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Showing posts from November, 2011

What if you hate exercise?

You know it's good for you, and every doctor in the world will tell you that you should  exercise every single day. But what if you hate exercise? 

So many of my friends look at me like I'm a freak when I declare that I looove exercise. And believe it or not - they usually ask me if I'm anorexic. Nice!

Yes, I'm a thin person and yes I really do like to exercise. But it's not because I have an obsession with being thin or some other mental illness. (And for the record, I eat a ton!)

I like to exercise because I look at it from a different perspective. 
Blah, blah, blah - here comes the healthy mumbo jumbo. Yes, I like to exercise because I am obsessed with health. Exercising makes me feel better. I need it to feel better. I love knowing that I could run and run and run and run if I had to.

I like knowing that I could scale a wall, climb a tree, hoist my body up, crawl, scratch, kick, fight, and gnaw my way out of any situation. I also enjoy the mental clarity and ba…

Bonding over Board Games

This fall has brought a ton of great bonding experiences for my family. The secret: board games. Now that my kids are school-age, they understand how to play games.

They get the concept of taking turns, they love to win, and most of all they love the "family time." Since the weather has turned chilly, we've been spending more time indoors. That can mean a lot of boredom. And a lot of TV watching!!

I don't want my family to be huddled around the T.V. all night. Thank goodness for board games! We spread out on the floor and play various games together.

We've played cards, dice, and marbles, but board games are our favorites. There's just something awesome about knowing the rules and having something to follow along with.

Board games are my top choice for activity outside of TV - but it's not just because they're fun. It's because we can play them "together."

While we're playing, we talk. We share stories and make memories together. We…

ChoozOn - Saving Money and Time!

Saving money is awesome. And deal sites are even better! Or at least, they can be. In an effort to stay on top of all the best deals, I've signed up for all of the deal sites - Groupon, Crowd Cut, Living Social....
And my inbox is a zoo!!! But what do you do? You don't want to miss out the deals that are relevant to your interests, but you can't keep wasting time sorting through messages. 
That's where ChoozOn.com comes to the rescue. ChoozOn was founded by former Yahoo! executives to help personalize your deals. In essence, ChoozOn does the weeding for you - and you only have to check one  place to see all your relevant deals. 
ChoozOn works with over 1500 major brands, deal services, coupon sites, flash sales and loyalty programs to make sure and find you the best deals.
It's free to join and the first step is laying out your interests. As I was looking through the available options, I suddenly realized with more than half the deals that come across my inbox are…

Fascinating Earthworm videos

I gotta tell you - I am learning so much about earthworms it's creepy. I wish it were spring so I could get out and dig for some. Did you know that earthworms are damaging some of our northern forests? Did you know that the earthworms that inhabit most of America are imports from Europe?

Did you know that they can pick up big rocks, sticks, and leaves!!!? You have to see them do it here: http://youtu.be/kU7DTjf52i0. I was so grossed out by this video. It's unreal. Who knew what went on in the night?

I just might take the kids out on summer nights to hunt earthworms and watch them in action. You'll also like this video on the Giant earthworm of Australia. You can hear it gurgling underground. Now I need to go to Australia not only for the boxing kangaroos, but to hear the earthworms gurgling.


 And this video shows an earthworm collecting seeds. OMG!
 And this is what I contemplated building to make even more compost:
 The worm exploration just keeps growing. Woo! I'm…

Make a BETTER pumpkin pie this year!

Pumpkin pie is the best. I mean, the BEST. I could eat it every day. And when I make a pumpkin pie - I usually eat the whole thing in one day. It's that awesome.

But not all pumpkin pie is awesome. Here are my top 3 tips to make your pumpkin pie BETTER this year.

#1. Skip the crust. It's gross, loaded with yuck and is completely unnecessary. Don't add flour or bisquick or anything else to your pie. Just put it in an ungreased pie pan and it will all work out. I have been making crust-less pie for almost 8 years.  All the yum without any of the yuck!

#2. Use Coconut Milk instead of condensed milk. Condensed milk is a processed sugar bomb. Get it out of your life. Make your own coconut milk (so easy, by the way - here's how) and use half the amount in your recipe. So if your recipe wants 8 oz of condensed milk, use 1/2 cup (4 oz) of coconut milk.

#3. Cut the sugar. You don't need a whole cup of sugar in your pumpkin pie. You can swap sugar for maple syrup or honey (…

How to Travel for the Holidays without getting Fat!

Travel really messes up a workout routine. Long  hours in the car. Junk food at every turn. What can you do to make sure you don't lose your fitness level over this holiday season?

Travelling has always ruined my fitness in the past (especially by car!!!) but since our last vacation, I think I have an idea how to keep it in check.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Workout HARD the week before you leave. Workout in a major way - giant sets, increase the weight/speed/distance - so that you HAVE to rest the next week or you risk over training/injury.

2. Pack your own snacks. If you are going to be in the car for hours - pack fruits and veggies, cheese, meats, and lots of WATER!

3. Pack things to occupy your mind - movies, books on tape, whatever - just so you don't eat out of boredom.

4. Get out and walk around when you pump gas, stop to eat, or stop for the bathroom. Get your body moving - at least a little.

5. When you arrive at your destination, hit a grocery store to stock up on h…

Rethinking Worms

How often do you think about the worms underneath your feet? I rarely give them a thought - except when I'm digging in the garden.

When we built our first garden in our new home 4 years ago, I thought of earthworms - because there weren't any! I had never experienced clay soil before. It was hard, heavy, and devoid of life.

But we made a garden anyway; turning in compost and peat. Fast forward a few years to when we remade and expanded the garden this spring. While digging in the current garden space, we encountered numerous worms. Even wire worms (oh no!)

But as we dug to create the new garden boxes, we were in fresh clay again. Heavy, thick, and wormless. I mean zero worms. Not even the yucky wire worms. Or slugs or pill bugs. Or anything.

We've since amended that soil as well and my kids are constantly relocated worms to the garden. You know the ones that almost drown after a rain storm? My kids collect them and settle them into the garden every time it rains. Is it he…

Cheerios Cheer Giveaway

Cheerios wants to help spread a little "cheer" to military families this season! Now through November 2011 - specially makrd boxes of Cheerios cereal will feature Cheer postcards on the front of the box. You just cut it out of the box when you're finished with the cereal, write a message of thanks on the back, add a stamp and drop the pre-addressed card in the mail
The USO will then deliver the Cheer cards to military families across the country. And that's not all. For each postcard received through November 2012, Cheerios will make a $1 donation to the USO to help fund programs that support military families.
Cheerios has already donated $150,000 to the USO to kick start the campaign and will donate up to an additional $100,000.
And to help the Suburban Jungle readers get in the giving spirit, MyBlogSpark and Cheerios are offering a Cheerios Cheer Giveaway:
Here's what you could win:

This prize package includes:

1 Cheerios cereal bowl1 Cheerios cereal spoon1 ce…

Make Your 2012 New Year's Resolutions NOW!

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? If so, then make your resolutions for 2012 right now!!! Especially if you are serious about keeping them.

Research suggests that it takes the average human 66 days to form a habit. I happen to believe you could beat the "average" but it's worth noting how long it takes for a habit to form. We are of course, talking about "good" habits.

So if you start today, you'll be almost there by the time New Year's rolls around. Then you'll have that New year's burst of energy and purpose to push you through to the end and wallah.... habit formed. And you can cruise past the 90% of other resolution makers that have failed in the first few weeks of January.

Best of luck to you!

Should you mow down your Fall Raspberries to get a better crop??

This year, we moved all of our berries into their new "permanent" homes and I was very worried about how many berries we'd actually get. It was very slow in the summer, but to my surprise, we were pulling handfuls of berries out every single day until the end of October.

That got me thinking - did we have such a great fall harvest because there were very little to harvest in the summer? Or was it the fish fertilizer I had been using?

Most gardening websites and books recommend that you sacrifice the summer crop to get a robust harvest in the fall. I've never done that because I like having berries from May - October and I would miss the summer raspberries.

But I have a separate patch of summer raspberries that have been producing quite well, so I think it might be time to give it a test.

This is the way I will manage our fall berries if we are able to build the orchard we want, so why not give it a try now?

I'm so scared! Cutting down all my berries is the scari…

Train Your Brain to Get Rich

No matter what you were born into, you have the power to take charge of your life. Want to be rich? Maybe this will help?


I just finished reading:  Train Your Brain To Get Rich. Anyone who knows me, knows that this title really appeals to me. But the book was not at all what I expected.

The book contains scientific evidence for how we can manipulate our brains to think/believe/do almost everything, but it's not a "guide" to becoming rich or gaining wealth. I guess there is no fool-proof guide or we'd all be rich, huh?

But what it does offer is a good look at your brain's functions, how you can change your perspective to increase your chances of success, and some overall good tips for healthy living.

In fact, I'd probably change the title of the book to something like "Train your Brain to live a Rich and Full Life". Not as catchy, but it's definitely accurate. The book offers a lot of good insight into living a more full and rewarding life - if …

Disney Junior's Jake and The Never Land Pirates Review

Disney will be launching a brand new 24-hour Disney Junior channel soon, and one of it's big shows is Jake and the Never Land Pirates. This hit show is cable's #1 series for boys ages 2-5.

And it was a long time coming. As a mom, I can tell you that preschool programming that can compete with the "older" cartoons is hard to come by. Kids know when they are being shown "baby tv." Especially when their friends tell them that it's baby tv.

We had never seen Jake and the Never Land Pirates until Team Mom sent us a copy of the program to view. And my kids liked it. It's well animated and is interesting to children. The kids in the show are active and doing "pirate" things - well, except for the looting, violence, and swearing.

And that might be the only complaint my kids had - there were no real "bad guys" and everything turned out okay. I think that's really important for preschool aged kids. Really, why do they have to worry ab…

New Health & Wellness Center - Plus save $4 on Zyrtec!

Are  you suffering from seasonal allergies? If yes, then listen up! Walmart has just launched a new Health and Wellness Center where you can find helpful information on over the counter (OTC) products, like Zyrtec.  And right now you can even get a $4 off Zyrtec coupon (on the 40ct or higher packs) by checking out the site.You can find it directly here: http://see.walmart.com/healthandwellness/#/zyrtec or by clicking the allergy tab at walmart.com.

This is a HOT $4 off Zyrtec coupon and there are other big dollar coupons for other over the counter products too. Plus - you get information about those medications and the issues they treat.

Head over to Walmart's Health and Wellness Center soon to print your coupon before they run out. For those of you who have allergies - you know fall is a big season for allergies and $4 saved here and there really adds up!

Plus you can watch videos and  get tips/tricks for managing your seasonal allergies. If you click on any of the other tabs in…

How to Shop at Costco or Sam's WITHOUT getting Fat, Wasting food, or Wasting Money!

Everybody loves a good deal. And because we're always looking for the best prices, I've always wondered whether people really save all that much shopping at warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam's.

Then - I got a membership. At both warehouse clubs! That should both shock and disgust you. It disgusts me. But I have both memberships because they were free. And I decided to take advantage of those free memberships and find out whether there were any real deals to be had.

For the record - let it be known that I am a health food snob. I do not like packaged foods. I am completely against rampant accumulation and most of all WASTE. Wasting of money. Wasting of Food. Wasting of Time.

And that's the person I take into Costco and Sam's on a weekly basis to do some of our grocery shopping. I have been a member at Sam's for about a year and Costco for 6 months.

If I had to pay for the membership I would not join again. 
Phew. I got that out of the way. I just wanted to be h…

Looking for an Exercise Partner?

So many of my friends say they can't/won't/don't workout because they need/want an exercise buddy. Unfortunately, that's often their way of hinting that they want to workout with me. Ugh.

I'll do cardio with friends - just for fun - but not for a workout. For grunty, sweaty, effective workouts - I  work alone! 

Or do I?


She doesn't really wear this gear (except during dress up - poor kitty) but I realized that I do have an exercise partner and I almost never work out alone.

Like most children, cats are icky workout partners. They scratch and fight things while you're trying to focus. They crawl around and on you while you're doing tough yoga poses. And....they ask for attention.

The reason my cat likes to workout is because I used to throw balls for her between sets. She'd fetch them and wait for me to finish. I still do this occasionally, but I don't take a lot of breaks in my workouts anymore and she's noticed. She waits for my cool down a…

Words to Sweat By - Decorating your Home Gym

Any gym rat will tell you that having a positive motto can make all the difference when a workout gets tough. Think about it. When you're working hard, the world is quiet. It's just you, your body, and your thoughts. 
When your mind starts to wander or give up, it's helpful to think of a mantra like the ones you can find on the Words to Sweat by workout gear. 
If you can't put your mantra up on the wall or scrawl it across your mirror - how awesome would it be to have  it staring at you as you wipe the sweat from your face? 
We recently brought the Words to Sweat By towels into our home and I'll tell you why I like them:  Decor - A gym can be a pretty ugly place. A down and dirty place. A sweaty... You get the picture. But you want your home - your whole home - to look clean, organized....special. These are perfect for decorating your gym. I put three of them together in a basket and my gym suddenly looks like a spa. Would you like a towel madam?  Inspiration - The…

How to Save money this holiday!

The holidays are coming and what better way to kick off the holiday shopping season than by sharing our best savings tips! Things are tight for everyone this year - so to make things easier, I'm asking each Suburban Jungle reader to leave a comment on this post sharing a money saving tip.

Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway

My giveaway sponsor is the fabulous Shabby Apple!
Shabby Apple has the bestwomen's dresses online!! And with all the gunk that goes into being a woman (and/or mother/employee/wife/etc) it's nice to have cute dresses to help you feel a little more feminine and free.


Check out this super cute white dress:




This giveaway is for the ahoy dress - in your size. All you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below. No purchase is necessary to enter and entry should be pretty simple. One winner will be selected by random.org and notified by email.


If you want to buy any of the beautiful dresses (women's or little girl's dresses) at Shabby apple: feel free to use this code:suburbanjungle10off to save 10%


The contest ends on November 25th, 2011 at 11:59PM EST and is open to US residents. *The giveaway product is being provided by Shabby Apple. I did not receive any products or compensation to host this giveaway. &am…