While You’re Away Send Your Pup to DogVacay!

This coming December will mark the 1 year anniversary of when my wife and I adopted our third child. And similar to how it was when our daughter and son were born 15 years and 12 years ago, respectively, my wife and I have found it difficult to go on vacation without the little one. My two kids might take exception with me referring to our dog Santana as our third child, but it’s hard to argue that the amount of time we put into caring for our amazing canine is much less than what we did and still do for our son and daughter. It’s not just the basic requirements of providing food and shelter, cleaning up waste and seeking veterinary care when needed, its the countless hours I spend with Santana playing outside, mostly at our amazing nearby dog park. I like to put on a good front for the family that taking Santana to the dog park is a choir and not leisure. The truth though is that I get tremendous joy in seeing the unbridled energy and excitement Santana displays every time she steps foot inside the wide open space of a dog filled playground. So the thought of going on vacation and leaving our little one in the hands of someone or someplace thats does not share the same enthusiasm is an uncomfortable one.
But sooner or later, it’s going to be time for me to let go, pack the bags with the wife and kids and leave Santana behind. As much as I love having Santana with me at all times, the reality is that having a dog with you on vacation does limit the number of activities you can enjoy, not to mention the costs of traveling with an animal. Fortunately, we found a service that can put my mind at ease, DogVacay. For pet owners like me that don’t want to use kennels, DogVacay allows your dog to stay in a loving home while you are away with the comfort of knowing that you will receive daily updates on how it is doing so you never have to worry while you’re gone. And unlike other companies that might offer similar services, DogVacay provides free pet insurance during the stay at the host’s home as well as 24/7 customer service.
Why Host?
How to Become a DV Host.jpgThe part about the service I find most appealing is the ease of use. Pet owners can simply enter their zip code and find a Host nearby who will care for your animal. Despite what the name says, cats and other animals are also welcome. There are over 20,000 hosts in the DogVacay network and all of them must maintain a 5 star review in order to stay in the program. So while there might not be someone out there that can care for my dog the way I do, at least I know its pretty close. And if you are inclined to be a part of the host community yourself and meet the rigorous standards of care that are expected for other people’s pets, DogVacay can be a fantastic way for dog lovers with flexible schedules to make some extra money. Watching just a few pets each month can translate into hundreds of dollars in extra income which isn’t too shabby.
Become a Host.jpegI’m not quite sure when our next family vacation is going to be, but I think it has to be one where I take a break from the local dog park at the chosen destination. Santana, I feel very guilty for even thinking that way. But I know your DogVacay vacation is going to be just as fun as mine and when we get back, we can talk about the great time you had getting those non-stop belly rubs. On second thought, maybe I’ll join you.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by DogVacay.com. However, all opinions expressed are 100% are own!

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Easy Pumpkin Thai Curry

Want a very quick and easy Thai curry recipe that will serve 2-3 people and takes just a few minutes to prepare? Well, look no further! I substituted the sugar I usually use in curries with dates and it worked out great. Enjoy!
Easy Pumpkin Thai Curry:
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (can use canned)
2 tsp Thai red curry paste (can get in most supermarkets)
4 dried dates, pureed in a food processor
Splash of fish sauce (found in most Asian food stores and some supermarkets)
Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
Heat in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it starts to reduce a bit, approximately 10 minutes.
Serve with rice, vegetables, meat or whatever you like.
For more great recipes please visit: takebackthekitchen.com

The Best of Me

Written by Rolemommy contributor, Kristin Flannery.
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Ever wonder what it would be like to reconnect with your long, lost love? I have to say that this Rolemommy contributor found out but alas we figured out why it didn’t work in the first place. This wasn’t the case with Nicholas Spark’s THE BEST OF ME which opens in theaters on Friday October 17, 2014.
Rolemommy sat down with the films stars James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan to find out what it was like during filming and if they ever found their own lost loves.
This isn’t the first time that James Marsden has been in a Nicholas Sparks movie (he played the ditched fiance in The Notebook) so we were wondering if he was promised a happy ending…
James Marsden filled us in “Yes, he’s a sadistic, isn’t he? Oh, I have to be careful. You’re recording this. I didn’t mean that, Nick. Which is going to be a slow progression over the next 10 years, when I’m in the next Nicholas Sparks movie.Something else is going to happen right before I get the girl. No, I didn’t actually meet Nicholas until “The Notebook” premiere. So, he’s obviously is a presence in these movies. But, when we’re out there filming the scenes and working with Michael (director Michael , it’s pretty much just us.” Michelle Monaghan thinks “he is writing the next 10 books, basically, while we’re out shooting.”
We thought that this one was the most violent Nicholas Sparks movie, book, that we have seen yet so we wondered how was it on the set.
James Marsden confessed “It’s pretty intense. I mean, I know that Luke got the brunt of all of that, and dealt with that more than I did, except that I, you know, I’m sort of the product of that down the line. But, I think, there’s an edge to this movie. And his upbringing, love and someone defining that for him at a young age was very absent in his upbringing. And so, that’s what I think when he meets Amanda. It’s like he comes alive, you know. It’s the first time he’s ever felt these emotions for somebody else, and what it feels like to be cared for and to care for somebody else. It was a very serious thing that he was dealing with, and in having an abusive father.”
It’s a really nice story, I think, as somebody in middle age to see you come back and you have a second chance in there. And are there anything that you guys would want to have second chances at now in your life?
Michelle Monaghan believes “It’s funny because you can sort of look at your life and go, “Okay. Well, maybe I would have made a different decision,” or something like that. But, I guess regrets are kind of hard because every single one that I’ve made, whether they’ve been good or bad, they’ve informed my life in some way. So, I can’t say, “Oh, dear, that was maybe not the right thing to do.” But, I learned something from it, or I have grown from that. And I think that’s where people in general just grow.”
We wondered have you really been in this kind of love, like in this love, because it’s lovely to see these kind of movies, but thinking in real life?
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James Marsden replies “Not everybody is lucky enough to find it. I like these characters so much in this movie because there’s so much goodness about them, and they’re so unselfish with the love that they give to one another and how they show it. And I think you can better your chances at maybe finding that by nurturing it as well. It’s not just like love at first sight, and the universe has these two people. And then, for some reason, just them, they’re the only ones allowed to experience it. I think that it’s what they do with their initial reaction to one another and how they treat one another that it’s that that love is then nurtured, and then it becomes that sort of timeless love, I think.
In closing we wondered if they found those emotional moments a lot when they were filming, where you were so drawn into it that you were off-set or on-set like–.
Michelle Monaghan believes “Yes. Well, I think that’s the beauty of these sorts of films, it’s like a privilege to be able to go there, because I think we’re so used to shooting a lot of films, like James was saying yesterday, there’s a lot of bells and whistles, and a lot of special effects and things like that. And this really is just about the emotion. And it’s about these scenes. So, you’re invested in these characters, and you really want to bring as much emotional truth as you can to it. And so, James and I, along with Michael, we really spent a lot of time in creating this emotional arc, and making sure that it made sense, and that it was truthful and based in reality, and it was grounded, and that the emotional responses were earned and deserved. There is joy behind heartache. That is so Nicholas Sparks. There really is joy behind heartache.”
Don’t miss Nicholas Sparks’ THE BEST OF ME in theaters October 17th and for more information follow them on twitter at #thebestofme.
Check out the special trailer here.