Monday, December 22, 2008

Buying a Fridge

Thought I would share the information we learned in hopes it might have some value for someone else. Here is what we learned in our day-long research session:

Basically we have concluded that the style of the fridge says more about its reliability than the make/model.

Most reliable fridge: Top-mount no ice maker

Add an ice maker, decrease the reliability by about 7%
Go with a side-by-side or bottom mount along with the ice-maker decrease reliability ANOTHER 7%

Did the decrease in reliability factor into our final decision? Somewhat. In the end we went ahead bought another Kitchen-Aid bottom mount. Bottom line for us was capacity. The bottom mount design adds about 4.5 cubic feet. With six people in the house- size is a major factor for us. We hope it wasn't too much of a gamble. If it goes bad I might have to reconsider my "worst ever" purchase rating.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sony HDD handycam DCR-SR80

I am going on record and calling this our worst purchase ever. The camera takes excellent video and having the hard disk format is great, but right now the camera is full and I don't have the time it takes to transfer the files. The camera's MPEG 2 format means that many programs do not work (most notably for us Windows Movie Maker). Also it generates huge files that are too large to upload and share on our blog or You Tube (conversion is required). Burning DVDs became a problem when we lost the software to the camera. Sony nor Pixella (the software manufacturer) will replace it despite the $995 original price tag of this camera. Yes, I am thrilled with the customer service! In recent months we have tried various third party software. Conversion programs have had difficulty with the format. Editing software (Sony's Vegas) was time consuming to use (1 1/2 hours to upload video and burn a single DVD). Tim bought me more third party software today in hopes of improving our situation. Maybe we will finally be able to put the camera to use this Christmas. The idea is great, the quality excellent, the usefulness: negligible. At this point the sight of the thing makes me furious. While in the past months Sony has introduced new models, changed the software, and made improvements, this model is still for sale. I hope others who consider purchasing it first do a Google search regarding problems with the SR 80 and if you decide to buy remember to hang on to the software (don't buy it without it) and I wish you a far better experience.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lego Advent Calendar 2008

Our kids all love Lego's Advent calendar. Its a great way to mark each day and to collect some neat pieces. The only problem in our house is that only one kid can open each day! We have been taking turns and enjoying the daily surprise. Tomorrow we plan to start a Lego winter display on the mantel with the assembled pieces they have gotten so far. The kids have long been wanting a set that would include lots of figures and this fit the bill. Yes, homemade Advent calendars are much sweeter and made to be treasured, but for a busy mom of four- this one is a winner in my book. We'll try the homemade thing next year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Moon Sand

Why? Why create a product that will bring sand into your home? Do I not have enough stuff to sweep up off my floor? Okay, so the kid loves it. Carter got a box of moon sand as a gift at a holiday party. He loves it. It is a treat for him if I get out a tray and let him play with it, but that is the problem. I don't like having things they can only play with if I have time to clean up the mess afterward. This really is sand box play inside our home. It must be put on something to contain the mess while playing (the box suggests this, but shows pictures of kids playing without any tray- we use a cookie sheet). It does "stick together" more than play sand for cleanup, but it is still sand and it gets everywhere. So just know in advance its not something they can be set free to play with unsupervised.