Setup Habitat for My Leopard and Crested Gecko

Crested and leopard geckos are species of lizard that have for a long time been kept as pets. Many people prefer them because they are readily available, their food can easily be found in the pet stores and all the relevant information that one needs about them can easily be found. The habitat that these lizards live should be made as good as possible and similar to the natural environment. This should be done to ensure that they are not stressed and that they are always healthy and comfortable. This article gives an insight into a leopard and crested gecko habitat

Cage

Crested Gecko

These animals like climbing on walls and surfaces which means that you should provide a cage that allows them to climb easily. They are easy to keep in simple conditions. A hatchling can be housed in an aquarium. Research indicates that the eating habits of juvenile crested and leopard geckos are changed and they do not eat comfortably. This in return can result in health problems. When they reach 4 months, you can keep them in an aquarium of at least 20 gallons. If you have three of them, they can comfortably fit in an aquarium of 29 gallons.

However, you should not keep only males in the cage. Having one male and 2 females in the cage is okay. They use their tails to manoeuvre around branches when they climb the tree branches in the wild. This means that they like climbing which makes it necessary to have enough vertical space rather than the horizontal one. Habitats that have more vertical space may be more expensive than tanks. However, if it contributes to the wellbeing and the health of the animal, it is quite relevant and worth the investment.

Substrate

Having a cage is not just enough. You should start investing to achieve a perfect habitat for your pets. The next thing that you should look for is the substrate. The nature of the substrate that you provide to your animal matters a lot. This is because they tend to ingest bits of the substrate during their feeding. Ingesting non-digestible materials might be detrimental to the general health of the animal.

Avoid wood chips and sand as well as other loose substrates. A paper towel is a good substrate for these animals. If a paper towel is accidentally ingested, it does not cause health risks to the animal. A substrate such as coconut fibre, zoo med eco earth, or even slate tiles can be used. These help to maintain the moisture within the cage and at the same time resists odour, mildew and moulds.

Habitat Branches

To make sure that these animals remain comfortable in their habitat, providing vertical climbing features is very necessary. Features such as vines, bamboo, cork bark driftwood and other types of branches can contribute so much to the health and comfort of the animal. Ensuring that these branches are set at different heights makes your leopard and crested gecko pleased.

Furthermore, adding live plants, plastics and silk varieties makes it possible for them to find a place where they can play and hide. You can have a small water dish at the bottom although they mostly prefer drinking water that drips from the leaves. It means that you will have to provide them with a dripping, rain or mystified system. Using artificial plants is advised because the natural plants and flowers may be spoilt during the sanitization process.

Temperature, Humidity and Light

These types of gecko survive in humidity level that rise above that of the terrestrial gecko. You should mist the enclosure daily and at least twice in the semi-arid areas. Make sure humidity does not go below 50% in order to stimulate their natural tropical habitat. Humidity should also be higher during the day to allow the process of shedding.

Temperatures are best when maintained at 70 to 80 degrees F. they can also survive a night time drop in temperature to about 60 degrees F. moreover, they require a 12 to 14 hours photoperiod during the day. If they do not have access to natural light, you should look for artificial sources of light. Use of UVB bulbs is advised to allow vitamin D synthesis hence leading to absorption of calcium.

Conclusion

Leopard and crested geckos are very attractive and nice pets to have. You should be extra careful when taking care of them to keep them healthy and comfortable. This should be done by providing a good substrate that does not affect their health negatively, habitat branches, an enclosure with enough vertical height and the right temperatures, humidity and light. Through this, you can be able to keep your leopard and crested gecko comfy.

Sunshine Tag Blanket

Since we have less than 10 weeks until Mini M&M is due to arrive, I knew I wanted to make something from her board for the winter 2013 Pinterest challenge. I’ve been feeling braver with the sewing machine lately, so this weekend I tackled a tag blanket — you know, one of those mini blankies for a baby that has ribbons all the way around it for little fingers to explore.

sunshine_tag_blanket_finished

I made mine in the shape of a sunshine in yellows, oranges and hot pink to coordinate with her nursery colors. It’s not perfect, but it sure is a happy little toy that I have a feeling she’s going to like.

The two pins that inspired me were this basic ribbon blanket tutorial …

… and this turtle-shaped tag blanket that was recently sold on Etsy.

Here’s exactly what I did, in case anyone wants to sew one for their little sunshine:

materials
sun rays template (PDF)
sun face template (PDF)
1/2 yard fabric for the sun rays (I used this yellow plaid)
1/2 yard fabric for the back (I used yellow minky dot)
1/4 yard fabric for the sun face (I used a quilter’s yellow polka dot)
1/4 yard white fabric to line the sun face
various colors, widths and textures of ribbon
yellow thread
white felt and thread for the eyes
black felt and thread for the pupils
hot pink felt and thread for the mouth
sharp scissors
tape
sewing machine
needles and straight pins

directions
Print four copies of the sun rays template, cut them out, tape them together to make a full sun, and use that to cut your sun ray fabric and your backing fabric. Print the sun face template and use that to cut one circle of sun face fabric and two circles of white liner fabric, along with two white felt eyes, two black felt pupils and one hot pink felt mouth. Then cut the different types of ribbon into 5-inch pieces for a total of 16 ribbons.

Sew the eyes, pupils and mouth onto the sun face by hand.

Pin the sun ray fabric and the backing fabric right-sides-together and sew them together on the machine with 1/4-inch seam allowance, unpinning as you go, leaving one sun ray open. (Since I used minky dot fabric for the back, I set my stitch length to 3.5 and my tension to 5, and I tried to go slowly and carefully around the zig-zags.)

Snip off the very tips of the sun rays and turn the whole thing right-side-out through the opening. If your rays are all puckered up like mine were, iron them flat. (If you’re using minky dot fabric, iron with the coolest setting only on the non-minky side. Never iron minky directly.) Hand-stitch the open sun ray closed.

Stack the circles for the sun face in the following order: one white circle, the actual sun face (face-down), and the other white circle. Fold the ribbon pieces in half and iron them creased. Arrange them around the sun folded-side-in between the bottom white circle and the sun face, leaving about a half-inch piece of each ribbon sticking out the perimeter. Leave at least an inch and a half between two of the ribbons so you’ll be able to turn the face right-side-out.

Pin the ribbons in place and sew around the circle (leaving the aforementioned gap) with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Back-stitch over each ribbon and then continue so that each ribbon is sewed over three times. Turn the sun face right-side-out and hand-stitch the gap closed. Finally, stack the sun face on top of the sun rays and sew all the way around.

Although the sun rays are still a little puckered (I guess because the minky stretched a bit as I sewed?), the mouth is a little off-center, and I wish I could tweak the spacing of the ribbons, I’m still really happy with the way this came out. Matt reminded me that I shouldn’t stress so much over my craftsmanship since it’s going to end up in a slobbering mouth anyway, haha!

Thanks to Sherry, Katie, Megan and Michelle for hosting the Pinterest Challenge this time! Check back soon for nursery updates.

Our Little Kitchen Makeover

Matt and I have been slowly and steadily renovating our kitchen since August, and on Saturday morning, we finally declared it done! It’s nothing terribly fancy, but it feels that way to us, especially compared to what we were living with before.

kitchen_makeover_before

Ugh! Right? I’m not sure how I tolerated those cream melamine cabinets and faux-butcher-block countertops with white appliances. And the floor was covered in burgundy-and-peach marbled linoleum. I don’t know how we thought painting the walls sage green would help. [shudder]

So here’s what we have now. When you first walk in, you notice our nickel ceiling light from Ikea, which replaced an old boob light, and my Julia Child quote art over to the left.

kitchen_makeover_light_fixture_small

As you step in further, you can really appreciate our new white, black, gray and green color scheme.

Our friend Kathrine works for a wood renewal company called NHance, so she helped us get a good deal on these white shaker-style wood cabinets. They built our new Ikea microwave into the cabinets over the stove, which saved us a lot of needed counter space. We went with Kat’s recommendation of Arboleda to do the countertops, and they did a great job on our black marbled Formica.

Both the white subway tile backsplash and the taupeish-gray ceramic tile floor were installed by a family friend named Matt Tucciarone. He just finished up the floor on Wednesday, and it really helped bring everything together.

We painted the walls a soft gray called Warm Chinchilla by Valspar at Lowe’s (a tint lighter than the Nimbus Cloud hue we used in the living room), and incorporated green by way of accessories.

We love how much more storage space our corner cabinet and our taller cabinets over the sink give us. Matt let me splurge on a slightly deeper sink (eight inches instead of just six) from Lowe’s, and the faucet is from Ikea. They don’t seem to have ours anymore, but this one is similar.

When you turn to the right again, you see our cute new kitchen cart, where I have my smoothie station and store all our baking stuff.

You might remember the canisters I decorated last year, and the four photos are some of our Instagrams that we got printed from Picplum and put in frames we already had. Oh, and the white frame holds a postcard from Penzeys Spices that says “Love People. Cook them tasty food.”

Finally, I have to show off the little valance I made using just a half-yard of fabricfrom Ikea.

I just cut a rectangle of the birdie fabric and a rectangle of plain white fabric, and sewed them right-sides-together, leaving a gap to turn it right-side-out. Then I hand-stitched the gap closed, ironed the whole thing flat and top-stitched along the bottom with green thread. It might be my favorite accessory.

It feels so good to be done with the kitchen! Now we can enjoy cooking in it even more. I’ll never enjoy cleaning it though.

Mini M&M’s Nursery (and Name!) Reveal

Yep, I’m still here. And still pregnant. I had every intention of sharing progress updates on the nursery as we went along, but I just didn’t have it in me. And you’d probably rather just see it all done anyway, right?

So, TADA!

nursery_bookcase nursery_closet nursery_corner_with_rocker nursery_view_from_door

A few things changed from our original plans, but we think it’s just perfect. I don’t have the energy to explain where everything is from and/or how I made it, but if you have a specific question, I’ll be happy to answer it.

Oh, by the way — the J is for Julie. I can’t wait to introduce her to you!

Best Thing I Ever Made

Meet Julie, everybody:

Julie_announcement

It’s hard to believe it’s been two weeks since this little bundle made her grand entrance into the world. She already loves to eat, and I have high hopes that she’ll enjoy painting and crafting as well.

She’s keeping me even busier than I’d anticipated, so I’m not sure when or what I’ll be posting next, but I promise I’ll be back.

Salmon Salad Is the New Chicken Salad

See, you guys, I told you I’d be back! Julie and I (and Daddy and the dogs) are doing swell. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen too many photos of the baby, so I won’t bother you with one here. She sure is cute though.

So, as I stated in the title of this post, salmon salad is the new chicken salad in our house. It’s quicker to make, more nutritious for me as a nursing mom, and this Greek-inspired version that we’ve been eating for lunch is really fresh and flavorful. A scoop of it is lovely on a salad or sandwich, or even just on crackers or kettle-cooked potato chips (okay, you got me — those aren’t as nutritious).

salmon_salad_small

ingredients
4 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1/2 a cucumber, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
zest and juice of half a lemon
1/8 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

directions
Drizzle the salmon fillets with two tablespoons of the olive oil, season them with salt and pepper, and roast them in a 400° oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until cooked through. Allow them to cool; then flake them apart with a fork in a medium bowl. Add the remaining olive oil and all of the other ingredients (including extra salt and pepper), and stir to combine.