A Day of Raising Arrows {Episode #2}

You may have noticed Raising Arrows has slowed down a bit.  It’s been very peaceful here in my neck of the woods, and part of that is a slower attitude all around.  (See my post on what I’m doing about all the stress this world causes.)

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I’ve started getting up earlier (Thank you, Make Over Your Mornings!), and enjoying about an hour of time before the children start straggling into the kitchen.  The children get their own breakfasts (with help, of course), but my breafkast of choice these days is oatmeal with 1 tsp coconut sugar and a sprinkle of chocolate chips because I’m doing Trim Healthy Mama without stevia.  The oatmeal really keeps me going throughout the morning hours when school is in full swing.

Morning is spent on workbooks and “every day” school subjects.  Today, I managed to sneak in a chapter from Pocketful of Pinecones.  It inspires both me and the children!  I’ve decided when we head out to do our Back to Homeschool shopping (even though we school year round), I will purchase Nature Notebooks and clipboards for my 4, 6, 9, and 10 year olds.  Even the simple reading of this book has made them more aware of the nature around them.  I think I will also buy a copy of Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Sudy from Amazon.  I own the free e-version, but at heart, I’m still a real, live bibliophile (plus, I said I was going to spend LESS time on the computer. 😉 )

About 11 am, Aspen wants to nurse and take a nap, so I head to my room and curl up in my ugly gold chair and put on a mom movie – something like Miss Potter – that I’ve downloaded to my Kindle or stream from Amazon Prime (Miss Potter is available right now for Prime members).  Not many people in the house want to watch mom movies, so this is my time to catch a few minutes of a movie that is more my speed.

A Day of Raising Arrows {episode 2}

Aspen now sleeps in a playpen in our room, having outgrown the Snugabunny.  I lay her down, and quietly sneak out of the room to return to school with the others.

I spend my time on the floor with my little boys while my olders work on their own.  Blake has finished his Economics course, and is working through Chemistry.  He will follow it up with David Copperfield – his first ever Dickens novel, outside of A Christmas Carol.

Megan is racing through her school work in order to get back to crocheting a black hoodie – a pattern she found on Pinterest.  I’m anxious to see the finished product.  I’m amazed by all the things that girl can do – she is truly a Creative.  She’s been spending most of her free time this week doing “quiet” crafts because last week was a busy week for her as she worked as a Counselor in Training at a Deaf Camp.  Her dreams of becoming an interpreter seem nearer and nearer.

In between working with the middles and littles, I switch laundry loads and fold the clean clothes on the couch.  My older girl’s and my toddler boy’s clothes are piled together – the girls will sort them out and get them put away since his clothes go in their dresser.  My two oldest boys are piled together as well, and then there is a pile for my clothes along with my husband’s and baby girl.  The little guys (age 4 & 6) are sorted according to the drawers in their heavy-duty plastic “dresser” so they can easily put things away where they belong –
Micah – daytime clothes
Garin – daytime clothes
Jammies (mixed)
Socks/Undies (mixed)

They are so close in age that most of their clothing is interchangeable.  In fact, I find when it’s not me doing the laundry, their things get mixed up.  I also secretly culled a few long-sleeve shirts my 4 year old has been hanging on to – and yes, wearing, despite the 100 degree temps!  After lunch, I will call them all to put their clothes away as part of Tidy-Up Time.

Around noon, I call my 17 year old son in to start lunch.  Today, he chose a frozen pizza we had hanging around in the freezer and the myriad of leftovers lurking in the fridge.  I had a salad with diced chicken and spicy ranch dressing.  We didn’t bother to clean the toys from the table before eating – some days it just makes sense to eat with knights and Army men.

By this time, Aspen was awake and wanted some “real” food too.  I’ve been buying organic baby food from the store.  I know I could be making food for her, but this is one place I’m willing to “cut corners” and save myself some time and energy.

As the older kids work through their Table Chores, I send the little boys (ages 2, 4, 6) to the bathroom and then to Rest Time.  This is a fairly new “revival” of our old Rest Time.  The first day was a test of my patience, but the second day didn’t even require me to stand guard outside the door.  The 4 and 2 year old are in one room.  The 2 year old goes to sleep and the 4 year old is allowed up after an hour.  The same goes for the 6 year old in the other room.  I could put the two of them together, but I’ve found they don’t really “rest” when they are together.

While they are resting, I do Tapestry of Grace with my olders (ages 9 and up).  Today, however, was a project just for my middles – moccasins made from brown felt.  I traced around their feet, added a top and back sewn on with embroidery floss, we cut fringe, and my 10 year old daughter added beads.  This was a 2 day project studying the Plains Indians.  I read about the various tribes and how they lived while they hand-sewed their moccasins.  The children were so pleased with the lessons, they ended up playing “Indians” with their brothers when they got up from Rest Time.

Tapestry of Grace project | RaisingArrows.net

During the rest of the afternoon hours, my oldest son worked on a website he is building for his airsoft team, and my daughter crocheted.  Eventually, Aspen was ready for her long nap of the day, so we went back into my room to snuggle and nurse.  The computer I am currently using was in my room, so after she fell asleep, I took a bit to type up a few of my thoughts and answer a couple of emails.  My MacBook is in the repair shop, so I’m using a computer I’m not used to.  Funny how using an unfamiliar laptop can make typing a chore.  I ended up spending more time gazing out my window at the sunlight in the trees than actually writing anything coherent.  But, nature is a better break than a computer screen can ever be.

A Day of Raising Arrows {episode 2}

Upon leaving my room, I packed away into storage the Bumbo.  Aspen can sit on her own now, and I’m never one to leave baby paraphernalia out any longer than necessary.  But, I will be honest, it’s difficult watching her grow up. Baby Aspen is 7 months old now.  It seems so surreal.  She is near the age Emily was when she passed away.  She is so like Emmy, yet so different.  It is still strange to me to have a little girl after all these years.

A Day of Raising Arrows {episode 2}

Because it is Aspen’s 7 month old “birthday”, once she awakens, Megan and I head out to do a quick photo shoot in the front yard.  Since she is sitting up, I put her in a flat-bottomed basket near a tree.  She wears an outfit that reminds me of Emmy.  Megan used to call Emily her little strawberry, so I put Aspen in a “little strawberry” outfit with a bright pink headband, and Megan spends a good hour shooting photos with her new portrait lens.

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I’m thankful supper is already simmering. We are having roast in the electric skillet.  It’s best this way.  Sear it on both sides and then add some water and spices, and let it simmer.  Pair it with broccoli and you have a wonderful meal to end your day.

At the end of the meal, we tidied the house to ready it for the evening.  A friend recently called it “putting the house to bed.”  I like that.

Once the house was finished, I cut boys’ hair and got them showered and jammied.  We ended the evening by reading in Heidi and discussing the upcoming weekend.

Since Ty was gone for the evening, I did a little redecorating in the kitchen, turning my hideously bare pot rack into something that makes me smile.

Decorating the pot rack {A Day of Raising Arrows}

The grater was my grandmother’s.  The other things are items I have collected and decorated with over the years.  I once had a landlord who laughed at my love of foliage inside my house.  Perhaps I am a tree hugger at heart – in the Creationist sense of the word, that is.

It felt good to crawl into bed and pull the covers up to my chin.  The sheets are cool and the quilt is just the right weight.  I set the alarm on my phone and place it on the windowsill.  When I awake, I know my little daughter will be in my arms – the thought of this makes me smile myself to sleep.

What is your day like?  Have questions for me about my day?  Leave a comment!

Stressed, Overwhelmed, & Anxious – But What Do We Do About It?

The other night I was contemplating the WHY behind so many people feeling anxious and overwhelmed when we’ve been doing the same things other people have been doing for hundreds of years.  In fact, we have more help than ever, and yet, we are more stressed out than ever.

This article seemed to offer the most reasonable explanations for WHY, but it didn’t offer any remedies.  For a moment, I wondered if there were any remedies, or are we Americans doomed to a life of worry?

I just can’t accept that.

Americans are some of the most stress, anxious and overwhelmed people on the planet.  Homemakers and homeschoolers are no exception.  But, what can we do about it?  | RaisingArrows.net

The article cited above gave 3 main reasons for anxiety and stress in America.

1.  Loss of a real life community.

2.  Information overload. (Remember, when I wrote about Homeschool Information Overload?)

3.  The inability to sit with our feelings without medicating them in some way.

I agree with these findings.

My happiest memories of my adulthood involve being a part of a church that was like family, having wonderful neighbors who spent time together, and having family nearby.

I also know I am bombarded by more information than I can possibly sift through every single day.  I’ve felt my anxiety level rise as I’ve lifted the lid on my laptop, knowing my inbox would be overflowing, my Facebook feed teeming, and voices from every direction sharing ideas, suggestions, and how-to’s that are guaranteed to make my life better.  Except they don’t.

I’m also familiar with the desire to run from my feelings…or eat them.  Food is my medication of choice.  The numbing effects of chocolate and sugar rescue me from feeling bad.  I’ve also used the computer or other media to drown out the sadness or fear or loneliness.  I don’t want to feel bad.  Who really does?

Can you relate? Are you affected by a lack of community? Do you feel like there is too much information bombarding you every day? Are you afraid of uncomfortable feelings and turn to “medication” to avoid feeling them?

But, let’s not stop there…

Like I said, I’m not willing to throw my hands up and say, “Oh well, I guess this is just the way it is.”  I KNOW a slower, simpler, less stressful life is possible.  And for those suffering from anxiety, adrenal fatigue, and any other condition exacerbated by stress, it is IMPERATIVE we learn how to fix this.

So, first issue –

What can we do to foster a REAL LIFE sense of community?

 

1.  Go to church.  Actually, don’t just go, BE A PART of things.  We may not always be able to be near family, but the Church offers that family atmosphere in a God-ordained community. I know personally how tough it is to keep going when you aren’t rooted in a church.

2.  Work on friendships.  Friendships are difficult for a mom of many who homeschools, but they are possible.  They often come from relationships built at church or homeschool groups.  You will also have to make an effort to build friendships.  But, you don’t have to make it hard on yourself.  Invite another family over.  Have a cup of tea together.  Loan a book.  Learn more about the people around you.  And PRAY for godly friendships!

3.  Go outside and be visible.  This might strange on the surface, but think about something for a moment…what happened to front porches?  Do you know very few homes we have lived in over the years have had front porches?  We currently live in a house that does, and we have met more people simply by sitting on the front porch!

Next issue –

How do we sift, filter, and slow information overload?

This one is tough for me.  I like information.  I like to dig for answers, try new things, make notes and bookmark tidbits.  But it is killing me.  I don’t manage it well because it truly is unmanageable.  We are living in the information age.  Information bombards us at the speed of a keystroke.  It’s in our inboxes, on our social media, it’s pinging our phones, and popping up in the corners of our lives every second of the day.  We are drowning in it.  And getting out from under it feels impossible because so much of our lives involve “devices.”

I’m not even going to pretend to know all the answers here, but I can tell you what I am doing to slow the flow of information.

1.  Spend less time on the computer.  The less time I am on a computer or phone or tablet, the better I feel.  The more I live life, the better I feel.  I may not be writing as much here on Raising Arrows, but rest assured, when I do write, it’s because I actually have something to say that has been sparked by my REAL life.

2.  Shut off the notifications.  Yes, I may miss something.  It won’t be the end of the world.  I don’t need all those emails, notifications, pings, and promises clogging up my real life.  If God wants me to see that information, He will put it in my path!

3.  Put the internet in its “box.”  My life is made up of boxes of time that act as boundaries and regulations.  The computer needs to be in its box.  It can’t be allowed to invade every other box of my life.  This means when I pull up information for a homeschool lesson, I either need to print it off or I need to make a concerted effort to avoid going down a bunny trail, checking my email, or jumping on social media for a second.  And when it is time to check email or social media, I do that, and then I’m done.  This may mean shutting off the computer, putting it in a room that isn’t easily accessible, or choosing not to have my phone near me at all times.  Yes, I do miss calls and texts and emails.  Even if no one else understands, I know that my life cannot revolve around a digital device.

And lastly –

How do we cope with feeling sad, angry, or lonely without simply putting a bandage over it and pretending it isn’t there?

There’s really only one answer to this…

Cry out to Jesus.

There is pain in this life.  Constantly running away and avoiding it makes us reliant on ourselves (or a magic pill – that doesn’t REALLY help).  We have to allow ourselves to feel.  We have to allow ourselves to just be.  We have to allow the Lord to work in our lives because we know fully well we can do nothing else.

Something that article, and any other from a secular source, will never tell you is that you NEED to be SAVED from all this worry, stress, and strife.  But, it isn’t a WHAT that is going to save you.  It’s WHO.

Faith is tough, folks.  It’s not the easy road. There are a lot of voices out there telling us we should think for ourselves, we should “get help”, we should do whatever it takes to get away, all the while avoiding the TRUTH.  The answer isn’t a better ME.  The answer is a perfect Savior who doesn’t need me to meet a certain standard, feel a certain way, or have the perfect plan.

Sometimes we try too hard.

 

 

This slow-down is an ongoing process.  It takes time to build, repair, and learn the art of abiding.  Thank you, Jesus, for saving me from myself!

Now, it’s your turn…

Are you struggling?  Have you had victories?  Share them here!  Raising Arrows isn’t a REAL LIFE community, but the readers here REALLY DO CARE!

How We Teach Homeschool Economics

Even if the state we live in didn’t require us to teach economics, we would.  It is THAT important.  I’m not teaching it the way the public school would, but rather from a Christian worldview – one that is responsible, charitable, and stewardship-minded.

Even if our state didn't require us to teach Economics in our homeschool, we would.  It is imperative we get these principles into our children's heads - here's how we do it (plus a time sensitive 25% off coupon!) | RaisingArrows.net

It is imperative we give our kids a solid CHRISTIAN foundation in economics.    This doesn’t just affect our cash flow and stance on debt, it affects how and when we give of our time and resources, policies we support, and how we view governmental systems and agencies.  This is important stuff!

Because most of us are not stock brokers or Economics professors, we will probably need a little help.  So, let me give you a run down of how we teach Economics.

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How We Teach Homeschool Economics | RaisingArrows.net

1.  Start with Economics for Everybody.  (There is an old audio-only version of this series.  It is not as engaging and informative as the series produced by Compass Classroom.  Please, do not mistake the two.)

Let me explain WHY we start here.  This is the foundational piece.  We need to give our kids a solid foundation in how economics really works from a Christian worldview.  Economics for Everybody does that.

The series features R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s teaching complimented by video illustrations that help connect the concepts for you and your child.  (YES, I highly recommend you watch these WITH your child – you WILL learn something!)

To give you an idea of how this works, take a look at this trailer for the series:

**Get the first 3 lessons in this course for FREE!**

The reason this kind of teaching works so well is because it brings in both auditory learning AND visual learning together.  Children (and adults!) learn best if they experience concepts in more than way.  Using the Economics for Everybody series will give your child the best chance at actually learning and retaining the information.

In fact, ALL of my children sat and watched the class!  That is how engaging and well-done this course is.  However, for those of you wondering about age recommendations for this course, it is geared toward middle school, high school, and adults.  And yes, you can have you middle schooler take this class and count it toward their high school credit – ahhhh, the freedom of homeschooling!

There are a two ways you can use this course:

1.  Full Economics Credit –  If you want your child to get a FULL credit in Economics – no fuss, nothing extra to buy – you can do that by purchasing the Homeschool Set.Teaching Homeschool Economics | RaisingArrows.net
The Homeschool Set includes 2 DVDs, the Study Guide, and the Basic Economics textbook by Dr. Clarence Carson and Dr. Paul A. Cleveland.  (You can download the entire Scope & Sequence for the course under RESOURCES on the main Economics page.)

~or~

2.  Half Credit in Economics – this is what we chose to do.  The reason for this had nothing to do with not liking the textbook (in fact, I’ve never even seen the text), but because I already had some other resources I wanted to share with my kids…more on that in a moment.

If you are doing the half-credit, you will need to purchase either the DVD set or the Downloads (which you can also stream – WAHOO!)

After you have given your kids a solid foundation in Christian Economics, you can move on to…

2.  Bring in resources that compliment the fundamental concepts your student has already learned.  We are big fans of Whatever Happened to Penny Candy.

This book on its own is not enough to teach economics, but it is a good book, and I think everyone should read it.  I read it to my kids several years ago, and they still remember many of the concepts.  Now that my oldest has finished the Economics for Everybody course, I’m going to set everyone down and reread this book aloud.

I am sure there are other great resources out there that could be used to compliment, but this is the one we had on hand, and we really enjoy it.

3.  Stretch their knowledge and application.  This is where it gets fun!  Pull out newspapers, watch the news, discuss giving to the poor and giving to the Church.  Economics for Everybody gave you the concepts, now flesh them out!  Listen in on financial radio shows and talk over the advice being given.  Have your teens consider their own guidelines for saving, giving, and exhibiting fiscal responsibility.  Everyone in your family will be challenged!

 

A Day of Raising Arrows

Here’s a peek into my day…

A Day of Raising Arrows - chocolate chip scones - recipe linked | RaisingArrows.net

It started with chocolate chip scones (for the kids, that is).  I made some the night before for my husband who every now and then, gets a hankering for these.  The kids were very grateful he left some for them to eat the next morning.  (I regularly bake in the evening and leave a portion for breakfast on the counter in a sealed container for the children to find the next morning.)  We aren’t morning people, so they all just straggled into the kitchen to find their own breakfast, and then started on their morning chores.

A Day in the Life of Raising Arrows | RaisingArrows.net

After I had my breakfast, I made Vitamin B water and some orange iced tea.  The Vitamin Water contains lots of great fruit and has become my favorite way to get my water in for the day – something I sorely need.  As it runs low, I fill it up from the Berkey.  It does take a few hours to “steep”, but it is so worth it!  (note:  we reuse the fruit for several days)

The orange iced tea is something I learned from a convenience store near a home we lived in several years ago.  Every morning, they would put out a huge glass container with iced tea and oranges.  It was the most wonderful tea in the world, and we started making our own at home.  I squeeze a couple of slices into the pitcher and throw it in the fridge.

From there, we started out the school day sitting around the dining room table doing our PictureSmart Bible.
Draw your way through the Bible

This is something we do 1 day every other week.  It takes a while to do, but we all really enjoy it.  The other days of the week, we start out with this story Bible.  They always beg me to read more – and I always oblige.

Next, I did the ABC series from Rod & Staff with my 4 and 6 year old boys.  I find myself reminiscing a lot as I sit on the floor alongside them and work through the pages.  I’ve been doing this series with my little ones since my oldest was 4, so I have fond memories of these fleeting times.

We school on the floor with pretend rats. #homeschool

A photo posted by Amy Arrows (@amyarrows) on

My 9 year old is learning his times tables, so he loaded the YouTube Kids app on my cell phone and watched several multiplication shows to help him.

My 14 year old spent the morning on her math, science and Sign Language.  On my morning rounds through the children, I caught her sketching, and had to redirect her.  There’s time for that later in the day. The finished product… A Day in the Life of RaisingArrows.net My 17 year old is preparing for a Man Trip camping and hiking at 11,000 feet with his dad and some old friends of ours, so his morning consisted of setting up a new 2-man tent, and getting it waterproofed. A Day of Raising Arrows - preparing for a camping trip | RaisingArrows.net He also managed to squeeze in some Chemistry, math, and blogging before lunch.

Lunch was sandwiches.  The children had their sandwiches on hamburger buns because I bought too many for a cook out we went to.   My lunch was rye bread and cheese with a square of dark chocolate.

The children did their Table Chores, and threw in another load of laundry, while I took a moment to downloaded some more of the Photography Bundle that ends today. After I got that going, I prepared for an afternoon of Tapestry of Grace lessons.  My 10 year old daughter had been hurrying me along all morning because we are studying Victorian England, and she has declared history to be her favorite subject.  (Actually, most of my children would say history is their favorite subject!) A Day in the Life of Raising Arrows | RaisingArrows.net I started with a lovely link from Jane Austen’s World blog on what the servant’s quarters would have been like.  We looked over blueprints of Victorian homes, watched an episode of Manor House (viewer discretion advised on this), and I printed off Victorian paper dolls for my 10 year old.  I also printed off coloring pages of Queen Victoria, but we didn’t get to that.  We ended with tea and Chopin. To see more of what we are doing in Year 3 of Tapestry of Grace, click on the Pinterest board below: Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Tapestry of Grace Year 3 on Pinterest.

After school, the air-conditioning guys showed up. Only half of our house was cool. Here’s why:

A Day in the Life of Raising Arrows | RaisingArrows.net

Thankfully, it’s been fairly cool here due to lots of rain and overcast skies, so we haven’t been cooling the attic for too long. *sigh*

The rain has made moss grow in the streets and flooded a lot of areas, but I have enjoyed the coolness it brings.
A Day in the Life of Raising Arrows | RaisingArrows.netFor supper, I made a very quick meal called Meatball Gravy.  It consists of sautéed onions and turkey meatballs from Aldi, covered in brown gravy, spooned over noodles.  It was a hit, and I was thankful for an easy meal after a busy day of schooling.

That evening after the children were in bed, I ordered some squeaky shoes from Zulily for the toddler (he’s hard to find at times!), and placed an Amazon order.  Here are a few of the things I ordered:


You guys must have bought out all the Seeking Health B vitamins I recommended a couple of months ago! This was recommended to me as a possible alternative, so I decided to purchase them – so far, so good.

We bought some of this coconut milk creamer in Colorado recently, and loved it! It’s only 10 calories per Tablespoon and a much better alternative to my beloved coffee creamer.

We needed some new HDMI cables to hook our computers up to our television. This is the main way we watch movies and our old cables were shot.

Ty and I sat up talking over our day and the day to follow, then I took a warm bath and headed to bed.  Just another day in my world – Raising Arrows.

Would you like me to periodically share my day here?  Let me know in the comments section! 

Large Family Hacks – Play Shoes Crate

When you have a lot of kiddos, you have a lot of shoes!  They are everywhere all over the house, yet the crazy thing is it is next to impossible to find a matching pair when you need them!

Enter our newest organizational tool…the Play Shoes Crate!Large Family Hack - Play Shoe Crate to keep shoes contained and easily found! | RaisingArrows.net

{affiliate links included}

Back when we used to do Workboxes, I purchased several black milk crates to house the files we were using for a modified workbox system.  However, years later, the milk crates were just taking up space in storage.  (Funny how I have storage items IN storage!)

With all these little boys, we end up with a lot of play shoes and no great place to put them – especially when they are muddy.  So, I decided to pull 2 of the crates out (black was definitely a good color choice!), and put one by each of the most used doors.

Large Family Hack - Play Shoe Crate | RaisingArrows.net

Piling the shoes into the crate is easy work for any one of the children, and it keeps the floors by the doors free of shoe clutter and the shoes easy to find.  On really muddy days, I’ll put a junk towel by the back door to line the shoes on and get them dry before putting them in the crate, but for the most part, when you come in from playing, your shoes go in the crate – thank you very much!

Large Family Hacks - learn the little things that make their homes run smoother! | RaisingArrows.net

Find all the Large Family Hacks here!

Birthday Treats for Our Dog (and his human family!)

Our dog, Kip, turned one year old a few weeks ago. Because everything in this household is cause for celebration, we decided to make him “Kip”cakes we could ALL enjoy!

Celebrate your dog's birthday with cupcakes they can eat and you can too! | RaisingArrows.net

After searching through several recipes – some of which were said to be downright gross! – we settled on one that we tweaked a bit to make the perfect birthday treat for Kip AND the rest of the family!  It contains banana, carrot, honey and peanut butter – what’s not to love?!  I posted this photo of our yummy creations on Instagram:

“Kip”cakes for Kip the Dog’s Birthday!

A photo posted by Amy Arrows (@amyarrows) on

 

Doggy Cupcakes (aka “KIP”cakes)

1/4 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat your oven to 350°, and prepare a large mini-muffin pan. (We like this muffin pan.) In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, peanut butter, oil, and vanilla.   Stir in the shredded carrot. Add the flour and baking soda into the bowl and fold into the wet dough. Spoon the batter into the mini-muffin pan, filling about 3/4 of the way, and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until the muffins pull away from the sides and are nicely browned.

Let cool and then serve them up to your family and your family dog!

Cupcake treats for you AND your dog! | RaisingArrows.netThe cupcakes were VERY peanut buttery, and they did taste like something a dog would love (which he did).  We added a bit extra for the humans by frosting them with cream cheese frosting.  One recipe we found said the dog could have the cream cheese frosting too, but we decided this probably wasn’t the best idea.

Because Kip is a hunting dog – a Tri-Color French Brittany to be exact – we keep him in sporting shape.  That means NO CREAM CHEESE FROSTING!  We do give him these treats: And for his birthday, he received this toy to put his treats in (KONG toys are AWESOME!  Kip can chew through anything, but NOT these!  The color of the KONG toy tells you how tough it is – black being the strongest.):

 

I have to admit, when we first got a dog I was pregnant with our 9th child, and I wasn’t real sure how I’d feel about having a dog.  I have toddlers – who needs a dog?!  But, he’s growing on me.  He’s pretty well behaved, and he has brought a lot of joy (and pheasants) to our family.

Happy 1st Birthday, Kip! A photo posted by Amy Arrows (@amyarrows) on