Monthly Archives: July 2015

Blog Anniversary and Gnat Trap

1stanniversaryToday is the one year anniversary of my blog! Well, technically tomorrow, August 1st is but I started on a Friday, so it is a bit confusing. I haven’t don’t much with the looks of the blog in some time, so I guess it is time to give it a  facelift.

I have begun working on my recipe archive index. It is not pretty yet but I’m at least getting it to automatically fill in the pages. I am hoping to have it available by the end of August. As I’m creating these pages I’m seeing where I really do need to work on my photography as I had wanted to this year but never got around to doing. I also found out what a “feature image” is and how useful it is, so I’m going back and setting feature images for all the recipe posts. But this means that these posts may look a little wonky until I get all the kinks worked out, please be patient with me. :)

As I mentioned Wednesday, I did a library day with Tiffany and Lauren on Tuesday. After the library we went to Schlotsky’s where the three of us split two Pick Two meals. I got the half Cranberry Chicken Something-Or-Other Salad and half Sausage Basil Flatbread Pizza; Lauren and Tiffany got half Original sandwich and half Pepperoni Pizza and we all shared. We didn’t want to eat too much because we all wanted save calories for dinner and dessert that night. It was delicious even though it wasn’t all that cheap . . . it cost less than $20 for the 3 of us to eat.

Gnat Trap

I have got to share this tip with you today. Last weekend we had a surge of gnats or fruit flies from out of (seemingly) nowhere. Then Mike went out the back door to mow the yard and found a rotten potato in my potato bin! YUK! We got rid of it but still had gnats bugging us (mostly bugging Mike as I hardly saw any). So I was tasked with finding out how to get rid of them.

Gnat Trap ~ Lifeofjoy.meA few days later I did just that and now I am going to share it with you. Ready? ;)

Take a container with a lid and punch several holes in the lid. I used this old hot fudge jar and used a nail screw (because I couldn’t find a nail) and hammer to tap the holes in the top. That is as hard as it gets, seriously!

Pour a bit of apple cider vinegar in the jar. Put the lid on and sit it near wherever the pests are congregating. Before long they will be dead in the vinegar and you will not be bothered by them any longer.

Apple Cider Vinegar ~ Lifeofjoy.me

 

Those little dark spots in the bottom of the jar are the pests. ;) I was amazed how quickly and how well this worked!

 

 

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Few Freebies

Freebie ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis week I heard about a couple of freebies that looked really interesting to me so I thought I’d share them with you today.

The first is from Homeschool Freebie of the Day. I know I’ve mentioned them here before but when something is good, you can’t help but mention it more than once. ;) They are currently running a teaser of sorts to get the word out about there wonderful website. This teaser is a free compilation of ‘lessons’ in a Charlotte Mason style of education. Even if you don’t use anything else in this free volume of lessons, which includes stories, nature study, and character studies, I recommend it for the fine arts studies, as it includes copies of artwork for artist study and information for composer study. Here’s the link to go and download it for yourself; you have until August 15th 2015 to sign-up and then you’ll get another volume every two weeks until you have all 9 volumes. :) http://wholesomechildhood.com/thetutor

Another freebie I found out about is from HomeschoolGiveaways.com and the link I have included is a referral link for the person I got the link from, since I wouldn’t benefit from it. But I’m passing it on to you because there are 10 FREE homeschooling items here that you may be interested in for your homeschool. It includes things such as cursive writing, study the Gospels, study the world, and making a presidential scrapbook. It looks interesting and worth subscribing to whatever newsletters must be subscribed to in order to receive them, as you can always unsubscribe later. :)

Well, that’s what I have for you for today. I hope they help.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Organic Challenge Tile #228

First I want to thank Lee, Jenny, Maggibee,  Annemarie, Lily, Ulrike B, and Kate for your kind comments on last week’s circus themed tile. You really encouraged me! Thanks so much for taking the time to do so. (I used to respond to each commenter but realized they probably never saw my replies, so I stopped doing that.)

iamthedivacztThis week’s Guest Challenger is Cari and she has challenged us to go organic, as in something that looks real or from nature. I read the challenge post on Monday and have been mulling it over for a while. At first I thought I might use Mumsy or Cyme and maybe some hollibaugh with it but I did this in my Zentangle calendar before and didn’t really want to repeat myself, even though it is one of my favorites!

Cyme + Hollibaugh ~ LifeOfJoy.meThen I thought about Henna Drum and that it looks very organic. I’ve been seeing it a lot on Square One: Purely Zentangle on Facebook and have wanted to give it a try. But I didn’t really want it to be a monotangle. I really like Bellaposa by Sandy Bartholomew from the Tangle Library iPhone app and haven’t used it in a long while. So, I thought I’d combine these two and see what I came up with.

Tiffany needed a library day and we haven’t been in ages, so yesterday was the day. We invited Lauren to come with us. Brian and Lauren were coming for dinner last night AND I volunteered to make dinner for a couple that had a baby recently today but I had to make it last night so Sean could take it into town for delivery. All that to say, I had a very busy day ahead of me and didn’t know when I would get my tile done. So I took it to the library with me. :)

After perusing the stacks for about 15-20 minutes and finding a few books, I decided to sit down and tangle away. By the time I finished tangling, the girls were ready to leave. :) All that was left was some shading and to sign it.

Organic DC#228 ~ LifeofJoy.meI’m not too sure about the big henna drum hanging upside down in the middle near the top though. It looks almost like an I staring at me. ;) BUT I do like the baby bellaposa on the right. :)

I thought about doing some aura around all of the tangles on the tile but then just opted to shade it leaving an aura-like white space without the dark black line of an aura. (That sounds confusing to me but I don’t know how to clear it up.) :D

Now, I was re-reading the challenge to write this post and saw that Cari used Henna Drum too! Well! I didn’t mean to be a copycat. ;) Oh well, it is what it is. Hee hee

Well, I’m going to run for now.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

San Francisco Chops ~ Lifeofjoy.me

San Francisco Chops or Chicken

 

San Francisco Chops ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I cannot even tell you where I found this recipe. I have had it for years and years . . . well over eighteen years. I stopped making it for a while when we found out Mike was allergic to pork. Then one day, my lightening fast mind realized that I could substitute chicken in for the pork and I was thrilled.

The sauce is a sweet and spicy sauce. There were times that Tiffany mixed the sauce for me while I was browning the meat and we didn’t have any red pepper flakes so I told her to substitute either cayenne or ground red pepper. Of course, that is all she heard. The rest of what I said was just use a dash of it though. I think you can guess that it was way too spicy for my liking that time. I now keep the red pepper flakes on our shelf.

I must also add that this is Lauren’s favorite meal. This is the one she usually requests for her birthday dinner. :) Until a few months ago I had always made it using chicken when she came. She didn’t think she liked pork but when she stayed here while Brian was out of town several months ago, I had some pork chops that needed to be used from our freezer, so she got to try it with pork. Now she doesn’t know which is her favorite. ;) It really is tasty with both meats so use whichever you have on hand or is cheapest.

As you can see by the photo above, we serve this on wide egg noodles. I have learned to make an entire bag of noodles when Brian and Lauren join us for dinner or we run out. :) This particular night I had some pork chops I’d gotten on sale. I cut them off the bone and trimmed of the excess fat. I also got out a chicken breast, which weighed about a pound. I cut that one chicken breast into enough ‘filets’ to fill a 10″ skillet.

Cut Chicken Breast ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Heat a bit of oil in the skillet so the lean meat won’t stick or use spray oil and a non-stick pan.

Heat Skillet ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sprinkle one side of the meat with garlic powder and place seasoned side down in hot pan. Then sprinkle garlic powder over the top of the meat.

Full pan of Chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Here’s the pork chops in the pan.

Chops in the Pan ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs the meat browns on the first side prepare the sauce or have someone else do it for you. ;)

Flip the pieces when they are browned on one side. I didn’t let the chicken brown quite long enough but I also didn’t want the meat to be tough. Better to have the meat barely browned than tough.
Flip meat ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce the second side is browned, pour in the sauce. For this much meat we made a double batch of sauce for the pork and a single batch for the chicken.

San Francisco Sauce ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Flipped Chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sauce on Pork ~ Lifeofjoy.me

If your meat is cooked through, which mine is, bring the sauce to a boil and add the cornstarch and water, whisking it in as you push the meat out of the way. ;) I’m lazy and don’t take the meat out of the pan.

San Fran Chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.me

San Francisco Chops ~ Lifeofjoy.me

The sauce cooked down a bit as we waited on Sean to arrive so we could eat dinner, so it was a bit thicker than usual.

Put noodles on your plate and then top with meat and sauce. I frequently serve applesauce with this meal.

San Fran Chops on Noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.me

San Fran Chicken on Noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.me

San Francisco Chops or Chicken

Ingredients

  • ~1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, thighs, or lean pork chops
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • garlic powder
  • Sauce:
  • 4 Tablespoons cooking sherry or chicken broth
  • 4 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or dash cayenne pepper)
  • Thickener:
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Trim fat from meat and cut into 'filets'. If your pieces are thick it will take longer to cook.
  2. Heat oil in skillet.
  3. Sprinkle garlic powder on pieces of meat and place seasoned side down in skillet and sprinkle second side. Brown on both sides.
  4. Add sauce and bring to a simmer.
  5. Stir together the water and cornstarch and add to the bubbling sauce. Move the meat around so you can incorporate all the sauce into the thickener. As soon as the sauce is thickened, serve over cooked noodles.
http://lifeofjoy.me/san-francisco-chops-or-chicken/

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Stop . . . Pray . . . Listen . . . Obey

Seek Listen Obey ~ Lifeofjoy.meFirst for anyone that read my post on Friday, I want you to know that my back is back to normal!!! Hallelujah! Doing what God tells you to do brings victory. God tells different people different things to do, so knowing what He told me to do to fix my dilemma would do nobody else any good. You have to seek Him for yourself, stop and listen to what He has to say, and then follow through with what He told you to do. It is that simple and that difficult all at the same time because if you are anything like me, you don’t trust that you are really hearing God.

It is really the same in marriage. When there are difficulties, looking around at what others did, searching the internet, and talking about the situation probably won’t fix it. What will fix it is for you to get alone with God. Seriously, spend time with Him and stop and listen . . . yes, listen. It takes practice deciphering between the voices in your head.

Many times difficulties between husband and wife can be worked through by one person taking positive action. Some times action on your part will inspire action on their part. Many times when I feel Mike is not treating me the way he should, if I really take a look at things I will see where I haven’t been treating him the way he would like either. Then if I make a change, things are better, even if he doesn’t do anything differently. Much of it has to do with the thoughts in my own head and my actions.

Now don’t take this to extremes or as a rule for extreme situations. I’m just talking about the normal husband and wife relationships where there is no abuse or unfaithfulness. Pray and ask God to show you your part and what you can do to help change things around. Small things really do make a difference.

Painful Week

Have you ever had one of those days where you forget to do something rather important but not earth-shatteringly so and pay for it the next day? This happened to me Friday/Saturday. I forgot to run the dishwasher before I went to bed Friday night. :( Thus Saturday we had to run it and I still had dishes sitting out because it was full.

Waffle Iron ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I moved them out of the way to make the family some waffles for a special Saturday morning breakfast. They are good waffles made with whole wheat flour and the batter can sit in the refrigerator for several days. I made these lovely waffles and woke the kids with the wonderful aroma, all too early on a Saturday morning (when they were lacking in sleep from too many late nights). But it would seem that I was the delusional one because here I made these yummy waffles and we only have about 1 tablespoon of syrup in the house! UGH! Yes, we compensated with honey but it just is not the same, I tell you! Needless to say, syrup is on this week’s grocery list.

I must also admit that I took some lovely pictures of the preparation of these yummy waffles up until I heated the waffle iron. Then I forgot to pick back up the camera and take any more pictures . . . thus the Make Ahead Waffle Batter will have to wait to be posted until I make them again. :\

One might think that I would learn my lesson after that but alas, that very same day, we had Chicago style deep dish pizza. I don’t make this very often so I thought I’d take pictures of it for the blog. I had Tiffany take some pictures while I made the dough. I even picked up the camera while she was putting it in the pans later. But, my friends, that is where I put the camera down. I had a good reason though. She needed me to shred the cheese – 24 ounces of whole milk mozzarella, which is extremely crumbly and difficult to shred but oh so worth it. So anyway, it will be a month or so before I can get that recipe posted.

Sunday after church we went to my parents’ house and visited with family for several hours. It is always nice to catch up with everyone and see what all they have been up to since last we were together. Mom and Dad celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary on Tuesday, so we gave them a little something on Sunday to help them celebrate. They all remembered our wedding anniversary as well and gave us some money to go out. I still have a $10 off coupon for Santa Fe, so maybe we will go there again soon.

Monday night, Tiffany made an absolutely delicious Chicken Broccoli Alfredo! I, unfortunately, did not listen to that still small voice that told me not to eat any more and I ate more than I should have. It was so delicious. It was a new recipe. We’ll have to take pictures next time she makes it so that I can post it as well.

Tuesday the pain began. :( I was leaning over the freezer door, looking for some chicken to take out and thaw for dinner. Something happened to my back at that moment because when I stood back upright, my back began hurting horrifically! I have now dealt with this wacky back pain ALL WEEK LONG!!! Yes, I know it is only Friday morning and it only happened on Tuesday but it feels so much longer! I do not handle pain well. Actually, I have a low tolerance for pain and a high tolerance for pain medication, which means it takes powerful medication to knock out my pain. :(  Ibuprofen and my heating pad have been my best friends this week. (Oh, I also took care of that overeating problem from Monday and cut way back the rest of the week.)

Brian and Lauren came out for dinner Tuesday night. I made Lauren’s favorite: San Francisco Pork Chops and Chicken. Thankfully I did learn my lesson from Saturday’s faulty picture taking and managed to get enough pictures to post this yummy recipe on Tuesday. Brian brought out some board games; we played Resistance and Mafia, both of which need more than our six players to be more fun. We ended our evening with ice cream and just sitting around and talking for a bit. It was a good evening, in spite of my backache.

Wednesday night we did not even attempt going to church since I had a restless night sleep because of the back. Mike and Sean replaced his brakes and rotors on his vehicle. Unfortunately, Mike got attacked by chiggers! He was not a happy person last night. I’m hoping all the home remedies he has tried will relieve his itchiness and overall discomfort.

If we lived closer to town, I might have attempted running errands this week, in spite of my back aching. But living 30 minutes away and then taking about an hour and a half to shop, I didn’t think it was a good idea especially since merely putting laundry in the washer, getting dressed and putting a few dishes in the dishwasher had me running back to my heating pad. I’m blessed with a wonderful man who will pick up groceries for me when necessary!

Well, I am praying and believing that this back ache will leave me quickly and I can get back to normal life activities.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Encouraging Kids to Write

Storybird ~ Lifeofjoy.meSome children love to write stories. I have a friend that is a teacher and she shared this link on her facebook page recently. I was intrigued.

It is called Storybird. And can be found at simply storybird.com. It is free to use. You can sign-up as a teacher, student, professional writer, professional artist, or just a regular user. As a teacher you can create assignments for your students/child(ren). I didn’t actually sign-up for it because I no longer have anyone that would use it so I googled it and found some youtube videos about it. One word of caution though, Storybird has been updated so some of the features may not be available any longer or things may work just a tiny bit differently than you see in a video.

Storybird is a website with pictures that you can use your imagination to create a story based on the picture. You can create a picture book with a picture on each page, a poem with one picture and words to choose from to create your poem, and longer stories where you have a one picture per chapter.

I told Tiffany, my 18 year old writer, about it and she checked it out for me. She liked it and said she will use it when she needs to just write to get started writing, just for fun, or to get over being blocked.

So, if you’ve got a little writer or just want to have some different ways to have your kids do some of their schoolwork (homeschool work that is) or give them an outlet for some creativity, this is definitely worth looking into.

Check it out.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

DC#227

First, thank you Katie and Annemarie for taking the time to comment on my post last week. It means a lot when someone takes the time to do that. I really appreciate it!!!

iamthedivacztThe Diva, Laura Harms, is taking a summer break from blogging but has not left us without a challenge, as she has lined up guest bloggers to challenge us. :) This week Lee Darter is the guest blogger. The challenge is to do a circus theme tile AND use Cack and Tropicana, with Fescue, LinQ, or Florz.

I have to say that I was challenged! :) Mission accomplished. ;)

I was struggling with how to make it a circus theme. I finally settled on a circular ‘stage’ using Tropicana. Then I used Cack as if it was the act performing. After that I settled on LinQ as my additional tangle. I have never used any of these tangles before so that added another level of difficulty to my challenge. ;)

Without further adieu, here is my tile.

Circus ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Thanks for visiting! :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Sweet and Sour Chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen I found this recipe on the pinterest it seemed very odd. Normally when you bread a meat for frying you use flour first then egg then flour again or just egg and then flour. This recipe is different. First you use cornstarch and then dip it in egg. It seemed backwards to me and I was skeptical of even trying it but I did and I am very glad because this is one of our favorite meals! We really like it when we pair it with Egg Rolls.

Mix the sauce (sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and salt) in a medium bowl and set it aside.

Sweet and Sour Sauce ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I take a one pound chicken breast, remove any fat, and cut into bite-size, or smaller, pieces.

Bite size pieces ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlace each piece in cornstarch and coat completely. (I just dump about 1/2 cup into a bowl and then add more if necessary. Better to add more than to have too much and have to throw it away.

In a small bowl, beat one egg. Next coat the cornstarch coated pieces of chicken in the egg mixture. Let the excess drip off.

Dip in Egg ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen place in a hot pan with a couple of tablespoons oil in it.

Into the Pan ~ Lifeofjoy.meBrown on both sides.Brown on each side ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Preheat oven to 350º. When all chicken is browned, pour sauce over all and place in the oven.

Add Sauce ~ Lifeofjoy.meBake for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken over and bake for another 15 minutes.

Finished ~ Lifeofjoy.me

(We should have removed this from the oven a few minutes earlier so that the sauce was less evaporated but it was still VERY good.)

Serve over rice. Yummmm!

Sweet & Sour Chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • oil for frying as needed
  • Sauce:
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Instructions

  1. Whisk sauce ingredients together in medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut chicken breast into bite-size pieces.
  3. Coat in cornstarch
  4. Coat in egg, let excess drip off
  5. Brown both sides in hot pan with oil
  6. Preheat over to 350º
  7. Pour sauce over browned chicken
  8. Bake for 15 minutes
  9. Flip chicken over
  10. Bake another 15 minutes
  11. Serve over rice.
http://lifeofjoy.me/sweet-and-sour-chicken/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

It is NOT Good for Man to be Alone

Help Meet ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve noticed a trend for people not getting married, even into their late 20’s and early 30’s, even people in church. This saddens me because marriage is a good thing. God created woman for man because he said it was not good for man to be alone.

I can understand how the unsaved do this since many have no qualms having sex outside of marriage but I do not understand how Christian people are doing this. I’ve heard some say that a wife would just be a distraction. This is sad! The Bible says that he who finds a wife finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22).

Any man who thinks a wife is just a distraction is missing out on the blessings of a help meet. (Genesis 2:18) A wife can be a tremendous help to both a man and his calling in life. Whether she works in his ministry with him or is a prayer support for him, neither is a distraction but a help.

One thing to be cautious of though is being too picky. Realize that you are not perfect so your potential spouse will not be perfect either. Having a mate helps you learn sooo many things that can help you with other relationships in life. You learn about taking the bad with the good and how to give and take.

Now I will admit that having a wife/husband does take time, effort, and consideration but the benefits are tremendous. You have someone to love you, care for you, meet your needs, and walk through life with you. It is such a better walk than being alone.

BUT I will also admit that if you make a poor choice then you can be tying yourself down and could make your life miserable. Thus it is imperative to give much prayer to this decision and then give your whole self to it.

It isn’t a decision to be taken lightly but it is worth it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº