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You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 2/10/08 - 2/17/08

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Great Backyard Bird Count -- This Weekend

(Thanks Maryann for reminding me about this this year!)

Looking for a fun activity with the kids this weekend? Check out Cornell University and the Audubon Society's annual "Great Backyard Bird Count".

This is a really easy way to help the birding world keep tabs on the migration/habitat patterns of North American birds, and unlike other bird counts, you don't really need pre-registration or anything like that. You can observe for as little as a 15 minute increment for your counts to be integrated. Do it between now and midnight on the 18th to get your observations counted.

So all you have to do is go to the GBBC link and select the yellow "GO" link to input your findings. Even if you do all the observing ahead of time, you can put in the findings after the experiment is over and it will get into the results within 2 hours. My reports are already there!

And if you're a statistics weenie like me, make sure you check out the results link at the top of the web page and see what kinds of cool data has been collected so far!

So I'm spending the next 2-3 days, Peterson's Field Guide in hand, in the kitchen and backporch quietly observing. I'm trying to get Jake to help, and he seems very interested, but he can't keep still and quiet enough. He gets all excited when he sees a bird and starts to dance around.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

A Valentine's Day Idea

So here's what I did for the 4 grandparents for Valentine's Day. I bought a package of heart-shaped mouse pads from Oriental Trading Company and fit in a pic of the boys from among the "A Hard Day's Night" photo shoot.

Feedback from 3 of the 4 grandparents is that they're very cute and they seem to love them!

I thought I could simply take a 3 x 5 pic and slip it into the mousepad, but I was mistaken. I ended up making sure the boys were against a somewhat white background so I could cut the silouette pictures and affix them into the mousepad. I have some Post-It note photopaper with which you peel off a backing and there's a light adhesive to keep the photo from slipping. It's nice for stuff like this.

From 2008 02 10 VD...


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day II: Patricia and Dave, the early days.

Enjoy this photo from one of our earliest outings, my AFROTC Military Ball in Spring 1994. Made the dress myself! I miss sewing. Will need to talk about that sometime.

More importantly, check out the brillo pad on my Dave's head! Once he came on active duty he's kept it so short you can't tell how curly it can get.

From 1994 05 AF Ball

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Happy Valentine's Day -- An Ode to my Dave!

I got tagged by Susie to do this, so here goes.

From DaveABUs

What is his name?
David Russell Vollmer.

How long have you been married?
13 1/2 years.

How long did you date?
About 1 1/2 years.

How old is he?
33.5 - yes, he's a tad younger, but it's definitely fun that way!

How old are you?

Who eats more sweets?
That's a tough one. He's the family chocoholic, but I can put away the Halloween candy like no tomorrow, if left unchecked!

Who said I love you first?
He did. In a Valentine's Day card 15 years ago today. ("Awwwww")

Who is taller?

Who can sing better?
We're about even. We both have a good time belting it out in church, but you probably won't hear us otherwise.

Who is smarter?
Dave's the almost-PhD man. But one could argue that a piece of paper does not equal smarts. Seriously, though, Dave's pretty brilliant and I couldn't be more proud!

Who does the laundry?
Usually me. I just recently signed Dave off as being trained on our washer/dryer.

Who does the dishes?
Usually me, since he is bathing the kids at the same time. If I slack off or if there's a dish he needs, he'll do them. Or, if Dave needs a favor, he'll surprise me and do them.

Who pays the bills?
I do. I have been thinking recently that if I were somehow incapacitated, it'd be good if Dave could do our bills. It's a combination of auto-pay, Quicken and Web Bill Pay.

His guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and a good beer.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
If "right" is defined as by one standing at the foot of the bed, that would be Dave.

Who mows the lawn?
I usually do. Up till NC, it was exclusively Dave but the allergies here have been horrible on him. It's a sight to see, all these men mowing the lawns, and my next door neighbor (single woman) and I mowing our lawns at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Besides you, who is his best friend?
Joe, one of his PSU roommates.

Who cooks dinner?
Usually me, but he gets a hankerin' to mess around in the kitchen sometimes and he has a good time. He's wanting to learn more about cooking, especially with wholesome, natural ingredients, which I think is great.

Who drives?
I do more often, because he can read books in the car and I get carsick if I do anything besides look out the window.

Who kissed who first?
I'm really not sure -- it might have been one of those movie-moment-style mutual first kisses.

Who asked who out first?
Dave asked me.

What was your first date?
The movie "Gettysburg". Not recommended for a first date, it's a 4-hour long war epic.

Who proposed?
Dave. At the Victorian Manor restaurant in Bellefonte, PA. It was in front of everyone and I was very embarassed by all the attention.

Who has more siblings?
We each have one sibling. Dave has an older brother, I have a younger sister.

Who wears the pants?

What is your favorite thing about him?
That he makes me happy, he treats me with respect, and he's awesome with our boys.

I tag Morgan, Margaret and Maryann.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Do you like Nip/Tuck? I sure do!

This show is SO's like a car wreck on can't help but watch!

Nip/Tuck, Tuesdays at 10pm on FX

Boot Tracks

Tonight I made "Boot Track" cookies for dessert for the family. I saw the recipe in Eating Well magazine a few months ago and told myself, "I need to make that for the family."

The recipe called for whole wheat pastry flour, which is an unusual find, but today I came across it at Whole Foods Market (Bob's Red Mill brand) and decided to pick some up and give this recipe a shot.

What a hit! Jake isn't a big chocolate fan, but Dave, Timmy and I really enjoyed them. The recipe made 36 cookies, and I'm counting 20 remaining.

The ingredient list is so yummy, and I didn't feel guilty letting the gang chow down on them. Each cookie even has a gram of FIBER! You use a standard waffle iron for the grid pattern, although comments on the recipe's web site suggest that a Pizelle maker or a Belgian waffle iron will work, too. When all's said and done, the cookie is supposed to look like a boot track with a dusting of snow on top.

The batter will be almost as thick as chocolate chip cookie batter. Use two teaspoons to put one dollop of batter on each quadrant of the waffle iron.

From 2008 02 12 Bo...

From 2008 02 12 Bo...

After 1 1/2 minutes, the 4 cookies will be soft like fresh waffles. Use a non-stick-friendly spatula to remove the cookies to your cookie sheet.

From 2008 02 12 Bo...

From 2008 02 12 Bo...

Finally, dust the cookies with powdered sugar. YUM!

Note: if you're making these for company, your best bet is to dust the powdered sugar just before serving. The oil in the cookie will make the "snow" effect look less fresh after about 15 minutes. But they're still most delish!


Seeing the World Through "I'm Moving Soon"-Colored Glasses

As most of my loyal readers know, the Vollmer family has a move coming up. Dave has orders to Offutt AFB, Nebraska, and this week he got the first batch of paperwork verifying things. He had to select what date we want to leave North Carolina...and that resulted in a lot of discussion. It turns out the public schools in Bellevue, NE start on AUGUST 12th!


Who wants to start school that early??? I remember being flabbergasted at how early the kids started in Brevard County, FL, when Dave and I were stationed at Patrick AFB.

Well, for some reason, it's VERY important to me that if Jake has a chance to start school on the first day of school, he does so. After all, we're talking about Kindergarten -- the most important day of his life...

...well, thus far.

The point is, Jake will have enough other things to worry about with our move...having to single him out as the "new kid" a week after Kindergarten starts? I don't think that's cool.

So I convinced Dave to put "August 7th" as the date we're leaving NC. Yes, it'll be a fast trip to NE, but for Jake, I think if we can get him into the school routine as soon as he arrives, things will be good for him. The sooner he'll make friends, establish a routine, and he won't have to sit around bored while the furniture is being delivered.

Also, the upcoming move has had me looking at everything in my house so I can mentally label it "Should it stay or should it go?" Many things are illegal for the movers to take: candles, lightbulbs, liquids of any kind. Which means if we really want to take it along, we have to find room in our van or car.

This weekend I took a look under my bathroom sink and saw so many Bath and Body Works, Body Shop, and other pretty-smelling lotions, eaus, and body splashes. I thought to myself, "I can't take all of it with me."

Infant toys, magazines, clothes that are too small/out of style, pantry foods that I bought then changed my mind about preparing: need to get it squared away before July!

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Eleven Years?

This advertisement was on the back of my latest issue of National Geographic:

From AllState

I found this pretty interesting. The statistic, that is. I never gave that much thought to how long I planned to stay out of full-time work. Sometimes I wonder whether I'd go back into meteorology, or if I'd pursue some other career: teaching rears its head most often. After all, our nation has a significant shortage of math and science teachers, especially at the high school level. I could do that...I think.

A woman in my church knitting group recently changed careers and is now a high school algebra teacher near Fayetteville. Some of her stories are scary, but she still is very proud that she can help with the shortage.

So...eleven years. Wow. I just hit 3 years out of the workforce last week.

PS: I agree with all of the tips offered in that advertisement. Make sure your spouse is covered for his/her retirement.

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