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Blog Entry 56: 40 bags in 40 days.

I love organizing, anyone who knows me knows that, be it helping people with their filing or daily household stuff, I LOVE to organize. A huge part of organizing is toss things you no longer need. I follow a few simple rules:

1. If you have not worn/used it in 6 months and its NOT a seasonal item, TOSS it!

2. Seasonal items, is it worn? Faded? Broke? Toss it. (Exception is items passed down through the family that you (or in this case I) love, like that special Christmas ornament that your grandma bought in her first year of marriage 60+ years ago, that would be an exception.)

3. Kitchen cupboards, AKA the dreaded JUNK DRAWER. I try to go through it once a month. With a family of 5 it gets full fast. Part of the goal with this 40 bags in 40 days is to completely remove the junk draw issue by no longer having a junk drawer.

4. Buy only what you need. Do you need 8 of the same shade of lip stick? NO. In reality we, the average human population, don’t need half the “crap” we have. I’ve seen those “coupon shows” and frankly, the food, toilet paper and other things like that is not a bad idea but the people who buy makeup, deodorant and so on in such bulk needs a good head check because that is nothing but hording. Make up does expire, most things do! So unless you wear that lip stick every day and can easily go through 8 in less than 6 months, STOP BUYING so many. The same goes with other house hold “crap”. Don’t have 30 towels for 5 people, knock that back to 2 each and 2 extra for guests. Take care of your stuff and only replace what you need when you need it.

Pretty simple rules huh.

So moving on past my rules to the real point of this blog entry. I read Clover Lane’s Blog entry: 40 bags in 40 days (Find it HERE) and I was rather impressed. I am ashamed to admit it but even with my wonderful organizational skills I have WAY to much “crap” in my house. Cloths I don’t wear, bags and boxes of toys the kids don’t use, movies I have not watched in years and so on. The only place I don’t have “crap” is my craft room because I know the limit with that room. Heck even the pets have “crap” they don’t use or need anymore.

The idea of 40 bags in 40 days is one I really like, hence why I am going for it starting September 1 2012. I figured starting on the first would be perfect, AND its also a long weekend, score!

Some of you might be thinking, isn’t 40 bags in 40 days something to do with lent and aren’t you pagan? Its true, from what I have been reading, 40 bags in 40 days, is to do with lent, but just because something was started for some type of religion does not mean it doesn’t work for all. I see it as a way of mundanely cleansing my soul.

As a stay at home mom and home business owner, my house is me. How it looks, smells and feels, reflects onto my mood more so than a person who works full time and only ever really uses their home as a place to crash and sleep. Getting ride of all the extra “crap” and setting a goal and date is like going to your place of worship and getting rid of negative energy, like say having a smudging done or going to confession. That’s why this challenge is so exciting for me. A. it gets rid of “crap” and B. its a great way to cleanse my soul.

So umm, reading over this I have yet to explain what 40 bags in 40 days is. Oops!

Here is what other sites/blogs say: During Lent (40 days) rid your house of 40 bags of stuff, things you don’t love, don’t use, junk, accumulated stuff, clutter, garbage and so on.

Here is what I say: Take 40 days and rid your house of 40 bags of stuff… things you don’t love, don’t use, junk, accumulated stuff, clutter, garbage and so on. (Pretty much the same thing but I’m removing the religious innuendo.)

Starting the 1st of Sept, I am challenging myself to toss/recycle 40 bags worth the “crap” in 40 days. I’ll be making a list (YAY another love of mine) and posting it the day I start. I will than post once a week until its done letting you know how it goes.

So dear readers what do you think? Do you think you will try this challenge? Do you think my husband will think I am insane? Well that’s probably a yes followed by a groan because he knows he’s the one who has to take out that bags *wink*.

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Blog Entry 54: Hawaii 2012 Family Trip

As I stated a few blog entries ago, here is a full blog on the trip I took to Hawaii July 13-21st.

To start out I want to say flying with a toddler was not as hard as people think. Keep them busy, have treats on hand and lots of snuggles and you’ll be fine!

We took a trip to Honolulu, Hi as a family. This wasn’t just me, my kids and my husband. We also had my Sister In Law her kids and hubby, as well as my in laws. There was 11 of us in total.

Our flight was pretty simple. We left from Edmonton, arrived in Vancouver and flew from there to Hawaii. In total I believe it was a 7ish hour flight.

 

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We stayed at the Marriot Ko Olina Resort, amazing place, I highly recommend it! Here are some view shots from around the resort.

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We went to the Dole Plantation, and if you have kids, I would suggest it! It was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast on the Pineapple Express Train and the Maze they have.

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I did a lot of Snorkelling and to my amazement, got to swim and touch a wild sea turtle. Sadly my camera is NOT waterproof and I was unable to snap some photos of it. My in laws, the kids and I all took a trip to the north shore. It was amazing there and so beautiful.

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Keep in mind now everything there is so lovely… Want to eat here? I know I didn’t.

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We also saw some of these. The size of them really amazed me!

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At the resort there was MANY things to do for the kids. They didn’t have to just hang out at the beach. There is a very nice kids pool (salt water pool) and LOTS of activities for the kids to join in on. My kids made coconut bird feeders for our birds here in Canada (the birds btw love the feeders).
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Thanks to the other adults in our group my husband and I had a date night. We went to the Longboard restaurant on the resort. The food there was amazing!!

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I want to make one small note here. As you may have noticed my hair was up 90% of the time, this was because my hair basically looked like a poodles hair cut most of the time. *Laughs*

All in all we had an all out amazing trip. I look forward to going back again (this time with out kids).

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Blog Entry 53: Fun with the Kids.

My youngest Celebrated his 2nd birthday in June. We didn’t have a party because of all the stuff going on. Earlier this week my husband stopped by his parents who had a gift for him (and Ruby who’s Birthday was the 28th of last month). His gift was a lawn mower that blows bubbles.

We put it together and allowed him to run around the house with it, with no bubbles of coarse. So I thought it was high time he got to play with it outside. Here are some photos of our adventures.

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*You can see the bubbles in this shot*

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After mowing the sidewalk Joseph decided to take a breather with his brother and started playing wonderfully… LOUD… Music.

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Lets just say, he need much quieter hobbies.

Tomorrow I am going cherry picking with my mother in law at her sister’s house. This is so I can make some home made cherry jam, how exciting is that. I plan on taking photos, though my mother in law does not like her photos posted, so I will try and get her to take some of me instead.

Have a great night everyone.

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Blog Entry 52: Muffin Tin Omelettes.

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Last night I decided since it was some what cool that I would make muffin tin omelettes. They are rather simple but you should not try these on a hot day, you need to cook them in your oven.

Its a very simple recipe. Here is what you need:
Eggs

Veggies (any type you normally like in an omelette)

Cooking Spray (or oil if you don’t have a spray)

Meat (if you like things like ham in your omelette go for it any cooked meat will do)

Cheese (I don’t use it because I am lactose intolerant)

Spices (Dill, salt, pepper and what ever else you like)

You will need a big bowl for beating the eggs and a muffin tin (or two if your making a big batch).

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First chop everything up, I used Onion, zucchini, bell pepper and ham. For the kids I added a half a cherry tomato because I only had three left.

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Once everything is chopped add equal amounts to the muffin tin cups.

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In the large bowl beat as many eggs as you need, I did 18 muffin tins and used 1 1/2 dozen eggs, this fed a family of 6. I added a little milk, just a few table spoons as it helps make fluffy eggs.

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Next pour the eggs into the muffin tins on top of the meat and veggies. Add on your cheese, if your using any, and your spices.

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Don’t worry if things float or don’t float, its all part of the yumminess of this.

Next put it into the oven, I preheated to about 400F.
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Cook them until there is not more liquid, trust me when I say you will see liquid in the middle but for time liking people, 10-20ish minutes.

Put them on a plate and enjoy! So simple and so yummy. I love the fact that I was able to feed everyone at once, which when making normal omelettes, does not happen.
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I also had time yesterday to make a TINY jar of saskatoon berry jam. Basically its pectin free because it was such a small amount. I took about a cup of berries, some sugar and some vanilla, cooked it in a small pot, put it in a jar and cooled. This would NOT be safe for storing long term, but frankly who would want to? Its so good I’m almost done it today!

I leave you today with a cute pet photo. This is Spook, my black ball of fur cat, who loves to watch me cook but loves sleeping more.

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Blog Entry 51: City Market on 104th

Last weekend I took time away from sewing, house cleaning and even the kids to check out a farmers’ market that I had not had the pleasure of checking out in the 6 years I have lived in Edmonton.

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I was in utter awe when I arrived there. I decided to take the bus which meant I had to leave pretty early since I am a firm believer in getting to farmers’ markets when they open, frankly its the best time to get the best stuff, but I was not prepared for what I saw.

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Two blocks, tents going one way and back the other! Words fail to explain the awe I was in. There was so many things to look at and buy, I was grateful I only took $75 with me, because I easily could have spent much much more.

 

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I found produce that amazed me, purple bell peppers, zucchinis the size of my arm, goat meat, breads and so much more. I carefully made my way through all the stalls before buying anything. There was clothing stalls, gifts, even home made rhubarb wine! (NOTE: that is a penny on the cutting board)

 

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I did fall in love with one stall and was grateful I was near then end of my money when I saw it. This wonderful stall was a lady selling painted rocks. I have to say her work is AMAZING. There was all types of animals on her table but two caught my eye, guinea pigs! When I asked her how much they were, she said the large one was $60, I nearly died. BUT it was my hearing that had failed me, not the price. It was $16 a much better price to deal with. The smaller one (1/3 the size of the large one) was $10, I opt for the larger one (photo above) and named him Hermin. (NOT Herman)

Sadly (and happily) I have to go to Panfest this weekend. But for those of you in the Edmonton area and would love to go here is the information for this Market:

Location: 104th Street and Jasper Ave
Time: 9AM to 3PM Every Saturday.

Website: City Market Downtown

Here are some suggestions I want to add:

1. If you are bussing or walking, bring a buddy buggy or wagon.

I found that my arms were so tired by the time I got home that I wanted to soak them in ice water for a week.

 

2. Bring Cash!

There is a 7/11 that you can pull out cash but unless you are with that bank (which seems to slip my mind) you get charged $1.50, and while that is not a lot, pulling some before hand at your bank is free (not counting your bank fees if they charge you). Another reason is the fact that you can bring a credit card (and some places even a debit card) but you will spend MUCH MUCH more than planned, having cash means you have see how fast its going.

3. Bring your umbrella.

I didn’t and it rained for about 20 mins or so. Not fun but not bothersome.

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Blog Entry 50: Just a minute!

Yup that’s about all I have for you today dear readers.

I wasted to update you and let you know that Hawaii was amazing!

I have so much going on. I have Panfest in just a few days, Merlin has a fungal infection on his underside, I was given 5 fire belly toad tadpoles and two died yesterday so I am fighting to keep the other 3 alive. The kids, though busy fighting with each other, are doing great. In fact Joe-joe is talking more! Still not where I want him to be but getting much better.

The pigs are all happy and healthy. In Just a few days Mojo turns 3!!

I’ll leave you with some photos of the trip to Hawaii and go more into detail later.

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Blog Entry 49: A group is not for all.

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Just as the title says, a group is not for all. Be that a facebook group, yahoo, forums or other wise, some people should not be part of a group. These people I am talking about are the type that derail posts by talking about something unrelated, starting fights and just being a pain in the arse for their own pleasure.

Here is a list of things one should not do on a group:

  • Never join a conversation that never ask for an opinion to express your opinion. Yes, the original poster may have posted something about that topic but if they are not asking for advice than you are probably making am inappropriate post. It could in turn make the person feel attacked because they are doing/saying something wrong.
  • Stick to the topic at hand. This means just that. If a post is about, for example, a dog, posting about your cat would be a derailment of the original post. This makes the original poster feel ignored and that their post is not a valid post.
  • Never post an attacking post about someone because of your personal feeling towards that person or organization. This makes you look like an idiot and don’t be surprised if people get upset with you. It may also cause more damage than intended for the person you are attacking. Organizations usually have an area (google, yelp or testimonial page) that you can write your comments about on.
  • Keep things private. Time and time again I see people posting their personal “dirty laundry” about a person, people, or other group. First off, if its not a group or section dedicated to postings like this, then it is unlikely people give too poops about it. This can also lead to upset from the person you are posting about.

If any of these sound like you, then dear reader you may want to either rethink your approach on groups or not post on them anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a fluffy, everyone loves everyone, kind of group (though I am sure if you want one there is one out there). What I am trying to show in this blog entry is that;

A. There are some things people do not realize about groups (forums, what ever) that they should know.

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B. That behind every post there is a real human being with real issues. Calling someone a flaming moron after they posted a question may in fact upset the poster, who may be going threw a divorce, or had a family member die. The possibilities are endless, the fact is, you don’t know that person or their life.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), someone around the globe commits suicide every 40 seconds (link). How would you feel if you found out that a friend of yours or family member committed suicide because they could not longer bare their life. Now take that and think about how you would feel if the “straw the broke the camels back” so to speak, was someone being a jerk on the net. I know, it seems far fetched, but let me explain.

When a person starts to with draw from their life, they end up using the internet instead of socialising face-to-face. Now thinking about how you react when talking to someone face to face. How would you feel if someone did any of the above listed things? Well you would be upset, feel ignored and even hurt. Add in the factor of having a bad day, week or month. This can all add up and for a person using the internet instead of socialising face-to-face, could in fact cause more depression.

Is this something you feel comfortable helping? I sure as heck don’t.

Depression is one of the leading causes to suicide as we all very well know. So you can see that your comments on a group (forum, what ever) could in fact cause things to become worse for someone.

I know what your thinking, well if they have issues why even bother post or join a group that may in fact cause such issues. Well this boils down to the fact that the person is using the internet as their way of socializing. It does not make it right or fair, but is what happening to them in their real life fair or right, who knows. Life is not fair but if you all have a little more compassion about our fellow man (or woman) things would not be so bad.

This also leaves open a whole new argument as to why moderators and admins are not doing their jobs right. I will leave that for another day though.

The bottom line is, read what you write. If you are in a heated discussion, walk away until you have a clear head, this is what you would do in real face-to-face interactions, why not use that method online.

For all you people reading this who use the internet for socializing, think about why you are doing this, maybe you need some help. Talk to your family, friends or doctor about what’s going on in your life and try not to take what people say online to heart, there will always be a jerk out there who wont be bothered to think about your feelings or what they are saying.

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Blog Entry 48: One… two … three… why the hell me?

I been putting of writing this because its so personal to me.

As some of you know I had my niece staying with me. Her mother, who I no longer accept as a family member anymore, dumped her on me and did so many bad things. From doing drugs, sleeping with every one who would sleep with her to only visiting her daughter once in 6 weeks. She brought so much drama in to my life in the short 6 weeks I care for her daughter.

When CPS finally when and took her rights to my niece away life got scary. I wasn’t so much scared of her as I was the people she was hanging out with. They scared the poop out of me.

On June 29th CPS came and took my niece away for everyone’s safety. I cried all weekend. Even now, a week later I am still sad.

On the last day she was here I did up some photos. I wanted to share three with you all. I am crying while posting these but I wanted to share them with you all.

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Blog Entry 47: Guinea Pigs Are Cheap… NOT!

*Image from Guinea Pig Today Site, used for my original post there*

Monthly Guinea Pig Cost
Many people seem to think that guinea pigs are a low cost pet. This can’t be any farther from the truth. In one month I go through a good amount of money taking care of my six guinea pigs. This does not include any of my other pets.

Some of the things you MUST take into account is that guinea pigs need high quality pellets and hay. Lower quality can cause upset in their digestion and other health issues. I personally feed my guinea pigs Oxbow pellets and a 2nd cut timothy from local farmers. Buying my hay local does save me money because I do not have to pay the high mark up at pet supply stores.

After that cost you need to think about their bedding. Are you willing to buy bedding every month? Make your own or buy liners for a one time fee? Buying fleece cage liners has its advantages. You don’t have to fold or binder clip fleece to your cage. Buying bedding material like CareFresh can run you over $50 a month just in bedding. Aspen is a little better but not by much.

Next is, in my personal experience, the most expensive part aside from vet costs – the veggies. In the summer, veggies are in their prime. You can easily find lettuce for 70 cents. Come winter, that’s a different story. Here in Canada lettuce can fun as much as $1.50 per head of lettuce. That’s not counting their daily bell peppers, which in the winter time can run over $2.00/lbs!

If your lucky you may never end up seeing a vet, but sadly no matter how well we take care of our loving guinea pigs issues can still arise. These issues can cause huge vet costs. Having a savings on hand for vet care is a VERY good idea.

Here is an idea of what a guinea pig can run based on my own guinea pigs:
Pellets: $22.53
Hay: $4.16
Veggies: $16.66
Vet: $40.00 (savings)
Total per month: $83.35

I have been using fleece cage liners for years now but if you use CareFresh or Aspen or even Pine, I can guess that you are probably over my monthly total.

Some saving tips:
1. Buy in bulk. Pellets can be put in deep freezers for months at a time. I buy 50lbs of oxbow from a local supply store every 6 months. I keep a few weeks worth out and the rest go in the freezer.

2. If you have farmers around your city or town, call them and see if they have Meadow Grass or second cut Timothy Hay. First cut will work but it tends to have too many stems which can hurt your guinea pigs. I personally buy three 50-55lb bales, which is one years worth for me. I keep them in the shed behind my house.

3. If you see your daily veggies go on sale, buy a few extra. Don’t forget about them or they will go bad. Every month try and put at least $10 per guinea pig into a vet fund. This could be a savings account or even a cookie jar. You never know when this money will come in handy.

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Blog Entry 46: Guinea pig Addiction, my story.

Every day I look at my local SPCA’s website and DROOL over all the piggies on the site but that is not where I want to start this entry. I want to start this by giving you all a little background story as to how I became a guinea pig addict.

August 2008 was a hot summer. I had just gotten a job at PetSmart down the road from my house. My dream job, or so I thought. I had always had a love of all pets. Growing up I had many types of pets. From the cute fuzzy mice to the slimy looking snakes to bobble eyed gold fish, I had many pets growing up, thus working at a pet store seemed like the perfect place for an animal lover like myself.

I learned, what I thought was a lot when I started working there. How to check water quality in the fish tanks, maintain the proper heat for reptiles and diet needs of the birds and small “pocket pets”. It had been about a week when a batch of baby boars came in. I was in love with one, looking back on him I think it was because he was the under pig in the group. The “brothers” would pick on him and he ended up being sick.

Before they (other co workers) could move him into the “sick room” I boxed him up and took him home. I knew he had a fungal infection and grabbed some cream for that from the sick room. I grabbed a cheap cage (that was 1 grid by maybe 1.5), cheap food and thankfully pine bedding and left at the end of my shift.

When I got home my husband was not impressed but knew since my last hamster died the year before that I wanted a pet. We named him Pickles and he was a doll. So sweet, so manly. He would sit with me and pancake on my tummy while I watched TV.

But, like every good slave knows, guinea pigs are like pringles once you start you can’t stop.

Fast forward a few months and I was still working at PetSmart but I was transferred to a different store. When I got there I was shown all the sick pets and told what was wrong and their treatments, this is when I came across Clover. Clover had been returned to the store after the owner’s kids had “dropped” “him”. Clover had surgery to correct the broken leg but was still suffering from head trauma. I felt back for “him”. I asked what was going to happen to “him” and the gal showing me around told me that “he” needed to be adopted, so “he” came home.

Clover seemed very odd for a boy, “his” bits didn’t look right to me. Thankfully because “he” was healing I had “him” in a different cage because “he” turned out to be a she!!!

That’s when I started to do more research. I found a vet in the area that would neuter Pickles for $150 dollars. This was all happening right before Christmas (which was followed by two months of school). So I opt to wait that’s when my boss decided that I needed another pig to keep my girl company. Thus Delila came to me.

Months passed, I hadn’t found this site or GL yet, how I don’t know. I still had them in TINY cages, bad food and so on. The only thing I did right was love them.

In may I found this site. The month before I upped and quite my job because I could not take how the animals were treated, how little hours I was getting and how over whelmed I was from fixing stupid co workers mistakes. I had three pigs by this point.

I was on youtube watching videos on pigs when I came across Cutemomome’s videos. I fell in love with her pigs but was puzzled when it came to her amazing cage. That’s how I found GPC and GL.

I promptly went out, built a cage and learned so much. I started to foster and take in guinea pigs. By the end of may I have 6 pigs. 2 foster boys, 1 dumped foster boy, my Pickles, Clover and Delila. Then my new worst fear happened.

We went away for a weekend and my MIL watched the pigs. She cleaned their cages and put all the pigs together. The end result was Clover and Pickles made babies. Fast forward to August, three beautiful babies were born. Two girls and one little man. We had just adopted out the foster boys, the dumpster boy and Pickles. I wanted to make sure that would never happen again. We found a home for the little male with my younger sister.

Gosh those babies grew fast. Soon little Mojo was leaving for him new home, but my addiction had increased. I stalked the SPCA’s website all day long. That when I found Queen Latifa, who was later named Eve. We ran and grabbed her after a month of her sitting waiting for a new home. She had mites and her age was horribly wrong but otherwise she was pretty healthy.

A month went by and I saw a beautiful long haired PEW girl up for adoption. At this point I had 5, what was one more? So we adopted her. She also had mites but was otherwise ok.

Jump to Feb 2010. We had the 6 girls but I was still addicted and ended up getting a little American girl. She sadly passed away a few months after adopting her. SweetPea the PEW died suddenly after her. So we were down to 5 again.

Around May 2010 I was feeling over whelmed. I was due to give birth to my third child and life was so up and down. A friend of mine fell in love with two of my pigs, Buttercup (one of the baby girls) and Delila. So I rehomed them to her, leaving me just the 3 girls. In October Little Mojo, who wasn’t so little any more, was given back to me. We kept him in my daughters room for months. In Feb 2011 we adopted Reko, my little sliver agouti boy from the SPCA. He was only a month old and got along great with Mojo. Life was pretty calm and boring but the itch to adopt came again in June.

June adoption saw me doing a private adoption with a neutered boar named Nutmeg, who was renamed Romeo. Romeo went to live with my girls and my life was complete.

Sadly we lost Pixie (the last daughter to Clover) in Dec. Clover passed away soon after. Leaving me with the three boys and Eve.

In Feb 2012 Eve passed way at the ripe old age of 7-8 years old. Leaving me with just my three boys but that didn’t last for long.

In April my SIL contacted me. She had a sick skinny pig who need a home who knew what they were doing, so I adopted Mbizi. Mbizi had horrible skin issues that I cleared up, but sadly one month after adopting him he ended up with an abscess. After 3 weeks we got that under control but 3 more showed up. In the end he gave up the fight and passed away.

That brings us to now. I have my three boars who hate each other.

Every day I look at my local SPCA’s website and DROOL over all the piggies on the site. There are currently 5 pigs I want to adopt. We are holding out and everyone I know is surprised. We are planning on moving in a year or two. At that time we will be buying a larger home and I have been told by my husband that I “can have any pet I want”.

Mojo is going to be three next month, Romeo is three in Nov. and Reko is 1.5 years old but the itch will always be there, to save more. The rescue I used to foster for has closed down so sadly I can not fill that itch by fostering. The SPCA does not have a “just guinea pig” foster program. You foster, you foster what ever they need fostering.

I know there will be a pig one day that will come in that I can not resist, but for now I will have to sit on my itchy hands and wait.

This is my addict story.

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