Monthly Archives: November 2015

Do You Hold a Grudge?

Angry ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen your hubby (or really anyone for that matter) does something that frustrates you or makes you angry, how long do you stay angry at him or frustrated with him? It is a temptation to stew about the wrong done to you but what good would that do?

There is some good that can be done by separating yourself from the situation for a few minutes in order to compose yourself and let  him compose himself as well. But when the few minutes stretch longer, what good is being done? Wouldn’t it be better to calmly tell your him how you feel and restore the fellowship and peace of the home? It is my thought that giving him the ‘cold shoulder’ is an effort to let him know how unhappy you are/were with the situation. Wouldn’t it be more productive to simply tell him, calmly, what you are thinking and feeling?

There are have been times I get frustrated with Mike, where we have yelled at each other and I get all bent out of shape. It is then when I have walked away, gone to my room and shut the door. Once there, I let out my frustrations to God and then tell Him that I need Him to deal with Mike because I cannot get through to him. Then I leave it with God, collect myself, and go back and join the family with a better attitude. If I behaved improperly before leaving the room, I then apologize for whatever was improper. Then simply move on because my case has been given over to God and I have no more to do with it.

If the trouble came over something that MUST be discussed, it is best to give it some time and prayer and thought before resuming the discussion again. I always begin by asking God to change me where I am wrong and then to change Mike. I have to be willing to change as well as expect him to be willing to change.

Remember, your children are watching your example. Will it be something you want them to emulate? I am sad to say that I did not always set a good example for my kids throughout the years. I can only hope and pray that they learn from my mistakes and do better themselves.

I hope this post helps you in some way.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


I wrote a little about the cruise and how it came  about, two weeks ago. I thought I’d share a bit about our cruise with you today.

We got on board long before we pulled out of port. We couldn’t get in our rooms right away, so off to the Lido deck to eat some lunch and wait. We hit the buffet and then checked on our rooms. Tony, our room steward, had them ready and our bags arrived moments later.

Since we’d driven all night, we were in need of naps; some more than others. Of course there was the mandatory safety orientation first. Then up to Lido deck to watch as we pulled out of Port Galveston, which Mike got a picture of.

Cruise ~

IMG_4493Sean snapped this one. You can see how windy it was. I, of course, loved it because I’m so warm natured. (From bottom to top: Tiffany, Mike, me, Lauren, and Brian)

Then off for that nap. We then changed and went down for dinner. We were not so early we had to stand in line for the anytime seating in the fine dining room and thus we were seated near the rear and had an all Filipino wait staff team. Mary Grace, Ronnie, and Wilfredo were very attentive and kind, so we asked to be seated in their section for the remainder of the cruise. :)

We started our trip with three days at sea. If you have never done a Carnival cruise before, here is a tip: even though the seminars about port shopping and diamonds and such are boring if you don’t intend to do mega shopping, still go to those seminars because you will get coupons good for charms and a charm bracelet that you get by going to the jewelry stores and showing them the coupon. Also, take any papers you are handed because it may get you more free jewelry. :)

I’ll have to add a picture of our completed charm bracelet later this weekend sometime because I don’t have time to take a picture of it right now and mine is not yet put together and I don’t know where Tiffany’s is hiding at the moment.

When we came into port at Mahogany Bay, there was a somewhat long walk, uphill from the boat. Along the way a gal was handing out flyers to get a free necklace at effy (her store). When we got there, they were out of necklaces but gave us earrings. They are small little studs but they are real gems and they were free. AND they told us to visit their store in Cozumel and they’d give us the necklace. :)

Another reason to attend the shopping seminars is because they raffle away some items. Sean won one raffle. Pretty cool!!!!

We learned something else about sea days; they have fine dining open for breakfast/brunch. It was our third sea day and Brian and Lauren suggested we give it a try. OMG! It was wonderful! I have always wanted to try eggs benedict but never had the opportunity and the hollandaise sauce always seemed a bit tricky for me to attempt making something I might not like. So since it was on the fine dining menu, I gave it a try and I loved it! Well, I loved it on ham but would not even try it on salmon, as that just seemed a bit yukky to me. ;)

Day 3 Brunch ~

This was also the day that Lauren and I decided we wanted to find out what the daily puzzle was. We sure wish we’d have done it earlier. We thought we’d missed it the other days but found out on day 3 that they just put the puzzle sheet in an acrylic stand at the one cafe near the casino. We made sure to go by and get them the rest of the cruise.

It’s not that big of a deal but it was fun. There is a crossword puzzle, a sudoku puzzle, and a kryptic, which is kind of like a rebus, if you’re familiar with those. The answers are on the flip side of the page. It’s only a half sheet of paper but it is fun.

We picked it up and headed to the Lido deck to hang out. It was way to windy to play the miniature golf and they even had the serenity deck closed part of that day.

Puzzle time ~

Well, this is getting a bit long, so I’ll go for now.

(Click here for the next post on our cruise vacation)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Teaching Writing

Since I have worked myself out of a job by graduating all my kids, I have to look for things to write about on Thursdays. Fortunately, my baby sister still has young children that she is homeschooling, so I asked her if there was anything I could research for her regarding homeschooling. Her answer . . . writing, paragraphs and such, and the elements of a story.

IEW TWSS ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy best recommendation for writing help for kids is from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. It is their very first program entitled, Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS). I have a fellow homeschooling friend that purchased the videos of this ‘course’ which is a basically a seminar for teaching the teacher how to use these methods to teach writing. I went two separate days for about 6-8 hours. (It’s been so long ago I can hardly remember how long it was.) We only paid $40, watched and participated with the video seminar, received our own syllabus with all the reference material, and a couple of snacks. It was an awesome deal!!!

While going through this seminar, I learned that the idea was to take the principles and apply them to the current writing the children already had to do, not creating yet another subject for the children to complete. Most people couldn’t do that and so IEW created various curricula, some with videos and some without, to fill this need. The problem is that most are expensive (or at least they were to me).

This program sounds so much more difficult than it really is. I highly recommend finding someone that already owns TWSS, borrow their videos and purchase your own syllabus to keep as a reference for incorporating into your own lessons. Other than that, I recommend their Theme-Based Writing courses. But remember, curricula are tools not slaves. If a curriculum becomes overwhelming back off by either slowing down the pace or putting it away entirely. I’ve done both and did not harm my children or their education.

One thing I liked about IEW is that the child used something that was already written as a base for their writing. In this manner the child doesn’t have to do all of the creative process alone, it is just a matter of embellishing and rewording the original. This is not plagiarism or copying, it is learning.

One last thing on IEW, their website is I have in no way given their wonderful curricula any justice in my writing here, so please, go to their site and read about them. There are even very helpful yahoo groups with lots of information available.

Paragraph Hamburger ~ Lifeofjoy.meParagraph Hamburger

For lighter or easier or more basic introduction, I found this interesting analogy. It is the Paragraph Hamburger, in which the top bun is the introduction, the supporting information is the filling, and the conclusion is the bottom bun. This could be used for a story as well. This webpage will give you some templates to download, as well as some powerpoints. Here’s another webpage I think I like even better, sharing the paragraph hamburger; it’s by a homeschooler. :)

Here’s one more lesson plan on teaching paragraphs. It uses a traffic light analogy.

Finally, here is a blog that has some fun sentence writing games to get kids playing with words a bit more.

I hope this helps any of you looking for some help with teaching your kids about writing (not the formation of letters and words).

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Cyme and DC#243

iamthedivaczt The Diva Challenge this week is to leave a large amount of white space (untangled area) on the tile this week. Although I really like all those tiles with the tangling in one corner, I did not want to be a copycat. So I decided I’d make it look like there was a hole in the middle of the tile and the tangling inside.

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meThe Square One focus is Cyme. Soooo, I thought I’d use that tangle inside the “hole” on the tile. Unfortunately, in hindsight, I believe that I drew it too small. I should have drawn it larger. I think it would have looked more like looking down into hole. I may try it again and add it as soon as I have it done.

Cyme DC#243

Thank you!!!

I’m ever so thankful for those that took the time to comment last week! Ulrike, Simone, Annette, Devin, and Dudley, your comments brightened my day and encouraged me.

Thanks also to the two who clicked the like heart. I know sometimes you just cannot comment but want to let the author know you liked the post. So, thanks again!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

This is a wonderfully yummy dessert that I like to make for dinner guests. I seldom make it for just us because it is a little more involved than other desserts. And generally I leave the dessert making to the kids.

This dessert is similar to the Carnival Chocolate Melting Cake that you get in the fine dining area of the Carnival Cruise ships. There it is made in individual ramekins and this is made in and 8×8 pan. I have had success doubling it and making it in a 9 x 13 pan, as well.

small serving ~

This goes together rather quickly if you prep the different parts first.

Preheat the oven to 350º with the rack in the middle of the oven. Spray an 8×8 pan with oil spray.

Whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup dark cocoa.

2nd Layer ~

Whisked 2nd Layer ~

Whisk flour, remaining sugar, remaining dark cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

1st Layer/Base ~

Whisk together milk, vanilla, egg yolk, and melted butter until smooth.

Wet Ingredients for Base ~

Boil a cup of water. Combine those dry ingredients and wet ingredients, just until moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Base Layer ~

Spread into the greased pan, getting completely into the corners.

Spread base into pan ~

Sprinkle the 2nd layer (sugar and cocoa) on top. Do NOT stir.

Add 2nd layer ~

Pour boiling water evenly over the top. Do NOT stir.

Add water ~

Put in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cakey part comes out with a few crumbs.

Put in Oven ~

Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake ~

Scoop and serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Hot fudge pudding cake ~

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • vanilla ice cream or whipped cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350º with rack in middle of the oven.
  2. Spray 8x8 pan with oil.
  3. Whisk 1/2 cup sugar with 1/4 cup cocoa in small bowl.
  4. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder, and salt in larger bowl.
  5. Whisk milk, butter, egg yolk, and vanilla until smooth.
  6. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture, just until combined.
  7. Fold in chocolate chips.
  8. Spread into 8x8 pan.
  9. Sprinkle the cocoa sugar mixture over batter.
  10. Pour boiling water evenly on top of cocoa sugar mixture.
  11. Bake at 350º for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the cakey part.
  12. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes
  13. Scoop warm cake on serving dish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or topped with whipped cream.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Hit ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is going to be hard for me to admit because of what I now know but I think it will be helpful to others, so I will share it here.

You know how when you are younger and you are hanging with a friend and someone says something funny or outlandish and you punch or slap them in the arm? Well, I had a tendency to do this with Mike. He was my best friend so it seemed natural.

This became a problem when it grew to where I’d slap his arm when I was a bit frustrated with him. As most people will acknowledge, this is not appropriate for anyone. You don’t hit a child in anger; a man should never hit a woman. Thus a woman should not hit a man either. I should have stopped it before it became a habit and second nature to hit his arm.

Beyond that, it is definitely NOT showing your man respect. You know, that thing that men need like women need love. It is especially disrespectful if you are angry when you do this or you do it in front of others.

I doubt that if someone saw me slap my husband’s arm while angry or frustrated that they would think I was acting respectfully or even properly. Then add to it that I’m a Christian and I’m sure I would not be a very good witness or example to others.

What it boils down to is that I’m upset and acting immaturely. I need to control myself and respect my hubby. He would not think of hitting me that way; I should not either. Touch should always be a positive thing, never done in anger or frustration.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


dizzy ~ Lifeofjoy.meIf I were a smart person, I would prepare these posts in advance and not wait until the night before I am to publish. It worked great for me when we were on vacation; I know it would be great for me at other times too.

You may wonder why I bring this up now. Well, yesterday I was supposed to go to the dentist and have some work done but I awoke with some stuffiness. I think the stuffiness was brought on by too much dairy yumminess the day before. I can eat dairy but if I overload on it, I get stuffy.

So anyway, I was doing okay, not hungry, and getting ready to leave for my appointment. Then I got VERY hungry and my stomach got queasy. So Tiffany and I made and ate breakfast and then it hit . . . I started getting dizzy/lightheaded.

We had some time before we had to leave, so we sat and chatted for a bit. As time passed, the dizziness did not go away. It was bad enough that Tiffany and I decided it was best to reschedule our dentist appointments. It worked out well because they had a patient call earlier that had chipped a tooth and could only be worked into the schedule if there was a cancellation. I’m sure he was glad I got dizzy.

I took a two hour nap and felt a bit better when I got up but still got dizzy when I stand or walk; it isn’t noticeable while sitting. I know this will pass but I just have to make good decisions until it does.

I had planned to share some about our cruise vacation but I’d need to take some pictures and it just isn’t happening with the dizziness hanging about. Soooo, I’ll be taking those pictures and gathering all the family’s pictures so that I will be prepared to share next week.

Well, I’m going to go for now. I hope you have a great weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Teaching Modesty

Modesty ~ Lifeofjoy.meMany people don’t realize that they teach their children about godliness, holiness, and modesty from their earliest ages. I know some of those outfits can be cute, especially on little girls but if it isn’t an outfit you’d want them to wear as a teen, then you should reassess if you really want them wearing it now.

When a child is young, the parents choose what the child wears. If you choose to put clothes on her that expose more skin than you would like her to expose as a young lady, then that is the standard you are setting and it is possible that she will be used to that much exposure and think there’s nothing wrong with it, after all, you thought it was cute when she was little.

I walk passed the children’s clothing department in stores and wonder why clothes for little girls need to look so grown up. Skin tight clothes, off the shoulder tops, and bikinis, to name a few. It has been hard to find appropriate clothes for Tiffany throughout the years, but even more so as she has matured into a woman.

Thankfully it is easier for boys to dress modestly, but they can be challenged once they begin maturing as well. I remember a year or so ago when Sean was looking for some new clothes. He tried on some and I had to inform him that even guys can dress immodestly and that the shirt he had just tried on was pushing that line. ;) He agreed with me and chose not to purchase that particular shirt, as he was too muscular to wear it modestly. :)

So remember that you teach your child about modesty right from the start. Pictures will be a reminder of what you allowed when they were young and if you decide to change what you will allow, you’ll probably have some explaining to do. If you put your precious little baby in a bikini, at what age do you disallow the bikini and require a one-piece swimsuit? If you allow a short short skirt when she’s little, when and how do you enforce a change?

Just some more things to think about. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


iamthedivacztThis week’s Diva Challenge is to use the newly revealed tangle Gourdgeous. I have to admit that I did not practice this tangle before using it in a tile, this tile.

I didn’t want to just do one big gourdgeous, so opted on a couple smaller ones. At first I thought I’d do a florz background but then I thought I’d look for some tangle that would look like corn stalks and do an outdoor looking tile . . . I KNOW . . . Zentangle is not supposed to be representational . . . but . . . Anyway, as you can see, I opted not to go through with that plan. Well, maybe more accurately said, I couldn’t find a corn stalk looking tangle. :D I thought about using really tall fescu but didn’t like that idea.

Then I thought about using Msst and making it look like they were sitting outside. I added a little puddle on the lower left corner.

gourdgeous ~

I don’t really like the tops of the gourdgeous tangle. It is a bit thick to my liking. I think it will take some practice to keep my lines close enough together to keep the tops thin enough.

I showed this to my kids and husband, as I usually do, when I finished drawing it. From across the room, Tiffany said my gourdgeous looked like snails. :( Thankfully, Sean saw them for what they are though.  Mike too saw the gourds. :)

Thank you!!!

Thanks to the one that clicked the like heart on last week’s post and to Maggibee, Ilse, Annemarie, and Paula for taking the effort to leave a comment and for your wonderful encouragement. I appreciate it!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Gumbo ~
Picture’s a bit blurry though. :(

This recipe isn’t really conducive to a lot of pictures. There are very few steps but it is a very good soup/stew. I think I’ve mentioned before that I had not been a soup person in the past but I’ve found some soups and stews that have changed my mind. So much so, that during the cold months, we have some kind of soup, stew, or chili each week. :)

The hardest thing about this recipe is all the dicing and chopping. Dice an onion, green pepper, 2 ribs of celery, and garlic.

Diced onion, celery, pepper ~

Chop the turkey kielbasa and chicken thighs.

Kielbasa ~ Lifeofjoy.meChicken Thighs ~ Lifeofjoy.meStart cooking the veggies. When they are wilted/translucent, add the meat. Add the flour for thickening, broth, tomatoes, and hot pepper sauce and boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes.

Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.meServe over rice.

Rice ~

Gumbo ~
Pictures a bit blurry though. :(


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces turkey kielbasa, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped/diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped/diced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped/diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or oregano or simply omit)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (I puree them)
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cups hot cooked brown rice


  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and thyme or oregano.
  3. Cook stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6-7 minutes.
  4. Add kielbasa and brown.
  5. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Add broth, tomatoes, chicken and hot pepper sauce
  7. Bring to a boil
  8. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until thickened and chicken is cooked though, about 30 minutes
  9. Remove from heat and stir in the scallions.
  10. Serve over the brown rice.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº