Last Few Days to Use Halo June Coupons

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For blog readers, newsletter subscribers and Halo social media fans only, we’re happy to offer this month’s printable store coupons for Halo products!

Remember, these coupons are only valid at stores where Halo is sold.

For Halo store locations, enter your zip/postal code here. Products sell out fast, so please call ahead to make sure your nearest retailer has what you need (if not, they can usually order it for you quickly).

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Westie Dog and Walker Find Missing Woman

hazel the westOften when people walk their dogs, they’re in a hurry and wish that their dogs were a little bit less interested in everything off the path. Sara Wilce isn’t one of those people. She’s grateful that her dog, Dougal, has a keen interest in his surroundings. Recently the Westie became a hero when, during his morning walk, he spotted an elderly woman and her dog who had been missing for four days!

According to the Stroud News and Journal, Hazel Denham had last been seen at 1:20 the previous Tuesday afternoon as she headed out to walk her Poodle-Yorkshire Terrier mix, Bertie. Her husband, Richard Denham, reported her missing at 5:17 that evening when she and Bertie still hadn’t returned home. Richard is 85 and his wife is 71 with mild dementia. The Denhams live in Minchinhampton, an ancient hilltop town in the Cotswolds of England. When people learned that Hazel was missing, the community sprang into action. Volunteers and professionals with a number of agencies and services coordinated searching for the woman. Police officers and other officials gave out maps of areas where people should search. The National Police Air Service used thermal-imaging cameras to look for signs of Hazel and Bertie. The Search & Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) South Wales also participated in the search.

Read the complete story.

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DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace

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DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace

Essley’s current favorite television show is Sofia the First on Disney Junior. She loves Sofia’s spunkiness, the music in the show (she dances to and acts out the opening theme, every time), and, more than anything, all of the fantastic adventures Sofia experiences. And I love that she’s a fan, because Sofia is a great role model – she embraces her uniqueness, breaks traditional gender stereotypes, and encourages kindness. It’s a wonderful show for us to watch together, and it genuinely makes me happy that Essley enjoys it so much. Now that Essley is out of school for the summer we’ve been trying to work more on craft projects at home, and I decided it would be fun for us to make something together inspired by Sofia. While we both love to create, we’d never made jewelry together – and Essley had never made it at all. One of the things I most adore about Sofia is her consistent drive to try new things, which motivates Essley to try new things too. So in honor of this, we set aside an afternoon to make our own personalized necklaces inspired by Sofia’s Amulet of Avalor. Sofia’s amulet is pretty awesome – it rewards her with special powers (like the ability to communicate with animals) for doing good deeds, and does less fun things (like makes her temporarily croak like a toad after boasting) as a means to teach important lessons. After making our special matching necklaces, we could wear them for the FriYAY premiere of Sofia the First this week. Essley absolutely loved this idea, and we had so much fun. And today I’m teaming up with our pals over at Disney Junior to show you how we made them, so you can create them with your little one too!

DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace
DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace
DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace

Makes 2 necklaces.

YOU WILL NEED:
2 purple faux gem pendants
Plastic purple, lavender and pink beads in a uniform size with large holes (we used about 70 medium beads per necklace)
Variety of 4-10 decorative beads
8 letter beads (4 for each necklace in first letter of wearer’s name)
Elastic beading string
Scissors
Optional: toggle clasps (we didn’t use these, but if you have older kids you may want to beading wire and clasps instead of elastic string)

If your little one has never strung beads before, I recommend starting out by just letting them play around and practice for a while. That’s what we did, until Essley got the hang of doing it herself. Next, arrange your beads in the order you’d like them to appear on each necklace. Or it can also be fun to simply let your daughter or son choose how they want them to be arranged as they go – it allows them to express themselves and their creativity, even if it’s less than “perfect.” (I arranged mine in advance, and Essley made hers up as she went, with a little guidance from me.) Next, cut two pieces of string (about 22-24 inches long), one for each necklace. Slide your pendant over the string so it’s centered, then add two of the decorative beads on either side of it, followed a mixture of the rest of the beads evenly on either side until there is only an inch of two of string remaining on each side. (Tip: Be sure to include your letter beads in the bottom half of the necklace design so they’re not hidden behind the neck when being worn.) When the necklace is complete, tie the ends together with several knots, trim the excess string, and slide beads over the knot to hide the knots. That’s it! We made Essley a matching bracelet with the leftover beads too.  It’s an easy project but can still fill up an afternoon, especially if you and your little one go shopping at the craft store beforehand (one of Essley’s favorite parts).

DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace
DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace
DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace
DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace
DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace

Essley is all sorts of excited to wear her own handmade Sofia necklace for the premiere of the new season (in four days – June 30th at 9 AM on the Disney Channel – but who’s counting) – and I’m pretty stoked to wear mine too, if we’re being honest here. Disney Junior actually has all new episodes of a bunch of our favorite shows this summer, every FriYAY (get it? get it?) morning on Disney Channel (from around 6-10 AM), including Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Puppy Dog Pals, Lion Guard, Elena of Avalor (another of our favorites), and, of course, Sofia the First. We love having these Friday morning shows to look forward to – it’s a fun, educational way to start the morning in the summertime before we head out to play at the park or pool. I always take Fridays off work to spend with the kids, and kickstarting the day with Disney Junior FriYAY programming makes the day feel special, and reminds us that the weekend is about to begin. When my husband is off the road with the band on Fridays, it’s something we can all do together as a family, with shows we all enjoy (yes, even the adults).

You can find Disney Junior shows are 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). New episodes, like our FriYAY faves, usually air first on the Disney Channel. We hope you enjoy the premiers coming up as much as I know we will! You can also find Disney Junior goodness on their Facebook page and on their YouTube.

DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace
DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace
DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace
DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace

What is your little one’s (or your!) favorite Disney Junior Show? Have any of you made jewelry with your kids?

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.

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My 12 Favorite Kid and Parenting Themed Posts

CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE REST >>>

Our Mama Daughter Bond (+ a $  100 Minnetonka Gift Card Giveaway!)
Kids Water Safety Tips
Family Play Ideas for Toddlers
Pink and Gold First Birthday Party (via Bubby and Bean)
A Space Themed First Birthday Party (Bubby and Bean)
Newborn Baby Essentials List

When I started this blog (over six years ago!), it was a lifestyle blog with mainly a design focus, and I vowed to never let it become a parenting blog, even if we eventually had kids. The funny thing about writing about life, though, is that when you want to remain authentic, you’re going to have to include pieces of your own life. And while this is still, and will remain, a lifestyle blog that covers a variety of topics, I do find myself including parenting and kids posts quite often these days. I know not all of you have (or want) kids, but I hope these posts have still proven enjoyable for you on some level. And for those of you who are parents, I hope they are relevant and helpful. Because I really enjoy writing them.

All of that said, I thought I’d round up a few of my favorite kid and parenting themed post from the last couple of years to share. I only do a few roundup style posts a year, but they always get great feedback, and they’re admittedly fun to put together. For my regular readers, maybe you’ve missed a few of these and they’ll be new to you. Regardless, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did putting them together. Just click on the images (or links directly below them) to access each post.

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Happiest Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day!

I don’t gush about Robbie nearly often enough around here, but that’s only because (unlike his wife), the dude isn’t an over sharer and would rather do just about anything than take selfies for Instagram. But I couldn’t ask for a better partner or father to my kids. He is an incredible role model and best buddy to them, and I’m so excited to celebrate him on Sunday after he gets home from the road.

To all the dads of human and fur babies, father figures, and those of you with dads and/or father figures in your lives, I wish you the happiest Father’s Day. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

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Vacation Time!

Happy Summer Solstice! We’re celebrating the official first day of summer by hopping on a plane tomorrow morning headed to California to spend some time in beautiful Sonoma County with my very best friends. It’s one of our favorite places in the country, and we try to visit every couple of years. The last time we were there (the photo you see above is from that trip; look how little Essley was!) I was pregnant with Emmett, so this will be his first time to really get to enjoy it with us.

There will be a post here tomorrow (and it’s a good one so be sure to come back!), but after that I’ll be taking the rest of the week off the blog. Our normal posting schedule will resume on Monday, June 26th. And as always, you can follow along with our adventures on our Instagram. (I’m sure I’ll be doing my usual oversharing in our IG stories.)

Enjoy the longest day of the year, friends!

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5 Ways I Shake Up My Bedtime Routine

5 Ways To Shake Up Your Bedtime Routine

Thank you Colgate® for sponsoring this post.

Long ago (well, actually only a few years ago; but it kind of feels like forever), my nighttime routine consisted of leisurely getting ready for bed after a nice, quiet reading session or movie with my husband. I’d stretch a little, brush my teeth, wash my face, and slip under the covers for a nice, peaceful slumber. Fast forward to more recent times, which involve two kids three and under (neither of whom are great sleepers), and that ready-for-bed routine became a frenzy of frantically trying to squeeze in all of the things I didn’t get done for the day, and, more often than not, throwing on the same oversized t-shirt I wore to bed the previous night, doing an inadequate job of washing up, jumping into bed at an unreasonably late hour, and hoping for an hour of two of sleep before one of the babes woke up. This rushed, chaotic routine, despite the high intensity of it, got pretty stale after a while. Instead of looking forward to getting ready for bed, I dreaded it. So I decided to make some changes, and try some new ways to establish a routine that was healthier, more enjoyable, and less predictable. Nighttime has been infinitely better since then, so today I thought I’d share with you guys five ways I’ve shaken up my ready-for-bed routine in hopes of maybe inspiring those of you who could use a change yourselves.

(*removes 24 times more bacteria vs. ordinary, non-antibacterial mouthwashes)

1. One hour before bedtime, I stop “getting things done.” It’s not realistic for me to set the same bedtime for every night, but I’ve found that I get to bed earlier if I stop myself from scrambling to get more and more done once I start getting tired. If I look at the clock and it’s 11 PM, and I’m cleaning the house or answering work emails or paying bills, I just stop wherever I am and start focusing on bedtime. And in an effort to keep things “shaken up” and not boring, I do different things with this hour (see below!). Whereas before I used to just keep going until I could no longer keep my eyes open, I now allow myself an hour to calm down and prepare for bed. I’m not only in bed earlier every night, I fall asleep faster too.

2. I write in a journal – without rules. A few years ago when I was going through a particularly rough time, every night before bed I would write down something good that happened that day in a journal, in an effort to stay positive. And while this was incredibly helpful on many levels, it also felt a little forced to have to do it night after night. So now I do something similar, but I allow myself to change things up so it doesn’t feel like a chore. On some nights I’ll write about something good that happened or something for which I’m grateful, but other times I’ll write down something funny one of my kids did or said that day, or something I’m looking forward to, or even something that is frustrating me or making me angry. Some nights I’ll even just doodle. It’s a great release to journal for a minute before bed without any rules.

3. I choose a different way to relax each night. Doing relaxation yoga every night before bed is a great way to wind down, but the whole point of shaking up my nighttime routine is to keep things fresh by not doing the same thing night after night. So one night I might do 20 minutes of yoga. The next night I might watch a movie. The next night I might read blogs or browse Instagram. The following night I might read a book. The next night I might meditate. I find that by doing whatever I feel like doing at the time (as long as it’s relaxing) is the perfect way to really unwind before bed without feeling like I’m being forced into a stagnant routine.

4. I use a fun mouthwash (that literally shakes things up) right before going to sleep. One of my recent favorite additions to my newly shaken up nighttime routine is Colgate Total® Advanced Health Mouthwash. First, I shake to activate the mouthwash (a dual system that freshens breath and kills germs, woohoo!), then I use the mouthwash, and then I take a look in the sink to see the bacteria that’s removed. Pretty cool, right? It removes 24 times more bacteria (vs. ordinary, non-antibacterial mouthwashes), reduces plaque, helps prevent gingivitis, and freshens breath. I look forward to using this before bed each night, because in addition to really working, it breaks up my old boring brush-rinse-spit nightly mouth care routine by allowing me to “shake, clean, and see.”

5. I do a different beauty or skincare activity each night. Yes, I wash my face with the same cleanser and apply the same creams, etc. every night – but if that’s all I’m doing, it can feel a little robotic. So I try to do one different self-care thing, just for me, each night. One night I might paint my nails. The next night I might do a face mask. The next night I might exfoliate. Thanks to giving myself that hour before bed (see #1), I’m able to do this. And as simple as it is, it makes a big difference in my mental state to allow myself some self care before bed.

I can genuinely say that I really look forward to my ready-for-bedtime routine these days, now that I incorporate different ways to shake it up and keep it fresh. If you have any other tips for doing this, I’d love to hear them!

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Mother Cat and Kittens Rescued with Remote Control Car

Mama Cat in Pipe seen through remote control car with camera - Hope for Paws

Storm pipes can seem like a safe place to an expectant female cat looking for a place to give birth, but when heavy rains come they become full of dangers. This spring a rescue organization in Los Angeles, CA was contacted about a cat in a drain pipe. The rescue soon discovered that the situation would take ingenuity, patience, and a lot of hard work.

According to The Dodo, when Hope For Paws founder Eldad Hagar got to the drain pipe, he discovered that the situation was complicated. The drain pipe was long and had lots of debris scattered throughout. Plus, it wasn’t just one cat stuck in the pipe – it was a mama cat and her kittens! Eldad evaluated the situation and decided to return the next day with additional rescuers and supplies.

Eldad returned with fellow rescuers Loreta Frakonyte, Lisa Arturo, JoAnn Wilitz, and Kyle Schwab. In addition, they brought a remote control car, a flashlight, supplies to make a pole, blankets, and a cat cage. Kyle normally rescues dogs through Smashface Rescue, but was game to help this feline family in need.

Read more about the Remote Control Car Cat Rescue.

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Win a $25 PawZaar Gift Card!

We love seeing our PawZaar products out in real life–so we’ve started a new giveaway to encourage everyone to share their photos! Starting in July, we’ll be giving away a $ 25…



[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]


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Summertime Family Story Night

Summertime Family Story Night

I think if you asked any member of my family to tell you their favorite time of year, they would, without hesitation, say summer. (And no, Emmett can’t exactly verbally articulate his opinion quite yet, but I just know the little dude agrees.) The kids especially relish in everything the season brings, from playing at the park for hours to swimming at the local pool to enjoying summery treats (summertime ice cream forever!). I feel like when I look back on my own childhood, my most vivid memories take place in the summer and involve summertime family traditions. We’ve been trying to create our own traditions, and the most recent is probably my favorite – summertime family story night.

The fact that summer means getting to spend time outdoors is the absolute best, so we decided to set aside a few evenings a month to create a special “story hour” on our back deck. We pop some popcorn and Essley gets to choose one sweet treat (this time it was fruit soda), and we illuminate the deck with products from the TIKI Brand Clean Burn Tabletop System. The kids get to pick out a basket full of books, we leave our phones in the house, and we enjoy the evening reading the books to Essley and Emmett and just relaxing together as a family. It’s such an easy way to take advantage of the summer and do something simple that ends up feeling really unique and special.

Summertime Family Story Night

You guys already know that I’m a big fan of TIKI Brand – we’ve been using their products to create a warm ambience in our outdoor spaces for years. There is something wonderful about being able to walk out onto the deck, light a few products from their Clean Burn Tabletop System, and instantly transform the area into a cozy, warm little haven. When we do this for family story hour, Essley calls it “turning on the magic.” And honestly, that’s a pretty accurate description. While on most nights, we only choose a couple of pieces to light, on story night we light them all.

Summertime Family Story Night

Our Clean Burn Tabletop Firepiece (in Bronze Ceramic – so pretty) makes an incredible table centerpiece and feels like a mini back yard fire pit, perfect for reading stories. Because the Clean Burn Torch Fuel used in the Tabletop Firepiece (and all of the TIKI Brand Clean Burn Firepieces) burns clean (it’s an 85% plant-based formula), we’re able to enjoy our evening without a smoky mess. We also light our Clean Burn Tabletop Firepiece with FlameShield, our Clean Burn Tabletop Firepieces in Red Glass and Teal Glass, our Clean Burn Tabletop Firepiece in Burlap, our Urban Metal Torch (Essley says “it feels like a party!” when it’s lit), and our Earth Tone Citronella Wax Candle. Each of the Firepieces, in conjunction with the Clean Burn Fuel, burns for 3+ hours, and the Urban Metal Torch burns up up to 5, so we’re assured a full evening of story time fun. It’s pretty great.

Summertime Family Story Night

It’s amazing how such a simple summertime family tradition can bring so much joy. And it’s also amazing how easy it is to take the event up a notch by throwing together some snacks and creating a magical ambience with a few pieces from the TIKI Brand Clean Burn System.  I know this is something we’ll all look forward to as summer approaches every year, and that my kids will be able to look back on it in the same happy way I do the summertime family traditions of my childhood.

Summertime Family Story Night

Use code TIKI5OFFCB on tikibrand.com for $ 5 off when you purchase the Clean Burn Torch Fuel and a Clean Burn Firepiece. Find more info here.

What summertime family traditions do you have?

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.

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