datestampUSEFriday, February 29, 2008

Is the month seriously over?

Thank goodness for Leap Year! If I didn't have this extra day today, I wouldn't have been able to complete my project of the month. In February, I wanted to put something up on ebay for sale and I can't believe the end of the month has already arrived! (Procrastination is not a trait I'm proud of. It doesn't happen ALL the time, but it does happen :( I am determined to get my item up by the end of the day.


datestampUSEThursday, February 28, 2008

Merm to the Rescue

Have you noticed that my blog is all about my life's "goodies"? I normally don't care to share the whiny, frustrated, irritable, downright ugly moments that all too often occur. But, yes, they happen frequently enough in my life. Like last night and today - I caught the flu. In my humble opinion, it is one of life's terrible injustices - mommy getting sick. As I was on the phone last night in a delirious rant, begging Bryce to end his business trip early, he promised to send in some back-up. And that he did - Merm to the rescue. By some miraculous interference, his mom and dad hadn't yet returned to California. So Merm (as I affectionately call my mother-in-law) came and saved the night and day. I think I'm finally breaking through to the other side because I've been able to spend a good portion of the day in bed after a horrible night. Thanks a million to Merm and here's hoping to I can get back to a "goodie" post tomorrow.


datestampUSEWednesday, February 27, 2008

What we're reading

Kalli is about 3/4 of the way through this book. We love Shannon Hale - she is a local talent and has earned a Newberry Honor for her book "Princess Academy." My favorite of hers is still the "Goose Girl." (Maybe because I read it in Hawaii one year? Oh, the memories of that book still bring back the tropical scent of the islands.) I will start "Book of 1000 days" as soon as Kalli is done.

Ella has recently started the Magic Tree House series and is currently enjoying "Dolphins at Daybreak."

Max still can't get enough of the book, "Jack Frost" that Grandma Smiley gave him for Christmas.

I finished "A 1000 Splendid Suns" a couple of weeks ago when I was sick (and missed out on my St. George trip...but I'm not bitter). It was so tragic - the content was quite difficult to read in parts, but it was very moving.

"To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting."
~ Edmund Burke ~


p.s. I should include Bryce in here - he is still reading Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" - but he's not quite like the girls and I, as he has been reading this for a good 2 months now! He most likely will still be reading "Kitchen Confidential" in the next installment of "What we're reading." :)

datestampUSETuesday, February 26, 2008

Not your Grandmother's Crafts

If you are a Martha Stewart fan, you saw this book on her show this week. I loved it and absolutely have to get one. It is a Japanese craft book translated into English and includes dozens of instructions on how to make cast off socks and gloves into charming little knit friends - just another example of how crafting has evolved from silk flower arrangements and toll painting to unique, even contemporary projects such as this one.


datestampUSEMonday, February 25, 2008

She's an Expert

Kalli had her big 4th grade school project, "I'm an Expert" today. She chose to do it on Flickr. (Of course, we are big fans of Flickr at our house - take a look at my side bar!) She took this first picture of her classmates and uploaded it onto her Flickr page during her presentation to demonstrate how to use this fabulous photo sharing website. She worked so hard on her presentation and it was such a success. We are proud of our little budding technologist.


Boy's Night Out

Max had his very first sleepover this weekend at Grammy and Paca's new Utah house with his 4 cousins - Russell, Zach, Andrew, and Daniel. He was so excited to pack his Thomas rolling bag that he got for Christmas. He filled it with his coolest pajamas and toys. The girls didn't get to go because it was "boys only" and honestly I think Max thought he had died and gone to heaven with all those little men running around. I wasn't around to witness any of it, but reports have it that he just integrated himself right into the middle of those brothers and thought he was one of them. Apparently he didn't even ask about me until 2:00 p.m. the next day! :( Thanks Grammy and Paca and Ryan and Rachelle for a fun weekend. Can't wait to see you all again!


datestampUSESunday, February 24, 2008

What's for Dinner?

BBQ Pork

1 large onion chopped
1/4 c. chili powder
3 lbs boneless pork ribs
1 can tomato paste
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 T. mustard
1 T. Worcestershire
2 t. salt
1 c. water

Throw everything in all together and cook on low in a crockpot for 6 hours. Pull apart with a fork. Serve with coleslaw on a bun. So delicious and leftovers for days!


datestampUSESaturday, February 23, 2008

Here you go Grandmas!

Is there any better way to watch a piano recital? You don't have to sit through the hours of other people's grandchildren play - just grab a seat and enjoy these 2 1/2 minutes of the talented Miss Kalli Jensen Roberts aka "Flying Fingers" do her thing.


datestampUSEFriday, February 22, 2008

Behind the Lens

Our entire married life I have been behind the camera lens. Not that I mind, because I really love the perspective I can express from taking a photograph that is completely my point of view. However, because I am the photographer (amateur at best) I am often excluded from the pictures. So this morning I grabbed my camera (right by my bed) and took a couple of shots while Josie and I were in the midst of our morning cuddling ritual. The quality isn't fabulous because the lighting was poor and I was holding the camera above us. Yet, I feel they capture the serenity of these moments with baby J that I never want to forget.


datestampUSEThursday, February 21, 2008

Movie Night

Who doesn't love a movie night? We watched "Becoming Jane" - very sweet and entertaining and Anne Hathaway is so beautiful. It's not going to change your life, but it's definitely worth a couple hours of your time.

Instead of just a phone call or note, I used a basket of favorite movie goer goodies with the time, date, and place as an invite.

I made caramel corn to share. It is my sister Jana's recipe and I've recently learned it is even better the next day :)

2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cube butter
1 cup sweetened condensed milk

Heat sugar and corn syrup to a soft ball. (5-8 minutes) Remove from heat. Add butter and condensed milk. Pour over a huge bowl of popped corn. Sticky, gooey, sweet, yummy, amazing!


datestampUSEWednesday, February 20, 2008

Light up My Life

I'm not normally a huge fan of Pier 1 Imports, but I got their mailer last week and they had some really lovely things...this lamp being one. And better yet, it is only $29. Probably worth a quick trip to check it out in person...


Rise and Shout!

In an effort to inspire young people to become lifelong learners and encourage reading, the Ad Council and the Library of Congress have launched a new series of public service advertisements to promote the Lifelong Literacy campaign. The best part is, this particular ad was created pro bono by The Geppetto Group, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and the Brigham Young University (BYU) Ad Lab. Aren't we Cougars just brillant? :) Everytime we (mostly Kalli and I) see this ad, it stops us in our tracks and we just have to watch. It is amazing.


Trader Joe's Part Deux

Everyone's Trader Joe's tips are so great...I think I need more! There is nothing better than trying out someone elses' trusty favorites. They are always sure to please. If you have a favorite, will you please share? We're going to CA for Spring Break next month and I may just have to bring an extra suitcase for the goods. I'll happily bring some favorites back for anyone! Since when has grocery shopping ever been this fun?


p.s. I will share the favorites in the comments so everyone can see and share - keep them coming! I can't wait to try out some of these new products!

datestampUSETuesday, February 19, 2008

My Favorite Grocery Store

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To my ever agreeable in-laws who repeatedly fill my requests for Trader Joe's products. They make the journey from California to Utah several times a year and never fail to make me giddy over the TJ goodies! (We are not lucky enough in Utah to be blessed with a TJ Store.) This time they brought dried pineapple, chocolate cupcakes (of course!), and macadamia cookies. Hooray for Trader Joe's - and hooray for Grammy and Paca!


datestampUSEMonday, February 18, 2008

Current Crush

Forgot to share my anniversary present...does my husband know me or what? La La Love!


Conversations Overheard

As they were playing at my feet in the kitchen...

Kalli: "Why don't we have to go to school on the random holidays and we do have to go to school on the important ones?"

Ella: "I don't know. What do you mean?"

Kalli: "We don't go to school on Martin Luther King Day and President's Day, but we have to go to school on Valentines Day, St. Patricks Day, and Halloween!"

Ella: "Yeah, no fair!"

Please don't judge me for what my children do and do not think the "important" holidays are...I promise I'm trying! We'd better have a short history lesson as soon as I finish the dishes. Happy President's Day to all.


datestampUSESunday, February 17, 2008

Non-Essential Must Have

Last night we went to dinner for our anniversary. I surprised Bryce by bringing a smattering of questions from "Table Topics" to fuel our dinner conversation. We had such a memorable time discussing such questions as:

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
If you had one day a week do to anything, what would you do?
How do you know if you can trust someone?
What did you do last year that would never do this year?
What is your idea of a good surprise?

I highly recommend these jam packed little transparent cubes of conversation.

Good Food+Good Conversation with your honey = Perfect Night Out


(They come in a variety of editions: Family, Couples, Girls Night Out, Book Club and I'm sure there's more that I don't know about).

datestampUSESaturday, February 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary

I simply cannot top what my husband of 12 years had to say here and here for his post about our special day. Love you babe.


datestampUSEFriday, February 15, 2008

My Baby

Baby Josie Faye is 6 months today. Here is how I feel:


But mostly I am completely and utterly in love with her. How did I get so lucky?


datestampUSEThursday, February 14, 2008

A Love Song

Wishing all a Happy Valentines Day with a recent favorite. (It takes a minute to load.) Check out Bryce's blog post today to find out where we discovered the artist.


More Good News

*If you're just looking at this, first scroll down to "I have Good News and Bad News" and read in order.

It's Valentines Day! The next phase of my good news is that I got to wake my kids up with a kiss and wish them a Happy Valentines Day. They were startled and thrilled to see me (which is always a treat) and I swear they think I planned to pull off this great Valentine Surprise all along just for them. I was able to get the girls ready for school today and see them off with their cute heart shirts on, and their valentines and boxes in tow. Kalli was ever so relieved I was here to do her hair - apparently she'd been quite worried about how she was going to "make it work" on her own this morning. So in the spirit of "accentuating the positive," I'm going to do my best to have a great day here, and not wish I was being pampered by my parents in St. George. Happy Valentines to all...


P.S. Here's a look at some of our valentines and the girls' valentine boxes.

The Good News

I did have a hero in this whole catastrophe and that was my nephew Renn. He was the one who took me TO the airport. (*Sidenote: Bryce was stuck at the Oakland airport and eventually just had to get a room at a nearby hotel to wait out the storm - he should be home sometime before lunch today.) Renn stayed with my kids while I was AT the airport and then came to pick me up FROM the airport. He was heaven sent last night. And just a little plug - he's single, 23, tall, blond and handsome. If you would like more details, please contact me :-) So, he eventually went back home last night and I ended the day right where I began - in my bed, under the covers, and utterly exhausted.


I have Good New and Bad News

The Bad News Always First:
Josie and I spent all evening yesterday at the Salt Lake International Airport. We were supposed to fly down to St. George to spend a couple of days with my parents before Bryce brought the rest of the kids down on Friday after school for the 3-day weekend. After my flight was delayed "indefinitely" (due to this crazy winter weather), I decided to cancel altogether. Josie and I were not about to wait it out all night in the airport. An exhausting day preparing for a trip turned into an exhausting night waiting for a trip that never ended up happening. So here I sit, in cold and snowy SLC with my fireplace roaring when I should be down in St. George. That's the bad news.


datestampUSEWednesday, February 13, 2008

Last Minute Valentine Craft

Some of my favorite blogs have simple tutorials on them, so I've decided to share one of my favorite projects here: Patch Applique T's. They are fairly simple and utterly stylish. Of course, these are the ones I made for the girls for Valentines day.

1. Cut your design out of scrap fabrics - I chose a heart with a stem and a leaf
2. Place design onto a sheet of Wonder Under (which is available at any fabric store) and iron on your design (*Be sure and place a rag or scrap piece of paper between the iron and the fabric design so as not to get the glue from the Wonder Under on your iron. You may even want to place a fabric onto your ironing board so you don't get any glue on your ironing board cover.)
3. So the layers are this from bottom to top: rag, Wonder Under, fabric design, rag, iron.
4. Now that the fabric and the Wonder Under are sealed together (fabric on top), peel off the back side of the Wonder Under (on the back of your design) and iron the actual design onto the t-shirt. You will be ironing on the top (right side out) of the fabric straight onto the t-shirt.
4. Reinforce the design by sewing your newly made fabric patch on the t-shirt using a zig-zag stitch around the perimeter of the design.

I didn't even buy new t's to make these -I just used two stripe t's the girls already had. You could do this for any holiday - a green shamrock for St. Patricks Day, a bunny for Easter, a cupcake and candle for their birthday, you get the drift...Have fun and feel free to ask any questions. (And a special thanks to Kim for her help.)


datestampUSETuesday, February 12, 2008

Look what you missed out on Daddy!

This is "Family Fun" week at school, which includes an evening of ice skating, a Valentines Dance, an afternoon of board games, and a family lunch. So Max and I packed up our sandwiches (we decided not to brave the chili and chips) and brought Josie along to go have lunch with the girls in the cafeteria. They had a great time taking us to their tables, demonstrating how the lunch line works, and of course showing off Josie to all of their friends. A good time was had by all.


-P.S. might I add, the smell of a school cafeteria has not changed one bit


Today is my one month blogging anniversary - does that make it a blogiversary? Either way, it has been such an exciting creative outlet, not to mention a true challenge in attempt to capture my life in words and images. I have reconnected with old friends, found some new ones, and kept a journal of it all along the way. If you are tinkering around with the idea of starting a blog - please do so! I know for a fact ALL my friends and family would make terrific bloggers. It is so much fun and genuinely rewarding. Why else you would bake a delicious tart - then proceed to make every salivating member of your family wait so you can find the right light to take a picture of it? Ha! It sounds even more bizarre when I write it, but its true! Thanks to everyone who has commented and e-mailed me. I love to read everything you have to say - and if you are a lurker (no need to be ashamed :-) - I was once one too!) please post a comment and let me know you've visited. A happy day to all...


datestampUSEMonday, February 11, 2008

One of my

I'm excited to be working on some custom pieces for my niece's bridal party. I have so many favorites, I don't know what to suggest. So, here you go Aly. This is just a sampling of some varying styles. Once you get an idea of what you want, you can then customize individual pieces for each personality and style - and all in your colors. Let's get those creative juices flowing...

-(aunt) amr

Top of the Morning to Ya

Here's a great way to start off a Monday morning...

I don't think I was the only one who was sorely disappointed by the Super Bowl commercials this year. A great commercial is straightforward and has a simple yet relatable plot. This one still gets me everytime.


datestampUSESunday, February 10, 2008

Smiley Family Home Evening

Although my family (The Smileys) has lived all across the country, including Washington, Michigan, Oregon, and Wyoming - somehow the stars have all aligned in the past couple of years and we are fortunate enough to live within 60 miles of one another (all 6 children). We get together once a month for dinner and a family meeting and this has become such a wonderful tradition (and a huge hosting obligation because our numbers have reached over 30)! Tonight it was at Scott and Lisa's and we had a great sampling of international dishes.
There are several recipes from that meal I've got to get...perhaps Scott and Lisa would be my guest bloggers and share their recipes :-) ? (Look at me saying "guest blogger" like I'm all OFFICIAL or something.) The food was great and the company was better - or was the company great but the food better? Anyway, here is the recipe for my tasty and trusty Greek Salad. It's a longtime favorite (thanks Kari).


Greek Salad
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 c. vegetable oil
4 Tbs. lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix dressing and let stand for 3 hours. Toss with salad just before serving.

2 heads Romaine
bacon, crumbled
parmesan cheese, grated
(feta or swiss is also delicious)
slivered almonds
cherry tomatoes, halved

datestampUSESaturday, February 9, 2008

Time to Tea

Afternoon tea with "the girls" was such a delight - especially after a long week of single parenting, it was a much needed treat. You are served a variety of teas/hot chocolates, finger sandwiches (bay shrimp, watercress, ahi tuna, etc...), scones with clotted cream and lemon curd (Kalli's absolute favorite), and then an amazing selection of desserts. It is in a very traditional setting with live harp or piano music, a roaring fire, wing back Victorian I painting a delicate enough picture? Needless to say, I highly recommend this if you are ever in downtown Salt Lake. Let us know if you plan on going and we'll come along!


Happy Saturday!

We're headed off for a fun day today...First, Art Market (a local favorite), then afternoon tea at the Grand America with moms and daughters. Here's to a great weekend!


datestampUSEFriday, February 8, 2008


I'm not usually so envious of Bryce's travel schedule, but the meetings he had lined up this week in NYC were truly right up my alley. Today he met with the executives from Monsoon. It is such a beautiful store from the UK that my friend Jane took me to last year when we went to London. The women's and children's clothes are absolutely gorgeous - especially the dresses. Hey babe - are you bringing me home some SWAG?


That's a wrap

I must admit that we never entered the Harry Potter craze (no boos or hisses, please). But one day last fall when Kalli was home sick from school, she picked up The Sorcerer's Stone and finished it in a matter of days. Between her school work, her required reading, skiing, dancing, piano practicing, soccer (and on and on) she has been faithfully reading each of the 7 volumes. She just finished the final book last night. I'm so proud of her - quite an accomplishment to read 7 volumes in 5 months.


datestampUSEThursday, February 7, 2008

Green with stripes and polka dots and envy

Bryce was at Etsy Headquarters in NYC today meeting with their CEO. This would have been a highlight for me if I had been able to go on this trip with him. Etsy is truly one of my favorite websites. It is so inspiring to see all the talent, creativity and ideas shared in a common space. This photo is of a wall flanked thousands of their seller's pictures. Maybe someday my picture will be on that wall...(I think I'd better stick to Ebay for right now)


Conversations Overheard

Max: "You're a dumbhead doofus."

Ella: (In her bossiest voice): "Max, where did you learn all those naughty words?"

Max: "In jail."

Ella (Once again, bossy...): "Max, you have never been to jail. Now tell me where you learned them."

Max: "Wal-Mart"

Ahhh, another daily dose of intellectual uplift.


Where we spent our morning

The strep test came back negative, much to my surprise and the doctor's surprise. She said, "We show our medical students a throat that looks just like this and tell them - This is what strep looks like." Another $10 copay deposited into my "peace of mind" account. So worth it.


datestampUSEWednesday, February 6, 2008

Current Crush

I love this sentiment. This is a reproduction of a vintage WWII poster and unfortunately, it is sold out right now. But I'll keep waiting. Wouldn't it be so great to hang right in the middle of the house? Here's the story of the design:

In 1939, on the eve of the declaration of war with Germany, the British Government's Ministry of Information commissioned a number of posters to be displayed throughout the country upon the outbreak of the inevitable war. This poster, using the Crown of King George VI as the only graphic element, simply read "Keep Calm and Carry On." The original designer's identity remains unknown. However, this faithful reproduction of the original poster is a tribute to the person who so cleverly captured the spirit of the moment.

P.S. If you haven't checked out this shop, it's worth a peek


100th Day of School

(This post is dedicated to my ever faithful commenter, Kari. :) On her blog, she posted about her daughter Ashton's 100th school day - it was so great! Here is our 100th day experience.)

Today is the 100th day of school and the year is already half-way over. This picture was taken on the first day and it is hard to believe how much they've already changed. In celebration of this great milestone in a first grader's life, Ella was supposed to wear 100 somethings today (we chose polka dots, but I'm sure there were at least 200+ on her leggings). She brought home a worksheet about the number 100. Here were her answers.

What do you think happened 100 years ago?
Dinosaurs came to earth

What would you do with $100?
I would spend it on stuffed animals (so true!)

And my favorite...
What would you do with 100 pets?
I would be annoyed

Me too.


datestampUSETuesday, February 5, 2008

My Lunch Dates

We love our weekly lunch dates. Sometimes it's just Bryce and I. Most often Josie comes along. Every once in awhile, Kalli or Max or Ella get to join in on the fun. We love finding new places to eat, catching up, and taking a breather from the crazy busy that is our lives.


Boden Order

These are just a couple favorite items I got in the mail yesterday in my Mini Boden package. I didn't get a picture of Ella this morning in this pink pleated pinafore, but she looked so cute. They are having such a great sale. So if you have girls sizes 7-10, run don't walk to their website!

datestampUSEMonday, February 4, 2008

A Thousand Miles

Kalli and I had some fun one on one time on Saturday. She tagged along while I ran some errands. (And of course it always pays off to go shopping with mom - she ended up with a new jacket!) As we were zooming from here to there, she decided we needed some theme music and she was going to compose a "girls shopping playlist" on her iPod for next time. (She absolutely inherited her love of music from both her dad and I.) Her first choice of songs was this one by Vanessa Carlton. They've been stretching to it during her dance class and she just loves it - especially the piano part.


datestampUSESunday, February 3, 2008

My Girls

I love how these two pictures capture each of their personalities perfectly.

Chop Chop

Big changes in the Roberts' house! Twelve inches were hacked between the two girls. Kalli had seven inches cut off and Ella had four. Now we have cute little girls with bobs at our house. It's amazing how much more they look alike!