Celebrating Summer’s End . . . for Some

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Many of our friends across America celebrated the end of summer a couple of weekends ago. Here in South Louisiana, we’ll still be looking for ways to beat the heat and humidity for at least another month. That means my little sister will have a few more opportunities to perfect her watermelon-eating skills.

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When we first introduced Tallulah to a watermelon, she was a bit confused.

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It was as if she thought the little spot where the stem used to be was some sort of wondrous watermelon key that would magically unlock this mysterious green thing. Goodness knows she tried and tried that approach, but to no avail.

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It was time for the seasoned watermelon eater to step in and show her silly little sister a thing or two about this summer delicacy.

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“First of all,” I told Tallulah, “you don’t just bite into the watermelon. You let the humans cut it into nice little slices for us. The humans love preparing our food and serving it to us. We mustn’t deny them this great pleasure.”

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Obviously, one of us has a better grasp on patience and manners than the other. It becomes more and more clear every single day that I have many, many lessons to teach Tallulah. But back to the watermelon-eating tutorial.

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I tried to show Tallulah the proper watermelon-eating style: dainty little lady-like bites.

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Tallulah had something completely different in mind: putting the entire slice into her mouth all at once. And by entire slice I really mean entire slice. Tallulah devoured that watermelon slice . . . rind and all.

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I’m becoming more and more convinced that my little sister is part pig. Check out that nose–and that full mouth–and tell me what you think.

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Tallulah has a lot to learn about eating watermelons, but under my watchful eye I think there’s a chance she’ll catch on. I guess it’s a good thing we have a little bit of time before summer’s end.


BONE Appetit: Country Breakfast Two Ways

Audubon Park Willow Tree // May 30, 2016

Audubon Park Willow Tree // May 30, 2016

My sister and I are city girls. We love our visits to New Orleans’ Audubon Park, but most of our outdoor adventures involve leash walks along busy urban streets and evenings at boisterous dog-friendly establishments. So we were both super excited when our humans told us that we would all be spending a weekend in the country. They said the location would be a big surprise, but the preparations for our getaway would start in the kitchen . . . which I think is the all-time best place to start preparing.

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Mornings in the country need to begin with a hearty breakfast–for dogs and humans–and any hearty country breakfast needs to include three key ingredients: eggs, bacon, and cheese. My human mommy turned to The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company, and that’s where she found a quick and easy breakfast treat recipe with just six simple ingredients: oat flour, rice flour, shredded cheddar cheese, cooked bacon, eggs, and water. You’ll notice from the photo above that the bacon we used was 100% natural with no preservatives. My human mommy must admit that she has never ever made this healthy choice when preparing bacon for humans. But the people from Bubba Rose suggested it for pups and people and, Mommy said, nothing is too good for Miss Harper Lee and Tallulah Bee.

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Mommy combined all the ingredients . . .

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 . . . while Tallulah and I watched. I was well-behaved and supervised from a respectable distance. Tallulah was a little more . . . shall we say . . . eager.

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We let Mommy roll the dough and cut the treats into pretty flower shapes. Tallulah and I would have helped with this step, but our lack of opposable thumbs and need for a little mid-morning  doggy nap prevented our assistance.

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 Tallulah and I had a tiny taste test, and let me tell you that we definitely approve of these bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast treats. Mommy quickly stored them in an air-tight container and told us that we’d get to enjoy more on our country getaway. The anticipation nearly did us in.

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And for everyone who thinks that my human mommy only makes doggy treats when she’s in the kitchen, I present to you a human breakfast treat that she made for our country weekend: Breakfast Bake Recipe. She used the leftover ingredients from the dog treats she made. Wait a minute: Don’t the dogs usually get the leftovers? Not at our house. 😉

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Here’s the human breakfast recipe:

4-1/2 cups seasoned croutons (about 10 ounce)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

8 eggs

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/8 teaspoon pepper

8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

  1. Sprinkle the croutons, cheese, onion, peppers and mushrooms into two greased 8-inch square baking dishes. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt, mustard and pepper. Slowly pour over vegetable and sprinkle with bacon.
  2. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to three months. Bake the second casserole, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  3. To use frozen casserole: Completely thaw in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yield: 2 casseroles (6 to 8 servings each)

So you’ll just have to wait to see the human breakfast casserole finished product . . . just like Tallulah and I had to wait until we got to the country to enjoy the rest of our doggy breakfast treats. Any ideas where we went for our getaway?


HL Does NOLA from A to Z: S is for STREETCARS & SISTERS

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S is for streetcars and sisters. Today our tour of New Orleans takes a little detour. This is my sister Tallulah Bee’s first birthday. Woo hoo! So we’re throwing a NOLA-sized party . . . and in a city that’s known for partying, that’s a pretty big party. The pictures above were taken when Tallulah was about four months old. We were spending the afternoon in the Warehouse District (which is also called the Arts District) and Tallulah decided that she wanted to take a streetcar ride. Shhhh . . . don’t tell her that it’s just a bench made to look like the real thing. Streetcars in New Orleans date back to the 1830s, and at one time they ran from one end of the city to the other. (You can read more about New Orleans streetcar history by clicking here.) But buses began to overtake the streetcars in the 1960s and–with the exception of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar–the lines all but disappeared. Today the New Orleans streetcar is having a renaissance. There are several lines operating throughout New Orleans, with more lines being added. The streetcar (which is run by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority) is a great way to see New Orleans. You can buy a pass–called a Jazzy Pass–that allows you to take multiple trips on the streetcars (and buses) over a set number of days. Check out the streetcar lines and schedules here and click here for more information about Jazzy Passes.

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Now back to my sister, Tallulah Bee. She looks like she’s ready to get this birthday party started, doesn’t she. (Or maybe she looks like she’s already been partying a little too much. It’s hard to tell.)

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Because no birthday party is complete without a birthday cake, we joined our human mommy in the kitchen to do a little baking while our human daddy served as the official party photographer. As you can see, Tallulah is a little rule breaker. I know that feet are not allowed on the countertops, but sometimes she “forgets” this rule. We both know that licking the beaters is the best part of baking, and I will be the first to admit that Tallulah showed great restraint as Mommy decorated the cake.

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And here’s the final product. Trust me, it didn’t look like this for very long. If you’re interested in the recipe for this dog-friendly cake (made with banana and peanut butter . . . yum!) and the dog-friendly icing, click here. I promise you it will be a hit!

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So happy, happy first birthday sweet Tallulah Bee. You’re a little rule breaker, and sometimes you’re a whole lot of puppy and a really huge pest, but you’re a precious little girl with a heart of pure Golden love. We’re so happy that you’re a part of our family . . . and we wish for many, many, many more happy years to come. Love you, Tallulah Bee!

S

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Please click here for a link to the challenge homepage and a list of  the bloggers who are participating.


BONE Appetit: Back in the Kitchen

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It’s been a little while–to say the least–since I’ve spent quality time in the kitchen with my human mommy making tasty treats for my puppy dog friends. Wondering why? Well just take a look to my left. Mommy and I have both learned that little sisters take a lot of time and effort, and their presence is not terribly conducive to kitchen activities. But Tallulah Bee is now almost 11 months old, so we decided to give her a chance . . . and she passed with flying colors.

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With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, we turned to one of our favorite cookbooks–The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company–in search of the perfect recipe. Can you imagine anything more appropriate than Irish Wolfhounders? The ingredients made me lick my lips: oat flour, brown rice flour, spinach leaves, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, rosemary, oat bran, one egg, and just enough water to form a dough. Our friends at Bubba Rose offered this interesting little tidbit about the benefits of rosemary:

Rosemary is an excellent antioxidant. . . . It is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic and is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and anti-fungal properties. It supports immune system functions and defends against free radical damage.

And I thought these treats were just going to taste good.

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While Tallulah and I watch (and, I’ll admit, drooled a bit), Mommy processed some old fashioned oats to make the oat flour.

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Then she packed the spinach leaves into the food processor . . .

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. . . and processed away. Look at that beautiful green color. Things were starting to take on a festive St. Paddy’s Day tint. Tallulah and I would have been happy to take care of all the processing. But in order to  reach the switch, we would have to put our paws on the countertop, and that’s not allowed. (Someone needs to remind Tallulah of this rule because she tends to forget it . . . a lot!)

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Then it was time to put all the ingredients into a bowl . . .

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 . . . and combine before adding the water a little at a time to make the dough.

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This was the point in the process when Tallulah lost interest.

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And I’ll admit that I snuck in a quick little nap too. Let’s face it, this is the part of baking that’s better left to humans and their opposable thumbs.

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So Mommy rolled out the dough and started cutting out little doggy bone shapes. The cookbook recommended using a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter, but we didn’t have one. I seriously doubt that my friends will care.

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Mommy cut out a lot of little bone-shaped Irish Wolfhounders and then popped them into the oven.

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And that’s when Tallulah and I popped up for our most important contribution: clean-up crew. While Tallulah licked the bowl, I took care of the spoon. Cleaning the spoon takes way more skill, so it’s better left to big sisters.

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Mommy has packaged most of the tasty treats. She’s already mailed some to our far-away friends, and over the next couple of days we’ll make special deliveries to our local friends.  I think they’re going to have a very happy St.Patrick’s Day!


Tasty Tuesday: Tuna Treats for Trick Training

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Wow. That title sure is a tongue twister. Just trying to say it was a trick. And speaking of tricks . . . a little more than a week ago, I wrote a post called “Six by Six?” I confessed that I do not know any tricks, revealed my human mommy’s silly plan for me learn six tricks by my sixth birthday (which is next month), and asked for your input on what tricks I should learn. I loved your comments, and I was very surprised to learn that most of my four-legged friends don’t do any tricks either. I thought for sure that my mommy would give up on this ridiculous trick idea after she saw that, but no such luck. It appears that we are forging ahead with the trick lessons.

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Naturally, we had to find a tasty treat recipe for these trick lessons. You didn’t honestly think I’d fall for this crazy plan without the promise of treats, did you? So Mommy turned to The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company and zeroed in on a recipe for Tuna Snackers, billed as “high-protein, low-fat, allergy-friendly, and filled with beneficial omegas.” This trick-learning thing could require a lot of treats, so it was important to find something that is low-fat. Mommy liked the limited ingredients and simple preparation.

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I was pretty excited about the tuna and more than pleased to clean the little cans before they went into the recycling bin. I supervised while Mommy combined 1-1/2 cups of oat flour, 1-1/2 cups of brown rice flour, 1/4 cup of oat bran, 6 ounces of albacore tuna in water, 1 egg, and enough water to form a dough ball (a little more than 1/2 cup added slowly).

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The recipe says to roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness and then cut into shapes. Since we’ll be using these tuna treats for trick training, Mommy simply used a knife to cut the rolled out dough into little squares.

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Then the treat squares went onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and into an oven preheated to 350 F to bake for 22 minutes. Friends, for the life of me I will never ever understand this whole baking step. This just seems like such a total waste of time to me. I am more than happy to eat my treats before they go into the oven, but Mommy absolutely insists on baking them. Whatever.

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Would you just look at all the Tuna Snackers this recipe made. We’ve put some in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer.  I’m pretty sure that one batch will get me through mastering all six tricks. And about those tricks . . . I’ve settled on my six: bow, shake, high five, sit up, speak, and–first up–spin . . . or maybe in keeping with the Tasty Tuesday T theme we should call that twirl!

Today, I’m participating in the Tasty Tuesday blog hop, hosted by Kol’s Notes and Sugar the Golden Retriever. You can click on the link below for more yummy recipes and tasty treats.

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Tasty Tuesday: Snow Day with an Orange Twist

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My human daddy had a snow day yesterday. I know what you’re thinking: “Miss Harper Lee, you live in South Louisiana. How in the world did your daddy have a snow day?” Well, friends, Daddy was supposed to fly into Philadelphia Monday afternoon so he could work to earn money to maintain my fabulous lifestyle. But the airline people decided to cancel his flight, so Mommy and I got to enjoy his company for an extra 24 hours. What to do on a beautiful day at home? Harvest oranges from our big backyard orange tree, of course. Mommy’s already plucked the low-hanging fruit, and we’ve shared lots and lots and lots of oranges with our friends and neighbors, but we still have a whole lot of oranges on our tree. So Daddy climbed to the top of a ladder and started picking oranges . . . while I supervised. I’m an excellent supervisor.

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At this point, you know what my mommy started thinking: I wonder if I can find a recipe for dog treats with oranges as an ingredient? Off to the internet she went, and in just a few minutes she discovered Doggy Dessert Chef and a simple recipe for Lemon and Orange Rounds. We even had all the ingredients in the refrigerator and pantry:

  • 1 lemon (juiced and zested)
  • 1 medium orange (juiced and zested)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ

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Mommy preheated the oven to 375 F while I supervised Daddy as he combined the whole wheat flour, oatmeal, and wheat germ in a large bowl.

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Then it was time for Mommy to zest and juice the lemon and orange and combine the juice and zest, honey, and milk in another bowl.

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Mmm mmm mmm . . . so far so good. I was definitely looking forward to the finished product.

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Mommy added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixed until the dough formed a ball (she had to add a tiny bit of water), and then rolled the dough out to 1/4 inch. We cut our treats into bone and football shapes–perfect for a Superbowl pup party–and then baked the treats on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 15 to 20 minutes (17 minutes in our oven).

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You probably won’t be super surprised to learn that at some point during the preparation I snuck off for a little nap. Boy was I ever excited when Mommy tiptoed to my bed and held a yummy Lemon and Orange Treat under my nose. It quickly disappeared.

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Today we shared some of the oranges from our tree with the people who lived in our house before us. They’re the ones who planted our beautiful and bountiful orange tree, and now they live right around the corner. They have a super sweet six-month-old Goldendoodle named Ronald, so we made an extra special bag of treats for him. I’m pretty sure Ronald will have a big smile on his face when he tastes these yummy, yummy treats.

Mommy is overjoyed to have discovered Doggy Dessert Chef, which of course makes me a very, very happy girl. If you don’t already know Doggy Dessert Chef, click here to connect with the site. The recipes are very easy with simple ingredients. I’m looking forward to many more homemade treats from this site!

Today, I’m participating in the Tasty Tuesday blog hop, hosted by Kol’s Notes and Sugar the Golden Retriever. You can click on the link below for more yummy recipes and tasty treats.

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Some Challenging Little Canine Candy Canes

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My human mommy and I spent most of this day wrapping up our holiday treat baking for my canine friends. You might recall that we made yummy little gingerbread men last week. This week, we tackled canine candy canes.

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Mommy found the canine candy cane recipe at DogTreatKitchen.com, the same place where she found the recipe for the little gingerbread men. Once again, the ingredients were simple and healthy:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup nonfat powdered milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons red food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil flavoring (optional)
  • 1 large egg (for an egg wash)

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While I supervised, Mommy whisked the flour, powdered milk, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Then, in a smaller bowl, she poured the warm water over the bouillon cube and stirred until it dissolved. (Mommy feels the need to start adding some helpful hints now. If she ever made this recipe again–and she says she probably won’t–she would dissolve the bouillon cube in a cup and then pour the liquid into the bowl.) Then Mommy whisked the eggs into the chicken liquid. She made a well in the dry ingredients, poured the wet ingredients into the well, and stirred thoroughly to combine.

At this point, things started the get a little tricky, so we don’t have any photos to share with you. If we did have photos, they might have been of Mommy pulling her hair out.

The recipe says to knead the dough for about two minutes, adding more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. (Mommy definitely added more flour.) Then separate the dough in half. Form a well in one of the balls of dough and add the red food coloring and peppermint flavoring into the well. (Just another quick note: Best of luck trying to find peppermint oil flavoring in your grocery store the week before Christmas. Mommy went to three different stores, and they were all completely sold out. So we used mint extract. It’s close.) Wearing food-safe gloves, knead the coloring and flavoring throughout the dough.

The recipe says to wear the food-safe gloves for this step because the food coloring will stain your hands red. Mommy’s gloved hands and a small section of the kitchen looked like a murder scene during this step . . . and even with the gloves protecting her hands, they ended up being slightly stained. Also, adding the extract and food coloring made the dough sticky, so Mommy added a bit more flour to the now red dough ball.

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Mommy wrapped the dough balls in plastic wrap and popped them into the freezer for 30 minutes. (There is also an option to chill the dough balls in the refrigerator for two hours, but at this point Mommy just wanted to finish this little nightmare as quickly as possible, so she went with the freezer option.)

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While the dough balls chilled, Mommy and I spent some much-needed chill time outside collecting oranges from our backyard orange tree to share with our human friends and neighbors. Mother Nature makes the very best treats!

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Back inside, Mommy preheated the oven to 350 F and divided each ball of dough into tablespoon-sized balls. She then rolled each ball into a worm shape about five inches long, twisted one plain strip with one red strip, curled the end to shape a candy cane, and placed the candy cane on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (This all sounds pretty simple, but it was actually quite a challenge . . . so much so that Mommy only used about two-thirds of the dough and then tossed the rest into the trash. And by the way, Mommy donned another pair or food-safe gloves to do all of this. The red-stained gloves proved that this had been a good decision on her part.)

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After the candy canes were on the baking sheet, Mommy whisked an egg in a small bowl and used a pastry brush to thoroughly coat each candy cane with the egg wash. (Finally, an easy step.) Then into the preheated oven those candy canes went. The recipe says to cook for 10 minutes, but we let our treats stay in for 12 minutes.

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Voila! Canine candy canes. Mommy said to take a very, very good look because it is highly unlikely that we will ever, ever make these treats again.

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Too bad, because I can tell you that the canine candy canes are quite tasty . . . but, based on Mommy’s comments throughout the day, probably not worth the trouble.

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At the end of the day, we bagged the candy canes with those yummy little gingerbread men to give to all or my doggy friends. Then we put the oranges from our tree into pretty bags to share with our human friends. Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, we’ll take a nice morning walk around the neighborhood delivering tasty treats and spreading holiday cheer.

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But first, after a day spent tackling the challenging canine candy canes, Mommy needs a little cheer of her own!