Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving Week!

Tday Breakfast ~
Baked Pumpkin Donuts for breakfast Thanksgiving morning, thanks to Tiffany.

We  had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you did as well.

On Monday, Tiffany and I took it rather easy in preparation for the business ahead of us. On Tuesday  Lauren joined us as we ran errands and did a little last minute Christmas shopping, in order to reach my finished by Thanksgiving goal. I am not completely done with everyone but nearly done. I have a few stocking stuffers to buy yet and one small gift for my mother.

Wednesday was the hugely busy day! I made out a schedule whereby we took advantage of cooking time to accomplish other tasks that needed to be done as well. We got our chores done before beginning to bake and put up the tree. We finally got started around 10am. As I started working on the baking, Tiffany got her Christmas tree up in her room and then began helping me. I got the pies, cake, and bars made while Tiffany made way for the Christmas tree and started putting it up. I joined her for branch fluffing and light stringing. Then she started working on the pumpkin donuts and chocolate fruit cake (which is something new we are looking forward to trying in a few weeks).

Then we had to cook dinner. I am still not sure why I thought it was a good idea to have homemade egg rolls on baking day! I looked for something easy to make and found it in Korean “Beef” but the family likes it with egg rolls, which are a little more involved to make – but still easy, especially with help. My sweet daughter-in-love likes my egg rolls so she was brave and tried them at a restaurant and decided that she didn’t like them out and that some things are just better left eaten at my house. ;)

Sean was a sweetheart and stopped at Walmart on his way home from work to pick up a few things that I overlooked on Tuesday, namely whipped cream and eggs. I had nearly two dozen eggs but the fruit cake Tiffany made called for nine! We had one egg left to include in the egg rolls, which was ok since she had enough extra chicken to include. Actually, she put so much chicken in, I had a hard time finding the cabbage. :D

I intended to paint my nails on Monday or Tuesday but never got around to it. So Thursday morning I thought I might just throw a coat of some polish on. I had a new polish I wanted to try but wasn’t sure how fast it would dry and if it would coat well. So I did just my left thumb and figured I do the rest when we got to Mom and Dad’s because we are usually the first to arrive. Well, when we got there Brian and Lauren had already arrived, albeit I don’t think they’d been there very long but they were already there, all the same. Then before I could even sit down, Tracie and her family arrived and the chaos ensued. :) I love our family! We have so much fun together. We are very loud but fun!!!

Tday Gaming ~
Pool Table, that is seldom used, becomes a table for gaming consoles and monitors.
Tday fun ~
Girls playing their games too, for a bit.
Nintendo Tday ~
Video gaming fun for they younger crowd too.
7 at once ~
At one point I think they had 7 people playing the Wii U together! Super Smash Bros

At one point, I was even playing the Wii U with the four youngest girls . . . Nintendo Land’s Sweet Day event. They liked me playing with them because I really get into it and scream when I’m about to be caught. :D

We decorated Mom and Dad’s tree. This year, since it was a new tree and Mom had to see if it was acceptable, she already had it up AND it is pre-lit, so it took about an hour off of the time to decorate. Mom buys ornaments for each person as they join the family. These ornaments are place on the tree in groups. Here’s a pic of the unmarried grandkids putting theirs on this year.

Tree Decorating ~
Sometimes they put the ornaments on and then just pretend to be putting on their ornament for the picture – like here. ;) Notice the football game on too!

We also took family pictures so Mom can make her Christmas cards. Mom got pictures of everyone as we all arrived. Dad took pictures at the table, like I shared earlier this week. And there are some, not so great pictures take of us working in the kitchen. Mom will forward me the family photo session pictures later because one year we were all taking pictures so that we all had copies and there were too many flashes going off and nobody knew where to look. It was CRAZY and the guys don’t like to do the photo sessions anyway, so that was just unbearable to ALL. ;)

As the day progressed, I completely forgot about my nails, so here I sat, at 10pm and still only had one coat of polish on my left thumb! Maybe I’ll get them done before I leave to go shopping with Lauren and Tiffany this morning. We will see!

Have a great weekend! Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Holiday Life Skills

When the kids were young, we took off the week of Thanksgiving. I knew we would not get very much accomplished that week, especially since I baked on Wednesday; I still do. It has always been a busy week because I still have to go grocery shopping. I’m usually one of those crazies out on Tuesday before Thanksgiving, in the grocery stores.

This year was no different. I am always surprised how packed the stores are and then I remember that Thanksgiving is in 2 days. Why does it surprise me every year, I wonder and yet it does. ;)

The kids helped me get ready for Thanksgiving. They helped me clean up the house and bake my pies and pumpkin bars. They have always been a lot of help. As a homeschool mom, it was necessary to get them to help keep the house tidy and clean. If I didn’t get them to help I would have probably gone nuts; well the technical term would have been “burned out.” By having weeks where they were still learning things and just leaving the heavy/ more intense study for other weeks, I was able to have weeks that were easier and thus allow me some breathing space and no burn out.

Weeks like this are valuable to a child’s education. In times like these they learned about skills that they would need to use the rest of their lives. They may not need to know the names of the bones in the body or how to solve for “x” or the name of some battle but they will need to know how to clean their home, buy and cook food, and how to find the best buy for an item to be purchased. These are things learned while doing the normal every day activities together.

After the children had basic reading down, they helped while grocery shopping by reading the list to me. This gave them reading practice for the day. It has become such a way of life that I wonder how my errand days will look in the future without one of my children carrying the list and answering my questions, like “What else do we need?” You see, this isn’t a question that they have to figure out for themselves, they just have to read the list that I made. They were also responsible for crossing off the items after they had been placed in the cart.

From this week through the end of the year, it can be very busy. For their schooling during this time, they did lots of life skills. We also talked about the holidays, traditions, what others believe, and such. It was also a time for them to catch up on any work they’d left unfinished during the previous month. We would do artsy things from time to time and read holiday books. I taught my children that one is never done learning, both in words and modeling it for them. Kids will learn more from watching what you do than from listening to what you say to do. Thus it is extremely important to not let your words and actions be contrary to one another.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Thanksgiving Zentangle

I really wanted to participate in the String Thing Challenge over on Tickled to Tangle but the week got away from me. It is what I had planned to share here today. Well, even though I missed participating in the challenge to get included in the week’s submissions, I still completed my tile because I liked the challenge.

Adele said that since it is Thanksgiving we should think of three things for which we are thankful and include them on String #67, which resembles a mobius. I felt that this would be a perfect tile to share for Thanksgiving.

A word of caution though, the tile you are about to view definitely goes along with last week’s Diva Challenge to embrace the “yuck.” :D In other words, it is not my favorite tile but it does convey the three things for which I am most thankful . . .

Thankful for God, Family, and Friends ~ LIfeOfJoy.meGod is the foundation of all I do, so he is at the base of my tile. Family is extremely important to me and rises from my relationship with God. Friends, yes there is a tiny little “s” at the end because I ran out of space (some of that yuck I was referring too).

The crescent moon in the center reminds me of the sun (or Son) being a bridge between God and family and friends. The center line forms crosses at the different levels, signifying me denying myself, taking up my cross and following after Him (God), putting others first.

When I completed my tile I had completely forgotten that Adele said to use Crescent Moon and Cornerz but I had chosen Crescent Moon anyway. :)

I hope you have a wonderful day today, getting ready for Thanksgiving. Tiffany and I will be putting up our Christmas tree and baking, baking, baking . . . I hope I remember to take all the pictures I’m supposed to take. (I’ve already missed one because a strand of lights burnt out under my kitchen cabinets. :(

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Thanksgiving Food

Thanksgiving at the Table ~ LifeofJoy.meWe go to my parents’ home, which is just 25 minutes away, on Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving meal is generally the same from year to year and that is the way we like it. ;)

We have turkey with stuffing (yes, it is actually stuffing as it is stuffed inside the bird), ham (yes, both turkey and ham), mashed potatoes, noodles cooked in chicken broth and noodles cooked in ham juice, sweet potatoes (no marshmallows here), gravy, and rolls. Now we do have some other veggies. Our token vegetable is corn; notice that it is a starchy veggie? Our token salad is Dutch salad. This is made with hard boiled eggs, Miracle Whip Salad Dressing, evaporated milk, and sugar. I lovingly refer to this marvelous meal as our Starch Fest. :) But Oh! So Yummy!!!

Mom and Dad provide all the main meal. Mom makes most of it on her own. We help with the things that are not done early, namely mashed potatoes, corn, salad, noodles, and rolls. Mom even sets the table in advance. I think she does it because she got frustrated with us not being able to locate the proper dish and no one wants anyone, let alone chief cook, frustrated on Thanksgiving. :)

We girls bring the desserts. When we first decided that, I brought Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Crumble Pie. Over the years I found a wonderful Apple Cake that is a yummy breakfast food as well as dessert, so I make it and take it over too. My youngest sister, Tracie brings Oreo Pie by Jello and usually doughnuts. My middle sister, Sondra, makes banana pudding. The clincher here is that she makes two bowls, one with Nila Wafers and the other with ground graham crackers (which is the way Mom always made it).

When it comes to dessert on Thanksgiving I need the pudding because it’s a light dessert. There have been times that Sondra could not make it over on Thanksgiving and I was stuck without pudding. Thankfully Tracie came to the rescue and brought chocolate pudding! Yay Tracie! So now, she brings that frequently too.

Since I’m sharing things related to Thanksgiving this week and I don’t make any of these items until Wednesday, so that they are at their freshest, I don’t have any pictures to share of any of these lovely desserts . . . YET. ;)  I will leave you with a link to a new dessert I am thinking of making very soon . . . copycat Marie Calendar’s Chocolate Satin Pie. I will warn you, in case you have a measured internet service, their site has several videos that load and one of them I cannot even find to mute it. When we try the pie and like it, I will share it here with any modifications I make. :)

I hope you enjoy the tastes of the holiday! Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

P.S. In the picture above, Tracie, her husband, and my parents have not yet sat down at the table, for whatever reason. My sweet daughter-in-love Lauren was out of town for work. :(  This will be the first year she is able to have Thanksgiving with our family. Oh and my hair is hideous – pre haircut!

Thankful for My Man

Thanksgiving @ My Parents' ~ LifeOfJoy.meThanksgiving is this week so I thought I’d focus my entries this week around what we do for this holiday and why I love it so much.

I love Thanksgiving because it starts the holiday season. You see, I love the time beginning this week all through the end of the year. It is full of fun, family, memories, and love. My mom always made the holidays so full of love. My hubby proposed to me in the month of December. It is a very special month. :)

When I was young, we lived in Ohio. My mom is one of 7 children so holidays spent with her side of the family were lots of noise, fun, and love. I have fond memories of family gatherings when I was little. I have awesome cousins! Unfortunately I haven’t seen them in ages but that is the way of life when so much time passes, families expand and move to other states but I still have those wonderful memories.

During this week, I especially think about the things for which I am thankful. God tops my list, because without Him I could not make it in this life. He gives me such strength, peace, and joy that I cannot comprehend how people make it throughout this life without Him.

My Honey ~ LifeOfJoy.meMy dear husband Mike is second on my thankful list. He loves me so unconditionally that I am without words. He has put up with my struggles, supporting me, caring for me, and loving me through them. He deserves an award for his long suffering through my weight issues. He has consistently provided for our family allowing me to stay home with them, never asking me to get a job. He has been my rock on whom I have relied. When I get down or depression tries to overtake me, he is my awesome friend who cajoles me out of it, acting silly if necessary. He is my biggest supporter, my love, my best friend, my confidant, on whom I can depend.

I’m thankful for my ever growing family that provide so many memories, fun, joy, and love. There are so many things I could say about my children (including my daughter-in-love), my parents and the rest of my extended family but today is about marriage, so I’ll try to stay on topic. ;)

I’m so thankful that God knew it was not good for man to be alone and thus created woman, that the two would be one. Although it is true that I am complete in Him (God), I am definitely one that feels more complete in this life with my hubby. We have our ups and downs, our fights and our celebrations but even when we have disagreements, he is still one of the best gifts God has given me or allowed me to have. I am so blessed to have this man in my life.

I guess the key to feeling blessed and fulfilled in marriage is to focus on the good and overlook the bad (unless it is an abusive situation). The bad looks so much worse if that is what you are focusing and the good so hard to find. But if you focus on the good and look for things to be thankful for about your hubby, it is harder to see the bad or let it control you. You see, when you focus on the bad, you are empowering it to tear apart your marriage but focusing on the good supports, undergirds, and strengthens your marriage.

I challenge you to find one thing about your hubby that you are thankful for. Think about it, really focus on it. Then tell him that he blesses you by it. Even if, by some strange Mike ~ LifeOfJoy.mechance, it doesn’t really mean anything to him, it will to you, as you focus on the good in him, you will see less of the bad. Next time he leaves the toilet seat up (or whatever infraction he perpetrates) think about that good thing and other good things about him and that imperfection will seem less annoying in the end. When Mike does something that annoys me, I try to remember that I am not perfect either and he puts up with me. ;)

I hope you enjoy this wonderful season and will be intentionally thankful for your husband this holiday.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Online Struggles with Bunny Trails ;)

MockingjayPart1Poster3I’ve done a few new things this week. :) We will be going to see the new Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay next week with my sister, her family, and my children so one of the new things I did this week was to order tickets online to go to that movie. This was not as simple a task as one might think, if you are going to be thorough. You see, my sister is 10 years younger than me. I used to think that was something rather unique but I have met more people with large age gaps with a sibling recently and I’m feeling rather common place now. ;) Anyway, I digress! My baby sister (she’s still my baby sister even though we are all grown up) orders her tickets online and told me how to do it.

Ordering Tickets Online

Well, I went to the site she sent me the link to, clicked on the number of tickets I wanted and it went to my cart and POOF! they disappeared. Now I have to say that I am NOT a novice when it comes to ordering things online, but this week sure did make me think I was. ;) I looked high and low for the link to my cart and it was nowhere to be found. So I finally decided that maybe I needed to make an account on the site to find my cart. Once again, do not misunderstand, I am not a newbie when it comes to registering on websites. I created the account and magically found my cart; I don’t even remember now, how I came to find it but it was easy after registering with the site. But now to be able to process my order for the tickets I had to click the box that said I had read the terms of use (or some such legalese) and privacy policy. They also offered a rewards program, but at the time they offered it they did not specify that it was a fee based membership, and I clicked to enroll in that. Ugh! More things to read before I could complete my order. My dad taught me not to sign my name to anything that I hadn’t read; there have been a few times in my life that this has been a very long, drawn out, and overwhelming act and in the end, I may have simply scanned over a lot of the words, but I at least read enough to find out any hidden costs and such.

Over all, I had three tabs open with legalese in two of them, trying to order these tickets. The tab with my cart in it kept timing out because I was taking so long reading the other two tabs so that I could check that one little box with a clean conscience. ;)

Well I finally completed that task and was now able to complete my order but this is a very nice theater with reclining seats and you can reserve your seats when you purchase tickets online. Since we are all going together, we want to sit together. Tracie, that’s my sister, had told me which row she was reserving seats in and I thought she’d already done so but when I got to that part of the process, the entire row was available . . . had I done something wrong? Did I have the wrong website? Wrong movie time? These were questions this newbie had to have answered before I continued. So there was another delay in my ordering as I awaited Tracie’s confirmation that I had misunderstood and she had not placed her order yet, as she was waiting to know exactly how many tickets she was purchasing due to a very active youngster that would prefer not to attend but would need to have a sitter on a Thanksgiving week. Once assured that I did have all the correct information and such, I was finally able to complete my ticket purchase after that crazy tab had timed out about 3 or 4 times!

Another New Online Experience

Now, if that had been the only new online experience, it might not have left such an impression but I had another new online experience that took what seemed like several days to complete but I think it was only just over a 24-hour period, which is a very long time when you are used to online things going so quickly. Let’s just say, I know it will have been worth it come Christmas and I get to see a big smiling face on a loved one.

Wii U Fun

Then Sean, my middle child, purchased a Wii U and it finally arrived, complete with unexpected bonus game. Now I have to admit that I love video games but I was not very interested in getting the Wii U because of the gamepad. I thought it was weird and would make this fifty-year old lady FEEL old and unable to get it all together to enjoy playing on this new system BUT my oldest, Brian and his dear wife Lauren, got one earlier this year and brought it over. Turns out that I could play with my grown gamer children using this very element that I didn’t think I could handle with ease, and not lag behind them but actually help them in the game – usually I am the last one lagging behind the others as I look for every coin, heart, or other hidden piece and am frequently the one getting ‘killed’. I was pleasantly surprised.

Last night we even got my husband, Mike, to play a few games with us on Nintendo Land. These can be really fun games for the whole family to play. Some of the games are games of chase, where one player is “it” and the others are evading or trying to catch “it”. I get very involved in what I do and can get rather loud too. Let’s just say that I have let out a scream or two as I am moving my character out of reach of the chaser. :D

Well, I’ve gotten quite long-winded today and have a busy day ahead, including what should be our final Christmas shopping run. I would love to stay home, make my home spotless, and play the Wii U but I will be the mature adult and do what needs to be done first. After all, it is Friday, which is ‘stay-up-late-night’ and I think there may be some gaming going on tonight. ;)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Another Way to Teach Writing/Composition

The article I’m sharing today has some different ideas for helping children with writing, as in composition. Some children have such active personalities and brains that they have a hard time focusing. I don’t think this should only be considered as a remedial method though. I hope it will benefit you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Right Brain Writing

(When Other Methods Haven’t Worked)

By Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP

Help! My teenager can’t even write a paragraph by himself.”

My child loves to ‘journal’ but won’t write an organized paragraph for anything.”

For many children and teens, writing comes naturally. For others, the writing process needs to be taught in detail, and after the instructional and practice time they learn to write well and their writing continues to improve. However, for some children and teens, writing never becomes easy, and they avoid it like the plague. If you have one of these “really struggling” writers, you likely now have about three different writing curricula. Your other children are doing great with them, but this child continues to struggle with the process of writing a cohesive paragraph or composition.

What is going on?

Many of these children and teens have an undiagnosed dysgraphia, or blocked writing gate. They are the ones who reversed letters and numbers longer than their siblings did, switched handedness when younger, and exhibited many visual/spatial issues, such as lining up math problems incorrectly, etc. In other words, the act of writing, or “head to hand” processing did not transfer properly to their automatic brain hemisphere. For this reason, “thinking and writing at the same time” takes much more battery energy for them than for others without this visual/spatial block.1

For several years I taught “twice exceptional” or what I informally called “gifted with a glitch” sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in the public school system. These wonderful teens and pre-teens were in my Resource Room Language Arts program because they were not writing at grade level. They were struggling in three areas that I needed to correct in one year: (1) dysgraphia, (2) spelling, and (3) paragraph and composition writing.

Prior to coming to my Resource Room, all of these students had been carefully taught for many years, using all the “regular” methods of writing, such as reading a passage and highlighting the main ideas to include in their writing, making a list of action verbs or colorful adjectives to use, outlining their topic, and using the “spider webbing” process. While all these methods are excellent, these students continued to be “non-writers.” They could journal just fine, since process that did not include any organization of thoughts but rather merely a conversational “rambling,” which suited their style well.

What I discovered is that “loose thought patterns” plague many of these children and teens, particularly those suffering with dysgraphia, ADD, or auditory processing problems. They could not easily think in an organized manner and therefore could not write in an organized manner, no matter how much practice they had using various workbook and worksheet methods of teaching. For them to be successful and not need to be in my remedial Resource Room for more than a year, I needed to come up with a method of teaching them writing that would move them forward to becoming fluent, independent writers. None of the curricula I had available in the classroom or from catalogs had been working, so I developed my own strategy of teaching writing to this particular population.

The Universal Writing Method

In developing this Right Brain Writing Method, I kept several of my observations of these students in mind:

1. Because they could not transfer the “pieces” (left brain) to the “whole” (right brain), the detailed, sequential method of outlining absolutely did not work for them.

2. Because of their “loose thought patterns,” I needed to help them see the entire paragraph or paper in their head before they could write it.

3. Having them do “re-writes” or editing after they wrote their papers was a totally useless exercise for this group.

4. Correcting spelling errors on their papers was very defeating to them.

5. Immediate feedback and motivating strategies were necessary. Praising work was not enough.

Using these observations, I developed the Right Brain Writing Method using a simple formula:

1. Right Brain Webbing, versus the more piecemeal outlines or spider webbing, enabling them to see the “whole” paragraph or composition before they even began the writing process.

2. Modeling, modeling, modeling. I put the webbing on the board, and together we came up with the topic sentence, three “blobs” of information about the topic, and then the conclusion. I helped them generate ideas (which felt a great deal like going to the dentist for a root canal at the beginning), and I wrote only the trigger words on the webbing.

I did not have them write on the webbing for many months. I continued to model this process until after Christmas. By that time, they had “gotten it” and could easily do this process on their own with any topic of choice. I needed to show them that they could write any topic on a blank sheet of paper—not just out of a workbook, with the sentences given to them.

3. No re-writes. This was very important, I found. These kids were not going to tolerate markings on their papers or “editing” of their work. That method had already been proven to be totally unsuccessful for them. Then how did I handle misspellings? I “harvested” their misspelled words from their paper. I did not mark them on their paper but rather made a list of their misspellings for my own use. These were added to our list of spelling words for the week. I then taught them how to use their photographic memory to store these tricky spelling words.

How did I handle corrections of punctuation, sentence structure, style, etc.? I “shaped” their writing skills in a subtle way by giving them points for every good thing that was on the paper. For example, they got a point for starting with a capital letter, ending with a period, giving good adjectives, etc. I ignored mistakes in punctuation or style. I taught those skills the next week, just before we wrote our next paper.

One powerful element of this method was that each point was assigned a “reward.” For example, each point could be rewarded with “prizes” such as one less math problem to do, more time on a computer game, staying up later, money, etc. You can get creative with this. No matter what the age, all the kids liked to get the rewards and wrote volumes more to earn the rewards, no matter how small the rewards seemed.

4. Baby steps. We wrote only one paper a week. Each week I did the webbing on the board, with their ideas, putting in all the transitional phrases. They wrote the paper from the webbing.

The next week, before we did the webbing for the next paper, I would teach a lesson that was customized to the mistakes they had made in their previous paper. For example, if they had written many “run-on” sentences the week before, prior to doing this week’s paper I taught them how to avoid run-on sentences. If they were putting numerous adjectives in a sentence without commas, I taught that skill. This way I could “shape” their writing when they were approaching the assignment rather than after they had written it. This method proved to be so much more successful for them.

Also, each week I would add another “example” or thought to our “three blobs of information” about the topic we were writing. As a result of these baby steps, by the end of the year all my students were writing four-page papers on their own by just being given a topic to write about. It was impressive and easy.

The next year, they didn’t need my “remedial” writing method any more. They were ready to use any of the very good writing methods that focused on more of a “polishing technique” in their instruction. These students had become writers.

I am amazed at the large number of my former students, now attending college, who tell me that they are majoring in journalism because they like writing so much! How good is that?!

Why do I call this the Universal Writing Method? I do so because I have seen that it always works, no matter what the struggles of the child or teen. After they have learned how to “think” while writing, then they can move on to successfully use all the good writing programs that are readily available.

Over the years, many homeschooling parents have used this easy “remedial writing” method. If you want to avail yourself of this method and you can follow my written directions, then you can email me for a free copy of the Right Brain Writing Instructions at In the subject line, just put “Right Brain Writing Instructions.” We will send the instructions right out to you.2

Dianne Craft has a master’s degree in learning disabilities. She speaks widely at homeschool conventions across the country. Her books, Brain Integration Therapy Manual, Right Brain Phonics Program, and her DVDs, Understanding & Helping the Struggling Learner, Teaching the Right Brain Child, Smart Kids—Who Hate to Write, and The Biology of Behavior have helped hundreds of families remove learning blocks in their struggling children at home. Visit her website,, for many articles on children and learning and to download her free Daily Lesson Plans for the Struggling Reader and Writer.


1. A checklist of the symptoms of dysgraphia article is available on my website in the article titled “Smart Kids Who Hate to Write.”

2. If you want to see this method demonstrated for Beginning writers (those not even writing sentences yet), Intermediate writers (those ready to start writing paragraphs), and Advanced writers (those moving on to sophisticated paragraphing and composition), I invite you to watch the new Right Brain Writing DVD available on my website. This is a “Teacher Training” video that shows you how to use this method with your struggling writer and all of your beginning writers at home. There is no curriculum to purchase. This is simply a unique teaching method. It just requires you to use these new teaching strategies and paper.

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Diva Challenge #194

#194 Left Handed Zentangle ~ LifeOfJoy.meIt’s been a while since I participated in The Diva Challenge but I had the time to do it this week.

This week’s challenge is to tangle with your non-dominant hand including shading and blending. I’m right-handed so my challenge was to use my left hand . . . NOT an easy task.

I’ve never done a zentangle with my left hand. It was even hard to just hold the pen. My grip was very tight! I wondered if I could even do the whole tile. ;) Filling in the areas that I wanted in black was the most difficult aspect.

The second image has my string in red .String in Red #194 ~ LifeOfJoy.meI like how it disappeared after tangling.

As I mentioned last week, I really like Seton, although after I started tangling it, I wondered if it was the wisest choice. ;) Looking at it now, I see a spot where I missed a curve and it will drive me bonkers. Oh well, I could add the line, re-scan it, and upload it again or just touch it up in my photo editor but I’m going to resist the urge and just leave it . . . after all, the challenge is called “Embracing the Yuck.”

I included Meer, and what I remembered of Eke. I finished up with some crescent moon, with some knightsbridge and amaze in it. I believe most of them are on tangle patterns .com .

Here’s my tile, a bit larger.

#194 Left Handed Zentangle ~

iamthedivacztIf you want to see what others have done with this challenge, hop on over to The Diva’s blog.


Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap ~

Chicken “Caesar” Salad Wrap

Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap ~

Over the last couple of months Tiffany and I have gone to McAlister’s Deli a few times. Tiffany tried their Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap and loved it, rather, she loved it without the dressing. ;) She doesn’t eat many condiments. She liked it so much that she decided to recreate it at home.

lettuce and parm ~ LifeOfJoy.meFirst she tears up a couple of large leaves of romaine lettuce into a bowl and shreds a couple of teaspoons of Parmesan cheese on top of it.

salad on flatbread ~ LifeOfJoy.meShe mixes the cheese and the lettuce and piles it on a flatbread.

slicing chicken ~ LifeOfJoy.meThis time we used leftover chicken breast that had been seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and cooked in a skillet. When we don’t have any of that she uses whatever lunchmeat we have available and because she loves cheese, she adds another tablespoon of grated parmesan to the chicken before adding it to the flatbread.

chicken on flatbread ~ LifeOfJoy.meroll up ~ LifeOfJoy.meRoll up and secure with toothpicks to keep it from unraveling on you before you can get it in your hands to eat.

I prefer to add some Creamy Vidalia Onion dressing to mine, as well as some sliced grape tomatoes.

I hope you like this one.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Being More Intentional

Praise Worthy ~ Lifeofjoy.meMarriage is not easy. It is wonderful but not easy. ;)  I am a stubborn woman and my man is also stubborn; life is interesting. ;)  Don’t get me wrong, I know all about giving in or making compromises on things . . . I’m Flexible, but it still isn’t easy!

I’ve homeschooled my children and have realized one thing about myself, I lean more towards being a critic than pumping up my family with praise. Once again, don’t misunderstand, I do praise my family but I hate pride, so I have been careful not to overdo the praise and to be sure to show my kids where they can improve because I want them to be the best they can be.

You may be wondering why I am mentioning this on Marriage Monday rather than Thoughtful Thursday, which is the day I share about children and/or homeschooling. Unfortunately, I have done something similar with my husband and the problem with that is that I’m not raising him. I’m his helpmeet! My job is to help him, provide a place where he feels loved, desired, needed et cetera.

I have realized that I have not complimented or praised my dear hubby nearly enough!

I visited The Generous Wife website again this week, well actually, several times (this and most weeks because she gives a short nudge each day and I find that helpful). Anyway, she linked to an article on To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. Sheila shared that in successful marriages spouses look for things to praise, not criticize. She told an interesting story of a couple in her town and how everyone else in town saw the gem she was married to but she did not and the twinkle in his eye was dampened when in the vicinity of his wife because of how she speaks to and about him. Truly sad.

I am the type of person that is always trying to improve myself, always learning and doing. So naturally when I read the article I wondered what kind of person am I. With my natural tendency toward critiquing, do I make my beloved feel valued, loved, and good about himself or do I tear him down. Oh, I hope I uplift him! But I’m not content to leave it at that. I am making a conscious effort to “scan for successes” over the next several weeks, which I hope will turn into months and eventually just be who I am.

I will also be following the other tip in her article, but I’m not going to tell you what that is. You’ll have to go over there and read it for yourself. ;)

I hope you’ll join me and be more intentional in your marriage this week, month, year, and eventually life.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº