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DIY Memory/Wish Frame

finished memory frame

Yesterday I threw a party for my parents’ 50th birthdays and I’m happy to say that it was a huge success! Everything went just about as smoothly as possible and after the party concluded, several people mentioned to me that they thought I should go into party-planning. What a compliment, right?! That would be a fun career, but there’s one problem — I really can’t stand working with people. Maybe I could be a pet party planner??? Is that a thing? Does anyone know? Hmmm. I think I’ll just stick to pet-sitting…

Anyway… I think the things that made the party so great were the little extra details. They’re the things that always leave the biggest impression in my mind, so I like to include as many as I can into events that I host to make a positive and lasting impression with my guests. I made centerpieces that incorporated photos from my parents’ childhoods and early life together, I asked guests to bring along a favorite photo of my parents to build a photo collage in the shape of the big ’5-0′, we played a trivia game featuring questions about my parents and I made a memory frame for guests to share some of their funniest, silliest and most memorable moments of my parents’ first 50 years.

party centerpiece

The memory frame was a big hit and I think it was my favorite part of the party. It was super easy to make and would be great to use for a wedding or for a milestone birthday or anniversary.

If you’d like to make your own, here’s what you’ll:

  • a large frame (no back or glass — just the outer frame)
  • twine, string or ribbon
  • paper
  • mini clothespins (I found mine at Target, but I’ve seen them in craft supply stores, as well)
  • scissors


To assemble:

    1. Paint your frame, if you’d like. I trash-picked mine (I’m dead serious!) and it looked a little beat up, so I opted to give it a few coats in a color that matched the party’s theme.
    2. Wrap one end of the twine, string or ribbon around the top edge of frame and tie in a knot on the back. Weave twine between alternating edges of the frame to make a zig-zag line to hang memories.
    3. Cut paper into desired shape and size and ask guests to write their memories or wishes on paper and attach them to the string with mini clothespins.



Here’s the frame I used — freshly trash-picked!

Try out this memory/wish frame at your next event — I think your guests will think it’s super fun and creative and by the end of the party, you’ll have some really neat mementos for the guest(s) of honor. They can keep the memories on the frame and display it that way, if they’d like, or they can do what my parents plan to do and made a scrapbook from the memories, along with some photos from the party.

Do you like planning parties? What’s the coolest little detail you’ve ever seen at a party or gathering?

P.S. – I’m now on Twitter! Follow me @jeneroushelping (It’s really bothering me that I couldn’t fit the ‘s’ on the end! Can someone come up with a better handle for me?!). Oh, and don’t forget, I’m on Facebook, too!

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I Didn’t Write This, But You HAVE To Read It!

I love pit bulls and can’t wait to have a bigger house so we can add a few to our menagerie, but I know not everyone feels this way about them.

Regardless of your own opinion on pit bulls, please take the time to read this article, which was recently published in Esquire. It’s simultaneously heartbreaking and beautiful and I’d be willing to bet it changes a few perceptions of this very misunderstood and misrepresented class of dogs.

Read it! Then let me know what you thought of it. And if you have a pit bull of your own, tell me about him or her. I’m a sucker for a good animal story!

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I don’t know how I didn’t know about this sooner, but apparently, Friday was Cow Appreciation Day! I don’t know who deemed it so — it looks like Chick-fil-A uses it as a big marketing ploy, so maybe they had something to do with it — but it doesn’t really matter because for me, every day is cow appreciation day. Cows are not only just my favorite animal ever, but they also take up a lot of space in my home. No, I don’t have any beautiful bovines of my own (yet, anyway!), but I do have a pretty nice cow collection going on, or a cowlection, as I like to call it.

Wanna know what kind of cow stuff I have? Here ‘ya go:


cow solar cow

solar dancing cow


cow flag

garden flag


cow dust plug

phone dust plug


cow chalkboard



cow blanket

fleece blanket (the dogs think it’s theirs)


cow canvas

canvas portrait (This is actually Thunder, from Farm Sanctuary!)


cow collage

mosaic collage


cow jim shore 2

Jim Shore statue


cow jim shore

and another Jim Shore


cow mug



cow shelf sitter

shelf sitter (which I trash-picked! It still had the tags on it. Her eyes are a bit crooked, but still so cute.)


cow stuffed animal


And finally, my two favorite pieces in my cowlection:

cow yoga cow

yoga cow figurine


cow calendar

yoga cow calendar


There you have it… Yes, I know I come off a bit crazy, but I can’t help myself when it comes to cows!

Anyone else cow-crazy like me? What’s your favorite animal? What kind of stuff do you collect?


Weird Girl

Hey, blogosphere! I’ve missed you this week!

I’ve been crazy busy with my summertime pet-sitting schedule (and playing with my new Vitamix!! :) ) and am just now getting a second to breathe.


I didn’t have much time to work on any substantial posts this week, but here’s an original poem I’ve been working on. It describes the ways in which I view myself and I think some of you can relate to it on some level:

weird girl

Weird girl’s different

she’s complex

she’s strange.

Weird girl sees things differently

lives differently

thinks differently.

Weird girl’s fueled by her passions

and driven by her heart.

Weird girl’s a thinker

a dreamer

a doer.

Weird girl likes different things

she needs different things

she wants different things.

Weird girl is not always what she seems

but she’s always true to her soul.

Weird girl thirsts for knowledge

and helping

and experiencing.

Weird girl doesn’t always “get” the world

and sometimes, it doesn’t “get” her either.

Weird girl wants to change the world

she can

she will.

Weird girl wonders why there aren’t more like her

but then she realizes she’s glad there aren’t.

Weird girl is wonderful

and powerful

and smart.

Weird girl is beautifully,



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Friday Faves: Loose Leashes by Ron Schmidt

If you’re a fan of cute dogs (and, really, who isn’t?!), then you need to check out Loose Leashes, a collection of more than 75 uber-adorable dog photographs from artist, Ron Schmidt. I first discovered Ron’s work in an art gallery in Cape May. I’ve always admired fine art, but I’ve never had the urge (or the budget) to actually purchase anything. Until I saw this: mudmuck.ronschmidt_1024x1024 And decided that I had to have it. Seriously?! Is that not one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen?!?! Yeah… I thought so! The little guy reminded me so much of Checkers and I just loved the name of the print: “Mud & Muck.” I did a lot of begging and pleading and finally, I was able to coerce Ant into letting me get it. I felt like a kid on Christmas! We found a perfect spot for it on our wall and I headed to Ron’s website to learn more about him and his work. What a talented and great guy he is! Not only are his photographs absolutely delightful, but they really capture the spirit and personalities of dogs in a whimsical way. Ron also collaborated with his wife, Amy, on two books: Dog-Gone School and Loose Leashes. Both titles feature Amy’s poetry, accompanied by Ron’s photography, for a fun reading (and viewing) experience that dog lovers of all ages will enjoy. Oh, and Ron gives back a portion of his proceeds to animal-related charities and donates his photography skills to animal rescues in his home state of Massachusetts!!! How cool is that?! In addition to Mud & Muck, we’re also the proud owners of “Out of the Park,” thanks to my mom and dad, who gifted it to us two Christmases ago. ron schmidt And, my mother-in-law got me a Mud & Muck t-shirt that I use as a sleep shirt. I’d post a pic of it, but I’ve worn it so much that the image is almost completely faded away and it’s looking pretty tattered these days. But I love it! We also had one of Ron’s calendars a few years back. At the end of the year, I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing away such cute images, so I have it stored away for future use. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, yet, but I’ll figure out  a way to reuse it, I’m sure. If you’re looking to spruce up your home with some fun, new, smile-inducing art, or if you need a gift for the dog-lover in your life (me, maybe???), head over to the Loose Leashes site and have a look around. You’re sure to fall in love with at least one of Ron’s pieces, but you’ll probably want them all!


Three Things: July

three red circle

You guys, it’s not really July already, is it? Why is time flying by so fast?! I barely even know what day it is anymore – I woke up thinking today was Christmas!! No, really. Talk about disappointment!

— Sigh —

Well, since it’s a brand new month, it’s time for some brand new goals. I’m really digging this whole “Three Things” concept and I’m sticking with it!

Before I get to my new goals, though, I’ll share how I did with June’s goals. These are the three goals I set for myself on June 1:

  1. Lose 5 pounds
  2. Attend at least one animal-rights related function/demonstration
  3. Forego Wawa stops

I’m happy to say that I was able to fairly easily cut Wawa stops out of my life. I only stopped there twice in June, as opposed to at least twice a week (usually more, though). Both times, I went in for specific items, not just to kill some time. I didn’t really miss their pretzels and lemonade as much as I’d expected, which my wallet and my waistline appreciated greatly. This is one change that I think will stick!

I didn’t make it out to any animal functions in June, unfortunately, unless the Philly VegFest counts, which I don’t think it does. My crazy schedule just got in the way, but I did find out about the Farm Sanctuary Walk for Animals event that’s happening in Philly this fall, and I think we’re going to sign up to participate.

And about that weight-loss thing… yeah… didn’t happen. Too much grubbing at the VegFest, another visit to Adobe this month and not nearly enough exercise will do that. :( I’m not letting myself off the hook so easily regarding that, though!

Okay, so now that I’ve spilled the beans about how successful I was or wasn’t in June, it’s time for July’s goals:

  1. Use less plastic
  2. Lose 8 pounds (told you I wasn’t letting myself get away with that!)
  3. Make a fruit & veggie smoothie in my Nutri-Bullet for breakfast every morning

Alright… I got this!!

Happy July, everyone!

To those of you participating along with me, how did you make out with your June goals? Care to share your goals for July?


The Paw Project: A Review

Last night I watched The Paw Project, a documentary by the non-profit organization of the same name, and my eyes were opened.

the paw project

This film is about feline onychectomy, more commonly known as “declawing” and while I believed I knew what declawing wasn’t before viewing this film (it’s not just simply snipping off a cat’s claws, as many people seem to think), I definitely didn’t know all that this procedure is.

Declawing is a very painful and medically unnecessary procedure in which a cat’s toes are amputated at the first knuckle. In humans, our nails grow from the skin, but in a cat, the nail (claw) grows from bone, so to remove the nail, the bone must be removed, as well. Declawing can be likened to removal of the first knuckle in a human. Ouch!! But wait, it gets worse. There’s also a procedure that I had never heard about before, called tendonectomy, in which the tendons that enable a cat to flex its paws and claws are snipped, resulting in a floppy and essentially useless paw. What?! Why?!

This is an attention-grabber, isn’t it?!

Aside from being barbaric, these practices can leave cats with a lifetime of painful feet and they often suffer from debilitating arthritis, lameness and a host of other ailments as a result. It is also not unusual for cats to change their behavior after declawing. Removing claws removes a cat’s natural defense and without their claws, many cats begin to defend themselves by biting. And, because their feet are so painful, it hurts for them to dig in their litter boxes and sometimes, they begin eliminating in undesirable locations. You know what happens to cats who bite and who don’t use their litter box, right? They end up in shelters where they will likely face euthanasia because of “behavioral issues” that were completely human-generated. In other words, declawing = a death sentence for many cats.

Cats are natural scratchers. It’s what they do and people should know this when they decide to add a cat to their family. To amputate a cat’s claws just because it scratches is absurd. A veterinarian featured in the film said that we don’t remove all of a puppy’s teeth when it teethes and chews on things in the house, so why would we declaw a cat because it scratches? It’s not the correct solution to the perceived “problem” and that’s what The Paw Project is trying so hard to make people realize.

This film also exposes the effects of declawing big cats in captivity. The founder of The Paw Project, Dr. Jennifer Conrad, an exotic animal vet, was inspired to form this organization because of the devastating effects of declawing that she witnessed in the patients she cared for. In big cats, the effects of declawing can be even more detrimental than those in domestic felines. Because of their large sizes, big cats who have been declawed are oftentimes so crippled and in such pain that they cannot get to their water sources. The film mentioned several big cats who were believed to have died at young ages because of dehydration from being unable to reach their water. Oh my God! Why is this allowed to continue to happen? Yet another reason, in my book, how the captivity industry completely fails animals.

Through Dr. Conrad’s expert testimony, along with that of other seasoned veterinarians and animal behaviorists (Jackson Galaxy, among them — love that guy!), The Paw Project drives home several messages and really makes you think long and hard about the veterinary system in our country. Declawing takes an essential element of being a cat away from cats. People who elect to put their pets through the declawing procedure are choosing the well-being of their furniture (inanimate objects) above that of their pets (living, feeling beings) and veterinarians who perform these practices are breaking one of the cardinal components of the veterinary oath to cause no harm to the patients in their care.

There’s a reason why declawing is illegal in more than 20 countries throughout the world. It’s considered to be a form of animal cruelty that leaves cats with painful, long-term medical conditions. It serves no medical benefit to cats and for the veterinarians who perform these operations, their only motives are greed. At the time of the film’s release (September 2013), Dr. Conrad and the rest of the dedicated Paw Project team members and supporters had been victorious in helping to pass declaw bans in eight California cities. That’s a great start, but it’s not nearly enough. It’s time to put an end to declawing for good. Everywhere.

Please, if you have cats, or if you consider yourself an animal activist, watch this movie. If you know someone who has cats, urge them to watch it, too. (It’s available on Netflix, as well as many other online platforms.) Its such an informative film and its messages so important! Share it with everyone you know and support The Paw Project and their initiatives to bring declawing to an end. Write to your state lawmakers and let them know that you want anti-declawing legislation passed for the well-being of the cats in your state. Get angry and for heaven’s sake, don’t stay silent. We must be the voices for the voiceless.

Have you seen The Paw Project? How do you feel about declawing? 


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