July 2013

Golden Doodle and LabraDoodle: Could these be the Perfect Family Pet?

by The Car Family

All types of zoology lessons



We can’t help but be amazed at Man’s creativity when it comes to canines. Dogs were the first animals domesticated and with that came the ability to control cattle, goats, sheep, as well as being a hunting partner and protector.

Since all dogs come from the much maligned wolf, one has to wonder how this transformation from wild animal started. Research done in Russia on foxes revealed that some were more inclined to interact with humans. Those were bred and over time these animals gradually became less fearful of humans and even wagged their tail, among other things, showing how domestication might have evolved.

Today, the world’s largest dogs weigh over 300 pounds and the smallest just a few pounds and yet they are from the same wolf stock. Indeed, Man is still at it and within the last couple of decades a new breed has emerged that combines the traits of three of the most popular and intelligent dogs. The new breed can be called a Labradoodle or a Golden Doodle, depending on whether a Labrador Retriever or a Golden Retriever was bred with a poodle. They come in three sizes with a weight range from about 20 pounds to over 100 pounds. The breed started in Australia as breeders attempted to find a guide dog for blind individuals who had allergies. The result was a success and has so quickly caught on with the public that in ten years its has gone from number 159 on the list of most popular breeds to number 31, according to the AKC, which, ironically, does not recognize it as an official breed.


Doodles are very affectionate and gentle dog and are usually highly social and get along well with everyone. They can be good good watchdogs, but not guard dogs,as they usually are into tail wagging as opposed to growling. They are exceptional service dogs and have been listed as one of the best breeds with children.


The Doodles are called designer dogs or hybrids because you never know which characteristics from the two parent dogs will be exhibited. Those variables include coat color, type of hair, and size. The two traits they appear to all have is that of an exceptional intelligence and being people friend1y. The Doodle are easy to train and respond well to positive reinforcement. They usually love to swim, and are good retrievers to the point that you may end up with a dead gopher or bird on your doorstep. Good dog.
Another valuable aspect is the fact the Doodle can be a non-to light shedders and thus may do well with those who have allergies as they have less dander.


The Doodle coat be wavy or curly or both and they need to be have their hair trimmed regularly. Coat colors can be caramel, white, red, black or a combination .The cost of trimming and maintenance can be dear, but if you aren’t fussy, you can do it yourself if the Doodle doesn’t mind being laughed at on visits to the dog park.

The Doodle appears to have the traits people are looking for with its possible reduced allergenic traits, smarts,cheerful disposition and attractive look. But perhaps the greatest reason this dog is one of the fastest growing in popularity is the fact that owners can proudly claim that have a Doodle and enjoy the reaction. And yes, several have been named, Yankee.

Before you consider a Doodle, do your homework. The Doodle has a tremendous number of positives going for it, but it all depends on its parents and the reliability of the breeder. There are also Doodles in need of rescue. http://doodlerescue.org/

Common Core Video Resources

There certainly isn’t a shortage of Common-core related videos and resources and that is the good and the bad news. A simple Google search reveals over 8.5 million possible websites offering everything from paid lesson plans to teachers demonstration videos. In most cases the material is limited in value or meant for a non-teachers. So I put together the better free sites to help narrow that search. If you have another to share just email me by clicking on my name at http://www.reacheverychild.com


A good starting point



A collection of ten important sites including those featuring teachers demonstrating practices as well as important sites that explain various  aspects of Common Core.



Resources by subject area



Classroom videos showing math instruction



175 Videos on all aspects of Common Core with the emphasis on how teachers are implementing it.



200 Videos

Mixed quality, but good descriptions and the teacher rating system helps winnow out the less useful.



This is a large link site with an index by subject matter. Some videos are linked.



Share My Lesson

This site was created by the American Federation of Teachers. You may have to register.

They have a teacher rating system that can be of value in finding those that others have found to have the most value.



Here are the Share My Lesson site’s resources by subject area:



LearnZillion is a site that contains a great many resources

You have to register, but it is worth it if just to see this extremely useful visual which shows what has be to taught at when. A must visit.


A variety of lessons with excellent explanations.



Audi allroad: You Can Have it All


by The Car Family


for more reviews go to http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/


First, don’t leave the dealership without a complete explanation of all the electronics on this handsome station wagon. There is so much technology built into the $40,000 bank vault on wheels that you sometimes question whether it can drive itself. Although we dearly love the Audi Q5 SUV, this station wagon is much more sleek and clearly intended for a different buyer. It is the perfect ski car and always a treat to look at and drive. The ride is uneventful. The only downside was that the option packages are dear so take the time to do your homework before you shop. For example, the allroad Prestige package adds $9000 to the tab. However, you do get a plethora of very important features such as lights that illuminate corners as you turn, an elaborate audio and information system, and a powerlift gate, just to name a few.




Audi selected the allroad name based on the vehicles slightly raised stance and four wheel drive, (quattro) system that enables the wagon to take on inclement weather and mild off-highway excursions with ease. There is little competition for this unique vehicle and one look at the glamorous interior makes those with the need and wherewith not to look elsewhere. It is a classy, family friendly, and sophisticated package that offers the opportunity for buyers to show that they are marching to a different drummer, one who performs in an orchestra and not a band.



Mom’s view: Taking the roads in inclement weather or even the high Sierras in winter has never been easier. What is most unexpected is that at altitude the turbocharged four-cylinder engine never feels oxygen deprived and the eight-speed automatic transmission is so seamless that the canyons and passes just melt away. Very reassuring. But the real pleasure is the interior with a more is more approach. Nappa leather, and a choice of walnut, ash, oak or aluminum trim, are eye candy, but the way the dash lights up at night is the real treat. From a practical viewpoint, there are 17 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 51with the rear seats folded. The liftover isn’t too high despite the Audi’s seven inch raised suspension. The motorized rear hatch is a must have as it easy to operate and so useful when you have your hands full. Safety wise there are antilock brakes, traction and stability control, airbags most everywhere, and a blind-spot warning system. The handling and braking were fine, but not sporty. My opinion; one sharp mall mobile.





Dad’s view: I didn’t think I would enjoy this vehicle with its turbocharged, 2.0L 4-cylinder engine and mild ratings of 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, but the exceptional transmission kept the engine on task in impressive fashion. Indeed, this was the perfect package for high terrain driving and the 20/27 gas mileage was a plus. We registered 24 in mixed driving. The higher center of gravity does promote some lean that the lower to the ground A4 Avant doesn’t exhibit, but the higher stance does improve visibility. The steering is well weighted and the brake are confidence  builders. A good alternative to the Audi SUVs, but it is much more responsive and draws attention from fashion minded folks.



Young working male’s view:


The MMI infotainment system is complex and the myriad of control systems enables you to custom tailor this five passenger wagon to your own needs. When you use the Prestige’s Drive Select system you can adjust the steering, accelerator, and transmission settings. If you want to pay a monthly fee you can have Audi’s connect feature that has a navigation system tied in with the Internet and Google, and that means you can achieve a Street View of your destination. Impressive, and you can even communicate with your car from your computer as well as use a number of Wi-Fi devices at the same time. And, you can use voice activation. That is what I am talking about. For a few more shillings, make that Euros, you can let your ears feast on the Bang and Olufsen Audio option audio system. Too rich for my demographics, but it has a certain elan.




Young working woman’s view: You can order the allroad in three version Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Even the base model Premium, a term really not appropriate for any Audi, provides 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, automatic headlights, cruise control, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power front seats with lumbar, 10-speaker system with CD player and satellite radio. The top of the line Prestige comes with adaptive headlamps, a blind-spot warning system, a more sophisticated sound system and you can opt for adaptive cruise control, and rear sunshades. You get the idea. This is one vehicle you need to do your homework on before you shop. Now for the important part, it is wonderful to look at, drive, and feels sure footed in all types of weather and I loved it, but the MSRP requires reflection. Pricing starts at $40,495 for the Premium, $43,795 Premium Plus and $57,170 for the Prestige model loaded. The warranty is four years/50,000 miles. Sharp looking, easy to love and a car that makes you feel good inside and out.



Family conference: There is no doubt that the vast price range of this Audi and its high value option packages are going to challenge potential buyers, but one drive in the allroad as it is unique, fun to drive, gets good fuel mileage, and its outstanding looks make this a first choice for those wanting the versatility of a station wagon with the utility of all wheel drive.


For all vehicle websites go to http://reacheverychild.com/business/index.html



2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

by The Car Family

For more reviews go to


Scientists are being paid millions of dollars to create invisibility and Mitsubishi has accomplished that for a starting price of around $23,000 with the all new Outlander SUV. Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t a bad looking vehicle, indeed it has an understated beauty. However, to the general public, and more importantly, to law enforcement, the Outlander is nearly invisible. Pity, because it can better most of the competition in one way or another from its utility to its super easy to understand technology to its room for seven to its terrific warranty.


We liked the previous Outlander for its handling and sporty nature. This version is more for grown ups, but it certainly handles well and puts a Honda CRV to shame whether it be useful features or utility. The 2014 Outlander has a 1500 pound towing capacity or 3500 pounds depending on the model and keeping the “U” in SUV there is over 60 cubic feet of storage. Fuel mileage is also at the top of the segment with the base engine and front wheel drive models able to push the 30 mpg mark thanks to some subtle exterior changes that make the Outlander more invisible to the wind as well.

There is nothing not to like with this Mitsubishi and there is a lot to like making this a must drive vehicle. If you need the all-wheel-drive feature the Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system is from the sensational Lancer Evolution. The price for the fully loaded version with the V6 engine does push above $30,000, so you are going to have to drive both the base and GT models to see if it is worth the extra funds. Either way there is a lot of content in the Outlander. We also strongly recommend you might want to consider the Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid) that Mitsubishi is planning for a later introduction. The hybrid would make Mitsubishi a class leader and also provide dealers with access to those practical buyers who consider 30 mpg a starting point when considering vehicles.

Mom’s view: Always being on a diet, and with little success, I was astonished to find that the new Outlander even with its seven seats and abundance of features has lost weight over the last version. The interior, as the exterior, simple and refined. The seats are comfortable and outward visibility is fabulous. The instrument panel sits low and is centered around a seven inch, high definition, touch screen monitor. The GPS visuals are as good as it gets offering a split screen that offers points of interest while the other side has the normal map. There are ancillary controls on the steering wheel, a voice activated system, and good old fashioned knobs on the dash to make basic operations simple to master, unlike the overly complex system on Fords


Safety wise, the Outlander has s four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic stability control, seven airbags, a rollover sensor, and ABS. Other features that are available are a Forward Collision Mitigation, which warns the driver when there is an obstacle in front and can actually stop the vehicle at slow speeds. The Lane Departure Warning gives an audible warnings above 40 mph and the Outlander also has a Hill Start Assist that keeps the vehicle in place on steep grades. I loved this feature. You don’t even have to have your foot on the brake. Perhaps it is damning the Outlander with faint praise, but this is the most minivan like SUV that I have ever tested. So if you don’t like the minivan look, this is the best SUV you can buy that holds seven, gets good gas mileage, and not overwhelm you with electronic gadgets.

Dad’s view: You have to make a difficult choice when considering the Outlander because the base model is very good. The more upscale GT has the more powerful 3.0-liter V6 with 224 horsepower, but requires premium fuel. The standard drivtrain has a 166-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that achieves 30 plus mpg. Both engines provide satisfactory performance, but the V6 really isn’t that much more potent in daily driving. However, if you want all-wheel-drive and are willing to sacrifice a little at the pump the V6 is the version to own especially noting its greater towing rating. The three Outlander versions are the ES models, which is your least expensive option and comes only with front-drive, the SE which gives you a plethora of electronics as well as an AWD option, and the GT with everything.

Roomy is the word I would use to describe the interior. There is plenty of cargo space and leg room, although the third row of seats is a little tight. Out GT had an automatic lift gate that worked well, but short people may have a problem reaching the close button. The key fob works just as well and is more handy. The ride is sedan like, the steering a bit vague at times, and the noise levels low.

What is very interesting about the Outlander is what does not draw your attention such as the remarkably low coefficient of drag of 0.33 thanks to subtle change in the body. There was also an ECO mode helps conserve fuel and gives the ES and SE models the 31 mpg rating on the highway with the CV transmission. This is a cruiser and not a bruiser.

The Outlander handles soft off-roading easily, despite its girth, and is sedan like on the road, but it is nothing like the older model Outlander which were more tuned for sporty driving. This is a car for families and the paddle shifters on our GT model were left untouched for the most part. The interior is fairly quiet, the steering mellow, and the overall effect is more utility and less sport.

Young working woman’s view: That third row of seats is worth it by itself. When they are folded into the floor the large, flat cargo space is extremely useful and when you need the extra seating it is easy to flip them back into position. It is a huge bonus and what separates the Outlander from the completion. Obtaining good fuel mileage is just the icing on the cake, and with the low liftover it is simple to load that cake into the Mitsubishi. Even the base model is well equipped with automatic climate control, a multi-information display, keyless entry, and a 140-watt sound system. The Mitsubishi is like the new kid on the block. He may not attract you at first, but when you get to know him there is a lot to like.


Young working male’s view: Although the base model is well loaded, you don’t get Bluetooth and other features that make the more upscale models more attractive such as the ES, with hands free technology, a much better stereo system, and the invaluable rear view camera. The SE and GT use a touch screen display that is very large and the GPS is excellent.

Family conference: Mitsubishi is clearly moving upscale with the Outlander and has done a good job of providing a lot of standard features and ample space. The ride is good and the all-wheel-drive unit is impressive. Overall, this is an excellent family vehicle with compact car gas mileage and electronics that are easy to understand. That being said, Mitsubishi has indicated it is going to bring out an Outlander Plug-In Hybrid and this could be the tipping point for potential buyers depending on the price point. The new version will have front and rear mounted electric motors, a 2.0-liter gas engine and all-wheel-drive. Although it sounds like an oxymoron, Mitsubishi is going to bring out an environmentally friendly SUV that can run on battery power alone around town, get hybrid type fuel mileage on the road, and hopefully, offer seating for seven. Now is going to be quite a package and proof Mitsubishi is here to stay.

For a list of vehicle websites go to http://reacheverychild.com/business/index.html