Kath Eats Reviews

September 2, 2008

Kath’s Little Helper

Filed under: Household,Reviews — Kath @ 12:22 pm

While I was at the BlogHer conference, I mentioned that the event was sponsored by iRobot, makers of the famous Roomba vacuum.  In my “Enthusiasm (!!)” post, some readers mentioned they hadn’t had great experiences with the Roomba. The Monday after I returned home, I got an email from iRobot asking if I’d like to see for myself all that Roomba can do. Of course I was ecstatic to get one. Less than 24 hours later, FedEx was on my doorstep with a big box!!!!!!!


I spent the next hour following it around the house. It’s really like having someone at home with you! Once I stop following it and sat down at my desk, it would sneak into the room behind me! And it sings these cute songs when it starts and end cleaning that make it seem like a happy child. I give it an A for companionship :mrgreen:

iRobot notes in the instruction manual that while the patterns seem random, Roomba really does have an agenda for cleaning a room. I’d stand over it and watch it miss some crumbs, but sure enough, when I’d check the spot later to see if it picked them up, they were gone. It also does a good job cleaning along walls, in cracks and under things: all places I don’t clean that often!! So I give it an A for thoroughness. I also LOVE the lines it leaves on the carpet. Like lawnmower patterns, it just makes the room feel cleaner! He gets an A for “clean feel” too. I was really impressed by how much dirt it picked up.


Frequently I’ll turn it on just before leaving the house to go to class or work out, and when I come back, the floors are clean. To me, that is the best part. It’s like having a maid come while you’re out. The Roomba will usually have gone back to its docking station to charge (although sometimes it gets stuck places – see below). We also will lock it in our bedroom, close the door, and come back an hour later: everything is clean. It also helps with cleaning the kitchen after meals to pick up the crumbs we drop all over the floor while cooking.  (And it’s also nice when the husband makes bread and gets flour all over the place!)

One complaint I do have, although it might be more our fault than Roomba’s, is that our living room couch and chairs are just a little low for him to fit under – so he gets stuck. This isn’t a big deal if we’re home and notice, but when I come home expecting clean floors and find he got stuck in the first 10 minutes of cleaning, it’s kind of annoying. It does shut off automatically, though, so it’s not like it was running under there for an hour. There’s a programmable self cleaning schedule so you can program it to clean everyday at 9am or whenever you’re out, but because we find we have to monitor it in the living room (or close off the doorway to that room), I prefer to supervise 🙂

Here’s a time when it happened and I remembered to take a photo for the review:


I’d give it a B for “need for a babysitter.”

Roomba also comes with 2 “lighthouses.”


You can use these two ways: 1) As a lighthouse (a magnet of sorts), so it will clean one whole room and then move into room #2 and 2) As a virtual wall. Honestly we haven’t really figured out how to use it as a lighthouse, but the virtual wall feature is awesome and just the trick to keep him contained in the kitchen. I’d give the lighthouses a B+ for effectiveness.

As a divider between the den and the kitchen:


Since we have white carpets, I used to vacuum every other day or so, as they show every little bit of dirt. I can’t stand to see dirt, and I felt like our floors were always dirty! So for this, Roomba has been a lifesaver. I turn it on every other day or so and just let it run. It certainly has made floor maintenance easier. One thing to note: I don’t think the Roomba replaces a vacuum cleaner. I still get out my Eureka every now and then. But it’s probably every 2 weeks instead of every 2 days. Consider the analogy of microwave to oven: a microwave makes cooking a whole lot quicker with less effort, but you still want to have an oven too – for when you have the time and energy to cook, because nothing really replicates an oven-cooked dish. Same with a “real” vacuum – use Roomba for maintenance and a vacuum for deep cleans. I give it an A+ as Kath’s little helper!

We store it under a table in the den. I guess it’s a con that it has to be out and available to be most effective (since it’s not the prettiest decor) but I’m willing to let him sit out in exchange for his services :mrgreen: I’d give him a B for attractiveness + ease of storage.


So as long as he keeps working properly, I give the Roomba an A- overall. More than anything else, he has been SUCH a time-saver!!

I’ll leave you with a quick video we made with the help of one of our bears, Beaker, who I sometimes find riding the Roomba into the room, compliments of the husband! :mrgreen:


July 31, 2008

A Pretty Penney

Filed under: Household — Kath @ 8:05 pm


I came across a fun offer through BlogHer recently – the chance to order some products from JCPenney’s new Linden Street Line in exchange for a blog review of the items. Who would turn that down!? BlogHer and JCPenney gave us $500 giftcards to use for online shopping. The husband and I sat down on a lazy Sunday morning and browsed through the online selection for things we thought would be nice for our house. The following is what we chose.

High Cotton

Linden Street Bath Towels

Who doesn’t need more towels!? At $11.99 each, these were reasonably priced and seemed like something that would be useful. I must say, they are one of the fluffiest sets of towels I have ever touched! I put them in the wash after opening to get them ready for use and was impressed when they came out just as soft. We have Pottery Barn towels from our wedding registry that we use on a regular basis and these are much fluffier. They get my vote! My only complaint is I would have liked to have them in white, and cream was the next best color.



Tick Tock

Item #2 was the Linden Street Square Bronze Clock .

We set it up next to my grandmother’s antique cookbooks and an old dried corn tin in our family room. I like the look of the clock a lot, but $40 was a lot more than I would have paid for this. I did note it went on sale for $19 a few days after we ordered it, but it seems pretty ordinary and small to be priced so high.


Oatmeal Bowl Storage

What I wanted more than anything else was a set of bookshelves or a place to store more oatmeal bowls!! This cabinet, which is advertised for linens, works perfectly in our dining room for extra storage.

Linden Street® Lago Mar Étagère

At $199 (originally $299), we felt the price was fair enough, but really I’m sure you could find similar pieces for half the price at competitor stores. The cabinet was easy to put together (thanks husband!), but one big drawback is it left quite a new furniture smell (not the good kind) in our house for a few days.


I do like the classic design a lot –


We set it up at an angle just to see how it looked and ended up liking it most that way.


Mirror Mirror On The Wall

With our remaining funds, we chose this cool mirror without a clue where we’d put it in the house. Still puzzled upon arrival, we took down a painting we bought on the honeymoon and tried the mirror out for size in the living room. Perfect!!! It really gives the room a zing with it’s bold shape. And of course makes the room look bigger too. The mirror was kind of a last minute addition our order, but I ended up liking it way more in person. My only criticism? Again: price. We “paid” $160 for it, but I think I would only put about $50-75 on it at competitor stores.



Note the wedding photos in the refection ❤


More reflection shots! Peek-a-boo!


In Conclusion,

Overall, the Linden Street Line has some very cool items. They all seem to be high quality, and I like the classic designs. Order online was very easy and they arrived in just a few days. My biggest criticism of the line is price. I am just not sure how many people are going to be willing to pay what I think is probably double what comparable items could be found for in other stores.

You can check out some of the other items available at the online store: Linden Street .

A big thank you to JCPenney for all of the cool items!! And thank you also to BlogHer for arranging the opportunity!

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