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Showing posts from January, 2012

Organize your Family with and enter for a chance to win a $500 Visa Gift Card

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of for SocialSpark . All opinions are 100% mine. We go on plenty of play dates and at each person's house I see vestiges of chore charts, calendars, and allowance programs. This is such an important area to be organized in, but it's so difficult to know where to start. This year, I'm planning to be more organized! I recently came across a fun site for families called .  My kids have just started playing more and more games on the computer, so this is a perfect time to introduce the three age-relevant games on that teach financial responsibility.  The financial responsibility game  sites are, and There's nothing better than being able to learn while you play. But has so much more than just games. It's filled with family organizer tools . Each of the tools ar

Winter Composting Surprises

The funny thing about composting is that it never ends. We are always eating fruits and vegetables, leaves fall from trees every fall, plants die, and there is a continual need to feed the compost pile.  For the past few years, I had employed an open compost pile. Basically, we dumped our compost items and buried them in the pile. But in the winter, the pile would freeze and I would eventually throw out our scraps (oh the travesty!)  This summer we invested in large rotating compost bin. I could rotate the bin daily and keep the compost decomposing. Since we had a warmer winter, the compost even continued to break down - albeit slower than the hot summer time.  But then it happened. I went out to empty our household compost and saw egg shells littering my raspberry beds. What happened? I figured it out once I couldn't open the frozen locks on the compost bin.  My son had emptied the bin a few days before and also could not open the frozen locks. But instead of tell

Incorporating Green Tea into your Day

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've surely heard about all the health benefits of green tea. I've read oodles of articles describing the antioxidant benefits of tea, but did not drink my first cup of tea until  last year !   And since that first cup, I've experimented with tons of flavors and have come up with a healthy way to incorporate tea into my daily routine. I drink tea to slow down and relax. So I usually drink tea while I'm sitting on the porch in the evening, enjoying a cool breeze. Or I drink tea while I'm reading a book in bed or in the tub. And I often drink tea when I feel like I need "something" but I'm not really hungry. It gives you that warmth that you're looking for. It's also a great low-calorie snack/beverage to enjoy while watching a movie, traveling, or just watching t.v. As you can see, I haven't really associated tea with food. But when you entertain, most people expect tea to go with s

My Winter Garden

This winter has been unseasonably warm and when we were mid-50's and not a trace of snow by January, I started to get giddy. Surely, this wasn't normal. But running outside to turn the compost bin, I caught a glimpse of the garden. It looked perfectly ready to plant - like early May readiness. I immediately got the urge to plant something. Could I really have a garden year-round? I was almost too excited. You know, mental hospital excited. Then before I knew it, we had real winter. I'm not complaining - we missed almost 3 months of it, and spring will be here before you know it. But now I had the planting urge. It cannot be cured without planting.... Lucky for me, I had something in storage that was going to work beautifully. This summer, we stopped at a 10 cent garage sale. WHAT? Yes, everything was 10 cents. Most of it was total junk, but I did happen to find a brand new herb planter - complete with dirt and seeds. Old seeds, but hey, 10 cents, right? So last we

Perricone MD $150 product Giveaway

If you're a woman, then chances are good that you've been battling with your skin ever since you left grade school. It's a never ending battle, but good products really do make a difference.  Perricone MD products are some of the best out there, and they are giving one Suburban Jungle reader a chance to win a Perricone product valued at $150 or less.  The products are Perricone are extremely varied. You can find creams for eyes, stretch marks, products that contain  chia omega 3   and products with the  health benefits of capsaicin . There's almost no limit to the products you can find.  So fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win a product of your choice: a Rafflecopter giveaway <a href="">You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>. *The Giveaway product is provided by Perricone MD. No compensation was received for this giveaway.

The Diet Detective's All-American Diet

I read a lot of books about health and nutrition, and usually I pick up one or two useful pieces of information. But not with The Diet Detective's All-American Diet . This book shocked the core of what I believe about nutrition!  The gist of what this book says is: "its great if you grow your own organic foods, shop at the farmer's market, and prepare all your meals - but most American's won't! - so let's move past that and create a plan using the foods that American's eat." I paraphrased that, by the way. I have never read a health book that advocates eating what American's typically eat! But it really made sense. One of the biggest battles I have when discussing healthy food options with others is that they do NOT want to change WHAT they are eating. The entire book was a plan to eat correct portions and do it using processed foods. Plus some optional (I SAID OPTIONAL!!!) fruits and vegetables. There were literally pages and pages of

Whole Grains First Giveaway

The front of any food product rarely gives you the whole story. I am a notorious label reader, and hopefully by now you are too.  One of the biggest changes in "front of the package" labeling has come in the the claims of "whole grains." You absolutely must read the back of the label - ingredients and nutritional information to get the truth about what is in the products you eat! By looking for the White Check on the front of the box, you can be sure that item you are about to purchase lists Whole grains as the first ingredient on the back.  General Mills is offering one Suburban Jungle reader to chance to win 5 boxes of their popular cereals that have the white check.  To Enter to win - fill out the rafflecopter form below: a Rafflecopter giveaway You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway . But that's not your only chance to win! General Mills has developed an online educational game called "Fast Lane for Whole Grain"

Progresso Souper You Giveaway

January is almost over! How are you doing on your New Year's resolutions?? If you have weight loss as one of your 2012 goals, then Progresso wants you do know that you can have your soup and eat it too! Progresso has 40 delicious soups with 100 calories or less per serving, so you can take your pick to keep your diet interesting. Plus, this year the Souper You Contest will provide three lucky winners with an ultimate makeover experience in Hollywood; which includes a trip for 2 to Los Angeles, California where the winner will receive a head-to-toe makeover including hair and makeup, guided shopping spree with a $1,000 fashion retailer gift card, $1,000 spending money and 2 tickets to this season’s live finale of NBC’s  The Biggest Loser Yes, you read that right - tickets to The Biggest Loser finale! To enter: submit your photo at  with a brief essay about why you love Progresso soups and why youdeserve a makeover, by no later than February 22nd Fan

Brothers All Natural Fruit Crisps - Review

It was the joy of all joys when a big box arrived at our house filled with Brother's All Natural Fruit Crisps. I had agreed to review them but the truth is, I have tried them before. For some odd reason, 2 years ago, the CVS near my home had a batch of Brother's Strawberry Banana crisps. I bought a pack on a whim and ate it on the way home. I turned around and bought the whole display. I think there were 40 packages. In case you're new to this blog, I love, love, love berries, and freeze dried fruit. My kids loved the strawberry banana crisps, and we finished the entire lot of them in just a few days. I went back to CVS hoping they had restocked the shelves. Nope! A few more visits to the store and I realized they were never selling them again.... Fast forward 2 years, and the Brothers fruit crisps pop into my local Costco. To my dismay the carton was mostly apple and pear - no berries and knowing my history with fruit crisps, I knew that I'd eat the 24 pack

Raw & Beyond - Review

If you've taken any steps toward a Raw diet, then you know some of the amazing benefits. Over the past few years, I have ventured into various aspects of the raw and vegan worlds. To be honest, I love everything about raw, whole foods. But.... like the well respected authors of Raw & Beyond , I found that being 100% raw wasn't for me.  For one - it's just too dang hard to get enough calories from healthy, whole foods. Yeah!! Think about that! Perhaps if we all added more raw veggies (or honestly, veggies of any accord) to our diets we'd have a lot less of a weight problem. But I digress. The books authors recommend a mostly raw or what's called a High Raw diet. And I couldn't agree more. They discuss the reasoning behind it, and like all aspects of health it centers around inflammation. In this case: the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. I found the food chart in the book to be extremely interesting and I'm thankful

Looking for the Ultimate Gift for around $20?!

Are you looking for the perfect gift? Or do you have a birthday coming up (hey, Mother's day is just around the corner) and you need to give people ideas? Here's what I recommend: Sure, you're going to think I'm a little "pull up" obsessed lately. But that's only because I AM! I got mine off of Craigslist for $10 and it has been the best gym purchase I have bought in a Looooong time. Maybe even one of my better purchases of all time. I'd recommend looking for these at garage sales, on ebay, or on Amazon . People buy all sorts of great fitness equipment each January. They maybe use it a handful of times before it gets stored - and later resold for WAY less than they paid. That makes it almost new. Plus pull up bars last for-eva. I had resisted buying one in the past because I thought they damaged your door. Then I saw my sister's pull up bar and thoroughly checked it out. No damage. She has the Gold's gym pull up bar - which admitt

Ocean Spray Fruit Snacks Review & #Giveaway

Fruit snacks have been OFF of my grocery list for so long, but somehow my kids end up getting them anyway. They are a favorite of moms and teachers to hand out at school events. So when I heard that Ocean Spray was coming out with fruit snacks made from real fruit juice and natural colors and flavors, it only made sense to give them a shot. To be fair - I would not buy fruit snacks of any kind for my kids as a regular snack. But I would buy them as a better alternative when I'm asked to bring fruit snacks to school or parties. And these really do seem to be a better alternative. Looking at the ingredient list, you won't find the artificial colors and flavors you find on most fruit snacks. But you will find Corn syrup, sugar, corn starch, dextrose, a host of preservatives, juice, and "natural flavor." One pouch has 80 calories, 100% of the Daily Value of Vitamin C, and 12 grams of Sugar. They also have double box tops. My kids love collecting box tops for th

The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook Review

If you want to improve your health, then I'd recommend you take a look at  The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook . I love new cookbooks and I can't say enough about this one. For one,  it's based on eating more whole, nutrient dense foods. And besides that - it actually teaches you how to cook well!  I can tell you from experience, that once you start eating a diet of whole foods (prepared well) you will lose a lot of your tastes for processed food. Even gluten and sugar loaded "foods!" If you've ever thought about going gluten-free or even want to know WHY it's important, then this book is for you. It begins with an overview of what and why gluten can be dangerous. It then goes into how to cook correctly, and then starts on recipes. Oh the recipes!! This book is loaded with recipes. Aptly, it starts with gravies and sauces because if you thought about removing gluten, the first thought in your mind might have been - "but what about

Having Fun with Uncommon Goods

I love unique gifts and finding things that no one else has seen or used. That was part of the fun when we opened the "Family Fun Set" from Uncommon Goods. Ironically, my son was having a pretty grumpy day when we opened the package and the first thing that popped out was the Emergency Clown Nose! The timing couldn't have been better. And what a super cute, little gift. If you have kids, or even if you don't - I'm sure you could come up with a ton of uses for this! This is a great site unique gifts. Check out their awesome kids section here and since we all know men are tough to shop for, you're going to want to see this . The second item that we pulled out was a table top ping pong set. What a great item to bring out on a rainy day or when you're travelling. This would have been so great to bring on our holiday road trip. When you stop at a hotel - you can bring this out and get out some of your sitting frustrations. The best part o

Looking for a good Vegan source of Protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids??

I am always on the lookout for new plant based nutrient sources. And I may have found something truly awesome that even a non-vegan would love! Hemp seeds! I know what you're thinking. Hemp!!! You wouldn't believe the looks I get when I tell everyone I meet about these amazing little seeds. Yes, I'm a blabber mouth. And I carry them with me for friends to try. Guess that they think? They taste good! Really! They taste sort of like a creamy, nutty sweet pea. But not sweet. I love flax seeds and add them (freshly ground and raw of course) to many of my meals, but I wouldn't say that flax tastes "good." It just is. I'm the kind of girl that could eat a whole big bowl of peas and call it dinner. I do love them...and hemp seeds remind me of peas so what's not to love. Plus, they have a lot of protein for such a small (and non-animal) food. Plus they are portable. You can pop them in your mouth as-is (no grinding required), put them in your granol

Making Fitness Progress when you have No Weight to Lose

Because I'm pretty frugal, some people might say that I'm obsessed with money. But those people are wrong. I'm obsessed with fitness .  If you're a relatively fit person, do you ever find yourself jealous of obese people because they see "results" on a regular basis? I do! I love to watch people on The Biggest Loser drop pound after pound after pound. How exciting!! My fitness tracking is way less exciting. Sure there were the baby  pounds that came off for a few weeks, but then the scale was pretty much stuck in a small 5 lb range. I'm at a healthy weight, so I'm not complaining. I just wish my "results" were a little faster/more noticeable. So if you don't measure weight (and really, weight shouldn't be the main motivator anyway!)- what can you measure to keep track of your success?  Measure body fat, speed, endurance, amount of weight you can lift, and how much more you can do! I have been keeping a fitnes

Frosted Toast Crunch Review & Giveaway

Have you seen the new "Frosted Toast Crunch?" It just started showing up in my local grocers this month, but we had the chance to try it out before it hit stores. My first thought was: "Really???" I mean, wasn't Cinnamon Toast Crunch sugary enough? But after reading the box, it turns out there are only 9 grams of sugar per serving. Not a "low sugar" cereal but lower than some of the sugary favorites that kids love. Plus the cereal has 11 grams of whole grains and who doesn't love frosted squares? Would you like a chance to try out new Frosted Toast Crunch? One lucky Suburban Jungle reader will win the prize package shown above - including a box of cereal, spilt milk bowl, lickety spoon and frosted pitcher. To Enter: Fill out the Rafflecopter form below. a Rafflecopter giveaway <a href="">You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway&

Back to School - $25 Sams Club Giveaway

Heading back to school after the long Holiday vacation is almost as exhausting (and exciting!) and heading back in the fall. It takes a lot of work to get back on schedule and Sam's Club wants to help make that transition even easier! Some of your favorite General Mills brands are offering even more cash for your local school with the Sam's Club "6 Box Tops on a Pack" promotion. Plus you can find notebooks, computers, clothes and much more at Sam's to help get you back to school. To make it even easier - Sam's Club is offering one Suburban Jungle reader a $25 Gift Card to Sam's Club. To Enter - Fill out the Rafflecopter form below. a Rafflecopter giveaway <a href="">You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>. Disclosure: The Sam’s Club gift card, information, and giveaway h

Got a Messy office?? Enter to win Money for your Messiness!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Contest Factory for SocialSpark . All opinions are 100% mine.   Is your office a dump? A paper wasteland? That probably means you're not be being as efficient as you could be - which usually means less money.... I said USUALLY! But not this time! If you have a messy cubicle or office you could enter to win the Pimp My Cube Contest . Pimp My Cue is looking for the worst, most pathetic, messy cubicle or office. You can have bad furniture (70's anyone?,) old technology, old food, and any assortment of dirty, dark, or messy surroundings. What do you do? Upload a video showing your office or cube space while you explain the details of why it's so horrible and why you want Contest Factory to come in and "Pimp" your cube!  Then you have your friends and family and internet buddies vote for your video. You get sweepstakes entry points for registering, voting, Review

My cat eats a high quality diet. She's fully primal - no grains of any kind, and in order to find her higher quality food, I have to shop at a specialty cat food store.  You can imagine how annoying this can get. I'd rather just dump it in the cart at Target and go on with my day, but good cat food is not sold at Target. Sorry, it's just the truth.  So, once a month, I take a separate trip to the (out of my way) pet store and pick up her spendy cat food.  Then - in a moment of pure "duh!!," I realized I could be buying her cat food online. No driving to the store. No waiting in line with people that bring their pets to the store . No lugging large quantities of pet food and griping to myself about the price all the way back to the car.  What had I been thinking? I use the internet for almost everything and yet I wasn't even looking for her food online. Actually, I take that back. I had scoped it out on Amazon and a few other online stores,

Pecans Gone Wild!

While visiting my sister over the holidays, look what she pulled out: Raw, organic pecans that she gleaned herself from her the University she attends. Wahoo! I love pecans! And I have to tell you that raw and wild pecans are even better. It makes me smile to think that she does some of the same things I do - exercise just for fun, crazy races, shopping for deals on cute outfits, hunting for wild berries and nuts. It's awesome!

Walmart on Christmas Eve....

I rarely shop during the holidays and I never go out on Black Friday, so what would possess someone like me to venture into Walmart on Christmas Eve? It could only be one thing..... We opened gifts early so we could travel for the holidays and one of my gifts was the new Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword . So obviously, I was going to start playing right away. Or was I???? Like every Legend of Zelda in the past few years, a system upgrade is needed to play the game. First it was an upgrade to the N64, then the game cube, then a game cube with boosters, then the Wii, and now the motion plus controller for the Wii. Sheesh! All for the love of the game, right? I guess so, because I checked online and found the one last Motion plus attachment in the area - at Walmart, no less, and ran out to get it. I say ran - but moving around in the store was like Molasses. It was liking being at the state fair - with winter jackets. Yuck. I went right to the electronics and had to dig on th

Alpha Hydrox Skincare Review

Finding the right skincare products as I age has been one of the most challenging things about growing older. It's true that things change radically from one decade to the next, but what I have found is that some products that work - still work.  One of those is Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Even though I think AHAs are great products, I have had a tough time finding quality products in stores.  Lucky for me, I had the chance to review the Alpha Hydrox Skincare line. Alphya Hydroxy Acids exfoliate the skin, reducing the appearance of lines an wrinkles. They also help for acne prone skin - which is one of my biggest issues.  Alpha Hydrox skin care products contain the highest percentage of AHA's available without a prescription - 10% Glycolic AHA in the face lotion. I have been using it for a few weeks and  I have seen a huge improvement in my skin. My skin is excessively responsive to stress and our family has been through a lot of major upheavals over the last fe