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Showing posts from August, 2010

An Exercise Room Update!!!

This is so awesome, I just couldn't wait until my review date to put something up (the actual review will be in late September.) Not long ago, I put up a picture of our fitness room.

I had mentioned that our weight bench, while free and functional, just wasn't right for us. It was just fine for a small female, but not all that great for a male. I had plans to swap it out when we found the right replacement.

No need! The right machine found us! Check out what arrived on my doorstep this week!


It's a Total Gym XLS! I am so thankful to Total Gym for sending me this gym! My husband and I can both use it, and I'm perfecting my routine as we speak. I'll be posting my full review at the end of September. And there may be a giveaway.....
And even better, it fits in my room so well. Take a look:

Want to see what my exercise room looked like before? Click here. I'm hoping to have mirrors and some additional decor (wall letters?) for the next update. We are nearing the home s…

Jiffy Lube "Keeping My Ride Alive" $35 Gift Card Giveaway - (2) Winners

Getting an oil change is never fun, but I must say it's a lot easier than it used to be. And less expensive too! We used to change our own oil but after buying the oil and filter, it's almost the same cost as having a professional do the work. Not to mention disposing the old oil....
Regular oil changes and vehicle maintenance can help your car last for years. Jiffy Lube has put up a facebook page called "Keeping My Ride Alive," dedicated to drivers that want "to go the distance." Actually, more than half of American's hope to hit at least 150,000 miles before they replace their vehicle.
Check out this video to hear one of their stories:


Jiffy Lube wants to help you get to those high mileages, by offering you a free Jiffy Lube gift card (to be used on oil changes or services at any one of the more than 2000 Jiffy Lube locations.) (2) Suburban Jungle readers will win a $35 Jiffy Lube Gift card:

To Enter: Leave me a comment telling me which mileage category …

Free Toy idea to Keep your Cat active

If you're like me, then you're always looking for ways to keep your family healthy. And that includes pets! It's so easy to just let your house cat sleep the day away....but it's not healthy.
I've taught my cat to fetch and play hide-and-seek, all free and fun. Here's another idea to keep your pet engaged - for free!
Fill an empty egg carton (or part of a carton - shown in the video) with a few treats. Shake it a few times so the cat knows there's something worth getting and then let her take a few minutes (or hours) trying to figure out how to get the treats. It's a good exercise for their mind and body.

Desensitizing a Child with Peanut Allergies

*Disclaimer: My actions described in this post are controversial and possibly dangerous. I am not recommending you copy my actions, just telling my story.
We found out our son was allergic to peanuts when he was 11 months old. I immediately took him to the doctor where a positive RAST test proved his allergy. Our life following that diagnosis changed forever.
We no longer allowed any peanut products in our home. We eliminated most processed food from our lives and upped our omega-3 intake. We vigilantly read product labels, carried medications, and asked about peanuts on every outing.
For the most part, we did a great job of keeping him peanut-safe. But sometimes we didn't. After asking on every visit for a few months, we found restaurants that we knew were safe. But they weren't.
At one "safe" restaurant, my son ate a peanut butter filled enchilada. Really???? He vomited at the table, outside, and again a few minutes later. His face was swollen and full of hives. Tha…

Using Wisk to destroy protein stains - video included

I had mentioned that I'd soon be trying out the new Wisk with Stain Spectrum Technology and that day has just arrived. Most stains are broken down into three categories: oils, proteins, and carbohydrates. Wisk asked me to try out their new detergent on proteins (like grass stains).

So here is a video we made, where we used Wisk detergent to wash out grass stains.


Keep in mind that I'm no video expert. We did our best to recreate the type of laundry shots you see in commercials - where stains are washed out before your eyes. And that's really what happened.

My daughter used the detergent to "write" on the stained fabric, we waited a few seconds, then my son swirled it around in warm water. And then.... the stain was gone where the detergent was used. Awesome!

That was enough for me. I started using the detergent right away. I have some pants that are seriously grass stained. They're favorites actually, and no pre-treating had removed the stain. So I sent them to t…

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: $25 Sams Club Gift Card (2) $35 Jiffy Lube Gift Card Spin & Go Cleaning System Flat Iron

Spin & Go Mop Review & Giveaway

{This giveaway has ended. Congrats to Harriett $183} Trust me when I tell you, I mop a lot of floors! I vacuum over 5000 square feet on a daily basis and a lot of that floor also needs to be mopped. While I don't mop daily, it's something I do at least weekly.
And it's a job that I dislike. When I clean, I want to do a really good job with as few chemicals as possible. For years, I mopped on my hands and knees until I discovered a large microfiber mop that changed my mopping world forever.

Never one to pass up an opportunity to improve the way I clean, I jumped at the chance to review the Spin & Go mop. It just so happened to arrive at my doorstep just as I was finishing up our construction project and was about to clean the new floors.

So I filled the bucket with water and set out to mop our rubber exercise room floor, the bathroom tile, and the kitchen tile. My kids ran to help with the "spinning".
Here are my thoughts:
The mop is super soft and the bucket is th…

Exercising for Free?

One of the best things about Exercise is that's almost always free (or close to it!) Running, body weight exercises, heck even vacuuming are free exercise. It's part of why I like it so much.
As we are nearing the end of our construction process, I can't help but smile when I pass my new fitness room.
Beyond the obvious awesomeness of actually having a dedicated space for fitness, I'm excited about how little it's actually cost us.
Here's a picture of our fitness room - still a work in progress: So now you're probably wondering about the costs. For starters, my new 32" TV was completely FREE courtesy of Swagbucks. Wahoo! The flooring is an old mat from the University wrestling team (go green!). The weights, bench, and most of the fitness videos were free from craigslist. I eventually want to upgrade the weight bench to something more useful for both me and my husband. Hopefully, we'll have that figured out soon.
I bought the treadmill 3 years ago, …

Rock Symphonies Review

Classical music really isn't my thing. I can appreciate it for it's "beauty" and I really do like violins/cellos/anything string, but I just can't sit down and listen to it. It's too boring for me.
So I'm embarrassed to say that when Music Moms sent me the Rock Symphonies CD from David Garrett, I took one look at the cover and mentally said "no." I put the CD on my husband's desk (where he uploads all music to the iPod so I can review it while on the treadmill) and walked away.
I did not anticipate what happened next. A few minutes later, my husband came running in. He said "the CD you put on my desk is awesome! You've got to listen to it."
Still skeptical, I tried to leave. He brought me to the iPod player and turned it on. Yep, classical music. Barf. "WAIT", he said, "it gets really cool."
I waited. I kept waiting. And then it happened. It got cool. It got edgy, upbeat, and current. A lot of the songs were r…

Pyrex Products Review

I can not tell you how many wars my husband and I have fought over plastic food storage. We fight about unmatching lids, to microwave or not to microwave, toxicity levels, and more. It seems crazy to me that I never thought about using glass food storage until Pyrex sent me this collection to review.
Well, let me tell you, I LOVE IT! I was sent everything in the picture above, but I'm going to start by talking about the Pyrex glass food storage bowls. Awesome, awesome, awesome. If you've never tried them, I highly recommend it.
They are extremely durable and versatile. I put leftovers in them, put on the fantastic fitting lid (something that almost never happens with our plastic storage containers!), and pop them in the fridge. When we want to reheat something, I can pop it in the microwave with no worries about chemicals leaching out. Plus, I know they are dishwasher safe. No foods stick or stain the glass. And the glass doesn't get etched like plastic containers.
I even m…

Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens Review

I've reviewed many of the Tropical Traditions products and loved them. I like that their site is a one stop shop for natural and organic products. So when I had the chance to review one of their products again, I agreed right away.

I've decided to really expand the things we try (like natural deodorants) and this time I decided to try the Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens. Before I ordered it, I watched videos of people drinking this super green drink and loving it.

Hmmm... My husband and daughter are big juice and "drink" drinkers. We only have 100% juice and a few natural drink mixes in our home, so I read the online description carefully before ordering.
It seemed like a good option. If my family was going to drink something besides water, then they might as well get some benefits from it.

Here are the benefits according to Tropical Traditions:Benefits:Great for Active Lifestyles*Rich in ALA Omega 3 fatty acidDetoxification*Improves Immune Function*Provid…

What does Cancer change?

I've been estranged from my mother for over 4 years. It was a brutal goodbye and one that I've tried hard to forget. Recently, it came to my attention that she may have cancer. Uterine or ovarian - grapevine info is sketchy like that.
Understandably, I wanted to talk with my husband about this. He told me: "if she ends up in the hospital and is about to die, then you can go to the hospital and see her if you want."
Thanks for the permission. But it got me thinking....why would I do that? Why does cancer change anything? Is it the threat of death? Either one of us could have died at anytime over the last 4 years. And what would it matter? What would I say to her that I haven't needed to say already.
What would she say to me? Nothing can change the past and talking to her on her deathbed would have no effect on my future. Talking to her with the presumption that she was going to live for years (as would be the current presumption) would change things. But that hasn&…

Tortillas for Back to School Lunches?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Mission Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.
With only 3 weeks left until the new school year starts, I'm vigilantly planning our school lunches. As I was creating my "menu," I noticed a lot of "sandwiches." Boring. I've revamped my list and added a lot of non-sandwich lunches. Many of them include tortillas.

My kids love it when I make sandwiches with tortillas instead of bread. They look cool, taste great, keep the ingredients tightly inside, and have no crusts! But that's not all. My son will be bringing little tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas. I've got all sorts of plans. Want some inspiration? You can find all sorts of great ideas at Mission – Back To School.
Mission – Back To School

I like Mission tortillas. It helps that they are the main brand at my favorite store (Target, in case you're wondering). But I also like the varieties of Mission Tortillas. My fave are the Garden …

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:

Lawry's grill pack Breyer's Ice Cream Fashion to Figure Dress Baby Bunch Crayon Pack

$25 Sams Club Back-to-School Giveaway

It's that time of year again - time to get ready for school! And the number one thing on my mind this year is school lunches. This will be my first year packing lunches and I want to be ready.

Sams Club is currently running a promotion to help you get ready for back-to-school and help out your local school at the same time. From August 11 through August 31st, you can find special General Mills packages with 6 box tops.

From August 6 to August 13th, they were also offering 150 box tops when you sign up for a new membership. That's a great promotion, but I wasn't able to get the information out there in time. Sorry.

I've already been to Sams Club to stock up on School lunch essentials, but will be back to look for box top promotions soon. I won't be able to stock up on the box top items for a few days, but I didn't want that to stop you from hearing about the promotion.
Here's what I bought on my first stock-up trip.For my box top stock-up, I think fruit roll-up…

Back To School Shopping at TJ Maxx

This year I finally have to buy clothing for my children. That sounds crazy since my oldest is now 6, but when you have sisters with kids in the same age range, you can do a lot of swapping. And up until this year, it's worked out great. Now that genetics have taken over, my kids aren't really fitting into my niece and nephew's clothes. At least not yet.
No worries though. TJ Maxx came to my rescue and sent me gift cards to do some mega back to school shopping. I checked their closets first and made myself a mental list. Note to moms: mental lists can get hazy.
I bought all this awesome stuff below, but forgot to get the one biggie on my list - new school shoes. I didn't even make it over to the shoe department.



My kids were so thrilled to have new clothes (some of their firsts!) and they loved all the great fashions and varieties.
Wondering how much I spent? I can't bear to type it, so I'm putting up a receipt shot. I felt like I got some pretty good deals. I bou…

How to teach a cat to play Fetch *Videos included*

Youcan teach a cat to play fetch, and it's a super fun game. In a lot of ways it's the same game you'd play with a dog, but not quite. For one, cats tend to drop the toy/ball/object quite quickly and easily. There's no fighting with them and telling the cat to "drop it."
But cats can also be quite lazy at the game. Here's a quick video of my cat playing fetch: My cat will play in earnest for about 10-15 throws. When we first start playing, she's fast and really into it. Then she'll either start getting lazy or take the toy all together and go lie down somewhere.
In the video, she had already been playing for awhile. Plus she never really "performs" for the camera. She's a brat like that.
Either way, it's a great game to teach your cat. How do you do it? For starters, you need to find a toy that your cat likes and can carry. Say hello to the squishy: My cat loves these squishy pencil toppers. My son collects them and she steals them …

Running like a Mother!

Definition: Running like a mother Running with your children in one way or another. This usually involves a treadmill, jogging stroller, bikes, or some other apparatus to keep your child with you and/or up to speed. Running like a mother almost always involves distractions, whining, inconvenient times and other interruptions.
I like to run. I never thought I would, but now it's part of who I am. Running gives me a cheetah-like inner strength that's hard to explain. I've missed it terribly since my exercise hiatus.
The exercise drought is now over and I'm dying to get on my treadmill. Alas, it's in storage while we await the completion of the 2010 Dustbowl (aka our construction project.) Any hardcore runner would be slapping me right now and telling me to get outside and run.
That's easier said then done when you have children. You can't just run out the door and come back an hour later. Maybe at night, but...um....no. And there is no way I'm getting up…

Long Live Your Mattress Sweepstakes & Giveaway- Win $30,000 + More!

Introducing the "Long Live Your Mattress Sweepstakes!"
Protect-A-Bed has long been in the business of protecting your mattresses (30 years!) and is now offering you the chance to win big in their "Long Live your Mattress Sweepstakes."
(1) lucky person will win a $30,000 cash grand prize (10) lucky people will win one of ten 1st place prizes (complete bedding sets valued at $500)
Entries to the sweepstakes must be made online at www.protectabed.com beginning at 12:01 AM August 10, 2010 and ending 11:59 PM CT October 31st.
Hurry to Protect-A-Bed and enter for your chance to win! And keep in mind that protected mattresses last almost three times longer than unprotected mattresses (20 years vs 7 years). Beyond lasting longer, they also keep your mattress cleaner and safer.
About Protect-A-Bed Mattress Protectors:
Protect-A-Bed’s protectors are fitted-sheet style covers that place an impenetrable barrier between you and allergens, while remaining breathable and comfortable.…

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:

Lawry's grill pack Breyer's Ice Cream Fashion to Figure Dress Baby Bunch Crayon Pack

Money Hungry - A trashy "The Biggest Loser"

I like everything fitness, so it should come as no surprise that I love fitness-related shows. In the absence of The Biggest Loser this summer (what's with a summer break anyway - fitness needs no breaks!) I've been watching other "fitness" shows.
This week was the premiere of Money Hungry. 10 couples give up $10,000 of their own money and compete to lose weight. The winner gets $100,000. The losers get nothing. I love the idea. The only thing that gets more excited than fitness is money. So the two combined is TV gold.
Well, I watched the premiere and I don't know. I'm just going to go ahead and say that I think Money Hungry is a trashy Biggest Loser. It has a couple of things going for it - no annoying beeping scale and crazy drama.
I can't tell you how excited I was to see the weights pop up instantly without having to hear or wait through the stupid beeping of the scale like I do when I watch TBL. And the contestants are hilarious. They're constant…

Yoga & Rap - Even a Buddhist would be proud!

Becoming a mom really challenged my true identity. Since the time I knew I was pregnant, I did my best not to expose my children to anything toxic - chemicals, food, music, movies....
But somewhere along the way, I lost my real self. Because while I don't like toxic chemicals or junk food. I really, really like dance, techno, and rap music. I also like grown-up movies, comedy shows, active sports....
For years, I gave up everything. Musically, I listened to baby CD's and limited my "adult" music to contemporary Christian radio. B-O-R-I-N-G!
I must admit, the Christian station kept me for a few solid years. I had to ditch the baby CD's after a year - for sanity!
But something changed the other day when I was doing some basic yoga. I decided to turn on the i-pod and listen to music while I posed. My kind of music.
Eminem and yoga? Sounds weird, but I was way more in tune with my "real" inner self then I had been in a long time. That's why I said "eve…

Shred Sled Review

Let's get one thing perfectly straight - when I first heard about the shred sled I was in love. If you will recall from my bucket list posting, learning to "ripstick" was #49 on my list (the list is in no particular order.) Now the Shred Sled is no ripstick. It's much more awesome.
Here's what the Shred Sled company has to say:
The Shred Sled is a next-generation caster board that combines the movements of snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding all into one unique experience. It's the first 4-wheel inline, dual-deck board that makes it easier for kids and adults to ride.
It's so cool, I'm not letting my kids have it. I am the coolest shredding mom in the neighborhood (at least among all the kids in the 'hood, but I'm just saying!) I had the chance to review the Shred sled and it's pretty stinkin' awesome.
It has ABEC-5 bearings, and it's wildly fun to ride.
The Shred Sled is appropriate for ages 8 and up. My 4 and 6 year olds gave i…

Just when you thought there were no berries left!

It's August, so I thought our berry days were done for a few weeks. Surprisingly, I was wrong! Our raspberries have taken a break until the end of August and the blueberries are almost all gone, but I found this awesome surprise!The strawberry patch I considered ripping out this fall (the second "mystery" patch that hasn't produced a single berry in 2 years) has been putting out berries like they're going out of style. And they're awesome, jammy berries.

Somehow I got so lucky in my berry selection. I have strawberries that start in early June and run until mid July. Then strawberries that start in August and run until ?? (not sure yet). I have raspberries that start in early July and end in late September. Our blueberries start in late June and end in mid August. Awesome, awesome, awesome!
Berries are my favorite food, favorite plant to care for, favorite everything! It's been a good summer

Laundry today versus the "good old days"

Do you remember what laundry used to be like? Maybe you had to wash all your clothes by hand with homemade soap. Egads! Probably not. But I do remember laundry and how it's changed over the last 20-something years. In my early teens, my mother went back to work and laundry became one of my jobs.
I had no clue about how to treat stains or what detergent to use. We just bought the cheapest one and threw it in the top loader. Then we put our clothes out on the clothesline to dry. Needless to say.... we had a lot of "unclean" and very crispy clothing.
My mom eventually taught me to pre-treat stains by rubbing them with extra detergent (like this old "ring-around-the-collar" commercial.) She also taught me to check the clothes when they came out of the wash to be sure they got clean. If not, I had to start all over. What an icky way to do laundry.
Things have certainly changed and thank goodness! Now there are so many amazing cleaners that take out all kinds of stains,…

All's Well that Ends Well

We are nearing the end of our 3 month remodeling project. PHEW! It's been a long process, but these last 3 weeks were the worst. Why? I had a suspicion that all was not right with our granite and tile contractors.
I'll spare you the details, but the short story is this: the tile contractor was creepy, he did a bad job and when asked to repair his damage, he walked off. The granite installer came highly recommended, collected money to order our slab, then disappeared from the face of the Earth.
I was stressed out! I hate to lose money and I really hate to be conned.
But...all's well that ends well. After 3 weeks of major phone tag, a trip to the granite installer's home, and some monster tiling drama, we were able to get things back on track and our kitchen now looks like this: I am so glad to have this behind us and am looking forward to finishing this project soon. We're on track to finish in the next 2-4 weeks (notice the range....grrr! This time I'm planning…

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:

Lawry's grill pack Breyer's Ice Cream Fashion to Figure Dress Baby Bunch Crayon Pack