Pet Ownership Survey

A student at John Brown University is asking for help on a school project dealing with pet ownership. Please participate in his survey if you get a chance. I’m sure he’d appreciate it. I just took it, and it’s very easy – took me less than 5 minutes. It mostly deals with transportation and boarding. […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Happy Halloween!

Family Halloween Costume Ideas

Happy Halloween! We spent the weekend on our annual trip to Indianapolis to hang with my sister (who is genuinely the biggest Halloween fan I’ve ever known), but now we’re back for our first ever Halloween at home.  Pre-kids, I always joined Robbie wherever the band was playing, and since having kids, we’ve always spent the actual holiday at my sister’s. (Top photo is from this weekend, and the photo below that is from last year.) This year though, Robbie is actually off the road today. Woohoo! We’re attending Essley’s school Halloween parade this morning, and taking the kids trick or treating in our neighborhood this evening. It’s amazing how much you appreciate the simplest family holiday plans when you don’t always get to spend holidays together. The best.

Emmett’s first Halloween was last year and he was still a baby, so I can’t wait to see how he reacts now that he actually gets it. And Essley has been talking about this day since early summer. Essley is going to be an excessively glittery mermaid (her current obsession), and Emmett is going to be a dinosaur (his current obsession). I’ll be sharing lots of costume photos on my Instagram Stories, so come on over and join us.

I hope your Halloween is spooky and fun and a great memory maker.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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A Gift Of Holiday Memories For My Kids

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

This post is in partnership with Snapfish. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

I know, I know. It’s not even officially Halloween yet (one more day!) and I’m already posting about the holidays. But let’s face it – these days, the holidays basically start on November 1st. And if your schedule is, um, intense this time of year like mine is, you need to get motivated earlier than later for holiday projects. Thankfully, the holiday project I’m sharing today is really fun (and easy!) to put together, and the rewards are pretty incredible.

Essley is now almost four (her birthday is just three days after Christmas), and because she was at an age last year where she really “got” the holiday season, she’s been talking about it nonstop. She brings up memories, asks questions, and most of all, expresses a truly endearing anticipation for the season’s arrival. A couple of weeks ago, she asked to see some photos from the holiday seasons she’s experienced so far in her life. As looked back through photos on the camera roll on my phone, I realized that we didn’t even have a single photo of her or Emmett (or any of us) printed out from the holidays. And that gave me an idea.

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

I’ve made photo books from Snapfish as gifts before, and have always been impressed by the ease of creating them and quality of the finished project. I’ve also absolutely loved seeing how happy the recipients have been with them. (Robbie still says the one I made him for Father’s Day last year is his favorite gift of all time). So I decided I’d put together a special photo book of holiday memories to give to Essley and Emmett, knowing how much it would add to their excitement for the season. And I can’t tell you guys how much fun I had, and how touched I was, while making it. There were lots of emotions involved, let’s just put it that way.

I chose the 8×11 Hardcover Photo Book (I’d gotten this one before and loved the size), then went with the “Winter Joy” theme (so pretty). I uploaded all of the holiday photos I could find on my phone (you can also use your desktop, Instagram, or Facebook to upload) from the last three years of holidays seasons (since Essley was born), and then played around with the different layouts, backgrounds, patterns, fonts, and the hundreds of embellishments available. The Winter Joy Theme made it so each page was filled in (love how easy that is!), but I changed around about half of them so I could highlight different photos and make the book unique. I chose my favorite photo of the kids from last year’s holiday season for the front cover, and a used a black and white version of it for the fact. For the inside photos, I included all sorts of different memories – from the kids visiting Santa to them opening presents to Christmas mornings with their grandparents to them snuggled up together watching holiday movies. I’m a huge fan of the how you can personalize Snapfish‘s photo books to make them into family keepsakes that can be enjoyed year after year. And I love how budget friendly they are as well.

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

The day the photo book arrived, I surprised Essley when she got home from school with the Christmas tree set up and plugged in (just for the day; we’ll bring it back up from the basement in a few weeks). She was thrilled. Then I told her to close her eyes, and I presented her with the photo book. She could not believe that she was looking at a special holiday book with Emmett’s and her pictures throughout it. She told me it was the best present she’d ever gotten – which admittedly she says pretty much every time she gets a gift, but I believed her that it was one of her all time favorites. Emmett was all sorts of excited too, and sat on the floor looking through the pages and pointing at photos for a good twenty minutes. All of us enjoyed looking through it together, and it got us really pumped for this year’s holidays. I’m going to make one for every year from now on.

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

If you’re in the market for personalized holiday gifts that come from the heart, or just want to gather your holiday memories into something tangible, I can’t recommend a photo book enough. And now is the perfect time to make one, because you can take 40% off at Snapfish with code MELISSABOOK40. Woohoo!

How do you preserve holiday memories? Who else has little ones who are stoked for the holiday season?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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5 Ways to Make Sick Days Better For Little Ones

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I received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. You can contact Mead Johnson Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-888-777-3395.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to a movie for our first date night in many months. Our daughter Essley had a slight cold (mainly just some sneezing) but was active and playing, so we left her and her brother with my mom and headed out. Guess what? We made it through about half the movie before we were back in the car on our way home. Essley had started vomiting from coughing (all it takes to make this child throw up is the mention of something that grosses her out, so when she’s even a little bit sick, you can pretty much guarantee there’s going to be some barf), and was weeping that she wanted her mommy. A few hours and a couple more barf sessions later, she spiked a fever. She woke up throughout the night, and despite my best efforts, refused any fluids. This continued into the next morning, and by early afternoon she was beginning to get dehydrated.

Thankfully, by late afternoon, Essley was starting to feel more like herself again. And as awful as it is (for the little ones and the parents) when your kid is ill, I’m actually grateful we’ve been through it enough times that we now know what works to make ours feel better – including how to make those sick days a little more enjoyable in general. With the school year back underway (aka the time my kids seem to be sick more often than they’re not) and cold/flu season quickly approaching, I thought I’d share some of the ways we get through our sick days as pleasantly as possible. (Please note: there are my personal tips that work with my own kids when they’ve got non-serious illnesses like colds. None of this should be taken as medical advice. If your little one is sick, you should consult your pediatrician.)

1. Find ways to make rest fun. My kids like to be active pretty much all the time. Even when they’re sick, they usually want to be up and doing something. Rest is important for healing, but getting them to relax is a challenge – so we try to find ways to make it fun. We do story times where they can pick out books and we sit in a chair across from them to read to them (think story hour at the library), so it feels like a special event. Or we have movie “marathons” where they can choose two movies to watch in a row, as long as they stay sitting or lying down. (They’ll never argue with extra screen time!) Sometimes we even have contests to see who can rest the longest. If resting doesn’t seem boring to them, they’re more likely to do it longer.

2. Make cuddling a priority.  This might seem like an obvious one, but I wanted to include it because sometimes I personally need the reminder. My kids and I (and their dad) are very affectionate in general, but sometimes if they’ve been sick for a few days and I feel like I’ve fallen behind on work or things around the house, I start to stress and become so focused on getting that stuff done that I forget how healing it can be just to snuggle with my kids. It helps keep them calm so they’ll rest, and it’s also emotionally and mentally good for them to know their parents are focused on taking care of them. On the other side, some people actually advise against this because it increases your chances of getting whatever your child has, but I’m telling you guys – there is nothing my kids want more than to be held when they aren’t feeling well.

3. Restore and/or maintain hydration. As I mentioned earlier, Essley tends to throw up even with colds, and that combined with the fact that she has very little interest in eating or drinking when she doesn’t feel well can quickly lead to dehydration. Being dehydrated not only makes kids feel worse, it can also escalate an illness to something more serious very quickly. When Essley was sick a couple of weeks ago, the first thing I did to help her stay hydrated was give her some Enfamil® Enfalyte® oral electrolyte solution. It  didn’t take long for her to feel better and become well hydrated again. We’re big fans of Enfalyte because it’s a clear formulation with no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, and it (quickly!) replaces electrolytes and water that can be lost if your little one is vomiting or having diarrhea (or even exercising or playing on a hot day). When Essley had to go to the ER for flu over the winter, the hospital recommended it (and it’s been used by hospitals for over 25 years), so that was enough for us to always keep some on hand. And the flavors (Cherry Splash or Mixed Fruit) are mild, which Essley prefers to strong tasting drinks, especially when she’s ill. One major thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent is how much a sick day can take a turn for the better when your child’s hydration is restored. (Again, always consult with your pediatrician if you are concerned about illness or dehydration. Here are some great resources as well: Is My Child Dehydrated? and Maintaining Hydration. There is also a handy infographic at the end of this post.)

4. Play doctor/hospital.  If your kids are older they probably won’t go for this, but for my 1.5 and 3.5 year olds, this is the first thing they want to do when they’re not feeling well. Essley always picks one of her stuffed animals or dolls to be sick alongside her, and she takes care of it while I take care of her. (When she was sick a couple of weeks ago, she took Happy Dog’s temperature, kept him hydrated with Enfalyte, and covered him in bandages.) I think it makes her feel less alone in her illness, and also makes her feel like she’s doing something important. It’s one of our “go-to’s” on sick days.

5. Break the rules. When the kids are sick, we let things like strict bedtimes and other “rules” (no treats before meals, must clean up current mess before moving on to other toys, limited screen time, etc.) slide. Our number one goal is to get them better as quickly as possible with as little misery as possible, and loosening up schedules and rules a little during those days makes them easier on everyone.

How to recognize dehydration in toddlers

I hope the small things we find helpful when our kids aren’t feeling well prove helpful for you as well! How do you make sick days better experiences for your kids?


This is sponsored by Enfamil® Enfalyte® Oral Electrolyte Solution. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Win a Copy of Katherine Schwarzenegger’s New Children’s Pet Rescue Book! #MaverickandMe

A New York Times bestselling author, Katherine Schwarzenegger has written a 32-page hardcover book for little animal-loving readers ages 4 – 7 . Maverick and Me shines a spotlight on a homeless…



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DogTipper

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What I’m Wearing Now: October

Fall Wardrobe Staples
1. Loveland Wrap in Cargo Green, prAna  //  2. Tassel Hoop Earrings, Madewell   //  3. Silver Hoop Earrings Set, H&M  //  4.  Classic Date Black Watch, Lord Timepieces (take 10% off with code BEAN)  //  5. Bell Sleeve Shift Dress, Nordstrom  //   6. Skinny Low Jeans in Black, H&M  //  7. Lily Tore Diaper Bag, Newlie  //  8Splash Gabi Sneakers, Minnetonka  //  9. Chuck Taylor All Star Low Tops, Converse  //  10. Beaded Chain Bracelet, Madewell  //  11. Madison Boots, Trask  //  12. Linen V-neck Top, H&M 

Despite a wonderfully warm fall season so far, my summertime wardrobe has officially finally gone into hibernation. And I’m cool with this, because, to be fair, I’ve gotten to wear my beloved summer dresses and cut offs and kimonos far beyond the time I normally do. Besides, even summer girls can appreciate layers for a while. (Give me a month or two though and I’ll be crying my eyes out for a good sundress and some flip flops.)

I’ve been living in black jeans, sweaters, and Converse this month, but I’ve actually ventured outside of my casual boho-WAHM-hybrid comfort zone too. I got this dress (#5 above) from Nordstrom for a wedding but have already worn it three times this month. You’ll won’t believe how inexpensive it was because it looks quite pricey in person. It’s so flattering and actually comfortable too. (The stilettos I paired it with for the wedding, not so much.)

All good things must come to an end, and I’ll put a solid bet on the fact that next month’s post will include a winter coat. Sigh. The sunshine was good while it lasted, Chicago.

(P.S. You can see other my other monthly post from the past couple of years right here.) 

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy Saves Visiting Senior

Terry Mather was visiting his daughter, Jayne Mather, in Sunderland in northeast England. While the 82-year-old retired lecturer was snoring soundly, Jayne’s 15-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog, Bruno, was keeping watch. Suddenly, Bruno began barking!

According to the Sunderland Echo, Jayne rushed to Terry’s room with her partner, Andy McKenzie. They discovered that Terry had extremely low blood sugar levels. Such low levels can cause a person to fall into a coma. When they were unable to wake Terry, the two called the paramedics who took Terry to the Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The story has a happy ending, though. Because of how quickly they discovered Terry and were able to call the paramedics, Terry received treatment before any serious harm could occur and “is recovering really well” according to Jayne.

“It’s incredible what has happened…Bruno is only a puppy,” Jayne said afterward. “Bruno really has saved him [Terry], because he might have been lying in that bed for eight hours and could have had organ failure, a heart attack, or ended up in a coma. He could have died, so Bruno really has saved his life.” Andy, grateful that his father-in-law was saved by his puppy added, “We have read about dogs who can detect low blood sugars and they are trained to react to this, but Bruno is still a puppy and has had no training at all, but reacted to Terry having a hypoglycaemic attack from outside the room.” In fact, it’s not just Andy and Jayne who were amazed by Bruno’s actions. Andy shared that “The paramedics and the A&E staff at the Royal [hospital] were astonished at what had happened.”

The whole family is grateful for Bruno’s sharp nose and swift reaction. Without Bruno’s actions that night, as Andy said, “the consequences don’t bear thinking about.” Bruno will not only be getting gratitude though. Andy shared with reporters, “I’ve told Terry that he will have to buy him a couple of steaks to say thanks!” We’re sure Terry will be happy to reward the puppy who saved his life.

Halo Pets

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Houston Astros Pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. Helps Dogs in Need

The 2017 World Series is underway, and while only time will tell whether The Los Angeles Dodgers or the Houston Astros will win the championship, one player has already won the admiration of animal…



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DogTipper

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Moving Inspiration: Made An Offer!

Boho Chic Room
Boho Chic Room
Boho Chic Room
Boho Chic Room
Boho Chic Room
Boho Chic Room
Boho Chic Room
Boho Chic Room
Boho Chic Room
1. Amber Interiors  |   2. West Elm   |  3.  Planete Deco  |  4.  Janni Deler  |  5. List Spirit  |  6. UltraLinx   |  7. Urban Outfitters   |  8. + 9. Found on Pinterest (anyone know source?)  |  10. Gravity Home 

UPDATE: I wrote this post last week. At the end of last week, the sellers decided to terminate our contract with no real explanation aside from telling our attorney they “didn’t want to deal with it.” So we’re back to square one, but lesson learned. Needless to say, we’re not interesting in pursuing any “complicated” real estate situations from now on!

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After a 7 month lapse in our Moving Inspiration series (yes, the one we started you know, like, two years ago and continuously put on hold, just like our plans to buy a house), I finally posted an update last month telling you guys that this moving thing is finally really happening. I explained that it’s a long story, but that we had about a month to find a place. Well, we did! We put an offer on a home that we absolutely love a few weeks ago. But it’s, um, complicated. The house is a short sale, and if you are familiar with those, there is a lot more involved than a typical home transaction, and they take a lot longer – usually 3 months to a year. We don’t have that much time, so we had to put a clause in the contract stating we needed it faster, which could either hurt our chances of getting it, or could be completely ignored and we’ll just have to wait it out or walk away, or could possibly speed things along a little if we’re really, really lucky. It’s quite a gamble, but this home is a rare find where we live, and we are giving this challenging process a chance. In the meantime (and I think I said this last time too, but hey, it worked!), we will take any good vibes you can send our way that it will work out. We have grown attached to this house in a big way.

Those of you who have followed this series know that I focus on one room (living room, dining room, bedroom, etc.) per post, and fill it with images that are inspiring me for that particular future space in our future home. In the last few posts, however, instead of focusing on specific rooms, I’ve just shared general interior images that I love. And I’m doing that again today as well. If we do get the home on which we put an offer, it needs a lot of work visually (floors needs to be replaced, walls need paint, there’s a lot of wear and tear from top to bottom, etc.), and I find that looking at beautiful spaces like these really allows me to create a vision of how we can transform this new space. I hope they inspire you as well! And if any of you have purchased short sale homes, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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I am always inspired by your work, and by the inte…

I am always inspired by your work, and by the intelligence and compassion you show for all creatures and species. It is heartbreaking to contemplate the dogs left behind, and sobering to be reminded that we, as a society, share the blame for this type of "cottage industry."

This is such difficult work, and no other group does it half as well as you do. I've made a small donation. I so wish it could it more.

Oxo in Harlem
BAD RAP Blog

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