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Showing posts from April, 2010

Our trip to the Big Island is set!

We just finalized the airline tickets yesterday! We'll be heading to Hawaii later this year! This will be our first time to the Big Island and if anyone has any tips or recommendations, I'm all ears. We'll be traveling with our two young children (4 and 5) and my husband's parents.
We've already booked our hotel rooms and flights to Kona, but won't be making any activity plans until we get closer. Top items on my list: volcanoes, rain forests, black sand beaches, farmer's market, pineapple farms, waterfalls, and whales!

Long Distance Babies

When the weather is nice, I take my babies on long treks through forests, trails, and city streets. I've been doing it ever since my children were really little.
Today I took my children on a 4 mile walk. It's spring, the weather is beautiful, and we love to get outside. Plus it's great exercise. But to us, it's so much more.
At 18 months, I sold every stroller we owned....so my babies would walk. We walked for short distances and then when my daughter turned 2, we started planning a trip to Disneyworld. In case you haven't been to Disney, be forewarned that there is a lot of walking. Not that you can't handle it, but wear good shoes. ;)
In preparation for Disney, I started to increase our distance and by the time we took our trip; my kids were routinely walking 2 miles at a time 3 or 4 times a week. Without whining. In the end, I borrowed strollers from my sister and we pushed them through Disney. That way we could stick to the schedule and not lose anyone (…

Cat Toilet Training - Part 2

Our kitty is adapting to the smaller litterbox and I've been slowly (read: slowly) decreasing the amount of litter in the pan. She's been doing well with little complaint, so I took the next steps. I removed the towel and raised the box about an inch. Try to ignore the huge litter mess. We have an insane litter flicker, and I'll be so glad when she's fully trained. I do vacuum daily (and usually more often,) but this is what it really looks like after she's been in the box.
I used a serving platter to slightly raise the box and once she's adapted to this, I'll raise it up even higher. It will eventually sit on the toilet seat, and then I'll start removing the center rings. But I've got to start switching to a toilet safe/biodegradable litter. Oh the joys!
Wish us luck because we really want this to work. As I'm changing the box multiple times a day and constantly cleaning up litter, I know that giving up would be easier, but I also know that ever…

Ask and You Shall Receive....

I consider myself a spiritual person, but not a zealot. I'm also not someone that easily believes what they see, read, or hear. I wouldn't consider myself new age, and I start to gloss over when people mention religion.

That being said, I firmly believe we are all connected and there is something much bigger (and better?) than what we can see/understand.

Not long ago, my dad said he wanted me to watch a video. It was The Secret. When he first told me about it, I thought; "OMG, here we go again."

And in a lot of ways, I was totally warranted in thinking that. If you haven't heard about "The Secret," I'm about to spoil it for you. The jist is that you receive and send out energy. If you send out negative energy, it's what you get. And if you send out positive energy, that's what you get.
The movie focused a bit on achieving success and getting there by believing it. Some may call it meditating. Some call it praying. Some call it consciousness. Wh…

$20 Kroger Gift Card Giveaway to Celebrate National Kids & Pet Day

{This giveaway is now closed}Today is National Kids and Pet Day! And Kroger is helping family's celebrate by sharing information about pet safety, selecting the right pet for your family, and making sure your family's pets are taken care of.
Did you know Kroger offered pet insurance? It's offered through PetFirst and covers routine care, medical procedures for dogs and cats and is available at more than 2,400 stores in the Kroger family (including City Market, Dillon's, Fred Meyer, Frey's, King Sooper, Owen's, Pay Less, QFC, Ralph's and Smith's.)
You can find Kroger's pet insurance in the stores or purchase it online at http://www.krogerpersonalfinance.com/pet-insurance/. My cat (seen in picture on left) sure looks like she needs insurance, doesn't she?
Kroger's pet insurance works at any veterinarian nationwide, with reimbursement typically occurring within two weeks. Coverage starts as low as $9.95 per month and right now, individuals who …

Awesome Shopping Site - Upcoming Review!

Since I'm still working on our big remodeling project, I've been doing a lot of remodeling and decorating research online. I recently stumbled across a shopping mecca with pretty much anything you could ever want to buy; including electronics, kids furniture, home decor, and more!

Keep your eyes peeled to see an exciting review coming up shortly. Along with finished project pictures and my newly designed/decorated spaces (all on a dime, of course!)

Planting Projects - what worked; what didn't

Over this last year, I've performed a bunch of indoor "plant experiments" to see what I could and couldn't do with our household plants.
In case you had the urge to stretch the boundaries of plant growing habits, here's a list of what worked and what didn't.
What worked Planting Marigolds and Petunias from seeds gathered in the fall Keeping flowering perennials in pots and having them come alive again in spring (except for iris) Keeping a poinsettia alive for over 6 months (it's still going strong but will need to leave for kitty's safety)
What didn't Growing garlic in an indoor pot from a grocery store bulb (it started so beautifully and then died) Keeping an iris dormant inside a pot and hoping it would revive in spring Moving outdoor potted plants inside for the winter (they grew but bugs came with - yuk!)

Cat Toilet Training - Part 1

Long before we adopted Reya, I had plans to potty train her. Toilet training, that is. As I was busy thinking about how I'd go about it, CitiKitty graciously sent me their toilet training kit.
I packed it away until the day our kitty came home. My plan was to use the Cittykitty kit as our litter box and seamlessly start our training process.
But our kitty refused to use the litterbox the entire first day. At some point in the middle of the night, my husband swapped out my little Citikitty box for a big (regular sized) litter box. And she used it. She used it often, and was doing a great job.
But I had other plans..... We all know that cats dislike change, so I did the most logical crazy thing and swapped not only the litter box but also the location. I swapped her back to the Citikitty box and moved it right next to the toilet in one day. She mewed and voiced her complaints. She complained about the rearrangement and she complained about the smaller quantity of litter. But like a g…

Wonder Hanger: Review & Giveaway

{Congratulations to 3Lilacas #21 for winning the giveaway} It's Spring!! And what better time to go clean up your closets than now! I recently received a set of Wonder Hanger to review and am happy to share my thoughts.
First, here's what Wonder Hanger has to say about their product: The Wonder Hanger® is an affordable tool that's great for any Spring Cleaning features. This cascading clothes organizer increases closet space by enabling you to stack clothes vertically. Each Wonder Hanger holds 5 wood, metal or plastic hangers. There are 8 hangers to a package – enough to hang 40 garments. The open-mouth design allows you to easily add or remove your jackets, skirts, pants and shirts. Supporting up to 20 pounds, it can hold up to 5 heavy winter jackets.You can use it to group complete outfits or similar items, organize by color or season, and hang handbags or belts. It retails for $9.99 and can be purchased at major retail chains including Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Be…

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:
$15 Amazon Gift Card Dr. Perricone No foundation Foundation Wonder Hanger

Perricone No Foundation, Foundation Giveaway!

{Congrats to #105, Dani} Who doesn't want their face to look great? And who doesn't want to do that for free?!? Perricone Cosmetics is offering the readers of the Suburban Jungle a chance to win their no foundation foundation!
With this giveaway, I'm actually getting jealous. I wish I could win! My skin could definitely use some no foundation foundation. To enter to win a bottle of No Foundation Foundation (retail value $50) leave a comment on this post sharing why you want or need No Foundation Foundation.The contest ends May 9th and is open to all U.S. and Canadian residents 18 years and older. The winner will be selected by random.org and contacted via email. *No compensation or products were received for this giveaway.

Construction Update - Day 7,8,9...15

I've lost track of what construction day we are on, but from Day 7 on....our progress has "looked" the same. All of our plumbing, electrical, and framing are complete. We'll have all of our inspections this week and head on to the wonderfully drying world of drywall....

Theater with barrel ceiling and rounded front stage
Some plumbing - snore
The action is just around the corner...well actually it will be a few months before we have real action. The finishing is what makes it fun, but after drywall, we're taking a hard stop to regroup and re-budget.
I'll update again after the drywall is finished....and then it may be awhile. I'm anxious to finish up, but the break comes at a great gardening time and I'll take it!

Recession, Recovery, and Buying Store Brands

According to the article, Recession, Recovery & Store Brands, 8 out of 10 supermarket shoppers see no improvement in the economy and 40% say things have actually gotten worse in the recent months.

Because of the recession, more and more people have been turned to Store Brands to save money. 62% of consumers plan to buy store brands to save in this economy.
What do you think? Personally, I've always bought the best value. Whether it happened to be a store brand or a national brand. How you determine value is up to you. I am definitely willing to try store brand paper products, medicines, and even packaged foods. But lately, I really haven't bought many packaged goods.
We're fortunate to have many organic store brands in our area, and I've found them to be just as good as the national brands...for a lot less.
So I would have answered the Recession survey with a "yes" for willingness to buy store brands. The number of people who agree is up to an all time…

What a Naughty Kitty!

Cats are so cute. And I love the way they quietly "do their own thing." But this...... this makes me want to scream "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE - NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Really, that blanket is kind of asking for it - with all of its dangling tassels, but I really wish she'd stop wildly ravishing my furnishings.
I keep thinking she has some sort of desire to be calm and obedient. But I think I'm wrong. Even as I'm typing, she's silently stalking me....waiting to pounce and push all my buttons. But at least she's off of my chairs....for the moment.

Linen Kids Review

Linen Kids offered me the chance to review their products. As you may have guessed, they sell linen products for kids. But they also sell woolen products too. I was happy to review their products because #1: I like natural/real products and #2: I have kids that could use them.
To read more about why linen products are ideal for children, click here. Linen is natural, it's renewable, and it's hypoallergenic. And.... their products are super cute.
Check out some of these super cute clothes! I don't know why but I'm drawn to all of their ladybird items, but they are my fave! I could imagine my daughter wearing these all over the place. I reviewed one of their bath towels. As someone who uses many microfiber towels for cleaning and some super ancient towels (so green, lol), it was really nice to have a new, soft towel in the house. Plus it came with a cute little carrying bag that we've repurposed to hold our kitty toys.
My experience with Linen Kids was entirely positive.…

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:
$15 Amazon Gift Card

We all rejoiced over Urine!

It's been a hectic weekend. We're still working diligently on our construction project and....Reya moved in. She puts the "scared" in scaredy cat. She spent most of the day hiding behind and under furniture.
Towards the evening, she became adventurous for a few minutes. In those minutes, she considered my drapes, scratched my most expensive chair, and got in the bathroom sink. Holy smokes!
I was a little stressed out. My son and husband had red eyes (oh no!) and she still hadn't used the litter box.
I reminded her where it was every hour or so. She seemed annoyed and went back into hiding. But this morning we all rejoiced when scratching was heard in the litterbox. And she peed. Wahoo!
She's used the box two more times and has finally started to eat. Sort of. Right now she's hiding in the laundry room. It's her safe place. But I desperately need to start a load of laundry....

Bird Battles

WARNING: What you are about to read involves Bird Brutality!
Last year we found a bird nest under our deck. We were excited to see the baby birds hatch and develop.... but that never happened. The birds had no way of knowing this area of our deck receives extreme rainfall (gutter) and the baby birds were drowned.
It was devastating, but we left the nest up so that the birds would see the warning and not rebuild in this area. But they didn't get the memo. A new bird moved into the death nest and 4 additional nests were built right next to the original.
I was disturbed by this, but let it go while we worked on other projects. Until yesterday. I was out cleaning up construction debris when a robin dive-bombed my face. She missed me by mere centimeters. I was shocked and angry. Then my daughter said, "at least he didn't poop on you this time."
She was right. In my 3 decades, birds have pooped on me 4 times. I only know one other person with as much bird-related luck, and i…

Happy Unbirthday to Me!

It's not even close to my birthday, but I couldn't help but splurge on another blueberry plant when I saw them at the nursery. My garden is now at it's maximum berry capacity and I couldn't be happier. ;)

Design your own Tote bag and Win!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Bloomingdale's. All opinions are 100% mine.Bloomingdale's and famed handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff are running a "Design your own Tote" contest. Design a unique reusable tote bag and log onto www.bloomingdales.com/design. You can use the tools on the site to digitally create your design or you can import images from your own computer.
As a mass user of reusable tote bags, I tried my hand at designing. Here's my Tote-ally Green design contest entry: I designed it with my 4 year old. :) I'm no design whiz, but we had fun making it either way. Who knows, maybe everyone will vote for me and I'll win.
One winner is chosen everyday, based on their favorite submissions, and wins a $100 gift card. I'm sure some of you are much more creative than I am and could have a legitimate shot at winning $100. If you design something, leave me a link so I can check it out.
Here is some contest specific info: The contest…

Construction Zone - Be careful where you step!

We are currently working on an enormous home improvement project. Hence, my total lack of computer time. Not saying that's a bad thing...just saying.
Here are a couple of photos from Day 5 of our project.
Check out my new exercise room! It's all studs and cement now but it will be a slick place to work out. The big burrito on the floor is our old wrestling mat (salvaged from the University wrestling team) and will be my exercise floor. Ignore the robots in the back. They will soon be hidden from view. lol Now...how to decorate that rounded wall..... A glimpse into the guest bathroom. No, I did not need another bathroom to clean. Especially one that will be used by "Poker Night" guests!!The view into the guest bedroom. There's really no good shot here. Maybe once we're done with drywalling.
The home theater room. This view is looking through the kitchen (yet to be built) and through the theater room walls. The theater has a rounded ceiling, built out stage for t…

$15 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway - Celebrate Mother's Day with Free Ecards

{Congratulations to Marcy #191} It's that time of year again; Mother's day is just around the corner. Why not send Free ECards this year? It's the cool, eco-friendly way to send cards! Because they're totally free (to you and the environment) why not send one to every "mom" in your life.

My sister recently shared that she'd be sending me a Mother's day gift. Wahoo! Since budgets and timing are always an issue for gifts, you can head over to see all the great free mothers day ecards and send as many as you like.

In addition to totally free cards, the awesome people at Free ECards are offering one Suburban Jungle reader a $15 Amazon Gift Card - Happy Mother's Day!

To enter: Visit the free mothers day ecards page OR free printable mothers day cards and choose your favorite card. Come back and post a comment telling me which was your favorite card. While you're on the site, feel free to send some cards. This entry is mandatory and must come before a…

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:
$15 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Linen Kids Giveaway Seventh Generation Cleaning Kit Aluminum Free Deodorant
Free Sweepstakes and Contests

Visiting Reya

We had our final visit with Reya this weekend. She is now 8 weeks old and getting ready to come home. She loved my son so much, and he loved her even more.
She was a bit shy but had a thing for the boys in our family. She showed my daughter some love, but this is what I got. It's as if she knew I'd be the cat washer, nail clipper, and hair comber....

Hormel Chili - a new twist?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hormel Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.
I love chili. I mean, really LOVE chili. I make side items (like bread bowls, rolls, or tortilla chips) just so I can make chili. If you even mention the name, my kids would probably get squirmy because, according to them, I make it too often.
I'm a master at vegetarian chilis and meat/tomato based chili so I've never purchased them in a can, but a few months ago I had a coupon for a free jar of hormel Chili Masters chili. I had heard of Hormel chili before. Mostly from commercials and advertisements, but this was my first time buying it. I scoped out the chili aisle of my usual grocery store and found White Chicken chili. Up until that point, I had never made or tried white chicken chili (I need to get out more, huh?)
So I bought one jar. It looked and smelled good, but one jar is not really enough for a family of 4 (we had a house guest at the time, so we were technically a family of …