Celebrating #OneMoreRhinoBPZ

Image Credit: From the Blank Park Zoo

Near and dear to Ali’s heart is animal care, well-being, and conservation. Having worked at Blank Park Zoo (BPZ) in the past (Willow was supportive from at home), it’s only fitting that the furry potato helped out with some pictures to raise awareness and gather support for black rhinos everywhere. (Plus, Ali misses hanging with Kiano (male) and Ayana (female) there!)


Joining the herd! 🐾 Willow is no rhino, but he got on his podium to support them!

Want to show YOUR support? Write #OneMoreRhinoBPZ on your palm, post it onto social media, and then submit it to #JointheHerd at the Blank Park Zoo submission page!

Want to learn more and help out? Read “What’s with the Point: Rhino Horns and Poaching” on the BPZ page or check out The International Rhino Foundation website for more information about these amazing animals.

Still want to help out?

Did you know that proceeds to many zoos actually go towards conservation to help animals in the wild? But educating yourself and others around you, you can make a real difference – even if you just stop by to say hi to the animals!


If you’re heading to Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa, check out one of Ali’s favorite buddies, Barnabee who is an Aldabra tortoise and over 80 years old! He’s definitely one awesome guy. ❤


Relaunch 2017

New Changes Coming 2017

There are so many new changes and events happening with the Once Upon a Wheek team that have kept them extremely busy!

To ensure that there are posts every week for everyone, and for better organization, we will not be posting many new posts until our revamp next year. We should be up and running by February 2017 with weekly posts and information.


What are we hoping to achieve?

  • A new post every week
  • New ideas
  • Better organization
  • Logo (we’re hoping!)
  • Guinea pig comic/drawing once a month


We will be posting some series posts in February that we promised which include bonding tips, training, and the initial litter training posts!


Stay warm and have a wonderful and memorable holiday season!

Holiday Cards

Dec. 15th: Now this is how you spend a morning. With hot chocolate (with a candy cane melted in), sugar cookies, and Willow nibbling on romaine all while doing last minute touches to the cards. Willow and I finally finished the last holiday cards! They were put in the mail today. 📮✉️📬 Happy Holidays!








Celebrating World Mental Health Awareness Day 2016


We’ve all heard about stopping to smell the roses, but Willow is an advocate to stop and smell the romaine. Why? Because, besides the fact that romaine is delicious, romaine keeps going even after being cut down, even repeatedly. With just a little sustenance, water, it can grow again. Don’t let life cut you down because you’re an amazing person, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Mental health awareness is so important because  the problems people face are very real, but they tend to be invisible. Your best friend, sibling, parent, or anyone can have one or any number of mental disorders, but you may never know it. My guineas have always known what was going on, but it didn’t mean anyone else knew at the time.

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Rosh Hashanah – ראש השנה

ראש השנה

Monday, October 3rd was Rosh Hashanah and Willow was kind enough to take some time out of his day to help us celebrate the new year! He at least enjoyed the apples! 015


Straight from Willow’s Tunnel

The morning was what you’d expect from mom and her boyfriend. Mom got dressed quickly and was soon on her computer doing posts for work – which is silly since she said today was a holiday. I didn’t get it, but I thought that maybe I could get her attention for my need of breakfast. Usually I just get pellets and a refill of hay in the morning, but today? No. I wanted WAFFLES. Okay, maybe not, but I wanted romaine, and carrots, and green pepper, and cucumber, and apples. Seriously though? Mom said there would be apples and honey.

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Ash and the Adventure of the Mysterious Green Stuff

Ash and the Adventure of the Mysterious Green Stuff


Ash’s face when he heard that he got to write a blog post.

Entry 1, 6:58 A.M.:

I am so excited to be writing for this blog! My last servants “owners” didn’t have a blog. Lame!

Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. My name is Ash, and today is the first day I and my brother Brock are spending in our new home! I love exploring, and I can’t wait to see what we discover today!


Entry 2, 10:18 A.M.:

So far, there has been a lot to explore. There is so much room, and there is another guinea pig here, whose name is Willow! Unfortunately, my adventures will have to pause for a bit. Our new owners (I think they call themselves “humans” and “fosters” – whatever that means) are insisting on putting us on their laps. All we do is sit there while they pet us. I don’t get how Brock likes it; I think it is the most boring thing ever!

Brock enjoying his lap time with the humans.

Brock enjoying his lap time with the humans.

Entry 3, 11:04 A.M.:

What is this? Is it a test? Is it poison? Are the humans trying to kill us?

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About Fostering and Our Fosters as of August

Opening a Home to Potatoes Passing By

Upon moving out to the Twin Cities, I was only sure about one thing. I wanted to make sure that I was still able to make a difference in a life – if not lives – in this new place I would call home for the next year. So, naturally, I looked into rescues and shelters that I could help out at so I could provide a loving foster home to guineas in need while they waited for their Furever home.

While there were many great rescues, I stumbled upon Piggy Haven’s Facebook page and found a post asking for volunteers to help foster. I was enthused to become involved and help out a smaller rescue that focused purely on rescuing the little potatoes. Plus, smaller rescues that focus on a specific animal type or breed tend to have less funding and donations than larger rescues that may have a variety of animals – and therefore more people traffic.

Since joining, not only have I found great and caring people, but I also get to meet a lot of great guineas that come through my home. Some of them have never had fruits and veggies before, some were cramped in cages they weren’t really able to move around, and some just came because life just didn’t work out in their old home. I’ve seen pigs who were abused and neglected (which Piggy Haven’s founder and team helped nurse back to health), sick or had special needs, and those who were just confused and frightened. I’ve also seen pigs who were overjoyed to finally be with us because of their past conditions and have found out life can be better than what they’ve had.

I’ve only been apart of the team for less than two months, but these two months have taught and shown me a lot. My heart is bigger because of it, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Fleece Bedding: Is it Right for You?

To Fleece or Not to Fleece? That is the Question.

Willow on Fleece

Willow enjoying the snuggle sack as a bed.

With all this talk about cage type and bedding types, it has come to this. One of the most commonly asked questions we get is “should we switch to fleece” or “what are the pros and cons of fleece”? 

I can’t lie. Fleece looks wonderful in guinea pig cages. Customizing cages with different fleece designs has been a favorite activity for many pet owners who use fleece bedding. However, fleece bedding isn’t as easy as it looks. What many people don’t know is that it’s a trade off. Beautiful aesthetic, but more maintenance.


The Three Big Questions

Before you go out and switch over to fleece bedding, you need to ask yourself the following questions (and be honest with yourself because at the end of the day, it is the pig’s happiness at stake).  Continue reading