Friday, January 18, 2013

Dog Vocabulary

Our dogs know a few words, but I doubt they know 165 words as claimed by this article, even considering that German Shepards are on the top 5 smartest list.  But they do seem to differentiate between places we go regularly.  Now, Elka is still young and she really doesn't seem to understand where we are going until we arrive; but Kain and Nala, they know what's what.

Of course they know all the regular words that most dogs know; sit, stay, come, hungry, treat, walk etc. But they have definitely picked up some additional vocabulary.  If I say the word "beach", "mountain", or "island" they get really excited.  Even without a word though, Kain and Nala get excited as we get close to the places in the car.  How do they do that?  Is it the landscape, the familiar turns?  Who knows?

Now 'beach' is pretty self-explanatory, but 'mountain' and 'island' could use some elaboration.  There is a mountain about 10-15 minutes from our house that we like to hike located within Mission Trails Park. it's called Cowles Mountain.  We usually hike up the back side on the fire road to avoid any congestion of people, but the whole thing is dog-friendly and our kids love it.

Now, onto the island.  In Mission Bay, there is a little island called Fiesta Island.  It is about 4.5 miles around, there are beaches and places to have bonfires, but the best part is....wait for it....a leash free dog park! With access to the bay!

Not only do the dogs love it but it is great for Noell and I too because one person can take all 3 dogs, and you don't have to hold 3 leashes.  The dog park is on one end of Fiesta Island and is surrounded on 3 sides by water and one side is fenced. It is little over 1.5 miles around and it makes it perfect to do a quick 3-4.5 mile run.  Over the many, many times we have been there, our dogs have (mostly) learned to stay out of the water unless we give them permission.  But every once in a while, just when I get into a good running groove, I look over and there is one of my dogs heading for the water....That makes for some entertaining yelling on my part.  

So last week I ended up with an unexpected day off and headed to the island, with 3 dogs in tow.  I brought my camera along for the ride and here is what our trip was like.

Elka is excited, even though she has no idea where we are going!

Checking things out when we first arrive.

Practicing a few 'call backs' at the beginning to make sure the doggles have on their listening hats.

Up on the rim, over that edge is a hill that leads to the beach/water.

Looks like the Germans are interested in the water.  Sorry girls, not today.

Beautiful day.
Kain runs ahead, Nala stays close to me, and Elka Bean can never decide what to do, so she alternates running with Kain and hanging back with Nala. 

FINALLY! A decent picture with all three butts.

Follow the leader.
Kain in front, Elka sprinting to catch up, and Nala hanging with me. 

Nala Bear, 8 years

Elka June, 7.5 months
My sweet bo-beet, 9 years

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas 2012

Today will be few words and many pictures.

I was lucky enough to marry into a family that has an amazing talent for cooking, baking and everything to do with food.  My mother-in-law, Carol, makes amazing hand-dipped Christmas candy and she had taught me how to do it!   But! This year for Christmas she was in town and we were able to make the candies together.  It's always more fun with a buddy.

First you make the centers....

Coconut centers

Caramel centers

Marshmallow centers

Step 1 of butter-cream centers

Step 2 of butter-cream centers

Step 3 of butter-cream centers

Final step of butter-cream centers

Peanut-butter centers and butter-cream centers

 And then there is chocolate....It starts like this, the biggest candy bar you have ever seen!

Hello, welcome to the kitchen


Tempering (bringing the chocolate down to the right temp for dipping and ending up with a shiny pretty finish)

Sea salt caramels


Peanut butter

Peanuts in milk

Butter -creams all ready to go!

We didn't get any pictures of us dipping due to the fact that we were both covered in chocolate and unable to handle the camera.


Christmas Eve is Carol's birthday so we celebrate it as a birthday party instead of Christmas.  Jennifer and Kip made a wonderful dinner and we had food, drinks, family, and friends.


Chris and Otis

From left: John, Otis, Carol and me

Molly and Chris

Happy Birthday Cheesecake


Christmas day we celebrated at our house with gifts, and brunch.  Later we went my my aunt and uncles home for dinner (and to Skype-open presents with my parents!) but I forgot my camera for that. Bummer.

Someone is excited to open presents! (Check out Elka taking a sneak peek!)

Nana, Papa, and John

Deedle deet


Nala Bear

Elka Bean

Deet likes the hut

I got kind of involved in Christmas and stopped taking pictures once the open of gifts started.  I just wanted to enjoy the time and not worry about getting good shots of everyone.  Hope you all had a magical Christmas and are off to a great start this new year!