Friday, June 22, 2007

Kaboom! An Aptly Named Product for Your Toilet

Before we get started, there is something you should know about me. I am lazy. In addition, I hate to clean. Anything. I can mildly tolerate doing laundry, but anything that requires scrubbing or a specialized tool of any kind (i.e. vacuum cleaner, toilet brush) I loathe. Clutter bugs me, so I'll organize and neaten. But when it comes to anything that requires the application of elbow grease, well, most of that gets done by SOB.

Imagine my delight when Kaboom sought reviewers from delightful pool over at the Parent Bloggers Network. When I saw the words 'NeverScrub! Toilet Cleaning System' in the email, I positively swooned. As a bonus, they were also throwing in their Shower, Tub and Tile cleaner.

The Shower, Tub and Tile cleaner works like most other cleaners out there. It comes in a fancy purple and green bottle. The cleanser is a thick-ish foam that you spray on surfaces and wait 1-3 minutes before wiping it (and hopefully the muck) away. The consistency of the foam helped it to stick to the shower walls instead of just running down into the tub. After a short soak and a brief scrub, my shower did look much nicer. There were still a few stains from the previous
slobs tenants that I couldn't get out, but the overall appearance was much improved. I hesitate to comment on the 'fresh great scent' that manufacture touts as a selling point because given my current condition (severely knocked-up) any scent is too much for me. But I will say that it didn't smell like chemicals.

Let's move on to the delightfully named NeverScrub! Continuous Toilet Cleaning System, shall we? You might already be aware of the fact that I am a tremendous geek. As soon as I volunteered for this campaign I started devising an experiment in my mind. Just like many homes, we have more than one toilet, so I decided that I would run a comparison study between two of ours. One would get the Kaboom NeverScrub! Continuous Toilet Cleaning System and the other would go without. The two toilets in the study get about the same amount of use, but one is nearly brand new while the other is not. Since I though that the newer device would be more resistant to ick simply due to its age, I decided to really test the NeverScrub! Continuous Toilet Cleaning System by installing it in the older toilet. According to the instructions, I scrubbed both toilets very well before installation. Observe...

Before: Control Toilet

Before: Kaboom Toilet

In the 'small complaint' department, I will note that upon installation of my NeverScrub! Continuous Toilet Cleaning System, I accidentally broke a small plastic thing-a-ma-jig and my toilet started leaking a little. This resulted several trips to the Home Depot for SOB. However, he informed me that it was more likely due to the fact that our landlord had the cheapest toilet ever installed in our unit and that it was not the fault of the NeverScrub! Continuous Toilet Cleaning System, or me for that matter. It was a very simple and inexpensive problem to fix if you know anything about toilets beyond how to flush them. Oh and installing the NeverScrub! Continuous Toilet Cleaning System was a piece of cake. On to the data!

As per the name, I NeverScrubbed either of these toilets for five weeks. Observe...

After: Control Toilet

After: Kaboom Toilet

The pictures speak for themselves. The toilet that had the NeverScrub! Continuous Toilet Cleaning System looked virtually unchanged from beginning to end, whereas the control toilet looked like something that you'd find in a gas station bathroom. The reason this study only lasted five weeks and didn't continue up until the week of this review, which was the original idea, was because I couldn't stand the sight of the nasty control toilet. Mind you, this was the brand new, recently installed toilet.

Additionally, this system is very affordable. The initial kit costs about $10 and lasts for three months. After that, the refills run about $5 and last three months. I would gladly pay $25 a year to never have to touch a disgusting toilet brush again. That's much cheaper than maid service, for sure! Both items can be found at grocery stores and any other place you can buy cleaning products.

Oh, and for those of you like me who are blessed with a toddler who thinks that putting his hands in the toilet water is the peak of hilarity, the Kaboom folks assure us that, '
with NeverScrub!, the bowl water won’t harm your pets or kids and the cleaning solution won’t harm your tank parts or septic system.' While that doesn't negate the grossness of toddler toilet hand, it does at least ease some fears of fingers burning off due to toxic chemicals.

In summary,

NeverScrub! = Throwing out your toilet brush = Happiness.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Maurice Hilleman may be the most important person you've never heard of. World over, millions of lives have been saved by this man, and the living, breathing people he saved, going about business as usual, don't even know it.

Do you know anyone who has ever had the measles? The mumps? Rubella? Me neither. That's because Mr. Hilleman spent his life developing vaccines against these diseases, along with a whole host of others including hepatitis A and B and chickenpox. Besides his numerous scientific accomplishments, Hilleman lead a fascinating life. His mother and twin sister both perished due to complication from birth, but Maurice survived. His father, unable to look beyond the painful circumstances of his birth, sent him to be raised by his aunt and uncle. By doing so, his father unknowingly set in motion an astounding series of events that would lead to his son becoming the most important figure in microbiology and vaccinology.

Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases by Paul A. Offit, MD
details the life and circumstances of Maurice Hilleman. I found this biography fascinating from beginning to end. In a former life, I was a chemist for a large pharmaceutical company, and I have a degree in biology, so this was right up my alley. However you need not be a science geek like me to understand and enjoy this man's story.

Also, instead of simply detailing the history of one man and his journey, Offit also delves into the scientists, scientific practice and history that came before Hilleman. I was fascinated (and a little grossed out) when I read that the first vaccine against small pox was made by draining pus from blisters of a girl who was infected with cow pox and injecting the untreated pus into another person. The. Pus. Ok, so maybe I was a lot grossed out, but still! Fascinating! Offit also throws in fun bits of trivia and humor, which helps the book read more like a novel than a biography.

Science aside, several chapters deal with the politics of vaccines. Even though this is a touchy subject for some, I feel that Offit does a nice job of compiling the facts and presenting them in a way that few would find offensive. I have always been a supporter of childhood vaccinations. I've done plenty of homework to back up my beliefs, so I was surprised to find a lot of new-to-me information on the history of the vaccination debate. A debate that is still raging today.

Maurice Hilleman died in April of 2005 at the age of 85. Despite a laundry list of titles and awards, he never won the most coveted of scientific prizes, the Nobel Prize, which cannot be awarded posthumously. He developed cancer, and he spent the last few months of his life experimenting on cells he had taken from his own body. Not surprising, when you consider that this was the man who swabbed his own daughter's throat and used the resulting cultures to make his vaccine against the mumps. Unfortunately, Hilleman's final experiments were never completed.

Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases is a fitting tribute for Hilleman. "Because of Maurice Hilleman, hundreds of millions of children get to live their lives free from infections that at one time might have permanently harmed or killed them. In the final accounting, no prize is greater than that."


To find out what others are saying about Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases by Paul A. Offit, MD click over to the Parent Blogger's Network where fourteen other bloggers will be weighing in!

Friday, June 8, 2007

I Think It Might Be In His Diaper

Last week, Sam decided that my watch was the coolest thing in the entire universe. No matter what his malady, if I just hand over my timepiece all is soothed. Since it's a $20 watch from Target, I don't really care about it being gummed or thrown across the room. It doesn't seem to have any small dislodge-able parts that could be harmful to the boy, so I let him have at it.

Unfortunately, this often leads to my watch ending up behind his dresser or under a couch or in a toy box, where I can never seem to find it. Consequently, we've been late for quite a few appointments in the past seven days.

Sometimes when I try and explain this to people without children of their own, they look at me like I have three heads. Why on earth would I let my toddler play with my watch? I can imagine that when I was pregnant I would have thought the exact same thing. I was so sure that I wasn't going to be that mother who let her kid chew her keys or cell phone. I was a sancti-pre-mommy. But guess what? I totally am that mom. Anything to buy a few more minutes with a friend, at the mall, in the gym, even to clean the house.

So from now on whenever I need to explain away my tardiness, I won't tell the whole story of Sam and his love for cheap wrist-wear. I'll simply state that my baby took away my time and hid it from me. People might think I'm crazy, but then they'll be less likely to ask follow-up questions, right?


This post was brought to you by Light Iris, and the Parent Bloggers Network. These fine peeps are teaming together to send one lucky lady to BlogHer '07 free of charge. Well, you still have to pay for your transport, but you get a two-day pass, which is worth $200! I can't go to BlogHer this year, which is a sore spot for me, but if by some twist of fate I win this bugger, I will be glad to pass along my winnings to one of my lucky readers! Because I'm awesome like that. If you'd like to play along, click here to find the details!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Savory Chicken

Back when I was in middle school, I was on the fringe of the popular circle. I think I was only really included to even things out, since it was a small group. There were eight 'cool' boys, so there had to be eight 'cool' girls, too. At lunch, we all sat together at one long table. All the girls would sit at one end with four of us on each side, and they boys mirrored our positions at the other end of the table. Every other Tuesday, though, us ladies would sit at a table of our own. Why? Because every other Tuesday was Savory Chicken day.

Savory Chicken was basically rotisserie chicken with some herbs and spices. I never ate it, because us popular girls only brought lunch from home. The boys, however, had developed a passion for this cafeteria foul, and would come to school on Savory Chicken day with their pockets bulging and jingling with change.

Now you could buy an entire tray lunch for $1.25 back in those days, but these fellas were only interested in the chicken. They made an arrangement with the lunch ladies to buy individual pieces of Savory Chicken for 40¢ apiece. They would all pony up a nickel, and one kid would go and buy a single piece of chicken on a paper plate. When he returned to the table, he would place the solitary thigh or breast directly in the middle of the group of boys. They would all sit down, and then someone would issue the signal. For the next twenty or thirty seconds, the entire table turned into a flurry of arms. It was like some kind of primitive feast where they all fought and scraped over tiny bits of dry, commercially prepared chicken as though it were a fresh kill. When it was finished, they would sit back down and survey the remains. Then they would all put their nickels on the table and the next boy would go and fetch their next piece of chicken.

This would continue for the entire lunch period, every other Tuesday, the entire three years of my middle school experience. I wish I could make some sense out of their behavior, but I've never had the pleasure of being a pre-pubescent boy. At least I can look back and remember these guys when Sam hits that age and starts doing some crazy-weird shit, right?


Check out School Menu and its parental counterpart Family Everday, two sites that work together with School Food Services Directors to provide and promote healthy eating and physical fitness for kids and their parents.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Light Iris Review

The Parent Bloggers Network peeps recently turned my attention to Light Iris, a new site devoted to expectant and new moms. Light Iris launched on Mother's Day, which is all too appropriate if you ask me. The first thing you'll notice when you click over to Light Iris is that it's soooooo pretty. If you read my other blog, you've probably noticed that I have a thing for the pairing of pink and green. The design is simple, but nicely put together. While the site is up and running, there are still a few features in the works. The most interesting coming feature, in my opinion, will allow users to perform a search of only blogs. iVillage, Baby Center and may have lots of information, but sometimes you're more likely to find comfort in reading someone else's account of bleeding nipples or going 19 days without baby having a poop than in a sterile article.

The crux of the matter over at Light Iris is the special search feature, which is built on Google but filters out all of the crap new moms don't have time for. For example, I recently was wondering about Sam's teeth, or lack thereof. He's fifteen months old and only has six teeth. Because of this, he is very particular about eating foods which require anything more than minimal chewing. The phrase '15 month old only has 6 teeth' searched by both Google and Light Iris yielded very different results. The Google search results gave me articles about 10 month olds with 8 teeth and 15 month olds with diarrhea for 6 days. The Light Iris search provided more relevant returns. The first and third search results provided exactly the kind of information I was looking for. The top ranked article on the Light Iris search was the seventh ranked article on Google. You get less info per page on Light Iris as well. When you're holding a screaming baby in your arms and typing with one hand while your left boob is hanging out, less can be more, especially if you're getting quality over quantity.

Now on to the double plus fun part! Light Iris has teamed up with the Parent Bloggers Network to give one lucky blogger a free two day pass to BlogHer '07! All of the info can be found right here, but the gist of it is you write a post on the topic of 'Where Does My Time Go?' on June 8th. Email a link to the Parent Bloggers Network at and you're entered to win! Lovely in its simplicity, just like Light Iris.

Friday, June 1, 2007


Let me tell you why I need a couple hundred bucks to go on a date with my darling SOB.

It is our five year anniversary, and we celebrated by going grocery shopping together. Then, for a romantic dinner we had chips and dip, followed by cookies. Well, I had a lobster first, but that's not the point. I'm not even sure we're going to do it tonight.

God help us.


This post was brought to you by E-Harmony’s new Marriage Wellness program and the lovely folks over at the Parent Bloggers Network.