{ENDED} Win a Yucky Puppy® Dog Walking Bag + Poop Bag Carriers

Ready to start 2021 on the right foot–and paw? January is Walk Your Dog Month, a time to really resolve to walk your dog more–even during some of the most challenging weather conditions…



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Looking for a Shop Specifically for Pet Parents?

This post is sponsored by Pet Parents®. These days, we’re all looking for ways to shop from the convenience and safety of our homes–and often that means shopping for specialty products…



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Almond Butter and Maple Oatmeal

Almond Butter Maple Oatmeal

Disclaimer: this isn’t a recipe so much as an epically delicious way to eat a bowl of oatmeal. But it really is too good not to share, especially when it’s the middle of winter and mornings are so cold and dark. This is such a comforting, healthy breakfast, and easy to prepare too.

Almond Butter Maple Oatmeal
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 cup quick Irish oatmeal

2 tablespoons raw almond butter
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 banana, sliced
1 cup strawberries, sliced
handful raw almonds

Prepare oatmeal according to instructions on packaging. (We use quick Irish oatmeal.) Once oatmeal is cooked, pour into bowls. Drizzle each bowl with almond butter and maple syrup. Top with banana and strawberry slices, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I also love to top with raw almonds for a fantastic crunch. 

This is such a satisfying breakfast that keeps me full and energized all morning. Enjoy!

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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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Martin Luther King

Today we celebrate the 92nd anniversary of MLK’s birth. How will you honor his legacy today? Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


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A Look Back at 2020 + Plans for 2021

How to Grow Organic Food Inside Your Home

Happy New Year! Even though we’re five days into January, today is a day of firsts. It’s the first day back at in-person school for my kids, who have been home e-learning (and then on winter break) for the past six weeks. It’s the first day I am back full time working here at Bubby and Bean after only working part time hours (and even taking several glorious days off) for the past almost two weeks. And it’s our first official blog post of 2021. 
For this annual recap post, I usually reflect on the past year not just in terms of Bubby and Bean content, but also some aspects of my personal life. Honestly, I don’t know what I can say about 2020 that hasn’t been said, but I’ll try.

It was the strangest year of my life, and likely most of your lives too. The hardest part of it for me was my stepmom passing away from cancer in July, and how difficult her final days were due to visitor restrictions because of Covid. The rest of it, while very challenging, was not what I consider to be a true struggle. My husband, who has worked in the live music industry his entire career, was furloughed in late March, which has obviously been quite challenging. Our trip to Iceland was canceled, as was our trip to Florida in July and the rest of our travel plans. My kids missed out on activities and school. And the year went out with a bang on Christmas, which was not only the first Christmas in my life I haven’t spent with my sister, but also the night my dad fell down his stairs and was to have emergency surgery on a broken femur. (He spent a week in the hospital and is now in a rehab facility.) 

There was a lot of good in 2020 too. For the first time in the almost 15 years my husband and I have been together, he was home most of the year. Over time, I got used to him being on tour with the band most of the time, but it was never easy. It has been the biggest silver lining to have him here for every holiday and birthday, and to get to spend true quality time with our kids for the first time in their lives. We also all learned how to be flexible humans who make the best out of every situation. We have all spent more time together than we will probably ever get to again. And while it hasn’t been without difficulty, I have been incredibly lucky to get more work campaigns than ever before, which has enabled me to support my family while my husband is out of work. I also usually stray from getting political here, but I was incredibly relieved with the election results. I learned so much in 2020 that I could probably devote and entire blog series to it, so I’ll stop now.  This was a year full of unfair, horrific loss to millions of people, but I also appreciate all of the positive things that came out of it. 
As far as plans for 2021, you already know that I don’t do resolutions. For me personally, the pressure of them isn’t healthy for my anxiety, nor is the disappointment when they don’t work out. I have lots of small, attainable goals, and if they work out, great. If they don’t, that’s cool too. I personally think that being present and being grateful are all you need. I don’t need to climb an invisible ladder to nowhere that’s based on more! more! more! (And honestly, I feel like always expecting to do more and do better and get bigger comes from a place of privilege, and privilege is something I want to be more aware of this year, both in myself and in others.) This year, I just want to go with the flow, and I think 2020 prepared me for that. I want to be ready for and open to whatever comes my way, and I want to do my best with it in a way that allows me to be content and not overwhelmed This applies to my personal life, and it applies to Bubby and Bean as well. I want to continue to create meaningful content, share my favorite products and services with you, and give glimpses into my life (we’re all friends here, after all). I want to try out new things in order to do that (I promise I’ll do more Instagram Reels, and maybe I’ll finally give TikTok a chance… or not), but not in a way that will sacrifice what is already working. I have little interest in gaining more followers, but I do want to continue to create meaningful engagement with all of you. And I want to continue to love what I do while also getting more comfortable with realizing when I have to turn things down because I’m overworked. I plan to give myself grace in 2021, and to continue to do what I can to help others as well. 
Okay, that’s enough of that! Let’s get on to the point of this annual post (and probably my favorite post each year): the highlights of 2020 here on the blog. You can click on any of the images or the links below them to see the posts in full. Thank you for taking this look back with me!

In January, I shared 6 easy ways to refresh school lunches in the New Year

In February, I shared an updated version on my favorite vegetarian tortellini soup recipe.

The Best Items At Trader's Joes, 2020 Edition

I shared my 16 favorites items from Trader Joe’s in March.

How To Easily Organize Your Pantry and Fridge

Quarantine meant lots of organizing in my kitchen, and in April I shared tips for organizing both your pantry and fridge

How to Be Eco-Friendly at Home

In honor of Earth Day, I shared 10 ways to be eco-conscious in your own home

 
Vegetarian Club Sandwiches

I shared my favorite veggie club sandwich recipe in May.

In June, I shared an important post in response to the BLM movement about listening, learning, and taking action

In July, I said goodbye to my stepmom.

Also in July, I told you all about our amazing Gardyn system and how we are able to grow organic food in our own home, as can be seen in the top image of this post.  (P.S. If you want to purchase a Gardyn of your own, use this link and code BubbyAndBean for $ 100 off!)
Tofu Caprese Salad
I shared the most delicious tofu caprese salad recipe in August. 

6 Tips For Better Snacking

In September, I shared 6 tips for better snacking
Halloween Themed Mini Veggie Pizzas
These Halloween-themed mini veggies pizzas were a hit in October.
5 Tips for Disinfecting Your Home Without Harsh Chemicals
Gift Ideas For Encouraging Learning and Creativity: Kiwi Co

Gift ideas for encouraging learning and creativity was one of my favorite December posts.
Peppermint Bark Reindeer Chow
And finally, I shared this peppermint bark chow mix recipe that was a staple for us this holiday season.
If you made it this far, thank you! I appreciate all of you so much, but I hold a special place in my heart for those of you who still read this blog, and blogs in general – they’re no longer the queen of social media, but I still feel they’re the most important. If you still read, please comment below! I’m always grateful for the traffic coming here in my analytics, but I want to have the opportunity to actually engage with you as well. I’d say happy 2020, but I don’t want to jinx it! Thank you for being here. 

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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
Ice
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!

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Wholesome Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day

Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day
This post is in partnership with NABISCO.
What would a new year be without trying to make positive diet choices? I’ll be the first to admit that when I make big New Year resolutions, they never work out. When I stick to small, manageable goals, however, they tend to succeed. One of those smaller goals that I’ve made for this year is to improve my snack choices, and not just in the morning (which is when I’m feeling the most motivated to make good choices). In fact, I came up with three different snack ideas to enjoy at different times of the day: late morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. And since I know many of you are likely trying to make wholesome snack choices as well, I thought I’d share them with you today.  
Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day
Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day
Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day

LATE MORNING SNACK: TRISCUIT Crackers, low fat cottage cheese, strawberries, orange slices

I usually eat a very small breakfast with my coffee early in the morning, and I’m almost always hungry by about 10. If I’m looking for just a little something to tide me over until lunch, I grab a couple of TRISCUIT Crackers and munch on them. If I need something slightly more substantial, I pair them with a little low fat cottage cheese topped with bagel season, and a couple of strawberries and orange slices. This is also my son’s favorite snack, so we often share. It’s absolutely delicious and the perfect amount of filling. TRISCUIT Crackers have been a favorite of mine since I was a kid because of their yummy, slightly salty crunch. These days, I love eating them and serving them to my kids knowing that they’re non-GMO verified. I also love that TRISCUIT Original crackers start with three simple ingredients: just and baked with 100% whole grain wheat, oil, and salt. 
Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day
Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day
AFTERNOON SNACK: GOOD THINS Snacks, almonds, apple slices, and olives

Afternoon snacks are my favorite! I sometimes go for a run or do a quick yoga workout on my lunch break after I eat lunch, and that tends to leave me hungry in the afternoon. My daughter always asks for an after school snack as well. We came up with what has become our go-to afternoon snack: GOOD THINS Snacks paired with a few almonds, apple slices, and some green and kalamata olives. GOOD THINS Snacks are the unanimous favorite crunchy snack in our home. Made with real ingredients, no artificial colors or flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, and only 120-130 calories per serving (depending on flavor), they are great for munching. They’re also a delicious, flavorful way to snack gluten free (and are certified gluten free by GFCO). They’re also non-GMO verified. Did I mention how tasty they are? Combined with almonds, olives, and apple slices, they’re the ideal snack for that in between lunch and dinner period. 
Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day
Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day
Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day

EVENING SNACK: WHEAT THINS Snacks, sharp cheddar, grapes, orange slices


One of my favorite times of the day is after the kids are in bed, when my husband and I finally have a few minutes alone together. I’ll be honest, we usually cram in dishes and laundry during this time then promptly pass out, but when we can, we bask in the bliss of couch snuggles, books and movies, and our favorite: WHEAT THINS Snacks paired with a few slices of aged white cheddar cheese, some white grapes, and orange slices. WHEAT THINS Snacks are almost as delicious as the glorious silence that fills our home in the night hours (love you kids, but man is that silence blissful). With no artificial flavors or colors and baked with 100% whole grain (21 grams per serving), they’re a little salty, a little sweet, and have an incredible crunch. They really are a great evening treat. 
Better-For-You Snack Ideas for Every Time of Day
It’s nice to have a line up of wholesome snack ideas to enjoy at different times of the day without having to think about it. And having them planned out keeps me from mindlessly grabbing chocolate or potato chips and overindulging. If these snack ideas look good to you too, you can grab the ingredients, including our beloved TRISCUIT Crackers, GOOD THINS Snacks, and WHEAT THINS Snacks, at your local Walmart, or use Walmart.com pick up or delivery. And be sure to take advantage of this Ibotta offer! Happy New Year Snacking, friends!
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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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You’re Invited to Major’s Indoguration Party!

From the Delaware Humane Association: From shelter pup at the Delaware Humane Association to First Dog at the White House, Major Biden is barking proof that every dog can live the American dream. To celebrate this historic moment – the first shelter dog ever to live in the White House – and help raise funds … Continue reading You’re Invited to Major’s Indoguration Party!


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National Labrador Retriever Day

The Labrador Retriever has consistently been dubbed top dog in annual lists of America’s favorite breed.  In fact, Labs are so popular that they even have their own pet holiday, which…



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