Friday, February 29, 2008

Ok, I'm officially ready for winter to finish up now, thanks.

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

I know Mr. Kluges mentioned before that we'd gotten a lot of snow around here this winter. In fact, according to the local paper (not that I can find it on-line right now, but anyway), we've already hit the mark for the 3rd snowiest winter since like 1940 or something.

Penguin's got a nasty cold and has been coughing since Tuesday.

I'm tired of exercising by shovelling with a 20 lb. child on my back... not that I want to take her outside with her cough.

Pumpkin is getting cabin-fever-y, and has watched a few too many "bideos" lately as I try to keep up with stuff with a sick, clingy baby... and, dare I say it, TRY to MAYBE do one or two things to - *gasp* - get ahead?!?!?

And do you know what it did last night?



Yeah, if you guessed snowed another couple of inches, you'd be right.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A case of the "Februaries"

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Yeah, thanks to AllKnowingJen and Kashka_Z aka Aunt Templeton, I now know what my problem is. Seriously, what IS it with the winter blahs? Yuck.

One of the things I liked about teaching on an alternate calendar, was that we got a 3 week break in March. LOVED IT! I often taught an additional fun class or two, but the break in routine was priceless. Looking forward to it made even February much better.

I shouldn't actually be posting this now. You see, I need to finish getting myself and the two girls ready to go to Teacher & Me class, but I had to do a bit of venting. We've (I've) allowed Penguin to develop very poor sleep habits - i.e., she likes to fall asleep while nursing. Combine that with multiple, MULTIPLE night wakings due to a cough/cold she's developed... *rubbing my blurry eyes* ... I think after 1:00 am I never got more than 45 minutes of uninterrupted sleep at a time.

And then Pumpkin, who is usually a 7:15-7:45 waker? Decided 6:25 was when morning came. And that seriously messes up my schedule for getting all of us ready in the morning.

Which is why I should really, really go and get hopping so we can be out the door by 8. *sigh* At least I've now had my breakfast and coffee while venting to y'all.

(And yes, I know many/most of you have earlier mornings, and I don't envy you those AT ALL, but we're all out of whack here today.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Apparently a foodie town

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

The Fox Valley area where we live apparently has a fair amount of foodies. Or at least that's what we're discovering based on some of the stores. Now, I don't know about the long term viability of some of them, because they haven't been open long, but there must be enough interest that somebody took the risk of opening them.

Mr. Kluges wrote a bit about visiting The Olive Cellar last weekend. The place has only been open since like December, but I hope it lasts. The 18 year balsamic vinegar we got is just.... indescribable! I must confess I've even had a spoonful a time or two; it's that good. We've been eating bread with oil and vinegar as an appetizer near nightly since we got it. (Which reminds me - I need to do a Recipeeps4Us post about the bread book my MIL gave me at Xmas.) The garlic olive oil is also good, but the vinegar?! To die for. Now if he'd only carry olives, too...

This weekend we went to a new tea shop - Fava Tea Company. Once again, a very specific store in a strip mall-type location. Again, a store with a HUGE variety of a rather specific, rather gourmet/foodie product. I bet there were more than 250 variety of teas, herbal infusions, etc. there. Amazing. We got a couple of ounces of three different kinds (Raspberry Green tea, Tropical Cyclone green tea, and Chamomile Lavender herbal tea), and I'm sure we'll be back for more as they run out. Pumpkin loved looking at and smelling the small jars of the various kinds out for examining, and carried around a dried chamomile flower for a while from one of them.

And to round it out, we've also visited Bella's Italian Meat Market several times since we've moved here. It rocks! We always end up with way more than we planned when we go. The thin-sliced hard salami, the wonderful Margherita salad and the luscious Cerignola black olives from the deli section... the yummy, yummy fresh meat and chicken... the Italian liquor and wine selection (including the Limonce we picked up two weeks ago)... Oh, I'm drooling just thinking about it all!

Mr. Kluges and I were saying that it's too bad that these three stores, plus some nifty kitchenware store like Johnathan's Cupboard, and a good cheesemonger, and a great coffee shop aren't in the same little foodie mini-mall. We'd love it (even if our budget wouldn't), plus they'd get a lot of carry-over business from each other.

Of course, we might just be trying to recreate the English Market from back in Cork...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Sorry for the scarcity and brevity of posts recently. It seems that huge amounts of snow with the attendant shoveling and snow-blowing, plus a baby who now crawls (especially toward any drawers/cupboard she can open), plus having the 3rd season of Lost for one week from the library before it had to go back since everybody else and their brother has a hold on it has led to not much time or attention for posting.

I hope to be back with a more extensive post including pictures of the solid hold winter has on us here at the House of 42 Doors fairly soon....

... of course, tonight I have class, tomorrow is swimming lessons, Friday is a make-up day for the Teacher & Me class cancelled due to bad weather....

Monday, February 18, 2008

She just doesn't sound like a Midwesterner

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Things I've heard from Pumpkin lately:
  • I'm not keen on a nap today.
  • I'm EVER SO incredible! (said while running 'round and 'round the downstairs.)
  • Look! [Penguin] is keen on those cheerios!
  • I'm abso-yute-yee going to be careful with my crazy straw.

Yeah, not sure how to divide up the credit between her two vocabulary-formative years in Ireland, the number of books we read, or excessive exposure to Kipper and Charlie and Lola (love 'em!) (official Charlie and Lola site) on DVD, but she just doesn't quite talk like the rest of the kids in her Teacher & Me class!

Friday, February 15, 2008


(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

If EVERYDAY I had to shovel and/or snowblow like I did yesterday and today, with at least 20 pounds of baby and backpack on my back, I'd have no trouble making my weight loss resolution!

...and I'd have the shoulders of a minotaur.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

P.S. to TNGreatAunt - The outfit fits Penguin perfectly, and Penguin loves her socks and books! Thanks!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The "ayes" have it.

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

I was perusing a list* of the names of the kids in Pumpkin's Teacher & Me class for their Valentine's Day party tomorrow while we were having lunch...

Me: Huh, that's odd - all of the kids in your class have at least one "i."

Pumpkin: No, Mommy! I has TWO eyes! Everybody has TWO eyes!

* Abigail, Isabella, Olivia, Alexia, Sammi, Allison, Willem, Brianna, Nadia plus "Pumpkin" You may also notice that every child, with the exception of the only boy, also has at least one "a" in her name.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cheap CL exercise DVDs = retro spandex fashion fun!

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Some things you should know going into this entry:

Those three things added up to me getting a batch of exercise DVDs a few months back via CL. Now that I'm trying to get back on track with exercising regularly, I popped a new one in this week.

Yeah, the cover didn't look dated, but Oh. My. God. Check these out...

(Forgive the poor quality - these are photos taken from the TV.
Because, as soon as I saw them, I knew I'd have to share.)

I know!!!!! Check THOSE OUT! Aaaah!!!

So, because they just crack me up, let me point out but a few highlights....

(You can click on the images to make them bigger, you know, if you want to...)

In this one, that guy (Scott) is totally rockin' the coordination thing! Check out the red under-muscle-shirt, which matches the under-sock of the wearing-two-socks-together look.

And if that's not enough, that single wrist-sweatband? Yeah, it's black and white with a red stripe in the middle.

This next one is the only session/chapter where the two women aren't dressed identically. Now, the three of them take turns leading different part of the exercise session, but I've been choosing screen shots with Scott in front 'cuz, man, that guy has the most... FASHIONABLE outfits!

Once again with the doubled socks to coordinate with the outfit, sweatband bracelet only on one arm (his right arm gets sweaty, the left doesn't?!), and the very, very hot-in-its-day hairdo. (Mr. Kluges said he looked like a bad sci-fi video in this one.)

And this one? Yeah, I just call this the "package" outfit.

(Love the half-shirt, too.)

*shakes head* Yeah, "fashion." Looks good when it's in, but, oh, man, does it not when it's not!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

She's figured it out

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

I took these pictures the other day because I was going to write about Penguin and how close she was to crawling.

Except for this one foot that kept getting in the way.

But now... now I can't write about how she's almost crawling...

... because she's figured it out!

Yay, Penguin!!!

(And yes, she has crawled somewhat longer distances than that, but do you know how hard it is to get her to crawl on cue, where I want her to crawl, when I've got the camera ready?)

Monday, February 04, 2008

2 nonfic down, 2 to go

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

I'm now officially half-way through one of my 2008 Resolutions! I'd decided to try to read at least 4 non-fiction books throughout the year because I have a tendency to just read fiction as escapism/relaxation.

I'd started The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan in December at Mr. Kluges's recommendation and found it fascinating. It's a slow read, vocabulary-dense and content-rich, but I enjoyed it and found it thought-provoking. It's certainly caused me to consider eating more local and sustainably when possible, as well as marvel at the plant/industry/ingredient that is corn. The first part is a lot about corn, then different approaches/styles to organic-type eating (including a fascinating farm where the self-described "grass farmer" really thinks about the chicken-ness and pig-ness, etc. of his animals), and finally Polland cooks, hunts, and gathers his own meal.

Here's a quote from his website to give you an overview... of America’s most fascinating, original, and elegant writers turns his own omnivorous mind to the seemingly straightforward question of what we should have for dinner. To find out, Pollan follows each of the food chains that sustain us—industrial food, organic or alternative food, and food we forage ourselves—from the source to a final meal, and in the process develops a definitive account of the American way of eating.

While The Omnivore's Dilemma took me several weeks of reading (due in part to having to return it to the library since someone else had a hold on it, and then waiting to recheck it out), I just buzzed through my second non-fiction book in only a few days. I went shopping all by myself on Friday after Mr. Kluges returned from his business trip. Hitting the local Goodwill, I was impressed with their huge book selection and came home with a bunch of kid books, but also with one for me: Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I'd heard of this one before and since I've now got two kids, I figured it'd be worth a read, and if good, to be stuck on the bookshelf for future reference as well! A lot of what they covered fit well with the skills that I learned and honed at the wonderful school where I used to teach - recognizing children as unique individuals, noticing actions, respecting feelings, "equal" does not mean "the same," establishing boundaries, and most importantly, helping kids learn and practice the skills they need to be able to handle things themselves. While I didn't have any "aha!" moments with it, it was a good reminder/refresher and one I know I'll be finding a spot for on the bookshelf!

Amazon links for The Omnivore's Dilemma and for Siblings Without Rivalry.

P.S. Thanks to those who left nonfiction recommendations for me on the earlier post. I'll have to check them out... and if anybody has any more, I'd love to hear them!