Fun Thanksgiving Themed Turkey Pancakes

Fun Thanksgiving Themed Turkey Pancakes

A couple of weeks ago I shared a quick post on my Instagram with a fun Thanksgiving pancake project my kids and I like to make this time of year. Today I thought I’d share a more detailed recipe for how to make them. We have a lot of fun making (and eating) them. They’re a quick and easy breakfast for Thanksgiving Day too. (I mean let’s be honest; if you don’t want to make pancakes from scratch you can easily create these from a boxed pancake mix too.)


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (if you’re feeling fancy, you can use buttermilk)
2 eggs
strawberries, sliced
bananas, sliced
mandarin oranges or clementine slices
pineapple chunks

Preheat a pan or griddle over medium heat. (You can add coconut oil or butter to the pan to prevent sticking.) Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in milk and eggs. Whisk until combined into a batter. Pour batter onto pan or griddle, creating one set of larger circles (turkey body) and one set of smaller circles (turkey head). Cook until underside is golden brown, then flip and do the same on the other side. Let all pancakes cool slightly. For each turkey, place one small pancake on a large one and decorate using the fruit. Eat! (For an added protein boots, you can add 4 scoops of Vanilla Healthy Height per 2 servings, as I explained in my Instagram post.)

turkey pancakes
Thanksgiving Turkey Pancakes

If you make these, let me know what you think! Happy Thanksgiving!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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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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6 Tips For Making Nights Easier With Young Kids

6 Tips For Making Nights Easier With Young Kids

This post is sponsored by Jasco, but all opinions are my own.

When my oldest child was a newborn, I remember thinking that nights with children could not possibly get harder. Then she grew into a toddler, and another newborn, her brother, came along. Between the two of them and their erratic nighttime/sleep habits, I was convinced I was in the thick of it in terms of nights being difficult with kids and restful nights would soon return. I was wrong.

Yes, those newborn nights were absolutely the most exhausting of my life, but even today, with a 3 and 5 year old, nights aren’t easy. The biggest struggle is that, like most young kids, they fight going to bed. They also never grew into being excellent sleepers (sorry for passing on my light sleeper DNA, kids!), and often awaken in the night. From there, the challenges are endless, my friends. From “bad” dreams (the latest of which involved my son not getting to eat doughnuts for dinner) to it being too dark for them to go to the bathroom themselves (even if they’re in bed with us, which is basically always), nights can be a little arduous.

My husband and I decided a few months ago that enough was enough, and we started experimenting with things to try to make nights easier for all of us. Thankfully, once we were really committed to figure this out, nighttime did improve. In fact, most nights are (knock on wood, really hard) kind of a breeze these days. I hope these tips prove useful for those of you with young kids who also struggle with nights. (And I also get to talk about one of our favorite ways to make nights easier, our beloved GE Enbrighten Motion Activated Night Lights!)

1. Start bedtime early.
Honestly, it took us years (truly) to finally adhere to this, but once we did, things became easier for all of us. We’ve found that for whatever reason, when bed time is rushed, it takes the kids longer to fall asleep. If we start an hour beforehand to allow plenty of time for getting bathed, getting into pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading books, they fall asleep more quickly, and stay asleep better.

2. Be consistent with bed times.
My husband and I are naturally both night owls. For a long time, we would make sure the kids went to bed early during the week, but let them stay up quite late (and sleep in) on the weekends. Eventually we realized this was backfiring, especially once my daughter started kindergarten. She was cranky on Monday mornings (I mean, we all are, but this was excessive), and she didn’t sleep well the first couple nights of the week. Now we don’t let them stay up more than an hour past their weeknight bedtime on the weekends, and everyone sleeps (and wakes up) better.

3. Let there be (motion activated) light. 
This is a big one, guys. I’ve always loved Ella Baker’s quote “Give light and people will find the way.” It is so powerful and full of profound meaning, but let me tell you, it can also be applied to getting through nights with young children. THE DARK (has to be in caps because that’s the only way kids know how to talk about it) is probably our biggest obstacle when it comes to nighttime with little ones. They’re scared of it. They can’t see to get a drink. They can’t see to go pee. I can’t see to get to them when they call me. I can’t see when I hear a crashing sound downstairs loud enough to wake up the entire house and my husband is gone for work and I fall down the stairs and break my toe. (Yes this really happened.) When we leave on a light all night, however, it’s not dark enough and people can’t sleep.

Enter our newfound night light solution: GE Enbrighten Motion Activated Night Lights. Someone recommended these to us and we are forever indebted; not just because they’re pretty and add a little fancy to our normally very plain aesthetic (thank you GE), but because they provide the perfect amount of light at the perfect times so that we’re all able to get the best sleeps.

The GE Enbrighten Candle Glow SleepLite is my personal favorite, with its warm amber glow (almost no blue light emission = a healthy sleep cycle) that calmly flickers just like candlelight. I love that I can control the light output via 3 different setting options – soft white, amber, or candle glow. It also has a very cool light-sensing technology that turns the night light on at dusk and off at dawn.
I keep these in our bedrooms. They’re perfect for getting up to go to the bathroom or when my kids are irrationally screaming down the hall.

We also love the GE Enbrighten Motion-Activated Night Light, which we use in our hallways and bathrooms. First and foremost, this is probably the most attractive night light I’ve ever seen. No, really. It’s simple and chic and comes in 4 finish options. (We have the bronze finish). Secondly, it has an automatic LED that light turns on when motion is detected up to 25 feet away, and turns off after 90 seconds of no activity, and a dusk-to-dawn light sensor with an energy-efficient light that turns on at dusk and off at dawn. So smart!

The GE Enbrighten Motion-Select Night Light (which also has 4 stylish, modern finish options) has also been a major help, with its awesome ability to either be set at Motion-Activated or Motion-Boost. The Motion-Activated Light setting activates the light up to 25 feet away in low light, and the light turns off after 90 seconds without motion. The Motion-Boost Light setting allows the light to automatically turn on at dusk at a low 3 lumens, then boosts it to 40 lumens when motion is detected, and dims back to 3 lumens after 90 seconds of no motion. (So cool, right?) Perfect for our entry way and kitchen.

4. Keep the screens away.
Okay, so I’m a hypocrite (I read or watch Netflix on my iPad every night before bed), but making sure our kids didn’t have access to screens at least an hour before bed has made a huge difference in how well they sleep. (And this isn’t just my opinion; research shows it to be true.) Our only television in the house in downstairs, and screens aren’t within reach during night hours. (I do this for myself as well, because I used to grab my phone when I couldn’t sleep, which ultimately made things worse.) My daughter tends to wake up often from vivid dreams, and she often asks if she can watch something to distract her from feeling scared. I used to give in, but now tell her a story instead, and she falls backs asleep faster (and stays asleep longer). The only light is in room is from her GE Enbrighten Candle Glow SleepLite; never the disruptive light of a screen.

5. Use the bathroom right before bed.
This applies for your children and you. Maybe this is a given, but if you don’t do it, please take my advice. If I have to get up to pee at 3 AM, it’s going to take me a good half hour to fall back asleep. And no one likes to have to change a child wet sheets in the night. The right-before-bed potty trip is always a good idea. Make sure to keep a GE Enbrighten Motion Activated Night Lights in the bathroom too so that if your little ones do have to go, they’re not being jolted into a fully awake state by a bright light.

6. Do what works for you.
There is so much advice out there for the “right” ways for your child to be sleeping (let babies cry it out, never let babies cry, cosleep with babies but not kids, cosleep as long as you want, make them sleep alone from the beginning, use a bassinet, use a crib, use a floor mattress, use a toddler bed, don’t use a bed at all, let them come into your bed, make them stay in their rooms, etc. etc. etc.). And honestly, I disagree with all of it, because there is simply no right or wrong way. Period. I am not a sleep expert, but I have found that being openminded and paying attention to what works best for my kids and for us as a family is what makes nights the easiest for all of us. So while these tips have been extremely helpful for us, and my hope is that one or all of them helps you as well, you do you, guys. Feel out your family, take notice of what nighttime habits produce the best results, and go from there. You’re doing a great job.

Do you have any tips I missed that you can share? Have you tried any of the GE Enbrighten Motion Activated Night Lights yet? I’d love to hear which one is your favorite.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Friday Funny: Boxers are Brave, Right?

Happy weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog! Dog Blog

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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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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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Low Income Pet Resource Center in Los Angeles

Desmond Tutu has been quoted as saying, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” Downtown Dog Rescue in Los Angeles has done just that, opening a Pet Resource Center in a low income area … Continue reading Low Income Pet Resource Center in Los Angeles Dog Blog

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Multiple cryptic species of jaguarundi?


One must be very careful using studies of mitochondrial DNA to make conclusions about the natural history of animals. The DNA is inherited matrilinearly. It does not follow the entire genetic legacy of an organism.

However, it can point to the possibility that our understanding of taxonomy is incorrect, and these studies have pointed to multiple cryptic species in what we once thought was only a single one. Gray foxes and black-backed jackals have deep divergences in mitochondrial DNA lineages in populations that are not contiguous, which suggests that there are more species than the single one currently recognized.

Of course, these findings do require more study to figure out if these divergences are reflected in the nuclear DNA. But these studies are just the beginning.

Recently, I came across this paper from PLoS ONE that was published 2017. It looked the mitochondrial DNA of the jaguarundi, a neotropical cat that is most closely related to the cougar. It does range into the United States, but it hasn’t been seen here in decades.

This species has been a bit of problem for molecular biologists, because it is been quite difficult to figure out subspecies. There is little correlation between mitochondrial DNA sequences and morphology, which has made classifying them quite difficult.

But the authors discovered a rather unusual discovery. Using calculations of mutation rate, they found that the two main clades of jaguarundi diverged 3.2 million years ago. The same metric found that jaguarundis and cougars diverged 3.9 million years ago, and the divergence between the two clades of jaguarundi happened earlier than the divergence between lions and common leopards and the divergence between the tiger and the snow leopard.

This discovery does suggest that there at least two species of jaguarundi, which are morphologically indistinguishable.  Of course, the authors make it clear that more evidence from nuclear DNA needs to be included in the analysis, but the discovery does suggest that our classification of the jaguarundi as a single species may be faulty.



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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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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