

This morning I was able to earn enough Swagbucks to receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

You've won 25 Swag Bucks

I needed $64 dollars to my goal and now I'm down to $39!

Yay!  Hopefully, it won't be long now and this little baby will be living with me!  Hello luva!

Kindle Fire: upright, angled view

Hubz said to me this weekend that he thought I was trying to earn a free iPad.  I said I didn't have that much patience.  That would take me a lot longer for sure.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mission Update: Earning a Free Kindle Fire

Last week I wrote about my latest mission of earning a Free Kindle Fire.

Kindle Fire: upright, angled view

They cost $199 and so far I have $110 in free Amazon gift cards.

That leaves $89 to find.

Well, I now have $25 towards my goal.  I was able to redeem a $25 Amazon gift card on  I've been doing surveys on this site while watching tv and was able to get enough credits for another gift card.

You have successfully redeemed for the following:® Gift Card

So now I need to earn $64 to get a free Kindle Fire!

The only downside to this one is that it says it could take up to 4 weeks to receive the card.  Oh well, hopefully my eyes will hold out a little longer.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mission: Earning a Free Kindle

I have been wanting a Kindle forever.  Since the very first version was released, I guess.  I do have the Kindle app on my phone but well, I'm gettin' older and it hurts my eyes to read a long time on the phone screen.  But really I think buying one is an expense that I just cannot justify at this time.  I enter every contest I see for one but so far the bots haven't picked my name.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email saying I had won a $100 Amazon gift card from Best Toys Guide.  Those bots there seemed to like me.  I thought about saving it for Christmas presents which is basically what I did last year.  I saved up almost $200 in Amazon cards and was able to help Santa get Bean's and other's presents with them.

But you know as soon as you type in into your computer, you are met with pictures of their purdy Kindle Fire.  I paused for a moment.  Okay, maybe it was five or so moments.  I clicked on the link to the Kindle Fire and the wheels started turning.

Kindle Fire: upright, angled view

Can I somehow earn a free Kindle Fire?

Well, I have this $100 gift card thanks to the fine folks at Best Toys Guide, and I remembered I had purchased a daily deal from Amazon Local for a $10 Amazon gift card for $5 a while back.

Okay, so now I have $110 towards a $199 Kindle Fire.  That's not bad. It leaves me only paying $89 for a $200 device.

But again, my wheels were turning, the rust was falling off, and I tried to remember how exactly I went about earning all of those Amazon credits last year.  Some of them were from blog reviews.

My other big source for free Amazon credits was  Yep, I earned several Amazon cards just by searching for things through Swagbucks.  So I went there to see what my latest bucks total was and I'm not quite there yet for another card but I don't think it will take much longer.

I also remembered that some of the survey sites I belong to will reward you with Amazon credits too.  I am very close to two cards using some of these sites.

So my mission right now is trying to earn a completely free Kindle Fire.  $110 down, $89 to go.

I will update this as I earn more credits.  Maybe I can share info and help you all earn some credits, too.

Do you know of ways to earn Amazon credits that you'd like to share?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Book Shelf - April 2012

It's been a good long while since I've updated my book shelf around here.  I thought it would be fun to share what we've been reading lately.

This is what I am reading listening to right now:

Under the Dome: A Novel

Under the Dome by Stephen King.  I am just two days into the audiobook, which is TOTAL of 34 hours and 29 minutes!  Good gravy!  That's a lot of story.  But I know, just like with every other King book I've read, when it's over I'll be wishing there was more to read.

Here's what I've read or listened to recently.

11/22/63: A Novel

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King.  Told you I was a fan.  I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

I have recently gotten into the Harry Potter novels.  These are also books that you don't want to be over when you finish them.  I have made it through Book 4 and am patiently waiting on someone to return the audiobook version of Book 5 to my local library.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4)

I really love these books and now am a total Potter fan.  I probably like them more than the Twilight series. (Gasp!)  I know.

I also just finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

The Night Circus

I have to say that I'm honestly not sure if I really liked this book or not.  I think one problem is that I did listen to the audiobook and I think that hindered me because at the beginning of each chapter the year or date is announced.  One aspect of the storyline is that it spans a number of years and there is magic involved where none of the circus participants age during the story.  This goes on for years and there is some back and forth between years at the beginning of the book. I was never quite sure how many years had passed when I was listening.  If I had been reading the book instead, if I got confused I could always flip back and I didn't have that chance so I think a little of it was lost on me.  The imagery is really wonderful though but I'm not sure I fell in love with it all.

What's on your book shelf that you're reading or have to read?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Life sucks sometimes.

Once again there seems to have been a blogging drought around here.  Real life sometimes has a way of sucking, I guess.  Sometimes it has a way of reminding you that it is a privilege to be alive, too.

Why does life suck right now?

Some of you know that our sweet beagle puppy Ollie got sick recently.  And I mean really sick.  He was diagnosed with parvo.  Parvo is a virus that can affect a dog's stomach or heart.  Ollie's is in his stomach.

He has been in the vet's 24 hour care for a week now.  Yesterday was the first day of any actual real improvement.  He is still getting sick to his stomach and he has lost a lot of weight.  Yesterday Bean and I stopped by to see him and it was the first time in a week that we saw him on his feet, and wagging his tail.

I am hoping he will turn this final corner, stop getting sick and manages to keep some food down, and get to come home.  SOON.  FAST.

Many of my friends have been sending prayers and wonderful positive thoughts Ollie's way and he wags his tail to them all and I thank them all very much.

Okay, so I've given you the reason why life sucks right now.

Why does it not suck?

Because we (us two-leggers) have our health, we have each other, we have food and a roof over our heads.  We have loving and supportive friends and family.  We have jobs.  We have God.  We have many, many blessings.

And we are thankful for them all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pinterest-Inspired Projects - Rainbow Pasta for Crafting

Are you as addicted to Pinterest as I am?

That's what I thought.

I am trying my hand at finding easy projects on Pinterest that I can share with everyone.  I found this tutorial for rainbow pasta before St. Patrick's Day and wanted to make some for Bean to use for crafting.

The "recipe" is very similar to the way I made rainbow rice for her sensory bin.  This is very easy to do.

You grab the following items:

  • Small shaped pasta - we used small bow tie pasta but you could use macaroni or twists or whatever you find.  
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • food coloring - some people say gel food coloring is better but I didn't have any so regular works fine, too.
  • Ziploc or storage bags

  • Put a handful of the dry pasta into your storage bag.
  • Squeeze a few drops of food coloring.
  • Pour in a few drops of alcohol.  I did use more for the pasta than I normally do for the rainbow rice but if you use no more than a teaspoon, you're fine.
  • Mix the items around in the storage bag until all of the pasta is coated.
  • Pour the pasta out on paper towels to dry.

Bean made a rainbow picture with her pasta.

You can follow my Pinterest boards here.