Journal

You can’t succeed if you don’t try…

Well I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, but I’m not going to lie, my personal fears have held me back. Will I be good enough, will people want to read what I write, what will I talk about, and the list goes on and on. But today I decided to say “screw it”. How will I know if I never try. If I fail, I fail, but at least it won’t be because I didn’t even try.

First a little about myself. I’m in my early forties and happily married to my highschool sweatheart.  I work full time, struggle with the normal day to day stresses in life, but overall we have a pretty good life. We don’t have any children, but we do have 2 furbabies. A mixed breed dog named Rosco and a Dogue de Bordeaux named Brogan.

I love to cook, struggle with cleaning (it’s not my favourite thing to do), love photography, paddle boarding (or really anything involving water), animals (especially my dogs), reading, and most recently learning about essential oils and incorporating them into our day to day life.

My goal is to share some of my interests and ideas with all of you. Maybe some of my ideas, recipes or hints and tips will help someone else out. Or if nothing else give you a little escape from your reality.

dogs · Journal

Happy birthday in heaven Brogan 💔

Well Brogan, today you would have been 9 years old. It was a milestone I was really hoping you would make. We fought hard, and I think you had a great life, even though it was cut shorter than we wanted.

You were an amazing dog and I miss you everyday. Today I shed a lot of tears thinking about you, but also smiled at some great memories of the goofy things you did.

You were one of a kind and the outpouring of love we got from friends and family was amazing and showed how much you touched everyone’s lives, not just ours. I hope you had a great day doing all the things you loved.

Happy birthday and rest easy big guy ❤️

dogs

Heaven gained an amazing dog, good-bye Brogan.

I haven’t written about Brogan in a while. Mostly because I wasn’t sure what to write. He took a turn for the worse on March 1st, with a lot of collapses on his walks, then we noticed his heart was stuck at 200 beats per minute (normal should have been between 60 and 70 for a dog his size). So after numerous trial and error with drugs we finally got him on new drugs that seemed to be working and he was making progress every day. I knew that all the racing his heart had done would have caused damage, but I was still optimistic about how he was doing and was hoping to get many more years with him. My logical brain knew it probably wouldn’t be years, but my heart was hoping he would shock everyone and live to the crazy old age of 13.

Brogan died in my arms on June 15th at 4am under the lilac tree’s. Where he wanted to be. We went to the cabin Thursday night and he had a great weekend, ate well, played in every puddle he could and even convinced me he could go for longer walks. Then Sunday night when we got back from golfing he was laying behind the door by the washing machine and his color was terrible and his belly looked like he had bloated. So I gave him simethecone and laid with him on the floor. He seemed to be improving a bit, but I was still worried. So Rodney and I decided to come home at 10:30. We got home and by 1:30 I realized that it was probably fluid in his belly, it kept accumulating and was painful. I gave him more diuretics and hoped he could at least be comfortable until morning so I could bring him in and get him euthanized. (covid19 has changed who is allowed into most vet clinics and none that I could think of offered emergency services or will allow you to be with your pet while they are euthanized) But it didn’t work that way. At about 2:30am he wanted out, had a few painful bouts of diarrhea and then just wanted to lay under the lilacs. So I came in the house and got a sleeping bag and laid with him. He died at 4am. I came and told Rodney and we all went out. Rosco wouldn’t leave me and Brogan so we laid out there with him until 7:30 when we came in. 
Took a bit of a rigamarole to get him in to be cremated (more covid19 restrictions on services allowed), but when Rodney and I got there to drop him off the owner let us know he would do it all at no charge. Very kind of him and not necessary for sure. The owner works for the company that the vet clinic I used to work at has used since I was there. He didn’t remember me, but knows the girls at the clinic and felt bad about everything I think. And is just generous. 

I cried for him so much yesterday, I thought I had so much more time because he was doing so well. We were struggling with his appetite, but as long as I fed him what he wanted that was improving. I told Rodney we got robbed, but Rodney said Brogan took the hard decision about when it would be time to let him go out of our hands. And he died after having a great weekend at the lake, a truck ride (which he loved) under the lilacs, which he loved. 
He was an amazing dog, who will always be remembered by everyone as the big gentle giant. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body and will be missed by more than just us. He let people know what he wanted and was thinking without being able to speak. And oozed Broganisma (a word a friend came up with and I never forgot because it fit him so well)
I’m trying to focus on the fact that we got way more time than any vet thought we would with his heart, and that although he didn’t quite make 9 he was almost there and that constitutes an old Dogue de Bordeaux, even for a healthy hearted one. 
Rosco is sad, but is cuddling and loving up Rodney (he became a dad’s suck in the last couple of years) and we are all just trying to get by without our goofy Brogan to brighten our day. 

dogs · Journal

Brogan update

Wow, once again writing has taken a back burner, it feels like I’m constantly busy, but I can’t really tell you what I’m busy doing.

However, I wanted to take a moment and update all of you that have been following my blog for updates on Brogan. I am so happy to say that he turned 8 1/2 this month. I’m now celebrating the 1/2 years too, because he’s blown away everyone’s expectations for keeping on going. He was diagnosed with right sided heart failure when he was 5 and they thought I’d be lucky to have him for 6months. I am so happy that everyone was wrong. That being said we are seeing some big “old” dog signs now. He sleeps a lot, our walks are shorter and sometimes I think he forgets what he was doing (not that I can talk, I often do that too 🙄). All in all though he is doing so well. We changed his meds around again this fall because he was losing weight and collapsing a lot. Since that change we have gotten some weight back on and he had one big collapse in the last 3 months. That’s a huge success.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that both of our dogs will be 9 this year. I’m so blessed to have them both. And I am grateful for every day that we have with them.

They have truly taught me to focus on the positive and appreciate every day.

recipes

Spicy Beef Broccoli

This is a fast easy meal that we have enjoyed for years.

Ingredients:

1 can condensed beef broth (aka beef consume)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp peanut oil
4 cups broccoli florets
1 cup white onions, sliced
1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, thinly sliced

Instructions:

Thinly slice your steak (or you can use a roast if you are making a bigger batch). This is easier if the steak is partially frozen.

Once steak is sliced brown in a little oil. Add in broccoli and onions, fry for a bit and then add soy sauce and condensed beef broth and crushed red pepper. Can add more if you like it spicier. Once that has simmered for a bit thicken with water and cornstarch.

Serve over egg noodles, pasta of your choice or mashed potatoes.

Instant pot opinions:

Use your instant pot to saute your thinly sliced steak, once sauted add in your beef consume and soya sauce and pressure cook on high for 15min, then natural release for 10min. Add rest of ingredients and saute until broccoli is partially cooked and then thicken with cornstarch and water.

recipes

The best barbecue sauce

There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but trust me it’s worth it. My husband and I have searched for the perfect barbecue sauce for years and tried numerous recipes. We finally each found one that we thought was pretty good, just not perfect. Then we had the brainwave to mix them together. Success, the perfect barbecue sauce.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 jalapeño finely chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup beer
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soya sauce
1/2 cup spiced rum
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp Chipotle sauce
black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Sauté onions and garlic in oil until caramelized, add jalapeño then add dry spices and brown sugar and mix.
add rest of ingredients and simmer until it reduces down to desired thickness.

You can refrigerate the remaining sauce if you don’t use it all. It’s great on ribs, chicken, pork and I love my sausage dipped in it. I also really enjoyed it mixed into my scrambled eggs.

Hopefully you enjoy it as much as we do.

dogs · Journal

Remedy Hemp oil

Someone is tired after our walk

I haven’t written for a while again… seems like I have the best intentions to keep my blog current and then the wheels fall off the bus, life gets busy and honestly a little bit of self doubt creeps in (after all what is so special about what I have to say). I am going to try to be more frequent with my posts again though. I still enjoy doing it.

Last time I wrote about Brogan trying out a fitbit to see if we could catch a dizzy episode or collapse with him, or even just a little insight into what happens when he gets excited. But we were lucky, or I should say are lucky, because the change in his heart meds has seemed to eliminate all his symptoms… hopefully for a long long time. I’m still not brave enough to let him cruise around off leash, but we do go for longer walks and we play in the backyard and he gets really goofy with Rosco and seems to feel good.

He hadn’t been doing a lot of that, even when he wasn’t feeling dizzy or having symptoms from his heart condition. We were noticing that he was sore and had a harder time getting in and out of the truck and definitely wasn’t cruising up and down the hallway and leaping in and out of the bed…then we tried hemp oil. Since then he is a big goof. Always wants to go further on our walks, but his heart still plays him out, just no more discomfort, so he thinks he should be able to go forever. It’s great to see my older guy feels so good that he is determined to go longer, and is always eager to go for a walk. It’s hard to see your furbaby age, but seeing him feel so good again makes me very happy.

He isn’t wearing his fitbit anymore because I think we have everything under control…for the moment anyway. And that is good enough for me…we will continue to do what we can to keep him happy and comfortable, and as healthy as we possibly can.

If you are interested in trying the remedy hemp with you furbaby, or yourself, or just want to learn more about it reach out to me at remedypawsitivevibe@gmail.com

dogs · Journal

Using a fitbit to monitor Brogan’s heart

I saw a post a while ago of a Veterinarian using an apple watch to quickly check a dogs heartrate and figured I’d give it a try with my fitbit versa and Brogan. It worked amazing, but I wasn’t willing to give him my fitbit versa…however I did have an old charge HR that was just sitting in a drawer. I charged it and put it on him…and it works

Now I’m going to leave it on him and hope it does a decent job of monitoring what his heart is doing. We did a holter monitor on him a while ago, but didn’t really find out a whole lot from it, probably because that was only for 48hours, and I don’t think he was very comfortable wearing it. This doesn’t seem to affect him at all. And its mine, so it doesn’t cost me anything for him to wear it or check it.

So what brought this on you might wonder…

He has had more dizzy moments in the past month and I am a little concerned that his condition is getting worse. I managed to catch him before he collapsed 2 weeks ago and his heart was racing so fast I couldn’t count it. For those of you that are new to Brogan’s ongoing heart mystery the racing heart (tachycardia) was what got our initial diagnosis. He was put on a beta blocker to help control that. However it was very obvious that it was happening again. I talked to my Veterinarian the next day and we decided we would try increasing the dose of his beta blocker to see if that would help him out or not. He is now 1 full week into his increased dosage and seems to be doing okay. So now we will go back to more activities and see how he handles them.

I sure hope the fitbit works well enough that we can get a good baseline heartrate for him, and also see what happens when he is excited or when we are going for a walk.

Actually I kinda hope we don’t see any episodes and the fitbit doesn’t need to do anything.

In the meantime we will leave the fitbit on him and see what happens one way or another…

main dishes · recipes

Brined turkey

This Easter we tried something different with our turkey, we didn’t just roast it in the oven, or smoke it on the smoker, we tried a brine instead. I have to say it was one of the most flavourful and moist turkeys we have had. It’s pretty easy, just needs a little extra prep time. We actually put the frozen turkey in a cooler with the brine and it was perfect. We put it in Friday at noon and put it in the oven Sunday at noon.

1 gallon vegetable stock
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup salt
Fresh thyme bunch or 1 Tbsp dry
Fresh rosemary or 1 Tbsp dry
Boil for a few minutes

Then add 1 gallon ice water to whatever container you are going to put the turkey in and soak 24 hrs.

Roast as normal in the oven. We always stuff butter under the skin and did that again with this one.

They say you can also do it with a chicken, you just soak it for less time. I haven’t tried that yet. But when I do I will be sure to share.

dogs

Brogan’s heart mystery

Brogan has beaten the odds, no one had expectations of him making it for more than 4 months after he was diagnosed. We smashed those numbers and he continues to do well. If I’m doing math correctly it’s been 2 1/2 years since his diagnosis, which is amazing and we are so grateful that he is still with us and doing relatively well. He is now starting to show old dog symptoms, so we have added CBD oil to his morning ritual. It’s amazing how big of a difference that has made for him. He has the puppy “zoomies” more often than he has in a long while. It’s a fantastic thing to see him be such a goof again. I didn’t realize that he had slowed down until we see him act like a puppy again.

His heart still gives him a bit of grief (and a little stress for those that love him). He still has had random dizzy spells when he gets excited, but overall we seemed to have it under control. Then this past weekend he had a bad collapse, this one seemed a little different than the ones in the past. He got dizzy, but then when he collapsed and lost consciousness he lost control of his bladder and also went very rigid. It was more like a mini seizure of some sort than his normal faint. I don’t know what to think about that. He’s rarely lost control of his bladder (but it has happened) and I’ve only seen him go rigid once before and that was right before we diagnosed him. So now the neurological link possibility fits a little better. The cardiologist thought there might be a neurological issue that was a contributing factor to his collapses, but no one was really sure how to test that or if it was all a heart issue. Not that this has confirmed anything for anyone. It is just another piece in the complex puzzle that has become our life with Brogan. His most recent collapse makes me realize that we do really need to enjoy every minute we have with him.

main dishes · recipes

Spring/egg rolls in a bowl

I’m sure by now you have all seen the instant pot recipe for egg rolls in a bowl…I had looked through numerous versions, but none of them seemed like they needed the instant pot, and they didn’t sound as appealing as my sister in laws spring rolls (she is from Thailand and makes the BEST springrolls). I have helped her make springrolls a few times, and I suck at it. They are a lot of work and I’m too slow at rolling them. By the time I’m done making them we would have caved and ordered something 🙂 So I figured I would take her recipe and just make it into the egg roll in a bowl that everyone is sharing on social media. We had them last night, and they were amazing. I also think they are much healthier because nothing is deep fried.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb ground beef or pork
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup broccoli slaw
  • 2 small packages of rice vermicelli
  • 2 small pckg of beef oxo
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 pckg egg roll wrap

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. put vermicelli in a big bowl with warm water for 15min and drain
  2. fry ground pork or beef until no longer pink
  3. add all remaining ingredients (minus wrappers) and fry until vegetables are tender, once veggies are tender add the vermicelli noodles in and mix well
  4. while that is cooking slice the wontons into wide strips, brush with oil and bake at 350 for ~10min until crispy
  5. serve with your favourite spring/egg roll dipping sauce.