Posted on Leave a comment

Misfit Manor Diary … welcome Spike!

Welcome Spike to Misfit Manor…

Spike loves to go to the park with his sisters!

A few weeks ago a new Misfit joined our family. Spike is a 10 year old pomeranian beauty. We were looking to add another little girl at the Manor after the loss of sweet Holly… but when Spike became available we couldn’t pass him up.

While we think his name is adorable…it certainly doesn’t fit his personality. Spike is so sweet and mellow. He fit in here at the Manor right away…getting along with everyone else and quickly learning our routines. Spike was apparently picked up as a stray so we know nothing about his past. Other than an eye infection and looking a little scruffy he is a very healthy, vibrant boy.

Spike in the Shelter

He has quickly learned the daily exercise routine here and loves going for walks with his sisters. For a senior he has a lot of energy and runs all over on our daily park walks. We are so excited to have him join our family and grateful that he found his way to us just in time for the holiday season.

Holiday Fun at Misfit Manor

The holiday fun has started at Misfit Manor…with no help from Solstice. Working on the tree was no small feet with her participation this year. Solstice is the spunkiest (naughtiest) cat we have ever had here…the house is her playground and climbing, knocking things down and batting things around are her favorite things to do. Despite her shannanigans the tree is up and looks beautiful…I can’t wait to fill up the base of the tree with their presents in a few weeks. The stockings are hung…though they have all been knocked down several times already this season. Christmas morning is one of my favorite days of the year to celebrate the Misfits…pancake breakfast and lots of presents!

Caring for Millie as she ages…

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

If you have followed me for a while you now my sweet little Millie is my sidekick…where I go she goes. For such a tiny dog and for her age Millie has always had a ton of energy and enthusiasm. Every day Millie walks a mile at a near by park with several of her siblings. A few weeks ago we noticed that she started slowing down considerably and was just generally not acting like her self. She had a quick check at the vet and we put her on an anti-inflammatory for suspected back pain. Yesterday she started to lose feeling in her back legs. Today’s xrays show severe disk arthritis and compression in her back which is likely causing numbness in her back legs. We have started her on a steroid for a spell and will be lasing her back several times a day. It is possible she will lose the use of her back legs at some point but we are going to assume the best for right now. We have our own veterinary laser at Misfit Manor that we have written about in the past if you are interested in looking in to one for your own dogs read our post on the laser. For now Millie seems content to bundle up in the stroller with Rosie on our walks. Hopefully we will be able to ease some of her discomfort.

What has happened to kindness…is it lost?

I think everyone feels it. There is a thickness in the air these days…it’s a social/emotional thickness and its very heavy. People seem to have such a short fuse…patience, manners and decency have been tossed out for fear, greed and self preservation at all costs. The lack of socialization and the community connection fed by it is deteriorating rapidly…the hidden cost of the handling of the pandemic. Humans aren’t made to be disconnected like this but when interactions with others are unpleasant…we retreat even more. Our own story is not different from most families right now…Bret and I are keeping to ourselves…it feels safer that way… not just from a COVID perspective but from a need to protect our energy. I don’t believe this is sustainable for us or our society for much longer though.

There are very few ideas that I believe are absolutes…unshakeable truths. But there definitely is one belief that I personally hold as an absolute…and that is that I don’t believe in the concept of “empty space”. There is no empty space in the universe…physically or spiritually. We can fill the space within our souls with good thoughts or bad thoughts…not both. One will always overtake the other…whichever one we focus on. If we focus on filling our soul space with kindness…gratitude…patience…compassion…there is no room for feelings like anger and fear or at the very last they can’t take hold of us for long. I know…it is a wonderful platitude…but not always an easy truth to execute in daily life…especially these days. I have to remind myself that I can choose at every moment how I will will my soul space. I can’t control much of what is going on around me…but I can always control my perspective and what I choose to fill my soul with. I have to start each day with a cup of coffee and my little gratitude journal….sometimes I have to go back to my journal a few times a day…but it remains my most powerful tool for filling my soul space with good thoughts that uplift me and help keep the darkness and negativity away.

Don’t forget about us this holiday season

Don’t forget to visit our shops this holiday season. We have a lot of great ideas for the dog lover in your life! We have both our own Misfit Manor Shop and a store on Etsy.

Blessings to you from all of us this holiday season.

Nancy & The Misfits

Posted on 1 Comment

Pawty Planning – Entertaining the hoomans

Misfit Manor Shop Pawty Planning

Pawty Planning…let’s be honest…pawties are just as much about the hoomans as they are about the dogs. Everyone…even the biggest grump on the planet…has fun at a dog birthday party. In all the years we have been having pawties at Misfit Manor we have structured them similarly to keep everyone entertained; food & drink for both hoomans and dogs, games & photo ops for the hoomans and the dogs and some sort of activity that creates a keepsake for the hoomans to take home with them.

Today we are focusing on entertaining the hoomans at your pawty and that means some activities that everyone can participate in. The ideas are endless…but here are a few of our absolute favorites.

Cake & Coffee

Cake and coffee with dogs is so much fun. The options for dog cake are endless; check out my pinterest board for DOG PARTY RECIPES to get ideas on making your own doggy cake. At Misfit Manor my doggy meat cake is the favorite cake recipe. If you are not a baker you can order fabulous doggie cakes from local barkeries and even on Etsy! But let’s be honest…its the Pupperccinos after cake that is so much fun. All you need is some Pupperccino Cups and a can of whip cream. I don’t know about your dogs but my dogs go crazy as soon as they hear the whip cream can start working!

Games and Photo Ops

Pawty Planning

Everyone loves to interact with dogs…well at least anyone who is coming to a pawty does! Planning games and photo opportunities for your pawty guests will make your event much more fun and very memorable. Some of our favorite games to play at pawties are Pawty Bingo, the Cup Game and Trick Contests. Read our our Free Pawty Resources Post to get materials and instructions on Pawty Bingo and the Cup Game. Always a hit are costume contests and who looks most like their dog contests! If you are planning games and contests…be sure to have prizes or awards…everybody loves a prize! Check out our blog post on Pawty Gifts and Prizes for our best ideas!

Do a diva photo booth theme…super easy…glasses, scarves and some strands of pearls!

Pawties are such a great time to take memorable photos. Trust me…everyone is smiling at a dog party…you are going to capture so many happy and beautiful moments. Setting up a photo booth can be as easy or as complicated at you want it to be. To keep it simple…just pick up a few photo props like scarves, hats, strands of pearls and glasses and pass them around. If you do a google search on “photo booth props” and you will find all sorts of fun and affordable items you can order. If you are a DIYer…search on pinterest for DIY photo props. Misfit Manor offers some super cute Pawty Themed Photo Props that are sure to make some great pictures of dogs and their parents!

You can make it even more fun by creating a photo set that goes with the theme of your pawty! It’s easier than you might think to create a fun and affordable photo set. Things like inexpensive shower curtains or sheer curtains combined with some curtain lights make a gorgeous photo set. Add in a cute dog bed or bench and some balloons…voila…you have a great set! If your pawty is happening close to a major holiday a set is even easier to create with holiday decorations you already have. Christmas pawty photos with a volunteer in a Santa or Grinch suit are a blast! Check out my Misfit Manor Pinterest Board on Pawty Tablescaping for more ideas on setting up cute dog themed sets and props.

If you are looking for ideas for games and activities just for the dogs check out my post on Dog Pawty Games and Activities!

Making a Keepsake or Toy

I am a crafting addict…and so are most of my friends so every pawty includes making something to take home. This can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. To start the process of generating your own basket of project ideas check out my Misfit Manor Pinterest Board for Pet Crafts. Definitely one of the simplest group of ideas on this board is to make a handmade dog toy. This can be super cost effective too because most of the supplies you need can be thrifted. You can even have a coloring table…admit it…we all still like to color! Check out my Misfit Manor Pinterest Board for Pet Themed Coloring Pages you can download for your pawty for free!

Making a keepsake though is my absolute favorite activity to plan for a pawty. Making keepsakes can range from; a salt dough paw print ornament, paw print art, a decorated frame to more complex projects like make your own hats and sweaters. Again, browse through my Misfit Manor Pinterest Board for Pet Crafts for tons of ideas. Two of our most favorite pawty crafts are Derby Pawty Hats at our annual Derby Pawty and Ugly Christmas Sweaters for our dogs at our annual ugly sweater pawty. When you do a wearable craft such as a make your own hat, tutu or sweater…raise the “fun stakes” by making it a contest too! Appoint a judge to decide the contest and have a great set of prizes!

If you need some Pawty Planning basics check out our blog post Pawty Planning 101. Pawties are definitely memory making events and planning them is so much fun. Don’t forget to check out our Misfit Manor Shop for all your party decorating needs; we have dog party hats, banners, favors and more. Most of our items can be personalized too!

Don’t forget to sign up for our blog to get our Misfit Manor updates and Pawty Posts full of great ideas and freebies! Follow our Misfit Manor Pinterest Page for tons of dog lover content and follow us on Instagram at @misfitmanordogs for all of our new product releases!

Pawty On!

Nancy & The Misfits

  • Rainbow Paw Print Cupcake Toppers
  • Dog Bone Table Confetti
  • Blue Dog Birthday Party Banner, Misfit Manor Shop
  • Paw Print Party
  • Paw Print Party Hat
  • Blue Dog Birthday Hat
  • Blue Paw Print Mini Party Hat
  • Dog Birthday Party
  • Paw Print Party Favor Boxes
  • Paw Print Boxes - The Misfit Manor Shop
  • Dog Bone Cup Cake Toppers - Misfit Manor Shop
  • Paw Print Dog Bone Cup Cake Toppers - Misfit Manor Shop
  • Red Sparkly Dog Bone Cup Cake Toppers
Posted on Leave a comment

Misfit Manor Diary….little changes & staying in alignment

Misfit Manor Shop

Little changes…

Sweet Miss Millie has been at Misfit Manor for almost 4 years now. She was considered a senior when she arrived here (at least 10) but after a little TLC she quickly became a healthy, happy and sassy permanent member of the family. The last few months we have noticed a lot of change. Her vision and hearing are pretty much completely gone. You can see the effects of arthritis on her back and hips. She moves a lot slower and she is contented to spend her days mostly sleeping…yet she is still so happy. It seems nothing can rob this dog of her joy…not even going blind.

Millie dresses up for trips to the park!

Every day I load “the pokeys” in the car and we go to the same park for our walk. Rosie comes along in her stroller…Millie, Allie, Lacey and Turnip come too. With the exception of the Lacey…none of them wear a leash. They just stick together by me and bother no one…they are having too much fun to bother anyone. I turn either music or an audio book on speaker on my phone and off we go. Despite having lost her vision and having arthritis Millie still walks the whole loop at the park (just under a mile). She trots along using the edge of the concrete path as her guide. Sometimes she gets turned around and walks in the wrong direction…we just pick her up and turn her around and off she goes again. My walk with “the pokeys” is one of the highlights of my days…it takes forever…I do a lot of just standing around waiting for them to sniff all the interesting smelly things they pass by…but it is so peaceful…even my husband likes coming with on their walk. Millie and the rest of The Pokey’s enjoy each moment…its incredibly relaxing to be with creatures who have mastered living in the moment…almost like a mid-day meditation session for me. Every single day we are at the park together I am reminded of how grateful I am for my simple life with them…contentment comes from such simple things.

Fall in Kentucky…staying in alignment

Fall in Kentucky never gets old for me. It is so incredibly pretty here and fall weather is my favorite…crisp mornings and warm afternoons. This year I have spent more time outside than I have in my whole adult life. We put in new gardens that have kept me very busy…we have an entire freezer full of homemade spaghetti sauce made with tomatoes from our garden! We added a pickle ball court and bought a ping pong table we keep in the garage and wheel out to the driveway to play. Like most people…life is happening almost entirely at home. We are grateful to have the space to basically have our own playground here.

Misfit Manor

Halloween, an entire season for me, was really low key this year. Bret built us a bonfire and we sat outside and waited for the full moon to arrive. The dogs love Misfit Manor bonfires…outside playtime and inevitably lots of snacks for them.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Allie loves our bonfire nights!

Fall is the beginning of what I call my “nesting season”. Oddly enough…since I moved to Kentucky I really enjoy the winters…I enjoy having a few months to rest and nest in the house but most afternoons still get warm enough to be outside with the dogs. All the projects left undone in the house all summer get caught up…and I enjoy having more time to cook.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Maddie

This year, in a lot of ways, it has become easier to stay in alignment….by which I mean not getting distracted by things that are not serving my authentic self or my little family. Boundaries have become more important than ever and they can be hard for me…I am wired to be compassionate and to be helpful…both of which can put me in a position of being over extended and taken advantage of. This year I have set some really firm boundaries to protect my energy. Keeping things going smoothly at Misfit Manor is work enough…I’m not young anymore and I need all of my energy…in every form…physical, spiritual, emotional…I can’t let anyone or anything zap my energy from me. Sometimes setting boundaries riles other people up….I have learned to live with that. Absolutely nothing is worth my peace.

Getting ready for holiday sales…not being a jerk is a good business model

I’ve been spending my evenings getting ready for holiday sales for months. Our Misfit Manor holiday sales are so important…it is how I pay vet bills for the Misfits for most of the year. With such nice weather I have been fortunate to be able to work outside…the best part of that being the Misfits get to play in yard while I work.

Miss Rosie never far from my side.

Our shops have been busier than normal this year (so grateful) with so many people not wanting to spend as much time out in the stores and working from home. We have definitely experienced more shipping issues than in the past…but in the context of the pressure on the USPS, UPS, etc…it is still running fairly smoothly. When I do have a shipping issue…my customers are always surprised when I tell them I will make it right. I have become accustomed to the process….I get an angry, often accusatory message that they did not receive their package…sometimes threatening to write me a trash review because they are angry…even though I have no control over shipping (or theft of packages…which is much more common this year). Customers assume they are going to get screwed. I take a deep breath…reminding myself to not take it personally (especially these days when everyone has a short fuse)…and then I respond. I always respond the same…I verify the tracking data….tell them what I think has happened…share that I am as bummed as they are that they did not get their package…and then explain that I too shop almost entirely online and I am going to treat them the same way I want to be treated. I work out a solution that makes them happy even if I have to remake and reship the items at my expense…when it is not my fault at all. Funny…people are shocked when they are treated decently…the customer expectation is that this person on the other end of the transaction is going to give them the flimflam…and part of me understands this…I know a lot of Etsy sellers…and many of them take no responsibility for items lost in the shipping process. It is so much more fun to be decent…and frankly a far better long term business model to be decent.

Misfit Manor Shop

I do think shipping will be very challenging as we get closer to the holidays. The post office has already added a hefty surcharge for commercial packages shipping during the holiday season. If you are planning to shop online…please shop early!

We are running a sale this weekend (at the Misfit Manor Etsy Shop) on all of our ornaments…15% off and free shipping. Take a look at our gallery of ornament images (below) and visit our Shop to take advantage of our sale!

Have a great weekend!

Nancy & The Misfits

  • Dog Mom Ornament
  • Dog Grandma Ornament
  • Dog Dad Ornament
  • Dog Foster Mom Gift
  • Dog Dad Christmas Ornament
  • Dog Lover Ornaments
  • Cat Lover Ornaments
  • Cat Dad Christmas Ornament
  • Yorkie Lover Ornament
  • Dog Mom Ornament
  • Vet Tech Ornament
  • Pitbull Lover Gift Set, The Misfit Manor Shop
Posted on Leave a comment

Pawty Planning 101 – Getting Started

Misfit Manor Shop

It’s always Pawty time at Misfit Manor! Having a dog birthday party is about celebrating the love and joy our pets bring to our lives. Nothing is more fun than watching a bunch of dogs running and playing with party hats on. Even the grumpiest curmudgeon can’t help but have a good time at a dog birthday party. Pawty planning doesn’t have to be limited to dog birthday party ideas. Here are some of the days we plan pawties for at Misfit Manor; Derby Pawty, Gotcha Day, Adoption Pawty, May Day Pawty, Halloween Pawty, Winter Solstice Pawty, Ugle Sweater Pawty and more! Planning the pawfect day for your pet’s celebration is super easy…here are a few of our favorite tips!

Where to have your pawty:

This is the Pawty yard at Misfit Manor!

Getting a group of dogs together for a dog birthday party first and foremost has to be done somewhere safe and dog friendly. Ideally if you are planning an outdoor pawty you want to have your event in a securely fenced location. If you are hosting it at a public park be sure to check with park officials to make sure you don’t need a permit first or if you are required to reserve specific spaces in advance. Some dog daycare businesses and boarding facilities have party rooms you can rent. Other ideas are dog friendly wineries or breweries…many of which have lovely outdoor patio spaces that make pawfect pawty venues. I personally am not a fan of public dog parks and would not recommend dog parks as a clean and safe place to have a pawty.

Who to invite to your pawty:

This is the most important part of pawty planning! Make sure you are inviting a group of dogs who have a history of playing well with other dogs. Nothing could ruin a pawfect day faster than a dog fight. Keep it small and manageable. Manageable can mean different things to different people. I generally recommend keeping it to 5-10 dogs. Be mindful of inviting dogs whose parents are responsible about vaccinations, worm and flea control as well as picking up after their pets. Ideally you want pet parents attending your pawty with their dogs rather than dropping them off. Managing a large group of dogs can get difficult pretty quickly.

What to do at your pawty:

This is the really fun part of pawty planning! Any great pawty has fun pawty games and activities. The ideas are endless…but here are a few of my favorites!

Misfit Manor Shop Pawty Planning
Some of our play tunnels for Pawty time!
  • Bobbing for Hot Dogs! This is so easy…all you need is a large bowl. You can buy large plastic punch/candy bowls at party stores that work perfect for this. Large breed dogs love this game. Make sure you keep it organized and give each dog their turn individually. I would freshen the water up regularly too.
  • Paw print art/craft table. There are so many simple ways to make keepsakes with your pet’s paw prints. Check out our post on making pawty keepsakes. Other ideas are making inexpensive handmade dog toys, bandannas, christmas ornaments and bow ties. We have an entire Pinterest Board devoted to Pet Craft ideas for pawties!
  • Contests with prizes. The possibilities here are endless; costume contest, best trick contest, who looks most like their dog, etc. The prizes don’t have to be fancy…even a few treats for the winning dog. Pawty Bingo is a great game! Setting up a coloring table is fun too.
  • Photo Booth. Having even just a few photo props; super large sunglasses, some funny hats, a boa…will be a source of laughter and fun for your guests. You can find photo props affordably at Dollar Stores and Party City. Misfit Manor offers a really cute set of Pawty Themed Photo Booth Props and we can make customized photo props too!
  • Tunnels and Toys. Dogs love tunnels…we order the kids play tunnels off Amazon. They are inexpensive and portable. If you are having an outdoor party consider putting out some small kiddie pools so the puppers can take a dip! Really large tug toys are some of our favorite items to have around for dogs to enjoy group play. Walmart carries some really large rope tugs that are a favorite around here.

Check out my blog post on Planning the Best Pawty Games and Activities for more ideas!

Pawty theme and tablescaping:

Every well planned party has a theme and tablescape…this definitely applies to pawties too! Start by choosing your color palette and work from there. Next choose your theme. While paw prints and dog bones tend to dominate pawty planning themes….anything works…rainbows, unicorns, even a Harry Potter theme would be a blast. Getting your theme and tablescape to tie together requires a few key elements:

Pupperccino Cups!
Dog Party Hat, Set of Six, Gotcha Day, Dog Adoption Party, Misfit Manor Shop
  • A large Centerpiece (statement piece) for the main table. For pawties I recommend using items such as a fire hydrant, a large cupcake stand or a large sign as the statement piece. Check out the Misfit Manor Pawty Tablescaping Pinterest Board for more ideas!
  • A decorated water source for both dogs and hoomans. Ideally at a dog birthday party you don’t want shared water to be the only water available for dogs. I recommend using a large water dispenser and individual bowls (they can be disposable) for each dog to have its own water.
  • A treat spread for both dogs and hoomans. No party is complete without treats! You are going to want to keep it simple so you can focus on fun with dogs rather than managing a food spread. Also be sure to make certain that the human foods you are serving do not contain anything toxic to dogs because it is inevitable that dogs will find a way into the hooman food.
  • Cake and Coffee/Pupperccinos. There are a lot of dog barkeries you can order special dog birthday cakes from. You can also bake your own. Our Misfit Manor Pinterest Page has an entire board devoted to dog party recipes. Our Shop offers an adorable collection of pupperccino cups and matching hooman coffee cups!
  • Matching dog party favors laid out in a beautiful format. Every great pawty needs to have a pawty station set up for guests to pick up their hats and favors.
  • Embellishing decorations; balloons, streamers, banners, etc. The Misfit Manor Shop has a great variety of both handmade and carefully procured dog pawty decorating items.

Check out my blog post on Pawty Planning Themes and Tablescaping for more ideas. Our Misfit Manor Pinterest Page is loaded with ideas for dog party recipes, decorations, tablescapes and more!

Thank your guests:

Puppy Party Bone Boxes, MIsfit Manor Shop
Adorable bone boxes available in the Misfit Manor Shop

Everyone needs to leave your party feeling appreciated for taking time out of their busy lives to celebrate with you and your dog. Take home goodie bags or prizes are a great way to say thank you and are a must for any successful dog pawty! There are a lot of really cute affordable way to thank your guests; goodie bags are always a hit! Goodie bags can be filled with dog treats, a tennis ball/toy, a small token gift for the pet parent and more. Our Shop has a great selection of different types of goodie/favor items for thanking your guests.

Check out my post on Pawty Planning Goodie Bags and Prizes for more great ideas!

Responsible clean up:

Be a model pet parent and citizen. If you are hosting your party offsite…make sure that you do a thorough clean up. Prepare ahead and bring plenty of poop bags, garbage bags, paper towels and a bottle of disinfectant. Make sure all of your pawty supplies and decorations are cleaned up and disposed of properly. We want our dogs to be welcome guests in as many places as possible. The way we encourage the welcoming of dogs in public places is by being super responsible about cleaning up after them.

Misfit Manor Shop, Pawty

Good luck with your pawty planning! Don’t forget to check out our Misfit Manor Pinterest Page for tons of pawty ideas and items! In our Misfit Manor Shop we offer an amazing variety of affordable and personalized party hats, favors and banners. We would love to be a small part of planning your pet’s special day and follow us on Instagram at @misfitmanorshop for all of our new product updates!

Pawty on!

Nancy & The Misfits

  • Pink Paw Print Bone Boxes
  • Dog Party Table Decorations
  • Pupperccino Cups, The Misfit Manor Shop
  • Rainbow Paw Print Cupcake Toppers
  • Dog Bone Cup Cake Toppers - Misfit Manor Shop
  • Pink Sparkly Dog Bone Cup Cake Topper - Misfit Manor Shop
  • _Paw Print Cup Cake Toppers - Misfit Manor Shop
  • The Golden Divine Dog Crown, The Misfit Manor Shop
  • Sparkly Pink Paw Print Party Place Cards
  • Paw Print Dog Party Place Cards
  • The Divine Canine Dog Crown, The Misfit Manor Shop
  • Dog Adoption Party Hat, Misfit Manor Shop
  • Dog Birthday Crown
  • Dog Party Hat, Set of Six, Gotcha Day, Dog Adoption Party, Misfit Manor Shop
  • Dachshund Place Card
  • Puppy Party Favors, Misfit Manor Shop
  • Dog Birthday Party Banner, The Misfit Manor Shop
  • Dog Birthday Hat, Puppy Birthday, Paw Print Party Favors, Misfit Manor Shop
  • Custom Dog Birthday Hat, Personalized Dog Birthday Hat, Misfit Manor Shop
  • Dog Birthday Hats, Dog Party Hats, Misfit Manor Shop, Gotcha Day, Dog Adoption Party
  • Pupperccino Cups, Dog Party Favors, Paw Print Party Favors, Dog Birthday Hat, Paw Print Party Favors
  • Pupperccino Cups, Dog Party Favors, Dog Birthday Party, MIsfit Manor Shop
Posted on Leave a comment

Misfit Manor Diary – Buster for President!

Misfit Manor Shop

I have a hard rule at Misfit Manor that no political signs can be placed in our yard. This year though…I made an exception. I had this sign made for my handsome Buster. It was in part meant to be a fun surprise and attempt at levity for my husband…a little levity in an otherwise gloomy and hopeless election cycle can’t hurt. But it is also a commentary on how poor our choices are in yet another election. Buster has more smarts and certainly better manners than either of the two clowns running for president of our struggling country.

Watching the first debate was downright deflating. It also made it seem inevitable that the election results will be controversial…law suits will be filed…no matter who appears to win. It is going to be a drawn out and ugly struggle that will drag our already struggling country through months of political uncertainty and mud.

I have to be honest…I waffle between thinking that we deserve better than the political circus our government has become…and yet on the other hand believing that we are getting exactly what we deserve. With a cadre of career politicians serving 30-40-50 years in office …never being voted out for failing us over and over…maybe we are getting what we deserve. Clearly we have not reached a point of enough disgust and frustration to demand change in the campaign rules and term limits to put an end to politics as a “career” once and for all. The bright and competent people we need to run for office…never will…unless Washington get’s an overhaul to once again become a vehicle for serving the greater good rather than a vehicle for a handful of sycophants to get rich.

Taking nothing personally…

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

I have been thinking a lot about the level of stress and anxiety that is permeating daily life now. It feels like this wet blanket of anxiety is part of the new normal. Especially in this past week…something had to be way out of alignment astrologically for a few days…everyone I encountered (including myself) seemed frazzled, distracted, short tempered, frustrated or all of the above at once. It was almost as if the air felt like it was sick for a couple of days.

We are unfortunately being forced to reframe our sense of “community”. We are physically separated from each other by COVID, not seeing strangers smile anymore because of masks and becoming so fiercely divided over political ideologies that civil conversations are becoming a forgotten past time. My own coping skill/tool in this mess is to work as hard as I can at taking nothing personally. I am trying to remember that everyone is carrying a lot these days. If someone is being rude, impatient or offensive…I have to pause and remind myself to take a deep breath…its not personal…its not about me…I want to make every effort to give them the same grace I need right now. I have to be diligent to be kind and politely walk away from anything unproductive or contentious.

Surviving Allergy Season…

I took a bunch of my girls up to our vet for allergy shots and check ups this week. Two of my girls get regular Cytopoint allergy shots (about every 60 days). Rag weed season is upon us and it’s terrible this year. My Lhasa Apso, Lacey Mae, has had horrible allergies her whole life and fall is particularly rough. The Cytopoint shot is the only treatment we have found that works for her. My Rosie obsessively licks her feet. We started her on Cytopoint earlier in summer and it virtually stopped the obsessive licking. Cytopoint is a non-steroidal shot that can be administered much more frequently than the older steroid based allergy shots. We haven’t experienced any side effects from it. The shot only takes a few days to start working and it has been much more effective at controlling symptoms than any of the other treatments we have tried in pill form. If your dog is suffering with red/itchy skin or other symptoms like excessive licking I definitely recommend talking to your vet about Cytopoint.

At our visit my vet told me that one bright spot in all this mess is that illnesses and injuries in pets are being caught and treated much earlier than what they typically see. With so many people spending more time at home…the attention they pay to their pets and the care of their pets is improving. That is truly wonderful.

Don’t forget us about us…

Don’t forget about us this upcoming holiday season for gift giving for your pet loving friends and family! Our season is coming to its end in October for the vacation rentals…and it has been a colossal disaster. Instead of providing a year’s worth of income for me and the Misfits it is costing us money to even keep it going. I never could have imagined anything this bad happening to the business we worked so hard to build. We are hopeful we can hang on until next season and that travel will resume. But our shops our open and we have a lot of cute and affordable items for dog and cat lovers alike so check us out here in our own Misfit Manor Shop or on Etsy!

  • Personalized Pet Ornament
  • Dog Mom AF Dog Dad AF
  • Rainbow Paw Print Cupcake Toppers
  • Dog Lover Gift Set
  • Dachshund Painting - Misfit Manor Shop
  • Purple Dog Mom Planner Clip, The Misfit Manor Shop
  • White Dog Bone Gift Tags, The Misfit Manor Shop
  • Pitbull Lover Christmas Ornaments

Be well…Be kind!

Nancy & The Misfits

Posted on Leave a comment

Misfit Manor Diary…the pandemic garden & dog life

Misfit Manor
Rosie is my constant companion

Sweet Rosie is a my constant companion. Her lack of ability to ambulate on her own means she comes with me every where I go around the Manor. Her separation anxiety is pretty intense so if I am going to get things done without upsetting her I have to keep her with me. In the summer heat I have to be really careful with her exposure. Among the list of health challenges she has… Rosie’s little body does not regulate temperature correctly. In a matter of minutes she can develop severe heat stroke symptoms. The first time it happened, thank goodness, I was at the office the holistic vet that does acupuncture on the Misfits and she knew right away what was happening and how to cool Rosie down. Day to day we manage by keeping her out of direct sunlight, always keeping a fan blowing on her and a cool pad underneath her when we are outside. These little battery powered fans they sell at hardware stores are awesome…not terribly heavy and the battery lasts for quite a long time. I even put this one in the back of her stroller when we go to the park.

Back in spring Bret and I decided we wanted to use the newly found time on our hands for putting in a vegetable garden. The Manor has a lot of rose gardens and a large herb garden…the only thing missing was a veggie garden. We tore out a useless portion of the black top driveway and installed a raised bed garden to get the job done.

Garden built from digging out driveway

We had so much fun with veggie garden and it produced more vegetables than we thought possible! It also proved to be a joyful distraction from the stress of everything else going on in the world right now. There is something so grounding about playing in the dirt and watching nature make its magic. We are hoping to add more gardens next year.

We both love to spend as much time as possible outside…and so do the dogs. This was the first summer since Bret and I were kids that we have had so much time to be outside “playing”. We even set up a pickle ball court in our driveway…Rosie is our line judge!!!

There has been so much more time this year to just “be still”. I am as type A as they come and relaxing just doesn’t come naturally to me. This year has been different though. I believe its because there are so many things happening that are completely out of my control…at some point I just accepted that all I can do is shrug it off and take a break. I realize any notion of control is only an illusion anyway…but there is no illusion this year…its been a year of acceptance and trusting that the universe has my back.

Rosie is our pickle ball line judge.

The Misfits always prove to be the best teachers. Spending so much time relaxing with them this year is therapeutic. They just don’t worry about anything. They savor every moment…whether they are napping, playing, snuggling, snacking…they enjoy each moment in the moment. It has been so nice to be at least a little more like them this year.

Misfit Manor
Rosie is my heart!

Today’s big project is making a few batches of zucchini bread with the fresh zucchini from our garden. Its starting to cool down here so homemade bread sounds perfect.

I hope this message finds you well. Fall is such a wonderful time…preparing to settle in for the winter…all the colors and festive feeling of the upcoming holidays…I just love this time of year!

On the journey,

Nancy & The Misfits

Follow our Pinterest Page for all sorts of pet lover content! Check out our shops for your Pawty Planning and Pet Lover Gift Giving needs!

Posted on Leave a comment

Misfit Manor Diary – Tuning out to tune in

I am guessing most of us can agree that 2020 is the year “that can’t end fast enough”. I certainly never thought I would see and experience some of the things that have happened this year. Every one is affected in some way, for me its been a huge financial impact as my main source of income went to zero almost over night when COVID broke (and won’t recover until next spring…well hopefully it will). I have had to really re-think how I was doing a lot of things to even make room in my already stretched days to get everything done. It is not ideal…but as usual…the universe has a way of working things out when I trust it.

I have had no choice but to find ways to laser focus on only what matters right at each moment….what I need to do to get my family through each day, each week, each month is all that matters. I have “tuned out” everything that isn’t fundamental to making things work here so that I could “tune in” to what I need to do to get it done.

The funny thing about “tuning out”….life is so much more pleasant this way!!! As an introvert and a homebody some of the limitations Covid puts on life have little impact on my day to day. I am perfectly happy to not go anywhere unless I absolutely have to. Like most of us, I felt incredibly emotionally and spiritual drained by the stress and drama of the current state of affairs. I made a conscious choice to tune out everything that was draining me… for months now…I shut down TV and any form of news and have limited my use of social media other than my own FB page and some business pages. I unfollowed any person, group or page that was zapping my emotional and spiritual energy. My phone, that I used to carry every minute of the day, now lives mostly on my desk by itself. If I have learned anything in the last few months…almost nothing is immediate. It can wait.

It took something as extreme as losing a full year of my business to realize the benefits of being “tuned in” . My days are more productive, my stress level is so much lower and life feels much lighter. The second I reconnect…to the world’s drama…everything seems instantly heavier. I have to wonder do we really need so much connectedness? Do we need it all? Is social media and a 24 hour news cycle actually connectedness or is it a lie? Perhaps the entire notion of it is false and it does more harm than good. Is there a balance? I suppose the answers are different for each individual.

When I do log in to FB now or my husband gives me the occasional run down on the news I see and hear things with a different lens…a much more sensitive lens. The ugliness seems so much more obvious. There is a lack of compassion, a level of anger in our culture and an acceptance of hateful behavior as normal that is spreading far faster than the coronavirus. Taking a step away, especially from so much FB time, makes all media but especially social media feel like such an ugly place to hang out. Even people that are usually kind, thinking people are lashing out in hate and anger at anyone who disagrees with them… causing drama to defend positions and ideologies that are flimsy at best analysis…more than likely completely lies that society is being programmed us to believe. Logging in to social media feels like agreeing to go to a party where everyone is red faced, angry and has zero manners…just doesn’t sound like fun anymore.

I am coming to believe that the notion that we need social media to stay connected with each other and informed, even in the era of COVID, is a lie…an ugly lie that is hurting our society even more than coronavirus. Is social media really connecting us or is it killing the very thing that makes communities work? If have learned one thing for certain this year…I personally do not not “need” anything on social media…I also don’t need to watch any news on television…my life functions fine without it. When I need to know something the universe makes sure I know it. All the changes this year have definitely “slowed life down” here..but it’s not a bad thing…watching my vacation rental business crumble is definitely not fun don’t get me wrong…but the change of pace and limited consumption of any media is a pleasant change and I am glad that it has happened. I am not sure I will ever go back to wanting to be “connected” to the drama outside. I am not sure I even want to try to restart my vacation rental business next year; perhaps its time for a bigger change.

Daily life at Misfit Manor goes on no matter the chaos going on elsewhere…the needs of the dogs are always number one priority and keep me busy around the clock. Rosie, while happy and sweet as ever, slowly but continually gets weaker over time. She is always at my side no matter what I am doing and I am grateful for every day that I have with her. Millie is now completely blind and deaf. She manages just fine but always wants to be close. The rest of the Misfits keep me on track…if dogs and cats love anything…its routine…every day is ground hog day here and I love every minute of it.

Holly’s remains came home this week. She is an urn on the mantle with Sam, Sparky and Hercules. We will bury some her ashes in the garden at some point this fall… perhaps on All Souls Day. I miss her terribly and am grateful that I had the chance to know her even though it was just for a short time.

Getting ready for the holiday selling season is also keeping me super busy lately. I am expecting a really crazy selling season as folks don’t want to go shopping in crowds this year and fewer will be traveling with gifts but rather order them online. If you are planning to do online shopping for the holidays this year…do it early!!!! USPS and UPS are already slow…it will get much worse as we approach the election and the holidays. If you need to shop for dog lovers please check out our shops! We have our own Misfit Manor Shop and an Etsy shop.

Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest Page for all things pet! We collect ideas for pet recipes, pet parties, pet furniture and more…fun!

Be safe…embrace kindness…love a dog!

Nancy & The Misfits

Posted on Leave a comment

Misfit Manor Diary – a little bit of wonderful

Sometimes a little bit of something wonderful is all we get…and it just has be enough. We said our final goodbye to sweet Holly last Friday. Holly came to Misfit Manor just a few weeks ago. We knew she was a hospice situation but we are wired to assume the best and thought for sure we would have at least a few months with her. She was so incredibly sweet and precious and we enjoyed the time we were able to have with her.

Even though we only knew Holly for a short period of time we are just crushed over losing her. The whole household was off…Solstice stopped eating for a few days…the other Misfits were quiet. You would think that dealing with loss would get easier over time and with so much experience with it. But it definitely does not…it stings every single time. Every time I seem to go through the same cycle of emotions. The stress of having to actually make the decision to say goodbye is always the hardest. I generally have really good intuition (I call it my inner bell). I know when its the right time to say goodbye and I listen and watch the cues from my Misfits carefully….but it is painful nonetheless. This is hands down the hardest part of Manor life. Then there are the days of darkness after they are gone…accepting the reality that I won’t see Holly’s sweet face for a longtime…I have days where I just don’t seem to run out tears. Eventually the dark cloud lifts and my mindset changes to gratitude….I am glad Holly made it here for a least some time and incredibly grateful that I was allowed to care for her and love her. I also know that every minute I have with my Misfits is worth it and I will do it again.

I also feel incredibly grateful for the comfort of the routine and demands the Misfits put on my life. The dogs are fully in the present…they don’t do “later”…they certainly don’t allow me to be a slacker… and I appreciate that. The best medicine, at least for me, when I am feeling down is to be engaged in giving my best effort to them. Every thing is always a group effort here too. I really don’t get any personal time or space…no matter what I am doing…they all have to be involved. Sometimes that can be a little frustrating (I still have to work) but it also is amazing to never be alone. Manor life isn’t easy but it is a wonderful life…I would not trade it for the world.

Whip cream fixes a lot of things…

Because we all felt so droopy over the loss of Holly Bret and I busted out the whip cream can for the rest of the rest of the dogs on Sunday and had a little pawty.

Nothing makes the heart feel lighter than seeing all the Misfits running around playing…and getting whip cream all over their faces! The second they hear the first bit come out of the can…all hell breaks loose.

Dog Party Favors, Pupperccino Cups, Misfit Manor Shop

Living with life coaches…

Living with dogs is like living with a houseful of life coaches…honestly no one stays engaged in the present moment like a dog. Any life coach will tell you that life happens in the present…if you are going to be happy its only going to happen in the present moment.

It’s not lost on me the profound impact the Misfits have on my own ability to stay engaged with the present. Not only are they