Product Reviews

Lookin Good Pop Pop

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in Product Reviews | 1 comment

For a few years I have been increasingly annoyed by the price of paying for smooth legs and under arms. My husband’s face feels so wonderful right after a good shave. And yet the cost of maintaining all of the unwanted hair in our lives was steadily rising. Annoyingly rising.

It felt like we couldn’t do anything about it.

Then Jud saw this [warning: there is swearing, including the famed word that begins with the same letter as famed. If you find that offensive, then you probably shouldn’t watch it because you will be offended and then I won’t know it and it will be all weird the next time you see me because you’ll be hoping I apologize and I won’t even know you watched this while your children were listening and they think you are the devil now or at least that I am and your home life is all complicated and I’m just walking by you thinking that everything is copacetic]…

And so we tried it out. We’ve been using the $6/month plan for a while now and we are so happy and have so much less hair.

Thanks, Dollar Shave Club. Thank you very much.

You can try it out too. That’s why I’m telling you about it. So you too can save some serious cash while still getting your mug and your legs smooth and they’ll even deliver it right to you. How could shaving get any better than that?

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On Death

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Health, Product Reviews, Theology | 0 comments

I’ve been reading the collected works of Nora Ephron lately. She died last month and I have been (morbidly, sadly, nostalgically) drawn to her. I want to watch When Harry Met Sally all the time and am tempted to try to watch Silkwood. Thankfully, my local library has quite a few things to grab and devour at home. Heartburn has been opened, thoroughly enjoyed and returned. I Feel Bad About My Neck and other thoughts on being a woman is still in my hands, but the end discovered.

Given all the craziness of this past weekend and the fact that I am reading all of this after the author has, herself, died, I quite appreciated her thoughts about it all. Here’s a taste for you:

“Before you get sick, you have absolutely no idea of how you’re going to feel once you do. You can imagine you’ll be brave, but it’s just as possible you’ll be terrified. You can hope that you’ll find a way to accept death, but you could just as easily end up raging against it. You have no idea what your particular prognosis is going to be, or how you’ll react to it, or what options you’ll have. You have no clue whether you will ever even know the truth about your prognosis, because the real question is, What is the truth, and who is going to tell us, and are we even going to want to hear it?”

I loved this. I could probably quote anything from her book and follow it with a proclamation of love, but this seemed so fitting for the things that have been rolling around in my mind.

Given the national and international response to the stories that are floating around the internet and pouring out of people’s fingers onto blogs and comment sections everywhere about the reaction to what happened in a darkened screening room, you would think that no one agrees with Nora. You would surmise that everyone is saying that they know exactly how they will respond to staring down death and, in this particular case, a mad man. There is, of course, always the hope for bravery and the general idea of heroism as well.

Most nights, while trying to fall asleep, I hear faint sounds that always, without fail, make me believe that someone is breaking in to our house. I lay there, suddenly wide awake, attempting to decipher if the dull thud I just heard was the neighbor’s car door shutting, or someone knocking into something in the basement. The number of times I’ve woken Jud up and asked him to check the house for intruders is too many because of just how deeply I’ve started to believe the nonsense my brain has concocted. He is then so worked up by the adrenaline rush his body creates to fight off the invisible intruders he sometimes can’t go back to sleep. It is these false alarms, these times I’ve cried wolf, that especially makes me wonder if someone ever did come into our home uninvited if I would shrug it off as just another crazy thing my brain has made up or the real deal.

In the meantime, most nights, I am strategizing about how to get the children out (Whom will I leave behind? Should I just get the baby and run to the neighbor’s as quickly as possible for them to help save the others? What if stopping to get her means that neither of us get out at all? Will the older ones scream or cry or just be sleepily too limp to move if I am prodding them to get up at 2am? I play out the different scenarios over and over until I give up and pray that my reactions will be the right ones) and have everyone survive. I am trying to be prepared for something that I hope never ever happens.

There wasn’t any way for the people to be prepared for what happened this weekend. They couldn’t have known how the details would play out. Even the first responders, who have been trained, who are supposed to have all of the answers in times of crisis, were overwhelmed at times by the magnitude, the horror, the amount of information flying into their hands that needed to be processed and upon which they must immediately act. I have heard that one of the dispatchers did a truly phenomenal job mutual-aiding EMS workers and even providing direction for the incident commander. She should be highly praised. You can’t teach someone how to remain that calm under that much pressure. It’s super-natural. It’s heroic. But not everyone has that kind of clarity of mind, especially when you are knee deep in the mire of the situation. Especially when the bullets are flying at you.

Heroism then is rare. We aren’t all heroes, but no one will get to escape death forever. No one will get to look death in the face every time and walk away unscathed. It is coming, even for the heroes.

Then what? That depends on what you believe. Not that what you believe will magically come true for you and we can each have our own version of the afterlife. Not at all. There are only two outcomes, but what you believe determines the outcome because that which you believe about Jesus Christ has efficacy for your soul. Jesus Christ died and rose again for our sins. Trusting in this truth grants eternal life. Unbelief keeps one from life. Basic. Every other belief system in the world says that you have to do better, be better, work harder, make yourself into something and hope that you’ve done enough by the time you die. This offer, of eternal life on no merit of your own, without any work on your part, is unique. The uniqueness is part of why I believe it to be true. I hope you will believe too.

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Thank You Thursday – Market Pantry

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in Food, Product Reviews, Thank You Thursday | 2 comments

This one is dedicated to the helpful people at Market Pantry. Let’s say you always wanted to eat a delicious wrap. Maybe you ate one at Panera (do they have them there? Or maybe at Chipotle (because technically a burrito is one…right?) or some such place. I don’t know, because I don’t order wraps when I am out.

If you order a wrap somewhere, is it because you are trying to save calories? Maybe you just want to appear to care about carbs? Maybe you really really love tortillas. I don’t know. Gluten? That sounds the best I think. You want to avoid gluten so you order a nice gluten free wrap sandwich.

As you enjoy your wrap, I bet sometimes, if the wrap is really good, you wonder if you could make it at home. Let’s see, you’d say to yourself, I’ll need avocado and chicken and tomatoes and some lettuce of various kinds and of course, a tortilla. I’m just gonna wager that you don’t ever wonder to yourself HOW to make the wrap.


Just in case you are a complete idiot, Market Pantry included steps for you:

Oh, now wait.

Place, fold, roll?

Fold, Place, Roll?

What one earth?!

I’ve rolled and then placed and now I’m folding and oh, this is too much!!

I give up!!!

Bah, I’ll just get some bread.

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Key Lime Pie

Posted by on Jul 13, 2012 in Food, Product Reviews | 0 comments

“If I had it to do over again, I would have made a different kind of pie” so begins Nora Ephron’s final chapter in Heartburn, her 1983 book that is just a bit based on her own life and (a failed) marriage. It’s a terrifically written book. Rachel, the main character and narrator, admits that she tells stories to lessen the pain that those stories bring and (obviously) I could completely relate (not about a marriage failing, just about how telling stories is like a balm to my aching heart).

I’m originally from a family of story tellers. My father and his father before him and probably all through history back to one of Noah’s sons is this long line of story tellers, sharing too much and forgetting that some people think those stories are about one-upping someone else, when it is only an attempt to relate well. Still, there are times when the story should stay in my own head. The urge to share it is overwhelmingly powerful and they sometimes just seem to tumble out of my mouth without me even trying. When I attempt to stop them from coming I can feel frantic and horribly stifled like I’m underwater and have got to make it to the air. I suppose that is why I’m here. This is like breathing. Hopefully you enjoy the stories as much as we enjoyed the pie last night.


Crust (mine)
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Filling (Nora’s)
6 large egg yolks
1 cup lime juice (Nora’s note: even bottled lime juice will do. Kim’s note: bottled lime juice!! YES!!)
2 cans (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (I used just one. Two seemed like crazy pants.)
1 tablespoon finely grated Key lime zest (my zester is non-existent. I did my best.)

Cool Whip (stop judging me. My stand mixer is funky and I haven’t taken it in to be repaired.)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the cracker crumbs and butter in a medium bowl, and mix until moist. Evenly press mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, and bake until lightly browned, about 9 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Beat the egg yolks until thick (Kim’s note: if raw eggs skeeve you out, you could Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is foamy and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat, and whisk in condensed milk and zest until well combined). Add juice, condensed milk and the grated lime rind. Pour into cooled crust. Freeze until firm, 3 hours.

Remove pie from freezer 5 minutes before serving. Combine cream and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3
minutes. Spread evenly over pie, and serve immediately. (Kim’s Note: If not serving a big party, keep topping separately and add to individual pieces as you serve.)

Hi! I’m a washed out pie about to be frozen! I look yellow. EGGS!

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Links for The Newbs

Posted by on Sep 14, 2011 in Mothering, Product Reviews | 1 comment

Hey there brand new Mamas. I hear you want to cloth diaper your baby that is still gestating or is yet fresh. Congratulations on that kind of awesomeness. Feels kind of like entering into an insane hippie world where I will be forced to make my own granola too (I’m sure it is delicious! I love reading your recipes! I just buy Cascadian Farms because it is so EASY).

In spite of those patchouli scented fears, I will admit that I SOMETIMES, every so often, when everything is not aligned, think about it. Should I jump in and get a system? Should I be the only one in this house who diapers the next baby? Would this change how much sleep I get post partum?

These thoughts have nowhere to go. Scratch that. Had nowhere to go. For now, the incredible Amalah has written down her thoughts on it all. They are good thoughts. Thoughts you may or may not be interested in reading. If not, don’t click. If you are, here’s where to look:

Post #1 – the preamble

Post #2 – the dirty truth

Post #3 – yet to come

Yeah. These were so good that I am posting a link to the third installment that is yet to come. Sorry, it was that good.

Thought you might want to read for yourself and perhaps jump into the comments over there or here or whatevs. Kisses, hippies!

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Product Review: 30 Day Shred

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in Product Reviews | 4 comments

I work at home and from home with my children in constant tow, which is exactly how we planned this whole thing to work.  I love it that I don’t get up and go somewhere to work. I love it that my kids expect me to stay with them and the thought of going somewhere during the day includes all of us.  It’s not necessarily the most financially advantageous decision, but nothing of value comes without a price.  Unfortunately, after I had Piper, that price was showing up in bat wings, love handles and tummy flab.

After Gideon was born, nursing was a magic diet pill of which I sang great praise.  For whatever reason (I was older. Piper doesn’t eat like Gideon. I loved brownies even more in 2009) I had to work to get back into my pre-pregnancy pants.  And it took me a year to figure that out.  When I finally committed myself to working out four days per week, I knew I needed something that would keep my interest and keep me at home.  I already had a gym membership, which I would use when Jud was home and bedtime wasn’t imminent.  The sleep deprivation of motherhood had completely removed my will to get out of bed to the sound of anything but a child needing me.

We weren’t interested in purchasing gym equipment for the house, primarily because we are safety nuts.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that each year about 8,700 children under 5 years of age are injured with exercise equipment.There are an additional 16,500 injuries per year to children ages 5 to 14. We just weren’t interested in opening our home up to that kind of risk.

So I turned to videos.

I already had The Biggest Loser Volume 2.

It was good, but it wasn’t great.   I don’t really care for Kim Lyons.  She’s a little whiny and too much cheerleader for me.

So I bought Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred.

It has three levels with self-contained 25 minute work outs.  She leads you with two other women demonstrating the exercises (one modified for injury or laziness).   Each workout begins with a warm up that changes slightly for each level and a cool down that is exactly the same each time.  Each workout is 3 sets of 3 minutes of strength training with 2 minutes of cardio and then 1 minute of abdominal work. You should have some light weights (2-8 lbs).

Level One – It is pretty easy, really. If I do level one now, I do all of the cardio moves with weights, but I didn’t start there.

Level Two – The second set of cardio makes me feel like I could puke. For real. Power through it and you’ll be okay. Probably.

Level Three – It seems like it’s not as hard as Level Two until the next day when you realize that all of those odd movements you copied were moving muscles you haven’t used since they were given to you. I once threw up while doing the jumping lunges on this level.  I didn’t feel ill or anything.  I am pretty sure that squeezing my core to stabilize myself and jumping at the same time with a little kick of lactic acid made the vomit cocktail a reality.  I would give yourself plenty of time to digest before you workout.


It does.  You’ll get results.  BUT, and this is a very big but, you’ll still need to modify your diet if you want to see real results. I worked out with this, added running (between 3 and 7 miles up to 4 times a week) and Bob Harper’s Bootcamp dvd (which has a great arm section – level 3) for about a year. I kind of have muscle definition.  I kind of still eat too many carbohydrates.  I kind of love cheese.

I can guarantee that you will feel it.  You’ll have pain.  You’ll want it to end.  You’ll want those Aleve you took to kick in.  IF you apply yourself and don’t cheat the movements, which you, of course, would then your body will change.

Verdict: If you will actually do the dvd, you will both love and hate it. You will get a real work out.  It will only eat 25 minutes of your day (you can even grab a shower and write a blog post while your child[ren] take their naps!). It will change your body if you keep at it, but you’ll probably need more than 30 days to see it. If you are already running or cycling or something and want some added boost to your workout, this would be a great one.


Anybody else want to weigh in?  Do you own it?  Do you love it?  Do you hate it?  Am I right? Am I wrong?  Did I forget something important?  Tell me!  And tell us all!

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