Tips for Buying a Dishwasher

Replacing a Dishwasher

Owning a home comes with it’s share of headaches from pests, to exterior repairs and updating/replacing appliances or even costly systems like Heating & Air Conditioning systems. At our last house, we had to replace the dishwasher when we realized (while having the floors replaced) that the 5 yr old Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher was leaking. As you may have guessed… it was leaking directly on to where the new floor was to be installed.

So you may ask “how did you make a decision on what to buy and what did you decided on?”

6 Tips for Buying a Dishwasher

  1. Buy the low end of a higher end manufacturer. This could mean buying Miele, Asko, Bosch and to a lesser extent Samsung and LG.
  2. Avoid (if you can) the very largest brands Whirlpool, GE (you know they aren’t owned by GE anymore?), Maytag, Kitchen Aid. They’re so big that you might have trouble getting service.
  3. Skip the extended warranty… they rarely pay off to the policy owner’s benefit.
  4. Look for a stainless steel tub…holds up to heat and detergents better than the less expensive plastic tubs.
  5. Leak guard/containment. This will keep your floors dry if there’s a problem inside the washer.
  6. A food grinder. Makes those bits of food of your dishes easier to travel to your sink drain and keep the drain lines from getting clogged.

Which Dishwasher Did We Buy and still Love?

  • 14-Place Settings
  • 5 Wash Cycles
  • 2 Options
  • Express Wash
  • Sanitize Option

Bosch SHE3ARL6UC Ascenta 24″ Black Full Console Dishwasher

Digital Dad Interview: Sam Estes

My first interview with a Dad here on the Digital Dad blog. I’m excited to kick things off with Sam Estes, a Dad, Blogger and hard-working banker!
And, Sam I totally agree with you about brownies.

Sam Estes
Meet Sam Estes.. a hardworking Dad and Blogger.

Brief Bio 
“I just turned 28 this summer and the following week had my 5th child. I have nearly 200 hours of college credit, but still no degree. Currently living in Texas, but my heart longs for my home in NW Arkansas where I was raised and met my wife in 4th grade. I am a new blogger on the scene and think I have some insights others will relate to while I’m documenting my growth in my faith, family and fitness. I am easing my way back into running with a nearly impossible goal of running a marathon before I’m 30!”

What do you like most about being a Dad?
“What I enjoy most are the moments when the unexpected occurs. For example, my second daughter (nearly 2) can say many words and can communicate well for her age, but she refuses to say “Yes”- she can say the word out of context, she just won’t in conversation- everything is “no.”
Penelope would you like some ice-cream- “No”
Penelope would you like to go to the park- “No”
Are you crying for water, do you want water- “No”
It has become a game in my house to see the funny things that we know she wants, but says no to. The jig is up though, because recently we were playing the game at the dinner table and I asked, “Penelope would you like another tomato?” Completely expecting the normal response, I was hardly looking at her, but I saw her nod- slowly. I was shocked! Never before had she done this, but it wasn’t only that she nodded but how she did it. Her eyes looked like “deer in the headlight” eyes and her jaw was slack, and the only thing that moved was a tiny, slow nod up and down signifying she wanted another tomato. I cannot tell you how long the entire family laughed at that. “She said YES!” We had her shaking her head yes all night to everything we could think to ask her and every time she would nod we would all crack up. No one at the table expected her to do anything other than her normal “no” but we now have a “you should have been there” story that I will enjoy the rest of my life.”

What’s been your proudest moment (so far) as a Dad?
“I am a Christian, so naturally my family prays before meals. While I normally lead the mealtime prayers when the kids were young, my two boys (7 and 5) want to participate and bicker to see who gets to pray. So we set a schedule to avoid conflict, funny huh? But now that my daughters are reaching that participation age we randomly select someone to pray and one night Penelope was picked- how I don’t know she was barely 18 months old at the time. Nevertheless, we all bowed our head and peeking (the way parents always pray to make sure that kids aren’t flinging food across the table) I saw that Titus (4 then) was watching Penelope intently. When she hesitated to pray he waited maybe 5 seconds and said “Penelope say this…” and lead her in a mealtime prayer. He did this without any direction, without any examples, without anything other than his desire to help her. What a great kid! Titus has done this now many times and I think the girls enjoy having him “help” them pray.”

What do you want your kid(s) to remember you for the most?
“My faith. It isn’t a benefit to anyone to begin to argue about what faith I have, or who it is in- but faith in my God is something I wish to pass on to my children. There are many morals, ethics, joys, and lessons I will teach my children while they are with me, but my main focus- the most important thing I can teach them- is faith. I am not an anti-science religious zealot; actually, I enjoy watching/ reading history and physics lessons (my wife thinks I’m insane). I invest heavily into their lives through homework, family time, exercise but one that I never miss is an opportunity to emphasize, one that I want my children to emulate the most, my faith.”

When did you start blogging?
“I just started this summer to be honest. My wife has a blog ( and has wanted me to start one for some time now. After some thinking of how my blog would reach a different niche than the other blogs out there I launched in late June.”

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing life/work/blog? How do you manage it?
“I currently am a bank manager who works 40+ hours a week. As I said before I just began my blog and have yet to struggle with the “deadline”, but I have seen my wife do it over the years. My challenge before has been to allow her the time needed to create a great product and now that it is my turn to create too- well let’s just say time will be an issue. I think we have balanced “computer time” well, as of now she is blogging more in the morning while I am a night now, blog late into the evening hours. Can I emphasize late…”

City/State (nearest major city is fine)?
Dallas/ Fort Worth, Texas

Blog Title & URL?
DadRunner: Sharpening my stride in Faith, Family and Fitness.

Cookie or Brownie?
Brownie (as long as its still gooey and warm….YUM)

If you enjoyed this interview let me know in the comments below. If you know of another worthy dad hit me up here.

Buying a Home with No Money Down – USDA Rural Home Mortgage

It started out an honest quest. Rent on our apartment was set to increase dramatically and on a regular basis for the foreseeable future. After everything we saw and experienced with the housing crisis.. was there still a no money down mortgage solution?

The answer to this question could potentially:

  • Allow us to fix our monthly living expenses
  • Give us a tax break. Which we missed out on due to relocating last year.
  • Provide a sense of permanence (which a garage full of our belongings in our apartment was not providing).

My Wife did some internet research and found the USDA Home Mortgage program. This allows a buyer to purchase a home for no money down with closing costs included with one caveat. The home has to be in a “rural” area.

Now, when I think of a rural home, I think of something like this

USDA Rural Home Loan

But, the reality of a “rural” home can be something like one in a master planned community with amenities like this. (Yes, really.)


What is USDA Rural Home Mortgage?

The USDA describes the guaranteed loan program as follows:

USDA Rural Development has partnered with local and national lenders to help them extend 100% financing opportunities to rural individuals and families. Benefits of the Guaranteed Loan Program include:

  • No down payment required – 100% financing available
  • No maximum purchase price limit
  • Fixed 30 year rates
  • Not limited to first time homebuyers
  • Flexible credit and qualifying guidelines

A Word of Warning

It took 45 days from offer to closing. Your loan could be processed quicker or more slowly. This is after all a government, agency self funded program. And there were hundreds of pages of letters, forms and other documents. Some of these had to be revised more than once. This was a total buzzkill to the excitement of a “new to us home”. But, we did finally close.

Checking the Status of USDA Rural Home Loan?

Something that was very frustrating was being in loop as far as what loan package was being processed by the USDA on a given day. My Wife found a phone number for Texas. Apparently, each state has it’s own number to check the status of loan processing.

So, to get your search started off right use the query below (adding in your state):

Single Family Guaranteed Rural Housing Conditional Commitment Status Updates are available daily by calling


Digital Dad Round Up #1 Chromecast, Daughter Buys Car on eBay


Happy Friday!

At the Digital Dad we are launching a new weekly round up of the latest happenings in the world of Dads. The Digital Dad Round up covers news from technology, culture and/or politics. Enjoy.

Tech: Chromecast from Google. Google Play on Your TV

According to Google.. “The easiest way to enjoy online video and music on your TV. Plug Chromecast into any HDTV and control it with your existing smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Send your favorites from Google Play, YouTube, Netflix, and Chrome to your TV with the press of a button.”
Chromecast is set to ship by August 7, 2013.
Learn more in the Google Chromecast FAQ
Buy it now on the Google Play Store

Baby Buys Car on eBay Using Her Dad’s Phone

Paul Stoute’s 14-month-old daughter has been drawn to technology throughout her short life, but he underestimated her tech savvy. Last month, Stoute received an email from eBay that he had the winning bid. Here’s your warning Dads. (Via MSNBC)

Jimmy Fallon is a Dad, Welcomes Daughter

The Late Night host, 38, and wife Nancy Juvonen Fallon welcomed a baby girl on Tuesday, July 23 at 6:21 a.m. The couple’s latest addition will join Gary, the pair’s female golden retriever who often appears on his Emmy-nominated talk show. (Via PEOPLE)

A Picture a Day – “Kayaking with Dad”

What could be better than kayaking with Dad?

Walgreen’s PrintWorthy Photo Service – Show your photos some love

The Digital Daughter recently had her ballet recital, and to mark the occasion we took photos. Like many parents we shared the pictures on Facebook. I was so blown away by the positive reaction to one picture that I thought this photo might be worth printing. {gasp} Digital Dad printing a photo? No way.

I remembered the Walgreen’s app on my smartphone had a way to print to store. So, I started down the path of printing the picture like I had many times before. But, with a recent upgrade to the app a new option, Facebook PrintWorthy™ ,was available and I was curious. So, I dove in. And who could pass up a 5″ x 7″ print of their kid anyway?


Walgreens PrintWorthy review

After authorizing the app to access my Facebook account and photos I was served up a selection screen.



Go through a few more easy selection and order screens. And then, place your order. Ready to be picked up the next day.

Here’s a sneak peek at what the finished product will look like.



So have you tried the Walgreen’s PrintWorthy photo printing service? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.