A Refreshed Me is a Good Wife :)

This year, I am sitting outside more. I’m absolutely loving the breeze as I sit in the shade of the mimosa tree. I’m even writing this post, sitting outside. :)

There are times that you just have to do something for yourself, that makes you happy. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, I am not that self-sacrificing, :( I do things for myself on a daily basis. But there are some times that you have to do something a bit more.

This year I asked for a porch extension for my Mother’s Day gift. We have had a good portion of it for several years sitting around here but it has never been a priority to put together. This year, I decided I wanted that instead of my usual flower bed for my Mother’s Day gift–I’ll probably buy some flowers and plant them myself soon. ;)

Any way, last week Tiffany and I decided to go sit outside for a bit. OH! We loved it! I remembered part of what I enjoyed about going camping in the first years of marriage. I love the outdoors when it is breezy. I don’t like heat and get hot too easily. ;)

I decided to take one day each week and call it my ‘vacation day.’ A day where I’ve done the meal prep ahead of time and do the required chores immediately following breakfast and go outside and sit and read and drink southern sweet tea and just enjoy nature and the Creator, my God.

I really believe this is going to be a very good thing for me (and Tiffany). I also believe that it will be a good thing for my marriage because a relaxed and peaceful me is a good wife. :D Now I’m writing all this before I have even put it into operation yet but last Monday was so wonderful in spite of having other things I still needed to do, that I’m pretty sure that this is going to be a great thing. :)

So all that to encourage you to find something that refreshes you and find a way to incorporate it into your life. I cannot do a lot of traveling or go on many excursions right now but I can go outside and enjoy the peacefulness of the beautiful outdoors. (Don’t be mistaken, I will hightail it inside to the air conditioning when it gets too warm and breezeless for my liking. :D )

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Fruit and Tree Update

I’m loving sitting outside more this spring! (Writing this outside. :D )

I checked on our fruit trees and the ones we planted have some fruit on them. There are a couple dozen peaches and plums on each of those trees and a womping 3 pears on the pear tree, as far as I can tell right now. I don’t know how a pear tree produces fruit because I didn’t see any blossoms but I’ll learn as the years go by.

Shows plums growing on new tree.Shows pears growing on the planted tree.Shows two pears growing side by side.

It looks like they grow upside down. I had no clue!

Shows height of the pear tree.
It’s not very tall at only about 8 feet or so.

I don’t believe it is time yet for the apple trees to start blossoming or whatever it is they do to produce fruit, especially since I cannot find any hint of fruit there yet. ;)

However our volunteer peach tree in the chicken pen is doing AMAZINGLY!!!! It has oodles of peaches on it. I’m so excited!!!

Shows some of the lovely peaches on the tree that got planted by accident.

There are a few other volunteer trees in the chicken pen; I don’t know what they are yet.

I wonder if any are other fruit bearing trees.

The grape vines I planted years ago and thought they had died out, seem to be full of life. I hope that maybe they will be better than the ones I got off of the vine a couple years ago. Those grapes were very small and the seeds almost filled the grape. Yeah, I know I could’ve gotten a grape vine that produces seedless grapes but that didn’t seem as natural to me–it seemed genetically modified, so I went with the ones with seeds. :p

Indicates grape vines and mimosa treesAs you can see, we have a lot of volunteer Mimosa trees. :) I’m okay with that because I love Mimosa trees but we’ll see. They may have to be removed, since they did root themselves in what used to be our garden area. There are about six of them, even though there are only about 3 or 4 different ones in the picture above.

I hope you have some fun planned for this weekend. I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing. I thought Brian, Lauren, and Liam were going to come up but they won’t be able to after all. So, I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. :o

Sure do miss them!!! =))

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Summer Goals

Summer is nearly upon us according to the calendar but according to the weather and school calendars, summer is here in many places. :) Summer brings schedule changes to many homes. I’ve never understood why churches have their vacation Bible school weeks so soon after school is out as that is the last thing I wanted to do as a kid when school let out.

I always enjoyed the lazy days of summer. Don’t get me wrong, we had a couple of chores we had to do first but then it was outside to play and ride my bike. I also enjoyed reading books during the summer that I didn’t seem to have time for during the school year.

As a homeschool mom, living in Oklahoma where the summers get HOT!!!, we kept cool indoors playing video games, if I’m honest. However, before they could do that, they always had to do something educational. I had them play with the GeoSafari, for which I provided educational cards.

I also required them all to participate in the library summer reading program. Of course the boys would put it off until the last week but I’d make them do it regardless. ;)

All this to say, I think it is important to have some plans for the summer. I urge you to begin thinking and praying about what you and your children should do this summer. (I’ll post some fun ideas next week.) Of course the first week off of regular educational studies is good to be a bit freer and flexible but inevitably there will come a time, in the not too distant future, that your child will be bored or you will feel that they are lazing around too much and in need of a bit more structure. That is when it is good to have a plan.

Here are a few things to think about:

  • a weekly activity, like hiking, swimming, or play date
  • required time outside
  • hobbies (maybe even finding a new one)
  • reading
  • summer movies (many theaters have a free one each week)
  • something touristy in your area

I hope this helps you and your kids have a productive summer. I’ll share some links in the next weeks to help with some these ideas.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Tangled U’s Tile

This week’s tile uses Square One: Purely Zentangle’s focus tangle of Tangled U’s by Chris Titus. It is easy and difficult all at the same time. ;)

I did a simple curvy string across the middle of my tile and then some large T’s. I did not make my U’s deep enough so that led to some fat, misshapen U’s but it turned out okay in the end.

I then did a row of small T’s across the bottom of the tile but as you might guess, it was a bit too small for my liking but again, turned out okay in the end.

Here is my tile scanned before shading.

Here is a picture I took of it but not in natural light as it was raining. :D

A few days later I finally shaded it. Here is the scan after shading.

And now the shaded one take in the sunlight. :)

Tiffany said she thought the larger one looked like a snake. :o

Well, that’s all I got today. Hope you have a creative day.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Low Carb Rolls (psyllium)

This is a recipe I got over from AllDayIDreamAboutFood. :) It is a low carb, all purpose bread that can be made into rolls, buns, or even a loaf of bread. I use this one so frequently that I have not one, not two, but three copies of the recipe printed out. Apparently I didn’t think I’d printed it and/or couldn’t find it several times. :)

I usually make hot dog buns, hamburger buns, or rolls with it. This time I made rolls out of the dough. Here is how I did it.

I started by weighing out Trim Healthy Mama psyllium husk and then grinding it into a powder with my clean, dry coffee grinder.

Then I measure the dry ingredients into my KitchenAid mixer bowl and whisk it.

Then add in the wet ingredients, generally including the higher amount of water in the directions. (I don’t dump it all in at once but have found that I usually need the larger amount.)

I do not use the dough attachment, just the regular beater attachment.

After letting the dough sit the required time, I divide it into fourths and then into 3 to form a total of 12 rolls.

I bake them for the full hour to ensure that they are fluffy and not gooey inside at all.

This night we had them with baked pizza meatballs.

So, head on over to Carolyn Ketchum’s blog and get the recipe.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Argument Resolution Protocol

I was talking with Tiffany last week and we were discussing compromise in marriage. No, she is not yet married but we talk about these things to prepare her for marriage one day; she is twenty-one.

“–When in a argument or heated conversation . . . there needs to be a point to throw down the white flag: ensure both understands what the other is saying, stop, take a minute to collect yourselves, pray, and talk it out to a resolution.”

Basically, we said that it would be good for couples, when they first start out, to develop a protocol to resolve arguments or other such opposing situations. Because the fact of the matter is that when you are in a frustrated conversation you are no longer trying to be reasonable and understanding, you are trying to get the other person to understand why you are right. :p

Here are the suggestions we came up with:

  • When you realize that you are getting frustrated with a conversation or situation, call a time out and both parties calm down.
  • Come back together after a few moments and hold hands and pray, asking God to change me where I am wrong and change the other where he/she is wrong and help us come to an agreement.
  • Then each person take a moment to tell the other what they understand the other to be saying, after which the other can either calmly affirm or clear up their point but not trying to push their opinion, just bring understanding of what you think/feel.
  • Then work together to find the correct answer for you as a couple.

One example we had was about how much money to spend on a birthday present. Husband wants to spend $40 and wife only wants to spend $20. It gets heated. The conversation is stopped. Each person cools off, they come together and pray together, and then the husband says what I understand you to be saying is that you want to reduce our normal birthday gift from $25 to $20. To which she should reply in the affirmative and then proceed to tell him that she understands him to say that he wants to increase the budget from $25 to $40.

Then proceed to ask the other their reasons. This is important because this is where you find out why the person wants to take the action they are suggesting. Maybe he feels that gift choices are too limiting at $25 and $40 would yield better options. Whereas the wife may be wanting to decrease it by $5 to budget in for something she wants/needs. Maybe it is to afford a night away once a year or to get something small that hasn’t been affordable under the current budget.

(I know these numbers are really arbitrary and not necessarily realistic, especially since it is usually the husband who wants to decrease spending as much as possible. ;) But I use it as a generality to explain the resolution protocol.)

At this point in the protocol it is important to both be willing to offer solutions to the situation or agree to table it so that you can both pray about it individually and schedule a time to talk about it again. This scheduling is vital because then it gives both parties the feeling that they are being heard and not ignored but that we will revisit this and come to a resolution together.

I do not believe that either party should always be the one to give in/compromise. Both parties need to feel that they are heard, considered, and that you have agreed on an outcome together. Sometimes you should both give a little. In the example above, maybe they agree to increase the budget to $30 or $35 but also agree establish a budget for whatever it was that the wife wanted to do.

Establishing these steps to conflict resolution can help keep conflicts from escalating to a shouting match and hurt feelings. Even if you are already married, you could talk to your spouse about setting up something like this to curb out of hand conversations. ;)

Do you have a system like this in your marriage? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Kittens, Cutie, Birthday, Food, and a Book

Well, the kittens are cuties! They are ready to go to new homes, well, at least some of them. ;) We have two tabbies and two black and white. There is one short tail/stub in each color. They are getting out and playing; Tiffany has been able to pick them up without them hissing, mostly. :) One of each twin is fluffier than the other . . . I cannot remember which Tiffany said it was but I’m thinking it is the stub tail is fluffier.

We finally made it back to church!!! I hate it when we have to miss but hey, it happens. We also do not go when my son and his family are in town because we don’t see them very much and we like to spend as much time with them as possible. :) Plus it is nice to have a lazy Sunday morning brunch together. :)

Lauren sent me some pictures of Liam and his egg hunt on Easter. :) She’s a gem.

Such a cutie!!! Sure do miss them!

It was odd celebrating my birthday on a Sunday. That hasn’t happened in a while. Tiffany fixed some keto chocolate cake donuts for our breakfast on Saturday with the leftovers to have on Sunday morning.

This was the first time we’ve had these. They were good (not great but good all the same). After eating a donut or two, we each realized that we needed something savory to go with it, so we had some sausage. :D Yumm! Michael had some turkey bacon because it was in the refrigerator and the turkey sausage was in the freezer. ;)

We decided to cut into the Italian Cream Cake Saturday night too since it is 16 servings and there are four of us, that means it is dessert for four days! So naturally, we had to have it Saturday night. :) This is the same cake Tiffany made me last year. I considered having her try out Kristie Sullivan’s version from her Keto Gatherings cookbook that I’d gotten but decided to go with the TNT (aka Tried aNd True) one from Carolyn Ketchum’s site. I’m not a huge fan of coconut, so next time we make it I think we will do so without the added coconut on the frosting.

Kristie’s version has some coconut extract too, so we will have to experiment with her version some other time and do a mesh between the two. One reason I want to try Kristie’s version is because she doesn’t just use all almond flour which lightens up the caloric load a bit. Also, Kristie’s is four layers, which appeals to me. :)

Bottom line: This is an awesome yellow cake with pecans!!! Yummo!!! Oh, we did add a few Lily’s chocolate chips to the top. ;)

Birthday banners were put up mid-day Saturday, candles were placed into the cut cake on Sunday, and lunch was disappointing. Why? Well, I decided I’d like to go to Ron’s Hamburgers for some loaded sweet potato fries on Sunday. Trouble is, the Ron’s that has these delicious things is not open on Sunday. The other one that is on our way home does not have them. :( So we came home and I came up with something else . . . mac and cheese were out because we were out of cheese and had already passed the stores with reasonably priced cheese. I ended up making a wonderful THM compliant version of my Tasty Tuna Tossup. Then for dinner Tiffany fixed us Meatloaf Skillet with bacon wrapped onion rings, and fried green beans. YUM!!! It was a yummy day! :)

Reading Update

Well, I read my first . . . I guess it was a thriller. I’m not really into much of a horror/thriller kind of book but this one sounded interesting as it is a retelling (I think that is what you would call it) of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. It was definitely more along the lines of the Grimm’s fairy tale, from what I’ve been told (as I have not read Grimm’s fairy tales either ;) ).

The book is Red 1-2-3. It had quite a bit of cussing that I had to overlook but at least it was understandable for these characters, seeing as they are afraid for their lives. At the beginning of the book three redheaded ladies/gals are sent letters stating that they have been chosen to die. There is a 17yo prep school senior, a 33yo widow, and a 55-ish single doctor. It affects each one differently and I did enjoy how it ended.

Can I recommend it though? Well, if you are able to overlook obscenities, as I am, and you like a thriller, yes. (There were probably about 2 dozen curse words in this 370-page book, which did include about a half dozen “f”-bombs.) Is it great? No. Was it an interesting read? Yes. Do I want to own it? No. Would I read it again? I doubt it–there are way too many books and too little time for me to re-read this one.

Well, I’ll run for now. Hope I have some good stuff to share next week. Sometimes I feel my life is very boring and I have nothing to share. ;)

Michele ºÜº


Book Suggestions for Boys and Girls (Link)

The Read Aloud Revival has put together a list of book suggestions for boys and a list for girls. It covers ages from four through teen.

Here is the list for the boys book suggestions. I have to say that my boys enjoyed many of the books on this list and I wholeheartedly agree. I see many books on the list that my boys enjoyed. Of course, Tiffany and I enjoyed some of them as well. :)

Here is the newly created list of book suggestions for girls. And once again, I see many old friends but I also see that I have a whole new realm of books to get lost in. :) I can see that my summer reading just might get pretty full, pretty quickly.

Here in Oklahoma the school systems let out before the middle of May and the libraries begin their summer reading programs shortly thereafter. So I thought I’d share these links with you to give you and your children some reading ideas for the summer. There are even pdfs you can print for both lists.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately. You can see what I have been reading on most Fridays of late. ;)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Inaura Buckle up!

I keep checking to see if Laura has a new Diva Challenge looking forward to the day one appears. :) Until one appears, I continue to check Square One: Purely Zentangle Facebook group for their weekly focus tangle and the daily tangle on Pattern-Collections.

This week’s Square One focus tangle is Inaura by Bunny Wright. I’ve only used this tangle a few times even though it is a rather simple one to draw. The daily tangle on Pattern-Collections yesterday was Buckle up! by Tomás Padrós. Unfortunately I don’t feel I did either one of them justice but enjoyed the process.

Here it is before shading. Oh, I loosely used string 007 from TanglePatterns.

Inaura Buckle Up ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is in natural (overcast) light.

unshaded inaura buckle up ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen I started shading I shaded outside the sections I tangled. It looked okay but when I shaded the tangles it was way to muddy and not enough contrast. So, I made the bold move and covered up all that shading with black ink.

Here is my final shaded tile.

Finished scan inaura buckle up ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd here it is in natural light.

shaded pic inaura buckle up ~ Lifeofjoy.meI made the dot grid too close together for Buckle up! which made it too small for me to shade properly. In the end, I added shading to the section and called it good. ;)

Thanks for stopping by,

Michele ºÜº

black cocoa candy ~ Lifeofjoy.me

“OREO” “Skinny Chocolate”

Yeah, I know those are a lot of quotation marks but OREO is a trademark and Skinny Chocolate is a chocolate recipe made by Trim Healthy Mama, so I’m just covering my bases. ;) I also know that this picture is not pretty but I don’t care, I wanted to share this pronto.

So here’s the deal, this is a healthy homemade chocolate candy that tastes like Oreo cookies but is made with the same simple, healthy ingredients that the THM Skinny chocolate is made from.

I never realized that Oreos got their taste from . . . get this . . . BLACK COCOA! Yeah, I went out on a limb after watching this youtube video by Marissa and this one by Lindsey and ordered the recommended black cocoa from amazon.

I got it in time for my birthday this last weekend and Tiffany promptly made some for us. OMG!!!! This stuff tastes like Oreos! So now I am going to try out Kristie Sullivan’s oreo type cookie from her Gatherings cookbook and use this black cocoa in it; I just know it is going to be amazing because if coconut oil, sweetener, and black cocoa powder can taste like an Oreo, then I am sure that the cookie using this black cocoa is going to be amazing. :D

So, don’t hesitate, head on over to youtube and watch how easy this candy is to make.

Oh, we don’t melt the coconut oil. Because the current temperature is a bit warm, our coconut oil is soft but not liquidy. Consequently Tiffany just mixes it with the other ingredients and the spreads it onto a parchment paper lined plate and puts it into the freezer until it solidifies. Then we just break off what we want and enjoy. :)

Yeah, I know the cocoa is expensive but it is worth it!

Michele ºÜº