Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

CSA update


I haven’t been updating about my CSA as often as I should. It got a little monotonous this winter with the greens…not sure that we will do it again for the winter season but really glad we tried it because it pushed us to eat new things. Spring/summer season began 3 weeks ago. It is now a weekly delivery and I’m loving the variety. We get a 1/4 bushel (large shoebox they say) of veggies plus 1/2 dozen eggs and 2 meat shares each week. We received strawberries a couple of times which excited Sabrina and I…otherwise mostly veggies. Here was last week’s share:

There was lettuce, broccoli, purple cauliflower (gorgeous color), a choy of some sort, beets, spring onions, a kohlrabi, 1/2 dozen eggs, 2 packages of italian sausage, and a chicken. No recipes to share from this. I roasted the chicken one night and also a bunch of the veggies. A friend mentioned she roasted the kohlrabi so I thought I would try that. I roasted it with the broccoli and the beets with a little olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. It was good that way. (I hate beets. That hasn’t changed since childhood. But Steve loves them.)  I find myself just throwing veggies into things randomly now so that other things got used here and there.

This week’s share:

A chicken, ground pork sausage, 2 kohlrabi, orange cauliflower, onions, napa cabbage, beets, sugar snap peas, a zucchini, and eggs.

Tonight, I made a weird sandwich thing that was very yummy. I made my own flatbread (recipe here) which was surprisingly easy to do. Who knew you could make bread in a skillet? Then I made a loose meat concoction – ground beef from the CSA, worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, some random spices. I sliced up the napa cabbage then tossed it with a little olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. The meat went on the flat bread and a bunch of the cabbage on top of that. It tasted surprisingly good. Steve has requested that it enter the dinner rotation somewhat regularly.

Can’t wait to see what next week brings!

posted under csa, food | 2 Comments »

Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowls Giveaway


Phew. Sorry about that disappearance. About 8 hours after I declared myself the last (wo)man standing in our house, the dreaded stomach bug hit me and slapped me down HARD. We won’t go into details. Let’s just say I was out of commission for 5 days. I haven’t been that sick any time that I remember. Moving on.

I don’t do reviews very often anymore. There are a variety of reasons for that – none of which are important to anyone except me. When you see me do a review, it is because it is either a product I already love or one I really want to try out. (Most of the products I talk about aren’t sponsored…I have a “Things I’m Loving Right Now” post about half done in my drafts. That one is all me.) MomCentral sent out the invitation to do a review of Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop! Pop Up Bowls. I raised my hand and said “Me! Me! Me!”.  I love popcorn. A lot. As in don’t try and eat out of my bowl. You might lose a finger.

We observe a 90 min – 2 hour nap/quiet time around here. Tessa sleeps. Sabrina reads or plays quietly upstairs. Mommy takes a shower, grabs some lunch, and watches something on the DVR gets some work done.  After quiet time, my girls demand a snack. Snack time is deeply ingrained around here and they will accept nothing less than something yummy, crunchy, salty, and fulfilling. They often ask for crackers or pretzels but their absolute, hands-down favorite is popcorn. Popcorn makes any afternoon feel special to them. If it is raining, some popcorn and a Disney DVD turns it into the Best! Afternoon! Ever! as far as they are concerned. I feel better about giving them popcorn than a lot of other snacky foods – it is high in fiber, filling, and lower in calories than most items they request.

My oldest daughter was a cow in her school play and didn’t want to take off the costume.

The Smart Pop! Pop Up Bowls allow you to rip off the side and use the bag as a stand alone bowl. According to Orville Redenbacher’s fact sheet, Smart Pop! has the a lot of benefits:

  • 6 cups of Smart Pop! has only 100 calories
  • 1 serving provides 2 servings of whole grains
  • A new study from ConAgra Foods found that snacking on 100-calories of low-fat healthy popcorn, like Orville Redenbacher’s SmartPop!, leads to less hunger and more satisfaction versus other snacks like almonds or pretzels
  • 100% whole grain, good source of fiber, low in fat, no trans fat
  • A ConAgra Foods study reveals that a daily snack of Orville Redenbacher’s 94 percent fat-free SmartPop! popcorn can help dieters maintain reduced calorie eating plans while still feeling full and satisfied
  • Popcorn is a whole grain. Research shows that consumers who eat popcorn come much closer to meeting the dietary guidelines recommendation for whole grain consumption of three servings a day

As I mentioned, my girls aren’t the only one who like popcorn. I have a minor obsession with it. Don’t go to the movies with me if you want to share because I don’t share my popcorn. I love being able to pop a big bowl of popcorn and eat all the way through it without feeling horribly guilty like I would if I hit the bottom of a pretzel or chip bag. My favorite is kettle corn. I have a thing with salty/sweet and that satisfies both for me.

Now for the giveaway. I’m giving away 10 boxes of Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop! Pop Up Bowls (10 commenters will receive 1 box or coupon for a free box). Just leave me a comment and tell me when you like to eat popcorn and if you share. I will draw winners on June 1st after 2pm. There is also a $1 off coupon on their facebook page.

 I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Orville and received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

posted under food, Shopping | 27 Comments »

Mother’s Day


I felt quite spoiled this year and I loved it. I did ruin Steve’s surprise for me. A Sephora box arrived about a month ago and I opened it without looking at the tag. Who thinks their husband has ordered something from Sephora? And in April? It wasn’t close a gift giving occasion. But he was on the ball and had ordered some perfume I liked but was too cheap to buy for myself. I felt awful for ruining his surprise but I was excited about the perfume. I quit wearing perfume when I was pregnant with Tessa because my nose couldn’t handle it. And after I had her, she squawked if I wore it so I just fell out of the habit.

Then my mother in law arrived. And she spoiled both me and the children at Kohl’s with her much coveted 30% off coupon. Tessa got her summer wardrobe. Sabrina had her supplemented. And I got a bright, shiny new toy for Mother’s Day (I know, we should be spoiling her). It makes me happy every morning.

The only problem is that I’ve gone from drinking 1 or 2 caffeinated beverages a week to at least 2 a day. I’m going to end up with heart palpitations. See why I say spoiled?

I’m still in love with instagrams so my photos are a mix of those and from my camera. Also please forgive any weird edits or coloring in my photos from my camera. I’m trying to learn to use Lightroom and finding the learning curve large.

THEN I was invited to Tessa’s school for Muffins with Mommy. And they did a cute little program which Tessa didn’t participate in because my child doesn’t do anything the she is expected to do. But it was cute and I got my first real made at school mother’s day gift. The stems are her fingers and the flowers are her fingerprints. It is a marigold. How sweet is that?

Because my mother in law was in town, Steve and I even managed a date night. We went to a BBQ joint that was super yummy and so smoky (the hickory kind not the cigarette kind) that I had to wash our clothes after to get the scent off of us.

Over my shoulder, you can see the big smoker with a whole pig in it. I know. We so fancy.

For mother’s day, the girls made me blueberry muffins.

Steve is so much better at letting them actually help than I am. I get all twitchy about the mess they will make. It is one of my great flaws as a mother. You should see me during easter egg dying or painting – GAH!

End result:

Unfortunately, Saturday night just moments after we arrived home from our date, Sabrina threw up all over the bathroom. Then Sunday night, my Mother in law got sick moments after finishing dinner. Monday morning, Tessa threw up 7 times. Monday night, Steve started feeling less than stellar. He is home from work today. I’m the last (wo)man standing.

My poor mother in law – every time we see her, the kids make her sick. She left this morning and seemed to be on the mend but not 100%. Up until the end, we had a great visit.

Stay tuned…I have a giveaway later this week!


posted under Misc. | 3 Comments »

The other side of the hill looms


See that face? I’m going to be 40 in 4 months. I’m not quite sure how that happened. I distinctly remember my mother turning 40 – I can’t quite wrap my brain around it being my turn. I’ve been thinking about working myself up into quite a funk about it but then remembered my 30th birthday. I was all prepared to be dramatic and depressed about turning 30. But it turned out my 30th birthday was the first anniversary of 9/11. How could I be depressed at turning 30 when so many didn’t get that opportunity because of those acts of terrorism? (Stupid terrorists. They ruin everything.) So instead, I went to work as usual. It was the day of the week that I co-facilitated a partial hospitalization group for middle school kids with several behavioral issues. In an attempt to help them build empathy, we all planted a bush to commemorate the day. Then they all “surprised” me with a cake and called me grandma for the rest of the day. Later, my girlfriend took me to our favorite bar and made me drink out of a punch bowl with a straw. All in all – not a bad day.

As 40 looms, I started thinking about how I would like to celebrate this milestone. I’ve told my husband he should take me to Vegas or whisk me away to a beach somewhere – either venue would allow me to drink enough to pretend I’m still 22 like I am in my head. Odds are, neither of those will happen. We have other budgetary priorities this year. I’ve decided that much like my 30th, my 40th birthday might be easier to accept if I focus on something other than myself. In the next 4 months, I will commit 40 random acts of kindness. I will do my best to document them and share them here.

posted under Misc. | 24 Comments »

No picnik


I miss Picnik. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it was a photo editing site. It was free for basic tools and you could pay an annual membership for more advanced tools. I didn’t use it a lot. I usually pulled it out for photos of myself to soften the dark circles I am always sporting under my eyes. I’ve always had them but since having children they are so much worse – probably because I’ve been tired for 5 1/2 years.  I usually don’t do much else to photos other than maybe frame them – any other effects I’ve played with look so obvious so I stick with airbrushing my dark circles. Picnik closed its site in April so I’ve played around with some of the other sites that do similar things. Ipiccy seems the best for the light editing I do. Give it a try if you are looking to fill the hole picnik left. (Instagram filters are also great for making photos a little more flattering.) I’ve realized that I am in almost no photos with my children. Like ever. Partially because I’m usually the one taking the photos. And partially because I cringe when I see photos of myself. So I need to get over it. Or they will look like orphans when they look back at photos. Here is one with my littlest baby today. She has been a little clingy and quiet.


posted under family | 2 Comments »