National Writing Month

National Writing Month ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is hard for me to write this, let alone believe it, but October is nearly over! I’m shocked how quickly this year has flown by and yet, it does not seem that our cruise vacation was only one year ago last week. But that is the way it is with time and perception.

November is NaNoWriMo. That stands for National November Writing Month. This is for young and old, amateur and professional writers. If your child has an interest in writing, this might be something you want to encourage him/her to participate. There are two different websites-one for adults and one for school-age kids.

Once you sign up, I believe, they have workbooks you can print or purchase already in print, to help them develop the different parts of their story. There is the free pdf you can download and print or just let your child use it and make their notes in a spiral notebook or such.

The HomeschoolFreebieOfTheDay site featured the workbook download page a few days ago and I think they got too much activity because that particular page is no longer available. I have a feeling that they just moved it to another url. I did put the link into the wayback machine of the internet archive and was able to load the page.

There are three different versions of the workbook: elementary, middle, and high school. It has worksheets with some questions to develop your characters, setting, and plot. It includes a great story organizer image of a rollercoaster to understand the parts of the story and create them. It even covers the writing of good dialogue and the use of a variety of words instead of the usual boring words, like said. 😉

That is the prep section to the NaNoWriMo. After that there are pages to help keep track of his/her progress, as well as a section to help with editing when NaNoWriMo is completed. 🙂

Well, I hope this idea and resource are helpful to you and your budding author(s).

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Diva Challenge Flux and ‘Nzepple

iamthedivacztWell, this week’s Diva challenge is a DuoTangle, which is a tile with just two tangles in it and the two Laura has chosen are Flux and ‘Nzepple. Since it is a specified duotangle, I could not combine it with any other challenges or focuses.

I happen to really like ‘Nzepple. It was hard for me to get a hang of drawing in the beginning but once I realized you were just re-drawing each triangle section but rounding the corners, it got much easier and became a favorite. 🙂 Flux on the other hand is a little different, although if I use Rick’s version, I do a lot better with it.

I had a hard time getting inspired with anything other than what Laura did. Then I decided to put ‘Nzepple on Flux. Then I decided to embrace the fact that I would be unable to get ‘Nzepple the same size on all four Flux shapes. I intentionally did the grids different sizes.

Here is the unshaded version.
DC#290 ~

The really tiny gridded ‘Nzepple turned out a bit more wonky than the others because I really need a magnifier but I sit in my recliner when I tangle and it just is not conducive to using something like that. So, the smaller I tangle the wonkier it gets. 😀

I added some shading and probably should’ve take a scan or picture of it but I didn’t. 😉 I decided it needed something else but wasn’t sure what. I ended up penciling in an ‘Nzepple grid as a border and decided I liked it well enough to ink it in. I tried to just ink in the ‘bubbles’ but it didn’t look right, so I inked the border lines.

In the end, I added more shading and some overlap and it turned out ok, although a bit too busy.

DC#290 ~ Lifeofjoy.meAny suggestions on how to improve the shading?

Thanks in advance to those that take the time to leave a comment. It is really encouraging!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Crazy Cabbage

Crazy Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is another of those recipes I got back when I was either on Atkin’s or on the hCG diet. I got it from She has tons of low carb recipes over there. I like a lot of them. The green been and hamburger casserole is a favorite here.

As some of you may recall, Michael is allergic to beef and pork, so I have to change this up a bit for him. However, this is one of those recipes that I’m unwilling to change for myself and the kids. (Yeah, they’re not really “kids” any more but what do you call young adults that still live with you?) So, I change it up a bit for Michael and make it with the beef and bacon for the kids and me.

Start by browning your ground beef with the chopped onion and some salt and pepper.

Crazy Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.meChop the cabbage.

Crazy Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.meSpray your 9×13 casserole dish. Place half of the cabbage on the bottom of your pan and season with salt and pepper.

Crazy Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext place the browned ground meat (and onions) over the cabbage.

Crazy Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext add the rest of the cabbage with more salt and pepper.

Crazy Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.meSpoon about 2 cups of tomato sauce on top of the cabbage. Then add bacon. The original directions say to place 3 pieces of bacon across the top. I happened to have these bacon pieces so I laid them out evenly over the top.

Crazy Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can see, I put a bit more than 3 whole pieces but I like the bacon. 🙂

Cover with foil and bake at 350º for 3 hours. NOW I MUST SAY that I used a glass pan, so I reduced the temperature down to 325º. I also like my bacon a little crispy because I’m going to eat that yummy stuff rather than discard it like the original directions state. Consequently, I removed the foil for the last 30-60 minutes of baking.

I have a gas oven so broiling things is a real pain but if I had an electric oven, I’d just broil it to crisp up the bacon.

Crazy Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen I do this with ground turkey and turkey bacon, I add a little coconut oil (or olive oil) because these meats are way too lean.

Crazy Cabbage ~

Crazy Cabbage


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • small onion, diced
  • small head of cabbage, coarsely chopped (less than two pounds before trimming)
  • nearly 2 cups tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper


  1. Brown the beef with the onions, salt, and pepper.
  2. Grease 9x13 casserole dish.
  3. Place half the cabbage in the pan.Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread cooked beef and onions over the cabbage.
  5. Spread remaining cabbage atop the beef. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon tomato sauce atop the cabbage.
  7. Place bacon on top of the tomato sauce.
  8. Cover with foil and bake at 350º for 3 hours. (I removed the foil for the last 30-60 minutes to brown the bacon because I'm not tossing that yumminess.)

I hope you like this lower carb meal. 🙂 (It is definitely NOT low fat!)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Slow Realization

~ Lifeofjoy.meI am a rather sarcastic individual. You may not have realized it yet, but you would not be alone.

Tiffany is very much like me, in that sarcasm is strong with her as well. 😉 As she has gotten older, she has become more and more sarcastic. We both temper our sarcasm though, refusing to make comments that could hurt someone’s feelings.

We also quote from movies and tv shows, a lot. Some of our favorite quotes are sarcastic. We quoted one line from Two Weeks Notice and did not realize that Michael did not know we were just doing a movie quote. Kudos to him though for not getting offended. I felt really bad once it dawned on us though because it does sound quite disrespectful but it was not meant that way at all . . . but I digress.

In the last couple of weeks, Michael has realized just how sarcastic I really am. I don’t believe I am being any more sarcastic than usual but just that he is now more aware of my special powers. 😀 It is cool though because it has pulled out his sassier side a bit.

He has a small empty Dasani bottle that he has taken to throwing at me when I throw out a quip at him, in the evenings. It is lightweight and seldom finds its target (or maybe he misses on purpose). 😀 The first time he tossed it at me, I laughed and refused to give it back to him. It’s just something fun.

It is hard for me to realize that after all these years together, he has just now  realized how sassy I am. It is possible that some of our issues through the years has been from this kind of miscommunication and never realized it. Or it could just be that because Tiffany and I are both sarcastic, that it has finally dawned on him. We have fun together.

All of this to say, sometimes we think we are communicating well, being funny or whatever and the other person is not making the same connections that you have made. Learn from my experience and examine any areas where you are feeling disconnected, it’s possible that there is a breakdown in communication. No one is at fault and it can be cleared up by some simple explanations.

Lori Byerly of The Generous Wife, shared a good post about communication yesterday. It is a few quick reminders and won’t take long to read. Click here to read Life is Full of Bounces. Actually she has posted a lot of good posts and article links recently. I’ve opened a few new tabs in my browser to continue reading later. 🙂

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº




Liam, Errands, Baking, and Pictures

This one is from the conference.

We had a wonderful errand day this week! I sure wish I had taken some pictures to share with you but I was too busy enjoying the day and running those errands. Of course there was much cuddling with Liam. You know, there’s only so much time a child can be stuck in a car seat, afterall. 😉

Lauren had a doctor appointment and then was going to run errands and so she decided to join Tiffany and I as we ran errands. We’ve done this before and always enjoy the day together. This time was no different.

We picked up Lauren and Liam on our way in for Tiffany’s doctor appointment. While she had her visit, we walked over to Akin’s and completed the first of our errands. 😉 Of course, I held Liam all the while. When Tiffany was finished we headed over to Babies R Us to do some Christmas list shopping for Liam. I love children’s toys! They’re so fun.

After that, we were all very hungry, so off to Chick-fil-a we went. Sean had given both Tiffany and I gift cards there. I got the Cobb salad with the grilled nuggets and the avocado ranch dressing. It was good. Liam drank a bottle while we ate and then we were off to price check more gifts at Michael’s. Interestingly, we made it out of there rather quickly. 😉

However at this point we had to speed ourselves up a bit because we had four stores to hit and time was running short because Lauren and Liam had to be downtown to pick up Brian at 3:30. I was a bit concerned and didn’t want her to be late. Thankfully, I think she made it in time, or at least nearly on time. 😉

If you’ve never ran errands with friends, I recommend it. It is a fun way to do what needs to be done. I do have to say though, that I was very tired by the time we finished.

It’s funny though because Micheal was a bit jealous of me getting so much cuddle time with Liam. It’s been a few weeks since he’s seen him and he is really missing him. He was a great dad and is a really good grandpa already. I do have a picture or two from earlier this month when we had him at church during our conference.

~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany made keto gingerbread cookies for her book cover art last week. By the time she was done she was very tired.

The flash is pretty harsh on her here. 🙁

Here’s some of her cookies.

The letters are the initials for her book title. 🙂

This one is from earlier this month too.


Well, I’m going to run for now. I’m hoping we’ll see Brian, Lauren, and Liam this weekend. I’ll take all the cuddles and snuggles I can get. 🙂

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. I figure not-so-good pictures are better than no pictures at all. 😉


Free ebooks Link and a Reminder of a Good Resource

 ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis week I want to share two things, well, re-share one. The re-share is a wonderful email group that shares links once or twice a week. It is called Where Can I Find It. It is a valuable resource.

Now I want to share a resent email sent to the group because she found a wonderful free book resource, ebooks that is. There are some G A Henty books there too. I hope you enjoy this.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Free books, history, & fall
Hello Everybody
Here is another source for free books. The Libraries at the University of Florida make available an impressive collection of public domain books in a wide variety of subjects. Books can be read online, or printed out and the site is searchable.
I really can’t go through the whole site, both because of my time constraints, but also because I really don’t know what might appeal to you all. However, I’ll broad sketch some of the things I found.

The Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature is probably a good place to start for all those wonderful children’s books of nature, science, history, and tales from long ago —

This is an alphabetical list of all 6000+ titles in the Baldwin collection, in case you want to browse – use the left side column to narrow the search by language, publication date (1850 thru 1890), and publisher:

Here’s something called Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers or, Kindergarten at Home. This book tells of four children, using the story to introduce skills such as “Paper-Cutting” “…Sewing,” “Clay” and “Out of Doors.”
And here’s a whole page of ABC books, fingerplays, and stories for very young children:


Shakespeare the Boy is a pretty thorough look at Shakespeare’s world in the years of his childhood. Although precious little of Shakespeare’s biography is actually known, this book looks at the county of his birth, famous places and people living around that time, as well as things like what houses were like, games children played, holidays and festivals. There are several illustrations, and the descriptions often relate the items/people to scenes or lines from the plays.

Rhymes of the States was published in 1894. Starting in the north eastern most point (Maine), each state is presented with a map, statistics, and brief history (for example, first settlements). There’s also lots of information that’s surely out of date, too (population, economy), but some may find these figures interesting as well.

Here is a listing of 16 books by G. A. Henty:
And here is the American History collection main page – again, use the left-side column to narrow by topic, geography, and/or genre. BTW, there seems to be a lot of resources (including primary sources) for the civil war period:
And one more: The blog site Stories and Your Life contains a collection of fairy tales, myths and epics that can be read online. It’s a work of love by a storyteller with a counseling background who includes introductory remarks about each genre. Among the fairy tales you’ll find the standards “Cinderella,” “Little Mermaid,” and “Sleeping Beauty,” as well as a less-known tale or two like “The Table, the Ass and the Stick.” Very abbreviated versions of the Odysseus and Oedipus myths can almost be used as Cliff’s Notes type synopses. And finally, if you’re a fan of King Arthur tales, you’ll find another synopsis – this one of the legend of Parzival (Percival) as told by a German poet in the early 1200s. Here is a link to the “about me” page (there’s no actual home page):
BTW: along with the stories, the blogger presents “oracle cards” that I’m pretty sure are meant in the same spirit as fortune cookies., but I didn’t pay much attention to.
Now as for season pages, the Fall Fun page at 1+1+1=1 features well-loved themes like apples, pumpkins, and leaves.
To be more specific with the URLs, there are two sets of Pumpkin worksheets here, suitable for your youngest learners.
And a pack of printables devoted to scarecrows here:

In addition, there are two sets of Just Color pages: “Fall Fun” and “Leaves & Trees” pages in the “Just Color!” section. Find them here:
And, finally, a resource I’m proud to share – Tending Our Lord’s Garden, a Catholic mom using Charlotte Mason to homeschool four children. Among the resources she generously offers are notebooking pages and timeline cards for elementary history. Themed to The Story of the World books, they are useful for anyone using a chronological approach to history. The three sets available cover ancient times, middle ages, and modern times through the mid-1800s. Now this is a blog, so the homepage will vary depending on when you access it. Use the tabs to access the SOTW resources — and maybe leave a comment to say Thank You for sharing:
‘til next week –


DC#289 Leafy Challenge

iamthedivacztThis week’s Diva Challenge is to get a leaf, trace it, and tangle it. It was hot here, for October, but Tiffany and I went out anyway. She helped me select a leaf from one of our Bradford Pear trees.

I liked it because it is rippley on the edges and has this nice point at the top. It also has some nice discolorations like Laura’s did.

Here’s my leaf.

#DC289 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI forgot to take a picture or scan before shading today. 🙁 Oh well.

I drew the veins and then had a hard time not using Tipple (like the Diva did). I’m very suggestible and struggle not to mimic what I see. I decided to use something like Meer with the lines for the veins being the central line from which to draw the lines.

After that I was trying to figure out what else to do. I thought about using aura. So, I auraed the right side of the leaf twice and wasn’t thrilled with it. I outlined the other side with small orbs. Then began the shading.

#DC289 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s not my best work but it meets the challenge. 🙂

Thanks in advance to any that leave comments. I love them and am encouraged by them.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins ~ Lifeofjoy.meI love pizza! Yep! I sure do! Many diets have failed me because I cannot imagine giving up pizza forever (and sometimes, not even for a few months). So you might be able to imagine that I struggled a bit on the keto diet which does not allow bread.

Naturally I had to find a few recipes to help me through this dilemma. The first is one I have had for several years, Pizza Topping Casserole, which is really quite good. It has all the flavor of the toppings with a hint of the sauce but nothing to substitute for the crust. It works some of the time. The second is the breakfast keto pizza. This one has a crust, yummy toppings, sauce and filling.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, today I bring you Pepperoni Pizza Muffins. This has that bread quality without any wheat, corn, rice, et cetera. It uses lots of eggs, some almond flour and a bit of coconut flour. We got this from According to them, the muffins have 2 net carbs per muffin, 182 calories, 14.4g fat, and 7.8g fiber. My counts will be a little different because I used turkey pepperoni since Mike is allergic to both beef and pork, and cheddar cheese instead of the recommended mozzarella.

Tiffany first fixed these for us to have the week of the conference as a grab and go breakfast. I decided I needed to make them again to have on hand. Plus, I needed a recipe to share with you today. 😉

Begin by beating the eggs slightly.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen add flours, cream cheese, baking powder, salt, and water.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins ~ Lifeofjoy.mePepperoni Pizza Muffins ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd half of the cheese and the pepperoni.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins ~ Lifeofjoy.meSpray muffin tin. Fill each muffin tin 1/2 to 3/4 full.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins ~ Lifeofjoy.meSprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the muffins.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins ~ Lifeofjoy.meBake at 400º for 20-30 minutes.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins ~ Lifeofjoy.meI used this cute pan, so they kind of look like mini bundt cakes.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins ~

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins


  • 5 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400º and spray muffin tin.
  2. Place eggs in mixer and beat eggs slightly.
  3. Add flours, baking powder, salt, cream cheese, Asiago cheese, and water; combine.
  4. Cut pepperoni into quarters. Add it and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Combine.
  5. Fill muffin tins 1/2 - 3/4 full.
  6. Bake 20-30 minutes.

If you want these for lunch, you might heat up some marinara sauce and dip it in.

Serve right away or refrigerate and reheat later. 🙂

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Celebrate Him

Birthday ~ Lifeofjoy.meMike’s birthday was this weekend. In our house we don’t do “parties” per se but we do celebrate the birthday person. We let the birthday person pick the menu for the day and put up banners and signs. We’ve had the same ones for many years. Well, mostly . . . I had to replace one banner because it got broken and not easily fixable.

We also celebrate with my extended family on a Sunday around the birthday. Sometimes that means we are celebrating two birthdays on a given day since several of us has birthdays close to each other.

Well, the point of all this is to remind you to celebrate your hubby on his birthday. Make his favorite dessert. But above all, show him some extra attention. This is especially important when you have little children. You spend so much time devoted to the kids that hubby can feel neglected or pushed to the side. Take a nap during the day during the children’s nap time/quiet time, so that you are have some energy left for him at the end of the day.

Think about some little things that you can do to make his day (and his night) extra special. Help the children celebrate him too. It is a wonderful feeling to have your household tell you how important you are to them or how fun  you are or some other expression of love.

But whatever you do, do NOT let it be “just another day.” This day is special because the man you love was born on this day. Make sure he knows how blessed you are that he is here. It is easy to get bogged down in the daily grind but don’t let that happen on his day, even if he tells you to.

The great thing about all this is that you can do this no matter what your financial situation. You have to eat anyway, so make his favorite foods. Certainly you have paper and crayons, markers, pens, or pencils around with which to make some signs, if you haven’t already purchased some in previous years. (We got ours at Dollar Tree.) 🙂

Use your imagination and make him feel loved and desired by you. 🙂

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Gift Shopping and Catching Up

Shopping and Catching Up ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s been a good week. Sean has been house/dog sitting again this week. I bought Captain America 3 on errand day and so he came out. We had stroganoff meatballs and fauxtaytoes, which is steamed cauliflower mashed with some butter, heavy cream, and some salt. The stroganoff meatballs is a recipe from I Breathe I’m Hungry and is keto but I don’t think anyone would ever know it. They are really good, although my kids don’t prefer nearly as many mushrooms as is called for. 😉

I found a website that has inexpensive items. I’m hoping to get a bunch of stocking stuffers from them but I’ll see soon. It has a wide range of items but I’m keeping it to myself. 😉

I found a new form of crochet that resembles knit in the finished product. It is called Tunisian crochet or sometimes Afghan crochet. It uses a cross between a crochet hook and a knitting needle. It looks like a long knitting needle with a crochet hook on the end and no grip. The pattern I am attempting uses a J hook. Unfortunately the closest I came was an I. I figured that was okay and my dishcloth will just be a little smaller than intended.

I started another of the knitted dishrags this week too. I really like them a lot. Sean and Tiff like them too. I’ve decided that I need to make a whole lot of dishcloths in order to keep them clean. Walmart has a cone of the Peaches and Cream yarn for about $7.97 and is a really good deal. I think I may buy one next week.

Mike’s birthday is this weekend and my neice’s is the following week, so it’s time for me to get some gifts purchased. Christmas is also coming soon, so it’s time to get my shop on! I like to have it finished by Thanksgiving, so I better get on the ball. (Can you tell I’m trying to get myself pumped up to get it all done? 😀 )