Friday, August 29, 2014

Freebie Friday!

Welcome to another edition of Freebie Friday, where I tell you what free samples and full sized products I received in the mail and how you can get them too. Someone asked me why I do a 'Freebie Friday" each week, so I'll tell you.

A while back I listed all the free samples and wins that I had received that previous year and so many people didn't believe that I could have gotten so many free things. So I decided to prove it by taking a picture every week and sharing the sites that I found the links to the freebies at. So now you too can get great free samples coming to your mailbox each week.

This week I received:

A $5 Amazon gift card from Club Skinny Cow

I haven't been a member of Club Skinny for very long and wanted to show my readers that they really do pay out and it was really easy to get enough points *2500* to get a $5 gift card. So I redeemed my points a few days ago and received an email telling me how to redeem my gift card. So I clicked on the link, put in my info...
And was able to get my Amazon gift card right away. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hamster Cages

Hamster cages come in different sizes, colors, materials and with many different attachments. You may feel overwhelmed when you see how many different types of cages there are to buy. Here is a small list of cages that you can readily find in places like Petsmart, Petco and places online that specialize in cages.

Crittertrail has several cages that are great for the beginner or someone buying a hamster for the first time. The Crittertrail one- is a nice small size just right for Dwarf hamsters. You really don't want to put teddy bear (Syrian) hamsters in this one as they won't have a lot of space to move around. The cages are made of hard plastic and coated wires to make sure your pet has enough ventilation.

This cage uses the bubble tubes to get from one level to the other, making it easier for your pet to move around than having to climb stairs or jump to the next level. These cages also already come with an exercise wheel and water bottle, making it easier to get everything you need all at once. This cage also has what they call a petting zone on the top of the cage that easily opens so you can pet your hamster or give him a little treat.

The Crittertrail X- is basically the same design as the Crittertrail one, but with some fun extras. This cage has a spiral slide, and wheel that sits on the top of the cage. This model also comes with the petting zone, water bottle and bubble tube to reach the petting zone, I like to call the petting zone "The Pet Apartment", as it's upstairs and they tend to sleep up there. This cage is best for dwarf hamsters or smaller hamsters.

The Crittertrail Two- has two levels for double the fun. This cage is good for any size hamster or even gerbils. There is plenty of room for your pet to move around, lots of places to sit and look out at the world around the and comes with a wheel, water bottle and petting zone. Inside are two hard plastic shelves that fit onto the inside of the cage for your hamster to sit on. Bubble tubes make it easy for your pet to get from the bottom of the cage to the petting zone in a snap, you won't believe how fast they can scramble up those tubes. This is ideal for two Dwarf Hamsters, your pets will love this cage.

The Crittertrail Three- is essentially the Crittertrail Two, just bigger. It has all the features of the Crittertrail Two plus it has three comfortable shelves for your pet to enjoy and is taller, adding more room for your pets to climb around on the coated wires, and believe me they will climb on the wires. This is a great cage for Teddy Bear (Syrian) hamsters.

The Habitrail Mini- is great for Dwarf hamsters but shouldn't be used for larger hamsters like teddy bears because they need more room. The wire cage sides and plastic floor fit together to make a great home for your pet. This cage come with a wheel, and water bottle that is neatly hidden inside a plastic mushroom.

Rotastak Tunnel Of Fun- is a two story brightly colored cage that not only is fun for your Dwarf hamster but fun for you to look at. This cage looks more like a toy your children would play with than a hamster cage. It comes with plastic tubes, food bowl, water bottle, removable plugs that allow you to attach more things to the cage if you want and a separate compartment on top of the cage that they call the "Attic Bedroom". This cage is ideal for dwarf hamsters.

Feberplast Abi Hamster Cage- is a large cage ideal for Teddy Bear (Syrian) hamsters. It gives your hamster the space it needs to move around and be comfortable. Complete with four different levels the only draw back to this one is it has ladders that your hamster has to climb in order to get to the next level. To make sure your hamster doesn't get hurt if it falls, make sure to fill the bottom with at least 4 inches of bedding. Your hamster will have a blast climbing up and down the platforms in this cage. There are two doors on the front side of the cage that open easily to give you access to your little pet.

The Crittertrail: My First Home- cages come in three sizes. One story for small hamsters, two stories for all hamsters and gerbils and three stories for all hamsters and your mutant-ly large hamsters. You laugh, I had a hamster a few years ago that wouldn't fit into any of the tubes that were meant for hamsters, he was mutant-ly large but that might be because I live by the Nellis Air Force Test Site and his ancestors probably got irradiated. These cages are ideal for all hamsters and the ease of taking apart for cleaning make them my favorite. They come with a wheel and two bowls. The 2 and 3 story models also come with plastic shelves.

Now when you get home and open the box, be warned you will not find a cage already put together. You will have to assemble these cages yourself. But if I can do it anyone can. They come with instructions and if you have problems there's always the toll free 800 number on the box. If you have a teenager around to help you, you might find you can really use their help. Or at least they will be there to laugh with you when neither of you can figure out how the parts fit together.

I would advise putting the cage together before buying a hamster and bringing him home, that way you enough time to figure out how the cage goes together and how to take it apart to clean it. Make sure you have all the bedding and food before you bring your little friend home. Have fun with your new pet and enjoy playing with them and watching them explore their new surroundings.

Be sure to buy some toys for your new Pets, they like to have little cubby holes to climb into, snuggle up and sleep. I found that the little plastic Television, Bed and Log Cabin House are real winner's with hamsters.

One note to hamster owners or people thinking of getting a hamster. Do not under any circumstances buy a cage that has wire flooring. These are not comfortable for your pet and they can break their feet if they get stuck in between the wires. Avoid these types of cages.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How To Tell If Your Hamster Is Sick

The most common hamster ailments are tumors, wet tail, runny eyes, and broken bones. Most times when your hamster gets ill you will need to take them to the Veterinarian's office and have them looked at. Your Vet can give you antibiotics, medicated baths, schedule surgery to remove tumors and give you advice on how to care for a sick animal. It's best to call local Veterinarian's offices before you bring your hamster home and find one that specializes in small animals, or what they call (Exotics). That way if your hamster does become sick you will already have the telephone number and address of a animal hospital to take him too.

If you are handling your hamster and feel small or large lumps on your hamster, that may be a sign of a cancerous tumor. You should take your hamster to the Veterinarian right away to see if they can remove the tumor. There's no need for your hamster to suffer with a tumor that won't kill it but may make his life harder. If your hamster is old or sick and might not make it through a surgery the Vet will tell you to bring your pet back in when he looks like he's in pain, ie..stops eating, drinking water, playing or has a hard time walking. Your Vet can then put your hamster to sleep humanely.

Wet Tail
This extremely contagious and most times fatal bacteria disease is most prevalent in young hamsters but can occur to any hamster at any time. Unsanitary cages, sudden drastic changes in your hamster's diet, and stress can all bring on wet tail as well. If your hamsters gets wet tail, do not let him around or near any of your other hamsters because it can spread very fast. Clean and disinfect the hamsters cage and wash your hands after handling your hamster. You should not allow the hamster with wet tail to go anywhere other hamster might go, like on the couch where you might bring other hamster later on.

Stress lowers your hamster's immune system and may cause your hamster to get sick. To avoid this do not disturb your hamster during the day while he's sleeping. Hamster's are nocturnal and will be more than happy to come out and play after they wake up. Rudely waking your hamster up in the middle of the day, by blowing on him, shaking him, or just grabbing him will stress him out and may cause him to get sick.

Do not handle your hamster if you are sick with a cold or flu. If you hamster's cage is in the bedroom with you, you should move the cage to another room while you are sick. Hamster's can catch your cold and this may lead to wet tail. You vet can give you medicine to get your hamster healthy again.

Runny Eyes
This usually occurs when food has gotten stuck inside the pouches. The best thing to do is to take the hamster to the veterinarian and have them flush the hamster's pouches out with warm water. You could do this at home but trying to hold a hamster and stick an eye dropper inside the mouth and pouch of a squirming hamster may prove to be harder than you think.

Broken Bones
Broken bones are mainly caused by the hamster being dropped while you're holding them. To make sure this doesn't occur make sure you are holding your hamster over something soft, like a couch or chair and the height they would drop if they accidentally jump from your hands isn't more than a couple of inches. Close supervision is a requirement when young children are handling a hamster. They are fragile small creatures and will get hurt easily. If a broken bone does happen you should take your hamster immediately to the Vet's office. Sometimes the Vet can amputate the broken limb and your pet will get along just fine with three legs. If the fracture occurs someplace like in the back though, you may need to have your hamster put to sleep.

Steps you can take to keep your hamster healthy

Clean your hamster's cage at least once a week. Cleaning more may be necessary if the bedding gets wet or your hamster has diarrhea. Give your hamster small amount of fresh greens at least three times a week. Make sure you remove any uneaten fresh foods from your hamster's cage before it spoils. Always make sure the water is clean and the easily accessible. Feed your hamster a hamster food that is well balanced and meets your hamsters daily requirements. Your hamster will snack throughout the day so keeping the food bowl filled is essential.

There are treats you can give your hamster that they will love, but remember everything in moderation. Some treats are, fresh broccoli, small dog biscuits, boiled eggs, corn on the cob, apples, carrots, dry cereals, cheese, and lettuce. Giving your hamster small bits of these treats while you play with him will show him you can be trusted.

I've read several times that you should not feed your hamster meat as it may encourage them to eat their young, but if you're not breeding your hamster I see nothing wrong with little bits of meat now and again. Keep your hamster's cage in a dimly lit, draft free, quiet area of the home. Make sure your hamster's cage is big enough for your hamster to run around and have an exercise wheel as well as some other toys and a place to make a bed.

The bedding you use is very important because some things may make your hamster sick. Avoid using newspapers as the ink is harmful to your hamster. Do not use Cedar or Pine bedding as they cause skin irritations and some hamsters may get lung infections. My personal favorite is Carefresh pet bedding. I haven't seen any adverse side effects from using this bedding.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How To Make An Easter Wreath

Want to decorate your home with Easter crafts but don't want to pay the high prices the stores are charging? Well why not make them yourself, there are several Easter crafts that are easy to make and will cheer up your home.

An Easter Wreath

There are many different wreath's you can make and after you've made a few it'll be easier to make different kinds. Grapevine wreath's are the easiest in my opinion to work with and that's what I used for this Easter wreath.

What you will need:

14 inch Grapevine wreath
6 large flowers such as Lillies, wildflowers, Calla Lillies or Orchids
7 Dark blue floral bushes with stems
7 Purple floral bushes with stems
3 -10 inch twigs
20 Eucalyptus stems
15 Purple Daisy's
15 Pink Daisy's
6 Iris bushes with stems
Spanish Moss
Small birds nest
2 Small Plastic Easter eggs
2 Small colorful birds
Hot Glue gun and sticks

Begin by tearing off hand fulls of Moss and hot gluing it to the Grapevine wreath, you don't need to cover the entire thing, some bare spots are fine.Start with the outside top of your wreath and hot glue the Eucalyptus stems to the wreath, making the stems fit inside the wreath and poke out. Make sure all the decorations point in the same direction as you go around the wreath.

Now you can start adding the smaller flowers where you like around the wreath, space them around the wreath. Make the wreath look the way you want. After the smaller flowers are used up insert the large flowers, spacing them evenly apart on the front of the wreath.

Fill in any empty spaces with more moss and flowers.

Next hot glue the birds nest to the bottom inside of your wreath and hot glue the small birds and eggs into the nest.

Last insert the twigs into the center of the wreath in a diagonal manner.
Hang on your wall.

Straw Easter Wreath

You will need:

12 inch Straw wreath
8 Pink Daisy's
8 Purple Daisy's
6 Eucalyptus stems
2 Wild flower bushes
10 inch length of thin Purple ribbon
Craft Pins
Stuffed Rabbit.

Straw Wreath's are wrapped in plastic and you need to remove this plastic before you begin. Cut the Eucalyptus stems to about 5 inches long and hot glue three pointing up and three pointing down on the bottom left side of the wreath.

Hot glue the Wild flowers to the Eucalyptus stems and on the wreath just around the stems. Hot glue the Daisy's to fill in any empty spots and to make it look the way you want. All the decorations should be on the bottom left hand side of the wreath. Wrap the ribbon loosely around the wreath and tie off in the back where you can't see the knot.

Secure small stuffed rabbit to the inside center of the wreath with the craft pins.

The more wreaths you make the easier it becomes. But if you need inspiration, you can always look online for pictures of wreaths and just copy the ones you like.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Junk Mail

This flyer was in the junk mail I received in my mail box the other day. A fast food restaurant is selling a Ramen Burger. Yes, you read that right and this is totally for real. They use ramen noodles instead of buns. Nope, not gonna be eating there. lol 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hamsters As Pets

*My hamster, Cinnamon*

Hamsters make great pets for the right people. I don't think families with children under the age of 11 should let their children take responsibility for the little creatures though. They are small and fragile and will be easily hurt if a small toddler squeezes the hamster too tightly, so I would recommend not getting one until children are a little older and can play with their hamsters nicely.

Currently there are a lot of hamsters providing enjoyment and companionship for their owners. Their gentleness, ease of care, cuteness and amusing behavior make them very good pets. Hamsters like to cuddle, eat out of your hands, sit by you, and play. They like to play with whatever is within their reach, grasping with their little claws and hind feet as well. They will climb upside down, jump off the toys in their cages and climb all over you. The love to explore so if you sit on the couch and let them run around they will be quite happy to smell every inch of the couch and you as they explore their surroundings.

Watching hamsters as they eat can be quite amusing as well. Especially for the first time observer or small child seeing their hamster stuff mounds of food into their pouches and then hide it in their cages for later. It is wise not to disturb the hamsters food pile, it makes them feel comfortable and safe to have it.

But as easily as they might seem to like to come out, they do not like their cages messed with. Their food pile should be left alone until it's time to clean their cages. Which should be done weekly. It's better to train your hamster to walk out of their cage on their own then it is to reach inside their cage and take them out. I've found that your less likely to get bitten if you don't invade their space. Most hamsters won't bite you, but some will.

Hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means they do most of their sleeping during the day and most of their playing at night. If you provide your hamster with an exercise wheel and other toys they will be quite happy to be left alone at night when you are asleep. You can however play with your hamster during the day if you wake it gently and give it time to wake up. They will be more than happy to come out and play.

Hamsters unlike other animals never need a bath. They groom themselves all the time. Most of the time when they wake up and start their nights, you will find them inside their beds grooming themselves for a while before they are ready to come out and play. Most times my hamsters will groom themselves for an hour, come get something to eat, use their toilet corner and get some water from their water bottle.

Their are different types of hamsters, a few are the Teddy Bear hamster or Syrian, The Chinese Dwarf hamster, Roborovski hamster are just a few.

I've found that the Teddy Bear hamsters are the best for pets. But they need to be kept by themselves. The are solitary animals and will fight if you put two or more together. Hamsters do make great pets for people living in apartments and have minimal room for a bigger animal. They don't require a lot of space.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ten Games To Play With Your Pet Rat

*My first rat, Romi*

If you have a pet Rat then you already know how much fun they can be and how much attention they need. I have had several rat's and have found quite a few games you can play with them. Things to keep in mind though, if at anytime your rat seems to not like a game your playing with them, Stop!

You want to have a trusting relationship with your rat and if you do things she doesn't like she may not trust you enough next time you want to play a new game. Keep in mind these are games my rat liked to play, your rat may not like the same games mine did so not all of these may work for you.

1. Some rats love to swim and you can give them a safe place to do this. Fill your tub with about five inches of warm water. You want to make sure the water is warm, not too hot and not too cold. Your rat will swim around in the water and chase your hand in the water if you stick it in there with her. You can put in a bird ladder so they can get out if they want to.

2. Play a game of peek a boo. Just like with little kids, rats will chase you around the corner of the couch and then get excited and run the other way only to run right back when you poke your head up on the side or back of the couch.

3. My rat loved a game I call tickle my belly. What you do is hold your rat in your hand and turn them upside down and put them on the couch or bed and tickle their belly for a second. Then let them go and watch as they come back for you to do it again and again.

4. Did you know you can take your rat for a walk just like taking a dog for a walk? Buy a small animal harness at Petsmart or Petco. They are inexpensive and you'll get a lot of fun out of them. You have to let your rat get used to the harness before trying to put it on her. Put the harness down next to your rat and let her play with it, then slowly try putting part of it over her head and when you can do this you might try holding your rat and slipping the harness on her. Once she's able to go outside and walk around she'll love to get her harness on. This may take some time and patience, don't squeeze your rat while trying to put the harness on her as you may hurt her. Only take them outside when the weather is cooler, you don't want them to burn their feet on the sidewalk.

5. A pet rat loves to come out and be nosy, it's their favorite thing to do. What better way to see what's going on than to be on your shoulder as you walk outside to your mailbox or as you walk around your house. Make sure if you take your rat outdoors that it's not too hot or too cold.

6. A toilet paper tube can be a lot of fun for a rat if you hide a food treat inside it. Take some cut vegetables and put them in the middle of the cardboard tube, then fold the ends inward. Your rat will tear the tube apart to get at the treat and she will have fun doing it.

7. Get a long piece of rope and tie a knot in one end and get your rats attention and have her chase it on the floor. Your rat will grab it, flip upside down trying to hold on to it and play tug of war with you.

8. A game I loved to play was what I called Grab and Gather. I would take about ten tissues and lay them all over the couch, then put my rat on the couch and watch her go and get each piece and bring it to the corner of the couch. I would spread them out again and she would gather them all up again.

9. An exercise wheel is a must have for the rat owner, but you must make sure you don't get a metal wire wheel, instead get a solid plastic wheel or a solid wood wheel. Be aware if you get the wooden wheel your rat may chew it up, rats need wooden toys in their cage to gnaw on in order to keep their teeth at manageable lengths. If you make the mistake and get a wire wheel your rat's tail may get stuck between the wires and hurt. They may also damage their feet on the wire wheel when their feet get stuck between the wires. You don't have to keep the wheel in the cage all the time, take the wheel out and put it on the floor if you let your rat run around and watch her run in the wheel and then dash around the floor. Sit with your rat on the floor and she'll climb all over you then run in her wheel some more.

10. Rats need a lot of attention and playtime every single day. I found the best way to do this is to let them run around on the floor in a room you can 'rat proof'. Start off by making sure there are no wires, cables or anything hanging from a higher shelf that your rat could climb onto or bite into and shock herself. Make sure all exits are sealed, you can do this by tearing apart the sides of large cardboard boxes and places them where your rat might try to get out of the room. Tape them in place. Now you can put down the toys, wheel, treat filled toilet paper tubes, and large books, phone books placed like steps for your rat to run up and down on work really well. She will have fun and you will have fun sitting on the floor with her. If you can't rat proof an entire room you can give them free time on the couch or bed with you.

Have fun with your new friend and she'll reward you with little ratty kisses.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Freebie Friday!

Welcome to another edition of Freebie Friday, where I tell you what free samples and full sized products I received in the mail and how you can get them too. Someone asked me why I do a 'Freebie Friday" each week, so I'll tell you.

A while back I listed all the free samples and wins that I had received that previous year and so many people didn't believe that I could have gotten so many free things. So I decided to prove it by taking a picture every week and sharing the sites that I found the links to the freebies at. So now you too can get great free samples coming to your mailbox each week.

  You can find links to samples like these at Hey It's Free and Freebie Shark.

This week I received all of this from Costco.
4 newborn diapers
2 packs of baby wipes
Baby shampoo
Baby Formula
and a $5 check to spend on Similac formula at Costco.

My next door neighbor just had a baby so she was very happy to get all of these freebies.

Did you receive anything free this week?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What To Do If You Accidentally Buy A Pregnant Hamster From A Petstore

Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? Why would a reputable pet store sell you a pregnant hamster and not tell you? Well maybe the pet store wasn't a good one. I had one such adventure a few years ago when I walked into a pet store located in my local mall and decided to buy a Chinese Dwarf hamster.

She was sitting there against the front of the glass cage just looking at me with her little black eyes, how could I resist? I also bought everything I needed to go along with a new pet, the bedding, wheel, food and hamster toys.

Little did I know that this store was one of the bad ones for selling pregnant and/or sick hamsters and other animals. I soon found out this store had been shut down after I brought my hamster home and few days later heard little squeaking noises coming from her cage. Sure enough there were little pink baby hamsters laying beside the hamster I had just bought. I went back to the pet store, not to give back the hamster but to ask them why they sold me a pregnant hamster and found they had been shut down.

The books I read said to feed the mother scrambled egg and milk soaked bread in addition to her normal seeds. It also said to sprinkle Wheat germ next to the opening where the babies were and they would eat that very easily. Also provide bits of cooked chicken and cheese to give the mother hamster the nutritional boost she needs. Make sure the water bottle is down low enough so the babies can get at it when they start drinking from it.

Also don't disturb the mother or babies too much for the first few days because the mother might eat her young if she feels threatened. That means don't clean the cage for at least two weeks, but you can spot clean wet spots if necessary. The mother hamster may act more aggressive at this time until the babies are weaned, don't be discouraged by this.

Hamsters can have up to eighteen babies at once, but mine was a Dwarf hamster so I figured there was no way there were that many in the little house with her. Later on I was able to count them as they started crawling about and she had five babies.

When their eyes are open and they are crawling around you can then handle the babies, this will happen when they are about 2 weeks old. You can then remove all the hamsters from the cage, place them in a box with some of the old bedding and clean the cage. It's best to keep a handful of old bedding and place it in the cleaned cage so they come back to a cleaned cage that has some familiar smells. It will be less stressful for the family. The babies will be weaned by three weeks and it's best to separate them by sex at this time so you don't end up with more babies.

I decided to keep all the hamsters, they were too cute to give away. I ended up having to buy another cage though, there were two female babies and three male babies. For some reason the females didn't get along and kept fighting. They were drawing blood when they fought so I thought it best to separate them and I gave them each their own cage. The mother had her own cage because she didn't like being around the babies after they were weaned, she would bite them if they came close to her and she kept running away from them. She would climb in the top bubble and make her bed and sleep alone. After the females were separated all was better.

If you have Syrian hamsters you will want to give each one it's own cage as they are not social animals and will fight terribly. Dwarf hamsters are social animals and can stay together as long as you have females in one cage and males in another.

Sometimes you have to plan for unforeseen things to happen when you have hamsters. Most times though the unexpected can be good.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Product Warning Labels

Product Warning labels which are meant to protect you from dangers are being put on products after people try things and they get hurt. These people then sue the company for not having a warning label telling them they shouldn't have done the stupid thing they did in the first place.

That's why manufacturers have to be liberal with their warning labels now a days because they are afraid of getting sued. Some warnings on labels seem so obvious to most of us and we laugh at them as we read them, but the sad fact is the warnings are there because someone, somewhere did it and now we have to be warned not to do it again.

Take these warnings for instance:

"For external use only!" --which was on a curling iron.

"This product not intended for use as a dental drill."-- Which was on a rotary tool.

"Do not eat toner."-- Which was on a toner cartridge for laser printers.

"Do not use orally"--Which was found on a toilet cleaning brush.

"Do not use for drying pets."--Which was found in the manual for a microwave oven.

"Beware! To touch these wires is instant death. Anyone found doing so will be prosecuted." --Which was
found on a sign at a railroad station.

"Do not orally after using rectally."--Which is in the instructions for an electric thermometer.

Now is it just me or do these seem obvious? But Americans are too eager to sue when something goes wrong so Manufacturers put these warning labels on products to save themselves from viscous lawsuits from the not so smart among us. Lawsuits brought on by people who have used the product in such a way that even a first grader would know not to do it. These lawsuits are leading to labels so strange that most people laugh at them or ignore the warning labels all together.

Is that what we really want? As the labels get longer and more laughable people are going to get hurt because they aren't going to take the time to read the warning labels. While most of us are thinking, "Duh!" when we read these labels the fact is that they have been deemed necessary because of the actions of some who weren't smart enough to know better.

I guess Americans are the dumbest people on earth or at least it seems that way from the amount of warning labels we have now and will have in the future.

People think these warning labels are so laughable that there was even a Wacky Warning Label Contest. The first place winner won $500.00 and a copy of "The Death of Common Sense," By Phillip K. Howard. His winning entry was a label on the toilet brush.

Judges need to be tougher on these frivolous lawsuits so our warning labels don't get longer than they already are.