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We’ve been proud hedgehog owners for three weeks now. Yes, only three weeks and here I am, writing an “essentials” list! Craziness, right? Maybe or maybe not. Bringing a hedgehog into our family wasn’t a decision made quickly or lightly. Tons and tons of research went into our decision (ok, my husband would say this was my decision) to bring home a hedgie.
Click the photos below to shop!
First, hedgehogs are climbers and this is important to take into consideration when buying a habitat. One thing I learned in my research is that many people don’t buy traditional pet habitats at all, but actually use Sterilite totes! Hedgies need a lot of floor space (as compared to similar sized pets), so you can’t just grab any old tote. You want something large, like the tote below. In this particular case, you can get a much better deal on a tote at Walmart, Target or Meijer than on Amazon. And your tote needs to be clear, not colored, so your hedgehog can see outside of his space.
Sterilite Tote (Clear 116 Qt) –
Hedgehogs are very temperature sensitive, so it is extremely important to have a good heat set up. Hedgies need a maintained temperature of 72-80 degrees. A heat set up should consist of a reflector dome, a ceramic heat emitter bulb (CHE), a thermostat, and a thermometer. The CHE bulb and dome create the heat, the thermostat controls when the heat is on and the thermometer allows you to monitor the temperature. A cold hedgie could attempt hibernation, which can be fatal.
Zilla Temperature Controller (Thermostat)
Zilla Reflector Dome –
Zoo Med Digital Thermometer
BYB Ceramic Heat Emitter Buld (CHE)
Poop Boots. It’s a phrase hedgehog owners are familiar with. Our little guys/gals tend to get messy from time to time, and you need a super soft brush for cleaning. A toothbrush fits the bill perfectly.
Colgate Extra Soft Toothbrush
Depending on your hedgie’s preferences, you’ll either need 1 bowl (food) and a water bottle or two bowls (food and water). We tried a bottle with my guy, but he wasn’t having it. He prefers the refreshing ability to dip his toes in while he drinks. Whatever makes you happy, little guy!
Kaytee Stoneware Bowl
Changes in weight are important indicators of health, and hedgies are weighed in grams. Most people (at least in the US) don’t have a gram scale just lying around. This model is easy to use and inexpensive.
Etekcity Digital Gram Scale
There are tons of options for “hides” out there, and no matter which hide you choose, it is important to give your hedgie somewhere to escape to. I like this one because it’s plastic (read: can be easily cleaned) and it’s inexpensive.
Kaytee Igloo Hideout
Snuggle sacks are great for shorter trips, but when you’re going to be in the car for a while or you’re traveling solo, a pet carrier is a must! I love this one because it doesn’t allow for climbing like the kind with side/front swing doors and the clear door on the top allows me to peek in at my little guy without disturbing him.
Favorite Top Load Portable Small Pet Carrier
Lots of hedgie owners let their little potatoes run around the house, uncontained. However, we have cats and that makes free-ranging a bad idea. We grab this super inexpensive playpen for floor time in the living room and outside in the yard. It lets Louie have a little freedom, but keeps him contained too.
Prevue Pet Playpen
Last, but not least, you need a wheel. I’m not recommending a wheel yet, as I am still deciding how I feel about the wheel I purchased. What I can say is that a smooth wheel is best and you should thoroughly research wheels, including appropriate size, before buying one. A wheel is a super important purchase, as most hedgehogs run several miles per night.
If you thought the most expensive part of getting a hedgehog would be paying for the hedgehog…surprise! That being said, it’s all worth it! My spikey little lap cactus brightens my mood every evening. We even fall asleep on the couch together sometimes. I’ll have more on Louie, other hedgehog related topics (like fleece bedding patterns), and hedgie themed shopping soon.
If you’re a hedgie owner and think of something you think I should add to the list, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be over here… snuggling with my cactus.
The family and I headed out yesterday to check out the new Busch’s Fresh Food Market in Brighton, Michigan. Busch’s is a locally owned chain, with 17 stores throughout Michigan. They just opened the Brighton location this week and have been having a gran opening celebration all week. As part of their grand opening celebration, shoppers have the chance to win free groceries for a year.
The atmosphere in the store is overwhelmingly inviting, with free samples everywhere! They even had sushi available to sample. Best samples ever! I love being able to try new things before committing, because let’s face it, everyone has different tastes.
While Busch’s has all of the typical staples, they clearly focus on fresh foods. The produce section was huge and had a nice variety, with as many items as possible being grown locally. My daughter was in love with the prickly melons. She said they reminded her of our hedgehog, Louie!
Just like the produce sections, the meat department, deli and cheese selections were massive! Their selection of meats for grilling was amazing and we decided that each of us could choose our own “main course” for dinner. My husband and I went with garlic pepper steak kebobs, my daughter choose a sirloin steak and my son decided on a hamburger.
While not relevant to the quality of the store, Busch’s did have this amazing cheese carving displayed in the cheese section. Both kids were enamored with it. It really was quite impressive and I’m happy that my son didn’t try to eat it before we finished shopping.
While we were shopping, my daughter and I picked up the ingredients for Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake Hand Pies. She loves getting involved in the kitchen and hand pies are easy enough that I could let her do a lot of the work. While I did choose to make a homemade crust, you could pick up pre-made refrigerated crust to use and that would work fine. Homemade crust is just less expensive and you have less waste.
I recommend working with small sections of dough at a time to make your crusts. We rolled ours out and used a small plate as a stencil for cutting nice, even circles. We also used a storage bag, snipping the corner, to pipe in our cream cheese filling. It’s much easier than trying to spread it on the thin crusts.
Preparing the crust is the hardest part of the entire process, even still, these only take about 40 minutes, start to finish. Clean up is pretty easy, as mist everything can be rinsed with hot water, then wiped down with dish soap quick. I had clean up finished before the hand pies came out of the oven.
Grab the recipe for Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Hand Pies below, and be sure to check out Busch’s Fresh Food Market in Brighton, Michigan. Don’t forget about that free grocery giveaway too!
Using a pastry cutter or sturdy fork, cut the butter into the flour.
Once butter and flour mixture has small pea sized ball texture, slowly add water 1-2 Tablespoons at a time, until the mixture forms a cohesive dough. Mixing is best done with a spatula to keep the mixture as cold as possible.
Once the dough has formed a ball, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the cheesecake flavored filling, mix together the cream cheese, vanilla and 1/2 Cup sugar using a stand or hand mixer.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag or a freezer bag, pushing the mixture down into the corner.
Lightly flour your countertop or work surface.
Using small sections of dough, roll out your crusts to desired size. You can use a small dessert plate as a template to trim edges and achieve uniform crusts.
Repeat until you've used all of the dough.
Just to the side of center, pipe the cream cheese mixture into each crust. Leave 1/4 inch on each side to allow room to close the pies.
On top of the cream cheese mixture, arrange a layer of strawberry and banana slices.
Lightly moisten the edge of each crust with water.
Fold the crust in half, forming a semi circle, and seal the crust edges using a fork.
Transfer to a baking sheet.
Optional: Lightly moisten the top of each hand pie with milk, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
If you love to cook, you’re inevitably looking for ways to jazz up chicken. Chicken is awesome in that it’s so versatile, but it’s also easy to get into a flavorless chicken rut. I am always looking for easy ways to flavor chicken while still keeping it healthy. After all, being a low fat, high protein option is one of the big perks of chicken.
While I use a lot of dry rubs, I also love a good liquid marinade, especially if I’m grilling. I find that dry rubs tend to get a little “crispy” on the grill, and I’m not a huge fan of that. What I do love is anything that can be thrown together with my pantry and fridge staples. The ingredients in this marinade are things that I always have on hand. Bonus, I can quickly mix this up while I’m cleaning up tonight’s dinner mess, toss it and my chicken in the fridge and I’ll be ready to go when I get home tomorrow.
Just slice some fresh veggies, toss those on the grill with the marinaded chicken and dinner is done. No hot house, no pile of dishes to clean up. Just a quick, low-stress, low-fat, filling meal.
It’s been a while, right? Well, I’m making a comeback, just like tie dye, Beanie Babies and pretty much everything from the 90s. Yes, I know tie dye isn’t from the 90s. Tie Dye has been making a comeback in recent years (this might be comeback #2?). You can find it on everything from clothing to home decor, and sometimes even your food! The whole “unicorn-everything” trend is really nothing more than a pastel tie dye simulation… that’s not to say that it isn’t cute or totally delicious, it’s just not something new. But, whether new or old, tie dye is back and I don’t see it leaving us any time soon.
The whole concept behind the Unicorn Frappuccino (and others like it) is blending various flavors to create a unique experience. You might get a little of this flavor or a little of that flavor, or the two might mix and give you an exciting new flavor combo all it’s own. That’s the concept behind this Tie Dye Frozen Daiquiri. Blend it up, sit back in the sun (or shade, if that’s your thing) and take in all of the flavor possibilities…
Place the frozen raspberries, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, 1/3 cup of rum and 1 Tablespoon of lime juice in a high powered smoothie blender. Add 4 ice cubes, or to your personal preference.
Puree until the ice cubes are broken down into a slushy texture.
Divide the raspberry mixture into 4 glasses, and then repeat with the mangoes and then the peaches, carefully spooning each over top of the previous layer, or pouring the mixture over the back of a spoon to keep those pretty layers.
Take your spoon and give each glass a slight swirl to give the tops of the drinks a tie-dye affect.
Sangria. The nectar of the Gods. Or, at least the over-worked, over-stressed mom. Serve it in a stemless wineglass or a solo cup, we don’t care! The paper straws are a cute touch though.
I love sangria. It’s cool, refreshing and perfect for any occasion. It even has fruit, so technically it could be good for you? Sure. Let’s go with that. I’ve never been one for red wine, at least not often, so I adapted a recipe from a friend and made my perfect Strawberry Peach White Wine Sangria!
Take 1/2 cup granulated sugar, add one can of lemon-lime soda (and don’t forget to recycle the can!) and the juice of 3-4 limes. You can heat your limes in the microwave for about 20 seconds to help them let go of their juice.
It’s all fizzy, limey, sugary yumminess. Just give it a good stir. Add your wine. Pinot Grigio. The whole bottle. (Don’t forget to recycle that too!)
Stir a little more… You can grab a great glass pitcher like I use on Amazon.
Add I like to use a white grape / peach blend. Brand isn’t important, just get some no sugar added / 100% juice. Add 1 cup of that and stir.
Now for the fruit… I use frozen whole strawberries and sliced peaches. You could add more fruit or different fruit all together. It’s really what you want. I like the pink color that the strawberries give to the sangria and the peaches are a nice compliment to the white grape / peach juice.
Let it sit for at least an hour or two so the sugar has a chance to fully dissolve and fruit can lend it’s flavor to the mix.
A variation for the 4th of July would be to add blueberries instead of peaches for a red, white and blue sangria! You really can’t go wrong with most any fruit though.
While I like the red variety too, white wine sangria will always be my favorite! Do you like sangria? What do you like to sip it along side of?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MoreMomentsWithExcedrin #CollectiveBias
Some people look at their days and think “wow, today was such a waste.” I may have been one of those people a few years ago, but things have changed. If you’ve been around for awhile, you know that I’ve gone through some major life changes in the last few years. Each of those changes has affected me in multiple ways, but the one thing they’ve collectively taught me is that every moment of my life is meaningful. I might not see the meaning immediately, but it’s there. I’ve learned to make the most of time with my family and friends and soak up all that I can from my experiences. The last thing I’m going to do is let a headache stop me.
I am a regular headache sufferer and I know just how easy it is for a headache to not only get in the way of everyday life, but to really put a damper on special moments. There have been times, as recently as a few weeks ago, where things as simple as a grocery trip or dinner with my husband were jeopardized by a headache. It’s not just the pain that slows me down, it’s the loss of focus and general feeling of poor health.
My headaches are often tension headaches, mostly brought on by stress. I work a very demanding job, one that often requires long hours. Add to that my 50 mile each way commute, and you have the perfect recipe for a tension headache. When I feel one coming on, I reach for Excedrin® Tension Headache (for tension type headaches and aspirin-free). Excedrin® Tension Headache offers Aspirin-free headache relief and can really help save the day!
I know a trip to the grocery store may not seem like one of life’s big moments, but for me it is. I try to do the bulk of my shopping in one trip each month. I will make smaller trips as necessary to fill in, but doing most of my shopping in one big trip allows me to spend more of my free time with my family throughout the month. We all know how long grocery trips can be, so avoiding that as a weekly activity gives me a few extra hours with my family. A few weeks ago, I had my big trip planned for Sunday afternoon. We finished lunch, watched a little TV together, and I worked on wrapping up my massive shopping list. It wasn’t long before I could feel a headache coming on. I had two options: stop it or let it stop me. I never chose option 2.
I have a pretty set routine for knocking out a headache. First, I need to grab the appropriate Excedrin® product (Excedrin® Tension Headache and Excedrin® Extra Strength (for everyday headaches) are my go-to choices). Next, I grab a cold compress from the freezer to cover my forehead and eyes (directions below on how to make your own!). Last, I find a quiet place to lay down for 20-30 minutes. Thankfully, this works for me almost every time. I was able to get up, get moving and knock out my shopping trip as planned, making it back home in plenty of time for a nice dinner off the grill and to watch our favorite tv shows together before bed.
A cold compress is my Excedrin® sidekick. They are ridiculously easy to make too! You only need a few supplies (and you probably have them all already):
1 Freezer Bag (I prefer gallon size)
1 Large Bottle of Liquid Dish Soap
Needle and Thread
Fill your freezer bag with liquid dish soap. Seal tightly. Remove as much air as possible.
Cut your dish towel to size. For height, take the height of your bag and add ½”. For the width, do the same.
Fold the short edge to short edge and sew along the side and bottom.
Turn right side out.
Fold your bag in half and insert it into the pouch you’ve created.
Roll in the edges of the pouch and sew shut.
Pop your cold pack in the freezer and let it chill.
You could certainly do all of the sewing with a sewing machine, however I think this project is so simple that you’ll spend more time pulling out your sewing machine than you will just taking care of things by hand. These cold packs are great for headache relief and sore muscles. Liquid dish soap will not freeze solid, so the compress can mold around whatever you place it on.
You can trust Excedrin® products to deliver fast relief for different types of headaches. Below are the Excedrin® products you can find at your local Walmart:
It’s been a long Winter. While all the Michigan natives tell me this was a very mild year, it feels like Spring just won’t come! Even with a late Easter, it doesn’t feel like Spring just yet. My son and I spent the morning cutting up pallets for summer campfire fuel, but I saved a few for future crafty endeavors. Whether or not it feels like Spring outside, you can celebrate the season indoors with these cute home decor ideas:
I tried Stitch Fix for the first time back in 2014. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically a personal shopper service. I hate shopping (crowds, dressing rooms, malls) so Stitch Fix has been a great way for me to gradually add pieces to my wardrobe. I won’t make you read too much, rather I’m going to share the Facebook Live video I did last week, unboxing my March Stitch Fix. I don’t get paid to share Stitch Fix with you as a blogger, but I do participate in their referral program, which is open to everyone who uses Stitch Fix. Watch the video, check out my referral link and let me know what you think in the comments – or hop over to the video on Facebook and leave your comments there!
If you have any questions about Stitch Fix, please ask! Enjoy!
*This post contains affiliate links. You get the same prices you always would and we get a small commission. It helps keep the lights on!
I only own two cats. That doesn’t make me a crazy cat lady, does it? Perhaps not, but then again, actually owning cats is only the first step. Do you need your cat’s affection? Do you treat your cat like a child? Do you try to buy their love with toys, treats and expensive kitty towers? Maybe that’s just me.
Regardless of how you classify your affinity for the feline species, we’ve all got a little bit of “crazy cat lady” in us. And that little bit of crazy, it deserves some purrfectly pawsome gifts and accessories to go with it.
Ready to shop? Check out these purrfectly pawsome gifts you can pick up for yourself or the crazy cat lady in your life on Amazon.
It’s hard to believe, but we celebrated the one year anniversary of our move to Michigan last week. While everyone back home in North Carolina was enjoying their first real tastes of Spring, we headed northwest for a weekend adventure to Traverse City, Michigan and the surrounding areas. Mitsubishi and DriveShop provided me with the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SEL to test drive for the week and it seemed silly not to get her out and “stretch her legs” a bit. I’ve heard so much about Traverse City, so we planned a quick weekend trip to explore the area.
First things first, we checked out the weekend weather in Traverse City. While it might not have been warm at home, it was sunny. We had nice blue skies, a little breeze, and our first steady sun in months. The weather was not the same in Traverse City. The forecast was for snow and ice. All weekend long. The upside was that I knew I’d get to test out the Outlander Sport’s All Wheel Drive (also known as 4 wheel drive). I have never owned a 4 wheel drive vehicle before, so I really had no idea what to expect. More on that later…
I searched around online and ground a great deal on a hotel. Winter rates in the Traverse City area are super affordable. When I made the reservation, we weren’t looking for luxury. We didn’t plan to do much more in the hotel than sleep and shower, so I took that into consideration when making our choice. Bayshore Resort had really good reviews online, and with taxes included, a water-view room would cost us $180 for Friday and Saturday night (and included breakfast!) When we checked in, we were very pleased to find that the photos online were true to the condition of the hotel. They had a great pool area (nice enough that I was disappointed I hadn’t packed a swimsuit), the rooms were spacious and the beach area was really nice. We were also pleased with breakfast (very traditional continental style), particularly how much space the dining area had and how well stocked it was kept throughout breakfast. After a good night’s sleep, we headed out to explore the west side of Grand Traverse.
Our first stop was the Robert H Manning Memorial Lighthouse along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline. When I say it was cold, it was COLD. The wind blowing moisture in off Lake Michigan was brutal (but not so brutal that I didn’t get out and take a look around). The shoreline is gorgeous and the waves roll in off the lake just like they do off the oceans of the east coast of the US. This was my first time seeing Michigan lighthouses, and while they are smaller than the North Carolina lighthouses I’m used to, they were very beautiful. Bonus of the freezing weather, we didn’t have to fight crowds anywhere! I’m not sure it if was the temperature keeping everyone at home, or the road conditions (terrible), but the solitude was nice either way.
One of my absolutely favorite features if the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SEL was the 4 Wheel Drive. Like I mentioned before, I’ve never driven an AWD vehicle before. I’ve driven plenty of front wheel drive vehicles on snow and ice, and I’ve even driven my husband’s rear wheel drive V-8 (no thank you!). With both of those, slipping and sliding are expected (especially RWD). Knowing how to drive accordingly is a must. After turning on 4WD in the Outlander Sport, I couldn’t believe the difference in driving on snow and ice. There were only a few instances where I could feel any slipping at all, and again, we were on some seriously snow and ice covered, desolate roads. We were able to venture to some spots that I wouldn’t have dared taking my front wheel drive car.
We drove up the coast from the lighthouse to the Sleeping Bear Dunes Dune Climb. The view was beautiful and the dunes are truly stunning, even when covered in snow. There were several people using the dunes as sledding hills (getting great speed and distance too!) Despite nor being dressed appropriately for a winter hike, we attempted to make it up the dunes anyway. I tapped out half way (which is pretty far) and decided that going downhill in the snow was far preferable for me. I will save the dune climb for a warmer day.
After nearly freezing ourselves to death, we hopped back inside the Outlander Sport to warm up. I have always wanted a vehicle with heated seats (my husband’s car has them – mine doesn’t), and now that I’ve had a taste of luxury, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to buy a vehicle again without them. The heat in the Outlander Sport was quick to work, but having the immediate warmth from the seats was amazing after all of the bone chilling wind on the dunes.
After I could feel my feet again, we headed up the coast of Lake Michigan toward Leland. We stopped by to see Fishtown (photo below – a very cool little fishing village) and dropped by Trish’s Dishes for lunch. I had the most amazing Mooshu Chicken Salad. I would drive all the way back to Leland just to eat there again. The town of Leland was very small, but cute, and paired with Fishtown, would make a lovely Summer Saturday stop.
A few of the other places we stopped on Saturday were Hop Lot Brewing Company (amazing nachos), Grand Traverse Distillery and Mackinac Brewing Company (delicious sandwiches). If you are a foodie, the Traverse City area will not disappoint. Downtown Traverse City was full of restaurants and shops. We had a hard time choosing which to visit. Locals were super friendly and more than willing to give suggestions on their favorites. We hit up as many places as we could and literally rolled ourselves into bed Saturday night. We were officially stuffed!
Sunday morning, we slept in a bit then headed out to breakfast. We stopped by a unique little place called Rounds. It was packed, and after having the biscuits and gravy, there was no surprise why. The portions were huge, prices were reasonable and the staff was friendly. From Rounds, we hopped back into the Outlander Sport to head up the peninsula to the Mission Point Lighthouse. The drive up the coast was beautiful, but definitely snow covered and icy in many places. Again, I loved having the control of the four wheel drive. It made driving overall easier, but also allowed us to explore a few roads we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.
Mission Point Lighthouse was the only place we visited over the weekend that really had a crowd, and even then it wasn’t bothersome at all. There were maybe 10 other small groups there, all at various places around the property. Some were walking the shoreline, others we checking out the historic cabin or otherwise wandering the property. The lighthouse was closed when we stopped by, so we didn’t get to see the inside, but we checked out the exterior, read a little about the restoration project and walked the shoreline.
After checking out the lighthouse, we headed back down the east side of the peninsula and made stops at several local wineries: 2 Lads Winery, Chateau Grand Traverse and Brys Estate (pictured below). I wish I had more photos for you, but it was snowing pretty good and hard to get around on foot outside in most places. There are TONS of wineries on the peninsula, so if wine is your thing, don’t skip driving the peninsula.
My overall thoughts on the Traverse City area …
Don’t skip visiting just because it’s winter. There are plenty of things to see and do that you may enjoy even more in winter than in summer. The crowds are small (or in some cases non-existent) and that is a huge plus for me. Shopping, food and indoor activities are plentiful, and if you’re a fan of snow, there’s plenty of that too! There are several things we’d like to head back in late spring to check out again, particularly Sleeping Bear Dunes and the beach areas, and we still have so many restaurants to try!
As the driver of a small sedan, I was very pleased with how comfortable I was in the Outlander Sport. I was worried it would feel “big” on the road, but it didn’t. It actually felt a lot like driving my small car, but with far more room on the inside. I loved the convenience of the folding rear seats and the cargo space, and was impressed with how big the Outlander Sport felt inside verses it’s compact exterior. It was packed with lots of other little conveniences too, though none that I can note being exclusive to this particular vehicle / brand. As I mentioned a few times before, I fell in love with the All Wheel Drive. I couldn’t believe the difference it made when driving on snow and ice.
As with most vehicles, there is always something that could be improved upon. My biggest, and really only, complaint with the Outlander Sport was engine power. Let me start by saying that my husband builds race car engines for a living, so I am a little biased when it comes to power. If you’re looking for something small and compact with power to tow or haul heavy cargo, I would not recommend the Outlander Sport for you. Mitsubishi does offer a 168-hp 2.4 liter engine option, which would be an improvement, but even that is still light on the power side.
So, who would I recommend the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport to? For anyone looking for a smaller option, daily driver, that has room for all your kids and all their gear, the Outlander Sport is a great option. It has a nice interior and exterior, it offers all of the common convenience features, gets great gas mileage and is super roomy. It also comes in at a very reasonable price, starting at just $19,795.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Outlander Sport and Traverse City! If you’re familiar with the Traverse City area and have suggestions on places to visit or things to see/do, please share! Leave me a comment below or connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.
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