A Challenge!

It’s been a long time goal of mine (and many other procrastinators out there) to complete either a 365 or 52 photography project. If you are unfamiliar with these it’s quite a simple concept. A 365 project involves taking a picture a day and a 52 project is one picture a week. Some times there are themes to each photo goal, but many times it is open ended. I’ve tried to do the 365 many time and usually fail around the 3rd week. It just gets tough for me to keep up with it. This year I’ve decided to bite off a little less and just try one photo a week, and so far, knock on wood, I’m keeping up with it.

Here are my first five weeks:
Week 01

Luke gives me a cunning grin.

Luke gives me a cunning grin.

Week 02

wk02 brooke aussie pitbull mutt dog puppy soccer ball

Brooke and his favorite ball. Sadly, mister soccer ball finally met his match when he lots too much air and Brooke finally tore a giant hold in him.

Week 03

wk03 vivienne dachshund doxie dapple dog puppy

My littlest princess, Vivienne, and her sweet, sweet face.

Week 04

04wk vera dachshund doxie dog

Vera is much bigger in spirit than she is body. She can hold her own in a game of tug-o-war though

Week 05

wk05 Brooke rolling in grass aussie pitbull dog puppy

Brooke LOVES to roll in the grass and stretch out. He’s so funny when he does it.

Now, it’s not too late to join in, so please, share with me your weekly adventure – whatever they may be!! Through out the year I’ll suggest a theme for the week and will hand out prizes to the participants. Post your photos on my Facebook page wall, or post a link to your photo in the comments here. Please include your email address and week date for all photos. Also, don’t worry that I might be on a different week number than you. Just start! I’ll be posting week date ranges for any themes or challenges so it won’t matter if it’s week 1 or week 33 for you.


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vivienneandvera


What I do

Right now I make doggie cookies that are wheat, corn, soy, and gluten free. It all sorta started when we brought Vera home and she wouldn’t partake in any of the fancy or ho-hum store bought treats we offered her. She would take them from us and then promptly walk away and spit them out. She eagerly wanted a treat from us, but what we were offering wasn’t cutting it. It saddened me since all I wanted to do was shower her with love, attention, and affection after she was dumped in a shelter by her first owner. In typical Lauren fashion; to the internet I ran!

I started searching up all sorts of homemade doggie treats. I sifted through them until I found one that had only a handful of ingredients and didn’t seem to complicated. While I am a pretty successful home cook, I still don’t like to bite off more than I can chew with a new venture (psst, sometimes I do anyways) and tried to keep it simple. I found a Pumpkin Peanut Butter treat on Use Real Butter initially that I tested. It was an instant hit. My dogs loved them. Vera approved!

I brought treats to my dog owning friends. Their dogs loved them. I started sharing more and more of the treats with my friends and people started offering to pay for them. Wow. It wasn’t really the reaction I was looking for, but I was spending money out of my pocket and eventually have started collecting payment to basically cover the expense of making cookies and developing new flavors. After such a warm response I opened an Etsy shop to make our cookies available to everyone.

I started doing research about dog dietary needs and allergies to make sure I didn’t get anyone sick and soon learned that wheat isn’t the best grain for dogs. I should have known this seeing as I am gluten intolerant and can’t consume wheat, barlet, rye, or spelt grains. Duh. I went back to the kitchen and started playing around to eliminate the wheat. Steel cut oats have become the answer for now. I fresh grind them for every recipe. I also started thinking of more dog enticing flavors. Cheddar Peanut Butter and Roasted Turkey Apple were instant hits.

Wheat, Corn, Soy and Gluten Free Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Cookie

You can check out our cookies here:

And so it begins . . .

This is the beginning of the blog. This is it. The very first post. I have no delusions of grandeur on how awesome and consistent this blog with be. What I can promise instead is passion. Lots of it. Maybe even lots, and lots, and LOTS of it. I have ga-jillion ideas in my head, it seems, that I am just chomping at the bit to produce. I just want to make things. Create. Design. Bring to life.

What do I do? I photograph, bake, design, sew, craft, and compile all the things that inspire and invigorate me. I have a pretty kick-ass 13 year old daughter, a steadfast and jolly husband, and 4 completely loved and pampered canines. Because of them, and the lack of additional human children in our house, I have been stewing up ways to make things for the puppies and keep myself busy. Cooking special cookies for them has been a great joy and I hope to expand upon the simple treat into all sorts of creature comfort for the pups.

The pups:
Vera is a one year old red wild boar coated miniature dachshund that we rescued from a local shelter in November 2012. She has been the most recent addition to our little pack and has brought so much completion into our lives. So much. It still gives me goosebumps thinking about how perfect she is for us.
Brooke is turning 1 on January 26, 2013! He is an Australian Shepherd and American Pit Bull mix. Please, don’t try to convince me he is a Catahoula Leopard Hound. He’s not. I promise you. He is the largest of our pack while also being the biggest baby. He is stuck on me like glue every minute of the day, and even though he still gets himself in trouble chewing forbidden items and occasionally digging under the fence to play in the neighbor’s yard, I wouldn’t trade him for any other mutt.
Vivienne is currently 6 months old and she is a black and tan silver patchwork dapple miniature dachshund. We sought out a breeder after the sudden and tragic loss of our first dachshund in Aug 2012. Vivi hails from Flowerwood Dachshunds in Ocala, FL and she is a pure angel princess. She is so, so, soooooo sweet. She’s almost not a feisty little dachshund. Almost. She is the true baby of the family and she exploits that position for all it’s worth!

Vera, Brooke, and Vivienne on Christmas 2012

Lastly, there is Lucas. He is a 5 year old American Cocker Spaniel and even though he’s not that old, in general, he is the ‘old man’ of our pack of puppies. He has been with me through a lot and has always remained devoted, happy to see me, and super smart. He doesn’t like strangers and isn’t as social as the others but he has his spot in the hierarchy.

Lucas the Cocker Spaniel

I may also throw other things into the mix. I consider myself a very eclectic person. I pull inspiration from all around me and my interest sometime turn on a dime when confronted with a new mind-blow. I’m rarely consistent on timing, though I obsess about it. I am easily distracted too. But don’t worry too much about me right now; I’m sure I will talk about me many, many, many more times in the future. For now, welcome. I hope we both stick around with this blog thing.