Monthly Archives: June 2015


Today’s recipe is another of those ‘not really a recipe’ recipes. ;) My mom taught me how to make this and that means that I watched her make it to learn how to make it.

Brian’s birthday is later this week. We will go there for some swimming and fireworks. This year we will be doing the extended family celebration of his birthday that day instead of Sunday at my mom and dad’s. So today we are celebrating his birthday with just our immediate family. Thus, he gets to pick his meal and dessert. He chose meatloaf and scalloped potatoes and strawberry cheesecake. I’m surprised because he usually picks chicken enchiladas and mud pie (which I hope to make soon so that I can include it on the blog).

I double this ‘recipe’ when I make it for all of us, so the pictures will look much bigger than what this ‘recipe’ will look like without doubling.

Start by crumbling or chunking one pound of ground beef (I use ground turkey for Mike – meatloaf is one of the few things I do not like made with ground turkey) into your pan. I use a 9×13. Next crumble 1-2 pieces of bread on top of the meat.

Add Bread to Meat ~

Then break one egg on top (you could beat it slightly if you wanted).

Add Egg ~

Then pour about 1/8-1/3 cup of milk on the bread. You want to moisten all the bread. (If you wanted, you could break up the bread into a bowl and pour the milk on the bread and let it soak it all up and then add to the ground meat.)

Add Milk ~

Then mix it all up. I just use my hands. Form into a short loaf – no more than 1 1/2 inches tall. Any thicker and it will take longer to cook.

Mixing Meatloaf ~ LifeofJoy.meForming Loaf ~ Lifeofjoy.meFlatten A Bit ~

Finally top with ketchup, smearing all over the loaf. Sean and Tiffany don’t like much ketchup on it but Brian, Lauren and I do. :) So one end gets just a hint of ketchup and the other 2/3 gets a much thicker coating.

Add Ketcup ~ Lifeofjoy.meReady for Baking ~

Put in the over on 350º-375º for about 45-60 minutes, until the fat that is rendered browns just a bit. Cut it in half to ensure there is NO PINK left in the loaf.

Slice of Meatloaf ~

Mom always made meatloaf with scalloped potatoes. We never had one without the other. It’s actually funny because for years I didn’t make one without the other. In the last several years I started making scalloped potatoes with other meals too. :D

I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as we do. OH! This is another Picky Eater Award recipe (a.k.a. Lauren, who has never liked meatloaf, likes this)!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


He Has My Best Interest at Heart

June 1987 ~
28 Years Ago

I awoke Saturday and smiled. It was my twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. I thought about how happy I was 28 years ago and was thankful for the man laying beside me, who has supported me through thick and thin.

We rose and Mike made our morning beverages. I’ve been drinking hot honey lemon water for several months and he’s been drinking tea. Over the next 30 minutes, three different things happened and I took them wrong! Nothing Mike said was meant to hurt me, I just jumped to conclusions in my head.

The devil is out to undermine marriages. There is no length of time where your marriage is no longer vulnerable. You always have to work at it . . . at least I found that I do.

It is odd that with everyone else I’m willing to make up excuses for why someone might have said or done whatever it was by which I could get offended or hurt. I guess the reason I don’t immediately do that is because he is readily available and I think we can talk it out but that doesn’t usually work because we think so differently. I keep trying to understand but his inability to answer my questions and my frustration with that makes matters worse. Maybe I just learned that it is better for me to do the same for my husband that I willingly do for others, without having to understand. (The reason I want to understand is so that I can keep it from happening again but maybe it is better to just think the best from the beginning.)

I know that not every situation is like mine and this may not be the best idea for couples. I know Mike loves me and would do me no harm. I can trust him to have my best interest at heart. Now I just need to trust that and not react negatively. ;)

Until next time, God bless,
Michele ºÜº

Movie Memory, Visits, Game Night, and Anniversary

A couple weeks ago, we went to Papa John’s after church for dinner. They do not have a dine in, so we waited for the pizza and ate it in the car. :) I love pizza. While we were waiting I had to go to the restroom, so Tiffany and I walked across the access road to Walmart. On our way over, we saw this . . .Lake House ~ LifeofJoy.meIt reminded me of the movie The Lake House where “Jack” walks through the paint and leaves paw prints on the ‘sidewalk.’ :)

Turns out that we did NOT end up going to the Jamberry Nail Wrap party; it would have been fun to have a girls night out. There is an area river that is at flood stage. Mike said he would prefer it if we stayed home, so we did. Mike even picked up a few groceries to tide us over until Monday.I don’t really enjoy going out on Mondays; I don’t know why, I just don’t but we did anyway.

One of my sister Tracie’s forever friends came for a visit. She came with Tracie and her family to my parents’ house on Sunday. It was fun to visit with her. I haven’t seen her in about 18 years. I also got to go to lunch with her and Tracie on Tuesday. (I’d add a picture but true to form, I didn’t take one. :( ) I found her to have a listening ear – usually I’m the one that is the listener. I hope I didn’t monopolize the conversation – I always overthink things afterwards. :(

We ate at Cheddar’s which is one of my favorite restaurants. I got the Chicken Pecan Salad with the honey croissant. It is a very nice lunch. Susan ended up swiping the tickets when they arrived and wouldn’t let us pay. It was VERY sweet of her!!! Thanks again Susan!

In my haste doing the shopping on Monday, I forgot a few key ingredients for the Chicken Enchiladas I was making for dinner. So I stopped on the way home and picked up the tortillas and a can of cream of chicken soup. Brian and Lauren came out for for dinner; Brian LOVES chicken enchiladas! We also had Blueberry Cheesecake.

Game night ~
Thanks for going out of your way to get the picture for me Lauren! What a sweetie you are!

After dinner Brian cleaned off the table and set out SmallWorld game. We’ve played this game before and enjoyed it but even more so this time because we already new all the rules this time.

Tomorrow is Mike’s and my 28th wedding anniversary! I’m looking forward to a delicious steak. We may go to see a movie as well. But no matter what we do, I’ll be with my love celebrating the day we began making an “us.”

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

The Student of the Word part 2

SOW ~ LifeofJoy.meI talked about how I found SOW and some generalities of it. Today I want to share a little more in depth.

Discipleship is a key element of SOW. It is about the Bible and letting the Bible interpret the Bible, first and foremost. It is okay to use Bible helps like commentaries and handbooks after first trying to glean what the Bible is saying on its own. Use of a concordance and dictionary is a must.

Another big element of SOW is charts and such for getting things organized from schedules and chores to goals. This is one of the areas that really freed me and kept me from getting burnt out. David and Merle Reese are the authors of this wonderful program. They used more of a “year round” schedule. In the beginning I used her ideas of four weeks of studies and then a week to catch-up in our basic school months schedule but ended our homeschool following the “year round” version, taking months off as we desired or needed.

Another major element of SOW is its flexibility! I don’t think we used SOW exactly the same way any two of the 15 years we used it. WOW! It is hard to believe we used it that long but we did. We started in August of 2000 and Tiffany finished in April of 2015. The flexibility is not just in the schedule. It is also in the resources and how much of SOW you want to use.

The bulk of the curriculum is Bible based, i.e. centered around the Bible. There is a portion of Scripture that is the focus of the week. In that passage there will be a key scripture verse (ksv) that will be used throughout the week for memorization, dictation, copywork, language arts, spelling, and study. Throughout the week, study is done on this passage by means of an outline, the setting, vocabulary, a given topic, a given character, and ending the week with a commentary noting what was learned from the passage and how to apply it to their lives. That’s a lot of Bible study! They learn the Bible, what they believe, and why.

There is literature, short stories, poetry, and articles suggested for literary study. There are topics and activities suggested for science, history, and geography. These three subjects are rotated throughout the year. There are also ideas given for Creative Writing, as well as electives. As you can see, SOW really is a comprehensive curriculum.

In the years since I first purchased my version of SOW, there have been some substantial revisions. Worksheets were first integrated in my version of SOW but I believe many more were created for varying ages in successive versions.

Using SOW as a complete curriculum is very economical, even though rather pricey in the beginning, though not really compared to other curricula. The first year you get the Resource Edition (RE) and Teacher Edition (TE). The RE has much information about the overall setup and organization of your day and year. The TE has the information on the actual week to week lessons.

SOW is set up with two 12-week semesters. This comes to 24 weeks. My state requires 36 weeks of schooling in a year, so adding a week after every 4th week will add another 6 weeks to the 24 weeks of lessons. That comes to 30 and leaves only another 6 weeks that can be used for more catch-up weeks or weeks for further study of either subjects they already studied or ones they would like to study.

When I purchased my version of SOW, there was a bit of a learning curve for me to figure out how everything worked together. I cannot say how things have changed throughout the years because once I learned how things worked together I did not feel the need to upgrade because I go with the idea that if it isn’t broken don’t try to fix it. I already had things flowing smoothly and did not feel the need to upgrade (or spend any more money on it).

Bottom line . . . I loved using The Student of the Word.

Oh! One thing I forgot to mention: It is recommended that the parent(s) do at least the Bible portion of the curriculum so that they can discuss the passages and studies with them. Thus more of the discipleship aspect of the program.

If you have ANY questions about SOW, don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll be glad to help you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

DC#223 and Focus: Arukas and more

Last week I did Umble in color on a scratch off tile. Thank you Suzy and Annemarie for you kind remarks and to the anonymous person that clicked the like this heart. :) I appreciate it!!!

iamthedivacztFB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meThis week the Diva Challenge is to use Umble, which I gladly did! I really like this tangle and look forward to using it a bit more. I’ve not yet taken it as far as it will go but stop after doing just the first three steps of the step-outs. I combined it here with the Square One Focus of Arukas. I like the outcome even though I’m not very good at Arukas yet. This time I used only four “spokes.”

Umble & Arukas ~ LifeofJoy.meAfter looking at this a bit more, it reminds me of looking through a lattice fence of some kind, at a lighthouse off in the distance at night. :)

I used a Micron 01 for the lines and an 08 for filling in.

I also made a card for Mike for Father’s Day. Here is the outside:

Mike's Day Card ~ LifeofJoy.meSome of it isn’t so great but it worked. Here’s the inside left side:

Left Inside card ~ LifeofJoy.meThen the right side inside was a list of a bunch of things he is or does for us, his family. I surrounded those words with Ahh. I liked the end result and he did too. I talked a bit about his card on Monday, if you care to read about why I make his card instead of buying it. ;)

I’m tired today, so I’m going to run.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes ~ LifeofJoy.meThis week I am sharing a family favorite. This is a recipe that my mom made when I was young. It is one of those recipes that is not really a recipe; it is one of those ‘watch how Grandma makes it’ recipes BUT don’t let that make you shy away! This is really VERY easy!

It is hard to say how much of anything to use here but free yourself from measurements and adapt as you re-make it in the future. ;)

Begin by peeling between 5 and 8 potatoes 9 or more, as needed.

Peeling Potatoes ~ LifeofJoy.meI like this y-peeler. It has a serrated blade and it grips well.

Next, slice the potatoes. I like to to use a mandolin slicer.

Mandolin Slice Potatoes ~

I don’t recommend using a mandolin without the protective grip for the vegetable because you can slice your fingers VERY BADLY. Please use caution. You could use a food processor or even try to slice your potatoes very thinly by hand but be sure to keep all the slices uniform in thickness.

As you get a potato or two sliced, go ahead and lay a thin layer of potatoes into the bottom of your pan. Then lightly sprinkle on some onion powder and then the same with salt. Remember, keep it a light sprinkling across the layer of potatoes. Then put a few pats of butter around the layer of potatoes as well.

Layers ~

Repeat layers (usually about 3 in total) until about 2/3 – 3/4 full. Sprinkle with flour.

Floured ~

Slowly pour milk over the flour, wetting the flour as you pour, until you see the milk near the top of the potatoes.

Ready for the oven ~

Place in the oven and bake on 350º for 45 minutes to an hour.

Test the potatoes with a fork. They are done when the potatoes are soft/no longer hard. If the milk seems to be completely absorbed at any time during cooking, moisten them with more milk. Scalloped potatoes are supposed to be creamy when done.

I wish I had a single bite to show you. I’ll have to try to remember to take one next time I make this, which will be in a couple of weeks since Brian has chosen this and meatloaf as his birthday meal this year. :) I have already had to take pictures on two separate occasions because I keep forgetting to get pictures of the entire process and the finished product. :) Oh well, it is worth it!

Finished Scalloped Potatoes ~

Don’t be afraid of bits of flour, like this one; my kids like the floury bits. :D I don’t but they really do. The potatoes in the picture above could’ve used a bit more milk but we were hungry and ready to eat; if you add milk, you have to leave it in the oven long enough for it to heat and thicken.

Here is a list of the ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Onion Powder
  • Salt
  • Butter (1-2 STICKS depending on size of pan)
  • Milk (your choice of fat percentage)

Bake on 350º 45-60 minutes or so.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Work in Progress

My Wonderful Husband and I
My Wonderful Husband and I

Yesterday was Father’s Day and it was a tad bit foiled but we salvaged it. :) I’ve been so spoiled by my son’s Amazon Prime 2-day shipping that I didn’t allow enough time for Mike’s gift to arrive. I guess I just didn’t fully realize that I was not ordering from Amazon. :D

The estimated delivery had it being delivered Saturday, which would have been great but alas, it was not. He’s a good sport though and he guessed what his gift was anyway. It should arrive today. If that had happened to me, several years ago, I doubt I would have been as sweet about it as he was.

Mike prefers homemade cards. So I have made his cards for the last several years. I made him a Father’s Day. I used my favorite art form, Zentangle. I spent about 3 hours creating his card. I always have a hard time figuring out what to say, which is why I prefer purchased cards, which take me a long time to find the one that is “just right” for the occasion, time, and person. I don’t like words that are just generic; I have a hard time expressing my thoughts but when I read cards, I’m like, yes! That’s what I feel.

Sean treated us to dinner at the place of Mike’s choosing. He chose Buffalo Wild Wings. I think it was because the parking lot looked less full than other restaurants in the area because he does not like crowds. ;) We have never eaten there before, so he wanted to try it out. Part of love is doing what someone else wants without any griping. I’m getting better at this.

I had some things I needed to do and Mike just wanted me to spend some time with him. Yes the other things were important but spending time with him was more important. If I ended up having to stay up a bit later to finish the things I needed to do then that was what I would do. As it turned out, I spent time with him and got the other things done I needed to without having to stay up later than normal. :)

The best thing about it was that I showed him how important he is with my actions. I even took time and made him a snack after we got home from my parents’ house AND sat down and chatted with him while we ate.

I am a very blessed woman! My husband is handsome, kind, loving, and oh so many other things! I want him to feel that he is a blessed man. If I am nagging, ignoring, or inattentive he will NOT feel blessed, reverenced, or loved and I don’t want that! Thankfully I’m getting a little better at these things. But just when I think I’m doing good, Mike will hear something in my tone or words that makes him think I’m nagging and I have to reassess and let him know that I did not mean it the way he heard it.

It’s a work in process and thankfully, we are both still working on it. I wish I could say we are one of those couples that are just soooo much in love that we never argue or get frustrated with each other but we aren’t. We are a work in progress.

Until next time, God bless!


Michele ºÜº

Rain, Changes, and Father’s Day

June Rain ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s Friday again! Yay!

Tonight Tiffany and I are going to a friend’s house for a Jamberry Nail Wraps party. We are looking forward to a little girls’ night out.

We’ve been getting a lot of rain here. I’m told it is from Tropical Depression Bill coming up from the Gulf through Texas. It’s been so wet that Mike and Sean have had to take alternate routes to and from work because of the flash flooding.

Vincas ~ Lifeofjoy.meCloudy and rainy days make me want to cuddle up and read a book, play a game, and/or watch a movie or series. So, although I did find a lot of inspiration for future blog posts and Tiffany and I did do some Zumba several times this week, I didn’t accomplish much else.


Goofiness ~
I know it’s not a picture of them in the kitchen but it is a picture of them being goofy on vacation, holding Brian and Lauren’s car on his finger. :D

Tiffany cooks and Sean cleans on Monday nights so that I get a night off at least once a week. It is a wonderful thing! This is something I am so glad I started when the kids were in school. During Sean’s senior year, he was responsible for making dinner one night a week and then I had Tiff do the same. I cannot remember if I started it with Brian or not, but I do know that I had him cook some during his senior year so that he would know how to cook (something other than dessert – but that’s a story for a different day).

Since Tiffany has graduated, we’ve been trying to find a new rhythm to our days. It is hard because she is a writer and is writing a novel. She is going through her own struggles pushing through and completing her first book. I’m so proud of her; she is such a talented writer. I keep reminding myself that at least I have her home with me and I don’t have to suffer being alone during the day. I am however, learning to find a balance between leaving her to her work (or being otherwise creative, as the case may be) and still sharing the day with her.

Happy Father’s Day

Dad ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis Sunday is Father’s Day. I’ve always been so proud of my dad. Like most little girls, I looked up to him. He could do anything in my eyes. He always believed in me and would do anything to help me succeed. I learned about following after God from him, which is probably the thing I am most grateful for. Happy Father’s Day Daddy!!! I love you dearly!


Mike Helping ~ Lifeofjoy.meI am also very proud of my dear hubby! He has loved and put up with so much from me. He has worked hard to provide for our family and allowed me to stay home and educate our children. Even when things were tight and I’d offer to get a part-time job, he would not hear of it.

We decided early on that we wanted Mike to be completely involved in the lives of our children. Thus we made decisions to do without some things, material things, to live within our means. Also, Mike has been a self-employed paint contractor for most of our married life, which has brought its own complexities. He has been a great father, provider, and husband to me and our kids. Happy Father’s Day Babe! I love you so much and appreciate all you do!!!

I hope you will celebrate those wonderful fathers in your life. Let them know they are a blessing to you.

Until next time, God bless,
Michele ºÜº

The Student of the Word

SOW ~ LifeofJoy.meI love Five in a Row! While using FIAR, we got with another family to do activities related to whatever book we had picked. It was fun and something we all looked forward to. When Brian was 9, what would have been his fourth grade year, I bought a couple of volumes of Beyond Five in a Row. We had begun to use it and were enjoying it.

Shortly after we had begun our new year, I contacted Denise, the mom of the other family, to see what her plans were for the new year and if she wanted to plan some activities together. She told me that she wasn’t using FIAR or Beyond this year. So I asked what she was planning to used and she told me about The Student of the Word. It intrigued me. I thanked her and checked out the website.

I loved that The Bible was the center of all the learning. I loved that in six years the children would inductively study the entire Bible. I loved that it included what we needed for all the subjects; I would have to purchase or locate resources to complete the ‘lessons’ (specific resources are recommended, but choice is up to you). I loved that it did not push any doctrines but would list the topics for study but leave you to teach it in however you believe, unlike some adult studies I have done that lead you step by step to arrive at the same conclusion as the author.

Needless to say, this is what we used for the rest of the children’s education. Tiffany used this her entire life, although I also used FIAR with her because I love it so.

The Student of the Word exposed me to new ideas for homeschooling but also fell in line with philosophies I agreed with. It utilizes copywork, dictation, read alouds, and discipleship to name a few.

I love that after purchasing the curriculum (which took me two years) and some resources I did not have to think about what we were going to use the next year, very much, because the bulk/core of our curriculum was taken care of. I could then focus on any new resources I wanted to buy. That gave me such freedom!

When I learned how the author, Merle Reese, made her schedule for the year, I was thrilled and learned the secret to never suffering from burn out!

This has gotten rather long, so I’ll close for now. I will probably share more specifics about SOW next week. One thing is for certain though, no matter what curricula choices you make, cover it in prayer. Follow the leading of the Lord and your homeschooling journey will be a very good one.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

SOW Part 2


This Week’s Tangling

Since most people don’t go back to any comments they made, I want to thank those four sweet commenters last week – you really made my day!

I have added a “like button” at the end of each post for those that like it but can’t or would rather not make a comment but still would like to let me know you liked it. It is rather small but someone found it last week — thanks so much!

iamthedivacztThis week the challenge is to use color in our tile. I do have some colored pens that I might give a go later but I first turned to my scratch off tiles. I don’t use them very often and always have to stop and figure out which one is which.

Also this week Rick and Maria published the step-out for Umble. Since I’ve not had the privilege of attending training to become a certified zentangle instructor, nor have a seen any in the area, I have not seen this tangle before. It looks fun and rather easy, so I chose to do a monotangle using Umble today.

DC 222 ~

As is generally the case once I post the picture of my tile, I can really see its imperfections. Besides the fact that this tangle is new to me, I had to kind of think in reverse. When I wasn’t really careful the lines connected and the depth was lost.

In one place I was wiping away the black residue and accidentally scratched it with my finger nail….oops! Then I decided it needed a border around it, and in some places it is a bit jagged. Oh well! It is what it is and meet the requirements for the challenge. :)

As I write this, I’m preparing for my grown kids to come over for dinner, so I’ll keep it short.

As always, if I manage to get any more tangling done in the next few days, I’ll add it here.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº