Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Egg Hunt


Today was our MOMs Club Easter egg hunt at the park.  It was a gorgeous day – the girls had a grand time.  And fortunately many moms were more creative than I was so didn’t come home with too much candy.  But I really hope I can get those stickers off the coffee table.

Lots of photos for the grandmas and aunts in the audience.








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Recap for vicarious living


p1020715Saturday morning’s drive to Louisville was unremarkable except the joy of listening to NPR for 2 1/2 hours without anyone in the back seat (or front seat for that matter – Steve isn’t a fan) complaining.

I was late (shocker – I know) because apparently my brain isn’t smart enough to calculate a 1 hour time change.  I was aware of it.  I mentioned it.  I apparently thought it meant I had an extra hour rather than losing an hour.  I was exactly 1 hour late.

After checking out the restaurants in the hotel and wandering a few blocks only to realize none of the restaurants were serving food at 2:15, we headed to Joe’s Crab Shack.  It might not have been new or different but Joe knows big fruity drinks.  And the food was better than it was the last few times I was there (or maybe it was the drinks – who can say?).  We laughed.  We drank.  We provided a little entertainment for our young waiter.  We ate.  We tried really hard not to boo the waitresses.  If you’ve been to Joe’s, perhaps you’ve seen the wait staff stop during specified songs and dance.  They have little routines and climb up on tables and chairs when one of the songs come on.  In the past, it was quite entertaining and the staff seemed to have fun with it.  YMCA started to play and the waitresses grabbed little signs with the letters on them instead of doing the motions with their arms.  And they were mostly phoning it in – no one was having fun.  Finally a few of the guys started doing it right, including our waiter which earned him drunken praise and an improved tip.

p1020682Self portrait

We stumbled walked back to our hotel and laid in our beds talking about how luxurious it was to be able to lay there in the middle of the day with no children bothering us.  Then we took turns going to the bathroom alone.  No one knocked.  No one barged in.  No one needed anything in the 45 seconds it took each of us to go to the bathroom.  Luxury.  We wanted to nap but decided not to waste this precious child free time unconscious.

p1020681It was after 5 and no shops appeared open so we decided to wander a little south to the Zappos outlet.  You know Zappos?  Yes, that Zappos.  Purse and shoe shopping without children?  I was giddy with excitement.  However, the outlet didn’t live up to my imagination.  Unless you are a hooker or a 75 year old grandmother, there wasn’t much you would want. It was truly the left over dregs…things that no one would buy or returns that had been worn too obviously to resell online.  The only exception was kids shoes – I didn’t buy anything but there were a few  pairs of kids shoes I considered.

p1020693We had a very late dinner around 9:30.  Then a couple of drinks in a bar in hotel.  There was a prom going on – it was fun to see the dresses and overhear the girls in the ladies room.  We managed to stay out until 12:15 and then retired for the night.

The next morning we had reservations for brunch.  It was heavenly.  No one informed me that part of the restaurant revolved…until I realized something was terribly amiss because we were moving but the table next to us was not. Yes, I’m a classy broad.

The food was lovely but the opulence of lingering over a meal and not having to cut up any one else’s food was better than the food itself.  We felt quite pampered.

I’m embracing my new southern home – I tried shrimp and grits.  And I loved them.  We spent 2 hours lingering over brunch.  There was even a chocolate fountain on the dessert table.  And of course I took photos of my food.

Sadly, we headed home.  I was happy to see my girls and Steve but could have stayed another day or two without any trouble. We’ve decided this will be a semi-annual event.  I’m already dreaming of October.

Shrimp and cheesy grits


Waffle w/blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream.  The waffle was amazing.


The dessert table


A sampling of goodies


In the dining room




Proof we drank something other than booze


It certainly wasn’t the wild and crazy weekend it would have been 10 years ago but it was just what this momma needed.  Can’t wait to do it again!

PS Does anyone have a good recipe for cheesy grits?  I looked quickly on allrecipes and the couple I found used Velvetta…I can’t believe that the ones I had this weekend contained processed cheese food.

posted under travel | 14 Comments »

Saturday afternoon


This was taken with my phone yesterday afternoon.  (Oh the scandal – drinking in the middle of the day!)  Our waiter (who was all of about 19) got quite a kick out of the 2 tipsy moms having a little fun.  More photos tomorrow.


posted under Misc. | 1 Comment »

Party like it is 1995


medeeI’ve slacked on posting again so I’ll catch you up in bullets:

* After telling her to suck it up for 24 hours because she has fooled me in the past, I took Sabrina to the Minute Clinic and discovered she has an ear infection.  Mom of the Year Award nominations are open now.

* Instead of $4 antibiotics, we got an Rx for $111 antibiotic drops.  Lovely.

* Several people have asked about Tessa (thank you for thinking of her).  She is fine – we go back for a weight check next in about 10 days.

* Some of the seeds are sprouting our garden – quite exciting!

* I’ve been to Micheal’s and Hobby Lobby this week.  I went to a Premier Jewelry party last weekend that has me feeling crafty again.  I made myself a cute bracelet and wore it to bunco tonight.  One of the women from last weekend’s party asked if it was Premier.  I was tickled.  It takes very little these days.

* My husband is sweet for many reasons but this week he has been very tolerant of me getting out of the house.  Last night, I went out for an hour or two to Mom’s Night Out.  Tonight was Bunco.  Tomorrow…well tomorrow deserves its own bullet.

* Tomorrow, I’m meeting up with my BFF in Louisville (because it is half way between us not because we think Louisville is a hopping city…but it might be, who knows?).  We got ourselves a hotel room.  We plan to eat yummy meals without cutting up anyone’s food.  We plan to drink adult beverages without having to operate a motor vehicle or go home to care for small people.  We plan to sleep without interruption. We might stay up until the wee hours drinking or we might have 3 drinks and be passed out by 9pm.  Who knows?  Either way, a good time will be had by all.

* That photo up there is my BFF and I circa 1995 on vacation together back before husbands and kids.  Back then, everything we did together was an adventure and resulted in an epic story.  Perhaps we’ll add to the story vault this weekend.

* I think I still own that shirt.  I really need to go shopping.

posted under Misc. | 5 Comments »

Dear Nick Jr.


dorathe-explorerpostersDear Nick Jr.

Dora needs to either enunciate more clearly or you need to provide subtitles so that I can see the Spanish word she is garbling.  I recently had the joy (where is that damn sarcasm font?) of watching the episode about the unicorn flowers for the 437th time and finally had to look up what she was saying (“Crezca flores”).  If you want to pretend you are teaching children some Spanish then find someone to do her voice that can make the words a little more clear.  Thank you.

A mother who is starting to see the light at the end of the Dora tunnel. (Sabrina has started choosing Imagination Movers over Dora most days.  Let’s hope that Tessa just goes along and likes whatever her big sister likes.)

PS Could you make a couple of new episodes while you are at it?  Something that isn’t an hour long and doesn’t involve saving the crystal kingdom or Swiper learning the meaning of Christmas?  Thanks.

posted under Misc. | 12 Comments »



At least they are united in their indifference toward Mommy trying to get a decent photo of the 2 of them together.



I finally broke into song.  They both looked at me but their expressions don’t show joy…they appear a little frightened that mommy is having a seizure or something.


posted under family | 9 Comments »

Lo Hice!


p1020666I did it! I found a way to make my blog even more dull.  We are going to watch the grass grow together.  Okay, not grass but probably something just about as interesting…our attempt at a garden.  We’ve been talking about wanting one for the past couple of years – mostly likely because we can’t plant one. Stupid lease.

To make a short story long, our lease is up April 30th.  We looked at houses and thought very seriously about building or buying one…then chickened out.  We decided to stay put for 1 more year to further reduce our debt before we take on another mortgage.  (Being a grown up sucks sometimes.)  But right after we made the decision, we saw an interesting house go up on the MLS.  We live in an area where 95% of the homes were built in the past 20 years.  It is subdivision city where you are guaranteed a cookie cutter house and a home owner’s association.  We dislike those 2 things immensely but there are enough things about this area that we like that we are willing to put up with them. But this house wasn’t in a subdivision and it was over 100 years old.  Guaranteed plumbing and electrical issues character – instant lust from us.

p1020547We went to see it.  The yard was wonderful.  Large but not too much mowing, mature trees (even a swing hanging from one which Sabrina liked), a garden all fenced off, and around the house itself an actual picket fence (no longer white but it could be).  But alas, the house itself wasn’t the dream.  Without adding on at least 1 room, it wouldn’t work for our family so we had to pass on it.

That night we went to bed with visions of gardens dancing in our heads.  I couldn’t let it go.  I started thinking about a container garden but some quick pricing on large planters proved that for 1 year (next year we hope to have our own yard so that we can plant in the actual ground) it was too much of an investment.  It would be cheaper just to make our weekly trips to the farmers market.  Then I had ‘another one of my brilliant ideas’ (80’s sitcom reference – anyone?) for a rather inexpensive (but not pretty) way to do a container garden.  Today we bought seeds and planted them.  We’ll move them outside when they are ready.  The ultimate hope is that this year we learn a little something about gardening while reaping a few veggies for our efforts so that we can have a nice garden next year.  We also hope that involved Sabrina in the process will get her excited about vegetables and she might actually allow a few to pass through her lips without an argument.

Aside from my herbs, we are trying tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos, green onions, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and 2 kinds of lettuce.  I know nothing about gardening except I hated it when my dad used to make up get up really early on the weekends to work in the garden – especially we didn’t want to eat most of what he was growing.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine


We finally got some sunshine today!  The girls were so excited to get outside – and frankly momma was pretty glad about it too.  The girls have been whiny every afternoon this week – I think because we’ve been cooped up.  We played with the sidewalk chalk, bubbled, and bikes.

Here are a boat load of photos because they girls are just too dang cute not to share (if I don’t meet my quota for the week, I start getting angry phone calls from the grandmas).






I love this photo – Sabrina looks like she is giving sound, big sisterly advice…in reality she is trying to talk Tessa into getting out of the car so that she can ride in it – despite the fact that she doesn’t fit in it anymore.


She doesn’t quite get the hopping on 1 foot yet…she lands on both and then kicks a leg up…I couldn’t quite capture it on film but got a video of it.



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posted under Misc. | 3 Comments »

Let’s talk light bulbs


It has been awhile since I’ve done a product review for 2 reasons.  First, I was saving my $20 Amazon compensations to put toward my camera.  I purchased my camera in September.  Second, I haven’t seen much pop up in my inbox that interested me.  I only do review products that are useful and relevant to me or stuff that I want to try.  It isn’t always sexy but it is stuff that I find useful.  Today: lightbulbs.

cfl_light_bulbI signed up to review the Sylvania Supersaver Halogen light bulbs because I don’t like the CFL light bulbs that I’m supposed to use because they are greener.  I use them in some places because I know I should.  I know they are better for the environment, cheaper to use, and last a long time.  BUT I can’t stand the light they give off.  It is so harsh and unpleasant.  I use them primarily in outside fixtures, garages and basement fixtures, and lamps with warm colored shades.  The warm shades soften the light enough that I can handle it.

p1020531When I saw the Sylvania Supersaver Halogen light bulbs fit at least 2 of the 3 aforementioned criteria (no one has suggested to me that they last longer than regular light bulbs), I said “Sign me up!”.  Did you know that regular incandescent light bulbs will be phased out in the next 4 years?  As a result, we should start seeing some new lighting options pop up in our stores.  I received 2 Sylavania Supersaver Halogen light bulbs in Soft White to try out.

The bulbs are mercury free and use between 22 – 33% less energy than incandescent bulbs.  The bulbs they sent me were 43 Watts to replace a 60 Watt bulb.  (They are available in 28, 43, and 72 watt as well as a variety of flood light wattages.)

I took them one out of the package and compared it to a regular light bulb.  Looks pretty much the same – the bulb portion is a tiny bit smaller.  The left is the new bulb and the right is a 60 watt incandescent bulb.


I put one in my favorite little lamp.  I know these photos probably aren’t a fair representation because so much is dependent upon my camera and your computer screen but if nothing else you can admire my cute little lamp.  The one on the left is the Sylvania Supersaver Halogen bulb and the one on the right is the 60 watt incandescent bulb.  These photos are straight out of my camera with no editing other than sizing them down and adding the watermark.


Bottom line: I notice very little difference which is a good thing in my opinion.  The new bulb is a little bit brighter and a little bit whiter than my incandescent bulb but I only am aware of it because I was looking for differences.  The bulbs come on immediately unlike the CFL bulbs that tend to hesitate before they blink on.  They are fulling dimmable and they use a bit less energy.  They are a bit pricey compared to incandescent bulbs (cheaper than CFL the last time I bought them but it has been awhile so I can’t swear to it) starting at $4.29 a 2 pack.  They are currently available for purchase at www.sylvania.com/HalogenSS and at Menard’s and BJs.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of SYLVANIA and received products necessary to facilitate my candid review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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