Monthly Archives: October 2015

Nails and Hair

Ombre Nails ~
Don’t judge the look of this nail job enlarged like this, please. It looks way better in person. ;) See how it is lighter near the cuticle and darker near the end of the nail?

Tiffany and I had a very very long errand day this week! I started by doing my nails (I used my sensationail gels and since I haven’t done them in ages, it took me about an hour to an hour and a quarter, which is really good for me since it has taken me two hours when I was first learning to use the gels.

I love the gels but alas, I was nearly out of my raspberry wine color that I got with my starter kit. Since the bottle is black, you can see how much is in the bottle — I have a hard enough time with regular clear glass bottles.

At any rate, I did the first nail and then started the second and realized there was very little color left in the bottle. Now gels are different than regular nail polish and you just can’t wait to finish it until later, so I had to eek out enough to do all ten nails, TWICE! I came out with a bit of an ombre look to them. I just embraced it and am pretending that is what I intended to do. :D

Hair . . . again.

Well, last week with the conference I realized that I no longer like my hair shoulder length. BUT I also know from experience that I don’t like it SHORT either. Soooo, even though I just had my hair cut two weeks ago, I had to get it done again this week. Once again, the uncomfortable task of trying to explain to the sweet beautician what I want and don’t want, while trying to figure it out myself. ;)

I think she did a good job! Tiffany and I decided ahead of time that I don’t want it any shorter than the middle of my neck, which I told her. I explained that I like to flip the ends up all over the back, so she gave me lots of layers (a sort of shag, she said). Then she cut the top short enough to be bouncy but not so short it will stand up without me wanting it to. From there we discussed the sides and, I’ll be honest here, I don’t know what she did with it but I think it is going to work fine. I say think, because I have yet to have a chance to work with it and tell for sure.

Hair Sculpting Wax ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany thought it looked pretty good, as she proceeded to put the sculpting wax in my hair to spike the back a bit. I hate it when you use a product for a while, a year or more, and when you go to buy a new container of it because you are about out, it is no where to be seen. Seriously! No where! It’s like I dreamed it.

I have used three containers of this product. The last two are nearly empty. And now, I cannot find it. I cannot even find something with the same wording — promade. Now what? So on a day, when we have been out of the house, driving and shopping for seven hours, I have to try and find a replacement. :( Ugh!

Finishing Paste ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere is what I came up with. I have no idea if it is even going to work. I did not notice that this had a hold strength on this when I bought it. Oh well, we shall see!!!

Well, that’s enough of my adventures for one day. I hope you have a great weekend. I know I will, as I will be spending it with my family. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Don’t Be Embarrassed By Being Different

Different ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is funny how that when you meet someone for the first time and find out they homeschooled it is like meeting someone from your own high school. We had a conference at our church last week and Tiffany met a young lady that was homeschooled. There was an instant connection. :) Of course, I felt drawn to her and her mother as well. It is always fun to talk to those of like minds and then to find you have even more in common is encouraging.

But then there are the times you realize how different you are than “normal” people. ;) We live in the country and enjoy being home, which is outside the norm. Then we homeschool, which is outside the norm. Then we embrace more of Charlotte Mason approach to home education, as well as using the Bible for the core of our education, which again, is outside the norm.

We are Christians. I’m not sure if that is a norm or not any more; I guess it depends on who you talk to. We are born again, speak in other tongues, and believe healing is for today; again outside the norm. Then we even take it a step further and believe that the more you speak in tongues the more you are edified and the more the Lord can work through you, healing the sick and such. Again, this puts us even further outside of the norm.

We have learned to embrace who we are and what we believe. We know in advance of meeting new people that we are odd and that others will probably think we are odd at some point, but that is okay. :) We just happen to be some very unique individuals in God’s kingdom.

Another thing I’ve learned is that we are a challenge. Seriously. When I go somewhere and try to do something, it is probably not the normal thing and thus will be a challenge to whomever is trying to help me. Like when we moved to the country and then wanted to continue to use the city library system. The rule is that if you live, work, or attend school in the city/county, you can have a free library card. Well, Mike is self-employed and has no office in the city/county but did pay for a monthly storage unit there, as well as did most of his work within the county limits. But this was outside of the norm . . . they had no address to put down on their form and wouldn’t/couldn’t use the storage unit. See? Challenge.

Anyone that can be a challenge at the library, can be a challenge anywhere. I’ve realized this, so I no longer get frustrated when whatever it is that I am trying to do takes longer than normal to accomplish. I politely tell the associate that is trying to help me, “I’m a challenge . . . I know it . . . it’s okay . . . you get through this and your day will be smooth sailing. hahaha” I no longer get frustrated by having to wait a while. And when I get someone who doesn’t get frustrated either, it’s a good day. :)

I guess I’ve said all that to help you realize that being odd isn’t bad. Don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy it when you find others that are more like you than the rest of the world. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

White Munchin on Black Tile

I’d love to think that I’m going to get more tiles done this week but odds are against it, as I have a pretty busy couple of days ahead of me. Then a very active week next week, so things are liable to be pretty sparse around here but still here. I guess it will just be short and sweet most of the week and then I’ll tell all about it the following week.

iamthedivacztSo this week’s Diva Challenge is to play with Munchin on a black tile or at least drawn in white on a black background. At first, I thought I was going to have to do a manadala because I forgot that I had black tiles. :D hee hee

I did draw a string but I don’t know if you can see it. It was just a large “v”-like string. I put my first dots in the largest portion of the tile. I put them rather far apart to begin with. Then I added more closer together and then in another section even more dots close together. This made some large munchin and some small munchin and . . . even some medium munchin. :)

DC#239 ~

This was the first time I used my gelly roll pen. I really like it. I used my white shading thingy. I don’t know what it is but it is what I used to shade and it seemed  to work out okay.

Zentangle Tool ~
White Pencil Thing
Thank you!!!

My heartfelt thanks to last week’s commenters:  Annemarie, Simone, LonettA, Maggibee, Kate, and Jean. You all really encouraged me with your kind words.

Shading is one of those things that did not come naturally to me. One year for Christmas I requested a Zentangle based book on shading, got it, and never really did anything with it even though it has pages to practice on, although I did skim through the it. Instead, I just paid attention to tiles other people did and what I liked and didn’t like and tried to mimic what I saw others do. So, for you all to compliment my shading is BIG for me . . . Thanks again! :)

Thanks also to the 2 people that found the heart icon at the bottom of the post and clicked on it, signifying that they liked it. :)

I hope you all have a great week!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Frito Chili Pie

Frito Chili Pie ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is really kind of a cheat of a recipe because it is so simple and I already shared my chili recipe.

Here’s all you do:

  1. Put corn chips in a bowl
  2. Scoop some chili on top
  3. Sprinkle with shredded cheese

Tiff's bowl of chili pie ~

Mike's Bow of Chili Pie ~

My bowl of frito chili pie ~ lifeofjoy.meThe others like to stir up their chili, I don’t. This bowl is mine and like my corn chips on the bottom and the cheese on top. :)

It really is yummy. I hope you’ll give it a try. Don’t forget to click on chili above to go to my chili recipe.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Manicure ~ Lifeofjoy.meToday I will be giving myself a manicure. You might be wondering why I’m writing about this on Marriage Monday. You see, I like my nails done but refuse to pay to have them done, although I might consider it with a money gift I recently received but I digress. I don’t paint my nails regularly because if I use regular nail polish I have to repaint them again in a day or two. Also, I end up painting them and doing something that messes up at least one nail but usually more than one nail.

Sensationail ~
Sorry it’s blurry!

However, if I use my gels, which I love, it takes me about an hour and a half to do them because I am not very good at it and I want to make sure I do it right. I’m sure if I did it more often I could get it down to about 30 minutes or so but I just haven’t yet; maybe that should be my new year’s resolution (yes I know I’m early). I love the gels because they usually last about 2 weeks for me.

I know, I still haven’t told you WHY I’m talking about this today, so here it is . . . Mike likes my nails done. It’s that simple. He likes my fingernails painted. He told me this a few years ago and I did real good for a while. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten lazy over the last several months, okay probably more like over the last year, and have not painted them but maybe once or twice. I’ve been thinking about it over the last several weeks but still have not done it.

Well, you may be wondering why I have decided that I will be painting them today. It is not out of the blue, as it may seem. Yesterday morning, on the way to church, Mike glanced at my hands and said something like, You’re nails aren’t done. I felt bad! It is a small thing and it isn’t like I have kids to take care of or teach any more; so there is no reason why I cannot do this one little thing, even if it does take me one and a half hours to do. That is a small price to pay to show Mike that I care about what he likes. He is a good man and does so much for me, I want to do this to please him. The thing is though, that it is doing it for myself too because I really do like my nails done.

Quick Dry Nail Polish Pen ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m going to have to invest in some more of these wonderful nail paint pens I got years ago. They are by Sally Hansen and the polish is in a pump pen with a brush tip and you just pump and paint. It dries extremely fast too. So having some of these around will enable me to quickly paint my nails in between doing the gel polish.

I encourage you to listen to your hubby or even ask him what he likes and determine to make it a priority in your routines.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

More Driving and Lunches

As I mentioned yesterday, Tiffany got her learner’s permit to drive last Friday. It was hard earned and over two hours waiting at the DPS (Dept. of Public Safety) but she did accomplish it. :)

We had conference this week at our church and we are helping out by serving continental breakfast (muffins, donuts, bagels, yogurt, fruit, coffee, and a few other drinks). Mostly what we do is clean up and deal with coffee. ;)

At any rate, since we were going to the church daily, Tiffany would be driving me. The one problem with this plan, as Mike saw it, was that she would have to drive on I-75 to get there. Thus he required that she drive us to church Sunday, which is something he did not do with the boys.

She had a challenge before we ever got to the highway though. One most people never have to deal with.

Traffic jam of a different sort ~ Lifeofjoy.meI know it is a bit blurry but you should be able to look out he front windshield and see the traffic ahead. We made it around the cows without incident. :)

Being a Sunday morning, Tiffany’s first experience on a highway was a very good one. :) She did well. She has chauffeured me all week and has done a really good job. Mike even complemented her on her driving skills saying, she is doing better than he expected. To be fair, the portion of the highway we travel on is not very congested at the time we went through.

Those are the only challenges she’s had though. We have quite a few “s” curves on our way to church. Well, truth be told, we have several no matter where we are headed. :D She is definitely better than she was last Friday.

I have surprised myself with my lunch choices this week. ;) I have had a salad every day! Yay me! On Monday I was kind of pushed into it. We went to a local hospital and ate. They have delicious bacon cheeseburgers and an inexpensive salad bar. When we arrived I debated between getting onion rings or a small salad to go with my burger. The onion rings won because they only cost $1 but when I place my order they were out of onion rings so I went with the small salad, which was larger than expected.

Tuesday I surprised myself again by ordering a house salad with grilled chicken and a baked potato at Cracker Barrel. Prior to this visit I had never had lunch there, only breakfast. The grilled chicken was seasoned excellently.

The next day we went to CiCi’s pizza. Once again I got a salad. Albeit, this time it was a puny salad but hey, that’s better than I’ve done before. The stuffed crust pizza was okay but most of the others were dry and mostly crust.

Yesterday I took Lauren, my daughter-in-love, to Cracker Barrel for lunch. I got the salad special again. Delicious! We had a good visit and I got us each a dark chocolate mint to top it all off. Yummo!

Today is the last day of the conference and clean-up day. Last year we did it in record time. I hope we can do as well today. :)

I hope you have a good weekend. If you’re at Cracker Barrel for lunch on a week day, give the salad special a try.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Learning to Drive Early or Later

Tiff Driving ~ Lifeofjoy.meYears ago, a fellow homeschooler that has children around the ages of my children and a couple of years older told me that boys were not eager to drive and that was okay with her. At first it seemed odd to me but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. She told me that she wasn’t pushing them to drive. When they were interested (or it became necessary) is when it would happen. I adopted this thinking as well and hoped my kids would be the same way. Well, I think I got way more than I bargained for. ;)

In Oklahoma in order for a person under the age of 18 to get a learner’s permit, they have to pass an 8th grade reading proficiency test. I think this was done in efforts to keep kids in school. If you homeschool this can present a bit of an issue, especially if you homeschool in a small town.

For Brian, my oldest, it was fairly easy because the test could be taken at the county vo-tech school albeit, only on certain days of the month. We managed to find the school, set the appointment, and get the test done and the results were mailed within a few weeks.

A couple of years later when Sean was ready, they didn’t provide the test any longer and thus began my battle to find how to get this done. Sean, however, was not in any big hurry. I began pushing it his senior year in high school. As it turned out though, I never did figure out how to get him to take the test. He turned 18 in March of his senior year, so we just went after that since it was not necessary any longer.

Tiffany is four years younger than Sean but I started a little earlier trying to figure it all out once again. Coincidentally, the place I am to vote at is the local middle school (where the 8th graders attend). I decided that since I was there anyway, I would just go into the office and see if I couldn’t talk to someone and try to figure it out. The principal was great and said he’d look into it. With his schedule, the holidays, my procrastination and all, it took us about a year to get it worked out but they decided that I could bring her to the school and they could administer the test. :) They were great and Tiffany did awesomely but they did not have the OFFICIAL form and thus began a new problem that I wouldn’t even know existed for another year or so.

As it finally turned out, Tiffany turned 18 before getting her permit and we no longer needed the form. :\

I have to say that waiting for them to be 18 before they began to drive was a great thing. They are more mature and responsible. Tiffany just got her permit last Friday and with the conference at the church this week, she is getting a lot of practice in very quickly. She is picking it up very well. She had a bit of a disadvantage from the boys because they were accustomed to driving a motorized vehicle from their time of mowing the grass on a riding lawn mower and she has only used that a couple of times.

I guess my point is that like most everything else, just because most people do it one way, does not mean that it is the best way for you and your family. Don’t be afraid to go outside the norm, even in this.

I hope our story can encourage you to do whatever is best for your family, be it to drive early or wait until later.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

DC#238: Tri-Bee

This is going to be pretty short this week because we are in the middle of conference week at our church.

iamthedivacztThis week’s Diva Challenge is to use a brand new tangle: Tri-Bee. I really don’t think I did it justice and seemed to keep trying to draw other tangles but it is what it is.

I started with my dots and string. I then chose the biggest section to put Tri-Bee in. I tried to fill the section but I think I forced it too much and made it look a bit wonky. It seemed to be crying out for something, so I threw in some zingers and on verdigogh branch. Lastly I added what I think is Opus or at least, Opus-like.

Without further ado . . .

DC#238 UMT Tri-BeeAs you can probably tell, I pretty much ignored my string. But that is all well and within the ‘rules’ of Zentangle.

As usual, when I upload my tile and add it to my post this large, I see all the little lines that went amuck and shadings that didn’t get blended well enough. I use stronger glasses when I do a Zentangle in an effort to see these things better, so image how it would end up if I didn’t. ;)

Thank you!!!

The kind comments from Charlotte, Maggibee, Rose, Annemarie, Lily, Susan, and Sigrid were greatly appreciated. I liked the title that Susan gave last week’s tile: Balloon Fiesta. You all put a smile on my face; thank you ever so much!!!

I also appreciate the two people who shared the love by clicking the like heart.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza ~ Lifeofjoy.meEvery year during the homeschool convention, my sister Tracie, my daughter Tiffany, and I go eat at Savastano’s the first night for dinner (this year Lauren and Tracie’s husband Mike joined us too). They serve a deep dish Chicago style pizza. It’s not a pretty pizza but it is delicious and CHEESY!!!! Mmmm Mmmmm!!! This pizza is along those lines.

First make the dough.

In a large bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups of the flour, cornmeal, yeast, sugar, and salt.

Deep Dish Pizza Dough dry ingredients ~

Add oil and the hot water.

Adding wet ingredients ~


Combined wet and dry ingredients for dough ~

When combined, add in the remaining flour; I usually use two cups whole wheat flour and one and a half regular white all purpose flour.

More flour added to dough ~

The directions say to turn the dough out onto a floured surface but I just knead it in the bowl.

dough ~

Kneading dough ~

Rest the Kneaded dough ~

Cover and let the dough rise for about 30 minutes. Of course the directions say to place it in a greased bowl and turn it once to coat both sides of dough in oil.

Next it is divided and put into two greased pans. It is supposed to be two 10-inch deep dish pans but I only have one 10-inch pan. I also have a 12-inch pan and a 6 or 8-inch pan. So I use the big one and the little one. :)

Dough in the 12-inch pan ~

Small pan with dough in it ~

Because my pans are different sizes I have to adjust the amounts of ingredients I put into each pan but in the directions below I’ll list the directions for the 10-inch pans.

Next put in some of the mozzarella cheese. I use real, whole milk mozzarella NOT part skim.

Add mozzarella cheese ~

Add sauce but only add the amount listed because otherwise it will get soupy.

Added sauce on deep dish pizza ~

Deep dish pizza sauced

Add pepperoni.

Deep dish pepperoni pizza ~

This time we added chicken sausage too. I bought about 3/4 of a pound of links, which was two links this time, from the fresh meat case at Sprout’s. We take it out of the casing, brown, and crumble it. Then add it to the pizza. :)

Sausage added to pizza ~

Add the rest of the mozzarella cheese and the bit of parmesan (we use freshly grated, not the shaker stuff).

Last of the ingredients, deep dish pan pizza ~

Cover with foil and bake at 450º for 35 minutes. Then uncover and bake 5 minutes longer until slightly browned.

Cover with foil and bake pizzas ~

Deep dish pan pizza out of the oven, ready to eat. ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis one was a little bit soupy and stayed in the oven just a bit too long but it was still delicious!

Slice of the small deep dish pan pizza, cooked in cast iron skillet ~

Deep Dish Pizza


  • 3½ cups flour (I usually use 1½ cups white all purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water (I just use really hot tap water)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Toppings:
  • 24 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (I use whole milk mozzarella)
  • Your favorite spaghetti sauce, I use either Delmonte Traditional can or Hunt's Traditional can or I make my own.
  • 48 slices pepperoni (we use turkey pepperoni)
  • 1/2# - 1# bulk Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled (I use sweet Italian chicken sausage links)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. In a large bowl, combine 1½ cups flour, cornmeal, yeast, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add in oil and hot water and combine.
  3. Add remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic, place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.
  5. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes
  6. Grease two 10-inch pans (I use cast iron skillets)
  7. Divide dough and press into and up the sides.
  8. Sprinkle each with 2 cups mozzarella.
  9. Spoon 1½ cups sauce over each pizza.
  10. Layer with meats and any veggies you choose.
  11. Finish with 1 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese.
  12. Cover with foil and bake at 450º for 35 minutes.
  13. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer or until lightly browned.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Marriage Encouragement

Marriage ~ Lifeofjoy.meGenerally speaking, I think marriages are something that take work. There may be a few that are wonderful without work but that is not my experience.

It was a good day when I stumbled across my first Christian marriage blogger. I think it was probably Sheila Gregoire’s website/blog, To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. From there I have no idea where I went or how I stumbled onto the wonderful websites and blogs I have but they have been food for my marriage and for that I will be forever grateful!

At this point in time, my favorite website is The Generous Wife by Lori Byerly. I have never met Lori in person but I hope one day I can have lunch with her, since she and her husband are currently RVing around the country.

The reason I love Lori’s site is because she gives a short encouragement every day, a prayer prompt most days, and generally suggests two links of other articles to encourage you in your marriage. Her thought for the day does not take long to read and usually gives you something to think about. Then she shares links to other articles that usually take a bit longer to read but are good food for thought.

I find it important to keep marriage encouragement in my forethought, so that I don’t forget to keep working on my marriage. It is easy to get self-centered in life but I want to nurture my marriage so that it only gets better. Without that encouragement, I don’t work on it, and I find myself not giving Mike the attention he deserves. Reading Lori’s blog and suggested articles gives me reminders and ideas to support my husband and strengthen our marriage.

Mike is not one to go to a marriage seminar or weekend, but I recommend it if you and your spouse are willing to try it because then you are both being encouraged at the same time to strengthen your marriage and put each other second only to God in your lives. I think that when both the husband and wife read or listen to marriage encouragement it makes for a stronger marriage but if your spouse isn’t interested or doesn’t have the time to read books, blogs, articles, and such, it is better that you take the time to do so and implement what you learn than neither one of you.

Be proactive. Encourage yourself in your marriage and implement some of what you read or hear. Information doesn’t make a change. You have to actually do something to cause things to be better.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº