Thursday, February 28, 2013

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

I have some sad news to report, Parker's goldfish, Stuart, passed away a couple days after we brought him home.  Parker took the news well and we told him he could get a new fish.  His only request was that it wasn't the same kind of fish.  So, last Saturday we headed back to PetSmart to see what our options were.  After going back and forth on what we should do we finally decided it would be fun to have a few fish and sort of make it a hobby.  When I originally told Parker he could get a fish, I envisioned what I had growing up: a bowl, some rocks, water and a fish, sometimes two fish.  I thought we would spend around ten to fifteen dollars and we would be good to go.  A hundred or so dollars later we now have a tropical aquarium and a few fish.

I guess I had some super goldfish growing up because he lived in a small bowl with no filter and water straight from the tap, no water conditioner and lived for seven years.  After that experience I assumed I knew what I was doing with goldfish, but apparently that wasn't the case.  We wanted to do things right this time and not end up with another Stuart.  We talked with a couple employees at PetSmart and were given some guidance.  We bought a 10 gallon tank, new rocks and bacteria supplement and went home without fish to set up the tank up.  Poor water quality was probably the cause of Stuarts death, even though we added water conditioner to his tank before we put him in.  Goldfish release a lot of ammonia and because our tank was only 2 gallons the water quality was poor and he most likely died from ammonia poisoning.

Setting Up Our New Tropical Fish Tank

We chose a 10 gallon aquarium that came with a heater, filter and LED lights.  It seemed like the best deal and had almost everything we needed to get started.

We brought our new tank home and cleaned everything with water, no soap.  Next, we added rocks to tank, then some water, then decor (plants, ornaments and rocks) and then more water.  I added a few rocks I had collected from the beaches in Maui.  Then came the water conditioner to help neutralize harmful ammonia, chloramine and chlorine and to remove copper and other heavy metals.  After adding the water conditioner we waited 15 minutes and tnen added a bacteria supplement.  The bacteria supplement introduces beneficial bacterial and breaks down organic waste.  Then we waited and allowed the water to heat up.  Tropical fish require a water temperature ranging between 74-82 degrees.

We waited 48 hours and then went back to get our water tested and pick out some new fish.  At PetSmart they do an Aquarium Water Analysis that tests the: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, alkalinity, hardness, chlorine and chloramine.  We passed the water analysis test!  Yay!  Now we could pick out a few fish.  A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish.

The employees at PetSmart recommended three fish to begin with.  You only want to add 1-3 new fish at a time to avoid water quality issues. The three we chose were all labeled as "Tropical Community Aquarium" and "Experience Level Beginner," which was exactly what we needed.  We wanted a variety of fish, so we chose: a Dwarf Gourami, a Black Molly and a Gold Mickey Mouse Platy.  And we were super creative with their names: Simon, Molly and Mickey :)

Once we brought our new fish home we acclimated the fish by floating them in the bag, in the aquarium for 15 minutes.  Then we added the fish with a net, not letting any water from the bag in the aquarium.  We didn't want to contaminate the water that had just passed the water analysis test.  The fish have been in their new home for three days and seem to be happy and doing well.  We will probably take another water sample into PetSmart this weekend just to make sure all the levels are normal and possibly get a couple more fish.

Acclimating the fish to the water temperature

Gold Mickey Mouse Platy Fish

Dwarf Gourami Fish

Black Molly Fish

We put the tank on a table in our hallway upstairs, instead of Parker's room.  That way we could all enjoy them!  I think Parker was a little disappointed that they didn't go in his room, but he got over it quickly.  He loves them and his favorite thing is feeding them every morning.  Ryder loves them too, but we have to keep a close eye on that little guy.  I've caught him hitting the tank a couple times, which I'm sure scares the fish.  

I figured the title of this post was appropriate since Dr. Seuss' birthday is on March 2nd.  Here are 30 great quotes from Dr. Seuss.

What was your first pet?  Did you have the typical dog or cat or some other animal?  Let us know in the comments below.  Wish us luck with our new fish and let us know if you have any tips for tropical aquariums.  

Happy Champagne Thursday!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Meet Stuart

Meet Stuart, the newest member of our family.  Parker got his first pet last night, a fantail goldfish named Stuart!

Parker and I are both allergic to cats and Parker is also allergic to dog saliva, something I hope he grows out of.  So, those animals are off the table for now.  Chris and I thought a goldfish was a reasonable first pet for Parker.  I really don't want some other little creature getting lost in our house, because I'm sure that would happen with two little boys.  And I can just picture myself finding some little creature in my bed or something.

I had every intention of just buying a bowl for the fish, but the guy told me that a freshwater tank would be best.  So, we bought a small 2 gallon tank, with a small filter.  I'm hoping we don't have to clean his tank too often with the filter.  I'm also hoping Stuart doesn't get too big.  I've read that these types of goldfish can get quite big and that they should have a 10-20 gallon tank.  Growing up I had a goldfish that lived for 7 years in a regular old bowl!

Parker is very excited about his new fish!  I think he'll do a great job taking care of Stuart.  Hopefully he won't feed him too much.  When he was getting ready this morning, Parker said "feed Stuart if he gets hungry while I am at school today."

Some of the other animals Parker asked for before we decide on a goldfish:  a dog, a cat, a whale, a frog, a turtle and a trout.  Silly kid!

A proud Parker and his new fish, Stuart

P checking out some of the other fish

Checking out each other


Stuarts new home

Happy Champagne Thursday!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

School Valentines

Parker and I spent a good portion of the day yesterday working on Valentines for his school.  My inspiration came from Pinterest.  If you are on Pinterest, I'm sure you have seen this super cute Valentine.  Parker loves suckers, so it was perfect.  I took Parker's picture, added some text and had them printed at Costco.

$5.20 - 40 4x6 Pictures printed at Costco
$2 - Card stock paper from Michaels
$5 - Two bags of heart shaped suckers from Target
$0.59 - Heart stickers on clearance at Michaels

Total Spent - $12.79 or approximately $0.32 per Valentine

I took an X-Acto knife and cut two slits into each picture, so I could slide a sucker into Parker's hands.  Then I cut the card stock paper  so it was a little larger than the picture.  Parker signed his name on each one.  He had to sign his name 39 times, so it was good practice!  I wrote his classmates and teachers names on the card stock and Parker added a sticker.  Then I glued the picture on the card stock with some Elmer's glue, waited for them to dry and then we were all set.  Hopefully they stayed together at school today!  

I think they turned out pretty cute and it was fun working on the project with Parker.  Parker only wanted to sign about ten cards a time before he wanted to be done.  So, we had to take a few breaks.

Happy Champagne Thursday!

Happy Valentine's Day!



Heart Shaped Cake

Show your Valentine you love them with a heart shaped cake!  Don't have a heart shape pan?  You don't need one.  All you need is one square pan and one circle pan.

1.  Choose any flavor of cake you want
2.  Bake two cakes - 1 circle and 1 square
3.  Remove from pans
4.  Cut circle in half
5.  Rotate square, so it is diamond shaped
6.  Add each half circle to two sides of the diamond (square cake).  The diameter of my circle was a little longer than the sides of each square, so I adjusted a bit.  You can see in the picture below.
7.  Frost heart shaped cake
8.  Enjoy

Since its Valentines Day you might want to go with a little something more festive, like Red Velvet, but I made a Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  I still had zucchini in our freezer, left over from our garden last Summer.  And if a cake has zucchini in it, it has to be healthy right?  That's what I'm telling myself anyway.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 3/4 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
2 Cups Shredded Zucchini
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

Mix together dry ingredients and set aside.  Mix butter, oil and sugar together, then add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk.  Add Zucchini and dry ingredients.  Pour into greased pans. Bake at 350 degrees for around 40 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 Cup Butter
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1/4 Cup Milk
2 Teaspoons Vanilla

Mix together softened butter and rest of ingredients.  Add more powdered sugar if necessary.  Wait until cake is cool and then frost.


Happy Champagne Thursday!

Happy Valentine's Day!


Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Champagne Thursday!



Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Perfect Match

Today's post is all about collections. I've been collecting matchbooks since I was pretty young, probably around the age of 10.  I guess my parents trusted me, because I don't think I would like it if Parker and Ryder started collecting matches.  

It's getting harder and harder to find matches these days, but I guess that's a good thing, less people smoking.  So, now its more exciting when I find a place that has matches.  You have pretty good odds of finding matchbooks in Vegas, better odds than winning any money.  Chris always tries to find me matches when he is out of town.  What a guy!

Glacier National Park + Matches = Probably not the best idea

When was the last time you could get matches at Wendy's?

I remember I got these matches for Christmas one year, not your typical Christmas present.  They are pretty old.  Phone numbers with only 3 and 4 digits...

A few of my favorite restaurants I've collected matches from.  Ruth's Chris Steak House was Chris and I's favorite place for happy hour when we lived in Seattle.  We spent quite a few nights there before we had kids.  Mama's Fish House is a must for anyone traveling to Maui!  We've been to Spago a couple times in Maui and was delicious both times!  If you like sushi, RA Sushi in Vegas is a great!

What do you collect?  Wine, Pez dispensers, art, purses...?   Please share in the comments below.

Happy Champagne Thursday!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Now You Know What It Looks Like...

Every so often, something ground-breaking comes along that forever changes how we do things ... The iPhone. The Sonicare toothbrush. The Keurig coffee maker. Clairol Root Touch-Up. They make life easier. They save us time and money, improve our health, even make us more beautiful.
What if you could've started a turn-key business for less than $1000 and became the first and only distribution channel for one of these products? They weren't sold in stores, they were only available through YOU.
This is where Rodan + Fields comes in. The Proactiv Doctors are changing the world again, and they want you to get your share of the market. Business has been booming, but it’s about to get a heckuva lot better.
This week, in Dallas, world renowned dermatologists - Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields will release a new skin care device that has never been offered over the counter that is being raved about by the press and speculated to be the "largest in our history"... "game changing".
On February 9, the skincare revolution officially begins and you can lead it. You can be the go-to source, with a new tool that will take in-home skin care to a new level. Even better, between now and February 8th, Rodan + Fields is offering this tool for FREE (a $279 value) for anyone who starts their business with our RFX Express Kit. Isn’t it time we had a conversation about the possibilities, about what this could mean for you?

We are looking for consultants who want to be the FIRST to use this new device....for free.


It's called a Macro-Exfoliator. It's innovative, effective and like nothing you've ever seen and that's all I can say for now!
Leaked in Marie Claire, this means that the enormous media speculation has started. Marie Claire is circulated to over 980,000 people per issue! This is just the beginning....
After officially released, the media and press will rave, and guess what... this is all free advertising for your new business!


Thank you for your continued support. And if this just isn't for you...that's ok! But I always welcome new friends and business partners...I have a great referral program!

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