Recipe Trial and Error: Rockin’ Roll Cake

On Friday I tried the Rockin’ Roll Cake for Valentine’s Day dessert. I wanted to keep it a fuel pull (FP) because we had Sourdough Pizza from Around the Family Table Cookbook for dinner, which is an E (healthy carb) meal. I wanted to be able to eat dessert without thought for the carbs or adding fats.

It would have turned out perfectly except that I overcooked the cake. I don’t know what I was thinking except that part of the cake seemed to be uncooked when the timer went off, but truth be told, I think it would have been fine. Then because I knew that this was basically egg whites, I hand meringues on my mind and meringues are supposed to be dry. Yep! That was my problem!!!

So I will remake this cake and share how I deliciously kept if fuel pull at that time.

The important thing is that Michael really likes the cake. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

The Hard Line Between Being Supportive and Disrespectful

Michael and I are very different people! Our upbringing was also totally different. So we end up clashing on lots of things. I am generally a very passionate person–I have strong feelings about things and I look out for those I love. (And have always protected my children as best I can but not in the overprotective parent way.)

Michael grew up in a very different way with harsh realities. He protected himself from bullies and such and knows the importance of being able to handle adversity.

Sometimes things happen and I feel the need to point out the harshness of the situation. Unfortunately it seems as if I am trying to ‘correct’ my hubby, which isn’t a good idea. But I get myself in these sticky situations trying to help those I love and it can seem as if I’m not on Michael’s side, so to speak. But I feel I have to address the situation. Ugh! :p

My kids are all in their twenties, following God with all their hearts, and the youngest two live here. It’s not easy as the kids mature and begin being more independent and have different opinions than their dad or me.

I realize the biggest answer to my quandary is prayer. :)

Do you have situations that you feel bad that you take the stand you do but feel you don’t really have a different option?

I’ll run for now, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Last of the Snow and a New Store: Winco

I mentioned the snow last week. Well on day two of the snow, Tiffany made a snowman.

Notice the area where the snow has melted? Yeah, most of my friends’ snow was already gone by then. We still had enough for the snowman. :D

However the morning of day 4, this was all we had left. :D

I had Tiff snap a quick picture as we were leaving for church. There might have been some snow left up against the south side of the house and other things but this was all I could see.

This week is POURED rain!!!! Our puddles were in puddles. We were swamped. Tiffany and I decided not to go out in all that rain and just stayed inside . . . well, I did run out to put a card in the mailbox while it was raining, but that is nothing like running to four or more stores in the pouring down rain. Of course the day we did run errands it was FREEZING cold! Yep! Very very cold (for OK). ;)

New Store: Winco

We had a new store open up. Remember me telling you about that store that was opening up next to Ross? Well, it is now open and Tiffany and I checked it out this week.

I’m impressed. They have some really good prices! Of course, like most other stores, you need to know your prices. If you go, the have some price labels that have a green sticker; these are special prices . . . think sales.

BULK Section

Their bulk sections is amazing!

Fresh ground nut buttersSeveral different honeys, one was raw honey Bulk spices!!! (These prices are per POUND.) I think they had a couple dozen different spices. Different colored popcorn kernels Brown Rice Pastas!!! If these taste like the ones we buy elsewhere I’m going to be very happy because they are quite a bit cheaper. :)  More brown rice pasta and some parmesan cheese. Then there was a bin below for the brown rice spaghetti. :) (It’s cheaper than what I’ve been spending too. ) These bean mixes look good. A nice vegetable soup mix, very clean ingredients. Such a great price on the split peas. I’ll have to get some of them next week and plan to make some split pea soup. The recipe I have is called Cheapskate Soup. :) At this price it really will be. Coconut flour, almond flour, gluten free flour!!! Wonderful! I will have to check the price I have been getting it. They had spare ribs for 98¢ a pound. It was a special, so I got two of their smaller packages. Their cheese is priced good too. We got a block of gouda and one of mozzarella. We snacked on the gouda and it was gooda!!! :)

No Credit Cards

They don’t take credit cards though. I usually use a card that gives me rewards for my purchases, but I knew ahead of time that I’d need to use cash or my debit card. I think they take checks too but I’m not sure.

No Memberships

So they say they are like a membership club (e.g. Sam’s, Costco) without a membership. They have the large bulk bags of oats, rice, and such and 50# bags of dog food too.

They even have animal snacks in bulk.

  I was impressed and will go back frequently . . . probably even every week. :o

We only did the perimeter of the store and spent an hour and a half there really looking over all that was available in the produce and bulk sections. We moved a bit more quickly through the rest of the perimeter of the store. We’ll check out the rest of it in the coming weeks. ;)

Well, that’s it from me today. I hope you have

And I want to wish my daughter-in-love, Lauren

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Stars and Sky Watching

Did you know there are 88 constellations? I sure didn’t! I was shocked. I looked at this webpage on and was totally surprised.

Since my recent post about how you could let students help pick their own studies, I decided that I may add some ‘unit’ suggestions from time to time. I love stars, constellations, and sky watching; so I thought I’d see what I could dig up for a month study to do.


Then I found this that explains why there are 88 constellations! Very interesting to me. Of course it wouldn’t be very interesting to the normal 7 or 8 year old though. ;)

Here is a listing of 15 constellations that ‘everyone’ should know and how to find them.

Here’s another page with some introductory info about the main constellations.

Here’s some basic information aimed at younger ones about constellations and what they are:

My Night Sky has what is called a stardome (which is powered by, so you can go there too) and with it you can see what the sky will look like from major cities. BTW, they have an app too, so you can access it while you are outside. I entered Tulsa to find that tonight at 6:30 tonight, I can see Venus and Mercury in the Western sky. I can also click on View in the dropdown menu and check constellation names and lines, to help identify some of those. will give you quick info about when the moon rises and what is in your night sky–here.

Interested in understanding how to read a star chart? Here’s some instruction on that, and they reference the skydome. ;)

Study Ideas

So, this is how I’d approach a study on stars:

  • Take children outside after dark (best during the winter, even though it is cold, because it is dark earlier and can see the stars without having to stay up too late) and have them look up.

Do you  live in a well lit area? Talk about that and how the lights are hindering you from seeing more of the stars.

Go someplace less populated/lit to better see the stars and note the difference.

  • Talk about constellations and name have each child pick one more popular/well known constellation to look up and figure out how to find it in the night sky.
  • I’d probably keep Ursa Major/Big Dipper as something you want to point out, as it is the most important because with it you can navigate.
  • The next week talk about some lesser known constellations and have each one select one to look up, as with the popular one.
  • Talk about why some constellations are not viewable now and pick some to view at another time of year.
  • Meteor Showers!!!! This is one of the most fun things to do. Have the older kids research this and pick one for you all to watch.
  • Talk about the what stars are–again another thing older students can research
  • What are some Biblical references to stars?

I definitely recommend a laser like the one mentioned in this post for your night sky viewing–it’s sooooo cool. :)

  • You could also do some study on the moon and its phases–even journaling it by drawing what the moon looks like each night, and when it became visible.
  • Don’t forget the planets. Like I mentioned, Venus and Mercury are both visible in my night sky tonight. I may just have to go outside after dinner and see if I can find them.

There is so much you can do with this but I think this is enough of a jumping off point or enough to touch the topic to see if there is any more interest. Remember not to overwhelm your children with this, just keep it light and simple–the idea is to cultivate their love of learning, or spark it again, if need be.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please let me know in the comments if it is or if you try it and what your experience was with it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Drupe and Its Look-Alikes

I think I should have used the catch-up week strings  last week. This week’s tangles, although some are very similar which I will get to in a moment, were mostly ones for which I didn’t have step-outs done already. Alice puts up the new week’s tangles and string on Saturday, so even if I did one every day, I wouldn’t have all of them done by Tuesday night to write up my blog post.

So I think next week I may do the string catch-up week and share that here next week, so that I just get in the habit of tangling every day. We shall see. ;)

This week’s tangles are Tagh, Ibex, Facade, Drupe, Dyon, Xircus, and Fracas. I’ve tangled Tagh before but didn’t make a step-out for it.

Here’s a tile I did last year using Tagh. Oh! I think a local CZT, Pam Newman, taught me this one while she still had monthly gatherings. I should probably set up a time to visit her again. :)

Facade looks like a blend of Nipa and Hollibaugh to me. I really like it even though I don’t do it real well.

On my tile, I used wider Hollibaugh lines and I have to admit that the thinner lines are easier to put the orbs behind.

I didn’t shade Ibex on my stepout, as I was getting a bit tired of all my tangling in one day but I had to press on, so shading got shorted. :)

Then comes Drupe. This is the one that I did have drawn already and I haven’t scanned it or taken a picture of it though . . . sorry about that. But here is a link to the step-out online.

Then there is Dyon which is so similar to Drupe. It seems that the only difference is the lack of some straight lines in each section between the arched lines.Then there is Fracas which uses the same combined x and + as the base that both Drupe and Dyon uses. The lines on each section for this one are arced the opposite way from the previous tangles and then blacken every other band.

I like this one . . . it kind of reminds me of a spider web. I think this is my favorite.

Then the last one is Xircus which I’d never heard of before but I really like it. Because it has a lot of repetitive lines.

I think Drupe, Dyon, and Fracas are just tangleations of each other but they were probably named before they came up with the word tangleation and before there were SOOOO many tangles.

Here’s my tile before I did the shading.

Here is the same unshaded tile but the picture was taken outside on a very overcast day. And then here it is again shaded; first the scan and then the outside picture.

I chose to put one section of each of those four similar tangles on the bottom left. I also did some extra shading on the spirals of Ibex. I like how the tile ended up. I think I enjoy Xircus more than the other similar tangles.

Thanks for stopping by. Let me know which is your favorite of the four (Drupe, Dyon, Fracas, or Xircus) tangles, down in the comments.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Delicious Tender Simple Ribs

These ribs are delicious, tender, relatively quick, and simple to make.

Glenda Goff of Around the Family Table blog talked about how much she loves her Ninja Foodi. Then she shared that the model she loves was on sale, direct from the company. I happened to have some money left over from my Christmas budget, so I was tempted to purchase it.

We had a Cruisinart Toaster Oven/Air Fryer and I was never pleased with how it air fried things. Things either didn’t get crispy enough or got burnt. I was not impressed with air frying. Then several months ago it died. We’d had it about a year and a half–not good.

So I’ve been wanting an air fryer. This Ninja Foodi is an air fryer but I have an 8 quart Instant Pot. Thus I didn’t think that I needed another pressure cooker, which the Foodi is also. BUT it is also a dehydrator and I’d love a dehydrator. I have a very old one but the lid is cracked and parts are broken and melted. (Hey, it was a great deal MANY years ago, at only $3 at a garage sale . . . awesome stocking stuffer from my sister and hubby.)

The foodi is a 6.5 quart machine, which is something I’ve been wanting too. As I mentioned, my IP is an 8 quart and I didn’t realize when I got it that things would take longer to cook in it than a 6 quart machine. I’ll keep my 8qt IP but I think this Foodi is going to be used a lot more.

So . . . I’d gotten a decent deal on the ribs and did a quick internet search to see how best to make them. Foodi to the stage!

So according to the recipe I found, the first step was to remove the membrane on the one side of the ribs. This proved to take longer expected. Also, my ribs were about 5 pounds and the recipe used about 3 pounds, if I remember correctly.

I’d gotten it off of all the meat on the right and was working on this part when I asked Tiffany to get some pictures for me.

She made up the rub for me to put on it. I decided to use a rub instead of a lot of barbecue sauce, which I didn’t have at the time.

I used this recipe for the spice rub. I’ve used it before and liked it, so it was Tried and True. :)

Once I got off the membrane and rubbed the spice mix on it I realized mine was bigger and it wasn’t going to stand in the foodi the way they did on the recipe I was following. I decided to just let it fall over on itself.

Now, I am not one for sour things and usually reduce vinegar when called for but I knew that without the barbecue sauce for liquid in the pressure cooker (Foodi), I would NEED the the whole amount of vinegar. I hoped I’d just make up for it later in the sauce I was going to create. So I added the 1/2 cup of ACV (apple cider vinegar).

The recipe called for pressure cooking it for 30 minutes for 3-4 pounds of ribs, so I set mine for 40 minutes. They were super tender.

While it was cooking I whipped up a barbecue sauce with some tomato sauce I had–it turned out pretty good. I’ll share it after I make it again, so I can get the measurements right. I just put a bit of this and a bit of that and a bit more of this and mixed them all together. ;)

When they were done, I did as the recipe stated and poured out the juices from the pot and cleaned it out. Added the rack, placed some of the ribs on it with some bbq sauce and let the air crisper do its thing!

Here’s the recipe I followed: She has a ton of other Ninja Foodi recipes there. I’m looking forward to trying them out. :)

Tiffany and I had leftovers for lunch the next day and I had the little bit that was left on Tuesday. Yummo!

If you’ve thought about getting the Ninja Foodi, go ahead–I’m loving mine. It’s earned its place on the counter. I heated up my bit of ribs with the fryer function and added some seasoned cauliflower. Tasty in a fraction of the time it takes to make in the oven and quite a bit cooler too.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

To Celebrate Valentine’s Day or Not to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

I was scrolling through facebook recently and was surprised when I saw that some happily married couples don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. =)) It seriously made me stop and think about it for a bit.

We’ve never gone all out for Valentine’s Day. And there were probably some years where we did very little.

When I was young I remember cutting out ‘decorations’ for each ‘holiday’ or season and hanging them up around my bedroom. I’ve always liked seasonal decor (little inexpensive things).

As a homeschool mom I tried to make small occasions fun. So on Valentine’s Day I’d make some red food and some dessert. At some point I started writing them each a letter. I guess I was trying to set a good example. ;)

After giving the topic some consideration, I realize that I use Valentine’s Day as an extra time to tell my family I love them but especially my hubby. It’s not about some big ordeal; it’s simply about letting my man know that I love him. It is a time to spend a little more thought on showing him love that one day, just like on our anniversary, Father’s Day, his birthday, and Christmas.

So I wonder about those happily married couples that don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I guess it’s like people that choose not to celebrate Christmas. You’re welcome to your opinion but I’ve decided I want to pour a little extra love on my hubby on those days.

Last week I did clue him in to the fact that Valentine’s day is coming up shortly. He thanked me for the reminder. :) He knows that I like something little (like sugar-free chocolate/candies) and a nice purchased card. And I know he prefers a homemade card and something, be it a gift, or candy, or special dessert.

I wonder, do you and your hubby celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, do you go big with expensive gifts, roses, and fancy dinner out? Or do you celebrate it privately after the kids are in bed with simple things? Or somewhere in between?

I’m glad I saw the post on facebook. It’s nice for me to think about why I do what I do.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Snow, Glorious Snow, in Oklahoma


We got SNOW!!!

Okay, you probably get that I love snow. :) But I love snow in the south where it’s here today and gone in a couple of days. But I love to get a lot of it . . . which is relative but here it means at least three inches but preferably more. The news said we got about five inches but then it snowed a little bit more for a couple hours and the flakes were quite large for a bit. I love watching large snow flakes fall–it makes me happy.

We had a while when we got some nice big snow flakes! :p I love big snow flakes. Tiffany went outside and got some pictures for me. She takes some really nice pictures. :)

Although our yard got a good covering the road did not. But that is okay because our sleds are no more. We really must get some to be ready if we ever get enough snow on this hill (again).

Yesterday afternoon the sun came out and started the melting process. By early afternoon the porch railing was nearly dry . . . okay, there was no snow left on it though. :)

Well, you probably can’t tell in the picture above but the sun was definitely shining and it was nice and bright. The remnants of the snow should be gone by this afternoon. No time for it to get all dirty and nasty–just beautiful clean white snow. :) Ahhhhh . . .

Lauren, being the dutiful daughter-in-love, sent video and pictures of Liam and Brian’s fun in the snow. :p

He’s getting soooo big!!! Love him to bits! <3

In other happenings this week, I decided to continue with the modern calligraphy class that goes through June this year. I did myself a favor and purchased the bundle last weekend of all the workbooks for the rest of the semester so that I don’t have to worry with purchasing during the sale at the end of each semester (plus I think I may have gotten a bit of a discount by getting all of them at once).

There was a challenge given to try our hand at the miniscules (lower case letters) before we even look at the workbook. This is the paper that Becca (the teacher) uses and recommends. Since I struggled seeing the lines of the workbook through my cheap tracing paper, I decided to pick this up, since I could get it at Michael’s with a 40% off coupon. That brought the cost down to around $6.50 for the 80 sheets. It’s “high grade vellum paper.” However, most of the vellum paper I’ve seen is . . . I don’t know  . . . more see-through.

Here’s my attempt.

I put the drill strokes at the top, so that I could see them as I thought about how to make each letter. I’m looking forward to continuing with this. :)

A word about our youtube channel: Joyous Jabbers, I mentioned on previous Fridays about a video we’d done or planned to do but it has not yet materialized on the channel. Yeah, we completely forgot about filming a video right around the new year and then sickness invaded our home.

It is harder to film videos when the menfolk are home, as they were for several weeks at the beginning of the year. It’s not an excuse, just another contributing factor to our absence.

I’m going to go ahead and put both of those videos together that we made about my meat bargain shopping and upload it, hopefully this weekend. And once we get one up, it will be momentum to keep moving and uploading.

So I guess I only mention it to say, that we haven’t abandoned the channel completely and are just newbies at all of that. We’ll get our acts together, soon–I hope. ;)

I hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Involving Children in Creating Their Routines

As home educators it is a good idea to include the children in what they study and the order in which they study subjects. They don’t go to a school and thus don’t have to be in a situation where they are told what to do and when to do it. However, even in brick and mortar schools the students get to pick some of their courses as they get older.

Tiffany and I were talking the other day about this subject. Well, we were talking about how she dawdled getting her lessons completed once she was old enough to do them independently. We brainstormed some ideas that might have helped her focus a bit better.

One of those ideas was to communicate clearly that she could do her studies in whatever order she desired. I made a checklist of things that they had to do but she didn’t realize that she didn’t have to do them in the order listed.

Involve the Child in Planning

Another idea was to let her have some say in the topics she studied and to help her brainstorm those. Write them on sticky notes and let her rearrange them.

Another idea is to allow the student to pick a topic for the month or even just a week. Or pick an overall subject and then pick weekly topics to study. There are a lot of ways this can be done. By allowing the child to have some input into what they are to study, they are a bit more motivated to do the studies.

Another thing that we did do was to rotate between science and social studies; we did not study both in the same month. You can have a broad topic like mammals and the first week they can do some basic study about what a mammal is and make a list of them. Then they can pick a specific mammal to study the next week. Or have them pick a water mammal, large mammal, or small mammal to study each week. Oh and by the way, mammals are vertebrates, so you can study what that means. There are different types of mammals, see this website for some information.

Older children can be encouraged to dig deeper into the subject or find an unexpected example of the subject . . . e.g. the armadillo is a mammal. You can have each one write some questions about the topic (with their corresponding answers) that can be used to play games for review.

A Child is More Apt to Enjoy Learning about a Topic of Interest than Something Chosen for Them

Talk with your child about what you think is important that they learn and find out what they’d like to learn. Then find a way to include them in planning out how they learn.

It is still important to have times of study together, in as a group . . . Bible sharing/teaching and read aloud times are just two ideas of this but it can be anything you need to do with everyone. Teaching your child how to study independently is an important skill too but you don’t want to sacrifice family bonding.

Even the Youngest Child can Make a Choice

You can start this process even with very young children. It starts with letting them pick which outfit they want to wear or what they want to eat (choice 1 or choice 2). It can progress to do you want to play with this toy or that toy or do you want to play with clay or color.

As they get older, they can choose between learning about fire trucks or polar bears or whatever else you give as an option. This helps you learn your child’s preferences and can help you tailor their education in a way that delights them.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to help your children enjoy learning. After all, learning is a lifetime endeavor, not just something done as a child because someone makes you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Zen-Untangled Week 5

So this is week five of the Zen-Untangled project. This week’s tangles were Mooka, Fescu, Doodah, Moonpie, Zinger, Springkle, and Hollis. Of these I have drawn Fescu and Mooka several times. I’ve learned Doodah last year and used it that once. I’ve used Zinger before, or at least what I knew to be Zinger.

Hollis and Moonpie are new to me. I do believe they are fairly new tangles, so I don’t feel too bad. ;) I have seen Hollis but I have never seen anyone label Moonpie before. I had no idea it existed. It is very easy to do and I love the contrasts built into it.

That leaves Springkle. I have to tell you that this tangle looks so much like Zinger that I really don’t quite know the difference between them, except for the “stem” part. It really seems to me that one is a tangleation of the other or simply a variation and that both are tangleations of Fescu. The start of both seem very similar to Fescu. But . . . they have their own names straight from “Zentangle headquarters” so I guess they are their own things. :)

The basic Springkle reminds me of Cupcake from pattern-collections, which is a favorite of mine. :) I love the flow of the top, but  I digress.

Stardust pens Cupcake Flower ~ Lifeofjoy.meI decided to look online for some more samples of Springkle and found one done by Linda over on Time for Tangling. I really loved the variation on the blue tile, although hers is a little bit different from the official stepout (but I did watch the video she linked to where she learned how to tangle it).

The string for the week is basically an X. She drew hers without dot and border but I wanted the boundary of the borders, so I included them. :)

Here is the scan of my tile before shading.

I forgot to take a picture of it before shading. Here is the scan after shading, which shows the imperfects more.. I didn’t get very aggressive with the shading this week as I was running low on time with so many stepouts to do. (I had to do 5 of them this week. :p .)

This is truly one of those times when I’m not sure which way I like it best. I like it corner to corner so Fescu and Springkle are standing but then Mooka is upside-down. I guess this is my preferred view. ;)

I did take a few pictures but the flash isn’t very nice to it either. ;) What are your thoughts on Springkle, Zinger, and Fescu?

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº