The Long Errand Day

Errand day this week was a very drawn out ordeal. We started with Tiffany’s appointment. After that we had to go do a little Christmas shopping, some of which we did at the mall. I seldom go to the mall so I naturally parked in the absolute wrong parking lot. Then we ended up walking clear across the mall several times because I don’t know where anything is there.

Good food ~
This was taken a few weeks ago and it was ridiculously warm for so late in the year.


We stopped in the food court and ate at my favorite mall place–Charley’s. I am a sucker for a steak and cheese sub. You might think, but you can’t have that on keto. All it takes is a little creativity. I get the three cheese and bacon one without the bun but add on onions, mushrooms, and peppers cooked very well done.. I was very happy that they didn’t seem shocked with my request. They even asked me if I wanted the lettuce and tomato still and if I wanted it under or on top of my meats, cheese, and hot veggies. I add a little salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. Delicious!

Tiffany got part of her gift to Sean and then we headed further into town on the hunt for an illusive gift. Retraced our path, stopped to pick up books from the library, and finally began our grocery shopping after three o’clock. In all of our running around today, I found not one but five different purses that would make a good replacement for the one I’ve been using for the last year or more, which has its shoulder strap hanging on by a thread, literally. Funny thing is that I had looked at Gordmans several weeks ago and didn’t find a single one I liked. I’m soooo glad I did not settle on one I saw last week, at a store I don’t like to shop, for twice the money I ended up paying for this one. 🙂 God is good! I just have to be patient.

Long Errand Day ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs we were about to begin getting groceries, Michael texted and asked if we were about done and ready to head home. He was shocked when I told him that we’d only just begun to grocery shop. He suggested that I bring home some pizzas to throw in the oven, since it was getting so late and he knew we were getting tired. I paid way more than I’d like to admit for a frozen pizza but it is keto! and that my friends, is worth a lot. We got the 3-cheese pizza because we love cheese and generally have pepperoni at home to add.  I also picked up a Red Barron cheese pizza for Michael because he said he didn’t need or want anything fancy. We got home, added pepperoni to both pizzas and enjoyed a dinner with minimal effort.

Well, Brian, Lauren, and Liam are coming tonight for dinner and cookie decorating. I didn’t get the cookies made yesterday even though I had planned to do so, Thus I need to make them first thing this morning in order to have them ready tonight. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll remember to take some pictures and have them to share with you next Friday.

Until then, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World ~ Since I no longer have anyone to homeschool, I ask my sister Tracie, from time to time, if she needs any help researching anything. She said she was interested in Christmas around the world. Thankful for the idea, I did a quick search and was thrilled with what I found.

  • First there is this pdf. Now I generally don’t like linking directly to the pdf but it is what came up in my search. It has a couple of links for the information for nine different countries and then activities and recipes too. There are even a few notebooking pages your children can use. It is a very nice, simple unit study.
  • There is also this simple pdf with a paragraph or two for each of nine countries (some different from the above but some duplicates too) and links for activities and recipes for each. This one has flags of 29 different countries. It is the first link on this page. At the bottom of that page, there are many links that I may pursue in the future.
  • This website has a one-page six-day study. It has one paragraph about how each of six countries celebrate Christmas and then a link or two to activities or recipes for each. At the end, there is a list of countries that don’t celebrate Christmas at all. So if you are looking for something very short and sweet, this may be your resource.
  • Although I cannot recommend the free ebook on this next site for a Christmas study, it would be good for some other time of year for a geography study, as it really does not delve into how each country celebrates Christmas. BUT she has about 30 contributors in a linky on the bottom of the page, one per country, where the participant does share the Christmas happenings of the selected country. So for that, I highly recommend you visit the site. 🙂 (And come back later for a geography study and use the free ebook. Oh, I should add that the version I downloaded of the ebook did not have the right links to the TimeForKids website but it is easy to find in a search.)
  • This final one is to a webpage that tells about a lapbook free over on homeschoolshare. It sounds nice. Normally, I would just go check it out for myself and share about it without referring to her site but she did a nice write-up and at the bottom of her post she has three links to some studies/lapbooks that are pretty interesting: Birth of Christ, Symbols of Christmas, and Christmas Hymns.

Who knows, after you learn about some of these other countries, you may decide that you want to add some traditions to your holidays like this family did. Click over to this site and  see which ones they found were a good addition to their celebrations. 😉 But whatever you do, don’t get yourself all bogged down. Lighten up and enjoy the season! Do some baking together and be sure that your children know why you do the things you do.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


DC#296: Moowa, Reel, Pokeleaf, Gemma

iamthedivaczt This week’s Diva Challenge is a “Use My Tangle” challenge with Moowa by Anya Ipsen. It is funny because Moowa was the focus tangle of one of my other groups recently. Unfortunately I was not able to participate in it then. However, I can this time around. I like the tangle because it looks like a wave but I have a hard time making it look right.

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meThis week’s Square One: Purely Zentangle and Shading Zentangle focus tangle is Reel by Lily. I love Lily’s art! She is an amazing artist. Unfortunately I did not do her lovely tangle justice. I struggle most with the beginning shape. What is that? A hexagon? I’m not very good at that shape. It turns out all wonky. I forgot all about one poster’s suggestion to pencil in or imagine an ‘x’ in between the top and bottom dots. I’ll have to remember that for next time. Then the next problem I had was with shading. I’ve seen some really incredible tiles using this tangle.

The focus tangle for WZTV this week is Pokeleaf. Since my practice with Pokeroot back in May, I felt more confident with Pokeleaf this time around and I actually, kind of enjoyed it. Of course I struggled with which way to draw the little curve around the stem but finally decided it should open at the bottom with the curve on top.

Finally, the Pattern Collections pattern of the day is Gemma. I thought it might fit in with this one, so I threw in a few. I did NOT do this little gem justice at all either. 😉 Since I drew them so small, to fit in with the overall tile, I decided to aura them just a bit.

I got a late start on this tile and I’m not even really sure why. After I’d tangled most of it, I realized I wanted it blackened in behind Pokeleaf. Once I did that I was into shading and I completely forgot about scanning it before I did any shading. Oh well. 😉

Without further adieu, here’s my finished tile for the week.

DC#296, Reel, Pokeleaf, Gemma ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs usual, I can see where I needed to smooth out the shading lines a bit more, now that it is uploaded. 😉 However, if you have any other shading suggestions, please share them.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Peanut Butter Balls ~

Peanut Butter Balls

An easy to make confection with just a few simple ingredients. Oh! It’s chocolate too. 🙂

I first remember making this when I was about 12 years old. The Ladies’ Auxiliary at the church we were going to at the time was making peanut brittle and peanut butter balls. Peanut butter balls was the obvious place for a young person to help. I watched as one of the ladies mixed up a batch. It was so simple that I memorized it.

We didn’t start making them at home right away but it has become a mainstay over the years. At one point, Mom made several batches each Christmas season. We don’t go to my parents’ as much as we used to between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Consequently, Mom doesn’t need to make as many and my family has requested we have some at home.

Well, let’s get to it.

Combine 1# of peanut butter (I only made a half batch today though)

Peanut Butter Balls ~

1# powdered sugar

Peanut Butter Balls ~

Melted a stick of butter

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePeanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlease be sure to do this in a large bowl, so that you have room to stir.

When combined, take a nice size ball and roll it into a rope or snake shape.

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePinch off a bit and roll into a ball.

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlace on either wax paper or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePut them in the freezer to harden so that it is easier to coat them in chocolate.

Combine one bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the upper pan of a double boiler along with about 1/3 of a block of paraffin wax  with about an inch or so of water in the bottom pan.

Peanut Butter Balls ~

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePeanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe wax is important so that the chocolate doesn’t come off on your hands.

Use a toothpick and dip each ball into the chocolate and then place back on the parchment paper.

Peanut Butter Balls ~

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen they are all coated, put them back in either the refrigerator or freezer to harden. Mom always stores them in the freezer.Peanut Butter Balls ~

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd I’m storing them in the freezer in an old ice cream container. 😉

Peanut Butter Balls ~

Peanut Butter Balls


  • 1# peanut butter
  • 1# powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3-2/3 of a block of paraffin wax


  1. Combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter in a bowl.
  2. Roll into about 1-inch balls and place on wax paper or parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  3. Put in freezer to harden up a bit.
  4. Combine chocolate chips and wax in the upper pan of a double boiler. (You could also place a glass bowl on top of a pot with about 1-2" boiling water.) Put 1-2" water in the bottom pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Combine chocolate and wax.
  6. Remove balls from the freezer. Use a toothpick to dip them into the chocolate and replace onto the cookie sheet.
  7. Put them back in the freezer to harden the chocolate. Eat or store. 🙂


Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Little Things

It’s the holiday season and it is so easy to get caught up in all the busyness. I  stopped to consider what means something to me, to see if maybe I might be able to apply that to Michael.

Recently, Michael has done a few things that just made me feel good and taken care of. They were simple things, like looking at the car to figure out why the windshield washer fluid was working, which he was able to fix easily. He gets me a cup of hot tea each morning and gets a water bottle ready for me each Sunday morning. He pitches in with my various household chores, when I need help, without me even asking.

These things were actually the impetus for me to stop and consider what I do or can do for him in like fashion. I don’t want to get so caught up in my plans and preparations for Christmas that I overlook the little things.

Sometimes those little things turn into bigger, more time-consuming tasks. One such task is the special folding of his short sleeve t-shirts. I shared a picture not too long ago of a drawer full of these shirts. Well, as I launder any of these shirts, I fold them and put them back in the drawer but mysteriously, about half of the shirts left the drawer without making it to the laundry room. At the end of last week, he found a whole slew of these shirts–way more than what will actually fit in the drawer. Currently, I fold these shirts on the bed but that means leaning over a lot. If you’ve seen any of my recent pictures, you can see why this posturing might hurt my back after a time. 😉 (aka I have a large stomach and bending over the bed to fold the shirts for much length of time will hurt my back.) At any rate, I got over half of them folded and put away before my back complained too badly. This was a blessing to my man. 🙂

I guess I said all that to say, don’t forget to be considerate in the little things, as you prepare the bigger ones this holiday season. If it isn’t already a habit, considering asking him if he’d like a drink or a snack when you get up to get one for yourself. Just think of one little something you can do to love on him a little bit more. It can be as simple as leaving him a note with his work things, in the car, or even on his pillow.

I hope you will take time to enjoy this wonderful time of year with your loved ones. 🙂

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Thanksgiving and Big News

Well, on Thanksgiving, we took family pictures at my parents’ house. Thankfully there were no moans or groans. We did our best to be quick by only having Dad take the picture of the entire family. One year we had three cameras on timers–that was not good. We decided to just let Mom email them to us since then.

This is the one I looked the best in. There was one or two where I looked like my face was badly swollen. My hair seemed to disappear into Michael’s shirt here but oh well, it is what it is. 😉

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meFor our last big group shot, we did funny faces.

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe also get shots of each family, the grandkids, and such.

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe decorate Mom and Dad’s Christmas tree on Thanksgiving night. We each have an ornament with our name on it. There are pictures taken of each group, so the first ones are structured but then the kids do the rest of the ornaments.

Here’s one of Lauren helping Liam put his on the tree. I love the look of joy on her face. Liam is such a joy to us all.

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~

We all bring a dog too. Tiffany’s Shiloh is not used to being at home in a kennel all day long, so we bring her. Sondra brought her dog, Rupert. Brian brought their dog, Chloe. And Tracie brought their puppy, Belle.

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe’s huge! I’ve never had an indoor dog that big. She is adorable and fun though. 🙂

Sean spent most of the long weekend editing Tiffany’s book. Tiffany then applied those edits and read through it one more time herself, making any changes she thought it needed, while I worked on her cover art. Then I gave it one more perusal on Tuesday.

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meThanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany’s book is finished and available for purchase on Amazon. 🙂

We are soooo excited! I’m proud of her diligence. She persevered through losing her first sixteen chapters and had to start over. God made something good out of it though because He helped her re-write them and make them better than they were in the beginning.

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s on sale through the weekend, for half price. It’s a fun Christmas story.

After I spent the day editing it on Tuesday, I sat down to dinner with the family. Someone made a comment about someone or something being the MVP and it made me think of the Most Valuable Present comment from the Christmas movie, Boyfriend for Christmas. Then I thought, hmm, we didn’t watch that this season . . . and I felt like the holidays were over already . . . and then it dawned on me, uh, no, that was just me reading through Tiffany’s book that goes through the holiday season. 😀 I’d gotten so wrapped up in the story that I felt I had already lived through the holidays. LOL I’m such a goon!

Wednesday, Lauren and Liam went shopping with Tiffany and me. I got some good snuggles in and we had a good time together.

Well, I need to run. I hope you have fun and enjoy the holidays. Don’t get too busy!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Try Drama

Try Drama ~ Lifeofjoy.meI ran across this neat little website that has some short plays on it available for free. I remember reading through a play or two with my children. It was fun.

There are even benefits to drama. It helps concentration, encourages cooperation, and memory among other things. If you’re still not sure, here are 79 reasons. 😉 Of course not all of them are applicable but you might find some reasons that you need to try adding some drama to your homeschool.

If you decide you do, here’s a link for 1020 plays including MANY Christmas skits. 🙂

Well, I guess, it’s short and sweet  today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


More Grids, Fragments, and Quib

iamthedivaczt This week’s Diva Challenge is pretty much a repeat of last week’s challenge with the added twist of turning the fragment in each square.

The  Square One: Purely Zentangle focus and Shading Zentangle focus is Sindoo (by Sharon Robinson), which seems to be a reticula and fragment  tangle, so it worked well with this challenge.

The WZTV challenge is Quib. I like Quib even though I haven’t used it much. The last tangle I used is the tangle of the day on pattern-collections is Feeta by Smita Toke.

I decided to have two different grid sections. Grid is just a lot easier to say than reticulum or reticula, since I have a hard time remembering which one to use when. I put them on a diagonal to add a little interest and allow for some space for the other two tangles I wanted to include.

Here it is before shading.

Grid, Fragment, Sindoo, and Quib ~ Lifeofjoy.meAt the top is Sindoo, Quib is the the right, Feeta is to the left, and my fragment is at the bottom. I used fragment A2 from the June 1, 2013 Zentangle newsletter. In the unshaded version I have a dot in the section I was supposed to blacken in but wasn’t ready to commit to doing yet. 😉

Here it is shaded.

Grid, Fragment, Sindoo, and Quib ~ Lifeofjoy.meI didn’t know quite how to shade Feeta. I tried a little drop shading but was not fearless enough with it. 😉 I love how Frag A2 turned out! I could’ve been a bit bolder in my shading but I was racing the clock (and losing) to get this done. I have a big announcement very soon (check back on Friday for sure) which has been taking up a bit of my time of late but soooo worth it.

Any way, thank you so much for your kind comments. It always means so much and is so encouraging. I’m glad you all like to see he comparison before and after shading; it is pretty remarkable.

Well, I gotta run. Have a great day!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~

Amish Cinnamon Bread

I first received this wonderful bread when Michael and I had only been married about three or four years. A dear lady in the church brought us a loaf one day. I loved it so much that I asked her for the recipe. She happily agreed, as she informed me that this bread uses a starter and told me how easy it was to make. She also told me that if I wasn’t going to make the bread for a while, I could freeze the starters. This was good news, because the recipe says it makes three large loaves of bread.

Here’s the deal, you use a one cup starter, stirring it once each day. On the fifth day you add flour, milk, and sugar to it and stir for two more days. Then let it rest for two days.

Day 10 is the baking day but first you add another cup of flour, milk, and sugar. Then before mixing up the batter, you remove three starters, one cup each. These starters can be given away to friends or even frozen.

So here’s the deal, although the recipe says it makes 3 large loaves ours doesn’t because my family doesn’t like the raisins added and only likes the nuts on occasion. As you can guess, this means there is less bulk in the batter reducing the number of loaves it produces.

Years ago, I shared this recipe (and a starter) with a friend. One Christmas she decided she wanted to make a double batch to give as gifts. She did the math and measurements and found that if you take out just one starter, you have two batches worth of starter left and could double the recipe, which is what we do every time.

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~

I believe you could create your own starter by combining 1/3 cup each flour, milk, and sugar in a container, loosely covered, and leave it out on the counter for a couple of days.

Combine all the ingredients.

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe like this recipe in muffins more than the bread. Although Sean and Tiffany really like there to be a gooey bit in the loaves.

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~

Amish Cinnamon Bread


  • 4 cups flour, divided
  • 3 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large box INSTANT vanilla pudding mix
  • 1-2 cups nuts
  • 1 cup raisins


  1. To use frozen starter or starting with 1/3 cup each milk, sugar, and flour:
  2. Take out of freezer (or sit new starter on counter, loosely covered) for 2 days, on 3rd day start counting as day 1.
  3. Day 1: Receive Starter
  4. Day 2: Stir
  5. Day 3: Stir
  6. Day 4: Stir
  7. Day 5: Place starter in larger container for room to rise and add 1 cup each flour, sugar, and milk.
  8. Day 6: Stir
  9. Day 7: Stir
  10. Day 8: Do Nothing
  11. Day 9: Do Nothing
  12. DAY 10: Add 1 cup each flour, sugar, and milk.
  13. Take 3 cups and put 1 cup in each of 3 small containers with lids; these are for your friends, yourself, to start again, or to freeze.
  14. To the remaining batter, add:
  15. 2 cups flour
  16. 1 cup sugar and all the rest of the ingredients beginning with salt, listed above.
  17. Grease and flour pans. Pour batter into pans and bake at 325º. Muffins bake in 15-20 minutes and loaf pans bake in 45-60 minutes. Can wrap and freeze when nearly cool.

If you try this, let me know what you think, and how making your own starter worked out.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº



Disagreements ~ Lifeofjoy.meLast week I mentioned that Michael and I have disagreements. It is my opinion that if you don’t have disagreements with your spouse then one of you is not really sharing your heart.

Michael and I are very different in a lot of ways, which has helped us grow individually into more rounded people. I have definite opinions about lots of things and when Michael’s opinion is opposite mine, clashes are bound to happen. There is nothing wrong with the clash as long as you are staying on topic and not resorting name calling and such. The conversation should be about the topic and not switch to being about your spouse, to where he/she feels attacked, disrespected, and/or unappreciated.

It is also alright to postpone a discussion for later, if it is becoming too heated. Find a way, to lessen the tension and agree to think on the subject some more and talk about it again later, be it in a few hours, days, or even next month.

Another important thing to remember is to reconcile to your spouse quickly, and I mean within minutes, when a disagreement has gone too far. If you have said something hurtful, even though you believe that what you said was true, you can apologize for the way in which you shared your feelings.

You can tell him/her about something he/she is doing that bothers you without throwing it at him as an insult or being hurtful or spiteful.

One tactic I learned when I was in the workforce was to sandwich a critique in praise. But even more helpful is that when you share a problem to put the emphasis on yourself. For example, “My feelings get hurt when you . . .” rather than, “You hurt me when you . . .” or “I feel unappreciated when you don’t let me know you’ll be late” instead of “You could at least let me know when you’ll be late.”

In the last instance, you could sandwich it with, “I appreciate you working so hard on your job and doing a great job. But I feel unappreciated when you don’t let me know you’ll be late getting home. You’re such a good man and I’m so thankful for you.” Something like that takes the sting out of the critique.

Now you might be thinking that it sounds like a great idea but . . . I agree totally. I’m very bad when it comes to praise, ask any of my family members and I’d bet they’d readily agree but it is an area I’m working on because I know that everyone flourishes when they know they are appreciated.

So when Michael does something little, like rub my back or bring me a glass of water, I am sure to thank him and let him know he’s wonderful. 🙂

It is important to reconcile your differences quickly, so that you give no place for the devil to work. He’s already working to undermine marriages and cause families to break apart, don’t give him an easy target. Be quick to forgive and move on, not taking account of wrongs done to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº