Posts Filed Under Reviews

Mommy’s Heart Went POP! – A Review

by bosssanders on May 23, 2013 with no comments

Mommy’s Heart Went POP! is a sweet children’s book by Christina Kyllonen and Peter Greer.  Beautifully illustrated, it tells the story of a mother who waits, and waits, and waits for her child to come home to her through international adoption (although, many of the same sentiments could be applied to domestic adoption as well).

In a very simple text and format, the authors tell the story of a baby (referred to as “you”) who is found by a kind woman and carried inside.  It depicts another story simultaneously going on across the globe… a family who began waiting and loving a child growing in mommy’s heart.  As the mommy does daily activities with her children (brushing hair, fixing boo-boos, etc), she wonders who is taking care of “your” boo-boos (the child’s) and her heart keeps getting bigger and bigger.  The story goes on as she waits, plans, and dreams for this child…all the while her heart keeps getting bigger and bigger.  The story ends with the mommy and child being united and going home together.

This sweet and simple story of emotion, hope, and love resonates in all adoptive parent’s hearts, and holds true regardless of the age of the child you are adopting.

Our “little one” no longer needs a crib or diapers, and yet I think he’ll enjoy this story as I did.  It explains part of the journey of “how you got here” and is age appropriate for young children.

I recommend this book to anyone adopting or anyone who knows someone that is adopting (for your own kids to help explain adoption!)

See a sneak-peak here!

You can buy it here.

**This book was sent to me in exchange for a review.  As always, all thoughts are completely mine!!

I'd love it if you stalked me (subscribe to my RSS feed). Thanks for visiting!


Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson (book review)

by bosssanders on March 5, 2013 with no comments

Raising kids isn’t easy.

It was never meant to be.

Hollywood paints this great picture of a mom who has 3 kids under 5 in tow and still manages to dress in the latest fashions, shop with perfectly behaved children, have dinner on the table at 5PM, plays pretend, reads bedtime stories, and then heads to the kitchen table to clean up so she can sew a couple of handmade costumes all before making sweet love to her husband for the 80th night in a row.  (And then wakes up the next day with perfect makeup and flawless skin to be awesome again.)

I’ll be the first to admit that I somehow missed out on the radiant supermom cape given out with your firstborn.  Most days, my house looks like a tornado went through at least one room…if not the whole house.  There are days when “me time” looks like being able to shave my legs or pluck my eyebrows (I know, FUN!  EXCITING!).  Motherhood is beautiful and amazing, but let’s face it…sometimes it can feel like the most lonely, hard, and unappreciated calling we’ve ever known.

The thing is, though, we aren’t EXPECTED to be able to do this all on our own.  The image that Hollywood so often portrays is not only a farce, but it is also not biblical.

In fact, the Bible instructs us to live in community and for younger women to be mentored by older women (Titus 2).  If we follow biblical advice, it actually might soothe our hearts as we lay down insane expectations on each other…and ourselves.

In Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson, these two ladies write about their mentor relationship in a very honest way that every young mother can not only relate to but also learn from.  Each chapter begins with short note from each lady to the other – each letter begins a new topic where the younger Sarah Mae feels like she’s not measuring up or struggling in her quest of motherhood with 3 very young littles.  Then, Sally Clarkson follows up with understanding and encouragement, followed by pages of great tips and lessons learned from each of their motherhood experiences.

Sarah and Sally cover topics such as*:

- Ideals of motherhood (that picture in our minds of what motherhood should look like)

- “The Go It Alone Culture” (where we have this big idea that we should be able to do everything on our own)

- Parenting formulas (and how to sift through parenting how-to books and not feel like a complete failure)

-The beast of housework

and TONS more.

And, if I’m being honest here…

I don’t own a supermom cape.  I’ve done the whole beat myself up game for not living up to what a mom should do in a day.  I’ve played that game and can I just say…it stinks?  It’s no fun!  I have 3 littles under 5 and we are pursuing a 4th little guy through adoption and the thing I’ve learned so far is that 99% of the things we stress over…don’t matter.

I thought I’d be this mom who put great meals on the table each night with homemade bread and dessert from scratch.  I pictured my hair styled, lipgloss, and a cute dress from the Limited.  I imagined myself as a mom who NEVER raised her voice, who homeschooled, did cloth diapers, ate only organics and never had laundry piles and even my lists would be organized.  Turns out, my life isn’t like that.  And, for the longest time, I beat myself up over it.  I felt like a failure…defeated…desperate.  I saw all of these other moms who seemed to have it all pulled together…until one day, I realized they all struggled with SOMETHING too.

I still have moments where I get frustrated…(like when the toddler throws his bottle in the toilet and dumps his sisters’ stuffed animals in the tub and turns on the water).  And as the sun goes down, I’m ready to go with it.  But, I’ve lessened the demands on myself.  I no longer worry if the laundry doesn’t get folded every day and I’m okay with pajama pants and a tshirt if I’m staying in – because then I can better enjoy peanut butter fingers hugging my legs or snotty kisses.  I’m okay with a little dust, disposable diapers, and the occasional frozen pizza.  I’m okay needing two months to read a novel “for fun” and letting my sewing machine collect dust.

And that’s why I really like this book

Maybe you are desperate…at your breaking point.  Or, maybe you could just use some wise council to lift your spirit and guide you because you just don’t feel like you are as happy as you could be or you find yourself frustrated or yelling a little too often.  Or, maybe your just lonely in this motherhood journey…

Either way… if you are a mom, this book is for you.

*Topics listed above are paraphrased by me. These are not the actual chapter titles.
DISCLAIMER: The book I read was sent to me to be reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are mine, however.

filed under Parenting, Reviews

Kiwi Crate

by bosssanders on February 5, 2013 with 29 comments

As many of you know, we’ve been studying DINOSAURS!!!

Last week, we received an awesome green box in the mail with more…. (you guessed it!) DINOSAUR fun!

We made our own little fossils…

And EVERYTHING (even the scissors!) was included.  We all had SO MUCH FUN!  But, that wasn’t all…

Then, we made our own Dinosaur FEET and TAIL!

SHH!  We have dinosaurs in the house!!

So, what is this little box of fun, you ask?

It’s … Kiwi Crates! !!

Kiwi Crates is a company that packs age-appropriate themed activities (and all you need for them) in a box of fun!

Who is it for? 3- 7 year olds.  And, pretty much anyone!  Whether you homeschool or just want a fun activity… these boxes are great!  Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or just the best babysitter ever…these boxes are great!

What is it? In each box comes several carefully handpicked activities that encourage growth in different development areas (the Dinosaur box covered Motor-Gross, Creating, Discovering, Motor-Fine).  Each box contains EVERYTHING you will need.  If you need scissors, it’s in there.  Clay?  It’s in there too.  Stuff to stick in the clay?  You got it!  All in the box, ready to go!

How to get it? Here comes the fun part!  (Be sure to read all the way to the end!!)  First, we have teamed up with Kiwi Crate to give away a crate of your choice to one lucky winner!  However, if you don’t win, no worries!  These great boxes are available on their website.  You can order them by the box or get a nifty subscription (only 19.95/mo + FREE shipping!) where they pack up the boxes for you and send them along each month – you don’t have to remember to do anything, they’ll do it all for you!  Great, right?  OR, you can go NOW and take a look at their newly released single boxes…only $19.95 ea with FREE shipping!  –Great for birthdays, rainy days, or…well, any other day!

So, are you ready to win?

Simply visit their website (HERE) and come back to comment on THIS post letting us know which box you’d like to win!  How easy is that??

Want an EXTRA entry?  Like on Facebook (Click Here) and leave a comment letting me know you did (these will be verified!)

Contest open to US residents 18 and older ONLY.

Deadline:  February 15, 2013 – GIVEAWAY CLOSED!!

**Disclaimer:  We received this product for review.  However, like all things on this blog, this review is honest and was not “bought” or swayed.

Congratulations, Paige L!  You have won!  (check your email!)

filed under Homeschooling, Reviews

BabbaCo Review

by bosssanders on October 21, 2012 with no comments

I love doing FUN activities with my kiddos – but, sometimes it’s hard to come up with activities (that we have all of the supplies for) off the cuff.  So, I was super excited to review the BabbaCo Babba Box, and when our box arrived full of activities, Lorelei and Aurora were excited too!

What are BabbaCo boxes?

BabbaCo boxes are great activity boxes that seamlessly combine both LEARNING and FUN – but, without the headache of having to run to the store to buy the necessary supplies-you-thought-you-had!

Each box has 4 main components:

- Create: 2 to 3 projects for kids to do with their hands – ALL materials included!  (Ours even came with bowls, glue, and a stirring stick!)

- Explore: A theme-based product where your child will engage with the world & nature.

- Story-Tell: Carefully curated books to stimulate your kids’ imaginations.

- Connect: Interactive learning with prepaid downloads approved by BabbaCo experts.

(Lorelei with their paper-mache moon)

Why we liked the BabbaCo boxes:

  • The BabbaCo boxes are researched and planned – meaning they are age-appropriate for kids and include activities that will encourage learning AND are fun!!
  • Each box contained EVERYTHING we needed!  –Down to the glue, stirring stick, and a bowl!  Many “kits” will have most of the supplies included but assume you have others (which they may or may not warn you about on the packaging).  It can really be a downer to get everyone excited and set down to do a fun project just to realize… the glue is dry…or, the scissors are missing/broken.  I really appreciate that the boxes have everything we need and I don’t have to run all over town!
  • The projects aren’t over-elaborate but are on-target for their ages!  They are fun and easy but require just enough skill to help them stretch and grow!  Our box was Sun, Moon, Stars and we made a model moon with paper-mache and star prints!
  • We also liked that each box connected us to the outside world, too!  We had a lot of fun using the star guides and included binoculars looking at constellations!
  • Each box also comes with a book!  We love books at our house and are always on the lookout for imaginative and creative additions for our bookshelves.  We were not disappointed!  No dinky paper “book” here!
  • I also really appreciated BabbaCo’s “Connect” feature.  My kids really enjoy technology and having a prepaid new app that went along with the same learning theme was great!

In short – the BabbaCo box was easy to use, convenient, contained quality materials, and used many methods (create/explore/story/connect) to provide learning and fun for our ENTIRE FAMILY!

Buy Your Own:

You can get a membership for the BabbaCo Babba Box on BabbaCo’s website. (use code BBL20OFF to receive 20% off your first box
filed under Crafty, Reviews, Uncategorized
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EveryDay Paleo by Sarah Fragoso

by bosssanders on October 1, 2012 with 3 comments

It wasn’t by a sudden interest in health that led us to “Paleo” – more like a super slow processing of information and research that slowly winded its way to the knowledge of how we should eat, but unsure of wading through billions of recipes and picking through ingredients.  Actually, we knew we wanted to eat Paleo/Primal FAR before we knew it even had a name!  Once I had a name for this “way of eating” we’d basically been researching before it even had a name, I wanted to know WHERE I could find the best recipes…ever.

You see, I wanted foods that we’d eat.  All of us – my meat-loving-huge-portion-eating husband, my picky 5 year old, and my 3 year old who will try most things once.  And me… I wanted food that would fill me and not leave me TIRED and hungry while literally running after 3 kids all day long.

I kept getting pointed back to Sarah Fragoso and her two cookbooks – and after introducing myself, Mrs. Fragoso sent me her books so we could check them out and share our findings with our awesome readers (YOU!)

There are two books – Everyday Paleo and Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook.  Don’t be fooled, though, by the titles – BOTH are great cookbooks!

To do this right, I want to address each book individually to show you how different they are (and why both are great and complement each other wonderfully)!

Let’s start with Everyday Paleo:

First, Sarah begins with an intro to Paleo and WHY Paleo is important.  Then, she writes about her story and how Paleo has affected her and her family’s life – which I can really appreciate.  She’s a mom who has had to make her own way – not someone who just had endless income and was bored at home with nothing else to do but make healthy food and “trail-blaze.”  She is normal (and busy)!

Next, she addresses CHANGE and how to get your family on board.  I have to say, this is one of my favorite sections!  Beyond just getting them to AGREE (or being stealth and “hiding extra veggies”) is a good look at what it means for your kids school lunches and beyond!  She covers it all!

Then, over 200 pages of RECIPES!  With photographs!  –All divided up by category!  AND, she even goes over shopping lists, types of kitchen cookware you will need, etc so you can be prepared BEFORE you get home from your huge shopping trip.

In the back of the book are meal plans, workout plans (even workouts that include a partner or a baby!), and a pictorial index of recipes… HOORAY!

This book is a great all-in-one find and the food recipes are definitely not lacking.  Sarah provides fresh, colorful, and tasty dinner options that will satisfy and leave you looking forward to leftovers!  From Pear Salad to Jambalaya to Meatballs and more, your family won’t be missing chemical-laden processed foods all that much!

Next up – Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook: This book is primarily a cookbook – Sarah includes a great introduction of her family and self and of course, Paleo.  She talks about the foods that are focused on in the Paleo lifestyle and gives even more attention to making Paleo work with kids and school lunches.  Then, on to the great recipes with the same great pictorial recipe index to find recipes quickly!  (Note: the recipes in each book are different…and great!!)

Check out the books on Amazon (see links above) to see some of the recipes/photographs.

These books are great and a huge timesaver!!

filed under Recipes, Reviews
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Kazoodle Kids

by bosssanders on June 6, 2012 with 24 comments

Summer comes with a lot of things… laughing, playing outside, swimming in the pool, swing-set fun, bubbles, splashing in the rain… and really cute t-shirts.  (Aidan agrees.)  Kazoodle Kids has some adorable tees (for babies and kids, both!) – each one with a picture, letter, and word.

Personally, we love the unique and whimsical designs of the Teach Me Tees… not to mention, they are lightweight – perfect for summer!

Lorelei, on the other hand, loves that each shirt gives her yet another opportunity to spell and read.  As her mom, I love that these shirts offer more than just a cute picture – they help her connect the object with the letter it begins with and then, with the entire word!  Lorelei will be in Kindergarten this fall, and with short attention spans, it’s important for her age group to have a variety of learning experiences.  We’ve enjoyed writing letters, coloring letters, tracing letters in shaving cream/sand…but, now we’re enjoying letters (that weren’t fashioned from permanent marker on her dresses…ahem.)

The girls (Lorelei and Aurora) have become very conscious of the clothes they wear…they enjoy matching (or mismatching, as the case may be with Aurora) and have it down to a science.  While Lorelei loves to be perfectly coordinated and offers advice to her father and I when it comes to clothing choices and style, Aurora believes the bolder and crazier, the better.  She loves her “Newt” shirt with her rain boots and a big winter hat with the built in ear flaps, by the way.  With shirts that come in different colors, kids can not only practice their spelling and reading, but their younger siblings get great practice with identifying animals, letters, and colors!  Aurora chose her Newt shirt, but I’m pretty sure it’s because her favorite letter is “N” – you know… NO, NUH-UH, NADA, NOOOOOOOOTHING!!!

Kazoodle Kids has an entire selection of colors and creatures to choose from on their website.  From elephants to cats -  there’s something every child will love!



Kazoodle Kids is giving away a shirt to one lucky winner!  (You pick any letter, any size, and either blue, pink, white, or heather grey).

Great, right?!

Winning is super easy! – There are a few ways to enter (and you can do all of them!):

1.  Leave a comment telling us which shirt from their site you’d love to win, be sure and leave your email address, too.

2.  Like us on facebook and then come back and leave another comment saying you did.

3.  Share a link to this post on your facebook page with this message: “ and Kazoodle Kids are giving away an adorable Teach Me Tee at… and I want to win it!!”

Easy Peasy, right?

We’ll pick a lucky winner June 16, 2012 by midnight…NOW, GO!

(And, for those of you who don’t want to wait to see if you won, use the code “bosssanders” at checkout to get 15% off.)


Congratulations Alicia Sneed!  You won!!

filed under Fun/Giveaways, Reviews

Christmas Stocking Stuffers – 2 Games For The Whole Family! (Review)

by bosssanders on December 9, 2011 with 1 comment

Family Talk 2 is a conversation game – it has 100 cards, each with a thought-provoking question to inspire fun and thoughtful conversations with your family and friends.  To play, simply pick a card and ask the question!  This game is a great way to get a glimpse into the hearts and minds of those you care about!  What’s more is that it’s incredibly portable – so, take it on car trips or play it around the Christmas tree (or table!)  Either way, you’re sure to have a blast!

Retails at $9.99  / Ages: 3 & up /  2 + players

The Lumps Legend: Children around the world have been so good over the past few years; lumps of coal have built up at the North Pole. Puzzled by what to do with the excess coal; Santa’s elves decided to create an exciting new game that uses lumps of coal of all shapes and sizes. The game is so much fun, good little boys and girls, for the first time ever, are excited to get lumps of coal in their stocking!

Lumps, the Elf Coal Game is a family-friendly dice game for ages 6 and up.  It can be played with one player or up to 100, making it a great game for anywhere!  It’s compact size and easy rules make it a great game for all ages!


One lucky reader will win both of these games! To enter, simply follow them on twitter (#ContinuumGames) of “like” them on Facebook.  (Then, come back here and let me know which you did in the comments!)  Contest ends December 16, 2011 at noon CST.

And, for ALL of our readers, they are offering 15% off purchases made on their website – just use the code: funforallages

Disclaimer:  I received these games as part of a review.  Like always, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not swayed in any way.

filed under Reviews

Original Sprout – A Review

by bosssanders on December 9, 2011 with no comments

Original Sprout -

Original Sprout has become one of our family’s favorite body care brands.  The makers of Original Sprout products not only make products that smell and feel good, but that are also safe for our babies and children.  They do not use any natural or synthetic ingredients linked with estrogen & hormone disruption, cancer & autism such as: Phthalates, Dioxanes 1, 4, Sulfates, Parabens, Formaldehyde, Propylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Acetaldehydes, Styrene, Toluene, Glycol Ethers, Ethylene Oxide, Musk, Lavender or Tea Tree Oils, Clove, Soy, Nonylphenol, Mineral or Petroleum Oils, Triclosan, Eurethane, 1-2 Propylene Oxide, Placenta, Synthetic Colors & Titanium Dioxide or Nanoparticles.

Their regulated, European Directive Compliant products are:

• Are made by a master stylist and mother, so they are safe and natural, but perform as good or better than high-end salon brands.

• Free of phthalates, phytoestrogens, soy, gluten, animal products, parabens, and propylene glycol with no added dioxanes or formaldehydes.

• Free of skin penetrators & photosensitizers (plasticizers & nanoparticles).

• Extracts are certified organic. The majority of ingredients are plant derived & from natural sources.

• E.U. Directive Compliant with full label disclosure of ingredients.

• Fragrances are made with naturally derived ingredients & are certified FREE of phthalates, lavender, tea tree, PG, DPG, parabens, dioxanes, benzenes, formaldehydes, acetaldehydes, styrene, toluene, chlorobenzene & glycol ethers.

• Products are vegetarian/vegan & biodegradable.

To read more, go here.

The Natural Shampoo, Scrumptious Baby Cream, and Miracle Detangler are three of my favorite Original Sprout products.

The Natural Shampoo gently cleanses as it moisturizes hair.  I love that it can be used on the whole family (including me!)  It’s subtle scent is lovely but not overwhelming, so your sweet babies still smell like sweet babies and not heavily perfumed or obnoxious.

The Scrumptious Baby Cream – OH!  The Scrumptious Baby Cream!  I think the name itself says it all!  The scent is light and fresh and leaves baby (or your) skin feeling and smelling scrumptious!  The cream is ultra-moisturizing, lightweight, and non-greasy!

The Miracle Detangler is one of my faves!  My oldest daughter (age 4) has thin hair that tangles easy.  Post-bath has been a battle since her hair has covered her ears – me trying to sort through the tangles and her dodging the brush!  But, with this detangler, her hair becomes manageable and soft.  Other detangling products (a popular brand) have been tried on her hair, but leave her hair limp and smelling like chemicals – UGH!  Original Sprout’s Miracle Detangler leaves her hair pretty and tangle-free, without the horrid chemical smell!  (And, it leaves me without the headache!)

And, guess what!?  Original Sprout is offering readers 10% off their first order by using this code: FIRST_ORDER_10-U at!

Disclaimer:  I received these products as part of a review.  Like always, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not swayed in any way.

filed under Reviews

Science is Simple

by bosssanders on September 20, 2011 with no comments

Science is Simple

Why, yes it can be!

With two little ones – a Kindergartner and a toddler, science needs to STAY simple.  Both of my girls are hands-on learners, so that makes science REALLY fun in our house!

Because my girls are young, and because I believe exploration and hands-on activities (especially science!) is best, Science Is Simple is a great book for us!

Written by Peggy Ashbrook and having won the Learning Magazine’s Teachers’ Choice Award, Science Is Simple divides its experiments into lessons.

What Kinds Of Lessons Will My Child Learn From This Book?

Of course, just like with any tools or curriculum, it really depends on how you present the material and their curiosity, but here are a few of the great “lessons” listed in the Table of Contents:

Magnets and Testing Hypotheses
Year-Round Gardening
What Do Seeds Need To Grow
Why Do Some Tree Leaves Change Color?
Stretch Your Senses on a Walk To A Nearby Park
Compost Critters
Spring-Flowering Bulbs…Are Planted In The Fall
Corn and an Introduction to the Globe
Winter Birds
What is Melting
What Can the Wind Do?

Why Is This Book Different From Other Science Textbooks?

Well, first off, it isn’t a textbook!  Second, it’s written for Preschoolers and Kindergartners (although the activities can definitely be altered for older kids if you have siblings involved).

Science is Simple contains over 250 Activities and each Lesson is divided into different sections that give you tips for presenting the material to your child.  And, if you struggle with what to say or the questions to ask, this book covers that too!  Also included in each lesson is a section on other activity ideas and book ideas beyond the experiments to help supplement what they just learned.

Would I Recommend This Book?

Definitely!  This is one of those resources that we’ll continue to use with all of our children.  Whether you are a home-educator or you teach in a classroom, it’s great!

Where Can I Get It?

You can find it on HERE.  Currently, it’s $13.57 (list price is $19.95).

PS – Want to see one of our experiments from the book?  Check out our mantis babies!

filed under Homeschooling, Reviews

Silly Comcast

by bosssanders on July 30, 2011 with 3 comments

The Internet isnt working … Again.

Call to comcast:

C: …to upgrade your service, press 2.

A: (presses 2)

C: Hi and welcome to comcast, how may I help you?

A: Hi, I was wanting to upgrade my Internet account to one that works…

C: Okay, we can definitely help you with that… (she takes my information down should we get disconnected. I want to remind her that my phone service isnt comcast, so it shouldnt be a problem. But I dont.)

It shows here that you already have an existing Internet account with us…

A: Precisely.

C: We dont have any upgrades at this time for Internet, would you like to upgrade your TV service?

A: Oh really? I was starting to wonder if maybe I accidentally bought the works half the time package.

C: (in all seriousness, she says…). No, we actually dont offer any packages like that. Currently, we dont offer anything for just half the month. According to your account, you have unlimited Internet usage. You can get on any time you want for however long you want.

A: Exactly.

C: What?

A: So… I should be able to get online whenever and however long I want? Then, why does comcast keep turning it off?

C: Maybe I should transfer you to technical support instead of upgrades. They could probably help you better.

A: (I wonder about the accuracy of that statement and stifle another giggle.)

C: …..But, before I let you go, let me tell you about this great offer (speed talking starts) ifyousignuptodayforblahblahblah…

A: Im not really interested. Id really just like my Internet to work…

C: Yeah, but…

A: Transfer me.

C: Okay, well you are also eligible for our special service where we cover all technical equipment and it gives you 24/7 access to a technician in case you have more problems… Its only $9.99 a month.

A: No thanks.

C: Well, I thought you might be interested since youre having so much trouble. The technician could login to your computer remotely and help you get back online. And, itd all be free.

A: You mean… After the $9.99 a month, itd be free?

C: Thats correct.

A: So, let me get this straight: You want me to double-pay for Internet service I should be getting anyway but Comcast keeps screwing up. And then, you want your goofy technicians to have access to remote-in to my private computer from wherever to do absolutely nothing because lets face it… My Internet problems? Its not me, its you people.

C: Er…um…but…Well, okay. You are also eligible for a free home security system, but I will just have someone call you back about that so I can go ahead and transfer you to technical support to get your Internet back up.

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filed under Reviews, The way I roll