Monthly Archives: December 2016

Christmas Time is Here at Last

Wrap the Gifts ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe had a wonderful Christmas holiday! I hope you did as well. I procrastinated getting my gifts wrapped again this year! Every year I say I’m going to do differently next year and I end up doing the same thing over and over again. So, in an effort not to procrastinate next year, I wrote a note on two different dates in my 5-year journal. On December 7th, I wrote, “Start wrapping gifts!” and then on the 18th, “Finish wrapping ALL gifts today!” I sincerely hope I listen to myself next year. ;)

Brian and Lauren volunteered at their church before coming out for the night. I still had a few gifts to wrap by the time they and sweet Liam arrived. Of course, I took a few minutes to snuggle and love on my sweet grandson and then back to those last few packages.

Christmas Adam ~

Sean and Michael had run into town to pick up Sean’s last gifts for Tiffany. Tiffany began making Sausage Sandwich and Lauren helped her make the queso. We played some Tenzi after dinner.

Family Fun ~, it’s a bit blurry but the best one I have.)

And then she had some quality time with Liam.

Xmas Eve Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiff & Liam ~ Lifeofjoy.meShortly after that picture was taken, Liam awoke and Tiff went to bed. :D

We open gifts on Christmas Eve morning. (I wrote all about that here.) For the last several years, the boys have helped me make breakfast before we open gifts. They make the Bubble Bread and I put together the Breakfast Burrito Bake.

Evidently Brian and Lauren had to wake up sweet Liam. He was not thrilled but eventually warmed up. ;) We prayed together, opened stocking stuffers, opened gifts, and then ate breakfast. Afterwards, we packed up and went to visit my sister and her family.

The guys went and brought home food from Long John Silvers, we had a nice visit, and then the four of us came back home. Sean recently purchased The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings extended edition videos. We agreed to start a marathon of watching these on Christmas Eve night.

Tiffany made the apple crumble pie for me while I was still wrapping gifts the day before but I still had the pumpkin pie and apple cake to make. When we got home from Tracie’s I took some time to just chill as we watched a movie – we’d borrowed one from Tracie that we hadn’t seen yet. I planned to do my baking afterwards. (By my choice of words, I’m guessing that you’ve figured out that all did not go as planned. ;) )

The movie finished and I’m not sure what I was doing as the kids put in the first Hobbit movie. I may have been reading the new art ebook I got from Michael that I really wanted or I could have been playing a Christmas game on my laptop but the end result was that I forgot all about doing any baking at all until it was time for bed!

Sean stayed up and helped me. Thankfully pumpkin pie is uber easy. We were out of apples, as I had miscalculated how many I needed, so I could not make the apple cake. Instead I took some of the leftover Breakfast Burrito Bake for Lauren to eat the next morning. Mom has made some breakfast casseroles for the last several years, so the cake really isn’t needed.

Liam looked adorable on Christmas Day. Mom held him as she read the children’s pop-up book.

Xmas Day ~ Lifeofjoy.meLauren reads to him a lot, so he already has a love of books! I’m so happy about that!

It was a very warm day for Christmas. :( I do not like it to be so warm. I even wore flipflops! Ugh!

Christmas Day ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt got so warm that Tracie had to pull up the pant legs on her comfy pants!

Christmas Day Heat ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can tell, Liam does not lack for attention or love. :)

Cuties on Christmas ~ Lifeofjoy.meAfter presents, we had a little time before we needed to get the pizza going. The guys went outside and did some target practice with the pellet rifle while we gals played some Tenzi.

Christmas Day Practice ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen some of us gals decided to give it a shot too.

Christmas Day Practice ~ Lifeofjoy.meI tried it once or twice. The first time, I figured I didn’t even hit the cardboard. My brother-in-law Mike said that the reason he couldn’t find it was because I hit the bull’s eye! :) SEE!!!

Lucky Shot? ~ Lifeofjoy.meLOL! It was a lot of fun! BTW, my parents live out in the country on five acres of land.

Mom made some delicious pizza, assisted by my sisters and I. I really love the pizza tradition. And as an added benefit, there’s very little to clean up afterwards! Win-Win!

This post has gotten rather lengthy, so I think I’ll quit for now. I hope you have a fun evening planned tomorrow to ring in the new year. We’ll be at my parents’ playing games together. I hope I get some good pictures to share next week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Spoiling Children

Spoiling Children ~ Lifeofjoy.meI just have a short post for you today because I am sharing two links. The first is about how “spoiling” children does them a disservice. It is a really good article. I recommend you go read it here.

The second is a fifteen minute video about Millennials and what a challenge it is to work with them. Millennials are anyone born between 1982 and 2002. Although all my children are Millennials, I sincerely hope I raised them in a manner that makes them the exception to what he shares here. It is enlightening.

I hope these two links give you some food for thought and something to think about for next year.

Until next year, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meThis week’s focus tangle seems to be unanimous amongst my various facebook groups. Drawings is the focus tangle for Square One: Purely Zentangle, Shading Zentangle, and Weekly Zentangle Tangle Video.

I tried Drawings a few times and had a mess. This tangle has a learning curve, if you ask me. I do okay through the first two steps but when you go adding in the lines after the scallops it turns into a mess.

I was very glad when I was told about a tutorial video for this one by Melinda Barlow. It helped some. But it took me three tries and I was still unsure of it.

Here are my first two attempts.

Dra-wings ~

Yep, that first one was a mess. I tried to do one behind the other and it clearly didn’t work out very well. With all the lines added, it just looks like a mess.

Dra-wings ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis second time I tried one smaller in the front and one larger on the left. Again, when the ‘ribs’ were added, it got all messy. So I decided to try one more time.

Dra-wings ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really like the one on the left better. It just gets all messy on me when I add those ‘ribs’. So when I did the shading on the left one, I added shaded ‘ribs’ and I think it looked better. I decided to leave well enough alone and just leave it a monotangle.

Here it is after shading.

Dra-wings ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is okay but I’m going to be looking at how others handle the ‘ribs’ on these wings; that’s for sure!

I appreciate you stopping by and the comments that some take the time to leave. They are so encouraging!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Roasted Turkey ~

Roasted Turkey

Moist roasted turkey, stuffed or unstuffed, is easy to make in an oven roasting bag.

A roasted turkey is really quite simple to make. When you buy a turkey buy a turkey roasting bag as well, then no basting is required. However, my mother told me just this past Thanksgiving that my grandmother slow roasted hers, so I may try that next time.

Roasted Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.meI basically follow the directions on box.  If your turkey is frozen and you have a cold refrigerator, as I do, it takes about three or four days to thaw. I choose to thaw in a sink of cold water for a day. Once thawed, place one tablespoon of flour into the bag and shake it around. Then dab the moisture off the turkey with a paper towel and rub with butter. Put the turkey into the bag.

Roasted Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe mix together some onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and poultry seasoning. It is the paprika that makes it appear burnt though, so you may want to eliminate that one. ;)

Roasted Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.meSprinkle it onto the buttered turkey in the roasting bag.

Roasted Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.meClose up the bag with the closure included. Cut six small slits into the bag, as directed.

Roasted Turkey ~

Be sure to tuck the bag into the roasting pan, so that it doesn’t touch the oven sides, as it will make a very bad smell, if it does. Since I don’t have a roasting pan, I buy the cheap foil ones and stabilize it by sitting it on a rimmed cookie sheet.

Roasted Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.mePut it in the oven and bake as directed by the directions with the oven bag.

Roasted Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis one took about two and a half hours. Usually I stuff it with a box or two of stovetop stuffing but I did not today. When you stuff it, it takes longer. This looks burnt but it is not. Paprika tends to turn the birds black when roasted.

It is done when the breast temperature is 165º. The one I made for Thanksgiving was about twenty-one pounds and did not come with a pop-up timer. That was the first time I had to use the thermometer to check for doneness and it was the moistest turkey ever. I think the pop-up timer makes it a bit more done and thus a bit drier. However, there is a lot of juice in the bag, so the meat can easily moistened.

Roasted Turkey


  • Oven Bag
  • Turkey
  • Seasonings of your choice: onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
  • Butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour


  1. Place the flour into the oven bag and shake it around.
  2. Dab the moisture off the thawed turkey with a paper towel.
  3. Butter turkey and place into the oven bag.
  4. Sprinkle with seasonings.
  5. Close bag and cut slits, as directed.
  6. Put in the roasting pan on a cookie sheet, as needed.
  7. Bake as directed by the oven bag directions. 🙂 Mine was baked at 350º for about 2.5 hours.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Unintentional New Year’s Resolutions/Goals

A little while ago, a friend on facebook posted this picture.

Marriage Tips ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t know if it really was taken from a Home Economics book from 1950 but it has some good points.

  • Planning ahead for meals is a good idea that I practice myself. When the kids were young, I tried to have dinner ready shortly after Michael arrived home. We changed things up a bit when the boys went to the tech school and got home after Michael did. We currently wait to eat dinner until Sean gets home from work, as he still gets home after Michael does.

I have recently realized though, that I need to have some kind of snack ready for Michael when he gets home, as he is hungry then. I’ve suggested different snacks but will probably begin to prepare him a little snack plate or appetizer of some sort this year-at least that’s my goal. ;)

  • I know I should freshen up a bit before he comes home each day. It really is a goal of mine and something I advise new wives to do. Unfortunately I find it much easier to suggest than I do to follow through with myself. Thus, another goal for myself. :)
  • Tidy up. This one I do most days. I try to run the Shark (small, easy-to-use vacuum cleaner) in the living room and on the kitchen mats each day. It is amazing how much doing this one little task makes the place look so much tidier. Tidying up the coffee table also helps a great deal.

When the kids were young, I had the children tidy up their schoolwork and toys when I knew he was on his way home. It made for a happier husband.

  • Minimizing the noise has also been an important key in our home. Michael have sensitive ears and having loud music, television, or games frustrates him a lot. I on the other hand do not have as acute hearing and tend to like my music and such loud. I try to remember to turn it down a bit but if I am not in the room when he arrives, I can tell he is here because the first thing he does is turn the volume down. :D

I don’t typically run the dishwasher during the daytime, as I do it before bed, so that isn’t a normal daytime noise for our house. I try to get my load of laundry done earlier in the day, so that is also not a noise we have in the evenings, thankfully.

I think the “article” has some merit and is not out-dated, at least for me. If the wife works outside of the home, it would not have nearly as much usefulness but since I believe the woman’s place is at home with the children, I think there is much to be gleaned from the tips shared.

I hope this is food for thought for you. I had no idea that I’d be sharing some “New Year’s Resolutions” per se, with you today, as I had no intention of really making any but I guess God had other plans. I hope you will prayerfully consider what God would have you focus on this year, in regards to thoughtfulness towards your spouse.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Rant: Weather Whiners and Hallelujah Song

Rant ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve got a rant or two today. The first is about the weather. I’m not usually one to complain. And I generally take it in stride when people post the random facebook status in dislike of the cold and even their love of the summer. But I’ve finally had enough. There are some people that continually complain about the cold and it’s begun to annoy me. But when someone recently posted a screenshot of the 64º weather forecast for Christmas, all gleefully, and was nearly dancing about it and the fact that it is supposed to rain rather than snow, it got to me. It just makes me want to whine and complain all over facebook when it gets hot. :D I probably won’t though, because that is just how I am. But I have to say, I was a bit annoyed this week when I had to roll down my car windows because it was too warm! Yep, windows down in December!!! Ugh!

Rant ~

Well, that’s enough of that. On to rant number two . . . I recently heard a Christmas song I’ve not heard before – Hallelujah. It’s quite catchy. It has a nice melody and lovely harmony. Then I tried to listen to the words to the verses and I got bothered. There are references to Samson & Delilah and David & Bathsheba that just didn’t sit right with me. I wasn’t sure what was being said so I looked up the lyrics and was still confused. So I searched some more.

Turns out that this is not a new song as I thought. It was written in 1984 by Leonard Cohen but has never been real popular, thankfully. It is said that Cohen was sitting on the floor writing the verses in a hotel room, he was so frustrated that he even banged his head on the floor. That just seems to come across in the lyrics, to me. It is said that he had 80, yes eighty, draft verses for this one song. When he toured, he even sang different verses. Settling on these verses, it makes me wonder how bad the others were. These just don’t make any sense. It’s almost like he is celebrating sin with these lyrics.

Apparently a couple of years ago, Coverton, a Christian contemporary band out of Manhattan, Kansas wrote different lyrics. I googled these and really like them! These actually make this a Christmas carol. :) I wish Pentatonix would’ve used these lyrics since they included it on a Christmas album. Their version is so beautifully sung but the verses just aggravate me. Ugh!

Well, that is enough of that! It is already Christmas Eve eve! Brian, Lauren, and Liam will be out tonight and we’ll open gifts first thing tomorrow morning!!! Whoo hoo!!!

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Make a “Snowglobe” and Soother Bag

I have a couple of quick crafts for you today. It’s only a few days until Christmas but you either need a gift idea or something to keep the kids busy.

Snowglobe and Ice Pack ~ Lifeofjoy.meFirst up is a cute little snow globe with no liquid in it. You use a clear punch cup and some of that plastic shred snow flakes. Now the tutorial on this webpage suggests you use a picture of your child or grandchild or such but for an easier craft, you could use any small item you like. You secure it to a piece of cardstock or cardboard the size of the cup opening. Place some “snow” in the cup and attach the bottom.

The other is a hot or cold pack. There are directions to make a cold pack or hot soother bag on this webpage. You cut two pieces of material, flannel is suggested, sew up three sides, fill with rice, and close the last side up. Keep in the freezer for a cold pack or heat in microwave for 30-45 seconds for a warm soother bag. (I know there are better words to explain this but I cannot seem to figure them out right now.)

Well, I hope you have a wonderful holiday celebration with your family!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


There is no diva challenge this week, as Laura has taken a break from posting until after the new year. But that doesn’t leave me without challenges or focuses. :) Thankfully the facebook community is going strong. :)

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meShading Zentangle and Square One: Purely Zentangle are focusing on the fun tangle, Stella by Jana Pharmer. I really enjoyed this tangle. I looked at the step-out when I first came across the focus tangle for the week and thought it might take a bit of focus. But then I saw someone else that drew an alternate step-out, which seemed to simplify it a bit. And then I watched the video that Nicole Dreyer did over on Tangle It! Pattern Club fb page. Watching her draw it and give pointers/tips as she went, really helped. It helped so much that I didn’t even have to reference the step-out as I drew mine. I did make a couple of tiny little uniquenesses (because there are no mistakes with Zentangle) but they are minor.

I attempted a little overlapping on this one but it was just that, a little. ;) This is something I need to work on. I don’t like other tangles to interfere with my drawing and thus don’t put them in positions to look the best. Mine are kind of clumsily overlapped but I’m learning. ;)

I did not start out intending to do a monotangle; it just kind of went that way. After I drew stella, I thought that some bold black would really make it pop. Naturally I considered doing some Hollibaugh because I have done that before with blackening. But I wasn’t sure, so I decided to just blacken in the very center part that would be empty space. Then I decided that there was nowhere for Hollibaugh to go and kept blackening. I knew that I didn’t want it all blackened in but wasn’t sure where to stop. In the end, I drew I kind of wiggly outline and took it to there.

I’m not really pleased with the inking of the blackened areas. I used a graphic 1 sakura and am pleased with how quickly I was able to fill it in and that I still had ink left when I was done. :D

Well, here is the unshaded scan. Oh! I cannot take credit for thinking of including the unshaded scan. Shading Zentangle requests that you share an unshaded picture along with the finished version, especially when asking for caring critique. I figured that as long as I was scanning it in anyway, I may as well share it here too. :) Then visitors here commented on liking to see the differences, so I’ve continued to share it here. I have to admit, I love seeing the difference shading makes as well but sometimes I get too rushed or stuck in the moment and forget or am too lazy choose not to stop and take the scan.

Well, without further adieu, here’s the unshaded version.

Stella ~ Lifeofjoy.meI used a standard number 2 pencil but then wanted some darker bits so I added in some 6B. It doesn’t seem to smooth out as well. I was trying to give the top layer some rolled effect but I don’t think I was very successful. Oh well, I’m still learning and growing. :)

Stella ~ Lifeofjoy.meI appreciate your comments and the time it takes to make them. You are most encouraging! Thank you!!!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!! I’ll post something next week. By then I will have gotten a new book on creating drawings that look like gems and an ebook on making tangles “glow” on black tiles, as Christmas presents, so we’ll see if I have time to play with what I learn before next week’s tile. :)

OH! If you’d like to add some gold to your art, check out Eni Oken’s new ebook. Looks like I have something else for my birthday list come May. Well, that and the supplies needed to play with it. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. I’m not an affiliate, just love Eni’s books.

Waffles ~


Quick to throw together for a filling breakfast. I like mine with eggs and sausage because I need to balance out my sweets with other things.

This recipe says it serves 4-6. Ours made about 10-12 individual squares. If you don’t use it all, it can be set in the refrigerator for about a week; just add a bit of water or milk to thin it if necessary.

Combine all the ingredients in order listed and stir just until moistened (flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla).

Waffles ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe used almond milk today.

Waffles ~

Once your waffle iron is hot, pour some batter on and close it up. We like to use a soup ladle.

Waffles ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen you first close it, there will be lots of steam. Depending on how high your waffle iron is set and how crispy you like your waffles, will determine how long your waffles will take to cook but it should be just a few minutes.

As you can see, we didn’t get quite enough batter on the waffle iron, so the squares weren’t all square. ;) But they were yummy!

Waffles ~ Lifeofjoy.meI buy pure maple syrup for these. :) Mmm mmmm!

Waffles ~



  • 1 3/4 cup flour (whole wheat, all-purpose, or a combination)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup oil or melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Combine all ingredients in order listed.
  2. Stir until moistened.
  3. Can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to a week. (Thin with a little milk or water as necessary when refrigerated.)
  4. Pour about 2 ladles of batter on hot waffle iron and close. Follow your device's directions for operation. For ours, when the steam is nearly gone, they are done.


Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº



Special Things for your Beloved this Season

Special Things for your Beloved this Season ~Lifeofjoy.meSo, what did you choose to do special for your beloved? I chose to do a countdown to Christmas this year. I kind of stumbled into it. I was kind of meaning to do something intimate for a twelve days of Christmas but when I was out running errands last week, I picked up three things as extras for him. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at what I’d gotten that I realized I had changed my mind. :D

I found an awesome deal on a king size set of flannel sheets at Aldi. It was UNDER $12. For King Size! Now I never considered flannel sheets before because I’m so warm-natured and  thought they’d just make me sweat but Michael usually gets into the bed before me and he is not warm-natured. So I thought that since it was such a good deal, I’d get them for him, especially since it is so cold right now. Besides, they are a very pretty snowflake pattern. :) I put them on the bed Saturday when he was out of the house. I was so surprised that I really liked them; I think I liked them better than he did. They weren’t nearly as warm as I thought they would be. :D

Special Things for your Beloved this Season ~ Lifeofjoy.meI made him some potato salad the other day. Tiffany and I went to a party and so I left him some to eat with his dinner. I don’t make it often and especially not of late with me eating keto. I plan to make another goodie he likes but doesn’t get very often, for another day’s treat. I’ll round it out with some intimate gifts and treats as well, taking time to make sure he feels special during this special season.

Special Things for your Beloved this Season ~ Lifeofjoy.meRemember, if you are too busy in preparation for Christmas, you can pamper your love by celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas, starting on Christmas day and going to Epiphany, January 6th.

One thing I have to remember is to be sure I respect him throughout the holidays. It is so easy to get busy and end up saying disrespectful things to him in my haste. When something doesn’t go exactly right, I have a tendency to be a bit snippy at him which is not respectful either. I had to apologize for that just yesterday. But at least I caught it quickly and got it right.

I encourage you to plan something special for your man, keep a check on your attitude, and be quick to make your wrongs right. ;)

Until next time, God bless and have a Merry Christmas,

Michele ºÜº