Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Resolutions

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at
(1/2/08: edited to add a 5th resolution.)

Well, last year I had this to say about New Year's Resolutions. If you don't feel like following the link, here are my goals for 2007 in brief:
  • Get Pumpkin to start sleeping in a big bed.
  • Get Pumpkin potty trained.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Exercise.
To reflect back, we managed #1 without a problem, the second goal took a little longer due to all the change that happened in her little life (transatlantic move, new baby, move again, move AGAIN), and the last two are a little harder to measure. In general I think I did better at the eat healthily than the exercise overall, partly because of the whole pregnancy thing. I was doing well with exercising almost every morning until we moved into the brick house. With the electrician coming around 7:30 am, I wasn't willing to exercise and possibly meet him in my pjs or exercise gear, so that's slipped by the wayside! Having belly dance every week helps, but it's not enough on its own.

So on to 2008 in only hours! (By the way, "Cheers!" and "Slainte!" to those back in Japan and Ireland who've already rung it in!) Once again, I'm going to set myself some goals (as opposed to resolutions - it feels like I've got a little more wiggle room).

1. To reach an appropriate weight according to my Body Mass Index. I mentioned it in my birthday post of 35 things I'd like to do in my life, so I might as well start now before I keep inching further away from it. Of course, I need to buy a scale to know for certain where I am starting out, but last time I weighted myself, I was only about 10-15 pounds away (ok, now that it's been the holidays, with Oreo Balls, I mean Christmas Coal, and Love Boats, it might be more like 15-20). Not fabulous, and it won't be easy because I do not have much willpower when it comes to food, but within the realm of possible. I figure if I do weekly weigh-ins, that will help me keep on track and be a regular reminder to watch what I eat and stay active. I might set some monthly goals to help me with this. Even if I only lose 5 lbs., (how's that for defeatist talk already, huh?) it'll still be worthwhile.

2. To get Penguin sleeping in her own bed. Even though I swore it wouldn't happen again, like Pumpkin when she was a wee lass, Penguin has learned to only fall asleep while nursing. And since I'm much more likely to nurse her in our bed than I did with Pumpkin, she's now in the habit of wanting to have a bit of a snack whenever she wakes up in the night. She's well past the age of needing to eat in the night, and it's definitely just a comfort thing, but, oh, it's going to be rough. She's a stubborn little thing already, and a good yeller, so it will not be fun for any of us. I'm holding off until Steve the electrician is done so that if (when) we do this and don't get much sleep at night, it won't matter if we have a little lie-in in the morning and don't get out of the pjs right away. Then, yeah, I'll have to look forward to the joy of having a little more room in our bed, and sleeping more soundly, to help me get through the painful week or two of retraining her to sleep on her own. Lord help us.

3. To get Pumpkin more independent with the potty. She's trained (except a couple of accidents lately when she was too busy playing with new Christmas toys and the like) and very able, but it's faster and easier for me to help her with the details. I need to start easing back and letting her handle more and more of the process from beginning to end. The incentive for this is a community ed. class I'd like to sign her up for in the fall. It's 2 hours, twice a week, but the kids have to be totally independent with the potty. We've certainly got time to accomplish this, and now a washer and dryer in the house (yay!), but making it a goal will help me get moving on it sooner.

4. To unpack/look through every box before we've been in the house a year. I say "look through" because some stuff, like holiday decorations, costumes, fabric and sewing supplies, and such like that, will probably always live in plastic totes, but I want to finish unpacking and putting things away! Argh! I know it takes a while to find a place for everything, and some of our stuff has been in boxes the whole time we were away and all, but I'm SOOOO looking forward to knowing where my stuff is and for everything to have a designated place so I can a) find it and b) put it away when I'm done with it!

5. This one's a late addition to my list: To read at least 4 nonfiction books this year. I enjoy reading, but I practically always read fiction. Mr. Kluges recommended The Omnivore's Dilemma to me, and it made me realize I should be at least reading some more nonfiction. And since I'm in-progress on it, I'm going to be counting it as my first one for 2008.

So there ya go - once I hit "Publish Post," I'm committed. I'm a little hesitant about the first one, because it's so measurable. That means I can fail at it. I'm not good with failure, but, hey, if I could do NaBloPoMo, and succeed at that, I'm willing to give that one a go as well! Wish me luck!

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday to my wonderful, wonderful husband! I love you, sweetheart!

Friday, December 28, 2007

I am Queen of Free Rice!

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

That and Ruler of the Multiple Choice Question. Da da da da dah DAH!

(Oh yeah, and lucky, too.)

P.S. That's, by the way.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blogging in real time

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

As I type, two guys from Best Buy are downstairs hooking up my new washer and dryer!!!!!!

We took off one door last night, they took off one today, but the washer and dryer are both in the basement on their pedestals.

Update at 3:17pm
Wheee!!!! Now to read the manual!

Future updates as needed!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

(Because playing around with photos is way more fun than, oh, say, cleaning the house...)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday Baking

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

This is basically the first chance to sit down at the computer without either or both of the girls needing me that I've had since Sunday. Whew.

Monday was the last day Steve the Electrician was going to be here until after holidays, so Pumpkin and I had a baking morning so we could send him home with some treats. We made my mom's famous chocolate chip cookie recipe, plus two from Recipeeps4Us - Syl's Pretzels & Hugs and All Knowing Jen's Oreo Balls.

The pretzels and hugs were great fun. I got to stir up the chocolate chip cookies almost on my own while Pumpkin carefully unwrapped the Hershey's Hugs. There was a bit of "one for the recipe, one for me" going on, but snacking or "quality control" has always been part of my cooking and baking! We made them on square pretzels, and I think they're just calling out for some sort of cute name with "rafts" in it. So if you've got an idea for a cute name, let me know!

The Oreo Balls, while delicious, were rather more challenging. I don't know if I got too large a package of oreos, or if it was that we broke them up by hand and then pounded them inside a ziploc baggie to break them up since we don't have a stand mixer so they weren't fine enough, or what, but when I tried dropping them into the melted chocolate coating, they just fell apart. Not that they were very smooth and round to begin with. So at our house, they're now called "Christmas Coal," because that's really what these delicious but messy treats ended up resembling.

And they are delicious enough that we will be trying them again next year! AKJ, if you have any tips or hints, let me know, because they were good, but didn't seem to turn out quite as I expected.

Our tasty, but not pretty "Christmas Coal"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Have I mentioned the "busy?"

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Stealing a few moments to blog. I can tell we're busy, because I'm starting to think in bullet points.

This weekend we:
  • Put up the tree. It took me TWELVE hours to put it up on Thursday between diapers, feedings, fixing the branches, potty breaks, "I NEED you, Mommy!" and all, but I got the darn thing up. Friday I put the lights on, and in the evening Mr. Kluges, Pumpkin and I put on the ornaments while Penguin napped. It looks really nice, IMHO.
  • ordered our washer and dryer finally! (Thanks for the gift cards, TNGreatAunt!) They're supposed to come on the 27th. Hopefully the sewer guys will have been back and finished fixing the floor in the basement by then
  • purchased a new living room rug. The old one was rather nasty and now that Steve the Electrician is nearly done, and won't be tracking through so much, it's nice to get the new one in.
  • rolled up the old (11x12' or so) rug and carried it up to the attic, managing to make the tight corner upstairs by going out the door onto the back porch and then back in through the window.
  • carried down the TV armoire that we thought we were going to use in our room, but it's just a few inches too big to fit the space allotted. Mr. Kluges has been trying to set up the TV and accessories in it today.
  • rearranged our bedroom now that Steve is done so that the big dresser is where it goes.
  • carried one heirloom cedar chest upstairs and the other one downstairs because they'll work better that way.
  • put Penguin's rug with carpet pad in her room.
  • picked up an Arts and Crafts paint sample sheet from Sherwin-Williams.
  • purchased a Christmas present I need to mail ASAP.
  • printed some pictures that need to be put into ornaments and mailed ASAP.
  • went grocery shopping.
  • picked up some dealies to go on the picture rails so we can eventually get some pictures up.
  • found Penguin's shoe that had been missing for a week. (It was in the window seat sort of thing in the vestibule.)
  • Mr. Kluges fixed it so that we can have phone and internet at the same time. Good thing because his cell phone accidentally went "swimming" this weekend and my power cord has gone missing and now my phone's dead.

Wow, huh?! I'm impressed with us, anyway.

I could do a bulleted list of all the things I have remaining to do before Xmas, including finish buying presents, mailing presents, write and mail Xmas cards, etc., etc., etc, but my time would be better spent actually DOING those things.

Besides, I might get finger cramps from the length of the list. :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

If the zombies come, these'd be handy

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

I don't know if it's this area, or Craig's List in general, but you just never know what you're going to find...

Battle Axes for Sale

These aren't quite as much fun as the Spanish Shield, but still funny.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Tribbial Question

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Why is it that a girl who watches "bideos" eats "coal-vee" cheese?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Some things I thought about blogging today

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

You know how it's winter in WI? And people wear hats, even in their cars? And sometimes you're driving behind somebody and looking at the back of their head (esp. at a red light)? And you can't tell if it's their fuzzy-sort-of hat or a bad hair-do? Yeah, that's distracting, isn't it?!

Penguin had a big ol' poo while sitting in her high chair this evening. (And now you know it's about excrement & you can skip to the next paragraph if you want.) Sitting down poos require extra clean up due to the squish factor. (See, you could have stopped reading. I'm not holding a gun to your head.) So I went to change her and before I could blink she had gotten her hand in it! And then while I was trying to keep that arm from waving about while I cleaned it off, she kicked both feet in it! THEN while I was trying to stop her feet (possibly while shrieking, "No! Don't.. no!! Oh no!"), she grabbed my arm with her poopy hand! .... *sigh* Yeah, having kids rocks.

One of the other moms at Pumpkin's Teacher & Me class gave us her number so we could do a playdate sometime! Score!! She seems cool and the two girls went right up to each other before class today and were holding hands and playing Ring Around the Rosie. We'll never replace her first, bestest friend in Ireland (We miss you, Ava! And talk about you all the time!), but it'll be nice to start making some pals here.

And finally, Mr. Kluges's wire came yesterday and he got the 5 kitchen lights rewired already, so Steve the Electrician put them up today & they look AWESOME. Except that the nice one in the ceiling now totally highlights that the ceiling is in bad shape and is painted 2 noticeably different shades of white. But the lights? V. v. nice!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

35 is the magic number!

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

It was my birthday yesterday! As you might suppose, it was a tad bit busy - my parents were here for the weekend (and we got so much done! Thank you!!) and Pumpkin seems to be getting a tad "under the weather," and we were trying to do a fair amount of shopping for the house and all. So my post is getting delayed until today.

Last year for my 34th birthday, I wrote about 34 things I'd done in my life. This year I think I'll try for 35 I'd like to do, in no particular order. (Ok, other than the first one, which I wish was done already.)

  1. finish unpacking!!!!!
  2. visit the Great Wall of China with Mr. Kluges because I've always wanted to see it
  3. visit the pyramids with Mr. Kluges since he's always wanted to see them
  4. go back to Paris with my children when they're old enough to remember and appreciate it
  5. go back to Venice on a second honeymoon, but also on that trip see new parts of Europe we haven't visited yet
  6. watch my girls grow up to be the strong, confident, loving, competent, assertive, empathetic, cooperative, responsible women I know they can be
  7. watch them graduate high school
  8. watch them graduate college
  9. develop family traditions (like maybe making gingerbread houses every year...)
  10. learn how to can pickles from Gramma Yori
  11. get to make my mom's chocolate chip cookies well enough that Mr. Kluges finds them to be as good as hers
  12. get this House of 42 Doors into a state where I'm proud to bring people into it - and not have to say, "It'll be beautiful someday." (Not that I don't like it now, but I keep seeing all of the to-do projects, you know?)
  13. pay off the house
  14. go hang gliding
  15. go snowmobiling
  16. write a novel for NaNoWriMo
  17. learn what shape/style/cut of clothes look good on me
  18. get rid of the stuff that doesn't
  19. get down to my appropriate BMI (Good news is I'm only about 10-15 lbs. away from being in the "normal weight" category.)
  20. maintain that BMI
  21. visit Yellowstone National Park and see Old Faithful
  22. make fun Halloween costumes for our family every year
  23. have one or two cats for pets again
  24. watch my girls each find the love of her life
  25. enjoy grandkids - someday in the distant, distant future
  26. learn another language at least to tourist level in preparation to visit a country that uses it
  27. exercise regularly - I always feel better when I am getting regular exercise, but it's too easy to let it slip out of my schedule when I get busy
  28. run a 5K race
  29. if that goes well, run a 10K or longer (Note: I have no desire to run an actual marathon, but have great respect for those of you who have!)
  30. get my master's degree
  31. finish my mosaic that I started in 2002, tried to finish this year, and still haven't quite completed
  32. attend more Girls' Adventure Weekends
  33. go back to Ireland when my kids are older to show Pumpkin where she lived for two years, to let Penguin see where she, ahem, got started, and to visit our friends and favorite places from when we lived there
  34. learn enough of the constellations and their stories to go star gazing with my children
  35. Hike some or all of the Superior Hiking Trail

And oh yeah, I wouldn't mind #36. winning the lottery, either! It would make so many of those previous 35 a lot easier to accomplish! *grin*

Friday, December 07, 2007

Making memories

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

This is what we did yesterday...

Soup cans come in handy, especially if you don't follow directions and mix the icing too runny.

No, it's gingerbread, not cardboard. And that's (runny) icing, not glue.

By the time Mr. Kluges came home, it was dry and sturdy enough to decorate.

(Yeah, I know I'm so glamorous in my old college sweatshirt, but I ended up with all kinds of icing drizzles all over, so that's life. Don't call Trinny and Susannah on me!)

(Ok, do call 'em, 'cuz I'd love finding out what would suit me best and getting a new wardrobe!)

Mr. Kluges helped decorate, too. Finally by this point, Pumpkin had realized that hey, this is CANDY we're using to decorate the house... and it could be EATEN!! I was amazed it had taken that long.

And here it is, our finished product, with the box from the kit in the background. Beautiful, in a made-with-a-three-year-old kind of way, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Busy, BUSY, busy

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

In the past few days we've managed to...
  • decide on a Christmas card & order it
  • finish and order Mr. Kluges' yearly present of a photo calendar
  • get the electricity upgraded
  • find some photo frame ornaments, finally
  • finish up a package and mail it off
  • continue to care for, bathe, change, take to the potty, dress, and feed two small children
  • keep up with the dishes now that we don't have a dishwasher, and
  • finish cleaning out the rental house and have now turned in the keys
So, whew. Granted, it's supposed to snow again today, which may require more SHOVELING, but hopefully when my parents come this weekend, Grampa Pharaoh can help us fix the snowblower. (There's some hose broken, Dad, and the gas leaks out. That's all I know.)

Ok, I should be taking advantage of this brief hiatus in my day while the two girls have an unexpected sleep-in. I should be unpacking, oh, excuse me, UNPACKING because there are more boxes in this house than... fleas on a dog? Pimples on a teenager? Sprinkles on a Christmas cookie? Oh, I know - candles on Methuselah's birthday cake.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Quite the bargain

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Hee hee hee hee! So I haven't had the time (and for a while, the internet access) to check Craig's List for bargains. But I had a moment tonight, so I thought I'd take a look. I'm sure you'll all enjoy this one... He's dropped the price quite a bit, hasn't he?!

Can't break the habit

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, it just feels too weird to not be posting today. I guess 30 days in a row did make it a bit of a habit, huh? Maybe I should apply that revelation to something else - like, say, exercising? Not eating junk food? More veggies and fruit? (Oh, wait, that's what I was trying to do with my monthly goals... Right.)

It's snowing tons outside. The forecast was for 6-7 inches. Yeah, half a foot.

And we don't know if our snowblower works...

Good thing it's a weekend - we might be spending 8 hours shoveling tomorrow.