July 6, 2012 § 10 Comments

I love a good deal. And so, ever since the Groupon phenomenon swept onto the shores of Singapore a couple of years back, I have been perusing the website on an almost daily basis in search of bargains. Many moons ago, there was an amazing deal from Photobook Singapore. For S$21 you can design your very own digital photo album, then have it professionally printed and bound into a hardcover book. As a scrapbook fanatic and avid bibliophile, this was one deal I could not pass up on! 

I had six months from the date of the Groupon purchase to complete and submit my digital photobook—easy peasy, I thought. Well, the months went by and in late June it occurred to me that I had yet to start on the photobook. With only days before the expiry of the Groupon, I went on a mad dash to piece together what would become the pages of the photobook. It was a race against time and for eight hours straight I was glued to the computer screen trying to figure out the software, manipulating photos, and keeping hydrated with lots of water while working through the unbearable afternoon heat. There were times during those long hours when I asked myself: “Why, oh why, did you fall for this Groupon temptation? Why didn’t you just go for that manicure deal instead. Heck, even that 1-for-1 buffet deal sounds pretty good right now.”

At last, the photobook was accomplished and with a click of the mouse it was sent off for printing. Then, it was just a matter of waiting for the finished product to arrive at our doorstep. Within a few short days, a package was delivered in the quiet hours of the night. Lil’ Miss Busybody was eager to help with the unwrapping of the package.

Ta-da! “The Adventures of Lil’ Miss Red Maple Leaf: The Story of Our First Year” …starring none other than the little nugget herself. I have to say, I’m quite pleased with the quality of the finished product. In fact, I was half expecting some of the images to come out grainy because I didn’t have the time nor stamina to make improvements. Somehow or other, everything seemed to work out in the end (which shows that even non-techies, like me, can miraculously churn out a decent photobook). Here’s a sneak peek into the pages of what has now easily become a favourite keepsake of ours…

Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

June 3, 2012 § 22 Comments

Butterflies were fluttering in my tummy as we headed for our last Good Canine Citizen class. This particular class was to be different from the ones before it. After 8 weeks of training, it was time to put all our hardwork to the test. Both MM and I were hopeful that Lil’ Miss Maple would do her best after seeing how well she had adapted to learning the commands and befriending some of her canine classmates. So, when it was our turn to take the stage, we mustered up our nerves and went for it. There were times when I thought, “Oh, boy. I hope the examiner didn’t take notice of that slight deviance…” But, all in all, Miss Maple did pretty well. For the first part, that is!

The second part was a group test. And this was when it got to be a little much for the furball. The canine students were lined up in a row for a 30-second “Down-Stay”. Miss Maple was sandwiched between two of her bigger canine peers, and I think that made her feel slightly uncomfortable. About 15-seconds into the test, Miss Maple broke from her position and gingerly walked towards me. Oops. Well, that seemingly innocent move led to an automatic F-A-I-L. We didn’t bring home a ribbon that day, but we stayed on to soak in the joy and excitement of Miss Maple’s classmates who passed the exam with flying colours. Congratulations to the graduates! Here are a few of their beaming smiles 😀

Although we completed the Good Canine Citizen Course sans ribbon, we tried not to let that get us down with worrying thoughts. After all, our little munchkin tried her very best to make us proud. We’re more than happy with Miss Maple’s progress and, even though the course has ended, we’ll definitely continue brushing up on her Good Canine Citizen skills. So, to reward ourselves (and to celebrate Miss Maple’s belated 2nd birthday) we headed out for some fun in the park!

If there’s one thing that can lift Miss Maple’s spirits, it would be a ball—baseball, basketball, soccer ball, tennis ball… you name it, she’ll play with it! First up, the soccer ball.

What do you think? Does Miss Maple stand a chance to play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup? Watch out David Beckham… here comes Lil’ Miss Beckham!

Next up, the tennis ball. Miss Maple is frighteningly obsessed with this itty bitty bouncy thing. In fact, I dare say that her affection for the tennis ball far outweighs her addiction to liver treats!

As we were playing, a couple arrived at the park with their two furkids in tow. It took no time at all for Miss Maple to initiate greetings with a bark. We were introduced to ‘Girl’ (a very sociable Shih Tzu mix) and ‘Honey’ (a spunky little Chihuahua). It took a little longer for Miss Maple to warm up (she often requires a slow start) but, soon enough, the trio became friendly acquaintances. Here’s a cheerful video that we’ve pieced together as a thank you to Girl and Honey for reminding us to not worry (about the past) and be happy (about the present)!

I think this is one belated birthday adventure that Miss Maple will remember for a long time to come. Just look at the furball’s sand-caked paw. I think the picture says it all. Happy Birthday, Lil’ Miss Maple!

Flight Of The Bumblebee

March 23, 2012 § 11 Comments

Poor Teddy. Teddy was munchkin’s birthday present. And, boy, did Lil’ Miss Maple love him… to death. Who knew that Maple’s lovebites could have caused Teddy to sprout cotton batting out from his nose. We certainly couldn’t let Maple continue on with this dangerous love affair, for fear of her swallowing some of Teddy’s cotton innards.

We had to find a more durable partner for Miss Maple, one that would survive her playful antics. And we did. The KONG Wubba (S$12.50 @ Polypet) passed the test and has proven that it could live up to our rough-and-tough furball. What has made the Wubba even more endearing, in Maple’s eyes, is that it squeaks when its middle is squeezed. *squeak, squeak, SQUEAK*

Unfortunately, for a small dog like Maple, it takes quite a bit of force to make the Wubba squeak. She knows the Wubba can spout all kinds of funny noises, and it frustrates her to no end that she can’t make it ‘speak’ with her jaws alone. That’s when the thrashing begins!

Feisty Miss Maple has learnt that if she slams the Wubba hard enough against the floor, it may let out a squeak.

We’re so pleased with the results of the Wubba. Mind you, we often have to initiate the play by exciting Miss Maple with the Wubba, as she will seldom pick it up on her own. But, once we have her hooked, she’ll go at it until she tires herself out. Here she is after a play session… Zzzz…

And, to give you a better idea of how Miss Maple entertains herself with the Wubba, check out her performance in the “Flight of the Bumblebee”! Have a buzzing great weekend, everyone 😀

Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

Santa’s Little Helper

December 22, 2011 § 8 Comments

The decorations are up. The Christmas cards have be mailed out. And our inquisitive little munchkin just had to be in the middle of all the action.

This year, we’re throwing our apartment a festive ‘eco-chic’ theme and, while rummaging through our local Salvation Army Thrift Store last week for potential DIY projects, I came across a unique set of holiday greeting cards with a wildlife motif—how perfect! These cards are not only printed on recycled paper, but also feature information about a particular endangered animal in Asia. What a scholastic novelty. J’adore ♥ 

All these lovely cards needed was a bit of sprucing-up with some scrapbooking embellishments to make them look one-of-a-kind. [Note: I think Martha Stewart would have been proud 😉 ] Now, if I believed Miss Maple could lend her paw for this project, I would have readily entrusted her with the glue-stick. But, my instincts warned me otherwise! 

Another recent find were these two Japanese Sasaki glassware from a second-hand store, called Hock Siong & Co, which sells furnishings collected from 5-star hotels around Singapore. To give these display pieces a boost of Christmas cheer, I filled them each with a green bauble that reminds me of lemongrass and a whimsical pearlescent butterfly.

[Note: When you have a theme like ‘eco-chic’, you just have to run with it (lol)! But, I can imagine putting these two glassware to other good uses throughout the year, perhaps as dessert bowls (the way they were intended to be). YUM.]

With the cards signed and sealed, it was time to get them stamped and delivered. Lil’ Miss Maple thought she could help with that task, too, but our pint-sized furball would need to be hoisted up to the mailbox or have the mailbox brought down to her level. Next year, Miss Maple, there’s always next year to be Santa’s little helper again. Who knows, you might just get that growth spurt you’ve been wishing for all this time!

Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

Miss Maple and the Jingle Bell

December 9, 2011 § 12 Comments

It’s that time of the year again when afternoon showers and cool breezy nights are as predictable as Miss Maple’s potty sessions! ‘Winter’ in Singapore is here and, along with it, the monsoon rains. On the positive side, the flowers are blooming voraciously and I couldn’t resist bringing home a bouquet of orchids to brighten up our sun-deprived apartment. 

Our little pipsqueak is suffering from cabin fever, as our entire household hunkers down indoors to stay dry from the thunder showers. So, how does one help a feisty pupster from going stir-crazy? This plastic ball with a bell inside was a steal for S$1 at our local pet store and has proven to be Maple’s all-star favourite toy!

The tinkerbell makes the sweetest rhapsody of noise when Maple plays with it. Truth be told, I fell asleep once to the tune of the bell and the pitter-patter of raindrops outside. But, when all becomes too quiet, well then, that is a sign of our munchkin doing the forbidden—chewing on the ‘jingle bell’, which we now call the new toy.

Yes, the Lil’ Miss is quite the chewer and the jingle bell has been dealt with several incisions already despite its relative newness. We have to keep a close eye on Miss Maple when she plays with the jingle bell to ensure that she doesn’t swallow any bits of plastic, and we always store away the jingle bell after each play session. 

Keeping the jingle bell out of Maple’s reach takes no effort at all… that is, if we can coax the naughty rascal into handing over her all-time favourite toy. The jingle bell has brought out the obsessive-possessive nature in our mild-mannered (so we thought) furball!

Curious to watch how the jingle bell has been keeping Miss Maple entertained during these ‘winter’ months? This video, which we have paired with, you guessed it, the ‘Jingle Bells’ song from Michael Buble’s Christmas CD, should give you a pretty good idea!

Have a great weekend, everyone—don’t forget your umbrellas.

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