Monthly Archives: February 2016

Cracker Barrel Date Night

Cracker BarrelWell, we finally did it! :) These two homebodies finally got out alone for dinner. Of course, it helped that we needed to get Mike’s work van to the mechanic’s place by Monday and that I gave him the tin of gift certificates for Christmas. It was also the twenty-seventh which is the date of our wedding, so a very good day to be out alone together.

He was concerned that some of the cards would not be enough for both of us to eat. Thankfully I had some more money saved and added bit to each one after he voiced his concerns. We finally settled on dining at Cracker Barrel.

I’ve written about my experiences with this place before, I believe, but I’ll share it again real quickly. Prior to last October, I had only eaten there for breakfast and I wasn’t a huge fan. Then last October, Tiffany and I went to lunch with a group of ladies and ended up there. Since we were trying to eat light and inexpensively we opted for the salad lunch special, which was delicious. We both got water to drink and the salads and were able to get out for $15 and change, which included the tip.

This salad experience gave me hope that Mike and I could both eat there for dinner on the $25 gift card but took a bit of cash, just in case. ;) I don’t always like to get the same thing Mike gets when we eat out, since he cannot eat beef or pork. This time was different though and we both got the Chicken Fried Chicken which comes with three side dishes. I got the macaroni and cheese, steak fries, and salad, whereas Mike got mashed potatoes, fired okra, and coleslaw. He ordered a sweet tea and I just got water. Our bill came to $23 and change; we left a cash tip on the table.

We were both stuffed!!! In hindsight, we should have split one dinner. We could have each picked on side and then split one side dish. If we were still hungry, we could have gotten a dessert but I think we both would have been comfortable AND it would have saved $10 for another day. ;)

Afterwards we made a quick stop to make a return, an exchange, and a purchase of the supplies for a repair. We also ended up getting Mike a new shirt for church and a movie trilogy that we had just said we wanted to get. I am a slow shopper, trying to ensure I get the best deal. Mike is a conqueror: get in, get it done, get out kind of guy. We compromised. ;)

All-in-all it was a good time. We were only gone for about three hours, which included travel time but it was good. These homebodies don’t like to be out but so long. And we definitely prefer to avoid crowds.

We had some good conversation about us, our future, and what God has for us. It was a casual talk reminiscing prophecies over us and things we feel God wants us to do. It is always good to recall the plans God has for us. :)

I hope you will have some good times of conversation with your beloved.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Struggling to Clean/Declutter

Struggling to Clean/Declutter ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnother week has come and gone, which is hard to believe. I’m still struggling with getting things done. It’s more like I’m struggling with the day to day purpose. It was easy when the children were young since raising them was my main goal. (They shouldn’t have been the main goal, Mike should have been over them – I just didn’t know better.)

Of course, I have rectified that and Mike is my main focus but he doesn’t take nearly as much of my attention as raising and educating three children did. The other part of this is that I do not like to clean. Cleaning is a chore that is never finished. I’m serious here! No matter what I clean or organize, it doesn’t stay clean and/or organized. It is a very frustration thing to me. It is bad enough when I am the one undoing my hard work but when others contribute to the undoing, it is seems like an exercise in futility.

I mention cleaning because that is the biggest thing that I have to do with my days now and it is never a good thing when one does not enjoy the thing they must do the most. So, I procrastinate. Don’t get me wrong, I keep the main part of our home picked up and clean but some areas have become very cluttered.

We live in a smallish house and have done so for the last eighteen years. During those eighteen years, we have stuffed a few too many things into every nook and cranny of our bedroom. Thus I have already begun this frustrating but rewarding task of decluttering this room. It will be hard to get rid of some of the things I have stashed away but things are replaceable and I understand it should be more relaxing with less things in the room. :)

I have never really understood ‘spring cleaning’ until recently. When I was young, my parents moved every few years, so I don’t think our homes needed it much. Add to that the fact that I went to school and never saw my mom spring clean, then it kind of makes sense. And I definitely have some areas that needs some extra attention . . . deep cleaning . . . spring cleaning. :)

Struggling to Clean / Declutter ~ Lifeofjoy.meOne of the things I have to declutter is magazines. I only pay a couple of dollars for a couple of them and the rest are freebies. I have realized something though: I don’t read magazines! When I do and I find something interesting, what should I do with it? Keep a whole magazine because of the ideas on one page? Tear out the page(s) I like and . . . do what with it? At one point I created a file for them. But guess what . . . I never went back and looked at them.

The thing that is tripping me up now is that I believe the idea or recipe or whatever it might be, is probably available online somewhere and that I should find that tidbit of information and pin it on one of my many pinterest boards. So that slows down the whole, declutter the magazines chore. I’m ridiculous! :\

Well, I am going to run for now and hope that next week I have my head on better and get much more decluttering and ‘spring’ cleaning done. (Notice I didn’t even mention the weeding and other outside chores I need to accomplish?)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Social Media

Social Media ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen our kids were teens facebook was just beginning. Some kids had both facebook and MySpace accounts. I let my teens get a facebook account but they only used it on the living room computer; we had their passwords and they had no cell phones. We did not allow them to have MySpace accounts though – one was enough. We also made sure they understood about privacy and what not to share online.

Today’s facebook is different from what it was years ago. It is no longer the teens place. It is now the place for all of us old people. I think the teens have pretty much abandoned it, as more and more mature adults signed up.

Of course there have been things to come along to take its place. Twitter and snapchat are two that I already knew about and decided I did not need in my life to distract me. But I recently read an article that talks about some more of the apps kids/teens are using these days. I share this article with you today because I believe it is important for you to know about them to have a knowledgeable conversation with your child about them. One of the apps she mentions in the blog post is a live streaming video – creepy!!!

There is also this article that talks about the same subject. It shares a couple of the same apps but is still worth sharing.

I’m cautious about what I put on my facebook account and about my privacy in general. My kids have made fun of me for some of the conspiracy theories I believe. ;)

I hope you’ll talk to your kids about social media and keep a watchful eye on what they are sharing and with whom. Better to be safe than sorry!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

BooKee and Artoo

iamthedivacztThis week’s diva challenge is to use two of Laura’s own tangles, each of which is named after her children . . . BooKee and Artoo. Evidently they had a difficult week with their health last week; I hope they get better very soon.

I do well with structure, fewer choices, so this was a good challenge for me. The only other choice was how to put it on the tile, so I decided that I would use a string from But which one? I was drawing this last night which was the 23rd and I added the 31 days of January and came up with the number 54. That is the string I chose.

You see, I liked what Laura did so much I didn’t trust myself not to copy it. Thus the string to help me. I decided to run BooKee along the string lines and then add some Artoo in the spaces. I started with the corner dots and lines, then the string.

The thing is though, that I didn’t like the border lines and dots after I drew it, so I attempted to erase them. I didn’t quite get it all erased, but like it much better.

Well, without further adieu . . .

BooKee and Artoo ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think it looks better that smaller size because you cannot see my shading snafus. ;) But here it is in the normal larger version.

BooKee and Artoo ~

Thanks in advance for any comments you leave. Comments are such an encouragement! Have a great week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Maple Glazed Salmon

Maple Glazed Salmon ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis week’s recipe is rather healthy and super simple. It should marinate from four to forty-eight hours.

Mix 3/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup soy sauce in a bowl or gallon size baggie. Add the salmon and arrange so the meat is covered with the marinade.

Maple Glazed Salmon ~ Lifeofjoy.meTurn the meat every few hours so that all sides of it rests in the marinade.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 500º, line your baking pan with foil, and place salmon on the pan, skin side down.

Maple Glazed Salmon ~ Lifeofjoy.meI didn’t marinate these quite long enough but they were still good.

If you want, you can coat the top of the salmon with pepper. I have not done this because I’m not a big fan of spicy foods.

Bake for 7 minutes and serve.

Maple Glazed Salmon ~

Maple Glazed Salmon


  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 six ounce pieces of salmon
  • coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Combine syrup and soy sauce.
  2. Place salmon in syrup soy sauce marinade.
  3. Turn every few hours, marinading 4-48 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 500º
  5. Line baking pan with foil (to make clean up easier)
  6. Place salmon on foil. (I also pour the marinade over the salmon) skin side down
  7. Bake for about 7 minutes.
  8. Serve!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Change and Being Right

Change and Being Right ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was reminded, once again, today of something I’m pretty sure I’ve shared here before. Many times when you pray for your husband (or any other person you have some kind of relationship with) God will answer you with something YOU should do! I know it doesn’t seem fair but the fact is that you cannot change anyone else. You can only change you and your reactions to what others do or say.

If you have a disagreement with someone, are you more concerned with being right/proving that you are right or keeping a healthy relationship with the person? Yes, there are some things that need to have the correct answer but really in many relationships, when there is a disagreement it really doesn’t matter who is right.

Change and Being Right ~
This graphic is aggravating for those who have to prove they are right.

The important thing is to stay in right relationship with the person. Are you mature enough to drop the subject and not have to be the person who had the right answer?

What does being right do but pump your pride or ego? What does it do to the other person? Make them feel inferior? Is that really how you want your husband (or any friend) to feel?

I challenge you to stop and think, the next time you find yourself in a disagreement with someone, about what is important. It just might be that you don’t need to be right and can make your spouse or friend (or whomever it is) feel that they are more important to you.

{Can you tell that I’ve had a problem with needing to be right, in the past? ;) }

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Temperature ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really dislike it when seventy degree weather strikes in February! I know lots of people that love it but when it reaches the high seventies or low eighties I have to turn on the air conditioner or I am miserable. I love the days in the sixties but really even like the fifties for February.

At least it has been nice and windy so I can open up my windows and get some relief but with that wind comes fire danger. Unfortunately there have been some wild fires in the state for which prayers were needed. I hope by the time this is online they have all been put out.

I’ve enjoyed playing Toontown Rewritten this week. I understand there are a couple of other websites that have redone Toontown too but that this one is the most popular. I wonder how many children are playing and how many grown children are playing. ;)

routine ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have found that if I make a to-do list and then make sure I complete half of it before lunch, I get much more accomplished than if I just make a list or try to go it without a list at all. I’m still working through the what to do with myself now that the kids are all grown, so some days I’m not as productive as I would like to be.

We had a period of fasting at the first of the year. Sean made a list of things that he wanted to eat, which has made my menu making even easier. :) This week’s menu was made in about 15 minutes. The grocery list takes a little longer but not too bad.

I’ve needed to get my hair cut for a few weeks now but come errand day I have not felt like taking the time necessary to get it done and thus deciding I’d rather just put up with it a while longer.  BUT it is coming to a point that I’m going to HAVE to get it cut. Oh bother!

I’m a homebody! (I think I’ve probably mentioned it here before.) Now the really odd thing about that is that although I don’t like to LEAVE the house, I really enjoy myself and tend to lose sense of time. I can end up being out much longer than intended. ;) Of course I’m also the same person who doesn’t like to be on the telephone but once I am, I enjoy spending a lot of time on it sharing conversation with my friend.

Last week Tiffany and I ran errands on a different day than our normal one and it had our internal clocks off for a few days. We enjoyed having Brian and Lauren out to celebrate her birthday. I felt very bad because I did not remember to put up the birthday decorations until they were at the door. Bad me!!! We still put some of them up though.

I tried to make too many scalloped potatoes in one pan and they liked to never get finished. The large meatloaf I made got finished before those crazy potatoes. I will never cram that many potatoes in a single pan again. ;)

Last Friday I mentioned silly games that we enjoy. Well, Lauren reminded me of another one. The Sweet Candy mini-game on Nintendo Land for the Wii U. I still don’t know why we like it so much but it is fun, even when I don’t win. ;) We even manage to play it with six people by letting two people play the guards, which gives the guards a decided advantage.

Well, this is getting long winded.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

National Observances Can Help with Menu Planning

Chocolate Mint ~ Lifeofjoy.meWho knew that the National Days could help you plan your menu? It sure can! Today is Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day. Okay, maybe you won’t be that ambitious but tomorrow is National Chocolate Mint Day, just in case you need an excuse to eat a chocolate mint. ;)

Now how about this treat? Sunday is National Sticky Bun Day. Followed by Cook a Sweet Potato Day on Monday. Next Tuesday is a day my youngest niece will love, National Banana Bread Day! With National Tortilla Chip Day on Wednesday.

How’s that for a start on your menu for the next week? ;) Of course, if that isn’t enough, there are a few food related month long observances: cherry, grapefruit, and macadamia nut. But my favorite is Hot Breakfast Month; you could even make breakfast for dinner. :) However, I’m guessing children’s favorite would be snack food month. :D Shhhhh, I won’t tell them if you don’t.

I’ll leave you with an interesting article I read about motherhood. I know you’ll get it, because you’re a mom. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

P.S. It’s also National Bake For Family Fun Month, so get that family in the kitchen and bake something together.

Hearty Printemps and Emingle

Last week I mentioned browsing through Adele Bruno’s It’s a String Thing challenge and found string #150 on I decided to use it and include printemps, which WAS the focus of Square One and Emingle which WAS the chosen tangle for WZTV. Unfortunately I’m too late to submit this tile to any of those but I’ll still share it here.

Hearty Printemps and Emingle ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t use either of these tangles often and thus don’t know how to shade either one very well. From the looks of it enlarged like this, it doesn’t seem quite right yet. If you have some shading tips for these tangles, please share them in the comments.

Normally I would be participating in the Diva Challenge today but it was to re-do an old tile but I couldn’t find one to use, so I just shared this instead.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Potato Soup

Potato Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.meI believe it was my dad that found this wonderful soup recipe on the internet somewhere. Mom made it and raved about it many times. I finally asked her for the recipe and eventually made it. It is a delicious potato soup! And it is really simple to make.

Dice some onion and celery, very finely. Dice the potatoes into smallish, bite-size, pieces. Now the original directions said to bring these to a boil until the potatoes are tender and the veggies are soft. I don’t like to chance it, so I saute the onion and celery in a tiny bit of oil to get them soft first. The reason there are black specks in my pictures is because I left the heat on too high and burnt them a tiny bit. ;) After the onions and celery are softened, I add the potatoes and water. Cook about 10-15 minutes.

Potato Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen the veggies are tender, add chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper.

Meanwhile, melt five tablespoons of butter in a pot. Add five tablespoons of flour and whisk together.Potato Soup ~

Add the milk and keep whisking until it thickens, just a few minutes.

Potato Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.mePotato Soup ~

Add it to the potatoes, veggies, and broth, which I didn’t get a picture of because I was trying to take the pictures and cook too – not an easy task.

Potato Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.meYes, that’s a burnt piece of onion. :(

Potato Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe original recipe added ham to the veggies and water in the beginning but since Mike is allergic to pork I just serve it with crumbled turkey bacon.

Potato Soup ~

Potato Soup


  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham or about 5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled


  1. Either saute the celery and onions in a teaspoon of oil or so.
  2. When softened, add potatoes and water. OR combine all three (with the ham, if desired) in water and bring to a boil.
  3. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes
  4. Stir in the bouillon, salt, and pepper.
  5. In a separate pan, melt the butter.
  6. Whisk in the flour.
  7. Whisk in the milk and continue whisking, until thickened.
  8. Stir this milk mixture into the veggies and broth.
  9. Optionally serve with crumbled bacon (instead of the ham).

I hope you enjoy the thick and cream soup, good with or without the bacon or ham.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº