Posted in Pets

Care of a Syrian Hamster

This little furry guy is Oliver (named for Oliver Queen – yup, total nerd here – for the dark circles around his eyes), or “Ollie” for short. He is a long-haired Syrian hamster who loves to sleep all day and doesn’t get up until after 10p most nights. We inherited him from a friend and I had no idea what these little guys needed. I found that many of these guys in the United States are kept in much too small a cage which can cause stress on their tiny little bodies. They won’t complain though, but I feel that if you own a pet, you’ve made the commitment to make their lives as comfortable as possible for the joy of their companionship.

Firstly, we keep this guy in our office since he’s almost completely nocturnal. He will get up during the day for a bit of food and water, but his high activity times are definitely late at night. If you are a light sleeper, their activities may keep you (or your child) up at night. Everyone functions better on a good night’s rest. It is advised that you keep your hamster in a cage that is at least 15″ tall and has 464 square inches of floor space. Levels in your cage DO NOT count into the square inches of floor space! I had been keeping Ollie in a 10 gallon aquarium as a baby knowing that I’d need to upgrade his cage in the future. The need for a larger cage will come quicker than you expect if you go that route.

Ollie's "Palace"
Ollie’s “Palace”

We ended up purchasing this cage on which gives him 540″ of living space. It was one of the few that met space requirements and had close enough bar spacing so Ollie shouldn’t be able to use that as a means of escape. I removed the 3rd shelf that had the food bowl recessed into the shelf as I felt he didn’t really have a need to go swimming in this huge bowl every time he wanted to eat. I use a ceramic food bowl I found at PetSmart for food instead. You will need some form of water bottle as a supply for your pet. I chose a glass one because I find them easier to clean, but that’s completely up to personal preference.

As you can see, Ollie’s running wheel is quite large. I purchased a 12″ wheel because in the United, we don’t seem to carry 8″ wheels that Syrian’s require. I also wanted a really silent wheel because I sleep lightly and even with his being in the office, he’d sometimes wake me up with his smaller saucer I purchased in the beginning. This Silent Spinner had the best reviews concerning noise level on Amazon and Fosters & Smith (Fosters & Smith had the lowest price if you’re looking). You can also mount it on wire or use the stand it comes with. If you purchase this wheel, I highly suggest you check the finish of the inside of the wheel before placing it in your pet’s cage. Ours came with some raised points from the mold used to create it that may have damaged Ollie’s feet had he run on it. I filed these down with a small nail file until it was flush with the rest of the wheel and we’ve had no injuries. I check it to make sure it’s still holding together well at every cage cleaning because I found some reviews that stated the color part can come away from the rest causing a safety hazard. Wheels should also not be made of mesh or wire for Syrians as they can cause injury to their feet/legs.


Ollie enjoying an apple sliver.
Ollie enjoying an apple sliver.

Food & Treats

Syrian Hamsters, like other rodents, have teeth that never stop growing. It is important to choose a food (and most of the time FOODS) that contains some sort of pellet that can grind their teeth down as they consume it. I have fed Ollie:
*Vitakraft VitaSmart Complete Nutrition for Hamsters
*Oxbow Animal Health Essentials Healthy Handfuls Hamster & Gerbil Food
*Hazel Hamster Tasty Mix
Of the 3, he seems to enjoy foraging through Hazel Hamster most. I’ll give him any of the 3 when I have them. None seem to impress him more than the other.

For treats I look for anything without added sugar or I’ll feed him something we’ve had at home for dinner or snack. He loves small apple slices, broccoli, and cauliflower. He wasn’t much of a fan of green beans, blackberries or strawberries. I’ve heard of Syrian Hamsters enjoying pasta and other fruits and vegetables as well, but haven’t got around to treating him to those yet. I always consult Google before offering him something new as there are some things they shouldn’t consume.

Ollie doesn’t really care for toys. You should offer something for them to gnaw on and something to hide in. His favorite thing is his Snak Shak. He loves it a bit too much as it’s nearing replacement since he’s almost destroyed the roof. His Critter House is also another favorite where he chooses to cram a bunch of bedding inside. It’s just another little hiding spot and we’ve never used it for the sand baths it’s designed for.

So, that’s it. That’s my major down low on Syrian Hamster needs. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading….and you get an Ollie gallery. 🙂

Pet Momming It Up,


When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911.

Erma Bombeck

Until next week,

Quote of the Week

Posted in Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

We’ve been rather stormy here in SoCal. Living in the Mojave Desert means we don’t get to see a whole lot of storms that just hang around long enough to envelop the valley and its surrounding mountain ranges. It’s beautiful (to me at least) when it happens though.

Wishing for more rain in the Mojave Desert,

Posted in Adventures In The Kitchen, Crohn's Disease, Health, Wordless Wednesday

(Somewhat) Wordless Wednesday


Pizza crust recipe: here. I make many things from scratch because of my Crohn’s disease. This way I avoid a ton of craptastic preservatives and artificial flavors that make me feel really lousy. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have. 🙂

Chronically Fabulous,

P.S. This is a GREAT activity with your kiddos. Jude loves making his pizza as cheesy as humanly possible.

Posted in Parenting

Life Lessons

We all have those life skill conversations we have with our children before the age of five:
*Why we don’t expose ourselves in public.
*Why we should brush our teeth everyday.
*Why socks are put on before shoes.
*”Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.” -The King and I

The other day, my son goofed up one of those talks. The one that starts and ends with: We only pee in the toilet. He totally missed, so I sent him to clean it up with a bunch of paper towels. Mentally noting that I’d have to follow up when he was finished, I started to move a load of clothes from the washer to dryer when I heard it.


The toilet flushed and I knew exactly what my logical child had done. “We put used toilet paper in the toilet, so why not a large urine soiled mass of paper towels??” I round the corner from the entryway into the hallway imagining the worst! Knowing with certainty that I’d have to call my father-in-law (he’s a plumbing contractor) for advice about a helplessly clogged toilet, I reach the bathroom to find my shocked child holding a mass of toilet water soaked paper towels over the tiles.

His face…how I wish I’d had my phone on me…it said it all! The shock, the confusion, the betrayal. It was all there. We had NEVER had the conversation about what was safe to flush down a toilet and our low flow, water saving, California drought approved, 0.5 gallon flush toilets totally couldn’t handle the paper towels. A blessing and a curse.

The first mess was his, the second mess was totally mine. Sorry, son. It probably won’t be the first time I’ll forget to let you in on a little life lesson. Learn by experience right?

A Parent Wingin’ It,

Currently listening to: Nf

Posted in Blogging, Parenting

Happy New Year!

Who else was in bed by 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve? This girl sure was. Ain’t got time for that! 😉 Our dogs sure made it certain we were up from midnight to 3 a.m. as they panicked over all the noise outside. It was rainy and windy here too. I’m totally an old curmudgeon because the weather alone would have discouraged me from setting off any fireworks.

new-years-dayDon’t worry though! Jude made sure to have me up early New Year’s Day even though I had wanted to sleep in a bit.

So, blog goals for 2017:
*Figure out how to easily cross post my photos from Instagram to WordPress. Mine always seem to glitch.
*Get this blog up and running again — more expansive Instagram posts are my plans. For example: Pinterest Projects and the HOW not just the end result.
*More parenting posts as well. The thing with these is I need to be in the mood to write and that’s not always something I’m up to. Brain fog with Crohn’s Disease is a thing I can’t always write around.

I hope this new theme works out too. I felt it was a good fit with my “Scrapbooking” of odds and ends here. I hope you’re all having a great start to your New Year and if you’re not, remember you can ALWAYS start fresh again whenever you want. A calendar doesn’t determine that for you.

Much Love,

Currently Listening To: The Chainsmokers

Posted in Blogging, Life

The Winds of Change

Ch-ch-changes. Yes, life has gotten away from me a bit and it’s brought on some more changes. It’s about time my blog catches up with it. If you’ve been here awhile, you likely remember this blog as “Ye Olde Humdrum” but I’ve slowly been switching all my social media over to “Katies Book Niche” since signing with Usborne Books & More. (Don’t worry! I’m NOT a pushy salesy person. Following/continuing to follow this blog will not result in endless ads!)

I’ve been super busy over at Instagram — in fact it’s probably my main form of public social media anymore. My Pinterest is hit and miss…and another thing I need to update. Lol. I’m hoping this blog kind of ties everything together with DIY, books, parenting, pets and life in general. A few of my catagories may disappear over in the right column as well. They just don’t fit the new life I’ve carved out over the past 18 months or so. 🙂

I hope all is well with you and your family as we head into the holiday season. Things have been good here.