Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the Year Miscellany

Woo, everypup and everycat, it's me - Dave.  Well, here we are - the last day in 2008.  Stormy said some of you like Huffle and Charlie and Opy are already in 2009, but I think she might just be trying to pull the Sibe fluff over my eyes.  She also said I should tie up some loose ends with this blog post, so that's what I'll do.  Not that I have to do what she says... but I will. 

Santa brought us some new real dinosaur bones.  Here's Zim from this morning, enjoying the neon green one:

Zim and one of our new real dinosaur bones

He heard that Mom was emailing with his girlfriend Sitka's mom and was going to send a picture, so he stopped working the dinosaur bone and started working the camera.

This one's for you, Sitka!

Can that guy strike a pose, or what?  Do you like how his right front arm is resting on the bone?  It takes a lot of work to make that look so casual and relaxed!

Here's a nice shot of Storm hanging out in the dining room.

Unlike Zim and me, Storm isn't much into posing for pix.  She did let Mom take this one of us together, though.  It was part of her Christmas present to Mom:
Me and Storm

Mom thinks it's a mighty fine present.  I really like that iPhone thingy she has and wanted a better look at the camera.  

Somehow, the camera went off and Mom got this picture.  Pretty cool, isn't it?  It looks like album cover art.  I'm not sure what to call my album, but if anyone has any ideas, let me know!  Maybe "Dave, Reflections on Kolache" or something.

The last bit of tying up to do ... Mom's been promising me a quilt of my own for a long time now.  She had the center panel from years and years ago - it's tiny denim squares and some "ticking" sewn together.  (Not "ticks", but "tickING".  Woo.)  She finally added some cool blue camo as borders, some high loft batting to make it poofy, and picked another blue camo for the back.  She finished quilting it yesterday!    

I came in to check it out ...

... and the next thing I knew ...

Ammy!

I thought she wanted a PINK camo one!  I have to admit, though, she does look mighty sweet on it.  Mom said we could all share it and that sounded like a great idea to me.  Any guesses of who spent all of last night sleeping on my new quilt?  Zim!  Ha wooooo!

One more photo, just for fun - and since so many of you liked the last one back at this post.  I think you might like this one, too!  

Just kidding!  Umm... especially if Santa is doing any recon work for next year.  Woo.

Celebrate safely tonight! 
Luv,
Dave

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Golf in December

Hi everypuppy and everycat!  It's me - Amber.  As some of you know, our dad really enjoys golf - playing the sport, enjoying the fresh air, and taking in the nice scenery.  As Stormy mentioned yesterday, our weather is so horribly warm right now, that Dad went out and hit the links!  

He went to the course you can see from our house; if you've ever seen the sunset or most of the storm (with a small 's') pictures I've posted, it's out there.  You can get a nice look at it at this link.  We wondered if there would be anyone else out there and were happy when Dad checked in via his iPhone.  He said there were only a few other golfers behind him, but quite a large gallery that followed him on the sixth hole.  He snapped a couple pictures of them and sent them to us.  

Here they are: 

He gathered quite a crowd, didn't he?  These two came in for a closer look:

Find your game!  
You're the man!

And I really think this one liked him a lot:

Nice shot!

Moo?

Mom keeps saying how "cute" the cows are.  I hope she doesn't get any ideas.  I think they'd take up way too much room in the bed!

Dad also said there was a lot of coyote poop out there; oddly enough, he didn't take pictures of that.  Hee hee hee!

Even though I'd really prefer it if we were belly-deep in SNOW, I'm happy my dad was able to get some golf in.  He was able to play at least once during every month of 2008.  Yea, Dad!  I think he might go out again today.  Then I hope it snows like crazy.  :) 

Love,
Ammy

Monday, December 29, 2008

From New Zealand With Love

Tail wags, pups and kits!  It's me - Stormy.  I hope all of you have been enjoying the holidays!  We sure have!  What we love best is time together as a family - especially going on walks!  We've also been touched by the gifts we've received!

We received one such gift just yesterday, from new friends Josh and Jessie in New Zealand!  They are a pair of delightful Shelties; if you haven't met them yet, please stop by and say "ha roo!"  They have presented us with the Proximity Award.  You can read all about it on the post at that link!  We are honored and touched that they would share this award with us!  Thank you, Jess and Josh!

We have it displayed proudly in our sidebar with your names.  You are the kindest Shelties in all of New Zealand!

Speaking of NZ... that's where my VERY special friend Prince lives, along with his sisters and his mom.  He sent me (and the rest of my pack) some lovely gifts at Christmas.  I've thanked him privately (as we have all of our friends who sent packages!), but I wanted to show you this one incredible ornament he sent.

Isn't it gorgeous?  I think he had his mom make it!  I just love it!  Mom let me hang it from the dining room chandelier; that's a really bright room and the light catches all the facets in it and makes everything sparkle!  

Another gift we enjoyed tremendously was the snow.  Sadly, it's all gone again (though we did get about another inch two nights ago!) and Dad is getting ready to go play golf.  Sigh.  Yes, it's that bad out there!  Anyroo, we made the most of it while we could and Mom took lots of pictures.  She's playing with a 30-day free trial of Adobe PhotoShop Elements for Mac or some such thing and came up with this cool rendition of Zim and me:

Great effects, don't you think?  She doesn't know what she's doing yet, but is doing some fun stuff.  I especially like that one.

And of course, the best thing about Christmas, the most important thing, is celebrating the very first Christmas and the Gift God gave us all.  One of our neighbors always puts up a little manger scene in his front yard; it helps remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.  While we were out on our walk just this morning, Mom stopped to admire it ... when we noticed something a little "different" about it.

I'm not sure a Huffle Impostor was part of the original Christmas scene... but this one sure looks sweet all curled up in the manger, doesn't she?  It's probably nice and warm in there for her!

Keep that Christmas spirit going!

Tail wags,
Storms

PS:  Our friend Addie asked about ham yesterday after seeing Zimmie's post.  Even though one little nibble probably wouldn't hurt us, our Mom doesn't give us ham.  As with many things that are high in fat content, it can cause us to horka or to get diarrhea - or can lead to pancreatitis.  You can read more about all kinds of hazards here.  Our dear friend Tia cannot have ham due to a bout with pancreatitis, so out of solidarity with her, we are happy to forgo it.  Regardless of what Zimmie wrote yesterday!  I need to go grab that boy by the neck....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's a Sign Sunday

Ha roo, pups and cool cats, it's me - Zim.  There I was, helping in the kitchen, when I saw something I very rarely see in our house.  Ham!  It made me think about my bestest friend.

Ham!  And it's America's favorite!  Huffs would LOVE this!

Huffle!  So I raced to her blog and found out it's her Gotcha Day - the day she chose her parents and went home with them from the Cat Protection Society.  How cool is that!?!  The ham was a sign of some sort.  And a tasty one at that!  

Surf on over and wish my bestest kit-cat pal a happy Adoption Day!  And have some ham to celebrate.  This is big stuff!

Play bows,
Zim

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It Seems Like It Was Just Yesterday...

Hi everypupppy and everykitty, it's me, Ammy.  Can you tell what's wrong with this picture of me?

Me - with something missing

And this one of Zimmie?

Zimmie - with something missing

I'll give you a hint.   Mom keeps saying today, "It seems like it was just yesterday that it was in the 60s out there..."  Well, it WAS!  Isn't that horrible!?!?  We had such lovely, frigid, snowy weather... then BAM!  It was in the 60s.  And all of our snow is gone.  GONE!  Hrumph.  I can only hope that it went to our friends somewhere - like to Meeshka, who sadly has been void of snow this season.

It did make for a lovely sunset last night:

Dave felt inspired by the colors, as usual.  

Overnight, the weather turned very wild.  VERY stormy (with a small 's'), lots of lightning and rain, and incredible winds.  Over 50 mph.  Then the winds shifted and blew some ice in.  THEN we woke up to this stuff:

That's it on the driveway.  Can you see it?  Tiny, little frozen pellets.

It looks like a styrofoam cup exploded!

The good news is that it's currently in the 20s, windy, and some flurries are flying around.  That's the way it SHOULD be!  Whew.  Crazy Kansas!

I hope whoever got our snow takes good care of it.  We sure enjoyed it while it was at our house!

Love,
Ammy

Friday, December 26, 2008

Kolache

Woo, everypuppy and everycat.  It's me - Dave.  Before I get started with my post, let me wish a happy Boxing Day to those of you who celebrate it.  I will NOT make the same mistake I made last year.  Zimmie.  Woo.

I'm not usually one to sign up for KP Duty - unless it involves beef brisket or chicken cooked with jalapeño peppers.  It's part of being from Texas.  Anywoo, Mom decided to make some kolache this year and I was really interested.  Really, REALLY interested.  She couldn't figure out why - until she was doing a little exploring on the internet.  It would appear they're very popular in parts of Texas.  She could have just asked.  

Mom already shared her version of how to make them with some of our fellow Sibe and Mal friends, so I thought I'd paste it in here so you all can give them a try!  Here's how my mom (and I) make them.  

Kolache
by the Ao4's Mom and Dave

Mom cheats and does the dough in the bread machine.  Why not?!?  Throw everything in, in this order: 
 

1 1/4 cups warm water 

1/2 cup butter, softened and chunked up 

1 egg 

1 egg yolk 

1/3 cup milk powder (the dry stuff in a box)

1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes 

1/4 cup white sugar 

1 teaspoon salt 

3 7/8 cups bread flour 

2 teaspoons active dry yeast 


Hit the dough cycle.  Go on a nice, long walk with the entire family; it's going to take a while.


Once thatʼs done, grab little bits of dough off - really whatever size youʼd like.  Probably about a tablespoon or so.  Itʼs a messy, sticky dough.  Donʼt say you havenʼt been warned.  You can try “flouring” your hands and that helps.  


Stormy was watching this part from the doorway between the living room and kitchen, by the way, while Zim, Ammy and I were on sentry duty in the bedroom.  Apparently when Mom wrote out the recipe she didn't mention the step Storm saw her do at this point - knock the newly purchased bag of bread flour over and have it land open-side down.  Ha woooo.  Stormy said it was a highly amusing step and doesn't know why Mom left it out of her write-up. Even the Dyson got to help with these!


Roll the dough around, forming nice balls and put on cookie sheets you sprayed with non-stick spray.  Space them an inch or more apart. 


Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled.  (Mom sprays her plastic wrap with non-stick spray, too - it helps.) 


Guard the rising kolache carefully.


Me, guarding the kolache as they rise


I was very good at that part.  And it's when I became VERY interested in them!  You should smell that dough!


Once doubled, make an indentation in each ball - Mom uses two fingers on each hand and just pokes a nice well in there.  Fill with the topping of your choice.* 


Cover again and let rise for another 1/2 hour.


Preheat the oven to 375˚F.  Uncover kolaches and bake for 13 - 15 minutes - until lightly browned. 


After you remove them from the oven, you can brush the dough with melted butter - Mom forgot this time and it didn't really seem to matter.


Cool kolache on a wire rack. 


This makes about 4 dozen, depending on how big you make them. 


You can also sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.  


*A note about the filling:  What should that be?  Mom's favorite is to use the filling sheʼd use for a lemon meringue pie.  Or cherry pie.  Can you take a short cut and use canned filling?  Or pudding?  Are you crazy?  Of course!  Or any of the Solo canned things like poppy seed filling or almond filling.  In the past, Mom has done a mix of 4 oz. of cream cheese, blended with 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon or so of milk, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.  

You can also put breakfast type fillings in (sausage, cheese, eggs, hash browns - cooked, if appropriate) and seal it into the dough.  :) 


This is how Mom's (and mine) came out:


Mmmm....!  Who wants to come over for kolache!?!?


Luv,

Dave

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

From all of us here at Ao4 Headquarters, we'd like to ... excuse me a moment, please.  Mom's saying something.

"Zimmie!  Zim?  Zimmie, get your snooter out of the Christmas tree and look at the camera!"

"Hey, Mom, I'm just seeing if there's something under here for me!"
"Really?  Then I guess you don't want the Happy Heart cookies I'm holding?"
"She's got WHAT?!?!  Everysibe get in line!  NOW!  Look sharp, pups!"

As I was saying, from all of us here at Ao4 Headquarters..... we'd like to wish you a very merry Christmas!

"Oooh, she's got the Sweet Potato flavor!"
"Those are the ones Huffle sent us!"
"Even I'll look at the camera for one of those!"
"Merry Christmas woo all!"

And as always, we encourage you to stop and remember the members of our military serving all over the world today, who stand in harm's way so that we can live in peace! We wish them and their families a safe and Merry Christmas!

Tail wags, love, play bows, and luv,
Stormy
Amber
Zim and
Dave
and our bipeds, too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve!

Ha roo, everypup and everycat! It's me - Zim!

Myspace Christmas Graphics

For some cool, Christmas fun, Ao4-style, we'd like to encourage our readers to go back a year, to two of our very favorite posts.  The adventure starts here....... and concludes with a Sunday Salute here.  We hope you enjoy reading those posts as much as we did creating them.

Santa comes tonight - so be good, everypup and kit-cat!  Take time to remember what Christmas is all about!

Sweet dreams, all!  And remember, Santa won't come until you're fast asleep!

Mmm... sugar plums!  And they're DANCING!

Play bows,
Zim

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Help Around the House

Tail wags, everypup and everycat!  It's me - Stormy!  I don't want any of you who read Dave's post from yesterday to get the wrong idea about me.  I'm every bit as helpful around here as my pack-mates!  Take the other night, for example!

Mom had washed all of our bedding, to include the zippy covers for our beds.  She brought them into the living room so she could watch football with Dad while she struggled to re-stuff the beds and get them back into shape.  Dave and I decided we should help her out a bit - here's a look:

That's Dave with his real dinosaur bone.  Ammy is over on our Army quilt, enjoying the Downey-fresh smell.  I'm in the foreground working hard on getting the bed into shape.  (Please pardon the quality of photos; the light was a bit dim and Mom was using her phone.)

I thought I should work on some new cute poses while I was at it - if I'm working, I might as well go all out!  Check this one out:

Pretty good, don't you think?  Some of you have told me that Santa might bring you new beds!  If he does, you may want to try that one.  I got lots of "Oh, look at how CUTE she is!" remarks out of that.  And some nose smoochies.  

Dave got in on the act, and we did a dual pose.

Mom kept thinking we might hold paws, but we didn't.  Do you like how I have my paws crossed like the sweet girl I am?  Here's a closer look:

All those cute poses were tough - it's hard work, but I'm just the Sibe for the job.  And we ARE a working breed.  Are you ready for the pièce de résistance?  This one just killed Mom.  Get ready pups and cool-cats, here it is:

It's not easy being in the Working Breed Group.  

Tail wags - and don't work too hard out there!
Stormy

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Helpers

Woo, everypup and everycat.  It's me, Dave.  We've been really busy helping Mom with indoor stuff lately and thought we'd show you just how hard we've been working!

Part of our Christmas things are stored in the way, WAY downstairs area - Dad is the one who goes down there to get stuff.  The rest of it is stored upstairs in one of the guest rooms.  Mom goes up there, then carries it to one level or the other - up and down, up and down, for lots of trips.  In order to help her, Ammy, Zim and I strategically stationed ourselves along her route.  Here's a shot looking from the guest room across the cat-walk and to the stairs:

That's Zimmie curled up into a cinnamon bun, then me, then... can you see Ammy down there on the landing?  Woo.  Let's look at our layout from the other side, coming up the stairs.  Here's Ams...

...then me...

...then my kid brother:

Pretty helpful, aren't we?  I'm sure Mom thought so, too.  Every time she stepped over us, she said, "What would I do without you?" or "No, no, don't get up!"  (We didn't.)  Stormy was napping on the bed the whole time; I don't get why Mom smothered her in smoochies when we were done and told her "Thank you!"  She was in the bedroom the whole time, tucked out of the way - not along Mom's path!  Can you figure that one out?!?

Anywoo, the redheads left to go do other things; Amber wanted to check the weather, and Zim wanted to go through the cool Christmas cards we've gotten from some of our friends.

Zim snoofing the Christmas cards

Mom had a couple more things to carry down from the guest room, so I went in to see if I could help.  While in there, I saw St. Nicolas!

St. Nick and me

I always thought he was bigger than this.  Ha woooo!  I think Mom appreciated my humor.  In case she didn't, I decided to strike this pose for her once we got back down the the kitchen:

Ho ho ho!

How can you look at that and not get in the Christmas spirit!??

I hope all of you are being as helpful as we are! 
Luv,
Dave

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Salute - Slick and Hank!

Ha roo, pups and cool-cats - it's me, Zim, with our Sunday Salute!  This week, our Salute goes out to our dear friends Slick and Hank of the great state of Georgia!  We saluted Slick when he was just a little guy and this summer we got to meet Slick and his kid brother Hank!  I told you all about the very important meeting I had with them!  We had such a blast together!

They're such cool guys and we just got a new picture of them!  Back at that meeting in June, Hank kept tripping over his ears!  He was still a little fella, but his ears were already Basset-sized!  Ha roo!   Well, check the pups out now!

That's Slick the Beagle/Basset up at the top of the stairs and Hank is the big Basset boy at the bottom!  Can you believe it!?!?  He said he's got 20 pounds on Slick now!  Wowzers!

The guys have been really busy.  Last weekend in their town, the Historical Foundations held their Tour of Homes.  Slick and Hank's house was on it - I can't even imagine how hard they worked helping Aunt Sniggy and Uncle Mike get their place all decorated!  They worked so hard, in fact, that their mom and dad let them spend the day at the spa (their vet has a spa!) instead of handling hosting duties.  Everyone wondered where the boys were - I can imagine!  I mean, I'd go just to see THEM!  

Isn't the picture great!?!?  Hank sent it on Wednesday and told me for the last two days he had only answered to the name "Henri".  Ha roo roo roo!  His mom and dad are just shaking their heads over that one; I think it's GREAT!!!!  He should join me in the SZK School of Siberian Studies French classes - we could étudier le français ensemble!

Thanks for checking in and giving us a p-update, guys!  For all you do, Slick and Henri..... we salute you!

On behalf of the entire Army of Four ~
Play bows,
Zim

Saturday, December 20, 2008

More Snow Pix!

Ha roo pups and cool cats!  It's me - Zim!  Storm said I should show you more of the pictures Mom took of us out in the snow.  I'm on it!

On the way home from our cool snow walk, Storm and I followed some cat tracks!  They seemed to stop over here; it must be a secret entrance to their clubhouse or something.  We were both worried about our kit-cat friends being warm, so we stuck our snooters down there and I "ha rooed". 

Ha roo?

Dave came over to see if he could see any kit-cats down there, but they weren't anywhere where we could see them.

Any of your friends down there, Zimmie?

He may not be AS cat-friendly as I am, but he doesn't want to see anyone cold, hungry, or with wet feety-feet.  Hopefully, they'll know to head to our house if they need anything.  

I already showed you a video of me working on my very cool snow fort, but here is a still shot:

Hmm... this snow needs to move over here...

I had to get everything just SO!  The rest of the pack offered to help, but really, I have to do these things myself.

As you can see, I had a mighty fine snow fort by the time Mom lost feeling in her hands and feet and said we had to go inside.  After seeing the video, the most bee-roo-tiful Belgian Tervuren I've ever met, Princess Eva, said it's better than the one I built last year!  Wow!  Thanks, Eva!  You're as kind as you are beautiful!

Speaking of kind - and comments made by our friends - my pal Angus Mhor wondered about why we stick our snooters in the snow.  He asked, "Hey, why DO you snoof in the the snow with your snooter?"  As much as I want to field this one myself, Amber REALLY wants me to refer you to this post she made last year.  Ha roo roo roo!  That Ammy; she always cracks me up!

One last picture - this one's for all you babes out there who find my big brother so irresistible.  

The Deeve

It's his freckles, isn't it?

I hope everyone out there who wants snow has some and is enjoying it to the fullest.  We have some flurries blowing around right now, so if anypup needs any, let me know; I'll ask the UPS man to bring some to you!

Play bows,
Zim

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Walk

Hi everypuppy!  And everycat, too!  It's me - Amber!  Stormy said I can share more of our lovely snow pictures with you today!  We still have the snow, but now there's a layer of ice on top of it.  As you may remember from last year, ice is not nice!  So until that goes away, here is our bee-roo-tiful SNOW!

Here is a shot of me and Zimmie!

That's me on the left and Zim on the right.  Here are Dave and Stormy!

Dave is on the left and Storm is on the right.  (Remember, Storm is red, Dave is purple, Zim is blue and I am green!)  Here's a single shot of Davy:

You can see him smiling a little, can't you?!!?  Here's one of me looking very serious!

I was concentrating very hard!  :)  

Now... even though I showed you us in matching color teams, we weren't really paired up that way!   Davy and I tend to pull a lot harder than Stormy and Zim, so Dad was with us strong-pullers, and Stormy and Zimmie were helping Mom walk!  Here they are together:

Here is a cool picture of them going up hill:

I like the perspective you get of the hill!

Mom kept trying to get a good picture of the four of us walking together - like the one Zim showed you the other day.  Usually we like to walk like that, but not if we know Mom is trying to take our picture!  Dad ended up offering to hold all four leashes so Mom could snap some group shots.  He only does that for photo opps; our parents are very safety conscious and have a "one Sibe per arm" rule!  The pic Zim showed you is from that session!  Here are some more:

Here we are, getting into formation.  Note I'm standing up against Dad's leg.

I'm not as good at herding as our friends Gus, Louie & Callie, or Zac & Holly, or Pippin and her pack (to include the very handsome Hamish!), but I do like to herd my bipeds!  Our ancestors were used to herd reindeer (!) and I still have a lot of those instincts in me!  Besides, great brother Booter liked to herd and I loved doing everything just like him!  

Then Stormy said we should humor Mom and smile at the camera.  Just this once.

Left to right:  Storm, Dad, Dave, me, Zimmie

Storm smiled, Dad was focusing on safety, and Dave was worried that Mom was so far away from him.  And I told Zim I saw something off to our left (your right).  Dave came over to see what we were looking at...

Left to right:  Storm, me, Zim, Dave.  Dad in the back row.

...and that's when Mom and Dad started to get just a tad bit nervous.  Something about "braiding" and "oh, no, they've seen something!" or something like that.  The boys were getting really interested in what I said I saw; I confessed to Stormy that I didn't really see anything (hee hee hee!), and she thought that was really funny.  :)  

Ha roo roo roo!  Good one, Ammy.
(Stormy!  There wasn't really anything there!)  Made you look, boys!  Hee hee hee!

For some reason, Dad said it was time to implement the "one Sibe per arm" rule, turned Storm and Zimmie back over to Mom and we went home.  :)  Zim will share some more pix with you tomorrow!

Love,
Ammy