Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Seasonal Confusion


We’ve hit that period of the year where it is difficult to dress everyone.  We wake up and it is 48 degrees but by dinner time we are edging toward 80.  I, personally, love this weather.  My children are less sure what to think.  Sabrina spent the morning with a blanket and sweater but was quite unhappy when I vetoed the tank top she wanted to wear.

Tessa wasn’t sure what to think of the slippers I put on her this morning.

Yesterday, I sent Sabrina to school in a long sleeve shirt and jeans.  She complained in the car that she was cold but when I picked her up at the end of the day she scolded me for dressing her too warmly.

I love being scolded by a 4 year old.

And while it isn’t season related, it made me laugh that Sabrina insisted that she wouldn’t let Tessa wear this outfit.  I asked why and Sabrina said she didn’t like it and wouldn’t let her sister wear it.  Already a fashion critic.  (It is a little ridiculous but Tessa loves kitties and the consignment sale was really dark so I didn’t realize quite how bright it was.)

posted under Misc. | 4 Comments »

Not all sugar and spice


I love that even though I have 2 girls and even though both of those girls like dolls and tutus that I still find things like this:

Firemen apparently assessing the situation in the back yard.

I believe this one is responsible – she seems to have a real thing for firemen these days. (That is a piece from the fire house she is chewing on.)

posted under Misc. | Comments Off on Not all sugar and spice

Racing ahead


We went to an arts & crafts festival this weekend.  I adore art festivals so I was excited that we 1) remembered that it was this weekend and b) the weather was gorgeous.

Am I the only one that thinks it is weird that we have the Parthenon in downtown Nashville?

(Seriously – look at that sky! I only cropped this photo slightly…I didn’t play with the colors or lighting at all.)

The girls found the festival rather dull.  Their favorite parts were the kettle corn (smart girls), watching the ducks at the park, and running around after being cooped up in their stroller for over an hour.

The girls were running around this statue.  It started with Tessa chasing Sabrina but Sabrina kept lapping her so by the end no one knew who was being chased.

Tessa’s always trying to keep up with her big sister.

We mentally earmarked a lot of items but left with only a cute pottery bowl.  I have a bit of a sickness when it comes to pottery…I can’t resist.

posted under nashville | 3 Comments »

2 weeks


Two weeks from yesterday, we should have the keys in our hands to our new front door.

The other thing I’ll have in my hand? A screwdriver to get those cutesy corner details off the screen doors.

Packed the first box of the move yesterday and discovered I really ought to dust even if I can’t see that high.

posted under Misc. | 7 Comments »

Keeping it real


My MOMS Club had mom’s night in on Friday night.  We gathered for a pseudo Top Chef competition.  I made guacamole and s’more cake.  I made the guacamole because I was talking a little smack about mine being better than a local place that makes it table-side.  I figured it was time to put up or shut up.  The s’more cake I made because I thought it sounded yummy – it wasn’t something I had made before.

I often post recipes on Mondays.  Folks sometimes comment that they couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to make the things that I post.  To keep it real, I had a kitchen disaster at my Top Chef party.  I like to think I’m a decent cook but sometimes we all need a reminder to be humble:

A little reminder from me to you, my friends: Don’t put marshmallows under the broiler and walk away.

Fortunately, I didn’t burn down my friend’s house (good thing…she is my best friend around these parts and I would hate to make her homeless).  The only harm done was to the cake.  These photos are courtesy of another friend, Crystal, who proved her status as a true photographer by grabbing her camera to document the event rather than helping me douse the flames.  Is it any wonder why I love my MOMS Club?  One friend who is still speaking to me after I almost burn down her house and another who tells everyone to get out of her light so she can document the (hilarious in hindsight) near disaster.  Awesome!  So glad I found my peeps.

It seems rather anti-climatic to share that my guacamole won the best dish of the night.  It also seems a little unfair because there were some amazing dishes: pork sandwiches, cake that tasted like a Krispy Kreme donut, ceviche, mint chocolate cookies, and lots of other yummy things.  I’ve posted my guacamole recipe several times in the past.

All photos are stolen from Crystal.

posted under food | 9 Comments »

I broke the cardinal rule


No, not that one.  And eww, not the one either – get your mind out of the gutter.

My dad always said the cardinal rule of a trial lawyer is never ask a question that you don’t already know the answer to.  Toddlers aren’t that different from a hostile witness on the stand.  You need to know the answer to any question you ask – because you’ve carefully pre-screened the limited options you are presenting as viable answers to the asked question.  (Objection!  Counsel is leading her witness.  Overruled.  All is fair in love and parenting.) (Me? Carry my metaphor too far? Never!  Now hush before I hold you in contempt.)

I broke the rule.  I asked a toddler an open ended question.  I asked Sabrina “What color do you want to paint your new room?”  Rookie mistake.  I know better.  I should have picked out 3 or 4 paint swatches and said “Which color would you like for your new room?”

Now she points out different colors everywhere we go and says “Maybe we can paint my room that color, Mommy!”  She tends to focus on the green family but has also thrown in pink, purple, orange, blue, and red depending on her mood.  Now I have to undo what I did and find some paint colors that don’t make my eyes bleed and offer her a few choices.  Let’s hope she quickly forgets this world of free will I let her glimpse.

*BTW that photo is of a cool painted light bulb that the site claims will make your room look like that when lit.  Might be a neat night light.  Click the photo to go to the site.

posted under parenting | 4 Comments »

It isn’t that I don’t love y’all


My lack of blogging isn’t a reflection of waning affection for my friends out there who check in on me.  Life is just pretty quiet.  Life being quiet is good for my sanity but not for my blog.

I love catching the girls unaware when they are sitting together to watch TV in the morning.

Birthdays are over.  My sister-in-law and her husband came to celebrate Sabrina’s over Labor Day weekend.  We always love having family in town.  Mine was last weekend.  I will say that FaceBook birthdays are so fun – made me feel loved.  Steve took us to the Atlanta Ikea as a birthday surprise with the goal of picking out some things for the new house.  He knows I love me some Ikea browsing.  We picked up a few things but with the car seats there wasn’t room to get too crazy.  I will simply say this – Atlanta is 4 hours away.  That is not a day trip with 2 toddlers.  We shall not speak of this again.

Yes, we are buying a house which is exciting but we’ve hit that lull between agreeing on all of the terms and actually exchanging money and keys.  Somehow, recounting my efforts to obtain good rates on our home owners insurance didn’t seem like blog fodder.

Tessa is so serious when she plays.

The only other thing I’ve thought about posting about is my angst over whether to switch pediatricians.  I love our guy.  Love.  And trust.  That made it worth the almost hour drive to his office for the past 2 1/2 years.  But at our last few appointments we have encountered a long wait to see him.  Last week after spending an hour in the outer waiting room, I rescheduled and left before we got to see him (seriously, would it kill the receptionist to tell us he is running over an hour late due to emergencies when we check in?).  The long wait coupled with drive time means a well visit can take up half of our day.  Buying the house obviously means we are staying in this town…perhaps it would be smarter to get a pediatrician closer to home.  But I love him.  (I know – me and my first world problems.)  I’m still on the fence.  We’ll see where I land.

I love seeing my girly-girl enjoy non-girly activities.

Tessa doesn’t seem like she will be a girly girl but who knows?

I had planned to go to a Guatemalan adoption gathering in Florida next month but the house buying put the halt to that – both because of funds and timing.  Steve and I had hoped to take a few days away by ourselves (we haven’t spent more than a few hours alone in 3 1/2 years) around Thanksgiving but the house thing also squashed that plan.  (BTW neither of those is complaints…we are really excited about the house and are very fortunate.)

So you see why I’ve had very little to share on the bloggy front.  I will likely be posting exciting photos of boxes and empty rooms and empty rooms filled with boxes soon.

posted under Misc. | 6 Comments »

Things I am loving right now


I haven’t done a things I love post lately.  Just good stuff that I’ve discovered (I’m looking at you FCC…nobody gave me anything for any of this).

We stopped at Jungle Jim’s International Market when we picked up Sabrina after her trip to her grandparents’ house.  Loved it!  Love!  I could easily spend an afternoon (and a fortune) there.  It is so large they have maps at the front door. The oils, spices, sauces, salts, beer, wine – what a selection of all sorts of fun things.  We bought some fun things that I’ve been enjoying experimenting with.  Steve was in heaven because he loves birch beer (how random is that?) and normally has trouble finding it.  They had 4 different brands.  One of my favorite purchases was Joe’s Stuff.  I’m not sure if it is technically cajun or creole but it is all YUM!  It has a bit of a zing but I wouldn’t call it hot…just a lot of flavor.  (My kids who have zero tolerance for flavor spice will eat things lightly spiced with it.)  The 2 ways I use it so far are grilled chicken (a little olive oil on the chicken then sprinkle this on both sides then grill) and roasted red potatoes (a little olive oil, a little lemon juice, some of this, all tossed with quartered red potatoes – throw them in the oven at 425* until tender).  I could eat chicken grilled with this every day for lunch.  I also think adding it to a light cream sauce for pasta would be amazing.

I’ve made no secret about the fact that I get on kicks with food.  Who can forget the summer of the ice cream sandwich back in Aught 2?  The winter of the triscuit in ’06.  The summer of iced coffee in ’07.  The spring of the cantaloupe in ’09.  I find something that makes me happy and stick with it until it doesn’t.  (Disclaimer: ice cream and popcorn never lose favor – not together…just as general yummy treats.)  My current favorite is entirely my mother in law’s fault.  She left a bag of these  Garden of Eatin blue chips after her last visit and you’ve been able to find them in my pantry ever since.

A friend told me about the Puddle Jumper flotation device for kids.  It is a smart design – the portion that goes across her chest keeps her face out of the water but allows her to be positioned like she is swimming.  She does not know how to swim but this allows her to feel safe and paddle around the pool pretty independently.  (Obviously, she is never far from an adult.)  We have one for Tessa too but it is rated for 30 – 50 lbs so she is a little small for it.  She used it but we have to keep our hands physically on her in the pool – but we have to do that with any flotation device that she wears.  I really love this for Sabrina’s age group and she loved it too.

Groupon – everyone has heard of this by now, right?  And you all know that you can buy deals from other cities (either as gifts or if you visit there or if it is something you can order and have shipped)?   I’ve recently purchased a Shutterfly photo book, organic meat to stock my freezer this winter, and some great deals at a local pizza place.  It is a win-win.  I get a great deal on a service or product I will use and I try out a business I might not otherwise try – they have the opportunity to win my loyalty.

CoverGirl OutLast all day lip color. Seriously, this stuff lasts all day if you put on the color and then let it dry for 1 minute before putting on gloss (I use Burt’s Bees balm instead of the super shiny stuff they include).  It is actually a little freaky how well it stays on.

At West End catalog.  I haven’t bought much in the way of decorative house items since we sold our house 3+ years ago.  There didn’t seem much point for our temporary spots.  But now that we are buying a house, we are both itching to make it our own.  This catalog randomly ended up in our mailbox earlier this summer.  We both love the majority of what they sell.  It feels like Pottery Barn’s more hip and funkier 2nd cousin twice removed.  I haven’t bought anything yet so I can’t speak to quality or customer service but look at this fun stuff:

posted under Shopping | 6 Comments »

No cake face


When I was putting together the photos of Sabrina’s birthday, I saw I had a cake face photo for each year as well. I thought “I’ll take another and post them all together!”  Brilliant blogging plan.  Except…my girl has grown up.  There was no cake face this year.  She ate with her fork and dabbed at her mouth with her napkin.  I’m proud of her but a little sad. I guess this will be my last chance to do a cake face retrospective since their likely won’t be another cake smeared face photo until she gets married.

1st birthday (we titled this one “Sugar Drunk”)

2nd birthday

3rd birthday (first cake making – so it was batter face and the 2nd one was cake eating)

This year’s clean face:

I guess I can rely on this one for cake face (or cake hands) photos for a little while longer:

posted under family | 4 Comments »

Happy Birthday to my sunshine


Sabrina is 4 today.  4.  How in the world did that happen?

The obligatory blogger retrospective…

Actual Birth Day:

Her first birthday:

Her second birthday:

Her third birthday:

And today:

Happy birthday to my beautiful, sweet, bright, silly sunshine girl.

posted under family | 16 Comments »
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