Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Knocking on wood slows down the typing


I can’t wait to see that same look on her teenaged face because you know she will give me that same “go to hell” look. Often. Without the cute pigtails and probably a lot of black eyeliner.

So. Potty training. I’ve talked about it here a few times but it has consumed our house for way too long. Tessa finally decided she was on board. And then she decided she wasn’t. And now she is again. We’ve been accident free for weeks. AND she has declared she will wear panties at night and has done so successfully for 3 nights in a row. Huh. Success, as predicted, had nothing to do with us and everything to do with Tessa deciding she would do it. She day trained 2 years after Sabrina but night trained 2 years earlier. I’m not even going to pretend that evens out. But for the first time in memory, we have been to Sam’s Club and not purchased wipes or diapers or pull ups. Of course, the speed with which we are now going through toilet paper is rather mind boggling but I will take that over diapers any day. So I am going to call it. And you can all laugh at me when I come back here and eat humble pie for jinxing things:


Go ahead Karma…here is where you kick me in the teeth.

posted under parenting | 1 Comment »

So these things happened


Sabrina turned 6. I’m not sure how that happened so don’t ask. She is 6 and in the first grade. Makes my brain hurt to realize how quickly the years have passed. She is currently a huge fan of My Little Ponies. She asked for Rainbow Dash party. She ended up having a small sleepover (who knew those started so early? she was the only sleep over virgin of the 3 of them) so there was no themed party (phew). As a consolation, I offered to make rainbow cupcakes to take into her class on her birthday. My only guide was that my friend Michelle, from Burgh Baby, said it was easy and just to separate into bowls and color then pour. But she is one of those over-achieving birthday moms who makes cupcake masterpieces for her daughter to take to school every year. And I don’t bake. Seriously, I ended up in tears over the stupid Christmas cookie exchange for my mom’s club last year. I think the source of my baking failure is that I don’t follow directions well. But look how pretty (I showed them off on Facebook so don’t roll your eyes if we are friends there):

For anyone who would like to wow your children with similar lovely treats, it really was simple. I mixed up 2 boxes of white cake mix and split it between 6 smaller plastic bowls.  I added sufficient food coloring to turn them bright red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I layered them in the rainbow cupcake liners and baked. I was afraid the colors would run together. They didn’t.

I frosted them with Ducan Hines new mix-ins frosting – cotton candy flavor. (Not a paid shout out. And seriously not as icky as it sounds…didn’t taste bad at all.)  Then I topped with a strip of sour fruit strips. The kids at school and the birthday girl were all quite impressed. And I, obviously, was quite impressed with how well they turned out. Hence my repeated showing off of the pretty cupcakes.

Cupcakes aside, Sabrina had a great birthday. The sleepover went okay. I don’t think we’ll have another for awhile but the girls had fun overall.

Her other piece of excitement this month was a brush with cheerleading. She took a 1 afternoon cheerleading clinic at the local high school and then got to cheer during half time at the football game. She was nervous and excited and thought it was all quite cool. She didn’t really bother to learn the little routine but instead spent most of her time on the field trying to do a handstand. But she had a great time. Tessa thought it was cool and cheer for Sabrina the whole time. “Go  Sabrina!” It was all a lot of cute.

 This head thrown back laughter is the essence of Sabrina.

 ”Yay Sabrina!”

Otherwise we are just trying to keep up with site words and book reading and math and homework for the first grade. Sabrina needs to work a little harder to master the skills required. If things are hard or not fun, she tends to give up. As a result, she doesn’t test well at school. They sent home a report that she didn’t do well in number recognition. Looking at the test (assessment not graded test), I could see exactly where she lost interest and just started throwing out random guesses so she could stop doing it. I’m not sure how to motivate her but we keep working. Her reading improves each week – unless she isn’t in the mood to do it and then she pretends to not know a single word.

posted under family | 3 Comments »

Confessions of a Hobby Lobby Junkie


I’m spending way too much of my time lately with a paint brush (or marker or scissors or paper) in my hands. I’m not quite sure what I am going to do with all of the canvases I am producing.

I can’t seem to stay out of Hobby Lobby. Good thing my girl friends got me gift cards for my birthday.

posted under Crafty | 8 Comments »

Guess it beats the alternative


Well. The big day is here. That birthday that I’ve dreaded and joked about since I remember my mother turning it. The big 4-0. Forty. Four decades. 14600 days. (My husband will likely point out I didn’t include the extra days for leap years. He would be correct.) And honestly? Today will just be another day. My youngest is home with me. My oldest is in school. Husband at work. But the day will end with my favorite annual treat. (Usually bi-annual but our Bruster’s closed and just re-opened a month ago so I didn’t get my Mother’s Day ice cream cake – can you believe he refused to drive to Chattanooga to get me one?) So there is that to look forward to – coffee ripple ice cream with chocolate cake. Yum! And my girlfriends want to go out this weekend for a little celebration. Another thing to look forward to. My husband and some friends surprised me with a celebration last weekend at a local winery that we’ve been talking about visiting for years. The weather was A-MAZ-ING. The vineyard (Arrington – owned by Kix Brooks if you are a country fan) was lovely. The wine was flowing freely. And I was surrounded by some of my favorite people. It was a great night. (Photo taken by a friend’s husband. After multiple bottles of wine had been consumed.)

It was a great way to ring in a new decade. And I look forward to some other faces joining the celebration this weekend.


Remember back in May, I said I was going to do 40 random acts of kindness before my 40th birthday? I said I would document them and share. I started to do that (the documenting). Then I realized that while I was documenting these things, they stopped feeling so random and started feeling rather self congratulatory. I was thinking about things I could do that would make good blog fodder. That was so not the point of that. So I stopped the documenting and just starting doing them when opportunities occurred. I completed #40 this weekend. The recipient of that act may not realize that she was part of my birthday goal but I was happy with my final act. I’m not going to list them all here as I originally intended but some examples: complimenting random strangers, paying for the Starbucks order behind me in the drive thru, leaving a handmade gift for someone who was struggling, mailing some surprises to folks who could use a pick-me-up, taking carts left in the parking lot back to the store, and other small gestures. None of them were huge. But they all likely made someone smile. My favorite was standing outside of Aldi’s and handing out quarters to women digging in their bags for one. (You have to have a quarter to get a shopping cart at Aldi’s. It is a pain in the butt if you aren’t prepared ahead of time.)  It was just a quarter but several people just lit up (others were very confused). I had fun with it and it made me feel a little better as I approached this big day.


I’ll get a post up soon about Sabrina’s 6th birthday which was last week. Going out of order is just how we roll around here.

posted under Misc. | 3 Comments »