Doggie days are here again! Tips to help your pooch stay cool during the dog days of summer

 Hot dogSave yourself; finish the walk without me! Image credit: Hot Dog by Simon Law, on Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Here on Emmet Street, we’re in the heart of the dog days of summer. (Fun fact: Did you know the phrase may have celestial origins? The days of extreme heat experienced in the northern hemisphere in July and August coincides with the period the brightest star Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, rises in conjunction with the sun, causing the folks of the days of yore to think the combination of two was responsible for the sweltering heat.)

In addition to being science geeks, we’re also dog lovers, so we thought we’d offer some tips for keeping your favorite pooch comfortable during the insufferable summer heat:

  • As much as your dog loves to go for a ride in the car, don’t take Fido along if you have to leave him in it. Even just a few minutes in a hot car can be dangerous for pets (and people). According to The Humane Society of the United States, the interior temperature of a parked can exceed 100 degrees within ten minutes on an 85-degree day–even if you leave the windows open a crack.
  • Limit walks on hot days. Dogs can become overheated and suffer heatstroke just like we can, so try to get your pet’s exercise in during the early morning or late evening hours when the heat and humidity are lower. Click here to learn the signs of heatstroke.
  • When you do take your pup for a walk, make sure to avoid hot surfaces like asphalt or pavement. These surfaces absorb heat and can reach temperatures that will burn your dog’s paw pads and your furry pal will not show signs of pain until the damage is already done.
  • Dogs can get dehydrated quickly in the heat so keep the water bowl filled–on particularly hot days, add some ice cubes for extra cooling power.
  • Give Fluffy a cold treat to cool her off. My (now departed) dog loved to lick ice cubes and frozen treats made just for dogs. The Humane Society shared this recipe for Peanut Butter Popsicles that Lulu would have loved.
  • Dogs–especially short-haired breeds–can sunburn, too. Pay special attention to noses and ears and make sure to use a pet-safe brand (many sunscreens for people contain zinc oxide, which is toxic to pets). Prevention magazine recommends Epi-Pet‘s pet sunscreen products.

What about you? Do you have any tried-and-true tips to help your bassenji beat the heat? Please share them in the comments!

Like these tips or know someone who would love the Peanut Butter Popsicle recipe for her pampered pomeranian? It’s easy to spread the word! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below. (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons.).

Sweet and salty watermelon and feta salad

sweet and salty watermelon salad

If you take this salad to your summer block party, you will win over the hearts (and stomachs) of the entire neighborhood–even the weird, cranky guy that has never talked to you and likes to decorate his yard with lawn ornaments he “repurposed” from other people’s trash.

Really, it’s that good. What could be bad about it? Juicy watermelon is a treat to eat in the summer heat. The saltiness of the feta and the tang of the lime juice is the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the watermelon. Sneaking in some sliced almonds adds an unexpected crunch.

Every time I bring it to a party, it’s a hit. I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t like this dish (people with food allergies excepted).

What’s your go-to summer party dish?

Sweet and salty watermelon and feta salad

Makes about 10, 1/2 c. servings

1 small seedless watermelon, cubed

1/4 c. fresh mint, roughly chopped

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 c. vanilla roasted almonds, sliced

1/2 c. lime juice

1/4 c. honey

In a small bowl combine lime juice and honey and set aside. In a large bowl gently mix watermelon, mint, feta and almonds. Drizzle the lime juice mixture over the watermelon mixture.

Like this recipe or know someone who needs to do some bridge building in their neighborhood? It’s easy to share by using one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to share).

It’s a summer block party in the Etsy store!

Summer Block Party 5

When I think of summer on Emmet Street, I think of sitting on the front porch chatting with the neighbors, running barefoot in the grass, catching lightning bugs and neighborhood block parties. Those parties were a blast—we got to stay up late, sneak sips of Dad’s beer and listen to the raucous banjo playing that broke out as the evening wore on.

No summer block party was without food. Platters of burgers, freshly cut melon and other bounty from our gardens made it to the picnic table.

Emmet Street Creations’ latest offering, Summer Block Party, was inspired by these lazy summer days. Its fresh cucumber, melon and pear scent will transport you to those carefree summer days.

What sights, sounds and smells bring fond summer memories back to you?

The Loofah Soap Experiment: Update #2

Where has the time gone? Between prepping for my first Cleveland Bazaar and making more soap to replenish my stock, I almost forgot about posting an update on how my loofah is growing. Looking back on my last update, I can’t believe how much the plant as grown. It went from this sweet little seedling:

Loofah seedling

So cute.

To this Little Shop of Horrors like vine:

Loofah vine

“Feed me!”

I’m not sure how big this vine is going to get, or where it’s going to go, but for now it seems happy to grow up the side of the bird net covering my blackberries.

 

Loofah and blackberry

Don’t get too close to those tendrils!

I’ve read that loofah can have a very long growing season and needs warm temperatures to thrive. We’ve been having an uncharacteristically cool summer so far, so I’m not surprised that it’s mid-July and I’m only now seeing flower buds. Hopefully the temperatures warm up and I get a couple of good sized loofahs by the end of the summer.

Loofah flower bud

Are you growing anything fun in your yard this year? I’d love to hear about your gardening adventures!

Looking for the perfect summer drink? Try this: Lavender vanilla lemonade

Relax with Lavender Vanilla Lemonade

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m a big fan of lavender. When I’m feeling stressed, a noseful of the scent helps restore me to a calm, cool and collected state.

In the summertime, another activity that helps me chill out is hanging out on the front porch, sipping a cool beverage, watching cars pass by and chatting with friends and neighbors.

So, why not combine those two things? Lavender is great in lemonade, a touch of vanilla adds some extra sweetness (and lovely scent) to this concoction. If you’re feeling social, you can make a batch big enough to share when front-porch friends drop by. (If those friends happen to be over 21 and you want to add a little extra relaxation, a little bourbon or vodka would produce an extra-special libation.)

What’s your perfect summer beverage?

Lavender Vanilla Lemonade

Makes 8, 8 oz. servings

2 c. lemon juice

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 c. water

1 c. dried lavender

1 T. pure vanilla extract

5 c. cold water

In a small saucepan, add dried lavender, sugar and 1 c. water. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and allow mixture to cool.

After sugar mixture has cooled, use a sieve to strain out the lavender. Add liquid to a large pitcher and combine with lemon juice, vanilla and cold water. Serve over ice.

 

Need a quick and easy way to relax? Stop and smell the lavender

 

Lavender 5

I’m obsessed with lavender. It is my absolute favorite flower and scent. I’ve used it in soaps, bath salts and scrubs, and eaten it (it’s particularly good in vanilla cupcakes and lemonade, if you are looking for ideas). When I’m feeling stressed, taking a whiff of some fresh lavender or lavender essential oil helps me find some tranquility. (Science has proven this to be an effective stress reduction technique.)

The Lavender soap in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store is scented with pure Hungarian lavender essential oil. When I smell it, I imagine I’m standing in the middle of a lavender field and haven’t a care in the world.

Do you use aromatherapy to help with stress relief? What scents work for you?

Feeling stressed? Ten ideas to help you find a moment of Zen

Stress

Image credit: Stress by Bernard Goldbach, on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

National Public Radio (NPR), thanks to its week-long series focusing on stress, has got me focusing on my stress. I didn’t need much of a reminder–I often finish the work week ready to dance into the weekend like Ellen DeGeneres after a triple shot of espresso.

Sometimes stress is a good thing, like when you’re in danger and need to make a quick escape from a predator (or meet a work deadline), but according to the reporting from NPR (and the advice of my mother) too much stress, experienced too frequently, takes its toll on our health. When we’re overwhelmed, we tend to cut back on the self-care practices that would actually help us manage our stresses more effectively–things like maintaining a healthy diet and exercising on the regular. I know I’m guilty of it (and, dang it, the guilt makes me feel more stressed) and these behaviors can lead to health issues down the road, another source of stress.

So how can we give ourselves a break from stress and find a moment of Zen?

It’s important to find ways to give ourselves a time out from the things that are stressing us out. In addition to making sure you eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest, here are a few methods that can help you find some calm and rejuvenation and better weather the storm:

  1. Take a break from the news, hearing all the sensationalized doom and gloom added to oppressive stress. (Don’t worry, if some earth-shattering event occurs, you’ll hear about it.)
  2. Be childish. I don’t mean throw a temper tantrum over how unfair your current upset is. Find an activity that you loved to do as a child and participate in it for a while. I dare you to feel stressed out when you’re swinging in the park or coloring in a Sesame Street activity book.
  3. Take a hot bath. Add a bath product that contains a soothing scent, like lavender, and soak your cares away.
  4. Take a hike, but not in a “take this job and shove it” kind of way. Exercise is a great stress management tool.
  5. Do some yard work. Whipping your yard into submission is cathartic and it makes your home look better, too.
  6. Meditate or practice a meditative act like reading or crafting. Basically, just do anything that shifts your focus and gets the hamster running around in your brain to take a nap.
  7. Laugh. Need a quick pick me up? Go to YouTube and look up “Babies Laughing.” Do it now. It’s impossible not to laugh along with them.
  8. Hang out with friends, but only those who make you feel good. Stay away from frenemies and Debbie Downers.
  9. Participate in a little “armchair travel.” Need a vacation, but can’t take one at the moment? Plan a trip anyway. Learn about some of the places you’d like to visit, watch some travel shows, check out accommodations online, etc. You might even find an option that you can fit into your schedule and budget, making a trip happen sooner than you thought it would!
  10. Drink a hot (non-alcoholic) beverage. Even Dr. Sheldon Cooper understands when people are upset the cultural convention is to offer them a hot beverage.

Because I feel like I’m always carrying around some stress, what tips to you have for me? I’d love to hear what you do to keep your stress under control.

Like these tips or know someone who could benefit from reading them? It’s easy to spread the word! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons).