Our Love For Storytime

Our Love For Storytime

I’ve posted here before about how storytime is one of our little ones’ favorite activities. We have family story nights outside in the summer, where we all sit out on our deck and read together. The kids have pretend storytimes of their own, where they snuggle up in the big chair in our living room and Essley “reads” to Emmett. (There is quite possibly nothing more adorable than this, by the way.) Essley and her friends play storytime on playdates. Robbie and I love how much they enjoy these experiences. In a time where screens dominate so much of our daily lives, there is something incredibly reassuring (especially when our kids, like most, admittedly do love their screen time), to know that they find such genuine joy in books.

Because they are such big fans of storytime, you can imagine the kids’ excitement (and then subsequent heartbreak, when they realized we’d have to miss out because we’ll be on vacation!) when we found out about Storytime LIVE!, an awesome event that Kiddie Academy is hosting at multiple locations here in Illinois this Saturday, July 29th. You may remember me singing Kiddie Academy’s praises in the past. They’re a nationally recognized provider of comprehensive educational child care programs, with a really wonderful Life Essentials® curriculum that focuses on social and emotional character education, and physical and cognitive outcomes – all of which are aligned with state preschool learning standards. And Storytime LIVE! is yet another cool thing they’re doing for little ones. It’s a fun, educational community reading event (that is also free!) intended to promote reading amongst kids. It will also help prepare little ones for the transition into school or a school setting through the combination of playtime and leaning (which are the main parts of the Life Essentials® curriculum). And the best part is that Curious George (one of our kids’ all time favorite characters) jumps off the page and visits the classroom in person! So fun, right?

For my readers here in Illinois, ten Kiddie Academy locations will be participating in Storytime LIVE! this weekend: Arlington Heights, Batavia, Carpentersville, Darien, Frankfort, Naperville, Oswego, Park Ridge, Plainfield, and Streamwood. And the event is open to everyone – whether your children are current students, you’d like to learn more about Kiddie Academy, or you’d just like to be a part of this special experience with your kids! To reserve your spot to attend, just click here. If we weren’t going to be several hundred miles away, we would be there in a heartbeat. And if you go, I’d love to hear about it!

Do your kids enjoy storytime as much as mine do? What books are their favorites?

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


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Consumer Search Names Best Reviewed Canned Cat Food for 2017

Top Rated Wet Cat FoodWe’re thrilled that Consumer Search named Halo best reviewed canned cat food.

Editor’s note states, “For value and quality, Halo cat food is top rated…” They gave it high marks for being grain-free, having high-quality ingredients and lacking artificial preservatives.

Halo has always used only WHOLE meat and never any “meat meal,” which hasn’t just made Halo a highly digestible pet food, but a delicious one that cats and dogs love. WHOLE meat is more digestible, more bioavailable, and more delicious!

In their analysis, they like that, “Halo Spot’s Stew packs high-quality meats and veggies into a stew that looks like people food. The company has a spotless safety record and use no questionable ingredients or fillers. The cans are BPA free, too.”

Thank you Consumer Search for reviewing our product and for naming us one of the best cat foods for the third year in a row.

Halo Pets

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Is a Dog Being Allergic to Chicken Really a “Thing?”

Yorke eating Halo pet food

Is it truly possible that a dog can be “allergic” to chicken? This seems to be a popular belief as the cause for a dog to have itchy skin, hot spots, or waxy, infected ears. From chicken?! Really?!

I mean have you ever heard of a human who is allergic to chicken? You see restaurant menus alerting people with food intolerances to the presence of gluten, dairy, nuts, etc. – but chicken?!

I thought about this when I received this question from Bill: “My vet says absolutely no grains, beef or poultry allowed for my allergic five-year-old mini-Sheltie, Bonnie. She came from a shelter with a bad yeast infection of her skin and ears and the vet said those food ingredients are the most likely cause. I certainly don’t want to keep aggravating a food allergy. So, what can you suggest I feed her?”

Skin Problems Don’t Mean a Chicken Allergy!
A dog who has been in a shelter can arrive there (and onward to her adoptive home) with deficits because of previous neglect, poor hygiene, stress and poor nutrition – but not because she’s allergic to a food ingredient. I respectfully suggest that Bill should look for a veterinarian who understands that most skin allergies in dogs are not caused by the diet but by environmental factors: a reaction to something Bonnie has touched or breathed. A veterinary internist or dermatologist will look for answers in the environment, where all the kinds of airborne and contact allergens that plague human allergy-sufferers (pollen, grasses, etc.) also affect dogs. In fact there are excellent blood tests available that can pinpoint the exact elements an individual dog is reactive to (runny eyes and nose, smelly ears, skin problems of various kinds) and they can make up an individualized serum that can be injected or given as a daily oral spray (like the oral serum both my dogs Maisie and Wanda use – to reduce the terrible hives, bumps, redness and itching they get in summer, racing through high fields of grasses and weeds) (in fact I give them their oral squirts twice a day in summer when the allergens are at their height).

Environmental Allergies are the Most Likely Cause
Trying to avoid chicken, beef and grains “just in case” would be a lifetime of management without any proven reason and an unnecessary burden – while not addressing and treating the actual underlying allergies. As far as “grains” (or corn for that matter), you won’t find them in premium dog food anyway. And when you consider Halo’s newest line of food, not only are the ingredients high quality, they are even non-GMO and otherwise earth and animal friendly. You don’t want to stop feeding a high quality food while your dog keeps on itching – you want to find out the real cause of the problem.

Food Allergies Are Rare
Dogs are rarely allergic to food ingredients, even though this is often misunderstood. Some vets will even put dogs on prescription dog foods with limited ingredients you may not be comfortable with – rather than looking elsewhere for the cause of itching, runny eyes or nose or other symptoms of allergies.

Poultry (which includes eggs) does happen to be the most common food ingredient to which some dogs can be intolerant, but the best way for a responsible veterinarian to get to the bottom of allergic symptoms is to first conduct a blood allergy test. If it shows no reactions, then it’s time to determine whether the dog is genuinely food allergic. A vet will instruct the owner to put the dog on a strict two-month “elimination diet” in which all commercial food is removed and the only thing to pass the dog’s lips will be boiled chicken and rice. After those 8 weeks, the vet would allow the addition of other food ingredients, one by one, to find the offending source.

However, please note that the elimination diet itself is chicken based!

Don’t Blame the Food!
Never guess or make assumptions about a pet food or an ingredient being the cause of itching or other symptoms. If you suspect allergies in your dog, ask your veterinarian for a blood allergy test to see if something in the environment might be causing the problem. Any concerns you have are best deciphered by modern technology under your vet’s supervision.

Feed the Best Food You Can
One step on the path to improved health would be to switch to a high-quality premium pet food like Halo, which uses WHOLE meat, poultry and fish while avoiding growth hormones and “meat meal” with animal byproducts.

Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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Friday Funny: Jurisprudence

I’m thinking a jury of his peers would not find enough evidence here to convict him! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!

Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Whole Lot of Difference: Texas Husky Rescue

Texas Husky Rescue at Phydeaux & Friends

Texas Husky Rescue, Inc. was created in May 2009 as a non-profit 501(c)3 animal rescue organization that is run entirely by volunteers. Its mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and find qualified loving homes for neglected, abused, and unwanted Huskies throughout Texas and beyond as well as educate the public about responsible pet ownership and the special qualities of the Siberian Husky Breed.

Halo is proud to partner with Freekibble.com and GreaterGood.org to make a WHOLE lot of difference for shelter pets together.

Here’s what Texas Husky Rescue had to say about a recent Halo Pets donation, which was made possible with the help of Phydeaux & Friends in Austin, TX:

“…having Halo available for them gives us the peace of mind they are getting the nutrients they need to be the very best husky…”

“Halo has been a critical part of our program for every husky we have had this past year. We would not be able to have 60 dogs in our program right now if it were not for the generous donation of food, which allows us to allocate the funds we save towards making sure all of our huskies get the very best care.

From the healthiest of huskies to those needing a little TLC, having Halo available for them gives us the peace of mind they are getting the nutrients they need to be the very best husky they can be as they start the next chapter of their life searching for their family.

Zeus’s Story

Zeus from Texas Husky RescueZeus was picked up as a stray and brought to a local shelter. He wasn’t reclaimed and was labeled as “rescue only” because he was highly stressed and wasn’t feeling the whole shelter vibe (who does, really?). Once out of the stressful environment and into a place where our volunteers were able to show him the love and affection he so desperately needed his true personality came out! And boy does he have personality!!!

It didn’t take long for us to realize his rescue only status was not a true reflection of him, he is extra sweet and over just a big goofy fun loving boy who loves a nice ear scratch. The two months he spent in our program he enjoyed learning how much fun being a happy husky can be and of course all the yummy Halo food he got for his dinners. He learned quickly he wouldn’t ever have to go hungry again, there was always plenty of tasty food available to fill his tummy.  After two months we were thrilled to watch as Zeus walked away tail wagging and head up high with his very own family who loves him. (Is there any better sight??) This sweet boy now loves to play in the yard with his doggie friends and can not get enough love from his people.

Zeus from Texas Husky Rescue

Nymeria’s Story

Nymeria from Texas Husky RescueNymeria was an adoption return to the shelter because after 2 week her owners realized they were moving and couldn’t take her. She was terrified and depressed being back in the shelter. It didn’t take long for her to show signs of illness and they called us immediately.  When our volunteer picked her up at the shelter we knew right away Nymeria was in trouble! She was EXTREMELY underweight, listless and couldn’t even walk on her own! We rushed her to our vet where she got some antibiotics, a B12 shot and an IV. Our vets determined she had pneumonia in both lungs and stayed overnight at an emergency vet clinic to monitor her progress. After getting her illness under control Nymeria went to a wonderful foster home where they began giving her some much needed extra TLC (and some extra Halo meals) where she began to gain weight and gain trust in people again.

Zeus and Nymeria are just two examples of the many dogs we save every day. We do not know what happened to these sweet babies before rescue but we do know that thanks to generous donations from our partners at Halo and our great team of volunteers that none of these dogs will ever know what it is like to be alone and scared again. It is a promise we make to each and every dog we bring in and one we never go back on.”

Nymeria from Texas Husky Rescue with Halo pet food

Thank you Texas Husky Rescue for making a WHOLE lot of difference for pets in your community.

When you choose Halo pet food, made from natural, whole food ingredients, your pet won’t be the only one with a radiant coat, clear eyes and renewed energy. Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million bowls annually. As always, Halo will donate a bowl to a shelter every time YOU buy. Thank you for helping #HaloFeeditForward

Halo Pets

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UKC Show

Sighted today at the UKC show sponsored by the Tuscarawas County Coonhunters and held at Red Star Vet Clinic in East Canton, Ohio. We had to leave early, so I didn’t get to see more than the junior show. Congrats to all of the competitors! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!

Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes

Tracking Pixel

Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes
Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

One of my favorite childhood memories involves weekend mornings, when I’d get up early with my dad to make Mickey Mouse pancakes together. They weren’t Pinterest-worthy by any means, but I loved everything about them, from the mixing of the batter to “designing” them to the way they tasted. After I became a mom to Essley a few years ago, I couldn’t wait to repeat this tradition with her. And when she turned a year old, we started making our own Mickey Mouse pancakes together. They quickly became her favorite breakfast, and now they’re Emmett’s favorite as well. I’m a very visual person, and I’ll admit that a lot of times when I’m preparing food, the way the finish product looks is even more important to me than how it tastes. With our family Mickey Mouse pancakes, this is not the case. They are rarely symmetrical and their decor is far from fancy. For this meal it’s all about the process and spending time together as a family to create a breakfast that is fun, inspired by a character we love, and perfectly imperfect (just like our family; awwww). Today I’m teaming up with our friends at Disney Junior to share a glimpse into our special Mickey Mouse pancake making tradition (including how to make your own), inspired by one of our favorite shows, Mickey & The Roadster Racers.

Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes
Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes
Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes


Pancake or Baking Mix (feel free to make from scratch if you’re feeling motivated!)
Eggs (our mix requires this)
Milk (our mix requires this)
Coconut oil or butter
Pure maple syrup

Follow your pancake mix to combine necessary ingredients (in our mix, that’s the powder, eggs, and milk). Heat a griddle or large pan to medium heat and melt enough coconut oil (this is what we use) or butter to adequately cover the surface in order to prevent sticking. For each pancake, use either a mixing bowl with a spout, a pitcher, or a ladle to pour batter, first to create the face, then to create two ears that will be attached to the face (at 10 and 2, if you’re looking at the face like a clock). Make sure when you pour the ears that they just barely touch at the edges between the ears and the face to allow room for the pancake to expand. Flip once the underside is golden brown. Repeat with as many pancakes as you’d like, and remove from griddle or pan when each cake is golden on both sides. Then comes the fun part – decorating. We use blueberries for the eyes and sliced bananas for the nose. Sometimes we make larger versions where we add blueberry mouths as well. Really, you can use whatever you have on hand – fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. The whole point is to have fun and get creative with your little ones, and to work together as a family. On Essley’s and ours, we drizzle with maple syrup. Emmett likes his with just fruit.

Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes
Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes
Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes
Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes

Essley decided that we should have a Mickey Mouse pancake making party the morning of July 28th for the premiere of the new episode of Mickey & The Roadster Racers on the Disney Channel, which I thought was a perfect idea. We love all of Disney Junior‘s summertime FRiYAY morning shows (favorites include Sofia the First, Puppy Dog Pals, Lion Guard, and Elena of Avalor), but both kids are really into Mickey & The Roadster Racers right now. They love the fun theme song and Essley is all about the race cars. Robbie and I are fans of the show too, because we love the positive messages and lessons it teaches about friendship and community. And just like the process of creating our special pancakes together as family, the show emphasizes the importance of working together to accomplish things. We’re really looking forward to making our perfectly imperfect Mickey Mouse pancakes and then enjoying them while we watch together (8:30 AM on the 28th, on the Disney Channel).

You can find Disney Junior shows on two different television channels: Disney Junior (a dedicated channel that runs Disney Junior shows all day long), and Disney Channel (which airs Disney Junior shows during the morning block, and usually air new episodes first). You can also find Disney Junior goodness on their Facebook page and on their YouTube. We hope you love them as much as we do!

Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes
Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes
Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes

Who else makes Mickey Mouse pancakes with your little ones? What is your favorite Disney Junior show?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Thanks, once again, BADRAP for reminding us that c…

Thanks, once again, BADRAP for reminding us that civil rights strongly parallel and affect animal rights. You know you have always been my heroes, and were once the only voice of reason ringing in the wilderness for me battling it out in the late 90s advocating for our dogs. So many people have chanhed their opinions of Blocky Headed Dogs. In no small part, to you. I don't know what I would have done without you. Great blog post! I have quite a few Pitbull loving Iranian friends whom I'll share your message with.
Always. Gemma

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Elderly Man Raises More than $36,000 for Community Cats

Willie Ortiz feeds stray cats in Connecticut
Willie Ortiz is 76 years old, but he hasn’t let that keep him from making a big difference for the cats in his community. The retired gentleman has been feeding feral and stray cats in his Connecticut community every day for more than 20 years. He drives 22 miles each day in his truck to 16 different stops to distribute food paid for with his own money. To help cover the costs, Willie had been collecting and selling scrap metal. Now he has help.

In February 2016, shortly after a story about Willie ran in the Hartford Courant, Willie’s friend, Kathleen Schlentz, set up a GoFundMe page, “Spay, Neuter & feed feral cats,” (sic) to raise money for Willie’s good works. As Willie told People, “I was praying for some help, and the help came, and I was so glad that it came.” As of June 12, 2017, that help has raised more than $ 36,000 to help Willie buy supplies and care for community cats.

Originally the goal was only $ 5,000. The fundraiser was meant to honor “the work that Willie has been doing for feral and stray cats in the Hartford and East Hartford, CT areas.” His friends noted that Willie “has not missed one night of feeding despite the rain, snow, freezing weather or his own health issues.”

Read more about Willie Ortiz and his efforts to help homeless cats.

Halo Pets

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How are dogs like potato chips?

A meme featuring Vizslas…you knew I’d be all over that! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!

Doggies.com Dog Blog

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