Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snowflakes Everywhere

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

So, yeah, there was a beautiful snowfall this past weekend when my folks were here. I grabbed the digital camera and a piece of black construction paper and here are a few of the photos I got. I cropped the first one to get the picture I used for my new header.

Aren't they just the most snow-flakey snowflakes you've ever seen?! They were like this everywhere - on the cars, on the ground - it was distracting when trying to clean off the cars because I kept stopping to look at individual snowflakes!

P.S. Only like 6 more hours until Mr. Kluges is home!!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Feelin' Moody

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, I REALLY miss Mr. Kluges. I know it's finally day 10 of the 12 day/11 night business trip, but I'm ready for it to be done. Having a bit of a time convincing myself that tidying, putting away clean laundry, dishes, etc. are worthwhile uses of my time.

So I played around with Picnik instead. Good fun.

Also, that's why there's a new title thingie at the top.

And why the kitchen and living room are, um, not the tidiest they've ever been.


I suppose I'd better go clean up 'cuz with the stupid mice (none this morning, though!), I don't dare leave any possible food sources out.


P.S. Yes, I took the picture of snowflakes my very own self this weekend when we had the prettiest, actually snow-flakey snowfall I think I've ever seen.

Monday, January 28, 2008


(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Today = (Number of rodents caught) > (Number of doors)

Also, I set my first mouse trap today. (After getting to, um, "take care of" its previous, um, "occupant." Ick.)

Did you know that if you're afraid you're going to totally snap your finger with a mouse trap that you can find instructions on setting a mouse trap on YouTube? Yeah, teh internets are a wonderful thing!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It WAS a nice round number.

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at
(Cross-posted at House of 42 Doors)

My parents are here to visit us. Which is nice for many reasons... visiting their granddaughters, company while Mr. Kluges is gone on his business trip, extra help around the house....

...mouse removal...

Yeah, after several months in which our mouse count remained static at 40, it has remained so no longer. Yesterday I discovered #41 under the kitchen radiator, and my kind father disposed of it for me.

And this morning, since we reset the traps last night, he'll get to do the same with #42.

*sigh* I LIKED letting the mouse count just sit at 40; I didn't need them to try to catch up to the 42 doors!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

PSA: child safety / restraint options for flights / air travel

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

This is a public service announcement for those who may ever be flying with young children. I saw this over at Cool Mom Picks. (Which is a good site to visit often, because most every day they have a give-away contest for one of their picks.)

Check it out - this "CARES" thingie basically turns the airline seat into a 5-point harness, like most car seats, but without the hassle of trying to carry on a heavy, bulky car seat itself. (And trust me, we did that when we first moved over to Ireland. It was a hassle!) However, I was a bit put off by the price - $75 for some straps?! I know it's been run through the FAA approval process and all, but still!

(Here's the Cool Mom Picks review for it.)

Now, when I knew I was going to have to travel alone with Pumpkin, I got a Sit'n'Stroll, which worked well, except that it's FAA approved, but not internationally approved, so I got some guff about it on some flights. *coughAerLingusdependingontheflightattendantcough* Also, it's a tad bit wider than some aisles, so that's not great. However, when Pumpkin fell asleep in it on one of our LONG layovers in Chicago, we were able to just keep wheeling her around in it as needed, and transferred her in it into her seat and out again after the flight with her still asleep.

It's not like the Sit'n'Stroll was chump change either; it runs just over $200, which is sizable if you're not going to be using it a lot, or if you don't NEED it 'cuz you're traveling alone. Granted, it is BOTH car seat AND a stroller, so you don't have to worry about needing a car seat at your destination, but it's not the bestest at either (have to buckle the child into the car seat, then put the car's seat belt over them both and the stroller rides a tad low to the ground).

Ooh! I just had a thought! You know how you don't have to buy a seat for a child under the age of 2? (They can be a "lap baby" and ride in your lap.) Well, sometimes I flew with Pumpkin that way, but if they had a extra seat near by, or could move us around to two empties, we did end up with her having her own seat. The CARES would be a super option for traveling that way - if you end up with a spare seat for your lap baby, then you can just pop the little carrying bag with the restraint out of your carry-on and Voila! Child is safer plus less able to try to wiggle out and run the aisles.

So there you have it - maybe another time when Mr. Kluges gets sent over to Ireland on a business trip, when we feel rich enough to pay for 3 extra tickets and like dealing with two small kids on a transatlantic flight, we'll use both the Sit'n'Stroll and get a CARES and do a side by side use comparison!

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Band Meme

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Saw this super fun meme over at Halushki. Jozet's description of it is way more entertaining than I could do, so check it out over there.

If I was in a band, its name would be...
Rainhard Fendrich

And our first album would be titled...
has any survival value

And this is how our album cover would look...

Fun, huh?!

And if that one broke up ('cuz this meme is too fun to do just once), I'd create a new group called...
Another One Rides the Bus E.P.

And A.O.R.t.B.E.P.'s first album would be...
in which to subsist


Wanna do it yourself? Here are the directions as copied from Halushki's page:

1. Click on this link:

The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. Click on this link:

The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. Finally, click on this link:

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

You then take the pic and add your band name and the album title to it, then post your pic.

P.S. I love Picnik! It's how I altered the pictures to be my album covers.

P.P.S. Yes, this is what I spend my time doing while Mr. Kluges is in Ireland. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Day 1/2 of We Three Girls

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Well, we survived the first day without Mr. Kluges. Actually the first half day, since we dropped him off at the airport about noon today.

We've been so busy with house stuff (heating guys finally here on THIS Friday since part finally came in, guest room furniture delivered this week) and just general life stuff and spending time together that I haven't written much this week.

I don't really expect that to change a whole lot for the next week and a half since it'll be me and the girls 24/7. Granted, we've got the car, so that certainly gives us options for getting out of the house! And my parents are coming for the weekend, so that'll be a nice break for me and visit for us all.

But now I'm just off to bed. Penguin's teething and wouldn't stay down for a nap more than 20 minutes unless I was with her, and Pumpkin has decided that naptime shall be replaced by quiet time... which really means that she tries to get into her closet if I don't close the door firmly enough, so that she can play dress-up with her clothes. *sigh*

I miss him already!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A fate worse than "killed"

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Recently at the library we discovered a set of San Diego Zoo books about baby animals. Pumpkin loves them and they've led to some discussions about what words like endangered mean, that some animals are mammals because they have hair and the babies drink milk from their mommies, how huge hippos are, etc. Yesterday before naptime we read Baby Tiger. It ends with a page about how tigers are endangered, which is a term we'd discussed before with another book.

Here is the conversation that followed...

P: (pointing her finger at me accusingly) That means some are dead.

M: Yes, it does.

P: (pointing her finger at me again, with a serious little frown on her face) And some are killed.

M: (with a serious/sad face because this is obviously a serious matter to her) Mmm-hmmm.

P: (again with the pointing gesture and an even deeper frown) And some are FLY-SWATTED!!

M: (face suddenly turned away from my serious girl, apparently having trouble with my breathing) *snort, snuffle*

P: (no idea what she looked like, couldn't see, but still sounded serious) And some are ok.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Things I liked about yesterday...

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

  • that the snowblower works.
  • that my husband cooked me extra-crispy bacon. Yum!
  • that Mr. Kluges took the girls for the entire afternoon on his own so I could go out and have some "nobody but ME" time.
  • that when I stopped by Once Upon a Child to get a couple of swimsuits for Penguin (for Parent-Child swim class which starts beginning of February), they were having an "all clearance items and/or onesies that fit in this bag for $5" sale!!!
  • that I fit 20 items into said bag, including a cute raincoat and adorable clothes for both girls!
  • that I found this cute clack-y wooden pull-toy there for $2.50!
  • that I then got to go to T J Maxx, where I spent the remainder of my Xmas money from my parents and my birthday money from my in-laws.

Did I mention that I got to do all this shopping ALL ON MY OWN?! 'Cuz that was wonderful. What a great, restorative afternoon.

(Which is good, because in less than a week, Mr. Kluges heads out on a 10-day business trip back over to Ireland... and it'll be just me 'n the girls around here.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shovelling first thing in the morning...

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

... is hard work!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pumpkin, Food Scientist

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

So this is, as near as I can get to verbatim, a conversation Pumpkin and I had today, going down the stairs to the basement.

P: What does east eat?

M: What? What does east eat? I don't know what you m... Oh. Yeast. What does yeast eat?

P: Yeah.

M: Yeast eats sugar.

P: Yeast eats sugar and then it makes bread.

M: Mm-hmm. Watch your step.

P: Then east eats sugar and has gas.

M: After yeast eats sugar, it makes gas, that's right. *grin*

P: And then the east makes gas and it makes the holes in the bread. And then it makes more east! And we can make more bread!

Yay for cooking with kids!!! Educational AND fun!

Monday, January 07, 2008

My 13th Day of Christmas

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

On the 13th day of Christmas, my day it did include....

12 gallons of water (sucked from the basement floor by shop-vac due to the rain, the frozen ground, and the rivulets coming down the inside of one wall),

11 dollars and change (per light for the two for-once-we-picked-the-cheap-ones lights for the back hallway that we bought tonight),

10 "Xmas" box labels (1/side plus 1 on the top for each of the two boxes of now packed-away Christmas gear. Yay, me!),

9 phone calls (at least - to the pediatrician's office twice about setting up a well-baby appointment, to the bank about the checks I ordered that haven't arrived yet, from Mr. Kluges about the furnace guys coming, to Mr. Kluges about the boiler, from the locksmith who was running late, to Mr. Kluges about the 12 gallons of water, to Mr. Kluges about the lock, from Mr. Kluges about the lock),

8 diaper changes (yeah, that's an approximation, but hey, you don't expect me to actually count them, do you?),

7 "Help me, Mommy"s (again, an approximation or an "at least," take your pick),

Six-ty six degrees (the temp our thermostat's set at... for our heat that went wonky on last Friday. Don't worry too much though as we've had heat... we've just had to short-circuit or jump it or something when it gets too cold and we need it to start back up. *shrug* I dunno, I just know how to undo the wire, flip the switch off then on, then reconnect the wire.)

5 installed lights (yay for Steve the Electrician, who put up the newly purchased and/or rewired ones),

4 days for the part (the heat exchanger that's being ordered from North Carolina, see #2 below and #6 above),

3 hours of time for the locksmith (trying to fix the of-course-it's-the-House-of-42-Doors non-standard lock on the front door that also broke on Friday),

2 furnace guys (who still couldn't fix the boiler, see #4 & 6 above)

and a girl who fell asleep in the store! (Yup, Pumpkin conked out with her head on Mr. Kluges's coat in the cart at the big box hardware store after supper... and slept through the transfer to the car, into the house, out of jeans and into pj bottoms, and into bed.)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

So Spelleth the Toddler

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

While not as impressive at Kittenpie's daughter Pumpkinpie spelling "Home Depot," I was quite amused by our own Pumpkin's spelling...

No! I don't wanna take a bath!

Oh! Em! I! Tee! Aitch!

That spells "No Bath!"!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2007 in Review Meme

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, I saw this over at Kashka_Z's, and then All-Knowing Jen's, and now at Syl's, so I think I'll baa like a sheep and follow the herd...

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Brought my toddler to the emergency room - twice

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Ok, I discussed that at length right here.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Why yes, yes I did!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, I'm glad to report.

5. What countries did you visit?
Not so much "visited" as "lived in" this year - both Ireland and the good ol' US of A.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A vehicle of my own to save the hassle of sharing one with Mr. Kluges

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 1 - we moved back to the US
May 1 - Penguin's birth
July (ok, something right near the 4th, guess it's more pencilled than etched) - sold house
August 30 - bought & took possession of the House of 42 Doors

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Survived the various stresses and difficulties relating to #7!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Um, see #1?

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Well, the indignities of the whole labor and delivery business

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Time will tell if it's the best thing, but the most life-changing for this year was probably the House of 42 Doors. Also life-changing: the plane tickets back home.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Pumpkin becoming potty trained! Woo-hoo!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Pumpkin's occasional "being three" behavior

14. Where did most of your money go?
Without question, The House of 42 Doors

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Penguin being born!

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Ok, woe-woe-woefully out of touch with pop culture and whatever's playing on the radio as mine's usually tuned to NPR. Therefore, the song that will remind me of 2007 is probably the Dance in Smarty Pants song from Between the Lions. ("It's very, very spunky! You can do it with a monkey.") Not because we watch it very often at all, but because we like to pretend Penguin is dancing to it and/or we make up other words to it.
(Here it is on YouTube - poor video quality, but still fun!)
(And now it's going to be stuck in my head all, all day.)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) um, about the same, I guess - just the sources of the happy/sad have changed
b) thinner! (Of course, last year at this time I was like 6 months pregnant.)
c) maybe a bit poorer over all, especially when I think of the $ we've already put into the house

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Playing outside with the girl(s)

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worry, stressing, fussing at Mr. Kluges

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Hmmm, I guess this is meant to be done before Christmas, huh? We spent it here at the House of 42 Doors, enjoying the day with just our little family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Yes, with my new baby girl aka Penguin

22. How many one-night stands?
None. (I think college students designed this meme.)

23. What was your favorite TV program?
When we lived at the furnished apartment, we had cable, and I got a tad bit obsessed with the various CSIs. Now we don't, and we can't get that channel in. But I do sometimes enjoy watching the soap opera that is ER.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate last year?
Don't think so. I still hate our first renter from our old TC house.

25. What was the best book you read?
See, I usually read what a college roommate of mine called "candy books." Light, escapist, fun, but not really quality. I did read Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry series, in which I don't think he hit his stride until the end of the first book or into the second, but then I really enjoyed it.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Musical discovery, um, yeah, remember that whole "no pop culture to speak of?" So this is a stretch to answer the question, but when we were at Strawberry Fest this summer, we listened for a while to a hammered dulcimer player, Paul Imholte, and got his CD of Christmas/winter songs, Through the Winter Night. I really liked listening to it during the holidays when I wanted something peaceful, seasonal, and instrumental in the background.

27. What did you want and get?
A new house, a new LR rug, LR end tables, LR lamps, new electricity for the house, a new washer and dryer!!! (Thanks, TNGreatAunt), a rug each for Pumpkin and Penguin's room, a rug for the office (yay for Craig's List), guest room furniture (on order) (Thanks, Mom & Dad!), a working sewer system... yeah, lots of house stuff, huh?!

28. What did you want and not get?
Bedside lamps - but I requested them from Mr. Kluges for my birthday/Christmas present, with the stipulation that if we didn't pick some out together by Valentine's Day, I can choose and buy them myself.

29. What was your favorite film this year?
Got Dear Frankie from the library after seeing a preview on some other movie. Liked it a lot. Can't really remember any other movies we watched, but we did get the entire series of Firefly from the library (like Syl, watched it for the 1st time) and L.O.V.E.D. it. So sad there aren't more!!!

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35, and I, uh, turned 35? Let's see, I went furniture shopping with Mr. Kluges, the girls and my parents. Here's my birthday post.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Winning big in the lottery would have helped with a lot of money worries, and would have put a new roof on the House of 42 Doors and put in a second bathroom... but it would have come with its own problems, I'm sure. However, a master bathroom with a 2-person whirlpool tub, a fireplace, and in-floor heating under the lovely stone-tiled floor would've felt very satisfying!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2007?
Maternity wear followed by just-post-maternity wear followed by still-hiding-the-remains-of-the-saggy-post-maternity-belly wear

33. What kept you sane?
This blog and y'all reading it.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Does Mr. Kluges count? He's the star of House of 42 Doors? Otherwise my 2007 was woefully celebrity-crush-free. (Not that I'd turn Brad Pitt out of my bed pretty much any day.)

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Ug. I don't want to talk politics on this blog. Like religion and sex, it's not something to be discussed in mixed company!

36. Who did you miss?
Pumpkin's best friend from Ireland, and all of our friends from there.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Um, Steve the Electrician?

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:
Pushing feels like pooping. (And I think I should get a bonus point for learning it on-line.)

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: