Monthly Archives: September 2014

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodle Cookies ~ LifeOfJoy.me

When I was young we made once that I can remember. I am from a family that licks the bowl and beaters when we bake pretty much anything, so of course, we tasted the batter. I must admit that I preferred the batter to the baked cookies but then I don’t remember rolling ours in cinnamon sugar before baking either.

True Confession: I remember liking this batter so much that when I had a sweet tooth and there was nothing sweet in the house, I would make a fourth of this recipe and just eat it plain. ;) I know. I’m sad.

Rolling Cookie Batter ~ LifeOfJoy.meFast forward many years. I had long since forgotten the recipe for the snickerdoodles. My dear neighbor and friend Joyce, who made multiple batches of cookies at one time in order to have enough to share, made some of these cookies and shared them with us. She is such a sweet friend that she gave me some of the batter too. :)  She rolls hers in cinnamon sugar and that made a huge difference in the taste of the finished cookies.

I baked these in our toaster oven, and thus could only bake nine at a time but it was worth it since it didn’t heat up the house the way using the oven does.

I recommend softening the butter only enough to allow the mixer beaters to cream butter and sugar but not too soft. I let mine get too soft today and ended up having to refrigerate the batter for a bit and it was still a bit too soft to shape into balls to roll into the cinnamon sugar. I do have to say that the batter was super light and creamy – delicious!

Baking Snickerodles ~ LifeOfJoy.me

 

Also, Tiffany rolled these for me but she made them a bit large. The recipe directs them to be rolled into one inch balls. Tiffany made these about twice as big, which made nice big cookies. :)

 

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (or margarine, if you must), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • about 3 tablespoons sugar (we used more)
  • ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Mix in eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Add in flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
  4. Form into balls and roll in cinnamon sugar.
  5. Place two inches apart on cookie sheet. (The directions say to flatten slightly but we didn't.)
  6. Bake at 375º for about 8 minutes.
http://lifeofjoy.me/snickerdoodle-cookies/

Half a cookie ~ LifeOfJoy.me

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Forgiveness

Forgiveness ~ LifeOfJoy.meIn order to have a healthy marriage, one MUST be forgiving. There are so many opportunities for hard feelings in marriage; it’s just natural. There are two people from different backgrounds and different upbringings learning to live with each other and that alone is not easy. Then add in expectations — we all have them — we have an idea of what other people in the household should be doing, after all that we are doing AND we tend to see our contributions larger than our spouse might see them but that is beside the point.

Things happen. Now, what you do when things happen is important. The thing we need to do is to forgive, whether you are asked to forgive or not. Unforgiveness is only hurting yourself . . . well, yourself and your marriage. You see unforgiveness taints a marriage. It can turn into bitterness and strife, which is NOT good! And although I am an advocate for working things out, some times it is just best to forgive and get over it. Don’t let things build up and eventually create a wall between you.

Don’t ever go to bed angry at your spouse (or really anyone, for that matter). There have been several nights that I went to bed frustrated and before I went to sleep, laid there and just prayed and forgave Mike for whatever I was frustrated about.

You may not think that your spouse deserves for you to just forgive him but YOU deserve for you to forgive him to let go of the frustration. Now, if the situation is a recurring situation, then find a time when you are not annoyed to talk to him about it . . . he may not even know that he is doing it and generally speaking, I doubt that he is doing whatever it is to annoy you; if he knows it annoys you, he may change how he does things (but he may not). ;)

I like to buy replacement items when we start to run low on it so that when the item is all gone, we don’t have to go without, we just pull out the new package and continue on. My sweet honey has frustrated me in the past by opening the new package as soon as I bring it home, whether the old package was gone or not. One day I casually asked him about why he does it and he didn’t know. Since then he’s made an effort to act differently. However, one item that I asked him about like this, he knew exactly why he did it that way and continues to do it to this day. However I no longer get frustrated with this because I know he has a good reason why he does it (at least in his mind) and I cannot change him but I can change my reaction to him and what he does, thus I can then stay in peace.

Another thing to think about the next time you are frustrated with your honey is how you would want him to respond to things you do that frustrate him and give him that same grace. Forgiveness is a vital part of ‘a marriage that will stand the test of time.’ Is it easy? Absolutely NOT!!! But it is definitely worth it.

Until next time, keep doing the hard things and God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Curtains, Book Deal, and Recipe Bomb

It’s been a slow week this passed week. The biggest thing that happened was finally getting some living room curtains that I like. We took the advice we found online and hung them six inches wider than the window on each side and nearly to the ceiling as well. (They go to about an inch from the floor.) It really makes a drastic difference!

I just got plain brown panels but I got a nice rod. The panels have the grommets, so no valance, at least, not yet. Since one side of the room has two windows side-by-side, I needed at least three panels. So I thought I’d add an accent panel in the middle and the result is pretty nice. I saw the accent panel first and really liked it. Through the packaging it looked like it had brown on the sides but when we pulled it out to look at it saw that the brown was only a small band at the top. AND they only had 4 panels, which is what caused Tiffany and I to keep looking. Then we saw the plain brown panels and that’s when the idea struck me; Tiff agreed.

I had taken down the drab blue homemade curtains that we inherited with the house when we got it, when Mike painted the walls quite some time ago and never put anything up other than the blinds. Several months ago I found the rods at Garden Ridge very reasonably priced – I think they may have been on clearance but it’s been so long I don’t even remember. ;) Sad, I know!

Curtains ~ LifeOfJoy.me

When we ran errands last week, Tiffany and I went to Mardel. In their bargain book section we found Shaunti Feldhahn’s books I’ve mentioned a few times here, for women only, for men only, and for young women only. It was neat because I found them for just $5 each. I was thrilled, especially since I was getting ready to request for women only from the library again.

Book Deal ~ LifeOfJoy.me

Today I had a recipe bomb! Ugh! I thought I’d try my baked ziti in the crock pot, while I was at home, so I could catch any foul-ups. Well, it was a huge fail! The cheese completely dissolved, so there was NO YUMMY goodness. See I had made lasagna in my crock pot and the noodles got too soggy, since I boiled them first. So, I decided I’d try making the ziti with dry pasta and just add extra liquid for the pasta to absorb. Well, it absorbed what was there but evidently there wasn’t enough because some of the pasta was still hard but burnt and some was soft. Now, Tiffany did misunderstand me and put it on high instead of low, so I’m not sure if this had much to do with it, as I checked on it after 3 hours. It wasn’t good; it was edible but not good, so I don’t think I’ll do this again. I like my pasta and cheese too much to ruin it like this. (I will spare you the picture of this . . . trust me, it isn’t pretty. ;))

My parents and my sister and her family have gone on vacation, to the beach. Sean is house and dog sitting for them. We really miss him when he isn’t here!!! Thankfully, he misses us too. We will all be glad to be back to normal, even though it does mean that we eat dinner later than we used to once upon a time. We wait to have dinner until he gets home from work, which is much later than Mike has gotten home from work, all these years. But since Sean’s had this job for over a year now, we’ve gotten rather used to eating later. :)

Well, that’s enough rambling for today, until next time, God bless,
Michele ºÜº

The Encouraging Parent

Encouraging Parent ~ LifeOfJoy.meToday I thought I share a thought-provoking article with you on being and encouraging parent. This is an area where I have missed it. I think the biggest reason is because I detest a prideful spirit, so I’ve been careful not to pump up my kids’ heads with accolades but unfortunately, I realize that I let that pendulum swing too far in the other direction and did not praise my children enough. But they do know and have always known that they are loved exceptionally – that I have not spared. :)

Not only am I my own worst critic but I was probably my children’s worst critic as well. Being their mother AND teacher, I wanted them to succeed and better themselves. I think I just may have pointed out the areas for improvement a bit more than their successes, no matter how small. I just never wanted to be one of those parents that thought more of her children’s abilities than others did – I wanted to be ‘realistic’. But again, I confess, I was probably too hard, or maybe just not encouraging enough.

I hope this article will be a blessing to you.

Parenting With Pleasure

By Mark Hamby

Several weeks ago I was standing on the banks of the Jordan River near the location of the baptism of Jesus. From there I traveled northward to the Sea of Galilee and saw what is believed to be the Mount of Transfiguration. Over the years I have heard many sermons about these events but never one that focused exclusively on the powerful, single-sentence communication of the Father.

During Jesus’ lifetime, the heavenly Father speaks only three times. Each time, He uses His words sparingly. But with these three very short sentences come some of the most powerful truths ever spoken.

Matthew 3 records the first time the Father speaks to Jesus. As Jesus is being baptized He hears a voice from heaven saying: “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” Here the Father expresses His great love and the pleasure he finds in His Son.

As parents we need to give our children what the Father gave His Son in this one powerful sentence: “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” In this short sentence the Father conveys:

The Gift of Identity—This is MY Son

The Gift of Nurture—My BELOVED Son

The Gift of Affirmation—In Whom I take PLEASURE

These three foundational parental gifts are the core principles that cultivate healthy relationships and a meaningful life. When a child hears his parents talk about him in a positive manner, it creates intrinsic motivation; the child is motivated to give honor in return.

We need to be purposeful with our words as we convey truth and encouragement. Even difficult children have gifts that need to be recognized and nurtured. For example, from an early age my son often interacted and reacted with determination and obstinacy. As a result, through most of his childhood and teen years I insisted that his behavior was unacceptable and thought he needed to change. Rather than recognizing that God had given him a gift of leadership and communication that needed to be developed, I saw his gift as a threat. I missed the opportunity to cultivate his identity and failed to nurture him. However, because I affirmed my son in his work ethic, today he is confident and successful in his career. He is intrinsically motivated to reach high levels of excellence as a result.

The second time the Father speaks is on the Mount of Transfiguration. He repeats what he said at the baptism but adds, “Hear ye him!” He not only reinforces the importance of identity, nurture, and affirmation by repeating Himself but also adds the essential gift of privileged position. With His statement, “Hear ye him,” the Father communicates that there has been a transfer of power and authority to His Son. He is saying to the disciples, “Get your eyes off of Moses and Elijah—listen to my Son.”

When parents transfer power and position, they grant autonomy and authority. Rather than encouraging the child to be independent of authority, this transfer opens the door for young adults to make autonomous decisions within the context of dependent relationships. As a Son, Jesus still learned obedience “by the things which he suffered” according to the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 5:8). Though Jesus was given authority and autonomy (Matt. 28:18: “all power is given unto me”), He still yielded to His Father (Luke 22:42 “not My will, but Thine be done”). Jesus came to do the will of His Father (Jn. 5:30, 6:38).

Granting authority and autonomy begins at a young age. Find a task that the child does well, and identify the character quality needed for that job. It could be something simple like making the bed or mowing the lawn, packing the car or answering the phone, setting the table or caring for pets. Choose anything that the child naturally enjoys and does well. This is the time to transfer some authority and autonomy. For example, if your son is naturally organized, then packing the car for trips would be his position of authority. No one packs anything without first going through him. This is his territory. As the children grow, expand these doors of autonomy and authority.

Too often parents restrict autonomy and withhold authority, hindering the transition from childhood to adulthood. I must admit that it was more difficult for me to grant autonomy and authority to my daughter than to my sons. I smothered her with overprotection, creating in her a natural resistance. Children need encouragement as they grow up; otherwise they may take twists and turns to find it. A restricted sapling will twist and turn to seek light as it grows, and in its mature state it often remains in its twisted form.

The third and last time the Father speaks to the Son is recorded in John 12: “I have glorified your name and will glorify it again.” Here we have confirmation that the Father is committed to His Son, always.

Parenting never ends. My children, now in their late twenties and early thirties, are finally receiving the gifts they should have received as children. But opportunities for growth are never too late. In fact, just recently I shared these truths with my oldest son, and we experienced significant healing in our relationship. The parenting principles demonstrated by our heavenly Father are life-transforming for those who will practice them.

In summary, our children need:

  •  Identity—This is MY Son
  • Nurture—My BELOVED Son
  • Affirmation—A Son in Whom I take PLEASURE
  • Position of Authority—Listen to him
  • Confirmation of Commitment—I will glorify your name, again

Audio to Listen to:
The White Gypsy—Great for the entire family! This drama expresses many of the truths in this article, particularly the gifts of identity, nurture, affirmation, and confirmation.
Mark Hamby is the founder and president of Lamplighter Ministries, where he serves with a dedicated staff to make Lamplighter Publishing, Lamplighter Theatre, Lamplighter Guild, Lamplighter Life-Transforming Seminars, and Lamplighter Moments Daily Radio Broadcast a reality. It is his mission to make ready a people prepared for the Lord by building Christlike character . . . one story at a time. You can read or listen to the most recent Lamplighter production at www.lamplighter.net.
Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

 
Until next time, remember to be an encouraging parent, and God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Cellular Leaf

The Diva Challenge this week (#186) is to use leaves as your string. I thought string number #98 from tanglepatterns.com resembled the veins of a leaf. So I chose to use it for my string and fill it with ‘Nzepple because I think it looks like cells under a microscope. I used the less formal way to draw it as suggested here. I wish I had used my sepia micron but I’ve been fighting a headache all day and not thinking clearly.

Cellular Leaf ~ LifeOfJoy.meNot my best work but it is what it is.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

What to Do with an Angel Food Cake Mix

Angel Food Cake ~ LifeOfJoy.meI had never made an angel food cake, as it always seemed difficult and it needed a special pan. I remember reading somewhere that you could use a bundt pan that has a hole in the center of the pan, in place of the angel food cake pan. Until just a few years ago I didn’t have one of those either, as I usually make my cakes in a 9×13 pan, when I actually make a cake. That is, until I got the recipe for Apple Cake, which is absolutely delicious, from my fellow homeschool mom (Thanks Kay!) and it requires a bundt pan. Consequently I bought one because I loved this moist yummy cake and didn’t want to take any chances that the pan may have been important to it turning out right. ;) Besides, I wanted a bundt cake pan.

We frequently have LOTS of eggs around here because of our chickens but they are molting and not providing many eggs right now (at least I hope that is the reason we aren’t getting many eggs at the moment). At any rate, I was hungry for Angel Food Cake with strawberries. I didn’t have enough fresh eggs to make one from scratch. Did you know it takes a full dozen eggs to make an angel food cake? That’s crazy! Thankfully I had a box of angel food cake mix on had. A year or so ago I had found this recipe, and I use the term lightly, for 3-2-1 cake, which uses angel food cake mix to make a single serving dessert. Well, that was all gone, so I thought I’d get another angel food cake mix to have on hand, in case I felt the urge to make that again. So I decided to give it a try since I had some strawberries in the refrigerator that desperately needed to be eaten.

So here is the super difficult ‘recipe’.

Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

  1. Buy Angel Food Cake Mix from store.
  2. Find some bottle to fit in the hole of your bundt cake pan.
  3. Slice strawberries and sprinkle with enough sugar to coat them nicely and refrigerate.
  4. Follow package directions (which usually involves simply adding water and mixing, in my case it was for 30 seconds on low and 60 seconds on medium. Put it in a clean angel food or bundt cake pan. Bake as directed. And cool as directed, which for me involved putting the pan upside down on a bottle.)
  5. When it cooled I used a rubber spatula to loosen the cake from the pan.
  6. Slice and serve with strawberries and its juice, and whipped cream.

Wow! I really stretched out those directions. HaHaHa

Oh, I’ll give you a bonus ‘recipe’:

3-2-1 Cake

Buy one angel food cake mix and any other cake mix you like. Combine both cake mixes and store. When you are ready for a single serving dessert, combine 3 tablespoons of the mix and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave safe bowl, ramekin, or cup and microwave for about 1 minute. Eat!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Communicate Well

Communicate Well ~ LifeOfJoy.meIt is absolutely imperative that we learn to communicate well with our husbands. When I  feel strongly about something my natural tendency is to raise my voice. Unfortunately the tone of my voice frequently causes my sweet husband to shut down and not really hear me.

I have learned (and am still learning) not to discuss issues in the heat of the moment because inevitably my voice will change to that tone that does not get heard. It is times like this that I “Do the Hard Thing” and back off and try to figure out how to explain my thoughts without raising my voice. Then I write a note/letter expressing my feelings or pray about it and find a better time to bring up the subject, calmly, in meekness, not demanding or condemningly.

There have been times that I have been very upset about something, gone in the other room, prayed about the situation for a few minutes (maybe it just seemed like minutes and was really mere seconds ;) ) and then got out paper and pen and wrote him a letter about how I felt. It is actually very funny because several times when I have done this and truly let the Lord lead me as I have written it, I have found that I end up apologizing for my faults and committing to change first and then mentioning whatever it was that had riled me so.

The key to writing this kind of thing is to keep it to yourself and re-read it before placing it where he can find it. A few weeks ago there was something that happened that bothered me. I sat down and proceeded to write him a letter. When I was finished, I prayed about it and felt that I was NOT supposed to give it to him. As you can probably imagine, I was not happy about that but I followed that feeling. The next morning the thing had been completely worked out; God had dealt with him and I didn’t have to say a word about it. Some may think that I had wasted my time writing the letter but I disagree because I was able to get my feelings out to where I had fully expressed my thoughts on the subject and yet I did not do anything to damage our relationship or disrespect my husband. Win-win! (Quote from Letters to Juliet.)

Other times I have waited for a calm moment and were alone and told him that I had something I’d like to talk to him about. Then I proceeded explaining my thoughts and feelings CALMLY without raised voice. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep the tone down. The first time I did this I brought the subject up when we were at a restaurant alone. I knew that having the external control of being in a public place would cause me to watch my tone and keep my voice down. It worked well! That experience showed me how important the tone of my voice is. Does this mean that I never raise my voice or never discuss things at the wrong time? Lord forbid; I am, most definitely, a work in progress, much to Mike’s dismay, I think. :)

Until next time, communicate well, and God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Kittens, Mushrooms, and More

I’m way behind on my Holiday Grand Plan . . . ugh! This week I’m supposed to be making a ‘haven’ in our master bedroom but I’ve not done anything. :( I guess I’ll be playing catch up on a future week but that is ok because my house is smaller than many, so I’ll just do it one week when the focus is on a room I don’t have, a benefit of having a smaller home. :)

Unflattering Pic of Sandy ~ LifeOfJoy.meThis is our cat Sandy. She had a litter of kittens in the beginning of April. This is pretty commonplace around here as our previous cat had a litter every April or late March. About a month ago, Sandy was looking rather pregnant again, much to our dismay. (Tiffany tells me that this picture was taken right around the time she got pregnant which is why she looks so mad. :D) Then two days ago, she came to the front door looking very skinny. Tiffany went out to investigate and she found 4 little kittens under our front porch steps.

Kittens Again ~ LifeOfJoy.meUnfortunately, the daddy cat, which is NOT our cat, has no tail. In the last litter, only one kitten had a tail. In this litter, I think there are two with tails.

Golf Ball Mushroom ~ LifeOfJoy.me

 

We had another interesting site this week. I think it looks like a golf ball on a very large tee.

 

 

Opened Mushroom ~ LifeOfJoy.me

 

Then we had a bit of rain and it opened up; it must’ve been 4 or 5 inches across. Later it opened up to where it was flat across the top and then started turning a shade of brown.

 

 

We also have a broody hen right now or at least she was broody, earlier this week. She’s been out and about foraging for food in spite of the fact that Tiffany placed food right near where she was nesting, so we shall see if she will actually hatch the 8 or so eggs she has hidden away. I hope she will persevere and we will get a couple roosters so we can finally get rid of this mean old thing we have now.

I got back to doing some Zentangle this week. It felt good to be creative again. Last year for Christmas I got a book to learn about shading and even though I haven’t done very much with it, my shading has really gotten better. (You can view my Zentangles and ZIAs by clicking Wonder Wednesday up in the menu above.) It also felt good to know that some people check my art even when I haven’t participated in a challenge link up yet. Thanks y’all!!! It is very encouraging when people take time to comment on a post. Thank you!

Well, I think that is all for now. I hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Diva Challenge #185

The Diva’s Challenge (#185) this week is a Duotangle in honor of her and her husband’s 10th anniversary. The tangles are her husband’s creation, phicops, and one made in her honor by the creators of Zentangle, Diva Dance. By the way, Happy Anniversary Laura and B-rad!

Sometimes I tangle while I’m in church listening to the message. Last night was one such night. Since I hadn’t done anything with this challenge these are the tangles that came to mind quickest, so they are what I used.

I didn’t have a pencil in my purse or Bible bag to shade it so I used cross-hatching and darker lines to try to accomplish the same thing. I do think it could still benefit from a little pencil shading but decided to share it in its present state. If I decide to shade it in later, I’ll update this post with the results. :)

Oh, I should also mention that I have a small notebook in my purse for such occasions and that is what I used last night.

Diva #185 ~ LifeOfJoy.me

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Technology and Reading

Technology Good? ~ LifeOfJoy.meI found some interesting articles this week that I thought I’d share with you today. The first is about technology and kids and this one is related to it (and referenced in it). It shares that the technological and billionaire elites limit their kids’ use of technology (tablets/iPads and such); many send their children to schools with no computers or screens at all. (I’m sure your kids will appreciate me sharing those articles with you. ;)) This shocked me but then I was also shocked to find out that at least one local public school has no textbooks and seldom gives homework. I have also heard of a public school where the students were watching movies – no, not educational movies, but movies you or I would see in the theater. What a sad state of affairs. It’s no wonder kids sleep in class or skip class altogether.

On WashingtonPost.com there was this article about how we read differently on a screen as opposed to in print. It was quite interesting. In light of the previously mentioned articles though, I don’t think I agree that we should be “steadily increasing their [our kids] immersion into the technological, digital age.” In fairness it did say that we should be reading to our children and giving them printed material as well but I think I’d follow the lead of the technological elites on this one, if I had it to do over again. There was also a very interesting study done in 2012 with Israeli engineering students that was sited and I found it a bit surprising. (Have I piqued your interest enough to get you to check out that article? ;) )

Then in the article, “How To Make Your Kids Smarter” I learned that music and exercise gives children academic advantages and increases their ability to learn, respectively. The article stated that music training helps anyone, regardless of age. There are 8 more tips shared in the article.

I thought I would leave you with links to two helps. ;) The first is a reading assessment that is very similar to one I have used with my own children in the past and found it to be beneficial to me. Since our state does not require any testing, I found it helpful to confirm what I already knew about my children’s abilities; this reading assessment helps to pinpoint their reading level but not their comprehension level.

Last, for all those books you are going to be reading aloud WITH your child(ren), here is a really neat idea for a reading journal. The idea is that after you read a chapter book with them, they get to draw or write about it in this book.

I hope these articles give you some food for thought and something to consider praying about.

Until next time, God Bless,

 Michele ºÜº