Monday, November 30, 2009

NaBloPoNo Day #30! I did it!

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Hooray! It's November 30th & I've posted every day! The first day was over at Recipeeps, but I did it!

Now, I'm off to keep unpacking, doing supper dishes, start a load of laundry, get at least some of the stuff from the car out of (or at least tidier in) the living room, and prepare for tomorrow. Glad to be back home after the long LONG drive back from MN, but we had a wonderful time & enjoyed seeing so much of our families.

(Oh yeah, and since tomorrow is December, I've got to remember to update the monthly theme & quote at Recipeeps and the goal here...)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

And once again, my thanks to Mugsy over at Drive Fast. Take Chances. for providing another meme I could swipe!

I’ve come to realize that my chest-size. . .will never stop traffic.

I’ve come to realize that my job. . .is wonderful, frustrating, and rewarding.

I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving. . . I like to sing along with the music.

I’ve come to realize that I need. . . to let people know what I need.

I’ve come that realize that I have lost. . . not enough weight.

I’ve come to realize that I hate it when. . . I do stupid stuff.

I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk. . . I'd better not keep drinking.

I’ve come to realize that money... ebbs and flows.

I’ve come to realize that certain people. . .won't change, so I might as well get used to it.

I’ve come to realize that I’ll always. . . have books on my nightstand.

I’ve come to realize that my sibling(s). . . are pretty great guys.

I’ve come to realize that my mom… does things with a logic I couldn't always see as a teen.

I’ve come to realize that my cell phone. . . probably has no signal here.

I’ve come to realize that when I wake up in the morning. . .before the girls, life goes more smoothly all day.

I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep. . .I think I forgot to brush my teeth.

I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking. . . I'm glad NaBloPoMo is almost done.

I’ve come to realize that my dad. . . knows a lot about a lot of stuff.

I’ve come to realize that today. . . will never come again.

I’ve come to realize that tonight. . . is yet to come.

I’ve come to realize that tomorrow. . . will be a really, really long drive.

I’ve come to realize that I really want to. . . work on toning up my tummy before the dance recital in March.

I’ve come to realize that the person mostly likely to repost this is. . . Syl.

I’ve come to realize that life. . .never goes quite the way you expect.

I’ve come to realize that my friends. . .are truly fabulous people & I'm so thankful for the internet as it makes it so much easier to keep in touch.

I’ve come to realize that this year. . . I did a great job with my declutter/tidy resolutions, thanks in large part to Flylady.

I’ve come to realize that my exes. . . aren't very numerous, and are of varying levels of google-ability.

I’ve come to realize that maybe I should. . .finish this up, and probably wake up the late napping two year old.

I’ve come to realize that I love. . .my family. And chocolate.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand. . . people who are mean on purpose.

I’ve come to realize my past. . . does not necessarily accurately predict my future.

I’ve come to realize that parties. . . are more fun when you've got fewer responsibilities.

I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified. . . of jumping off high things into water.

I’ve come to realize that my life. . . is pretty darn good, and I need to count my blessings more.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 28's Post

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

We've shifted grandparents now - from my parents' home to the in-laws. *wave* "Hi, Grandma Pet & Grandpa Pharaoh, and Grandpa Jem & Gramma Yori!" Finally got the kids down to sleep tonight - they were exhausted and are very out of schedule. Now we've got the Irish drink recipes book out. I figured I'd better post now. :)

Sorry these last NaBloPoMo posts haven't been expecially substantial, but I don't want to take much time away from family time, especially since we don't get back to MN that much. Maybe tomorrow I'll try to grab some time during quiet time (if it happens) and do a few more words than I have been.

Hope you're all enjoying the weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lessons from a movie: beware, and practice at dodgeball

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Hoo-boy, sneakin' in under the wire on this one! Busy day with shopping in the downtown area, going back to the downtown with Mr. Kluges to visit an antiques store without the girls, a couple of brisk walks to work off some of yesterday's calories, playing with a remote control car in the cul-de-sac and a lovely early show, also sans girls.

Now, I don't know if you're planning on seeing 2012, which is the movie we saw (I'd link to it now, but with dial-up, it'd take a while & it's late), but if you've seen any of the trailers or previews, you'll know it's an end-of-the-world disaster movie.

I'll try not to be too spoiler-y, but feel free to stop reading if you're planning on seeing the movie... On the way back to my folks', Mr. Kluges and I started making a(n incomplete) list of some of the things with which characters had near misses.

Trying not to give too much away, but the list included:
  • cars
  • buildings (while in a car AND separately while in planes)
  • a cement truck
  • a train
  • airplanes
  • mountains
  • not-the-real Eiffel Tower
  • the Pacific Ocean
  • newly-formed volcanic stuff
  • fireballs from the above
  • more mountains
  • lots of buildings
  • hydraulics
  • sealing-things-off partitions
  • gates/ramps
Note: This list does not include things crumbling away beneath them, but that was definitely also a hazard.

So, things I've learned from this movie - play a lot of dodgeball & bumper cars to hone those avoidance skills; learn to fly a plane; crazies are sometimes right; once is chance, twice is coincidence, three times is conspiracy and several dozen times is this movie.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, briefest of posts to say "Happy Thanksgiving!" to all my fellow Americans and "Happy Birthday!!!" to my youngest brother. I hope you all had as much fun, family & delicious food as we enjoyed today.

And do take a minute, even if it's just before you hit the hay, to think about the many, many blessings you've got - I know I will, and I appreciate all of them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I don't even play a mechanic on TV...

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

When in the course of running around to do errands, bringing 2 yo to her (with you) half-hour class, getting gas, picking up kindergartners, if you should happen to notice a largish puddle under your front passenger tire... the same area the brake line was leaking & needed replacement not that long ago...

...and you're supposed to leave on a 6 hr+ drive that very same day...

...and so you look beside the wheel at the brake line...

...and see liquid and drips... you quickly call the local mechanic (2 blocks away) and he kindly says he'll take a look at it for you right away...

...and so you load up 3 girls and drive down there ASAP...

...if you're lucky, like me, you won't have to deal with any big issues, since, as he so politely explained to me, it's water... from the defrost... 'cuz it like runs the A/C to remove the humidity or something like that...

...and you might feel a little bit (ok, maybe more than a little bit) silly, but a LOT relieved!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Plus, oh yeah, mind the kids

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Leaving tomorrow late afternoon/most likely evening for MN to see lots of relatives & eat lots of delicious and fattening food. Hooray! That means I've got a bit of a to-do list today, so that tomorrow I just have to worry about finishing up packing the suitcases with toiletries & things we need until the last minute, taking Penguin to her half-hour Tot Time class, buying a few last minutes things, gassing up the car, maybe stopping by big library for book/CD sets, & loading up the car.

So, that means today is:
  • finish up laundry, fold, put away
  • make trail mix and pack car snacks - done
  • pack car toys/books
  • choose/pack DVDs & CDs
  • charge car DVD player & make sure have all cords
  • wrap any MN Xmas presents we already have that haven't already been wrapped, load into box(es) labeled with which side of the family to which they'll be going
  • continue eating up leftovers
  • buy WI beer to bring along (already got cheese & wine) - done
  • do as much of my weekly home blessing as I can fit in
  • do NaBloPoMo post - done!
So off to work on some other parts of my list. Cheerio!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

See "other."

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

No real post here today, but I'll point you over to Recipeeps where today I did post the recipe Mr. Kluges cooked on the giant radiator puddle day - Fettucine with Garlic Scallops.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Papah Pharaoh!

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Just a quick post today, but I wanted to wish my dad a happy birthday! I think he and Grandma are actually up babysitting for my youngest brother's son, so we left messages for him on their home phone and his cell. Looking forward to seeing you all soon for Turkey Day!

Happy Birthday,
Grandpa Pharaoh!!!

And many more!!!!!!

Love from your best daughter, mother of your best granddaughters, & wife of your best son-in-law!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My afternoon could've been better, not wetter.

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Yesterday was a bit of a crap day, with some lovely flooding of the living room and sun porch due to holes in the sun porch radiators. Which we knew about, because we'd accidentally frozen the pipes in them our first winter in the house, when we'd closed off that room, but assumed (wrongly!) that it would stay warm enough since there's just a French door separating it from the rest of the house. Yeah, with no foundation under that room, it got cold. So, frozen pipes in the baseboard radiators. Fortunately that's mostly a separate system from the rest of the house, so it wasn't a big deal to leave it off, drained out, and unfixed, until it made it to the top of the house-fixing-budget priority list.

But, imagine that, the heating guy who came out yesterday to check the system before winter didn't know that.

And some homeowners (*coughuscough*) hadn't thought to label the shut-off valves for those sun porch radiators with anything, let alone, "DO NOT OPEN!"

And, of course, in the process of checking everything, he turned those valves.

And when I walked downstairs with Penguin to get her a potty treat at the beginning of quiet/nap time, I thought, "How is there a puddle in the living room? There's no pipe or sink over there by the TV. And the kids aren't allowed water/drinks/food in there. Oh, wait, that's a BIG puddle! Oh, DA*N, the sun porch is flooded! ARGH! IT'S THE RADIATORS! WHERE'S THE SHUT-OFF VALVE!!!"

Quick call to the source-of-all-knowledge-of-our-house, aka my husband, some pipe following down in the basement, some "ARGH! Now it's SPRAYING out! Different valve!", and eventually the system was reisolated and off.

And the wrapped presents, unwrapped presents, wrapping stuff, rug, 2 boxes of books to get rid of, one of the two rocking chairs, giant candle stand, and a few more miscellaneous stuff were moved out of the sun porch, I spent about an hour mopping the corner of the living room and the flooded sun porch. (While quiet time was replaced by some video watching time.)

Which was rather icky since the water in the sun porch was mostly black thanks to the coal dust that had been embedded in the grout between the tiles and under the baseboards. But hey, it's clean(er) now!

And my hubby volunteered to cook the supper last night, which was a new recipe I'd picked out (Fettuccine with Garlic Scallops), and it was yummy! I'll try to post it over to Recipeeps soon.

I think Kashka_z was right when she twittered that I was maybe on some alternate version of the calendar where yesterday was actually my Friday the 13th. Especially considering that while I mopped, not 10 feet away from me Penguin swallowed a coin, probably a penny.

So, Happy Friday to you all and Happy New Day to me! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Looking on the bright side

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

The sun porch floor is the cleanest it's been since before we moved in (white grout, who knew?)...

...I don't think we lost any of the (wrapped) presents on the floor to water damage...

...and I now know where the shut-off valves are to the radiators in that room.

P.S. Oh, and also, that I'm pretty sure it was only a penny that Penguin swallowed while I was mopping.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WW - Us at the Colosseum in 2002

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

(FYI, yes, this was prescheduled, but I did post actually today over at Recipeeps.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

...and the rest of the questions stolen from Mugsy

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Thanks again to my favorite Star-Trek-rock-climbing, cute-boot-wearing, clapping-man-traffic-spotting fellow NaBloPoMo'er! Here's part 2 of the strange questions.

26. What color is your watch? I just bought one recently that's like clear plastic. Not that I wear it since I usually just check my phone.

27. What do you think of when you hear “Australia?” "Australia, Australia, Australia, Australia! We love you, amen!" I blame my husband for that.

28. Would you strip for money? No. Well, maybe I'd swallow my pride if we were talking 6 figures or over. Not that anybody's offered. :)

29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? We eat fast food rarely, and it's usually when we're trying to make time while traveling, so we go in to use the bathrooms, but get the food to go.

30. What is your favorite number? I'm partial to 6, but not strongly.

31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone? The guy at the photo place who called about the estimate for repairs on the camera.

32. Any plans today? Well, since it's already 9:30 pm, to finish this, and do my Flylady Before Bed Routine.

33. In how many states have you lived? Just two, but three countries.

34. Biggest annoyance right now? The age of two. Many, many things about the age of two years old.

35. Last song listened to? Some Norah Jones one in the car.

36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? Sort of, but I have to sing it and/or think really hard. Thanks, They Might Be Giants.

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house? Nope.

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? It varies, but I'm fond of my tan suede Simple Shoes sneakers, which I got on sale this summer. Something like these.

39. Are you jealous of anyone? Yes, various people for various reasons.

40. Is anyone jealous of you? I'd like to think that at least one somebody thinks my life is pretty good besides me. Not perfect, but pretty darn good, all in all.

41. Do you love anyone? Definitely.

42. Do any of your friends have children? Quite a few of them do.

43. What do you usually do during the day? Care for children; cook; clean; run errands; wear pearls while cooking dinner; bring my husband his slippers, pipe, & scotch when he gets home... Ok, mostly the first four.

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? No.

45. Do you use the word hello daily? Definitely.

46. What color is your car? Tan.

47. What size wedding ring do you wear? I think 7. It's not something I find myself shopping for often.

48. Are you thinking about someone right now? No, I'm thinking about answering these questions.

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags? No, I don't think so.

50. How did you get your worst scar? I accidentally stuck a pitchfork into the top of my left foot (but not through) while wearing sandals long, long ago, and I still have a small round scar, and probably will until I die.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reason #432 I wish I had my camera back

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

In Pumpkin's Sunday School class, they often do crafts. Makes total sense - lets them connect with whatever Bible story or concept they're talking about, fun, it's a fairly long time they've got them, etc.

Yesterday after the service we got her from class and I was completely puzzled by her craft.

No. I take that back. Actually, I was completely puzzled and taken aback by the fact that she'd apparently made the Flying Spaghetti Monster in Sunday School.

Yup, round plate, covered with glued-on off-white yarn in squiggly sorts of shapes, hole cut out for the mouth, 2 googly eyes. All it was missing was the meatballs.

My daughter, the Pastafarian?

Upon further questioning, turns out they'd actually talked about Daniel in the lions' den. She hadn't used any of the yellow or orange yarn in the mane of her lion, choosing only the lightest yellow.

I just so very much wish I had my camera back (got estimate today, called back and approved, maybe 7-10 days?), because, oh, I so want to share it, FSM or lion or whatever it is!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Warning: Earworms

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Lately I've ended up with a few songs stuck in my head. And since the surest way I know to get rid of an earworm is to pass it along, well...

These first two are kid songs via Jitterbug.
  • Polar Bear Over There by Uncle Rock (Penguin loves this one and will sometimes randomly point and say, "Polar bear ova dere!")
...and there was another one, but danged if I can remember it now. Oh well, if I do, I'll just add it on later. Gotta hit "Publish," you know, and move on to the second half of this NaBloPoMo month!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thank God for Mugsy

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

If there were going to be a day for me to fall off the NaBloPoMo wagon, it'd be today. I just got nothing. Fortunately for me (and you! *grin*), Mugsy is also doing National Blog Posting Month this November and she just posted a lovely half-a-meme of strange questions. So guess what?! I'm totally stealing it and copying her. 'Cuz you know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? xoxo - Thanks, Mugsy!

1. What is the color of your toothbrush? Blue with pink and white
2. Name one person who made you smile today? Mr. Kluges
3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning? Sleeping in! Mr. Kluges and I traded mornings this weekend.
4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago? Putting the girls to bed on my own since Mr. Kluges had a quarterly outage this weekend.
5. What is your favorite candy bar? Mmmm! Candy bar! TWIX with Moro and/or Almond Joy coming in a close second. There are many, many third place choices.
6. Have you ever been to a strip club? Nope.
7. What is the last thing you said aloud? Good night; I love you; go to sleep.
8. What is your favorite ice cream? Any. If pressed, probably Mr. Kluges' coffee ice cream, or gelato in Italy, but really, any ice cream is good ice cream.
9. What was the last thing you had to drink? Red wine.
10. Do you like your wallet? I have no strong feelings about it, but it's fine.
11. What was the last thing you ate? Bellatoria Garlic Chicken Alfredo Ultra Thin Crust Pizza and salad
12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week? No. My shopping tends to be maybe every 2-3 months if I'm lucky.
13. The last sporting event you watched? Parts of the Vikings-Packers game 'cuz the in-laws were here. No, not the most recent one, the one before that one.
14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? Salted, with butter. Or with garlic salt and butter. Yum.
15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to? Either Mr. Kluges, one of the belly dancers in my troupe, or my neighbor. Not going to bother to go look now.
16. Ever go camping? Yes!
17. Do you take vitamins daily? Yup.
18. Do you go to church every Sunday? Not every Sunday, but now that Pumpkin's in Sunday School, we try to go pretty regularly. In fact, tomorrow I'm the reader. I had to look up how to pronounce "Elkanah" and "Peninnah."
19. Do you have a tan? Um, no.
20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza? In general, pizza wins, but I do love me an eggroll.
21. Do you drink your soda with a straw? If it comes in a to-go cup.
22. What did your last text message say? I have no idea.
23. What are you doing tomorrow? Getting up first, getting ready for church, reading at church, brunch at home, I dunno what else.
24. Favorite color? Usually blue or green. Peaceful colors.
25. Look to your left; what do you see? An overflowing bookcase and a big toy organizer shelf.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thoughts on Cookie Baking With Multiple Child "Helpers"

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

I've baked with Pumpkin for ages. I've baked with both girls "helping" me - pizza dough, cookies, etc. Today I tried something new - I baked chocolate chip cookies with three helpers!

Yup, today, Pumpkin (age 5), Penguin (age 2.5) and "Rachelle" (age 5, Pumpkin's classmate & child I babysit) and I made chocolate chip cookies. Here are some tips, hints, and pointers.
  • Model the pre-cooking steps of making sure you have a cleared off counter/space to work, looking over recipe, and making sure you've got all the ingredients you need. Then, when you actually don't have enough vanilla, you'll know before you get started.
  • Even if the grocery store is only a half mile away, and your helpers are sure they want to walk/take turns in the wagon, drive anyway. The little bit of exercise you get from walking (slowly) and pulling the wagon will not compensate you for the time or hassle involved. Trust me.
  • Aprons are good. They make it fun, and official, and do help protect everyone's clothes. Also, don't just have the kids push up their sleeves; YOU roll them up past their elbows.
  • 3 kids = 3 batches of cookies. WAY easier if nobody has to share bowls or spoons or wait for their turn to stir. It doesn't really take any more time to measure or for them to mix up, and if you don't want to bake them all then, just freeze the dough. You'll be glad later.
  • We have two 2-step stools from Target (like this, but one's white & one's natural). One lives in the kitchen anyway so they can reach the sink, but the other one normally resides upstairs for reaching the laundry chute. They work great to get the kids to the right height at the counter. Plus, it makes them stay in one space so they're not interfering with each other. We used a smaller step stool for Rachelle since she's taller anyway.
  • I usually place myself between the two kids to minimize "bothering." That way I can also take a turn stirring as needed.
  • When you put them up at the counter, take a look at what they're near... Penguin does not get to stand on the side next to the knife block!
  • A bowl with a handle can be easier for a little one when the stirring gets tough. It keeps the bowl from turning and gives 'em some leverage. :) I've heard you can put a damp wash cloth under a bowl to keep it from turning, too, but I've never tried it.
  • Also under things I've heard of but never tried, I've heard that you can make temporary child-height counters by opening two cupboard doors and putting a board across them. Never tried it, but it sounds handy.
  • As soon as the first batch is out of the oven and cool enough, reward your helpers with the fruits of their labors! And while they have their warm cookies & milk, you can quickly wipe up the worst of the spills, throw any sticky/doughy bowls and spoons into the water to soak, and maybe do some of the other tidying up.
So there you go. Maybe something here will be helpful if you end up baking holiday cookies with kids - your own, nieces/nephews, neighbors, the babysat, whomever. If you've got any insights from baking with kids, please, share them in the comments!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Rain Forest comes to our town

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Pumpkin got to go to a special program at school today, put on by Understanding Wildlife, about the rain forest. I knew they were having it at school, but didn't mention it to her since I didn't know if the half-day classes like hers were going.

She came out the door at the end of her day calling to me, "Kinkajous, Mom! We got to see two, real, live kinkajous Their names were Jack and Jill and we got to see them!!!!" Definitely a hit.

They put on a program, which I think was pretty much identical to the in-school one, this evening, at a nearby elementary school. Pumpkin was so excited about it, they've got no school tomorrow, and Penguin had napped today, so we decided to go.

It was cool, but ran a little longer than we'd thought it would. I had guessed an hour, and it probably would have been, except that after 35 or 40 minutes they had an intermission... which lasted forever. That's because during the intermission, for five bucks, you could come up and get your picture taken holding the 15-foot long giant snake (um, an albino anaconda, I think?). So, of course, EVERYBODY practically did that. Plus, some of us (yes, us) also came home with new stuffed animals (monkeys, in our case) from their display. Then, finally, they did the second half, which was more like 25 minutes, and THEN you could line up to touch the small alligator on your way out. Which, of course, we also did.

It was cool. The first half was mostly birds - a scarlet macaw, a blue and gold macaw?, a cockatoo, a yellow-maned some-kind-of-parrot. They were all well-trained & the trainer had a very funny schtick, so it was amusing for the grown-ups, too. One talked, one flew in over the audience, one was trained to fly to an audience member who was holding up a dollar and retrieve it (and then return it), one nodded and shook his head - all very funny. Oh, plus the giant snake was shown... and even held by like 8 kids from the audience all together.

In the second half we saw two small alligators, a big one, a jungle cat-thing that looked sort of like a cheetah but smaller, the kinkajous, and a monkey. Obviously, most of those weren't as trainable/trained as the birds, but there was a funny bit with the monkey.

All in all, good fun, even though it ran later than we'd anticipated, and yeah, we did come home with two more stuffed animals, and a picture of Pumpkin and I holding a giant snake. Too bad it's not digital or I'd share it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WW - He makes a really good Bert, doesn't he?

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy 40th, Sesame Street!

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

It's true - Sesame Street turns 40 today! We sometimes catch a bit of it in the mornings, if we've got 5 or 10 between getting all ready and before it's time for coats and shoes and heading out the door. It's interesting for me to see the mix of old and new characters, different features, occasionally a piece straight from back in my day.

I've always had a soft spot for my lovable ol' pal Grover, the personality conflicts of Bert & Ernie, and I thought the Twiddlebugs were neat with the way they used real life things differently in their small lives with cars made out of matchboxes, etc. I thought it was so funny that Big Bird was the only one who every saw Mr. Snuffeaupagus, so everyone thought he was imaginary. You know, I think I had my first "jump the shark" moment when someone else finally saw Snuffy and realized he was really real. I might even occasionally be heard to sing the "1, 2, 3, FOUR, FIVE, 6, 7, 8, NINE, TEN, eleven, tweh-eh-eh-el-elve!" jingle around the house...

So, how about you? Since we ALL watched Sesame Street, tell us about one of your favorite vintage Sesame Street memories?.

And then maybe join me and Bert in "Doin' the Pigeon" 'round the living room.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monster Madness game

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Back in October, I was fortunate enough to win this fun Monster Madness Game from Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals. (Also, I highly recommend you follow them as the odds can be really great in their contests! *wink*)

We received it only a couple of days after I emailed Mary Beth our address & the girls were very excited to see it. It's so fun! Penguin at 2 1/2 doesn't get it at all, but Pumpkin can play very well and could even teach a peer to play.

Basically, you fill in a what's basically a small checkerboard with a bunch of one-of-a-kind monsters, spin a spinner to find out what color monster you need to get and how many spaces you must move to get it, and do so, refilling empty spaces as long as possible. Winner is the one who ends up with the most. Some good pix are here at BoardGameGeek.

I like that you can move in any direction, including diagonally. It's great for problem-solving and for planning on the various directions you can move to get your monster. Good fun and we've played it a bunch.

Apart from the game itself, which is fun, these monsters are GREAT for sorting. None are exactly alike, but there are 8 colors, and like 15 different basic face shapes, but you don't necessarily have one of each color for each face shape. Plus some have sharp teeth, some don't, some smile, some have horns, most have 2 eyes, but some have 1 or 3... So we've done a fair amount of sorting by different characteristics, comparing the results, predicting which will have more, and I even had/helped Pumpkin and a couple of her classmates that I watch use pictures and some letters to record their sortings.

So if you've got a kid who likes monsters, or even one who doesn't, maybe ages 4-8, I'd certainly recommend this as a great holiday gift. Throw in a stuffed monster or monster book (Where the Wild Things Are, maybe?) and you'll be the coolest gift giver!

***As mentioned previously, I received this game for free from Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals, but they never asked me to blog about it; it's just so dang cool I wanted to let you all know about it! Plus, you know, November is a long month sometimes when you're trying to post every day.***

Sunday, November 08, 2009


(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

A brief and incomplete list of things for which I felt thankful today:
  • The beautiful weather
  • A husband who is home and actively co-parents, as well as improves our house
  • That we take turns getting to sleep in on the weekends. He gets Saturday; I get Sunday. Not that I got to today thanks to sick and/or grumpy and/or overtired children, but I did crawl back into bed for an extra half hour after things were settled down.
  • That Pumpkin can read and enjoys reading. It's really helped keep her entertained while she's sick & has no voice.
  • The great book sale Mr. Kluges's work hosts twice a year to get rid of damaged books, samples, excess stock, etc. There's really cool stuff there, and at $2 an item, it helps stretch the Christmas dollars... plus lets us pick up a few gems for ourselves.
  • Flylady, for the (in general) decent condition and tidiness of the house, and helping me develop routines that make it easier to keep it so, even with a sick child.
  • Also for Flylady, for planting the idea of starting some holiday stuff now with her "Cruising through the Holidays" ideas. I'm not talking about decorating or anything like that (I firmly believe in Thanksgiving first!), but I'm actually wrapping some of the gifts I've already picked up for Christmas now, to help avoid having to do a marathon wrapping session the night before I need the gifts. Plus, I'm writing down what I'm wrapping so that I know what and how many things we've gotten for each person as we get closer to the holidays.
...and finally, for my children, for actually both napping at the same time for the first time in I don't know how long. Bless you, my sweets, I hope you find your naps restorative & happy-making. I know I'm finding them to be so! :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The plague has arrived.

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Poor Pumpkin is sick. Yesterday when I picked her up from school she sounded a little funny, and by 3:00 that day had mostly lost her voice and had a temp of 101F.

So we've hunkered down, pushing as many liquids as we can get her to drink, dosing her occasionally with children's tylenol when the fever makes her too uncomfortable, letting her rest as much as possible, and allowing unlimited eating of ice cubes. Poor thing. She's stopped talking, except when she absolutely has to, because it hurts to talk & she's got no voice to hear anyway. As Mr. Kluges had mentioned to me a few times today, it's a good thing she can read. We put her down for quiet time and she curled right up with Little House in the Big Woods and was content for more than an hour. We got her dressed and outside for a while, too, for a change of scenery and to get some fresh air, and she was really glad to be out - didn't want to come back in for a long time, even though all she was doing mostly was sitting on a chair on the porch with a blanket. Poor baby.

We've got a call in to Gramma Pet the Nurse, but she might be working tonight. We'll keep up with the fluids and rest and tylenol as needed, but if she stays sick past the weekend, we'll think about bringing her in to the doctor, or at least giving them a call to see what they advise. Poor thing. It's no fun when your kids are sick and you can't just make them better.

Friday, November 06, 2009

First, yet "Last" Theme of NaBlo

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Stolen from Mugsy at Drive Fast. Take Chances; can also be seen at Syl's Watching Paint Dry and Kashka_Z's Aunt Templeton's Theme Song.

Last Road Trip: Girls' Adventure Weekend '09, baby!

Last Bad Advice: "Go ahead! Have some more of that leftover Halloween candy!" (Received from my own subconscious, dang self-sabotager that it is!)

Last Movie I Saw in a Theater: Um.... I think it was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Last TV Show Watched: The Mentalist

Last TV Show I Enjoyed Watching: I don't usually watch shows I don't enjoy - waste of time - but I will sit through not-my-favorites while folding laundry

Last Book I Tried to Read: I tried Dante Club for Book Crack (well, actually, after Book Crack was done with it), but just couldn't get into it, and ended up returning it without finishing it, which I NEVER do. Now I'm reading Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things and enjoying it immensely.

Last Thing I Left Home Without: My husband. Usually it's the girls and I doing the school run.

Last Take Out Meal: A few weeks ago, on a Friday, I had neither kindergartner I sometimes/usually watch, so my own two girls and I hit the McDonald's drive-thru for an out-of-the-ordinary treat.

Last Celebration: I love Halloween, not that we did anything with anybody, but it was still fun!

Last Item Loaned Out and Haven’t Gotten Back: Oh, most likely a book. I think Siblings Without Rivalry. I would like to give honorable mention, however, to Sailing to Sarantium, which I'd lent to Syl YEARS ago... and got back at GAW. Thanks, Syl!

Last Package Received: A Halloween package from Gramma Yori, but it only beats out one from TNGreatAunt by a day or two. We're very lucky to get packages fairly often from generous souls. No, wait! Actually, I think this great Monster Madness Game I won from Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals came after those two. I've been meaning to write about how awesome it is anyway, so I'll try to do so tomorrow. Thanks, Mary Beth and Helen (and Rupert, of course!)

Last Web Site Visited: Um, the aforementioned Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals so I could link to it. Otherwise, probably Twitter.

Last Injury: I'm always bumping into things, giving myself paper cuts, bending back nails, etc. Yesterday I bumped Pumpkin's headboard with my wedding ring while making her bed, causing my ring to scrape the top layer of skin off a very small area on my finger. Whenever I even slightly bump my ring now, it pushes/bumps into that skinless part and hurts. However, it did not occur to me to, you know, take off my ring and put it someplace safe until Mr. Kluges suggested it when I was complaining about it tonight. *eye roll at myself*

Last Run In with the Law: Let's see... probably the last time I got a speeding ticket... which was before we went to Ireland... which was forever ago.

Last Place I’d Want to Live: Someplace super cold like the Arctic or Antarctic. But I do also have a somewhat irrational dislike of St. Cloud, MN.

Last Magazine Read: Bazaar, while waiting at my eye doctor appointment this week, which was rather bizarre, since I had to take my contacts out for his assistant earlier, so I was holding it about 3 inches from my face.

Last Thing I Broke: My replacement carafe for my French press coffee maker, which I'd had for all of 26 hours after waiting months for a local store to get them in. Not that I'm bitter or anything. (Note to those who might possibly be looking for Christmas presents for me - yes, an 8-cup replacement carafe would be great, or else an unbreakable or stainless French press will be mentioned on my wish list....)

Last Thing I Fixed: Ha. Not the carafe. I taped up a ripped book earlier today and also fixed half of my microwaveable scarf, which I'd trapped in the door late last winter and in so doing burned a hole through part of it.

Last Thing That Made Me Laugh: I'm sure it was either one of the girls or my husband, likely something about one of the girls, because I laugh at/with them multiple times daily.

Last Thing That Made Me Go Huh? One of the girls I sometimes watch, who we'll call Rachelle, said today, "Thanksgiving is just the same as Halloween." Um, no. Both are fall holidays, but otherwise, no.

Last Thought: Man, I just can't be brief at these meme things, can I?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

It's like Wild Kingdom around here

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Today we've seen, while going about our normal business...
  • 3 deer, while on our way to school
  • 1 hawk, sitting on a sign at the stoplights
  • 2 hawks, sitting in the oak tree in our backyard - 1 of which I can still see looking out the office window as I type this (I wish I had my camera back!)
  • a woodpecker
  • a blue jay
  • several other normal brown-ish birds, like a mourning dove, maybe some sparrows
  • quite a few squirrels, including two who were running around in the road in front of our house and I could have easily squashed with my car
  • a few chipmunks, or at least, in some cases, their tails sticking up above the leaves
  • several skeins of geese
Oh, and the neighborhood black cat, Zipper.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Management might be a good career choice...

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Scene: tonight, at the supper table

Pumpkin: I'm cold!

Me: Well, that's because you took your sweater off. Did you bring it downstairs like I told you to?

P: Um, yes. It's around here someplace.

M: (pretty sure I saw it earlier) Why don't you go look for it in the living room then?

P:(going just to the edge of the room) But it's dark! And I don't like it!

M: Hon, you can just go around the corner and turn the light on.

P: (whining) But I don't like it!

M: You've got two choices, hon. Either go in just -this- far and turn on the light or be cold.

P: (turning to her 2 year old sister) [Penguin], would you go in and turn on the light for me?

Penguin: Sure! (gets down from her chair, goes to LR, climbs 2 steps up, turns on light switch on stairway that's all of -this- far from the DR)

Mr. Kluges: (laughing) Or get somebody else to!

M: Or bamboozle somebody!

Monday, November 02, 2009

5 Things About Which I've Thought Today

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

  1. If I should do National Blog Posting Month. I did post yesterday, over at Recipeeps, and this is one for today, so, hmm.....
  2. How much I dislike the in-between stages of potty training, and how glad I'll be when Penguin's done with it.
  3. How fun it is that Pumpkin can read so well. Yesterday she came downstairs after quiet time, with Little House in the Big Woods in hand (Grandma Pet has been reading it to her when they visit), asking me if she could read me the part about Grandpa and the panther. So she did. Twice. And it was great.
  4. What sorts of things I should be thinking about putting on my own Christmas wish list & what the girls will want on theirs.
  5. "Huh. I didn't expect to be able to see a hawk poop that high up in the air."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

an excerpt from my Recipeeps post

(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, just to make it easy to see that I DID post every day for a month, here's an excerpt from my November 1st post over at Recipeeps... I'm back-dating it so it shows up as a November 1st post here at Musings & Mutterings as well, even though I copied it over to here on the 30th, I still actually wrote & posted it over there on the 1st of November.

Happy November, everyone. Or, as we call it around here, try-not-to-eat-all-the-leftover-Halloween-candy month.

November's theme is, probably not surprisingly, turkey! We're talking anything turkey around here - from raw, using leftovers, or heck, even turkey-shaped things! Who knows, somebody around here (not me, thankfully) might even be hosting a Thanksgiving get-together, or just taking home a few pounds of leftover turkey from the in-laws.