Monthly Archives: November 2011

Sky High Sports in Niles and Naperville, IL – A Giveaway

The weather has turned here in the Chicago area and already my boys are bouncing off the walls. Not our new walls that were primed(!) last week, but the trampoline-lined ones at Sky High Sports in Niles. I was given blogger passes for my boys to try it out and a few to give away at my Blogger Bash with Craftsman.

And I have two passes for one lucky reader, good at any Sky High location (there are 13 in 7 different states).

My boys had so much on that first visit that we went back with a group of friends just weeks later. I even bought a family pass. Check it out:

Sky High Sports is trampoline heaven- it’s got a large main jumping area, a dodgeball court, a giant foam pit and a little kids-only space for kids under 8. They have separate areas for parties–and it’s not just for the kiddos, either. Break out the super sports bra and have a grown up party or participate in their AIRobics class, which sounds like a total calorie burner.

Were it not for my surgery, I might have played along on that first visit, but there were almost no adults jumping with the many, many kids, so I would have felt self-conscious and no doubt embarrassed the heck out of my boys. Gah, just breathing near my teen is cause for consternation. That said, I think this might be a fun and unique girls night out.

I was worried that Sky High Sports would be a spinal cord injury/lawsuit waiting to happen, and indeed, jumpers or their parents or guardians need to sign waivers in order to play, and I did see a child with a bloody nose on each of our two visits, but none of my posse got hurt.

Also, I was reassured by the number of staff I saw at various stations. Even the dodgeball court had two staff members making sure kids followed the rules and everyone played, and jumped, nicely.

It was pretty crowded when we arrived on a school holiday and my teen was put off at first by the number of younger kids. But after a few minutes of watching his younger brother bounce, the older boy quite literally jumped into things.

The regular bounce rate is $11 per child per hour, but they offer specials that you can find via Twitter or Facebook. If your kids are age 10 or above, plan for two hours; younger kids can probably get their fill of fun in an hour. Okay, the young ‘uns might be begging to stay longer, but they’ll be exhausted- ignore their pleas.

Regardless of the amount of time you plan to spend, it’s smart to reserve your preferred time via their website so you’ll be guaranteed entry. Otherwise, you’ll have some whiny children on your hands if the facility has reached capacity before you’ve made it to the front of the line.

Sky High Niles has a snack bar along with juice machines (if your kids balk at the fountain water as mine did, budget $1.75 per child for drinks because they are going to be thirsty and sweaty). There are also plenty of places for parents to hang out out while the kiddos play. Additionally, the facility has a few coin-op video games, pay-for-play pool tables, and a large-screen TV. There are also a few small rental lockers in case you decide to ditch your diaper bag and get your bounce on.

Win two passes to your preferred Sky High Sports location!

To enter:

1. (Required) Comment once on this blog by 11:50 PM CST on December 11, 2011 for a basic entry. US addresses only. No purchase necessary to win, but the winner must be 18 years of age. The prize has a retail value of approximately $22

You can also have up to five optional extra entries; I need a separate comment for each of these items, so I can count each one as an extra entry:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook and come back to let me know.

4. Subscribe to our newsletter, Progress Notes. We send one update a month featuring our progress and advising you on our fabulous home product finds and giveaways. Come back to let me know.

5. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can keep up with Reluctant Renovator video blogs.

6. Follow @RenovatorKim on Twitter.

Winner will be chosen and notified by December 13, 2011 and will have two days to respond to me. If no response if received, a new winner will be chosen.

I Got the Renovator Blues- Now with Video!

I am exhausted. I had no idea that given the number of workmen in and out of our house, I would be so tired and achy. This might be due in part to the fact that I stopped taking one of my arthritis meds prior to my surgery and it’s finally catching up with me. Or maybe it was the midnight shopping spree after Thanksgiving dinner (a supposedly fun thing I will never do again).  Or perhaps it was the days of nonstop fun with my kids, nieces and nephew over the holiday break. At any rate, I made a video last week but never managed to post it here. See below for even more updates!

We expected a few slow days around the house after Thanksgiving, but it’s been anything but. The tile guy that was supposed to show up this week decided to start the job early. (OMG, tile guys; I could write an entire blog about the many guys we had out to quote us–another thing that was keeping me busy in recent weeks.) And the floor guy showed up to lay down new hardwood in the bare spots.

Today the trim guy replaced our old kitchen door and trimmed several windows. The tile guy (his helper, really) laid out the kitchen floor, the drywall guy came to patch a few spots and…

(drumroll, please)

Our kitchen cabinets arrived!

There was a bit of drama when it appeared the corner unit would not fit through our front (and largest) door, but the issue turned out to be the large box, not the cabinet itself. That said, I’m not thrilled to have that piece unprotected while there’s a lot going on and a lot of workers coming and going around it.

I’ll be back soon with tales of paint colors! And tile (installed) that might not actually match our cabinets (uninstalled, but not returnable)! Stay tuned for this and more!

HGTV Magazine

image from

I received a review copy of HGTV’s new magazine a few weeks ago. It was a fun read, with coverage by and of many familiar names from TV. That said, I’d like to see a little more in-depth coverage as the magazine grows. I realize it’s supposed to provide a lot of eye candy, and it did, but I’d like a few more practical tips and detailed tutorials.

Of course, I’m so overwhelmed with plumbing and wiring and HVAC (oh, my!) that I don’t have time to ponder throw pillows right now. As much as I like our general contractor, I’d love for the Property Brothers* to burst through my door and sit me down for a screening of a 3-D rendering of my fully decorated open concept kitchen/dining room/living room. So far, the only decor decision we’ve made for the area is the color and style of pendants that will hang over the breakfast bar. And possibly the paint.

And then there’s the whole upstairs of the house….

*I’d open my doors to the Kitchen Cousins, too.


Midwest Moms Motorola Droid Razr Giveaway (Sponsored)

Motorola Droid Razr Giveaway

It's fast. It's fun. It's free!

This month the Verizon “Midwest Moms” were asked to hold a giveaway for a Motorola Droid Razr. I have to admit to feeling awkward giving away an item that I’ve never seen or experienced in person, but I’m also pretty certain that someone is going to be really excited to win this. Plus, CNET had nice things to say about, so here we go.

Details below come straight from the press release though I’ve added a it of colorful commentary.

Motorola Droid Razr is a superslim phone. At just over 1/4 thick, it’s the slimmest smart phone around. It’s got a dual core 1.2 GHz processor making it more powerful than my first home computer back in the day. The phone allows users to load websites, download apps, create a 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, and it can transfer files from a PC up to 10 times faster than 3G.

Key features for me include that it’s enclosed in Gorilla Glass and has a Kevlar fiber case that protects it from scrapes, dents and scratches. (Seriously cool if you’re as spazzy as I am. Why aren’t all phones made with this?)

It runs on the high speed Verizon 4G LTE network.

It has an 8 MP rear-facing camera and HD video capture unit (no wonder point and shoots are going the way of the dinosaurs). The Droid Razr will automatically optimize your battery, manage your phone, and streamline everyday tasks with DROID RAZR’s Smart Actions app.

Win it!

  1. Leave a comment telling me about your first cell phone

You can also have up to five optional extra entries; I need a separate comment for each of these items, so I can count each one as an extra entry:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook and come back to let me know.

4. Subscribe to our newsletter, Progress Notes. We send a monthly newsletter featuring our renovation progress and advising you on our fabulous home product finds and giveaways. Come back to let me know you subscribed.

5. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can keep up with Reluctant Renovator video blogs.

6. Follow @RenovatorKim on Twitter.

CONTEST DETAILS: One winner will be randomly chosen by a WordPress plug-in called, “And the Winner Is…” from among entries received by November 21th 11pm CST. The winner will be contacted via email and has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within said time a new winner will be selected at random. Winner will need to provide name, email and address for shipment and prize will be shipped out via FedEx. Must be 18 or older. This prize must be shipped to a North American address. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. MSRP $649.99. The #MidwestMoms Droid RAZR Giveaway ends November 21tst Verizon Wireless has provided Reluctant Renovator the device giveaway item and also will provide the winner with the giveaway item. Reluctant Renovator is not a sponsor of the giveaway.

Make Magazine, FTW!

Make Magazine taglineI’m guessing the folks at O’reilly media didn’t know about the video below when they offered me a review issue of Make Magazine. We’ve been fans of Make since my friend Beth Blecherman of TechMamas turned me on to it a few years ago. Make’s tagline is “technology on your time” but I think of it as geek-tech p*rn. Though I learn something from every issue, many of the featured projects are definitely beyond my comfort level.

But perhaps I speak too soon. We’re going to have a fabulous workshop space in our house. Whereas the default in our current living situation is, “I’m bored; let’s watch TV. I hope in our new home it will be more like, “I’m bored; let’s go make stuff.”

It could happen.

The current issue focuses on toys and games. The colorful, eye-catching cover features an 8-bit graphic with mentions of tantalizing projects, like “BUILD A REAL GRAVITY CATAPULT.” There is a serious magnetic pull between my teen and this magazine. Case in point, I actually hid it from him, knowing that once he saw the magazine, it would be a battle to get him to complete his homework. And yet, within ten minutes of his arrival home from school, Make was in his hands.

Other tempting topics in Issue 28 include a piece about Arvind Gupta (a teacher from school had already turned my younger son on to Gupta’s Toys from Trash site), how to create a giant bubble generator and a DIY hi-tech Build a Bear with an embedded RFID. One of the big challenges in this issue is to build a classic video game console using a coffee table. Maybe that’s something for us to take one?

I dunno. I haven’t even gotten to the vermicomposter yet.

 Make is a quarterly magazine that’s the size and shape of a small book. The cover price is $14.99, but a one-year subscription is only $34.95. It could be a wonderful holiday gift (note to self) and for those who are tech-curious, but not inclined, check out some of the kits at the Maker Shed Store.

Here are some projects from Make that caught my eye back when we were house hunting last year.


Kim and Kris are Together Again! Let’s Celebrate

craftswomen bathroom signKim and Kris are together again. The truth is, they never really broke up. Kim Moldofsky and Kris Cain are hosting a Chicago Blogger Holiday Bash with Craftsman this Saturday night.

It all started when we met Ty Pennington at the Craftsman Experience last summer. I had been thinking that I’d like to host a holiday event for my blog friends, but I suspected that our house wouldn’t be ready for me to host one. Kris and I got to talking and pitched our idea to Craftsman, and by next Monday, the rest will be history.

Craftsman is providing the party place, along with food, drink, and yes, a DIY craft as well as handy holiday swag. Kris and I have contacted some of our favorite brands and clients to arrange fabulous door prizes that night.

ConAgra Foods has a lovely gift basket, Serta is going to provide a couple of super comfy memory foam pillows, we’ve got 3 Striiv units to give away, Sky High Sports in Niles is providing a handful of passes and there’s more. And, of course, Craftsman is stepping up with a grand prize to give away at the end of the night.

Good times y’all!

Register by 11/16. See you there? If not, follow along on Twitter at #CraftsmanBlogBash

Cross-posted at Hormone-colored Days.