Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday Motivation- July 30th

Happy Monday! I love this quote by Benjamin Franklin. This quote reminds me to keep striving toward my goals, and not get discouraged. 

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Products I Love- Pet Edition

Good Afternoon Everyone! 

Welcome to my latest "Products I Love" post. This is about pet products (again lol) since a lot of things I buy are for my fur babies. Cats are so hard to please that I just have to share when I find things they love! 

I've tried different pet beds (pet pillows, memory foam beds, etc.) but they were always ignored (or torn apart). Cats... Then, I ran across this adorable cat bed that looks like a hamburger bun. 

Honestly, I expect them to ignore or destroy it like all the other beds I'd gotten for them. In this case, I was wrong. They LOVE this silly, adorable hamburger bun bed! The only thing they don't like is the little cushion that came with the bed. They pulled that out and use it as a toy. 

Merlin in the Hamburger Bun Bed 

This bed is awesome because the cats actually sleep in it, and I get cute pictures of them LOL! :) Get yours at the link below:

Cat toys is another hit or miss "cat"egory. I have oodles of cat toys lying about my house that are completely ignored. I also have tiny bits of toys they enjoyed so much they ripped it to shreds in minutes. 

Then, I found the Turbo Scratcher! It's basically a plastic disc, with a cardboard center they can scratch, and a small plastic ball they can roll around the edge of the disc. Seems lame, but they love it! It was one of their Christmas presents last year, and it's the only one they still play with! A great thing about this toy is that it serves as a scratching post as well as a toy, so it's functional as well. Unlike a scratching post, the entire Turbo Scratcher doesn't have to be tossed when it's been scratched to pieces. You can buy replacement cardboard discs as refills (we are on our third or fourth now!). I have included a link to the Turbo Scratcher as well as the replacement discs. Sometimes, I sprinkle catnip on the cardboard piece for even more fun! 

Here are the links to the Turbo Scratcher, the replacement cardboard refills, and catnip: 

Thank Y'all for reading! I hope your furbabies enjoy these products as much as mine have. Be sure to enter your email address to get all the latest updates from Pines and Peaches! 

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means a small portion of the proceeds from any item purchased via the links will be used to support Pines and Peaches. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Monday Motivation- July 23rd

Random acts of kindness take only a moment, but they can change someone's entire day. 

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Arthur: A Rescue Story

Animal rescue is a topic that is important to me. I love animals and being able to provide a good home to a fur baby is one of the most rewarding things in my life. 

I'd like to introduce you to our newest family member, Arthur. He was discovered by one of my co-workers. Someone had abandoned this little darling in a restaurant parking lot. Fortunately, my co-worker was kind enough to pick this little guy up and take him to the vet to see if they could find a home for him. When the vet said they couldn't take a newborn kitten, he called me. I knew I already had three cats, and my husband frequently told me we were at maximum "cat-pacity." But, when I saw this tiny kitten, my heart melted. 

On his way to his fur-ever home! 

How could I let him go? Since I already have a cat named Merlin and a horse named Guinevere, Arthur seemed an appropriate name. The newly-named Arthur was about three weeks old, a few ounces short of weighing a pound, and had an eye infection. He was so young, he still needed to be bottle fed every three hours. 

Arthur's first day in his new home. His eyes are pink from infection. 
And so we started the touch-and-go care of a newborn kitty. I've known several people who have attempted to care for a newborn, only to get their hearts broken when they couldn't pull through. Knowing he might not make it, I did everything I could do and prayed this adorable little guy would prove tougher than the difficulties life had already dumped on him. 

Daily, we were giving him antibiotic eye ointment, medicine for his cold (which he thought tasted awful), and bottle-feeding him every three hours. Soon, I didn't have to set my alarm for the middle-of-the-night feedings, because Arthur let me know when his next bottle was due!

So tiny, he fit in a coffee mug. <3
Yummy milk! 
Week one was nerve-racking, but then we started to see tiny improvements. Arthur's eyes cleared up, and he started playing! Also, we moved from bottle feeding to drinking from a tiny saucer. Due to his infection and him being so weak, I kept him in a crate in our bedroom. This was both to keep my other cats from catching his cold, and to protect his tiny self from my much larger, playful cats. He was so weak at first that I didn't want to release him with the big guys yet. By this point, I didn't know what I'd do if he didn't make it. He had already stolen our hearts! (yes, even my husband's lol). 


Week two (Arthur was now four weeks old) Arthur learned how to use the litter box! Now his eye infection was gone without a trace, and his sneezing had cleared up. He was energetic (as all kittens should be :) ) and we knew he was going to make it! Since he was so much stronger, I released him to play with his bigger "siblings." 

Sherlock giving Arthur a bath. 
At first, they didn't quite know what to think, but it didn't take long for him to become one of the family. Now they romp and play like he's always been here. Arthur fits in great with the others, and he definitely acts like the king of the castle (or apartment). He is a sweet, cuddly boy, and I can't imagine life without him. 

Arthur is a great reading buddy! :)
There are so many animals that need a loving home. If you are looking for a pet, please give adoption a chance. Merlin was a pound rescue, and Arthur was found abandoned in a parking lot. They are both wonderful additions to our family. Now is a great time to adopt, as kitten season is in full swing! 

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Baskets make wonderful beds. 

If anyone has questions regarding adopting and caring for a kitten, particularly newborns, feel free to leave a comment on this post. 

Stay tuned for more updates on Arthur and our other fur babies! 

Comfy and cozy in his blanket! 

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Adventure Time: Biltmore Estate

 The travel bug has struck again! Recently, my cousin and I headed up to the lovely Asheville, North Carolina to visit the Biltmore Estate. It was my first visit to Biltmore and it was well worth it! Right from the beginning, we were blown away! I felt like I had taken a trip back in time. 

This gorgeous mansion is surrounded by gardens and hiking trails. To begin our day, we started with the house tour (it was a bit chilly that morning). We were fortunate to time our visit with the special exhibit that displayed costumes from Titanic. (Yes, they were the costumes. I just had to ask if Kate Winslet really wore THAT dress.)

Spring 2018- Titanic Exhibit at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. 

Titanic Costumes. 

This elegant house was filled with surprise after surprise. I can't wait to go back!

Now, let's talk about  THE LIBRARY! I could have happily spent the rest of my life in that beautiful library. It was like being in the library in the castle from Beauty and the Beast. It even had a spiral staircase! My cousin is a fellow bookworm, so we were absolutely in heaven! 
There are over 10,000 volumes in the library. The oldest volume was printed in the 1600's and is written in Italian. Mr. Vanderbuilt had all the books custom-bound so they would match. A booklover's dream indeed!  

The Library at Biltmore

The Library at Biltmore

After we toured the house, we drove to Antler Hill and had a wonderful lunch at Cedric's Tavern. I adore British-style pubs, and this one was just perfect! Antler Hill also had a winery (which we toured) and even more shops! My favorite was the Farm, where we got to watch a blacksmith make horseshoes and a woodworker make Christmas ornaments with a lathe. They also had a great play area for those with kids. 

We could easily have spent an entire day just in Antler Hill, between the shops, museum, and outdoor activities. 

Shepherds Pie at Cedric's Tavern

Our last stop was heading back to the gardens. Since it was a little chilly earlier that morning, we put the outdoorsy part of our trip off until last. The gardens are endless! After visiting the Italian Garden and the Tulip Garden, we were on our way to the Conservatory when we noticed that the other guests were leaving. We had accidentally stayed forty-five minutes after closing!!! 

The Conservatory at Biltmore

Tulip Garden

I had absolutely no idea that Biltmore offered so much to do! My only regret is that we could not have stayed longer. We could easily have spent two or three entire days there. If you are looking for a relaxing getaway, plan a trip to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC! 

Thank Y'all for reading. Be sure to enter your email address to receive all the latest updates from Pines and Peaches! 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Motivation- July 16th

Focus on the present and all the wonderful things it holds! Hope you all have a great week! 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

My Year with Agatha: Miss Marple series

This week, I started reading the Miss Marple series by Agatha Christie. This was not Agatha Christie's first series, she started with Poirot, but I had bought a book bundle of all the Miss Marple series. :) 

Note: I am NOT going to post spoilers, in case anyone wants to add these to their to-read lists. I hate spoilers!!! 

The first book is Murder at the Vicarage. Miss Marple is an inquisitive and intelligent lady living in the quiet little town of St. Mary Mead. When a local man was killed at the Vicar's home, the entire town is all abuzz with speculation. Miss Marple is an amateur sleuth who solves the mystery by putting together the pieces of the puzzle! The second book is The Body in the Library. Colonel Bantry, also of St. Mary Mead, discovers the body of an unknown woman in his house.  

Miss Marple is an amusing character in that she approaches life with such a cynical view, suspecting the absolute worst in everyone. She examines the cases and finds similarities to other, less murderous incidents, (ex. hiding the body in the library was like the time little Tommy hid a frog in the clock), and connects the dots to find a solution. She is an entertaining character, and I love the fact that Dame Christie used an older lady as her main character in this series.

I had read both of these before, but out of order and a long time ago. Re-reading them was great! 

Next Up: The Moving Finger

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Monday, July 09, 2018

Friday, July 06, 2018

My Year With Agatha: An Autobiography

Good Afternoon!

This week I have been reading An Autobiography by Agatha Christie. I thought the best way to start my journey with Agatha Christie would be to learn more about the Queen of Mystery in her own words. This book was amazing. What struck me the most was how optimistic she was! For someone who wrote so much about murder and poison (lol), she had an undeniably positive outlook on the world.

I love this quote in particular:
To be part of something one doesn't in the least understand is, I think, one of the most intriguing things about life. - Agatha Christie

Instead of letting the many uncertainties of life bring her down, she stayed optimistic about life and what her future held. She lived through both World Wars, even served as a nurse, and went through a divorce during a time when such a thing was considered dreadfully scandalous. Despite all the adversity she faced, Agatha Christie went on to become one of the best-known and loved authors of all time. 

This was a great starting place for my Agatha Christie reading journey. Learning about where she was (wow, she traveled extensively!) and what she was going through while writing will give me a better insight into her stories. 

There are so many great quotes in this book alone, I could devote an entire post to them! Maybe I will at some point this year. :) 
That is one of the great secrets of existence, enjoying the gift of life that has been given to you. - Agatha Christie

If you want to read An Autobiography by Agatha Christie (and I really can't recommend it highly enough), get your copy here:

This will be going on my favorites shelf!!! 

Next up, I'm going to tackle the Miss Marple series. These are not the first series she wrote, but I have the complete series (yay for book bundles!) so I will read those while I collect the Poirot series. The first book is The Murder in the Vicarage, which you can get here: 

Happy reading! Thank Y'all for checking out my blog! Be sure to enter your email address for all the latest adventures of Pines and Peaches! 

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means a small portion of the proceeds from any item purchased via the links will be used to support Pines and Peaches. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Products I Love- GNC Pets Mega Ultra Hairball Formula

Good Afternoon All,

As a proud Cat-Mom of four beautiful kitties, we are always battling the hairballs (ugh). I adore my fur babies, but it is sometimes... less than pleasant to wake up and find a hairball hacked all over the carpet (Yikes!). Not to mention, the little guys sound so miserable when they are coughing one up. 

So I started trying different things to help alleviate this problem for my babies (and my carpet). I tried various "hairball control" foods, but they made little if any difference. Then, my mom suggested I try this stuff: 

GNC Pets Ultra Mega Hairball Formula has made the WORLD of difference. It really helps break down the hairball, making them less of a problem (and less of a mess). It has a toothpaste-like texture and tastes like a treat (it comes in chicken and salmon, I included a link for each). I smear a little on my cat's paw, and they will lick it right off. Just one dose and I can tell my babies are not struggling with their hairballs as much. Great product!!! I hope it helps your fur babies as much as it has mine! 

Thank y'all for reading! Be sure to enter your email address to get all the latest updates from Pines and Peaches! :)

(note: this post contains affiliate links)

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Merlin Update

My grumpy boy is healthy, but not happy! We had to go to the V-E-T for a check-up. He was not pleased with his cat-mom! 
The good news is everything checked out ok, and he weighs a lucky thirteen pounds! :) 

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Monday Motivation- July 2nd

Researchers say it takes 21 days to form a habit! Let's make living our best life our new habit! 

Have a great week!

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Sunday, July 01, 2018

My Year With Agatha: Part I

Good Afternoon Everyone!

We are only half-way through and this year has been interesting, to say the least! This year has seen events that are sad, wonderful or a bittersweet combination of the two.

In May, I turned thirty! What a terrifying checkpoint (as everyone has warned me). That being said, I am making new resolutions to accomplish the things I thought I would have done long, long before now. Funny how time slips away unnoticed. 

My first resolution is to read all of Agatha Christie's books in one year. I've read some of her stories, hit or miss, but always meant to really crack down and read every single one. Read the series in order, read ALL the short stories, and even read her non-fiction works.

Therefore, I am announcing a new project, My Year with Agatha. My goal is to post once a week (on Fridays or over the weekend) and talk about which books I'm reading and what I took away from them.

After all, as an aspiring writer, who better to study than someone who has sold a record number of books (outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare)? In addition, I found out that Christie's first book was published when she was thirty, so there's still hope for me yet! 

Each week, I will post next week's reading assignment, in case any of my readers would like to take this journey with me. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions!

To begin this journey, I am going to read An Autobiography. What better way to start a year with Agatha Christie than to learn about the writer in her own words? 

Let's get reading! Thank you for checking out my blog. Be sure to enter your email address to get all the latest updates from Pines and Peaches!