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In addition to regular ol’ beer tasting, sipping and overall indulgence while in Kalamazoo last weekend, we drank our desserts, too. I’ve been meaning to try this recipe out for a while, and so in the grand tradition of celebrating newborn babies with a toast (right?), we happily welcomed our newest family member with milkshakes – porter milkshakes!

As you can imagine, it was so yummy (and easy peasy) that Scott and I brought the new, um, tradition back home with us, and we indulged even more for a Sunday-fun-day treat. I’ve got a feeling this’ll be a summer staple. Here’s the scoop (ha!):

INGREDIENTS
6-8 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 bottle of your favorite porter
dash of cinnamon

STEPS
Blend ice cream and porter, adding more or less ice cream depending on how thick you like your shakes. Pour into your favorite glasses, add a sprinkle of cinnamon, and drink up! Serves 2.

We indulged in Founders while in Kazoo, but switched it up to Bell’s the next day. Of course, each porter offered it’s own subtle differences (I preferred Bell’s, whereas Scott would stick to Founder’s), so have fun and mix it up until you’ve found your favorite.

When it comes to desserts, the easier the better – because while I fantasize over the romantic ideas of triple layer cakes and strudels, I’ve yet to find the time as often as I’d like! (And let’s be honest, if ever) – and it doesn’t get more simple than this. Now, can you imagine the happy-overload if you swapped in coffee ice cream? Or added a squeeze of chocolate syrup?

What are your favorite warm weather treats? I could stand to add a few more under my belt, spoiling not just Scott, but this girl, too.

  • Hannah K - May 23, 2013 - 8:41 AM

    Um..Yum! Guess I know what we’ll be mixing up this weekend as we put some decor into our newly painted office!

    Oh, and if the itch becomes too strong, feel free to come to Erie and decorate/DIY to your heart’s desire =)ReplyCancel

  • Sarge in Charge - May 23, 2013 - 9:54 AM

    THIS SOUNDS AMAZING. May I suggest that you try it with the Left Hand Milk Stout? It is already milkshakey as it is, I bet it would be perfect.

    I have been wanting to do a mini Michigan brewery trip- so many good ones to choose from but Founder’s is definitely at the top of my list.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 23, 2013 - 10:04 AM

    Sarge, I actually picked up the Left Hand Milk Stout to use for a shake down the road, but it became too delicious to resist – and I drank it straight from the bottle. It was just so tempting hanging out in the fridge. Waiting.ReplyCancel

  • Christina - May 23, 2013 - 4:09 PM

    Oh – this is DEFINITELY happening :) Greg (the boyfriend) and I are huge fanatics of Founders…especially their porter. YUM!! I know what I’m having for dessert tonight :)ReplyCancel

  • Ada (new york) - May 23, 2013 - 4:12 PM

    Yuuuuuuuum!ReplyCancel

  • […] pocket skirt tutorial -skirt as top succulent boutonnieres -succulents and sunshine porter milkshakes -Yellow Brick Home sun-printed tote bag -How About Orange teeny tiny ice cream cone cookie […]ReplyCancel

  • BB King - May 24, 2013 - 5:40 PM

    Okay… now to figure out a viable vegan version. Ice Cream is my weakness. :-(ReplyCancel

  • Summer W - May 24, 2013 - 7:13 PM

    Holly yummy-ness! I think I will be making this for my hubby on Father’s Day… oh he will swoon! :)ReplyCancel

  • […] Diablo | Bubbly Manhattan | Blood orange margarita | Blood orange shandy | Cherry whiskey smash | Porter shakes | Inside-out mojito | Carrot orange ginger bourbon […]ReplyCancel

  • TRB - June 23, 2013 - 4:07 PM

    I made this last weekend using Left Hand Milk Stout after seeing your post and it was AMAZING. What an awesome idea!! And also just noticed that others suggested milk stout too, haha. Thanks so much for posting! I’ve also loved so much of your home decor over the months (and originally came here after seeing your house tour on Apartment Therapy awhile ago). Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Milk-stout-shakes! | Two Red Bowls - June 23, 2013 - 4:08 PM

    […] few weeks ago, I came upon this ingenious idea for porter milkshakes on Yellow Brick Home, and was so floored. Beer milkshakes! Why did this never occur to me before? […]ReplyCancel

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It was almost two years ago when we discussed the hairy situation around here, as in, how in the world we keep it under control – and many of you chimed in with your own tips and suggestions, too. Living in small quarters with three (adorable, squishy, cutie) pets can certainly throw some challenges our way, but none too large to tackle and maintain.

Oddly enough (or maybe not? You tell us!), we receive the occasional email, sheepishly asking, but dudes, where do you keep your litter box? Mixed in with that question – and these come more frequently – are others: Do your pets claw the furniture? How do you keep odors in check? And most importantly, does Jack get along with the kitties? (Um, they agree to disagree.)

So while we’re absolutely obsessed with our kids and could talk about them all day long (and in my case, talk to them all day long!), we thought it’d make sense to share our little tips outside of our inbox and into the blog. And because every do-good pet-obsessed mom and pop loves a good insiders secret, we hope you’ll pipe up again. Here’s how we stay prepped for our pets – all those other things not involving the furry tumbleweeds.

THE HIDDEN BOX. This might sound weird. We stash that litter box in the corner of our bedroom, right there at the head of the bed – my side of the bed. The girls own that room. They sleep there; they eat there. They snooze on my head all night long, and so yes, it made the most sense for us to stow their potty in there, too. (You probably know that’s obviously not Maddie or Libs, below, but I couldn’t embarrass them by taking an actual photo! But yes, our box has a lid and cute kitties come and go.)

It’s been there for years, and the one time we decided to move it into the office (our second “bedroom” before it became the studio), the girls showed us just how pissed they were by… well, literally pissing. In the spot by the bed where their box should’ve been. Lesson learned. (Yes, sometimes they forget to “flush,” but they’re little old ladies. God love them.)

WE PRE-TREAT. You’ve seen us upholster more than one chair around here, and each time – before the chair (or pillow or fabric-covered-anything) makes it in the home, it’s pre-treated with Scotch Gard outside on the back patio. Not only does it help repel daily abuse (say, dark jeans rubbing onto the fabric will easily wipe up with a wet rag), but we like knowing there’s a teeny barrier between wet or dusty paw pads.

FABRIC CHOOSING. In addition to our pre-treating, we’re mindful of the fabrics we bring into the home. Drink spills naturally bead up on our microfiber couch, the velvet chair is self-healing against kitty scratches (or, as we say, when they knead biscuits), and we’ve chosen a neutral Flor rug that allows for swapping of tiles if needed (luckily, we haven’t had to do this yet!). We know that natural fabrics such as jute rugs are an absolute no – because those? They’d be goners. The girls just can’t resist.

WE MIST. Using a solution of half water and half white vinegar, we’ll mist the carpets and curtains in our home, naturally ridding the funny pet odors. The vinegar smell doesn’t linger (rather, your items will smell like nothing at all!), and between this, our Febooze and keeping our windows open on cool, pretty days, we’re able to minimize any lingering unwanted scents. This is not to say we are immune to them – no way, no how – but our misting solutions do help quite a bit.

FOR THOSE OOPS MOMENTS. We can be sleeping in on a Sunday morning – out cold – but the second we hear that first gurgling sound of Jack’s upset belly (followed by the unmistakable lip smacking and throat-y noise), we can bolt out of bed, find our pup in the living room, then coax him onto the hardwood to purge himself of last night’s dinner. (Ew, sorry.) But for those times that we’re just not fast enough and our rugs, couches and chairs have been soiled, we turn to the hard stuff: Woolite Pet Oxygen. We’ve tried a dozen different brands over the last ten years, and this is the one we come back to, time and time again.

For stubborn spots that you don’t even know what they are (and likely don’t want to know), we give it a good Folex. Folex, you guys, is a game changer – and not just for pets; it’s a miracle on pens! Makeup! Wine!

With all this said, please remember that we are far from having every pet situation completely under control. We have hair. We have kitty sick-ups. We have wet nose kisses on every window and while we care for our furniture, we still have worn-in areas, biscuit remnants (the girls love kneading that dough!) and to be honest, everything could use another Scotch Gard-ing. But that’s a loved and lived-in home; that’s the way it should be.

Okay, go on. Pipe up! How do you cut down on fur, clean the oops messes and hide, stow and stash that pesky litter box? Pipe, pipe!

In exchange for cutie pie photos of our kiddos today, we urge you to show us some love in the Apartment Therapy Small Cool contest! Just click the “Favorite” button; please, thank you, and we love you. (You can also access our entry anytime from the sidebar!)

  • Mary Kate - May 21, 2013 - 6:57 AM

    When my husband and I bought our first home our 2 cats decided they just weren’t using the litter box in their new surroundings! Talk about an uh oh moment. We ended up getting a cat door and they are happy indoor/outdoor cats now. We live in a wooded area, so I was so relieved that was a possibility for us!

    My only other “trick” is constant lint rolling. As one of our dogs gets into her older years, she’s decided the couch is her bed. I feel like she’s earned that luxury, so I just come behind her in the morning and roll all that fur up.

    I’ll have to try that water/vinegar idea!ReplyCancel

  • Marti - May 21, 2013 - 8:25 AM

    I want to pipe up on behalf of the Cathole! It’s discrete, easy to install, and lets you hide the litter box in a closet. http://projectpalermo.com/2011/07/26/cathole-2/ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - May 21, 2013 - 8:30 AM

    This is such a good topic, I can totally relate. Thanks for all the great tips!

    I got this great “cat litter house” from Amazon and it really helps contain the litterbox smell and also doubles as a shelf (http://www.amazon.com/Merry-Washroom-Night-Stand-House/dp/B000JZOQO2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368721648&sr=8-1&keywords=cat+litter+house). Plus my cat loves the privacy!

    For cutting down on shedding, I use the Furminator brush which is a little pricey but totally worth it. I brush my cat with it like once a week and it’s definitely cut down on his shedding and I haven’t been finding clumps of hair underneath furniture like I used to.

    I also second Mary Kate’s comment about lint rollers!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 21, 2013 - 8:31 AM

    Mary Kate, we’re big fans of lint rolling too – especially for Scott, since he’s actually allergic to pets! He’ll roll the couch or his pillow before he sits/goes to bed. Life saver. As for your dog earning the luxury, we totally get it. I use that as an excuse when Jack sneaks up on the couch…

    Marti, LOVE that! I remember seeing that on your blog a while back and showing it to Scott! We’ll have to keep that in mind if we ever have a big enough closet. Excellent idea.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 21, 2013 - 8:35 AM

    Kerry – I get such a kick out of furniture with built in hiding places for kitty boxes. Love it!

    As for the furminator, we couldn’t live without it! The one tip that I’d update since we last posted about it: WATCH how much fur you’re brushing off. Our cats – especially as we transition from cold to warm weather this time of year – have SO much hair they’re shedding. If I’m not paying attention, they can get little “bald” spots! Make sure to always brush evenly over their coats.

    You can see our whole post on eliminating the fur here: http://www.yellowbrickhome.com/2011/06/20/for-those-hairy-situations/ReplyCancel

  • B - May 21, 2013 - 11:38 AM

    The mad dash from the bed as soon as you hear the oncoming puke sounds – I can totally relate! It’s that moment of panic when you know they’ll be on the rug instead of the wood and you have mere seconds to stop it.

    Our dog sheds pretty much year round, with the spring months being the worst. I try to brush her with a furminator brush once a week (the amount of hair that thing pulls out is astonishing). It cuts down on the shedding, but there’s still plenty she still sheds naturally. For the floors, our Dyson vacuum is our best friend. We vacuum about 2-3 times a week. For the furniture, we use the Pledge fabric sweeper. It’s the only thing we’ve found that actually lifts the long dog hair off our sofa and sheets.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 21, 2013 - 12:29 PM

    B, we can hear the oncoming sick sounds from a mile away! Great tips all around. We’ll have to look into the Pledge fabric sweeper!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - May 21, 2013 - 12:54 PM

    Ditto on the magic of Folex! I’ll have to give the half-vinegar spray a try, for those spots that just don’t seem to quite perfectly freshen up. :) The slightly damp rubber glove run over the sofa really does help to quickly pick up fur when you don’t have time to pull out the vacuum.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 21, 2013 - 1:11 PM

    Ooh, a damp glove? We haven’t heard of that! Will have to give it a go.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - May 21, 2013 - 1:18 PM

    We are in the process of teaching our cat to use the litter box. So far, she has not tried to go anywhere else, but she is also very young-only a year old. We did have the litter box stashed in the hall closet, but I miss being able to use that space for other thing- ie. the vacuum, so hopefully she learns.ReplyCancel

  • Sarge in Charge - May 21, 2013 - 1:55 PM

    Between the “vintage” scent of my vintage apartment and my basset hound, I am super paranoid about having a weird, smelly place. I need to try this half vinegar solution asap- it works like a charm in the fridge but I never considered using it on fabric!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 22, 2013 - 1:23 PM

      Sarge, give it a go! A light mist should help a lot, and then follow up the next day if you need to!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 21, 2013 - 2:14 PM

    Jessica, just be careful when you move the box from the closet to its new location – kitties can cop some attitudes! Best of luck in training, sounds like it’s going great so far.ReplyCancel

  • jackie jade - May 21, 2013 - 3:34 PM

    loooove these tips! i have 2 pugs who lay all over everything and make it pug-scented haha. will have to try our your scent neutralizer (and your febooze!) our biggest issue is that they shed a ton so that is a constant battle. hoping to get a microfiber couch soon that will be easier to clean. and i should probably scotch-guard everything. do you do that to your pillows as well?
    jackiejade.blogspot.com
    artwork giveawayReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 21, 2013 - 4:00 PM

    Jackie, we’ll do that to pillows that aren’t supposed to be thrown in the wash (for example, the Baba Souk pillow), otherwise – if they can be washed – we won’t Scotch Gard them.ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - May 21, 2013 - 6:08 PM

    When we had a spare bathroom, we kept the litter box in the tub. That worked wonders because not only was it out of the way, but litter didn’t get tracked all over since it stayed in the tub. Maybe one day we’ll be able to do that again :)

    For odors, we use Zero Odor — which I think is actually the original version of Febreze. It works great!ReplyCancel

  • Marlene @ Jade and Fern - May 21, 2013 - 6:53 PM

    What great tips! Keeping up with all the shedding from our two kitties is a challenge, as one of them has intense anxiety issues and is beyond terrified of the vacuum! So we really don’t vacuum as much as we should, and therefore sweep and lint-roller a great deal. But they’re worth it, right?ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - May 21, 2013 - 8:05 PM

    I meant to say that we are teaching our cat to use the TOILET. My brain is fried these days! So far, the training is going well. She has not had any accidents yet and it has been over a week.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 22, 2013 - 8:16 AM

    Jackie, we’ve used Zero Odor in the past – works great!

    Marlene, absolutely worth it. :)

    Jessica, the TOILET! That’s amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Casey - May 22, 2013 - 3:32 PM

    We have the EXACT same reaction when our pup, Scout, gets sick: get him to the tile floor! It does not matter the time of day or night, we are on it. Too funny.

    I keep a foaming carpet cleaner handy for accidents (especially handy with a new puppy). I also have a small hand-held vac that I use to get pet hair off the furniture. It makes a huge difference!

    These are great tips!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 22, 2013 - 5:14 PM

    Casey, it’s amazing how fast we can react to that sound. We’re glad you get it, too!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 22, 2013 - 7:53 PM

    I have to admit I too was wondering where you were hiding your litter box! Ever since adopting Dr Cheeseburger (http://oi39.tinypic.com/9ll.jpg) a few months ago I’ve been trying to think of a way to make his wire kennel work in our home in a way that seems at least a teeny bit design savvy instead of “big cage tucked in the corner”, any suggestions?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 22, 2013 - 9:05 PM

    Sweet Lord, Kim! Could Dr Cheeseburger be any cuter?! Be still my heart! Jack was crate trained for the first several months, but it wasn’t a permanent fixture in our home (will yours be?). If so, you could build a 3 sided box around it, or check out options for all the cool ways you can hide litter boxes in furniture – then apply it to your wire crate! I bet you could even find a piece of furniture (like an end table, etc), that the crate could fit into since he’s a smaller pooch.

    In the meantime, you could always cover it up with something pretty like a faux sheepskin and setting a butler tray on top to organize colorful books!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie - May 24, 2013 - 6:21 PM

    Ditto on lint rolling! We have lint rolling “stations” throughout the house. Also, we use the Febreze Antimicrobial like it is going outta style!

    Great advice though! I just went out and bought a spray bottle for the vinegar/water mixture! :)

    PS – Your furbabies are adorbs. I miss Jack Attack’s handsome face!ReplyCancel

  • Mollie - June 2, 2013 - 6:32 PM

    Hi! Couldd you please share the brand of litter box you have and where you bought it? Thanks a million!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 3, 2013 - 8:04 AM

      Hi Mollie, I checked our box but couldn’t find a brand anywhere! I can tell you we picked it up at PetSmart years ago, and it has a hood, almost exactly like the “fake” box and kitty in the photo above.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - June 3, 2013 - 8:46 PM

    I have to admit, all of our furniture is Ikea because of Annie and Paul (our dogs). And I ripped up the carpeting years ago because of the large number of stains they added to our carpeting. But I have to admit my 2 good cleaning tools: Hydrogen Peroxide anytime I need to get blood out of anything (just poor it on and let it bubble then blot and repeat. It doesn’t bleach it) and dishwashing liquid any time I have stained clothing. And as an elementary school teacher, this is the daily bane of my existence.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 3, 2013 - 10:15 PM

    Kelly, awesome tips!ReplyCancel

  • Sunny - June 12, 2013 - 5:53 PM

    I just got a Mint cleaner and it is a lifesaver in my new apartment. Corgis are shedding monsters.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - June 30, 2013 - 4:49 AM

    Zout is amazing on pretty much anything.ReplyCancel

  • Mr John - November 11, 2014 - 2:18 AM

    you have to select the furniture which is pet friendly and scratch proof so that its looks better, all the tips are amazing and helpful to them who are planing to adopt a pet.ReplyCancel

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This weekend found us shooting to the other side of Lake Michigan – Kalamazoo! – for a quick overnight visit to meet our brand new, 8 week old nephew. Kazoo was bright, vibrant, and (lucky for us!) happened to be having the most perfect weekend weather the Upper Midwest has seen this year – and that’s all without mentioning the beer. The beer. Home to Bell’s Brewing (a perennial Midwest favorite) and a quick hop away from Arcadia, Dark Horse and New Holland, the local brews flew fast and loose.

Like most of our weekend getaways, we found time to browse through records, hit a couple quick yard sales (where I had to convince Kim that bringing home an entire solid, walnut mid-century living room set home was a less-than-stellar idea; she still disagrees), imbibe in some great food and drinks, and spend some long overdue quality time with the siblings. With all that, we were able to leave long days of work and home-buying on the other side of our Great Lake. It felt good, even just for a too-short day.

How was your weekend?

PS… Our little home is in the running for Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool contest! We’d love a vote and help spreading the word – especially since this will be our last eligible year. See our entry right here, and make sure to browse around, too. There are so many tiny inspirational places out there!

  • Christina - May 20, 2013 - 9:08 AM

    I have to say, I have been following your blog for a while now (just reading in the background…not commenting)…except for the ADORABLE Pet Shop pix you post to Instagram…super cute, and just might have to buy one one of these days!!

    So anyway (after I stop rambling)…my boyfriend and I are such HUGE Beer Nerds it’s not even funny, and when I saw you lived in Chicago (GASP for Goose Island)…and then you mentioned Bell’s, Arcadia, Dark Horse and New Holland…I just about fell out of my chair!! Could it be? Another couple of Beer Nerds????

    Just wanted to share my love for your blog, The {ADORABLE} Pet Shop AND for Craft Beer :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 20, 2013 - 9:45 AM

    Christina, thank you so much! I’ve seen your name in our Instagram feed – thanks for the love!

    Yes, Scott is a fellow beer nerd, and he’s hooked me into the same. It was a full on beer fest this weekend, that’s for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Shelby @ Sweetness in Starlight - May 20, 2013 - 10:34 AM

    Alright, I would love to know the scoop on how you get such amazing, vibrant colors in your photos. Have you ever done a tutorial on your blog (that I missed somehow)? I just LOVE all of your photos and the amazing colors in them. This wannabe photographer would love some tips. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 20, 2013 - 10:55 AM

    Hi Shelby, I haven’t done a full blown tutorial, but I do like to mix exposures so I can get a detailed sky but still see the foreground just as well. You can see here how to easily do that: http://www.yellowbrickhome.com/2013/04/10/setting-the-mood-indoor-photography-at-night/

    Other than that, I like to mess around with fun Photoshop actions and lightening the overall exposures to keep things light and bright (such as playing with the Levels and playing with selective colors to make some stand out and tone others down). If you don’t want to venture into the world of PS actions, this tutorial from Katie’s Pencil Box is a great way to get fun and fresh photos: http://www.katiespencilbox.com/2011/07/picture-taking.htmlReplyCancel

  • Jill - May 20, 2013 - 2:57 PM

    Hey Scott, I dig yours and Rob’s matching bro-shirts! haha And did you get any baby fever? I hope, I hope. I kidzzzz!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 20, 2013 - 3:02 PM

    Jill, no baby fever (although we love our nephew!), but we did fall in love with an adorable puppy we met while walking around downtown Kazoo! Ha!ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin - May 21, 2013 - 8:41 AM

    I can’t tell you how nice it was to stop by your blog and see such sweet photos of Kalamazoo. I’ve lived there my whole life so I’m certainly partial to the place, but you made it look so lovely. Also: beer! We really are lucky to be surrounded by some of the best craft brews in the country.ReplyCancel

  • Ada (new york) - May 21, 2013 - 2:40 PM

    Sounds like a perfect weekend (weather, sites, great photo ops); ur nephew is ADORABLE! My weekend in NY was great .. finally getting warmer weather (felt like winter traveling back from Hawaii, warm weather translate to = BBQ time! Yaaay!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 21, 2013 - 3:59 PM

    BBQ weather = perfection!ReplyCancel

  • Shelby @ Sweetness in Starlight - May 23, 2013 - 9:47 AM

    Thanks Kim!! I’m going to check it all out now. :)ReplyCancel

  • BB King - May 24, 2013 - 5:42 PM

    I have a favorite photo here. Can you guess the one? Let’s see if you know me, yet.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 24, 2013 - 5:46 PM

      Oh, no! This is a stressful test. If you’re anything like Chuckleberry, it’s the ice cream :)ReplyCancel

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