Archives for category: dog stories

What first comes to mind when you think of Seattle? Did I hear you say rain? This week’s Science Saturday project is about water and is from Seattle.  Anne, a Seattle mother of three, shares her pictorial  How to: Self-Watering Seed Starter Pots.  Who better to know about water than a Seattlite, right? It’s still a little too early for starting seeds here in northern Minnesota, but I am anxious to give this ingenious method a try. Also with Earth Day around the corner, we’ll  add this to our list of ways to reuse plastic soda bottles.

A few weeks ago the girls and I did a project that I’ve been enjoying every day since.  We repurposed 2 liter bottles and turned them into self-watering planters for starting our tomatoes and cucumbers indoors.  They’ve been sitting on the window sill near my desk and I’ve been watching them grow every day.  It’s been the perfect antidote for the bummer weather we’ve been having here in Seattle.
I’ve tried starting seeds indoors several different ways over the years.  So far this is my favorite method because the soil is always exactly the right moisture level and it’s very easy to see with the naked eye when it’s time to add water to the planter.  There’s no guesswork involved and the plants seem to love it.
Here’s how we made them:
You need 2 liter bottles, potting soil, seeds, thick string or yarn (either cotton or poly seems to work), a Phillips screwdriver, hammer, and a sharp blade to cut the bottle.
Cut the bottle in half.
Use a Phillips screwdriver and a hammer to punch a hole in the center of the bottle cap.
Cut a length of yarn/string about 1′-1.5′ long, double it over and tie a loop on one end.
Thread the yarn/string through the hole in the bottle cap so that the knot is on the inside of the cap.  This will act as a wick, drawing water up from the basin below and into the soil.  The plant will take only what it needs, so the soil moisture will be perfectly regulated.
Put the cap back on the bottle top and nest the top of the bottle in the base. As the plants grow and use up the water, you can just lift off the top to add more to the base instead of pouring it over the soil.  As the soil dries, water will be sucked up through the string into the pot.
Label your bottle so that you remember what you planted.  🙂
Add potting soil and seeds…
You need to water the soil from the top the first time in order to make sure that it is uniformly wet and that the string also is wet.  Otherwise the surface tension of the water will prevent the whole thing from working correctly.
…and wait.

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Anne is also a talented soap maker with a fantastic line of artisan soaps at Seattle Sundries.
Here is her latest, and with a currently very dirty Shop Dog Higgins, must say greatest soap. But really,  you have to take a look at the packaging, each one is more clever than the other. The list goes round and round, like Bitchn’ Kitchen, Potty Mouth, Gender Neutral to Manly Man. You can even  private label soaps for wedding favors, corporate events, etc.
Thanks for all your inspiration Anne!
While I’m still thinking “water” and am inspired – better make it bath time for Higgins.

Or, does your dog look like you?

Contest: Do you or any of your friends resemble your dogs? Send over your photos to share and we will post them here to see if others agree with your perception. Send them to  A winner will be announced.

Higgins, our Shop Dog, goes to work at Totally Kids fun furniture & toys every day. Anyone brave enough to tell me who looks like Higgins? Or, or, or… anyone even braver to say out loud who acts like Higgins? (in the mother dog sense)

And NO, I do not drive an ATV like Higgins.

With all of our Easter Egg posts of late we must not forget our pooches. Pampered Paws Gifts offers these dog-gone special Easter treats for our favorite furry pals.

If you care to DIY it, has a healthy Canine Cookie recipe that you could whip up in time for a Bunny delivery.

Classic Canine Cookies

4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup cooked rice
1 egg
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Juice from a small orange
1 2/3 cup water

Mix all ingredients together well. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead.

On floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 – 1/2-inch (1 cm) thickness. Cut into Easter Egg shape. Arrange on ungreased baking sheets; bake in centrer of 350°F (180°C) oven until dark brown and crisp, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool.

You are on your own rustling up a tasty yogurt frosting. It is out there somewhere and if you wouldn’t mind sharing it with us when you find one – that would be splendid!I
































And I could have been your president…..


Halloween Safety Tips For Dogs

1. Avoid chocolate and other candy.  Make sure to keep any candy that you are going to hand out safely hidden from your dog. Notify kids in the house to put their candy bags away. Chocolate is a big no-no for dogs as it contains theobromine, which their bodies cannot properly digest. The darker the chocolate, the worse it can be. Small amounts are typically not lethal, so if he does snag a bite don’t freak out. But also don’t let it happen.

Candy wrappers, tinfoil, and other dangers can be found in candy bags, so keep your dog safe by putting these away.

2. Put your dog in a safe place, either a separate room or his crate, when the trick-or-treaters are coming by. You should not let him be at the door to greet the kids. Costumes, commotion, and loud noises will stress him out and can cause problems ranging from stress to aggression.

3. Don’t leave your dog around kids without supervision. The erratic movements and loud, startling noises can really upset him. Add in a scary costume and you have a formula for disaster.

4. Be careful about placement of electrical cords for decorations. If your puppy or dog chews on these, trouble will follow. Arrange them for safety and use a bitter apple spray on the cord to keep pets at bay.

5. Don’t leave candles unattended. Carved pumpkins look great with a candle burning inside them, but they can be tipped over. They can also be investigated by curious pets which can lead to burns or worse.

6. Make sure that your dog’s costume is the right fit. Don’t put him in a costume that is too small or tight. Also check for loose ends that could be chewed on and swallowed or cause other problems. If your dog hates having the costume on be a friend to him and take the costume off.

7. Watch out when the door is open. If your dog is not secured in another room or in his crate then he might bolt out the door. With all the activity outside it may be even harder to get him back in.

8. Walk your dog before the festivities begin – all those costumes can be scary.

9. If the noise is bothering him, try adding background sounds (radio, TV) to distract him from the neighborhood hubbub.

10. Be careful when out walking your dog after Halloween – loose candy can be found and he may grab a big piece if he sees it before you do.

11. Think twice about taking him out with your family to trick or treat. There’s a lot of costumes and commotion which can put any dog on edge. He might be happier at home.

12. Tell kids the dangers of the treats and to not feed the dog any.

13. Be firm. Don’t let anybody who wants to greet your dog just to be polite. Be willing to say “no thanks” if your dog is feeling anxious or if the other person (perhaps an excited, sugar filled child) is approaching inappropriately.

14. If you take your dog with you, do not take him up to a stranger’s door – the resident dog may not take kindly to that and it could end up being a bummer. Someone should wait at the end of the driveway with the dog.

15. Do not leave your dog outside. There are plenty of rumors that dogs are taunted and teased, that gates are opened, and that candy is tossed in yards. It’s unlikely that lots of kids are running around causing harm to dogs on Halloween night, but the commotion is enough to unnerve your dog and it is conceivable that a youngster might toss a treat toward your dog with the best of intentions but bad results.

It may seem like a lot, but the truth is that Halloween is a fun time for parents and kids and can easily be fun for dogs too. Many dogs enjoy being the center of attention and will tolerate wearing a costume (which we get a huge kick out of!) to do so. Keep an eye out for the dangers of candy, keep your dog secure in your house, and be ready to ward off over excited kids and all will be well. Happy Halloween.

Hot Dog It’s the Wag-O-Ween Party 2011 Today!

                                  Put on your costumes and bring your people in.

Totally Kids fun furniture & toys WAG-O-WEEN PARTY 2011

Please join us today, October 22 from 1-3PM at 7876 Portland Avenue South, Bloomington, MN

All Costumed Families with Their Costumed Pets will Receive a FREE $5.00 Gift Card!

(All pets must  be on leashes during the party please!)

Professional photographer, Gretchen Osowski will be on hand for Furry Family Fotos.

Hot Cider, Treats, Dog Biscuits, Games & Prizes for the Whole Family!

No Tail Wagging Pets? No Problem! Bring Your Favorite Stuffed Animal and Dress Up

Do not let your people miss out on the fun. You can have them get more de-”tails” at 952-881-2425.

And it all ended with a one night stand.

Yes indeed, upcycled and upside down.

Megan (surprise – surprise) here is a new project – how about building a which-way witch for the event. Birshykat has the 411 you’ll need for this creation. (witch BTW  was made from finds right here in Minneapolis) She even crafted the witches shoes! (the Goodwill is  conveniently located down the street) We will see what our talented furniture designer, Megan will come up with…

Hallo-Green Costume Exchange Party 2011.

Celebrate EEK-onomically this Halloween by exchanging costumes! Bring in your kids’ gently-used costumes and trade for a new-to-you one! Trading costumes is a fun way to get kids excited about recycling.  Join us at Totally Kids for games, prizes, and spooky treats!


All those participating will receive 10% off their entire purchase!*

Bring in gently-used costumes for kids or dogs and trade for a different one!

WHEN: Saturday, October 8 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
WHERE: Totally Kids at 7876 Portland Ave. South, Bloomington, MN 55420
WHAT: Hallow-Green Costume Exchange Party 2011
WHY: To offer families a creative, eco-friendly Halloween tradition

Everyone will be entered into a drawing; the first chosen will have first pick of a new-to-you costume. The rest will follow; then, let the trading begin!

Any additional costumes that you can donate will be combined with the leftover Halloween costumes and given to St. Joseph’s Home for Children. Last year we were able to provide a huge car load of Halloween costumes for the kids at St. Joe’s. This year our goal is to at least fill 2 car loads. Please help by sending over any gently used costumes that you are no longer using!
phone: 952-881-2425

To top off the witches head, (wherever it is) here are some yummy kid easy to make Witches Hat cookie concoctions.

Simple iingredients are Keebler Fudge stripe cookies (turned upside down), Hershey Kisses attached with orange Wilton tube icing. Soooo easy!

*Offer good October 8 only. Not valid on prior purchases, gift cards or combinable with other offers.

It is Take Your Dog to Work Day. Is your pooch helping you at work today?

Our Shop Dog, Higgins comes to work every day. Last August Sidewalk Dog featured Higgins.

Here is the article:

We at Sidewalk Dog have a soft spot for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels like Luc, the original Sidewalk Dog who passed away this spring. So when Annie Seberson of Totally Kids fun furniure & toys in Bloomington e-mailed us about her shop dog, a Cav named Higgins, our hearts naturally melted. The more we learned about Higgins (is that a great name or what? We wish she had a doggie-sized tweed jacket, monocle and pipe to go with it … ), the more we loved her. Here’s what we learned about the little Cav who graces what her mom calls “the largest children’s furniture and toy store on the planet.”

Sidewalk Dog: Can you give us some background on your store?

Annie Seberson: Kay (my mother) is an interior designer specializing in children’s rooms and decided that opening a retail store would showcase fun and interesting products making them available to many more people. We are a woman-owned, mother/daughter team. We love what we do and have been serving the Minneapolis area since 1983.

SD: Tell us about Higgins. How did she come into your life?

AS: Higgins is a black and tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She is 2 ½ years old. In 2008, my mother and I were having coffee at Starbucks and saw two Cavaliers cuddling with their owner on a bench on the sidewalk. We had never seen that breed before and were so impressed with their markings and disposition; we just had to get one. Higgins loves hiking and cuddling with anybody, anywhere, anytime. She especially loves a tummy rub.

SD: How long has Totally Kids had a shop dog?

AS: We have had a shop dog for nine years. Before Higgins, there was Cinder. Cinder was a mild-mannered, people-loving golden retriever belonging to an employee, Bob. Bob brought Cinder to work everyday for seven years. Cinder is now in doggy heaven.

SD: Do you let other dogs in your shop?

AS: Dogs are always welcome; we have doggie treats and a water bowl. Higgins likes to share.

SD: How does Higgins react to the customers? How do the customers react to her?

AS: Higgins loves everyone. Many of our customers are children and they are always excited to see Higgins.  Our staff are all enthusiastic dog lovers with pictures of their pups on their computers as screen-savers and pinned to the walls in the office. Higgins is the inspiration behind a Halloween costume party for dogs called “Wag-o-ween” that we host in October.

SD: What do you like about having a shop dog? Are there any frustrating moments?

AS: There has not been one frustrating moment with having a shop dog. I think everyone needs a shop dog. They bring joy, entertainment, and warmth to the work environment.

SD: Do you think having a shop dog draws people to patronize your store?

AS: Yes, I think people like being greeted by a friendly, fluffy, tail-wagging little dog.


Panda beds may have even more meaning to Chinese families.

For years, the Giant Panda has been thought of by many Chinese as an unofficial national symbol.

Giant Pandas, said to have been around during the time of dinosaurs, are cited as a “national gem” of China. Prized for thousands of years by the Chinese, the Giant Panda is a symbol of peace. Once prolific in the lowland mountain ranges, the Giant Pandas have landed on the rare and endangered species lists due to a naturally low birth rate and a century of illegal hunting and habitat loss. Now protected by law, considerable worldwide efforts continue to help the large, cuddly bears survive as a species and conserve their natural habitat.

There are about 1,000 Giant Pandas thought to be living in the wild. About 239 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers, mostly in China and 27 living outside of China.

You can adopt a cuddly Panda.

Or do as some Chinese folks do; Panda paint your pups.


Don’t forget your pooch on Valentine’s Day!

Whip up some heart shaped biscuits.

These treats are easy as can be to make, and can easily be cut into cute little heart shapes after the dough has been rolled out. Leave the baking pan of biscuits in the oven for several hours after turning it off, and then keep the biscuits out on the counter for a few more hours after that to make sure they’re completely dried out before putting them in a container.

Valentine’s Day Dog Biscuits

1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup beef broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup powdered milk

~ Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

~ In a large bowl, stir together the cheese, oil, beef broth and garlic.

~ Combine the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, cornmeal and powdered milk; stir into the cheese mixture until well blended. You may need to use your hand to properly blend the dough.

~ On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the treats. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart.

~ Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the treats are firm and the bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.











Whether a visitor or resident of Minnesota you will be reminded of familiar spots that you love. Oh, Minnesota – with your land, lakes and loons! This Good Night Minnesota board book is a fun look at what it is to be a Minnesotan. 20 full-color board pages.

Totally Kids staff pick. A huge customer favorite.


A Taste of Minnesota Too!

Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish

Ten thousand lakes and one famous hot dish. You do not have to go to a restaurant specializing in Minnesota to experience it. A recipe so simple, many a young Minnesota girl practiced cooking it at a young age.

Begin with:

1/2 bag tater tots
1 lb. hamburger
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cream of mushroom soup
1 cream of celery soup

Brown hamburger in pan. Drain off fat. Mix hamburger, cream of mushroom soup, cream of celery soup, salt, and pepper in a casserole dish. Place tater tots on top of mixture. You should have the entire top covered. Place in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve hot. Makes a serving of 6.


The Loon is the state bird even though some folks like to believe that it is the mosquito. Jello salad is considered by many a Minnesota state food. Sunshine  Jello Salad Mold  is another Minnesota classic.


  • 2 3-ounce packages lemon flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 9-ounce cans crushed pineapple with juice (cannot use fresh pineapple)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots


1 Empty gelatin into a small mixing bowl. Stir in 2 cup of boiling water. Stir thoroughly until the gelatin has dissolved.

2 Stir in 1 cup ice water, one can of crushed pineapple with its juice, lemon juice (or vinegar), and a pinch of salt. (Make sure you use canned pineapple. Fresh pineapple has an enzyme that will prevent the gelatin from jelling.)

3 Chill in refrigerator until the gelatin starts to thicken. Then gently fold in the grated carrots until well mixed.

4 Add mixture to a jello mold. Set in the refrigerator until firm, several hours. To unmold, dip the bottom of the pan in hot water for about 5 seconds. Invert onto a serving platter, and shake firmly to release. Slice to serve.


Devon’s Staff Picks:

My first pick for this holiday season is the Pets Eye View Camera. It is a small, lightweight digital camera that attaches to your pets collar. I cannot tell you how much fun it is to see what my dogs do when I am not at home! I was wondering which one of my dogs kept getting into the garbage, and low and behold it was the one I was SURE was innocent. Then the next day I attached it to my cat’s collar. It was hilarious to see the world through my cat’s eyes. I now understand why they run from my two 50lb dogs!

My next pick would be the Fun with Your Dog kit. It has a healthy cookie mixture to make treats for your dogs, with a dog bone shaped cookie cutter! It also has a ton of different experiments to do with your children. It is a really fun way to engage your children in science, without making it feel like “work”. (It’s also fun for the dogs too!)

Trains, planes and automobiles – Santa’s sleigh – all delivery methods that most of us have heard of.

There was complete disbelief today when Angela, one of our interior designers, told us about an order she was working on that would reach it’s final destination via dog sled.

In order to get the bed delivered to it’s new home in Alaska, it would first travel by truck, then by sea, on another truck, next on an airplane, then another truck – all before the dog sled that would deliver it to the clients front door.

If you want it, we will find a way to get it delivered to you!


        Know anyone looking for a folding kick sled?


 No dogs, no sled? No problem! Snowshoes are available for you.


                                 Try making your own snowflakes from Design*Sponge.