Monthly Archives: August 2017

New and No Curriculum Yet

Educating at Home ~

I recently spoke with a lovely family that just pulled their daughter from public school to educate her at home. I offered them these tips, so as not to rush into a curriculum purchase that they may regret.



  • Christians should incorporate Bible reading and discussion about what is read.
  • Utilize the local library! I shared a little about this on this post. Assign your child to find some book of their choosing in the 900’s section of the children’s non-fiction books. There are really some great books there. But don’t stop there, have your child pick some fiction books to read as well. Now, whichever he/she prefers, let them pick more of those.
  • Have her/him practice math skills for whatever level math your child is currently at.
  • Life Skills: Yes, helping with household duties is imperative for a functioning and well educated adult. ;)
  • Have your child write each day. It can be copying a scripture verse or a passage from a book being read, or simply learning to write when very young. You could have them write about something they’ve read or create a something themselves, be it prose or poetry.
  • Throw in a little nature study (I wrote some about this here) and you’ll be good until you can find the curriculum that fits you and your child(ren).
  • Encourage whatever their interests are art, cooking, music, crafts, or something even more specific like wood burning or mechanics.
  • Finally, encourage activity be it outside, video exercise, game system exercise, or a sport.

You need to write down the reasons you are home educating your children, so that when the difficult days come you can remind yourself why you are doing this. Then there is this post that may be of help to you in getting started. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Diva Challenge #331

Photo by James St John ~Lifeofjoy.meThis week’s guest challenger, Jane Reiter, challenged us to tangle like a Petoskey Stone found in Michigan. Here is one picture I found on wikimedia commons taken by James St. John. If you click on the like you’ll go can see some nice pictures of Petoskey stones on the challenge post.

Anyway, since most of the pictures Jane posted had black centers to each hexagonal shape and white lines, I decided to use a black tile and white pen. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out because I’ve not done a white on black tile in quite some time! And when I had, I wasn’t much of a shader yet but as we have seen here, week after week, shading saves my tiles now. :D So I was a bit concerned about how it would turn out but decided to dive in anyway.

I also decided to just do this challenge all by itself and as a monotangle of sorts.

One thing I noticed was that the shapes were not uniform size and sides, so I tried to just let myself go and draw random lines. I started with a central shape and worked out from there, imagining that the shapes continued around the side of the stone edges.

I drew my dots and border with a regular pencil, not sure if I wanted it to be seen or not in the finished tile.

DC#331 ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe lines aren’t as thin and delicate as in the sample pictures but it’s what I had to go with. I guess maybe I should look for a finer nib white pen. Any suggestions?

I started shading with the white pencil that comes with the black tile package from Zentangle and used my dedicated tortillion for smudging white. Then I decided that it needed more depth and got out my black 6B pencil to add some overlap shading. Then smudged it in with one of my usual blenders. I kept fiddling with it until I had added some regular #2 pencil graphite as well.

Then I decided to use this woodless white pencil a bit and also use it for the border.

Zentangle Tool ~
White Pencil Thing

Then I added a bit of ‘glow’ from the upper left corner. I don’t know . . . but I like the end result. :)

DC#331 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt reminds me a bit of the Ice Pebbles in the Zelda game Breath of the Wild, because it has the longer rock on top and then a couple smaller ones underneath.

I appreciate you stopping by and want to thank, in advance, those who take the time to comment, you are most encouraging!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~

Mozzarella Stuffed Pesto Meatballs

Whether you use homemade pesto or store-bought, this is an easy meatball meal that is a nice difference. Add the cheesy surprise and they are a hit. :)

I found this recipe on the I Breathe I’m Hungry website when we began our keto (low carb, high fat, moderate protein) diet about a year ago. She has so many varieties of meatballs that you could fix a different recipe every night for a month and still have a couple week’s worth yet to try.  These have a piece of mozzarella cheese stuffed inside them.

They are simple to make and could probably even be baked in the oven if you wanted to. If you haven’t done so already, go ahead and get your easy pesto made. :)

Now let’s get started. I’m using ground turkey but you could use whatever ground meat you desire.

Combine the ground meat,

Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd almond flour (if you’re a carb eater, you could use some breadcrumbs instead), egg, salt, pepper, and pesto in a bowl.

Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meCheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meCheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meCombine it well and level it out. I like to make some kind of marks so I get relatively evenly sized meatballs. I think the original recipe makes this into only 10 meatballs but since there are four of us, I make an even 12. So first I divide it in half each direction so each section is about 1/4 the mixture.

Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen each section is roughly divided into 3 sections.

Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meTake one section (1/12 of the mixture) and flatten it out in your hand and place a piece of the cheese in the middle.Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meBegin wrapping the meat around the cheese cube.

Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meClose it up and make it round.

Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meHeat oil in a skillet and fry the meatballs (about 4 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through).

Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meI waited a little too long to turn them so they are more like ‘cakes’ than ‘balls’. :D

Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~ Lifeofjoy.meServe with pesto. We served these with zoodles.

Cheese Stuffed Pesto Meatballs ~

Mozzarella Stuffed Pesto Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground meat
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons pesto + more for serving
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella (cut into 12 pieces)
  • 2 Tablespoons or more for frying


  1. Combine ground meat, almond flour, egg, salt, pepper, and pesto in a bowl.
  2. Divide meat into about 12 meatballs and form meat ball around a piece of cheese.
  3. Fry in heated oil, about 4 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through.
  4. Serve hot with added pesto.
  5. We served on zoodles (strands of zucchini sauted in butter).

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

How Selfish am I?

Selfish ~ Lifeofjoy.meMarriage is a good test of selfishness. Yep, selfishness can show its ugly head between husband and wife. And unfortunately, I am talking from personal experience.

You see, much of the time, disagreements come from thinking the other party should do more or not expect as much as they do. But what that really boils down to is selfishness. Yep. Plain and simple selfishness.

Occasionally I have to just ask myself if I serve my family without feeling like a martyr, wishing others would help me or not. Not that it is a bad thing to desire others to help but it is important to really discern your motivation. It is important for all family members that are old enough to participate in the caring for the home though.

So I guess I challenge you today to check yourself and see if you have any selfishness in operation in your life. I know I’ve found some in mine and I’m working to remove more and more of it from my life.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Liam, Toys, and Bread Attempt #2

I love having Liam here! He’s generally such a good child; I say it this way because all children have their moments of fussiness. I’m so glad he was feeling better this week. He did get congested but he seemed to cope pretty well.

He liked the toys I bought for him to have here. I figured the Little People train would be a hit because it had a few pieces he could hold.

Liam likes Little People ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany named the conductor Francois and he frequently laughs when you say it. :)

He seems to like the popper too but not as much. I expect he’ll like it a bit more once he starts walking.

Liam and the Popper ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe likes balls now. Michael played with him with them. It was fun to see him so excited.

Yellow Ball ~ Fun with the ball ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s so good with him!Michael Feeding Liam ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat boy loves food!!! So, sometimes we hide from him when we have something.

Out of Sight ~ Lifeofjoy.meI got this little snack dispenser that keeps the snacks from falling out but has an opening for him to put his hand in and pull out a piece. It was fun watching him figure it out.Snack Cup ~ Lifeofjoy.meAldi has these short skinny cheese puff looking snacks. They have veggie, cheese, and blueberry. This helps bring meal times to an end, more peaceably.

Tiffany got out some of her TY stuffed animals that she’s had put away. He seemed to like this dog.Stuffed Animal ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe also liked the horse but I don’t think it tasted very good. ;) We’ve had fun with him here.

In other news, I found a recipe for homemade bread that is Trim Healthy Mama compliant!!! Oh yay!!!

Last week I wrote about my first attempt. I added pictures of my NOT 2# bread machine and the first attempt loaf.

Yesterday I made a second attempt following her Mixer Method. Once again it was not forming a dough ball. I added flour a couple tablespoons at a time to where it was at least a little more like a dough ball but not nearly as firm as the pictures she has on her post. But I have to say, this week’s version turned out MUCH better than last week’s!

Bread Homemade ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou can see how it rose over the pan but didn’t seem to have enough firmness to stand above the pan and sagged over the rim. I didn’t get it evenly split so one loaf was a little bigger than the other.

Dented Loaf of Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe have declared this attempt much better than last week but still looking to make improvements. :)

Well, I’m gonna run. Get to have Liam again today and maybe a day or two next week. :) I’ll take what I can get. Hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Listen, Really Listen to Your Children

Listen ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn order to educate your children properly, you must listen to them. I mean, really listen to them. Of course, this goes for raising children in general too. Sometimes we think we know what they are going to say, so we only half listen to them. But this is not a good thing. How do you like it when someone is only half listening to you? Yeah, so let’s not do it to others, and especially not our children (or spouses for that matter–but that’s a subject for a Marriage Monday post ;) ).

The other important part of the equation is to ask your children questions. Not yes or no questions either. You want to get your children talking to you. Since we live in Rural America, running errands is not a short trip, so on our way into town, I took to asking my children what was on their mind. Sometimes I got “nothin'” but then I’d probe a little by saying something like, you mean you are sitting there and not thinking anything, not about the chair or the sky or the game you want to play when you get home?

Here again, because I consistently did this with my children, it developed a habit to where, sometimes, they ask me what’s on my mind now. :) I literally stop and focus on what my mind is thinking on and tell them be it a stupid song that I cannot get out of my head, how the clouds look puffy and like a dog, or how tired I am because the storm woke me up in the middle of the night. By being open and honest with them, it instills openness and honesty and we relate.

As your children grow older, it is important to talk to them about what they like as far as activities, nutrition, and what they think their future may look like. Help them set up some healthy habits that will serve them well into adulthood. Talk with them about things you wish you had done when you were younger so that it isn’t sooo hard to do them now.

Talk to them about their bodies, nutrition, exercise, and spirituality. If you are concerned about an area of their life, see if you can find a way to relate to it yourself. I wish I had taken piano lessens when I was young, because . . . or some such thing. Or maybe there is an area that you are struggling with, maybe it is cooking or exercise; ask your children to work on it with  you and help each other.

One year when Tiffany was a senior, I think, she wanted to do a “squat challenge”. I was trying to exercise more, so I agreed to do it with her because it’s generally easier when you have someone doing it with you. Yeah, I do not intend to ever do one of those kinds of challenges again! It was BRUTAL! But we did it together and encouraged each other.

Maybe you could look for a new recipe to make with your child, if he/she is interested in cooking. My boys learned to bake because they wanted dessert and I wasn’t making any at the end of the day (and I wasn’t spending money on desserts either). But I told them they were welcome to make some cookies or brownies or some such thing, if they wanted. Brian is quite the cookie baker. ;) Sean prefers to clean up afterwards rather than make it.

But when your child talks to you, listen to them. Pay attention. Ask questions, if possible. Have them give you examples or tell you how they feel. Get close to your child and then pray about how to help them through whatever it is they are going through.

I hope this rambling helps encourage you today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Ur Chen, HaKrall Plate

So this week’s guest challenger for the diva challenge is Jeanette Clawson, who challenges us to tangle a plate shape. No specific tangles were given so I looked to my other Zentangle groups.

Square One: Purely Zentangle and Shading & Exploring Zentangle are focusing on Holly Atwater’s tangle haKrall. Then I checked for their pattern of the day, which is Ur Chen.

So I freehanded a “plate” a.k.a. a circle on my tile with a smaller one in the center of it to make it look like this plate had a large rim and smaller recessed area.

I proceeded to draw Ur Chen on the bottom of the plate (where food would be set) and use haKrall for the rim/lip. Although I enjoyed drawing haKrall, it is not easily manipulated into circular form. Thus it is not my best work but I did really enjoy penning the patterns.

I remembered to take a scan of it before shading.

DC#330 Plate ~ Lifeofoy.meYes, once again, I am ever so thankful for the blessedness of shading. If I had to rely on my line art, I would probably just hang it up at this point.

Here it is shaded.

DC#330 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI totally realize that this is far from lovely or gorgeous but it did meet the challenge of tangling a plate shape and I managed to use two focus tangles as well. I also found haKrall to be a fun pattern/tangle and will probably attempt using it again sometime in a grid. ;)

I think this one looks better smaller as less imperfections are visible.

DC#330 ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I’m going to run. I have my one year old grandson several days this week and he keeps me hoppin’.

Thanks to those kind few that take the time to leave an encouraging comment, you are most appreciated.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Easy DIY Pesto ~

Easy Pesto

This easy pesto whips up in just a few minutes with just a few simple ingredients.

We don’t eat pesto very often and then we seem to go through spells of eating it frequently.

Pesto is made from a few simple ingredients: basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper. I have made this from dried basil on occasion but must use much less. I recommend planting a basil plant in the spring as it is much cheaper than buying the packages. I’m going to try and figure out how to store it before winter/first frost.

So let’s get to it.

Rough chop the basil and put it in a mini food processor.

Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the pine nuts and olive oil.

Pesto being made ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd garlic, salt and pepper.

Garlic into Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meFinally, add Parmesan cheese.

Homemade Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meBlend away, until it is as smooth as you desire. (Scraping down the sides as necessary.)

Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.mePesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meEasy Homemade Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meDIY Pesto ~

Easy Pesto


  • 1 cup basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mini food processor and process until as smooth as desired.

We got this recipe from this website some time ago. :) I’ll share the meatball recipe sometime soon. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Why Not Get Married?

Why Not Get Married ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve heard some young people (and some not so young people) say they don’t need a piece of paper; they know they love each other, as an excuse not to get married. But if it is really only a piece of paper, then what harm is there in getting it? I mean, as excuses go, that one is pretty weak.

From my experience, a woman wants the security of knowing that you are committed to her and if you’ve taken your relationship to the level of getting that piece of paper, she knows you’re serious. This is one reason why a woman should refrain from intimacy before marriage. Men (yes, I know we woman do too) want the act of marriage. If you give him what he wants without the security of knowing he is committed to only you, you have lost a huge motivator. Whereas, if he can not have intimacy with you until after committing to spending the rest of his life with you, there is a  stronger chance he will commit than if he is getting everything he wants.

If a woman doesn’t want to get married, you must ask yourself why she doesn’t. Where is her commitment? If you are providing for her needs without her being committed to you and only you, then you are cheating yourself.

God created sex as a wonderful thing between a husband and a wife. It bonds people together. If you go sleeping around being intimate with others, you are cheapening/weakening that bond for when you do get married.

Man, if you love the gal you are with, and are committing to her anyway, why not prove that commitment to her by getting that piece of paper. It really is an expression of love. When you refuse to marry her, you are sending her the signal that if it gets bad enough, I’ll just leave. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’d ever do that, you’re still sending that signal. And if you have asked her to marry you and she won’t, then you need to separate now, because she is not committed to you and she’s telling you in a subtle way, that she is only with you until something better comes along. And for that matter, that is the same signal a guy gives a girl when he lives with her but will not marry her. Nobody wants to feel like they are second best.

I hope that someone comes across this post that needs to hear/read these words. Know that although marriage is hard, if you are living with and having intimacy with another, you are already experiencing the hardness of marriage. It is my opinion that having that piece of paper give both parties a security that the other is going to stick around and that the other loves them enough to commit to them. Believe it or not, that adds a lot of buffering to a living situation, thus making it easier.

Now for those that are getting older and still single and not being intimate, ask yourself why. Sharing your life with another is one of the best things you can do. Are you warding off marriage because of selfishness? I encourage you to pray about your situation and see what God would have you do. Marriage is a beautiful thing. Yes, it takes some work but it is worth the effort.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Bread Attempt, Liam, Strategy Sorry

I don’t know where this week has gone! I was very unproductive the first part of the week. I found a THM (Trim Healthy Mama) recipe for sprouted wheat bread. Sean bought the ingredients and pans I needed a couple weeks ago but I hadn’t gotten around to making it yet. So the other evening I decided to give it a try.

Joyful Jane makes the dough in her bread machine on the dough cycle and then puts it into the pans for the final rising. I thought, what could be simpler. So I got out my bread machine somewhere around five or six o’clock and got it going.

Bread Machine ~

She mentioned that it is a wet dough and that makes it better but when mine finished the dough cycle I had nothing that resembled her pictures at all. I wish I’d have taken a picture of the soupy mess I had but I was just thinking about fixing it not sharing my mistakes with the world. :o

I figured I must have miscounted the flour, so I added another cup of flour and proceeded to run the dough cycle again. The dough cycle takes one hour and twenty minutes, then it has to be put into greased pans and rise in a warm oven for about thirty more minutes, remove from oven, preheat oven, and then bake for another thirty minutes or so.

Well, once again, I had a mess. It rose over the pan and spilled down the side. Hmmm, I’m guessing my machine does NOT make a two pound loaf as I had thought. :p Well, I figured I had some kind of problem because my dough was still soupy. I poured it into the greased pans and put it into my warm oven. I put a thermometer in it to ensure it was somewhere between 85º and 100º . . . it is 95º, or at least it was that night.

Well, I was surprised to see that it rose to the top of the pans but that is where it stopped. By this point, everyone had gone to bed and I was up babysitting my bread. ;) I baked it and it was out of the oven before midnight but it did not rise over the pan rim. I was eager to taste it but knew I needed to wait until the morning.

Bread First Attempt ~

Sean and Michael each had a piece with their breakfast and declared it good even though it was short. But they are used to my keto breads which are all short too, so as far as they knew, this was the way it was supposed to be. ;) When I finally got around to tasting it. :p Yes, I’ll be trying this again. What I really need though is a weight measurement on the flour, so I don’t mess up again. ;)

In other news, Liam wasn’t feeling very good the other day. I got to keep him some this week and we cuddled lots.Still Sweetie ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s in a stage where he likes sticks. He picked up a back scratcher and some other not safe stick, so I put those away and got out a trusty gift wrap tube. :) I knew I kept them for something. Michael ripped it in half for him.Little Dude ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s a bit better the next day.Little Dude ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd I even got some smiles. The flash on the camera makes him blink! :D And I get some cute pictures like this. Liam Smiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meBut before long, he was just ready to sleep some more.Sleepy ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo I put him down for a nap a bit early and let him sleep because when you are not feeling well, you need lots of sleep.

Last weekend Brian and Lauren came out for dinner. Well, of course Liam was here too! We decided to play a game but many games were vetoed. Finally Lauren and I decided that we would play Sorry. The only problem with that is that Sorry is for four players and we have six players.

Here’s our solution:

Sorry for 8 Players ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe actually have 3 Sorry games–two regular and one Disney. We always like to play the Disney one. One time I saw a Monsters Inc game of Life and didn’t get it. I regret that decision all the time because I have not seen it again.

We overlapped the boards on the one corner spot and when you get to that square you have to go to the left. Only exception is for the green Disney and the red regular players, if they come backwards to that square or are moved there, they get to head to their home instead of going the long way around.

We had fun.

Strategy Sorry ~ Lifeofjoy.meHave you ever played Strategy Sorry? We learned if from the Hasbro computer game of Sorry. You get dealt five cards at the beginning and get to choose which card to use on your turn and then pick one up from the draw pile to replace it. Makes Sorry lots more fun for older players. :)

Well, I’ve gotten long winded again and will let you go for now.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº