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Showing posts from October, 2011

Savvy Rest Organic Pillow Giveaway!

If you haven't cleaned up your home and started to prepare for winter - let me encourage you to do it today! Toss old magazines, clean out clutter, and consider changing your bed linens.
Everybody could use a new pillow! And what's better than organic pillows from Savvy Rest?  Check out my review of their organic wool pillow here:  http://thesuburbanjungle.blogspot.com/2011/10/savvy-rest-organic-pillow-review.htmlOne Suburban Jungle Reader is going to win their own Savvy Rest Organic Pillow. All you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below. If you'd like more information about Savvy Rest - Check out Savvy Rest on Facebook.
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*Disclosure: Savvy Rest provided me with an Organic pillow to review free of charge. All opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by Savvy Rest. The winner will be selected by ra…

How do you decide when your family is complete?

Whenever someone has a new baby, I love to hold them and smell their skin. I love that new baby smell. And that's when the questions begin...

Doesn't this make you want another one? Umm...no! It seems to offend new moms when you start going on and on about how you NEVER want to have a baby again!

Probably not the best timing, and people take this issue very seriously. So how do you decide when your family is complete? This is such a personal decision and no two people come to the same conclusion.

For me, I was done after the first few weeks of my first pregnancy. The vomit, the achy bones, and all-out tiredness did me in. Then I went through an extremely long labor (including a 4 hour pushing period - actually, 3 hrs 47 minutes but I reserve the right to round up!) and decided I would NEVER be pregnant again.

4 Weeks after my son's birth, I start menstruating again. I bawled on the floor, rolling and convulsing. My husband thought I was just PMSing, but I was going nuts be…

Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip Review

Want a quick and easy way to get your kids to eat more veggies? You know what's coming - try dips. But if you're a health conscious mom like me, then you probably shutter at the very thought of adding chemically laden dips to your fresh veggies.


Then again, if you've grown up in America, then dips are probably a regular part of your life.  Either way, they don't have to be a bad thing.


We had the opportunity to purchase and review Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip and the results were actually quite surprising. 


The first thing that surprised me was how readily available these dips were. I thought I'd be scouring the stores hunting for just one tub of dip. I was wrong. All of the major stores I shop regularly, had the dip. And not just one lonely expired tub.


They had a whole row - with all 5 flavors. Now it was going to get tough. I actually had to choose! I stood in the aisle alternating between Cucumber Dill Feta and Spinach Artichoke. 


We eventually agreed on C…

Savvy Rest Organic Pillow Review

A good pillow is paramount if you want a good night's rest. Or maybe you're like me and you use pillows for more than just sleeping. Either way, finding a good pillow is super important. 


I've been on the hunt for a good great pillow for quite a while. That's when I came across Savvy Rest and their line of organic pillows. Organic pillows? I've said it before and I'll say it again - what you put ON your body is as important as what you put IN your body. Plus, organic practices are just better for everyone.


I was fortunate to be able to use the Organic Wool Pillow from Savvy Rest. I chose it because I have never had a wool pillow before and it is supposed to improve air flow and stabilize temperatures.  Since none of my family members sleep with blankets in our very underheated home and I still find them in buckets of sweat, I thought this might be a good pillow to have around.


Here are my thoughts:
The pillow was big and luxurious. It was very soft and comfortable.…

Xia-Xia Review & Giveaway

Do you recognize this crab? If your children watch any television, than I bet you do! My kids have been asking for these for awhile - but there not even in stores yet! They're called Xia-Xia (that's shah-shah) and they are hot stuff!
First of all, let me just tell you that they are made by the same company that makes Zhu Zhu pets and those guys know how to make hot toys for kids. Remember how crazy zhu zhu pets were a few Christmas' ago??!!
My kids got one zhu zhu for Christmas that year and it was a miracle that we even had one! And as miracles would go - they got to try the Xia-Xia hermit crabs before they even hit stores.
They loved them. They traded shells back and forth - filled them with little "surprises" and built them houses. They do come with their own playsets like the Cocacobana playset here: or the confetti cottage playset here:

My kids were not that "into" the playsets. They did use the cottage for storing shells, but they spend so many h…

Can Bone Broth be an Effective alternative to Recovery shakes?

Something about dried protein isolate just rubs me the wrong way. Like powdered milk (or 1%, 2% milk...but I've lost that battle) it just screams oxidation. But if you read anything fitness related, experts agree that a recovery drink is crucial to maximizing your muscle recovery.

I'm all about muscle recovery - and muscle building. But is there a whole foods way to get instant protein into your body? What about bone broths?


I have plenty of this on hand and I make more all the time. After some digging online, it seems that bone broth IS an acceptable alternative. It's loaded with collagen, gelatin, protein, calcium and a host of other vitamins and minerals.

The challenge - drinking it after a strenuous workout. Exercise steals my appetite and I could go hours (maybe even a whole day) without eating after a tough workout. My body just isn't interested.

Today was the day. I made chicken soup last night and simmered the carcass overnight, so I had fresh broth waiting whe…

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

Now that it's October, much of the gardening fun is over....or is it? Now is the perfect time to gather seeds. If you have flowers in your garden or have left any plants that bolted - you can collect the seeds.

Today, we picked a whole bucket full of Marigold heads and plucked seeds from the Sunflower. This is a perfect way to include kids in your gardening. They love to pick seeds - smash them, make crafts out of them, feed animals. Whatever. It's all a good excuse to get outside.

My kids have gathered all of our flower seeds and herb seeds for next year and even a few rogue pumpkin seeds. Now we just need to roast these sunflower seeds and wait for spring....

MyClyns Food Wash Review

By the time we bring home our fruits and veggies, they have been touched by countless hands, boxes, trucks, and chemicals. It's no secret that US and International growers use a host of pesticides and fertilizers to grow the food we eat, but there's also a ton of dirt and microorganisms.

We grow organic goodies in our garden, but I'm always amazed how much dirt comes off of our little berries. And berries never touch the ground. What about potatoes and carrots?

So the obvious thought is to wash our produce, right? Easy enough. But is it enough? I've always wondered. Especially since we don't buy all organic food and most of the food we buy is traveling a long distance to get here - being touched by infected people, riding in a shopping cart!!! Yummy!

We had the chance to try MyClyns - a 100% natural food wash spray. According to the manufacturer, MyClyns removes 98% more chemicals, was, and contaminants than water alone.

I was interested, but I was scared to use i…

Hero Moms - Do you know one?

Every mom is a hero, right? In my opinion, if your kids are healthy and mostly happy, then you are a world-class hero. Heck, sometimes even waking up after a difficult night of "motherhood" makes you a hero.

But what about real heroes? You know - the type that Save people. Like doctors, fire fighters, and soldiers. I'm just an ordinary mom, but I have been a life saving hero exactly once.

Three years ago we had a park play date with friends. We were going to this huge, amazing park for the first time. Apparently, we weren't the only ones that thought it was amazing because a private school brought all of their 5th graders on a field trip to the park that same day.

Since my kids were 2 and 4, I tried diligently to keep them on the kiddie side of the park. Away from the big 5th graders. But my son just kept trying to run off into the bigger area.

Always on top of where they were (I used to be quite the helicopter mom, just saying) I grabbed my daughter and followed hi…

The ZoneFast Weight Loss Program Review & #Giveaway

Losing weight and getting fit should be easy, but as we all know - it's not. With all the information floating around, it can get pretty confusing (carbs are bad, some carbs are good, don't eat eggs, eat eggs but not the yolks, eat the whole egg!). Eventually, most of us come to some version of this questions "what in the world CAN we eat!?"


I recently had the opportunity to review The ZoneFast Weight Loss Program and was shocked at what it contained and the information I received. I'll tell you why in a moment. Take a look below to see what the program entails:




The ZoneFast Weight Loss Program contains 2 weeks of Zone Foods. When I opened the first week worth of food, my jaw dropped to the floor. I couldn't believe how many carbs were in this box! White carbs! More than I would ever eat in a week! And there were cookies and bars. And cinnamon buns! 


I went to show my husband and explained that this was how much you needed to eat for a week. His response? That&#…

Gratitude - A fundamental key to finding yourself

Growing up, I wasn't very happy with my life. I grew up in a very poor neighborhood, surrounded by burn-outs and losers.  My home was less than a block away from two very active bars, so drunkards and stoners walked past my house every day.

Our home was burglarized and vandalized. Some of our friends were horribly abused. Misery was everywhere.

But then something amazing happened. I went to my first summer camp and realized life could be good. Really good. The world was filled with nature and life. There were people that had goals, dreams, and good intentions.

I never stopped going to summer camps after that. And I never stopped dreaming of a life away from the small little town filled with gloom.

I left home the day after I turned 17 and never looked back. I was now part of the good life. I worked hard and eventually settled into a secure suburban life. But all around me, women were complaining.

They had too much to clean, not enough time, not enough this or that. I've seen h…

The CALABOT DIY Robot - Review & Giveaway

Sponsored by Tomoson.com
My kids absolutely love to create. There are mornings I wake up and find the table littered with crafts. And the recycling bin empty....

The fact is, kids are extremely creative and they can spend hours working on a project. As we head into winter, I think it's important for parents to stock up on "media-free" activities that will help our children learn and grow. And have fun!

If you have boys, I am going to guess that they love robots. My son L-O-V-E-S robots. And how much more awesome could it get than being able to build your own robot.

We were fortunate to be able to review the CALABOT; a DIY robot from Calafant, a German toy maker specializing in cardboard kits for children.

The CALABOT is 2.5 feet talland comes with a built-in backpack and pocket in the front. Whoever designed this clearly had young children in mind. How many times have your squinkies, lego guys, or polly pockets found a "home" or mode of transport in another toy…

4 Hours with Nothing to Do

Both of my kids are in school. Every day. Excuse me for a second while I do this - Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!


It's not that I don't love my kids or like spending time with them. It's just that once you've experienced silence, you remember how much it rocked.

So my son is gone all day long and my daughter is gone for a little under 3 hours. I have been looking forward to uninterrupted time all summer long, but I think my husband saw it differently.

He approached me the week before school started and said something like, "So you're going to have 4 hours with nothing to do every day."

Um, no. I have just under 3 hours and I will not be doing "nothing." I still have the same amount of stuff to do every day. I will just get to do 3 hours worth alone.  It's not like a crawl back into bed once the bus pulls away (great idea by the way.)


I spend about an hour of that time exercising and getting myself ready. I take my kids to …

Gaining Weight From Exercise...

When you start exercising, your weight should surely go down, right? Well - I have been exercising a minimum of 3 times per week for the last 13 months and over that time, my weight did steadily go down.

But 44 days ago, I started an extreme (every day) workout program (it last 90 days, half-way there - woo!) and over that 44 days, I have gained 5 pounds. This is a solid, legit 5 pounds. 

It's not because I'm wearing jeans and sweaters instead of shorts and tanks. It's not because I'm PMSing or drinking extra water. This is real weight. It's on me....

Luckily, I've been tracking my weight and body fat percentage every day for the last year, so I have some clue as to what's happening.

I know that about 4 pounds of that weight IS lean body tissues (muscle, bone, tendons, fluids...) and around a pound of it is fat. What the Junk! I didn't start exercising to gain fat! 


But this is the riff. In order to gain muscle, you do need to gain fat. This is crap, b…

A New Spin on the Cookie Exchange: Host a Chex Party Mix-Change! & Chex $20 Visa Gift Card #Giveaway

Fall means it's time to bring the parties indoors. That means football games, movie nights, game nights, and of course snacks. It also means bake sales and cookie exchanges. But what if you didn't exchange cookies? What if you made super cool Chex party mix packages?

Do you know how easy that would be? And do you know how cool it would be wrapped them up in cute pacakages and tried some of the newest flavors?


Original Chex Party Mix – A tried and true classic of many holiday gatherings.Chex PB & Chocolate Blast – Is there really a better combination than peanut butter and chocolate? Yes, when Chex cereal is added!Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch – Mix things up and try this mouthwatering alternative to the beloved holiday pie.Hot Buttered Yum Chex Mix – A combination of cinnamon, brown sugar, honey and marshmallows blend effortlessly together in a crazy-delicious, gluten free crunchy mix.Chex Caramel Chocolate Drizzles – Melted chocolate, chewy caramel and a delightful crunch carry…

The Couponizer - Review & #Giveaway

Sponsored by Tomoson.com
I'd like to tell you I was organized and bought everything with a coupon, but it's just not the case. Coupons have always frustrated me. I lose them. I get to the store and realize - "I've got a coupon for that....and it's at home." Or I have the coupon with me, but it's somewhere in my purse.

Over the last few years, I have made baby steps toward being a more organized shopper. I even make a list every week. It's just that I lose that list 70% of the time. And I've gotten better at throwing away coupons right away if there is a slim chance I'll ever use them. That one step really cuts down on stress/clutter.

But what about the coupons I do save? They go in a zip bag in my purse. All lumped together. Some expired. Some stuck to each other....none of them organized.

In my quest for coupon sanity, I recently got my hands on the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Couponizer. To be honest, the whole concept scared me a little…

Are You Adding Arsenic to Your Garden?

Apple seeds (pips) contain Arsenic. And a pretty decent amount. But what happens when you put your apple cores into the compost bin? In our family, we eat at least 3-4 apples a day. Each core goes into the compost and eventually makes it into the garden.
Does that mean we are adding cyanide to our garden soil? After so much debate over the right wood/nails/screws to build our garden beds (to avoid arsenic and other toxins) it's a valid concern.
But in my research to determine which boards to use, I found out the ground already has a considerable amount of arsenic. And what happens at orchards where hundreds of apples are lost to the ground, worms, blights - they all end up back in the soil. Apples have been composted for years.
I decided not to worry about it. The pips may add cyanide. Or they may fully degrade and microorganisms might change the make up entirely. Who knows.

The New Season of The Biggest Loser - Are you Interested?

After 11 seasons, I was pretty sure I was finished with The Biggest Loser. Last season was kind of boring, and how many years can someone watch the same story....

I decided I was done. Done, done, done. I was about to erase it from our DVR when I realized it was only days away from starting. I was back in.

I counted down the days and prepared myself to be annoyed. I decided to spend some quality time on the treadmill during the show so I wouldn't be wasting 2 hours on the couch. Seriously - does the show have to be 2 hours!

Here are my thoughts:

Thank God Brett and Cara are gone. They were annoying trainers. And I'm cool with Jillian being gone too. The show started with some exciting Military tanks and aircraft, but I kept thinking - are we, the taxpayers, paying for this military presence?

In some way, I'm sure we are. And that's more annoying than the product placements in the show. Thankfully, this first episode did not contain any product placements. There was cry…

Jenna McCarthy's "If it Was Easy, They'd Call The Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon" is now available!

Remember the funny bit about marriage from Jenna McCarthy? Well - her book is now available! It promises to be a riotous look at marriage! Really - you can't take it sooo seriously or you won't make it through with your sanity.

I'm just starting the book today and will let you know what I think. In the meantime, check out the trailer here:


Don’t forget to google Zestra after you finish watching this video... or better yet, check out the link on Jenna’s homepage http://www.jennamccarthy.com/.

Cluttering the internet...

Today I needed to search the internet for real life, tax related information. The "real" site I was looking for didn't even make it onto the first google search page. How sad.

Do you know what was on the first page? Tons of scam sites. On the second page? Reviews, random thoughts, and finally the real info I needed.

It makes me wonder if we are ruining the internet. It's such a fantastic tool for finding information. It's something I wouldn't want to be without. But if we keep adding more and more fluff, are we diluting the benefit?

What if no one can find true information because there is so much junk? Should we all stop blogging? Or at least stop blogging about random topics (like this?) Just a thought...

Good Night Garden

The garden is pretty much finished for the year. I'm still pulling out zucchini, raspberries, and swiss chard - but everything else is gone and the garden has returned to a muddy, black pit of dirt and leaves.

It's amazing to think it was once vibrant and teeming with veggies. It's really ugly when it's just dirt and leaves. Oh well. It will soon be covered with snow, and I'll be busy planning for next year. I am looking forward to a hefty swiss chard crop and tons o' berries!

Adding more Omega-3 to your diet may be easier than you think!

We all know how important it is to get Omega-3 fatty acids into our diets. Unfortunately, that's just not happening for most people. Especially children.

There are 3 types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: DHA, EPA, and ALA. DHA  is structurally important to the health of our eyes, brain, and heart. And it's something our bodies can NOT make.

To keep it simple, most DHA comes from the sea. Specifically algae - which is eaten by fish. When we eat those fish (or the green algae itself) we incorporate that DHA into our bodies.

Did I just lose you at algae? Or maybe fish? Let me try to convince you that fish doesn't have to be gross. It doesn't have to be slimy or smelly or anything but tasty, healthy food.

My kids love to eat fish, but if you ask them - they might make an "ew" face. I think it comes from T.V. They know they are supposed to make that face.

If you have kids and have a hard time getting them to eat foods rich in Omega-3, let me offer a super tasty (and easy…

Eggland's Best Susan G Komen Support & #Giveaway

Now through November 15th, Eggland's Best will be supporting Susan G Komen for the Cure by turning their EB stamp on each egg Pink - and donating $50,000.

My daughter squealed when she noticed we had "pink" eggs. She even wanted to keep the pink labeled carton.

Supporting healthy initiatives (like SGK) is something you would expect from Eggland's Best.

It can be hard to know what you are buying at the grocery store, but Eggland's Best clearly states on their cartons what they feed their chickens - all vegetarian diets.

And their eggs taste great. You can get involved in the Part of Being the Best is Doing Good Program by checking it out here: http://www.egglandsbest.com/news/egglands-goes-pink.aspx


One Suburban Jungle reader is also going to win an Eggland's Best Prize Package. The prize package includes: an eco bag, plush egg, spatula, and Eggland's Best Free product coupon.



To Enter to win: Fill out the Rafflecopter form below:


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