Category Archives: travel

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

It’s A Buyer’s Market, After All

A year ago, I started filming what was to be my last episode of Property Sluts while I was at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. You see, shortly before heading to Orlando we placed a bid on a small ranch house that we thought we’d top off with a second story. A chain-smoking window had lived in what we termed The Smokin’ House for decades, so it smelled like an ashtray, and her brother-in-law had started building a “master bath” in the middle of the family room (without a permit) in the hopes of passing off that space as a master bedroom. It was a wreck.

Needless to say our bid was low. The night before we left town our agent called with a counter offer. As I remember it, we tried to put him off until we got back because nerves are running high before a family trip even without the pressure over whether to pay more than we intended for a house.

But we caved and countered. They accepted.

Shortly after our return and another tour of the house with a professional in tow, we cancelled our contract.

Thank goodness.

The house sold 2-3 months later for less than what we would have paid.

I was giving up hope for finding a house. We talked about renting. And then we saw and bought Casa de Renovation and I finally got to finish my video, the all-singing Property Sluts finale featuring an all-star cast on mombloggers, It’s a Buyer’s Market, After All.

I heard a real estate report that said prices are down the levels last seen in 2000, so the buyer’s market continues. This stinks if you want to sell, but if you’re ready to buy, you’re in luck.

Selfish Mom:
We’ve seen houses big and some houses small,
We’ve seen moldy basements and shower stalls.
Though the market is weak, sellers price like it’s the peak, but it’s a buyer’s market after all.

MacaroniKidNYC, Honest and Truly, Jen Rab, SAHM Reviews, and Dancing Hot Dogs:
It’s a buyer’s market after all,
It’s a buyer’s market after all,
It’s a buyer’s market after all,
It’s a buyer’s market after all.

Sweet Life, Rock and Roll Mama:
Interest rates are low, but the prices are high,
Even for estate sales where the owners have died.
The recession isn’t nice, you may need to cut your price
Cuz it’s buyer’s market after all.

Classy Mommy, Me:

Same Old Shannon, French Foodie Mom, A Savings Wow:
The housing supply now exceeds demand,
So if you want to sell give your buyer a hand.
Though it’s hard to admit, makes you feel like sh*t, it’s a buyer’s market after all.

BlogHer Bound!

Renovator Kim with her toolbeltThe rumors are true! After giving away tickets to Type-A Parent and the EVO conference dues to housing related stresses, I decided I would attend BlogHer as a trade-off. If you want to meet up there, tweet me @RenovatorKim.

Thanks to Verizon Wireless and their #MidwestMoms program, I’m bringing my new Motorola Xoom Tablet (with Verizon Wireless service, natch). Bonus: in a setting like BlogHer where the wifi will certainly be overwhelmed (3,000 highly wired attendees, yo), I will be able to create my own wifi hotspot that I can share with a few friends. Score!

Disclosure: Verizon Wireless is providing with with a Xoom, and later a 4G phone, along with data and phone service for six months. I will not be posting reviews as much as sharing how this products fit into my life as a digital mom. Guess what? After my term ends, I will be giving one of these products away to a lucky reader!

I received the Xoom, less than 24 hours before leaving for BlogHer, so I’ve got a bit of a learning curve, but I’m leaving my laptop behind, and really, if there’s a place to get computer advice I can understand, it’s BlogHer.

I love how the Xoom fits into my toolbelt, literally! Look for me on Friday, August 5, when I’ll look something like that woman in the picture. Who looks a little bit like that woman in the RR logo. Coincidence?

Also, I’d love your help decorating my shoes. You’ll see what I mean on Friday.

Want to know more about attending BlogHer? Check out my advice.

Want to know more about Verizon? Stop by their booth in the BlogHer exhibit hall.

We’re Giving Away a Kohler Kidz Housemoon Getaway!

In early June, just days before closing on our house, we headed up to Kohler, Wisconsin for a housemoon.

Numi toilet touchpad

Yes, the town with the same name as your toilet, bathtub and possibly kitchen sink. The housemoon concept involves taking a worry-free trip before taking on the burdens of home ownership. Sure, owning a home also has its joys, but on all future vacations we’ll have to worry about who’s mowing the lawn, potential burglars, basement floods, etc.

We hoped to enjoy one last carefree hurrah before closing on our home and we did as  guests (as in, they comped us) at the American Club Resort. More specifically, we stayed at the Inn on Woodlake and got to experience their Kohler Kidz program.

I know what you’re thinking, “Lucky blogger gets all the perks. I’d love the chance to for a free getaway.”  But there’s no need to grumble because now you have a chance.

Kohler is going to send one lucky reader and her (most of you are women) family for a fabulous Kohler Kidz weekend in lovely Kohler, Wisconsin.

Read about our Kohler Kidz weekend experience on my personal blog and come back to comment here. As long as you’re clicking, check out this post on bath design trends for 2011 and take a peek at my pink bathroom.

To enter:

1. (required) Comment once on this blog by 11:50 PM CST on July 24, 2011 for a basic entry. Let me know what you’d like to do at the American Club Resort.

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. Starting later this summer, we’ll be sending 1-2 updates 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.

7. Promise to bring me a pint of that ice cream. (Kidding!)

Fine print: Winner will be chosen by a random draw. Winner will be notified by 11:50 PM on July 25. If winner does not respond to me by 11:50 PM CST  on July 27, the prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen. The winner will be responsible for paying taxes, tips, meals, and services beyond the scope of this prize. The Kohler Kids Prize pack will be good for up to two children up to age 16; additional children can be added for a fee. Visit to Kohler must be taken by December 31, 2011. Booking subject to availability.

Disclosure: We were guests of the American Club Resort and many of our expenses expenses, including lodging, food and spa services were covered.

Note: reposted due to an error on the back end with WordPress.

7/15 Edited to add based on reader feedback: You have to enter your email address to comment on this blog. This gives me a way to contact you if you win. These email addresses are private. They will not be shared with Kohler or any other brand. Even if they were, no company should add you to an email newsletter distribution list without your permission. That is spam. If you sign up for Progress Notes, you will receive 1-2 emails per month from me with links to popular post on this blog. You’ll also stay in the loop with Reluctant Renovator’s current giveaways and may get access to special events, expert opinions and FOK* discounts.

*Friend Of Kim

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Numi toilet touchpad

At the Design Center, with the Numi touchpad. Like an iPod Touch for a toilet.