Friday, August 31, 2012

Puppy love : Potty training

I'm sorry if you did a search on google for a beginner's guide to puppy training and found this page.

This is nowhere near a guide to training your puppy, but our grueling experience in the very first week of getting our little Scuffy Nuts. If you're here because you wanted to learn how to train your dog, I sincerely hope you get something out of reading this. On the other hand, if you are an experienced puppy handler, please do not shake your head and close this page after reading. I would appreciate lots of guidance and constructive comments! I'm also still learning! :p


When we brought Scuffy home, he was only eight weeks old. Our very first mistake was to treat him like an adult doggy, since we were so used to Boops and Daisy (my in-laws' dogs). They were pretty trained when we lived with J's parents. We forgot Scuffy needed to learn everything Boops and Daisy already knew.

So Lesson #1. Potty training.


How to get Scuffy to understand not to do his #1 and #2 in the house?

We still don't have 100% success. However, it has only been the first week. So even though it has been frustrating, we are not discouraged.

Every time he pees and poops in the house, we make him sniff at his mess, smack his bottom and take him outside. We bought a clicker and use it when he successfully does his #1 & #2 outside, and heap lots of praises at the same time. Just be careful not to overuse the clicker, it loses its meaning if the clicks are used randomly and not associated with good behavior.

I take him outside first thing when I wake up in the morning, and also do it just before we go to bed. During the day, I take him out every 2 hours. I read somewhere that the puppy's age in months is approximately the number of hours it can hold its pee. 8 weeks = 2 months = 2 hours.

We try to keep his eating and drinking to a strict routine so we can anticipate when he needs to go potty. We feed him three times a day, but leave the water bowl out for him to drink whenever he needs to.

But i watch him like a hawk. Especially when he drinks more than usual. Now, I can usually tell when he walks in funny way, like he needs to go. Scuffy is also getting the idea. He whines when he needs to go and then I let him out. So his potty training is coming along, slowly but surely! Woo-hoo!

Phew! And this has just only been one part of living with Scuffy!! There's so much more to tell, and even more to learn!

So sit tight and stay tuned for more Adventures of Scuffy Nuts Russell III!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Latest Addition to the Russell family

Remember this?

Well, in short, my friend Gwen's dog had given birth to 3 little puppies. I went over to visit and fell in love with them, only to find out they were all spoken for...

A week later, Gwen sent a text to say that my favorite puppy has not been picked up! She asked if I wanted to have him. Hell yea! Whoever didn't pick him up is missing out! This has gotta be the cutest thing alive!

Well, so we went and got the puppy. We've been potty training him (not easy), teaching him to sit (relatively easy) and leaving him in his crate when we're not home (VERY TOUGH!) This little guy has got the saddest whine ever.

To make things worse, we found fleas on him. So we gotta take him to the vet's tomorrow for his first round of shots and to de-flea him. But he has been such a good doggie. He let us give him a bath, and sat so still when we flea-combed him.

Did i mention that his name is Scuffy Nuts Russell III? J had 2 male dogs when he was young. Both were named Scuffy Nuts and Scuffy Nuts Jr. So naturally, this little pup is the third.

As for his Chinese name, we call him Xiao Bao Zi 小包子。He is 1/2 miniature schnauzer, 1/2 boston terrier, also known as a mini boz. We felt 'Boz' sounded very much like 'Bao Zi' in Chinese, which means "Bun", and reminded us of our time in China. So he was thus named.

Here are some pictures we took the first night we brought him home.
Warning: the following pictures may make you melt like butter.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Favorite Things: Top 10 Singaporean Comfort Food

It's 2 weeks before I fly home. I've been making a list of foods to eat when I get there. Singapore is a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures, so the variety of cuisines is readily available in all corners of our little island country.

Here is my Top 10 list with just a teaser of what each food is about. Hopefully, I'll remember to document them when I'm in Singapore so I can share them with you when I return. Right now, I just want to day dream and talk about Singaporean food all day!!

1. Laksa

A spicy coconut-based curry soup served with thick rice noodles, shrimp, and cockles. I load it up with at least two tablespoonfuls of spicy sambal belachan chilli paste. It's legit.

2. Hainanese Chicken Rice

Boiled white chicken, served with rice flavored with chicken stock and garlic. The dish is served alongside 3 different dips : chilli, ginger, and dark soy sauce.

3. Carrot cake

Not to be mistaken for the dessert. This fried "carrot cake" is a misnomer - there is no carrot in the local carrot cake. Made from stir-fried radish (daikon) cubes and more affectionately known as "chai tow kueh"

4. Bakut Teh

Easily one of my favorites. I'm a sucker for herbal soups. Bakut Teh is pork ribs stewed in a delicious herbal concoction. Served with rice and an equally to-die for dip of dark soy sauce and super-spicy chilli peppers, known as chilli padi.

5. Durian

I don't know if this picture is the best portrayal of durians, but durian is to fruits what Elvis is to Rock'n'Roll. 'Nuff said.

6. Chueh Kueh

My guilty simple pleasure. This is steamed rice cake topped with diced fried radish. I have an unhealthy obsession with radish as you may have come to realize.

7. Egg Tart

Finally! A pastry! An egg custard cradled in a melt-in-your-mouth flaky outer crust.

8. Bak Kwa

Similar to jerky, but ten times juicier and more fragrant. Also known as barbecued pork.

9. Ya Kun Breakfast Set

Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a chain of cafes that serves up simple local fare. I always get a set of toast with a butter-and-sugar spread, black coffee and soft boiled eggs.

10. XO Fish Head Noodles

No "XO" is not your "xoxo". It refers to XO Brandy. Any broth with a happy splash of brandy automatically wins hands down. The fish head won't really bother you much after.


Photo credits: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Favorite Things : Photo Booth Frenzy

:: 1 :: 2 ::

:: 3 ::

breakfast club
:: 4 ::

These photo booths are popping up all over the place, you just can't go somewhere without seeing one! I especially love the ones with props. The laughs and possibilities are endless!!

:: 1 & 2 :: At D's daughter's graduation party!
:: 3 :: Me and Jess at a wedding fair
:: 4 :: Celebrating my 30th @ the Breakfast Club!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Birthday Celebrations

Thank you all for your birthday wishes! I had a long weekend of celebrations and fun!

First up, as I walked into my office first thing in the morning.

Balloons, confetti and a cup of my favorite Dunkin' Donuts coffee to greet me!


Then I got some flowers




Somebody must have sent out a memo, because everybody gave me coordinated colored gifts!


The J-man made a scrumptious meal of Spaghetti Vongole in white wine.

I had such a wonderful mid-week birthday!

Friday, August 10, 2012

World Elephant Day August 12!

Big 5 - Elephant

Friends, August 12 is World Elephant Day!

If you have even a tiny speck of affection for these gentle pachyderms, please help do one of following:

1. Spread the word about World Elephant Day, to increase awareness. A little action goes a long way. Someone might give a little donation, a teacher might introduce it into his / her class some time next week. You never know. Share the link on your Facebook status, tweet about it. Share it on your blog. Just start talking!

2. Don't buy souvenirs made of endangered animal parts. World Elephant Day is by extension bringing awareness and attention to illegal wildlife trade. Why anyone would want an antelope horn or tiger paw eludes me. Go to WWF to find something you can be passionate about. It don't have to be elephants!

3. Buy green products. Like this Elephant Poo Paper!

4. Support the African Elephant Programme. For most of us, the gift of money is the simplest way of showing your support.

5. Here is one more way to help! To show my support, 50% of my sales on Etsy in the month of August will go towards the African Elephant Programme. If you have been thinking about getting something from my Etsy shop, or want a customized item, here is one more reason to buy now!

Disclaimer: I do not look to profit from option #5! I'm just showing my support through this, it's not a shameless plug! :p

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Uh-oh. It's the Big 3-0

It's a big year. Goodbye twenty-something, here comes the big THREE-OH.

I'd like to think my birthday begins at dawn on the other side of the world and ends when night descends on this hemisphere this time tomorrow. So technically I get 36 birthday hours.

No bells and whistles.

Just some mid-week quiet time with the J-man.

And for a birthday treat, I get to go to Jason Mraz's concert at the end of August. I've been listening to his newest album Love Is A Four Letter Word

Does anyone else think that the cover of this album is super clever? I don't know if it's just the pre-school teacher in me that marvels at our mind's ability to recognize symbols and translate them into meaningful associations. Just four simple shapes, what do you see?

I'm addicted to this one song, in the Deluxe version of the Love album - I Never Knew You

and here I will share it with you. I CANNOT wait for his concert. I am completely enamoured by this man, his voice, his guitar, his music...

"... Why do we forget things… especially our ex-es or past relationships… why do we forget what they were about and why we left…

... What is it about our humanness… we remember, we forget, I think it's just for the opportunity of enlightenment, the opportunity to awaken again and again and again, 'cause it feels good … to remember our greatness, you know. We wouldn’t be so bright if there wasn’t a shadow every once in awhile…

... This song is about forgetting and remembering... and I realize it’s so that we can achieve enlightenment but then, alas we still have to do our f***in laundry..."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Busy as a bee!

So the J-man is home, but he's been so jet-lagged and anti-social because of it, i had to busy myself with lots of other things.

I accompanied my friend to pick up her wedding dress from a store two hours away from Charlotte. Not gonna post any spoiler pics so here is Jess right outside the huge Burlington Bridal Mart to pick up her beautifully beaded gown. She was one lil' excited bunny! And the dress was so gorgeous!!!!


Also visited Gwen whose dog just had 3 little puppies. The puppies are boston terrier and miniature schnauzer mix -- mini boz(es?) Too cute!! I have such a soft spot for boston terriers and their black and white adorableness!! This is my favorite. He slept in my arms the whole time I was there. They are all spoken for so I was a little sad. But I don't think we need another pet in the house...


And then I helped my friend Shey with her little boy's baptism party today. It was a beautiful breezy day and everything went smoothly!


Phew! It's been a whirlwind week! Hope you all had a beautiful weekend, and a good week ahead!

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