Monthly Archives: March 2016

April Fools Day

april60Tomorrow is the first of April. This is actually an important day for my sister and me because we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior on this day, over forty years ago. But that isn’t what most people think of on the first of April, I know. ;)

At one point I thought the celebration of this day came about because of the change of the beginning day of the new year when they switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, which changed the celebration from April 1st to January 1st.

However, in preparation for this article, I found that some say it goes back to Noah and the Ark. It supposedly commemorated the fruitless journey of the crow in search of dry land. I find that pretty interesting!!!

There are a few other theories as to the origins of April Fools Day. You can check them out at Brownielocks.com and Snopes.com.

Maybe you just want to have some fun with your children or they like jokes. Check out the joke links over on Surfnetkids. I pulled up an archived post over on HomeschoolShare with some prank idea links . . . one is to put squiggle eyes on objects in the refrigerator. :D That looks fun!

(I just saw that Surfnetkids also has a page on the origins of the celebrations of this day.)

I hope you will have fun with your kids and maybe even learn something about this day.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Rounded Knightsbridge

I checked out the Diva Challenge yesterday and found it was a guest blogger. Her challenge was to do a bijou tile and then stack it on progressively larger squares–3″, 4″, 5″, 6″ and 7″ squares. This would take too much time to cut the squares and then to tangle their edges. Thus I decided to do one of the other challenges or focuses that I know of.

I attempted to find the challenge from Adele Bruno for It’s a String Thing but I’ve not yet figured out what time she posts her challenges. I thought she posted on Tuesday but when I checked it wasn’t up yet.

I still had options. :) I checked Square One: Purely Zentangle’s focus for the week–Knightsbridge. Ahhh, an easy one for me. I decided to try something different with it this time around and wondered what it would look like in circles. Hmmm . . .

A monotangle would be necessary to do this justice. After two and a half columns, I realized I should draw the black circles as ‘pearls’. Thankfully a previous diva challenge guest blogger had taught me to do this. :) Yay, I can apply this again. I went back with a white gel pen and added in the missing shine spots.

I decided to blacken in the corners of the white ‘pearl’ spaces to emphasize the ‘pearl’.

Rounded Knightsbridge ~ Lifeofjoy.meI am amazed at how much adding a bit of shading around the edges of the border adds so much extra dimension.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have added the little mark at the top of the black ‘pearls’. Oh well, live and learn. :)

I hope you have a good week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Salmon Patties

Salmon Patties ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis week’s recipe is an easy one that I have eaten since childhood. Mom made this. I don’t know where she got it but it is super simple.

Mom always served these with mashed potatoes and creamed peas. I bet you can guess what I serve with them. :D Yep, mashed potatoes and creamed peas.

I double the recipe to serve our four (or five, as the case was before Brian left home).

Begin by opening one can of salmon. Drain it and put it in a bowl. There are some little bones, both circular and straight, that are best to crush before moving on. Tiffany forgot to on this batch and regretted it because it is hard to do so after the other ingredients are added.

Crush one sleeve of saltine crackers and add to the bowl with one egg, a few shakes of onion powder (about 1/4 teaspoon I guess) and a splash of milk (maybe a couple tablespoons worth). The idea of the milk is to help the egg moisten the crackers. The egg helps to hold the patties together.

Salmon Patties ~ Lifeofjoy.meCombine all these ingredients thoroughly. (It is best to use your hands, just like meatloaf. ;) )

Salmon Patties ~ Lifeofjoy.meSalmon Patties ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I use an ice cream scoop to give me even portions of the mixture, and press it into patties.

Put a few tablespoons of your favorite oil in a skillet and add the patties when the oil is hot. I use either coconut, peanut, or olive oil.

Salmon Patties ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is a twelve-inch skillet and I fit seven patties in it, comfortably. {You might notice the indents on the patties. These are where our fingers pressed the patty into shape. We don’t worry about getting them perfectly flat. ;)}

Salmon Patties ~ Lifeofjoy.meFYI: My dinner plates are smaller than regular dinner plates.

I like the gravy covering everything! (Hmmm, looks like I need some colored plates!)

Salmon Patties ~ Lifeofjoy.meSalmon Patties ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Salmon Patties

Ingredients

  • Canned Salmon
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk, about 1-2 tablespoons
  • few shakes of onion powder, about 1/4 teaspoon (or some finely diced onion, about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of oil (coconut, peanut, olive, or your favorite)

Instructions

  1. Drain salmon. Empty into bowl and begin to crush the bones.
  2. Add crushed crackers, egg, onion powder, and milk.
  3. Combine thoroughly.
  4. Heat several tablespoons oil in large skillet.
  5. Form into patties (I use an ice cream scoop for uniform size).
  6. Add patties to skillet when oil is hot. When one side is crisp, turn and crisp the other side. This takes only a few minutes, depending on the temperature of the skillet/oil. Add more oil as needed to crisp to desired brown.
  7. Remove and drain on paper towels, but only for a few moments so the paper towel does not stick to the salmon patty.
  8. Serve hot.
http://lifeofjoy.me/salmon-patties/

I’ll add the recipe for the creamed peas the next time I make this meal. :)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Sometimes All You Can Do is Pray

Sometimes All You Can Do is Pray ~ Lifeofjoy.meSometimes there are things that you and your spouse go through, where all you can do is pray for him. You cannot give someone else your faith in or for something; he has to get it for himself. It doesn’t matter how sound my belief is about a matter, I cannot transfer it to anyone, no matter how much either one of us would like it to happen.

Unfortunately prayer tends to be our last resort, when it should be the first thing we turn to. Prayer really works. It works especially well when both partners make God a priority in their lives. Don’t get me wrong, prayer also works when you are the only one putting God first in your life. It is just so much easier when you both do so.

Recently we had a situation arise. Mike felt frustrated by it and I tried to put him at ease. But it soon became apparent that I was not helping matters, so I resorted to prayer. At least I turned to prayer much quicker than I have in similar situations in the past. ;) Happily, I can report that Mike came around very quickly.

Now, I did not make a big show praying for him. I merely prayed a silent prayer as I continued doing what I had been doing already. It really doesn’t take much to quietly whisper a prayer while doing whatever activity you are already doing be it washing dishes, sweeping the floor, or folding laundry.

I encourage you today, to whisper a silent prayer any time you find yourself in a situation where you could use a little more grace to get through it or a faith boost to truly believe that what God promised, He will do!!!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Busy Weekend

A Busy Weekend ~ Lifeofjoy.meYesterday Tiffany and I got to go and visit her lifelong friend. :) You see, we moved into our home in Oklahoma nearly nineteen years ago, on the same day that a family moved into the home right next door. Tiffany was only three months old and their youngest was two years old.

The matron of the home, Joyce, and I eventually became great friends, as did our children. As we were coming home yesterday from our luncheon visit, I realized that Tiffany and Meaghan have been friends ALL of Tiffany’s life. That is an amazing accomplishment. Don’t misunderstand though, it wasn’t like they were bestest buds or that they did everything together. They have been friends that can pick up and enjoy each others fellowship very easily, as if no time has passed since they were last together.

Joyce and I are the same way. We always enjoy being together. We share each others ups and downs. I found out yesterday that she is going to be a grandmother this year too. :) We are both looking forward to the new season in our lives.

A Busy Weekend ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen we get together, we pool our resources for lunch. This time I brought tortilla chips, avocados, and apple crumble pie, while they provided the lettuce, tomato, celery, carrots, meat, beans, and cheese for the taco salad.

See! It was a very yummy lunch!!! With wonderful fellowship!!!

I showed up with the Apple Crumble Pie and they were thrilled that they get to eat it and it wasn’t even Thanksgiving or Christmas. :) I shared the recipe with her years ago and they make it most every year now and thus, it has become their recipe now too.

I caught Joyce off guard but Meaghan saw me coming. ;) My sweet friends! Hi!!!!IMG_1834Sorry about that Joyce! I love you!

On a totally different note, this weekend is my middle son’s birthday!

A Busy Weekend ~ Lifeofjoy.me
Sean (picture taken while on our cruise last October)

A Busy Weekend ~ Lifeofjoy.me

 

 

 

 

 

I’m am sooo proud to be your Mom! Love you dearly!

 

 

A Busy Weekend ~ Lifeofjoy.me

It is also my nephew’s birthday, this weekend. Happy Birthday Justin!

A Busy Weekend ~ Lifeofjoy.meOn top of all that, it is Easter! A time to celebrate that Jesus was beaten and crucified, buried and rose from the dead! I’m so thankful that He chose to do that for me! (Okay, He did it for you too, if you choose to accept it. :) )

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I know I will. We will be spending it at my parents’ with family, celebrating Sean’s birthday. (Justin lives in another state and so they will be celebrating there.)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Easter is Here

Easter ~ LifeofJoy.me
Evidently I like this picture because when I tried to download it, it said I already had it. :D

If you have waited until now to do anything about Easter, it is nearly too late. ;) Fortunately for you, I have a neat little diddy you can do with your kids and still make it a meaningful time. :)

Resurrection Cookies!

Yep! There are actually two variations of these delectables. The first one requires an overnight stay in the oven, with the big reveal the next morning.

Okay, here’s the deal. This one is basically a meringue cookie with pecans. I was never really very fond of meringue and thus failed to make these with my own children but may just have to do it with my grandkids one day! :)

Easter with Kids ~ Lifeofjoy.meIf you go over to this webpage, you will find a really sweet way to share the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. They even share scriptures for each step for you or your older children. I can only imagine that if I had made these with my children when they were young that they would still want them to this day.

Oh! They call them Easter Story Cookies but when I first saw this recipe years ago, it was called Resurrection Cookies.

The other Resurrection Cookie I stumbled upon yesterday as I was looking for the recipe above. Okay, she calls them Resurrection Rolls because she uses crescent roll dough. If I had found this one when the kids were young, they would have loved them. It’s right up their alley . . . bread, marshmallow, cinnamon, and sugar, with a little butter thrown in for good measure.

Now, since I’ve never made these, I’m not sure how they turn out exactly, but from her picture, it kind of looks like the marshmallow/cinnamon/sugar just melts in the middle. I wouldn’t want the kids to get the wrong idea that Jesus melted . . . hee hee . . . but hopefully it melts into the bread dough enough that it gets the point across.

Easter with Kids ~ Lifeofjoy.meIf you choose this second option, be sure to talk to your children about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection with them. I think I’ll be making these in the future for my grandkids–I know my grown kids will love them too.

If you want to look for a few other things (including crafts) to do with Easter in mind, you can check out this webpage . . . you may find something that interests you there.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Shattuck Monotangle

iamthedivacztThis week’s diva challenge is create a monotangle using Shattuck. The purpose of a monotangle is to stretch its and see what you can do with it. I’m not usually very good at this but I decided to really embrace this and see what I could come up with.

First I decided to go with a very simple string. A simple large ‘v’, drawn from the upper corners to the center of the bottom border seemed a good choice, offering three point from which to begin Shattuck, which I seem to like.

I mulled over how to vary this tangle and thought I could use triangle-like shapes or maybe squiggly arches. So I decided to both, one on each side of the official version.

I always think I know how to draw Shattuck but I tend to draw it from the bottom up and then I only use about three or four arches. It seems to look almost like alligator as I progress through the section I’m tangling especially in the versions where I color in the bottom arch section. (Maybe you can see what I mean in the tiles below.)

CanT ~ Lifeofjoy.meDC#236 ~ Lifeofjoy.me

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, I quickly glanced at my drawing book to see what notes I had made about Shattuck and realized that it is officially drawn with the upper arc and then auraed below, as many times as will fit in the section. It was quite an aha moment, once again.

Well, without further adieu, here is my tile.

Shattuck Monotangle ~ Lifeofjoy.meDoing the triangle-like shapes was a bit more difficult than I anticipated. They seemed to want to line up as I drew them.

I’m not sure what I think about the squiggles. Maybe if I had taken more time to work on this tile, adding more shading, I would like the outcome a bit more. But I’ve very busy right now helping my daughter edit the novel she just finished writing, so I kind of rushed it. :( I will definitely give more time to future tiles.

One thing though, tangling did help me slow down and not get stressed. :)

Thank you for all the kind and encouraging comments left last week! You all are great! I really appreciate it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

P.S. Oh! I don’t know what the curly-q squiggles are doing at the top. I really don’t. I was following the darling example I had and it lost something in the translation. LOL :D

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had never had Gumbo, let alone, make it! I always thought it had okra in it and I am not a fan of okra. I tried fried okra at buffets before and didn’t even like that. I have Amish heritage (which in my experience means food is fried or gravied or fried AND gravied), so if I didn’t like it fried, I doubt I’ll like it any way. ;)

So you might wonder why I am posting a recipe for Gumbo then. The answer is easy . . . I found one that did not have okra, tried it, and loved it. So I’m sharing it with you today.

Begin by chopping the veggies: onion, green bell pepper, and celery. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the veggies. I do this because we do not like our veggies to have any crunch left in them at all. If you like that crunch and don’t have picky children, feel free to add the kielbasa, garlic, and oregano (or basil or thyme) at the same time. Diced onion, celery, pepper ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Once my veggies are pretty well done, I add the kielbasa, garlic and oregano or basil, whichever I’m feeling like that day. When I made this last Friday, I completely forgot the herbs altogether. It still tasted delicious!!! If your not using leftover brown rice, put it on now, so it is ready when you are. (I used one cup brown basmati rice and two cups of water; there was none left over.)

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.me

While that is cooking, cut up the chicken thighs and kielbasa into bite-size pieces. When everything is pretty done, stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Then add the broth, tomatoes (which I puree so there are no chunks), chicken and hot pepper sauce; this time I used Sriracha.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.meChicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Bring it to a boil.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered until the chicken is cooked through and the broth is thickened. Depending on how large you cut your chicken pieces, this could take anywhere from ten minutes to a half hour.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Remove from heat and stir in the scallions. Serve over brown rice.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.meChicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.meChicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces turkey kielbasa, sliced
  • 1 medium - large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, basil, thyme, or herb of your choice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 (14-16 oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 (14-16 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups hot cooked brown rice

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, celery, and green pepper.
  3. When they are translucent, add kielbasa, garlic, and oregano (or herb of your choice), cook about 5-7 minutes or so.
  4. Add the flour, stir and cook for a minute or so.
  5. Add broth, chicken, and hot pepper sauce and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through and broth has thickened. (10-30 minutes)
  7. Remove from heat and stir in scallions.
  8. Serve over brown rice.
http://lifeofjoy.me/chicken-and-sausage-gumbo/

The family really loves this, especially served with sourdough bread. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Extending Grace

Extend Grace ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is hard to be the one who extends grace to someone. It means forgiving. It sometimes means giving up your right to be right. It is not easy some times. BUT I must admit that being the recipient of grace feels very good.

It is in my nature to remember the times I have given grace and been forgiving and forget the times I’ve needed it. I think it is probably just human nature to think the best of oneself and that is why it can be so hard to admit our own wrongs.

Several weeks ago, Mike asked me to order some checks for him. I like to think that he told me there was no hurry but it could just be me wanting to give myself the benefit of the doubt again. :\ But I digress! He asked me to order them and I procrastinated . . . and procrastinated . . . and procrastinated some more. Sad but true.

I just kept forgetting and then I’d run across the re-order form and remember but it was always at a point when I was busy doing something else. I know, defending myself, once again. Ugh!

Well, Mike was home while Tiffany and I were out running errands. He called me looking for the checks, completely forgetting that he had run out and had asked me to order them. He was looking for them, trying to figure out where I had put things when I de-cluttered. I then had to admit that I had failed to order them. I waited . . .

And then he told me it was no big deal. WOW! What a relief! I was so thankful! It encouraged me to be just as gracious to him in the future.

I encourage you to extend grace to others and hopefully one day, grace will be extended to you as well and then you can feel the relief of such an act.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Secrets Revealed

Today I finally get to share the secret I mentioned back in January. It’s been hard but I’ve managed to keep my mouth shut. ;) So, how to share the news?

Last Sunday we celebrated my baby sister’s birthday at my parents’ home.

Secrets revealed ~ Lifeofjoy.meAfter this, she opened her gifts and then Brian and Lauren (my son and daughter-in-love) passed out yellow cupcakes.

Secrets Revealed ~ Lifeofjoy.meOn the count of three, we all took a BIG bite (to make sure we got to the center with the filling).

Secrets Revealed ~ Lifeofjoy.meSecrets Revealed ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Secrets Revealed ~ Lifeofjoy.meSecrets Revealed ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m going to be a Grandma!!!!  A GRANDSON is on the way!!!!

 

I am sooooo excited!!! The road has been quite bumpy and this is a high risk pregnancy but all is going well and little Liam Michael is scheduled to make his appearance in early August.

It’s been nearly eight years since we’ve had a baby in the extended family and we are READY!!!! :) Lauren has really wanted a baby for some time now and Brian has always wanted to be a daddy; so this baby is greatly desired and loved and he hasn’t even shown his face yet. :)

Now for my second secret . . . although it is hard to share the post with the first bit of wonderful news, it is exciting in its own right.

 

Secrets Revealed ~ Lifeofjoy.meSecrets Revealed ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany has finished writing her first novel!!!

 

It has been a long time in the making but she finished writing it last Friday and finished with the first edit yesterday! (I think she feels a bit like she’s birthing a baby. hahaha)  I’m soooo proud of her. I’m excited to let you all know when and where to buy it later this spring! The bits she’s read to me so far are excellent. I can’t wait to read it all!

Well, now. Any thing else I would add here today would be anti-climatic because the rest of the week has been pretty mundane with cooking, cleaning, and book work. Oh! I did do one big thing this week, that is almost worthy of fireworks. :D I got rid of that pile of magazines I showed you last month. AND I did so without sitting down and going through each and every one of them.

I had started sorting through them and realized I was going down a path that would not result in the pile going away quickly. So, I called for Tiffany to help me “do the hard thing.” She quickly came to my rescue, picked up the pile I was staring at and promptly deposited them into the trash can. I took the second stack and did likewise. Then I took the bag, tied it up, and immediately walked it out to the trash can. They are gone now!

See. Anti-climatic. But worthwhile, all the same. :)

I’ll run for now. Have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº