Simplifying Dog Dental Care with Suchgood

This post is sponsored by Suchgood. Every year, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I try to find one word to steer my decisions and actions throughout the year. My 2021 word is “simplify” – a…

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Valentine’s Day Cookies

Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies

We make these cookies every year for Valentine’s Day, but my 7 year old daughter told me it was absolutely imperative we make them earlier this year, so here we are. They might look familiar to some of you because I have shared this recipe here in the past, but making tweaks and reposting recipes here is sort of my thing. Plus, they are so good, they’re worth a reshare every couple of years. 

Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies
Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies

Peanut Butter (or Sunbutter) and Jelly Valentine’s Day Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies

1 cup peanut butter or SunButter (for allergy-free recipe!)  
1-1/4 cups all-purpose (or gluten free) flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter (softened)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extra
1/2 cup jelly, jam, or preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, use a mixer to beat together the peanut butter or SunButter, butter, and egg. Beat in the sugars and vanilla until thoroughly combined, then beat in the flour mixture on low until well mixed. Roll tablespoon size balls on dough and place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart, the slightly press each cookie into a round shape. (Tip: dip the bottom of a metal measuring cup in sugar and then press onto each cookie ball).) Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately use the bottom of a wooden spoon handle to make heart shapes in the center of each cookie while still hot. Fill each indentation with jelly, and allow to cool on a wire rack.  

Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies
Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies
Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies

Happy (way early) Valentine’s Day! I hope you like these as much as we do. 


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Cranberry Cucumber Vodka Spritzers

Cranberry Cucumber Vodka Spritzers

This week felt 8746 days long, and I for one am looking forward to some major relaxation this weekend. (I mean, as much as one can relax with a 5 and 7 year old running madly through the house. I love them so much, I swear, but man are those little babes loud.) I plan on kicking my feet up (even if just for a few minutes) and enjoying one of my favorite wintertime cocktails: a cranberry cucumber vodka spritzer. Recipe is below!

Cranberry Cucumber Vodka Spritzer
Servings: 1

1.5 fluid ounces cucumber vodka (I love Prairie Organic brand) 
4 fluid ounces organic cranberry juice, chilled
1 ounce simple syrup (equal parts parts sugar and water; instructions below)
Splash of soda/sparkling water, chilled
Organic cucumber slice (for garnish)
Organic orange slice (for garnish)
Fresh organic mint sprig (for garnish)
Organic cranberries (for garnish)

To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a medium sauce pan. (I recommend one cup of each so you have more on hand than enough for just one spritzer). Bring to a boil, stirring consistently until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.

Combine cucumber vodka, organic cranberry juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Fill a glass half way with ice cubes, and pour cocktail over ice. Top with a splash or two of soda. Garnish with a cucumber slice, an orange slice, a sprig of fresh mint, and few fresh cranberries.  

Cheers to a (hopefully) relaxing weekend!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Contraband Sausages

From Customs and Border Protection: NEWARK, N.J. — An arriving passenger was ‘sniffed’ out by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection K-9 at Newark Liberty International Airport trying to import swine meat into the United States. On January 8, CBP agriculture specialists conducted a canine examination of luggage originating from Kosovo, when K-9 Kody alerted … Continue reading Contraband Sausages Dog Blog

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Thank You, Happy Holidays, and See You Next Year!

Happy Holidays from Bubby and Bean!

What a year. I mean, where do I even begin? I think I’ll just keep it short and sweet and say Happy Holidays, and thank you. Thank you for being here, engaging, and allowing me to share pieces of my life along with products and services I love. I know there has been a lot of sponsored content here and on Instagram over the past two months. Since mid October, I have been working 80 hour weeks. My husband has been out of work since the live music industry shut down in March, and I am grateful beyond words for the campaigns I have gotten and the ability to support our little family. I am also extremely burned out and exhausted, and looking forward to spending the next week and half with my husband and kids (who have been asking a lot why mommy has to work so much).
I’ll be back here after the New Year, and because I just don’t know how to completely turn off, I’m sure I’ll be popping in on Instagram
However you celebrate (or don’t celebrate!), I wish you the happiest of holidays and a New Year that is better than whatever this crap just was. Love and peace!

Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Pandemic Puppy Scam

Tips to avoid a scam: Never buy online. You want to see both the puppy and its parents up close and in person. Ask lots of questions of the breeder, and expect them to ask you questions, too. A reputable breeder will not have more than 2 – 3 breeds they deal with. They should … Continue reading Pandemic Puppy Scam Dog Blog

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AKC Statement on Service Dog Air Travel Ruling

From The Dog Lady’s mailbag: The American Kennel Club™ (AKC), the largest purebred registry in the world and leading advocate for dogs, lauds the U.S. Department of Transportation [DOT] on the release of a final rule on travel by air with service dogs. “We are very pleased by the DOT’s strong statement that recognizes the … Continue reading AKC Statement on Service Dog Air Travel Ruling Dog Blog

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Gift Ideas For Encouraging Learning and Creativity: Kiwi Co

Gift Ideas For Encouraging Learning and Creativity: Kiwi Co

This post is in partnership with KiwiCo.

I am going to start this out by admitting to you guys that I usually feel irrationally overwhelmed trying to come up with good gift ideas for my kids. Like lie in bed at night stressing out about it overwhelmed. I want to get them age appropriate gifts that are educational and encourage creativity and discovery but that aren’t boring for them, and that can seem like a hard ticket. Thankfully, in my search for the best items to put under the tree for them this year, I keep coming back to the same brand again and again, one that has everything I’m looking for: KiwiCo. (Pssst! They have a huge sale going on and everything is 20% off! I’ll talk about that more in a minute…
Gift Ideas For Encouraging Learning and Creativity: Kiwi Co
You might have seen my mention of KiwiCo in the kids gift guide I posted last week, but I am such a fan of them (truly, I am), I felt compelled to devote an entire post to them. I partner with a lot of brands I love in an effort to share all of my favorite things with you, but when it comes to my kids, this one tops the list. I know many of you are like me and find it challenging to come up with gifts that your kids will genuinely love and actually use. And that is why I decided to share some of the reasons we are such big KiwiCo fans, and hopefully encourage you to give them a try this holiday season as well!
Gift Ideas For Encouraging Learning and Creativity: Kiwi Co
Gift Ideas For Encouraging Learning and Creativity: Kiwi Co

Maybe you’re already familiar with KiwiCo and their super cool (as my son calls it) monthly subscription service, which delivers incredible hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) projects each month. Well now you can also shop single crates from KiwiCo’s Store, with no subscription required! Having the option for either (we love both) is just one of the many things I like about them. You can try a crate before you commit to a subscription, supplement a subscription, or just order the individual crates without a commitment

What really sets KiwiCo apart for me is that they solve the dilemma of finding toys and projects for kids that satisfy their need for fun while also encouraging them to learn and grow their creative minds. Each crate comes with materials for a cool hands-on activity along with a booklet with illustrated instructions that are kid-friendly. It also includes additional DIY projects that allow the fun to be extended after the initial project is complete. KiwiCo also offers specific crates for different ages (from toddler to teen and beyond), and their site makes it easy to choose the perfect crate based on age and category. So whether your little one is just a babe, a high school student, or anywhere in between, KiwiCo has a gift to engage them in serious fun while growing their brains. And in addition to the crates, you can shop Store exclusives, from party packs to chemistry sets to cool seasonal holiday projects (like the Chemistry Tree below; a current favorite with my kids!).
KiwiCo Chemistry Tree
KiwiCo Window Garden Crate
Another thing I love about KiwiCo is that you don’t have to invest all of your gift budget into one thing, which I find can sometimes be the case with STEAM focused gifts. They offer items for every budget, starting at just $ 9.95(My kids have been loving their KiwiCo Window Garden, which is only $ 14.95!) 

I was able to find stocking stuffers for my babes as well as large presents for under the tree.
KiwiCo Window Garden
KiwiCo Bath Bombs

KiwiCo projects also make absolutely wonderful gifts that your kids can make for friends and family. My little makers created Planet Bath Bombs the other day that they’ll be giving their grandmother for Christmas. We made them together as a family, and my daughter has been talking about how fun it was ever since. It’s a really great feeling to know that we’ll always have that special memory, and I know their grandma will be absolutely thrilled to receive such a special handmade gift that she can actually use and enjoy. My daughter and I are also looking forward to making the Punch-Needle Pillow together as a gift for their aunt. 

KiwiCo Punch Needle Pillow Crate
KiwiCo Holiday Gifts

I also want to point out that the quality of KiwiCo projects is unsurpassed. I know I’m not the only one who has purchased an activity kit for my kids and been disappointed as I watched the finish product break or fall apart soon after. KiwiCo’s projects are created by a team of in-house product designers in their Mountain View, CA headquarters. And most importantly, all of them are rigorously tested by actual kids. My four year old plays with the Basketball Catapult over and over and it’s still in great shape. That is the true test of quality in my eyes!

Supporting a company that truly cares about kids and makes products that inspire young innovators and critical thinkers makes me feel good, like maybe I’m doing something right as a parent. (And let’s face it, we all spend too much time thinking about the ways we’re messing up.) I can’t wait for my kids to give away the KiwiCo projects they’ve been making as gifts this year, and I’m equally excited to see their faces as they open up the KiwiCo crates I’ll be giving them on Christmas morning. 
Gifts That Encourage Learning and Creativity: KiwiCo
KiwiCo Bath Bombs

Gifts That Encourage Learning and Creativity: KiwiCo

If all this gushing about my love for KiwiCo hasn’t convinced you to give them a try, maybe the incredible sale they have going on right now will. Just click here for 20% off absolutely everything on their site. Wooohoo!

Happy holidays, friends. Here’s to giving fun, exciting gifts that inspire innovators and encourage learning and creativity! 

Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Bulldog History III: The Bulldogs of Northwestern Europe

The bulldog family as we understand now is a bit complicated.

One of the harder distinctions in the literature is to come across distinctions between mastiff and bulldog, but it is very clear that by the late Middle Ages, there were specialized dogs that were used as catch dogs on wild boar and to control cattle through gripping.

A certain lineage of these dogs became known as bulldogs in the British Isles, but there are three other lines that are not as well explore.

The first of these lines is the Bullenbeisser and the Bärenbeisser lineage. These dogs appeared in Germanic Europe, including areas of the Netherlands and Belgium.

These dogs were evident in that region by the seventeenth century, where nobles used them to hunt wild boar and bears, and in some eastern region, the relict populations of aurochs. They also likely grappled with wolves, but I could find very few accounts of them being used for that purpose. These were the dogs of the nobles, and they were famous in their courage as catch dogs.

When the Napoleonic Wars transformed this part of Europe, things changed dramatically.  Although Napoleon was an autocratic ruler, his revolutionary ideas changed the remnants of feudal society in that region, which meant that nobles had to give up a lot of their traditional hunting estates.

These Germanic bulldogs wound up in the hands of cattle dealers, who used them in much the same way the British had used them. They were cattle controlling dogs that were sometimes used for baiting contests.

By the nineteenth century, two distinct strains were evident.  In the region around Danzig, a large bulldog called the Danziger bullenbeisser was pretty common.  In Belgium and the Netherlands, a smaller strain was developed called the Brabanter bullenbeisser,

We know now that the Brabanter bullenbeisser was quite common as a pet in Munich, and in the very last few years of the nineteenth century, this breed was bred with the variants of the English bulldog (and supposedly one black schnauzer) to found the modern boxer breed.

In France, a very similar story went with their bulldogs.  What we call the Dogue de Bordeaux is actually a bulldog, not a mastiff. It is the last survivor of a long line of French catch dogs. The larger ones were called dogues and the smaller ones were called doguin. Noble families used them as catch dogs, but as France lurched into a Republic, the dogs became commonly used as working bulldogs in much the same way that the English used theirs.

Today, when we think of French bulldogs, we think of the small ones that became popular in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century. These dogs were largely created by the pet market in England, then transported to France, where they were widely accepted. I will have more on these bulldogs in a later post, but they are not the traditional bulldog of France. The dogue and the doguin are.

Some may quibble with my inclusion of the dogue as a bulldog. But we know from genome-wide assays that the bulldog of England, the boxer, and the Dogue de Bordeaux form a clade.

That means that these dogs share a deep common ancestry in Northwestern Europe. Indeed, these three breeds share a close common ancestry that puts them closer to each other than to the other bulldog breeds.

This discovery raises an interesting idea. There have been attempts to re-create the Brabanter bullenbeisser through crossbreeding boxers with other bull breeds.  The result is the Banter bulldogge.

However, I’ve been more interested in the Danziger bullenbeisser, which was larger, and my guess is to recreate that breed, you would breed the boxer to the Dogue de Bordeaux and then select for black skin pigment, brindle and fawn color, and a more athletic build.

So it has captured my imagination a bit. Big, fell bulldogs really didn’t have much of a place in Europe as the larger game species disappeared, but in the American South, the larger bulldog would hold on.

That will be the next installment of the this series.


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Natural History

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Gift Guide: Gifts for Kids Ages 4-10

Gifts for Kids Ages 4-10
My kids are almost 5 and almost 7, which means I am officially an expert on gift giving for preschool and elementary school aged children! Okay, so I’m not an expert at all. But I do have enough experience gift shopping at this point (both for them and for their friends), that I finally feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what to get kids in this age range. 
I’ll be honest – my babes enjoy their fair share of character-themed, sparkly, cheaply made toys. And that’s okay. I want to encourage them to love what they love, even if it isn’t my “style.” That said, they also love well-made toys that encourage learning, creativity, and discovery, and those are the toys I’m recommending in this guide. They will get a mix of both this Christmas, but I will confess that these are the toys I hope they love the most. 
1. KiwiCo Crates  $ 9.95+
KiwiCo is one of my favorite brands for kids toys. (I’ll actually be sharing a whole post about them soon.) Their toys and kits make for gifts that are equal parts fun and educational, and not just for the age range I’m featuring in this guide. (They have cool crates for every age from toddler to teen!) Some favorites in our house are the Planet Bath Bombs and Window Garden (shown above and both under $ 20). Their site is awesome too because it allows you to shop by age or category, and you can purchase a subscription or just single kits. KiwiCo also has an amazing 20% off everything sale going on between now and December 6th. They also have a Black Friday sale happening now for up to 30% off + free shipping. I highly suggest checking them out right here and taking advantage of this incredible offer. I promise you your kids will love their products!
2. Dig A Dozen Dino Egg Kit   $ 22.99
My son received this as a gift, and both kids absolutely love it. They get to play paleontologist and excavate toy dinosaurs from the eggs, then use the learning card to find out more about each dinosaur. The set is well made and comes in a pretty package as well. 
The Queen’s Gambit admittedly influenced me to want to learn chess and for my kids to learn as well, and this beautiful set just seems like the perfect one to learn on. The green tree pawns and animal silhouette pieces make playing feel like an enchanted forest walk. I feel like this is one of those really special, high quality gifts that would be passed on through generations. 
My dad bought a telescope for the kids last year and it ended up being the most magical gift. This telescope from GSkyer is perfect for little astronomers, and comes with lots of extras too, like a wireless remote, adjustable tripod, and carrying case. It is also portable, and the perfect size for smaller hands. 
This Kids Scavenger Hunt Game from the Idea Box is all kinds of cool and I can’t wait to give it to my kids this year! Kids choose from wood coins with descriptions of items they can find around the house, in the yard, or anywhere. (A great idea as we stay home to stay safe this winter!) The best part is that the game can be played over and over, and the whole family can get involved. This is the perfect example of a gift that is simultaneously fun and educational. 
Puzzles help with many aspects of learning, from improving fine motor skills to building short terms memory. This Map of the World Puzzle from Mudpuppy will give your kids ages 5-9 a fun geography lesson too! Features 78 pieces, including 17 that are shaped like icons of the world. 
This robot set is a favorite, but Tegu make lots of other more extensive sets too. The magnetic wooden blocks that make up this set are crafted from sustainably harvested wood – and for every one tree Tegu harvests, they plant hundreds more! Tegu is also bringing world-class employment standards to Central America by paying their employees a living wage and prioritizing long-term career growth and development. 

We are big on mindfulness in our house, which is why I got this gorgeous mediation card set for my little ones for a holiday gift this year. The set offer 26 huge mindfulness cards for kids, with content-rich scripts and vibrant illustrations to teach them guided meditation. It also comes with breathing exercises and DIY cards so kids can create their own meditations.  

Both of my kids are extremely interested in the concept of telling time, but with digital clocks everywhere, they haven’t learned to tell time on an analog clock. This beautiful handmade clock from Mirus Toys would be perfect for that, and also makes for a beautiful piece of decor for their rooms. 
This colorful kit fosters pre-coding skills like sequencing, problem-solving, and logical thinking and
comes with a robot board with storage, suction pen, 175 pixel tiles, 20 challenge cards and instructions. My son will find one under the tree this year and I can’t way to learn with him. 
This is another seriously awesome gift that my dad gets my kids each year. Every other month for a year, a book hand selected by the New York Book Review is received in the mail. The NYBR groups books by age and interest, so you can choose what your child would most enjoy. All of the book are considered “forever books” – classics with beautiful, sturdy hardcovers that will last a lifetime. Both of my kids are absolutely thrilled when their book arrives in the mail. An added bonus: free shipping. 
To those of you in the states, happy Thanksgiving! It’s not a normal Thanksgiving, but we still have a lot for which to be grateful. That is what matters, the end. If you’re reading this after Thanksgiving, happy holidays! And if you have any other suggestions for great gifts for kids, let me know. 


This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission from your purchases, at no additional expense to you. I have also received compensation from a few of the brands featured in exchange for promoting their products, all of which I love, use, and am thrilled to recommend. 


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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