Monday, August 22, 2016

What's up lately?

So I've been thinking about changing up my blog again because fall is coming and I need to rearrange my nesting area, including the one I have online. A very long time ago, I invested in a blog (withyoo.com) and used Bluehost. I'm thinking about going that route again and switching over to Wordpress. It's been fun on blogger these past few years, but I've enjoyed starting this whole blogging thing on Wordpress and it sort of feels like a going back to my roots kind of feeling. 

It's been less than a week since I got my braces and I'm ready to take it off. The insides of my mouth are all scratched up, I feel like I'm eating wax, but in reality the only thing I'm able to eat is a whole bunch of nothing or a whole bunch of junk food. 

I haven't been able to exercise since getting my teeth extracted and so I've been feeling so terribly bleh with all this junk food intake. I am hoping to get myself together and get back to my regular routine.. and hopefully eating won't be such a painful ordeal. 

Our lawnmower broke. So did our toilet.

Yangkyu was able to fix the lawnmower and we ended up buying a new toilet and waiting for Home Depot to schedule a time to install it for us. It's a nice white one. Yay. Now our bathroom is officially mismatched. What an eye sore.

Piri went in for a sedated oral exam today. I felt horrible dropping him off at the hospital - he doesn't do too well when he's at the hospital alone. But good news... his growth isn't cancerous. I got the call back from our oncologist who ran a cytology and determined the mass was not malignant but instead a plugged duct in a salivary gland. I was waiting for her call the entire day and decided to take a quick shower and of course that's when she called. I literally ran out of the shower - covered in soap and water and rejoiced when she told me the news.

The only bad news in this is that he has to be back on his antibiotic and is now on a steroid to help reduce the lump. If it doesn't and if it continues to grow bigger then we may have to consider surgery as it will hamper his eating. 

One day at a time. One day at a time. 

I had a dream several days ago. Of beautiful pink magnolia trees. It was so beautiful, so pink that I took pictures of it. I woke up thinking I was pregnant. It felt so similar to when I had a dream of Basil. But no. It wouldn't be so again this month. I got my period four days ago. It hasn't been all that bad, you know, taking the bad news, these past few months, but this month. It was hard. We decided 40. When we turn 40 we will stop trying and live our lives not tied to this whole pregnancy ordeal. That's two more years. Back when we first started trying to have a child four years ago, our cut off date was 35. I don't wish to extend it again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

We're celebrating our 7th


Happy Anniversary, Yangkyu
<3

 // Some love stories
 // The story behind our engravings

Monday, August 15, 2016

In the kitchen: Homemade Dog Treats


Lately, Piri's meals consist of steamed hamburger patties stuffed with vegetables like cabbages, carrots and peas and boiled chicken breasts. I tried to get him to eat ground turkey again but he's not really into turkey anymore. So you can see how I may have an abundance of meat in the freezer, which I don't like to keep for too long and so I decided to whip out my trusty dehydrator and make some homemade dog treats again. 

I can't believe it was only a few months ago when I was hating my dehydrator and regretting buying it. I mostly use it to experiment now in making dog treats - mainly for Piri's Place guest dogs as Piri is picky with what he eats now and only prefers fruits and these cookies as treats. But some of the treats I have made before have been such a hit with our guests that it's a real joy to make now. 

I'm not a dog nutritionist so these probably shouldn't be the main go to treats or meals for your dogs. I use all organic meat for pups and vegetables likes carrots and parsley are all homegrown. I also like to add turmeric spice {you can read up on all the good things about this amazing spice here -- but also please make sure you also read up on possible side effects such as how turmeric can thin the blood, which can be harmful for dogs who will undergo surgery. It's always best to tell your vet what your dog is taking before surgery date is set}. I didn't add an oil this time around, but I normally like to add coconut oil to the mix as well. 

Here's what went down in our kitchen a few days ago: 

Sweet Potato Chicken Patty

You'll need: 
 // Sweet Potatoes
 // One uncooked chicken breast tenderloin 
 // Parsley
 // Turmeric 

I used about 2 medium to large sized Korean sweet potatoes for the chicken version and the turkey and beef version below. I like to use Korean sweet potatoes but other sweet potatoes that have a more orange shade will also probably work. I steamed mine until they were soft {I just poked it with a knife until it went in nice and smoothly}.  I let it cool off completely. 

I used one uncooked chicken breast tenderloin and cut them up into little pieces. Set aside. 

I picked some parsley from our herb garden and gave them a good wash and chopped them up. Set aside. 

Once the sweet potatoes are cooled down, peel them and mash them up together. Depending on how big or small you want them, grab some of the mashed sweet potatoes, roll them between the palm of your hands and flatten. You probably don't want them to be too thick as it'll take longer to dehydrate. 

On your flattened sweet potatoes, place some chopped pieces of chicken on top with some parsley and finish with a dash of turmeric. You'll want to press them down into the sweet potato a bit so that it dries up together and not separately.






Sweet Potato Beef/Turkey Patty

Follow the steps for the Sweet Potato Chicken Patty and instead of using uncooked chicken breast, use uncooked ground turkey and ground beef. I didn't mix the two together and instead made a few patties with ground turkey and a few more with ground beef. 

Again, I used a total of 2 medium to large steamed Korean sweet potatoes to make all the patties. I was able to make 13 total. 

Also! Once you start to dehydrate your treats will shrink so you probably don't want to make them too small. 

And another note -- if you are handling raw meat, please make sure you properly wash your hands (with soap!) every time you touch them! I may sound a bit too over dramatic, and a clean freak, but you probably don't want to just rinse your hands (or not wash your hands altogether! eep!) after touching raw meat and then touch your vegetables, trays and other cooking utensils. A clean kitchen and clean cooking routine is a happy kitchen! 





Mini Beef & Turkey Patty Bites

You'll need: 
 // Ground Turkey
 // Ground Beef
 // Shredded carrots
 // Turmeric 

I had some ground meat left over without any sweet potatoes and so I decided to just turn them into a treat of their own. Again, I didn't mix the two meats together and instead made them into their own separate flavors. 

I took a golf ball size amount of ground turkey/ground beef and rolled it into a ball between the palm of my hands and flattened them out. Then I placed shredded carrots on top with a dash of turmeric to finish.


Chicken Jerky

I've made these before, which were a big hit with Spootie and Clover and a few of our other guest dogs so I decided to make a few more. 

What you'll need: 
 // Uncooked chicken breast tenderloin
 // Parsley 
 // Turmeric

First you'll want to cut your chicken breast tenderloin in half so that they are a bit more thinner. I cut mine width-wise (like when you are slicing open a sandwich bun). 

In the past I used coconut oil (I didn't this time because I didn't realize I was out of them!}, and if you'd like to add them to your treats you are more than welcome to! I use about half teaspoon. 

In a bowl, place your sliced chicken breasts, a little bit of turmeric, coconut oil (if you'd like) and a couple of dashes of turmeric and mix together until your chicken breasts pieces are covered evenly with the herb and spice. 



If you are new to dehydrating food, you'll notice that the very bottom tray will tend to dry out the fastest. What I like to do is at about the half way point, I like to shift the trays around and also flip the treats on their other side. I usually flip them back after a few hours and finish the dehydrating process on the side they originally started. 

In the past, I only dehydrated dog treats for about 8-10 hours. I was working with less treats and I wanted them to be more on the softer, chewy side (although they do have a shorter shelf life). This time though, I started a bit late (2 pm) and wanted them to be a little bit more crispy and dry. I ended up dehydrating 18 hours and they turned out to be a bit more crispy than I would've wanted them to be but that's ok. 

It's really up to you on how long you want to dehydrate. You just want to make sure that the meat is all cooked and that the chewiness is the level of how your dog would like them (some dogs can't chew on hard crispy treats). Just make sure you either start early in the day and that you are available throughout the day to check on your treats. Other people like to dehydrate for a full day. 

I usually keep finished treats in a zip lock bag. Again, you'll want to always make sure they are fresh before giving them to your dog. If they are completely dry and crispy they will obviously have a longer shelf life.

And finally, make sure you clean up and wash your trays! It's such a crumby part of the whole process but if you maintain your dehydrator well and clean it well, you'll be able to use it longer and experiment with more dog treats (and human treats, too).

  // Sweet Potato Chicken Patty // 

  // Sweet Potato Beef & Turkey Patty // 

  // Mini Beef & Turkey Patty Bites // 

  // Chicken Jerky // 



As always, please make sure you are supervising your dog when giving treats. Choking can always be a hazard. You know your dog best! Their safety always comes first.

Happy eating everybody!

What are you making in the kitchen?

**Treats are only given to our guest dogs with permission from their human companions first.

Friday, August 12, 2016

I did it! + the Olympics and the weekend


Holy cannoli, I did it! I survived my teeth extraction!

Of course it didn't come without drama but it's over and done with and now all I'm looking forward to is next Thursday when I get my braces in. My life can go on!

You know, I had to wait a week in complete dread to get three of my teeth extracted. Plus I had spacers in-between my top and bottom molars which were killing me to the point where I couldn't chew {I was literally swallowing my food}. So by the time Wednesday came around, I was just ready to just do it. I guess that's one good thing about waiting - I kind of get sick of it, sick of complaining too.

But when I walked in on Wednesday there was conflicting information on whether I was getting just an examination or both an examination and extraction. I was dreading yet again whether I had to wait a few more days but it was decided that a general practice dentist can do the simple extractions and not an oral surgeon {phew! how scary!}

The whole process should have only taken 45 minutes to an hour - most of the time spent on getting an examination and having any questions I had answered and then waiting around for the local anesthesia to kick in. Extraction of the actual teeth should have only taken about a minute or two per tooth. 

Of course not in my case!

I actually really dreaded getting the anesthesia shots. I got 6 total - 2 per tooth.

The shots on my gums didn't feel bad - just an ever slight pinch. The ones given inside my cheeks hurt a bit more but it wasn't anything that was unbearable. I think what made all the difference was the dentist let me know the level of pain I may feel and counted down (3, 2, 1) out loud before giving the shot. I knew exactly when I would feel pain, if any. In the past, my other dentist would just give it and that waiting and anticipation just killed me. 

My bottom two teeth came out quickly - I felt a little tugging on the right side and I didn't even feel anything on the left side and thought he didn't pull it out at all. 

The top right tooth however took about 25,/30 minutes because the tooth had two roots and one of them was long and thin and broke off when the tooth was extracted. So the dentist had to wiggle, and pull and hack at my gums to get the piece out. It was terrible. I heard the root continue to break off as he went to yank at it multiple times. And the anesthesia wore off during the process, which  made me get an extra shot. The area still hurts and I am still taking Advil and the gums look pretty gross - a big slash, whereas the bottom gums look perfectly normal. 

After the whole thing, I came home. I bled a lot. I had lots of mashed potatoes and porridge and ice cream for the past 48 hours and watched Stranger Things {so so good!} until I passed out sleeping for about 4 hours. 

I think I can go ahead and start eating regular food starting today although it feels terribly awkward. When I smile I look pretty goofy too. 

Anyway - what are you all doing for the weekend? 

We have Shone, one of our favorite Piri's Place dog guests over for a few days and it's supposed to get super hot around here and so we'll all likely stay indoors and enjoy the A/C, huddle on the bed for cuddle sessions and continue to watch the Olympics.

Have you been watching?

I know there is a lot of hype around Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps and Simon Biles (who are all amazing!) but I think my favorite Olympic stories have been of Oksana Chusovitina, the 41 year old gymnast, who I remember so well from the 1992 Barcelona Games when she competed under the Unified Team {Barcelona and Lillehammer Winter games, I think, are my favorite Olympics so far}, Kristin Armstrong, the 43 year old cyclist, who won her third consecutive gold medal. I saw her during an interview on the Today show, on her birthday, after she won her gold and they presented her with a surprise birthday, to which she replied, "Oh wow! I get to have my cake too!"And of course, Simone Manuel. Have you seen this powerful tweet? Just amazing.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Taking stock


Lately I've been trying to make small changes to my life. Small changes that I hope will have good outcomes. 

First is trying to conserve water.

I was watching a show on Netflix about water and was shocked at level of inequality to access to fresh clean water. Of course I knew this fact, but when it was in my face like that it was hard to turn the blind eye and think, "not my problem." 

I can still probably do a whole lot more to conserve water but I've been starting out in the bathroom first.

Yep. I was one of those annoying people that kept the water running the entire time I was brushing my teeth and rinsing. Like, really? Does the water really need to be on then? Of course not! And so, I've been making the conscious effort to turn it off.

The same going while showering. Yangkyu and I have been shutting the water off when we are lathering and only turning the water on when we need to rinse. We can probably get away with doing this now since it's summer and during the colder months we may just not be able to stand in the shower with the water off freezing out butts off, but so far it's been an ok experience.



Strength training. 

So I've been running since last November. More consistently and often during the first few months and then not so much when April came around and now during the summer months because I've found that it's much harder to run when it's hot {breathing is harder and I can't run with a water bottle because I find it distracting - and I need water when it's hot!}.

But I've gotten so much better at running and made quite a bit of improvement - like having a good solid first mile leg time {fastest was around 7:40 but lately it's been hanging around 8:40}. Also, I'm able to go a full 2 miles before needing to walk a little to rest. 

I run about 3.5 miles {when my condition isn't the greatest and it's a tough day to run} and up to 4.5 miles {and really great days}. 

But aside from cardio exercise, I've been adding strength training at night before going to bed. It's only been 2 weeks but I've seen really great improvements. 

I do 5 sets of arm workouts with 5 pound dumbbells, 5 sets of 20 squats and three 1 minute planks. It was a struggle in the beginning but doing 100 squats is easy peasy now {probably more so because I've been doing squats for a while, just more consistently now} and with planks {which are torturous by the way} I've gone from being able to hold it for 20 seconds, 30 seconds to 40 seconds and I did my first 1 minute plank two nights ago. 

At first when I started running back in November, it was to lose weight. I've been going through a hard time with my weight gain for several years now. I had gone from being 105 pounds to 130 pounds, so suddenly, and everyone who knew me when I was 105 and saw me with my sudden weight gain would remark so negatively and even made jokes and began to assume and make up stories as to why I gained weight - like oh she must be stressed because she broke up with her boyfriend and she can't find a job, which made me feel even worse. They would see me and motion with their arms about how big I got, and I would just laugh it off, while inside I was hurting. While going back to my original weight wasn't a goal, I had wanted to look tone and slim. 

Looking more tone and slim is still a goal, but I realized something these past few months.

One day, I was playing with Nala, a young guest pup who comes to Piri's Place often, and while I was playing with her, I got so tired, so quickly. I was panting and ran out of breath.

But you see, there are still a lot more things I want to do when I'm in my forties and fifties. I still have an ailing pup to care for and want to continue to have dogs in my life to care for and have fun with. And because I still want to be active as I continue to age, I realize I need to keep fit and maintain my metabolism. So it wasn't all about trying to look tone and slim, it was about having a healthy body and energy for an active (semi-active) life style.

Right now I am 124 pounds. Still flabby in a lot of areas, but feeling pretty ok.




Keeping the sink free of dirty dishes and cleaning counter tops every night. 

In the past, I would just let the sink pile up with dirty dishes and then stress over it and do them late at night and feel so groggy. 

To avoid all that, I've been doing the dishes right away. Even if it's just a spoon, a dish and a cup. They're done as soon as I put them in the sink.

At first it felt a little tedious but I realized that seeing a clean kitchen sink can really encourage you to cook more and enjoy your kitchen, rather than dread it. 


And I've been doing this for a while now but I always make sure to clean kitchen counters, sink, faucet and stove top with a wipe every night {and sometimes a couple of times during the day, especially after cooking}. This little routine, I've found, helps keep your kitchen stay clean so that on days when you do deep cleaning you're not stuck with old, hard to remove stains and greasy gunk.



What are some small changes you're making to improve your day to day? 

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