Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Turkey Bento Box Lunches

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

I HAD to share this cute lunch I made for my girls today 'cuz it's rather more fancy that I usually do.  But since we're pretty much at the end of fall, and I still had a turkey cookie cutter in my bento stuff drawer, well, here's what they got...
(Click on the picture to make it larger.)

That'd be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into a turkey shape, with carrot ribbon feathers/wing (Just take your peeler to the carrot & voila! Ribbons!) and feet colored in with a food-safe marker.  I used the cookie cutter on the edge of a fruit strip to cut out the red head part, and a small straw to make the eye on each.  It's surrounded by some Pirate's Booty puffed snacky things and 3 candy corn.  Underneath all that hides a sausage stick.  In the other, sealable container there is homemade unsweetened applesauce with cinnamon and some fall leaf sprinkles. 

Now isn't that just the most fall-ish lunch you've ever seen?! (Other than a leftover turkey sandwich, of course! *grin*)

(In case you're wondering, this is the kind of bento box I'm using today.  Love it!) 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Recipe Request aka Thanks for the Topic!

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

In the comments for the previous post, recipes were requested for Vanilla-Brown Sugar Squash and Thymely Roasted Sweet Potatoes.  Well, I must warn you, dear requestor, that the lovely names might have deceived you a tish... these are both totally made-up by me/aka mental recipes.

But, not one to disappoint my readers/commentors (maybe particially because they are are rare & also precious!), here you go:

Vanilla-Brown Sugar Squash

Cook a butternut squash.  For me, that means halve a butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Put both halves cut-side down in a 9x13" pan with about 1/2 inch of water and cook for an hour, or until soft.  Scoop the flesh out of the skin and discard the skin.  (You can totally do this ahead of time or, as in the case of this Turkey Day feast, use leftover squash.)  Mash/mix the squash with butter.  LOTS of butter, and a fair amount of brown sugar and a decent splash of vanilla.  Mash until you deem the texture suitable, adding more butter as needed. (Julia Child note: more butter is good!). I made ours early with leftover squash & kept it warm in a minicrockpot, which worked very well.

Thymely Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes

Peel two giant-sized, 3 regular, or 4 smallish sweet potatoes. Cut into 1/4" to 1/2" dice.  This should  be about enough to cover a 9x13"pan at pretty much a single layer.  Pour on some olive oil and sprinkle on some (fresh, preferably, but dried is fine) thyme & some (preferably coarse-grained/kosher) salt.  Bake at 350F (very adaptable to more/less heat), stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are soft & have acquired at least one roasted/caramelized/not-quite-burnt-but-really-brown side.

There you go! I thought it was a nice way to take two rather similar (orange/yellow vegetables) dishes and give them quite different flavors/spins.  Enjoy!


Thursday, November 22, 2012


(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

There are SO many things in my life for which I'm thankful - family, friends, health, plenty.  But today, I'm especially thankful that our noon-meal Thanksgiving feast was wonderful & went off without a hitch.  Here's the menu....

Mahogany Turkey with Vegetable Gravy  (basically this)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes*
Daddy's Broccoli*
Raw Cranberry-Orange Relish
Crescent Rolls
Grandma Yori's Homemade Pickles
Pumpkin Pie from a Garden Pumpkin*

 It was all delicious (even if the sweet potatoes were a bit salty) & we even ate at 12:10, which is amazing considering how many dishes there were to prepare & coordinate.  Granted, I might have had a bit more food than we needed, since there were only 4 adults & 2 kids, but hey, Thanksgiving feast leftovers are the bomb.

I hope that all of you American readers had equally delicious Turkey Day feasts!  Happy Thanksgiving!
 *made by Mr. Kluges

**Edited to add links to requested recipes.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shiny Wings Are Shiny!

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not exactly a gingerbead house...

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

Sorry.  I guess the missing of a day really took the pressure off posting daily! Well, I still managed to post more than I had for ages, so we'll call it good anyway.

Back in October, Mr. Kluges had been back home to Minnesota and saw his folks. Grandma Yori sent back a cute kit to make a haunted house cake for Halloween. Fun, cute, and tasty, right?!

Well, we didn't quite get to it by Halloween.  So, last Saturday, while my parents were visiting, we decided to make it anyway, and just change the theme a bit.  I think it turned out pretty well!

Presenting, our Fall House Cake!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

Oh, shoot!  I missed yesterday. I'll blame it on Mr. Kluges having to work late (again) solving everybody else's problems (as usual) and the poor guy didn't get home until bedtime stories.  THEN I was all hustling to get in a run, which was a good one, and left me so proud of myself for picking up my speed a bit that posting completely fell out of my mind.    

So, apologies to those of you (if any! *grin*) who came here looking for a post when there wasn't one.  I'll try to do better & finish out the rest of the month anyway.

Monday, November 12, 2012

That Closet

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

You know that one closet you've got?  The one that somehow has turned into a dumping ground? Where all the "I'll quick stick this in here 'cuz it's outta the way for now" stuff goes... and never comes out again?

Yeah, for me that's our office closet.  It's got construction paper and crafty stuff and some kid toys and old boxes and the library book bag and, And, AND!  

(Did I mention the AND?!)

I tackled it today.  

I pulled stuff out and rearranged.  I decluttered and tossed.  I kept what was working and tried to steamline areas that weren't. I detangled kite strings, picked up jewels, and put away temporary tattoos.

It's better.  It's not perfect, and there are still some odds and ends sitting out on the office floor (that are totally not getting picked up until tomorrow), but it's a heck of a lot better.

Now if I can just get all the glitter vacuumed up that has migrated all over the downstairs, I'll be happier yet. :) 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

#6 Plastic Shrinky Dinks

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

I came across a craft idea on Pinterest a while back.  It sounded interesting, especially since my girls had done a fairy-themed shrinky-dink kit this summer.  Basically you take #6 recyclable plastic, cut out the shape you want, punch any desired holes, color it with permanent markers, then shrink it in your oven.

Cheap, easy, potentially pretty result... is this too good to be true!?

 I'm here to say that, no, it's not!  I got a hold of some #6 plastic (a berry container or two, some take-away clear plastic, a Taco Bell nacho top), cut them into flat pieces maybe a couple inches per side (circles, rectangles, paisleys!), and let the girls color them.  With a paper punch, we punched holes in the ones we wanted for necklaces/bracelets.  Then we popped them, well spaced, on a parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet and threw 'em in a 350F oven.

They curled up, I worried they'd get stuck to themselves, then they curled back down and laid flat, we pulled them out and let them cool, and voila! Shrinky-dinks!!! Hooray!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Family Photos

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

A little more than a year ago, I got to watch my good friend's three children for a bit while she was in the hospital having the fourth.  Now, I considered this fair play, and was MORE than glad to do so, especially considering that she was the one I called while lying in my driveway, with a broken wrist, ambulance on way, husband in Ireland, saying, "Um, can you watch my kids... possibly overnight?"  :) 

Completely unnecessarily, in her graciousness, and as a photographer, she offered to take some family photos for us as a thank you.   We finally coordinated a few week ago, and here are a couple of the results.  (Also, Gretchen is brilliant!)


Friday, November 09, 2012

NaBloPoMo One Word Meme

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

I got nothin' today.  Brain is mush, and I'm just counting down until bed.  So here's a meme.

1. Where is your cell phone?  Basket
2. Your significant other? Hubs
4. Your skin? Paleish
5. Your mother? Far
6. Your favorite thing? Books
7. Your dream last night? Confusing
8. Your favorite drink? Boozy
9. Your dream/goal? Slimmer
10. The room you’re in? Dining
11. Your ex? History
12. Your fear? Obsolescence
13.Where do you want to be in 6 years? Decluttered
14.Where were you last night? Here
15.What you’re not? Fake
16. Muffins? Poppyseed
17.One of your wish list items? StarWars
18.Where you grew up? Farm
19.The last thing you did? Dishes
20.What are you wearing? Cardi
21.Your TV? Hidden
22.Your pets? None
23. Your computer? Using
24. Your life? Fine
25. Your mood? Sleepy
26. Missing someone? Friends
27. Your car? Blazer
28. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
29. Favorite store? Kohl's
30. Your summer?  HOT!
31. Like someone? Hubs!
32. Your favorite color? Blues
33. When is the last time you laughed? Today
34. Last time you cried? Sunday
35. Who will respond to this? Desperate
36. Whose answers are you anxious to see?Any

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Guessing Game

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

Over time, I've been reading the girls the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder as part of our pre-bedtime routine.  We alternate with selections by Mr. Kluges like Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and 50 Favorite Fairy Tales.  We're currently up to Little Town on the Prairie

Tonight, Penguin and I were talking about the books, and how I'd read and reread the only one of the Little House ones I owned, Little House in the Big Woods. We got to talking about Laura and how excited she'd been to get a rag doll for Christmas.

"Oh," said Penguin, "and in the next book or maybe a different one, remember when they got that... thing for Christmas?!"

"What kind of thing? What did it look like?"

"I forgot the name, but it was round, and they each got one... and the back looks like a radiator!"

"Is this something you play with like a toy? Or maybe something to eat?"

"No, you don't eat it! It's round, and kind of brownish."

Let's see if YOU can guess the mystery Christmas present! Lucky for me, like a bolt out of the blue the answer popped into my head, and then her description made perfect sense. :)       

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The most important thing I did all day!

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

The girls and I went after school today and sailed right through.  Only a few folks ahead of us in line, things were moving right along, and I think we were there for all of 5 minutes.

(And since the library is in the same building, the smart library supporters were having a bake sale.  In addition to our proud sense of having done our civic duty, we came home with a small chocolate cake!)

Monday, November 05, 2012


(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

I am waiting to vote tomorrow.

I am waiting to vote until I can bring both of my daughters with me, to the polling place, to cast my vote, my say for the future of our nation.

140 years ago today, Susan B. Anthony voted illegally.  She was later arrested and found guilty of illegal voting due to her gender. 100 years and about a month before my birth.  It wasn't until 1920, a single year before my old, historic house was built, that women officially received the right to vote.

I am voting tomorrow because it is my right, my privilege, and my duty.  _I_, as a citizen of the United States, have the opportunity to make my tiny voice heard. Sure, my single vote is an itsy-bitsy percentage of my county, let alone of my state, or of the nation as a whole.  Put that way, it seems ludicrous to bother.

Yet the direction of this nation is made up of all those individual votes just as the tide is made up of individual droplets of water.  Sure, I have my own opinion and hopes as to the results of this election and to the individual races being run, but what matters, in the end, is that I spoke up.  I had my say, made my choices, took part in our democracy.

Because one of the most important things is that I have the right and the opportunity to vote.  MY vote counts as much as any other, cast by anyone of any particular creed, gender, race, orientation, tax bracket, influence, BMI, political afflication or favorite football team.  

To not vote would be to throw that all away.  Please, if you are an American citizen, vote. 


Sunday, November 04, 2012

NaBloPoMo, I guess

(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, until now I hadn't decided if I was going to do National Blog Posting Month or not.  I HAVE posted the last 3 days (& now today 'cuz this totally counts!) in case I decided I wanted to, and you know what? I think I do.  I've been so neglectful for my poor sad blog & my (few remaining) loyal readers that I think I should. 

So, anything particular you want to hear about? I know I've had a request for our Halloween costumes through the ages, and I've got some summer pix I can still post, but anything else about which you've been curious?  'Cuz you know, 30 days is a lot & I'm sadly out of practice!

Saturday, November 03, 2012


(c) 2012 Ms. Huis Herself at

So.... Mr. Kluges and I have been playing around with the idea of keeping bees.  For the honey, for the pollination, for the educational aspects, and for the environmental aspects in general.  Bees have been having it rough lately what with the Colony Collapse Disorder and all!  

First we checked with our town to see if bees were even allowed.  They are - in the backyard, a certain minimum distance from property lines, if less than a different distance there is need for a fence/barrier, etc.  

Then we talked about it and talked about it and talked about it.  

Then I took a one-day beginning beekeepers workshop with the Brown County Beekeepers' Association. We'd visited with folks from there are a couple of events in the past, including Honey Sunday at a local nature preserve.  The workshop was informative and encouraging.

Then on our anniversary, after a glass of wine or two, Mr. Kluges convinced me that we were ready... and we ordered our first hive kit.

Currently, in our attic, is an assembled (empty!) hive - one big box for the bottom with its ten frames, two smaller supers with their 10 frames each, and assorted other bits, waiting to be painted.  In my wallet is a membership card for the BCBA, which is functioning as a mental security blanket - I have people I can ask for advice!

Once spring comes... bring on the bees!*

*What have I gotten myself into!?