Hot Days

Hot Days ~ Lifeofjoy.meOne horribly hot day last week, I was sitting in the car at the gas station and opened the car door while Tiffany was refueling. I glanced at the people coming and going and all of a sudden I was struck with the FEEL of summer. People were in their shorts and flip-flops getting their large drinks from inside the convenience store and I realized that THIS is what summer feels like.

It was around nine in the morning, the sun was creeping its way to its zenith and it was hot. The air was that heavy hot air and it just defined summer to me, with all the things I was seeing. (The two guys in the truck on the other side of the pump were emptying the water from their cooler too.) And the next day I realized, it isn’t even officially summer yet. Oh God, please help me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I do not like the heat, at all! I’m one of those people that enjoy the cooler temperatures and prefer the cold and snow to the summer heat. Generally I keep my mouth shut about it but in the last several years I’ve gotten annoyed by all those people that LOUDLY voice their contempt for the cold and dislike of snow during the winter. I finally decided that if others can be so vocal about the weather they do NOT like AND the weather they DO like, then I too can be vocal about the weather I like and do not like. ๐Ÿ˜‰

At the beginning of last week I kept getting notifications on my phone that there was a heat advisory for the next several days. So, we put off running errands until later in the week. Then when we could put it off no longer, it was an EXCESSIVE heat advisory. That’ll teach me to try and avoid the heat. ๐Ÿ˜€

Hot Days ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have not been eating meat or sugar for the last couple of weeks or so. Last night I fixed a delicious southwestern salad with black beans, corn off the cob, pepitas, tomatoes, pepper jack cheese, and red pepper with a homemade avocado dressing. I loved it. We made chipotle chicken for the rest of the family to add to their salad. That turned out to be VERY spicy, so it NEEDED the coolness of the salad to balance it out a bit, I’m told.

Sean does not like corn. Neither of the kids like tomatoes, so I served them on the side for Mike and I to add to our plates. Neither of the kids like avocado, so I did not pour the dressing on the salad but let everyone choose their own dressing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I aim to please. OH! Sean does not care for red peppers either but he did eat some.

Hot Days ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe was not thrilled with the meal. Tiffany, Mike and I really enjoyed it though. He was still hungry after the small plate of food he picked through. I told him there was still plenty of salad there. He said he was full of THAT, which is something Tiffany used to say a lot when she was little. ๐Ÿ˜€

The salad is also topped with tortilla strips. Sean deemed that they were a waste of money, as we could just use regular tortilla chips. But I liked them. I think they are a little bit thinner than the tortilla chips. Plus they are pretty colors. He’s a good sport. I think he ended up eating some fruit to fill up.

I love my family!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. We are going to try and stay cool.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ยบรœยบ

 

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Are you Teaching your Children to be Entitled?

Entitled? ~ Lifeofjoy.meThere are some things that Mike and I have taught the children to do that has become so much a part of them, that we don’t even really realize it. We taught them to be thankful and grateful and to express that to others.

I asked Tiffany yesterday how one habit they have came to be and she said she thinks Mike is the one that encouraged it. This one habit is that at some point during dinner or before they leave the table, they express their thanks for the food and compliment it, if it is worthy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

They have done this for so long, I cannot remember when it started but I know that, to this day, while eating dinner, they usually say that the food is good and thank you. It is such a habit that even when there are guests here, they still do it. When we have young adult guests over, you can tell that it comes as a surprise. Sometimes they will follow suit but mostly they just don’t know what to do, since they weren’t taught this. Of course, before they leave the house, they always express their gratitude and how good it was as well.

This act of expressing thanks and compliments is part of a bigger area of character developement. When one does not express thanks or give compliments, it can lead to children the feel entitled. This is not something you want your children to display.

Crystal Paine, of The Money Saving Mom, recently shared a photo and quick note on her facebook page that was quite interesting to me. It is a short little blurb, so I hope you’ll take the time and go read it. It’s a picture of the bedroom her three children share right now.

Then there is this really really good article over on crosswalk about how parents are teaching their children to be entitled and some steps you can take if this is happening with your children.

I hope these articles will give you some encouragement with your own children.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ยบรœยบ

No Mistakes

iamthedivacztThis week’s Diva Challenge was just that, a challenge for me. I have only used color in a couple of my tiles, ever, and I think all of those were in response to the Diva’s Challenge. ๐Ÿ™‚

Well this week’s challenge is to add red to the tile. This gives me a bit of a problem because then I cannot combine challenges/focuses. BUT I found a way this week. ๐Ÿ™‚

FBโ–ก1 ~ LifeofJoy.meThe Square One: Purely Zentangle focus is Groovy by Eden Hunt. I’ve never done this one before. My pen decided it has drawn enough lines for me and kept giving out on me. Right near the end I switched to a new pen.

I have a difficult time with keeping my lines a consistent length/width/curve depth. Groovy proved that once again. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But there are no mistakes in Zentangle, so it just shows the uniqueness and variety there is in nature. ๐Ÿ™‚

Over on WZTV, they have switched to a two-week focus. So it looks like I may actually participate there a bit more. The focus over there is Pea-nuckle. The one other time that I attempted this tangle was a disaster, so when I saw the link to the video by the creator, Molly Hollibaugh, I was very happy. Unfortunately my video resolution lowered while I was watching it and did not see the last bit very clearly. That is where my tile took a bit of a creative twist (yeah, that sounds a lot better than where I messed up) and instigated the title of this post.

I could not see that the last lines, the ones in the square-ish section, were diagonal and I drew them more perpendicular to the others. Thus I did not have little triangle areas to blacken in.

The last group I participated in with this tile is the facebook group, Tangle It! Pattern Club and it’s corresponding website pattern-collections.com. The author focus this week is Tricia Long. She has created some nice patterns but the one I chose to include was Ur-Chen. My first one was a bit small, so I tried to draw bigger ones around it.

After I added the red bits, I went back and was doing a little more shading and ended up smearing a couple of the red glitter dots. ๐Ÿ™ Oh well. No mistakes, remember? If one were counting mistakes, this tile would be full of them, but there are only “happy little accidents,” as Bob Ross used to say, or as I said earlier, “creative twists.”

So how I managed to share this tile, with color in it, with two groups that do not allow color, was to scan it before adding the color. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, up first is the line work without any shading.

No Mistakes ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is after most of the shading and the one I’ll be sharing with Square One: Purely Zentangle and WZTV.

No Mistakes ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd finally, the reason most of you came here, the finished tile, complete with red! I used a red glitter pen. The glitter doesn’t really show up very much. It looks nicer in person because of it though.

No Mistakes ~ Lifeofjoy.meI appreciate your comments, they are always so encouraging. Thanks ever so much.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ยบรœยบ

Asparagus ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Asparagus

I know this picture doesn’t look all that wonderful but let me tell you, this is really pretty good, for a green food. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had tried asparagus only one time in the distant past. We had been invited to dinner and our sweet hostess served canned asparagus with hollandaise. I have to admit that I did not like it at all. But since we’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies into our menu and it was on sale, we decided to give it a try.

Of course, we couldn’t eat it just any way. So what better way than roasted with butter and Parmesan cheese.

The first step is to hold a piece of asparagus in one hand and bend the other end until it snaps off.

Asparagus ~ Lifeofjoy.me
Toss the bottom parts and put the tops in a skillet with a drizzle of oil and about one tablespoon of butter. Saute about ten minutes or so, until it starts to get limp and turns to a bright green color.

Asparagus ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, add about three tablespoons of butter, about 1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper as desired.

Asparagus ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Bake at 375ยบ for about 15-20 minutes or more, until they are completely cooked through.

Asparagus ~ Lifeofjoy.meAsparagus ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can see, it shrinks down a lot! We started making two bunches to serve three or four people. FYI: that brown cheese is delicious!

Serve!

Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • drizzle olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper as desired

Instructions

  1. Rinse asparagus, to ensure it is clean.
  2. Snap off hard bottoms.
  3. Saute in skillet drizzled with olive oil and about a tablespoon butter until softened About 10 minutes or so.
  4. When bright green, transfer to rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Add a couple tablespoons butter and the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake at 375ยบ for about 15 minutes or so until desired doneness is reached.
  7. The thicker the asparagus the longer it takes to cook.
http://lifeofjoy.me/asparagus/

Until next time, God bless,
Michele ยบรœยบ

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Doing My Best?

Doing My Best? ~ Lifeofjoy.meI am a stay at home wife. I was a stay at home wife and homeschool mom but I have worked myself out of that second job as my children grew up and graduated. They are now 19, 23, and nearly 25. Tiffany is still home with me during the day because she is an author, writing books at home. I am thankful to be able to still be able to NOT have to work outside of our home.

But this brings up some new situations for me. My days used to be so full with all that I was doing that getting it all done, well, was basically unheard of. ๐Ÿ˜‰ When Tiffany graduated, we both took a well-deserved, or so we thought, break from our usual routine. Unfortunately, I’ve had a hard time finding my groove. And if I’m being totally honest, I have been a bit lackadaisical in getting things done around here.

I am adamant that I am not a housewife because I did not marry a house! I am not a slave or servant either. Nor am I a maid. Then there is also the underlying fact that I hate housework. However, this is not the first time in my life that I have found myself with responsibilities that I did not like. When Mike and I first got married I got a job in a college office typing, filing, and other such repetitive mundane tasks. This was the job God had provided for me and I was happy to have it.

While the kids were young, I had to have them help me clean the house because there was no way I could educate them and do all the cooking and household chores alone, nor should I have, as it was vital to their education in becoming independent adults. But now, here I am on the other side, about ready to have our first grandchild, and I’m having to redefine my days and what is important and what is a time stealer. It is not an easy task, especially after you’ve allowed yourself to let loose and do whatever you wanted to do for a while.

There was a time when I was a new stay-at-home mom that I got sucked into soap operas. I come from a family that loves the entertainment field, so it was easy for me to get sucked in to it. After a couple of years, I stopped watching them. But now, with the internet and all the available options for watching entertainment today, I got sucked into binge watching shows. I’d be sure to get the necessities done before Mike got home, but always the bare minimum.

But here’s the deal, and the point of this whole post of confession, it really wasn’t fair to Mike. He works hard, sometimes in the heat, to provide for us and to allow me to still stay at home and yet, I was being a bit slack in how I handled that luxury.

I’ve been dealing with this for a while now. And then last night I read this article over on Kathy Butryn’s site (actually it came in my email) about being mindful of what we are dilly-dallying with. Okay, put another way, the things we linger over say something about and actually influence who you are.

Bottom line: I have realized that I need to change how I order and prioritize my day. Thankfully, I have already begun to do this, so this article was more of an encouragement to continue on and make even more changes. But for me to go and make a bunch high goals that would end up being as unsuccessful as most New Year’s Resolutions are for me.

My first priority is God. Keeping him in the first place helps me go about the rest of my day getting done the things that are most important. I ask God for His help and guidance throughout my day, and then follow Him as closely as I can. Some times I feel as if I have gotten little accomplished but I know that I did the things He wanted me to do first, which frees me from the guilt of not getting enough done throughout the day.

I hope you’ll go read the article, because it is a good read.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ยบรœยบ

Sweet Magnolia Blossoms

On the day of our wedding, nearly twenty-nine years ago my sweet mother went to my granny’s home and picked some Magnolia blossoms from her tree and placed them in window sills in the church. Because of this, the Magnolia blossoms remind Mike that our anniversary is getting close.

Early this week, Mike brought home a lovely blossom, which brought a smile to my face.

Sweet Magnolia Blossoms ~ Lifeofjoy.meSweet Magnolia Blossoms ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is lovely and really big!

Within the next couple days, it was fully opened and huge!

Sweet Magnolia Blossoms ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is bigger than my hand.

Sweet Magnolia Blossoms ~ Lifeofjoy.meSweet Magnolia Blossoms ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was beautiful!!!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long. And when it goes, it really goes.

Sweet Magnolia Blossoms ~ Lifeofjoy.meMike said that the tree he got this from had very few blossoms on it when I picked it. The neighbor told him that it doesn’t bloom much. Since he picked this one, he said there are LOTS of blooms on it.

Our anniversary is just under two weeks away. It was so nice to have him remember and bring it home. It meant more than a bouquet would’ve. Thanks to my sweet honey!

It’s been crazy hot here in Oklahoma!!! I really really dislike the heat. I’m one of those people that enjoy winter in Oklahoma. I lived in Ohio for over a decade when I was young. I liked the snow but it stays around there too long and gets all nasty and dirty. Here, when it snows, it may stay around for a few days but by the time it gets dirty, it is melting away. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m a hot-natured and thus have a fan blowing on me, pretty much, year round. It is especially necessary in this horrible summer heat. The big problem is that it isn’t supposed to be this hot yet. It better cool back down! I isn’t supposed to be this hot until late July. I know some ladies that enjoy this horrendous heat. I sure hope they’re happy. ๐Ÿ˜€

Well, it’s Father’s Day this Sunday and I’ve still got to make Mike’s card. You see, he prefers homemade cards, so I’m a good woman and give him what means the most to him. Then there’s my own father, who is a wonderful dad. And my oldest son, who is going to be a father in a few short weeks. I’m so excited!

Well, I have lots to do. So I’ll run for now. I hope you have a great weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ยบรœยบ

Summer Reading

Summer Reading ~ Lifeofjoy.meI always made my kids sign-up and complete the local library summer reading program. I felt like it was good to keep them practicing those reading skills, plus they got coupons that we could use over the next several months after fulfilling the criteria (books read and library visits).

Yes, they even did it through their senior years. ๐Ÿ™‚ Tiffany and I even complete the new adult summer reading program last year, which reminds me, I need to check into it again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some fun looking activities to do for reading this summer. Although the printable is rather bland, it is an interesting summer reading scavenger hunt. This is a direct link to the printable pdf used by some school/teacher. You can use it to come up with your own requirements and rewards. And here is another.

On this webpage when you scroll down the page, there are two pictures of bingo cards. The one on the left is the reading bingo and the one on the right is summer fun bingo. If you click on the card itself, it will open up the pdf which you can then print. They look pretty neat. She has some good ideas on how to use them cooperatively and individually. She also has links to a camping scavenger hunt bingo and a road trip bingo at the bottom of the post. (All are free.)

Although this next suggestion seems to be an old post, it has some neat suggestions they call book-tivities. They also have some suggested book lists for different ages/grades.

I did find one more, that looks to be for older individuals. I have never heard of this author before so, you might want to do a bit of research before entering, but it is definitely interesting.

I hope these will be beneficial to you and your children this summer. ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ยบรœยบ

Rundl Beads of Courage

iamthedivacztThis week’s diva challenge is Beads of Courage, which is an art medicine program for children with chronic illnesses, like Laura’s son, Artoo. It sounds like a pretty neat program. Laura raises money for the program.

FBโ–ก1 ~ LifeofJoy.meThe Square One: Purely Zentangle focus is Rundl. I’ve never drawn rundl before, but it looked rather easy and very bead-like, so I thought I could use it for the diva challenge.

I wanted to add a drop shadow and finally got brave enough to add a bit of shadow for the string but not so on the “beads”.

Rundl Beads of Courage ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs usual, once I see it enlarged on here I see where I could have deepened the shading. It doesn’t look that lightly shaded when I look at it in my hand. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I just realized that I didn’t scan it before shading! DRAT!!! Oh well, I’ll try to remember next week.

I appreciate your comments. They are always such an encouragement to me.

Have a great day!

Until next time,

Michele ยบรœยบ

Vegetable Fajitas ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Vegetable Fajitas

This week’s recipe is really kind of a cheat for me. It is really just my Chicken Fajitas without the chicken. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it was really more different than I intended because we were out of balsamic vinegar, so I just used a tiny bit of Italian dressing instead.

So here it is . . .

Slice your vegetables of choice, into sizes you prefer. I like long thin slices of different colored peppers, long thin slices of onion, and slices of mushrooms. Tiffany likes broccoli and carrot, so at the end I quickly cooked up some for her.

Heat a skillet with a drizzle of oil. I used olive oil today.

Vegetable Fajitas ~ Lifeofjoy.meI put a couple of shakes of dried oregano and a couple shakes of dried basil on them for flavor and sprinkled with salt.

Cook them until desired doneness. We like ours very done!

Fry up or simply heat up some tortillas. We like to quickly fry ours in coconut oil. I like small corn tortillas, Tiffany and Sean like whole wheat flour tortillas, and Mike likes both.

Tonight I shredded some colby-jack and pepper jack cheeses, cut up an avocado, and put out some sour cream. And that was that! ๐Ÿ™‚

Vegetable Fajitas ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe next one I remembered the avocado. ๐Ÿ™‚

Vegetable Fajitas ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany put hers down for a moment to add a few more pieces of broccoli, so I snapped a picture. ๐Ÿ™‚

Vegetable Fajitas ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is super simple! You can use any veggies you like and any tortillas you like as well.

Enjoy!

Vegetable Fajitas

Ingredients

  • 1/3-1/2 green pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 -1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 - 1/2 yellow or orange pepper, sliced thinly
  • about 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • one large onion, sliced in half, pole-to-pole, and then in thin slices, pole-to-pole
  • about 6-7 broccoli florets, chopped
  • about 1 small carrot, shredded or julienned
  • basil, oregano, salt
  • oil of your choosing
  • tortillas of your choosing
  • shredded cheese, about 8 ounces or so
  • avocado, if desired
  • sour cream, if desired

Instructions

  1. Prepare your veggies.
  2. Heat skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of oil.
  3. Add the veggies and sprinkle with salt, basil, and oregano.
  4. Cook until desired doneness. We don't like any crunch left in our veggies. ;)
  5. Heat all tortillas either in microwave or individually heat them quickly over the flame of a gas burner, turning each with some tongs, or quickly frying them individually in a few tablespoons of heated oil, draining on paper towels.
  6. Place tortilla on your plate and add toppings as desired. Fold and eat!
http://lifeofjoy.me/vegetable-fajitas/

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ยบรœยบ

Individual Happiness

Individual Happiness ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is not my husband’s responsibility to make me happy. Seriously! It is my responsibility to choose happiness and to have a relationship with God wherein I find joy.

It is through my relationship with God that I learn how to serve my husband. I learn to give to him without expecting anything in return. Of course, he too, has a relationship with God and learns to serve me without expecting anything in return. In a Christian relationship, this is how things should work. Now I realize that it isn’t always the way it turns out but it is the best plan. We both give 100% to each other and our marriage.

I cannot expect anyone else to make me happy. When I wait for Mike to do something for me to be happy, I could be waiting a very long time. I have to take responsibility for myself. I cannot put my happiness in the hands of someone else. I have to find joy and contentment within myself and with God. Then it is easy to be happy in other relationships, because I start out from a place of happiness, not seeking it from some other person.

Then out of my joy I can invest in other relationships, in this case, the relationship I have with my husband. Too many times people go into marriage looking to be completed or be treated like a queen or princess. Marriage is about two people partnering together to walk through life together and do what God has called them to do. In the process, you learn that serving one another is a vital key to the kingdom of God and it begins at home, with me.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ยบรœยบ