Our Goldendoodle| Puppy’s First Day Home

Welcome to my first puppy blog! Five weeks ago today we brought home our 8 week old ‘medium’ goldendoodle, Henry. His expected weight as an adult is between 40 and 50 pounds. Before bringing Henry home I did months of research on puppies. I wanted to make sure I knew as much as possible. I grew-up with a shih-tzu and now my parents have a havenese. My parents used potty pads with both dogs and they were difficult to house train.

I researched different breeds, breeders and also considered adoption. However, most of my research was focused on crate and house training. I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle long-term puppy accidents, so I was determined to train him well! I am not a dog expert and have no education as a dog trainer, but I thought it would be helpful to share what has worked well for us. Here are a few tips that made Henry’s first night home a successful one.

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Tip #1

Setup your puppy’s area and puppy-proof your home before you pup comes home.

In our home, we have an office with its own door to the backyard. This room became our designated puppy room for two reasons: 1) It is small and was fairly easy to puppy-proof; 2) The door to outside would always be in his sight and help with house training. We setup Henry’s crate in this room with his toys and bells on the door to outside. A few days after bringing him home we bought a baby gate to put on the inside door. For about his first two weeks home he rarely left this room. Remember, giving your puppy too much space puts him further away from his “potty place,” which increases the likelihood he has an accident where he’s not supposed to. He has a tiny, weak bladder and is easily confused in his new home.

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Tip #2

When you arrive home, take your puppy directly to his “potty place,” before brining him inside.

Henry’s “potty place” is right outside the office, so he hasn’t been more than 5 feet outside the back of our home. This area is very close to ‘his room.’ From day one, we’ve taken him outside on a leash to do his business. Fortunately, he went potty right away on that first day. We gave him lots of verbal praise then took him inside. I believe his first memory {do dogs have memories like this?} of his new home is where he goes potty.

At the guidance of his breeder, we chose to not use “potty pads” to house train Henry. Each time he comes inside we wipe his paws with a wipe because he does not have all of his vaccine boosters. We’ve gone through a lot of wipes! I know there are some risks taking a new puppy outside before he’s fully vaccinated. I have spoke with a few veterinarians on this topic and suggest everyone do the same. Taking Henry outside to go potty was the right choice for us. We are very lucky that Henry picked up on house training pretty easily and didn’t have many accidents {more to come on house training in another blog}.

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Tip #3

Make his crate inviting and don’t force him in.

When Henry entered his room his crate was setup with the door open. Inside we had a crate pad and the towel he sat on in the car during his ride home. I was a bit nervous about the crate situation because neither of my family dogs took a liking to their crate. We let him explore his new room for a bit and before we knew it, he walked into his crate on his own to lay down. From that moment on, he loved his crate! I originally planned to move his crate into our bedroom next to my side of the bed. I read that this closeness helps the puppy to adjust during their scary first days/weeks in their new home. Since Henry easily went in and out of his crate on his first day home we decided not to move his crate. Our bedroom door is right next to the office door, so we are close enough to hear him at night.

A puppy’s crate is supposed to be his safe place and his natural instincts should prevent them from having accidents in it. I totally understand that this is not the case for every pup! When we took Henry home he was about 9lbs and he started with a 24 inch crate. As most sites suggest, he had enough room to turn around, but not enough room to play. Too much extra space in the crate may cause puppies to go potty on one side and sleep on the other. The crate should only be big enough for relaxing – not relaxing AND potty.

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Tip #4

Stick to a schedule. Day and night.

We brought Henry home on a Sunday afternoon and I was able to stay home the following two days. Starting on the first night we set alarms to wake up every two hours to take Henry outside. I know that some sites suggest not waking your puppy up, but this is the method that we chose and it worked very well for Henry. We chose this method because we wanted him to understand that night time is for sleeping and going potty – not playing. By waking him up we felt were inconveniencing him, not the other way around. For the most part, he was always sleeping when we took him out until he woke up for good around 5am.

We followed the 2 hour approach for about five days then increased to 3 hours. After about another five days we increased to 4 hours. Within three weeks, Henry was sleeping through the night {and so were we} with no accidents. He has never had an accident in his crate and can hold it for 8-9 hours at night. Henry eventually started sleeping later and now wakes up between 6 and 6:45am.

For the first two weeks, we also wrote down every time Henry ate, drank and went potty. This sounds crazy {and like we had a human baby} but it really helped us understand how long he could hold it. During the first two days, we peed 14 times before dinner. We constantly took him outside – whether we thought he had to go or not – to reinforce his “potty place.”

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Tip #5

Be patient.

Patience is not my strongest venture. My husband on the other hand, has the patience of a saint. Brining home a puppy is without a doubt stressful and exhausting. The first few weeks are especially tough, but hang in there! I promise it gets better. Your little guy was taken from his mama and siblings then placed in whole new world. It is going to take some time for him to learn, but he will learn. During the first two weeks Henry went nuts for food and water. I couldn’t imagine that he’d ever sit still or not jump. Here we are 5 weeks out and he plops his little butt down when we bring his food over. Don’t lose hope! The calmer you are, the calmer he will be too. Our next goal is to tackle puppy biting – check back soon!

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My Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Le Creuset Dutch Oven

Last year when I created my bridal registry I went back and forth on adding a Le Creuset Dutch Oven. The little dream-chef voice in the back of my head kept saying, “add it, add it!” I was hesitant because I knew it was a total splurge item and I already had a pretty full list. I wasn’t sure if I would receive it or if it would take the place of a many smaller items that I really needed. In the end, I decided to add the 5.5 qt Le Creuset Dutch Oven anyway. I knew there was a good chance that I would receive gift cards at my bridal shower and I could use them to buy this dutch oven. The month of our wedding my co-works threw me a bridal shower and bought me my dream shower gift!

Before adding this dutch oven to my registry I did do a good amount of research on it. I wondered if it would be worth the money and what size I should get. I also noticed that most of my favorite chefs on The Food Network and The Cooking Channel used them. It was this article that ultimately lead me to the 5.5 quart round dutch oven. Now that I have been using this Dutch oven for a while, I would say that it is a good size. We are currently a family of two and most of the meals I make in this Dutch oven yield enough for left overs.  It’s not too small or too big. It seems like just the right size for me, but I don’t think this size would be big enough for “one pot meal” for a family of 5.

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My #1 reason to buy a Le Creuset Dutch Oven is because it is so versatile. I have used it to make soupchili, chicken pot pie, all different types of sauce and pasta. I’ve also used it to sautee large batches of veggies to put in casserole type dishes. There are still so many dishes I want to try to. I would love to make bread or roast a chicken in it as well. It has really become my go-to pot to cook with.

I am a huge fan of oven safe cookware. It really gives you a lot more options when you’re preparing a meal. The Le Creuset Dutch oven is no exception; it’s totally oven safe. It transfers from stove top to oven with no problems (including the lid). I always start my chicken pot pie in on the stove and transfer it to the oven. I have also made really tasty bolognese sauce (blog in the works) which I put in the oven and was stunned with how well it turned out.

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I love how easy to clean my Dutch oven is! I always let my Le Creuset {and all of my cookware} cool completely before I clean it. Although the website says it is dishwasher safe, I always hand wash it with soap and a soft sponge. On days that there is some stubborn, stuck on food, I will let it soak in soapy water for a while. With any new {and pricy} cookware, it’s a good idea to read the manufacture warranty before trying any cleaners other than dish soap and a sponge.

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My Dutch oven has got quite a bit of use in the last five months. Although it has some minor scratching inside {you shouldn’t use metal spoons} it still looks great. I’ve burned sauce and chili in it, but it has cleaned well and left no signs of damage. It’s super heavy duty, heats evenly, so I feel a great quality of this product helps to justify the price tag. If this dutch oven isn’t gifted to you, then it’s definitely an investment, but I am confident I will be using this pot for many years to come.

Although I went with the 5.5 quart Dutch oven there are so many sizes and shapes to choose from. There are smaller options for smaller or single house holds and large size for bigger families.  If I were to get a second Dutch oven I think I would go for a larger, oval shape to better fit chicken or roasts. I feel like there is a size {and color} for everyone!

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Galentine’s Brunch & Entertaining Tips

Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate the lovely ladies in your life.  Now that we are settled into our house, I regularly find myself looking for ways to have people over. I would love for our friends and family to think of our house as a home filled with their special memories. If you don’t have a house or aren’t a huge fan of entertaining, organize a girl’s brunch at your favorite restaurant. My family has done that in the past and had so much fun.

Over the last year I have slowly become more comfortable entertaining guests at our house. There’s nothing worse then feeling overwhelmed before, during or after guests arriving. I have a lot to learn, but I’ve definitely picked up a few helpful tips so far. Today, I am sharing three tips that help me to prepare myself to be a good host, along with three Instagram accounts I’ve followed recently. These ladies have been sharing some awesome recipes perfect for a Galentine’s Day Brunch!

Hosting Tips

#1 Plan and Organize: If I am planning a get-together in advance, it’s always a good idea to start planning as soon the date is set. Plan a simple menu and make a grocery list. When planning your menu be sure to consider your guest’s preferences, along with appetizers, main dishes and dessert. I will arrange to have extra tables and chairs {if needed} and of course, fun decor if I’m hosting a special event. I’ll save tips for impromptu entertaining for a separate blog post.

#2 House Prep: I am a neat freak {just ask my husband} and I’m very meticulous about our house. I clean our house regularly, but I like to make sure the house is at its cleanest for guests.  I  can straighten up the day of or night before, but I don’t want to be scrubbing every inch of the shower the morning of my party. The morning of a party, I will do some light cleaning, quickly clean the bathroom and setup anything needed for my friends.

 

#3 Food Prep: I try to plan out meals that I can put together in advance. I also try to serve dishes that won’t force me to stand in front of the stove all night. Fruits and veggies can be cut, meats and poultry can be marinated and casseroles can be prepared in advance. Soups and chili can be made early and can simmer on the stove until your guests arrive.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for some more Valentine’s Day inspiration!

The perfect Galentine’s brunch would definitely include pink mimosas and cute decor. I recently bought this inexpensive ‘be mine’ banner to hang on my fireplace mantel. It’s cute and I love that it will barely take up any room to store. It would also be cute to setup a photo back drop and use these cute Galentine’s Day props for pictures.

Instagram Galentine’s

I love following Christina Lane from Dessert for Two. All of her recipes make two servings {perfect for newlyweds}. Everything she makes looks delicious whether it’s dessert, dinner or a snack. Her food photography is beyond beautiful and she has published a few cookbooks. Talk about blogger goals!

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My Mom said my Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars are some of the best she's ever had. SO, every few months I make them in a new seasonal way. Tonight, it's with #ValentinesDay M&Ms, because they put TWO colors of pink in the bag this year–hooray! Grab the recipe link in my profile, check your email for my new recipes tonight, and stay tuned for my easiest 5-minute chocolate mousse coming up tomorrow! This is the time of year when I crank out allllll of the desserts for two because it's almost Love Day! What are you doing for Valentine's Day since it falls on a week day this year? I need to know! Are you cooking at home? Please say you're cooking at home…you're my kind of people. ❤ #feedfeed #mandms #vday #sugarcookie #cookiebars #frosted #smallbatch #foodblogfeed

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Julie Resnikc’s Feedfeed Gluten-Free account is awesome. This account makes it easy to find both gluten-free recipes and new bloggers. If you post a photo and tag #feedfeed you also have a chance of being featured on one of her accounts. This parfait that was posted recently is Valentine’s Day perfection.

Lexi’s Clean Kitchen is one of my favorite accounts to follow. Lexi shares so many gluten-free and paleo recipes. She has a great website and recently publish a cookbook too.  I think it is so cool to see bloggers grow and succeed. Lexi’s gluten-free pancake recipe along with these chocolate strawberry cups would be perfect for a Galentine’s brunch.

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They are UP!!! 🍫🍓❤️ These Paleo Chocolate Strawberry Cups are the perfect paleo and vegan Valentine’s Day treat. Made with an easy, 2-ingredient chocolate ganache and my favorite chia seed jam, everybody will love this decadent treat that is easy to make and require’s no baking! 👇🏼👇🏼 Link is in my profile for the recipe! • • • #lexiscleankitchen #eeeeeats #glutenfree #eatclean #justeatrealfood #huffposttaste #thefeedfeed #cleaneating #bhgfood #cleaneating #bonappetit #foodandwine #foodblogfeed #f52grams #mywilliamssonoma #eatingfortheinsta #realfood #beautifulhealth #foodblogeats #foods4thought #beautifulcuisines @beautifulcuisines @thefeedfeed @purewow #chocolatelovers #valentinegift

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