#MurphyMonday Missing Summer

As beautiful as Fall is in Western New York, I am currently going through a bit of summer withdrawal. Having our own little pup wash was definitely one of the best memories with sweet Murphy, mostly because he ran away from the hose a couple times causing quite a laughable mess.

It really takes a village...

It really takes a village…

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Happy #NationalCoffeeDay

        What a special day for all coffee lover and caffeine connoisseurs. How special of a world to live in that we have a whole day just appreciate coffee. Now I couldn’t really call myself your typical coffee drinker. I don’t drink it for the caffeine or because I love the taste of coffee, but rather I drink it only when I can’t taste it. The only kind I have really had the courage to try is from Dunkin Donuts and with some sort of flavoring, my current favorite is Vainalle Swirl, as well as it over ice.

The best way to enjoy iced coffee is also with your best bud :)

The best way to enjoy iced coffee is also with your best bud 🙂

        As many of you know, I am a huge tea drink (even more so after my time in England, literally the motherland of tea) but I have slowly found my way to a concoction of iced coffee that I actually enjoy. The Dunkin Donuts near my school is funded almost 100% by our school, we don’t have Starbucks so this is the “basic girl” equivalent. This Dunkin is quite special as well, because my usual order here is not my usual order at home. When I ask for a  medium vanilla swirl iced coffee with cream and sugar, I don’t get one cream and one sugar, but rather three. This I didn’t realize for quite sometime, until I went home and tried the same order at my local Dunkin, and when I drank it I COULD ACTUALLY TASTE COFEE…not my fave.

        But then I began to think about how much sugar I was actually consuming by getting three creams AND three sugars in my weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, coffee run. One of the biggest tips on health and fitness that I ever received was to not drink your calories and sugar, and sugar is more of my concern as I have a major sweet tooth. So my healthy tip for my fellow coffee drinkers out there is this. Now my bi-weekly treat of iced coffee still comes over ice, along some vanilla swirl flavoring, but instead of cream I get skim milk and instead of sugar I just have the sweetened version of the vanilla swirl. Sometimes I even switch out skim milk for almond, if Im feeling a little crazy (haha)

        I hope these tips have helped you, and you were able to enjoy your national coffee day!

As someone who stays away from anything that tastes too coffee like, its quite the alternative and I feel much better about having it! What are some of your favorite ways to make your favorite morning pick-me-ups a little better for you?

#MurphyMonday Life Can Get Messy

Monday’s often get a bad rap as the worst day of the week. But sometimes it takes a little reminder that every day is very special and every day truly is a gift. Our pets teach us many lessons, but one of my favorites that I learned from Murphy was to have a sense of humor. On this particular Monday this summer I had given him a Frosty Paw (an ice cream cup for dogs) and left him alone for nearly two seconds when I came back to find this. I couldn’t help but laugh and to this day I still can’t help but laugh. Life can be messy and complicated and million other ways we choose to make it, but at the end of each day if you can find something to laugh or smile about, you have truly appreciated the gift that was given to you that day. I hope you all found a gift today. Happy Murphy Monday!   

Things To Know When Grieving A Pet

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This is something I have been wanting to write for some time. It has taken me a while for a lot of reasons, but most of all it is hard. It is really hard, especially when you consider him your best friend. I needed to experience it all, before I shared this with you. This is written from my personal experience, understanding all of our journeys are so different.

Losing my precious pup Murphy, was somewhat unique as not only did I know it was coming, as he was diagnosed with bone cancer, but I was also out of the country when it happened. In some ways I was fortunate, if you will, as he wasn’t expected to make it by the time I was home for summer, however I did have two months to enjoy him while I was home. (Something that I will forever be grateful for) During the”final few months” , I knew that each time I left, there was a chance that he may not have been there when I returned. These blessings gave me more chances at goodbye.

However, when I left for my study abroad, I knew. People say that they know things in their gut, and this I knew as I sat on the kitchen floor and said goodbye; I knew that it was the last time I would see him. Now of course, I cried, I would have cried even if he was his young and skippy self because all of our goodbyes where always hard.

While I was away, the time came. Shortly afterwards my family came to visit me. This was a blessing as we grieved together, and laughed over the many fond memories. Now it was easy to say that it was unfair that I wasn’t there for moments of goodbye,

But that brings about lesson one from this whole experience: 1.Fairness

Pets teach us a lot , which is impressive on its own as they don’t even need to use words. We realize how selfish as humans we can be, and the fact that an animal (even though pets are so much more than that) can really humble you. We agreed no heroic measures. It wasn’t fair that he was sick, but it wasn’t fair of us to have tried to keep him around for our own fear of heartbreak. When “the time came” Mom contacted me via Facetime and also afterwards. I felt so much peace as she told me how when he fell asleep, he was calm and relaxed. Just knowing the peace he experienced, brought me so much peace.

This brings me to another lesson: 2. Peace

My greatest fear was that he would think we were abandoning him, versus trying to help him and make him comfortable. But knowing that he was finally at peace and calm, that comforted me as if he had told us himself. Now having my family there right after was an amazing blessing, but being away also brought a new challenge that I would only be able to face later.

But fast-forward four weeks and there I was, which brings lesson 3: The Quiet.

My family had had a chance to be home and experience what it was like to have one less beautiful soul in our home, however habit got the best of me. He wasn’t loud, or even much of a barker, but there was just an emptiness that I could always feel in the house, one that I think only time can really heal.

However I think the hardest part that I was always looking, another lesson: 4. Always looking

I wouldn’t expect him to come up to me while I was eating at the table or watching TV on the couch, but the hard part was that I was always looking. Every time I went down stairs to grab something and then run back up I would always make a pit stop to say hi to him, or give him a quick pet. I found myself walking into the foyer, in a way that my feet just kept moving before my mind could tell them not to, and I would get to the spot knowing that he wasn’t going to be there. That was the hardest habit to break. However in the time before I left for school again, I grew some new habits, and I think others in my family did to

Which brings me to the fifth thing you should know: 5. Other dogs.

Of course I have always loved dogs and wanted to pet everyone I saw on the street, but now I feel it even more. Every dog, and I mean every dog is the cutest and I always try to pet him or her. Now in every friendly by nature conversation that came whether with these owners or even just close friends,

Which brings another thing to be ready for: 6. The Questions

The most I experienced were from others. The most common question we were asked, is, “ are you going to get another dog?” At first it almost seemed that having another pup around immediately would soften the blow. That if I just transitioned to another pet I wouldn’t have to sit in the quiet as long, and it wouldn’t hurt as bad. But the more we thought, and talked about it, I think we all knew that that wasn’t us. Ironically towards the end of Murphy’s life I began looking at the available dogs on the adoption page of the place we got Murphy. (Something that I still feel some guilt for) However as I read each ‘available dog’ description, my thoughts always brought me back to realizing and admitting that I was looking for Murphy!  (Interestingly enough once I had admitted to my family that I had done this we all confessed the same, and all had come to the same conclusion.)

Which is perhaps the greatest lesson of all. 7. Love and Memories

Our pets are unique! We are blessed to have interactions and experiences with every single one and the impact that these other souls leave on us isn’t something that can be recreated by another. Therefore, the greatest lesson in losing Murphy was knowing that because of him, I have changed for the better! For anyone who has grieved a pet, or is going through it now, or is going to at some point or another: it is hard. It is going to be really hard, but at the same time I found that the peace that came with knowing that such a loving creature was able to be at peace and somehow always in my heart was just as comforting; as well as the knowledge that I even got to have him in my life at all was enough to counteract the heartbreak. Although I write this mostly for you, at this point I realize it is really for me! Honestly, I cried…a lot while writing this but at the same time I smiled a lot! I know that my best friend is with me, and that might be the greatest gift he has ever given me.

RIP Sweet Murphy!

Makeshift College Cooking: Part 1

I found myself at a new low last week, but at the same time a college student peak. I created the most makeshift pizza that has ever been conceived. As I sat in class, my mind of course wandered to the most obvious of daydreams: food. I thought of what I was going to be making for dinner.

The pizza goal

                           The pizza goal

Now my mind has always worked in an interesting way. For me I often though items such as tomato sauce and ketchup where on some level interchangeable, I mean after all they are quite similar in nature. Either way this brought me to my next interchangeable item: pizza sauce and salsa. Now not to say that I think salsa and pizza sauce are the same thing, however when you are on a college budget lines become blurred and experiments in the kitchen become more and more fun.

Regardless on that Thursday I decided that I wanted pizza and that I was going to make it on my own, but there where more ingredients that I didn’t have rather than those that I did. Regardless I was determined to make the best of this makeshift situation.

Now for my pizza crust I had limited options pita chips, some wheat thins, or sandwich thins. As I am writing I think pita chips would have been quite delicious, but regardless at the time I went with the sandwich thins. SO I popped that sucker in the oven and let it toast…to the best of this dorm oven toasting ability.

Once my ‘pizza crust was nice and crispy I then spread some medium salsa all over, which actually turned out surprisingly well. I mean think about it, it is kind of like chunky pizza sauce even some veggies. Now fro cheese all I had were some mozzarella cheese sticks, which is probably the most realistic pizza ingredient that I actually had on hand. So I chopped up that mozzarella stick very thin and threw the entire concoction back into the oven.

Now I am not going to say this is the best pizza I ever had, because it was exactly pizza but for a college student with lack of transportation to the store on a Thursday night after a day of chaos…it was the best damn pizza I had ever had.

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