Thursday, August 31, 2006

All your gate are belong to us

I know I've mentioned before how impressed I am with Pumpkin's vocabulary. She speaks quite clearly and knows a LOT of words. She's also gotten quite good at stringing them together, even if it's not quite right.

Case in point: today I took down the gate at the bottom of our stairs, after I caught her almost climbing over it while almost falling off backwards and cracking her head on the floor. I figured the stairs were safer.

So I got out the special little wrench that came with the gate, loosened up the nuts holding it firmly against the wall, and took it down. Later on, while climbing the stairs, she started talking about the gate being gone. Then she looked puzzled for a second, looked up at me and said, "Momma use scissors. Gate. Unlock it." It took me a minute, but then I realized I had used a shiny silver tool to open something that wasn't open before. Not quite right, but, hey, I guess you gotta use the vocab you've got.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Emmy Thoughts P.S.

So, I had to find out how old Heather Locklear and Morgan Fairchild are, because in my mind they were quite a bit older than they look. One's younger than I thought, the other about what I figured. Any guesses as to their birth years or ages? I'll wait a couple of days, then post the answer.

(Of course, you can always look it up yourself it you're too impatient. That's what I have to do with the movie quotes on Kind of an Esoteric Guy all the time. *grin*)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Emmy Thoughts

Ok, I'm writing this post while perusing photos from the Emmys, particularly from Now, I don't usually do much (any?) celebrity following, but I do like looking at the pretty clothes. Except sometimes, I'm really not sure who is telling the celebrities that what they're wearing looks good. Anyway, here's probably the girliest, most appearance-judgement-y post you're likely to ever get from me, hey?!

Doesn't Julia Louis-Dreyfus just look good enough to eat like a little ice cream sandwich? Yummy and cute?! Adorable!

Calista Flockhart, maybe nobody has ever told you, dear, but most women wear black because it looks slimming. You, my dear, should wear white... or something in neon... 'cuz you DO NOT need to look slimmer.

Heather Locklear. I got nothin' to say, except, what exactly are the clauses in your deal with the devil? Also, Morgan Fairchild... you are NOT that young, so either you've got good genes, a talented plastic surgeon, or a similar deal.

Evangeline Lilly, even if I didn't absolutely LOVE (with little hearts written all around it) Lost, I'd think your dress was classy and classic. And again...classy AND sexy.

Candace Bergen, just NO! No! No! Never listen again to the person who told you THAT looked good!!! I just... NO!

Jennifer Love Hewitt, is it possible that someone who probably weighs that little to actually look hippy? As in having big hips? 'Cuz you kinda do.

Um, Ben Kinsley, during arrivals...what are you up to, little Puck-man? 'Cuz that smile is totally like you're about to drag somebody down an elf hole there.

Ellen Pompeo, I like the dress, but the hairdo? Makes your ears look big. Like, as in pointy big. Like are you going to be helping Sir Ben with the elf hole, huh?

Virginia Madsen, I don't know who you are, but you sure have huge tracts of land!

Um, this one? I just don't even know what to say! (But I think you have too many teeth.)

And *sigh*, when did you get too old for me, Han Solo?

So, there. In summation, two thoughts. 1) It was sunny on the red carpet and that is not kind to a lot of the celebrities. 2) Dang, am I out of the loop! There were a TON of photos I was like "Huh? Who's that?" on.

So, I'm going to publish this because 1) it has enough links to be an Esoteric Guy post, and 2) I never say mean things about people, even if they are celebrities, but it's kind of fun this time!

(Also, I really need to go to bed because it's after 12:30 here... and that' s just unheard of.)

The beginning of the end?

So last week our girl turned two. Rumored to be "terrible," you know.

She has been doing a bit of ... testing lately. Things like:

  • Thinking that diaper changes are optional. Combining that thought with protests and flailing when said diaper change time is announced.
  • Deciding, that even though she varies between one and two naps a day, that she doesn't NEED naps anymore. No matter how many times Mommy notices signs of tiredness, changes her diaper, reads her a couple of stories, and puts her in her crib, THERE WILL BE NO NAPPING! So sayeth the girl. (Granted, not everyday, but it's been a bit of a problem lately.)
  • Figuring out that hugging Mommy is a sign of affection; whacking your head into hers is not.
  • Switching from a girl who LOVES to eat in general, and who is happily acquainted with such not-usually-toddler-fare items as black olives, Camembert cheese, pesto, and olive tapenade to a girl would ONLY like black olives, Camembert, pesto, and tapenade. Oh, and french fries. Guess she's still a kid and not a restaurant critic after all. (In fact, she's snacking on some frozen peas at the moment while I'm writing this, and said, just now, "More bwack owives, peese." Should I be worried she's reading my mind?)
  • Throwing something with which she's frustrated, and before it even hits the ground, shaking her little head and saying solemnly, "Don't frow srings."

Today has been one of those no-nap-however-many-times-Mommy-puts-her-down days. And Mr. Kluges has been sourced out to Limerick to work on a big project this week, and is staying overnight up there tonight and Thursday night to cut down on driving. So now that it's after 5pm, I've got the joyful task of trying to keep an exhausted girl UP through supper and a bath so that she doesn't fall asleep too early and wake up after an hour. Of course, this is after spending a fair amount of the day trying to convince her to sleep.

Oh well, there's always this...

And it's mine, all mine!

Slainte, you know.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Question #6 - Scary Movies

First of all, big congrats to Syl, BuddyPants, and Kitten on the new addition to the family! Welcome to the world, Calleigh!

In other, less important news, Jurassic Park was on TV yesterday, and it made me remember vividly how very on-the-edge-of-my-seat I was the first time I saw the scene where the velociraptors have the two kids cornered in the big shiny stainless steel kitchen. I remember almost having a heart attack when one is charging the girl and she's trying to pull down that door, but then it turns out the raptor was seeing her reflection when it crashes into the side of a different cupboard. And when the boy keeps slipping on the ice in the freezer and almost can't get out? My legs were sore afterwards; I had them so tense trying to "help" him go!

Now, I've been known to have nightmares where Something (I'm never sure what it is, but it's scary!) is chasing me around inside a building and I can't get out, so maybe that part hit a little closer to home, but still... my adrenaline was pumping!

So, what movie or movie scene has scared the beejeezes out of you?

(By the way, if you want to see Questions 1-5, they're on my old site.)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yummy chimichangas!

For supper tonight I made chicken chimichangas that were, if I can say so myself, absolutely yummerific. So, I thought I'd share the recipe with y'all. I can't tell you much about its origins, except that I'd cut it out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune... apparently from the ads on the back, near some Memorial Day that was on the 31st.

[Marks made in these square parentheses are my notes.]

1 1/2 c. shredded cooked turkey or chicken
1 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese [can't get here - used cheddar]
1 (4 oz.) can diced mild green chilies, drained and rinsed [again, can't get - used about 2 Tbl. of chopped jalepenos in white wine vinegar I'd found at a fancy grocery store]
2 med. tomatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch dice
2 Tbl. minced fresh cilantro [couldn't get today, so skipped]
1/2 tsp. ground cumin [cumin seed]
1/2 tsp. crumbled dried Mexican oregano [regular]
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbl. salsa
2 Tbl. olive or peanut oil
2 med. cloves garlic, minced
1 med. onion, minced (about 1 1/4 c.) [plus an extra shallot I had on hand]
6 (12 inch) or 8 (10 inch) flour tortillas [did 6 large]

Garnishes: [Really, whatever you like on your chimichangas, so I'm not going to bother to specify theirs with amounts and all, but salsa, avocados &/or guacamole [made some (since as some of you know, the guac I can get here has PEAS for the first ingredient)...and must confess it was so tasty I ate the last bit with a spoon while cleaning up the kitchen.], lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, sour cream, etc.]

In a large bowl, combine cooked turkey/chicken, cheese, chiles, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, oregano, salt and 3 Tbl. salsa.

In small skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and onion and saute over medium heat until soft (about 5 min.), stirring occasionally. Stir into turkey mixture.

Lay a tortilla flat on work surface. Into the center of the tortilla, spoon some of the turkey mixture, shaping it into a rectangle about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch deep, leaving about 2 inches of the tortilla uncovered at either end of the rectangle. Fold the ends of the tortilla in toward the middle, then fold the sides down over the middle, securing well with toothpicks. [I skipped the toothpicks since not deep-frying.] Place seam side down on baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining filling and tortillas.

[Here they give directions for deep frying them, but they take like two paragraphs to do so and I don't want to type all that. We baked ours, so that's what I'm going to recommend. Tasty and healthier, too. I put them in a 180C (about 350F) oven for 15-20 minutes - or until they were heated through and a little brown on the top due to the huge old fan in our oven that I hate.]

Serve with garnishes and enjoy. Yummy!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Musings on Merry Wives of Windsor

It happened at just the right time. I'd been feeling slightly Argh-I'm-always-being-depended-on-I-need-some-time-on-my-own, and I saw a poster for Merry Wives of Windsor. Off The Ground Theatre was doing it for the next week or 10 days around the area, usually just one night per town. It was scheduled for Thursday night at Blarney Castle. "Great," I thought, "It'd be so cool to see Shakespeare with a real castle as the backdrop! Too bad our babysitter is out of town."

I tried to find out more information online and came up with this. It even has a picture of the poster I saw. It also revealed to me that "the bawdy comedy is getting the full Off the Ground treatment and is set in the disco cool of the seventies." Which was good to know, because otherwise, when the show opened with the whole cast singing "Stayin' Alive," I'd've been a little surprised. It also made it much easier to convince Mr. Kluges (who has never been a huge fan of musicals of any kind) into staying home with Pumpkin while I went on my own.

And yes, it DID open with the full cast singing "Stayin' Alive," while wearing a combination of period and 70s attire...sometimes on the same individual. Also, glitter face paint was prevalent. A little... strange... but I figured "Eh, what the heck." And I'd have to say that attitude stood me in good stead throughout the performance. (Not that the two minibottles of wine I had during the show hurt at all, either.) It was a rollicking and fun-filled performance, with occasional episodes of singing. I had a great spot right up front on my blanket, next to a quartet of (quite well-behaved) elementary school girls with one mom, and was able to take some wonderful photos.

Fun, fun, laughing, singing, listening to Shakespeare done with native English accents, etc. No bugs, nice evening, yadda, yadda, yadda. We hit intermission (or interval, as it was called here), and I wandered up to visit the Ladies' and get a double carmel Magnum ice cream bar. (YUM!) Got back, took a photo of the scene, settled back in... and noticed a couple of cast members putting garbage bags over the speakers. "Huh, maybe now that it's getting darker and cooler, they're worried about dew or something," I thought.

Um, no. The second half began, and about 10 seconds later, it started to sprinkle. About 20 seconds after that, it started to rain. And about 10 seconds after that, the skies opened up and it started pouring. And I'm not just talking your regular old "opened up" here - I'm talking "opened up a can of whup-ass" on us all. I've got to give the cast credit though; while we all scrambled to put up umbrellas, cover up with plastic, etc., they carried on singing and dancing through their current 70s number. My pictures of the second half... well, they're either blurry or filled with raindrops, but we all had a good time anyway. Even when they pulled half the audience up onto stage (ok, over into the 'stage area' of the grass) for the number at the end. (And when you're in the front row and have been laughing a lot... yeah, you get pulled up to dance, too. "Don't blame it on the sunshine. Don't blame it on the moonlight," you know.)

All in all, a very fun evening. The acting wasn't outstanding, but was fun; the costumes were... a bit outlandish, especially the VERY 70s and sequiny "fairies" at the end; and the music was amusing. It felt neat to take advantage of something happening in the community, and you couldn't beat seeing Blarney Castle in the background. I'll pick out some photos and add them in to this post so you can see what I mean. And that's my post about the Merry Wives of Windsor! Yay!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Part II

(or "Why Clean Up the Horrendous Kitchen When You Can Blog Instead)

So, here's the birthday girl... with the button (or in Ireland, badge) that let everybody know!

You know how I was going to make her cake this afternoon? Yeah, that turned into a group affair starting after Mr. Kluges got home.

<-Here's when I was wondering what I'd gotten myself into. Making a train cake had been Mr. Kluges's brilliant idea since he so fondly remembered one his Aunt Mary had made for him when he was four. This... mainly just looks like blobby lumps of frosting.

Here's the final result. Good thing I had a pastry bag with a piping end... and cute cookie wheels. ->

Pumpkin didn't open all her presents tonight - it ended up getting too late, and this way we get to spread the fun out over several days. We DID give her the trike. (Then we wouldn't have to tie up the bathroom with hiding it.)

She rode on it. (Ok, sat on it and pushed with her feet or we pushed her, but I figure that counts for now.)

She examined the decals closely.

And she had to push it just like Mommy and Daddy were doing.

(Then she proceded to fill both the basket and the little backpack with dirt and chives, but you know, she was having fun.)

And here she is just after blowing out the candles. Mr. Kluges is holding her back from lunging into the frosting while telling me I'm killing her by making her wait while I take pictures.

So that's the story of Pumpkin's second birthday. Here's hoping the sugar doesn' t keep her up too long! (Also, that the remaining three and a half sections of cake don't give any of us diabetes.)

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin!

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin!

Yup, it's our girl's 2nd birthday today. I'll try to take some photos of her later... maybe eating the cake that she and I get to make this afternoon. She's currently crashed - napping off the fun of going to The Planet this morning, followed by grocery shopping at the big grocery store. And while she's napping, I should probably get to work putting together the Dora trike we got for her big present from us! Adios!

P.S. Got the trike put together. Only messed up once by putting the handlebars on backwards, but easy to fix. Now it's hiding in the downstairs bathroom until present time. Yay!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Green Hippo Needing Pillow

I know I've been doing a lot of Girl posts lately, but she's been so funny. Last night she must have had a very vivid dream that woke her up at about 5 am. She started calling to me, so I went in. Well, she has gotten very good at communicating, so I heard all about this dream. Now, this was told to me in two or three word phrases, with me asking questions or repeating it back to her, but the gist of it was that a hippo came in the house and slept in a big bed in her room "right there." It needed a pillow, so she lifted the pillow and gave it to him. I guess he also stood up, stamped his feet, and clapped his hands. Later on, she told Mr. Kluges that the hippo was green. Also, she had him close the stairway gate so the hippo couldn't come upstairs.

*shrug* Who knows where such dreams come from, but since she told us just before she laid her little head down tonight, "Dream. Hippo." we might get to hear more about it tomorrow.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

More Fun With Bread Photos

Pumpkin's been battling a cold the last few days, and I was feeling a bit draggy and ill last night myself, so I'm going to choose a nap over a post about the fun outdoor performance of Merry Wives of Windsor that I saw on the grounds of Blarney Castle on Thursday night. I'll get to it sometime this week though.

But so as not to disappoint anyone who comes looking for a new entry, here are a couple more photos of Pumpkin helping me make bread.

She loves punching
down the dough.
And she helped sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on the raisin bread dough. That is, until she tasted it. Then sprinkling was found to be definitely inferior to further tasting.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Stamps, anyone?

In anticipation of Pumpkin's birthday next Tuesday (I know! Two years already! Dang!), we got a package yesterday from Grandpa and Grandma Kluges.

It had 94 stamps on it.
I counted.
That's a lot of stamps.

When I saw how they covered almost two sides of the box (along with the customs form and everything), I had to know just how many there were. I guess the postage label machine at their post office must have been broken.

I don't know how long it took them to stick them all on, but Pumpkin was MORE than happy to peel stamps off it for a LONG time.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How to make bread with an almost two-year-old

I've always struggled with two aspects of stay-at-home-motherness. (Well, many aspects, depending on the day, but this post is about two in particular.) You see, while I'm spending quality and quantity time with my girl, I'm also trying to do the household stuff - cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. Since she's now too big to play on a blanket on the floor without moving (oh, I remember the days) and doesn't nap as much anymore, I've had to start doing things "with" her. While tasks tend to take about twice as long with her "help," I try to tell myself I'm teaching her valuable life skills...and myself patience. So, here is how my two-year-old helper and I made bread today.

Put child on chair by table. Tie on bib as apron. Laugh at how scooped cut-out for neckline makes child's little pot belly look even more sticky-out than usual.

Set large bowl on table. Start setting ingredients on table.

Remove bag of sugar from child's hand. Give wooden spoon so can "air stir" in big bowl.

Prevent child from scooping flour from container.

Mix water, sugar, yeast in measuring cup; give to child with spoon to stir.

Prevent child from pouring water/yeast into big bowl.

Begin measuring flour.

Prevent child from spooning water/yeast into big bowl.

Give child big spoon and let her start stirring flour as it is measured into big bowl.

Move water/yeast further away so it is not also stirred with flour spoon.

Move water/yeast further away.

Move water/yeast onto counter.

Finish measuring flour, etc. into bowl. Ignore largish "sploof" of spilled flour on table. Take "turn" to stir it all in well.

Laugh at child who likes to "tase it" the flour mixture because apparently it's "yum!" Ignore further deposits of flour onto the table. Figure proportions of ingredients are approximate anyway.

Combine milk, melted butter, water, egg, etc. in large measuring cup.

Realize child is now "stirring" with both hands. Reflect that this is all about the experience.

Add yeast mixture to other liquids. Pour all into flour. Ignore "little spot" of liquid spilled onto table.

Take "turn" to stir. Continue stirring until obvious need to add at least 3/4 c. flour to replace spillage. Add said flour. Continue stirring around small hands repeatedly grabbing "tase it"s.

Put additional flour on table in preparation for kneading. Model spreading it around with hands. Consider putting flour on child's hands so dough doesn't stick. Realize small hands are VERY well floured already due to "help." Flour own hands. Ignore vast sprinklings of flour now on nearby chairs and floor.

Dump dough onto table. Start kneading around small hands repeatedly grabbing more "tase it"s. Learn it still is "yum." Get told "Mommy, tase it." Taste it.

Watch child try to figure out how to unstick her fingers, which have now turned into paws after flour has coated already doughy hands.

Realize child is absolutely hilarious looking with flour-coated outfit, dough-covered paws, and wad of dough sticking out of her mouth. Wipe off hands and get camera. Take pix.

Return to kneading. Wonder idly how much dough has now been consumed by "tase it"s. Watch child try to pick dough off fingers with other dough-covered fingers.

Finish kneading dough. Set child on floor. Start only-large-bowl-in-the-house soaking to remove flour so it can hold bread dough for rising. Watch child continue to pick dough off fingers and drop onto floor. Shrug.

Run warm soapy water into sink. Get washcloth. Get child from dough-bit-covered floor. Bring child to sink and wash hands and face. Have child dry hands. Wash nailbrush, which is now full of soggy dough strings.

Turn on Winnie the Pooh video. Go to kitchen. Shake head at mess. Wash big bowl, dry, oil, put in dough. Cover and set out of the way.

Go to check on child. Ignore new smell.

Wipe off table.

Wipe dough off spoon handles.

Wipe dough off chair seat.

Wipe dough off chair back.

Sweep flour, dough, and now-crusty dough bits off floor.

Retrieve child from video. Carry struggling child upstairs to deal with new smell.

While upstairs, try to convince child a nap would be a good idea. Read book, leave child in crib.

Downstairs, finish wiping up stuff. Begin blog entry.

Ignore 1st "Maaaammmy."

Respond to 2nd "Maaammmeee" with "It's naptime, honey. Go back to bed." Listen to little feet pad across room to bed.

Type for 5 seconds. Listen to little feet pad across room from bed to doorway. Hear "Maaammmeee."

Respond to 3rd "Maaammmeee" with "It's naptime, honey. Go back to bed." Listen to little feet pad across room to bed.

Type for 5 seconds. Listen to little feet pad across room from bed to doorway. Hear "Maaammmeee."

Give up. Go get girl. Bring downstairs, put in front of Winnie the Pooh video, and finish blog entry.

And that's how we made bread today. Or at least, that's how we started to make bread... we still get to let it raise, punch it down (much fun), let it raise again, punch it down again, shape it, let it raise as loaves, and bake it. Ah, the glamorous, relaxing, tidy life of a stay-at-home parent!

(Credit is due to Sars of Tomato Nation who wrote something in a similar style about bring her cats to the vet that had me snorting in laughter. I'd link to it, but I'll be darned it I can find it right now.)

Puzzle #47 is my blind spot

Ok, if you're playing (or might play) Dumb The Game at all, don't read the comments for this post unless you WANT to hear me thinking out loud and begging Syl and Pusher for clues on #47 Dependency. I'm just... completely buffaloed on this one still, ladies. Here, since you've both solved it already, I'll put my thoughts and discoveries so far in the comments section. PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE will you let me know if I'm on the right track or give me another hint (or two - apparently I'm blind on this one). Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Crib climbing/sleeping situation update

Not long ago, I wrote about Pumpkin discovering she could climb out of her crib. The second time she did it that night must have been a rougher landing than the first - based on the loud "bump!" we heard downstairs, the "Owie. Leg." she pointed to for the next few days and the fact that she hasn't done it since then.

However, knowing that she realizes it's possible, we've been trying to come up with a solution. That fateful night, we just put down the side of her crib and put a mattress on the floor beside it. Fine for the moment, but rather in the way and reduced our guest capacity by one. After a few days without climbing, we put the mattress back and substituted in several large folded blankets for a soft landing pad just in case. Also ok, but not ideal.

Here is a picture of our current (and probably long-term) solution. We took the sliding side off Pumpkin's crib since there is a metal bar there to keep it sturdy under the mattress frame. Then we bought a bedrail at a kids'/toy store. It's meant to be used with a larger bed, but it leaves just enough room at the end for her to get in and out on her own. Since there's NO storage in our Irish house, we wrapped the now-surplus crib side in an extra sheet and stood it up between the crib and the wall.

You'll notice that we still have a minibed on the floor there of blankets and a pillow. For the first while, she had only figured out how to get out of her bed through the little space, and so would occasionally take her nap on the minibed. For quite a few days now, she's stayed in her crib to sleep... or crawled back in after she was done playing in her room and THEN laid her little head down to sleep. So, I think I'll put that bedding away within the week.

This all works pretty well for us so far. We didn't really want to get a toddler bed since we've got no storage for (a) the crib itself and (b) all the stuff we've got stored under the crib. I didn't want to move her to a big bed because there's just too much room for her to fall out, and then we still have to find a place for the crib. (Also, it reduces our guest capacity by one. Now, we could always work around that when we've got four people visiting us, but I wouldn't want to put a guest on a sleeping bag/airmattress or to try to make her change her sleeping routine/place when her schedule would be all screwed up anyway.)

While her room was pretty well childproofed already, I am going to have to find a better place for a few thing... like her hair clips that she likes to play with when she's supposed to be napping. Also, if SHE doesn't think she's tired enough for a nap, she's more likely to just play in her room instead of actually napping, but I can deal with that. It's still a break and quiet time for each of us, and if she's tired, she does nap. (or we try again later.)

I do get the giggles though when she's ready to get up. She goes right up to the door (which sticks not-quite-closed... ideal because she can't open it, but I can hear her and sort of peek in a tiny bit) and puts her little face up to the gap and gets those little lips as close as she can to outside the room and THEN starts saying "Maaaaammmeee. Wake up! Maaammy! Nap. Done. Get up. Mommy. Downstairs!"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Puzzles Galore!!!!!!

So the other day I was meandering blog link to blog link to blog link 'cuz it's a fun way to see some new sites. I don't even remember where I started, but I ended up at Defective Yeti. Looks like it might be a regular read, based on the couple posts I looked at.

But here's the best part...
on his sidebar he had a link to this...

Now, I know how much a bunch of us geeked out on "Albert Einstein's Riddle" when Jaysan posted it on his old blog, so I have the feeling that I'm not going to be the only one who gets at least temporarily addicted to this. And unlike Herr Dude's Guess the Quote for Quatloos dealie, which the really cool kids (aka not me) just know, you are EXPECTED to need to Google. And/or use Wikipedia. And/or an imaging program. And/or whatever. At least for many of them anyway. Much fun, but man, am I stuck on #47!

(No, I did not do #1-46 first... I sorted by difficulty and am working my way up. That's the easiest one I'm still stuck on, even though I've opened some (and solved a few) harder ones.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Donkey Sanctuary Pictures

Ok, let's see if I can get these Donkey Sanctuary pictures up, ok, folks?

Here are Mr. Kluges and Pumpkin with a new friend.

Along the walkway between two pastures. Yes, we do occasionally keep our daughter on a leash.

Don't these donkeys get a great view?

Hey, what are you eating?

Nice donkey!

Ok, let's see if that works!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Louis the Goat King

I know MN has some strange festivals and roadside attractions. My in-laws live near the World's Largest Ball of Twine. (Speaking of which, that family I met while waiting for the plane back to Ireland? She is from the town in South Africa that is home to the World's Largest Rubber Band Ball.)

Well, Ireland has her own oddities...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My multitalented husband reading an apparently multicultural folktale

I realize that this is a bit of post overload for one day, but I just HAVE to share Mr. Kluges's pre-bedtime story reading to Pumpkin 'cuz it had me doubled over with giggles in the kitchen.

Apparently, in Mr. Kluges's version of Chicken Little, Ducky Lucky is Scottish, Goosey Loosey is Indian, Gander Lander is a Texan, and Turkey Lurkey is French. Now if you know Mr. Kluges, you can imagine just how hilarious it was to overhear the accents! "We're going to tell the king the sky is falling." Hee-hee! I'll never read it the same way again.

Mmmm.... Camembert!

Oh, I wanted to let y'all know it wasn't a fluke or one time chance thing. Our girl does know, recognize, and love camembert cheese. If you're a regular blog reader, you know she developed a taste for it in June when we were in Paris (Ah, Paris! *sigh*) and called it by name there. (Well, we considered "Camma! Camma!" combined with a definitely reaching toward it as close enough to count.)

Yesterday I was shopping at a bigger grocery store than our local one and found the same brand we'd gotten in France (President), so I picked it up. Once we got home and I was putting away the groceries, we decided to test her to see if she remembered.

Mr. Kluges: Pumpkin, what's this? (Holding up the round wooden box-thing of cheese.)
Pumpkin: Cheese.
Me: What kind of cheese, hon?
Pumpkin: Camma. Want! Please.

Charity Shops Rock

Sometimes I just love second-hand stores. I don't often stop in them, because they do take a bit of poking around to find the good stuff, and Pumpkin doesn't usually have the patience for that. But last week, when I was in Cork, it felt like a good day to stop at a few of my favorites.

And it was. Mostly at one shop, I got:
  • dark blue, good fitting jeans for me
  • a cute black shirt with fun red/white 70s-ish designs and 3/4 length sleeves
  • a pair of blue jeans for Pumpkin with a flower on them
  • a pair of stretchy dark pink leggings/pants for her
  • a pair of pink pants that I thought would fit her, but they're really meant to be capris for when she's a bit bigger
  • two little Fisher-Price horses that will go with her farm set
  • a "new with tags" wintery penguin that will get put away for stocking stuffing
  • a NWT little stuffed dalmatian puppy
  • a cute little brown teddy bear with red pjs with holly on them (very Xmasy)
  • a Fisher-Price musical toy complete with all its parts that she ADORES and had to bring to bed with her that first night
  • and the "Tiny Toy Stories" video that is only about 20 minutes long, but has been enjoyed for probably more than 5 hours already.

And one of the best things about all that... total cost was 20 Euros. You can't beat that on a budget!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Donkeys, water, and bees

Just a quick note to say that yes, we did go to the Donkey Sanctuary today. It was another gorgeous day (equal to Saturday, I'd say) and we saw a lot of donkeys, in more colors than I expected. One even had stripes on the bottom half of his legs rather like a zebra's! On the way home we stopped at a playground for Pumpkin, too.

I will try to figure out how to post some pictures, but right now I'm posting from Mr. Kluges's computer outside on the patio while Pumpkin (wearing a onesie and her pink Tinkerbell Wellington boots - I can't believe she's not cold yet) repeatedly scoops water out of her swimming pool and pours it on the patio, the sidewalk, and anything that catches her interest. Oh, and throws her beach ball in it so that it splashes and she shrieks with laughter. *shrug* I dunno - I guess it's fun when you're little.

Gotta go - she's getting REALLY close to a bee on our herbs.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Good morning, world. Pumpkin decided to get up a little early this morning, so we're hanging around, watching a video. Since Mr. Kluges's laptop is home, and since I've seen this one maybe 6 times already ("Tiny Toy Stories" - got it on Thursday at a charity shop... but it's quite short... under 1/2 hr.), I figured I'd pop online and add a post.

So, just want y'all to know that the public accountability piece of my goal is all that got me to do it last night. Yup, I did my 30 minutes of exercise only because of you. Guess that's why I started posting my goals, and it wasn't so bad, but it would have been MUCH easier just being lazy.

We took advantage of a BEAUTIFUL day yesterday to go to the beach. Pumpkin was much more interested in the sand than the water, but we all had fun. Ocean water near Ireland, even in August, is dang ccccc--old! Not quite as much as Superior was a couple of times when we were camping, but frigid nonetheless. Pumpkin dipped her toes in the waves a bit, Mr. Kluges went in up to his knees or so, but me? I braved it out a little deeper and dunked under twice. Whoo! Invigorating! Mr. Kluges took Pumpkin up and down the beach for a while, too, so I got to relax and read on a blanket in the sun (and wind, but that's ok), and listen to the sound of the waves.

It's a three day weekend. The holiday? "Bank Holiday Monday." Periodically, there are "Bank Holidays" where most people have the day off. They're ... let's see... the first Mondays in May, June, and August, and the last Monday in October. Remind me a bit of Memorial Day in that they're usually fairly nice weather and BIG shopping days, often with advertised deals and sales. Mr. Kluges has been making noises about going to the Donkey Sanctuary, so we'll probably do that today or tomorrow.

Ok, tummy's getting growly, and Pumpkin is less zoning out, so I think we'll go do breakfast. Yum!

Friday, August 04, 2006


So, I'd actually write about something new, except that I'm all discombobulated figuring out this blogger thing. Yeah, while MSN/WL pissed me off with that switch-over, I gotta give them that it was pretty intuitively obvious what to do when using their site. (At least, the original one.) However, you'll note that I DID figure out how to not only put in links, but to retitle the links section and add in a second one. Woo-hoo!

Enjoying a lovely beer that Mr. Kluges just brought to me. It's called "Trappistes Rochefort 8" and it's just... lovely. You'd think I'd be able to describe it better, so let's see... It's a cloudy deep nutty brown, with a surprisingly white head. A little sharp with alcohol, it's still fairly mellow and rounded for a trappist-style beer, with a slightly tingly aftertaste. Like I said, lovely. He got it in Kilkenny a few weeks ago, but we just broke it out now. There's a great liquor store there that we remembered fondly from our several months in Ballyragget in '02.

So, I haven't yet gotten in my full complement of exercise. You see, Pumpkin, who usually naps at LEAST an hour, if not 1 1/2, decided (even after being up from about 1 am until about 2:30 am upset and then hungry) to only rest for 40 minutes this afternoon. Here I was, exercise video in the VCR, busily warming up to Claudia Schiffer's Perfectly Fit Upper Body Workout (which does include abs, a problem spot for me), when "Waaah!" End of exercise session.

And now? Well, I've got a lovely trappist in front of me... and it's 10:00 at night. Guess I'm not going to make my goal this week. Oh, well, it was a short week anyway with August starting on a Tuesday... I'll work a little harder on it next week. (And I WILL be getting in 30 minutes tomorrow - no ifs, ands, or buts (butts?) about it!)

So, cheers to y'all or slainte if you prefer... I'm going to go enjoy my beverage!

August Goal Status

So, here it is, Friday already, and how am I doing with my August goal of exercising for at least 30 minutes 3 time a week? Well...

I've got one under my belt! :)

Now, August didn't start until Tuesday, so it's a short week. And I won't be starting my belly dance class again until Monday. And, um, MSN, oh, I mean Windows Live, just threw me for a loop with this whole switch-y thing, so now I'm messing around with Blogger. And messing around with Blogger is definitely more fun and easier to do than exercising.

*heavy sigh* But a goal is a goal... and now that I've checked in with my public accountability piece, I'm off to go do something exercisy. Bye.

Just testing

Hello? *tap, tap, tap* Is this thing on? Can you hear me out there?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Goal #3 August: Exercise 3x per week

A new month, a new goal. Also, time to review the last one.

July's goal was to have fruit/veg/juice at breakfast every day in order to increase my fruit/veg intake. I'd have to say it went very well. There were maybe 4 or 5 days where I'd forget until mid- to late morning, but then I'd have a glass of juice and be on track again. Sometimes I'd just choose to have toast and coffee right away, figuring on a midmorning snack of a banana anyway. Like with June's water goal, I'm going to try to stay aware of this and keep it up. Like I said in my first goal-related post, hopefully by doing baby steps, I'll keep these goals as lifestyle changes.

I've put it off long enough - my goal for this month is more exercise. I know I should, but it's SO much easier to catch up on housework when Pumpkin is napping... or grab a book for some downtime... or flip on the telly in the evening. And it's not like the results are very immediate, so it's going to take a while to see/feel improvement, but that's why these meant to be longer-term, behavioral-change-y type goals.

So, here it is: I'm going to try to exercise at least three times each week, for at least 30 minutes. Now, that might not be 30 minutes in one chunk, but it'll need to be 30 minutes in that day to count. This could be an extra (and brisk) walk or an exercise video (picked up a couple a while ago at the dollar store...I mean the euro store [actually, the 2 Euro Store, but that's another post]) or my belly dance class (which I'll be starting again on Monday evening) or a little jogging/walking or other similar such activity. Now, I know some of you out there are very regular and impressive exercisers (and have run a marathon or more than one, some of you!!), but I'm not, so it's baby steps once again for me. I figure if I can get into the habit of 3x per week, then maybe after a while I can up it to 4... and then maybe 5, but we'll just have to see.

For now, it's at least 30 minutes in a day, at least 3 times a week. Once again, thank you for providing me a place to make a public announcement about my goal, 'cuz it sure as heck makes me feel more accountable for it!