Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Few FAQ's About Ferrets

     I hope that everyone had a lovely weekend and is having at least a tolerable Monday! (Bleh, Mondays.) I have been super duper busy with school stuff and this weekend my hubby drove me every which way visiting and working and visiting the flea market, so today I have still been trying to catch my breath! I still have a few exams and quizzes to do this week, so it doesn't look like the pace is about to let up for me. We also just got a new baby ferret, so we are still acclimating her to our two boys. Because my fur-kids are such a big part of my life, I thought that today I would share a  a few FAQ's I get about them.

Loki and Odin, doing one of their favorite pass-times: napping! 

Q:Don't ferrets stink?
A: Nope! They usually have a slight musky smell that you can only notice if you hold one right up to your nose and inhale, but I find it pleasant. I recently brought them with me to a club meeting and a couple of the girls remarked that they smelled like baby powder. Modern ferrets are usually descented and spayed/ neutered before being sold, so that tends to nip any potential odor problems in the bud. 

Q: Are they related to rats? 
A: They are actually a member of the mustelid family, which includes otters, badgers, skunks, minks, stoats, sables, martens, and other weasels. They are carnivorous and must have a meat based diet, and they don't rock the "rodent teeth"- their teeth are quite sharp and resemble a cat's. They also don't have a naked tail or feet. 

Q: What do they eat?
A: Right now mine are eating a 1:1 blend of a commercially available ferret food and Blue Buffalo Wilderness Evolutionary Formula chicken cat food. I just found out that the ferret food had more corn in it than I thought, so I'm trying to find a replacement. We are also about to switch them to the BB Wilderness kitten formula, because of the new baby and because I think a higher fat content might be beneficial for the older boys, too (they are getting kinda sluggish this winter.) They also get Bandits ferret treats and the occasional turkey baby food.

Q: Do they make noise?
A: They will squeal when playing and one gets too rough, and will also chuckle and dook when having fun. It's a hard noise to describe, so I recommend youtubing it- it's such a funny and happy sound! 

Q: Since you have males and a female, won't they have babies? 
A: If you are buying a ferret at a pet store, chances are it is already spayed or neutered, like all of mine are. Breeding ferrets takes alot of knowledge and dedication. If females aren't bred when they come into heat, they will stay in heat and develop aplastic anemia from overexposure to estrogen. Right now there aren't many commercial breeders of ferrets- the largest is Marshall. Marshall ferrets are easily identified by the blue tattooed dots in their ear, which represent being fixed and descented. Our newest addition, Skadi, is from a smaller producer, Path Valley Farm. 

Q: Why did you get a ferret? 
A: My now- husband actually bought Loki for me as a surprise Valentine's Day gift last year! He came into where I worked, asked me if I liked ferrets, and said, "Good, because I've already paid the petshop for one in the next shipment." From then on out, it was love! These little creatures are so much fun just to watch, and ours are so affectionate! 

Skadi, our newest baby! She is an albino. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Scarves I've Made Over Winter Break

     It's the day before classes start back and I'm trying to procrastinate my way out of some housework (apartmentwork?) for just a little while! So, I thought that I would share a couple of scarves that I've crocheted over break. I'm so proud of how these turned out! I made them using a pattern/ stitch sequence that I came up with myself. I really like it because you get these uniform rows of squares that are solid, yet pliable enough that you don't need button holes for the buttons. The green is made out of what is now officially my favorite yarn- it is a Loops and Threads wool blend. It is very soft and easy to work with, and because it is a bulkier yarn it works up quickly. The grey is made with an acrylic yarn from Lion Brand, which I like quite a bit, too. It is thick, cheap, and practical without being scratchy or stiff. In real life it is easier to see all of the little bits of color in it- I think it makes it more interesting than just flat grey. 


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Countdown Begins, Plus Turkey Burgers

     I should probably feel thankful, considering that a good portion of college kids have already started classes back, but I am so dreading the start of this semester! This is the first college break that I've had where I'm not working and I absolutely love it! I have stayed fairly busy crocheting and playing video games, and over the weekend I bought my first ever sewing machine from a lady. I can't wait to see what I can get into with it. I think the fact that I've been so productive is what is making dread returning to such a cluttered schedule. With that said, I'm going to make the short eight days I  have left seriously count. 
     I also wanted to post about one of the most popular meals in our household- turkey burgers with sweet potato fries. It's healthy and cheap (preformed turkey patties are almost always on special around here, apparently not many people are aware of their awsomeness?) I cook the patties in my electric skillet with a little vegetable oil and salt, pepper, and coriander. We usually top them with colby-jack cheese (yum) and I mix up some spicy mayo to go on mine (2 parts mayo to 1 part mustard, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes mixed in), along with some caramelized onions if I'm in the mood. Sweet potato fries are easier to make than you would expect. Just peel the skin off and cut into desired- sized fry shapes, toss in a bowl with oil, about 1 tsp of brown sugar per sweet potato, and seasonings (I like to use cinnamon, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper.)  Space them out on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 for around 30 minutes, making sure to flip them around 15 minutes through. These are delicious! I like mine with ketchup, but Matt prefers just to sprinkle on more cinnamon. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Meatloaf Brings All the Boys to the Yard... My Savory Chicken Meatloaf Recipe

     I am a decently good cook. Not the best, mind you, but I can crank out some yummies. Which comes in handy because my husband is insanely picky. Thankfully, I have a dinner that never fails to please- meatloaf. The first time I made a meatloaf was the first time Matt had ever had meatloaf, so when he gobbled it up like ambrosia, I was shocked. I couldn't believe MY husband was a meatloaf fan. Granted, this isn't my mama's meatloaf, which is always made of ground beef and usually winds up somewhat dry (sorry Mama!)
Yum-yum for the tum- tum!

     I like to experiment with my meatloaf- for example, if I have them on hand, I will grate up a nice, big carrot and add it in. My hubs isn't a huge fan of veggies, so I get them down him any way I can. This is an outline of my recipe, though you can mess with it quite a bit- I hardly ever make it exactly the same way twice:

- 1lb of ground chicken
- 1 egg
- 2 heels and 1 regular slice of bread, cut up into little cubes
- all but about a tablespoon of a pack of Lipton's onion soup mix 
- a generous squirt of ketchup (4-ish tablespoons?)
- a generous squirt of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
- a couple tablespoons of finely chopped sweet onions

     And for the sauce on top, I use the remaining Liptop's onion soup mix combined with another squirt of ketchup plus a squirt of Sweet Baby Ray's and just spread it evenly over- top of the loaf mixture. I bake it on 350 for around 45 minutes. And presto! Instant delicious. My hubs usually isn't a leftover fan, but if by some miracle we wind up with leftovers, he is all over them. 
     I can see celery and maybe some other veggies working out good in this recipe- hope it works out well for you if you decide to give it a shot! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chunky & Warm Checkered Scarf

     I just love the feeling of finishing up a project. This morning I finally got around to putting the fringe on a scarf that I made around Christmas. I'm really please with how it turned out. Another plus is that it was super fast to make (it took three days and maybe five hours total, if that long) and it's probably the easiest pattern I've followed thus far, just because  you're making your stitches in the empty spaces instead of having to put them directly into a chain. It's also super warm, and I think that the colors I chose are going to be easy to wear. I used this pattern from the Fiber Flux blog for the Fiona scarf. I tweaked it just a tad- I chained 184 to make it a bit longer and because I wanted to incorporate a colored pattern, I have two more rows. Instead of adding buttons I put fringe on my scarf using the instructions here. I had  quite a bit of colored yarn left over, so I'm going to make the smaller scarf out of one of those and add buttons to it- I think the purple one featured on the blog is just adorable! 

I was able to grab him before he started playing to model for me ;) 

     The colors I used for my scarf are Fisherman, Spice, and Denim. I do recommend that you use the Thick and Quick or a similarly thick yarn- I tried using a thinner yarn and it just didn't work out well. Happy hooking! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas

     I don't know about anyone else out there, but I looove Pinterest. It is such a nice way of finding new things, especially crochet patterns and recipes. I found a link to the blog Stacy Makes Cents through a pin for her crock pot chicken fajitas recipe. I tried the recipe last week on a day I wanted to study and not have to get distracted by making dinner... and let me tell you, the smells from the kitchen were making it pretty hard to concentrate! They turned out great- this was the first recipe I've made using the crock pot (Matt usually takes over making BBQ and roasts) and I was so pleased with the results, I'm trying more recipes. Yesterday I made creamy lemon pepper chicken (which was BOMB), and I have the makings on a cube steak recipe she has on her blog, too. Most of the recipes are pretty flexible, too- for example, I just used a McCormick spice packet instead of adding cumin and chili powder, and I left out green peppers... because they're yucky :P 

     It was so simple to make and sooo yummy! This will definitely be a repeat meal for us. When it was finished cooking in the crock pot the chicken was super tender- I ran a fork over it and it just fell apart. Mmmmm, yum :)
    I hope that everyone has a very merry and safe Christmas! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Getting into the Holiday Spirit with Jingle Belle

     A little while back, the hubs and I were in Radford and decided to go into one of the few comic shops in the area- Game Quest. It is more of a game shop than a comic shop, but they do carry some new issues and have tables set up with long boxes full of comics to rifle through. On this particular visit I scored some Harley Quinns and two Jingle Belles. I had never heard of Jingle Belle before, but the comics were a little 2- part Christmas special, so I figured I would see what they were all about. Plus, they were written by Paul Dini *squee!!!* After my Anatomy final today, I was ready to read some comics to get my mind off of how awful it was and since Christmas is fast approaching, I decided these two would be perfect. 
     The first thing you gotta love about these is that this girl is cute, from her design and demeanor to her pet muskox that she rides. She is the spoiled teenage daughter of Santa Claus, on a mission to do a good job and win the approval of her dad her way. Some of her schemes are a bit short-sighted and she tends to not take things very seriously, faults that so many teenagers usually have. Despite all of their arguing, she does love her dad and her heart is in the right place. 
     I definitely recommend these if you are looking a sweet, funny comic to read around the holidays. The retelling of the Santa myth is interesting and to see him with a family and issues that almost everyone can relate to is refreshing.  One of these days I'm going to have to try to get my hands on the other Jingle Belle comics out there to see the rest of the mischief she gets into!

Paul Dini's Jingle Belle, issues #1 & #2, 1999