Friday, June 27, 2008

Look who was visiting our tree this morning!

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Want more? Go to House of 42 Doors where Mr. Kluges wrote about it and I posted a few more pics...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Successful Shopping Trip

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, gang, I think I may have mentioned that I was going to go shopping on Tuesday night.

It was awesome.

Actually, it started out slow with me trying on a million shirts that all hit me wrong and/or made me look pregnant (which I'm NOT) and/or looked way cuter on the hanger than on me and/or just looked weird. And I couldn't seem to find the capris and shorts anywhere, except for a few scattered racks... and I REALLY was hoping they'd have the same or a similar style to the capris I bought last year and LOVED, but now are too big.

But even that wasn't so bad because I wasn't trying to hurry up while some small child/ren started to go nuts and/or whine 'cuz I was taking too long. Yay for shopping alone!

And then I went across an aisle (duh) and found all the capris and shorts and they had the ones I wanted & even the pants, too, which I'd also ... well, outgrown isn't quite right and neither is ingrown, so... shrunk out of? Either way, hooray!

And glancing at a major-clearance rack, I found a pair of nice looking corduroys in what I thought was my size. They fit so well and were so cheap, I bought one in each of the four colors there. (Simple neutral colors, too! Black, tan, tobacco-y brown, and a dark hint of green brown)

Plus they were having their end-of-the-season sale, so in general prices were good. And while they're usually open until 10, because of the sale, they were open until 11 that night.

I left at about 10:55. :)

Prices were so good, that even Ms. Thifty McCheaperson myself bought a few more items than I'd intended, but don't regret a one. In fact, here's my haul...

That'd be 4 pairs of corduroys, a pair of black dress pants, two pairs of dressy-ish capris, a pair of denim capris in a size I haven't bought in a long time, a pair of denim shorts, a long sleeved (clearance) shirt, a denim short sleeve button-up, two knit short sleeve shirts, and a very light weight button-up sleeveless shirt.

14 items of clothing, folks!

Do you want to guess how much I paid for these all? Go ahead and leave a comment, if you'd like. I'll post the answer in the comments Sunday night or Monday morning. 'Cuz I think I did pretty well!

Edited to add: This was at Kohl's, not Old Navy or Target or Dollar General or something. And most of these things were just on sale, only 5 were "clearance." Also, there are fourteen items of clothing here, folks! FOURTEEN!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Three Good Things

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

First, thank you all for your kind and supportive comments. I felt a bit better about the whole "I can't believe she could go to school this fall; is she really ready?" business after writing it out, but I felt very much so better after hearing from so many of you. I'd forgotten how many of you that I still know from our small smarty-pants college were/are young'uns in your classes growing up - that makes me feel better, too. 'Cuz obviously I think you all turned out ok. :)

Secondly, I've been gradually losing a pound or two over time since the beginning of the year and making it one of my resolutions. Hence, I'm down about 7 or 8 pounds since January. Yay, me! Not that I'm there yet, but I'm within 5 lbs. of my goal. That's encouraging.

Finally, due to the above mentioned weight loss, and the fact that most of my 'nice' (aka in decent shape) shorts and capris were purchased last year when I was only a few months post-partum mean that they don't fit anymore. In fact, 3 of the 5 pairs I bought last summer I can pull off without unbuttoning them. Therefore, tonight I get to go shopping ALL BY MYSELF! You do not KNOW how exciting that is, but consider this... of my week, usually, at least 95% of it is spent in the company, or at least in the same building (like when they're asleep), as at least one, and usually both, of my children. Really. Since my dance class is done for the summer, I don't have a regular hour or two away each week. So unless I bug out to go rummage sale-ing (once so far this summer) or to a movie (once since Penguin was born) or to run one stinkin' errand on my own, I'm with at least one of 'em. And love 'em though I do, I'm REALLY REALLY excited to get to do something all by myself!

In fact, why am I still writing this to y'all?! I'm outta here! The stores are only open so long!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

4K... ok?

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

My little girl is going to be going to school soon.

I must admit that sentence does freak me out a bit. I mean, didn't I just give birth to her? How can she be old enough for school? She's only 3!

Here in our town, as in some parts of WI, there's something called 4K, as in kindergarten for 4 year olds. And Pumpkin will be old enough for it in the fall, since her birthday is at the end of August. Yeah, so that "only 3" is actually more like "almost four."

One of the reasons it's freaking me out is because, as a former kindergarten-first grade teacher, I know how any class is so varied, with the ages of the children ranging more than a year. More than a year? Yeah. You've got all the ones you'd expect with birthdays throughout the school year, but then you've also got the summer birthdays. Some of those kids come right away, when they've only been the right age for a month or a few. Other parents have their kid wait, so they're the oldest (or one of) rather than the youngest. So often you get some overlap and your class's age range spans more than a year. And when a year can constitute 25% of one's life so far? Yeah, it can for a LOT of difference between them!

Pumpkin falls on that age teeter-totter. She will qualify as being old enough... but just barely. She will very likely be the youngest one in her class.

That's a bit worrisome for me. Because it means she'll then ALWAYS be the youngest one in her class throughout her school years. Which is a lot of years to be playing catch-up.

But she's so clever! (Well, I think so anyway, even though I'll certainly admit to some mom-blindness!) She's interested in words and letters. She can sort of write her own name (3 of the 5 letters well, if not necessarily in line, but she can spell it out loud), she's doing some rhyming and noticing some words start the same, she can recognize and create some two-part patterns (red, green, red, green, etc.), she recognizes a lot of numbers and has one-to-one correspondence (when she counts objects, each one gets its own number), she loves books and understands and retains their stories, she is heartily interested in science and nature, her drawings are becoming quite complex...

I was an early reader (before kindergarten) and I've certainly seen quite a few during my years in K-1. Not every year, mind you, but a fair amount of them. Since Pumpkin has always been so verbal and loves books, I thought she might follow in my footsteps. In fact, whenever I thought about her birth date in terms of school readiness, I comforted myself with the thought of, "Well, if she's reading by then, we'll definitely send her. If not, we'll think about it more."

But that was regular kindergarten. The kind you start when you're five.

And 4K obviously doesn't start when you're 5. Which means my back-of-my-head plan isn't going to work. I can't sit back and say, well, she's reading or close to reading, so let's send her.

Where she's not ahead of the game is socialization. She's not much used to playing with other kids. That's one of the reasons I signed her up for community ed classes; to get her involved with other kids and with other adults in charge. But since we moved, we're rebuilding our whole social network, which includes trying to find other families with kids the same age for her. And that takes time. (We miss you, Ava, and the rest of the gang!) But when I see her play with some neighborhood kids, I can see that she hasn't yet learned some of those play-in-a-group skills.

But she's not going to learn those social skills here at home with me. So, much as it strains my heart some days, and as much as I struggle to deny my "hover over her and protect her from everything in the world" impulses, I think that sending her is going to be the right thing to do.

I think.

I hope.

I pray.

But it's going to be hard.

And it's obviously weighing on my mind yet.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Some More Open Letters

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Dear Penguin,

5:00 am is not morning. I don't care what the birds outside your window might say. 5:00 am on a Saturday is even more NOT morning.

The Parent Who Usually Gets Up With You

Dear Pumpkin,

Modesty is a virtue. Really.

The Parent Who Didn't Actually Post About That and Merely Linked to It on Your Father's Blog

Dear Bats,

I love that you eat mosquitoes.

I don't love that you apparently hide the day away in my outside back porch.


Not so much with the love,
The Sweeper

Dear Whoever Was in the City Land Behind our House this Past Saturday Morning,

A chainsaw? At 8:00 am on a Saturday? Was that really necessary, pal?

At Least I Was Already Up

And finally...

Dear Paternal Parents, but especially Grampa Pharaoh, Mr. Kluges, and Grampa Jem,

Happy (belated) Father's Day!!!!

A Daughter, Mother-of-the-children, and Daughter-in-law

Friday, June 13, 2008

CSA Week 1

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Hooray! We picked up our first CSA box last night. It was almost like getting a present. I think I was actually giddy when I was opening it up and pulling out all the treasures.

Here's what was in it. They say the first boxes tend to be lighter, of course, but I was pretty pleased with how much was there, especially since they had emailed 10 days ago to say that they might have to delay this first box for a week if not enough was ready.

I was most surprised by the popcorn! It was from last fall, but dried and stored until now. We're looking forward to making it. Pumpkin already said, "Oh! I didn't know popcorn grew on plants! I thought it grew on trees!" So our CSA share has been educational already.

The mushrooms and rhubarb were from other local farms, likely to pad out that first box. They won't usually be having mushrooms, unless there's enough interest to add in a "mushroom share" once or twice a month for $3.50/lb. Since we all four like mushrooms, we'll likely ask about that.

I even used up the baby bok choi last night already! I'd planned a main course (the pork chop recipe Allknowingjen just posted - and it was delish!), but figured on using something from the CSA box for the veg. So I washed 'em up, and just sauteed/stir-fried 'em in olive oil, throwing a splash each of sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, and soy sauce on them at the end. Yum!!!

While some sites also got strawberries, there weren't enough to go around this week. *pout* However, I'd certainly expect/hope for some next week!

Ok, so this week I'm cross-posting this on Recipeeps 4 Us and Musings & Mutterings, but in the future, I think it makes more sense to just post it over at Recipeeps, being food-related and all. So if you're curious, come take a look next Friday!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Flickr Mosaic Meme

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

I saw this meme over at Mary Beth's Cats... Books... Life is Good and thought I'd borrow/steal it 'cuz it looked so fun! Here's how to play....

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.
(Um, I'm adding d. Save the image, then upload it to your blog.)

Here are the questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you
12. Your flickr name

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WW - Planting Tomatoes

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

You can find more Wordless Wednesday here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Sorry for the week of no posts. I didn't have anything worthy of being turned into a Friday Funny, and then Mr. Kluges's parents came for a long weekend, so I didn't have much computer time. However, we had lots of fun visiting a local festival and a very productive time as well, with many projects getting done around the House of 42 Doors.

I can now use the built-in ironing board, for example. Before I was (legitimately!) afraid it would fall on my head when I opened the door. Of course, this built-in, wooden ironing board wouldn't fit a standard ironing board cover, because why would anything in this house be standard? But thanks to Grampa Jem, it's been made functional, both in terms of not falling on my head and being slightly shape-altered closer to the norm. Now I'm in business, once I find the iron...

And thanks to Gramma Yori, our back hallway is now painted - ceiling white and the walls the same yellow (Sherwin-Williams Hubbard Squash) as the living room (LR photos here). That's partly because I wanted it cheery with a bit of warmth, especially in the winter, when we can see our breath in that unheated space when we're on our way down to the basement, and partly because the living room took slightly less than one gallon when we'd purchased two. *grin* So yellow it became. Much better than the old manilla paper color it was top to bottom and ceiling as well when she started.

Before I go, I just want to give a special shout-out to Jaysan and The Sexy Blonde AND THEIR NEW BABY! Welcome to the world, little one!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

WW - A Gargoyle's View of Paris, 2006

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

You can find more Wordless Wednesday here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Portrait of the Artist, age 3 1/2

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Pumpkin drew this self-portrait today. I was so impressed, amused, and delighted, I thought, "Let's share it with the world!"

(Also known as a big ol' brag.)

So here it is!

(Frame and mat colors chosen by the artist.)

Now, in case you don't appreciate all the subtleties, here's the annotated version.
(Click to enlarge.)

And yes, we DID have fresh cherries this week; they were on sale at the grocery store.

P.S. Yes, it's been confirmed; that IS a ponytail.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Penguin - English Dictionary V. 1

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ah-tuh Hot. By extension, coffee or Mommy's coffee cup. In fact, any coffee cup sitting around might be "ah-tuh."

Ah duh! All done. A favorite often said immediately upon being placed in high chair. Has also been heard in the car and at church, which was the cause of some giggling in our pew. Can be seen here.

Ana or nana Banana. This is a very recent acquisition, but has been demonstrated at home, when seeing the bananas at the store, and when I put said bananas on the conveyor belt to pay for them.

At-uh!!! Cat. Also, bunny, squirrel, and likely any other furry animal she sees outside. Much excitement with this one!

Dada Daddy aka Mr. Kluges

Mamama Mommy. Not heard very much. Probably because AAAAAAAAHHH!, WAAAAAHHH! and other yelling often suffice.

Na Pumpkin's real name, or at least as close as Penguin can get.

Grandparents, be sure to study up before your next visits! :)