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Showing posts from July, 2011

Grow Garden Grow

People probably think I'm crazy when they see me out taking pictures in the garden, but I like to keep a record of what I planted and how it's grown. It is amazing to see the changes. It's only July - but who cares - here's a summer in pictures of our garden. April 2011 - Construction begins  May 2011 - Construction is complete. The first plants to be transplanted were our raspberries and blueberries. Here they are - a month or so after transplant. Raspberries - getting started and preparing to mulitply Blueberries - recovering after transplant shock. Lettuce, Spinach, and Swiss chard growing below. The tomatoes are in! Corn and Green Beans - a few weeks after planting That's how it all started - but look at it now! Garden in full bloom - July 2011 Blueberries have finished, the lettuces are ready to bolt, the spinach is long gone, and the swiss chard is still producing well Tomatoes - heavy with green fruit

We Finished the Warrior Dash - Next Stop Tough Mudder!

This is me at the Starting Line - I blurred out everyone else to protect their privacy. This summer, my family and I ran the Warrior Dash - a 5K through mud, hell and fire. That's what they say anyway. Because the entire course is set on ski slopes, it's almost  ALL up or down hill  (black diamond hills!) and that makes it a little hellish. The rocks, steep drop-offs, and ruts are all a little ankle-wrangling. Other than the hills, it was just plain fun. Running through tires, jumping over cars, scaling vertical walls, climbing ropes, jumping fire, crawling under barbed wire, jumping hurdles, balancing on multi-level teeter totters, sloshing through mud, getting blasted with fire hoses..... good times. It was really pretty awesome! Here's a look at the fire jumps. It was really crazy to jump fire! I only wish my shoes would have stayed on (note to self: do not wear velcro strapping shoes through a muddy race - velcro + mud = no contact.) I felt reall

Fiber One 80 Calorie Cereal Giveaway

I never count calories (okay, I did once ) but the fact that General Mills' new cereal Fiber One 80 calories is only 80 calories per serving caught my eye. And it didn't just catch my eye. Everyone that has been over to visit has pulled it out my cabinet, commented, and tasted it! Eighty must be a magic number in the calorie world. I didn't even read the ingredients because, honestly, I didn't even want to know. I gave it a taste and thought it tasted pretty good - really sweet, maybe a little too soggy. But good for cereal. I'm not a cereal fan, but my friends and family are. Everyone else thought it was great. 80 calories was just a bonus. Want to find out more? Check out the Fiber One Facebook Page . Want to try the cereal for yourself? MyBlogSpark is offering one Suburban Jungle reader a Fiber One 80 calories cereal Prize Pack. Prize Pack: 1 box of Fiber One 80 calorie cereal, iPod/smartphone holder with armband, and sensor pedometer with usb connect

Fall 2011 Tea Collection

I like shopping at Target or "mall stores" as much as the next girl, but there's something a little yuck about going out into the world and seeing someone wearing the exact same outfit. But that's the risk when you shop where everybody else does. That's why I like to mix in a few unexpected items from boutiques or specialty stores. My children recently had the opportunity to preview the Fall line of Children's Clothing  at the Tea Collection. The Fall collection is inspired by Modern Mexico - and it's really cute. I urge you to look through the clothes at Tea Collection. There is a lot of great stuff - for boys and girls (even women and babies.) I had intended to take photos of my kids in some of their new outfits, but unfortunately my kids are going to need to grow into their new duds. Showcasing them on my little skeletons would not do the clothing justice. They tried them all on and were excited about the colors and designs. I was excited by t

Taking your Family Vacation - ON THE ROAD

Are you planning to hit the road with your family this summer? Because of the cost savings, road trips are becoming more and more popular. We even took a road trip! We recently took our family on a really long road trip to Rapid City, South Dakota.  I know what you're thinking S-E-X-Y, but hey, we have two young kids that still need to see the world. We need to take trips across this country so they can see all that's out there. To learn about history and to gain an appreciation for all that we have. That's why we travel in the first place, right? If you have young children, I'd definitely recommend taking a road trip with them this summer. But before you go, I have some advice. #1 - Be prepared. Pack snacks, entertainment, something to wash your hands, and comfy clothes. #2 - Make it an adventure. We took pictures of all the animals we saw, Wind turbines, and crazy landmarks. Anything to make it special and adventuresome. Wind Farms in South Dakota - woo

Chicken Sausage and Summer Vegetables Recipe

Chicken Sausage & Summer Vegetables Chicken Sausage & Summer Veggies Ingredients: 2 Zucchini (chopped any way you like) 2 Yellow Summer Squash 1/2 Yellow Onion (slice into strips) 2 Red Peppers (slice into strips) 2 Chicken sausages (slice into rings - I used the preservative-free, all natural spinach and mushroom sausages from Target) a splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Directions: Saute the onions in a splash of olive oil. Then add the squashes and peppers. Saute until they just turning soft. Then add the sausages (already pre-cooked) and heat until the sausages warm up and get a little caramelization.  Here's a close up of the goodies - yum Don't worry about spices in this recipe, since the sausages are already seasoned. You could easily make this vegetarian and it is also a primal recipe. And of course - it is simple and quick to make. If you happen to have leftovers, mix it with your eggs the next morning.   It sou

Phineas and Ferb - Upcoming movie!

Phineas and Ferb is TV's Number one animated series in Prime among kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14. What do your kids think of the show? My kids think it's both interesting and entertaining. My son especially loves the "sci-fi" aspects of Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Plus they relate to two brothers seeking to conquer boredom. And like most cartoons they watch, there is a super smart pet that does more than just look cute. If your kids like Phineas and Ferb, then get ready because Disney is launching the original movie "Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension" on August 5th!  It will appear on August 5th at 8:00pm ET/PT on the Disney Channel and August 14th at 10:00am ET/PT on Disney XD. But there's even more. This summer there will be a flurry of Phineas and Ferb activities all over the nation. The Perry the Platy-bus is going coast-to-coast (from New York City to San Diego's Comic-Con International July 21-24) and the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim from Aug

Funky Monkey - Healthy Snacks Review

If you're like me, then you probably struggle with finding healthy, convenient snacks. Look no further! You have got to try  Funky Monkey Snacks ! Haven't tried freeze-dried fruit? YOU ARE MISSING OUT!! Imagine all the flavor and nutrients of fruit, without the drippy wetness. They are so convenient. So quick, so easy, so yummy, so addictive..... Funky Monkey graciously sent me these great flavors to review: JiveaLime Carnaval Mix Bananamon Purple Funk Applemon MangOJ Pink Pineapple What did I love about them?: *They tasted amazing! Each combination was fantastic, but I really loved Pink Pineapple. Who doesn't love dried pineapple? Can you say, CANDY! * Funky Monkey Snacks  are certified organic! *They contain fruit, and nothing but the fruit (and cinnamon for Bananamon) *3 Servings of fruit in every ounce! *Funky Monkey Snacks are super convenient. We brought ours to eat between swimming lessons. They were quick, easy, and tast

2 Pairs of Shorts - 1 Summer

This spring, I eagerly rearranged my seasonal clothing and brought my summer duds into rotation. But as I took them out, I realized something. All of my summer clothes were huge! I didn't have to try them on to know there was going to be a problem, but I did. Holy Guacamole! I had only lost 3-4 pounds since last year, but I am now 3 or 4 sizes smaller. WTF? This is why scales are crap. I may have only lost 3 or 4 pounds of weight, but over the last year I have lost more than 15 lbs of fat. And gained some muscle - yeah! But still....this leaves me with a dilemma. Nothing fits. And I mean nothing. I quickly made a pile of things I could alter and I went to town sewing down a bunch of my clothes. In all, I was able to salvage a few tops, 1 dress, 1 skirt, and 2 pairs of shorts. Just TWO! For the whole summer! That's a heavy rotation schedule. And last week, I realized that these shorts were no longer fitting. Damn you muscular body! My old belts no longer have enough ho

Why do you garden?

This spring, while we were building our new raised garden bed , a neighbor stopped by and had an annoying conversation with me. "So that's what you're building. I get it now. Well, I guess some people do have to grow their own food to save money." That was the gist of the conversation. I didn't say much. I was covered from head-to-toe in mud, sweat and tears. I had no time to hold a conversation and after his elitist comment, I had no interest in ever speaking to him again. The truth is, I don't garden to save money. In fact, I probably don't even save very much money gardening. I garden because I like it and I grow all of the foods I like to eat in excess. It's a fun, sometimes stressful, always changing hobby. It keeps me active and outside. And there was that part of about eating in excess..... There are a few foods that I would buy and eat every day. Every day. They are as follows: Berries, Tomatoes, Berries, Swiss Chard, Spinach, and

Surviving Back to School

It's almost that time...back-to-school time! Seriously, how does summer go by so fast? Maybe it's all the time outside, at neighborhood parties, play dates, phew! But how do you make going back to school easier.  My best advice is to stay on top of all the paperwork that comes home. When your child brings home papers from the school - HANDLE THEM ONCE! Read it, write it down in your calendar that minute, then recycle it. You will never miss a bake sale, or field trip, or end up with a huge pile of papers and not know what is going on. Your life will be much simpler if you can manage all the paperwork this way (that goes for homework too.) If you'd like to be part of a daily  back-to-school sweepstakes with Master Lock - head to their facebook page here: .   I wrote this post as an entry in  a contest for a Master Lock back-to-school prize pack as a member of the Mom Bloggers Club.

Chicken and Zucchini Pesto Toss

Chicken & Zucchini Pesto Toss Ingredients: 2 Zucchini (julienne or slice finely with a vegetable peeler) 2 Chicken Breasts (cut into strips) 1 Jar of Basil Pesto 3 Carrots (julienne or slice finely with vegetable peeler) 1 Chopped Tomato 2 Cups Fresh Spinach (or 1 cup frozen spinach -thawed and drained) Directions: Saute or grill the carrots and zucchini until soft. Remove veggies from pan and saute or grill the chicken. Add the veggies and spinach. Put the lid on the pan to wilt the spinach. The mix in the pesto and raw chopped tomatoes.  I know this looks really green , but it tastes amazing. Fresh Veggies can't be beat and there is no substitute for the yum of pesto. This recipe is primal and can easily be made vegan or low-carb - and with only 6 ingredients, the prep time is quick!  But what recipes do you have up your sleeve? 

Scary School by Derek the Ghost

To keep boys interested in reading, it's important to choose books with topics that interest them. We recently read Scary School by Derek the Ghost and absolutely loved it! It's creepy and hilarious and just good fun. Both of my children (girl 5, boy 7)  love it and have laughed every time we read a new chapter.  Because a "ghost" is narrating the story, my son was immediately interested. He couldn't wait to hear about the Scary school. And I suppose you could call the school "scary," but it's much more funny than scary. My favorite part is the references to the Three Rachels - one spelled with an "e", one spelled with a "y", and one spelled "Frank", but pronounced Rachel. It pops up randomly through the book and is just hilarious. They also loved that the principal could crush heads, the T-rex wore a dress and matching bonnet, and that pretty much every teacher eats the students. We almost couldn't finish

Christmas in July - Is it time to get planning?

It's only July, but Christmas has been on my mind. Since Christmas usually involves travel and stress, we've been planning early. When you think of Christmas, what comes to mind?  For me: it's lights, decorations, and music. But it also means travelling in the snow, sending out Christmas cards , making cookies, and buying gifts. We usually buy our gifts and cards throughout the year to make things less hectic during the buying season. Around summertime, I almost always have at least half of our shopping done. This year, I have only one thing purchased. PJs for my daughter. I wish I knew in advance what the "Hot" toys would be this season so I could buy them all now and skip the lines. This is also the time when we try to take or plan a family photo to use in our annual photo cards , but we haven't finished that yet either. So what, right? We have plenty of time.... Christmas may be 5 months away, but it will catch up to you quickly. And if you wait u

How to harvest the most Broccoli from your plants

This is the first year I have planted Broccoli and it has been quite the learning experience. Here are a few important things you should know about planting Broccoli. #1 Space it correctly. Give at least 18-24 inches between plants. They will start out small and spindly like this: Within a few weeks - 2 months, they will look like this: #2 Check the leaves for bugs/worms. Once the broccoli head starts to form (right in the middle of the leaves) you can cover it with thin mesh to keep cabbage worms out. I didn't do this, but did check the leaves almost every day. We didn't get any bugs. #3 A Broccoli head will form right in the middle of the plant. Pick it as soon as it's ready. When is that? When the little buds on the head are about the size of a match head. And before it turns yellow. Do not let it turn yellow. Then it will turn into a huge bunch of little yellow flowers, it will be bitter, and inedible. If you let the flowers open or start to yellow, you