Monthly Archives: January 2015

Our Week and the Frustration with Red Tape

My Week in a Nut Shell ~ LifeOfJoy.meIt’s been an interesting week for me. It started off pretty good on Monday, very productive. We worked outside some more. It is starting to look pretty nice in spots but with 9.5 acres, it is going to take a good long time.

On Tuesday I took Tiffany into town to get her Learner’s Permit – yes, it is finally time. :D Oddly enough, none of my kids have been gung ho to get their driver’s license. At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised when we got there to find there were only 2 people ahead of us! My happiness was short-lived though. When we had our turn at the counter, we were told that the form that in previous years I only had to complete, sign, and return must now be notarized as well. As if that weren’t bad enough, we were also notified that the required 8th grade reading proficiency test results letter we brought was not good enough and we needed the official form. UGH!!!!

Tiffany and I decided to move on and enjoy the rest of our day. It was a bit too early to eat so we thought we’d make a quick stop at Target and see if they had a purse she liked, as that would be the focus for the rest of our day out, centering on the local mall. Surprisingly, she found one she loved AND she had enough money to get it.

With our wonderful success and a plan for lunch, we were left with deciding what would do with ourselves after lunch. We enjoyed a pizza loaded with meat! We decided to go visit Ross and Payless Shoe Source. I did find a pair of Champion shoes I liked but I could not see paying $35 for them. I decided to wait and hope they go on sale.

Mike told me to stop by our bank to get the form notarized. On the way home, we stopped by the bank and thankfully, I quickly found the lady who could notarize it for me. At least that part was easy!

I’ve been trying to three days to get the correct form for the 8th grade reading proficiency test. It is so frustrating when I have to deal with schools. They don’t like dealing with homeschoolers and it is completely unfair, considering I pay my taxes here, they could at least be a bit more helpful! Well, we will see later today as one of the schools is supposed to call me back tomorrow about the form. The alternate plan is that on Monday, I will drive 30 minutes in the opposite direction of where I really need to go and get the form. Ugh! I don’t like Plan B and prefer it if the middle school would just have the crazy form.

Wednesday it seemed like I was getting  a lot accomplished but by the time Mike got home, it was hard to remember what I did, if anything. I did draw in my Zentangle calendar a little bit and really liked what I drew. Last night I drew a bit more and did not care for my work with the tangle Rixty. Stop back by on Wednesday and I’ll share them.

We actually managed to get to church Wednesday night too! When we first went back to The Family Prayer Center, we did so on Wednesday night, just to check it out and see if God was truly leading us back there. After a couple of weeks, we made the change. It feels good to be back “home.” Then the following August, Sean had a car accident and we stopped going on Wednesday nights because he was driving our family vehicle to work until he could save enough to get another vehicle. Also because we live 45 minutes from his work and he doesn’t get off until 5:30 AND we give ourselves 45 minutes to get to church, even though it only takes 35. Thus we need to be leaving as soon as he arrives home, which means no dinner for him. We have struggled with this for a while now. Several months ago his boss told him he could come to work 30 minutes earlier and get off 30 minutes earlier, so we could get to church without rushing and still being able to eat dinner together. This is a great plan but we haven’t gotten in the groove yet but, as I said, we made it this week. :)

Yesterday we ran errands. I needed a pair of pants of some sort for more casual attire and a casual top too. Tuesday I could not find anything that fit at Ross, which was very upsetting . . . but I will lose weight and things will get better. I did find one of each at Walmart yesterday but am not thrilled with them. They are the better of the “evils.”

Today I am having two sweet ladies over for lunch! I’m excited, as are they. It shall be a great time of fellowship! I hope I remember to take some pictures!

Well, I’m going to run, as I need to get this posted. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and take some time to fellowship with like-minded believers.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A New Month Begins Soon: February

Lent ~ LifeOfJoy.meHave you ever incorporated holidays and national observances into your homeschool plans? I’m guessing most of you have done the big ones: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter (or Resurrection Day), as well as Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Veterans Day. Of course the other well known holidays are Memorial Day, Presidents Day, Labor Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And there’s Grandparents Day which has had more publicity in the last 10 years or so.

Are you familiar with Lent? I wasn’t since none of my family has ever been Catholic or any of the protestant religions that celebrate Lent, thus we never celebrated it. My first exposure to Lent was a year before I got married. I worked at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. My immediate boss at the time introduced me to Lent. She came from either a Methodist or Lutheran background. During Lent, there was local church that served lunches; all these years later, I cannot remember which days but Marion would treat my co-worker and me to one of the Fridays they served crab cakes, which was the first I’d ever eaten them. Of course, being a lifetime learner, I asked questions about Lent, Ash Wednesday, and all that is associated with it. Marion was super and was never frustrated by my questions and answered them the best she could.

Years later, after I quit working and became a homeschool mom, I learned about Advent. If you are wondering why I mention something associated with Christmas, when talking about Lent, it is because they are similar, in my opinion. Advent is for preparing oneself for the celebration of the birth of Jesus (or at least that is how I view it) and Lent is preparing oneself for the celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

Generally speaking, during Lent, one fasts something or gives up something. Some fast sweets or don’t eat meat on Fridays, others give up watching television or some such thing. I think the important thing is to make a sacrifice and bring your focus to our Savior for more than just one day.

This year Lent begins on Wednesday, February 18th and continues until Thursday, April 2nd, with Easter (or Resurrection Day) being on Sunday, April 5th. I could have waited another week or two to mention this but then you wouldn’t have had very long to make any plans. (One side note: Mardi Gras is Tuesday, Feb. 17th. As I understand it, it is also called Fat Tuesday. I would guess that is because you fill up on whatever you are going to be fasting the day before Lent begins. ;) )

One of my favorite traditions I did with my children during Advent was to read an advent story each night. There are three books written for this purpose by Arnold Ytreeide. Each story is broken down into short chapters and ends with a short devotional. Again, the reason I mention a Christmas tradition in February, is because the same author has written a book for Lent! Even though my children are all grown, I’m going to have to order this book, Amon’s Adventure. From the summary I read, it is the story of the son of the main character of the first advent book, Jotham’s Journey, i.e. Jotham is grown, married, and has a son – Amon. It sounds very good from the reviews I read as well.

As we get closer to Easter, I’ll share some countdown resources with you but that isn’t for a while yet.

I was going to share about different holidays and national observances but this is getting much longer than my usual posts, so I’m going to share those next week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Diva Challenge #202

This week’s Diva Challenge is to create a Zentangle using two specific tangles. The two tangles she picked were Margaret Bremner’s tangles Chebucto and Copada. Both of these tangles are new to me. Again, I struggle with the crazy lines and dots that make up the diamond shapes in chebucto but I press on. ;)

Duotangle DC#202 ~

I imagine Chebucto as stars in the sky over Copada.

If you want to see other zentangles, you can click on Wonder Wednesday in the menu above and it will bring up all of my art, which as of now, seems to all be Zentangles or ZIAs.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

A Few Kitchen Tips

Kitchen Tips ~ LifeOfJoy.meWell I failed again at planning for the recipe of the week. :(  I’m going to have to get a bit better at this. ;)

Consequently, I thought I’d share a few kitchen tips with you.

  • When chopping onions, it won’t bother your eyes if you chew some gum.
  • When storing cut onions, completely wrap in foil and store in the refrigerator.
When Sauteing:
  • I start sauteing veggies in a pan sprayed with oil, when they begin to stick, I add a bit of water to release them from the bottom of the pan. I add more water as needed to keep them from sticking.
  • You probably already know this but here goes anyway. Wrap celery in foil and store in the veggie drawer.
  • When I buy a head of leaf lettuce and get it home, I put paper towels in the bag with it to absorb some of that moisture that the store sprays on it so frequently . . . ugh.

I think that is all I have for today. I’ll try to have a good recipe for you next week!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Respecting His Time

Good Rouines ~ LifeOfJoy.meI had the pleasure of visiting with old friends last Friday. The youngest daughter, who is nineteen, is headed to Jinja, Uganda, Africa. Thus we went to her going away party. There is something about REAL friendships that can withstand time apart and pick right up where we left off, as if we had not spent any time apart. We have this kind of friendship with this dear family.

At any rate, about the time I was thinking of leaving the party, having been there for an hour and a half or more, in walked the oldest daughter, who got married 3 years ago, and I have not been able to fellowship with in a very long time. We had a very good visit. I shared some tips with her that I thought I’d share here today. It is normal when two people begin to live together, that there can be some squirmishes over how the other does things.

I have learned many things from  One of her basic tips is to have routines and to build them one thing at a time. You already have a routine, it’s just that it is probably not a very good or productive one. Creating good routines is one of the best things to do for your marriage.

By creating good routines you are being  considerate of your spouse’s time. If there are things you need to do for him before he leaves for work, be sure you get them done in time for him to leave when he wants to leave.

I make Mike and Sean’s lunches each morning. I know I need to start doing this 30 minutes before they must leave. It doesn’t take me the full 30 minutes to do this but starting 30 minutes before they must leave gives me plenty of time to get them done and allows for anything that might come up, like bathroom breaks or making a quick breakfast too.

The same holds true for when I must leave the house. When we go to church, I know it takes us 35 minutes to get there. Thus we plan to leave 45 minutes before we need to be there which allows for anything that may hinder us leaving on time or traffic and such. I once heard it said that the only way to be on time for something is to be early. This has stuck with me. I try to be at meetings and such 5-10 minutes before it is supposed to begin that way I am seated and ready when it starts, which is showing respect and honor.

(I handle things a bit differently for casual meetings but still try to respect my relationships by arriving close to the time we established. My friends and I give each other grace and use time frames rather than exact times for getting together. :) )

You may wonder why I am mentioning this one Marriage Monday. When we are not considerate of our spouse’s time, it can cause problems in the relationship. If we don’t do what we need to do for them to leave on time we inconvenience them or worse, can get them in trouble on their job. Respecting his time is showing him respect too. But more than that, not getting done what we need to get done in order for him to leave on time shows disrespect for him and can make him think you care more about whatever was occupying your time than about him and his needs, which I do not want!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Exercising Done Two Ways and My Quiet Week

Have you have had one of those days or weeks where it seems like you’ve done a lot and yet like you haven’t done very much at all? Well, that is how my week has been.

I have exercised in two forms this week. Firstly, Tiffany and I have been doing some Zumba. I wish it had Christian music but at least most of the songs are in other languages, so we don’t know what they are saying thus it is nearly as good it being just an instrumental. ;)

We have about 9.5 acreas. We have not done much work keeping it up. Before we got here it was part of 40 acres owned by one elderly lady. Thus it wasn’t kept up much before either. Consequently there are quite a few downed trees and limbs. There are also many brambles.

Underbrush ~
The area we cleaned out looked something like this.

Secondly, this week Tiffany and I started working on cleaning it up a bit. We are moving all the downed trees and limbs to one big pile where we can pull good sticks from for making a nice garden low fence and then have the rest rounded up where hopefully my father can bring his chipper over and make me a nice large pile of mulch, come this spring.

Overlook Clean ~
This is what it looks like now.

My friend Gwin came over today. I showed her the two areas we’ve cleaned up so far. She was able to identify some berries that I’ve wondered about ever since we moved here 10 years ago. As I guessed, they were not edible and just underbrush that needs to be gotten rid of. I also showed her this ‘stump’ of a tree in another section of this front area that we are working on. She agreed that it definitely looks like an animal. I’ll take a picture of it and share it with you next week sometime. ;)

The View ~
This is the beautiful view. Look beyond the trees.

Gwin recommended cutting down these little trees that are obstructing the view. I believe I will suggest it to Mike.

Gwin also gave me this very nice mirror! It really looks good in our room with our furniture and such. I may even turn it into a tangle to use on a zentangle. :) Check out Wonder Wednesday if you don’t know what that is.

My New Mirror ~

I also enjoyed a visit with my sister and her girls this week. Other than that, it’s been a very quiet week.

Tonight we will be attending a going away party for a young lady I have known since she was two. She will be going to Jinja, Uganda for a year to nanny for a family that she has been working with for several years. She has such a heart for missions. I’m so happy for her but sad for her mom, as I know she will miss her greatly!

Well, I think that is all for this week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Math Help/Games

Math Help ~ LifeOfJoy.meSo this was inspired by my talk with my sister Tracie yesterday. I’m hoping it will give her (and anyone else that needs it) some fun ways for her kids to practice those math skills.

This first link is to Clickschooling. It used to be owned by Diane Keith until sometime in 2013. Basically the site shares links on a different topic each day: Monday is Math, Tuesday is Science, Wednesday is Language Arts, Thursday is Social Studies, Friday is Virtual Field Trip, and Saturday is Music, Art, Foreign Language. This is the link to the Math links. Here a website on the daily subject will be described and its targeted audience is shared. There are many years of links here, so dive in and see if you kind find exactly what you are looking for.

Math Help Upper Levels~ LifeOfJoy.meI also heard about Cool Math, which has lots of games. You will want to preview this site to so that you can guide your child in where to go. Once on this site, scroll down below the bears graphic and you will see Featured Cool Math Games. Here you will get a little description of some of the games and their specialty. If your children are younger, Tracie, after looking at the games that may be suitable here, go to their network website which is designed for the earlier math concepts up to pre-algebra but includes fractions (basically ages 3-12, at which time they will find this website – coolmath- helpful).

Then there is HoodaMath. Here you can sort for games geared to certain grades, by game type, or simply by math subject so that you can suggest or assign a game that will work on the targeted subject matter. You should be able to find games that will help your child improve their weak areas.

I hope this helps your children become more fluent with their math facts and find math fun.

If you’d like a little reading on the subject of studying math, you might want to check out this article from The Old Schoolhouse magazine in the January 2013 digital edition.  I was given permission to include it here but I think it would have made this post way too long.

If you have any questions on homeschooling or raising children, please ask and I’ll try to find some help for you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Diva Challenge #201 – Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

This week’s challenge is to use the logo for Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day as the string. The Diva, Laura Harms’ youngest son has Moebius Syndrome and thus the yearly challenge.

I struggle re-creating intricate strings and this is one such string for me. Thus I’m not really happy with how this zentangle looks but I’m embracing it with all its flaws. Since I made my string so thin, it reminds me of a pretzel. :D
DC#201 MS ~

I used Shattuck on the string and MacDee on the background. Although I did not participate in challenge #180, which was a Use My Tangle challenge in which I was first introduced to MacDee, I really like it. It is soooo simple to do. Of course, my lines are generally wavy instead of straight but I’m embracing my imperfections as one commenter told me last year.

Well, I’m going to keep this short today. I may add to it if I manage to get any other challenges (or focuses) done this week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Still New & Bubble Bread

Well, I’ve done it again. It sure is a good thing that I don’t only blog about food or I’d be in big trouble! ;) Here it is Tuesday and I didn’t have anything photographed to blog about. Fortunately I remembered that I did take a picture of my Christmas Eve Morning breakfast and although I already shared the Breakfast Burrito Bake recipe, I have yet to share the Bubble Bread recipe.

Breakfast Burrito Bake ~
Bubble Bread and Breakfast Burrito Bake

For the six of us, with the breakfast burrito bake, we fixed a triple batch. Also this time, instead of baking it in a bundt pan, I decided we should try it in muffin tins and maybe cut down on the cook time.

As always, delicious!!! :)

First we cut the biscuits. I use kitchen scissors to cut them in half and then each half in half. Then mix the butter, sugar, cinnamon, water, and optional nuts in a pan and heat until bubbly.

Pour the sauce over the biscuits and stir to coat completely.

Pour into greased pan and bake on 350º for 20-25 minutes.

Eat but be very careful, it is HOT!

Large Muffin Cup Bubble Bread ~

Bubble Bread


  • 1/2 stick Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1 can regular size biscuits, cut each into quarters


  1. Mix first five ingredients together and cook until it bubbles.
  2. Pour over cut biscuits and mix well
  3. Pour into greased pan
  4. Cook 20-25 minutes at 350º

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Anniversary Date Night & Laughter

Mike ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve decided to bring back Anniversary Date Night this year but in a little different way than I did it the first time around. The plan is that I will treat my honey to dinner out on the 27th of every other month this year. The 27th is the date of our anniversary. So I’m taking him out on the 27th in January, March, May, July, September, and November.

Goofy ~ LifeOfJoy.meHe has rightly guessed that I hope he will take me on the other six months. ;) Conveniently for me, Mike will be responsible for both February and June, which is our anniversary month. I’m actually looking forward to it because at least I am assured that we will go out and enjoy some alone time with each other over some good food at least 6 times this year.

For some reason Mike is more apt to actually go out on the 27th than on a weekend even though he’d rather not go out after having just gotten home from work. I guess he is more sentimental than I give him credit for. It is amazing that after being married for 27 years that I am still learning things about him and surprised by them.

Silly w/Shiloh~LifeOfJoy.meJust last Friday I was looking through old photos and had a hard time finding any good ones of him where he wasn’t being goofy. I told him about it yesterday morning as he was ironing his shirt for church and told him that goofy was his super power. And then we had a good belly laugh over that. I have always appreciated how he would just do one goofy thing after another to make me laugh, whenever I have told him that I was fighting being depressed.

I heard once that if a couple can still laugh together then their marriage is has hope. We definitely have hope! :) Tiffany said that we laugh a lot, mostly on weekend mornings, waking her up. It is the one time of the week that we are relaxed and not having to do anything at any particular time (well, Saturday at least).

Find things to laugh about together. Laughter supposedly releases certain chemicals or something in the brain . . . well, bottom line, laughter is good for you (and by extension, your marriage). Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine . . .” (KJV).

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº