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Showing posts from August, 2009

Tomato Taste Test Results

I attended a Tomato Taste Test at our local nursery this weekend. The results surprised me. ;)

Here are the varieties I tested:

Valencia
Sugar Cherry
La Roma
Cherokee
Black Kim
Burpee Big Boy
Beefmaster
Early Girl
Brandywine
Red Pear

I ate a lot of tomato. I also sampled some cucumber varieties but forgot to write them down. All of the cucumbers were great, but I wasn't a fan of each of the tomatoes.

I commited the worst taste testing offense....I sampled the sugar cherry first. Being a sweet tooth, this ruined me for the whole test. I love savory tomatoes, but sweetness almost always wins me over.

None of them were yuck, and all of them tasted like....tomato. My faves? Sugar Cherry (um, duh?), Valencia, La Roma, Cherokee, and Brandywine.

I was surprised that I didn't favor the beefmaster or big boys. I plant those a lot and love them. But compared to the heirlooms (in today's head to head test,) they were more watery and less flavorful. Granted, it could have been just th…

Who is the Fence For?

In the suburbs, we have to fence our garden or you know what will happen. But recently, neighbors have been commenting on my tomatoes. They have been saying things like "I kept staring at your tomatoes and wanted to pick one, but I couldn't figure out how to get in," and "your tomatoes look super ripe, if you don't pick them soon, I'm going to."
Oh man! I'm all about letting my fruits and veggies ripen on the vine, but do I have to look out for human invaders now too? Luckily, I think they have a bit more impulse control. Or at least they can't figure out how to open the fence.

Free Bob's Country Sauce

Click here to get a coupon good for a free bottle of Bob's Country Sauce. This coupon has been reset so if you ordered this a few months ago, you may be able to order it again. They carry this product at Walmart.

Too much Candy.....

My children attended 3 birthday parties this weekend. Each party had a pinata filled with candy, cake & ice cream, and treat bags to take home. One even had a donut eating contest!

I scraped through the parties with only one bite of cake (yippee!) But my babies came home with so much candy! And you know what they say about taking candy from babies? Of this, I am a master.

And candy is irresistable to me. So....I ate a LOT of candy. Afterwards, I felt so disgusting. I usually eat a fairly whole-foods diet, and this was a chemical onslaught.

I felt so sick and sluggish. And just over all yuckiness. Since I radically changed my diet over a year ago, I've had so much more energy and, dare I say, joy.

But one day (okay 2 days....why didn't I stop???) of endless candy and I felt so gross. I wonder if this is how I used to feel all the time or if my body just couldn't handle the attack?

Moms....steer clear of the candy! It wasn't even chocolate! So not worth it!

I'…

Free sample of Kashi Cereal

Click here to get a free sample of Kashi Cereal. Thanks Free stuff times!

Reading Chapter Books to Preschoolers

I used to read one chapter from The mouse and the motorcycle with my son after my daughter had gone to bed. But recently, I decided she was old enough to enjoy chapter books too.  I decided to try the Little House series. We just finished The Adventures of Laura & Jack today. And we ALL  loved it. We loved it so much we were crying during some of it. Sissy babies! Jack was just such a great dog! I can't wait to read them the whole series. We'll be back to the library today to pick up a few more.  In my opinion, 3 1/2 is a good age to start chapter books. Their attention span is getting bigger and they appreciate complex stories. They will ask to see the pictures though, so ones like this that do have sporadic pictures are great. And don't toss out the picture books. Little kids still love and need them.  Any suggestions for other great chapter books for boys or girls, in the early preschool stage?

My plan to tip layer wild black raspberries

It's late summer and you know what that means! Time to tip layer your brambles. Or at least your black raspberries!
What am I talking about? If you have red raspberries (or a cousin like the golds), they send up suckers each season and that's how they propogate.
Not so with black rapsberries. They send up a new cane from the original crown, but they do not send out suckers. So they do not rapidly multiply and take over your yard like the reds. Oh the never ending berry growth is a beautiful thing...
So if you want bushes in any other location or just want to increase the number of plants you have, then what do you do? It's called tip-layering.
If you let a black raspberry cane grow, it will grow and grow until it tips over and touches the ground. Naturally, the cane will start to root at the tip and start a new plant. But this may not be where you want it, or the tip may not contact the ground and no rooting will happen.
You can encourage your plants to tip root, by bending the…

More Free Princess Dvds from Fisher Price

Click here to order  Episode 1 of the Fisher Price princess Dvds. It looks like you can watch both Epsisode 1 & 2 online, but only Episode 1 is available for free at this time.

Weed killer in our Water!

OMG did you see this article from the NY times about how much weed killer is being found in drinking water?!?!? Remember my post about theZuvo Water Purator and how it cleans up tap water? I'm thinking I need to contact them and see about getting one! I don't want to drink this (or any contaminants for that matter.)

Check out the map below of the most heavily contaminated areas. You can click on it to enlarge.

It makes me even more happy that there are green gardeners out there that are NOT using these chemicals. Thank you green friends!

$20 in Star Fine Coupons

Take this survey to get $20 (Five $4 coupons) good for any star fine foods products. I personally love their olive oil!

I made my own Cruise Ship Towel Animals

Ever since we went on a cruise this summer, I've wanted to make the fun towel animals you see on the ship. So I added it to the list. I have a long list of all the things I want/need/have to do, and the animals kept getting shuffled toward the bottom.

But not today! Walmart had a sale on towels ($1 per towel, yippee!) so I picked up a few and this is what I made:
Be advised...if you are a guest in my home, you will wake up to a towel animal on your bed. ;)

***2020 Update*** There is a book for making these animals. It's called Carnival Towel Creations and it's amazing. I have just 3 shelves of books in my house - history, fiction, and how-to's. My how-to's are quite serious business...and then there is the how to make towel animals. Love it!

The links in this post may be affiliate links and products are often received for review purposes. Read the full disclosure and the privacy policy.

Shopping at Sams Club - Giveaway Reminder

There's still time to enter the $25 Sams Club giftcard giveaway. You have until 9/4
Since posting about shopping at Sams, I've received some great emails and comments. One of those came from Brandy at the Prudent Homemaker. She has a great post dedicated to saving money (while still eating healthy) at Sam's club. Head over there to check it out.

I really appreciated her hard work. I'm going to go back to Sams and see if we can't benefit from some of these savings as well. Thanks Brandy!

Tomato Taste Testing! Wahoo!

Our local nursery is having a tomato taste test this weekend. They asked if I wanted to come...umm....yeah! Tomatoes are the ultimate and I'm so excited to try them all! I'm so not eating before I go. Okay, I'm still eating, but I'm still tasting every tomato!
I'm going to squeeze this in between 3 (yep that's 3) birthday parties we're attending. Thank goodness for all my 75% off gifts. I don't even have to run to the store! And now I'll have the perfect excuse not to eat any cake. Sorry...I need to save room for tomatoes. :)

Free Fruitabu smooshed fruit product

Click here to sign up for the fruitabu smooshed fruit squad. Make sure and click the box to join the squad and they will send you a coupon good for a free fruitabu product. Last time we got a full box of fruitabu smooshed fruit. And it was yummy!

Grocery shopping - Under $20 for a family of 4

Last week, I shopped at Sams Club...to pick up a few essentials. This week, I decided to jump on the blogging bandwagon and learn how to menu plan.

It's been harder than I thought (I'm hopelessly disorganized), but I went shopping in accordance with my menu plan.
Can you guess what I'll be making? Don't worry about our lack of pretty much any protein or other ingredients. I have a lot stocked up from previous sales. :) You can see all my weekly shopping trips by clicking here. I'm also swimming in fresh veggies from the garden. I have 200 tomatoes on my counter right now, and don't even get me started on the zucchini.
So how much did I spend? $19.36 What were the spendies? An 8oz bottle of vanilla, whole wheat flour, organic egg roll wrappers and olive oil. All the rest were great deals! I used $9 worth of coupons for a savings of 32% (not my highest savings, but that's okay.)
Just so you know....fresh produce CAN be super inexpensive. The peppers (for fres…

Fridays are Mega Swagbucks Days!

Today is Mega Swagbucks Friday! When you search on Fridays, you have the chance to win Mega swagbucks. They give out 10,000 swagbucks in Mega denominations (3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100). I've won a few 3's and 5's. I'll let you know if I get a 10 or higher. Last week Mrs B won a 10!
If you haven't signed up for swagbucks yet, you can do so here.

What kind of mom does this....

What kind of mom lets her children play in a dirty fire pit? The kind that loves to wash incredibly dirty laundry! The kind that knows you're only young once!

I ate 48oz of Hummus in One day!

Can there be such a thing as too much hummus? I didn't think so, but now I'm not so sure. Every time I buy a 16 oz jar of hummus, it's gone in 2 days. I love it! So I decided to make my own.
I bought the ingredients (you can see some of them here) and grossly underestimated how much they would make. The ingredients cost me $9. I thought I'd get 32 oz of hummus. I only used half my ingredients and I made 48 oz. And I ate it ALL. Okay my daughter ate some, but she's a bird, so I ate probably 47.9 oz.
I'm still waiting to saving up swagbucks for a food processor, but because I bought tahini instead of sesame seeds, I could use the blender! Yay! My blender...not so yay! It smoked and roared, and well...it's almost ready to retire.
Aside from the blender mishaps, hummus is actually super easy to make. All you need are chickpeas, garlic, tahini (or sesame seeds), lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and water. You can buy the chickpeas in a can, or you can go the route…

Making Money from your Online Shopping

Do you shop online? I do. But did you know that you can make money from your online purchases? Check out these websites: Mr. Rebates and ebates. Both give you a % back when you shop at your usual stores but stop through their site first.
They often have special coupon codes listed on their site as well. I've made about $28 from one and $18 from the other. You certainly won't get rich with either of these sites, but every bit helps.

Free sample of Denta Burst

Free EOS USDA Organic Lip Balm

Click here for a free sample of EOS lip balm. It's certified organic!

The ultimate FREE massage!

If you've never had a massage, I highly recommend it! I'm not big into pampering or primping, but a good deep-tissue massage can relieve so much muscle tension! At least for awhile, and that's the rub (no pun intended). Massages are expensive and can be inconvenient (you do have to get time alone and remember to wear normal undies after all!)

So if you aren't able to get a massage because of timing, children, modesty, or money....I have the perfect solution for you. Most moms already own this tool (or at least your kids do). Ready for it? It's a ball. A small hard ball is the perfect, free alternative to a deep tissue massage



I'm warning you now, it will hurt, but in a good way. The more it hurts, the more you really need to use it. Here's what you do: put the ball down on the floor, then lie down on top of it. If you have a sore back, push your back into the ball and roll around on it. You can use it for your neck, back, shoulders, arms, legs, and feet. …

Free Swagcode Hurry!

Click over to free snatcher to see how to get a free swagcode! If you don't have a swagbucks account, click here to start off with 3 free swagbucks.

Free Fitness Routine ~ Do it at home to get in shape!

Have you ever used this excuse? "I can't get in shape because I don't have access to a gym!" I'm here to tell you that you CAN get fit without a gym. Let me count the ways....unlimited!

Today I'm going to give a glimpse of a workout plan that you can do anywhere at anytime. Um...well, almost anytime. If you travel, you can do this in your hotel room. If you are a stay at home mom, do it with your kids right next to you! You could do it in the house or outside or in a box or with a fox.... Sorry about that!

I'm talking about bodyweight exercises. What is that? Bodyweight exercises are strength training moves that use only your own body for resistance. They require little to no equipment and will provide you with a challenging workout that builds strong, sleek muscles...not big, bulky ones. Can I get an AMEN?

How do you work out using just your own bodyweight? Oh so many ways, my friends!! Here is a short list of so many wonderful free exercises available to …

Free reusable shopping bag!

Click here to get a free reusable bag from Chi-Chis. Must have 2 chi-chi Upc codes.

Thanks free stuff times!

My children got married this morning....

My children came running into my room this morning and asked if I would please put on some music. They wanted to get married and they needed music for the wedding.

As I turned on some classical music, my son opened the drapes for proper lighting. Then, they began dancing. My son said that twirling was essential to getting married so they swirled and twirled for a few minutes. Then he ran out and returned with 3 different sized balls.

He put them in descending order (like a snowman) and said "now it's time for cake". They each took a ball and smashed it in each other's faces. Where do they get this stuff? "Now, we're married!", they announced. It was the most fun I had ever had at a wedding. :)

The wedding was over and it was time for the marriage. They instantly started fighting....

Free Almond Tin ~ First 50,000 ~ Hurry!

Click here to fill out a quick almond survey and receive a free almond tin. It's the perfect size for "right-size" snacking.
Thanks to Money Saving Mom!

Monday's Menu Plan

I'm jumping on the blogging bandwagon and trying my hand at menu planning. Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a wing it (thats WING IT not WINGNUT!) I don't like to be organized or scheduled. Plus my last few weeks would have said zucchini, zucchini and more zucchini.
But I came across this post at orgjunkie and decided to give it a try. I found it by accident because I thought it meant organic junkie, but there are no accidents, right?
So here's our first planned menu:
Breakfasts Potato/Chives/Peppers/Salsa/Eggs skillet Oatmeal with apples, raisins, and nuts Veggie omelettes (zucchini, peppers, tomatoes) Homemade Whole wheat-almond waffles and sausages Cereal & milk Yogurt & Granola & Flaxseed
Lunches Homemade Mushroom Pizza Chicken, corn, and black bean quesadillas (using leftover chicken) Leftovers--many times Tomato Sandwiches Lunch at birthday party
Dinners Homemade baked egg rolls Vegetarian Chili Vegetarian Fajitas (with fresh homemade salsa, guacamole,and whole wh…

Sams Club - Box Tops BigClip - $25 giftcard giveaway - 5 Winners!

This giveaway has ended. There are 5 winners in this giveaway. Congratulations to #106, Jennifer J,  you have won the $25 gift card and a free pass. The 4 winners of the 1 day membership passes are #95, Jennifer lyons,   #328, Jennifer Overy,  #300, kngmckellar,  and #73 JRS0020.  Please check your e-mail, so I can send you your prizes.

Right now (from August 15 through September 4th), Sams Club is running the Box Top BigClip promotion. You can get even more boxtops on your favorite back-to-school brands.

Participating brands include: Cheerios, Ziploc containers, Ziploc sandwich bags, Honey Nut Cheerios, Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookies, Fiber One Oats and Chocolate Bars, Nature Valley Bars, Scott Paper Towels, Huggies Baby Wipes and Kleenex Facial Tissues.
My blogspark and Sams Club asked me to head to Sams and see how many Box tops I could get in my visit.
So what did I buy? I eyed up the huge boxes of Nature Valley Granola bars and Fiber One chocolate bars for quite some time. But

Free Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook for Kids

Click here to order a free Kitchen Kids cookbook from Wisconsin Cheese!
Thanks to free stuff times!

Making Money Blogging: My blog actually made money!

I started this blog as a way to get out all the things I ever wanted to say. :) I'm an insomniac and I generally spend hours "talking" to myself and since starting my blog....my mind has been so much clearer. I just write down what I'd like to say, blog about it, and let it go! Phew! So much easier for me...and my family and friends! Blogging is nice because they can pick and choose when they want to listen. :)

But I put up ads on my blog, just because. Every penny counts, right? Well, amazingly, I got my first check from blogging today! I made $116.70 through shareasale. They were willing to accept my blog, even when it was so young. They did take a few weeks to respond to my application, but it was worth the wait. They have a $50 payment threshold and tons of great ads that don't require people to buy anything. I'm happy with that.

I also have adsense ads on the side. These make pennies a day, but I still think they're worth it. I pick up pennies I find …

Free 3 Year subscription to Marie Claire Magazine

Click here for a FREE 3-Year subscription to Marie Claire Magazine courtesy of RewardsGold.
Thanks to freestufftimes!

More free coupons

Did you know that you can download eCoupons from Upromise? We only have 2 stores that accept the Upromise coupons, but maybe you'll be more lucky. CVS is one of those stores and the coupons attach right to your CVS card so they deposit into your account automatically. There are $40 worth of coupons available for August.
If you haven't signed up for Upromise, click on this link: Join UPromise and Save for College - Win $10K in our College Dream Sweepstakes! Right now if you use the code DOMINO5 you can get a $5 bonus in your account (for new registrations.)

You can save money towards your kid's college just by doing your usual shopping.

Enter to Win a $250 Grocery card

Hellmann's and Best foods are teaming up to offer the Sandwich swap 'n' share. A program where you can create online sandwiches and help Feed Ameria. For every sandwich you make on Facebook.com/hellmans, they will donate 7 lunches to Feeding America.
And as if that isn't nice enough, every sandwich you create will automatically enter you for a chance to win a $250 grocery store gift certificate. And for every friend on Facebook that you share your sandwich with, Hellmann's and Best Foods will donate an additional 7 lunches to the charity.
So get cooking and good luck!




Today is Mega Swagbucks Friday!

Today is Mega Swagbucks Friday! When you search on Fridays, you have the chance to win Mega swagbucks. They give out 10,000 swagbucks in Mega denominations (3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100). I've won a few 3's and 5's. I'll let you know if I get a 10 or higher. If you haven't signed up for swagbucks yet, you can do so here.

Do you like my blog header?

Do you like my blog header? Okay....don't answer, I'm seriously sensitive. But if you like my header, I wanted to tell you where you could get your own...and cheap!
I used VCDesigns. It cost less than $30 and I got to pick any of the elements I wanted. Basically, I told her I wanted a cartoonish person, jungle animals, and lots of green. And wallah! She sent me back this header.


I like to switch things up frequently and I'm always changing the layout of my blog. It's nice to know I can quickly change my header or other design elements quickly and inexpensively.

She also made me this button. If you want to grab it, just copy the html code in the scroll box and paste it into an html gadget.
<a href="http://thesuburbanjungle.blogspot.com/"> <img alt="" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_jwnFeuGjHog/SoqwamS8TlI/AAAAAAAABUc/4y8FgZ256h0/s400/subButton.jpg"/></a> If you have trouble copying the text in the scroll box, check out the butto…

Plant your Fall Spinach Now!

If you live in zone 5 or lower, now is the perfect time to get out and plant some spinach! Spinach prefers a cooler/less sunny climate, so if you plant it now, it will germinate and start growing just in time for fall. Then you can enjoy fresh spinach all fall long!
I just planted mine 2 days ago and it's been busy sprinkling here...perfect! For zones 6 and up, you may still be able to plant it if you get a little break from the summer heat. But you're probably able to keep planting everything. :)

I almost bit the dust!

I took my son to his 5 year old appointment this morning. As soon as we stepped into the lobby, I remembered we had forgot his urine sample. (eyes rolling) Yep, you heard it, a urine sample. This is what you have to look forward to as your kids get older.
So, I told the kids to stay in the lobby and I ran out the door. Either I wasn't looking or he was driving too fast, but in either event, a large red van came zooming around the corner and missed me by mere centimeters. Oh the dangers of running!
I almost got to cross flying off my bucket list (and everything else!) On my way back to the clinic, I kept thinking how lucky I would have been to have been hit on the way to the car instead of the way back...when I was carrying urine.
You just never know how or when it's going to happen! Thanfully, for me, it wasn't today!

Birthday Letters

For each of my kid's birthdays, I write them a letter. I keep them in a bound journal so all the letters are together. I write about their accomplishments that year, what they've spent their time doing, their hobbies, their favorite things, friends they made, where they went, funny things they said, their habits, and their nicknames.

I've done this ever since my son's first birthday and it's wonderful for me to go back and read because I can see that so much of their personality is really their own.
My son has been a collector of "interesting things" since he was born. And by interesting things, I mean junk. He loves bubble wrap, packing peanuts, scraps of things.... He makes collections and stores them in various places in his room. People may say it's a "phase" but I see from my letters that he has been doing this since the very beginning of his life. He's always been shy, serious, and spends a lot of time thinking. He remembers things …

Two Free Taylor Swift Downloads

There are two free Taylor Swift music downloads available right now. I love her music..yes I'm in my 30's but still!Fifteen Your Not Sorry

Thanks the freebie blogger!

Peta attacks overweight women!

Check out this new billboard sponsored by PETA! It says "Save the Whales Lose the blubber: go vegetarian"
Wow! I'm all about saving animals, but this is really mean! What do you think?