Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Officially a holiday


I don’t know about your house, but in mine it isn’t really a holiday until someone is sick.  My poor little Tessa isn’t feeling good.  Fortunately, it just seems to be a cold but she is snotty and whiny and clingy.  I think she caught something at the cook out we attended on Saturday.  Who knows how many germs were floating around in that baby pool?  The girls had a grand time so I tried not to think about it.  Good for the immune system, right?

I’ve got baked beans from scratch in the oven right now…if they turn out yummy I’ll share that recipe next week.  I also made a pretty red, white, and blue cake for Memorial Day.

It is a jello cake.  For anyone who doesn’t know how to make one of these, I’ll share the recipe.  (I originally saw it in Good Housekeeping or Better Homes & Gardens eons ago.)  My husband loves this cake and always requests it as summer rolls around.

Red, White & Blue Jello cake

1 box lemon cake mix

1 large box strawberry jello

1 8 oz tub cool whip

1 pint strawberries

1 pint blueberries

Prepare cake mix in 9×13 pan according to box directions.  Allow to cool

Poke holes all over the top of the cake with the end of a spoon or  a chopstick.

Prepare jello with 3 cups of water (box will say 4 cups – use less).  Allow to cool but not set.

Pour jello over cake.  Make sure it all cool before topping with cool whip.

Top with tub of cool whip.

Slice strawberries.  Alternate strawberries and blueberries in stripes.  (Can use any other berry you like.  Can also make a design with berries – the original cake was for a flag cake which had the strawberries striped and all of the blueberries in the upper left corner to mimic the American flag.)

Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Visit Rachel for more Mouthwatering Monday recipes.

posted under food | 6 Comments »

Ballet is done


The recital was adorable.  The lack of organization prior to that had 200 people standing in line for over an hour in a really hot hallway to sit down to watch the recital? Not so cute.  Entertaining a not quite 2 year old in the hallway of a high school for 90 minutes because they require the girls there ridiculously early? Not so much fun.  But the recital was so sweet I think I got cavities watching it.  So much cute in one place – GAH!  Sorry no video here.  If we are friends on facebook, you’ll find it there.

I can’t even get her to look at me and smile most days and they got a glamor shot.

This is Sabrina just before we left for her last dance class last week.  I have to be honest – I’m not going to miss the Wednesday struggle to get her into tights and make her hair stay in a bun while convincing her she likes going to dance class.  I’m also not going to miss trying to keep Tessa happy for 45 minutes in the tiny waiting area every week.  I did like some of the other moms so I will miss chatting with them.  But we will not be signing up for dance class again next  year.  I might put up with the expense and the hassle if Sabrina liked going but she was so indifferent that it is clear that dance isn’t her thing – at least for now.  Regardless, I am glad that we did it.  I never took classes like that as a child and I hope that my girls can discover what they are good at while they are young.

I think maybe tumbling/gymnastics might be our next pursuit – we’ll see.

posted under family | 10 Comments »

This thumb might be turning green


Because look at this baby tomato!  So exciting…our first tomato.  It is on the roma tomato plant for anyone curious.

And everything else is looking pretty good.  Lots of blooms on the cucumbers.

Disregard the calendar


Summer is here no matter what the calendar says.  The kids are out of school here and we’ve either hit 90 degrees or hovered awfully close for the last few days so I’m calling it: summer!  And the girls are on the move.

Celebrities pay big bucks for lips like these:

Anyone want to guess if she was being helpful to her little sister or tormenting her?

Bikes are traded…no matter that the girls don’t really fit well on each others’ bikes.  We always want what someone else has.

Bubbles are the best.  They make everyone smile.

posted under family | 6 Comments »

Lemon Cheesecake Ball


Some cute for those who don’t like my recipes:

Now onto the yum.  I’ve attended several Tastefully Simple parties since moving here.  They have sweet “cheese” balls that I had trouble liking until a friend had an Apple Pie flavored one at her house and I devoured about half of it with the yummy graham pretzel twist thingies.  I can’t justify the cost of some TS items and the graham twist thingies are one of those things (don’t yell at me…I like Tastefully Simple…I just think it is pricey so I purchase judiciously).  I found some ginger pretzel twist thingies at World Market for much cheaper and started thinking they might be good with a lemon cheesecake ball.  And the googling began.

I found several recipes but zeroed in on this one.  I needed an excuse to make it – I couldn’t make it and have it sitting around here or I would eat the whole stupid thing.   I hosted book club last week so that seemed like the perfect excuse.  It turned out really yummy – a nice way to satisfy the cheesecake desire without baking a cake.  I refrigerated it overnight but it never got solid enough to roll it in the graham crumbs so I sprinkled them on top.  I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese so that might be why it wasn’t quite as solid.

Lemon Cheesecake Ball

12 oz cream cheese – that is 1 1/2 bricks (I used the 1/3 less fat)

3 1/2 Tbs sugar

Zest of a lemon

2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

3 full graham crackers, crushed

With a rubber spatula, combine the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add lemon zest and lemon juice and mix well.  Taste – you can add a little more sugar or lemon juice if it needs it.  Wrap in plastic wrap to form a ball – I put mine in a small bowl to form the ball shape.  Refrigerate for several hours until firm.  Roll in graham cracker crumbs or sprinkle them on top.  Serve with graham crackers, animal crackers, etc.

Visit Rachel’s Mouthwatering Mondays for other recipes.

posted under food | 6 Comments »

Water Winner!


The winner of the coupon for the free 6 pack of Aquafina Flavor Splash and lip balm is comment #1 (I know the random number generator is random but I’ve never seen #1 be the number generated).  CMTMDT I sent you an email.

Don’t forget, those that didn’t win can print a $1 off coupon by clicking this link.

If I get some other good stuff to share, I’ll do another give away.  I’m looking forward to seeing what flavor they send me this week.

This post is in conjunction with a campaign with MomCentralI am receiving a 6 pack of Aquafina weekly for 6 weeks as well as some promotional items to give away.  I will also be compensated for my time with a gift card at the end of the promotion.  My opinions are my own.

posted under Misc. | Comments Off on Water Winner!

With a “moo moo” here…


We toured a local dairy today with the Mom’s Club. The girls had a grand time.

Tessa is completely fearless – several people commented on that.  She makes me nervous because I can’t predict what she might do next.

Sabrina was only concerned about which cows made the chocolate milk.  Every time we came to a group of cows, she asked me to ask the cows if they made the chocolate milk.  We were at the petting and feeding area with 3 calves.  One of them started to poop.  Sabrina then declared “Look Mommy! That one is making chocolate milk.”

posted under nashville | 5 Comments »

Aquafina Flavor Splash


Do you drink enough water?  A lot of us don’t.  I drink a good bit of water every day but I’m sure that I could benefit from less iced tea and giving up my occasional diet soda. Most of the water I drink is straight out of the tap (we are fortunate to have good tap water here) but as a treat I sometimes get a flavored water to enjoy instead of soda.

I was so excited to be selected as an ambassador for Aquafina’s Flavor Splash campaign.  Every week for 6 weeks they promised to send me a new flavor to try.  Yummy flavored water appearing at my door as if by magic every week?  Sign me up!

Last week, which was the first week, they sent Wild Berry flavor.  I honestly wasn’t looking forward to that flavor.  I’ve had it from other brands and always found it over powering and too sweet and fake.  But when I cracked it open, I was pleasantly surprised.  It smelled strong but the flavor was quite mellow and pleasant.  It was a hint of berry rather than being hit over the head by it.  I liked it.

This week?  My favorite: lemon. I love lemon flavored waters and Aquafina’s is no exception.  The lemon is a pleasant background flavor and quite refreshing.

If you would like to pick up some Aquafina Flavor Splash, you can print out a $1 off coupon by clicking here and following the instructions.

Or you can leave a comment on my post here telling me what flavor you like when you drink flavored water (or that you’ve never tried it).  I have 1 coupon for a free 6 pk (I had fun last week giving out the rest to real life folks rather than my on line friends).  I’ll send that and a Wild Berry lip balm.  Just leave a comment by Friday morning at 8am central and I’ll do randomly pick a winner.

This post is in conjunction with a campaign with MomCentralI am receiving a 6 pack of Aquafina weekly for 6 weeks as well as some promotional items to give away.  I will also be compensated for my time with a gift card at the end of the promotion.  My opinions are my own.

posted under Misc. | 11 Comments »

Gadget boon


It was a good weekend for technology in our house.  My not-very-old-but-poorly-refurbished-laptop has been on the fritz for 5 months.  It just randomly shuts down or gives me a blank screen.  Steve declared no more refurbished laptops.  Then decided just no more laptops right now since I don’t use mine to rove anymore (I don’t get out much…and when I do, I have my smart phone…and the laptops got too darn hot to actually put them on my lap).  So this is my new friend.  I haven’t named him/her yet.  Still getting to know it.  (Yes, I name my computers. This last one was Blue because it as navy blue…I never loved it enough to give it a good name.  The one before, which I did love, was Hera.  This one might end up Juno or Zeus but time will tell.)  It is a Gateway One – the touch screen function is pretty darn cool.  The CPU is integrated into the GINORMOUS screen (ginormous screen size…it actually has a quite thin profile).  The screen is so big I feel like I am sitting in the front row at the movie theater.  Huge.  Also? I haven’t used a mouse in years and miss my touchpad.

Then? Mr. Coffee got a girlfriend.  I won this pretty little Tassimo coffee maker on Secret Agent Mama’s blog.  How cool is that?  I tried it out this morning.  I’m not a huge fan of the first t-discs I picked up – Starbuck’s breakfast blend (it was fine just not as good as my normal coffee).  But then I’ve never been a fan of Starbuck’s plain old coffee.  I look forward to trying out some different things.  The discs are a bit pricey but the machine is quite slick and makes a nice, fast cup of coffee.  Can’t wait to play with it a little more.

The girls are even more full of sass than usual. Time outs are plentiful.

We went to another couple’s house for a cook out on Saturday.  Neither girl would eat anything.  Tessa screamed and squealed at the indignity of being forced to sit still during the meal (like she isn’t forced to do it at home) so conversation was difficult.

Sabrina and Tessa escalated the bickering last week to a new level.  Tessa has started to care more when Sabrina takes toys away so there has been much screaming and tug of war.  I’ve started piling the toys causing issues on the dining room table rather than refereeing.  By the end of the day there isn’t a lot of room left.

Sabrina’s favorite thing is to hoard toys that she wants to stake a claim on.  She used to pile them in the corner of the couch but once Tessa started getting on the couch she had to find a new tactic.  Now she puts as much as she can in her baby stroller and walks around with it piled high.  She looks like a bag lady.  I’m thinking of buying a black and white striped shirt and a whistle because I spend my entire day refereeing “I had that!” “That’s mine” “She took that from me!” “MAMA!”

posted under family | 7 Comments »

Easter Bunny banned


All is quiet here.  I haven’t been thrown up on since Saturday.  No bodily fluids have required cleaning up since Sunday.  Hopefully, the girls are done with whatever this odd bout of illness was.  And hopefully Steve feels completely better soon too.

We realized that we’ve traumatized Sabrina with stories of the Easter Bunny bringing candy while she was sleeping.  Almost every night since Easter, we’ve had to assure that we won’t let the Easter bunny come into her room while she is sleeping.

Santa didn’t bother her.  So old men in red suits bearing gifts are okay but giant bunnies bringing candy cross the line.  Good to know where the kid’s boundaries lie.

Mother’s Day wasn’t exactly the relaxing day I envisioned but it was all good.  We had brunch – I was a little nervous because we were literally the only people in the restaurant but then we realized the rest of the world was at church and we were heathens.  After a nice brunch, we picked up my requested ice cream cake from Bruster’s (coffee ripple ice cream w/white cake – YUM).  Then I spent the rest of the day holding Tessa.  She wasn’t feeling well and just really wanted momma.  She was whiny and clingy and demanding – so I spent Mother’s Day being a momma which is pretty amazing when I think about the mother’s days I spent thinking I might never get that title.  Steve grilled dinner so I didn’t have to do a thing.  It was a good day.

Sabrina is a total girlie girl – I bought this pink twirly dress for her on Saturday and she never wanted to take it off.

posted under family | 6 Comments »
« Older Entries