Cat Naps for People

This was a very quiet week for me. Aside from a chemo treatment and watching Big Bang Theory with mom, I haven’t been doing a lot. It’s a healing week for me and during healing weeks, I sleep. A lot. Last night I slept 14 hours straight (it’s true. Ask my mom.) Sometimes it’s good sleep and other times it’s some of the worst sleep I’ve ever had. There is a reason I went comatose for 6 hours in the middle of a work day and that was to come out on the other side feeling better! Not like I was hit by a bus! Sigh… I digress.

I’ve come to appreciate sleep a lot more than I used to. When I was still a full time college student, I’d pull at least one all nighter every couple weeks. It helped that I was naturally a night owl and I am productive in the dark, but the day after that all nighter was the absolute worst. Actually, the next few days were all around terrible. I’d have to get readjusted to a regular sleep schedule again all while trying to attend my classes. The 2-3 days post-all nighter sleeps were never refreshing. It was just a week of me being a groggy monster and everyone knew it. It didn’t matter how much coffee I drank, I might as well have had a huge sign plastered on my chest saying, “I pulled an all nighter. If you don’t want to die, run in the opposite direction like in a King Kong movie and I am King Kong. RAWR!”

Now, sleep has become a necessity and not just because I’m recovering. If I have to fall asleep for a few hours, then I have to do that and trust me, I will. I think it’s something a lot more people should do. Even if it’s a quick 10 minute nap during  a lunch break, people need sleep. It helps us being more alert, more focused and gives us an energy boost. I once read (probably on a Pinterest post) that the most optimum nap time is 26 minutes long. It’s just enough to give you a boost but not enough to put you in a REM cycle. So remember that for when you need a quick pick me up but don’t want to down another cup of heart-racing coffee.

 

Until next time,

Dana

My Dogs Eat Better Than I Do

Since it’s holiday time and gifts are being passed around like candy, I decided to give my dogs a gift too: homemade peanut butter dog treats! I have two dogs: Chester (aka the Bear Dog) and Whiskey. Chester is an English mastiff/golden retriever mixed breed  a bear and Whiskey is a golden retriever. Both think that they’re lap dogs and love to cuddle. I figure, what better way to show my dogs I love them than giving them treats that are better than most human food.

The recipe I found came from DogMomDays. It calls for:

puppy

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • a dog treat cookie cutter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas until they’re soft enough to mix
  3. Add peanut butter, flour and water
  4. Mix until dough is formed
  5. Roll dough and make shapes!
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. (note: if you’d like to make the treat a little harder, bake a little longer until desired hardness)
  7. Let cool
  8. Watch your puppy fall in love!

 

I wish I could say that I followed these instruction verbatim, but I did not.  There are just some steps that weren’t worth it. Here’s my thoughts on it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

I wish that you could preheat things one degree higher or lower, just to spite the recipe.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas until they’re soft enough to mix

Warning: mashed bananas in a bowl is super gross. Not kind of gross. SUPER gross. I don’t know how new parents do it.

Add peanut butter, flour and water. Mix until dough is formed.

This step saves the visual (thank god).

I’m not sure what kind of dough they were looking to have me make, but I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to have a consistency closer to bread dough instead of cookies. The amount of flour in the original recipe is definitely not enough. I added an extra… almost full cup of flour to the recipe. Don’t worry! Your dog will still love it and the peanut butter and banana flavors are strong enough to make the treat delicious and not floury.

Roll dough and make shapes!

puppy3

Okay, I tried this. I really did, but you know what? I vote skip it and just grab little pieces of the dough, ball it up and flatten it on the tray. Rolling it out is messy and I definitely created a bunch of unnecessary dirty dishes. Cutting out the dough into dog biscuit shapes? Your dog doesn’t care what it looks like. It could look like a pile of garbage. You could actually craft your dough into a pile of garbage and they’d think “Wow! That smells great!” and then proceed to fit the entire pile of garbage that you spent hours creating into their mouth without breathing.

 

Bake for 15-20 minutes. (note: if you’d like to make the treat a little harder, bake a little longer until desired hardness)

puppy2

Quick heads up: Make sure your pan is nonstick!

This was the best part. The whole house smelled like peanut butter heaven for a good two hours after baking. It was marvelous. As for the desired hardness, these treats come out with a very soft texture. It’s like a cookie (perfect texture for puppies with new teeth and old dogs with sensitive jaws). I put mine in for about 23 minutes so the treats would be a little firmer. I have a 2 year old and 7 year old dog so they can handle it.

Let cool.

Obviously.

Watch your puppy fall in love!

cookie4

Staring at mashed up bananas was worth it. I’m not sure they even took the time to taste the treat they ate them so fast. I really love to spoil my dogs, especially during the holiday season. I don’t get to see them that often since they stay home at my parent’s house and I live at college. The looks on their faces when they eat those treats make it a delight to bake for them!

If you’re looking for a quick treat for your furry family members, this is the treat to make! Bananas and peanut butter (without xylitol) are the perfect combination to drive them crazy.

 

Until next time,

Dana

 

 

A Strange Christmas

This was an odd Christmas. That’s really the only thought I have about it. With the way my chemo schedule works out, I have a treatment on the 27th. In addition to that, weather has not been on our side (thanks Wisconsin). So my mom and I spent Christmas in my apartment prepping for the next chemo treatment. It’s my first Christmas away from home and it’s the first Christmas my mom has had away from my stepdad in 10 years. If we had it our way, we’d be at home, but we are making the most of it with my baby tree, Christmas cookies, hot chocolate and all the Christmas movies we can watch!

Before Christmas even started, I got to host a couple of Christmas parties with friends this year! They came over and we had a potluck of champions. We laughed and talked well into the middle of the night. It was really something special.

DPhiE Fam Photo.jpg

Of course, family wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my sorority family. I am a part of the Beta-Lambda chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon. My sorority is amazing and is very supportive of each other as we pursue our individual dreams. My family line is probably the best family line out of any sorority ever. As individuals, they are all amazing and are always busy. They’re smart, funny, clever and really well-rounded people. Together, we are a crazy weird group of women who enhance each other’s personalities. We push to make sure each one of us succeeds in whatever we set our mind to. Not all of them could make it but a few of the women could come over to celebrate. So we ate all of the mac and cheese we could and unwrapped our gifts in a giant circle on the floor. I felt like a little kid again, opening gifts on Christmas eve. And then we took the best Christmas photo of all time.

I’m really fortunate that I got to go home this past week, that way I could celebrate Christmas with my dad a little early. The greatest tradition that my dad has is every Christmas eve he reads The Night Before Christmas. The book that we own is made entirely of cloth and each picture is special printed. I remember being a kid and hanging on every word of the story, hoping to hear Santa on our rooftop. Even as an adult I can’t help but smile as he reads it. I didn’t get to hear it this year because I came in the morning but we made a fancy Christmas Eve breakfast which was a pretty good substitute. Who could be upset with bacon on their plate?! And then, of course, we went upstairs and played Nancy Drew and got a couple steps closer to solving another mystery.

 

ba-drama-fam-photoI’m not big into celebrating the holidays, but for whatever reason, this year was different. For the first time in a very long time, I felt the Christmas spirit (or whatever it’s called) and was a little less grinchy.  Christmas isn’t about the day you celebrate it on but who you celebrate it with. I don’t mean to brag but if people were presents I’d have the most gifts out of anyone.

So Happy Holidays everyone and have a great New Year! Be sure to give your loved ones lots of hugs and don’t forget to tell them that you love them!

Until next time,

Dana