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Showing posts from December, 2009

How to spot a GMO (genetically modified organism) in the grocery store

Are you eating Genetically Modified Foods? Do you know how to tell? I recently found out that you can easily tell whether the produce you purchase at the grocery store is a GMO just buy looking at the PLU (price look up) code.

Here are the rules:
If the PLU is 5 digits and begins with an 8, then it a Genetically Modified Organism
If the PLU is 4 digits (even if it begins with an 8) then it is not a GMO

When you purchase processed foods, you need to know that according to Wikipedia, as many as 75% of all processed foods on American shelves contain at least one GMO. As far as I can tell, there is no way to tell if a packaged item contains GMOs or not. Just another reason to skip over the middle of the grocery store as much as possible.
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.

General Mills lowers Sugar in popular kids cereals

We eat cereal in our house, but hate to see the high amount of sugar they contain. General Mills announced that they are committed to reducing the amount of sugar in cereal advertised to children under 12 to single digit grams of sugar per serving! Most of the ones my kids "prefer" are 11-12g of sugar per serving. This would be a great improvement. In addition to reducing sugar, General Mills has also been increasing the amount of key nutrients like calcium and vitamin D and providing whole grains.

So what's the big deal? *Studies continue to show the benefits of eating breakfast, and not just for weight loss. Eating breakfast has many positive effects for children.*Ready-to-eat cereal is the No.1 source of whole grains in a child's diet today. Since most kids are getting their grains from cereal, the switch to more whole grains is huge. *More frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights and lower Body Mass Index.To get a $1 off coupon for General Mills …

Free Unlimited Ride Wristband at Nickelodeon Universe - on your Birthday

Register your child's birthday (under 15 years old) at Nickelodeonuniverse.com and get a coupon good for a FREE unlimited Ride Wristband. Valid at Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America. If you live in MN, this could be a fun (free) birthday event. Or if you are planning on visiting the Mall of America, sign up before your trip. I registered my daughter and was emailed a coupon within a few hours.

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 Alice.com

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Alice.com. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have you tried Alice.com? If you're like me, you've probably seen people discussing it all over the blogosphere. I recently signed up for a free Alice.com account and did some shopping. I spent a whopping $5 on two items we needed but didn't have on hand. I checked out Alice.com because I had heard so much about the great deals and free shipping. Plus I heard they had great toilet paper prices, and I can not resist a toilet paper sale!

What did I find? On my first purchase, I bought a large bottle of hand soap and my favorite Kashi Granola. It was all I could do to keep from buying all the tasty varieties of freeze dried fruits. I had a plan that day to keep in our weekly spending budget and so I bought just two items. My total was just under $5 and shipping was free.

I've been back to Alice.com a few times to scope out prices, especially since I am trying to find the best prices…

Top 50 Saving Money Blogs

The Suburban Jungle was listed in the Top 50 Saving Money blogs! In all honesty, I was #45 out of 50, but it's still fun.

This blog has shown up in a few fun places lately. Look for me in February's issue of Women's World magazine.

Thinking about Wool - a Review of Rambler's Way

I've been thinking so much about animals lately....how we care for them and what we take from them. Animals offer us so much, and now that it's colder (honestly, it is so cold here right now!) I've been thinking about warm socks and sweaters.

When I think of wool, I instantly think of mittens even though I've never had wool mittens. I have owned two wool items in my life - a sweater and a pair of socks. I like wool because it is amazing at keeping in heat. I wore my wool sweater all through college. It's probably one of the main reasons I could walk for miles each day in weather well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, I wore it almost every day. Nobody takes there coats off around here, so it was my little secret. But the socks...I had to ditch those for itchiness.

My sweater wasn't itchy, which means...like everything...there is most likely a difference in quality among wools. I recently had the opportunity to review the line of worsted wool garments from Ram…

TrendyBrandyKids.com Giveaway!

{This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to #136, Katrina} Now that all of your holiday shopping is done, it's time to shop just for fun. And what's more fun that trendy kids clothes? TrendyBrandyKids.com is offering The Suburban Jungle readers a chance to win something fun from their Tatiri line. Take a look at some of the fun stuff you can find at Trendy Brandy Kids.

Cute girly stuff for fall and winter!


For the boys





Cute trendy layers



Tatiri Accessories



TrendyBrandyKids.com is offering one Suburban Jungle reader (2) items from their Italian Tatiri Line.

To Enter:
Check out the Tatiri Line and leave a comment on this post letting me know which 2 items you'd like to win!

Extra Entries:
-Subscribe to the TrendyBrandyKids newsletter(http://trendybrandykids.com/Newsletter.aspx)
-Follow the TrendyBrandyKids blog(http://trendybrandykids-trendybrandykids.blogspot.com/)
-Follow TrendyBrandKids on twitter and tweet about the giveaway (http://twitter.com/TrendyBrandy)
-Add the TrendyBrandyKi…

My Whole Foods Shopping Trip!

With the holidays over and things back to normal, I decided today was the perfect day to try out Whole Foods. I could tell by my husband's face that he was not excited for me to embark on this organic journey, but I was happily surprised when he willingly stayed home with the kids.

I packed up all the organic coupons I had and headed for the city. As I neared the Whole Foods parking lot, I noticed all sorts of organic, consignment, and earth friendly stores. I was intrigued, and that's when I realized....OMG, I am a hippy!

My husband had been saying it for years, but not until I saw all those stores in one place and recognized my attachment to them was I finally willing to admit it. I finally saw what other people must see when they see me running out of our garden with mud on my face and hands excitedly rambling on about some new bug or plant I discovered. I really am one of those bearded wilderness guys that eats mushrooms right out of the ground..... I started wondering how …

5 Tips to getting (staying) in shape this winter!

I couldn't help but notice all the great exercise gear on sale this week. Then it donned on me...it was almost New Year's and everybody would be making the proverbial resolution to "get in shape." There's no doubt that winter can make healthy living a little more challenging, but it can be done! Here are my top 5 tips to help you get (or stay) in shape this winter:

1. Get active now! Don't wait for New Year's or any other reason. Today is the day - now move! Find an activity you enjoy and throw yourself out there. If you're already active, mix it up and try something new.

2. Don't get sick! Getting sick ruins all of your best health goals and plans. Eat plenty of fresh veggies and fruits, aim for whole/real foods, and drink plenty of water. Wash your hands, avoid sick people, and hope for the best.

3. Get outside! Even though it's cold outside (and will be for quite some time) get out there and get some fresh air. Sled with your kids, walk out…

Living with a cat in the face of allergies: Our plan of Attack!

This photo is of our potential cat's father.
We have been searching high and low for information on how to live with a cat when a family member has allergies. You can see more about our journey to adopt a hypoallergenic cat here. After clicking over there and seeing my son's allergic reaction, any reasonable person would think we were crazy to even entertain the idea of having a cat in our house.

I had given up all hope and resolved to live cat-free, but my husband has been adamant that we need a cat, and he thinks we can do it. Why is he so sure we need a cat?  In case I haven't mentioned before, my kids fight. I mean they FIGHT. Why am I telling you this? Because my husband thinks having an animal will make our children get along better. To me it sounds a lot like people in a troubled marriage thinking, "Let's have a baby!" Somehow, the real problem never gets solved.

But I still think having a pet would be a wonderful thing. Who doesn't want something t…

Looking for a last minute gift? Expo Review

Are you one of the last minute holiday shoppers looking for a great idea? Surveys are suggesting that more people will be buying practical gifts this season. So if you're looking for more practical gifts, you may want to consider Expo's line of dry erase products. We were given the chance to review this products and I was surprised by the variety and quality.


We tried out the Low-Odor Dry Erase Starter Set. I love these markers and have actually used these for years. In my experience, they write well and last a super long time. These would be an excellent gift for any teacher.



I had never heard of the EXPO Dry Erase Board Cleaning Wet Wipes, but what an awesome idea! I have been reluctant to let our children use our white boards because the smears eventually stick around. I'm excited to let our kids use their homework station knowing I have a good way to remove the marks.




Is it crazy that I've never tried fluorescent dry erase markers? I honestly never thought about t…

Where to babies come from ~ Tell me Now!

As we get nearer to Christmas, I'm reminded of what happened last year. Right in the middle of church service. Our children were sitting next to us, so calm and content fidgety and flustered. It was silent in the church and my son quietly asked me "mom, where do babies come from".

I leaned over and whispered "I told you, from a mom's tummy." He replied (a little louder this time) "NO, I mean how do they get out?" "I'll tell you later," I respond.

To this he belts out: "NO! Tell me NOW! I want to know how babies get out NOW!" Think, think, think....I answer, "they just pop out!" "Okay" he says and the drama ended.

Holy buckets! Are you serious? That's all it took? I thought we'd be the star of Christmas as we relayed all the events leading up to delivery. But thankfully it ended there.

My husband once tried to tell him that the doctor just pulls the baby right through the mom's tummy. "…

Service Projects for Christmas - Paying it forward

A few years ago, I decided we needed a Christmas project to "pay it forward" and show our children how to give to someone else. A lot of people volunteer at shelters, soup kitchens, or nursing homes, make shoeboxes, or donate to specific charities. My husband's family even runs out to donate blood. All of those are great, but I wanted to do something different (or in addition.)


So we made cat blankets for the humane society. I go through crafty stages and end up with all sorts of leftover fabrics. The blankets pictured are the prototypes we made to experiment with different styles. Our humane society was happy to have the blankets we made. And it made us feel so good to think our scraps were keeping some kitties warm and snug. When I get a chance to get back into my sewing stuff (in the guest room....grrrr) I see more cat blankets in our future.

The Mole Surgery....

I am on day 17 of my flu turned bronchitis, but am on the mend. I was looking forward to shreddingonce again, but it just wasn't in my cards. Today I had the final surgery to remove all the skin bordering the moderately dysplastic mole on my back. They removed a section about the size of a piece of gum. Not a Trident piece but an Extra piece. Needless to say, there will be no exercise for awhile. :(

Infant Formula Lawsuit

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PBM Products. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you ever stand in the grocery aisle agonizing over the brand name versus the store brand product? I do. I'm a label reader and a price checker. Sometimes the products seem so similar, but then they don't. It can be amazingly frustrating. I was lucky that I never had to purchase infant formula for my children, but millions of moms buy it every day.

Just this week, a judge upheld the jury verdict for PBM against Mead Johnson for making claims that store brand formulas were inferior to Enfamil. PBM Products include the infant formula sold under the Walmart, Sam's Club, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, and other retail store brands. In the case, PBM Products won a $13.5 million false advertising judgment against Mead Johnson for claims made that the store brand products do not provide the same nutrition as Mead Johnson's products. The main complaint centered around DHA and ARA. As …

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!

My giveaways this week:
YogaVive Organic Apple chips
The Food Network: Cook or be Cooked Wii Game

Butter Bell

Zicam Cold Remedies & $$ saving coupons - 2 winners

Organic Shredded Coconut

Decorating on the cheap - Nature's Freebies

I've decorated my home on the cheap. How did I do it? By using what we already had, painting what we already head, making it myself, buying it at 75% off, or buying it used.

And there's one other way I've used a ton! Taking advantage of Nature's freebies. Our winter centerpiece is made of birch branches I found lying in the forest.


Our Holiday planters outside - prunings from my spruce and dogwoods.

Decorative accents - pinecones and sweetgums.

In the summer - fresh flowers from our yard!

Get creative and use the things that Nature has thrown out. Each area of our beautiful country is blessed with different and fantastic discards!

Gotta love the freebies!

Do-It-Yourself Privacy Glass ~ A Cheap DIY Fix

This is the view out our front door. Thanks to an easy DIY project, this is also the view looking into our home. We really wanted privacy glass for our front door, but after calling around and finding out it would cost in the thousands, we decided to try to fix the problem ourselves.

How did we do it? We bought an easy stick-on kit. It uses no adhesives and it looks amazing! We get compliments all the time (of course because people think we spent thousands!) The best part....it has lasted over 2 years! And I expect it to last even longer. Our total cost $40!

We ended up buying something similar to this Window Film 36 Inch X 6.5 Feet. You can pick from a bunch of styles. My biggest recommendation...buy the Gila Complete Application Kit. It costs under $20 and it will make your entire installation so much easier!

Ours has lasted through 2 freezing cold winters and 2 hot and humid summers. We will most likely keep ours up for years, but since it doesn't use any adhesives, it can be e…

My almost 100% organic - cruelty free grocery trip!

This week I put my money where my mouth is and I shopped at Trader Joe's. It's a natural store well known for it's "good prices" on organic and natural food. It was my first time shopping there (*gasps*). There were so many new labels to read I almost passed out. It didn't help that my children were driving mini shopping carts (which they loved) and were mindlessly running me over the whole time.

What did I get? 4organic grass-fed, pasture raised free ribeye steaks from cows not fed animal byproducts or antibiotics. Phew! That was exactly what I was looking for....almost. The meat came from pretty far away, but if I can trust the label, the cow got to live like a cow should before slaughter. And I can't say that I'm excited about the distance, but then again I couldn't eat bananas or kiwis or oranges or pomegranates, or a lot of really tasty things if I stuck to what grows around here. That being said, I've been diligently reasearching local …

How Wheat Works: Pay it forward to help US Troops

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Wheat Food Council. All opinions are 100% mine.

I always love to learn more about where and how our food is grown. I would willingly spend hours reading or visiting museums to learn more about the origins of food. Luckily, you don't have to spend hours to learn detailed information.

Right now, HowWheatWorks.com is hosting an interactive multi-media program to teach people the farm-to-fork process for wheat. I checked it out, and enjoyed following my wheat seeds from the soil to my home. You get to select the type of wheat you want to grow: plant, harvest, mill, bake, and send your product to the store. The whole process takes only a few minutes, but you'll find links to even more information (even recipes) so you can learn as little or as much as you'd like. I love interactive programs like this.

Free education is always good, but this program gets even better. For every participant How Wheat Works will donate two pounds o…

Cheap Food is NOT good food!

Cheap food is not good for anyone! I say this as someone who buys a lot of cheap food. I've even blogged numerous times about how much I save my family each week on groceries. We get by with some pretty cheap food.

That being said, I don't think cheap food is good for any of us. I've recently been reading the book,The Omnivore's Dilemma,and it has forever changed the way I look at food. To be honest, I've been aware of the issues facing animals in factory farms and the global impact of a high meat diet, but this book goes beyond all that.
It's not a book about becoming a vegetarian, vegan, or even an organic foods consumer. In fact, the book doesn't recommend any of those things. It's a hard look at the truth behind everything we eat. We should be aware and mindful of what we choose to consume, whether that is food or durable goods.
But back to what I said about cheap food being a bad thing. How can paying less for the same food be a bad thing? Glad y…

More Mailbox Love....

Just thought I'd share some more mailbox love. I get a lot of stuff from having this blog but sometimes I sign up for cool freebies. I don't often post freebies but I do tweet them. If you are one of my twitter followers, you may catch some of the fun freebies and giveaways I find.

It's Mega Swagbucks Day - Last Week I won 10 - Get Searching!

I've been so bad about reminding everyone that Fridays are Mega Swagbucks days. I search every day, so for me, I only remember when a big number pops up. Last week I won 10, so it's possible! We are having an almost completely FREE Christmas thanks in part to Swagbucks. Today is a good day to search. Sending swagbuck vibes your way!

If you haven't signed up for Swagbucks yet, Sign up here and start off with 3 FREE swagbucks.

Giveaway Winners!

Wondering if you won one of my giveaways? I always email the winner directly within a day or two of the contest ending. I also post the winners name up on the original giveaway. I'm toying with the idea of keeping a winner's page, but haven't settled on the best way to announce winners.

Speaking of winners.....a few weeks ago I hosted a Blog Design Giveaway. The winner was ByJenna and she has allowed me to show you the results of her blog makeover.  In addition: VCDesigns is holding a design giveaway at her site. There is still time to win, so head over to ByJenna if you'd like another chance at a new blog design. The entry numbers are low so the odds are very good that you'll be a winner (not that you're not already!) ;)


Jenna won a FREE header and logo, Twitter page and Button. Here's a snapshot of her twitter page:



Jenna is a new blogger, so head over to her site and show her some love. :)

Iams Home 4 The Holidays - Animals want to come home!

We desperately want to bring a pet into our home. It may or may not happen, but I'm working on a few strategies to make it possible (including daily vacuuming - I've got the whole house down to 1 1/2 hours - yikes!)

But if YOU are looking (and able) to bring a pet into your home, now is a great time. Iams Home 4 The Holidays has a goal of helping over 1.5 Million animals find homes by January 4th, 2010.

A few sad facts:
- Over 8 million animals are homeless in the US
- Half of those lovelies (4 million!) will be euthanized this year

How can you help? Adopt a pet at IH4TH.com (and receive a free adoption kit to help your new family member) and join the Feed pets in Need program and bring much needed food to your favorite IH4TH shelter just by casting a vote.

You can also enter the Life's Better Sweepstakes and win a year's worth of free food for your pet as well as $10,000 for your local shelter.

Don't forget to spread the love on Facebook and Twitter.

*No compensat…

We need to get out more....

When it comes to dating each other, my husband and I are huge ZEROS! We haven't been on a date in months, and that was after a considerably longer dry spell. I can honestly count on both hands how often my children have had a babysitter in the last 5 1/2 years. That includes grandparents.

Part of it is because I just don't trust babysitters. Part of it is because I don't like to ask for help or be a burden on others. And part of it is because I'm "cheap." I know what you're thinking - "nah.... you're not cheap...lol," but it is a factor.

Right now the JuiceBoxJungle widget in my sidebar (huge green box to the right...you can't miss it) is running a  poll to see how often we mom's get out on dates. The stats I've seen so far do not look good! I read a lot (okay ALOT) and every book I read suggests keeping a weekly date night. I usually gloss over that section knowing it won't happen.

Inside the widget you'll be able to f…

Seafood & Pregnancy : Myths vs Realities

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of HealthyTuna.com. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pregnancy was tough for me. I read every book and every article about growing and keeping my babies healthy. It was exhausting and frightening. One piece of advice that was popular back then (and still today) is to avoid Mercury by limiting seafood.

When I was pregnant, the recommendation was to avoid shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish and to limit the amount of tuna consumed. I chose not to eat any of those fish and to limit my tuna to a maximum of 1 can of chunk light tuna per week. I had read albacore was risky, and I avoided all other fish because of the PCB risk.

At the same time, Omega-3's were becoming popular and supplements soon popped for pregnant women. I did some digging and found that beef ,eggs, and fish were good sources of Omega-3s and considered myself covered. Little did I know that the corn-fed beef and eggs I was consuming probably weren't providing a…