Tag Archives: pumpkin

Day 7 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

The jack-o-lanterns are going to the dogs (and cats)!

I absolutely love carving pumpkins for Halloween. It’s always a lot of work, takes too much time, and is incredibly messy, but the finished jack-o-lantern(s) prove themselves worth the effort every year. I especially enjoy showcasing my love of dogs and pit bulls in my pumpkin carvings.

This year was no different and when it came time to carve some pumpkins I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Except this year I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of using real pumpkins to carve and turn into jack-o-lanterns to show off my love of all things dogs, pit bulls, and yes, even cats, I decided to use craft/synthetic pumpkins. That’s right I’m using pumpkins that can’t go bad, decompose, and most importantly, won’t attract bugs. As much as I love carving pumpkins each year, I’m always so disappointed how quickly my freshly carved jack-o-lanterns go bad and become infested with bugs—literally it’s in a day’s time—and how short of a time I can actually display my pumpkins on my front porch. So, rather than using fresh pumpkins to carve that only lasts a couple days, I used synthetic pumpkins that can last as long as I want. In fact, I can even save the pumpkins and use them again next year!

To carve some completely adora-bull, and long lasting jack-o-lanterns this is what you’ll need:

Pumpkin Supplies

  • Synthetic/craft pumpkin(s)
  • carving tools such as a small knife, and shaving tool
  • stencil(s)
  • tape
  • scissors

Ultimately, I chose three different pumpkins in which I could carve. I chose two small sized pumpkins (one orange, and one black), and a larger orange pumpkin. Then, I found three stencil designs to carve into each pumpkin. I did recycle the pit bull stencil I used last year and found it was perfect for my smaller orange pumpkin, went with a paw print stencil for my larger orange pumpkin, and thought a cat sitting on a moon design was just right for the small black pumpkin. Also, I chose the synthetic pumpkins that have open backs because this made the backside of the pumpkin flat. Therefore, carving was much easier since the pumpkin could lay flat on its back and not move around like a traditionally round pumpkin would.

Pumpkin Stencils

First, take the stencil and tape it to the front of the pumpkin. Using a small knife, carefully poke holes along the stencil outline. Remove the stencil, but keep it for reference as you carve.

Pumpkin Carvings

 

Next, begin to cut along the outline of holes that has been previously poked into the pumpkin.

Then, shave any parts of the pumpkin that are meant to be shaved for more definition and dimension.

Finally, clean up the mess of shavings, put a LED candle light in your pumpkin and light up the jack-o-lantern.

Jack-o-Lanterns

We’re officially surpassing the halfway point in our 13 Days of Halloween journey…keep checking back until October 31st for all things Halloween!

Day 5 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Treats are always appreciated

I think the absolute greatest part of Halloween for everyone (human and animal alike), or at least the sweetest part, is the Treats. For us humans this season of treats inspires images of various candies, pies, cupcakes, and other types of desserts. For the dogs, it inspires only one thing: pumpkin-flavored treats.

Even more exciting is a whole box of pumpkin-inspired treats for Simon and Rosee!

October Box

A few months ago we started to subscribe to the Dapper Dog monthly subscription box. Despite the availability of so many subscription box options, we ultimately decided to go with the Dapper Dog box because along with including various new treats and toys to try, they also include a very cute accessory for your dog in each box. So far, we’ve received incredibly cute (and well made) bow ties, and bandanas that are not only seasonally appropriate, but most importantly fit around both Simon and Rosee’s necks. I have to be honest, while I love getting cute accessories for the pups, I love having accessories that fit them even more. I remember about a year ago when we went to a rather large event for pets and even though there were upwards of 50 vendors and 90% of them sold bandanas we were unable to find 1 (that’s right 1) that was big enough to fit Simon’s neck. Now, we have several accessories from which to choose from.

In addition, we’ve received some really great and durable toys from our various boxes. Of course, we do pay to get the Heavy Chewers box, which includes a tougher toy rather than a plush toy, but these toys seem to be really well made. For instance, at our local pet store we typically buy Simon (he’s our toughest chewer by far) a chew toy that is supposed to be for heavy chewers and even comes with a lifetime warranty from the company if your dog rips the toy because they believe in their product’s durability that much. Unfortunately, even with these toys Simon is able to chew through them in a few rounds of play and chew. Yet, they are the best toys we’ve found…until now. The toys we’ve received from the Dapper Dog box have really been great so far. In particular, he has this one orange squeaky toy that has stood up to a lot of chewing and numerous rounds of fetch. I am incredibly impressed with the fact that this toy doesn’t even look like he’s ever chewed it!

DD Toys

Finally, the Dapper Dog box was the best choice for us because they were one of the only ones (at least that we found) that we could request to receive non-peanut butter treats. Sadly, Simon and Rosee are allergic to peanut butter and typically break out in hives if they consume any peanut butter treats. Luckily though, the Dapper Dog let us request no peanut butter treats, which is something that many other subscription boxes available do not accommodate. (P.S. Their customer service is amazing!)

Overall, I really can’t say enough great things about the Dapper Dog box. Our experience with the service has been amazing so far and the box for October was especially awesome because it was all about pumpkin. From the treats, to the toys, and even the bandana dog accessory—each items was a Treat for the Halloween season!

Now, I know a subscription box isn’t for everyone or dog, but at the very least make sure to check out their Instagram because it is adorable.

Day 9 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

Move over jack-o-lanterns because pup-o-lanterns are all the rage this year!

20171027_210651

I love my dogs and what better way to show off my love for them than to carve their face (or at least as close as I could) into a pumpkin for Halloween.

My pup-o-lantern may have started off as just a regular, orange pumpkin, but it definitely had a dream of being transformed into something special. All I needed was a pumpkin, a stencil, a small carving knife, a pumpkin shaver, some tape and a whole lot of determination.

IMG_3132

To begin, I started by cutting off the top of my pumpkin and cleaning out the middle. Honestly, this part of the process is the longest and definitely most labor intensive as well. However, making sure that your pumpkin’s inside is clean is most important because you don’t want any stringy bits obscuring all your hard work.

IMG_3133

Next, I taped my stencil to the front surface of my pumpkin and used my knife to make a shallow dotted line along the stencil lines so that I would know where exactly to cut. You could, of course, leave the stencil on while you carve your pumpkin, but this can be difficult since pumpkin juice can make your paper stencil rip and tear. I found a pit bull stencil off of the sheknows website, who kindly put together a slideshow of 19 printable dog patterns for carving. I did end up enlarging the stencil though, because otherwise a few of the lines were a little too close together for comfort.

Then I took my carving knife and carefully cut out all the sections that were cut out (the dark grey parts of the stencil), and continued on to shave the sections indicated (the light grey sections of the stencil). While I did use a fancy-ish carving knife and shaver, any knife should work. Although, I did find that a smaller, thinner knife did help me cut the more detailed areas easier.

Finally, all I had left to do was put in a couple LED electric candles in my pup-o-lantern and wait for the sun to set.

20171027_210806

So, whether you are ambitious enough to use a stencil to carve your own pup-o-lantern or stick to simple shapes to make a basic face or paw print (because really that’s just a cluster of ovals), any pup-o-lantern is sure to be awesome!

Day 8 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

Is there seriously anything more awesome than pumpkin this time of the year?

I mean, during the Fall season just about pumpkin-everything is available. From pumpkin spiced coffees, teas, flavored gums and candies, pancakes, and we can’t forget the giant refrigerated case at Costco that holds nothing but pumpkin pies. Then there are the numerous ways in which we can use pumpkins, whether it is for decorations inside and outside of the house, to make homemade pumpkin pies, and of course, there’s the classic use of pumpkins to create jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.

20171026_195219

Yet, did you know that pumpkin can also be nutritious for our dogs?

Yes, in fact it seems that pumpkin mania doesn’t just have to be for us humans, and can be a nutritious snack for our dogs. For the most part, pumpkin is considered to be of good use for dogs with upset stomachs and tummy troubles. For instance, when either Rosee or Simon experience tummy troubles we feed them some plain cooked white rice and boiled chicken (as advised by our vet), however some dogs, like my brother’s dog Trigger, don’t handle grain very well and pumpkin can be a better option. Furthermore, pumpkin can be a good source of fiber, beta-carotene as well as numerous other vitamins and minerals that can be beneficial to our pups. Just remember it’s best used in moderation as a treat!

Plain canned pumpkin is the easiest way to provide your dogs with a tasty treat, but fresh pumpkin can be good too as long as you’re up for the challenge of cutting, cleaning, and storing it. Just make sure that any pumpkin you buy (at least in the canned form) is only plain pumpkin. Do not use pumpkin pie filling or any sort of spiced pumpkin mix since these other additives can further upset your dog’s stomach or even be toxic (for instance if the pumpkin pie filling contains xylitol).

I mean really, just when I thought I couldn’t love pumpkin anymore.

20171026_161659

For even more information on pumpkin and the benefit for your dog make sure to check out the links below.

References:

https://www.dogids.com/blog/pumpkin-for-dogs/

http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/can-pumpkin-help-with-dog-diarrhea/

http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/nutrition/3-health-benefits-pumpkin-dogs

 

P.S. We’re past the halfway mark in our celebration here of the 13 Days of Halloween, but we still have lots left to come, so make sure to check back for more Halloween-inspired fun!

Day 1 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

Hello blogsphere!

It certainly has been awhile, but what can I say…life happens.

However, now that it’s October with Halloween not too far away and the holiday season just around the corner I thought I would get back into the blogging habit by celebrating the 13 Days of Halloween!

So for the next 13 days until Halloween on October 31st we will be posting Halloween and Fall inspired blogs every day.

IMG_2354

To kick off the event I thought I would introduce a new member to our family:

GEORGE

IMG_3071
George is already showing off his love of Halloween by posing with the pumpkins.

George is a neighborhood cat that we pretty much adopted as our own a few months ago when the neighbors that were caring for him (I thought he belonged to them because he was always in front of their house and they kept bowls of food and water, and had a cat house) moved away. Unfortunately, these neighbors did not take George with them and so we decided to start leaving out some food and water for him in our front side yard, and before we knew it he had adopted us as his new family.

George is a super affectionate cat who loves attention, head scratches, and almost acts like a dog in his enthusiastic greetings whenever anyone arrives home.  He is an outside only cat as that what he has been all of his life, at least from my observings, but while all us humans love him, Rosee tends to get a little too excited around him (and really any cats she sees). Yet, she is starting to get used to seeing him in the front yard as he never runs away when she barks at him and just rolls around on the front lawn despite her.

And the best part about him…he loves having his picture taken just as much as Simon and Rosee!

IMG_3075
Our front yard cemetery is George’s playground.

Make sure you stick around for the next 12 days to see what we have in store.

I Put A Spell On You . . . And Now You’re Mine (Or We Are Hers)

**Warning** This post is seriously, hilariously, egregiously, ridiculously . . . late.

We here at Play Hard Bark Often love Halloween. It’s just such a fun holiday that never takes itself too seriously and encourages a multitude of decorations to litter front yards. Similar to the winter holidays, yet with more mischief and spooks hanging around. I personally find Halloween fun because it means carving pumpkins, breaking out the tombstones, and wearing all ten of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion-themed t-shirts I own without feeling like I’m pining for something. All in all it’s a great holiday filled with gooey baked goods, a miniature village with frightening sounds, and two pups trying to wrestle themselves out of strange costumes their silly humans keep trying to wrangle them into.

Halloween and the entire month of October has always been a greatly anticipated month, but about two years ago this holiday took on an entirely new meaning when we brought a new addition into our home and family.

IMG_2308You see, October 31st, the day dedicated to all things Halloween-related, in our house is also dedicated to all things Rosee-related as it is the day of this esteemed girl’s birth. That’s right. It’s Rosee’s birthday!

IMG_2376
We’re definitely looking forward to moving out of the terrible twos.

It was two years and four months ago that my family walked into our local PetSmart while it was holding its weekly adoption event and saw Rosee being walked around the store with a cute little vest on that proclaimed “Adopt Me.” We were sold. Two weeks later and she was ours.

First Round 012
Her first day home.

She was about nine months old at the time and Simon was about a year and a half. It was love.

Now at three years old Rosee is a little ping pong ball, bouncing around the house, making a racquet, and generally getting spoiled. She enjoys long walks to our local parks, keeping the squeaky toys away from Simon, and taking up the whole couch for her naps.

This year I decided to go all out for the big 3, whipping up candy treats for humans and trying my hand at some sort of tasty pumpkin cake for the pups to enjoy. Now, let me start by saying as much as I love to bake and cook and try my hand at all things with clear, concise recipes I wanted to be a little more adventurous this time. So, I put on my big girl apron and tried creating a birthday cake for Rosee out of sensitive-stomach-dog-friendly ingredients. After making about five different versions of some kind of pumpkin cake (because it is Fall after all), and Simon and Rosee enthusiastically taste-testing all of them, I finally settled on a version. It turned out to be a little closer to pumpkin bread, but it tasted pretty good, looked even better, and was eagerly gobbled down by the birthday girl and her partner-in-crime.

IMG_2395It was a fun evening and even though I’m pretty sure the pups have absolutely no idea why they were happily given new treats to eat, they enjoyed it all. However, getting so much attention does tend to tire a girl out pretty quickly.

IMG_2390The only problem: I have no idea what to do for Simon’s birthday in February!