Fetch our free Holiday Dog Treat Cookbook!

The countdown is definitely on to the holiday season–and nothing says holidays like holiday treats! We’ve got a new, free cookbook for you including recipes to our goodies ranging from…

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Pumpkin Coffee Cake (and How to Help Feed Hungry Kids through Friendsgiving!)

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

This post is in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill.

About a year after my husband and I started dating, his parents sent us a copy of his family cookbook. It was put together in 1991, and is filled with hundreds of family recipes that span generations. We treasure it, and use recipes from it often, especially during the holidays when we enjoy spending time together cooking and baking. The brownie and mac and cheese recipes are holiday staples in our house, but there is one recipe that we make more than all of the others combined: a delicious coffee cake called “Nana’s Sunday A.M. Favorite” that my husband’s late grandmother often served.

This year, I decided I wanted to play around a little with this adored family recipe to create something special for a Friendsgiving brunch (more on this in a minute). I experimented with introducing pumpkin into the ingredients, and the end results were absolutely mouth watering. Topped with a yummy sweet crumble and crunchy pumpkin seeds, it’s the perfect coffee cake for this time of year. My kids now ask for it daily, so it’s becoming a regular around here on weekend mornings.

I’m very excited to share this recipe with you (below), but first wanted to talk a little about something that is incredibly important to me. While I take great joy in watching my kids happily devour this delicious coffee cake and all of the other meals and snacks they eat each day, it’s impossible for me not to think about that fact that 1 in 7 kids in America today lives with hunger. ONE IN SEVEN you guys. In all, there are more than 11 million children here in the United States who live in “food insecure” households – meaning they don’t have consistent access to the healthy food they need to fuel their growing bodies. It breaks my heart to think about this, but it also motivates me to do something. I recently learned that Bob’s Red Mill (my favorite for baking; many of their ingredients are used in this recipe!) is partnering with the No Kid Hungry® campaign to raise funds to end childhood hunger by giving millions of kids access to nutritious meals. And guess what? We can all get involved and make a difference through our Friendsgiving celebrations this year!

Putting together a Friendsgiving® for No Kid Hungry celebration is a fun, easy way to bring friends together to enjoy delicious food while also making a difference in the lives of kids in need.  Just click here and in a few simple steps, you can sign up. They have all sorts of great resources to help you plan your event too!. To learn more about No Kid Hungry and the truly incredible things they do to give children in need access to three healthy meals a day, visit their website right here.

Prep time: 15 min  |   Cook time: 45-50 min
Serves 12

4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour
2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Cane Sugar
1 tsp Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups pumpkin puree
1-1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

1-1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Brown Sugar
4 tsp Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour
3 tsp melted butter
1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Organic Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt (for the coffee cake). In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar, then mix in pumpkin puree and egg. Gradually add milk. Pour batter into 9 x 13 greased baking pan.

Mix topping ingredients (except for pumpkin seeds) and sprinkle over batter. Evenly top with pumpkin seeds.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and serve.

Tip: You can easily this recipe in half if you’re just making for yourself or your family.

You can also view this recipe, along with some other delicious Friendsgiving recipes put together by Bob’s Red Mill, in a free recipe ebook that is available right here. And don’t forget to sign up to host a Friendsgiving party of your own through No Kid Hungry, and help make a difference in the lives of children in need this holiday season!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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The Enduring One



Ruminant ungulates are among the most amazing species that evolution has produced. Their multi-chambered stomachs give them an ability to turn what is essentially indigestible into energy. They are specialists in their diet, though most eat multiple species of plant, they are bound to eat plant matter. Their fortunes are dictated by the sun, the soil, and the rain. In abundant lands, all they must do is eat, eat and keep an eye or an ear open for the predators.

Their place in nature is meat on the hoof and pervasive predators of plants.  The white-tailed deer predates most of its predators in its ecosystems. The dire wolf,  the Armbruster’s wolf, the Edward’s wolf, the coyote,  and the gray wolf all were new on the land when the white-tails first blew their warning calls at them.  Same with the bobcat and the cougar and the Smilodon and the American lion.   In most of their range, a white-tail will never smell the faintest scent of a wolf or cougar.  The coyote and the bobcat and the odd predatory black bear take their toll, as does the human nimrod.

Humankind knew this continent only in the very recent past. Paleolithic Siberian hunters were the first to take their toll upon the deer. They were later replaced with Europeans and then the whole Anglo-American civilization came to the fore. It hunted the white-tailed deer nearly to extinction. Hides and meat, all of which could be sold the the highest bidder.

But this civilization, the one that almost did the species in, turned out to be its greatest benefactor. Hunting peoples were cleared off.  The age of plastics made leather from hides mostly irrelevant for most household use. Leisure hunters with money began to push for deer conservation and deer reintroduction.

And so the land was turned into this great deer thicket. The oak woods dropped the acorns, and acorns are fine tack for the deer, though their palate evolved in woods dominated with the great American chestnut.  It was felled by an invasive blight, so the deer know the acorn from the white and red oak as its primary food to fatten in the autumn and to corn them through the frigid days of winter.

Sportsmen plant food plots for them. They buy food at the feed store to feed them, which comes in many different brands and innovations.

Farms are being abandoned left and right. And the native lands are returning to thickets. These thickets are cut with the highways of deer. Vast herds of bison and elk are not making their cut upon the same land, so the thickets grow in thick and heavy. The tunnel trails through the jungles cannot accommodate a fully-grown human without the overgrowing branches holding back your wanderings.

The white-tailed deer is the enduring one, relishing the ruins of its North American kingdom, which has, for the moment,  been perfected for its existence. So they go with ruminant stomachs, turning the sunlight and carbon dioxide into muscle and fat.

They endure. And I suspect they will outlast us when it all comes crashing down as ecology’s laws catch up to us.

Natural History

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Win GROOM Bathing Tablets!

This giveaway is sponsored by and fulfilled by GROOM Bathing Tablets. Pet store aisles are littered with hundreds of pet shampoos that make magical claims but often cause adverse reactions because of…

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Bubby and Bean

Happy Halloween from snowy Chicago! The costumes you see in the photo above are from a downtown trunk or treat we did last week. (The below photos are from years past.) We haven’t been able to take photos of our real costumes because we’ve all been sick and it has been freezing cold – think January weather. Our fingers are crossed that we’ll be able to brave the weather to trick or treat tonight, and that my poor little lady, who has been the sickest of all and has missed way too much fun at school this week, is up for it. Essley is dressing up as a fairy, I’m a fairy, Emmett is Cookie Monster, and their dad, who is on tour with the band, got a Cookie Monster t-shirt to match Emmett, even though he’s 1,000 miles away. (Awwww.) I’ll be sharing bits and pieces from our day and evening on my Instagram Stories if you want to follow along with what could either be a hot mess or a fun adventure.

Shark Family Halloween Costume
Family Halloween Costume Ideas

Rain, shine, or freaking snow, we love Halloween! I hope yours is magical and spooky in the best of ways.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Beginning e-collar conditioning

dare e-collar

I have started e-collar conditioning with Dare this week. This process is not cruel, and it involves no punishment.

What it does involve is her learning that very low static stimulation, which I can barely feel, can be turned off if she comes to my side. This process started on a long lead, and now she is doing it off-leash.  Eventually, this low level stimulation will be used to proof other obedience commands.

We are using the Einstein Mini Educator. Her working level, the level where she can feel the stimulation, is at a 6.  The stimulation levels go from 1 to 100.

People hate on these collars because they can definitely be used as a harsh aversive, and yes, they can be used to hurt the dog.  This way of using lower levels of stimulation to proof obedience, though, really isn’t more aversive than a gentle tug on a leash.

So hate these tools all you want. They are effective and are not abusive if used correctly.



Natural History

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10 Tips for Keeping a Clean House for the Holidays (Without Harsh Chemicals)

This post is in partnership with Bon Ami, but all opinions are my own. 

The holiday season is (almost!) upon us, my friends. It seems to get earlier every year and always sneaks up on me while I’m not looking, all full of cheer and ready to pounce. This time around, however, I’m trying my best to be prepared. I am admittedly not a neat person by nature (my house is usually a hot mess of toys and discarded clothes on the ground, dishes in the sink, and piles of unfolded laundry), but during the holidays, I really, really enjoy a clean home. In addition to the fact that I simply appreciate my holiday decorations better when the house is clean, we have more people in our home during the holiday season than the rest of the year combined. Out-of-town friends stop by, my in-laws stay with us for Thanksgiving and my sister for Christmas, and we host Christmas Day at our house. (Did I mention that we throw my daughter a birthday party in our home in late December?) It’s important to me to keep our house clean and beautiful during the holidays, and over time, I’ve discovered the best ways to ensure this happens. The holidays can be a stressful time, especially if you’re entertaining; these tips will put your mind at ease so you can relax and enjoy friends and family during the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Let the kids help!
If your kids are young like mine, they might actually even (gasp!) ask to help. (My 3 year old absolutely loves having a “job” when we’re cleaning.) Make it a game, use a chore chart, or even remind them that Santa rewards good behavior! Especially during the holiday season, it’s helpful to maintain in terms of keeping the house clean, so give your little ones a task each day, like helping scrub the counters with the #1 staple cleaner in our house, Bon Ami. Bon Ami is nontoxic, eco-conscious, and contains no harsh ingredients, so it’s safe for children and pets. (It’s also been around and trusted since 1886!)

2. Stay on top of dishes.
There’s a lot of cooking and baking (and eating!) going on during the holidays, and it doesn’t take long for dishes to pile up. I really try to get each dish rinsed and in the dishwasher immediately following a meal. I also try to clean pots and pans as I’m cooking. Bon Ami‘s natural soft abrasives (feldspar and limestone) are tough at removing cooked on food. (And if you do have to let your dishes and pots sit, Bon Ami is perfect for removing dried on food as well.)

3. Stay on top of fridge cleaning.
In the same way that dishes pile up during the holiday season, food tends to pile up in the refrigerator. I always try to start off the holiday season with a deep clean of the fridge and freezer by throwing away old food, removing the good food, and using Bon Ami to clean every last inch of the interior. I usually sprinkle it straight on the shelves, and for the doors and racks, apply it with a damp sponge or cloth. Once it’s sparkling clean, I put the food back in an organized fashion. For the rest of the holiday season, I’m very careful to promptly remove expired food or old leftovers and keep the rest of the food in the fridge and freezer as organized as possible.

4. Vacuum every night.
I’ll admit that I’m a lazy vacuumer (is that a word?) the majority of the year, but this simple task of making sure you do a quick vacuum each night before bed is a game changer. We also have a robot vacuum that while not fool proof, is great for getting under furniture. I run that every night during the holidays while I’m asleep.

5. Clean counters (kitchen and bathroom) every night.
Just like my nightly holiday season vacuuming, I make sure that both kitchen and bathroom counters are clean before I go to bed. It only takes a few minutes and makes a big difference in how the house looks (which is important to me when I know guests will be frequently stopping in!). I just sprinkle a little Bon Ami on the surface and wipe off with a damp cloth.

6. Wash towels, wash cloths, and sheets frequently.
Staying on top of the laundry in general is incredibly helpful this time of year (and any time of year, really). But during the holidays when I know we’ll have a lot of people popping in, and sometimes last minute guests staying with us in addition to planned guests, it genuinely lowers my stress level to know there are always fresh, clean towels, wash clothes, and sheets on hand.

7. Scrub the sink.
I let the sink go way too long most of the time, but during the holidays, I give it a nice scrub every couple of days. Bon Ami has been the clean sink solution in my family since I was a little kid. My husband actually makes fun of me for the profound sense of joy I get from studying the sink before I clean it, sprinkling Bon Ami in the sink and on the faucet, giving a gentle scrub, and then basking in shiny, spotless surfaces. It’s one of my simple pleasures. Truly.

8. Remove household stains.
Stains (I’m talking everything from coffee to wine to marker to hair dye) are the last thing on my cleaning to do list most of the time. But during the holidays, I really appreciate having the house as clean as possible. At the beginning of the season, I go through with my trusty can of Bon Ami and a damp cloth, and clean the stains off surfaces in my kitchen and bathrooms. It’s very satisfying to watch the stains scrub away without using harsh abrasives or chemicals. It even got permanent marker out of our white kitchen chairs and rust rings out of our bathtub.

9. Clean toilets weekly.
I have some horror stories about unexpected guests dropping by when waaaaay too long had past since I last cleaned the toilets. (Okay, so not horror stories, but definitely a lasting feeling of deep embarrassment.) During this time of year when guests are frequent, I set a reminder on my phone (sounds silly, but hey, it works), to give the toilets a nice deep clean. Bon Ami works incredibly well on porcelain, and can be used anywhere on/in toilets except inside the tank.

10. Clean the stovetop every morning.
I know I recommended vacuuming and cleaning counters every night, but I save the stove for every morning right after breakfast. It’s another area of the kitchen that I tend to ignore, but during the holidays when it’s constantly being used, I make sure to clean it everyday. As soon as we’re done with breakfast, I remove the burners and sprinkle some Bon Ami on the stovetop. A few swipes of a damp cloth and it’s shiny and spotless without having to use harsh chemicals.

I hope these tips help keep your house nice and clean during this holiday season, the same way they have mine the last few years – both so you can welcome guests with less stress, and so you can relax and enjoy your space with your own family.

And if you haven’t picked up on it yet, I can’t recommend Bon Ami enough for your holiday cleaning needs. It’s one of those products I feel genuinely excited about recommending, not only because it’s incredibly effective and has been trusted in my family for generations, but also because it’s free of things that I prefer to avoid like harsh perfumes, chemicals, and dyes. Even the can itself is eco-conscious (made from 65% post-consumer recycled materials and recyclable).

If you have any other tips for keeping your house clean during the holiday season, please comment or email me. I’m always adding to my list!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Friday Funny: Carving Pumpkins

Halloween To Do List Decorate house…check Buy candy…check Carve pumpkin…check Have a great weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!

Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Doggie Day Care: What You Need to Know

Doggie day care is a growing part of the pet industry. Just like day care for children, these facilities offer supervised play, meals, and naptime while you are at work or off running errands. The…

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10 Fun Halloween Themed Hair Ideas

10 Fun Halloween Themed Hair Ideas
10 Fun Halloween Themed Hair Ideas
10 Fun Halloween Themed Hair Ideas

About a year ago, my daughter had ‘Crazy Hair Day’ at her preschool, and because it was right before Halloween, we decided to make pumpkin buns. It was honestly much easier than I’d anticipated. I just used doughnut bun inserts to create two buns, bobby pinned them in place, coated with orange hairspray, and cut down green pipe cleaners for the stems, which I inserted right into the middle of doughnut buns. So fun!

She asked me the other day if we could do this again the week of Halloween, and said she’d love to try a couple of other Halloween themed hair ideas as well. I came across so many cool ideas while Googling and browsing Pinterest, and thought I’d share some of my favorites. These don’t have to just be for kids either! I usually just do a simple costume for myself where I mainly wear accessories, so these are perfect for getting in the spirit without the pressure of having to go all out.

  • pumpkin buns (two minis or one big)
  • spider hair (bun on top with eight braids hanging down)
  • spider braids (hair in two french braids with plastic spider rings attached down them)
  • spider web bun (bun on top with cotton spider webs bobby pinned over it)
  • crow bird nest bun (large doughbut bun with a black bird attached)
  • creepy bird next hair (tease/rat hair, add tons of hair spray, and insert sticks)
  • Bride of Frankenstein hair (tutorial here)
  • dirt hair (spray or paint hair black and attach rubber insects)
  • witch hat hair (spray or paint hair black and molded around a foam come to form witch hat)
  • devil horn hair (tutorial here)

If you have any other ideas I might have missed, let me know in the comments!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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