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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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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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Thanks for the latest update. We are all staying p…

Thanks for the latest update. We are all staying positive. I am going to read some more on Bill 128.
BAD RAP Blog

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Would this work similarly when introducing a cat t…

Would this work similarly when introducing a cat to our dog? We have a coonhound mix (about 70 lbs) that we have had for 5 years. We adopted him when he was about one year old, so we don't know what the first year of his life was like. He is very interested in cats when we see them on walks. He first stops and stares at them, then starts baying. We would love to adopt a kitty, but don't know how to do it safely. He has never been in a crate. He is usually a very calm, well behaved dog and we just have never had the need for one. If the cat is the one being introduced to the family, which one would you crate? Any advice you have for us would be MUCH appreciated! Thank you!
BAD RAP Blog

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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…



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DogTipper

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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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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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She left us yesterday

The aligning of the Cosmos with two entities of golden retrievers and hemangiosarcoma is one the crueler aspects of existence. She died at home yesterday–on her own terms.

That’s all I can write right now. I’m just letting you know. I know that if you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning, she was a major feature here, and I know that she will be missed.

I certainly am. It’s very raw right now.

miley


Natural History

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Let’s Make Some Summertime Cakes

8 Cake Recipes for Summertime

I’m actually majorly limiting my sugar right now, but I have had a serious cake craving lately. I don’t bake often, but I do go through phases where I feel randomly motivated to make all the sweets, and I’m in one right now. These are all cake recipes I’ve discovered lately that I feel inspired to recreate. I don’t even have an occasion – I just want to make them. They’re all sort of summery and floral and just feel right for this time of year. And it doesn’t hurt that they look really, really pretty too.

Do you have a favorite cake recipe? If so, please share!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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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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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Dogs and Boys

Meme of a friend’s children. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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