Monthly Archives: April 2015

Looking Towards Ending the School Year

Confused ~ LifeofJoy.meApril is here and usually that would mean Tiffany is on a break until the end of the month when we go to the Tulsa OCHEC homeschool convention but this year is different. Tiffany is graduating this week! It is her last week of school because we decided that it was silly to take off most of April only to finish her last couple of weeks at the end of the month and into May.

One of the best things we did was to change our calendar to a year round learning style, so that she did school work during the months that are too hot to be outside and be away from the things that seem more educational when it is nice outside. So instead of book work or following our usual routine in April, we plan and plant a garden, which is still educational and can still be counted as school days. But it also means that we can take a day or two and binge watch movies we really enjoy or try out a season of a tv series, as long as we get our household essentials done.

Prior to changing our calendar, I would get a bit antsy about not finishing up a curriculum we had started or completing _____ that I had planned for us to complete. Then I heard (and subsequently remembered) that even brick and mortar schools don’t finish our their curriculum. Of course, I didn’t let myself off the hook that easily because I had paid good money for said curriculum and, by golly, we were going to get our money’s worth out of it. The thing is that if your children are learning and moving forward, you don’t really have to finish anyone else’s checklist to say you have studied the subject. Not all teachers in the country or even in the same school district teach the exact same things. The whole point of education is to teach children to read, write, basic math, citizenship, and how to learn (and in our case, to know God and His word and have a relationship with Him). If they have these fundamentals then they can find out any information they need to have when they need to have it.

I do not know any one person that knows absolutely everything, although I have known a few who think they do. ;) Truth is that there is always someone that knows something you don’t and that is fine because you can learn what you need to learn. When you go to a new job, you have to learn how to do the job the way your employer wants you to do things, even if you prefer to do the same job differently.

Be aware of the things your children like to do. Find ways to encourage their interests and to learn even more about those things. The most fulfilling jobs are ones that you enjoy doing.

Here is a good article by Kasey Norton over on Free Homeschool Deals about finishing the school year when your curriculum says you are not ready to do so.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Another Week Another Zentangle

First I want to thank everyone that commented on last week’s post/tile. Your comments are truly encouraging. Thank You!!!

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I really am going to have to do some One Stroke Painting to put up here on Wonder Wednesday (art day) because people probably think Zentangle is the only form of art that I do. ;) It just happens to be the one that is easiest right now and involves less messiness, so I can create it on the spur of the moment and little to no mess is involved.

iamthedivacztThis week’s Diva Challenge is a bit different. We are to use something in the home to create the string for the Zentangle. At first I was going to go through my process sequentially but after finishing my tile and showing it to my family, I decided I’d show the finished tile first and then show the process because since I know what the source of my string was, that is what I saw first/most but my family saw other things first.

So, here goes . . .

DC#213 ~ LifeofJoy.me

What do you see? Tiffany saw a tongue. Mike saw a guitar with a broken neck, which incidentally is the same thing I saw when I could envision anything but the real item. Sean saw a video game enemy, Cataquack from Super Mario Sunshine. Tiffany also saw an owl.

Well, here is what I traced for my string.

Quacker on Tile ~ LifeofJoy.meQuacker 2nd Viewpoint ~ Lifeofjoy.me

It is the duck quacker from a long ago trip to Branson when we road the ducks vehicle.

Object String ~ LifeofJoy.meScanned DC#213 String ~ LifeofJoy.me

 

Once again, here’s the final tile, a bit smaller, which makes it look better, I think because it shows fewer imperfections.

DC#213 ~ LifeofJoy.me

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meI also finished my tile for Square One: Purely Zentangle (on facebook) which I combined with another facebook group, Weekly Zentangle Tangle Video – WZTV. The first had a focus of Man-O-Man, which is not my favorite tangle. Thus I hesitated to even participate this time. Then Wednesday the new tangle for WZTV was announced and it is one I really like – Pepper. Immediately, I could envision flower like peppers with man-o-man centers. So this one was super simple to do.

Square 1 + WGTV ~ LifeofJoy.meI did pepper with three different thicknesses. The last one, the one in the bottom left corner, is the way I think the creators meant it to be but I always thought the lines were drawn more angular and thus mine generally came out looking like flowers, which I love, but not the mints others saw.

Man-O-Man has always been difficult for me because getting things to line up just right is not my forte, thus my triangles have not been all that good. I think it is the square that is drawn on the second round behind the triangle that gave me problems. It went a bit better this time.

I’m half finished with my second BBB challenge piece and will add it here if I get it done in the next day or two.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Frozen Meat Tips

I have no idea how food bloggers blog several recipes a week. Do you realize that at just one a week that is 52 a year and over a hundred every two year? How in the world do they do that? Well, clearly I am a newb!

Do you have those days when you forgot to defrost the meat you were supposed to use for dinner? I sure do. Years ago I found a way around this dilemma, other than remembering to get the meat out ahead of time. ;) I had purchased a Turbo Cooker on clearance at Walmart and read the directions. I found out that if you put frozen meat in the pan and the lid on the pan, it would cook the meat — all the way through. It was amazing! I loved it and it saved my behind many times.

Well, we had this pan for years and it finally was so scratched that I was very concerned about the negative side effects of the non-stick surface being scratched, as I had heard that it can be so bad the fumes could kill birds. So, I sadly got rid of the pan. I replaced it with a cast iron skillet. I really missed cooking meat from frozen, so one day I tried it. Do you know what? It worked!

So here’s what you do: Put your chicken breast, pork chop, or other similar piece of meat in a skillet that has a lid over medium to medium high heat. I like to spray my skillet with oil spray first. Place the lid on the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, length of time depends on the thickness of the meat. When the meat is gray and some of the blood is on the top of the meat, flip it over; what was on the bottom should be nicely browned. At this point you can choose weather or not to put the lid back on because it is nearly done. As soon as this side is browned. If at any point it seems to be burning or smoking a lot, add a tablespoon of water or so to release the meat from the skillet. It will take a few minutes longer than if the meat was thawed first.

Cutting Frozen Chicken ~ LifeOfJoy.meIf you have a strong knife with a serrated edge or a sharp edge, you can cut slightly thawed meat by putting pressure on the knife and pushing it through the meat, if you need your meat cubed. It will cook faster in small pieces but it might take a while to cut it depending just how frozen it is.

Cut Frozen Chicken ~ LifeOfJoy.me

My favorite is frozen ground meat because all you do is get it out of the package and put the frozen block of meat in the skillet with the lid on top. Every few minutes, rotate the meat and scrape off whatever part has browned and/or is soft, letting it cook on another side. Since the lid is on the skillet, meat on top of the frozen block will soften. It can be scraped off into the pan to brown. It is a great dinner saver! :)

Until  next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

When Something Nice Turns Sour

Making Cookies Together ~ LifeofJoy.meOver the weekend, Mike wanted some Peanut Butter Cookies. Of course, the reason he even thought about them is because I may have mentioned Thursday or Friday that I had planned to make them. I do know better than to give voice to my intentions because if I decide not to follow through, inevitably someone will remember what I said and call me on it. ;) That is what happened this weekend.

It was Sunday afternoon when Mike made the request. Now I had two ways to respond. The first was to simply get up and do it, which I wasn’t in the mood to do, as I was just getting ready to relax with some zentangle. The second was to make some excuse and not make them.

I am glad to say that I went with option one and proceeded to make them. Mike volunteered to help me, for which I was grateful. At some point while preparing the cookie batter, he began not to feel very good. Like most people, he is not himself when he is hurting and we clashed a little. I must admit that by the time the cookies were done, he was feeling worse and we were clashing worse.

Now I know better than to “take offense” or “give offense” but I must shamefully admit that I was taking offense. Fortunately though, I soon realized my wrong-doing and apologized for my part in the situation because no matter why I did what I did or acted, I am accountable for my actions and reactions. Still it amazes me how the act of me repenting for my part in the clash can eliminate the friction in the home.

I found out long ago that in order to have a good marriage, I have to give up my right to be right because it doesn’t matter who was right to begin with, if I did anything to further a clash with my beloved, I am in the wrong. Plain and simple. And I’m accountable to God for my attitudes, actions, and reactions.

So this good that I was doing, making the cookies because he wanted them, turned sour with harsh words spoken one to another but then recovered when I apologized. Things got even better when Mike treated me lovingly by gently rubbing my back as I washed up the dishes. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

An Eventful Weekend and Relaxing Week

B&L Easter ~ LifeofJoy.me
Brian and Lauren Easter ’15

It’s been a good week. Lauren stayed with us several days this week while Brian was out of town. We have enjoyed her being here. It has just been a relaxing time, which is necessary from time to time.

Last Sunday was Easter and I came down with a migraine on our way home from church. I’m thankful that I had dinner in the slow cookers while at church because I went straight to bed when we got back home. It took three hours of sleep to get it manageable. At least the chicken and mashed potatoes were ready to eat when we got home. Brian and Lauren didn’t come as we expected but that was okay.

We had a good time of fellowship with a couple in church last Saturday. I fixed a veggie platter, Lasagna, simple salad, bread in my bread machine, and then apple crumble pie ala mode. I’m grateful it turned out well. Ever since that night, I’ve been toying with an idea and praying about it to see what God wants me to do with it. We shall see, what shall become of it.

Lia, Gwin, and I have been planning the next fellowship night at the church. Lia has had some good ideas and Gwin has had wonderful decorating ideas. Thankfully the Lord has given me some good ideas for fun activities for the evening as well.

It’s hard to believe that Tiffany will graduate next Friday. We have schooled year round, taking off weeks here and there. April is usually one of those times but since she was schedule to graduate in May we decided that she would just not take her break in April and finish up the curricula she needed to finish and graduate early. It is hard to believe that as of next Friday, I will no longer be a homeschooling mom. Thankfully, my kids plan to homeschool their children so it will never be far from me. My kids have already told me that they will need me to help, especially with math. :)

Since Tiff is graduating, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go to the Homeschool Convention this year. Fortunately, my baby sister, Lauren, and Tiffany really wanted me to go with them. I’m glad it all worked out. It is the last weekend of this month; I’m really looking forward to it. There are always so many encouraging workshops. Even though my girls aren’t actively homeschooling yet, they like to go because it is so encouraging and reminds them that they CAN do it.

We don’t have any big plans for this weekend. I hope to get some tangling practice this weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

What Are You Really Teaching Your Children?

silhouetteGoing along the lines of what I shared last week, I remembered this article I had seen some time ago. (7 Ways Parents Harm Their Children Without Even Noticing It) It talked about some ways that parents inadvertently do harm to their children. It is about some things parents do that sets the wrong example for their children.

The first the author mentions is about the little untruths parents tell, to get a better deal or get away with something. If you tell a partial truth in the presence of your children, they you are teaching them there is a time it is okay for them to tell a partial truth. Do you want them to do that to you when you ask them something? Remember, your children are going to follow your example much more readily than what you tell them to do.

If you ‘fly off the handle’ with your kids, you are teaching them that behavior like that is acceptable. You are inadvertently modeling a lack of self-control. Probably not what you what to model for them.

Do you compare one child with another? Or compare your child with someone else’s child? This is not healthy for you or your children. You don’t want to set your child up for failure or for a situation where they believe they are better than others. Remember to be the parent and not your child’s fan club. It is good to be your child’s friend but not over being their parent. Your child needs a parent and a friend but not someone to pump their head with pride; remember pride is also an abomination to God.

The final thing I want to mention is what a danger it is to put your children above your spouse. I doubt you’d ever think of it in that manner. I know I didn’t. My kids needed me. At times they were helpless and needed me. At other times, I was so busy with the education of the children and care and upkeep of our home that I was too tired to give Mike, my husband, the priority he deserved. This was a big mistake!!! If I had it to do over again, I would do things very differently.

It is important for your children to hear good things about their father. It is important to speak well of him to the children. It is important to take time for your spouse. The children will not be  harmed by you sending them to bed early so that you can have quality time with your hubby. Find ways to give your husband first place. Find ways to change up your routines so that the children do not need so much of your attention in the evenings, so that you can give that attention to your spouse. It really is vitally important.

I hope you will read the aforementioned article and prayerfully consider these thoughts.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Zentangles of the Week

I really appreciate all the kind words on my tiles last week. It is so nice to get feedback. Thank you to all those that took the time to comment.

Now on to this week’s tiles . . .

I’ve only managed to get one tile done so far this week. I really need to take some time and draw some more.

iamthedivacztThe Diva Challenge this week is a Use My Tile Challenge using Susan Goetter’s tangle, Fanz. This tangle is new to me and I did not do it justice. I really should have practiced it before actually trying to put it on a tile but alas, hindsight is perfect. ;)

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meI decided to combine the Diva Challenge with the Square One Purely Zentangle Focus again this week. Nipa is the focus tangle for the week. I’ve not done super good with Nipa in the past but I think it turned out pretty good this time around.

Without further ado, here’s the tile.

DC#212 Focus Nipa ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I see now that some of my shading needed to be smudged a bit more. Oh well. :)

I thought I was doing a tile for the Weekly Zentangle Tangle Video on facebook but turns out Cubine was last week, so I’m a bit late for that one. :( Oh well, I’ll add it here anyway.

I did it on one of my scratch-off rainbow tiles. One previous commenter suggested using calligraphy nibs to scratch tangles on these fun tiles. So I thought I’d give it a try today. Unfortunately I’m going to have to look for some different nibs because the ones I have are either forked or too big. I also used a tine flat head screwdriver but it made the lines too wide or scratchy depending on how I held it. I tried a very tiny phillips head and it seemed to do ok but it too was a bit scratchy. I guess I’ll be continuing my search for the best tools to scratch tangles on these fun tiles.

scratch off rainbow tile ~ LifeofJoy.me

I used Cubine in two different sizes, Chillon, and Ixorus or Crescent Moon. I’m not quite sure what the difference is between Ixorus and Crescent Moon.

If I get some of my other challenges done, I’ll add them to this post later.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

White Cheese Dip

White Cheese Dip ~ LifeOfJoy.m3I love the white cheese dip in Mexican restaurants. It is so nice and thick and creamy. One time my sister asked her favorite Mexican restaurant about the cheese in their queso and they said it was White American cheese.

I found this recipe on the web somewhere. It is really easy to make. AND it uses White American cheese. So I thought, it just might be a winner. It could also be used as a sauce on Mexican dishes.

It really is simple. I make mine on the stove in a double boiler. You can use a special pan for it, set a smaller pan on top of a slightly larger pan, or even a bowl that can sit down partially into a pan.

Put some water in the bottom pan of your double boiler. Enough that it won’t evaporate too quickly but little enough that the water when boiling will not touch the bottom of your bowl or pan.

Dbl Boiler ~ LifeofJoy.meFull Dbl Boiler ~ LifeofJoy.meCombine 1½ pounds of White American Cheese, half  of a small can of green chiles (we puree them), 2 pickled jalapenos (chopped) plus 2 tablespoons of the juice, 2/3 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup cold water, and a pinch of cumin  in the upper portion of your double boiler. (My stores no longer carry the White American Cheese in the deli but there is some in the refrigerated section with the other cheeses; each slice is individually wrapped like regular American cheese.)

jalapenos ~ LifeofJoy.me

Turn the burner on medium high-high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, stir the ingredients until the cheese is completely melted and all ingredients are combined well.

Ready to Eat ~ Lifeofjoy.me

The original recipe was cooked in the microwave instead of using a double boiler.

White Cheese Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pound White American Cheese
  • 1/2 can diced green chiles, pureed
  • Enough slices to equal about 2 pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of the juice from the pickled jalapenos
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • pinch of cumin

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients into the the upper portion of the double boiler.
  2. Put water in bottom pan of double boiler but not enough to touch the bottom of your upper pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Put the upper portion on top and stir.
  4. Serve immediately as a dip with tortilla chips or as a cheese sauce over your favorite Mexican dish.
http://lifeofjoy.me/white-cheese-dip/

Until next time, God bless,
Michele ºÜº

Communication

heart-229727_1280I am an advocate for proper communication on all levels, so it surprised me when I was told the other night, that I don’t communicate well. It appears that I have become guilty of my pet peeve. :(

Now, I could get all bent out of shape but I chose to take the criticism constructively and I will make every effort to communicate better, especially with Mike (my husband). It is imperative that I work on sharing my thoughts and intents with him. But it is even more important to share those thoughts with the right tone, as I have talked about before.

Recently I read an article on Club31Women about wives that never say they are sorry, for a variety of reasons. At first I was surprised by this and then I understood. I have had times when, for our marriage, I needed to apologize but I really believed I was right. So what I have done is find something that I could honestly apologize for. In many instances it is my attitude or my tone or not handling the situation right because those are really the things that I did wrong. It is okay to have a different opinion but I have a responsibility to still be respectful to my husband. I appreciated the article because it made me think.

I will endeavor to be quicker to admit my faults AND apologize. I hope this makes you think as well.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele  ºÜº

A Cure for Procrastination and Easter Plans

Easter ~ LifeofJoy.meI am a procrastinator BUT I am working towards rectifying this. I am working at organizing my schedules so that I don’t procrastinate on things that need to be done. I’ve already got laundry sorted out. I do one load a day Monday through Friday and a load of whites on the weekend.

I usually run errands at the end of the week. I had been making my menu and grocery list the night before but lately I haven’t been getting it done until the day I am running errands. The problem with that is that we don’t get out of the house until nearly noon, which means we don’t get home until late and then we are rushed to get groceries put away and dinner made. So, I am planing to get my menu made and grocery list started earlier in the week. Then all I have to do is add to it as the next few days elapse and it will be ready to go first thing in the morning on errand day. :)

There are other areas I’ve had trouble keeping on top of too. My goal is to look at each area and figure out a way to stay on top of it. The first thing I’m going to do is decide if it is something that is best handled monthly, weekly, or even daily. For many tasks, it is best to handle tasks weekly. If that is the case, pick a day that is suitable for completing that task and add it to the routine for that day. If it is monthly, it would be best to pick either a date, like the 12th, or a certain day of the month, like the second Tuesday, and such. If it is daily, then pick a time of day and add it to something you are already doing at that time of day. For example, when I wanted to remember to run the dishwasher daily, I added it to my before bed routine.

Sunday is Easter or Resurrection Sunday. This will be the first year that we don’t go to my parents house on Easter. It will be a little weird but I am making the most of it. I’m going to make Roast Sticky Chicken and the Crockpot Mashed Potatoes. I don’t know what else I’ll make with it. I’ll probably post the Roast Sticky Chicken recipe next Tuesday; it really is delicious. I may also make Hot Fudge Pudding Cake for dessert Sunday. Brian and Lauren are coming out for dinner. It just could be a fun new tradition!

Well, I need to run. Have a great weekend and enjoy celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº