Monthly Archives: May 2012

Summer Family Outdoor Safety and Fun

Hi, I’m  Kim Moldofsky, the Reluctant Renovator. I took a break from gutting our bathrooms and headed over to Chicago Superstation WGN this morning to share a handful of products that will help you have a fun, safe summer. (Looking for the summer family travel items?)

On Reluctant Renovator I write about our house, which you can also read about in my Angie’s List column. In addition to writing, I make videos about our renovations and my family. Stay in touch by “liking” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook. And don’t miss out on these great giveaways that I’m hosting in honor of Reluctant Renovator’s first blogaversary!

I typically provide original content, but because I talked about so many products over the course of my two segments this morning, I’m leaning heavily on press releases:

1)  Thermacell Outdoor Lantern Thermacell Mosquito Lantern

The ThermaCELL Outdoor Insect-Repellent Lantern is the best option for keeping mosquitoes and other insects in any outdoor setting. The Patio Lantern is both a powerful insect repellent device and a functional and portable, long-lasting outdoor LED lantern, with both functions being usable separately or together. Providing a 15×15 ft mosquito-free zone, it is 98% effective (tested and used by the Department of Defense and the United States Army), making it the most effective insect repellent device on the market. It is also non-toxic, safe and non-intrusive, being DEET-free, silent, portable and odor free. Weighs only 13 ounces. $31.99



2)  Aquajogger Junior Aqua Jogger Junior

The AquaJogger Junior is an in-water device that helps kids to learn to swim, play water games and have fitness fun. The Aquajogger Junior is worn like a belt and comfortably suspends the child wearing it at shoulder level in deep water allowing her/him to breathe normally and move freely while performing a wide variety of water activities. Contoured to fit a child’s body, and both fully adjustable and secure, the Aquajogger Junior is easy to use and comfortable. Also available for older children are in-wate

Summer Family Travel Round-up

A big dusty renovator hello if you saw me, Kim Moldofsky, this morning on Chicago Superstation WGN. I showed off a few great summer family travel products. (Looking for my outdoor family safety and fun segment?)

On Reluctant Renovator I write about my family and my house. In addition to writing, I make videos about our renovations and other items of interest. Stay in touch by “liking” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook. And don’t miss out on these great giveaways that I’m hosting in honor of Reluctant Renovator’s first blogaversary!

I typically only provide original content, but because I talked about so many products this morning, I’m snipping from press releases:

Safety Turtle water alert system1)  Safety Turtle

The Safety Turtle Wireless Wristband Alarm is an ingenious combination of wireless signal-outfitted wristband and a wireless base station receiver that sounds an alarm the instant a child falls or ventures into water. Works for pets, too! The base station can be positioned anywhere between pool/waterside and 200 feet away (depending on model desired). $235



2)  DiaperBuds  Diaper buds diapers for travel

Moms invented

Giveaway Round-Up

There’s still time to enter our blogaversary giveaways! Click for prize details and entry requirements (in many cases, only a comment is required to enter).

My Favorite Grilling Cookbook

Type-A Parent Conference Pass

Serta Mattress Set

Lands’ End Swimsuit

Thanks for following along on our journey. Remember, you can keep in touch with Reluctant Renovator on Facebook, too.

So I’m Reading This Book… (And Giving One Away)

Let’s just say “grey” is on the cover. From the very first page it’s clear this book is hot! It’s full of things I never imagined doing. Things that look exotic and dangerous, yet so tempting.

I got so excited, I told my husband I’d try something new for him this week. I mean, this Cooking Light: Way to Cook Grilling, The Complete Visual Guide to Grilling? I can’t wait to get busy with it.

I love the visual emphasis. This books photos are both seductive (you know you want me) and instructive Cooking Light Visual Guide to Grilling(grilled lettuce is supposed to look the way it does in the photo).

The book starts off with a primer on grilling and smoking. The obligatory burger chapter follows, but goes beyond the same old, same old. Spicy Poblano  Burgers with Picked Red Onions and Chipotle Cream, anybody?

The book also includes chapters on meats, poultry, fish and shellfish as well as vegetables and fruits.

Ten days later….

So far I’ve tried the Grilled Romaine (twice), Chicken Shawarma, Brown Sugar and Mustard Salmon, and Grilled Flank Steak with Onions, Avocado and Tomatoes. Each recipe was a hit with three of the four people in my family (the fourth mostly eats hot dogs and pasta, so it’s barely worth counting his opinion).

When the right season hits, I want to try Caramelized Fresh Figs with Sweet Cream.

I like that the recipes are simple and easy to follow. And, hello, Cooking Light! These dishes won’t weight you down.

I appreciate the many photos, or visual guides, in the book. And I’ve learned a few foodie facts thanks to the many how-to tips and tricks sprinkled throughout the book.

Often, the larger food photos are dotted with bits of information about the role of various ingredients, for example, in the spread featuring Grilled Chicken Thighs with Roasted Grape Tomatoes, a blurb on the photo explains that fresh grated lemon rind intensifies the tangy flavor of the marinade.

This book is my grilling Bible for the summer of 2012.

In fact, I like it so much, I asked if I could give one away to a lucky reader (hopefully a carnivore, though as noted above, there are plenty of recipes for all types of eaters). But grilled meat? Yum!

Win your own copy of Cooking Light: Way to Cook Grilling, The Complete Visual Guide to Grilling

To enter:

1. (Required) Comment once on this blog sharing a favorite grilling tip (or whatever). Comment by 11:00 PM CST on May 29, 2012 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 roughly $24.95.

You can also have up to four 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 updates every now and then featuring favorite tidbits from the blog as well as tips on 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. Come back to let me know.

Winner will be chosen and notified by June 2, 2012 and will have two days to respond to me. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen. Prize will be fulfilled by the PR agency working with this book.

And since I started this post sexy talk, let me end with this shot I grabbed at one of the ethnic markets in town. (Sorry, no butt recipes in the book.)

butt beef

As part of the Reluctant Renovator blogaversary celebration, check out these other giveaways!

Type-A Parent Conference Pass

Serta Mattress Set

Lands’ End Swimsuit




Type-A Parent Conference Pass Giveaway

It’s that time of year. School is almost over and the puzzle of our summer schedule is almost complete. A morning program for this one, and afternoon program for that one. Two weeks away here for one kid, a couple of weeks away there for the other one. And let’s hope those two completely gutted bathrooms are complete by mid-July.

Which is to say that most of my time and money are earmarked for the house and the kids this summer, so I’ll be sitting out the Type-A Parent Conference. Would you like to go? It’s going to be amazing; Kelby always puts together a fun and informative event with a relaxed vibe.

So relaxed that last time I attended the conference, I was looking to speak with Kelby and asked around for her in the middle of the day and was told she was taking a nap…because she was pregnant. (In retrospect, I think that person thought I was looking for Kelly/Kelli, etc.) So later I told one of my friends (the name is repressed rather than redacted) that Kelby was pregnant and when that friend later ran into Kelby, she congratulated her on the pregnancy. Except that Kelby was not pregnant.

If you’ve ever been asked if you’re pregnant, when you are not, you know how horrifying that is. And if you’ve been the person who asked you know how equally horrifying that is. It’s also embarrassing to be a third party in this situation. Sorry, Kelby!

So one lesson I learned from the Type-A Parent conference is to never comment on a woman’s pregnancy unless there is a baby coming out of her vagina.

Also, I should just keep my mouth shut at conferences, except for when I’m speaking on a panel or doing a presentation because I do that well.

No doubt you’ll learn lessons of your own at the conference. Mainly, you’ll walk away with ideas and plans for how to be a better blogger/vlogger/social media rockstar!

Want my ticket?

Please note that I’m giving away a MomImpact t-shirt and a conference pass only; transportation and hotel are on you.

I’m going to keep in simple:

1. (required) Comment once on this blog by 11:00 PM CST on Monday, May 28, 2012 for a basic entry.

Optional extra entries:

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

3. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and come back to let me know you did. (Bonus: I’ll likely subscribe to yours, too!)

4. Mombloggers, join MomImpact. We’re cutting back on product review tours, but still connect bloggers with opportunities. It’s good to be on the list and the ticket is provided courtesy of MomImpact. Be sure to submit a separate comment letting me know you joined or are currently a member (yeah!).

Winner will be selected in a random drawing using a plug-in called, “And the winner is” and announced on May 29. Conference pass must be transferred by June 1, so if the winner does not get back to me within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Also, as part of Swimsuit Confidence Week and a blogaversary celebration, I’m giving away a Lands’ End swimsuit. And learn how you can win a dreamy Serta Mattress set.

My Big News Might Be a Snooze to You

Serta's Great mattress heistAfter sleeping sitting on this news for a few weeks, I’m delighted to announce that I’m serving as a Serta Blogger Ambassador through the end of the year. It’s been said that I do my best work in bed and I love to sleep, so it seems like a good fit.

From time to time I’ll be sharing news about the Serta and their products, and maybe a giveaway or two.

Speaking of which, after working with Serta last year and giving away an iComfort Sleep System on this blog, not to mention showing off my own, several of you asked if there’d be another chance to win an oh-so-relaxing Serta Mattress.

There is!

Serta recently a new campaign featuring those cute little counting sheep (several of which are scattered about my office).

The Great Serta Mattress Heist

It seems the sheep (which find themselves out of work due to Serta’s dreamy mattresses) have broken into Serta HQ and escaped with a Perfect Sleeper Mattress. They’ll soon be sharing clues on Facebook as to where they are stashing the purloined* goods.

Serta is asking Facebook fans to find and reclaim the stolen Sleeper by decoding clues left by the sheep. In addition to the grand prize, there will be weekly giveaways to fans featuring plush Serta Sheep (so your office can look like mine), Serta pillows and other tokens of comfort (I’m hoping this includes including their super soft plush blanket that I enjoyed until one of my boys snuck it away).

Once all three clues have been delivered, Serta will ask participants to complete a simple form and submit their guess as to the location of the hidden mattress. Correct guessers will be entered for a chance to win a new Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress set complete with a full Sleep to Go top-of-bed pack, a personal letter from Sheep #1 and an exclusive Serta Counting Sheep gift basket.

Speaking of a Serta Sheep gift basket, look what I received gave myself nearly a year ago. I can’t believe it’s almost a year since we bought the house! Though perhaps that’s because we’ve only been living here a few months. At any rate, it sure feels like home now.


(Please not that the giveaway mentioned in the video was held in 2011.)

As a Serta Blogger Ambassador, I will be receiving compensation as well as Perfect Sleeper mattresses for my boys, making us an all-Serta house (except for in our guest room, where we have a lumpy old futon–sorry guests!). All opinions are my own unless my husband writes a guest post in which case all opinions are his.

* Seriously, have you used that word since high school?

Are you still reading? Go channel your inner Nancy Drew and find that mattress!