19. March 2014 · Comments Off on Trader Joe’s in Colorado! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

This is the last of my February catch-up posts. Thanks for bearing with me.

Last month three Trader Joe’s food stores opened in Colorado. Two are in Denver and one is in Boulder. They’re all about 1 – 1 1/2 hours from here, which is the closest we’ve lived to a TJs in a long time.

Long-time readers might recall that a store opened in Omaha less than a month before we moved from the area in 2010.

Because I’m a crazy lady, and because the boys had no school on the day the stores opened (Valentine’s Day), the day we visited the History Colorado Center in Denver, we made a short stop at the southernmost of the three new Trader Joe’s stores in Greenwood Village.

The Greenwood Village store.

The Greenwood Village store.

The Greenwood Village store is in a rather well-to-do area of Denver. It was absolutely packed.

Grand Opening Tip: Bring a friend. As soon as you walk into the store, grab a cart and get in line. The store was feeding a single line around the perimeter. It was about 25 minutes in line. You and your friend need to take turns browsing the store while keeping the cart in line. I put the boys in line while I browsed the aisles nearby.

There was a line of people just waiting for a shopping cart. I grabbed a basket instead. We filled it up to the brim, and Jacob even offered to hold some of the larger items so we could fit more into the basket. He was such a trooper — of course, he loves Trader Joe’s as much as I do so if he could help the basket fit more veggie pasta and tortellini, he would do it.

I was pleased to be able to stock up on frozen goodies, which I hadn’t done in years. However, the Greenwood Village store doesn’t sell alcohol, so I needed to plan another trip up to the next closest one.

Jacob saw this and asked for it. It was...interesting.

Jacob saw this and asked for it. It was…interesting.

A couple weeks later I had a reason to go up to Denver again, and this time I headed up to the downtown Denver store on Colorado Blvd. This is the one with a liquor license.

The downtown Denver location. It's in a pedestrian-friendly part of the city. Parking was tricky.

The downtown Denver location. It’s in a pedestrian-friendly part of the city. Parking was tricky.

Getting to this location took much longer than I had anticipated. I figured out some detours through residential areas that kept me away from the incessant traffic lights.

Even though this trip was about 2 weeks after grand opening, it was just about as crowded. Once again I had to grab a shopping cart and quickly get in line. I picked up a few items, but not much. The point of this trip was to pick up some Three Buck Chuck.

Colorado requires the alcohol portion of Trader Joe’s be in a separate store. So one has to exit the regular grocery store and enter the space next door. All I needed was some white wine, but this is what I saw:



There were Chardonnays left and that was about it for the white wines. I picked up a couple bottles and was on my way.

I’ll just have to try another time.

Yesterday it was announced that Trader Joe’s leased space in a nearby shopping center here in Colorado Springs. Oh happy day! The store won’t be open till 2015, but I’m thrilled at having a Trader Joe’s closer to me than the nearest commissary!

19. March 2014 · Comments Off on Alton Brown’s Edible Inevitable Tour · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
Yes, Timmy's picking his nose. We tweeted this picture to @altonbrown.

Yes, Timmy’s picking his nose. We tweeted this picture to @altonbrown.

I’m almost embarrassed to talk about how I nearly missed this performance.

I’m a huge Alton Brown fan. Since his show Good Eats debuted in 1999, he has brought food science and geekery to the masses. Before the days of TiVo and DVRs, I’d make a point to watch the show weekly. Now that I can record the shows, I catch episodes whenever I can. More »

19. March 2014 · Comments Off on Colorado Springs Sledding Fun · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
Despite the signs, everyone sleds! I'm sure it's the city just covering their butts.

Despite the signs, everyone sleds! I’m sure it’s the city just covering their butts. See that fence down there? OW!

I’m now officially catching up on some smaller posts I had planned to share…but then forgot.

Let’s start with some sledding the family did at the beginning of February. We went up the road to Cottonwood Creek Community Park, which has numerous gentle hills throughout.

We took our little sleds that we used at Estes Park back in November and enjoyed going up and down the hills. More »

18. March 2014 · Comments Off on Chugging Right Along: Baseball, Skiing, and Scouts · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , ,
Timmy the catcher...again.

Timmy the catcher…again. His new coach’s son is also a catcher and his coach works hard on training them on techniques.

Yep, I’ve been scarce. I’ve been spending more time on my Facebook fan page than here, because I can pop up quick discussion items and engage with friends and fans that way.

That’s because baseball has started at the Vollmer house. And as the boys get older, their practice schedules become more intense. And as the practice becomes more intense, we are making more investments of time and protective equipment for them: new slider pants for Jacob, impact-resistant sports goggles for Timmy, a new catcher’s mitt for Timmy, a wheeled baseball bag for Jacob… More »

13. March 2014 · Comments Off on Colorado Springs School Choice Drama Part 2: Discovery Canyon Campus · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
Making the right school decision in Colorado Springs can make you lose your mind.

Making the right school decision in Colorado Springs can make you lose your mind.

As promised, here’s the rest of the story with our school choice.

The boys had expressed interest in the STEM schools in our district. This would be the Discovery Canyon Campus, a K-12 school about 9 miles away. Not unreasonably far away, and there would be bus service (somewhat) available if the boys got into the school.

You can go back to Part 1 of this diatribe about how the choicing process works.

In the months of January and February, each school offers a “choice night” where you can go to an information meeting and/or take a tour of the school. We attended both the Discovery Canyon Middle School and Elementary School meetings.

The middle school meeting was very informative. Jacob and I were pleased with the school’s methodologies and programs. The tour of the school showed us some of the classrooms and Jacob was pretty excited about it.

The following night we went to the elementary school meeting. The plan was to have Timmy’s second choice on his form be Discovery Canyon Elementary. The schedules would match up very well. Timmy liked what he saw with the school tour, also.

However, the very first words out of the principal’s mouth at the start of the meeting was “If you don’t live in the neighborhood, your student won’t be able to “choice in” to this school. We are overcrowded as it is.”

You see, the neighborhoods nearest Discovery Canyon are building at breakneck speed. The biggest planned community is called “Flying Horse” and many young families are moving in with elementary-school aged children.

Perhaps we should have left right then and there…but we didn’t. We stayed to listen to how the school distinguishes itself from the other (such as with their International Baccalaureate Primary Years program).

Timmy really enjoyed learning about Discovery Canyon, but was more interested in School in the Woods.

We submitted the applications in mid-February, and eagerly await the decisions about our sons’ futures.

12. March 2014 · Comments Off on 5 Itty Bitty Housework Hacks to Save Time and Money · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:


This is a post I originally published at GeekMom on March 5, 2014. I’ve made a couple modifications for context.

I don’t care for housework. I understand it’s a fact of life and I do get a feeling of accomplishment when everything is clean.

Thirty seconds later, the boys (and/or Howie) come home from the park and undo it all. Oh well, at least I tried, right?

Over the years of keeping my own home, I’ve come to rely on numerous “life hacks” that buy me a few minutes of time savings (and sanity) from housework.

Allow me to share with you some of the smaller, more subtle housework hacks that I have come to rely on. I’m sure these tips exist already, and many of you will say, “Well, DUH! Who doesn’t do that?”, but for me, I found some of them genius! And if you try some of the ones that seem new to you, you might ask yourself in a few weeks, “Why did I not do that all along?” More »


This beautiful new facility opened in Spring 2012. It’s not completely full, there’s plenty of room to populate with more exhibits.

I’ve been remiss. 2 1/2 weeks since my last post. Things have been getting progressively busier in the Vollmer house as our boys have started their baseball practice with their new baseball program: Academy Little League.

The boys were out of school on Valentine’s Day, so we took the day and cashed in on part of the Christmas gift from my dear sister’s family: tickets to the History Colorado Center in downtown Denver. As I’ve written for the GeekMom blog, I love state history museums, and I’ve dragged our sons to the history museum for every state we’ve lived in since they were born. More »