Busy and Fun

Last Friday our church had a Church Family fun night. Tiffany and I went over during the day and helped decorate. This is what the tables looked like. Mary and Carol did a good job getting decorations. It looked really nice when we got it finished.

Busy and Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.me

It was a good evening of fellowship. There were several songs, some information about who Saint Patrick was and what he did, food, and door prizes.

I swiped those pictures from Mary. By the time I got my camera out, decorations were all taken down and put away.Busy and Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany didn’t have any green clothing to wear but we picked up a cute shamrock scarf and the bow tie at Dollar Tree. It made her outfit festive. :)

Busy and Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.me


We celebrated Tracie and Sean’s birthdays at my parents’ last Sunday. When I made the menu this week, I completely forgot that Sean’s birthday is this weekend. I sure hope I have everything I need to make his birthday meals. ;)


We got to keep Liam for a while this week. He was really energetic and had Tiffany walking him around and around. :)

Busy and Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe also moved some furniture around. It was a busy week.

It’s been ridiculously hot for March and of course, our air conditioner in the house and in the car are in need of some attention.

Michael came home with another window ac unit this week to help us until our air conditioner serviceman can make it here. So, we’ve hung a blanket over the hallway entrance and closed doors to external rooms, to allow the two window units to cool our main living areas. We put box fans in the windows to bring in the cool air at night, so the bedrooms are not horribly hot.


As I was cleaning up yesterday, I found this little guy hiding out on the counter top.

Busy and Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.me

There’s always one Christmas decoration that doesn’t get put away with the rest. Every year. I guess it was this one’s turn. :)


I believe I told you about the cats and kittens last week. Well, this week Latte moved three of the kittens somewhere . . . not sure where . . . but they’re gone. Just one little cute white one with no tail is left. I guess maybe Tiffany is mistaken that there were three without tails. This one is cute; I hope it survives.


My parents came for dinner this week too. It is nice to have them over for dinner. It’s hard to believe we’ve done this three times now. Wow, the year is going by quickly!

Busy and Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, Tiffany is playing the new Zelda game. Sean bought it last week. It said that it wouldn’t be here until April and then next week and then BOOM! It got here early this week! It is really really an enjoyable game.

I made a sugar free, gluten free pound cake for dessert tonight. Actually I got the recipe from that cookbook in my mom’s hands, Cooking Keto with Kristie. I’m loving the recipes. It was supposed to be made in a loaf pan but I was hungry for strawberry shortcake kind of thing. So I made it in my flan pan. There was a bit extra batter, so I made a few mini cupcakes.

Here it is in the pans ready to go into the oven.

Busy and Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meOH!!! The brand of oat fiber makes all the difference in the world!!! Seriously!!! The last couple of items we made with Anthony’s oat fiber tasted like play-doh. Yuck! I got the oat fiber from Netrition this week and it tastes good!!!

Obviously, I didn’t get the pan greased well enough. Good think I used the parchment paper on the center. This is a flan pan from Pampered Chef. There was such potential. :)

Busy and Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ll grease it down a lot better next time. AND there WILL BE a next time. :)

I whipped up some heavy whipping cream with a bit of sukrin melis (aka powdered sugar substitute) and a few drops of Vanilla Cream Stevia liquid drops by sweet leaf.

Busy and Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis was delicious!

Liam will have his first sleepover here this weekend! :) This grandma is happy! I’m sure it is just the first of many to come. So, I hope I’ll remember to take pictures while he’s here. As you could tell, there were slim pickings from his visit earlier this week. :D

Well, I told you it was a busy week!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Book Recommendation: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Great Glass Elevator

~ Lifeofjoy.meSeveral months ago, Tiffany shared this thing she read online. I’m not sure exactly what link she followed but I found one to share with you. At any rate, the information had to do with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Doctor Who. Yes, we are Whovians. :) Okay maybe not Whovians but we do like Doctor Who.

The theory is that Willy Wonka is the last regeneration of the Doctor! If you follow the link above, you can read all the reasons why some would agree.

This theory had me wondering about the books, so I requested them from the library. I finally got around to reading them. I have to say that with this idea in mind, I enjoyed reading them. Not that it wouldn’t have been enjoyable otherwise.

In other ways these books are good to read, especially the first one, because it shows negative character traits in some of the other children and gives you a good springboard for conversations about these.

There’s also a section where the Oompa-Loompas sing a song about what children did before television. I’m not all that well-versed in the older books the author is referencing but I did get Beatrix Potter, of course it is pretty spelled-out for you. LOL There were a few others I recognized too. It would be interesting to use this as a springboard to find which books he meant.

The second book does show that it isn’t just children that can have character struggles and that in the end, to be happy with what you have.

Overall these were good books and if you are a Whovian, then you can really appreciate them in a different manner. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

DC#308 Go-To Tangles

iamthedivacztThe Diva Challenge this week is to use your go-to tangles or as Laura said, your Mac-and-Cheese tangles. This is more of a challenge for me than for many because I don’t tangle very often. Yep, about once a week and then generally I’m combining focus tangles from different challenges, so I don’t really have much of a go-to tangle.

I decided to start with the same string as last week, hoping I’d do it the way I really wanted to but once again, I wandered from where I thought the string would take me into something else.

‘Nzeppel has turned into a favorite tangle of mine so I decided to use it on the largest area. Tipple is another tangle I tend to use a lot but decided to use another favorite, Crescent Moon, instead.

My hand appeared to be a bit unsteady today as I drew ‘Nzeppel, so I attempted to fix that with my shading.

Here is my tile before shading. I didn’t do anything with overlap since I decided to go for a hole in a wall kind of look.

DC#308 ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, very unsteady lines. :D

Here it is shaded.

DC#308 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meI want to thank those who commented last week! You are very encouraging to me! I hope you have a wonderful week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Taco Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Taco Salad

Versatile hearty salad made with meat, cheese, lettuce and whatever else you like.

It is the middle of March and ridiculously hot already here in Oklahoma. Okay, maybe it isn’t quite that hot but our air conditioner is in need of help, a.k.a. it isn’t cooling. At any rate, it is too hot to make something in the oven for dinner tonight, so I’m changing up my menu and having Taco Salad instead. It’s good to be flexible.

This salad can be fixed in a variety of ways to meet your dietary needs. I’ll be making it TWO ways today! Yep, two ways. Since Sean, Tiffany, and I are doing keto we need high fat, so I’ll be using 73% ground beef. Currently Michael cannot eat beef or he breaks out in a rash and has difficulty breathing, so I’ll fix his with ground turkey. The only other difference will be in what ‘chips’ we use. Michael will use plain tortilla chips and the rest of us will use pork rinds. :)

So, let’s get started.

Brown the ground meat.

Browning Hamburger ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen it is about half done, I like to season it with salt and pepper.

Seasoned Hamburger ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Now add remaining seasonings. This depends on your tastes. You can simply add a package of taco seasoning or a mix of seasonings like I do. Tiffany doesn’t like purchased taco seasoning, so I’ll use some onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and chili powder.

Taco Seasonings ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Prepare your lettuce. Wash it if it is dirty. We like green leaf lettuce; it has nutrition unlike iceberg.

Wash & Dry Lettuce ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I put each ingredient in a separate bowl so that each individual can put on the toppings of their choosing. Since this meal was not on my menu when I shopped last week, I don’t have an avocado; thus, we’ll use some sour cream (which I don’t need if we have avocado).

We have tomato, refried beans (for Michael),  sour cream, and CHEESE tonight.

Taco Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Tiffany put a little carrot, green pepper, broccoli, and zucchini in the salad. Seriously, a little of each, like a tablespoon or two. Most times it is just plain lettuce. ;)At dinner, everyone will build their salad to their liking. This is mine. :) Mmmm, mmmm!

Taco Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Serve with nacho tortilla chips, plain tortilla chips, or to keep it keto use pork rinds.

Taco Salad and Pork Rinds ~ Lifejoy.me

I crushed up a few in my salad.

Taco Salad

Ingredients

  • 1-1½ pounds ground meat
  • ¼ teaspoon each cumin and garlic powder
  • heaping ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon each paprika and onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lettuce
  • cheese, your preferred variety
  • various veggies on hand, like tomato, onion, green pepper, zucchini, broccoli, carrot, avocado, etc.
  • sour cream, optional

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground meat.
  2. Season with the listed seasonings.
  3. Tear washed lettuce leaves into bowl and add in variety of veggies or none at all.
  4. Serve salad with meat, cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips or pork rinds, as desired.
http://lifeofjoy.me/taco-salad/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Family Togetherness

Fam Jam ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m learning that our family may be a bit unique in how we spend our evenings and weekends. You see, we spend the majority of that time in the living room together. Now we are all doing our own thing be it reading, watching youtube videos, gaming, surfing the internet or working on our laptops but we are all in the same room together. We used to watch television in the evenings and weekends while we did our other things but we were still all together and half-way paying attention to whatever was playing.

Recently we have cut back on our television viewing, but we are still all together most of the time. One person or another may go play music in the other room or shower and such but generally, we’re together and we like it that way.

Not long ago,  we watched a movie from Redbox. That night Tiffany and Sean were not doing anything else but watching the movie as they sat together on the sofa. Tiffany said that she felt like it was more of a shared experience because they were both fully engaged. She suggested that we, as a family, spend some time, once or twice a week watching something together, fully engaged, or even play a game together.

We talked about it and decided we’d give it a go. She likes to call these times Fam Jam. I’m not sure why but that’s what she calls it. So, as we’ve begun this new experience together, Sean and Tiffany make a nice comfy pallet on the floor and Michael and I sit on the sofa together. Nobody has any phones, laptops, ipads, books, or anything. We just all pay attention to the movie or show together.

It has been a nice addition to our family. It reminds me of a practice I instigated many years ago when trying to improve Michael’s and my marriage. (You can read about it here.) There is just something different about being intentional and focused with your beloved and even the rest of your family.

I hope this encourages you to be intentional with your loved ones.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Flowers, Art, Kittens, Birthday, and Liam

When Liam came last time, my sweet daughter-in-love, Lauren, had sent along a bouquet of flowers that Liam picked out for me.

Thoughtful Daughter-in-Love ~ Lifeofjoy.meHow thoughtful of her!!! And now, nearly two weeks later, they are still lovely. I feel so special and loved! :)

We had another freeze the other night and Tiffany has checked on the peach tree and says it is doing well. I’ll try to get some pictures of it next week.

I’m looking forward to  Walmart getting in their trees again this year. I’m going to replace my nectarine that died and my poor Arkansas Black apple tree that seems to be partially dead. Looks like it may have gotten hit by lightening. :o I got the peach tree from Walmart last year.


I received this cute chef guy for Christmas from my little sister and the other day I saw that Tiffany had written on it.

Blackboard Art ~ Lifeofjoy.meI love it!!!

When the Bradford Pear Trees were blooming, I checked on our wild redbud trees and they hadn’t started yet. Of course I didn’t get close to them because they are not readily available, meaning I’d have to walk through the brush to check closely. But when we’ve been out and about lately, I’ve noticed that others are blooming, so I looked out my back window and rising above the barren branches were some pretty bits of pink! :) I asked Tiffany if she’d take a picture while she was out feeding the animals today.

Wild Redbud Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey are little but a nice bit of color in otherwise dreary or drab branches.

Here’s a picture I took with the telephoto lens so that you could see what I see. :)

Redbud in the distance ~ Lifeofjoy.me


This is Latte.

Latte and Kits ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd this is a picture of KitKat from last August.

KitKat ~ Lifeofjoy.meNotice that she has no tail.

These are newly born kittens. Both Latte and KitKat were pregnant at the same time. We know when Kit Kat had hers because her water broke on our front porch while Tiffany was out with her. We aren’t so sure about Latte.

There are four kittens.

Spring 2017 Kittens ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany says that she thinks three of them don’t have a tail, which would make them Kit Kat’s. We’re pretty sure at least one is Latte’s. They are both nursing all four of them.

This is Shiloh. She just had a hair cut and it is chillier out this morning, so she’s wearing her coat.

Shiloh loves Kittens ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe loves kittens! She has always stuck her head in whatever house they were in and just looked at them fondly . . . no matter to whom they belonged. Kit Kat is okay with Shiloh checking in on them but Latte is another story. She hisses at Shiloh every time. Thus, Tiffany only lets her peek in when Kit Kat is with them. As you can see in the picture above, Latte is a bit protective of her kits.

Michael found a mangled dead kit at the bottom of the steps one morning, so this is probably why she is being this way. Not sure how it got that way but . . . it could be why she’s being so protective now.


We finally got to celebrate Lauren’s February birthday last night! They’ve been awfully busy.

Celebrating Lauren's Bday ~ Lifeofjoy.me Yep, he’s a loon!!! :D

I made one of her favorite meals: San Francisco Chicken with noodles and then Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake for dessert. I made a keto version for us. It was good, except for the crust; I gotta buy some other oat fiber! The brand I got, Anthony’s, is STRONG! It makes food taste like play-doh! :p

I did promise a picture of Liam.

Liam with Aunt Tiffany ~ LIfeofjoy.meWe played Small World board game together and Lauren won!

Small World Winner, Lauren ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe had fun and I got lots of Liam cuddles. We get to watch him some next week too.


We have a church dinner/fun night tonight. I’m not hostessing it this time but have agreed to bring a pot of stew and help decorate this morning. I hope I remember to get some pictures to share with you next week. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Have a Plan

The Plan ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is hard to remember the specifics now but I remember long ago, Mom told me that if I didn’t want to do something (socially) I could blame my not doing it on her and Dad. I guess she had determined that if it was something I didn’t feel I wanted to do then they didn’t want me doing it and I could safely blame it on them without it being a lie.

This really made an impact on me. I’m guessing I may have used it a time or two but never anything much that I recall, although I’ve always been a homebody to some degree. ;) It made such an impact on me that Michael and I have made the same offer to our children.

So when I read this article about having a plan, it rang true with me. The just of the article is that you and your child/teen have a plan whereby if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation, they can send a simple text to you and you’ll make the necessary excuse for them to leave their current situation. I’m not giving this justice, so go over and read it. It doesn’t take very long to get to the meat of the article and it isn’t really all that long.

So, I’ll stop blathering on about it and just send you over there. I encourage you and your family to come up with a plan to give your kids a way of escape, should they need/want one. I will say that I’m not sure that I completely agree with everything stated in the article but it is a good place to start your family conversation on the topic.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Zingo and Mi2

iamthedivacztThis week’s Diva Challenge was inspired by the Kitchen Table Tangles recent video of Molly’s girls sharing their tangle Zingo, making Zingo the challenge for the week. I don’t think I did as good a job as those younsters did though. :D

Shading Zentagle facebook group and Square One: Purely Zentangle’s focus tangle for the week is Mi2 (me too). This is a tangle I’ve wanted to try my hand at but never got around to doing, so today was a good opportunity to do it.

I checked the pattern-collections daily tangle and none of them seemed right for my tile today but I chose string #16 as my starting string but flipped vertically so the “folded” part was in the upper left corner rather than the upper right corner. As I worked through the tile I gave up any idea of working with that string after all. :D

The first Zingo I drew was a bit too small, as was the second one. Consequently, I decided to fill that upper left corner with a large Zingo. Then came Mi2. I didn’t focus too much on making seed shapes and just drew the diagonal lines. My real struggle with Mi2 came with shading.

Here’s the lineart.

DC#307 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI chose to blacken different sections of Zingo on each one. I love blackening because it adds such drama and contrast. In the picture above you can still see the string under the lineart.

Here it is once I did some shading. I thought I might be finished but wasn’t quite happy with it yet. Mi2 was tripping me up. I didn’t want it to just look like columns of shading.

DC#307 ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo I added a bit more. It really looks like I could’ve/should’ve used a blender a bit more but I really did do a lot of blending.

Final version:

Final DC#307 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI am drawing a bit too small, so I needed my magnifying glasses to do this and it appears that I didn’t get some lines as close or as blended as I’d like but it’s getting late and I don’t have time to work on it any more. Oh well. It turned out okay I think. ;)

Thanks again to all those wonderful people that leave comments! It is so encouraging to know that you all see progress in my work, and especially shading. The Zentangle community is awesome! Thanks for sharing the love here!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Enchilada Bake

This casserole is a bit like the Enchilada Pie but low carb. It satifies that desire for Mexican food.

This is another wonderful recipe from Genaw. I usually put off making it because it is baked twice: once for the ‘crust’ and then once for the casserole cheese to melt. But when we eat it, we always remark about how good it is.

Set out 4 ounces of cream cheese to soften. Beat the softened cream cheese and eggs until smooth.

Eggs and Cream Cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Add seasonings. I combine onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt, and fresh ground pepper but you can use your favorite taco seasoning. Mix well.

Add seasoning ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Add in 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese.

Add Cheddar ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Spread evenly into a greased 9×13″ baking dish.

Spread Enchilada Crust in Dish ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Bake at 350º for about 35 minutes. It should be lightly browned but not too dark because it will go back into the oven again in a bit.

Baked Crust Enchilada Bake ~ lifeofjoy.me

Crust Baked ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Let stand for 5-10 minutes before adding the topping.

Brown the ground meat and add some more of the seasonings, the enchilada sauce, and green chiles. I like to purée the green chiles. Combine well and spread over the slightly cooled crust.

Enchilada Bake Topping ~ Lifeofjoy.meEnchilada Bake Meat and Crust ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Enchilada Bake Add Cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Bake another 20 minutes or so until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Oops! Almost forgot to take final pictures, so this is all that was left in the baking dish at the time.

Echilada Bake Serving or two ~ Lifeofjoy.me

 

Serve with your choice of toppings: lettuce, tomato, sour cream, salsa, avocado, et cetera.

Enchilada Bake ~ Lifeofjoy.me Enchilada Bake ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Enchilada Bake

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Topping:
  • 1 pound ground meat
  • 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 8 ounce (or so) jar enchilada sauce
  • 4 ounces chopped green chiles (I purée mine)
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Beat cream cheese and eggs until smooth.
  2. Add in taco seasoning.
  3. Add in the cheese and mix well.
  4. Spread into greased 9x13 baking dish.
  5. Bake at 350º for 35 minutes or so, until it is lightly browned.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Brown the ground meat and drain away any excessive grease. I use ground turkey so there isn't much.
  8. Add in taco seasoning, enchilada sauce, and green chiles. Combine well.
  9. Spread over crust.
  10. Top with remaining cheese.
  11. Bake 20 minutes or so, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  12. Serve with your favorite toppings. (lettuce, tomato, sour cream, salsa, avocado, green onions, etc.)
http://lifeofjoy.me/enchilada-bake/

I hope you enjoy this one, it really isn’t difficult. Just be sure to plan to start about an hour and 15 minutes before you desire to eat. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Take an Interest in His Interests

His Interests ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen someone has different hobbies than you do, it can be difficult to understand their interest in the subject or subjects. It can be even more difficult when that person is your husband. Actually, sometimes we are more understanding of others more quickly than our own spouse, which is quite sad.

I understand how it can happen though. If you aren’t intentionally building commonalities, you can grow apart. It is a sneaky little thing that you don’t really see coming.

The hard but important thing to do, is to take an interest in his interests. Resist the urge to laugh or roll your eyes or say something in ridicule because those are excellent ways to build a wall between you instead of drawing you two closer together. Remember, he is genuinely interested in this thing, being condescending is not going to make his interest lessen; it will just lessen his desire to confide in you in the future.

The best thing you can do is genuinely listen to him and show interest in what he shares with you. Don’t let your eyes glaze over or let your mind wander to other things. Stay engaged in conversation with your man. I know it can be difficult. Sometimes you wonder why he’s interested in that thing because it is something in which you are definitely NOT interested in. But I encourage you to make the effort. Your marriage will thank you for it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº