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Showing posts from March, 2011

An important reason to try Yoga!

Not everyone loves yoga - imagine that! But let me give you a new reason to reconsider it. I can across an article discussing the importance of balance versus bone density when it comes to hip fractures (the ones that land old ladies in the nursing home.)

A couple of key takeaways: in one osteoporosis study, the majority of women that suffered hip fractures did not have low bone density and 80% of bone strength and density is determined by genetics (only 20% is attributable to exercise, nutrition, lifestyle.)

Being a smaller boned person, this intrigues me. I bust my rear in the gym (and on the pavement) to keep my bones in shape. I want to build as much bone mass as possible. But being a small framed Caucasian female, my genetics are driving most of my bone strength (or whatever lack of strength I end up with).

So if the majority of women suffering fractures had normal bone density, what was causing their bones to break? The answer: Falling! Are you clumsy? I am...well, I was. Or I …

Testosterone Dominant Females

Are you an aggressive, take charge kind of woman? Are you naturally lean and athletic? Do you go after what you want and don't stop until you have it? Well.... you might be a testosterone dominant female.

I'm not going to keep you waiting, there's a super easy way to tell. You don't need a blood test or anything fancy. Just stick out your hand. Look at your fingers.

Is your ring finger longer than your index finger? When you're in utero, you are exposed to all sorts of hormones. The more testosterone you were exposed to, the longer your ring finger. The more estrogen, the longer your index finger. The testosterone and estrogen you were exposed to in your mother's womb greatly affects your personality and your physical traits.

Most women have longer index fingers and have estrogen dominance. Some don't. What does that mean if you're testosterone dominant?

According to Wikipedia and other sources - it can mean any of the following:

-A higher level of test…

What are you Teaching your Children about Fitness?

As moms, we teach our children about so many topics. Of course, we focus on reading, writing, polite behavior, obedience....and so many more. But what are we teaching our children about Fitness and healthy living?

Growing up, I saw my dad alternate between dieting and binging. We were forced to "spot" him while he lifted weights and saw him yo-yo through all sorts of sizes. Weight was a constant topic and focus.

My mom complained about her squishy belly and religiously did 100 sit-ups a day - for years - with no change in her appearance. It was an odd environment. On the one hand they complained about their weight, but on the other hand they were buying soda, chips, and all sorts of "treats."

I've been thinking a lot lately about the health legacy I'm leaving for my children. For the longest time, the only TV show I watched in front of my kids was The Biggest Loser. It's still, hands-down, my favorite show, but I think it may have had the wrong effect …

Crest Pro-Health Invigorating Clean Multi-Protection Rinse Test Drive

As someone that was once diagnosed with full out gingivitis, I take oral care very seriously. I was ecstatic to be selected as one of the bloggers to be involved with the Crest Pro-Health Invigorating Clean Multi-Protection Rinse Test Drive Program.

More than 2 years ago, I was diagnosed with gingivitis and my dentist told me it was only a matter of time before my teeth started falling out. At thirty, really? At about the same time, I was struggling with an inflammatory illness that was wreaking havoc on my nerves and muscles.

What do all good dentists say? The mouth is connected to the body. Good health includes good mouth health. So I started eating better, exercising regularly, and taking care of my mouth.

I started flossing at least once a day and have only missed once or twice in the last 2 years. I also switched to an electric toothbrush. Those two changes took my mouth from "days away from losing teeth" to excellent health.

But what about mouth rinses? I've never…

Introducing Johnny Reid

Already a chart-topping, platinum-selling artist in Canada, Johnny Reid will release his first album in the U.S. on May 3rd, 2011. But of course, I've already listened to it.

What did I think? I liked it. In fact, I had checked him out on Youtube before receiving his CD and new that his music would fit well in our collection.

How do I describe his music? This is a tough one. For one, he has a very smoky, old sound. To me, his voice is a cross between Bruce Springsteen, Tim Mahoney, Michael Buble, Michael W. Smith, and maybe Frank Sinatra. There's a certain sultry tone and easy listening vibe - but also a bit of funk and rhythm.

My favorite song, by far, was the first one on the album - Today I'm Going to Try and Change the World. It's a cool song with a great message, and I swear I heard a bit of bag pipes near the end. I love bagpipes.

Take a listen and tell me what you think:

Overall, this is cool music you can play when friends are over and you're relaxing arou…

The Tao of Motherhood

I read all sorts of parenting books, but The Tao of Motherhood was completely different. It's hard to explain really. It was very easy and quick to read. While I was reading it, I felt calm, enlightened even. Like I was sitting in a cozy warm bath, reading by candlelight.

Maybe that's what people actually mean by meditation.... I've honestly never slowed down long enough to think about it. I even read this book quickly. Even still, it was calming and encouraging.

I'd best describe this book as series of parenting related quotes or messages. It would actually be a fantastic source for inspirational words you'd want to put up in your home.

My favorites: "Be concerned with this: that you, your marriage, and your home teach health and balance and truth," "Wars bring suffering to all," and "There is no greater pain than feeling you are not enough."

The book gave me a lot to reflect on. It helped quiet my otherwise noisy life. It even helpe…

The Farmer's Walk - an Exercise You May Want to Consider

In my opinion, the best exercises are those that improve your ability to move in everyday life. In a lot of ways, they mimic work that people used to do.

I can't tell you how angry I get whenever I perform Axe Chops or similar exercises. While I think they are effective (and so I continue to do them), I hate that they are unproductive.  I could be getting the same work out and doing something. I could really be chopping wood.

Well, the Farmer's Walk is one of those exercises. Extremely practical to real-life activity, and annoyingly unproductive. But effective for building strength and endurance.  Check out this video to see how it's done:


Looks easy enough, right? Pile on the weight and tell me what you think.

I'll tell you what I think!

It reminds me of gardening. Carrying heavy buckets of water, mud, or plants. Carrying tools back and forth from the shed to the garden. It's crap work and it makes you a lot stronger. I literally do this all summer long. I even do…

I'm on the Pumpkin Pie diet.

Last year, my sister announced that she was going on the pumpkin pie diet. It was laugh-out-loud hilarious and I thought it sounded awesome. The details: eat pumpkin pie and only pumpkin pie. I l-o-v-e  pumpkin pie, so I was a little jealous of her continuous pie eating.

I had forgotten all about her diet (which I think lasted for 3 or 4 days) but today I made a pumpkin pie....and I ate it all! All of it. A whole pie. All me.

This wasn't some crazy binge. I just really eat a lot of food sometimes. In all honesty, it's some sort of miracle  I'm not morbidly obese. I guess I'm just super active.

But the pie was so yummy. I felt a little guilty about eating the whole pie. Only because of the not sharing part. Not the calories. And looking back, I can joke about being on the pumpkin pie diet. Except that I ate all my regular meals and snacks too....
The links in this post may be affiliate links and products are often received for review purposes. Read the full disclosure

Growing a Shamrock Plant

I've been buying plants lately. Partly because I have spring fever, but also because they just make everything....nicer. Sometimes I buy flowers, and sometimes I buy seeds and plants. A few weeks ago, I bought this pretty little Shamrock plant.

It's remarkably easy to care for and has lasted a long time. The bad news...it is poisonous to cats. Really poisonous, I think. Ours will be moving outside as soon as it warms up. 
It's a fun plant to have around during St. Patricks day and they cost less than $4 at the supermarket (or at least mind did.) They close their leaves in the evening (crazy!) and they produce little white flowers. 
My kids have enjoyed taking care of it, and all of us have enjoyed the color and life that it brings to our home.  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.

Seriously - how many carcasses are in your freezer!!?!???

My freezer gives new meaning to the phrase "Bring out Your Dead!" I was so excited last week after I roasted a chicken because I was out of stock and knew that I had a few bones saved in the freezer. I was organized and ready to make homemade stock.

So I eagerly opened my freezer and started pulling out carcass after carcass! I had 2 pheasants, 1 turkey, and 1 1/2 chickens! Plus the chicken I had just made! Oh well...all into the pot:


I smashed them all into the pot and made a broth/stock from all three different types of birds. This was my first time making a mixed stock. I let it cook for a long time and came out with a very concentrated, rich broth.

Since it was so concentrated, I put all the bones back in the pot with a splash of lemon juice and let them cook again. This time, the stock was much less concentrated and the bones were brittle.

You can see the difference:
My chicken stock is always very gelatinous (yay collagen!) and aromatic (I add onions and garlic). I mix…

PitStop Underarm Stain Remover

It's  no secret (sadly) that I sweat....um....a lot. What is a secret is how many white tops I go through! I love to layer and white is one of my favorite shirt colors. Splendid. That means I throw out a lot of shirts because of yellow under arm staining.

I have tried all sorts of remedies (switching deodorants, pretreating before laundering, bleach...) but nothing really helped. Then I saw PitStop underarm stain remover in the March issue of Shape (love that magazine) and knew I had to try it.

When it arrived in the mail, I gathered all my offending shirts and went to work. Look at the pile of shirts I had to treat!
Really - it would be larger but I turn most of my "stained" clothing into cleaning rags. Most of these tops are only a few months old, but one was from my working days (so at least 7 years old.)

I used the entire sample sized bottle of Pitstop. By the way, you can win a sample sized bottle on their website.

I ran these through the wash......and the stains cam…

The Shut-Down Learner - helping your academically discouraged child

Sending my son off to school has been one of the most frustrating (and exhausting) experiences of my life. Ever since his first day in kindergarten, we've been waging an uphill battle against his hatred for school.

I'm not going to sugar-coat it: my son hates school. As a concerned and involved parent, I have tried everything I can think of to change it around for him.

I can't tell you the number of books I've read and websites I've visited: looking for the way to motivate an unmotivated student. We've held numerous play dates and parties.

We joined an all boys book club. I spend every evening working on homework, spelling, writing, and reading. He's met with the school counselor and worked on improving friendships. I've even made his lessons and spelling words into visually focused games.

I regularly communicate with the teacher to make sure he's not falling through the cracks.

He's a shy kid and could easily fade into the background. In fact, …

Why don't we have a pill for overweight and obesity?

For some crazy reason, I started tivo-ing Dr. Oz. Maybe it's because he gave me free running shoes. Whatever. The topics are entertaining and as usual...I became addicted.

Well, the other day Dr. Oz was discussing combining pills to aid in weight loss. At one point he looked into the camera and said something like, "with all the advancements in medicine, why don't we have a pill for obesity?"

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  Why is it that everyone is always looking for a quick, no work fix. Just pop a pill and your life will be perfect. Gag me with a spoon! He's off my tivo list....

Whole Grain Cereal & Lean Belly Giveaway

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Commite, ninety-five percent of Americans do not get enough whole grain. What are we eating? Fast food???!!! This fact just amazes me. In fact, the average person gets a little more than a half a serving of whole grain each day.
So if you're one of the 95% that is not getting whole grains, you may want to take a closer look at your diet. 
MyBlogSpark and Big G cereals want to help. Big G cereals contain at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving (some with more than 16 grams.) 
MyBlogSpark is offering one Suburban Jungle reader a chance to win a FREE box of Multi Grain Cheerios and the new book “The Belly Fat Prescription,” by Dr. Travis Stork, MD and host of The Doctors.
I personally really like multigrain cheerios. I mix them with regular cheerios to bring down the amount of sugar even more. And I have only good things to say about Dr. Travis Stork's book. I read it from cover to cover, and while I don't have a weight proble…

Souper You - Yoga and Pilates Giveaway!

To help everyone keep their New Year's resolutions, Progresso brought back the "Souper You™ Debut" contest! From January 3rd through March 16th, you  can visit Progresso on Facebook to enter for the chance to win a full makeover in New York City.

 Three grand prize winners will be awarded a trip for two to New York City from May 20th-22nd. The prize includes roundtrip airfare, a two-night stay in an NYC hotel, a full makeover, a guided wardrobe shopping spree with a personal consultation at a New York City department store, and $1,000 in spending money.

To enter: Go to Progresso on Facebook to learn more and enter the contest Submit your essay (200 characters or less) telling Progresso why you love their soups that contain 100 calories or less, and why you deserve a chance to win a trip to NYC for a full fashion overhaul.

Since the contest submission period has ended, keep your eye out for the announcement of the 10 finalists. You can visit Progresso on Facebook from Ma…

Firebreather DVD and BluRay

Firebreather is available on Blu-ray and DVD starting March 22, 2011. Why should you know this? Because Firebreather is the #1 show for kids aged 6-14, Boys 9-14 and Tweens 12-17. Since it appears on Cartoon Network, I was pretty certain my son had seen glimpses of the cartoon, and considering it involved a boy that was half human, half fire-breathing monster, I knew he would like it.

When it arrived at our home, he knew exactly what it was! And we set a movie date! We watched this movie as a family. First - let me tell you that it's a full length movie. I thought it would be a short cartoon, or a compilation of cartoons, but it's not. It's an actual movie.

And it's a pretty good movie. It's interesting. It's adult yet still suitable for kids. My 5 and 6 year-old both watched it. In fact, my 6 year-old even shushed us few times.

There's plenty of action....and plenty of teenage angst. Maybe the younger kids don't understand those parts and it's okay…

When Organic Moms aren't Very Organic.....

I've made a lot of friends lately that are a lot like me. Yes... like the picture. Spunky, dedicated to fitness, healthy eating moms that still listen to rap music and love to garden and act stupid. Who would have thought this combination existed so often? Well...thankfully it does.

I've finally found friends that are just like me....or are they? Naturally, my friends and I talk a lot about fitness,  clothing sales, organic gardening, cooking, buying organic....the fun topics. But what happens when you find out your organic mom friends aren't so organic after all?

A few weeks ago, I was at an organic friend's home. She buys everything organic. Really! It's actually kind of cool. She's read The Omnivore's Dilemma and spent years as a Vegan. She does pilates in her dining room and works out with a personal trainer. I like her.

Well, on that visit we were discussing budgets and food. She asked how I could stay on such a small budget if I was buying all organi…

How to Make Running on the Treadmill Less Boring.

I say "treadmill." You say "blech." Is that how it goes? That seems to be the same old story, but it doesn't have to be. There are a number of ways to make the treadmill tolerable and even down-right fun! Here are my suggestions. Feel free to use some of them, all of them, or not at all.

#1 Pick the right music. Fast, fun music makes all the difference if you want to run. Find a mix with your favorite, upbeat songs and I bet it will make a huge difference not only in your speed but your endurance.

#2 Watch T.V/Read/Or at least work out in front of a mirror. It's boring to run at a blank wall. It is. I'm sorry. If you can manage to watch tv or read, the time will pass a lot easier. But even better, if you can position the treadmill in front of a mirror, you can watch yourself run. Seeing yourself run is motivating. You can see your form and perfect it. You can even see how strong you look, and that's pretty motivating.

#3. Do more than just run. You…

A Lucky Horse Shoe Wall Decals

Vinyl decals are a fun and easy way to decorate your home! I love them and have used them in several rooms in my home. A Lucky Horseshoe Wall Decals is a great place to find vinyl decals at a great price, especially if you want to decorate a child's room or play area.

We ordered a growth chart for my daughter's room and were very impressed with the quality. First off, it was so easy to find a color combination that matched with the rest of her room's decor. Second, the decal was so easy to apply. Basically, peel and stick.

I'm not "artsy" and I was able to put it up all on my own (with 5 and 6 year old helpers!) It was up within minutes and my daughter loved it. This is how simple it was.

In just a few minutes we went from this:


To this:


To this:

We opted to personalize her decal and that was the icing on the cake. She loved to see her name right on top. And she stops in her room to measure herself on a regular basis. She's so proud of being able to figu…

Nutella Mommy Party

We are big breakfast people, and Nutella kind of says breakfast to me. Of course, it also says yum, but we decided to go with a breakfast theme for our Nutella Mommy Party.

At our Mom party we discovered that nutella goes on almost every fruit. It goes great on bagels, waffles, pancakes, even tortillas!

As it turns out, everyone that attended loved Nutella. I'm not a fan of how much sugar it contains, but I'm here to tell you it's almost impossible to make an homemade version of Nutella. I've tried. I used the best hazelnuts. I used all natural ingredients, less sugar.... and it tasted horrible.

Thanks Nutella for hosting our super fun party!

Get in Awesome Shape - Bob Harper's Ultimate Cardio Body!

Mark you Calendar for March 15, 2011! That's the day that Bob Harper's new fitness DVD Ultimate Cardio Body becomes available! You are going to want to buy this DVD!!
I had the chance to review this DVD before it hits stores and it is AWESOME! If you liked Jillian's 30-Day shred but thought it was a little "girly," then this DVD is for you. Actually, if you want kick ass results, this DVD is for you.
Here's what people are saying:  Ultimate Cardio Body features two extreme workouts: the “Extreme Cardio Challenge” and the “10-Minute Glute Challenge.” The first workout is an hour-long aerobic voyage that begins from the lower body to kick start your heart rate and continues all the way up to the upper body, focusing on key muscle groups along the way to yield comprehensive, fat-blasting results. The second workout, “The 10-Minute Glute Challenge,” isolates the lower half of the body with targeted movements to refine and tone the glutes. Ultimate Cardio Body pushes…

NaturalSkinShop.com Glycolic Acid Peel Review

Have you ever had a glycolic acid peel? Kind of scary, right? Even scarier to try at home too. Well, not really. NaturalSkinShop.com is your one stop shop for at home chemical peels
I had the chance to review the 40% glycolic acid medium peel kit. Since I'm not a "spa girl" I was a little scared to "peel my face." But my fears were unwarranted. It was so easy! 

NaturalSkinShop.com is full of helpful advice and online consultants. They can help you find the right product for your experience and skin type. After reading all the information on their site, I thought the 40% glycolic acid solution was right for me.
And so the process began. The instructions were very detailed and helpful. I had no problem using the product. After a few days of using the 10% solution, my skin was more radiant. I must say that I am most impressed with the daily exfoliator. It's easy to use and gives great results. 
I didn't see much difference after I used the 40% peel. Just…

Happy Easter Store Review & Giveaway

When I think Easter, I think candy..... Now that I'm older, I still love peeps and jelly beans, but I like more sophisticated treats too. One thing I don't like - waiting in line at stores. Did you know there's a Happy Easter Store?

I took a cruise around that store and saw so many yummy Easter Chocolates, baskets, flowers, and gifts. As if my spring fever wasn't bad enough! Lucky for me, I had the chance to review this site and order some yummy chocolates for myself.
We sampled the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Collection. Take a look at some of the yummy goodness inside:
I probably don't have to tell you how awesome it was - but I will anyway. If you order this collection, open it and grab the white pecan bear before anyone else even sees it. You will thank me!
The site was great. The products were all Easter related. Everything was easy to access. They shipped my chocolates out right away, and they were on our doorstep in less than 2 days. Gotta love it. Especially …

Blogging for Profit - The fastest, easiest way to make #money with your blog!

Blogging for fun is a good policy, but blogging for profit has it's benefits. You can read throughout my blog (here and here) about how I've made money. As with anything, there are easy ways to make money and there are hard ways.

I've found the easiest (and fastest) way to make money blogging is by working with Social Spark. What is it and how does it work? Well....it's a place where you can select advertisers looking for writers. You know the pric up front, you write the article, you get paid. 
You look at a big selection of articles that advertisers want written. If it looks like something you could write, then you whip it up and put it on your blog. Turn around is pretty quick. They approve or deny your post within a day. Then they set you up for payment. 

They pay for each article 30 days from the day it was approved. When you "cash out" they instantaneously transfer the money to paypal (without fees!) If you scroll through my blog, you'll see a bunch …