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Showing posts from October, 2009

A baby is born!

Four years ago, my sister gave me my 1st houseplant. And amazingly, it has survived. It's the spiderplant in the picture above.
When I went to her house, she had saucers full of baby plants. So she gave me one. I was clueless so she even supplied the pot and the dirt. :)
The plant hung on with me through feast and famine, and through a move. And just this week, for the first time in it's life....it has made a baby. I'm so proud. You can see it in the top right section of the plant.
This summer, I moved the plant from our laundry room into our kitchen. Every time I find a cup with water left in it, I give it to the plant before tossing the cup in the sink. I think it's made all the difference.
Now to transplant the baby without my husband finding it and killing it. :(

Tootsie Rolls contain Trans Fats!

Candy is bad for you. Big surprise? No, but just recently I actually read the labels on some of the candies we had on hand. So much high fructose corn syrup. So many food colorings and dyes. So much sugar. So many crazy chemicals. But wait....

I expected all that junk. What I didn't expect to see was trans fats!! And in tootsie rolls, of all places. The third ingredient (after of course sugar and corn syrup) was partially hydrogenated soybean oil!

How's that for a Halloween Scare! We had a bunch of these in our house (a favorite parade candy, right?) but not anymore. To the trash they went and now that I'm even reading candy labels, all bets are off!

Happy Halloween everybody! Be careful what you put into your body!

Check out my new Twitter page

When you get a second, go check out my new twitter page and tell me what you think. I never thought this techno-grandma would figure out twitter, but now I'm seriously addicted. :)

Homemade Almond Walnut Butter - Using the Vitamix

Since Costco stopped selling my favorite almond butter, I've been focused on making my own. This is my first Vitamix nut butter experiment! I attempted to make raw almond walnut butter. Follow below to see the results:


I filled the Vitamix with a few cups of raw almonds and about a cup of raw walnuts.
The result. I didn't really follow the directions (surprised?) so my butter really became more of a nut paste rather than a butter. It looked, smelled, and tasted like cookie dough. I'm not kidding!
I shared it with my daughter and she loved it. She asked if she could have "more of that sugary stuff." Keep in mind there is no sugar in here! No oils, no honey, nothing but almonds and walnuts.
I prefer to eat it in a sandwich or on saltines. Why is so white (or tan) for a nut butter? Because I used raw nuts.
Because I made more of a paste than a butter, it spread so easily and held it's shape. Most almond butters are notoriously running and have to be altered t…

Grocery Shopping - $53 for a family of 5

If you were reading a few days ago, you know that we are once again, a family of 5. I'm also working hard on putting our family back onto the healthy track....and balancing the free "stuff" with the good "stuff."
This week, I am proud to say that I finally found a trans-fat free tortilla!! I mean no trans-fats in the ingredients, not just "per serving." I found them at Sams, but it's not all good news. They do contain aluminum baking soda. I'm still on the road to making them myself....and have done so a few times....but not with enough success to report back. *silent tears*
This week, I went to my usual grocery store and Sams Club. Hence the monster pack of chocolate chips, yeast, and honey.
At the grocery store, the only items I actually paid for were the tortilla chips. Everything else was free. There should have been 8 more packages of wholly guacamole in the picture but my cashier was sticking to the per customer limit and would not allow …

2 new Blog Awards

A special thank you to "Deal"ightfully frugal for giving me the "A strong cup of coffee" award for having a blog good enough to wake you up in the morning and keeping you going all day!
I'm passing this award on to:
A boy, a girl, and soccer A giveaway everyday The Self Love project Brand New House Wife

I also want to thank Strawberry Seeds for giving me the Lemonade Stand Award.
The rules for this award:- Put the Lemonade logo on your blog or within your post.
- Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.I am passing this on to:Joanie's Random RamblingsSo Many Kids, So Little TimeMoney Saving MomLove My 2 DogsSprinkled with Blessings From Above5 Minutes for Mom2 Toddlers and Me"Deal"ightfully FrugalThe Frugal KennedysFreebies 4 mom

Necco Wafer Review

Halloween is fast approaching and do you know what halloween means to me? Candy, candy, candy! Even though we don't actually celebrate Halloween, we still end up with tons of candy.
In the spirit of eating a more "natural" diet, I've been reviewing some "all natural" candies lately.
One of those is Necco Wafers. Do you remember those? Well....they've gone all natural.
My thoughts: - They tasted exactly how I remembered them - yummy - My kids loved the coin shapes and traded them like money - I had no idea they made a chocolate necco wafer. It's my new tootsie roll substitute (find out why later in the week.) -I hope they keep with the natural trend and make their valentine hearts all natural too. :)
No compensation was given for this review. I was given a bag of individually wrapped necco wafers which I sampled and then donated the rest to our local dance studio for their halloween parties.

Ipsos Survey looking for mothers with young children

Ipsos is currently looking for more mothers with children regardless of age. Ipsos is a survey panel that rewards survey takers with points and sweepstakes offers.
Moms with young children are always sought after for surveys. When I was single or newly married, survey companies couldn't care less about me. I'd get offers once or twice a year (really!) But since I became a mother, I've hit the motherload....literally.
Another reliable one to consider if you have young kids is mysurvey.com.
There are also many reliable market research companies that conduct panels, taste tests, and product testing. Most of these pay in cash. I'm putting together a local list of companies that routinely send me legitimate market research opportunities and will be posting it soon.

Internet Password Organizer - Review & #Giveaway

Congratulations to #73 Noelle. I am one of the most disorganized people I know. When I was a traveling salesperson, my manager once commented that he just couldn't understand how I ever got anything done. Everything I did was chaotic and out-of-order, but somehow it worked out.
I know how I did it.....I was young. Now, without youth on my side, I can see that the Universe is trying to send me a sign. It's time to get your life organized. Enter in the Internet password organizer (and another organization related giveaway coming soon.)
When I was first offered the chance to review the Internet Password Organizer, I honestly thought it was something I didn't need. I had a computer and it remembered things for me....right?
Actually, I have a very unreliable computer that has spent many days being repaired. And sometimes, it just doesn't cooperate.
I write myself notes....and then lose those notes. The Internet Password Organizer comes in bright colors, making it a little ha…

The Gum Stops Here

I'm an avid gum chewer...perhaps the worst. Last year, when I was a coupon maniac, I bought hundreds of packs of gum - for free. And I chewed them all.

But then it happened....I read the packaging. Of all the things I put in my mouth, gum may be one of the most foreign and chemical. So I've decided to kick the habit. I've been gum-free for weeks (lol) and will not be buying any more.

I'm trying not to be fanatic, so if someone offers me a piece, I may accept, but I won't be buying any of my own.

In addition to the artificial ingredients, did you know that gum is the #2 cause of litter. Just behind cigarette butts. Now that's gross.

Here are a few things you may not have known about gum:
-Millons of Dollars are spent cleaning up gum stuck to sidewalks, parking lots, and furniture
-Thousands of gallons of chemicals are used to clean up stuck-on gum
-Gum does not decompose for a really LONG time
-Gum has no nutritive value and can choke and/or kill small animals
If you wa…

Breast Cancer - My Interview with Dr. Kristi Funk

In Support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Kristi Funk, celebrity breast cancer surgeon, to discuss the importance of early detection. Dr. Funk is a board-certified surgical breast specialist and has helped thousands of women through breast cancer treatment.

You may have seen Dr. Funk on the CBS evening news, as a guest surgeon and co-host of CBS' The Doctors,and as guest co-host of NBC's Extra.

Yoplait has teamed up with Dr. Funk this year to reach women and men with important breast health information -- specifically facts about early detection, risk reduction and ways to support the cause. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer within her lifetime and age is a significant risk factor.

I talked with Dr. Funk about early detection and prevention. The following is our interview:

Is the incidence of breast cancer on the rise? If so, what you think are the biggest contributing factors? If not, are we getting better at pre…

Link & Win Mondays: Stop in to List and Win Tons of Giveaways!

Link up your giveaways here! Then come back and check out some of these great giveaways! Lots of fun opportunities to win!

Don't forget to check out my giveaways for this week:

$15 AMAZON GIFT CARD
Yummy Earth Organic Candy!
Breast Cancer Pink Together Prize PackFive For Fighting - Autographed CD 4 FREE movie tickets + More

Eating Right Kids - Review

Do you pack a lunch for your school children? If you do, then you know how difficult it can be to pack a healthy lunch in a little bit of time.
Safeway and Warner Bros. have teamed up to create a healthier line of convenience foods for busy parents who still want to pack healthy lunches.
I was recently sent a few samples of their Eating Right Kids line to review. My sample was an average-sized lunch for an elementary aged child. It contained:
100% apple juiceReady-to-eat Raviolichewy barFruit cup
If I were packing a lunch, I could see how easy it would be to just throw one of each into the bag. Everything is shelf stable so there's no need to throw in ice or keep anything warm.
Reading through the brochure, I could see a lot of great aspects. Many of the items were HFCS-free and contained whole grains, the fruit cups were packed in extra-light syrup, and the juices were 100% juice. These are all things I look for when I'm feeding my children.
I only read about or sampled a very sma…

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Coupons

I save a lot of money using coupons, but I'm incredibly disorganized. I'm sure you've seen all the great pictures, vlogs, and step-by-step layouts of all the organized couponers out there. But now it's time to take alook at how a lazy girl manages coupons......
First things first: Where do my coupons come from? 80% come from the Sunday paper, 10% come in the mail, and 10% come from printing them at Coupons.com.
You can read more about how I get all my coupons (especially the free ones) here.
When the Sunday paper comes, I take out the ads, coupon booklets, and my coupon boxes. I scan the grocery , Target, and the drugstore ads first. I circle anything of interest. This takes all of maybe 4 minutes.
Then I open the coupon booklets and start weeding through them. Since I no longer actively play the drugstore game, I throw out (recycle) any coupons I would never need. I throw out any 50c and under (Yes I do!) and I separate them into my boxes.
I have one box for toiletries. …

Grocery Shopping ~ $17 for a family of 4

This week's grocery shopping was light. Wahoo! My total before coupons was $32.10 and after $17.59 - a savings of 46%.
Click on this link to see more about how I shop for groceries. And feel free to enter any of my awesome giveaways going on right now.

Link up your Savings Successes and Mistakes in the Mr. Linky below. Feel free to link up any grocery scores, drugstore wins, gardening harvests, warehouse clubs, or any other great shopping adventures. If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment with your stories. I read 'em all. :)

Friendly Blogger Award

A very special thank you to Hearts Make Families for giving me this cool new award. I'd like to pass it on to:
Cristin is Coupon Crazy Melinda Joy Mommas Gone City Bloggest Loser
Congrats girls!

Autographed Five For Fighting CD!

The giveaway has ended. The winner is #93, TwifanHeather. I recently had the opportunity to review Five for Fighting's new CD - Slice. My thoughts: pretty cool. I enjoyed the soft, easy music. It's completely my husband's style of music, but one I'd like having in our playlist.
The album tracklist consists of:
1. Slice
2. Note To The Unknown Soldier
3. Tuesday
4. Chances
5. This Dance
6. Above The Timberline
7. Transfer
8. Hope
9. Story Of Your Life
10. Love Can't Change The Weather
11. Augie Nieto

Upcoming tour Dates:

John will be hitting the road in October with An Acoustic Evening with Five For Fighting. The songs are great on record, even better live! Definitely a show worth seeing! To find out about how to get tickets in a market near you, go to his site.
22-Oct Bay Shore, NY (Long Island) YMCA Boulton Center
23-Oct Uncasville, CT The Wolf Den
24-Oct Washington, DC …

Take Your Family to the Movies - For Free - Free movie tickets and cereal Giveaway

Congratulations to #605 swtlilchick for winning the movie pack. Starting this November, specially marked boxes of General Mills' cereals will contain movie codes. Just purchase two boxes of cereal and visit generalmills.com/moviecash to enter the codes and print your free movie certificate.
What an amazing deal! Cereal almost always gone sale, General mills is extremely generous with coupons, and movie tickets are expensive. This seems like a win-win-win situation!
Save up your coupons and look for specially marked boxes in November (it will be here soon!)
The participating brands are: Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Trix, and Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs.

But that's not the end to this great deal! General Mills and MyBlogSpark are giving one Suburban Jungle reader 4 e-movie cash certificates (worth $48) and 1 free coupon for any size General Mills cereal (up to $6). You could save that coupon and use it to buy one of the cereals listed above and you…

Sisterly Jealousy.....

Look what my sister sent me today. This just isn't right..... If half of my family wasn't allegic, I'd catnap these two!

Michael Buble - Crazy Love

I was recently given the opportunity to review Michael Buble's new CD - Crazy Love. And I was crazy in love for this CD. I've been receiving a lot of romantic music lately and I'm taking it as a sign. I must need a little more romance.
Here is the albums tracklist: -Cry me a River -All of me -Georgia on my mind -Crazy love -Haven't met you yet -All I do is dream of you -Hold on -Heartache tonight -You're nobody till somebody loves you -Baby -At this moment -Stardust -Whatever it takes
I really liked "All of me" and "Georgia on my mind." I decided on those as my faves until I hit "whatever it takes." I really, really liked that song and bumped the other two as oldies and goodies, but "Whatever it takes" became my top pick.
This album is now available for sale and is a nice romantic mix.
No compensation was given for this review, but I did receive a copy of Crazy Love to review. I then donated that copy to the Vietnam Veterans.

Uploading a Photo - I think I might Hurl

I'm gearing up for the Deal Pro Save-Up event and just received an email asking me to upload a photo of myself..........
You may or may not know this, but I'm excessively shy. Okay, I'm not so shy as an anonymous girl who looks like this: But as my real self; totally different story. In any event....Savings.com will be posting all their Deal Pros on their website on Friday, so you can go and see what I put up.
Now to hunt down a picture from the last few years that actually has me in it....and includes my face. LOL

Target is now offering a 5c discount for reusable bags

I heard a rumor today that Target will be offering a 5c per bag discount when you use reusable bags. Can it be? I have one grocery store that offers this and I always carry in my bag full of bags, so I'm excited.
I didn't think it was possible for me to love Target anymore than I already do....but I was wrong. I love them even more now.

Making Raw Applesauce - Vitamix Style

I love to make homemade applesauce in the fall. Usually, I slice up my apples, boil them until their soft and grind them in a Foley Food Mill that removes the skins and cores. And I end up with tasty homemade applesauce.

But not this year. I have a Vita-Mix now and so we've been making applesauce....Vitamix style. It's so easy, it's raw, it's whole and it's tasty!
Here's what you do:

Throw some apples in the machine. I don't cut them or remove their seeds, cores, peels, or stems. ;)
After a few seconds, the result is tasty (really smooth) applesauce. If you wanted to make a chunkier sauce, you'd most likely need to remove the peels and cores.
Why is it so brown? The red peels and cores are pulverized to smithereens and give the sauce a bit of color. No need to add sugar or sweeteners, but I sometimes add a little cinnamon.
I love to make my own applesauce when apples are inexpensive. And with the Vita-Mix, I can make it with just a few apples at a time…

Pink Together - to help fight Breast Cancer

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to #46, CJCmommy. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My Blog Spark has teamed up with Pink Together to help raise awareness of the disease.
This month, General Mills is donating $2 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. But in addition to that, General Mills will also donate $1, up to $20,000 each time a comment of encouragement is posted, a virtual flower bouquet is sent, or a story is shared on PinkTogether.com through October 31st.

Pink Together and My Blog Spark are offering one Suburban Jungle this Inspiring Hope gift basket that includes a sleeved travel mug, a running ribbon charm bracelet, a pink leather strap keychain, a pink cinch bag, and a set of inspirational note cards. All of the gift basket items are from ShopKomen.com, where 25 percent of the merchandise purchase price benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure® in the fight against breast cancer.
To enter: Click over to PinkTogether.com and leave a comment telling …

Yummy Earth Organic Candy

This giveaway has closed. Congrats to #31 and #23. Do you love candy as much as I do? I just can't get enough candy.....and that's a problem. Most candies are so full of additives, preservatives, and other yuck. Even trans-fat!! But not Yummy Earth Organic candy

Yummy Earth recently sent me some samples of their organic candy. Here are my thoughts:
What I loved about it: It tasted great - like candy!No Artificial Dyes100% Natural FlavorsMade from Real Fruit ExtractsNo Corn Syrup or MSGGMO-free, peanut-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, casein-free and tree nut-freeCool flavors like pomegranate pucker, mango tango, very very cherry, and too berry blueberryIt looked just like "regular" candy so the kids never questioned it What I didn't like: Even though this is much healthier candy (for us and the Earth,) it's still candy and I had a hard time not eating all of it all at once.
The remedy? I brought some of this great candy with me to our neighborhood harvest party and l…

The Secret is Out!

I was chosen to be a DealPro supersaver for Savings.com. What in the world does that mean? It means Savings.com considers me to be a pretty great saver.

They selected somewhere between 20-30 DealPros nationwide and we are attending an all expense paid Save up Conference in San Fransisco in November!

What does these mean for me? I'm not quite sure. We were supposed to keep everything quiet until the 20th, so more details should follow. It may mean I'll be blogging at savings.com a bit, it may mean you'll see me on t.v. (yikes!!!)
It may mean I come back armed with more super saving secrets and I turn this blog into something bigger and better? Or it may mean I enjoy a vacation away, on my own, and eat a lot of chocolate. There is a chocolate party planned. lol

What does it mean for the Suburban Jungle readers? I'm still not sure. It may mean I learn a lot more about saving that I can pass on to you. It may mean I actually divulge all my "true super saving abilities.&q…

Making Money with your Blog

I've received a lot of emails asking about how to make money blogging. I'm always happy to share what I know (or don't) regarding blogging. I keep meaning to put up some layout and html tutorials. You'll see them pop up eventually. :)

There are some people that make thousands of dollars a month just by blogging. I'm not one of those people. But my blog has made money, about $600 so far. I started my blog at the end of May, but really didn't start writing on it until June, so it's been running about 4 1/2 months.

You can see all my blog advertisers in my sidebar (on the right), but PLEASE do not click on ads willy-nilly. Just click on one's you are legitimitely interested in. :) Some of them give me referrals if you sign up under me, but most of them don't. Either way, here's my honest opinion (and I will tell you if I get a referral or not so you can make an informed decision:)

Swagbucks
If you have a blog, chances are you search the internet fre…