01. July 2012 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 25: Florida Scenic Highway 30A · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

Dave and I took a drive on Saturday.  It’s something we hadn’t done in YEARS — as the kids get older they don’t really have the patience to just sit in the car and enjoy the scenery.  We got into the Mustang, put the top down and headed eastward!

Much of what I had written about Florida recently has been in areas around Pensacola and Destin.  Unfortunately, there is so much congestion in Destin, we rarely get to go east.

I had a brainstorm this week to head down Florida Highway 30A, which is a beach highway between Destin and Panama City Beach.  U.S. 98 is the main route connecting the cities, but if you have the time, check out 30A for some serious beauty…

Of note along Highway 30A is the town of Seaside, made famous by the 1998 film The Truman Show with Jim Carrey and Laura Linney.  The made-up town was actually the center of Seaside.

I love the houses here…but owning one? Forget about it!

The town is very beautiful.  Dave and I parked the car and enjoyed a seafood lunch right on the beach. More »

24. June 2012 · Comments Off on Debby Does Destin? · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Where’s she gonna go? What’s she gonna do? The meteorology world is stumped at the moment!

“We interrupt Major Mom’s writings about road trips and being “basic” while we discuss more pressing issues….”

When one lives on the U.S. Gulf Coast, and it’s hurricane season, you have to be ready to put your life on hold whenever a system is forecast to head in your direction.  We learn to keep supplies nearby: batteries, flashlights, Leatherman tools, propane, a camp stove, etc.  We learn to assess our food on hand, and work through the perishables first, in case we lose power.

With all the Tropical Storm Debby news dominating the airwaves, with Jim Cantore reporting from the beach right up the street from here, with my friends on Facebook talking about the craziness they’re seeing at our local Walmart, it’s hard to remain calm.

But I think Dave and I will be quite calm.  We’ve dealt with the east coast of Florida in 2004, and we saw some serious craziness: a week of empty gas pumps to looting to crowds of people ambushing the Publix employee when he rolled a cart of fresh milk to the dairy aisle.

For Miss Debby, the meteorologists are pretty darned stumped.  Forecasting storm intensity depends on the storm track, and the computer models aren’t agreeing on what the storm track is going to do.  So yeah…confusion and delay.  All I can offer to my local friends who are similarly preparing for this storm is to remain aware.  Official updates to the official forecast come out at least every 6 hours (7am, 1pm, 7pm, 1am CDT), you can follow the National Hurricane Center on Twitter and Facebook for the updates to get pushed to you, or you can subscribe to their e-mail service to have watches/warnings and advisories pushed to your email inbox.

I recommend FEMA’s Ready.gov Hurricane Preparedness website, which is a comprehensive source of information that covers the before, during and after event topics regarding tropical weather.  There’s a good suggested preparedness kit here.

All in all, just remain aware, use the media tools available to you, and above all: “Keep Calm and Carry On!”

06. June 2012 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 24: Touchablue Berry Farm · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

So many blueberries, but only one me to eat them all!

I made plans with a neighborhood friend, Sandra, to go blueberry picking. I had friended A&N Blueberry Farm on Facebook earlier this spring and watched their page for when they’d be opening. Last Thursday (while our older sons were in school) we drove all the way up to the town of Molino, Florida (about an hour away) and when we got to A&N, the farm was closed.  I mean, really CLOSED!

A sign was taped to the locked gate:

Due to unforeseen circumstances we will be closing the blueberry patch until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. Please monitor our website for any further information.  Please don’t judge our decision.

Thanks to my handy-dandy smartphone, we learned that there were several other blueberry farms in the area, the closest one being only about 3 miles away.  So we drove west just a few minutes and found Touchablue Berry Farm.

More »

I’m trying out a new commenting tool on my blog: LiveFyre.  I’ve seen it work well on a friend’s blog, so I thought I’d give it a go over here.  One of the things it’s supposed to resolve is tying together Facebook and Twitter comments with the blog’s own comments.  So they’re all in one place.  That seemed really cool to me.

So feel free to either comment here or in the Facebook or Twitter forums.  I might have to change my “syndication” hosting some to maximize this, we’ll see with further testing.

Thanks for your patience!  In the meantime, enjoy this picture taken today from our spouses’ club golf scramble!  Today was perfect weather, and the event went off without a (visible) hitch!  It was very well-done!

Cute cake, right? Made/decorated by my friend Steph (of Disney Half Marathon and 80s Party fame).

A closeup of the little alligators! There are 2-3 gators living on the golf course we were at today 🙂

I LOVE strawberries!  So while the paint is drying from the latest wall I’m painting (in the living room behind the TV), I’ll share pictures from our strawberry picking trip last Friday.  Like last year, we headed out to Akers of Strawberries in Baker, Florida.  You can compare this year’s trip with last year’s!

Each boy had one box they could use. I helped fill both boxes.

These berries were HUGE this year. That's my hand holding that monster berry!

This is what we ended up with -- about 18 lbs.

So far I made a pie with about a pint and a half of the berries, and I used about 2 quarts for a batch of jam. I didn’t take any pictures of the canning of the jam, since I shared all about it last year.

This year, however, I had a boil-over accident and I ended up not boiling the berry mixture long enough — I had to reboil and then re-process the jars again to get it right.

But here’s that picture of the pie (again) 🙂 This was for an Easter pot luck party at a neighbor’s house.

Sadly, this strawberry pie didn't set very well either. It's was more like a pile of strawberries in a cooked crust. Oh well. The berries were still delicious!

05. November 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Dave Update:  Friday was a pretty good day for him.  He was able to rest very comfortably, and after the kids came home from school he walked up and down our block — the kids walked the dog.  With the back brace he’s keeping very nice posture while he back heals…

He’s looking great, and moving decently all things considered.  His spirits are high during the day.  By evening as the medications wear off he’ll get pretty worn out.  Which means he’s sleeping well at night…

Well before Dave’s surgery was scheduled, I had arranged with a childhood friend Angela to meet for a weekend of scrapbook cropping on November 3-5 with some other ladies.  We pool our resources — such as all those computerized, digitized tools that I haven’t invested in yet — and banter ideas back and forth.  I love doing these, and I hadn’t been to a crop since I was stationed in eastern Florida right after Timmy as born!  Most of the ladies booked rooms at a hotel on the beach and we rented one of the hotel’s meeting rooms to do the cropping, but my plan was to do marathon cropping during the day and sleep at home at night.

Our view from the meeting room we rented to crop.

We’re playing it by ear, but today I was able to go out and join in on the crop briefly while the boys were at school.  Dave stayed home and since I wasn’t far away, I could be back quickly if there were problems.

Enjoy some of the pages I made Friday for Timmy’s first-year scrapbook.  I did 8 pages…many of which I started at the crop and then finished at home tonight.  As I finished each page at the crop I took quick phone photos and texted (ahem, iMessaged them) to Dave.  They aren’t great photos here, and the scrapbooking supplies took a beating during our PCS last year so we have lots of upturned corners.  Make sure you see the last picture, it’s my favorite of the bunch…

If Dave is still doing well, I would like to go back Saturday and see if I can crank out 8 more pages.  I’m taking the ladies a lasagna, at a minimum…

There’s a page to the left of this titled “FIRST”, that looks the same with four other visitors (mostly family).
This is a pre-made page that I won as a door prize at a Stampin’ Up…or was it a Creative Memories? Party.  Today I just had to add the pictures and the word cutouts.

Some “journaling” (i.e. captioning) will go on the right side of this page.
A caption will go in the lower right.
My favorite so far.  Thanks to Angela for her Sizzix that makes “shadow” letters that made this so much fun to do…

15. October 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

I took these pictures while on a run on Wednesday morning.  I need to learn more about some of these flowers, but these are around a stop sign on a nearby street corner.

I took these with my iPhone camera, and several of the pictures were zoomed in and didn’t turn out so well.


Morning glories climbing up the stop sign…the first ones I’d seen all season.  I’m sure they’re around, I hadn’t paid attention, though.

Not sure what these are, if anyone has any ideas, please feel free to comment.

A gulf fritillary butterfly.  They’re everywhere around here right now…so pretty.

12. October 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

This past weekend our family headed to the Spanish Trail Scout Reservation near Defuniak Springs and had a weekend campout.

The scout council here calls it “Cub Scout Family Camp” and it’s a great weekend.  Three weekends in October were made available expressly for Cub Scout-friendly activities.  Any Cub Scout families could register for any of the weekends they wanted, but our pack in Navarre elected to go as a group to the Columbus Day weekend event.

Last spring I had to leave the camping one evening early so I could run that half marathon, but this time I got to enjoy the Saturday night bonfire and skit show.  What fun!!!

I made a cherry-dark chocolate dump cake (similar to this recipe that I did back in June, but with “dark chocolate” cake mix) on Friday night and was a hit with the families in Jacob’s den.

Jacob took a fall from the stack of palettes sitting behind our campsite (you’ll see them pictured below).  A group of boys was playing and too many boys ended up on the palettes and Jacob fell into our camp chairs.  There are suspicions that he was pushed, but no one saw for sure so there’s little we can do about that.  He got bruised up, but we had the doctor check him out earlier this week just for good measure.  All is well.

The members of our pack who came on the Saturday morning group hike.  Jacob’s on the far left, Timmy’s in orange.

There’s a “monkey bridge” across a creek.  Miss Chris (one of the den leaders) is in the water playing spotter.

I’m so glad neither boy fell into the water…although Timmy dunked his shoes into the water later on after crossing the bridge.  He had some closed-toe Keen sandals that he wore the rest of the weekend.

At the BB Gun range.

Dave helping Timmy.

Timmy was able to earn his BB Gun belt loop this past weekend (and Archery too!)

Timmy with some other Tiger Scouts (and a soon-to-be Tiger).

Dave making dinner.  We’re glad we brought the shelter, it did sprinkle on us some Saturday night. Note the palettes stacked behind us (they’re for Boy Scout summer camp).  Note the kid standing on them on the left right.  Note the Dad with the laptop — listening to the Virginia Tech game (it was a SQUEAKER!)

Getting ready for the evening skit.

Nice photobomb, Timmy!

Fried potatoes and onions — can’t go wrong there!

I made tacos for Saturday evening dinner.  I never thought to do it on a campout before, but it’s amazingly easy — all you have to cook is the ground beef!

This is the evening bonfire, the kids are dancing around it.

My only glimpse of Timmy — and my phone’s battery died after that.  Not bad…it stayed alive for about 40 hours.
26. September 2011 · Comments Off on Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I got home from Air Force Reserve duty Nebraska last Wednesday night.  It was my birthday, and the boys picked me up at the airport and we went out for Korean food at our new favorite Korean restaurant, called Okie Dokie in Fort Walton Beach.  It was a good week in Nebraska but it was nice to be home.  I missed my boys!

I can’t believe I took this picture with my very own camera!  My iPhone camera, at that!  Sunset from Navarre Beach, Florida last Friday night.  This is what was awaiting me after 10 days in Nebraska!

It’s been very busy since I’ve been home.  Lots to do in the community: from helping out with the base spouses’ club, to writing for GeekMom, to supporting Dave’s squadron, to helping with the book fair at Timmy’s school, to helping in a new endeavor:

Yep.  That’s me in Boy Scout getup.  The pack needed leaders and since the rest of my family was involved, and I tag along on all the events anyway, it really wasn’t much more work.  So I’m Timmy’s Tiger Cub Den Leader and so far, so good!  The kids and the families are great!
The dynamic duo selling popcorn at our local Walmart last Saturday.  Timmy is destined to be a salesman when he grows up!  Jacob has become more shy in his old age.

I’m due back in Nebraska in about 3 weeks, but there will be plenty to keep me busy between now and then.

29. August 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
Over the course of the day, the stamen will produce their bright yellow pollen, such as what’s seen here.  It’s all very fast…this flower was wilted by sunset.

As promised two posts ago, here’s a nice pretty post for you.  This is our Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) plant that grows in front of Jacob’s bedroom window in the front of our house.  I was pleased to see these flowers this summer, since the week we moved into the house in late November 2010, we had a hard freeze that essentially killed off the 5′ tall plant for the season.  But in April it came back!

Unfortunately, when the hibiscus plant has to start from scratch, it’s tough to get the profuse flowers that I was accustomed to in Hawaii (where my Dad was stationed then when I was ages 3-6) and Melbourne, FL (when we were stationed at Patrick AFB).  These flower bring back so many memories of living in Hawaii where our house (we lived in military housing) had a tall hedge-like row of hibiscus along one of the outside walls.

I’ve been seeing the occasional flower this summer…hibiscus flowers only last one day so it’s been tricky getting outside at the right time to photograph it.  It needed to be before lunchtime, and most of this summer I simply wasn’t thinking about heading out to photograph the front yard until it was too late in the day.

Once school started, and the kids were playing in the front yard while waiting for their respective buses, I had a chance on the first day of school to get these shots of a fresh bloom!

The flowers are about 5-6″ across.