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On occasion, because of the flexibility of my job, I find myself working from home. Whether it's due to weather, sickness, or those dreadful cable company all-day appointments, it's important that I'm still able to get all my work done. And trust me, just because I don't have human children, doesn't mean my house doesn't get hectic. I've had to learn a few tricks of the trade over the years so I don't go insane.
At some point in most people's lives, it's time to upgrade to a bigger car. Whether it's because of kids, more trunk space, or hauling dogs to-and-fro, sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and get a mom big kid car. 

Mike and I joke that my Escape is my fur-mom ride. Mom ride or not, I need to drive in style! And without breaking the bank. We heard about this thing called "FlexiDip" from a friend and at first I was skeptical. What kind of scorcery could give me sexy rims for under $20? Lies!

Well, I was wrong, guys. Oh-so very wrong.

I love my Escape, which Mike refers to as "The Whip". She's pretty pretty even with her stock wheels. But a little makeup never hurt anyone so why not give her a little face lift?
You're probably wondering if I made a typo in the title of this blog post. Why on earth would someone switch from a fancy-schmancy self-hosted Wordpress site back to Blogger? I must be off my rocker, right?

Nope--you read that correctly. After a year or so of hosting Crafted Love using Wordpress, I decided to come groveling back to good, old Blogger. Why, you ask? I'll tell you!

Are you like me and absolutely need specific workout songs in your playlist to exercise? Some people love the silence and to get lost in their head as they run or lift weights. That's just not me. And to take it a step further, I will unknowingly change my pace depending on the speed/tempo of a song. So... being the nerd that I am, I compiled a different playlist for the different workouts I do during the week. And as they say--sharing is caring--so here you go!

I don't know about you, but no matter how technologically advanced our world gets, I'm always going to be a pen-and-paper girl at heart. When it comes to future dates I need to remember, sure, I'll use my iPhone calendar. But if it's to-do lists, or project tracking, I need to write it down. Especially when it comes to juggling freelance and a 9-to-5 job at the same time!

I always have a hard time finding a planner that works for what I need so I decided to make my own! So of course I wanted to share it with you guys! There is a weekly planner printables as well as a more detailed daily planner printables with a to-do section. They are designed to be simply printed on 8.5x11 paper mainly for easy of printing. But I also like have a lot of room to write (so much to do!).

You can download them here:

Let me know what you think! Do you have a free printable you'd love to see, Leave me a comment and I will try to make some in my free time!

Last year I decided that since becoming a new homeowner, it was time to start a garden. Because that's what you do when you have a house, right? Well I had these grand dreams and expectations of planting organic tomatoes, bell peppers, jalepenos, and other veggies, harvesting them throughout the season, and then having a grand old time canning everything for the winter months. I mean, how hard could it be?

This is probably why I drive Mike so crazy with all my ideas. I never fully research before diving in.

So there I am, a total n00b in the gardening world, with $100 worth of starter veggie plants and supplies from Home Depot--I didn't even have the patience to grow them from seeds--ready to start my gardening adventure.

Long story short, I managed to kill every single one of those plants by June.
Some things I learned along the way?
  1. Do NOT plant three tomato plants together in a 3'x3' container. Even if it is a really cool, bottom wattering tomato cage container that probably cost upwards of $100. Just don't do it. Take the time to read up on tomato plants and figure out that tomato plants should actually be planted TWO FEET apart. Good gravy.
  2. Don't water said tomato plants every day. You WILL drown them. And they WILL die. Especially if it's already a unseasonably wet spring/summer.
  3. Don't then forget about the poor tomato plants when the weather randomly goes from hurricanes to drought. What little thread of life they were holding on to will certainly snap when they completely dry up and shrivel away. RIP tomato plants.
I did manage to get a handful of tomatoes out of the deal as well as several bundles of basil. The basil ended up lasting until the end of summer. But I inevitably forgot about it as well and it met it's demise.

I've learned a lot since then and this year, my garden thrived! Well, for the most part. I still haven't managed to keep a tomato plant alive throughout the whole season. This year, all the rain washed the nitrogen from the soil and my poor cherry tomato plant died once again. Next year I will be using organic bonemeal to add nitrogen back into the soil.

Carrots growing in one of my DIY raised beds, using the square foot method.

I've learned a lot since then and this year, my garden thrived! Well, for the most part. I still haven't managed to keep a tomato plant alive throughout the whole season. This year, all the rain washed the nitrogen from the soil and my poor cherry tomato plant died once again. Next year I will be using organic bonemeal to add nitrogen back into the soil.

Red bell peppers growing like crazy using my DIY sub-irrigation pots.

We've already started our second round of carrots and thy have started to sprout. We've gotten a TON of green beans from the one plant, and the amount of bell peppers and jalepenos we've harvested is unreal. Next year I will be sure to post more about the process and show off some of the DIYs we've done to make gardening easier and more fun.

Our first harvest of many!

I don't know what I'm going to do this winter when I can't garden! I will have to come up with another hobby to keep me occupied because I don't think indoor gardening is a viable option in our tiny home :)

Mike and I have been fostering dogs (and a few kittens here and there) for a little over three years now. And in that time, we have had a grand total of 27 fur babies come through our doors. Two of them ended up as “foster fails” and became full-time members of the Affourtit family. But that still leaves 25 (and counting!) dogs and cats that we helped get adopted. And that, my friends, is something I am very proud of.

Our reasoning for starting out as fosters was slightly based on the fact that my aunt is the Executive Director of our local animal shelter. We had always wanted a dog and after my aunt suggested we start by fostering, we said “What the heck. Why not?”

Harvey with our Harry Potter litter.

The reasons we are asked to foster these dogs and cats changes on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, it’s simply because the shelter is getting a bit crowded and they need someone to take on a dog or cat until more space opens up. Other times, we are taking on a dog that isn’t showing well in a kennel. Whether that be due to stress, a high activity level, or needing some quiet couch time, we are there to help out. On occasion, we are the proud foster parents of a litter of puppies that stays with us for a few weeks until they are old enough to be adopted (usually two weeks). It’s never a dull moment in our house, which we lovingly refer to as the Affourtit Zoo.

Steel, one of our "scardy-cat" fosters.
A lot of people have similar questions and comments for us when it comes to fostering. “How do you do it?” “I would want to keep them all!” “I couldn’t bear to say goodbye.” “That must be expensive!” “How do your family dogs deal with all these fosters coming in and out?” “I couldn’t deal with all the behavior problems.”

Well, I think it’s about time I answer these questions. First off, let’s tackle the first three together.

“How do you do it?” “I would want to keep them all!” “I couldn’t bear to say goodbye.”

Several years prior to becoming fosters, I had found a litter of four kittens at the grocery store I worked at. I was still in college and living with my parents over the summer so I obviously couldn’t keep them. I asked around and posted on social media and after only a few days, found homes for all of them. While I was sad I couldn’t keep one, the feeling of knowing I had helped them find loving, forever homes far surpassed my desire to keep one.

Like I said before, we do have two foster fails. So there is the possibility you will too. I knew the minute I took Harvey on our first walk that I couldn’t give him up. It was almost love at first sight. With Quinn, it was love at first sight for Harvey. When you know, you know.

The Harry Potter crew.
With that being said, though, you won’t want to keep them all. Yes, puppies are adorable and cuddly. But they poop. A LOT. Other times you don’t have a connection with a certain dog like you do with others. For us, Mike and I have a weakness for Pit Bulls and German Shepherds. Those dogs will always have a soft spot in our hearts. So in all honesty, when we foster other dogs like small breeds, poodles, labs, etc., it’s easier to say goodbye.

Some goodbyes can be hard. Especially when you’ve had a dog for several weeks and watched them grow into a well-behaved member of society. I’m not afraid to admit that both Mike and I bawled like babies when our first foster got adopted. But in the end, the thing that keeps me going is knowing that the shelter has a really good review process and each dog and cat is going to go to a great family. I can’t explain the joy you feel when you watch an animal that came in—maybe scared to death, didn’t trust people—and they walk out, tail wagging, with a family that’s going to love it for the rest of its life.

“That must be expensive”

Starbucks every morning must be expensive. Yeah—I went there. But in all honesty, the expenses that come with fostering are relative. Most shelters will offer you any supplies you need to foster an animal. Medical expenses, crates, blankets, puppy pens, toys. A lot of shelters will even give you food and cat litter—ours does! Even if your shelter doesn’t pay for food, unless you have a 120 pound beast of a dog, I can’t image you would need to spend more than $20 a month on food if you go with something like Iams.

Bear, a stray dog we found and helped rehome.
Mike and I choose to pay for the food ourselves because we want to, and are financially able to do so. We do happen feed our own dogs moderately expensive, grain-free food and don’t see the point in buying something different for our fosters. So yes, for us, fostering adds up. But we wouldn’t change it for a second.
But for the most part, fostering is practically free! Not only that, you can write off any expenses (mileage to and from the shelter, food purchased, etc.) on your taxes. So really, the money side of things is no excuse for not wanting to foster.

“How do your family dogs deal with all these fosters coming in and out?”

They honestly love it. It’s like a constant rotation of new friends. Our back yard is like our own mini dog park at times. When we first started out, each time we brought home a foster, we would go through the process of introducing them slowly. Allowing each dog out in the yard by themselves so they could catch the scent of the other dog before actually meeting them, going on a walk together, etc. Harvey and Quinn are pros at this now, though, so we let the foster walk right in.

Harvey playing with one of our foster pups, Selena.

When it comes time to say goodbye, our dogs aren’t phased at all. They don’t miss them. They don’t go looking for them. We pack up the foster crates until next time and everything goes back to normal. In fact, sometimes they seemed relieved to have some down time.

Batman teaching Selena how to be lazy.

“I couldn’t deal with all the behavior problems”
Over the past three years, Mike and I have gotten very good at training dogs and dealing with not-so-desirable behavior. Because of this, we have started taking on fosters that need some extra TLC and training. We have taken on a sibling pair that was so fearful, they had to be dragged out of their kennel to come home with us. Another dog was pacing so much in his kennel that he had worn his nails down to the quick. Currently, we are working with a foster who is afraid of children.

Jayna and Zan--they were so afraid when they got brought into our shelter. With a little love from us and our pack, they were as friendly as can be when we brought them back.

That being said, this isn’t the norm. Your shelter will work with you to figure out what you are and aren’t willing to take on. We have some foster parents who only take puppies. Some only small dogs. Some people actually choose to only foster certain breeds. Whatever you are comfortable with is what you will get. And there is never a time when you have to foster a dog or cat. You always have the ability to say no. Need a break? No problem!

* * *

Our very first foster, Chef.

So there you have it. The answers to the top questions we get as fosters. So here’s my question to you:
What’s holding you back from being a foster?

Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions you want answered! By this point, Mike and I have experienced it all!

Blogging and I have had a love-hate relationship over the past few years--I don't think that's hard to see. I used to love blogging. It was my creative outlet and how I shared my love of design, DIY, and adventure with the world. But then something changed and it wasn't fun any more. Blogging started to feel like a chore.

I would sit at my desk with a notepad just trying to think of DIYs I could do so that I could post them. And of course, thanks to Pinterest, nothing is original anymore so I felt that stress as well. I worried about posting non-DIY/design things and whether I would lose followers if I posted too much about my dogs, gardening, recipes, etc. I saw other blogs who had sponsors or sidebar ads and felt like I, too, should be making money off of something that started out as a hobby.

I've seen blogs that started out tiny as one of my sponsors, far surpass me in "popularity" and numbers. And let me tell you, my closet-competitive crazy side certainly didn't take that well at first. But after much thought, procrastination, and blog-neglect, I've come to a conclusion.

Who Cares?

Seriously. Why on earth do I care? Blogging should be fun--not a job. At least for me. I know others actually maintain a blog as a major part of their business/income. And that's great for them if they enjoy it. You go, Glen Coco. But for me, my blog was similar to a diary. Just a very public, mostly crafty diary. Sometimes it's just nice to write things out to look back on.

So here it is. My comeback tour--as Mike has been calling it. I miss you, Crafted Love. I should have never left you all cold, lonely, and dust-covered for so long. But some things just need to change for this relationship to continue being awesomesauce.

Numero Uno: No more ads. No more sponsors. No more product reviews. No more paid posts. NO MORE. 
It's not good for them, it's not good for us. Now when I post, it's because I want to. Not because I need to hit some monthly quota or get a certain number of views.

Number Two: it's time to write about what *I* want to write about, when I want to write about it.
If I want to write about an awesome dinner I made? Imma do it. If I want to talk about my gardening adventures and woes, prepare for an overload on veggies. And definitely get ready for a blog post for each of our new fosters. Because who doesn't love seeing squishy, fluffy dog faces?

There also might be some fluctuation on frequency of posts. Some weeks I might have a post every day. Others, I might only have one or two things to say. Sometimes i just don't feel like talking. It happens. But the benefit of all this is, whenever I do post something, you know it's going to be good. Not fluff.

Number Three: Ok, there is no number three.
I'll just leave you with this adorable picture of our two current fosters, Bentley, and Petey (who was slightly doped up on post-neuter pain killers in this picture). Everybody now, "AWWWWWWWWWW".

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about how we foster dogs throughout the year. In fact, my last post about it was about how we foster-failed with Harvey and ended up adopting him as a full time fur-kid. Well, a lot has happened since then! There have been many more tails and furballs to enter into our lives. Some for longer than others and one for life! First things first… we adopted a second “furever” dog! 

Meet Quinn! We started to think it was about time to bring in a playmate for Harvey. One that wouldn't leave after only a few weeks and could keep him company while we were away at work. The problem was we couldn't adopt just any dog. Harvey likes to play 
ruff rough and he needed the perfect playmate. One that wouldn't get annoyed with his constant head-butts and pestering when he wanted to wrestle. While he's always been great with our fosters, especially the puppies, we could tell he got bored sometimes and just wanted a good wrestling match.

When our dog trainer, Danielle, called me while on a disc tour (from North Carolina!) to tell me she found the perfect dog for Harvey, we jumped on the opportunity. So she drove back home to Dayton, Ohio with Quinn (previously named Katie) to bring her home to us. Quinn, short for Harley Quinn, loves to run, play and wrestle with Harvey. They could wrestle all day long if we let them. It's exhausting to watch. But Quinn's story wasn't always a happy one. While she's only a year old, she spent almost all of her first year in an outdoor kennel with little to no attention. She came from a breeder who bred a Border Collie with an Australian Kelpie to create, what they thought would be, amazing herding dogs. Quinn apparently didn't get that gene and would herd her siblings, but not the farm animals. So she was forgotten and neglected. But now she's with us!

We are still working with her to reverse some of the sad habits and behaviors she learned in that first year of only being in a kennel. She paces back and forth and in circles any time she is not laying down or playing with Harvey. And while she is almost fully house trained, she isn't crate trained when it comes to going to the bathroom. This in particular is going to be really hard to break because of the fact that she ate, slept, lived, and relieved herself in a kennel for a whole year. There have been many days of coming home after a long day of work to have to clean out her crate. But she's getting better and better and she is the biggest love bug.

She loves to cuddle and couldn't be happier lying next to us while we watch TV. She is great with the few fosters we have had since adopting her and she loves almost everyone. We're still working on getting her to not be afraid of Mike's 6'7" brother. It's a work in progress.