Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaBloPoMo #29 - Orange Cranberry Sauce

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Is November done yet?

No, it's ok, but I can tell I'm WAY not used to churning out a post every day. Still, I'm glad for the kick-in-the... uh, kick-start & I do plan to blog more often than the, oh, pretty much never that I'd fallen into.

Today, rather than blathering over here, I posted a recipe over at Recipeeps that Gramma Yori made at Thanksgiving for Orange Cranberry Sauce and shared with me. It's yummy... and reminds me that I need to also someday post the recipe for an uncooked cranberry orange relish my mom makes sometimes! So, if you're looking for a pretty, tasty side, here you go!

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaBloPoMo #28 - Really?! Really?!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Who doesn't need a little more humor in their lives?  I saw this SNL skit via Cool Mom Picks & figured it was worth sharing!  C'mon, it's got Seth Meyers and our beloved Kermit the Frog discussing the whole "Congress says pizza is a vegetable" issue.  Awesome.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaBloPoMo #27 - Not Quite Right

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Long day driving home. Kids were good excellent for most of the trip. You know it's a good start to your 6 hour drive when the 4 year old falls asleep within the first 15 minutes.  Pumpkin was more than happy to just quietly read.  A little reading & some holiday card writing for me & life was good.

It's good the girls were not in need of much parental redirection, because I have no voice.  I can muster a brief, hoarse, barely-hearable, achy whisper, but mostly had to rely on facial expression, pointing & pantomime.  Mr. Kluges vacillates between enjoying being able to monopolize the conversation if he so desires and wishing I could do more voice-on parenting.  :)

I'm thinking I won't be doing my usual Sunday night run, as very much exertion leads to painful coughing. I got Tangled from the library, so I think curling up with that and a mug of magic medicine is just what the doctor ordered. 

But before I go, I want to share my favorite car trip moment from today.  We were talking about the Christmas story, and when Mr. Kluges mentioned the wise men, Pumpkin interrupted him. 

"Oh, I know about them.  They brought Frankenstein, mirth, and gold!"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaBloPoMo #26 - Family Focus

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

First of all, Happy Birthday to my youngest brother! It was wonderful seeing him & his wife & their two kids & my other brother all at my parents' house today. Much fun & visiting & amazing foods & Pumpkin's first real Monopoly game. Which she got tired of after like an hour, but still. Good math practice?

I am very definitely losing my voice, which was great when I was teaching, cuz I HAD to take a sick day, even though I felt fine. :)  But, no voice meant managing a classroom of children wasn't especially possible, so sick day it was.  As it is, my wonderful, loving  husband has fixed me two mugs of Magic Medicine this evening - honey & lemon & hot water (or hot lemonade with optional more honey) plus brandy.  Fixes what ails ya, I tell ya what!

So,  Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to you all, & Happy November-is-almost-done to me.  Now, maybe my 
amazing husband will mix me up another Magic Medicine, 'cuz I cannot speak.

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaBloPoMo #25 - Questions

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

All this traveling for Thanksgiving has given me a few questions:
  • How much turkey can one eat before explosion?
  • How many vegetables can one's children NOT eat before they get scurvy?
  • When will one's children start enjoying foods that are all mixed up?
  • How many times in a single two hour drive can two children ask, "Are we there yet?"
  • How many Christmas cards can I get written in the car?
  • Why did they start the hour-long Peanuts special on the half-hour?
  • Will we leave anything behind at either grandparents' homes?
  • What are the chances of Penguin sleeping in a bit tomorrow?
  • When am I going to have to get up to be ready for early church on Sunday?
  • Since Grandma & Grandpa are the nursery volunteers on Sunday, will the girls spend any time in church with us, or just go play in the nursery?
  • Will the pumpkin wine I picked up for tomorrow's dinner be any good, or just a novelty?
  • Exercising on a holiday weekend totally burns like 10x the calories as a regular workout, because you're being extra virtuous, right?
  • How overtired will we all be by the time we get back to MN on Sunday night, considering the different beds & being off-schedule?
  • Is it too early to give the girls their bath & put 'em to bed yet? :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NaBloPoMo #24 - Thankful

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Today on Thanksgiving I want to take a brief moment to just say how grateful I am for the many, many blessings in my life. For my (mostly wonderful) husband and (also mostly wonderful) children. For my family & friends. For my health. For the comfortable life I lead.

I am grateful.

Also, now I think it's time to eat. 


Yay, Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaBloPoMo #23 - On the Road Again...

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

...I'm not packed to get on the road again...

Now, I may not be completely packed to hit the road for our Thanksgiving weekend trip back to MN, but I AM probably 80% done with the shopping for our extended families! I wanted to get as much done as possible so I can BRING it instead of SHIP it. So that will make for a more relaxing December.  So, big giant wrap-fest last night, last few things picked up while Penguin was at 4K this morning, some "help" wrapping & ALL those are ready to load into the car!

Also, thanks to Shutterfly, who must be way geared up for the holiday card rush, I ordered our cards on Sunday evening & they arrived yesterday afternoon! Not a rush-postage-option, either. So, they rock, and, since I'd been gradually working on getting things together for the two overseas packages we mail to friends every year, I was able to pull those together yesterday & they got mailed today! Before Thanksgiving!

Ok, I'd go pat myself on the back for all the Xmas stuff I've gotten done already... except I still need both hands to finish the packing/prep for our trip...

... and since we want to pick up Pumpkin from school at its 3:35 release & head straight outta town, I'd better get back to it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaBloPoMo #22 - Thanks, TNGreatAunt!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Shiny golden, with ruffles, AND jewels on the ruffles?! How could we go wrong? 

(Also, they're flats & have Mary Jane straps, so they can run in them, which is one of my criteria!)

Thanks, TNGreatAunt!

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaBloPoMo #21 - Happy Birthday, Dad!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Just wanted to take a minute to send birthday wishes to my dad, Grandpa Pharaoh! He's officially old now, but still knows how to act like a kid!  In fact, my kids were telling Pumpkin's teacher today how silly Grandpa Pharaoh puts their socks on his ears if they leave them lying around! 

Dad, we're looking forward to seeing you this weekend...
...but we'll understand if the chocolate cake's all gone by then! :)

Much love from us all!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NaBloPoMo #20 - The way to a woman's heart...

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

...could very well be through her stomach, too! Mr. Kluges made an adapted version (based on what we had on hand, including an oyster mushroom & using porcini oil from the Olive Cellar for the gravy) of Steven Raichlen's truffle-something beer can chicken from this cookbook.

With creamy mushroom gravy.

Oh. My. Goodness!  It was SO awesome that if I hadn't already married him, I would've proposed on the spot.  Possibly the yummiest thing I've eaten all year.  Just, YUMMMMMM!!!!

Moral of the story: If you can cook a kick-butt dish, you'll have suitors aplenty.  Or at least, your spouse will appreciate you anew!

Also, I do highly recommend Steven Raichlen's grill books - everything we've made from them has been above average to AWESOME!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NaBloPoMo #19 - Xmas Rejects

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

We attempted to accomplish one of my least favorite holiday things today.

The taking of the Christmas card photos.

Last year I got off easy, since we just used the church directory family photo. No need to figure out holiday outfits early, no need to convince the girls to HOLD STILL and SMILE, no, not like that, a REAL smile and LOOK at the CAMERA please and...

Hopefully I got enough good shots today (I'm NOT a photographer!) to pull together a decent Christmas card, but I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the rejects.


 'Cuz who doesn't wonder what the end of their sash tastes like?

Getting your picture taken is simply HILARIOUS, isn't it?!

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaBloPoMo #18 - Salted Caramel, in case you were wondering

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Pumpkin has a half-hour acrobatics class on Thursdays. Now, if Mr. Kluges is on-time getting home, Penguin can stay home with him; if not, I get to entertain her while we wait for Pumpkin to get done.

It's fine, but since I already get to spend all afternoon with Penguin, sometimes it's nice to leave her home with Daddy (especially if it's been a LONG afternoon).  I figure she and Mr. Kluges get some one-on-one time & so do Pumpkin and I.

This Thursday, Mr. Kluges and Penguin ran out to get some milk from the local fancy dairy for making ice cream!  Then they got started.  First, Mr. Kluges started setting everything out so that, as he told Penguin, he could make sure he had everything he needed. 

Whole milk? Check.
Sugar? Check.
Salt? Check.
Heavy cream? Check.
Vanilla? ....

Penguin interrupts him.  "It's not heavy, Daddy."
"What?  What's not heavy?"
"The cream.  See, I can lift it easiwy."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaBloPoMo #17 - Grandma's Pudding Dishes

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

When I was in high school, I was in a LOT of extracurriculars.  It was a very small school, serving a primarily rural area plus two town of under 500 each.  Class sizes ranged from about 11 to the big class which had maybe 26?  High school meant grades 7-12, and a lot of kids were in a lot of programs - it was common to be in sports and the arts and band and student government - or at least 2 or 3 of the four.

I mentioned the ruralness, right?  You'd think extracurricular commitments after school would be a transportation problem, but they weren't.  Not really.  You see, the younger kids would catch rides from the older kids in their neighborhood.  Whoever was in the same play or at the same practice or whatever would just bring you home.  And then when YOU started driving, you were expected to do the same for your younger neighbors.  That's just how it worked. 

Wednesdays were a bit different, at least for us.  Wednesdays were traditionally reserved for "church night."  The Lutheran churches and the Catholic church and the Reformed churches (just Reformed AND Christian Reformed) and everybody had catechism or church school or confirmation classes or whatever it was called on Wednesday night.  There might be practice right after school, but no games or special events were scheduled Wednesday evenings.

That meant many Wednesday evenings my year-and-a-half-younger brother and I would be in our hometown for practice until 4:30 or 5, and then need to be back by 7 for catechism and choir practice.  Rather than get run home, eat, and run back in to town, Mom & Dad decided we'd stay in town at have supper with Grandma and Grandpa.

So on Wednesdays we'd have play rehearsal or sports practice or whatever, then walk down the hill and over a few blocks across town (it's a SMALL town) to my dad's parents' home.  We'd have supper with them, watch the Wheel of Fortune (they ALWAYS watched Wheel of Fortune), then walk a few blocks back across town to church.

Several things about those suppers stand out in my memory.  Grandma saying the before meal prayer in her special gruff praying voice.  (Why, I don't know, but she always did.  Grandpa took a turn sometimes, but it's her voice that sticks in my memory.)  Her meatball-shaped hamburgers, served on buttered buns without ketchup.  But especially her desserts.

We didn't have desserts regularly with our suppers at home, but Grandma ALWAYS did.  I say, "desserts," but really there were only a couple variations on a theme.  Either it was jello or pudding, made in individual serving dishes, served with a dollop of Cool Whip on top.  Not just any dishes, either, but these dainty white ripply-sided dishes, with a thin rim of gold around the top.  Every Wednesday supper.

My grandma is now 94, soon to turn 95 on Christmas Day.  Her health isn't what it once was, but until this summer she was living on her own, in an apartment in our hometown.  She had a bit of a decline, which led to a brief stay in hospice, but she improved enough it wasn't the right choice for her anymore.  So the decision was made for her to move into a nursing home/assisted living situation in a nearby town, in the same facility as some of her friends.

Before her children gathered to move her and her things into her new room, Grandma's extended family was asked if there was anything we wanted that she didn't need anymore. Some specific items were mentioned, especially furniture for some of the college-age/just-starting-out grandkids and greatgrandkids.  I said I'd like her sewing machine if nobody else wanted it, but that wasn't the real treasure I ended up with.

You see, I asked for the pudding cups.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaBloPoMo #15 - Nothin'

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Seriously, guys, I got nothing today. But since it's NaBlo, well, I guess I'll just start typing.

Started the day with the usual up, shower, prep lunches, wake girls (Penguin slept in since she'd been up from 4-5 with potty & couldn't fall back asleep), get everybody fed & dressed & hair done & out the door on time. Got Pumpkin to school, but since conferences Penguin had the day off.

Ran across town to local kids' consignment store, which is always a laugh 'cuz they never buy much & I find more to get than they want to get from me. They didn't have snowpants in Penguin's size (only winter gear we NEED - have boots & coats & Pumpkin's snowpants from last year & still fit OR from hand-me-downs from neighbors!) but I did find 3 pairs of leggings in colors we needed.

Spent the rest of the morning & early afternoon running around the mall side of town & managed to find snow pants & actually get some Xmas shopping done! I'm not usually much of an early shopper, unless I find JUST the right thing by accident, but things I get for MN family before Thanksgiving I can wrap, bring along, & leave there so I don't have to ship them in December. Penguin was great - it was nice to do something with her out of our usual routine.

2pm early release today with conferences, had play date at our house (aka one of Pumpkin's friends needed child care until 4 kind of last minute), other kid picked up a bit after 4, I made supper, we ate, Mr. Kluges took care of bath early while I cleaned up 'cuz at 6:15 we had 3 extra kids to watch while their parents had conferences. (They'd taken our two yesterday for our conferences.)  Busy busy, play play, have them change to pjs & we all did stories. Dad picked them back up just after 8.

Quick get the kids to bed, I ran then enjoyed JUST SITTING while watching the rest of "Body of Proof."  Now it's time to throw in tonight's laundry & do the rest of my Before Bed Routine.  Good night!

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaBloPoMo #14 - Conferences = Success!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

According to their teachers, my children are awesome & brilliant & they're so glad to have them in their classes!

Ok, yes, they are some of the sharper knives in the drawer (but not perfect, OH HECK NO!!!), but it's always nice to hear they're doing well.  Sure, I've been in both classrooms volunteering this year, which is a great luxury.  I can see what's going on, how they're interacting with their teacher & peers, do a little comparing, etc.

They are very well-behaved (in class anyway.  Have I mentioned Penguin's... trying behavior lately at home? Pumpkin's no angel herself & can be quick to fly off the handle, especially when aggravated by her sister. So, I know they're not perfect.) and quick to raise their hands.  They have excellent vocabularies and a wealth of background knowledge that helps them make sense of things and add to the discussion.  They work well with their classmates, demonstrate appropriate leadership, and one writes with excellent voice while the other is a champion skipper.  (Hey, skipping is a HARD skill to learn!  There are multiple steps that must be done with the correct foot in the correct order with good timing!)

Yes, their teachers did mention a couple of things to work on, but a few number reversals (E for 3, etc.) and becoming a little more confident in trying something even though they might not be exactly right are certainly things we can work on. 

All in all, I'd consider their conferences a resounding success!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaBloPoMo #13 - Return of the Open Letters

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Dear Squirrels,

You know all those acorns you buried under the limestone path I relaid in the backyard while I was trying to relay it? You better hope I don't get any li'l oak trees starting to poke through or gun training might be in my future!
That was hard work, dang it!
The Homeowner

Dear 4 year old,
Yes, I know you are pretty much too old for naps. Yes, I know you are wonderfully well-behaved at your half-day kindergarten, and impress the visiting YMCA nature guy by (correctly, and on your own) using the term "predators" in a sentence.
But either you have to start sleeping better/longer at night, or taking the occasional nap,or  in general shaping up, or your mother's head is going to explode with your continued purposeful naughtiness in the afternoons!

Fed Up

Dear Readers,
You know, if you wanted to leave a comment on occasion, I wouldn't mind....
Needily yours,

Dear KFC,
For you information, my husband has been forbidden from going to Kahn's Mongolian Barbecue EVER. AGAIN. due to noxious vapors. You've just received strike one on the score card in terms of his return to your food.

Dear November,
You are long.
I mean, L.O.N.G.
It's only day 13?!

Dear Treadmill,
Yes, I know, I'm on my way very, very soon!
Your 5K Pal!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaBloPoMo #12 - The things they say

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Earlier today, while talking about Christmas, Penguin turned to me and said, "You might only get a toilet from Santa this year!"* Chuckling, I agreed, "Yeah, that might be what I get.""Yeah, and that's such a BIG present, it'll probably be all you get!  And you'll have to stand up to open it, 'cuz it's so big!" 

Also, I'm single-parenting this evening as Mr. Kluges has a quarterly outage at work, so has been there since about 1pm... and won't return until the wee hours of the morning. So we three girls went out to eat for supper at a local Chinese buffet we'd only been to once before.  Apparently, on Friday & Saturday nights, their buffet is Chinese and seafood.  I was chuffed when Pumpkin suggested I take both a frog leg and a crab leg so we could try them at the table.  While Penguin opted to not taste them, Pumpkin tried a bit of both.  The crab meat was pronounced to be tasty & salty, and she had a few more bites.  Then upon eating a bit of frog leg, she announced, "Oh!  That tastes just like chicken!" 

* Our wooden toilet seat lid fell off earlier this week** & repeated tightenings of the screws holding it to the brackets have become ineffectual.  So, our toilet is currently missing the top part of the lid while Mr. Kluges wood-glues in some toothpick bits so the screws can get some purchase again. Her comment was not completely apropos of nothing!

** No, I'm not exactly sure how it fell off, but it sure scared Penguin, who I think was just climbing off at the time. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaBloPoMo #11 - Elevenses

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

11 Things for Which I am Grateful (in no particular order)
  1. The people who have sacrificed much to keep our country free (I would be remiss not to mention this on Veterans' Day!)
  2. My husband
  3. My children
  4. Our extended families, wonderful people that they are!
  5. Our comfortable life
  6. Our interesting/frustrating/beautiful/historical house
  7. The many opportunities I've had - both those taken and those I let pass by
  8. My health
  9. Books
  10. Bacon
  11. The many possibilities the future holds

11 Things I'm of which I'm NOT Particularly Fond at the Moment
  1. The wee small mice Mr. Kluges has been catching again in our attic
  2. Clutter, but I'm working on it, with baby steps
  3. That Penguin seems to be saving up all her naughtiness/willfulness/poopy-headedness that she's not doing during 4K (which is going great!!!) and giving it to me every afternoon
  4. That I don't have a bunch of little fairies or brownies in the kitchen doing my dishes right now
  5. When my hands get cold to the bones and they ache
  6. The week of adjustment away from Daylight Saving Time when Penguin still wants to get up early
  7. When my girls squabble
  8. The number the scale shows (not terrible, but could be better!)
  9. Christmas decorations out before Thanksgiving... x10 if it's before Halloween
  10. That bacon has more calories than celery
  11. Did I mention the squabbling?

11 Things I'd Like to Do within the Next 11 Years
  1. Keep running.
  2. Family Trip to a Disney theme park
  3. Second Honeymoon
  4. ...ok, just did I feel old! Teach my daughters how to be productive, happy, healthy adults.
  5. Get my craft/sewing room up in the attic sorted
  6. Get the House of 42 Doors to a state where we're comfortable - that includes a second bathroom, at least!
  7. Go on many Girls' Adventure Weekends!
  8. Family Camping Trip
  9. Declutter & get things so that I know what we have and can easily get what I want when I want it.
  10. Learn to not stress the little things...
  11. ...and to figure out which things are the little things.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaBloPoMo #10 - What to Watch while Running Recommendations?

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

So, I've been running for almost two years now (not counting my years of high school track, that is). I've run in four 5K races (two each year) and I'm happy with my times. I'm thankful for the Couch-to-5K program for breaking it into little pieces and proud of myself for following through!

I tend to do most of my running inside on the treadmill.  In large part, that's due to WI weather and the timing of my exercise.  I'd love to get outside more, but since I usually almost ALWAYS run in the late evenings after the girls have been put to bed, it gets dark pretty early much of the year.  Not to mention COLD for quite a few months.

(Yes, I have considered running in the mornings.  But then my alarm goes off and I laugh.  Well, if you can call it a laugh since it happens in the 0.5 seconds between when my alarm goes off and when I've hit the snooze.  Evenings work better for me, and as long as I start my run before 8:30, I have no problem falling asleep that night.)

But running on the treadmill can be boring. Sure, sometimes I watch the telly we have downstairs, but often there's nothing on the over-the-air tv that I want to watch.  A couple of years ago we managed to snag (on sale at Amazon on a deal of the day thingie, I think, which is unusual because we never watch that kind of thing closely), the complete set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  An "hour" of tv with commercial breaks turns out to be about 45 minutes, so it's perfect.  Each episode is complete in and of itself, but the characters/storyline continue.  It's ideal.

Except that I'm now in season 5...

...of 7.

...Which means that I'm starting to think about running out, and what comes next!

Since we're approaching the holidays, and the "what's on your Xmas list" season, I thought if I came up with a good idea, I could put it on my list and maybe Santa would bring it!  So, I'm asking y'all for some help - any recommendations on a good "hour"-long tv series, available on DVD, (preferrably complete, but that's not a deal-breaker),  that I should consider once I run out of Buffy?  Any/all suggestions appreciated!  Thanks!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

NaBloPoMo #8 - Maybe I AM becoming a runner...

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

I had a dream last night. A dream of running.
A dream of running, and it felt good.

It felt free.

In my dream, my husband and the girls and I were about to run a 5K. He was going to stick with them and I was going to Run.

Run far and fast and free.

Run with purpose and speed and lungs filled with air.

Air-filled lungs and winged feet.

In my dream, running felt good and right and powerful. I welcomed it - the challenge, the distance, the pace, the speed.

It just felt good.

Maybe, just maybe, I am becoming a Runner.

Monday, November 07, 2011

NaBloPoMo #7 - Thoughts Upon Seeing Santas on November 7th.

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

I'd just like to go on record as being against Christmas decorations being put up prior to Thanksgiving.  Especially WAY prior, like now.  Any decorations for any end-of-December holidays, in fact. Santas, wreaths, snowflakes?!  Please, no!

I mean, really, doesn't Thanksgiving get a turn to be a holiday?  It's one of the big-six-almost-everybody-gets-a-day-off national holidays, after all. People travel miles and hours and endure crazy airports to spend Thanksgiving with their families and/or friends.  It even usually gets a bonus-day-off with the Friday following, but respect, not so much.

Sure, I realize turkeys and gourds aren't as glittery and fancy as tinsel and lights, but especially here in our winter-gets-cold-and-snow locale, Santa just looks wrong sitting out amongst the mums and fallen leaves. Many homes still sport their barely-a-week-old jack-o-lanterns, while next door their neighbor's house is all red bows and wreaths?

I give a pass, though, to putting up one's holiday lights in November.  Putting them up is fine; lighting them is not.  Numb fingers, slippery boots on slippery ladder rungs (PSA: "Not a step" means "Don't step there, doofus, unless you might like a broken wrist!"), and nice, cold, hard, frozen ground to land on = not much fun, so anytime now Mr. Kluges is allowed to attach ours to the gutters.

But please, if you're thinking about setting out your light-up, animated reindeer or your giant-inflatable Santa-in-a-snowglobe, remember that here in the States, Thanksgiving is coming up first!  I beg you, don't let Thanksgiving be the Rodney Dangerfield of holidays.

* New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, & Christmas

Sunday, November 06, 2011

NaBloPoMo #6 - Halloween Picture Fun

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Those of you who know me in real life know how much I love Halloween. I adore costumes and dressing up and the creativity involved in taking an idea and turning it into reality.  I mean, one year I made my husband into the Arby's Oven Mitt using a couple of thrift-store mattress pads and some foam. 

This year I decided to unleash that creativity on the photos that sit on our mantle.
(You could click onto the images if you want to see them in more detail.)

Cute, no?!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

NaBloPoMo #5 - Penguin's 1st Birthday Party Invite

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Penguin had her first invited-on-her-own birthday party today. This might call for more reflection time than I have available, as my parents are here, which means Mr. Kluges and I can have a Date Night!  Now, Penguin's been invited to birthday parties before, but they've been family friends and Pumpkin has been invited, too, and/or they've been ones for our whole family to attend.

This one was for a 4K classmate, one we don't really know.  Sure, I've volunteered twice in Penguin's classroom and attended one of her field trips, but Z is not a child Penguin usually mentions.  I was actually a bit hesitant to have her go, in large part because her grandparents are here, but Mr. Kluges convinced me that she was SO EXCITED and that it was only two hours and that it was her first as-her-own-individual birthday party invite that we should let her go.

She was, in fact, very excited.  Well, excited and a bit nervous.  She requested I stay.  I said I'd stay as long as she wanted me to, but that I'd ask her occasionally and leave when she was ready for me to go.  In fact, I kind of wanted to stay for at least a bit since we've never had a play date with them and make sure my instincts were happy with her being there.

Well, I did end up staying the whole time, even though she would have been fine on her own, and the family seemed very nice.  I was the only parent to stay the whole time, although two other moms did stay the first hour.  She would have been fine - she asked Z, the birthday girl, within the first 10 minutes where the bathroom was, in case she needed it, and used it within the first 30 on her own.  She played completely independently the whole time with her classmates (well, 9 classmates & Z's cousin, who mostly played with Z's brothers anyway). 

But it did make me realize she IS a big girl now.  She's got friends/classmates I don't know, and their parents I've not really met.  She has her own thing in 4K, which is great, but she is also still my little girl, who wants me to stick around for security...

...and I'm happy to do so, for as long as she needs me....

...which I do realize won't be long at all!

Friday, November 04, 2011

NaBloPoMo #4 - Kale Chips over at Recipeeps

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Mmmmm! Food! Alas and alack, I've been neglecting poor little Recipeeps just as awfully as I have this blog, so I figured I'd post over there today.  Last week was our last CSA delivery for the year and we got some lovely kale.  The first time we got kale (and had no idea what to do with it, having mostly just seen it as a salad bar decoration!), we tried a lovely recipe in the CSA newsletter for kale chips and were hooked.  The girls love it, too.

While they taste nothing at all like potato chips, these kale chips are still crispy & salty & more-ish.  Check it out here.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

NaBloPoMo #3 - Cheater, cheater, what-would-you-eater?!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Hey, guess what? I've gotten so out of the habit of writing here that it's only Day #3 of National Blog Posting Month & I'm already struggling for ideas.  Man, good thing I'm doing this. :)

So I toodled over to the NaBloPoMo site and checked out their writing prompts.  Yesterday's caught my attention:
If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be? 
 Hmmm... good question.  Also, in no way "this is what I had for lunch," right?

I'd have a big ol' tender grilled steak, or maybe some nice prime rib.  Definitely these asparagus!   Some big fat salty steak fries & a spinach salad with dried cranberries and slivered almonds.  A cheesy artichoke dip for an appetizer.  Something ooey and gooey and chocolate and warm for dessert, with real whipped cream. know, suddenly leftovers for supper tonight sounds really, really disappointing.

How about you?  What would YOU choose if you knew it was going to be your last meal? 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

NaBloPoMo #2 - Brief thought on (flannel) sheets & (daylight) savings

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

I realized today our flannel sheets are much like the soon-to-leave-us Daylight Savings time - not the "standard," but around for more than half the year anyway.

Such are the ways my mind meanders while I try to deal with the 4 bunches of celery, big ol' stalk of Brussel sprouts, and other end-of-the-CSA and dying-garden bounty.  It's back to the kitchen for me now - wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Halloween!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

P.S. Yes, I know I've been neglecting this poor little blog terribly, so to get myself back in the habit (and to catch any of you who are still occasionally checking in back up with our lives), I'm going to do National Blog Posting Month again this November.  So, check back in often & we'll see how I do!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Summer's End...School's Beginning!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at
I can't quite believe BOTH my girls are now old enough to be going off to school - Pumpkin to 2nd grade & Penguin to half-day 4-year-old-kindergarten in the same building. This morning felt weird, all on my own, but not in a bad way. :) I'm so excited for them - Penguin starting out her first real school experience & Pumpkin moving on up into a new grade with new challenges & chances to shine. I wish them both a wonderful, productive, learning school year!

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm sorry but no matter how I try, every idea I have for this title includes the phrase, "My butt."

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

I know, I know, I've been a terrible blogger and kind of dropped off the face of the earth.  Let me just say that the end of the school year was busy, we've been slaving away on the raised bed (which are now DONE!), and having both girls home all day, every day now that it's summer break certainly has been keeping me much too busy to spend a lot of time on the computer!

Oh, and I've been practicing up for this:

(The important part runs from about 0:40-0:50.  I guess my 15 minutes of fame comes in 10 second intervals.)

Our belly dance troupe is dancing and doing some simple lessons in our tent from 11-7:30 tomorrow, plus doing three half-hour shows on one of the stages.  Obviously, we danced this evening, too!  The rest of the troupe who were there tonight were grabbing a quick bite to eat when your man with the camera came around, so it was lucky me who gets to have a famous rear.  :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WW - Next Door Neighbor

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WW - Spring Primaries

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Garden Progress (featuring the cutest li'l shovel swinger!)

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Hey, with this much dirt to move...

...I'll take my help wherever I can get it!

In fact, earlier this week, Mr. Kluges came home to a very Tom Sawyer scene, with several of the neighbor kids happily digging away, though rather less effectively & diligently than Penguin does in the video.  I figure, any shovels-ful they do, are fewer Mr. Kluges & I have to move, right?!

We've been busy digging, leveling, digging, moving/counting bricks, digging, and, oh, did I mention digging?  Moving along fairly quickly, all things considered.  Mr. Kluges is on a kick to get the digging/leveling/squaring off the holes done by the end of the weekend, so HOURS of digging were put in today.  Not done yet, but we're keeping our fingers crossed for good weather.
Here's a couple pictures I took about lunchtime today.  More progress has been made, but this lets you see the scope of our folly, without water (or snow) this time! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WW - Dear Weather, Seriously? Seriously!?

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WW - Dear Weather, you are NOT helping...

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WW - Let the Digging Begin!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Raised Garden Bed With Brick Paths = My Brain Hurts!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Mr. Kluges and I want to tidy up our rather messy garden. You see, the only spot sunny enough for a garden is right in the front yard. Granted, it's not the middle section, but still it's very visible & public. While I was pretty decent about keeping it relatively weeded, it still looked untidy.

So we decided we should put in raised beds, with lovely brick paths in-between.

(Yes, it's gonna be a lot of work; no, I'm not sure how happy my left wrist will be with much shoveling; because it's going to look so nice!)

We've got a bunch of bricks in the backyard that Mr. Kluges purchased off Craigslist last year, which should be enough (but my job after typing this is to figure that out for certain). But since cutting bricks is no fun & I think they don't look very nice, we need to take Mr. Kluges's plan and convert it into dimensions that work with the actual size of the bricks & pattern we want to use.

Plus, he really wants the paths to be 36" wide. But the bricks are 8" long by almost 4" wide. Which doesn't exactly work out. Unless you put two bricks on their edges as borders since they are about 2" that way. So if we do a basketweave pattern, with borders, we can get 36".

But his plan isn't just one simple straight path, or even a cross of paths.

No, it's a center long rectangular raised bed, with four L-shaped beds around it, and the paths go between them all.

Now, my brain & his brain do NOT work the same way, particularly in regards to spatial things. We do NOT move furniture well together & likely never will! So, today we laid out some of the brick in the planned pattern & tried to figure out the exact math of it all, to reduce/eliminate cutting.

That helped, but I ended up coming inside & working it all out on the computer. Powerpoint may not be designed to do garden planning, but hey, sometimes you gotta use the tools you have/know.

Even so, my brain hurts. :) But here's some of the progression of figuring out what is basically one-quarter of the garden, which gives us all the info we need.

Now we can start measuring it out, and shoveling once the ground's all thawed!!!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2010 Resolutions Reviewed

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Yeah, so, I DO know it's March... I just kinda never did get around to reviewing 2010's resolutions & making new ones. Well, now that I can sort of type with my no-longer-sausage-y fingers, let's just take care of that postponement, shall we?

My 2010 Resolutions focused on two areas: weight/exercise and tidyness/organizational/housekeeping.
  • Exercise most nights of the week - I was pretty good at this most of the year. Most weeks I had belly dance (and tap, too, for part of it), so I just had to run 2-3 times and/or do a DVD once & I was grand. C25K really helped with this one!!!
  • Do the Couch-to-5K Program...and run in a 5K race - I rocked this one by running in TWO! See?! Once my arm doesn't mind getting all jiggled and jounced around, I'm planning on getting back to this again, though there will definitely be a need to spend some weeks reconditioning!
  • Reduce/avoid empty calories - Ok, so I was more aware... but evenings are still a trouble time for me when you'll find me snacking/having a beer. That's probably why January 2011 weight was a mere 1 lb. less than my January 2010 weight. *sigh*
  • Keep following the Flylady - I did, and still am, and recommend her for motivation / encouragement / a (gentle) kick in the butt to just do 15 minutes 'cuz it really will help.
  • Spend 30 minutes per weekend on the attic room - I probably got this done about half the time. It got HOT up there in the summer, so sometimes then I did my half-hour in the lovely cool basement. Still, progress was made.
  • Paint the small area behind the radiator in our room (in the summer) - done! And it makes me smile whenever I notice it. Yay!
Ok, enough of that. Maybe I'll manage to get my 2011 goals finalized & up before the end of April, hey?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ah, Ireland, How I Miss You Today!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

WW - I. Am. BIONICAL! (...and also red.)

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Cast Update

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Today I go in so they can remove cast, remove nonabsorbable stitches & check on my wrist's progress. I'm looking forward to a new/different cast since this one now fits a lot more loosely than it used to!

I've got a lot more range of motion than I did back when I had swollen sausages for fingers. See?And the girls even made my cast all fancy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Focus on the positive

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Things I Can't Do With a Broken Left Wrist
  • Drive (since on Percocet)
  • Put in contacts
  • Put in a ponytail... for myself or 3yo or 6yo with hair down to her bottom
  • Wash dishes (hey, this one isn't so bad!)
  • Fold laundry
  • Tie my pj bottoms
  • Fasten hooks
  • Make Pumpkin's cute lunches
  • Wear my wedding ring (fingers WAY too swollen still!)

Things I Still CAN Do
  • Type (ok, it's slow, but hunt-n-peck still works)
  • Change the toilet paper roll
  • Strip the sheets for reg. Thurs. sheet changes!
  • Almost remake the beds - K had to help w tucking in & the queen-sized comforters
  • Put away most dry dishes
  • Put away laundry Mr. K has folded & carried upstairs
  • Sort/start laundry w Penguin's help
  • Take an adequate pic of that dang cast all by myself
  • Stop and take it easy whenever needed!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not a step means don't step there

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

So, please forgive any typos. Just wanted to let you all know last Sat I fell off the top step of a ladder in our garage & broke my L wrist. (But thank God did not land on anvil, table saw or 3 year old!) Mr. K was still in Ireland, So Pumpkin got phone, I called 911, then very awesome mom-friend who is saint & came & took girls & kept overnight.

Couldn't fix well enough in ER, so surgery today. Now I'm 1 plate & 8 screws worth of bionic! Arm still numb block of wood. Also typing SLOW! Maybe cast pic for WW tomorrow if you're lucky! :)

Also, don't step on "not a step", 'k? :)

P.S. Best part of day? When semi-George-Clooneyish surgeon (who'd also seen me in ER) said, "I'd never have guessed you were 38!"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Single parenting is not for the weak (even if it's for the week).

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Mr. Kluges has been sent on a business trip to Ireland. He left last Sunday & will return tomorrow. It's kind of a short notice sort of thing. Originally, they told him on a Wednesday that he should leave the following Sunday, but he pushed back and told them he couldn't do it on such short notice. So, he waited a couple of weeks since his boss (and his boss's boss) were going to be HERE & they didn't want him THERE while they were HERE, but the stars have finally aligned & he's off to Cork.

It's been a bit of a long week around here, as you might have guessed. Overall, things have gone smoothly, but there have been hiccups. I'm used to getting the girls up and to school and all on my own. It's not until suppertime (& post-supper clean-up/give-the-girls-a-bath time) that we feel his absence the most keenly.

That and when I had to bring the girls along to my dance classes on Wednesday. I'd've skipped them rather than bring a 3 1/2 year old AND a 6 year old along for classes that started at 6:30pm (tap) & 8:15pm (belly dance), except that our recital is in about 3 weeks AND this week was pictures. Of course, with pictures and all, tap started late, and even though I'd brought their pjs with thoughts of getting them changed in my 45 minute gap between classes, we didn't have a chance since I had to get changed & more dramatically made-up before BD pix.

So Penguin, who visits the two dance/community ed class studios twice a week for her own preschool class as well as endures waiting around for her sister's weekly dance class, decided to leave the room and go running off into the hallway/mall area while I'm putting on make-up.

Not fun, much looking, very angry mommy, eventually (probably 5 minutes later) she's returned by our neighbor who takes the beginning belly dance class just before mine, who had found her by the door to the parking ramp.

So yeah, that could've gone better.

But really, it's not been too bad. Yesterday, Pumpkin didn't have school due to "staff shortages." We hit the children's museum instead. Much fun. No nap/quiet time, but when I popped Penguin into her bed at 6:30, she was asleep by 6:33 and slept the clock 'round. All moods much improved today as a result.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnelnow. Mr. Kluges should - fingers crossed, all flights & connections going smoothly, weather cooperating and all - be back home by tomorrow early evening.

We'll be very glad to see him back again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WW - Belated Valentine's Day

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

ZhuZhu Pets + Mini-bilibos = Great Fun!

(c) 2011 Ms. Huis Herself at

Wednesday, February 02, 2011