Charity Spotlight: The Sam Simon Foundation

If you’ve ever watched an episode of The Simpsons, you may recognize Sam Simon’s name from the credits. Simon is the co-creator of the animated series, and has worked as producer and director for hit shows like Taxi, The Tracey Ullman Show, Cheers, and The Drew Carey Show. When not working on The Simpsons, Simon trades in his pen for paws. For years, he has been an active PETA fund-raiser, and since 2002, Simon has been dedicating himself to his own self-funded charitable program, The Sam Simon Foundation. The non-profit organization is one of L.A.’s largest free spay/neuter providers, helping low income pet owners receive care for their pet the foundation’s mobile clinic.

But The Sam Simon Foundation doesn’t stop there. The foundation truly lives up to their motto of “saving the lives of dogs to enrich the lives of people” through its efforts to rescue and rehabilitate homeless dogs. The Sam Simon team will care for and train these animals to become service dogs to those in need. Some dogs will become hearing dogs, assisting those with hearing handicaps, while others will go on to become loyal companions to military veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Even before the animals complete their training, the dogs will begin their work helping others by visiting people who reside in assisted living communities. Lending their loving hearts and friendly faces, the dogs spend time each month with the residents. The visits are mutually beneficial, allowing the dogs to gain valuable socialization skills, while improving the mental, physical, and emotional health of the people they visit.

Sam Simon with his own beloved dogs Casey, Petula, and Harvey

To learn more about what the foundation is doing to help dogs and humans alike, visit The Sam Simon Foundation website. You’ll also be able to view a list of adoptable pets, find free and low cost veterinary services, and receive tips and advice for choosing and caring for your shelter dog. The Sam Simon Foundation can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Image Credit: Sam Simon Foundation

Baby Names Making it Big in Hollywood

Whether as an attempt to avoid landing on the most popular baby names list or as a way channeling their “artistic creativity”, celebrities are notorious for coming up with some pretty interesting monikers for their offspring. Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple, Penn Jillette named his daughter Moxie Crimefighter, and Frank Zappa, whose children definitely take the cake for wackiest kid names, dubbed his children Dweezil, Ahmet, Moon Unit, and (ready?) Diva Thin Muffin.

But if the latest Hollywood births are any sign of things to come, celeb parents are finally toning it down and drawing their children’s names from the more conventional pile. Even Jason Lee, who famously named his first child Pilot Inspektor and second child Casper, simply named his recently born son “Sonny.” Here’s a look at the newest crop of tinsel town tots and where their names rank in popularity on the top baby names lists.

Image Credit: Photoree.com

Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima daughter’s names don’t fall far from the tree, as each of their names end in -na. Baby Sienna, born on September 12, is little sister to Adriana’s first daughter, Valentina. Sienna’s name landed at #225 on the Social Security Administration’s Top 1000 Baby Name for 2011.

Image Credit: Wylio.com

Also born September 12 was Nick Lachey and wife Vanessa’s first child, Camden John. More popular than birthday twin Sienna’s name, Camden breaks the top 200 list at #160.

Carson Daly and his blogger girlfriend Siri Pinter welcomed their second child Etta on September 6. Although very similar to “Ella”, which is one of the most commonly used baby girl names at the moment,  Etta is far less common, ranking #2888 according to BabyCenter.com.

Image Credit: Wylio.com

August 29th saw the birth of Bill and Giuliana Rancic’s first child, Edward Duke. While “Duke” is unique, the name Edward has been a popular name for generations, including in 2011 where it landed at #148 in the U.S.

Image Credit: Photoree.com

Also born in August was Jack, son to actress Anna Faris and actor Chris Pratt. As you can probably guess, Jack is indeed a very popular baby name, making it to the SSA’s Top 50 list at #48.

Image Credit: EveryStockPhoto.com

If Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and his wife were aiming to make the list for popular baby names, they scored a touchdown with their third son’s name. Callen Christian, born August 15, ranks #593 for “Callen” and #30 for “Christian.”

Image Credit: Photoree.com

Brandon Routh, who played Superman in 2006, and his wife chose the name Leo James for their first child, born August 10. Not far behind Nick & Vanessa Lachey’s “Camden”, Leo flew into the #167 spot.

Image Credit: Photoree.com

In late July, Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader and wife named their second daughter, Harper. Their first daughter, Hannah, also began with the same first two letters (“ha” – perhaps fitting for having a comedian as a father?) Baby Harper finds herself just shy of the U.S.’s Top 50 at #54, while coming in hot on BabyCenter.com’s 2012 list at #12.

 

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Homemade Fall-Flavored Dog Treats That Will Make Fido Flip

If the change in season has you in the mood for fresh baked fall goodies, why not bake up a few for Fido, too? These delicious homemade dog treats are chock full of autumn’s best flavors, like apple, pumpkin, nuts, and cinnamon spice. And because they’re made from natural ingredients, they’re a healthy addition to their regular doggy diet, too.

Image Credit: DoggyDessertChef.com

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Treats
Fill their morning belly with a fresh from the oven Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Treat, which is made simply from flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, an egg, and a scoop of applesauce.

Image Credit: DogHillKitchen.com

Nutty Bacon Dog Treats
With ingredients like crispy bacon, creamy peanut butter, and sweet maple syrup, you’ll have trouble not sneaking a nibble of these Nutty Bacon dog treats (don’t worry, we won’t tell anybody.)

Image Credit: SimmerTilDone.com

Pumpkin Dog Biscuits
Nothing says fall like pumpkin, and as it turns out, it’s an excellent source of fiber and vitamins for dogs. No carving required, you’ll need just a half a can of pureed pumpkin to produce 50-75 yummy pumpkin biscuits.

Image Credit: 17apart.com

Sweet Potato Dog Chews
Made simply from sliced sweet potatoes, these dog chews are a great alternative to rawhide. Bake them in a low temperature oven (or food dehydrator) before bedtime and they’ll be ready for gnawing by daybreak.

Image Credit: AllRecipes.com

Turkey and Cranberry Dog Bones
Why wait til Thanksgiving? Give them an early taste of the holidays with this recipe for homemade dog bones, which calls for whole wheat flour, chicken broth, turkey, and cranberries.

 

Do you have a favorite homemade dog food recipe like the ones above? Tell us about it in the comments below?

Image Credit: Wylio.com

8 Super Easy, Super Fun Do-it-Yourself Crafts for Kids

Has a rain-filled weekend or after school boredom got your kids down? With the help of a few simple supplies from around the house, fun on the fly is easy with these cute kiddie crafts. Turn flour into paint, Elmer’s glue into bouncy balls, and old socks into an adorable game that can be enjoyed by all. Here’s how!

Image Credit: DelawareCountyMoms.com

Doodle Paint – Equal parts of flour, salt, water, and a few drops of food coloring is all you need to whip up these non-toxic puff paints. The paint they create can be stored in craft store squeeze bottles for less mess and easy dispensing.

Image Credit: minieco.co.uk

Scented PlaydoughBack to the kitchen cabinets! This recipe calls for just a handful of ordinary food ingredients, like flour and water. Although this particular recipe details how to color and scent your dough with natural ingredients, like cocoa, vanilla, and berries, children with sensitivities can skip the extra step and just use food coloring.

Image Credit: JohnnyInADress.com

Fishing GameWith the addition of a some cotton, magnets, and a few strips of felt, their old socks can be turned into colorful little fish in this do-it-yourself fishing game. The tutorial also calls for a dow rod, metal hook, and ribbon for the poles, but we’re betting most of these items can be substituted with more common items (like construction paper, straws, string, and sturdy paper clips) if you’re in a pinch.

Image Credit: ComeTogetherKids.com

Bouncy BallsNo need to pour quarters in the ball machine at the grocery store until they get the color they want! Kids can create their very own super cool rubbery bouncy ball in any color they choose using Elmer’s glue, Borax, cornstarch, water and food coloring.

Image Credit: PinkPistachio.com

Sensory JarsGrab a handful of those little odds and ends taking up space in your junk drawer or arts and craft box, a clear container, and water. Fill it up, glue it up super duper tight, and the bottle becomes a sensory jar that will mesmerize your little one for, well, as long as their attention span will allow!

Image Credit: JustLove.ly

Flavored LipglossYour tween will love making this delicious, do-it-yourself lip gloss, which is created using just Vaseline and a packet of yummy Kool-Aid or Crystal Light drink mix. Store them in cute, customized containers and let her stash the leftovers in her backpack or hand them out to all of her B.F.F.s.

Image Credit: SkipToMyLou.org

Homemade StickersYou don’t need pricey printer paper to churn out stickers at home. By combining unflavored gelatin, light corn syrup, and water, you’ll create a sticky solution that can be applied to magazine clippings, wrapping paper, and more!

Image Credit: MeetTheDubiens.com

I-Spy BottleKeep kids of nearly any age busy seeking out the items you’ll hide inside this I-Spy bottle, which is made simply from a plastic bottle, uncooked rice, hot glue, and random small objects. Turn the bottle into a game between siblings or their friends to see who can “spy” the most items. 

 

Do you have a kid craft idea you’d like to share? Let us know what it is in the comments below!

Cute Critter Cams Worth Watching

If you’re looking for an extra dose of cute pets in your life, then you just might think that these animal webcams are the cat’s pajamas. From kitten and puppies to pandas and penguins, tune in to watch the furry lives of dozens of different animals unfold via live streaming video feeds. Between their wagging tails and wet nosed cam kisses, you’ll find it hard not to smile or aww (or be productive at work!) Here’s a list of some of our favorite critter cams we think are totally paw-some!

The Scientist Kittens
Join kittens Darwin, Newton, Eistein, and Tesla, along with the kitten’s mother, Marie, for plenty of adorable kitty hijinks. Foster parent, John Bartlett (who is temporarily caring for the feline family on behalf of Purrfect Pals) keeps the live feed steadily active and also often provides updates about the kittens activity and growth.

Service Puppy Live Cam
Not one, not two, but six precious pups for your viewing pleasure! Watch as the 3-month old doggy half dozen are trained and cared for at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The litter will graduate the program within the next 10 weeks and will then move on to become service dogs and loyal companions to disabled vets.

Brooklyn Bunny
As the “longest running bunny webcam on the internet”, Roebling the bunny has been broadcasting his cotton-tailed adventures for 7 long hoppy years from his owner’s Brooklyn, New York apartment. The black-eyed bunny can often be caught getting brushed by owner Kevin, munching lunch during “Oaty Time”, and snuggling up for a nap in one of his many cardboard boxes.

Discovery Reef Aquarium
The HD webcam attached to the Columbus Zoo’s Discovery Reef aquarium provides a crystal clear shot of the fish, shark, stingrays and sea turtles that call the 88,000-gallon saltwater tank home. You’ll also catch a glimpse of one of the largest live coral exhibits in the United States as you soak in the the cool, calming view. The best part? You can control the camera!

San Diego Zoo Panda Cam
There are only about 1,600 giant pandas in existence, so the opportunity to getup close and personal with this endangered animal is very rare. But thankfully, the San Diego Zoo makes that possible for anyone who tunes in to their panda cam. Panda bears Bai Yun, Gao Gao, Yun Zi, and at times, the newborn baby cub, can be seen engaging in all of their bear necessities while viewing the zoo’s streaming video.

Sea World Penguin Cam
Hang out with 300 penguins in an ice cold 25°F climate without having to bundle up in a coat! With SeaWorld San Diego’s Penguin Cam, the black and white birds can be seen and heard wailing, wiggling, and waddling their way through the day via the live high-definition video.

 

Do you have a favorite animal cam? Share it with us in the comments below!

Image Credit: Warrior Canine Connection @ Facebook

Baby’s Best Friend: Cute Pups and The Pipsqueaks That Love Them

Dogs make great best friends to children. As pets, they make wonderful secret keepers, the perfect partner in crime (acting as a lookout when sneaking cookies and providing them with someone to blame for broken glass), and they’re just the right size for side-by-side cuddling. But more than just someone who will help them secretly polish off unwanted veggies from their dinner plates, dogs supply kids with an unconditional love and companionship that the child will remember for the rest of their life.

It’s true, there’s nothing quite like the friendship between a dog and child. Here’s a look at a few pooches and the pint-sized people they lovingly call pals.

 

 

What kind of pet did you have when you were growing up? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Image Credit: Wylio

Six Tailgating Treats That Will Score a Touchdown with Your Tykes

Football season has officially kicked off! Will you be gathering with friends and family for a tailgating party? If so, and you anticipate having a few little football fans in the crowd, you’ll definitely want to have more on hand than hot wings and beer soaked brats.  Intercept your child’s hunger (and the adult’s) with these six winning kid-friendly recipes. You’ll only need a handful of ingredients to tackle each dish, and because they’re all easy to make, you’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time rooting for your team.

Image Credit: Amanda’s Cookin’

Mini Taco Bowls - These tiny taco bowls may look fancy, but they’re actually nothing more than a regular flour tortilla cleverly baked and molded using an everyday muffin pan. Gain extra points with your picky eater by letting them draft their choice of ingredients into each bowl.

Image Credit: Thirty Handmade Days

S’mores Caramel Popcorn – Game day leaves little time for kindling a campfire. Thankfully, all you’ll need to warm up this s’mores snack is a microwave. Mini marshmallows, chocolate, caramel, and Golden Grahams cereal are mashed up in this mixture to create a super munchable, super delicious treat that will leave your kiddos begging for s’more.

Image Credit: Blissfully Delicious

Oven-Baked Zucchini Fries - Healthy fries? Totally possible, thanks to these zucchini fries. The yummy veggie is an excellent source of Vitamin C and potassium, and because they’re baked and not fried, they’re better for their health (and a lot easier to clean up!) Sell them to your kids as “french fries”, serve with a dipping sauce and watch them disappear before the end of the quarter.

Image Credit: Banner Boutique

Deep Dish Fruit Pizza – How to get sneak an extra serving of fruit into your kid’s diet? Serve it atop a sugar cookie, add a dollop of frosting (made from cream cheese and whipped cream) and these petite fruit topped “pizzas” will get picked off one by one.

Image Credit: The Gunny Sack

Easy Pepperoni Rolls – Why wait for pizza delivery when these pepperoni rolls can be quickly whipped up using ingredients you probably already have on hand? Using little more than canned biscuits, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni (or any other one of their favorite toppings), these poppable pizza bites are the perfect football game finger food.

Image Credit: Love + Butter

Football Cake Pops – This recipe for football-shaped cake pops is easy to make, easy to eat, and cute to boot! Dip them in colored sprinkles to match your team’s jerseys or pipe on their logo using a decorating pen to show even more team spirit.

 

What is your favorite game day recipe?

Image Credit: Wylio

How Are You Spending Your Sunday?

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell where Sunday falls on our calendar.  After a long, busy week, we like to think of Sunday as our day to take a break and indulge in a little rest and relaxation. Feet kicked up, our favorite drink in one hand, and the remote control in the other. Other times, Sunday feels like a fresh start to a brand new week. We find ourselves motivated, ready to tackle some of the things on our outstanding to-do list, maybe do a little yard work or preparations for the next Monday-Friday.

Well, no matter how you decide to spend your first (or last) day of the week, it’s hard to argue that these pets (who opted to spend the day catching up on their zzz’s) might not be onto something!

Happy Sunday!

 

How are you spending your Sunday?

Image Credit: Wylio

Bone Up on the Internet’s Most Useful Pet-Related Websites

If you’re a pet owner, or looking to become one, this blog is for you. From traveling with your cat or dog to animal adoption, these helpful links will put you instantly in touch with a variety of valuable online pet resources.

Airline Regulations for Pet Travel -AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Delta, FAA Regulations, JetBlue, Southwest, United, US Airways

Animal Advocacy & RescueAnimal Rights Coalition, Be The Change for Animals, Be the Change for Pets, Up for Pups

Health & Care – Emergency Vet Hospital Finder, The Merck Veterinary Manual, Pet Education, Pet MD

Lost & Found PetsThe Center for Lost Pets, Fido Finder, Find Toto, Pet Amber Alert, Pets 911

Low Cost Spay & NeuteringSPAY/USA, NeuterSpay, People Saving Pets

Other Funny Pet-Related Photo BlogsBlogging Cat, Cute Overload, Daily Squee, The Daily Cute, The Daily Kitten, FunnyCuteStuff, I Can Haz Cheezburger, Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, LOLCats, Stuff on My Cat, Things I’ve Learned From My Dog

Non-Profit Pet OrganizationsAmerican Humane Society, ASPCA, Dogs for the Deaf, Guide Dogs of America, HALO Animal Rescue, Lost Dog and Cat Rescue, Millan Foundation, The Pets for the Elderly Foundation, Pets for Patriots, PetSmart Charities

Pet Adoption Sites - Adopt-a-Pet, Best Friends Animal Society, Cat Adoption Team, No Pet Store Puppies, Pedigree, PetFinderPetSmart, The Shelter Pet Project

RecipesRachael Ray Pet Recipes, Martha Stewart Homemade Dog Biscuits

VolunteerAdopt-a-Pet Volunteering Opportunities, Humane Society of the U.S.

 

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Non-Profit Animal Organizations That Help Protect Our Nation’s Pets

We all love cats and dogs, but these non-profit organizations are on a mission to offer more than just a scratch behind the ears to pets in need. Whether it’s through rescuing homeless animals or providing feline or canine companions to the disabled, these organizations work in a variety of ways to make the world a better place for people and pets across the nation. Here is a look at a few of the top animal welfare organizations and what they’re doing to help the pet population.

 

American Humane Society
For over 100 years, the American Humane Society has been working to protect both children, pets, and farm animals. The association continues its mission of prevent abuse and neglect by influencing Congress to pass related legislation, providing free or affordable health services to needy pets, and campaigning to stop puppy mills.

ASPCA
Focusing their attention on fighting animal cruelty, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was the first of it’s kind in the U.S. and remains one of the largest humane societies in the world.

Dogs for the Deaf
Dogs for the Deaf rescues dogs from animal shelters and trains them to become helpful companions to the disabled and handicapped, including those with a hearing impairment and children with autism.

Guide Dogs of America
Guide Dogs of America provides a guide dogs to people with a blind and visually impairment, at no cost to them.

HALO Animal Rescue
HALO, or Helping Animals Live On, rescues injured, ill, or young pets from being euthanized and provides them temporary home  in their no-kill shelter until for they become ready for adoption.

Lost Dog and Cat Rescue
The non-profit Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation helps find happy homes for homeless and abandoned pets. So far, the animal rescue organization has saved more than 1,600 pets from being euthanized.

Millan Foundation
The Millan Foundation, founded by Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, helps fund non-profit animal shelters and organizations whose mission is to rescue mistreated or homeless dogs.

The Pets for the Elderly Foundation
This non-profit charity helps pay a portion of the adoption fees of pets for senior citizens ages 60 and up.

Pets for Patriots
Pets for Patriots connects shelter pets to military members and U.S. veterans seeking a cat or dog companion.

PetSmart Charities
PetSmart Charities works in a variety of ways to help save and improve the lives of pets by supporting U.S. and Canadian animal-welfare organizations, offering adoption and fundraising programs within their PetSmart stores, and lending post-disaster emergency relief to people and pets.

 

Image courtesy of stay2gether / FreeDigitalPhotos.net