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Showing posts from February, 2010

Target Carries Unrefined Sea Salt!!

Just another reason to love Target - they now carry unrefined sea salt. I found it in my store at the very bottom of the salt section. The 9 oz bottle was $3 and some change, but the larger 28oz container was only $5 something. The larger size is a much better deal, but I wanted to try it out and gauge how much I'll be going through.

The good news: The only ingredient is unrefined sea salt - no silicon dioxide, no anticaking agents, no added iodine. However, this salt DOES contain iodine, as well as a bunch of other naturally occurring trace minerals. I haven't done the math, but I'm fairly certain this salt alone would not be an acceptable dietary supply of iodine. That's what yummy seafood (sushi counts!) is for. ;)


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Buying Organic as a Charitable Donation?

I recently read a pamphlet entitled "Mothers of Organic" by Sandra Steingraber and came across an interesting concept. She offset the cost of eating organic foods by giving less to charitable organizations.
On it's face, I know the whole concept will anger a lot of people, but when I read through her logic it made a lot of sense. #1 We all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Does it make more sense to give money to an organization like the American Cancer Society or support organic farms that keep cancer causing pesticides and herbicides out of our water, soil, and air?
Did you know that grapes and possibly cherries can no longer be grown in large sections of Illinois because the wind contains so much 2,4-D weed killer that the grape leaves curl up and die.
Don't believe it - google it yourself - a lot of the info was published in the April 30, 2002 Peoria Journal Star. I've seen chemical drift in my own garden and it frustrates (and scares)…

Awesome Deal on Flirty Aprons and a chance to win!!

Remember the Flirty Apron review & giveaway I posted here? Well, now they are offering all of my readers a 30% off coupon!
Head to Flirtyaprons.com and enter the code: 30Coupon at checkout. But Hurry, the coupon ends March 4th, 2010 at midnight!
But wait...there's more. Head to Flirtyaprons.com and look at the resource section at the bottom of the page. Then submit a paragraph or two that could be used in their new resource section titled "Bridal shower gifts." The best/longest submission will receive a FREE flirty apron! And the runners up will get a big discount! All submissions can be sent to mail@flirtyaprons.com. This contest ends Feb 28th.

Great Cat Books for Children

My children automatically gravitate toward books that have cats. We just love them. But we've recently read a few books that truly capture the essence of being a cat. Here are a couple of our favorites:




If you have any other book recommendations, I'm all ears (or eyes, lol).

Treadmill for Sale!

One of my main mottos is "Use it or Lose it." Obviously that applies physically (muscles and brain cells waste away without use), but I also apply it to stuff.
As soon as my children grow out of something, it's gone within a week. If they stop playing with a toy for an extended period of time, out it goes.
I've recently been on a purging spree, and my kids were so excited to see me giving away my things.
On a routine maintenance trip to the basement (aka my home gym,) my son was staring at the treadmill. He said, "mom, I think you should donate your treadmill. I haven't seen you use it in a long time and keeping it is really just hoarding."
Whoa! In all honesty, I haven't been on the treadmill as much as I used to, but there's no way I'm giving it away, selling it or removing it from our house. I haven't been running because I've been trying to put on weight (Feel free to hate me, but it's not all that easy being a skeleton.) When …

Our Royal Caribbean House Party! Tons of Pictures

I posted here and here about our Royal Caribbean House party. I was excited to be selected, but this was definitely not the greatest House Party set-up. As I mentioned before, we've posted 2 other house parties and they were super fun!

So expecting this to be a great party, we invited tons of guests...I think there were 60-70 people. I really got sidetracked and lost count. As you can imagine, there was a lot going on!
Our party pack wasn't so great...take a look here...so we did the party our way. We're known for throwing big parties! You should see our Annual New Year's party! Actually, since I'm blogging now, you probably will!
Everything's bigger in Texas! Okay, we don't live in Texas, but we throw parties like we do! Check out some of the photos below:


Guests relaxing in true cruising style...waiting for the fire. Can you see my garden way in the back?

Eating
More Eating


A place to escape the sun...watch out for pirates!

Some of the snacks

Bounce hous…

New Swagcode worth 60 Swagbucks!

In celebration of Swagbucks' birthday today, Swagbucks is offering the Suburban Jungle Readers a new swagcode - worth 60 swagbucks!
To use the code: sign up for Swagbucks and enter the code: SUBURBANCODE
As you may have noticed, Swagbucks is undergoing some changes. From this day forward, each swagbuck is now worth 10 swagbucks. So if you had 10 swagbucks before, you now have 100.
But before you get too excited, the cost of swag prizes have now multiplied by 10 as well. All prizes are still the same value (phew!) but the numbers are all changing.
They are doing it so they can offer swagbucks in 10's and 20's and everything in between. I mostly win 1 swagbuck at a time, and would love the chance to win 12 or 16 swagbucks (effectively 1.2 or 1.6). More swagbucks is always better!

Tropical Traditions Raw Organic Honey: Review & Giveaway!

{The giveaway has ended: Congratulations to Shannon #83.} In our quest to buy and eat mostly organic and natural foods, I can't tell you enough how excited I was that Tropical Traditions recently sent me their Organic Raw Honey to review.
Here's what their website has to say about their Raw Organic honey:
Tropical Traditions Organic Raw Honey comes from the frontier areas of Canada, and is only harvested during a 6-week period in the summer. Tropical Traditions is the exclusive source of this premium organic honey in the U.S. Most commercial honeys available on the market today come from bee farms, where the bees are controlled within a certain area and get their pollen from usually only one kind of flower. Many of the plants that produce these flowers (clover, orange blossom, etc.) are grown with pesticides and fertilizers as well. In addition, almost all honeys on the market are pasteurized in high heat and filtered, removing many of the beneficial nutrients and enzymes.Tropi…

Better than ice cream!

It should come as no surprise that ice cream isn't eaten in our house very often. When it is, we buy real ice cream with as few ingredients as possible. But this dessert is so much better than ice cream, and my kids go crazy for it.
Can't see what's in there? Sliced bananas, a little whipped cream (no cool whip!!!), chocolate sauce (made by yours truly) and a cherry. We call them sundaes and my kids love to have this for dessert. My kids will also claw your arms off for fresh berries. Okay, frozen and freeze dried berries will bring out the clawing as well. lol

Calling Wellness Seekers: Enter to win Free Food and a Free gym membership!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of wellnessdaily.com. All opinions are 100% mine.It's well past the first of the year, and I hope you're still working hard on your resolutions. If you're following along on this blog, chances are you have some sort of goals toward living a healthier life.
That's my main goal and the main goal of this blog. And I read a lot of books, magazines, websites, you name it to get the best answers. I recently had the chance to review www.wellnessdaily.com and was very impressed. It's a website full of healthy living tips.
I am personally interested in every topic on their site. In general, I wouldn't be interested in the Lose Weight category but they discuss relevant issues like low bone mass and dieting's effects on the brain. All super interesting stuff!
I love this kind of information. It's everything I wish my blog could be....if I were somehow an expert. But I'm not. I'm just a mom trying to live a h…

Our Cat Sleeping in Her Bed

LOL! I really have a lame sense of humor. My daughter thinks it's fun to curl up in the cat bed we made, and I just happened to catch her with the camera. I know I said I didn't want to post pictures of my kids, but they are just so darn funny. So although my mother doesn't deserve to see them, if she's reading my blog then whatever.
On a less depressing note, our cat was born a week and a half ago. And one of the babies below will be our new kitty. I've been anxiously awaiting our cat's birth and have had crazy dreams about adopting a shelter cat. In reality, I really wanted a used cat. And unlike most people, I actually prefer cats to kittens. Just a few weeks ago, I had a dream that we had a white, spotty colored cat at our house and she was so loving and perfect. I asked my husband why we couldn't just keep her, and he agreed. So...we went to the shelter again. I saw a white, spotty cat and she was so loving. My kids adored her. She was so calm and affe…

Celtic Woman Songs from the Heart - Review & Giveaway

{This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to #104 Matt} Bagpipes are my favorite instrument, so when I was given the chance to review the new CD titled: Celtic Woman: Songs From The Heart, I absolutely said Yes.

My thoughts on this CD:
I thought the music was beautiful and kept in the spirit of Celtic music. It's re-inspired me to look into Highland dancing. ;) And of course, there were bagpipes.
The music was light and airy. It wasn't too overpowering or instrumental so I think it would appeal to most people. The collection of songs even contains popular songs like Sting's "Fields of Gold" and Mariah Carey's "When you believe."
A few things you may not know about the Women behind Celtic Woman: This group is all over the Billboard charts, selling more than 3.8 million records in the US, has had 7 sold out US tours, and has performed on Dancing with the Stars. They are currently on tour including dates at Radio City Music Hall. To find out more, visit ww…

Tell your Story and Be on the Big Screen

Hyundai and Glamour Magazine, along with JuiceBoxJungle, are sponsoring me to write about a poignant parenting moment with hopes that a big A-List Hollywood star will direct it on the big screen, like this short film Kate Hudson did with Glamour Reel Moments. You can enter too at http://glamalert.com/reelmoments/ !

I've clicked over to this contest a few times. Surely, I've got a story worth writing a movie about, right? I've started and stopped filling out this contest a few times. Most of my "movie worthy" stories are all in my head, as in, they never really happened.
The bulk of my parenting experience (and related stories) involve too little sleep, a lot of mess, and some unfortunate screaming....by me.
If I can put it all together, I might submit a story about how ironic my current life would seem to my younger self. When I had my kindergarten screening, the screener told my mother I should wait another year to start kindergarten. I had just turned 5, was sh…

Tips for Making Angel Food Cake

I absolutely love Angel Food cake and made one every week for almost a year when I was 20 years old. And I ate them almost entirely by myself. Anytime you make an angel food cake, it will be yummy. But better technique and ingredients can take your cake from good to great. That's why I made one every week. I was trying to make the best cake possible! Be advised that when I was 20, I would skate between 10-15 miles every day.
Even though Angel Food cake is cholesterol and fat-free, it is not sugar or calorie-free. If you plan to teach yourself the art of this cake, strap on your skates! Or take a look at some of the things I discovered during my cake baking days.
Tips to Making a Really Good Angel Food Cake Use Cake Flour and Sift it. This really does make a huge difference!Never, ever grease the pan.Use a big enough bowl to handle the egg white expansion and mixing.Use Real vanilla and almond extractsCrack your eggs (one by one) into a cup, then transfer to your bowl. If you get a l…

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

Link up your giveaways in the Mr. Linky below. Be sure to check out all of the great giveaways for your chance to win!
My giveaways this week: $500 American Express Gift card Tanga $300 Giveaway Baby Bunch Bouquet Rainbow Brite Celtic CD

The Chest Freezer is Gone!!

Goodbye and Good Rid-dens! Today our chest freezer left the house. Obviously, it wasn't beautiful, but it did hold a lot of food over the last 7 years. Many people have commented that I should buy animals in whole or 1/2 animal quantities and freeze them. I've done that. This freezer has held 1/2 a cow, various amounts of pork and chicken, but I never liked buying meat in such bulk.
I still freeze meat, but not as often. I prefer to have fresh meat and only freeze a few extra if the sale was really good. I'm going to frequent our farmer's market weekly this summer and will buy meat directly from our farmers each week. The biggest occupant in this freezer was tomatoes from our garden, but that's easily remedied by canning them each summer instead of freezing and pushing the work off until later.
Everything that was in this freezer was either eaten up while we took a break from shopping or is currently in my fridge. Want to take a peek? Look at all those tomatoes!! Y…

Candy Land Party and Giveaway

Candy Land is one of those games that has endured through generations. It's the first game I bought my kids, and we've played it often. Now, there's a new version of CandyLand (no grandma nut!) and we had the chance to play the new game with all of our friends.

We hosted a "Candy Land Party" and invited over 10 little boys aged 6-7. In all we had 8 little kids running around, eating snacks, and playing.....games.

Here's the video I took before the party as I was setting up our snacks.
The goal was to take a video of 8 little boys nicely playing Candy Land and quietly eating snacks..... The goal was set by a naive mom that has never had 8 boys in her house at once. I am so glad I took a "before" video because as soon as the boys arrived, I needed all my hands, eyes, ears, everything just to keep everyone under control.

We played Candy Land - sort of. They actually played run around with the Candy Land pieces, throw the cards into the air, chase the …

My Hoarding Days are Done!

My natural inclination is as a minimalist. I don't like to own "stuff" and I'm not sentimental. High school year books? Gone after high school. Clothes that don't fit, but might someday? Too bad...gone. Wedding photos and mementos? Locked away so I can't ditch them. lol
So when I became a massive coupon shopper, I had to go against my natural instincts. I "bought" hundreds of toilet cleaners, hundreds of shampoos and conditioners, and don't even get me started on toothpaste. Anyone that's played the drugstore game, knows what I'm talking about. I rationalized it all by eventually buying only brands I actually wanted, but it was still too much.
I donated, I forced it on friends, and I *cringes* threw it away. But no more! My sister called to tell me about a show on A&E called Hoarders. Have you seen it? She called because she thought I should show it to my son. He's a collector - A junk collector. When I took my kids to see the lan…

Saving Money buying Better Groceries

We're still continuing on our journey toward healthier eating. Please keep in mind that I said, "journey." I'm still making all sorts of mistakes,but am trying to get there....eventually.
This week I spent $31.91 on groceries. I've found it a lot easier to plan meals when I'm buying things I wanted to get rather than just what's on sale.
That being said, I shopped at our local grocery store this week (as opposed to my fave - Target) because they had a tremendous amount of produce on sale. And some of it was organic! Since I didn't head to Target, I wasn't able to buy Grass-fed Milk, so I chose hormone-free milk instead.
I bought 2 packages of pork ribs and a roll of pork sausage. Neither of them were organic or pastured products. The ribs did say they were hormone-free, but I have yet to find a consistent supply of antibiotic-free, hormone-free, nitrate/nitrite-free, and humanely raised pork. I'm counting on our Farmer's market to have qual…

Rainbow Brite Game - Review & Giveaway (3 winners!)

{This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to #14 Dawn, #36 Jakiesmom, #3 Jen} Do you remember Rainbow Brite? She's back with all new episodes and games. Mom Select recently sent me the Rainbow Brite game (seen above) to review and share with my readers.
Here are my thoughts: Both of my children enjoyed this game. My daughter (4) loved it most of all. The colors were bright, the music was continuous (lol) and the games were fun. She was able to play at least 60% of the games all on her own. Some of them were a little more difficult but would be easy for anyone 7+. It's a fun new game. She's asked to play it daily and it's something I feel comfortable letting her play.
3 Suburban Jungle readers will get this Rainbow Brite game.
To Enter: Leave a comment sharing a fun childhood memory. :)
Extra Entry?: 2 Extra Entries for tweeting this contest 1 Extra Entry for following @suburbanjung on twitter 1 Extra Entry for following on google friend connect 1 Extra Entry for following on…

A field trip to the Kill Floor

When I was younger, my mom took us on field trips. We weren't home schooled, but she thought it was important that we see how the world worked. I went to egg factories, egg packaging plants, dairy farms, sheep and popcorn farms, pig farms, museums, nuclear power plants, mines, caves, creameries, government offices, and all sorts of other interesting places. We always complained about going, but we learned a lot.
Once I became a mother, I started taking my kids on "field trips." We visited a lot of historic farms, checked out the landfill, explore a lot of nature preserves and landmarks, and will be touring a chocolate factory soon.
Recently a wildly unimaginable field trip came across my path. I have been in contact with the grass farmer that supplies grass-fed beef products to Target. I learned from them that Target actually approached them and asked to sell their products. Target sells their grass-fed beef for only 10c more per pound than the farm sells it themselves. G…

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

Link up your giveaways in the Mr. Linky below. Be sure to check out all of the great giveaways for your chance to win!
My giveaways this week: $500 American Express Gift card Tanga $300 Giveaway Baby Bunch, Rainbow Brite, and the Celtic music CD should pop up later in the week