Monthly Archives: December 2016

A Busy Week and Cookies


Well, it’s been a very busy week for us! I didn’t get the cookies made on Thursday as I had planned but I did get them done before anyone got here. :) Tiffany was a huge help, as always.

I always forget that the cookie dough needs to chill for at least an hour. I’ve since gone and updated the recipe to highlight that instruction so it sticks out to me next time.

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.me

It took some creative cookie stacking to get them all on three racks.

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.me

We made some keto “sugar” cookies too because, quite frankly, we don’t need all that sugar. In the midst of all the other sugar cookies, since I made a double batch because I made them thicker this year, the sugar-free ones didn’t taste all that great but the next day they tasted pretty good, even without frosting. We just finished the last one Wednesday evening; Sean and I shared it. We tried to share it three ways but Tiffany didn’t want any, which was astounding. ;) I guess she’d already had her fair share.

The keto “sugar” cookies are in the white bowl between Michael and Tiffany.

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Actually, to be honest, and give credit where credit is due, Tiffany did most of the work on the keto cookies. Brian, Lauren, and Liam had already arrived when the dough was finally chilled enough to cut-out. Tiffany just took over because I had Liam! :) Being a grandma rocks!

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Tiffany and I made meatloaf and scalloped potatoes for dinner. It was delicious. However, one day I may actually get the timing right where everything is done at the same time and as soon as the last person arrives. My potatoes tend to soak up most of the creamy sauce by the time Sean gets home and we are ready to eat. Oh well, still yummy. :)

We were all pretty tired and didn’t finish painting all the cookies this year but that is okay. Tiffany finished painting the sugar ones the next day and we just left the keto ones plain. Liam is teething already, so he and Lauren aren’t getting a full night’s sleep every night.

We have fun and it is always interesting to see what their creative minds will make out of the normal Christmas shapes.

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.me

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.me

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.meA Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt just wouldn’t be cookie night if someone didn’t decapitate a gingerbread man. This year Brian hung him. After viewing this next picture, you may never be able to look at a candy cane the same way again. ;)

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.me

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sunday was a VERY busy day. We went to our normal first service at 8:30 but then instead of staying for the 10:00 service, we went to Brian and Lauren’s church for Liam’s dedication. That service didn’t start until 11:30 but we’d have had to leave in the middle of the preaching/teaching of our second service, so we were early to their church. Lauren got Liam out of nursery so I could hold him. (Did I already say being a grandma rocks? :D )

My parents, sisters, and my little sister’s family all came, as well as Lauren’s parents. I believe they even had a few friends there in support as well. We took up over an entire row. We all went up to pray with them and when we came back to our seats a few minutes later, on the second row, I might add, a lady had sat right down in the middle of the row ON Tiffany’s hat. Did she really think there was a whole empty row on the second row, 10-15 minutes into service? Oh well, we just squeezed her in.

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.me
Liam was laughing at Grandpa, who was not standing behind the photographer, me. ;)

A Busy Week and Cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.meJust look at that cutie and those chubby cheeks!!!

After service we all went to eat together and then to my nieces’ piano recital, where we, again, too an entire row. They did a good job with their Christmas carols. :)

We got home early evening and I took a nap. Sitting around like that all day is tiring. :D

We had a big errand day this week, although thankfully, not as big as last week. I made Chicken Spinach Soup with chicken thighs instead of breast meat, to up the fat content and used broth left from the turkey carcass, which also had a good bit of fat. :) I’d say we made that into a fat bomb soup with our alterations this time around. It was nice after a being out on a cold day. Sean bought our lunch that day too; we went to Panera and got their Broccoli Cheddar soup. :)

Last night Tiffany and I went to a Cookie Gathering/party. We had fun and I got a new game idea for our Christmas Eve eve party, I just don’t know if I’ll be able to pull it off in time for this year. I may just have to write down the idea for next year. It was nice to visit with an old homeschool friend – Sue – she’s such a great person and I always have a good time visiting with her!

Unfortunately, I was true to form and did not get any pictures except for the cookies we did here. (I swiped the one from my son’s facebook page and the other from my mom’s though. :D )

Well, I have gifts to wrap. I hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Music Study: Handel

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy daughter Tiffany’s Christmas book has been published! It is a murder mystery surrounded by the fun and festivities of the Christmas holiday and a budding romance. Get it on Amazon


Music Study: Handel ~ Lifeofjoy.meSeveral weeks ago I saw a picture of a stack of children’s books that Crystal Paine, the Money Saving Mom, had gotten from the library for the holiday season. One book that caught my eye was Hallelujah Handel by Douglas Cowling. I didn’t know anything about this book but have enjoyed Handel’s Messiah composition since my days in high school when we sang The Hallelujah Chorus.

I decided to look into this book because I figured it might be a good springboard into a composer study on George Frideric Handel. I also thought it might be good to study during the holidays since it is prevalent at this time.

It was interesting to learn about his views on orphans and what he did to help them. Our library system even has a copy of this book and the audio cd as well. I’m not sure, but it looks like the story is told with Handle’s music in the background. It seems like a really neat book and complementary cd.

Some Links
  • If you choose to check out this book and/or the audio, you might want to do a little composer study as well. I found this nice unit study by Cindy Downes with informational links and links to printables.
  • There is an interesting book available from HomeschoolFreebieOfTheDay entitled, Music Talks with Children which talks about Handel some in chapter XX. I found it by googling the website and the title of the book (just in case it disappears) but click on the title and it should open up the book pdf.

Speaking of HomeschoolFreebieOfTheDay, they have some really good looking free audios available now. One such freebie is Old School ebook and audios!  Another is The Story of the First Christmas Tree audios and ebook. Oh! and one more while you are there, “All Is Bright: The True Story of Silent Night.” Don’t forget to click on “Older Posts” to see what else may still be available and to your liking. :)

  • Over on YearRoundHomeschooling, there is a small free unit on Handel with some free printables and about 4 book suggestions.
  • EnrichmentStudies has some good links too. There are some podcasts, videos, and printables among other things. They have a listening map for the Hallelujah Chorus. I’ve never heard of that before . . . interesting!
  • HomeschoolGiveaways has some good links too! There’s also a link to a free kindle book, near the bottom of the page.

Well, that’s it for today! I hope you have a fun study on Handel!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Christmas Themed Tangle


iamthedivacztAs most of you know, the Diva Challenge this week is to pick one of the challenges from this week in previous years. I thought I might do the “Keep It Simple Silly” but really wanted to do the “Merry Happy” Christmas themed challenge from #148.

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meThe tangle focus for Square One: Purely Zentangle and Shading Zentangle is Aura-Leah. I’ve never done this tangle before but thought it might lend itself to stand in for the different characters in the nativity scene.

The tangle of the day at pattern-collections.com is H and I, which I have never done either, but I hoped I could make it work for either stars or the stable roof.

The WZTV focus tangle is the newly released official tangle Drawings. I thought I might be able to make it stand in for the “Star” but it is going to take a LOT of practice to figure this one out. So I searched for a star-like pattern and found Starawn. This one looked pretty simple, so in it went. I do wish I had seen the variation starting with a center triangle and used that for the main star in the middle but I think it worked out okay.

Here is the tile before shading.

DC#297 ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere is the finished tile. I thought I’d smudge the border line I drew but think it might have been better if I had just erased it. I do like the smudged effect on a lot of tiles, just maybe not on this one. ;)

DC#297 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt always amazes me how much darker the shading is in person as opposed to once it’s scanned and on my computer.

I appreciate your kind comments and the time it takes for you to leave them. They are most encouraging.

I’ll have something else up next week; I hope you’ll stop by.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Sausage Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sausage Balls

An easy appetizer with a few simple ingredients. It’s gluten-free and keto.


I remember having sausage balls at parties. I only made them once or twice quite a few years ago and that was with Bisquick.  I recently came across this recipe over on KetoSizeMe for sausage balls that are gluten-free and legal for keto and I realized what a perfect snack these are.

You simply combine all the ingredients and drop on a cookie sheet and bake at 350º for 16-20 minutes.

Sausage Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.meBelieve it or not, the sausage is down in that bowl. ;)

Sausage Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.meI use a cookie dropper to make short work of forming the balls.

Sausage Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.meI made these with turkey sausage.

Put them in the oven on 350º for 16-20 minutes.

Sausage Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sausage Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Form balls and place on cookie sheet
  4. Bake 16-20 minutes
http://lifeofjoy.me/sausage-balls/

Until next tie, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Commitment


It’s hard to keep your priorities straight during the holidays. There are so many things to pull you in different directions. It is important to keep the lines of communication open, not only with your spouse but also in prayer with God.

By keeping your time with God a priority, it helps you keep the rest of your priorities and commitments in line. After all, He is the reason for the season. For me it starts with being thankful to Him for all His blessings on Thanksgiving and just continues on through to the New Year. We don’t stop there though; we spend the next several weeks seeking His direction for how we should proceed through the year.

In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, don’t forget that Jesus is the cornerstone of our lives. Don’t squeeze all those extra things in by squeezing out of your time with Him.

Commitment ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou may be wondering what all this has to do with marriage, after all, this is the day that I talk about things concerning marriage here on the blog. Well, it is simple; keeping God at the focal point of your life, keeps your attitude and priorities right, which will aid in keeping your attitudes and priorities concerning marriage and family right. As you spend time with God, lift up your spouse and family to Him and ask Him how you can show His love to them each day. (This is something new I am incorporating into my devotional time in the mornings but just makes so much sense that I wonder why I haven’t done it before.) Consider asking Him to help you be even more loving, that is showing/expressing your love to your dear ones. By keeping our commitment with our Father in heaven strong, our commitment to those around us is strengthened and we walk in more peace.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

The Long Errand Day

Errand day this week was a very drawn out ordeal. We started with Tiffany’s appointment. After that we had to go do a little Christmas shopping, some of which we did at the mall. I seldom go to the mall so I naturally parked in the absolute wrong parking lot. Then we ended up walking clear across the mall several times because I don’t know where anything is there.

Good food ~ Lifeofjoy.me
This was taken a few weeks ago and it was ridiculously warm for so late in the year.

 

We stopped in the food court and ate at my favorite mall place–Charley’s. I am a sucker for a steak and cheese sub. You might think, but you can’t have that on keto. All it takes is a little creativity. I get the three cheese and bacon one without the bun but add on onions, mushrooms, and peppers cooked very well done.. I was very happy that they didn’t seem shocked with my request. They even asked me if I wanted the lettuce and tomato still and if I wanted it under or on top of my meats, cheese, and hot veggies. I add a little salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. Delicious!

Tiffany got part of her gift to Sean and then we headed further into town on the hunt for an illusive gift. Retraced our path, stopped to pick up books from the library, and finally began our grocery shopping after three o’clock. In all of our running around today, I found not one but five different purses that would make a good replacement for the one I’ve been using for the last year or more, which has its shoulder strap hanging on by a thread, literally. Funny thing is that I had looked at Gordmans several weeks ago and didn’t find a single one I liked. I’m soooo glad I did not settle on one I saw last week, at a store I don’t like to shop, for twice the money I ended up paying for this one. :) God is good! I just have to be patient.

Long Errand Day ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs we were about to begin getting groceries, Michael texted and asked if we were about done and ready to head home. He was shocked when I told him that we’d only just begun to grocery shop. He suggested that I bring home some pizzas to throw in the oven, since it was getting so late and he knew we were getting tired. I paid way more than I’d like to admit for a frozen pizza but it is keto! and that my friends, is worth a lot. We got the 3-cheese pizza because we love cheese and generally have pepperoni at home to add.  I also picked up a Red Barron cheese pizza for Michael because he said he didn’t need or want anything fancy. We got home, added pepperoni to both pizzas and enjoyed a dinner with minimal effort.

Well, Brian, Lauren, and Liam are coming tonight for dinner and cookie decorating. I didn’t get the cookies made yesterday even though I had planned to do so, Thus I need to make them first thing this morning in order to have them ready tonight. :) Hopefully I’ll remember to take some pictures and have them to share with you next Friday.

Until then, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Christmas Around the World


Christmas Around the World ~ lifeofjoy.me Since I no longer have anyone to homeschool, I ask my sister Tracie, from time to time, if she needs any help researching anything. She said she was interested in Christmas around the world. Thankful for the idea, I did a quick search and was thrilled with what I found.

  • First there is this pdf. Now I generally don’t like linking directly to the pdf but it is what came up in my search. It has a couple of links for the information for nine different countries and then activities and recipes too. There are even a few notebooking pages your children can use. It is a very nice, simple unit study.
  • There is also this simple pdf with a paragraph or two for each of nine countries (some different from the above but some duplicates too) and links for activities and recipes for each. This one has flags of 29 different countries. It is the first link on this page. At the bottom of that page, there are many links that I may pursue in the future.
  • This website has a one-page six-day study. It has one paragraph about how each of six countries celebrate Christmas and then a link or two to activities or recipes for each. At the end, there is a list of countries that don’t celebrate Christmas at all. So if you are looking for something very short and sweet, this may be your resource.
  • Although I cannot recommend the free ebook on this next site for a Christmas study, it would be good for some other time of year for a geography study, as it really does not delve into how each country celebrates Christmas. BUT she has about 30 contributors in a linky on the bottom of the page, one per country, where the participant does share the Christmas happenings of the selected country. So for that, I highly recommend you visit the site. :) (And come back later for a geography study and use the free ebook. Oh, I should add that the version I downloaded of the ebook did not have the right links to the TimeForKids website but it is easy to find in a search.)
  • This final one is to a webpage that tells about a lapbook free over on homeschoolshare. It sounds nice. Normally, I would just go check it out for myself and share about it without referring to her site but she did a nice write-up and at the bottom of her post she has three links to some studies/lapbooks that are pretty interesting: Birth of Christ, Symbols of Christmas, and Christmas Hymns.

Who knows, after you learn about some of these other countries, you may decide that you want to add some traditions to your holidays like this family did. Click over to this site and  see which ones they found were a good addition to their celebrations. ;) But whatever you do, don’t get yourself all bogged down. Lighten up and enjoy the season! Do some baking together and be sure that your children know why you do the things you do.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

 

DC#296: Moowa, Reel, Pokeleaf, Gemma


iamthedivaczt This week’s Diva Challenge is a “Use My Tangle” challenge with Moowa by Anya Ipsen. It is funny because Moowa was the focus tangle of one of my other groups recently. Unfortunately I was not able to participate in it then. However, I can this time around. I like the tangle because it looks like a wave but I have a hard time making it look right.

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meThis week’s Square One: Purely Zentangle and Shading Zentangle focus tangle is Reel by Lily. I love Lily’s art! She is an amazing artist. Unfortunately I did not do her lovely tangle justice. I struggle most with the beginning shape. What is that? A hexagon? I’m not very good at that shape. It turns out all wonky. I forgot all about one poster’s suggestion to pencil in or imagine an ‘x’ in between the top and bottom dots. I’ll have to remember that for next time. Then the next problem I had was with shading. I’ve seen some really incredible tiles using this tangle.

The focus tangle for WZTV this week is Pokeleaf. Since my practice with Pokeroot back in May, I felt more confident with Pokeleaf this time around and I actually, kind of enjoyed it. Of course I struggled with which way to draw the little curve around the stem but finally decided it should open at the bottom with the curve on top.

Finally, the Pattern Collections pattern of the day is Gemma. I thought it might fit in with this one, so I threw in a few. I did NOT do this little gem justice at all either. ;) Since I drew them so small, to fit in with the overall tile, I decided to aura them just a bit.

I got a late start on this tile and I’m not even really sure why. After I’d tangled most of it, I realized I wanted it blackened in behind Pokeleaf. Once I did that I was into shading and I completely forgot about scanning it before I did any shading. Oh well. ;)

Without further adieu, here’s my finished tile for the week.

DC#296, Reel, Pokeleaf, Gemma ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs usual, I can see where I needed to smooth out the shading lines a bit more, now that it is uploaded. ;) However, if you have any other shading suggestions, please share them.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Peanut Butter Balls

An easy to make confection with just a few simple ingredients. Oh! It’s chocolate too. :)

I first remember making this when I was about 12 years old. The Ladies’ Auxiliary at the church we were going to at the time was making peanut brittle and peanut butter balls. Peanut butter balls was the obvious place for a young person to help. I watched as one of the ladies mixed up a batch. It was so simple that I memorized it.

We didn’t start making them at home right away but it has become a mainstay over the years. At one point, Mom made several batches each Christmas season. We don’t go to my parents’ as much as we used to between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Consequently, Mom doesn’t need to make as many and my family has requested we have some at home.

Well, let’s get to it.

Combine 1# of peanut butter (I only made a half batch today though)

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.me

1# powdered sugar

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Melted a stick of butter

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePeanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlease be sure to do this in a large bowl, so that you have room to stir.

When combined, take a nice size ball and roll it into a rope or snake shape.

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePinch off a bit and roll into a ball.

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlace on either wax paper or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePut them in the freezer to harden so that it is easier to coat them in chocolate.

Combine one bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the upper pan of a double boiler along with about 1/3 of a block of paraffin wax  with about an inch or so of water in the bottom pan.

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.mePeanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe wax is important so that the chocolate doesn’t come off on your hands.

Use a toothpick and dip each ball into the chocolate and then place back on the parchment paper.

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen they are all coated, put them back in either the refrigerator or freezer to harden. Mom always stores them in the freezer.Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd I’m storing them in the freezer in an old ice cream container. ;)

Peanut Butter Balls ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients

  • 1# peanut butter
  • 1# powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3-2/3 of a block of paraffin wax

Instructions

  1. Combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter in a bowl.
  2. Roll into about 1-inch balls and place on wax paper or parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  3. Put in freezer to harden up a bit.
  4. Combine chocolate chips and wax in the upper pan of a double boiler. (You could also place a glass bowl on top of a pot with about 1-2" boiling water.) Put 1-2" water in the bottom pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Combine chocolate and wax.
  6. Remove balls from the freezer. Use a toothpick to dip them into the chocolate and replace onto the cookie sheet.
  7. Put them back in the freezer to harden the chocolate. Eat or store. 🙂
http://lifeofjoy.me/peanut-butter-balls/

Enjoy!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Little Things


It’s the holiday season and it is so easy to get caught up in all the busyness. I  stopped to consider what means something to me, to see if maybe I might be able to apply that to Michael.

Recently, Michael has done a few things that just made me feel good and taken care of. They were simple things, like looking at the car to figure out why the windshield washer fluid was working, which he was able to fix easily. He gets me a cup of hot tea each morning and gets a water bottle ready for me each Sunday morning. He pitches in with my various household chores, when I need help, without me even asking.

These things were actually the impetus for me to stop and consider what I do or can do for him in like fashion. I don’t want to get so caught up in my plans and preparations for Christmas that I overlook the little things.

Sometimes those little things turn into bigger, more time-consuming tasks. One such task is the special folding of his short sleeve t-shirts. I shared a picture not too long ago of a drawer full of these shirts. Well, as I launder any of these shirts, I fold them and put them back in the drawer but mysteriously, about half of the shirts left the drawer without making it to the laundry room. At the end of last week, he found a whole slew of these shirts–way more than what will actually fit in the drawer. Currently, I fold these shirts on the bed but that means leaning over a lot. If you’ve seen any of my recent pictures, you can see why this posturing might hurt my back after a time. ;) (aka I have a large stomach and bending over the bed to fold the shirts for much length of time will hurt my back.) At any rate, I got over half of them folded and put away before my back complained too badly. This was a blessing to my man. :)

I guess I said all that to say, don’t forget to be considerate in the little things, as you prepare the bigger ones this holiday season. If it isn’t already a habit, considering asking him if he’d like a drink or a snack when you get up to get one for yourself. Just think of one little something you can do to love on him a little bit more. It can be as simple as leaving him a note with his work things, in the car, or even on his pillow.

I hope you will take time to enjoy this wonderful time of year with your loved ones. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº