Monthly Archives: January 2015

Organize Your Pictures

Family Vacation Pic ~ LifeOfJoy.meI spent much of the day yesterday looking through old photos. Oh how I wish I had been more organized with my photos. When we got our first digital camera I ceased to get them printed. I saved them on my computer. Unfortunately, I’ve had 2, 3 or even 4 computers since then. I was very disorganized. I have hundreds and hundreds of pictures but they are mostly in date folders, with no descriptions. Another problem I have is that I have pictures on two different devices, in three or four different places.

Traditions ~ LifeOfJoy.meThen I have a few photo albums with the kids youngest pictures in them, as well as Mike’s and my early years together. So any time I want to put a picture of when the kids were little little on my blog I have sort through the albums and then scan it in.

Unfortunately I have a gap in the pictures in the albums and the oldest pictures I can find on my devices. I sort of remember a cd I made with pictures on it, so I’ll have to go in search of it soon . . . maybe even this weekend.

I get so used to living in the here and now that I forget what it was like when the children were little. I have an accusing image in my memory of being disengaged from my children when they were young but I know that was not always the case. (I do believe that there is a healthy amount of disengaging to be had though.) Then I look at some of the pictures I have and my heart melts. It’s funny because it isn’t just those adorable years when they were 6 and under that does me in. Even when I see pictures of my boys as teens, I get nostalgic. Tiffany is still a teen, so that doesn’t hit me as hard but seeing her as a pre-teen does.

Old Pics ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen there are the animals. We had a wonderful smart Shetland Sheepdog. He was beautiful and sweet. He’s been gone for a while now and I get nostalgic when I see pictures of him too. He used to “sing” happy birthday with us. :)

Do yourself a favor, take lots of pictures of everything! It’s even good to take pictures of trees and flowers and landscapes and such. My parents gave us some Bradford Pear trees when we moved onto our property ten years ago. I was surprised to see how much those trees have grown in the past 10 years.

Another favor to do yourself would be to keep them organized in some way. And when you get a new device, have a central location to keep all the pictures. I think I’m going to have to go back through my terabyte external hard drive and move all my pictures into one folder and organize it by date and named by topic too. I will stay away from programs that help you arrange your pictures in “albums” because I did that with one of my computers because I thought it was neat. The problem is that now those pictures are misshapen and need to be adjusted, thus creating even more work for myself. :D

I’ve enjoyed my trip down memory lane. I hope you have a better system in place than I do. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Relationships to Grow On

I'm sharing my love of snow with my kids ~

I don’t recall trying to be friends with my children when they were young. I did treat them like people. ;) I gave them respect, love, and attention but I also remained their mom. My mom was a great example to me of being a friend and mom; there were times I had a hard time finding the that line between the two rolls my mom played. I know it was hard for her at times and I’m sure she wanted to slap me sometimes. :D I know this because I felt the same way with my own kids at times. ;)

9 Yrs Later ~
9 years later, still enjoying the snow and homemade muffins I made for them to enjoy while sledding.

I do have to say though, that it was definitely worth the effort, as it has made transitioning my relationship with my grown children rather easy. It was difficult on me as Brian moved out and he shifted his confidences away from me and to his fiance. It was as it should be but that didn’t make it any easier. I value all I have shared with my children. I am thankful for the relationships I have with each of them now and what I have with my daughter-in-love as well.

So, the road to where I am now, is one in which you talk with your children. Listen to them. Value what they have to say. Really listen to them. Spend time with them. Create wonderful memories with them so that even if they don’t remember them, you will.

I also recommend writing down things that you want to be sure to remember in later years! Time goes by so quickly, even though you don’t feel like it at the time and the memory doesn’t always recall the little moments you wish you could remember. Encourage your children to write things down too. I love it when I come across a journal entry my kids made; it generally brings a smile to my face.

Grown Kids ~
6 years later, Mothers Day 2014 (My hair flopped by the time we got together and took pictures – not enough hairspray.)

Take time to develop a friendship with your children today that will be the foundation of your relationship as you enter the next season of life with your children all grown up. Remember to keep a balance to where you remain their mom, as they NEED a mom not a fan club. It is a fine line but worth the effort of developing.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Diva Challenge #200 – Bi-Zen-Tennial Cellebration

This is the 200th diva challenge! The challenge is to use your go-to tangle, edge-to-edge on the tile. The final part is to put 200 somewhere on the tile. I forgot this until after I had scanned in my pieces but I added it to my final version and rescanned it.

I looked through my past zentangles and found that I work hard not to have a go-to tangle. ;)  I do tend to think about using Tipple a lot more than I actually follow through and use it. I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to use Tipple for this challenge so I tried it in my calendar instead.

DC#200 Practice ~

Then I decided to use ‘Nzepple because it is another I really like. I had the idea to have larger ‘nzepple surround a smaller ‘nzepple in the middle. But I made things a bit too small to start with. :\  I didn’t like it so I didn’t bother to shade it.

DC#200 1st try ~

So, I decided to start over. I went with a larger grid and then in sections I added more lines to make three sections with smaller ‘nzepple.

DC#200 ~ Unfortunately my pen didn’t want to work when I first tried writing in the 200 so it is a bit messy, when I went back over it with another pen.

I’m glad for the Diva Challenges each week as they push me to try something new. Thank you for all your effort Laura.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. She is hosting a surprise giveaway for 3 lucky winners AND if she gets 200 submissions she is going to add a 4th winner. I hope I win one!!! :)

Cooking Failures

Crockpot Rice Mishap ~ LifeOfJoy.meI think it is sometimes good to share mishaps. Firstly, because it lets you know that nobody is perfect and everybody has things happen. Secondly, so that others can learn from our mistakes.

I decided to put our dinner in the crockpot Sunday, so that when we got home from church, we would have a nice hot yummy meal ready for us. As you may have already guessed, this did not happen as planned. ;)

I was up early and managed to get the chicken, salsa, and seasonings in my 6qt crockpot. I then put the brown rice and water in my little 1.5 qt crockpot. I then put a note on the front door to ensure that we had turned ON the crockpots. Yes, I learned this one from experience. You see, we are gone for about 5 hours and I am typically filling the crockpot an hour before we leave. We do not need food in the crockpot an extra hour, so I wait until we are getting ready to walk out the door to turn it on and then just as I am walking to the door, I usually put my hand on the outside of the crockpot to feel if it is warm, thus ensuring that not only did I turn it on but I also have it plugged in. Yes, another thing learned the hard way.

Well, this Sunday as I was putting the finishing touches on my hair, Mike asked if I wanted the crockpot turned on low. I said yes and knew he was standing right over the crockpot when he asked, so I knew it was done.

When I walked out of our bedroom, ready to leave, I went over to the little crockpot and turned it on low. I ensured that the light came on and out the door we went.

Fast forward five and a half hours. We walk in the door and all I’m smelling is rice. No nice spicy aroma of taco chicken. :( Uh Oh!!! I asked someone to check the chicken because I didn’t think it was done, if it was even on, while I changed my clothes. (One of Mike’s pet peeves is when I cook in my good clothes.) I overhear that it is not cooked, so I yell out to them that they should put it in the dutch oven on the stove and have a snack until dinner ends up ready.

I finished changing my clothes and checked on the rice. I was eager to see how it had faired. I’d read a blog post somewhere recently where a lady made a chicken and rice dish in her crock pot but when she used brown rice it came out really sticky. She fixed this by using instant brown rice instead.

I removed the lid and saw nice pieces of rice. I put my spoon down in the crock and felt MUSH!!! I folded the rice and took a taste — UGH!!! Rice was totally mush! What was the problem? Now, I will tell you that I did cook it on low because we were going to be gone for over 5 hours and on high it would have been a burnt mess.

Oddly enough, I saw a blog post link on my facebook news feed yesterday morning about cooking rice in a crock pot. I read her post and saw that she did use brown rice too. So . . . I commented on her page and hopefully she can tell me how to fix it. I’m guessing that since it is in my crockpot for so long that I need to reduce the amount of water that I add. See when I cook brown rice on the stove, even in one of my pots with the tightest fitting lids, I have to add the higher end of the water suggested rather than the lower end. However, I am guessing with the crockpot since no steam escapes at all that I need to use the lower measurement. I will try this one day with a smaller batch of rice. If I get a response from Carrie over on, I’ll update this post.

Thankfully, all was not lost with the rice as our cats, chickens, and even one of our dogs enjoyed it. Dinner was good about an hour and a half later even though I had to cook the rice too. ;) Actually, I almost burnt the taco chicken on the stove because I was expecting it to take longer to cook than what it did. LOL Oh well, live and learn!

Update: Carrie thinks I just overcooked it. :( Bummer! Now I’m wondering if Auto would work . . . I think I’ll try that next.

Until next time, I hope you don’t have any cooking mishaps, and God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Being a Helpmeet, Prayer, and Right Choices

Options ~ LifeofJoy.meSome times it is my job as Mike’s helpmeet to urge him to do something. It can be a lot of different things, from speaking to someone that I know he should talk with to encouraging him to follow through doing something he is hesitant to do but is really what he needs to do. Other times it is my job to back off and let him be. (To be clear, urging does NOT mean nagging.)

It can get sticky to try and figure out which way is best for me to help my sweetie. Many times I want to push him to do something when what I really need to do is pray for him. In order to be the best helper to my husband, I have to keep my relationship with God on the right track. You see, if I am not praying and trying to keep myself in the right place, it is way too easy to try and manipulate things rather than only doing what is best for Mike. It is not my job to manipulate him but it is my job to help him where he might be weak, as he helps me where I am weak.

Make the best choice ~ LifeOfJoy.meAny time you are dealing with people, it is important to ensure that you are doing things out of the right motive. My motives must be pure and not selfish at all. Keeping in right relationship with God helps me keep my motives right and stay in right relationship with others. Of course, this does not mean that I am perfect. It merely means that I know the right thing to do. Part of being human means that we always have choices to make but the question is whether we make the right choices or not. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t but I strive to make the right choices all the time.

Here’s to making selfless choices that are to the betterment of all. Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Weather, Menus, and Goals

It is Finally Friday! I’m sooooo glad Tiffany and I went grocery shopping yesterday because that means we get to stay home today. I’m writing this post rather late and she told me, “At least it’s Friday. Rambling is one of your talents.” Gotta love that kid!

We’ve turned into quite the soup family of late. It is odd because I never really cared for soup before. It has been very cold here so soup has been the dinner of choice several times this week. We had a Chicken and Sausage Gumbo that was delicious!!! I will definitely be making that one again and I hope to remember to take pictures as I do so, so that I can share it here on one Tuesday soon. Last night we had homemade potato soup again. It is so good! The night before last we had homemade chicken soup, which is also becoming a favorite, with homemade bread. Yummo! We even started this freezing cold week with chili on Sunday. {Next time I make chili I hope to remember to take pictures so I can share it too.} That is a record four soups in one week! I think we’ve had some years where we didn’t have but that many all year. :D

Well, I did not manage to do anything with learning more about my camera this week. Thus it is a good thing that I planned to spend 2 weeks on each new aspect. It is also a good thing that there are not a huge amount of settings on my camera or it may take years to work through them all. ;D

I’m enjoying tangling in my tangle a day calendar. I do need to find a good time of day to do it but I’m off to a decent start. ;) I got a really neat board to hang up my zentangles. The frame sides are hinged and can be opened from the front. I really liked the backboard but am finding it a bit busy for displaying them though. I may end up just cutting a piece of black poster board and using plastitac on the tiles to affix them to it. I’m not sure yet. I also have a nice little message board with a pretty winter scene on top that I’m using to display my newest zentangle tile. I am really enjoying it and wondering what I will do when I take it down to put up my Valentine’s Day decorations.

When I make my menu out before I go grocery shopping, I like to consult a weather app to see what kind of weather to expect. In cold weather, I like to have something hot and comforting which as I mentioned, has been soup of late. I also like to check the sale papers to see what produce is on sale. This week cabbage was on sale. I used to only have two things I did with cabbage: 1. coleslaw, which is not a favorite or 2. Undone Cabbage Roll Skillet which is basically the stuffing that you’d put inside a cabbage roll and then the cabbage sliced up and included with the other ingredients. But since I’ve started making egg rolls, that opens up several more possibilities.

When I checked my weather app the other day, while making my menu, I noticed that one day late next week they are predicting 50º temps, which is amazing since the high the other day was 19º. Having 50º temps in the winter is not out of the ordinary but when you are currently experiencing temperatures in the teens, it seems very strange. ;)

Well, I have LOTS to do today, so I will run! Have a great day and weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Following Him Educating Your Children

I have struggled with what to share today. I thought of sharing one of my favorite resources/links. I thought about coupling that link with a link for another website I just found recently that I like. Then I thought about sharing an article which is a tear jerker and many of you have probably already seen, about being mindful of the time between the birth of your child and his/her turning 18 years old. Then I thought about taking the easy way out and sharing an article from The Old Schoolhouse. But none of those options seemed right for today.

So I sit here, asking God what to share and it’s silent. Sometimes that is how my planning went for a new year of homeschooling my children. Just silent. In those times, I’d start writing down what I thought was best, what I’d felt nudged by from things I’d been reading, or just stick with the way we’d done things before. It was usually in those times of doing what I thought was best that we would end up overdoing it and everyone would get overwhelmed and then burn-out would come rearing its ugly head. It would stay that way until I either stopped and prayed about it or talked to Mike about it. Usually the answer was paring back some of the extra things I’d added or setting a time limit for how long to stay on a particular subject or loosen MY idea of how a certain thing should be approached.

One thing I’ve learned from my church is that you should not go changing things until you are certain you hear from God. If you are not certain that He is the one leading you to make a change then you should continue on the path that you are on currently, even if you ended up on that path by making a mistake.{ Making another mistake won’t make a right. Earnestly seek God and spend time waiting on Him listening for His still small voice.}

You see, those times that I added things to what we had been doing, were generally instigated by fear of not teaching my children something they “needed.” But in reality, I was giving them the necessary things already and the things I added were not necessary; at least, not in the way that I had added them, if at all. The answer would have been for me to spend more time praying about the subjects that I was feeling needed to be covered and asking God to lead me in HOW to cover them.

It is really important though to realize that God is full of grace for you and that He will help you when you take the time to ask. It probably won’t be on your time schedule but He will lead you, if you just WAIT on Him.

For the last couple of years Tiffany has been studying decorating. This is decorating for not only special occasions but also just every day making a house a home kind of decorating. She will be a wife and mother some day and we felt it would be a good idea for her to spend some time getting some fashion sense. I’ve never been very good at decor but then again, I’ve never really spent any time on the subject. Our house is an eclectic hodgepodge of things we’ve gathered over the years. In the beginning of our marriage it wasn’t much different – it was an eclectic hodgepodge of things people gave us. It never mattered because we have each other. But as I’m getting older, I would prefer things looking good rather than just thrown together or okay.

I’ve been desiring more Christmas decor and had even asked a friend of mine to come help me at one point but things got too busy for both of us, way too quickly and the season got away from us without her ever having the opportunity to come over and offer any suggestions. I had been stumped because we have no fireplace, no upstairs, which means no staircase bannister, no columns or beams, just our walls. ;) Well, this year, Tiffany rummaged through stuff I’ve collected over the years and put garland around a few bedroom doors with a bow and then some added beads. It made the hallway look much more festive. She did this on her own. I don’t even think she knew I was wanting more. It just came naturally for her because she has been looking at Pinterest and magazines; she’s had her eyes trained for what looks good together and such. Now most people wouldn’t think of magazines and Pinterest for the basis of an area of study but it has worked for her.

It’s important not to put God or your child’s education in a box. Have an open mind and you may just find God leading you in extraordinary methods to accomplish the tasks at hand. Remember, God loves your children more than you do. He knows what they need when. If you seek Him, He will lead you for the best methods to teach your children what they need to know. I’ve taken comfort in knowing that because I have taught my children how to find the information they need, when they need it, they will never have a gap they cannot fill. In life, we don’t have to instantly know everything about everything. We usually have some time to research something out when needed.

I hope you will seek the Lord for what and how to educate your children and that you won’t box yourselves in to any one methodology. God is creative and will have the right plan for you and your children, even if that means your child checks the weather by swinging on the swingset outside instead of simply looking out the window.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Diva Challenge #199 – Hitched

I tried this new tangle, hitched, in my tangle a day calendar. I’m not very pleased with my attempts but at least I practiced before starting on the tile, so I didn’t make the mistakes on my zentangle. :)

I decided to use hitched as a border and put something in the middle. I haven’t used gneiss in a long time and I usually like how it turns out, so I opted to use it. Then I added more shading and made the outermost lines thicker and I actually think I like the results, although I still need more practice with hitched to think it looks good on its own merits when drawn by me.

DC199 UMT Hitched ~LifeOfJoy.meHere you can see my first attempts with hitched and my first attempt at quib, which I did not practice when it was first introduced. Actually, I didn’t like it much because I thought it looked like tentacles and then it brought a Doctor Who character to mind, the Ood.

First attempts at Quip and Hittched ~

As you can see, the second time I tried hitched, I goofed up and connected dot to dot and then realized my mistake. My first attempt at hitched was too small to draw the diamonds very easily. Also, I cut off the 4th because I have yet to draw anything in it. I’m not real good at tangling in my calendar on a daily basis yet. :\

In case your interested, here is the ones I did on the 3rd. I only filled in the 2 and 3 so far (but I did them both on the 3rd). ;)

Calendar Squill and Squid ~


Squid also reminded me of the Ood, so I wouldn’t try it before but I actually kind of like it now. It kind of resembles a spider mum that has lost some petals. ;) As with most tangles, the shading really makes it. I don’t think I did enough shading on squill, now that I see it here but I don’t really know how to shade this one all that well. Oh well, there’s always next time.

I enjoy doing the challenges, even though I procrastinate doing them . I hope to begin doing other challenges this year too.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Chocolate Oatmeal for One

Single-Serving Chocolate Oatmeal ~

This is the first time I’ve made this with regular cocoa as opposed to special dark cocoa. I found that like it better with the special dark but then I have come to prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate over the last year or so.

This recipe is super simple! For one serving, bring 2/3 cup water to boil in a saucepan on the stove. I use high heat because I’m impatient. ;)

When the water has come to a boil, add 1/3 cup of oats and stir, then lay a wooden spoon across the top of the pan. When it comes back to a boil, reduce the heat some, depends on how impatient you are. ;) (The wooden spoon will keep it from boiling over in case you didn’t turn it down far enough.) But if you are impatient and leave the heat up a bit higher, keep an eye on it because it can burn easily. Yes, I know this from experience.

As soon as the water is gone, turn it off.

Single-serving Oatmeal ~ LifeOfJoy.meIf you like your oats creamier, add them to the water when you first put on the stove to boil.

Now add 3/4 – 1 teaspoon cocoa. I found out today that I prefer it with Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa instead of regular. I think the special dark cocoa gives it a fuller chocolate taste.

I like my oatmeal on the sweeter side. I added 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar and a few walnuts.

Single Serving Chocolate Oatmeal ~ LifeOfJoy.meI added the extra teaspoon of brown sugar and a few more nuts after this picture. Stir and eat.

Chocolate Oatmeal for One


  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 - 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons walnuts


  1. Boil water in a small saucepan.
  2. Add oats, stir with wooden spoon and place spoon across top of the saucepan.
  3. When it returns to a boil, reduce heat and cook until water is all gone. This won't take but a couple of minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and eat. 🙂

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

What’s Next?

Wise Men ~
We know there were three gifts but not necessarily three wise men.

Tomorrow is Epiphany and it is the day that I remember when the wise men found the baby Jesus and gave the gifts they brought. It is after this that they are warned, in a dream if I remember correctly, to avoid Herod and return another way. When they leave, Joseph is warned in a dream to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt.

With the finishing of the remembrance of the story of the birth of Jesus, the Christmas season is over. Now it is time to take down the decorations. The good thing is that I am ready for them to be put away . . . well, all but my snowmen. It is still winter and I hope for snow. Snowmen are for winter. So I will keep them up until I decide I’m done with them and am ready to put up my Valentines decorations.

With Christmas over and the new year begun, it is time to look forward and begin to make new plans. I believe it is always important to find ways to show my love to Mike, particularly on special days. When I need ideas, I look to The Dating Divas; they always have some great ideas.

The have something that they introduced last year (maybe even as much as a year ago) but I didn’t see it until November or so. It is a Love Calendar. On it they have suggestions for date nights and little things to do for your beloved to show your love. In reading the writeup for this month’s calendar they said that they followed the suggestion of some of their commenters and made the calendar with suggestions for both the wife to do for the husband and the husband to do for the wife and thus color coded. You can read about it on this post where the calendar is available to download for free. I may print it out and put it in our bedroom for my honey to see but am not expecting anything, as it is much better to have low expectations and be pleasantly surprised if anything does come of it. :) But I will at least have it before my eyes to remind me of different things I can do for my man throughout the month.

I have subscribed to their newsletter and see that they are having a post this week revealing a Valentines advent that I am eager to read about. Since I did not do anything extra special this year for Mike for Christmas (i.e. no 12 days of Christmas or sexy stocking or such), I am thinking I will use Valentines Day this year to shower him with extra love and attention. I am hoping the divas will have some great ideas for me. :)

I hope you will take some time to plan to shower your love with some sweetness, as well as daily reminders of your love for him. I find it rewarding when I do this, even if it isn’t always reciprocated. Love isn’t about receiving, it is about giving.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº