Friday, August 29, 2014


I was telling my girls that I love to talk to people because I care and I love hearing people's stories, but I have to admit that I also do love the little things that I learn from people.

Last week, I listened as a friend remarked that she always filled her glass half full of water before adding sweet tea from a bottle.  I felt my brain go, "Hmmm..."  And since we had almost a full bottle in our fridge this week after having friends for dinner last week, I experimented.  I filled my glass half full of ice and then filled that half with water.  Then, I added sweet green tea to fill the glass.  It tasted just fine!  And I have to admit that I felt better about having less caffeine and sugar in the process.  I did buy Tradewinds Tea because it was made with sugar instead of Arizona Iced Tea's comparable version made with high fructose corn syrup.  It was pretty good!

The same friend and I were talking on the phone a few weeks ago about high school math.  Her husband teaches their children math at that level.  She shared his sentiment that any solid high school math book will work.  I asked whether he had ever needed a teacher's edition.  She answered that he hadn't and that all high school texts have the answers to the odd problems in the back of the book.  I had completely forgotten this!  In school, teachers always assigned the even problems because they didn't want us to cheat on our homework.  BUT, as a homeschooler the answers are handy if my child's honest.  They will keep me from needing a separate answer key!  Yay!  I am glad that I will get to save money on high school math and just purchase a public school text!

Little things... but they're little things I'm glad to know!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Appliance Warranties

Every time we buy a new appliance or piece of technology, we face that question, "Should be a warranty?"  In the past, we bought a warranty on the washing machine we bought and the refrigerator we bought when we moved into this house.

I've gotten pretty disillusioned with warranties the past few years.  Often the cost is on you to return to the manufacturer.  When we had a television go bad on us from Costco, it was a bear to get someone out to inspect the television.  The verdict ended up being that it was unfixable.  I think it took several months to get it resolved and get a check from the company so we could get a replacement television.

But, some companies have figured this out and they now offer warranties that they tout as "no deductible" and of great benefit.

Two years ago, we did decide to buy a 5 yr warranty on our side by side Samsung refrigerator.  The warranty cost $250, but because the refrigerator would be expensive to replace since it was a counter-depth fridge, we thought it was worth it.  This is one of those rare occasions when it was.

Two weeks ago, I called HH Gregg because the LED panel that shows the temperature/ice/water controls wasn't working properly.  The man asked all sorts of crazy questions (that were meant to deduce if the malfunctioning was my fault or not).  It wasn't my fault.  It was a glitch.  We hadn't done anything to it.  It was covered.  But, at the same time I asked about one of my refrigerator shelves that showed several cracks on the sides of it.  Verdict?  Not covered.  The new shelf, thankfully, only cost $61, including tax, and I was able to swap out the new and old shelves myself.

The cost of the new part and installation would have been about $500.  So we did get our money's worth this time.  But, most of the time breakage (statistically) happens right after the warranty runs out.

Last year, the computer in my oven went out.  I wish, wish, wish that I had just had it fixed instead of replacing the oven.  The oven barely fits in its spot and I dread the new one ever having to get replaced.  The repair would have cost $400.  I don't feel like I made the right choice on that one.  

We don't have a warranty on our television because the warranty would have cost half of the television price.  

Warranties are tough.  You gamble when you buy a warranty.  Will it break?  Or won't it? Will it break before the warranty runs out?  I once read that statistically, warranties are designed to run out right before an item is statistically likely to break!  What a discouraging thing to read!

I'm learning that with some appliances it's wise to get a warranty and some it's not.  I wish there was a way to know, but I think it has more to do with knowing how much it would cost to replace the appliance if something breaks on it, whether you could replace the appliance if you need to, how much repairs typically cost (and how likely they are to be needed), and how long you'll have to wait for it to be repaired.  

The LED panel on my refrigerator thankfully didn't affect its ability to dispense ice and water and monitor the temperature.  I did have to wait 2 weeks for the part and the repair after the initial visit.  A friend of mine had her washing machine fixed and it took 6 weeks for it to get repaired.  No matter how you cut it, it's crummy when an appliance breaks and we depend on it every day!  Repair time doesn't diminish if you have a warranty, the warranty just diminishes the cost.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Family Medical Records

This morning I'm working putting together a binder that I should have done a long time ago.  But, like most projects, you tackle them when I get the chance.

I think I've mentioned that my mom is sick.  She's been quite sick for about 4 months now.  I have been going to all of her appointments with her.  She carries with her a folder in which she keeps all of her records. Along the way, I bought a tiny lined notebook to carry with me in my purse on which I write notes down about her appointments.

As I was planning for the upcoming school year this past week, I realized that I really should put together a family medical notebook for us and one for my mom.

I was on the Mom's Toolbelt website that I have a membership on (link to Mom's ToolBelt Site).  Side note...I purchased a membership on the site over 5 years ago when I was trying to compile free forms to make my own planner.  At the time, the cost was worth it because it saved me a lot of time trying to scour the web and find free forms.  I have to admit that I am very thankful for it because it is one of those few memberships that I've really found worth it over time and I like that it isn't an annual fee.

I started by getting out a binder and putting a handwritten form on the side saying "Family Medical Forms".  Then I placed 5 dividers inside and labeled them for each member of our family.  In the front, I placed copies of these forms:
1. Pages 2,3, 5, and 6 from

Under my husband's and my tab, I placed
1. the Doctor, Medication, and Medical History Logs from Mom's Toolbelt
2. the vaccination form from:
3. Lab Work/Tests/Procedures page from:

Under the kids tabs, I placed
1. the Doctor, Medication, and Medical History Logs from Mom's Toolbelt
2. the immunization record from:
3. Growth Tracking Form and Lab Work Page from:

I know that immunization recommendations have changed over time and the CDC has the most up to date form/schedules on their site, but they were more difficult for me print off and follow than the forms I have linked to above.

I found some great free forms on this page that would substitute easily for the forms I used from Mom's toolbelt:
There's a provider list, medication list, appointment log, and several other forms that look very handy!  I'm going to keep track of this website in case I need to add other pages!

I'm glad my notebook is assembled.  Now I need to go fill it in!