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Showing posts from October, 2010

What Do You Do When Exercise Stops Being Fun??

Exercise is good. I've been a longtime fan. Well, up until last December when I went on an exercise detox and did no exercise for 9 months. Nothing, Zilch, Nada. In some ways, I felt it was necessary, but honestly, it was a stupid mistake.

I stayed the same 110 pounds, but I obviously lost a lot of muscle over that 9 month hiatus. It was stupid, and once my kids went back to school, I decided I was going back to exercising. I had a rational 3 time per week plan. I would run, run, and run. It was an awesome plan and I was excited.

But running sucked! I couldn't believe how much strength and endurance I had lost. I made it a whopping 2 miles before I rolled off the back of the treadmill and collapsed on the floor. Loser! That's all I could think. I was pissed.

And I needed ice cream. OMG! I steadily worked on increasing my mileage and worked my way up to 3 miles. I still felt like crap because I used to be able to go so much farther and faster. And it wasn't easy or fun…

Pink Together - Support Breasts Cancer Research - Prize Pack Giveaway

Surely, you've seen little pink ribbons and pink packaging to support breast cancer research. Well, the fight isn't over yet, and PinkTogether.com is still a place where survivors and supporters can come together to share, encourage, and post comments.


To encourage personal connections in the online community (with over 680,000 members!) General Mills will donate $1 (up to $20,000) to Komen for each inspirational story submitted, encouraging comment that's posted, or virtual flower of support sent on PinkTogether.com. In October, they also gave up to $5,000 for comments left on the Pink Together Facebook page. This $25,000 is in addition to the $2 million donation General Mills has committed to Komen to advance breast cancer research and support education and community outreach.  Wow! That's a lot of support!


To help spread the word about Pink Together, General Mills sent a "Connecting for the Cure" gift pack and is giving one to a Suburban Jungle reader.


What&#…

Date Night Prize Pack Giveaway!

Think of all the reasons why you love your favorite restaurants - yummy food, no dishes to wash, yummy food....I think you know why I like my to eat out. I try to recreate restaurant quality recipes at home, but one of the most difficult to recreate is good asian food.

Lucky for me, MyBlogSpark sent us a "Date Night" prize pack to create restaurant quality food at home. Like most of our dates, our children were right there with us. Thank goodness for dates at home!

We had the opportunity to try the Wanchai Ferry Orange Chicken box kit and the Macaroni Grill Creamy Basil box it. Both were yummy, but I have to tell you that the Wanchai Ferry Orange Chicken was amazing!

I even went out an bought a second box this week! You can get a $1.50 off coupon here.  I try to shy away from box meals because I like to think I can do it myself, but this was one really great product!

Want to try them for yourself? MyBlogSpark is giving one Suburban Jungle reader a "Date Night" Pri…

Fresh Produce Clothing Giveaway

As a women, I'm always on the hunt for cute clothes. I can't help it, it's just genetic. If you're anything like me, let me introduce you to a fun site that believes "life is just too fun for beige." I like that idea. 

The store is Fresh Produce Clothing and it's a brand sold in over 400 specialty retailers as well as 38 Fresh Produce stores nationwide.  Their clothes are fun, and full of sun-drenched color.  Even better - they want to offer one Suburban Jungle reader a new outfit!!

What are they offering? They are offering this outfit:


Baby Rib Ruffle V Neck T: Retail price: $34.00 


Tiered Jersey Skirt: Retail price: $39.00 
What a cute outfit! Even though Fresh Produce aims to create fun, colorful women's clothing, they don't scrimp on comfort. Both of these items are made with 100% cotton and the just above-the-knee skirt features a spandex waistband.
To Enter: Visit Fresh Produce Clothing and leave a comment here telling me about something cute you …

Food Should Taste Good Review & Giveaway

Tortilla chips are the only chips my family eats, so I was thrilled to be asked to review Food Should Taste Good's brand of all natural, preservative and trans fat free, non-GMO tortilla chips.  Check out all the awesome varieties:

Food Should Taste Good brand chips come  in Multigrain, Sweet Potato, Olive, Jalapeño, The Works!, Chocolate, Lime, Yellow Corn, Blue Corn and Cheddar.

All of the chips were fantastic! I loved the variety and the ingredients - sesame seeds, flax seeds, non-GMO corn!, jalapeño, sea salt. All good stuff.  My all time faves were the Multigrain flavor.

Not only were they yummy (as were all the varieties) but they also came in a pink bag - meaning that 5c from that bag went to support breast cancer research. Tasting good and doing good. Gotta love it! You can read more about how they support cancer research on their facebook page.

Speaking of Facebook - the first 100,000 people that like Food Should Taste Good on Facebook will get a free bag of chips!

But t…

Political Sabotage!!

As we get closer and closer to election day, my neighborhood is heating up! It's no secret that I live in an upper class neighborhood filled with feisty Type-A 30-somethings that openly speak their mind. That's one of the things I love about it. But while our neighborhood may be a homogeneous blend of high achievers (and a few trust fund babies - just saying!) it's not a place that's 100% liberal or 100% conservative.

Don't get me wrong - the conservatives are 100% conservative and the liberals are 100% liberal - it's just that we have a fairly evenly split community. But a loudly opinionated split community.

I never bring up politics "for fun," but anyone who's ever asked me knows exactly where I stand. This year, my husband decided it was time to join the Sign Wars. He ordered a political sign and put it up in our front yard.

I told him it was going to cause me trouble at the bus stop. So.... he moved it directly in front of the bus stop. It go…

Shopathome.com Shopping Spree and $50 Target Gift Card Giveaway

ShopAtHome.com recently contacted me about going on a Shopping Spree to Target. Um.... you had me at shopping spree. In case you're new to the world of ShopAtHome.com, it's an online shopping site that pays you back for shopping. For example, everything I bought at Target through the site gave a 5% cash back rebate.

Plus, they have all the store coupon codes right on the site, so you don't have to dig around the internet to get the best deal. They also have grocery and restaurant coupons you can print right from the site.
So, I headed to ShopAtHome.com and typed "Target" in the search box. It was so easy. I scanned the coupons available and noticed Target was once again offering free shipping for orders over $50. I clicked through to Target.com and ShopAtHome.com automatically created a shopping ticket to make sure I got credited 5% from my order. 
It was so easy. So.....what did I get??? One thing I can't resist at Target is workout gear - really! I bought 2…

The baby I never wanted....

After my son was born, I decided I never wanted any other children. Ever. I know that sounds horribly selfish, but I had a horrible pregnancy and delivery.

I was tired and nauseous throughout the entire pregnancy and gained 54 pounds. And I pushed (yes - pushed!) for 4 hours. Okay, so it was 3 hours and 57 minutes, but I reserve the right to round up.

Just six weeks after I delivered him, my period returned. And I threw the biggest hormone-loaded tantrum. My husband didn't understand. Yes, periods are annoying, but I was more upset about the possibility of getting pregnant again.
But time went on and I became more open to the idea of another child....years down the road. I had hoped to have another child when they were 2 or 3 years apart.
But life has a way of working out differently than planned. When my son was 7 or 8 months old, I started to feel really sick. I was tired, achy and nauseous. I couldn't figure out why. I told my husband I thought I might be pregnant, and he d…

Look Mom - All four paws have claws!

We recently had our cat spayed and went round and round about declawing. In the end, we kept her claws. Has our cat destroyed things? Yes. Is she obedient? No. But for the most part, she does 99% of her scratching on her scratching posts and she destroys just as much with her back claws as her front.

The only way to eliminate her destruction completely would be to remove all 4 sets of claws and her teeth. And her butt. Since that seems so unreasonable, we decided to trust that everything would turn out okay and leave her claws intact.

Plus, I'd like to think she'd return the favor by using them, should any mice ever make it into our house.

Total Gym XLS review

So you say you want to get in shape? And you want to do it at home. I consider myself somewhat of an exercise-at-home expert. I love trying new workouts and equipment, and I haven't set foot in a "gym" in over 11 years.

Like most women, I've focused most of my workouts on cardio and endurance. I know strength training is important, but for some reason I just never fully embraced it. If you're in that camp, let me assure you of a few things: #1 strength training is important, #2 you have very little chance of looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and #3 building muscle will improve your health and appearance.

That being said, I felt so fortunate to review the Total Gym XLS. Take a look below to see my video review of the Total Gym XLS.

Keep in mind that my exercise room is extremely small (you can see it here,) and I had a super tough time finding an angle where the camera would catch both me and the Total Gym.

I love the Total Gym XLS. It's an awesome machine t…

Novica Review and $75 Giveaway

It's taken me a long time to realize that everything I buy has consequences, but I finally get it. From food, to clothing, to medicine. It all has a chain reaction that effects the earth, animals, and other people. That's why words like "Fair Trade" are so important.

Novica is a fair trade company that connects artists from all over the world with people that want to buy their goods. They have an amazing array of products: from home decor, to jewelry, corporate gifts, clothing, and paintings.

I had the opportunity to review Novica and was amazed at the variety of products available. It was a lot like shopping while on vacation - weaving in and out of little shops to see unique handmade items and crafts. I spent a lot of time in the household decor, since we've recently remodeled, but ultimately found myself in jewelry and clothing.

I ordered an alpaca sweater from an artisan in the Andes and a beautiful scarf from a woman in Bali. Along the way, I was very impre…

Old El Paso "Family Taco Night" Prize Pack Giveaway

{This giveaway is now closed: congrats to #264 - Vicki} Does your family have a monthly "taco night?" We have taco night (or some version of it) at least once-a-week. MyBlogSpark sent us an Old El Paso "Family Taco Night" prize pack to make family taco night extra fun. 
The reason we have a version of taco night every week is because it's so easy, so yummy, and so inexpensive. And it can be pretty healthy. The more veggies you add, the better.
For this particular "taco night," I made taco soup. It's basically a mexican style tomato and veggie soup. I puree it all up into creamy veggie goodness, add taco seasoning, a little chicken, and tortillas. It's yummy. 
I often make my own taco seasonings, but it was nice to have the Old El Paso seasoning available and ready to go. I often have Old El Paso refried beans, sauces, and taco shells on hand to make easy taco meals.  Lucky for you, MyBlogSpark and Old El Paso want to offer one Suburban Jungle…

Moon Dough Review

If your house is anything like mine, then you have buckets of dried out playdough in all sorts of mixed up colors stashed in your cupboards, just waiting to be pulled out and thrown around. My kids love to play with playdough, modeling clay, you name it.

But they're not great at putting it away or keeping it where it belongs. Even still, I was excited when Team Mom offered us the chance to review MoonDough.

We tried out the Moon Dough Magic Barnyard. It's alot like play doh, but also very, very different! For one, it's wheat-free and hypo-allergenic. And it never dries out!  Really.... or at least for the month we've been using it.

My kids have left their "creations" out on the counter for days and we can just mush it up and add it back to the rest of the "dough."  It feels different than your usual dough or modeling clay too. It's softer and more sand-like. But it does join together and model just fine.

My kids loved it, and so did I. The one …

Is that a Challenge??

So....I happen to have a naturally defiant streak. I'm not embarrassed about it and I wouldn't want to change it for the world. And it turns out, I'm not alone.

My next-door neighbor was told by her mother-in-law that she'd be "fat by forty" and she is hell bent on proving her wrong. Awesome. She's really one of the most fit people I know. I worked out with her for a while last year but had to quit because she was too extreme for me. Woo!

Anyway, back to my point. She just turned 36, and she amped up her workout routine, running 10 miles at each workout and lifting weights that would put most men to shame. I like her, but...she's told me about her MIL's comment on numerous occasions.

It's always in the back of her mind. And she said she'd become anorexic before she let her MIL be right. Holy smokes! Well, now I have a "comment" of my own.

Recently, my husband's relatives were visiting and an uncle mentioned how nice it wa…

How Asthma changes your life

I recently wrote a little bit about my son's experience with Asthma and it made me think of my own battle with it from the age of 9-16. It really is a life altering disease and it's forever changed my outlook, my body, and my thinking.
Between the ages of 9 and 16, I had "bronchitis" or "pneumonia" at least 6 or 7 times a year. And those were just the times I actually went to the doctor. It lasted for months and I was on endless amounts of antibiotics and oral steroids. Oh yeah, and the endless inhalers.

My parents always thought I was just a whiner and that I should toughen up and deal with it. So they didn't take me to the clinic as often as I should have gone. And every time we were there, my mom reminded me of how much it cost. Yes, it was expensive, but what can you do when you are sick?

With that in mind, things got really bad around the age of 13. I was having a tough time breathing and my parents told me to suck it up. We visited my grandparent…

Bing "Our School Needs" Contest

School Budget cuts are a way of life for most of us. I'm always hearing about budget shortfalls and what the school desperately needs but can't afford. In our school, it's extra teachers and special assistants. We have a small elementary school with 1400 children. And class size is a huge issue.

In order to make the budget stretch, our school relies heavily on volunteers. Last year I worked in the classroom, preparing craft projects to free up teacher time for "teaching." This year, I'll do the same, but will also be working in the library and on a school rewards program. By using "free" helpers, our school is able to stretch much needed help without costing a thing. 

But they still have things that require extra money, and for that, unfortunately, our schools runs a new fundraiser every week. I really wish that wasn't part of the curriculum. To me, it's such a waste of class time. What if we could win a big chunk of money for our school so th…

What I REALLY need for Christmas!

Christmas stresses me out every year. When people ask what I want or need, I get really stressed. I don't really need anything, and I'm fine with that. But other people just don't seem to get it. This year, I'm excited because I've finally figured out something I need AND want.

Wait for it.....
If you know me in real life, you know I never answer the phone. Okay, I reluctantly answer the phone after you stalk call me for a while, and I never check messages. I'm bad like that. 
But it's not just because I hate talking. It's because I hate losing my hands. I'm constantly doing things that require moving (thank you cordless phones) and using my hands. The phone ruins everything. 
But maybe it doesn't have to? This year, I'd love to get a Hands Free Head Set .
You know what I mean? A Brittney Spears type headset that's wireless and allows me to talk on our home phone without using any hands. But works well enough that people can hear me. I g…

Franklin Baseball Batting Gloves Giveaway!!

HURRY - This is a ONE day contest!
Are you a big baseball fan? To be honest, it's something our family is trying to enjoy. I'd love to see my little boy find a passion for playing sports, and we're trying to get him excited about it.

If you'd like to bring some baseball excitement into your home, Franklin is offering one Suburban Jungle reader the chance to take home a pair of Franklin Baseball batting gloves.

Why are they offering this giveaway? To draw attention to the Franklin Baseball 10K Fan challenge! Franklin is currently running a promotion to reach 10,000 Facebook fans by October 6, 2010.

If they reach 10,000 fans, the fans will be entered for a chance to win a pair of playoff tickets. All fans also get 25% off in their online store.

To Enterfor your chance to win Franklin Baseball Batting gloves: Visit the Franklin Baseball Facebook page and become a Fan. Then come back here and leave me a comment telling me that you did.

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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: Life DVD 4-disc set Flat Iron
$20 Kroger's Gift Card
$75 Novica Gift Card
Just Jen Jeweled Top
Free Glasses

School Security - lacking?

I've had a few discussions with our Elementary school about security in th past, and it looks like it's time for another sit down. It's not that I expect our school to be Fort Knox, but I do have a strong opinion on my child's safety at school.

Over the last 2 years, I've dropped into school unannounced and uninvited on many occasions. I've never "checked-in". I've never displayed the proper identification or school visitor badge.

I've roamed the halls, went into classrooms, went into empty rooms, the library, bathrooms, playground. I'm not just a school stalker - I had legitimate reasons to be there. It's just that nobody has ever stopped me.

There are "people" in the halls, but not one has ever stopped to ask for my badge or to see what I was doing. I'm not well known at school. I'm just a regular mom-looking thirty something, that has never been stopped at any point. I even loitered near the office a few times jus…

Paying for your Kids' College

My husband and I had differing views on kids and money when we first met. He felt that parents should buy their children a car and help pay for school. I disagreed.

I bought my own car, paid for my own school, insurance, food, entertainment, and all other living expenses. And I don't think there was anything wrong with it.

I appreciated everything I had, and I worked hard to get ahead. Not that other kids didn't. Just saying.
A few weeks ago, we were driving through a very shady part of the metro area - an area where I just so happened to live during my college years. I lived in a lot of dives in college, and it's honestly the only negative I remember about my collegiate years. All else was bliss - even working 4 jobs at a time, eating an apple a day (and nothing else!), being at the head of nearly every class, but especially staying out all night. Woo! Okay, way off track.
My kids were in awe that I actually lived there! They asked, "Why did you live there mom? It…

"All You Need is Almond Butter"

I've been in a major food rut lately. You know the kind where nothing tastes good and you just don't want to eat? This is the time when a unanimous "NO!" should spring up from the crowd.

I hear ya, I've never  wanted to NOT eat in my life. And for the past few weeks I've just felt gross and not hungry. Of course, I've forced myself to eat, but still. After about 2 weeks, I started eating junk. I almost never eat junk, so this was weird. I just wanted to "want" to eat.
I ate junky for a few days and then...... I made almond butter.

I hadn't made almond butter in almost 2 months because my last batch turned out gross. Note to all: do not try to make more than 3 cups at a time in the Vitamix. It just turns crumbly and gross. Since I can't throw away food, I ate it and decided from there on out that I hated almonds and everything that had to do with them.
I turned to all things walnut and let it go. But today I made almond butter again. Goo…