Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

A Girl and Her Dog


We’ve been working on self-feeding this week – without a lot of success I might add. Sabrina can pick up the food (we’ve been using Gerber Puffs because the fruit and veggies she eats are a little slippery to pick up yet). She can take it to her mouth. But she doesn’t quite get that she needs to let go of it once her hand reaches her mouth – this has been our stumbling block for a month or two now. So we keep working. But this experiment has made the dog realize that there might be benefits to having a little sister around after all. He has been hanging around the high chair a lot the last few days. This morning, Miss Sabrina discovered that she may not be able to feed herself but she can feed the dog. I didn’t catch her in the act with the camera so here are some other photos of Sabrina and Angus. Since Sabrina fed him Gerber Puffs from her high chair this morning, she is his new best friend.






posted under family | 9 Comments »

Asian Chicken Slaw



I know it isn’t very colorful but it is very flavorful! Steve LOVES this dish and asked me to make it twice in just a few days. I’m also a big fan so no complaints here. This is from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I believe and I’ve only changed the recipe slightly.


1/4 C Rice Vinegar

1/4 C Vegetable Oil

2 T Sugar (Splenda also works well)

1/8 t Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (or more to taste)

1 package chicken flavored ramen noodles (we like more noodles so I use 2)

2 chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded or cubed. (Cook as you like…I actually cooked these the same day I cooked the chicken for the other salad.)

2 C shredded cabbage and carrots (coleslaw mix)

3 or 4 green onions chopped

1/3 C sunflower seeds (out of the shell – unsalted is best)

For dressing whisk together first 4 ingredients and the flavor packet from the ramen noodles.

Cook the ramen noodles according to package directions. Rinse noodles in cold water. Put them in a bowl and toss a little bit of the dressing on them to coat. Add remainder of ingredients and toss. Pour remainder of dressing over the salad and toss again to coat. Put it in the frig for a couple of hours to chill.

posted under food | 4 Comments »

Secret Blog Pals


I have been busy and haven’t had the inclination to do another round of SBPs so Carla has generously offered to take the reigns and start up another round. If you are interested in participating, please visit this post on Carla’s blog.

posted under blog | 1 Comment »

Walking isn’t far away



Sabrina continues to amaze me with the speed she is learning, growing and changing. She is only about 5 weeks away from her first birthday which absolutely blows me away. I don’t even want to think about my baby being a year old so let’s get back to the topic at hand. Today, she took her first steps while holding onto my hands. She has been standing while holding onto things for awhile and has been pulling herself up to stand like a mad woman for a couple of weeks. But she hadn’t put it together with walking until today. She certainly isn’t ready to try it on her own yet but I know that day is coming sooner than I would like.

Sabrina has been crawling for awhile now but honestly she is a lazy crawler. She will crawl to get a toy or pick some fuzz off the carpet or play with something she shouldn’t but if you make her crawl to actually get somewhere? She throws a hissy fit. If I go into the kitchen and let her crawl after me? She whines and fusses the entire way into the kitchen. She wants to crawl on her terms for her own purposes, not for mommy’s convenience.

She enjoys swimming in the pool. We have gone down to the pool in our apartment complex (which is always close to empty – today we had a crowd with 3 families there) several times. She has a ball floating around in her floaty, having daddy splash her and mommy swim around her.

She is still eating and sleeping well. We are really blessed with having a very good baby. (My mother in law has actually said we shouldn’t have any more children because we are so spoiled with Sabrina we won’t know how to handle a “normal” baby. Heh.) She sleeps 8-8 most days and usually naps once for 1.5 – 2.5 hours. She will eat anything we feed her and still loves her bottles. She doesn’t have a lot of interest in her sippy cup yet but I suspect if I tried a couple of other versions she would find one she likes and use it. She likes to cuddle when she first wakes up and before bed but during the day is usually too busy to cuddle very much anymore but will happily play on my lap. Her cranky time is late afternoon so I try to get us out of the house during that period – she is too busy flirting to be cranky if we are in public. Her favorite time is just before dinner. Steve and I bring her onto our bed and play with her (meaning wear her out so she will sleep). She gets to hang out with (meaning climb all over) mommy and daddy.

So there is the Sabrina update for all of the grandmas out there.

Thanks to everyone for the comments and suggestions on meeting new people in my new city. Glad to hear the suggestions and glad to hear I’m not the only one who struggles with this issue.

posted under family | 9 Comments »

I heart NPR


I don’t get to listen to NPR often anymore because I’m not stuck on a bridge commuting to and from work. But I saw a link to these stories on a message board. It is series about adoption. If you have a few minutes, listen to the stories (the audio has more info than the written story). It is interesting. Also, Dr. Phil started a 2 days series yesterday on adoption scams. Three women who were scammed by the same person posing as a pregnant woman interested in placing her child have a chance to confront the woman. I saw the show yesterday and it had me near tears. I know the yearning they all feel for a child and I can’t imagine the heart ache. I know at least one of our friends out there in blog world has experienced something similar.

posted under adoption | 6 Comments »

Blind Dates


I am not a joiner. I’m not incredibly comfortable in social situations where I don’t know at least one other person. I can fake it but I don’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-social. I love having friends. I love going out for dinner or drinks with a group of friends. I enjoy just hanging out with friends. But because I lived most of my life in one county, I knew people and it was relatively easy to meet new people that my people already knew. In Pittsburgh, Steve knew people and I liked their wives. I met people at work. I didn’t have any friends that I could necessarily call up on Saturday afternoon and say “let’s catch lunch and a movie” but that was mostly because they all had families and were very busy.

Now, I find myself in a new city where Steve and I know no one. I don’t have a job to help me at least make acquaintances. I haven’t seen anyone around our apartment complex over the age of 19 during the day. The mall here is a little sad but I think another mom and I were mutually stalking each other the other day but neither of us took the step of saying hi. Basically, I have to find some ways to meet some human beings who don’t require me to change their diapers several times a day. I have to actively troll for friends. It sounds rather pathetic, doesn’t it? But if I don’t, I could honestly live here for the next 12 months and talk to no one but Steve and Sabrina and clerks at Target. And honestly? The clerks at Target start edging away if you try to chit chat too much. They just aren’t that invested in our relationship.

So, what does a blogging momma do to make real life friends? Go on line of course! I found a site called meetup.com which is kind of like match.com for those seeking friends instead of dates. I signed up for 2 mommy groups, a chick lit book club and a jewelry making group. I figure between the 4 groups, 1 of them is likely to be okay enough to not make me want to snark to my imaginary friend through the events. (The first mom who rolls her eyes because I don’t make all of my own baby food using organic fruits and veggies? I’m going to spread rumors that she feeds her kids twinkies and lets them drink tap water.)

The first meeting was supposed to be tonight – the jewelry people. I got an email today that it was canceled due to illness and I was very relieved. I would much rather my first group be a mommy activity I think. That way I can hang out with Sabrina if nothing else. Wish me luck on my blind dates!

posted under nashville | 10 Comments »

New feature


I’ve decided that once a week I am going to throw a recipe out there to blog land. I know that I like finding new dinner ideas so maybe some of you will too. Feel free to share recipes in the comments or on your blogs. I will admit upfront that I am a bit of a foodie so the ingredient list might look long on some recipes. I also tend to not measure so I will try to give amounts but use common sense if you are making something and there seems to be too much or not enough of something. But I am also rather lazy so most will not be complicated or too time consuming. Without further ado – the first recipe isn’t really a recipe at all – just a yummy salad that I love for lunch or dinner.

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves prepared however you like (works well with leftover chicken) – I tend to bake them in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut into bite size pieces or strips.

favorite lettuce mixture – I like spring greens

feta cheese

fresh raspberries (also works with sliced strawberries or halved red grapes)

candied pecans (pecan halves tossed with PURE maple syrup, put on a cookie sheet in a single layer in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes or until syrup has crystalized on the pecans – do yourself a favor and line the cookie sheet with foil or you will spend the next 3 days trying to get the baked on syrup off)

favorite dressing – for this I use 3 tablespoons white basalmic vinegar, 4 tablespoons grape seed oil, and 2 generous tablespoons of 100% pomegranate juice** (my grocery store keeps these pure juices in the produce/organic section – if you can find pure raspberry juice that is even better) – whisk together. (If it is too tart, add a packet of Splenda.)

Do yourself a favor and don’t skip the berries or the pecans – they really make the salad. The feta, fruit, pecans, and chicken really make a nice, filling salad.

**You can use the rest of the pomegranate juice in other recipes or throw 1/2 cup – 1 cup in a pitcher of iced tea – yum!

Edited to add photo.  I used strawberries because I had them in the house but raspberries really are the best in this salad.


posted under food | 7 Comments »

Ok, who was holding out on me?


I’ll admit it…I’m a little peeved at my blogworld friends today. Why didn’t anyone tell me what a horrible mess those biter biscuits make? I had no idea the mess would become a cement like substance on my child and her tray. I had to hose the poor child down and I still found cookie smeared behind and in her ear after hosing her down. The dog has been licking up cookie crumbs for hours. But, it did keep her happy for half an hour.

Cookie Bliss:


Cookie Conducting:


Cookie Coma:


Cookie Wearing:


Because my darling husband has been unable to restore my archives and blogroll yet (because they are on computers still sitting in PA), I am slowing restoring my blogroll. Several of you have said you miss it and to be honest I do too! I will be working on it for the next few days but feel free to request your place on it if you are afraid I will forget you!

posted under food | 11 Comments »



Our being on a small island did not stop us from getting our hands on the new Harry Potter book. Our friend, Dave, reserved 4 copies of the book at a small book store and went to pick them up for all of us at midnight. Steve has laid claim to the book first and I am not so patiently waiting for him to read it (in reality, I will be patient for a couple of days until I finish my current book and then declare he is taking too long and read it when he isn’t home). So don’t anyone spoil what happens…I haven’t even seen the first page yet.



We are home safe and sound after don’t even ask how many hours in the car.

Everyone thinking about going to Guatoberfest?   It is open to all adopting families, not just those adopting from Guatemala.  I think it sounds like a fabulous time!  Go check it out…they are trying to get an unofficial head count so chime in on the latest post if you are going to attend.  I hope to get to meet a lot of you in person finally – then when we talk about our blog world friends we can say we’ve met and our hubbies will stop rolling their eyes about it.

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