30. December 2010 · 6 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Opened up my Yoshi Blade…seemed to cut up an apple well enough.  But then I read the care instructions, which I’ve transcribed here for your reading pleasure.  Remember, this is NOT a metal blade, but a ceramic one.  Still, some of these warnings are a bit extreme…I’m kind of miffed about not using it to “chop”.

“The Yoshi Blade is for slicing only — not for chopping.”

“Use Yoshi Blade on a plastic of wood cutting board only.”

DO NOT use the Yoshi Blade or the side of the blade to chop food”

DO NOT use the Yoshi Blade to cut frozen food”

DO NOT use the Yoshi Blade to cut hard cheeses”

DO NOT use the Yoshi Blade for carving poultry or meat with bones”

DO NOT cut on ceramic plates, marble, stone, glass or tile”

DO NOT bend, twist, pry or apply force on the tip or side of the blade.”

DO NOT use Yoshi blade to smash garlic or other foods with the side of the blade”

DO NOT place Yoshi Blade in or near open flame or heat source, as ceramic blade will get hot”

“Yoshi Blade is NOT dishwasher safe. Hand wash only in warm water with mild soap”

NEVER let the Yoshi Blade soak in water for any period of time.”

30. December 2010 · Comments Off on Yoshi! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

This Yoshi?

No, this one:

Today I ran up to Publix, our local grocery store, for some last-minute items for chicken parmasean. While there, I came across a section with a bunch of those “As Seen on TV” gadgets…all marked down!

I very very rarely succumb to the “As Seen on TV” craze. I got Aqua Globes one as a housewarming gift, and some of that Mighty Putty to attach metal to metal (it served its purpose, it was temporary). I see the commercials all the time — in fact, Mighty Fix It, which has been advertised a lot lately, looks intriguing to me.

But the Yoshi Blade was staring at me on that “As Seen on TV” shelf, with a sticker on the package that said “$10”.

Half price, whoo hoo!

Well, not really half price. If you buy it from TV, you get two blades and two veggie peelers for $19.95 (plus S&H, which I gather is $6.99 PER knife/peeler set).

So I bought it — I haven’t opened it yet, but I’ve seen the commercials (which you can see here), and I’m curious about how sharp it is…and how long it’ll stay sharp. I have the worst luck with good knives…

23. December 2010 · Comments Off on It’s a GREAT DAY in the Vollmer House · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

After some 3 years of trying, Jacob finally got the hang of riding his bike! He said that the hills in Nebraska made it really hard, and to be honest, he simply wasn’t as interested. But with only about 2 minutes of holding on, he took off with ease this morning!

We are SO PROUD of him! Family bike rides, here we come!

Now to figure out what Timmy wants to do next. He got really upset during all of this, sobbing in the garage. Not sure if it’s envy of riding with no training wheels, or envy of the positive attention Jacob was getting. I think Timmy can do this quite easily, he’s always ridden his bike with more speed and confidence than Jacob.

Stay tuned!

Prepare yourselves, this is going to be one of my most bewildering blog posts yet.  More so than vermicomposting, toilet odors and pumpkin reproduction.

This morning I enjoyed another run through my new neighborhood.  I’ve been mapping out my runs on this website (so I know the distances I’m covering) and this is the one I did today.  It takes me though this lovely golf course neighborhood northwest of my house.  Needless to say, the golf course is near the streets titled “PGA Blvd.” and “Masters Blvd.”.  I don’t live there, but it’s pretty to visit, especially with some of the houses’ holiday decorations.

So…today I was running along a backstretch of Cove Rd., which is on the southwest part of the loop, and the houses ended and I had hammocks on both sides of me for several hundred feet.  No, not the kind I wished I had in my backyard, but the ecological kind.

And down on the ground were not the low-lying palm fronds that are elsewhere in the neighborhood, but lichen fields!

When I think of lichen, I don’t think of Florida. I think of 10,000′ alpine tundra, with reindeer eating the stuff. In fact, the kind of lichen I found is nicknamed “Reindeer Lichen”.  I had visions in my head for the rest of the run of reindeer licking rocks with lichen.  We saw lichen on an alpine tundra in Colorado in August, in fact.  This website answered my questions about lichen in Florida.

Lichen I had photographed on a rock in Colorado this past August, we were at about 10,500′ elevation here.  I never imagined seeing lichen in Florida!
From 2010 08 09 Rocky Mtn Natl Park Day 1

I was so intrigued by this field in my neighborhood, I stopped to check it out.  Took a few pictures with my phone camera:

You can use lichen on model railroads.  The greener lichen makes nice shrubbery.
From 2010 12 17 Lichen
The red stuff on the ends of the lichen on the right was interesting to me, but I didn’t want to touch it.  This website discusses the “matchstick” lichen a little more.
From 2010 12 17 Lichen
The area was covered in it!
From 2010 12 17 Lichen
Just doesn’t seem very Floridian, does it?
From 2010 12 17 Lichen
13. December 2010 · Comments Off on Our Weather Station is BACK! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

We re-assembled our weather station in our backyard over the weekend. We have plenty of fenceline to choose from, and you can’t see the equipment from the street (always a bonus in a deed-restricted neighborhood).

You can see current conditions on the right-hand column of the blog now, or you can click on the “sticker” and save that page to your favorites.

We also have several other local weather stations with which we can compare our data. I’m not quite sure our wind vane/anemometer set is high enough off the ground, we have some wind direction inconsistencies that we’ll monitor for the next several days.

It’s nice to have this back, especially for rainfall information…we can use that data to assess whether I have to water plants.

10. December 2010 · Comments Off on This Morning’s Run · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

We’ll see how long this takes me….

09. December 2010 · Comments Off on Getting Settled In…. · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Howdy!  It’s been a few days.  I’m sure you’ve ALL been at the edge of your seat, spending all your time wondering, “How has Major Mom been with the move?”

I’m sure you’ve been up all night worrying about me, right?

Of course you have 😉

So we had our stuff delivered on Wednesday, December 1st, and Dave and I spent a marathon FOUR DAYS doing nothing but unpacking.  Dave had taken a couple extra days off after our stuff was delivered to help with unpacking.  Somewhere in there on Thursday I made it to Hurlburt to do my first commissary run, and on Friday I attended a base spouses’ orientation that I probably didn’t really need.  It was more like “Military Spouse 101″…don’t get me wrong, it was a great class, but I was probably not the right audience.  I found out Hurlburt Field does this other spouses’ orientation that includes a bus tour of the base and that’s more what I’m looking for.  I’ll sign up for that course in January.

Anyway, by Sunday the 5th, we had unpacked just about every box and each room in our house was presentable.  I could take over with the “refining” while Dave reported back to work.

My current challenge: getting our daily routines in place during all this holiday hub-bub!

On Saturday we made it over to the beach for a quick photo shoot so I could get some Christmas cards made up.  On Sunday night the boys and I made our first batch of Christmas cookies.  I’ll be making dough for some sugar cookies tomorrow.  Tonight the boys and I got the bulk of the Christmas cards addressed, stuffed, stamped and put in the outgoing mail for tomorrow.

It’s great having the boys help with the holiday activities this year:

Helping with a family favorite cookie recipe: Holiday Cookie Surprises

Jacob stuffed Christmas card envelopes for me, while Timmy helped with putting on the stamps.  You can turn your laptop upside-down and squint for a sneak-peek of our Christmas cards 😉

As for school, the boys seem to be doing pretty well.  Jacob has a LOT more homework here than he did in Bellevue, but like the school supply issue, I think the amount he’s getting here is more par for the course.  Jacob has commented more than once that the schoolwork here is more difficult than it was in Nebraska, but I think it’s more of a laziness thing for Jacob.  He just actually has to do more work.  I’ve had to exchange a couple e-mails with his teacher to seek clarification on some of the classroom procedures.  She always replies quickly and has great communication with the parents.  I won’t argue there!

Timmy is absolutely loving his new Kindergarten class.  He misses his Nebraska friends, and talks about his friends Roger, Micah and Jackson quite a bit.  We had to exchange a couple e-mails with Timmy’s former teacher about some school supplies he left behind, and it was nice to catch up with Mrs. Brockhaus!

The boys are taking the bus to and from school.  I was pleasantly surprised at all the security that seems to go into riding the bus around here.  I can only coordinate directly with the county school district transportation office to arrange the pick up/drop off at our new house, and the elementary school kids don’t have bus stops.  We are instructed to wait at the end of our driveway for pick up, and the boys are dropped off at the end of the driveway in the afternoons.  I’ve met the bus driver “Miss Irene”, and the kids just play in the front yard until the bus comes.  Our street is arrow-straight and we can see the bus turn onto our street from 1/2 a mile, and 2 stops away.  Taking the bus really opens up the length of the school day for the boys, but the boys haven’t complained.

We’re enjoying our new house quite a bit.  I’ll have to give up a lot of my gardening, since the homeowner has invested heavily in the front-yard landscaping and I won’t want to mess with a good thing.  The backyard is ab-so-lute-ly BLANK.  Grass.  That’s it.  The backyards around us have more trees and bushes, and therefore the wildlife seems to hang out there.  We have seen numerous birds in the neighboring yards…on our 2nd day here I had the honor of seeing EIGHT bluebirds sitting on the fenceline.  I didn’t have my camera with me, so I couldn’t get a picture, although it would have been a nice one.

This morning while waiting for the bus, Jacob saw a Northern Flicker in the one non-palm tree in our front yard.  He was making funny noises, and Jacob was attempting to communicate with it.  I’m glad all the birding in NC and NE has paid off 🙂

And finally, I’ll share my newest hobby: a small fountain/pond in my yard.  Among the fancy front-yard landscaping is a pond/fountain, a plain fountain and a birdbath!  I’m looking forward to seeing more birds in the front yard when the weather gets warmer.

The pond was certainly a nice bonus to our house — and we were pleasantly surprised to see 4 good-sized goldfish swimming around in the pond.  The weather’s been so cold the fish are more or less dormant so it isn’t very interesting.  They’re also pretty shy, hiding under the fountain column a lot of the time.  The algae in the pond has been a problem.  So these past few days I’ve been spending 30-45 minutes per day working on cleaning out the pond.  As of now, I’ve done a 2/3 water change, scrubbed the algae off the concrete, and I’m making sure to run the fountain during the day so the water is well aerated.  The water I add to the pond is from a well, which means I don’t have to worry about chemical treatments or anything like that.  Every time I’d agitate the water the algae would stir up and become almost opaque green — seeing the fish at all has been difficult.  Once the temperatures warm up more in a couple months, we’ll start feeding them and hopefully we’ll see them come out more often.

The fountain.  The pump sends the water up to the very top of the column and then it trickles down the “trays” that are spiraling around the column.  It’s very pretty, but I’ve been challenged with setting the water pressure such that the water doesn’t blast out of the trays sloppily.

Here’s one of the fish on a rare occasion that the algae in the water was settled to the bottom.  The boys haven’t named the fish yet (I see that coming real soon), but this one likes to hang out near the warmer pump unit when the water’s cold.  We have two gold ones, and two calicos.  Each are 6-8″ long.

02. December 2010 · Comments Off on Starting from Scratch — First Grocery Shopping After a Move · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

First grocery shopping after moving into the new house. Hard to keep it to one cart.  One of the symptoms of moving, is giving up a lot of the long-term items.  In my case, things like ketchup, salad dressings, peanut butter and jelly and my stores of frozen foods.  So today I replenished the stocks.

I ventured to the Hurlburt Field commissary.  Not quite as big as Offutt’s, but I’ve definitely shopped at smaller ones (Shaw, Seymour-Johnson).  My cart got so full my wrists got sore as I tried to maneuver around!

I owe the picture I took with my phone of the complete full cart, but I’m tired and I’m going to bed!