Featuring Pets on Instagram

I’m currently working on strategies for my social media profiles for next year. On my social media, I share everything from family photos to stuff I’m blogging about; this includes projects I’m working on and products I’m reviewing.  (I’m a bit of an online shopaholic.  Check out HiHouse for everything you need for you household.

One platform I’ve spent a lot more time on this year is Instagram.  I’m always amazed to see other people’s profiles on this platform.  I follow everyone from homeschool moms, to cooking and home decor blogs, and a lot pet accounts!  I am always amazed to see how other’s have made their pets an Instragram star, and it gives me a lot of inspiration as I put together my pet-related campaigns.  Here are a few ideas for how you can make your pet the star of your Instagram profile.


There is just something about cats and dogs in clothes and costumes.  We’ve only dressed up Shadow a couple of times, but these are some of my favorite pictures of her.  And if your dog (or cat) doesn’t have a problem being dressed up, you will definitely get some great photos, and you should get a lot of engagement!

Product Placement

If you are a review bloggers, photos make a world of difference in your post, and sponsors love them!  Any time I do a sponsored I like to get great photos, and when I’m doing a pet related product I HAVE to get at least one of my fur babies in the shot.  My cats don’t exactly pose for pictures, but they are always interested in anything new that comes in to the house, so I usually find it easy to snap a few photos of them next to a product.


You can use effects to make a picture stand out.  With a click of the mouse you can make a photo black and white or another color for dramatic or bold effects.  Or you can use a whole host of tools to make your photos more attractive or to add colors and make your photos pop. Or you can add funny quote bubbles and captions to help tell your pet’s story.

Get In Front of The Camera

Every once in a while come out from behind the camera and pose with your pet.  This shows the bond and closeness between you and your pet, and it further personalizes your photos and your story.

Lifestyle Photos

My favorite photos of my pets are those which capture them naturally.  These are photos where you just happen to see your pet doing something funny or cute and you snap a photo.  Most of the time when I snap a photo of my pets, they are simply lounging around.  Other times I’m able to snap action photos of them playing with toys or even each other.  These photos are usually funny or cute.  They show your pet’s true personality without any posing or pretense.


5 Tips to Keeping Your Home in Tip-Top Shape for Your Family (and Your Cat)

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeandCleanLiving #CollectiveBias

Having a clean home is both a luxury and a necessity, and having a family makes this statement even more true.  We all want for our homes to be a safe and clean environment for our family, but this requires constant, never ending work.  Having pets in your home adds even more challenges to your housekeeping routine, but if you are like me, you love your cats and there is no challenge you won’t tackle for them!  Lucky for us, Purina® New TIDY CATS® Free & Clean™ Unscented Clumping Litter is here to see us through!  Today I’ve got 5 Tips to Keeping Your Home in Tip-Top Shape for Your Family (and Your Cat), plus information on the newest product from TIDY CATS.

Use a High Quality Cat Litter Product

Ever since I adopted Rebel 10 years ago, I have a been a TIDY CATS user.  I currently have 3 cats in my home, and they prefer TIDY CATS.. (That is to say, they’ve never avoided or gone outside the litter box while using their products.)  And I’ve been satisfied with how their products block odors when you scoop regularly.

Their latest and greatest product is TIDY CATS® Free & Clean™ Unscented Clumping Litter.  This new product features Unscented Odor Control with the Power of Activated Charcoal.  Obviously controlling odors is my number one goal, and I love that Free & Clean offers you the odor-absorbing power of activated charcoal plus TidyLock® Protection to lock away odors.  (It gives you the clean you need without the extra perfumes, fragrances, and dyes).

The product is also 99.% dust free.  This is also extremely important to me; I hate pouring litter in the box and seeing a cloud of dust!  Plus, my cat Mina has allergies and other upper respiratory issues, so she needs a product that is dust free.

The product also features strong clumps for easy cleanup. As the person who usually scoops the litter box, this is definitely a plus.  Not only does it make clean up easier, but it also means we don’t have to replace the litter with new product quite as often.

TIDY CATS® Free & Clean™ Unscented Clumping Litter is available for purchase at Target.  Target is my favorite place to shop, because they carry all my favorite brands, and it is always easy to find what I’m looking for.  The pet products and housekeeping supplies I need are also conveniently located right in the front of the store, which means I can get in and out of the store quickly.

Target also frequently has TIDY CATS on sale.  Before making my Target run, I always check the Target app for their weekly ad and I look through Cartwheel is to see if there are deals on anything I am planning to buy.  The other day I used my Cartwheel account to get 20% off the 35 pound container of litter.

Proper Litter Box Maintenance and Placement

Most cat experts recommend daily scooping of the litter box; however, we usually scoop ours every other day.  We may scoop more often if company is coming over or if there just happens to be a special need.  You should also be prepared to top your litter box with additional litter as needed and completely empty out your litter box, clean it and replace your litter with all new product.  (I usually top ours off a couple of times a week, and we completely change out the litter and clean the box about every 6 weeks or as needed.)

To clean the litterbox when putting in all new litter, we start by taking the box outside for emptying, and we give it a good rinse with the water hose.  I then use dishwashing liquid to give it an initial cleaning, and then I pour in a little vinegar and a few drops of essential oil like lemon or peppermint to get things smelling nicely.  Then after it dries I usually sprinkle in a small layer of baking soda on the bottom of the box before adding all new litter.

Litterbox placement is also important. Your litter box should be placed in an area of your home that is easily accessible to your cat, and it should not be placed in a high traffic or noisy area of your home or any place your cat may be anxious about using.  If possible place the litterbox in an extra bedroom or small room not in use.  Alternatively, it can placed in a laundry room, small bathroom, or mud room.  Do NOT place the litterbox near food and water bowls.

Quantity. Experts also say you should have one litterbox for each cat, plus an additional litterbox.  As for us, we have just one very large litterbox.  It is actually an under-the-bed storage bin that we’ve repurposed as a a litterbox, and our cats are fine with sharing.  (But if your cats fight or have other issues, you should get more litterboxes.)

Floor Cleaning

Another way to keep your home looking and smelling fresh is with regular floor cleaning.  I like to sweep up and clean up the room where we keep the litterbox about once a week.  (This room is carpeted, but I keep a large vinyl mat in the room for easy cleaning.  It just needs a little vacuuming and a little mopping or spot cleaning with a little all purpose cleaner and rag.)

It is also very necessary to clean the floors in the rest of home quite often (otherwise we’d be overrun with pet hair and litter rocks).  I like to vacuum our carpets and all hard floors once a week.  We also mop all the hard floors; this makes them look shiny and bright, and it also leaves a nice refreshing scent.

I also keep carpet cleaning spray on hand for the occasional pet stain on the carpet and I spinkle the carpet with baking soda or fabric refreshing before vacuuming when I want things to smell really great.

Deodorizing Your Home

In additional to proper litter box cleaning and maintenance, you should find other ways to deodorize your home.  One way is with a good essential oil diffuser.  There are a lot of oils that are specifically for getting rid of odors and refreshing your home.  I like peppermint or anything from the citrus family, but you have to be careful as some oils can be irritating to your pet or other people in your home with allergies.  We also use scented oil plug-ins when we want things to smell really great.

Additionally I sprinkle baking soda on our carpets, rugs and upholstery before vacuuming to absorb odors, and I occasionally spray these areas with fabric refresher.

Pet bedding can also be the source of odors, so you should wash your pet’s blankets and other bedding on a regular basis, as well as keep toys clean and replace toys and bedding as needed with something new.

Surface Cleaning and Other Household Maintenance

You should also remember that pets are not the only ones who can make a mess or make odors in your home.  Take garbage out regularly and immediately take garage outside that maybe contain leftover foods, packaging from raw meats, and anything else that may smell bad.

Also, avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, as well as food containers or dishes on your countertops and stove top, and wipe down all counters and surfaces daily.

If you any tips to help refresh your home and especially your pet area, I’d love to hear them!  Please join the conversation by commenting on this post.

And if you are looking for a new way to refresh your cat’s room try new Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented litter at Target!

Clean Air for a Healthier Pet-Friendly Home

pet-friendly home


Are your pets safe in your home? You probably already know that you need to keep harmful materials like cleaners stored where your animals can’t reach them. One of the most important things you must do to keep your pets happy and healthy is to provide clean air. You may not think about it, but the air you and your pets breathe inside the home every day can affect everyone’s health.

Performing regular maintenance on your heating and air conditioning systems is an effective way to create a healthy environment in your home. Find a trusted, local HVAC service provider that offers affordable maintenance plans. That way, you’ll know that your system will always provide clean, fresh air for you and your pets. Routine maintenance includes cleaning the ducts and changing filters. Ask your HVAC provider about air cleaners that continually circulate fresh air throughout your home. HEPA air cleaners can also remove allergens like pet dander from the air.

Other ways to create a pet healthy home include checking your landscaping and houseplants for any species that are poisonous to your four-legged friends. Household items you use every day can also hurt different animals that share your home. Did you know that non-stick cookware is unsafe for birds? Other common items like string and yarn should be kept away from dogs and cats. Taking some simple precautions can help you create a safe environment for all of your pets. Check out the following four steps to a pet-friendly home.

Homemade Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice Casserole + Mina’s Adoption Story

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NutrishFureverHome #CollectiveBias

Did you know that October is National Pet Adoption Month?  As an animal lover and pet parent,  I’m celebrating this event today with a delicious family recipe inspired by Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® cat food, and I’ll also be sharing my own pet adoption story, plus a sweepstakes and information on how you can help shelter animals this month through Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Furever Home™, an organization Helping Shelter Pets Find The Home They Deserve.

Let’s start with the sweepstakes!  During the month of October, you can enter to win a grand prize of $25,000 and a one-year supply of Nutrish® dry dog food or one year worth of Nutrish® dry cat or one of three first prizes of $5,000 and a one-year supply of Nutrish® dry dog food or one year worth of Nutrish® dry cat. For more information on contest rules and how to enter, check out the sweepstakes page.

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5 Ways to Kill Fleas on Your Dog or Cat

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The opinions are my own.

As you know I am a very proud cat and dog mommy.  I love my furbabies and would do anything for them.  A year ago we adopted Mina.  In the past year, she has gone from a scared and basically feral kitten to the most loving cat in the house.  Unfortunately when we got Mina, she brought a few friends along with her: fleas.

My plan was to keep Mina separate from the other animals until she could be seen by a vet, but that plan fell by the wayside, and unfortunately Mina shared her flea friends with her new cat and dog siblings.  As a result, we have worked very hard to get rid of the fleas on the animals and the house.  It is a very difficult process, because even as you kill fleas on your animals, you also have to work to kill them in the house, so that new fleas don’t just jump back on your pet after you’ve killed others.

Today we are going to talk about the first part of this equation:  killing fleas on your cats and dogs.  I’ve used several methods and products, and today I will tell you what we’ve tried, what works best, and what specific products we like. [Read more…]

7 Actionable Tips on How to Train Your Dog to Potty

One of the first things every dog owner encounters is dog’s need to pee all over the place. As soon as you bring a dog to your home, you can be certain that it will start peeing after just a few minutes.

Although this is really irritating and forces you to clean after it all the time, it is normal and within dog’s nature. You are the one that needs to facilitate the change. This can of course be done through a proper puppy potty training.

For most people this is nothing more than taking your dog out when it needs to pee or poo. However, there is much more behind the training. It is an interesting and precise process that builds dog’s discipline and affects everything else dog will do in its future life.

It is also very important for your relationship. Mistakes on owner’s behalf can cause your dog to be disobedient, stubborn or in some cases fearful. It all depends what you make out of it.

Puppy training basics

When it comes to dog training, you always have to start from fundamentals.

It is necessary to mention that potty training, like any other training, is actually a bonding process. It is something that is particular to dog owner and the dog and in most cases, it should be done by one person.

Later on, it is ok to allow other person to step in for walks but it is much easier if only one individual teaches the dog. Sometimes, when there is more than one owner, puppy can become confused especially if there are more than one command being used or if people have different gestures.

Potty training is really important for dog’s discipline as well. It creates hierarchy where you’re the master and your word needs to be obeyed. This will come into play later on if you wish to teach your dog some other types of training on top of this one. It is also important for dog’s behavior within the house or the yard.

Lastly, it is necessary to mention that this process is good for both hygiene (teaches dog where to pee and poo) as well as for teaching the dog to walk with you as you will likely walk it around. In fact, those two go hand in hand in first months.

So you can see, doing everything right is paramount in this case.

Actionable tips for potty training – learning about dog’s behavior

· Puppy will have to potty every morning after waking up. Make sure you’re ready and don’t let it wait for too long. Puppies have smaller bladders and can’t keep it inside for a longer period of time.

· Besides morning, puppy will have to potty in the evening before going to bed. Otherwise there is a high chance it will experience an accident during sleep.

· If a puppy has full bladder do not excite it. This will cause an accident.

· Dogs always have their favorite place to pee. They have strong sense of smell and they will always return to it. Make sure that is possible. You should always have a type of soil that the dog prefers nearby.

· Meals are very important for diet. Always give same portions during a meal and if the dog doesn’t finish it, make sure to remove it. This will allow you to monitor its metabolism and predict when it will poo.

· Puppy will sometimes pretend it needs to go out for a pee and instead, it only wishes to play. Recognize this and prevent it.

· If you’re going out during the evening or during some other time exclusively so that the dog can take care of the business, make sure this is obvious. Pull the dog back if it starts playing. It is necessary to set up limits.

Hill’s Youthful Vitality for Kitty #AwesomeAsEver

 Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hill’s® Science Diet® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the new Hill’s® Science Diet® Youthful Vitality pet food for cats and dogs over the age of 7, but Simply Sweet Home only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

If you are a regular visit to my blog, then you know that the Simply Sweet Home dog and cats play a huge role in my life.  I love them like children, and I try to do everything I can to make sure they are healthy and happy.  One way I do that is by feeding them good food like Hill’s® Science Diet®.

Rebel Cat

Rebel is my oldest cat.  He just celebrated his ninth birthday! (Happy Birthday Rebel!)  According to the age calculator I found on the Hill’s® Science Diet® website, this makes Rebel 52 years old in human years.

As an older cat, Rebel spends a lot more time lounging and napping than he did in his younger days, and he certainly isn’t the ball of energy our kitten Mina is.  But he still gets around well and has a very happy disposition.  Recently I started feeding Rebel Hill’s® Science Diet® Youthful Vitality.  The food is formulated to give complete nutrition to cats ages 7 and up.  The company also has a similar product for 7+ dogs and 7+ small/toy dogs. [Read more…]

Nature’s Recipe Dog Food and Making a Gift Basket for Your Dog

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NutritionWorthWaggingFor #CollectiveBias

Natures Recipe and Making a Gift Basket for Your Dog

I always say that our dog Shadow is the center of attention at our house.  She is always first in line to get hugs and kisses when anyone walks in the door, and she is definitely spoiled with love and gifts!  One way I love to spoil her is with yummy and nutritious foods like Nature’s Recipe®.  Today I’m going to tell you why I love serving Nature’s Recipe to Shadow, and I’m going to show you how you can put together your dog’s favorite foods, toys, and essentials to create a fun dog gift basket. [Read more…]

SmartBones Review + SmartBones & $25 Visa Giveaway

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with SmartBones. The opinions are my own.


My furbaby and bloggy assistant Shadow is happy to be here today to share a treat (or two) with all of you.  Shadow recently received an assortment of SmartBones dog treats.  SmartBones offers a great variety of products for dogs of all sizes and breads.  Their products are natural and are a healthier alternative to rawhide, making them a great choice for you four legged friends. [Read more…]

DIY No Sew Pet Blanket and Pet Stockings with Purina

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ToPetsWithLove #CollectiveBias


When I go out shopping these days, the aisles are decked with Christmas decorations and great gift ideas.  I can’t help but get in the spirit of the season and start planning my holiday shopping list.  And as I get ready to prepare my gift list, I always include my four legged family members!  The Simply Sweet Home dog and cats get a stocking each year, filled with food, treats, and toys.  And we have a good time watching as they receive these gifts.  Today I’m going to show you how a few products from Purina can help you to make your pets Christmas merry and bright!  And I’m going to share a tutorial for a DIY Pet Blanket, the perfect handmade gift for your dog or cat.

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