Train Up a Dog #ILoveMyk9


DogI love, love, love my dog! There he is to the right: Mr. Winston Fitzpatrick Manley!  Well, he’s “our” dog, you know, the family dog…

Overall, he’s a pretty good dog.  He’s smart and loving and generally listens.  He also loves treats.  I think he’d inhale them if we let him.  He’ll even pretend he needs to go potty because he thinks it’ll get him a treat…

We haven’t trained him to do a new trick in a while, so we decided that we’d like to train him to spin.  This ought to be fun..

How to Train Mr. Stone


I know there are a variety of ways to train an animal, but we prefer the food route.  I mean, we like food, and I would probably want to be trained with food, so that’s what we decided to use.

Obviously, though, when you’re training your animal they’ll be ingesting quite a few treats, so you want something healthy and good for them.  I try to do this anyway with his treats, but it’s also nice to branch out and find him something new.

Babydoll and I headed down to our local Walmart and decided to conquer the dog treat aisle!  We were looking for three specific brands:  Milo’s Kitchen, Pup-Peroni, and Milk-Bone ®.

We perused the Pup-Peroni first, as they only had one type of lean treat at our store: the beef.  I wasn’t crazy about the ingredients in these treats {they contain meat by-products and red 40}, but Winston loves them!

Next we tackled the Milk-Bone® products.  There were a ton; more than I ever knew they had.  I was really excited to see several healthy all-natural and fortified varieties.  We picked up a chewy and a biscuit healthy treat for Winston.

Finally it was time to choose Milo’s Kitchen treats.  There were only a few products at our store, but then again, if a company does something well, it doesn’t matter if they only sell a few products…  I chose the two treats with the fewest and most natural ingredients.

Winston is two, so he’ll be with us for a long time to come.  I really want to put the best possible stuff inside him so we’ve got great years ahead of us!  Also, his stomach can have a hard time adjusting to new foods so I am always a bit wary of changing brands, but so far, so good!

He’s already enjoying the treats and we’ve started the training process.  You’ll have to stay tuned for the results of the training period next week!

Want to see more pictures of all the goodies we found in the dog treat aisle?  Check out my Google+ album!

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias

Sweet Critique: Anna Delores Photography


Photography fascinates me.  Not in the “I live it and breathe it” kind of way, but in the “man I wish I could do it” kind of way.  Good pictures can make or break something.  They can totally enhance your blog, and they can transform a room in your house.

Some of my favorite home decor is photographs, especially photographs that have some sort of story behind them.  They make you happy whenever you look at them, help you recall the surrounding events, and remind you of what you cherish.

But, since I suck at taking pictures, you’ll never find any of my photography on my walls.  Thankfully, we’ve got people like Emily, owner of Anna Delores Photography.

About Anna Delores Photography


Named after her maternal great-grandmother and paternal grandmother, Anna Delores Photography is a nifty little Etsy shop where you’ll find great photographs taken by the super-nice Emily Reiter.  She lives in CA, so most of her photos are of CA, but some are also taken in places she’s visited.  Emily loves vintage and antique photos as well, and she’s got quite a few really great pieces that fit that bill also.

I absolutely love the photos in Emily’s store!  I had such a hard time picking one to review {and Emily was nice enough to send me two, as well as a few other goodies!!!}, so I spent quite a bit of time looking through her store.  What I really love is that she has photographs to fit pretty much any taste.  Like pastels?  There are gorgeous prints of macaroons.  Like architectural prints?  She’s got those too.

What Did I Get?


Oh, the most lovely pictures around!!


They’re great quality, Emily ships fast, and they’re packed nicely.  I was so happy with the whole thing!!  Her prices are great too; I really can’t recommend her enough!!

How About a Giveaway?


Emily has been kind enough to offer one of you an 8×10 print of your choice!!!  Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

True Confessions:  I was provided with two prints to facilitate my review.  This did not influence my opinion of the product.  I do totally <3 Emily though.  :)

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Sweet Cause: Brave Woman #BraveWoman #CBias

Brave Woman

Last month I brought you guys a post about Brave Woman, a site dedicated to supporting and empowering the brave women who are in and are leaving domestic violence situations.  It is my goal to shine a light on domestic violence and spark conversation, and by doing so, accomplish a few things:

  • help those who might be in an abusive situation
  • provide resources for those who do not know how to help someone in an abusive situation
  • keep the conversation going so that we can work to end domestic violence, and
  • help parents realize how important it is for them to talk to their sons and daughters about domestic violence, why it’s wrong, what the signs are, and how to get help.

My Goals for 2012


As I mentioned in my “what’s coming up in 2012″ post, my goal is to have a regular posting schedule for Sweet Cause.  This is the main way I hope to take a stand and help others.  The posts will focus on warning signs, resources, material to use when talking to your children, stories from survivors, etc.

In addition, I have taken the Brave Woman pledge:

I pledge to honor and respect brave women and children who tackle the difficult journey of change from domestic violence to a new life. I acknowledge my own moment-by-moment bravery, will remain aware of what is happening to others around me, and speak up against violence in any form. I will stand up for human dignity and safety for women and children.

I would like to develop an eBook that takes parents step-by-step through the process of discussing domestic violence in an age-appropriate manner with their children.  Don’t wait till your child is a teen experiencing violence, start from an early age.

I would like to help the local safe house in my county.  Volunteering can sometimes be difficult due to the sensitive nature of the situation, but there are still ways to help such as making donations.

I would like to find other ways to help that are currently unknown to me, hopefully making an impact in someone’s life.

Why Am I Taking the Pledge?


I recently had someone mention to me that they couldn’t stand people like me who talked about domestic violence but who had never personally been abused.  While it’s true, I have never personally experienced domestic abuse from my partner {thank goodness}, I know all too well what it is like to grow up in a household affected by it.

While you are not scarred in the same way as someone being directly abused, you are still affected.  What you see, what you hear, what you experience, it sticks with you, especially as an innocent child who doesn’t understand what is going on.

We recently had a representative from the county’s safe house come and talk to a group of homeschool girls.  She gave each girl a sheet of paper and pointed out how nice and clean and perfect the paper was.  She then instructed them to crumple the paper up, as much as they could.  After the paper was crumpled, they were told to try to smooth it back out to it’s perfect state.  Of course, it was impossible to get it back to that smooth piece of paper.  While they could flatten it, and get it to look much better, the paper still had the remnants of the damage that was done to it.

She wanted to illustrate that abuse, no matter it’s form, leaves marks on a person, just like they had left on their papers.  We’re all imperfect, so we’re going to mark papers no matter what.  Some marks are worse than others, though, and despite not having been personally abused, I have marks from the situation nonetheless.

In addition to the horror of seeing your mother being hit, having alcohol thrown in her face while holding an infant, being yelled at, seeing holes being punched in walls, seeing things broken to pieces in a fit of rage, and many other things, I became hyper-vigilant, sensitive to situations in which people have been drinking a bit too much or doing drugs, uncomfortable around men, and have been diagnosed with PTSD.  I run the risk of putting myself in the wrong type of relationships, you know, “the cycle.”

It affects you, it just affects you in different ways.  This is why I’m so passionate about domestic violence prevention and awareness.  I know what it’s like, I just know it from a different point of view.

I encourage you to join me in raising awareness.  I encourage you to change the pledge.  I would love it if you followed along throughout the year while I shed light on this subject.  Also, please feel free to support Brave Woman on Facebook and Twitter.  Also, check out their site for resources, not just for those in abusive relationships, but for those who are looking to help others as well.

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.

Sweet Critique: Factory Direct Craft

Factory Direct Craft

One thing you won’t find very much here on Sweet Phenomena is original crafts. But, you will find me copying others’ crafty goodness. Or, you’ll find guest posts by folks that are craft geniuses.

I do love creating things, though, and that means we have a fairly regular need for craft supplies. Our area is not known for its variety as far as shopping and items goes, so I often find myself having to order things online. Until now, I’ve never really had a central source from which I got these things.

Enter Factory Direct Craft


How did I not know about this place before? They have everything. Like, seriously. Everything. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many craft supplies in one place.

The site is organized well, and has a logical structure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited a site looking for fabric, glue, specialty craft items, etc., and their headings/categories make no sense. Factory Direct Craft knows how to group like items together {you know, like we teach our kids when they’re little?}, and then sub-head things under that. Take a look at this:

Factory Direct Craft

To the point. That’s what I like. If I’m looking for general craft supplies {the stuff you just “have on hand”}, I see where to go. Painting supplies to go along with that awesome new art curriculum? Know where to go. Totally love it.

And while this might not be a huge thing, I love their pictures. They’re basic, but eye-catching. I was instantly drawn to that painting supplies picture. As we all know, pictures can make or break a site…

But How Are Their Prices?


Their prices are awesome! I’m not even kidding you. 9″x12″ felt for $.43? Everything I checked out was an awesome price. I tried to find things I’ve purchased in town recently, so I remember how much I paid. After you add in the gas and the hassle, this stuff beats it by so much, it’s crazy!

The prices, coupled with the selection and the convenience of shopping from home? I’m too stinking excited about this place!!!

Final Thoughts


Run to them. Make a list of the craft supplies you need and visit Factory Direct Craft. Any place that has specific categories for googly eyes and glitter is OK in my book!

True Confessions: I partnered with Factory Direct Craft to bring you this post. All opinions are mine.

2011’s Top Content

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  4. Not Back-to-School Blog Hop:  School Room Week
  5. Ten Fun Food Endeavors to Do With Your Homeschooler
  6. Sweet Plans:  Homeschool Planning – Gathering Your Tools
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