Powering Down: Our Little Family Birthday Celebration

I’ve talked before here about my feelings on being present with my family and friends and how, as with the majority of us, I often find myself sucked into social media, my phone, and just technology in general when I should be more actively engaging with loved ones. It’s a problem I think most of have, and although it’s an incredibly easy one to solve, we have to make a conscious effort to do it. So last month I decided that my little family was going to take an evening to have a belated birthday celebration for my husband that involved spending time outside (the weather was just finally starting to warm up) and powering down our cellphones, iPads, and television. It would just be the four of us hanging out in an intimate setting on our back deck, enjoying one another’s company.

My biggest goal (aside from turning off all devices!) for our casual early evening hangout session was to decorate our deck in a way that would create a warm, comfortable, inviting aesthetic, so we’d just naturally feel present and engaged as a family. I wanted to keep things simple, but fun and colorful as well. I started by hanging a vibrant felt “Happy Birthday” banner to set the theme. I bought a pretty yellow daisy plant and arranged that on a smaller table, then (finally!) brought some indoor plants outside for the season. The final step was to (literally) add a warm glow to the space with some of my favorite items from TIKI Brand’s new Clean Burn tabletop product line. I put out a pretty teal colored small Clean Burn Tabletop Firepiece, and for the the focal piece of our family celebration’s decor, I set out our large TIKI Brand Clean tabletop firepiece. We love this piece so much because it’s like our own little backyard fire pit that fits perfectly on our deck table. The flame is rich and bright and provides light and ambiance, and along with all of our other other TIKI Brand pieces, created such a wonderful vibe for our mini party. I also set out three of their Glass Table Torches for pops of color.

These TIKI Brand tabletop fireplaces are so cool you guys. One of my favorite parts is the Clean Burn Torch Fuel they use. It creates a gorgeous bright flame, and one bottle provides a whole 24 hours of burn time. And best of all, the formula is totally plant-based (!!!) with no petroleum-based ingredients – so the burn is clean, without excess smoke or unpleasant petroleum odors. And I love the that Firepieces themselves use reusable Roundwick burner-systems that provide up to three hours of burn time with every fill (and also reduce risk of fuel spillage). They’re so quick and easy to set up, and once they’re lit, they’re good to go for the evening.

We had such a great time at our first outdoor family evening together of the season, watching my husband open gifts (or, in truth, watching my daughter open them for him), eating chocolate birthday cake and strawberries, talking, engaging, laughing, and connecting with one another. By completely turning off our phones and electronics and replacing that cold blue light at which we’re so used to staring with the warm glow of our Tabletop Firepieces, it was easy to be completely present and let everything else fade into the background as we just relaxed and savored the experience. My husband said it was actually the best birthday party he’d ever had (a relief since it was so easy compared to some of the more elaborate, stressful birthday parties I’d planned for him in the past). And best of all, the evening inspired us to make it a regular occurrence this summer to power down and hang out on our deck together as a family. I highly recommend doing the same with your loved ones. By doing something as simple as turning off your electronic devices and creating a simple outdoor space with a nice warm ambience, you’d be amazed at how profoundly different an experience you can have with the people you care about.

And speaking of connecting with friends and family, TIKI Brand has created a event called The Night of the Power Down that will take place on June 26. I will be participating and I hope you guys will be as well! You can find more info here: Tikibrand.com/Power-Down.

Here’s to a summer full of real life experiences with your favorite people!

This post is in partnership with TIKI® Brand. All opinions are mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. 


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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#PawPromise Adoptable Dog of the Week: Elmo

Hi! My name is Elmo, just like the cuddly character on Sesame Street. My previous family couldn’t care for me anymore, so now this Elmo is looking for a different street to live on, in a…

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Muriel, Nina and Emma

How to get a dog and a child together … hide behind them!  Here (although you don’t see her!) is Muriel in Gorbio village, with her little Yorkie, Nina – and Emma who thinks it’s all the best fun.

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Belly Rubs Under Water

Pretty sure this is a sea DOG, not a sea lion! So sweet. Happy Weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!

Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Hair Colour

Ever noticed how people choose dogs with the same colour hair? 

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Recipe: Watermelon Slush for Dogs

Yesterday we were on the road all day, off to south Texas to assist two of John’s elderly relatives. Our three-hour drive took us through the town of Luling, one that’s known as the…

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Bulldogs reign!

Who doesn’t love a Bulldog! 

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Coco’s Bad Breath: April 20


Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Red-shouldered hawk eating chicken livers

A red-shouldered hawk comes by to eat chicken livers left out for coyotes and foxes:

Natural History

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The Awful Case of Kristen Lindsey

In April 2015, Kristen Lindsey, DVM, shot a cat through the head with an arrow and then posted a picture on Facebook with the following caption:

“My first bow kill … lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s [sic] head! Vet of the year award … gladly accepted.”

These facts are not in dispute. Why she did it, however, is. This is why she is currently testifying in an administrative hearing in order to try and keep her veterinary license. At its heart is the question, “Is there any justifiable reason for her to have done that?”


The answer is no. It is an unequivocal no.

I have avoided commenting on the topic because once the image went viral, the reaction was swift and potent. She has received death threats and her family has been harassed. What she did was horrific and wrong, and sending death threats is also horrific and wrong, and I didn’t want to embolden the sentiment that might encourage one more person to do so.

I have yet to read a single sentiment from the veterinary community that attempts to defend Lindsey. What I have read, and it reflects my own views, is that her actions are utterly condemnable and she needs to be removed from the profession. Physically attacked or threatened? No.

But Please, Please Go Away

The reason I am speaking on this now is to clarify the position that just because many of us have not clamored to do the same to Lindsey as she did to (what most presume to be) Tiger, this does not mean we want anything to do with her in the profession.

This was a career-ending action. There is no place in this field for a colleague who thinks it is 1. appropriate to do this in the first place and 2. post it on social media. There just isn’t.

Had she simply disappeared under the radar and gone on to find a job in a non animal-related field, I would never have even written about the case. But she didn’t. She is fighting to keep her license. The VIN News Service is sharing the testimony on Facebook and it is alternatively sad and horrible and infuriating.

She is continuing to try and justify her actions based on what she thought the cat was (feral, intact, rabid, it keeps morphing.) There are no justifying conditions. 

She is arguing that if she loses her Texas license, she will not be able to get licensed anywhere else, that she is unemployable. That is a consequence she brought upon herself. The only remorse she has expressed is for herself.

She has forced a hearing at which the presumptive owners of Tiger have to come in with lawyers, be cross-examined, and again view what happened to the cat. She is continuing to cause distress to these people by forcing them to participate in this hearing.

I will continue to state forcefully and with great passion that I do not think violence, or even threats of violence, are an appropriate response to a violent act. But I will also state forcefully and with great passion that Dr. Lindsey, we do not want you in our profession representing what we work so hard to do every day to better the lives of people and animals.

It doesn’t really matter what the board decides in terms of your license, I highly doubt you will ever practice again. So please, for the sake of everyone involved, please- stop this fight to stay within the field. You’ve already shown yourself out.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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