Friday, January 30, 2009

Give up, Penguin: a Haiku

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

(or, "Is Today Done Yet?")

Child, you cannot wear
your sunglasses to bed. I don't
care how loud you yell.


Haiku, Take Two

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

(or, "The Day Continues.")

Big girl spills between
spill-catching shelves. Alas, milk.
Guess I'll clean the frig.


A Parent's Haiku

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

(or, "And How is YOUR Morning?")

Oh, epic poop. I
Must change the high chair cover.
The girl's in the bath.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Small celebrations

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

I've been doing some of the Flylady stuff. Babysteps, you know. So far, I'm finding it helpful, my house is tidier AND cleaner, and I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment about it. I'm not worrying too much about the parts I'm not getting to/not ready for, but the ideas of what to do when, setting a timer to focus on a task for 5 or 15 minutes, clearing off "Hot Spots" for 2 minutes once or twice a day - those are definitely helping. It makes me feel more peaceful to be able to look at what I've accomplished and to have things more tidy.

My girls have been having a blast at lunch today eating plain fresh spinach and pretending to be caterpillars. Mmmmm... leaves!

I've done menu planning the last two weeks and it's helped so much! I have an idea of what I'm going to do, I try to balance out easy/time-consuming meals or veg/meat or pasta/potatoes/etc., and it made grocery shopping this morning a breeze.

Plus, I actually sat down on the couch and clipped coupons while I watched TV last night, remembered to bring them along, and used them. Between some clipped coupons, some in-store coupons, and in-store promotions, I saved $29 - 17% of my bill! Yay! (I avoided buying stuff just 'cuz I had a coupon, too, just stuff we needed anyway or were staples like frozen veg.)

Pumpkin got her first progress report/report card from school today and she's doing very well. She's already at a lot of the end of year goals for the 4Kers and "progressing" in a few, but no "beginnings." So that looks great. Her teacher even left notes on a couple of the goals like knowing 20 of the 54 upper/lowercase letters (it's 54 'cuz of g & g & a & simpler a that I don't have on any of these fonts) where she knows virtually ALL of them. So she's doing well academically, socially, and is demonstrating good learning skills/attitude. Yay, Pumpkin!

I read about this kid music video site, Jitterbug, through Cool Mom Picks and they're so FUN! Also, a good way to check the email/blogs while entertaining any wee ones around. Warning - if you listen to the They Might Be Giants song "Never Go to Work," you'll be humming it all day. Or maybe singing it aloud. Not that Mr. Kluges and I have been doing that, oh no. Pumpkin thinks 789 by The Barenaked Ladies is good fun, but we laughed when she asked Mr. Kluges for the naked lady song. ;) Penguin thinks they're all fun and dances around in the office when we play any of them.

Penguin is "talking" more and more. She sort of knows some of her colors (blue, yaya (yellow), poe-poe (purple), geen (green). We had to swing by the Target at the mall yesterday, so we spent some time at the playplace by the food court. She's been talking about it off and on ever since. "Whee." (I went on the slides.) "Choo-choo." (Hey, Mom, remember there was a Thomas balloon way up high on the ceiling.) "Choo-choo up." (Boy, that Thomas balloon was something way up there.) "Blue." (It was even blue.) "Eyes." (And had eyes.) "Move." (And it'd sometime change position because of the wind/vents/?. That was really cool.) In fact, just now she came in the office and said, "Choo-choo. Move. Eyes. Up." and nodded her head, 'cuz you know, she just wanted me to remember it with her. Funny girl.

So there you go - celebrate the small stuff. Got any small celebrations you want to share?

WW - My Van Gogh and Picasso... but happier

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Open Letters to Wildlife

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Dear small, scratchy, crawly whatever living in the office walls,

I was willing to ignore you when I heard you all summer and early fall when you'd do your little scratchy noise at about 10 or 11 every night. I figured you were that little bat that we'd seen sitting up high on the back porch. You eat mosquitos; I'll cut you some slack.

Then we got tired of the bat poop on the back porch and Mr. Kluges caulked it up. The little bat found a new home.


But somehow there is still/again scratching around 10 pm.

Mouse, or whatever you are, you are on notice. We've not seen hide, nor hair, nor poop of you in our house itself, but if you dare show one whisker outside of the walls, BAM! The traps will be coming back out!

Wishin' mouse poop counted as insulation, 'cuz there's probably an icky, icky amount in the walls

Dear owl pair,

I think you're really cool. I mean, how many couples have such lovely, long conversations. And they seem very amiable - lower voice hooting to higher voice, who replies politely. Loud, rambling conversations they are too, since we can often hear you inside our house. You even let me see you - well, your shadowy shapes, anyway - flying through the trees in back a few weeks ago when I was out shoveling at night. And Mr. Kluges got to see you tonight. You're cool.

Now, can we talk about two little things? One, would you mind helping us out with the scratchy wall-dweller? If he ever ventures outside, do you think you might find him tasty? I bet you would! Two, once summer comes (as I keep telling myself it will), would you mind reducing your volume? 'Cuz if I can hear you so well now, through the closed windows and storms, I can't imagine how wake-up-y-loud you're going to be this summer with the windows open.

Your non-feathered fan

Dear squirrel(s),

You know that snow bank you've been frequenting, looking for the bread crusts I occasionally throw outside to supplement your mysterious acorn shortfall? (And I totally agree there is one, 'cuz our first fall ('07) we were seriously considering wearing hard hats in the backyard to protect from the acorns falling tens of feet from our two huge oaks. This past year ('08), nada.)

Well, now that it's nearly the end of January, I finally finished putting the last of the holiday decorations away. Like, today. Yay for me!

Which matters to you why? Well you see, that gingerbread house we made? Is now in your snow bank. Happy sugar rush to you.

The people who watch you out the window and laugh when you get your nose full of snow

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thanks, sweetie!

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Love is when your husband opens your jar of sauerkraut for you, even though he can't stand the stuff himself.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tidy is as tidy does?

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

I've been thinking and working on my 2009 resolutions, especially the tidy/clean one and the 365 Less Things. Granted, I'm already a few things behind (see sidebar), but hey, progress is progress.

Speaking about progress and moving forward without being perfect (yet! *grin*), Syl recommended FLYlady in previous comments and I was looking at the FLYlady site a bit this weekend. Anybody else try it at all? It looks like a great way to take your mess - however HUGE or small it may be - and take little steps towards getting your house the way you want it. She seems to be all about starting small, establishing habits, and not letting perfectionism get in the way and paralyze you. Don't know if I'm keen about getting all the e-mails, but I like the ideas of starting small, dividing the house into zones, small maintenance routines working wonders, acknowledging that the mess accumulated over time & it'll take time to undo it, etc. Also, you know, free is a good incentive to give it a try.

So if you've done the FLYlady routine, what did you think? Or, check out her site (which isn't set up to be intuitively obvious to me anyway) and weigh in.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cabin Fever = Escapist Thoughts of Summer Adventures

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Dear fellow GAWers,

As I sit here in our House of Much To Do, on the second consecutive day of Dangerous-Cold-School-Canceled, looking forward (so to speak) to a weekend of Mr. Kluges not being around to co-parent, my thoughts turn to the fun, adventure, and non-kid-time of Girls' Adventure Weekends...

Ah, the days of just hanging out at the campsite, chatting about whatever, in the nice (mostly) weather... staying up as late as we like since it'll be birds waking us, not kids... only being in charge of certain meals, and feeding only myself... not changing any diapers... doing fun, adventurous, non-mom things... not having 1/3rd of my mind on one kid and a 1/3rd on the other and what they're up to, leaving me not a whole lot of brain power for whatever I'm actually trying to do...

Do we have any inklings (I had to type that 3 times thanks to the 1/3 of a brain left to me; I kept trying to put a 'c' in it.) as to any potential adventures for the upcoming year? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Daydreamingly yours,

O'Bama, now that's an Irish name!

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Got an email this morning from one of Mr. Kluges's aunts, one on the Irish side. She sent us a link to this site, which has the following video plus the lyrics. It's well worth a Friday listen!

There's No One As Irish As Barack O'Bama- Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys

I've been humming and singing "Tooraloo, tooraloo, tooraloo tooralama, there's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama" all morning now...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's c-c-c-c-c-c-cold!

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

It's COLD out there! We're past the "nose-hair-freezing" stage. I think the official title is "Butt A$$ Cold." So cold, in fact, that school has been canceled for today. Not too surprised 'cuz the forecasters have been warning us it was going to be bad. Right now, puts us at -15F with wind chill of -39F. For you metric users, that's -26C and a wind chill of -39C. Frigid!

So, I'm leaving my fleece pjs on for now and crawling back into my flannel sheets. Penguin thought 5:30 was morning, but I think we've got her settled back down now, so here's hoping for a nice, slow, stay-in-our-warm-beds-for-a-while morning.

Stay warm, all of you, stay warm!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Scene: The Supper Table, today

Pumpkin: Mom, can I be done?

Me: Did you get enough to eat? What did you have?

Pumpkin: I had one, two pieces of bread, and some meat, and some peas.

Me: I think you need to eat some more of that meat and half of your peas.

Pumpkin: Ok, I'll eat half of each pea.

Which is what she's sitting at the table doing right now, even after an explanation & demonstration about putting the peas into two piles about the same size and eating one side. No, no, she's going to eat half of each pea. Ok, go ahead, kid, go ahead. It'll keep you busy.

WW - Winter Morning in Wisconsin

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Sunday, January 11, 2009


(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Man, sorry I've been a tad light on posting lately. I've started watching one of Pumpkin's classmates if/when her mom gets a substitute teaching job, so that cuts in a bit to my down/computer time.

It's been fun having her here & nice to get a little bit of extra cash. We're still at the training-in phase, though, in which she learns to stay seated at the table during meals/snacks until excused, that we have "quiet time" for an hour in the afternoons, and other "ways we do things here." Going fine, but if I wouldn't've been expecting the need to establish expectations, I think I'd be a tad frustrated. Pumpkin loves having a playmate around in the afternoon and Penguin thinks she hung the moon.

In fact, her family goes to our church, and during the children's sermon, when all the kids go up front and sit on the steps, Penguin stood her little self up and went to be right next to "Rayray." Then she kept saying, "Rayray!" and touching her arm. It was actually quite cute.

Ok, gotta run - trying to get caught up on a few things today like tidying up some of those notorious surfaces that seem to accumulate clutter. Yeah, you know what I mean... those tables/shelves/nooks that gather the extra mail or newspapers or stuff from work/school... Going to go see what I can tidy/throw/do something about. Have a great last bit of the weekend!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

WW - Normal Me vs. Straight-Haired Me

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Monday, January 05, 2009


(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Pumpkin's school bag sat peacefully on the side table in the dining room for most of her winter break. Then I decided to tidy. I put her bag somewhere logical, where I'd be sure to remember, and even told Mr. Kluges where I put it.


Seriously, I've searched the house for 15-20 minutes while she ate breakfast & it's disappeared into some other dimension.

What kills me that if I'd've left it where it was, I wouldn't be having this problem. Not a huge deal, but FRUSTRATING!

Edited to add: Found the bag, in the closet where I thought it was, hanging up about where I thought it should be.... hidden underneath my big giant straw gardening hat. *sigh*

Friday, January 02, 2009

2009 Resolutions

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ah, the new year... time for resolutions.

Here are my 2009 Resolutions:
  • To finish getting down to my goal weight and BMI of 24. I was so close last year (within a pound and a half!), then I slacked off on exercise & started eating too much junk food. The good news is that I still weigh less than I did last January, plus I know I can get there again, it's just going to take regular exercise & less junk food snacking.
  • To get better at tidying up and cleaning. This means trying to clean up more as I go, incorporating clean-up times into our routine (before meals, bedtime, etc.) with the girls helping, closing the cupboard doors (Hi, Dad! *grin*), doing the dishes more than once a day, etc.
And here's my big one...
  • To get rid of 365 things this year. They might be sold, donated to charity, given away to somebody we know, recycled or thrown away. They just won't be mine/here anymore. Bonus points for things that I put into use that had been tucked away in boxes or otherwise not used even though we own them.
Yup. I've got a bit of packrat tendencies. You just never know when you might NEED something! 'Course, if it's packed away in a box or put away in a closet & I can't find it or don't remember I have it when I want/need it, well, then it's useless to me. So I'm hoping this resolution will help me pare down my closet of some of the unworn, ill-fitting, out-of-date clothing, get those old college textbooks off my shelves, and pass on to others things that they can use that I'm not. I'm not talking about anything I love or use or value... just the "stuff" that accumulates over time.

I'm hoping one thing a day doesn't seem to overwhelming. Of course, it'll probably be in streaks as I tackle the bookcase or a closet or a box from the basement, but the sentiment is there. One a day. Hmm... today's the second, so I'm starting out behind, but that's fixable! :)

(BTW, I'm hoping my brother and his wife have a girl in March, 'cuz that'd really help with this resolution! *grin*)

So there's mine. How about you?

Edited to add: First thing eliminated... a old bottle of spruce essence, used in a grand total of ONE batch of beer, years ago, that we didn't like AT ALL. Not that I'm going to regularly post specifics with this 365 Less Stuff resolution, but I thought that one was funny.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at