Snow, Deals, and Busy Days

We had a LOT of rain last weekend. There was a “Celebration of Life” service at church last Saturday and it rained so much that we were flooded in. Then it got a bit cooler and we actually awoke Wednesday morning to some snow on the ground. Now I really enjoy watching the snow come down but it was really nice to see a bit on the ground when I got up that morning. :)


(I’m having a bit of internet/site trouble with pictures, so hopefully I’ll be able to get them added shortly.)

Michael made a very small snowman with the snow on his van and sent me a picture of it. He called it an Oklahoma Snowman. (I really hope I can share the picture soon.)

Sean had federal jury duty this week and had the foresight to ask what the procedure would be if we got snow. They ended up calling the jurors and notifying them that they’d start an hour later.

We had about an inch to an inch and a half of snow on the ground and cars but the cement blocks were clear, so we were pretty sure the roads would be as well. As is usual around here, it didn’t stay around long. By Thursday it was completely gone an din its place was some very wet ground.

Tiffany and I got some good deals on errand day. I got chicken breast for $1.06 a pound. I got about 20 pounds of it. Then I got a package of two pork butts at $1.15 a pound which is great because the best I’ve gotten it before was for $1.49 a pound. It ended up being about 16 or 17 pounds total weight. I also got some sausage for about a dollar a pound. I’ll have to check the ingredients out a bit better, I hope it’s good. I got these and a Red Baron frozen pizza for $2.70 at Cash Saver. It’s a bit further north than I prefer to go but we needed to go to Gardners (used book store) and trade in some books. Gardners is just a little over two miles from Cash Saver, so it worked out good.

We also popped in Ross to see if there were any clearance sales, as was stated by a youtuber but unfortunately we found nothing, last week or this week. There is a new store next door to Ross called WinCo. It is a Sam’s Club/Costco type store but without the membership fee. There were a couple dozen cars in the parking lot and the door was open, so we peeked inside. They were still putting up shelves and things but there was an employee there that gave me the information. Oh, they’ll be opening early February. I’ll be interested to check it out when it opens.

I haven’t spent any time with my family outside of my home since the first of the year, which is not like me at all. But I’ll visit with Tracie for a bit today and have her girls spend the night–I know they’re looking forward to “cousin time” with Sean and Tiffany.

Well, I hope you have a great weekend; I intend to.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Writing Activity to Develop Characters

Tiffany has come up with this really neat activity that she does with her main characters when she is developing a character for one of her books. It is such a cool activity that I asked her to write up how she does it. And she has finally written it up for me to share with you.

I hope that it is helpful to you and your children. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Something my Mother has wanted me to share with all of y’all is a part of my writing process we have dubbed ‘Poetic Backstory.’
Let me explain.

Let’s take a Character, let’s call her Sue.

Now in a Poetic Backstory our goal is to get to know Sue beyond her hair color and height. We want to get to know her soul.
So. Let’s take Sue and let’s think on her for a moment here.
My thoughts go to ‘does she remind me of a Sunset? Brilliant hues streaking across the sky before melting into darkness? Or is she a Sunrise peaking through the trees in the early morning light?’
I think about if she reminds me of Rubarb pie. Is she a unique yet comforting person? Is she dark and complex like German chocolate cake?
Then as I ponder these things it leads me into her life’s path.
Let me show you . . .

Sue Rae Tyler was the dying sun on a cloudy day.
She was the flicker of a candle in a pitch black room.
The sparkle of fireflies on a summer night.
Sue Rae Tyler was four years old when she broke her arm. Falling from a tree she wasn’t supposed to climb.
Yet as she walked up to her mother with blood and dirt on her cheeks, she smiled painfully as her mother shrieked.

Sue– Notice how I’m not always saying ‘Sue’ or ‘Sue Rae’ or her full name? Spice it up and don’t always use one or the other.–is a slice of Cherry pie. Cinnamon flavored whipped cream swirled on top.
She’s gap toothed smiles and she’s others before herself.

Sue Rae is the—okay lemme show you, I stopped here. Because for a moment I thought that Sue was the eldest. She hides her pain behind a smile, so why?

Instead of being the eldest like I initially thought, Sue turned out to be the Youngest. She hides the pain because she wants to be more mature like her big siblings. She doesn’t want to be treated like a baby.
So with this revelation we can continue—youngest of five.
‘Don’t be such a baby.’ And ‘Only babies cry’ Race through her little ears and Sue Rae grows a stiff shell.

Sue Rae is a swing set on a ancient tree branch.
The late night reading underneath blankets.
She grows like a weed and Sue Rae Tyler loves that
.—And stop again. See what I did here? I put an emphasizes on ‘loves’. I want that word to pop out. I want you to feel her desire and pride.
Because that’s the point of this exercise.
To feel.

Now, you try! Why don’t you try with a character from Winnie the Pooh?
Try Piglet or Tigger on for size :) .

Does Piglet remind you of apple cobbler? Does he shiver under a mountain of blankets? Is he a warm hug on a crisp fall day?
What does Tigger symbolize for you? Is he a sugar rush on Thanksgiving evening? Is he a hoard of Easter candy in the corner of a room? Does he remind you of a bright starry night?
Go from there to writing a memory that might have impacted them.
Get creative! Maybe write about Tigger’s first bounce and how it made him feel.
Or when Piglet met Pooh Bear and the feeling of belonging and friendship that grew.

And that’s it. We’d love to hear what you come up with; share it in the comments with us. Or share your experience with this activity.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Zen-Untangled Week 3

Officially this is week 4 of Zen-Untangled on the facebook group Tangle All Around but I’m just finishing up week 3. ;) Between this and Show Me Your Skills lettering class, I’m behind on one or the other each week. I guess I should show some of that here too. Well, maybe I’ll do that next week. It is the final week of the beginning lettering class. I have decided to continue on though, so between the two, I’ve got a daily activity for the next several months. :)

This week’s tangles are Flux (both Rick and Maria’s versions), Cubine, Frondous, Ynix, Ixorus, Hollibaugh, and Echoism. I already have ATC stepouts for both versions of Flux, Cubine, Ixorus, Echoism, and Hollibagh. Consequently I only had to make stepout ATC for Frondous and Ynix (I sure would like to know how to pronounce those . . . I pronounced Printemps like it looks until I heard Rick pronounce it on a project pack video. :) )

Here are the fronts of my ATC for the two new-to-me tangles.

This one is Frondous.

And this one is Ynix. (Please tell me how to pronounce it!)

This week’s string was a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner through a medium circle in the middle and once again, I forgot to scan it before I started.

I did “cheat” a little bid and used my helix to make the circle in the middle. ;) I decided that Ixorus would work great in the circle. I actually thought that Frondous, Ynix, and Flux would all be a bit larger but when I drew them, they came out on the small side. It worked out though because I was able to get all seven tangles plus the variation of Flux on this one tile. Echoism isn’t very visible though. I really like that tangle because it flows so well.

At any rate, here is the scanned tile before shading.

In hindsight, I probably should have started Ynix a little further inside the border instead of centered on the border. But, I think it balanced out okay. Here it is in natural light.

I started to do some curvy Hollibaugh (actually did two lines) and decided I wanted the rest to be straight lines.

Here is the finished tile scanned.

The natural light had set by the time I finished shading the tile, so I took it inside with the best lighting (and unfortunately a flash) I could get inside.

I’m still learning how to shade Frondous and Ynix. Have you seen these tangles before? How do you shade them?

Well, I’ll run for now. Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

THM Bouillon

We love this bouillon! It’s sooo good. It is fuel pull and can be used in either carb or fats meals. It really makes brown rice pasta taste great!

It’s also very simple to make.

First gather all the ingredients.

I do make a substitution though; it calls for thyme, which we don’t like, and so I substitute basil and oregano.

All ingredients get dumped into a blender.

Blend away.

Then pour it into a container. All it takes is 1 tablespoon of this mix to flavor a cup of water.

You can find the recipe on page 491 of the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. Have you made it yet? Do you like it? How do you use it?

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Starting to Prep for Valentine’s Day

I’m so thankful for people like Lori Byerly (The Generous Wife) because she is such a marriage encourager. Every year she starts a countdown to Valentine’s Day a month out. I love it because it gets me thinking about what to do for Michael with plenty of time to plan.

  • Do I want to make him a dessert he likes?
  • A special dinner with special dessert? (wink wink)
  • A several day surprise (like 12 days of Christmas)?
  • Take him out to eat the weekend before or after (he hates crowds, so Valentine’s Day is out of the question ;) )

So now, thanks to Lori, I’m thinking about Valentine’s Day and beginning to do some searching for some good ideas. It’d be nice to do something different this year. ;)

What are you planning? Have you got any different ideas?

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Exercise (Ring Fit), Bujo, Something New, and Getting Back to Routines

Well, let’s see . . . what have I done this week? I’ve been consistently working out with the Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch. I actually enjoy doing it and yesterday I even wanted to play it again later in the day but of course I didn’t because I’m already sore. ;) A good sore, the kind that let’s you know it is actually doing some good, but sore all the same.

I’ve gotten back into my normal routines, pretty much. The mopping and such hasn’t happened yet but I’m confident I will get to it on a regular basis again quite soon. ;) I made my new chore page in my new bujo and really like it. It is appealing, so I may actually look at it a bit more often and thus get it done more than not. ;)

In the past several years, I’ve really liked sparkly washi tape; so my go-to washi tapes were my glittery or foil ones. However, so far this time around, I’m preferring florals. It will be interesting to see how the rest of my pages turn out.

Glitter Washi tape ~

Speaking of which, I’m way behind in getting my pages set up in my bujo (bullet journal). It’s really quite sad. At least I finally started using my new one. I just decided to skip a bunch of pages for the rest of my planned collection pages and for some future collection pages and even skipped a couple extra pages for my beginning monthly pages. Then I just started with a to-do list last Friday. I did draw a pretty little banner for that day but nothing else. I haven’t used it every day but I have used it several days.

I’m feeling so behind this year. Michael and Sean have been home for the last several weeks and that always throws a kink into how my days go. But they’ve gotten some work this week and it has been wonderful to start getting back into the groove. ;)

I started the Show Me Your Drills month long ‘class’ for learning the basic strokes of modern calligraphy. It started on the 6th, so we are nearing the end of the second week. I didn’t accomplish the drills every day this week but did manage to do quite a bit yesterday.

Tiffany and I made our first library trip of the year yesterday as well. They are remodeling, which is great and horrible, all at the same time. It was quite loud and the children and young adult sections are not all available. But Tiffany and I both came away with our allowed ten books each. We’ll upload a video on our Joyous Jabbers youtube channel tomorrow sharing what we got.

We popped into Ross this week when we ran into town and we found this really lovely journal. It’s called Talk to me Jesus, His words to you. I read a few lines of it in the store and my heart was pricked by some of the words.

“I talk to you day and night. I love to talk to you, to tell you things, to teach you, help you, and guide you.”

“Come! Come to Me, dear one. I hear your heart. I hear you when you lack energy and courage. I hear you when you are tired. I hear you when you feel pressured and stressed at life’s demands. I tell you, lean into Me and rest for a moment. Breathe in My presence.”

“Listen for Me early. When you awaken in the morning open your eyes and your ears at the same time. As the new day coaxes you awake, allow Me to kiss your thoughts withMy words. Allow My voice to caress your mind with Mine.”

Isn’t it pretty? :)

I read those snippets from the first several days and a couple other snippets as I thumbed through it and was sold. For $3.99 I had to bring this journal home with me. On the facing page to the writing for the day is a journal page to write my words to Him. Yesterday I chose to respond to the words on the opposite page, with my feelings about them and how they made me feel. I really think this is going to be a treasured keepsake. AND I think it is an answer to prayer.

You see, just a few days ago while in the shower I was praying and asked God to help me want to want to spend more time with Him. For him to help me hear Him better and deepen my relationship with Him. Then I found this journal. :) Yeah, I think it is an answer to prayer.

Well, I think that is enough from me for this week. I hope you are having a great week and working towards accomplishing your goals for this new year.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Winter Nature Journaling

I’m going to share a post I did last year but first I want to add a few links to things you can see in the night sky.


Winter Studies ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs homeschoolers, education can look differently throughout the year. You are not stuck with one way for the entire year. I thought I’d share some seasonal ideas with you from time to time.


In the winter, you can take advantage of the longer dark hours and do a unit on stars, constellation, astronomy, moon, and all things space. Actually going outside and looking at the stars. Now this had always been a struggle for me because I wasn’t sure I was seeing the right stars.


A couple years ago, we met a man who told us about these powerful lasers that can actually point to the stars. Really! Seriously! It’s sooo cool. Sean bought Michael one of these lasers for a gift a year ago. We really didn’t know how it worked or that it even worked very well. But last year when that same man was in town, we loaned him the laser to do a star gazing with some people one evening. He said that he changed out the battery and it worked great. We brought that laser back home and gave it try and were amazed. We surmised that either the battery was too low when first we tried it or it was not humid enough out, although it doesn’t require much.


I highly recommend this little jewel but be careful with it, as it is strong/powerful. I believe it is very similar to this one. It is also inexpensive. :)


Another thing you can do in the winter (or any time) is to track the weather. Write down the predicted weather and then the actual weather. For older children, you could have them compare weather predictions (different channels, apps, media). See if your favorite source is accurate or which source is the most accurate.


Here in Oklahoma, we get some mild days in winter (remember winter is three months long ;) ), so take advantage of the mild days and get outside. Do some nature study, comparing what you see with what was seen before (be it fall, summer, or even spring). Or you could just get in some physical activity . . . pick a sport and learn about it and its rules and practice one element of it on a nice day; it’ll be a nice break from the normal routine and being cooped up inside.


Go outside and work on adjectives that describe the weather. Sometimes the feeling of the wind blowing on your face or the sun shining down on you can help describe things better. Use the time to have them write something outside, be it a short story, paragraph, sentence, poem, or even haiku. Or just take your normal educational materials outside for a while, the sunshine (if there is any) will do you good.


Of course there is always the library. Don’t forget to take advantage of their resources. Schedule in a library day. Going to the library is an excursion for us, so we only planned one about once a quarter. Of course, we request books all the time and stop by for a quick drop off and pick up nearly weekly but with no browsing. Having a couple hours to browse the stacks is nice and can open you up to some books you would never have thought of before.


Well, I think you get the idea. As homeschoolers, your educational times do not have to fall into any box. You can night school, morning school, or noon school. You really have lots of options available to you.


I hope this gives you some ideas and helps you think outside the box.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Zen-Untangled Week 2: Centipede and Snail

This week the new-to-me tangles in the second week of the Zen-Untangled 2020 project were Snail and Centipede. Since I’ve been around the Zentangle community online since October 2009, I was already familiar with Hurry, Dex, Ahh (with Therefore) and Tipple. Although I have to say that Dex worked better for me this time around than ever before.

I had a major hiccup with snail. It looks like such a simple tangle and really it is simple but when I started to tangle it I drew it from inside and spiral out but it ended up looking more like Printemps. Thus I figured it was supposed to be drawn from outside and spiraled in, which was later confirmed on the group. :)

That little spiral down in the bottom right corner is the one where I started in and spiraled out.

The string for this week is a simple one with a pair of lines diagonally from corner to corner. I forgot to get a picture before I started tangling it though.

Here is the scan of my tile.

I made a couple tangle variations ;). I didn’t et the auras around Snail right. I initially thought I’d use the straight line variation but . . . didn’t end up doing that. :o The other mistake “variation” I did was with Hurry. I should have known better but I forgot that I was supposed to do 3 lines on each side of my initial 3 lines, whereas I only did one line on each side. :(

The seven tangles used in this tile are Ahh, Therefore, Centepede, Snail, Tipple, Hurry, and Dex. Here is a picture the tile before shading. (It was already dark so there was no way to take a picture out in natural light. :( )

And here it is after shading (first the scan and then the picture).

And this is the picture.

Yes, I had to add some eyes on my centipede. :)

One more view of the finished tile.

I love shading. It makes a world of difference. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Bake It, Make It Day

Last Friday was my first bake/make day this year. I’m out of so many things that my list of things to bake and make was too long for me to handle. I did only spend about few hours making things but I just couldn’t do any more and function the rest of the day/night. ;)

I thought I’d share the few things I made with you today.

I started by making my sourdough pizza dough so that it would be ready for dinner time. From here it went into a slightly greased bowl with a lid on it and put inside my gas oven which keeps at about 90º, so it is nice and warm for it to rise. :)

I wish I’d have taken a picture of the finished pizza because it was soooo delicious!!! I use the recipe from Glenda Goff’s cookbook, Around the Family Table, for the dough and then add toppings as per THM’s Sprouted Pizza Crust directions from  the February 2015 ezine. I use finely shredded part-skim mozzarella, some fat-free cottage cheese, some turkey pepperoni, and veggies (on mine and hubby’s). I also serve it with a side salad to ensure we are not hungry again in 5 minutes. ;)

Here is a version of Glenda’s recipe on her blog, which I may just have to do for Super Bowl Sunday with my extended family . . . love cheese stuffed crust pizza, but it’s not for weekly pizza night and losing weight. ;)

I then fed my sourdough starter in preparation for bread baking day. :) Bread baking didn’t actually happen until yesterday when Tiffany made it. :)

Then I made a batch of Briana’s thick pancake syrup from her second cookbook.

I like thick syrup but this one was a bit too thick for me. I think I’ll decrease the amount of gluccie next time. :)

Next up was the FP Trimmy Thousand Island. I made a double batch, as I usually do.

I wrote about how I make this here. For a simple recipe, it sure does take me a while to make this. :( But I love having it though.

My onion has been very strong the last several times I’ve made this. So I may cut back on the onion next time. At least I like Vidalia onion dressing too. ;)

The final thing I made at that time was a loaf of Swiss bread from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook.

It’s a really easy recipe where the hardest thing to do was separate the eggs. Although I think I may beat the whites in my KitchenAid mixer next time instead of the food processor and then just fold in the remaining ingredients in an effort to get a higher loaf next time.

I used this for a grilled cheese and pepperoni sandwich for lunch the next day.

I also processed into crumbs for a chicken cordon bleu casserole and will use some in a meatloaf skillet tonight. :)

Well, that was my baking day. What do you prep bake/make?

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Handling a Change of Routine

With the holidays came  big change in our household routine. Of course it was a nice change of pace and made for enjoyable holidays. But when it gets extended it can throw a wrinkle in the normal routines, which isn’t always welcome or pleasant. ;)

As a self-employed paint contractor, Michael’s work can really fluctuate. It’s difficult to find the time to take a vacation because when work is abundant, well, he has work he needs to do and can’t generally just take off. And when work is sparse, it is difficult to go and spend money on something like a vacation when money is not coming in. It is understandable why people wouldn’t want painting done in their homes over the holidays or in January.

All of this can change the routines in our home. When the guys are home, Tiffany and I don’t follow the same routines we normally follow. For me, that starts with bedtime and the time I get up in the morning. I prefer later nights and to sleep in each morning. But left on my own, I end up going to bed a bit later each night and then sleeping in a bit later the next morning. I’m not really a morning person and only set my alarm in order to get up to start my day off right and be able to make Michael’s breakfast and lunch before he heads to work. So when he doesn’t have work, I don’t set the alarm and I usually end up staying up a little later than normal.

It is nice to have a break in routines for a short while but at some point my mind just screams to get back on schedule. I haven’t read much since before Christmas and I miss it. I haven’t done any Bob Ross paintings for several months and I miss that as well.

Tiffany and Michael both got sick between Christmas and the New Year and so that threw things off kilter a bit too. I like to get my bullet journal set up at the kitchen table with Tiffany but really felt uninspired to do any of it (and then there was also tending to the sick ;) ).

So the way I handled these hiccups in my routine was to make sure I spent some time with God each day. I did some calming exercise: either took a walk or the Ring Fit Adventure game on the Switch. I also made sure to take St. John’s Wort each day and L-Theanine as needed for added calming effect.

It’s helpful to keep the parts of the routine that I can but not to be a Nazi about it and be flexible. When hit with a difficult moment, I try to take a deep breath and not overreact but of course, I’m not always successful. ;)

So how do you handle changes to your routine?

Michele ºÜº