Mashed Potatoes and Other Small Victories

Thank you Idahoan® Mashed Potatoes for sponsoring this post. Idahoan® Mashed Potatoes are real potatoes, real easy, delivering homemade taste on demand.

One of the greatest lessons in parenting I’ve learned over the last five years is that you need to celebrate the small victories, because very little goes as planned. Sometimes a small victory can mean simply getting the kids dressed and out the door in time for school, even if they’re wearing mismatched clothes and have knots in their hair. When my kids go right to sleep with limited fussing or fighting (key word being ‘limited’ rather than ‘no’) that’s a small victory. Sometimes a small victory can mean watching my kids stop in the middle of a major sibling fight and hug each other. Other times it just means getting to go to the bathroom by myself.

When it comes to small victories though, I don’t know if it applies anywhere in my life with little ones quite as much as it does to meals. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was absolutely certain she would only consume the uber health conscious foods I provided her, and that she would eat exactly what we were eating, just in smaller portions. (I was a phenomenal parent before I became one.) Well, that did not work out. Then I had a son who actually loved eating what we did, enjoyed trying new foods, and preferred fruits and vegetables to sweets. Unfortunately, that only lasted until about year two, and then he followed in his sister’s footsteps. Not only do my kids almost always want to eat different foods than we do, they also want to eat different foods than each other. So when we find a food that we all love, it kind of feels like a miracle.

There are only a few foods that every single person in our house loves to eat: black bean tacos, cheese pizza, smoothies, Thai food, apples, and mashed potatoes. For me, mashed potatoes is probably the winner of all of these, because it can be served along so many other dishes and therefore made multiple times per week. There is a slight problem with mashed potatoes though – they take a lot of time to make, and time isn’t something we have before weeknight dinners. This is why I was so stoked to discover Idahoan® Mashed Potatoes. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Idahoan Mashed Potatoes are not just a small victory, they’re a huge one.

Idahoan Mashed Potatoes are made from 100% real Idaho® potatoes, so they have incredible taste and texture. They even earned the title of “America’s Favorite Mashed Potatoes,” which was well deserved if you ask me. But here’s the best part – they are ready in just minutes. I mean like prepared and on the table in less than ten minutes from start to finish. So whether I’m serving a perfectly prepped, elaborate meal (which let’s face it, maybe happens once every other month) or whipping up something simple in just a few minutes, it’s easy to make Idahoan Mashed Potatoes a part of it. Even when my kids complain about the rest of the meal, I know they’ll love and happily eat them. And obviously, my husband and I will too. (I like eating them alone for lunch or a snack too. Mashed potatoes forever!)

Having kids is admittedly much different than I envisioned before I became a parent. It’s awesome and wonderful in ways I could not possibly have imagined, and I am incredibly grateful for every single part of it. It’s also hard. Really hard. It’s exhausting and dirty and sometimes feels a little soul sucking if we’re being honest here. But that is part of what makes it great, because it allows us to so deeply appreciate those small victories. And whether it’s getting a toddler to take liquid medication without barfing, realizing your older child’s barely worn soccer shoes fit your younger kid, or discovering a food that everyone in the family loves that can also be be made quickly and easily, a small victory is reason to celebrate.

If you’re looking for a super convenient way to serve up a small victory in your house via the best mashed potatoes you’ve ever had, go grab yourself a bag of Idahoan Mashed Potatoes. We love the Buttery Golden Selects (so rich and tasty), but they’re also are available in Buttery Homestyle®, Butter and Herb, Bacon & Cheddar Chipotle, Roasted Garlic, and Four Cheese. Yum!

Have you had any small victories in your house lately?

ALSO FIND US HERE: INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

5 Benefits of Whitening Teeth with Charcoal

5 Benefits of Whitening Teeth with Charcoal

This post is sponsored by Crest. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

Over the final months of 2018, I talked quite a bit here about dental health. Health and wellness in general were sort of a theme for me last year, in my real life and here on the blog, and taking care of my teeth/gums/mouth were a part of that. After talking to my dentist and reading all sorts of studies, I learned just how much dental health is connected to the health of the rest of our bodies, which prompted me to take my teeth and mouth health very seriously.

Admittedly, the holidays were a time of indulgence for me (as they are for many), and I let my healthy eating habits and fitness routine slide in a big way. But it is important to me to continue the healthy journey I was on last year throughout 2019, and I’m starting to get back on track. I just cut out sugar again a couple of weeks ago, and have slowly begun to amp up exercise again as well. And while I’m happy to say that I continued to make mouth health a priority even when I was neglecting the rest, I’ve been looking for even more ways to keep my teeth in the best shape possible, inside and out.

Enter charcoal. You’ve probably heard about activated charcoal for whitening teeth. It’s been pretty trendy recently, and as with anything that’s trendy, I definitely had my doubts. I had to try it though. And I was impressed by how well it worked, but turned off by the mess it left in my sink and in my mouth (and even under my nails). It was suggested that I try Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy with Charcoal toothpaste instead. I picked some up at Walmart, and you guys, it was a game changer. There was no mess, and I’ve been beyond pleased with the results. I’ll get into that more in a minute, but for now, I wanted to share some of the benefits to whitening your teeth with charcoal, from my own experience and from research I’ve done.

1. Charcoal can whiten surface stains without harsh chemicals.
If you’re looking to whiten your teeth in a more natural way, charcoal is a great alternative to chemical treatments.

2. Charcoal is an affordable way to whiten.
Getting your teeth whitened at your dentist’s office can be seriously pricey. Using a charcoal toothpaste like Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy with Charcoal instead is an affordable way to remove surface stains at home, resulting in whiter teeth that don’t cost a fortune.

3. Charcoal has natural antibacterial properties.
Charcoal can help remove bacteria from your teeth and mouth, resulting in a cleaner feeling and fresher breath. When combined with an invigorating mint flavor like in Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy with Charcoal toothpaste, my mouth feels the best it ever has.

4. Charcoal toothpaste works quickly.
It took me less than a week brushing with Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy with Charcoal toothpaste to notice a difference, which is much less time than most other whitening toothpastes I’ve tried.

5. Charcoal can benefit the body beyond the mouth.
Activated charcoal has benefits that go beyond just whitening teeth. It can even help with detoxing your digestive system by absorbing toxins. So cool, right?

All of this said, there are some disadvantages to brushing with pure activated charcoal, like the mess I mentioned earlier, and the fact that it can be too abrasive on enamel when used straight. That’s why I choose (and my dentist recommends using) a toothpaste that contains charcoal instead. I am loving my Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy with Charcoal so much, and can’t wait to continue to see results with time. Just like regular charcoal, it whitens surface stains, but it actual strengthens enamel rather than weakening it, which is a huge bonus. Brushing with it is fun too! The charcoal ingredient creates a sparkly grey striped toothpaste that creates a grey foam that lightens when combined. That means no mess! The minty flavor tastes great and leaves my mouth feeling ultra clean too. I’m smitten.

And while not a charcoal toothpaste, I also feel the need to mention another new toothpaste in Crest’s 3D White line that I have been loving: Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy with Coconut Oil. I use coconut oil throughout the day everyday, so I was really excited to try this. The vanilla mint flavor is everything, and it also does an incredible job removing surface stains to whiten teeth while strengthening enamel.

These babies are my newest secret weapons in my dental health journey! I highly recommend heading to your local Walmart and picking up one of each. Then let me know what you think.

Have any of you brushed your teeth with charcoal?

ALSO FIND US HERE: INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

8 Tips for Bringing Your Dog to a Pet Expo

Spring is just around the corner here, and we’ve been looking at pet expos and vendor fairs for booths for our PawZaar gift store. We’ve already signed up for POPCats Austin in May but…



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


DogTipper

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Megalodon sharks died out a million years earlier than we thought and great whites may have been to blame

megalodon

I lived through that great Shark Week debacle in 2014, when the usually fairly reputable Discovery Channel showed this bizarre pseudo-documentary called Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives. I believe I watched all of five minutes of this monstrosity, and I knew that the thesis posited in the film, that there really still are Megalodon sharks swimming the seas, would be taken as fact by a certain percentage of the credulous public.

If such an animal really does still live in the ocean, then small to medium-size craft could be endanger at all times, but of course, no real evidence of late surviving Megalodon has ever been produced.

Indeed, when this documentary came out, I was quite aware that some shark specialists were doubtful that these large sharks survived into the Pleistocene.

Well, we now have some really good evidence, based upon an extensive re-evaluation of the fossil record of Megalodon sharks, that the species went extinct about 3.51 million years ago. It was previously believed that the species went extinct 2.6 million years ago, and recently, a supernova was suggested as the likely culprit.

However, this new date means that the supernova probably did kill off lots of large marine mammal, but the Megalodon had already been gone for about a million years before the supernova hit.

This new study, published in PeerJ, contends that the species became extinct as the modern great white shark spread over the world from its ancestral home in the Pacific Ocean. Great whites became widespread in the world’s oceans around 4 million years ago, and their spread roughly coincides with the new extinction date for the Megalodon.

The authors contend that the juveniles of the Megalodon were unable to compete with the adult great whites, and because a species cannot exist very long if its young never survive, the great white might very well be the culprit behind the extinction of the Megalodon.

So no, Megalodon doesn’t live. Jaws took it out long ago.

Natural History

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jelly Heart Print Cookies

Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies

Happy Friday friends! I feel like I’m cheating a little by sharing this, because the recipe is one I originally shared here last year. But we made these cookies again yesterday for an early Valentine’s Day treat, and since this upcoming week is V-Day week, I felt inspired to share again. I’ve actually tweaked a couple of things in the recipe since last year as well, so an update felt needed. I hope you love them as much as we do!

Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies
Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies

SunButter (or Peanut Butter) and Jelly Heart Print Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 cup SunButter (for allergy-free recipe!) or peanut butter
1-1/4 cups gluten-free or all-purpose or  flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter (softened)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extra
1/2 cup jelly, jam, or preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, use a mixer to beat together the SunButter or peanut butter, butter, and egg, then beat in the sugars and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Beat in the flour mixture on low until well mixed. Roll tablespoon size balls on dough and place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart, the slightly press each cookie into a round shape (we dip the bottom of a metal measuring cup in sugar and then press onto each cookie ball). Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately use the bottom of a wooden spoon handle to make heart shapes in the center of each cookie while still hot. Fill each indentation with jelly, and allow to cool on a wire rack. Note: If you have a dairy allergy, you can easily substitute butter for a butter alternative. And if you have an egg allergy, use an egg replacer mix or 1/2 a mashed banana in place of the egg.

Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies
Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies
Sunbutter and Jelly Heart Print Cookies

Happy Love Week! Enjoy!

ALSO FIND US HERE: INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

We have come to love each other

poet snuggle

I must admit that I never really new sighthounds other than retired racing greyhounds until these past few months.  I knew that Jenna had a special relationship with Zoom, her cream and white whippet, and when we moved in together, she had just brought in a brindle and white whippet puppet.

I figured that the puppy would wind up being her dog, and although I was quite aware that whippets were quite trainable dogs, I never really thought I’d become attached to one.

As Poet has matured, though, he and I have drawn closer to each other. It was he who made the first mood.  A few months ago, he just sort of declared in his subtle sighthound ways that he was my dog, end of discussion.

And I’ve accepted the arrangement. I have found him to be as biddable as any golden retriever, and I have trained him to sit, heel, lie down, stand, and speak. He fetches the ball like a demon, which is to be expected. His father is a Frisbee nut.

He likes to go with me everywhere, and because he’s smaller and innocuous, I generally don’t have a lot of trouble taking him places.  He is genteel and kind, but he is not demonstrative with strangers.

Through one family line I trace to the rugged counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, the same counties that spawned the modern whippet as a rag racer. I suspect my Quaker ancestors in that part of the world may have had little greyhounds much like whippets, perhaps to fill the pot with rabbit stew on cold winter nights.

So we are now attached to each other. I have a nice little whippet with a show and coursing career ahead of him, and I now know the full appeal of this breed. Once they choose their person, you are it.  No one else really matters.

And that is strange and moving feeling, especially when you’re used to golden retrievers that are so socially open.

Poet is my little boy. My little whip. And I am his person.

 

 

Natural History

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

7 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe at a Super Bowl Party

Sunday, as most of you know, is the Super Bowl or, as apparently we’re now supposed to say, “the big game.” For many of you, that means Super Bowl parties. For all the fun of a…



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


DogTipper

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Win a PawZaar Football Dog Toy!

Even if you’re not a football fan, you know a certain “big game” is right around the corner. We’re especially in the football frame of mind around here because on Friday…



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


DogTipper

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Corgi Planters


Doggies.com Dog Blog

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The great phylogeny denial

One of the great exercises on the internet among those who wish to be taken seriously as “dog people” is to say that dogs are not wolves. In one sense, they are quite right. Dogs are not wild canids, and they are certainly not the mostly fearful and reactive wolves of the middle latitudes of Eurasia and North America.

But in another broader sense, they are dead wrong. I’ve been following this debate for some time. At one time, there was a great emphasis on the so-called Canis variabilis that were contemporaries with Homo erectus at the Zhoukoudian cave system in China. The remains date to 500,000 years ago, and it’s quite a leap to say that Homo erectus began dog domestication.

It should be noted now that Canis variabilis is no longer an accepted scientific name for these early wolves. They have since been reclassified as a subspecies of the Mosbach wolf (Canis mosbachensis). Their new name is Canis mosbachensis variabilis, and although the Mosbach wolf is ancestral to the modern gray wolf, the Chinese subspecies is now not regarded as leading to the modern one.

So this idea that these Chinese specimens are ancestral to the domestic dog is quite faulty. Even if we were to say that Canis mosbachensis were the ancestor of dogs, we would have a real problem on our hands. The Mosbach wolf disappears from the Eurasian fossil record no later than 300,000 years ago, when it was replaced by modern gray wolves. The earliest domestic dog that has been proposed dates to 33,000 years ago in the Altai Mountains.

Somehow, you have to get a species that went extinct hundreds of thousands of years before the formation of the earliest domestic dog to become its ancestor. The chronology makes no sense.

Now, we do have some ancient mitochondrial DNA of a Siberian Canis cf. variabilis that appeared to show a connection with the origins of the domestic dog. This specimen is probably a ate surviving Siberian variant of the Mosbach wolf, and it is possible that the reason for this mitochondrial DNA similarity is that domestic dogs have a mitochondrial DNA lineage that very close to this extinct wolf. The real problem with this study is it is a mitochondrial DNA study, and if we could somehow get a full genome comparison from these remain, which would not be easy, then we could get a better picture of how the Mosbach wolf relates to wolves, domestic dogs, and coyotes. Yes, the discovery that gray wolves and coyotes shared a common ancestor only around 50,000 years ago means that coyotes descend from the Mosbach wolf as well.

So when you see someone claiming that Canis variabilis is wild Canis familiaris, just understand that this person hasn’t looked at the most recent literature on these Middle Pleistocene wolves. But I’ve seen this repeated enough that I do think I need a place on this blog where I can easily link to the problems with this assertion

The real problem with all of this is that in dogs, at least in the English speaking world, there is a real problem with phylogeny denial. So many people are caught up in this “dogs are not wolves” idea that they invest lots of mental gymnastics in trying to create another wild ancestor for the domestic dog.

So many people got worked up with the discovery that no extant population of gray wolf is ancestral to the domestic dog that they had to make it about how dogs were not derived from wolves.

Again, the gray wolf species is at least 300,000 years old, and no one has found a relationship between dogs and wolves that posits their divergence as being greater than 33,000 years. There is an old mitochondrial DNA estimate that is largely not accepted that puts their split between dogs and wolves at something like 135,000 years ago, but that’s still after the gray wolf existed as a species.

So let’s talk about why saying dogs are not wolves is an exercise in phylogeny denial:

One of the implications of our modern Darwinian synthesis is monophyletic descent. All organisms derive from ancestors, and it is impossible to evolve outside one’s ancestry. If we were to go back in time to see when the most recent common ancestor of dogs and gray wolves, you would have a hard time describing that ancestor as anything other than a form of Canis lupus.

Dogs have evolved through their Canis lupus ancestor, just as modern wolves have evolved through theirs. It is accurate to say that domestic dogs are not derived from extant wolves, but it is not accurate to say that dogs did not derive from wolves. It is also not accurate to say that dogs are a different species from Canis lupus, because dogs are still part of a Canis lupus lineage.

Further, we have lots of data about the extensive gene flow between dogs and wolves in Eurasia. We know that livestock guardian dogs in the Republic of Georgia have exchanged genes fairly extensively with wolves. But we now have data that shows an extensive gene flow between domestic dogs and wolves across Eurasia.

So dogs and wolves are continuing to exchange genes. They are not becoming reproductively isolated from each other in a way that would lead to speciation, even now.

I’ve never understood why this line of thinking has ever been popular, except that wolves people have indeed abused dogs under the assumption that their social systems are much like those of captive wolves. Further, it is quackery of the worst order to assume that dogs should be fed only full raw carcasses of meat because that is what wolves eat.

But those problems are not adequately addressed by promoting another scientifically dubious prospect. Dogs do behave somewhat differently from wolves, but that is because dogs are domesticated. Wolves behave differently because they are a wild form, and as a wild form, they have undergone a selection for extreme timidity and wariness as we have tried to wipe wolves off the face of the earth.

The argument that dogs are part of Canis lupus is well-supported by science. Indeed, an analysis of gray wolf, domestic dog, and dingo genomes revealed that creating a separate species for the dog, the dingo, or for both would make the entire species polyphyletic and thus not in keeping with Neo-Darwinian principles.

So it is scientifically correct to say that dogs are wolves, but one should say that dogs are domesticated wolves. And just leave it at that.

And drop the phylogeny denial.

Natural History

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment