I Got a Puppy! Here are My Must-Have Puppy Items

*This post contains affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a tiny royalty if you click on the link and make a purchase. That said, these views are my own.

Because I’m certifiably crazy or a masochist, I decided it would be a good idea to add a puppy to our circus. Whazza, whazza, whaaaaa???!!!

Ever since our dear Toby died about five months ago, things just haven’t been the same in our house. Don’t get me wrong, it was kind of nice having just one dog, and she’s very well behaved, but it was clear she needed a companion. She spent all day and night laying around sleeping. In the process, she gained almost ten pounds! Me and baby girl got trim down a little.

I’ve been stalking a dozen or so dog rescue groups and shelters and saw an adorable dog flash on my Facebook feed about a week ago. He was so cute – a mix of Chihuahua and Dachshund. He was small like my husband was wanting, and young. He seemed perfect.

I quickly filled out and submitted an application for him, and less than an hour later a nice lady called me to let me know I was approved. He was located at a small humane society in Kansas, about a two hours’ drive away. I wouldn’t be able to get down to see him for a few days, so they held him for me.

Saturday rolled around and me, my mom, our resident dog, and my four year old piled into the car for a little day trip to potentially meet our new dog and bring him home.

I was worried about how our dog Joey would react. She’s selective of dogs and I’ve never had a small dog, so I didn’t know how it would go with our 60 pound girl.

It turns out that tiny little dog wasn’t a fan of our big girl. I was disappointed but not entirely surprised. I was ready to get back in the car to head home empty handed when one of the shelter ladies asked if I’d be interested in another puppy who would be about 30-40 pounds. This was a larger dog than my husband was wanting, but I decided to look anyway since I had made the trip.

And it was love at first sight for both me and our dog Jo.

Joey and our puppy, Coco, getting introduced at the shelter

They brought out this little black and white girl who was wagging her long, skinny tail and peeing everywhere in excitement.

Jo’s demeanor did a complete 180. She was wagging her little nub of a tail and sniffing and wanting to play with the little pup, who was about 17 pounds.

I knew she’d be coming home with us. My son loved playing with all the toys with her and she loved him right back. It was clear she was the one we had been waiting for.

Coco in her favorite spot on the couch

Yet, when bringing home a puppy or any new animal to your home, you can’t stop your stomach from flopping around and guessing whether you are making a huge mistake. Change is hard. And she was a puppy at just four months old.

It had been well over ten years since I had dealt with raising a puppy, but it is just like riding a bike. Housetraining, chewing, and obedience training has given me a new little project.

I decided to put together this list of must-haves for anyone considering getting a puppy or just brought home their new addition.

Chew Toys

Just like a teething baby, puppies like to chew. ON. EVERYTHING. Except dog babies have razor-sharp dagger teeth. When bringing home a young puppy, make sure your house is stocked with a variety of toys, some specifically designed for them to chew on. And remove any items in your home that you don’t want them to destroy – like shoes. We have moved all of our shoes out of her reach to keep her from chewing on them. This helps eliminate the bad habit of chewing on your stuff and not making a game of chasing your puppy down to snatch it from their grasp.

I ordered this chew toy that is specifically designed for puppy chewing. It’s small and a softer material that the regular hard plastic bones. Both my new puppy and my older resident dog LOVE it. But note, it is designed for puppies and NOT large dogs who are strong chewers. My older dog has chewed off one end already, so we have to monitor when the puppy plays with it.

This teether is actually one designed for a baby, but I had it in my cupboard and it was no longer being used so I decided the puppy could have it. And she loves it! The wood ring is perfect for her to sink her puppy teeth in, and the cloth is added fun. Puppies love wood since it is softer than hard plastic – think table legs and baseboards they love to chew on. Since it isn’t a puppy specific toy, I monitor her closely when she chews on it, but so far she hasn’t destroyed it. There are bite marks in the wood, and the cloth has held up nicely.

Kong toys are also great options for a dog of any age. They are fun to stuff with treats to provide a little bit of stimulation and play to your pup. They are also great for sticking in the freezer to give your teething puppy something cool to chew on. These small Kongs are designed just for puppies and come in cute baby colors!

Sleeping Arrangements

Unless you want your puppy to sleep in bed with you or on the couch, you need a comfy place for them to lie down.

Our puppy was used to having a dog bed in her foster home, and she loves lying there often during the day.

This bed is perfect for her size, comfortable, and is machine washable! Even better, it fits perfectly in her kennel, so she has a nice soft bed to sleep and relax on when she is crated.

We happened to still have a kennel from our other dog, but this one by AmazonBasics is similar and at a great price. All the dogs I’ve ever had have been crate trained, and my older dog still loves spending time in her kennel. A crate with a comfy bed and some toys helps make a puppy feel safe and secure, and keeps them from destroying your home when you’re sleeping or away.

Fine Dining

Puppies love to eat. And they’re growing little bodies need good food to restore their energy. I’m a huge fan of Taste of the Wild dog food. It was one of the only brands I could feed my older dog, Toby, that wouldn’t upset his stomach and calmed his allergies. It’s high quality food, so I wanted the best for our new puppy too. I’ve tried a variety of flavors in the adult food, but the salmon I think remains the favorite in our household.

Elevated food bowls are good for a puppy’s spine and digestive system. The elevated feeder below is great for your growing puppy, as it adjust to three heights.


Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve never had a young puppy. Both of my previous dogs were closer to a year or older when I got them and already had some bad habits that proved to be unbreakable. I wanted to get my puppy off to a good start behaviorally, so I’ve been working every day on training her. Socialization to other dogs, people, and places, and basic obedience is very important to me for our new puppy. And with training comes some needed supplies. Most dogs are strongly food motivated, so training treats are a must have. I love these from Blue Buffalo. They are a good size and must be tasty!

Along with using command words like “come” and “sit,” I’ve also been using a clicker to help train our puppy. This gives them another sound to associate a command with. I love this clicker because it has a little strap that goes around your finger, so it just lays nicely in your palm while you are working with your pup.

And of course you can’t do any training outside your home without a collar and leash! Dogs should have a six foot leash, NOT a retractable one! I personally hate retractable leashes and avoid anyone who uses them. They’re terrible, especially for larger dogs. You as the owner need to be in control of your dog, and a retractable leash just doesn’t let you do that. This leash is a basic six foot leash and perfect for training.

More than anything, a puppy needs love and patience. Give them time to adjust to your home and your family. New surroundings can be exciting and scary, and they are learning what you expect of them. Make sure you give them enough play time during the day to burn off some of that envious puppy energy and you will have a companion for life!

Just doing some work with a puppy on my lap

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What a Mom Really Wants for Valentine’s Day

So V-Day is coming up, and while I am not especially interested in gifts, I have made a list of what I would LOVE to have Cupid bring me. Made by a mom, for moms.

You all know how much I complain about my lack of sleep. It’s a vicious circle. My anxiety affects my sleep, which in turn causes me a lack of sleep, which gives me more anxiety. And the cycle repeats.

I recently made an appointment with a psychiatrist to see what deeper issues are at play here besides my kids who wake me up about twice every night. While I’m already on a mild dose of Zoloft, maybe a sleeping aid will help. I don’t know. But I’m thinking a psychiatrist is my next step.

Until then, I’ve rounded up some items that I think would help me relax and possibly improve my sleep. If you’re a tired mom like me or struggle with anxiety, check out my list.

*This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on the link AND purchasing the item, I receive a small profit.

Olly Sleep Melatonin Gummy

OLLY Sleep Melatonin Gummy, All Natural Flavor and Colors with L Theanine, Chamomile, and Lemon Balm, 3 mg per Serving, 25 Day Supply (50 Count)

I have actually started using these and have found them significantly helpful to my sleep. I have ZERO problems falling asleep. My troubles lie in staying asleep. Like I mentioned, my boys wake me up about twice every night. On top of that, I was tossing and turning, and finding myself waking up several times in the night for virtually no reason. Then it would take me a little while to get back to sleep. This is torture when it happens. I wake up so groggy and feeling like I got no sleep at all. I’ve found that if I take two gummies right before bed, I sleep soundly until I hear the kids hollering at me. Even then, I can fall back asleep easily, and I have been waking up more refreshed.

At $11.99, you can’t beat the price for better sleep.

Therapy Putty

The Squeeze Aromatherapy Therapy Dough Lavender 100% Pure Essential Oils

So I’m a huge fan of sensory stuff. While my sister bans Play-doh or anything like it from her house, I gladly welcome it. I enjoy squeezing and molding the dough as I find it soothing. I recently learned there is such a thing called therapy putty or therapy dough! I cannot be more excited. Because of all the typing I do (and my diabetes I’m sure), I’ve been having issues with stiff joints in my hands and fingers. Being able to squeeze putty is soothing and relaxing for my hands. Even better, you can find scented therapy dough to add a little extra relaxation. This lavender one tops my list.

Under Eye Mask

BrightJungle Under Eye Collagen Patch, 24K Gold Anti-Aging Mask, Pads for Puffy Eyes & Bags, Dark Circles and Wrinkles, with Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrogel, Deep Moisturizing Improves elasticity, 16 Pairs

I’ve been cursed with dark under-eye circles that just won’t quit. Obviously, my poor sleep makes it worse and I’ve found myself layering on the under-eye makeup as thick as I can without looking cakey. I’ve tried a few under-eye creams with no success, but have yet to give eye masks a whirl. These golden under eye masks look promising, with 1600+ largely positive reviews. People claim they are “soothing and cooling”, and help skin look firmer. With 16 individually wrapped pairs in the box, you get a lot for only $9.99. And the gold just gives it an added luxurious feel!

Shower Bombs

Cleverfy Shower Bombs for Valentines Day – [6x] Shower Steamers With Essential Oils For Aromatherapy And Stress Relief – Great As Birthday Gifts For Women, Gift For Mom, Unique Gift For Women

Before having kids, I was a bath gal all the way. There was nothing better than a hot bath, even in my modest, standard tub. Then motherhood hit and now I have two kids who refuse to give me two minutes of privacy or quiet to enjoy such a luxury as a bath. Instead, I have turned to scalding hot showers to ease my tired mama bones. And I’ve recently learned (I’m sure I’m about 50 years behind the times) of shower bombs. Just like a bath bomb, a shower bomb relies on the spray and steam from the shower to release soothing scents while you shower. Just put it in an area on your shower floor where there is a light stream of water, and you can enjoy multiple uses! I love eucalyptus and lavender scents, and this box of six includes both! This makes a perfect gift for busy moms and is a top seller, with 400 overwhelmingly positive reviews. If you can’t take mom to the spa, bring the spa to her.

Foot Peel Mask

2 Pairs Foot Peel Mask Exfoliant for Soft Feet in 1-2 Weeks, Exfoliating Booties for Peeling Off Calluses & Dead Skin, For Men & Women Lavender by Bea Luz

Listen, we are in the thick of winter and my feet are looking and feeling a little rough. I would love a little pseudo-spa treatment and for my feet to feel 20 years younger. With more than 3800+ overwhelmingly positive reviews, this foot mask seems to breathe new life into your crusty feet. Yes, please.

Casper Sleep Hybrid Mattress

Casper Sleep Hybrid Mattress, Queen 12″

I’m going to end this list with a bang! I’ve been on the hunt for a new mattress for a few years now. Ours is a decade old pillow top, which seems not to provide the amount of support I need as I get older. Memory foam mattress are a big thing now and something I’m definitely interested in. I got a memory foam pillow last year and I love it!

But I’ve heard conflicting things about memory foam mattresses, saying that some can wear out after about a year. Casper has been in the bed-in-a-box game for a while now, so they are a trusted brand. While they sell a complete memory foam mattress, I’m intrigued with the hybrid mattress as it seems to be the best of both words and may last longer. So, if my husband hits the lottery in the next week or so, he can order me one of these and win as the best gift-giver of a lifetime (even though he already does).

Whatever you end up getting for Valentine’s Day, I hope it shows you how much you are loved and appreciated!

I’m Still Here


Hey all,

So January finally wrapped up. I’m not sure how it’s possible that it feels like Christmas was last week but that January was the longest year on record.

So I’ve been busy hustling.

I did get the chance between writing for clients and raising the kiddos to write a little something for myself. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I get no sleep. And it has nearly killed me.

I went from needing a solid 9 hours of sleep before having kids to getting 5-6 hours of sporadic sleep now that I’m a mom to kids who are the lightest sleepers ever. It’s cruel.

My lack of sleep has impacted my life in so many ways. In reality, it was a contributor to me quitting my full-time office job. I just couldn’t hack it.

And it has fueled my anxiety and mental health issues.

If you feel like reading further on this topic, you can read my post on Medium, Sleep Deprivation Has Made Me a Monster.

If you’d like to see what I’m doing for one of my clients, I encourage you to check out Nutritious Gifts. Created by a registered dietitian, these are food gift boxes loaded with healthy snacks and ingredients to give your body a boost. You can check out the blog posts here.

That’s it for today. Gotta get down to business. If you want to stay up to date on what’s going on with me, follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

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I Hit the Ground Running

Image by hamonazaryan1 from Pixabay 

So it’s been a month since my last post, and I feel like so much has happened since then. I officially quite my full-time corporate marketing job…yikes! It’s weird. I’m still working with them on a contract basis, it’s just…different.

That said, the past month has possibly been my busiest ever in regard to work, and I couldn’t be happier. I really think I just needed a new challenge and some variety to motivate my mind. I’ve been cranking out articles for clients at my fastest pace yet!

While I’ve been incredibly happy, it hasn’t come without some stress. The reality is that even though I switched to freelancing with some clients already on board, the reality is is that I’m only making about 55% of what I was bringing in with my full-time job. I had a prospect call yesterday that sounds very promising, and two more calls tomorrow that should fill in some big gaps.

While this change in income is somewhat scary, I still believe I can make it. I believe our family can make it. I’m not going to let us fail because I took a risk on my dream job. I’ll do whatever it takes so that our family isn’t lacking for anything.

Right now, that just means sticking to a strict budget and making cuts on unnecessary expenses. This has been surprisingly easy for me to do. In all honesty, I think my previous spending habits were a consequence of how bored I was. My mind wasn’t being challenged, so I turned to spending money to buy things to give me some short-lived excitement.

Not to mention the money I am saving by not eating out for lunch. Since I was always in such a hurry to get down to work and exhausted at the end of the day, prepping for lunch happened once in a blue moon. I was spending a lot of money on food every week just for lunch. Now that I’m home, I happily eat leftovers.

Additionally, my wardrobe has changed, so I’m doing less laundry and obviously don’t need to spend any money on clothes to wear to an office. The same with makeup. I’m typically bare faced, which both my skin and wallet love.

I just wanted to pop over here to say hi and that I’m still hanging around. I’ve got several clients that are keeping me busy right now, with more to come. It has been such a load off my back to be able to have flexibility to do my work and get things done around the house, on top of spending a few more days a week with the boys.

We can do hard things. We just need to believe.

Read my latest article about freelancing on Medium.

Follow me on Facebook or Instagram yet? You can stay up to date with what I’m doing on those platforms. 

I Quit my Gym. Here’s Why.

via Mixkit // omg I hate running

I don’t know if I’ve written about this previously (my mind doesn’t really work anymore) and I really don’t feel like digging through old posts. But a few months ago, I signed up for Orangetheory Fitness. My mind, body, and type 1 diabetes (t1d) needed some exercise, and I liked the idea of group fitness. I’ve participated in Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping (kickboxing and resistance bands) in the past, and the group fitness mentality was very motivating for me.

Orangetheory (OTF) is known for their strenuous workouts that are 60 minutes long and promote an afterburn. Workouts are built on a cycle of treadmill workouts, row machine, and free weights. My head really liked the workouts and the energy of the coaches and other gym-goers, but it turns out, that my t1d hated it.

It always takes extra planning when it comes to t1d and exercise. I always like to head into workouts with my blood sugar higher than the target range, because I know that once I start moving my blood sugar will be dropping – this in addition to suspending my insulin pump basal delivery.

So that’s what would happen, I could start my workout even in the 200 range and be dropping below 70 within 30 minutes. I always had my glucose tabs shoved in my leggings pocket. On multiple occasions, I had to end my workouts early or risk severe hypoglycemia.

And then the strangest thing happened – after my low blood sugar, it would shoot crazy high, like 300s high, for hours after my workout. It would take significant insulin corrections to try and bring it back down. Frustrating to say the least.

So not only was I having to end my workouts early because of low blood sugars, and consume calories that I was hoping to burn, but then I had to feel like crap from hyperglycemia for the remainder of the afternoon.

After the first couple instances, I took to doing some research. What was going on? I thought exercise was good for diabetes?

In all my 25 years of being t1d and being fairly active for the majority of my life in various sports and exercise programs, no one told me that too strenuous activity is actually BAD for blood sugars.

During strenuous workouts that last longer than 45 minutes, your body starts pumping out stress hormones. In addition, your muscles are working harder, so your body releases more glucose to fuel your body. This is all perfectly fine for a healthy person with a normal-functioning pancreas. But it can be difficult to manage, and dangerous, for type 1 diabetics.

This information would have been good to know before I signed up for $99 a month for eight classes, but I guess I only have myself to blame for not doing research. I’ve already cancelled my membership based on cutting some costs to help with my transition to freelance work, but my membership doesn’t run out until the middle of January.


So for now, I am going to try and scale way back on how hard I exercise when I go to OTF, which is hard given the energy and competitive environment.

I plan to re-join our local YMCA in January once OTF is over. At least here I can design my own workouts and pace myself.

I’ve decided I’m at a place in my life where I’m not exercising to lose weight. Sure, if it happens, great. But it’s not my motivation. The reason I need to do regular exercise is to keep up my strength and energy (for chasing around two active boys), and regulate my blood sugars, which can be done with significantly less effort.


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