Monthly Archives: January 2016

Exercise and Veggies

I decided today that I should probably exercise some. I do NOT like to exercise. I live way out in the country and there isn’t really anywhere to walk . . . okay, there are places to walk but I don’t want to go bush walking, you know the kind where you need a machete to clear a path, or walking on HILLY dirt roads. So going for a walk is out, at least for now.

Thus, I decided I would use the Wii U for some exercise today. Then I had to choose which activity to use. I have Zumba, Your Shape, and Wii Fit U. Since I was listening to a preaching audio, I decided to use the Wii Fit U and ‘kill two birds with one stone’. There are many activities available on it but I selected the free cycle. It has a timer of 30 minutes. I was surprised that it had snow added to the scenery. What fun! I had Mike take a picture.

Snow on the Wii Fit U Free Ride ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m not sure why this picture is soooo blue. It was the first time it was night time while I was riding and the first time with snow. It was a very nice change! :) Not that I’ve done this activity a lot but I did it several times on the Wii Fit before we upgraded to the Wii U and these things didn’t happen before. :)

Here is another picture of it snowing at nighttime.

Night Free Ride Wii Fit U ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then I rode to the town and was so delighted to see this . . .

Xmas Decor Free Ride Wii Fit U ~ Lifeofjoy.meThose are decorated trees and even one with a star on top! Light strings are streamed along the town circle. Soooo fun!!!

More Xmas Decor Wii Fit U Free Ride ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had a little over a minute left of my 30 minute “ride”. I ended up with nearly 7 miles. :) After this, I did some other activities for another 10 active minutes on the ‘game’ and then decided to call it quits.

Since it was warm out today, mid-60º’s, I decided to go outside and extricate my poor rose bush from the vines and weeds that choked it this fall. I put a small dent into the overgrowth and quickly realized that the poor rose bush is going to have to be pruned. I sincerely hope that the vine didn’t kill it because I’d feel really bad since I should’ve freed it earlier. :\

Next Saturday we are starting a Daniel’s Fast. I’m not sure what variation we are doing yet but I am beginning to look for some good vegetable and vegetarian/vegan dishes. Vegetables are not my favorite food and thus we don’t have many of them. The ones we do favor are fried or covered in cheese or a cheese sauce.

I like roasted veggies, mostly potatoes and carrots. I like roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts too but prefer both of these with Parmesan cheese on them. I like them roasted because the caramelization brings out the sweetness in them and I definitely prefer sweet vegetables. So, if you have any wonderful veggie recipes that are dairy free, please let me know.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Play and Winter Nature Study

Play ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe are a little over a week into 2016 and I’m guessing you and your kids are back to more structured education. I want to remind you though that you don’t need to structure the majority of you and your children’s days. A couple of hours a day is all that is needed. The majority of the rest of the day should be spent in play.

Yep, play! Young children need lots of time to play. They learn a lot during this time. Here are a couple of articles about what children learn from play, if you are interested.

I’m guessing your children got some new toys for Christmas, don’t be afraid to let them play with them. There is much to be learned while playing.

Another thing to remember is Nature Study. I’m guessing that if you live somewhere that it is cold, you might disregard nature study in the winter but don’t. :)  Even though it gets cold here in the winter, there are some warm days too. When one of those warm days turn up, take advantage of it and get the kids outside in the fresh air. Walk around and see what is different from warmer days and colder days. Maybe even have a picnic! ;)

Here are some articles from around the web with ideas for you.

I’m hope you find a good balance between bookwork and play and get some good nature study done this winter.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Diva Challenge #250

iamthedivacztThis week’s Diva Challenge, which you can view by clicking on the Diva Challenge graphic to the right, is to go back to the basics. Use a white 3.5″ x 3.5″ tile with a black pen and regular pencil and tangle away.

Well, I do much better when I’m given specific tangles to use because I can focus a bit better. Open ended like this, I tend to procrastinate because of so many choices available.

Well, I did just that and waited until the last moment to begin my tile and still have this ready to post on time. Alright, maybe not the LAST moment but definitely later rather than earlier. ;)

I finally just grabbed my tile and a pencil and started with the comfort of the dots in each corner, then the border lines connecting the dots. I started my line in the upper left corner and went to the upper right corner, down to the lower right corner and from there I drew continued my line up and made the string. Then I lifted my pencil back up to the upper left corner and drew the final connecting line downwards.

Then I stared at it trying to decide what tangle to use and what portion of the tile to tangle and what not to tangle. I love ‘Nzepple and thought about using that but had settled on jetties. I redrew the ‘circle’ section of the string, making it larger and I was going for rounder but I did not succeed. I then started drawing the lines on the orb without looking over jetties to be sure I was doing it correctly. Turns out I did not. So I turned it into a purk-ish section instead.

I had just perused the submissions for It’s a String Thing and saw 4Fun for the first time. I decided that it would fit well in the section under my purk. Then came the debate about whether or not to tangle the background, blacken it, or do some serious shading. I have loved MacDee ever since I was introduced to it on a diva UMT challenge. I think it is a great background and I haven’t used it in a long time, so that is what I chose to use.

DC#250 ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe one thing I forget to do with MacDee is to use a 005 micron for the tiny triple lines.

Thanks for reading! I appreciate your comments.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Baked Chicken Thighs

Baked Chicken Thighs ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe really enjoy baked chicken thighs. Mike chose this for his birthday dinner last year but like the week when I made these, I forgot to take pictures of the plated chicken. Sean doesn’t like the skin, so the last time I made this, I removed the skin from half of the thighs and trimmed up the skin from the others.

Usually when I make these, I just get out my seasonings and sprinkle the thighs with them. I give a very light shake of garlic powder over each thigh, about twice as much onion powder, a small shake of paprika but you have to be careful with paprika because it burns easily. Then sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Baked Chicken Thighs ~

Baked Chicken Thighs ~

I decided to measure the spices into a small bowl so that I could give you some measurements but realize that these aren’t set in stone; I really like it better just sprinkled like shown above.

Here’s the measurements I put into the bowl.

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper (just a couple turns of the pepper mill)

Combine the spices and sprinkle on each chicken thigh, placed on rimmed cookie sheet. If you remove the skins, you may need to add a dab of butter on top of each thigh, because there will not be any rendered fat from that skin, to keep the chicken from sticking to the pan and may cook quicker.

With the skin on, I cook for about 30 minutes on 400º, I think. ;) Sorry but I cannot remember exactly what temperature or how long. I might have increased the temperature to 450º or even reduced it to 350º.

I use the same seasonings on quartered washed potatoes, coated in olive oil and roast in another pan.

Stock up on thighs when they go on sale and enjoy!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº



Reactions ~ Lifeofjoy.meHow do you react when your spouse has an angry response to you? My old habit used to be to raise my voice and ask him what is wrong with him. Which, by the way, I do not suggest, as it does not improve the situation, in my experience. My newer approach is to try and calmly ask what is wrong or ignore his response and wait until later to find out what is up.

Sometimes when this happens, it is brought on by something I did, which ultimately made him feel disrespected. This happened yesterday but I really didn’t think I was disrespecting him . . . I was just trying to get him to think through what he was saying . . . I merely asked him a question . . .

I like to think things through from different viewpoints; it helps me to think the best of people and thus not get offended. I also try to remember what I was doing or would do in similar situations to what I’m trying to grapple with at the moment. Because this is how I operate, I think others do or should too. The problem is that when I try to point these things out to Mike, he can feel that I am picking on him and things can escalate (have escalated in the past before I understood what was happening). Needless to say, picking on him would feel disrespectful.

I like to analyze situations so that I can learn from them. Mike and my marriage are important to me. I do not desire to harm Mike in any way yet when I do what is natural for me, it hurts him. Thus I have to learn how to how help him without hurting him, even if that means not saying what I’m thinking.

I’ve been working on the tone of my voice, as I mentioned in an earlier post and am getting better about keeping it low. My reactions are getting better but clearly, I can still improve. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

This and That

Dressy Night Dinner ~
I’m cheating a bit with this picture because it is from the cruise, but it is of all of us sitting down to dinner.

I found out recently that this month is National Sunday Super Month. Yep, gather the family together for a sit down dinner every Sunday, all month long. Unfortunately, I’m on a body cleanse and won’t be off for another couple weeks. It’s okay though because the four of us eat dinner together, at the table, nearly every night. We also like to have Brian and Lauren out for dinner a couple of times each month too.

I just checked the website,, and they are counting down until this Sunday. So I guess that is their focus. It doesn’t seem as if they have put much into promotion.

Our Christmas Tree ~ LifeOfJoy.meAs many of you may know, I wait until after Epiphany, which is January 6th, to take down my Christmas presents. Well, as it turns out, Mike was home yesterday BUT it since it has rained, the ground is muddy and Mike didn’t want to go traipsing around out there to bring in the boxes to put it all away. So here I am sitting in my living room with the Christmas decorations still up. I can definitely say, I am done with them. ;)




This and That ~

There is something that I have desired for a while now and I that I am finally going to get but I can’t tell what it is yet. I’m so excited! I know, that isn’t very fair of me. I just can’t help myself! ;)


Another thing I’m excited about is that we get to go to the mountains in Virginia, where my friends have a cabin and spend some time with them. Stephanie was my matron of honor in our wedding. She and Paul have been friends with Mike and I ever since. Unfortunately, we only lived near each other for a short time and then they moved. We introduced them to camping years and years ago and thus got to enjoy that with them a couple of times every year for  several years.

It has been quite some time since we’ve actually camped. As I said, they have a cabin in the mountains and we are always welcome there but I could not justify us spending money on a vacation, when we desperately needed to save money for a new vehicle. Thankfully, we were blessed to get an awesome deal on a vehicle last March. So, this year we are getting together with these dear friends, once again. It will be a very relaxing and enjoyable time.

Camping ~
These aren’t very good pictures but at least I have something. I pulled this page right out of my photo album. Obviously, I’m no scrapbooker. ;)

Well, I’ve rambled enough for today. I’ll run for now. Hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Chores ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs a homescool mom, I NEEDED my children to help in keeping the house picked up/clean. Of course, that meant that I HAD to loosen my standards on how certain chores are done. I first had to learn this when Mike and I first got married. Things as simple as how to fold a towel. Mike has his way and I have mine, neither is right or wrong but in the beginning it bothered me so badly that I would go behind him and re-fold the towels my way, which was totally unnecessary. Well, the same is true of certain chores. If it gets the job done within acceptable conditions, what difference does it make exactly how it is done?

I do believe in showing/teaching my children how to do the job the way I like it done and did this but when they came up with different ways to do the job, as long as the end result was acceptable, I let go of my way and let them do it their way.

Since the boys are 6 and 4 years older than Tiffany, I had already begun training them to help by the time she came along. Obviously she couldn’t help when she was an infant or one year old. I did get her to “help” with some things but never anything consistently. Then one day when she was about 8 years old, it suddenly dawned on me that she was 8 and didn’t have any assigned chores. The situation got rectified rather quickly. I wondered why that was, when I had her brothers with assigned chores much earlier and then it dawned on me, I NEEDED the boys help but they were such a big help that I didn’t NEED Tiffany to help, so I didn’t notice that she wasn’t.

Now to get me wrong, she helped us pick up things off the floor and she helped put things away and such. She just didn’t have a night where she put the dishes in the dishwasher after dinner or where she dusted or swept or such.  Needless to say, the boys were quite happy when she got dealt some chores. ;)

I read this article this week that gave some good tips for chore time and some benefits from chores for children other than helping Mom and a clean house. :) It’s a good article; I hope you take a few moments and check it out. I think you’ll be glad you did. (They also address money for chores.)

So you may be wondering what chores are appropriate for children at what ages. I have found several websites that have some lists for you to reference but remember that you know your children and their abilities best, don’t let some list tell you what they can and cannot do.

Finally, here is a post where she shares her chore list – well not really the chore list but how she displays and uses her chore list. Then she talks about chore consistency, which is vitally important, and actually shares how her days go (or at least did at the time of the posting). It is a longer read but I hope you will at least mark it to read later because she shares some really good thoughts.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Happy Epiphany and DC#249

Epiphany ~ Lifeofjoy.meToday is the twelve day of Christmas also known as Epiphany. It is the day to celebrate when the wise men found Jesus and presented Him with their gifts. At present we do not do much to celebrate, but I at least acknowledge it. I keep my Christmas decorations up until after Epiphany because the celebration of the birth of Jesus isn’t over for me until the wise men find Him. :)

I wonder, do you celebrate Epiphany and if so, how?

iamthedivacztOn to the zentangle for the day. This week’s diva challenge is a duotangle using Arukas and Diva Dance. I am not very good with either one of these tangles.

I chose to use Diva Dance – Rock ‘n Roll, which I have not used before. I really should have practiced some but I didn’t take the time to do so. I should’ve practiced arukas some more too because I have not done enough with it to feel very confident.

DC#249 ~

Maybe it looks better a bit smaller . . . hmmm?

DC#249 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think I should have done diva dance a bit tighter and larger thus eliminating so many lines on the outer portion.

I’m going to have to practice arukas more to see if I can figure out just how to get the arms to work. And don’t even get me started on the shading. ;)

I worked on Diva Dance and Arukas some more and came up with this.

DC#249 2nd Try ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think it needs a bit more black but don’t know where. So what do you think? How can I improve these?

******HAHA!!! So now I see that I used the wrong ‘A’ tangle! Auraknot is what it was supposed to be. Now I’ll have to try that again! Oh my!!! That’s what I get for not re-reading the challenge BEFORE I do my tile. :D

Auraknot is kind of in the same ballpark as Arukas is for me . . . so I watched the video to ensure I remembered how to do it. I was glad I did because towards the end of it I was reminded of some of the variations. I used Diva Dance Fox Trot in the extra points.

DC#249 ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is a bit smaller . . .

DC#249 ~

I appreciate your comments. I know it takes time to do so. Thanks in advance!!!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Wonton Taco Bites

Wonton Taco Bites ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs promised in last Friday’s post, I’m sharing the recipe for Wonton Taco Bites today. I’ve made this for about three or four years now for New Year’s Eve at my parents. I make two dozen of them and this year I brought home a mere three!

I cannot remember how I came about this wonderful and easy recipe but I know that I got it from Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour. She said that although hers turned out a bit overdone, every morsel was eaten.

I only have two regular sized muffin tins, so I borrow two of my moms, which are cleaner than mine. ;)

So, on to the recipe.

Brown one pound of ground meat and drain. I use ground turkey. I always forget to drain mine. Now it could be that I don’t drain my meat or it could be grease from the cheese, either way, if the meat is drier then it would probably have room to absorb the grease from the cheese. At any rate, I digress. Add a package of taco seasoning to your browned meat and a little bit of water, to blend it in.


Put a wonton in each muffin tin.

Taco Bites ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen put a heaping tablespoon of taco meat in each cup. (I fix the meat at home and take it to Mom’s to prepare so that the taco bites are nice and hot when we eat them.)

Taco Bites ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen top with some cheese.

Taco Bites ~ Lifeofjoy.meTracie was in charge of putting on the cheese, so there’s lots of delicious cheese on each. :) (Pictures are skewed because Tiffany was taking them with my phone from an odd angle but I’m appreciative because without Tracie reminding me that I wanted/needed to take some pictures and Tiffany taking them, I wouldn’t have any to share at all – skewed or not. ;) )

Then pop them in a 425º oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Taco Bites ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is the silver pan after ten minutes.Although they look good from the top, when I tried to take them out the wonton was not done so it did not keep its form. They went back in the oven for about another 5 minutes.

Taco Bites ~

But these were done in the darker pans.

Taco Bites ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt takes longer to bake to the desired crispiness in the lighter pans.

You can serve with any of your favorite taco condiments. I served with diced tomato, shredded lettuce, and sour cream but should have also had some green onion.

Taco Bites ~

I did NOT use that spatula in the above picture to remove these from the tins. I just used a large soup spoon because they are hot.

Taco Bites ~ Lifeofjoy.meTaco Bite ~

Taco Bites ~ tried to crop the above image after I had uploaded it but wordpress does not like to perform two edits on one picture and it HAD to be rotated, so you get to see as much styrofoam plate as you do taco bite . . . oh well. :) )

Oh! One more thing. Although I brown a pound of ground meat, it doesn’t take nearly that much. However, it does take a lot of cheese to make them this cheesy. I probably used somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 pound of the meat and somewhere between 3/4 and 1 pound of cheese. :D

I hope you’ll give these a try.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

One Very Appreciative Woman

Thankful ~ Lifeofjoy.meLast week I caught whatever it was that Tiffany had the week before. By Saturday afternoon, I was fighting a migraine headache which seemed to stem from sinus issues. Mike really has a hard time seeing me in pain. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often. If I have some pain, it is usually bearable; there have only been a few times that the pain was so bad I cried.

Saturday was one of those days. I had fought with that headache for so long, taken all the things that usually help and nothing was working. Mike was right there to help me. He rubbed my head and prayed for me. He really waited on me, getting whatever I wanted.

I took a detox bath and he brought me some water and just stayed and talked to me a bit, while I was soaking. He was so attentive! At one point during the evening he sat on my chair as I sat on the floor in front of him and he messaged my neck and head. Then we sat on the sofa where he let me lean on him, encouraging me to close my eyes and sleep (since I had bad pain behind my eyes), as he rubbed my head. He continued this for 4 hours! Yep, 4 hours!

Now, this was a tremendous sacrifice for him because I am warm natured to begin with. Add in the fact that I had just taken a hot detox bath and was sitting on a leather-like sofa, which makes me hot too. All this adds up to a very warm situation. By the time we headed to bed, he was sweating and had to take a shower before coming to bed. :D What a sweetie. Oh and the high temperature was only in the low 50’s with a cold wind, so it was not hot in the house.

When we went to bed, he set me up with about six pillows hoping that being in a more upright position would allow me to breathe better and not snore. It kind of worked, although I did toss two of the pillows throughout the night.

I don’t know if he’s always been this way or if this is a new thing for him, since, as I mentioned already, I have seldom felt this way. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. All that does matter is that he did it and did it without any hint of not wanting to. He inspired me to do the same, even if he isn’t sick.

I did thank him for his attentiveness and such sweet care of me. It really made me feel good emotionally, which may have helped me physically. There is something to be said for the positive effects of positive thinking/attitude on the body.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº