Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The new Peapod Green Car is released - But is it practical?

So once again, American car companies are behind the 8 ball?

Chrysler, LLC released their eco-friendly Peapod - (an all electric vehicle) for city dwellers today. It's restricted to 25 miles per hour in most states - It's basically a moped with two side by side seats and Iphone plugs. It's certainly cute but at a starting price of $12,500 it really can't compare with the Smart Car (which we're seeing more and more of in the Washington DC area) which starts at $11,900 and uses electricity AND gas.

The Smart Car is a co-creation of Mercedes-Benz and Swatch.

The little two person vehicle maxes out at 90 mph and can be driven on any highway, unlike the Peapod which is restricted to roads that have a max speed limit of 35mph or under.

Granted the prices are similar but the Peapod is not going to help my fellow commuters (who travel on roads above 35 MPH) nor is it going to help with parking in the city. If anything it will encourage folks who now take the subway & bicycles to trade their foot traffic for 4 wheels - adding to the already overcrowded streets.

The Peapod can boast that it's greener than the Smart Car, but I don't think it's anymore practical. It runs for 30 miles on a 6-8 hour charge, where the Smart Car's miles per gallon are 33 - city & 41 highway (a measurement the Peapod can't even make).

I really think that Chrysler bit the big one here. I think that once again US car manufacturers are behind the times. Until someone can give us an electric car that goes at least 70 MPH and lasts for 500+ miles on one charge, we'll be forced to use a combination of gas & electricity to get greener. In the meantime, they should be promoting mass transit instead of thinking about how to move two people at a time in already overcrowded cities.

If I were in the market for a greener car, there would be no question which vehicle I'd be looking at.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bo arrives at the White House!

That is just about the cutest dog I've ever seen. And the girls are so great with him!

Video from, our local affiliate.

Monday, April 13, 2009

DOTUS or BOTUS? The White House Pup

Yes many people have already posted about Bo, the new White House dog, but few are showing this picture from the blog site. We are really looking forward to seeing Bo run around the White House lawn! The President will definitely have someone to join him if he decides to go jogging. :)

It's very appropriate that the Obama's decided to get a rather rambunctious breed - the Portuguese Water Dog - since FLOTUS likes to promote a healthy lifestyle. I think Bo will keep them active.

Bo is a re-homed dog, not technically a rescue but definitely a pup who's looking for his forever home. I wonder if he ever thought he'd have a yard that big!

According to the Post, the Obama's have also made a contribution to the Washington DC Humane Society.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Losing Weight & Saving Money

How do we lose weight in this economy when everyone is watching their purses just a little closer?

I'm a big proponent of shopping at Costco or Sam's club for our weekly produce, meat & dairy but be careful! Those New York strip steaks are awesome but everything at the warehouse markets are HUGE. Because everything is so large in those markets you don't realize exactly how big the steaks really are until you get home. For two people you really don't need more than one steak to split per meal. I typically buy a pack of NY strip steaks, come home and freeze them with seasoning. When it's time to grill I pull out one for the hubby & I to split. They are about 14 ounces each and 6-7 ounces of steak after cooking is more than enough to fill us up.

For about $30 I get 5 thick steaks that last us for a month. About once a week (or whenever we feel like going out for a good steak) I pull one out to grill. Serve with fingerling potatoes (often found at the warehouse markets for $6.99 for 5 pounds - at $1.40 a pound it's a steal) and mushrooms & green beans ($4.99 for 3 pounds of fresh snap beans - freeze them in portion sizes appropriate for meals).

I learned this trick from my mother in-law. Always have a steak in the freezer for those days when you're on your last dime for the budget and payday is a few days away. You can't feel bad about yourself when you're eating steak! And in moderation it's a very healthy meal. Just cut off the fat and voila!

Another trick I've learned by shopping at Costco is an idea for a healthy breakfast. The hubby & I have spent the last few years eating those God awful oatmeal bars for breakfast. The problem is, they don't fill you up & they're full of packaged sugar/flour/junk. Sure they're pretty good for you but after 3 years of eating them - it gets pretty durn old. One week while at Costco picking up 3 pounds of bananas for $1.19 (bargain!) and a $2.00 gallon of skim milk, I saw the strawberries. Yummy & ripe! I was hit with an idea. Why not try making smoothie's for breakfast? It's worth a shot right?

The following is a concoction I have stolen from a friend (thanks A!) using blueberries, strawberries, a banana and some vanilla protein powder. The result is a VERY yummy & filling smoothie with 273 calories, 2 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs & 27 protein. We've been eating these every day for the past few weeks and I actually look forward to breakfast. They're so filling that they carry you well into lunch time. Taking the time to prep for these is key but the little extra time is SO worth it! You can use fresh berries or freeze the strawberries yourself, depending on the consistency you desire.

Per smoothie (double for two):

1/3 cup oj
1 cup de-stemmed fresh strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (3 pounds for $5.99! lasts for weeks!)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 banana
About 1/2 cup of water - depending on the consistency you desire

Blend for 20 seconds. Serve in 20 oz portable bottle.

It's a great healthy way to start your day! This smoothie also equals about 4 servings of fruits! Make them for yourself and your Significant Other one morning & see how fresh food can really make a difference in your overall health.

Friday, April 3, 2009

4 Sale

This article on talks about how a $500,000 home is now being sold for $200,000. Now besides the fact that you can't "call" it a 500k home if it's selling for 200k... I think the one thing that these articles fail to point out is how awful it is to have to short-sell or foreclose on your home because the loan you have on it is $300,000 more than your neighbors who just bought the same house next door for $300k less.

We have the same problem here in the metro Washington DC area. Homes that were valued at 500k are now going for 250k-300k. Now people are able to buy those homes at 250k because the person who owned the home previously had a loan for $500k that they couldn't pay so they were foreclosed on. So the first family is forced to leave because they cannot afford the loan they took out for 500k and another family moves in paying on a much more affordable mortgage of 250k.

So my question is this - why can't they find a way for the first family to stay in their home but pay on a mortgage that reflects the market rate for the house?

I know - it's not what we do here in America - it would totally screw up the already screwed up system of lending and borrowing - and it's not our fault that the first family bought over their means - but what good is it going to do to have a bunch of empty run down houses? What good will it do to have another family renting instead of taking pride in home ownership? Or worse yet, be on the street?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


In less than a month Ben and I will be driving to Wilkesboro, NC to attend MerleFest 2009 with my in-laws (Ruth & Ed), my favorite Uncle (Steve) and Bonnie. We're staying an a very nice cabin in West Jefferson, NC - in the mountains of NC.

MerleFest is an annual BlueGrass music festival. It features 13 stages (sized from small intimate "pickin' places" to a huge professional outdoor auditorium). It takes place every year on the campus of Wilkes Community College (located in the mountains of NC) and is has contributed over 17 million dollars to the community.

It's a fabulous event and I'm really happy we'll be going this year. Ben is taking his dobro (he took his cello last year - they have an instrument truck where you can leave your instruments in the hands of the local church during the day - tagged & logged in - so you don't have to carry them around), I'm pretty sure Ed is taking his mandolin and God only knows what Steve will take. Maybe I'll buy me some spoons this year. ;-)

The cabin has a hottub but we'll be so busy I doubt we'll even see it. Another nify thing about MerleFest is the napping tent. Yes! I said napping tent!! When we went a few years ago we drove down after work on a friday and I was so exhausted on Saturday that Ben lost me for a few hours - he couldn't find me - because I was in the napping tent snoring away. Best nap of my life! Sleeping on the grass with my purse under my head and Bluegrass in the air. Pretty darn nifty if you ask me.