Monthly Archives: August 2017

Observing Nature or Nature Study

Nature study is really a simple thing. There are many things to look at and discover throughout your days and weeks. Here are some pictures I’ve accumulated over several weeks.

Since our cats are not ‘fixed’, we get to enjoy the miracle of life and also experience the sadness of death. They are outside cats. The first cat that adopted us was a smart cat and only got pregnant once per year. When she died and we replaced her, this cat was not as smart and ended up pregnant more often. Unfortunately, we have experienced the sadness of death many many times with our cats. But it is neat to see newborn kittens and watch them as they grow up.

Here are two of our kittens.
Animals ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is fun to watch as they learn to hunt. This is the reason we have them, to hunt mice, moles, gophers, and any other pests they can get rid of.Cat Hunting ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then just to watch them interact with each other and their habits is interesting.

Kittens on a Rail ~ Lifeofjoy.meRight after I snapped this picture they both opened their eyes and looked right at me.

Kittens on a Rail ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen we were out planting flowers, I saw this bug.

Bug ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t know what kind it is but during our homeschooling years, we would have gotten out the insect books to try and make that determination.

One day I looked out and saw this.

Animals ~ Lifeofjoy.meDo you see it?

Nature Study ~ LIfeofjoy.meFor a while, we were seeing lots of these. I’m not sure if they are still about and I’m just not catching them or if they have moved on or proceeded on the circle of life. ;)

Then one day my hubby pointed out this critter.

Turtle ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, this one is hard to see . . . how about now?

Turtle ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis one is larger than we’ve had walk around the house before. Usually it is a box turtle; I’m not sure what this one is.

It’s rained quite a bit around here lately. One day these popped up. Mushroom ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen I first noticed them they were very domed. As they have matured thy have flattened out on top. Michael has since mowed the grass and now they are not. If we still had school aged children, I would have had him leave them until we can watch how they finish out their cycle.

Planting flower seeds and watching them grow is another great way to study nature.

Sunflowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe grew these from seeds we had saved from planting store bought seeds several years ago. We will dry some of these seeds and save them for next year. You can do the same with many flowers; marigolds is another easy one to do because the flower head dries out so quickly.

Then one week in the parking lot of the library I saw this.

Ducks at the Library ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t know where she ended up but they made it to the grass. It was neat to watch those little ducklings jump up the curb.

Duck Jump ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course, if Liam, my grandson, had been with me, I would have read Make Way for Ducklings when we got home or inside the library if we were staying for a while. :) It was so fun to see.

Just seeing these things and telling someone else what they saw is a good start at nature study. They can also draw what they see. Taking a picture of it is always a good idea too but not necessary. They can look up information about what they saw. Diagram it, labeling its parts. They can draw the life cycle of it.

In the case of planting seeds, they can have several pages where they are ‘documenting’ their plant growth. In the case of animals, they can find out what they eat and what might eat them. They can discover how it is born and how long it generally lives. You can go as deep as you desire or stay shallow by simply documenting what they see. It doesn’t have to be elaborate but if your child is interested in the topic, he/she can do more research via library or internet.

Bottom line is to be observant as you go throughout your days. Draw attention to the shape of the moon or that the moon is visible sometimes while the sun is still up. And then have them write something about it, assuming they are old enough. ;)

I have seen a hummingbird and a butterfly on the flowers out in the middle of my yard, from my living room window, all because I took the time to look. Just imagine what you might see!

I hope this inspires you to look around you and observe the wonder that is all around.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº



Fragment D-1, Jester, Abukas

This week’s diva challenge is brought to us by CZT Marguerite Samama. She challenged us to use fragment D-1. I had one idea of how it would turn out but then I made a new pattern instead (a.k.a. a mistake).

The Square One: Purely Zentangle focus tangle is Abukas by Charlotte Carpentier. I really liked this tangle. I don’t do Arukas very well but I like how this one turned out even though my black pearls didn’t turn out very good and look more like dots.

Over on Pattern-Collections the tangle of the day today is Jester by Dorothy Allison. It reminds me of a twist on Cadent and I *love* cadent. :) Unfortunately when I drew this tangle, I wasn’t quite sure how to overlap them. Then I added a very small one and that just cluttered everything. I wish I had stopped before doing that.

I chose to use the string of the week over on Pattern-collections, which is number 46. In true Zentangle fashion, this didn’t really turn out anything like I thought it might but that is okay. I was in the zone because, once again, I began shading right away, if only to cover up mistakes the new fragment variations I inadvertently created. Then I realized I hadn’t taken my pre-shading scan.  So here it is, almost before shading. :D

Preshaded DC#329 ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, I’m not too good at the whole fragment thing. ;) But that’s okay. I think it is only the second time I’ve tried it.

Here is the finished tile.

DC#329 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt kind of reminds me of Fireworks. I think I’d like it better if I white out that tiny jester at the top of abukas. Hmmm, maybe it looks better a bit smaller.

DC#329 ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah,that covers up some of the wiggly lines a bit better. ;) No, I’m not being hard on myself. :D I enjoyed making the tile and that is what counts, or so I’m told. :D

Thank you for stopping by and a BIG THANK YOU for those that take the time to leave a comment . . . I sure love to read the encouragement. (I don’t reply to them because I figure nobody checks back for a reply, but know I appreciate every one of them.)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

My Journey to Trim Healthy Mama

THM Overview ~ Lifeofjoy.meI wrote about my diet journey a few weeks ago. Today I’m going to share some of my limited knowledge of Trim Healthy Mama (THM).

It’s been about ten years since sisters Pearl and Serene shared their dietary plan with the world. They have a fun, upbeat, chatty style of writing. I actually enjoyed reading their books. Oh, I should let you know that the original book they came out with in the beginning, from what I hear, was quite large and quite verbose. ;) About five years ago they released the plan in one book and the recipes in another. Both books are hefty but much less so than the original, so I understand.

I’m now going to give you the plan, as I understand it, in a nutshell.

  • sugar free, yep, like many other plans out there, you are simply going to need to get off of those sugars. Not to fear, there are plenty of good for you, natural sweeteners available and on plan. I wrote about our favorites (although I’m not sure about the fiber syrups and the sukrin gold, as to whether they are on plan or not).
  • all meals are anchored in protein, some with healthy fats and others with healthy carbs
  • no white potatoes, white rice, or regular pasta, you can, however, have sweet potatoes, brown rice, and miracle noodles.

Ha! That’s the nutshell version; the biggies that you need to know about this plan.

Here are a few details.

  • S meals = satisfying meals These meals are the ones where protein is anchor to fats. These are the meals that are like keto meals. So these are the ones I am most familiar with and lean towards for dinners. It is recommended that you have lots of leafy veggies and good low carb veggies with your S meals. However, we don’t want to abuse calories by having an excessive amount of fat. Fat does curb your appetite though, so eat enough.
  • E meals = energizing meals These meals are where you get to eat those lovely energizing carbs. Think oatmeal for breakfast or sweet potato or quinoa with dinner. Once again, this meal is anchored in with proteins, but ones of the low fat variety. Low carb veggies are good here too, as with all meals. The difficult part of these meals is only having 1 teaspoon of fat. I’d love to smear button on some sprouted grain bread but alas, only a bit is allowed.
  • FP meals = Fuel Pulls  These recipes are so low carb and low fat that they can be used with either S or E meals. They can occasionally be used as a stand alone meal to keep your body furnace guessing.

With this way of eating, the idea is to switch up the fuels so that your body doesn’t get lazy and only burn glucose and stuff all the fats on your body. But also so it doesn’t slow down in its burning of fats by only getting those as fuel.

Another key principle is to not eat less than three hours after finishing a meal. This gives the body a good amount of time to use up all of the fuel you have given it at which time you can switch fuels without  fear of burning both fuels at once. Once you are at or near goal weight, an occasion tandem fuel meal or crossover as they call them, is a good thing. These keep you from losing too much weight. :)

If you are hungry before the three hours, you need to take note of what you ate and add either more veggies or a bit more protein next time. For the time being, you can eat a FP snack or drink.

We’ve enjoyed having oatmeal and smoothies, quinoa and brown rice. It is nice to have these foods again, even with the limited fats allowed. In weeks to come, I’ll share some of our favorites with you. :)

I highly recommend reading the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book. Our local library had it and the cookbook, so I could try it before I bought it. I loved it so much that I purchased them. If you are looking for a balanced approach to eating, this is definitely it.

OH! When I saw that THM had products for sale, it ‘turned me off’ but somewhere, in the book maybe or in a podcast or somewhere, I learned the reason was because products that they recommended had changed and no longer viable products. After that happening several times, they resorted to making it themselves. They are also very careful to provide items at a very reasonable cost. In spite of starting out a bit skeptical, I ended up completely impressed.

I hope this has helped you get an idea of the program.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

It is Really a Question of Respect

It's About Respect ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t know about you but I struggle to keep calm when my husband is upset about something. I can usually handle it when it is a minor frustration but when it is a biggie, I handle it less well.

Michael is usually pretty easy going. His first answer for most questions is ‘no.’ Sometimes he makes his opinion so well known on a particular subject that sometimes I don’t even want to ask his opinion when the subject arises because, I already know what he will say, if I do ask him.

Recently a situation arose of a very minor nature. He got upset with me for not asking his opinion. He stayed upset for quite some time. I attempted to fix the situation but it was not working. Neither of us wanted to budge. I told him that I did not feel ‘cherished’. And then God showed me that I had disrespected him.

I felt slapped in the face. And then I was reminded of a line from National Treasure 2,

“Just because you may know what my answer is going to be doesn’t mean you don’t have to ask me.”

Well, I realized I had some changing to do. The problem is that I avoid asking his opinion on some subjects because I know what he will say and I don’t want to argue. But I guess God was telling me that I was wrong and I have to change. I am to give my husband respect . . . period.

In Genesis God put the man over the woman because she was deceived. It is a protection for the woman, not a sign of inferiority. To circumvent this protection, is disrespect. I must learn to ask and discuss without becoming frustrated.

So once again, in a situation where I felt I was in the right, God showed me that I was not. :\ But that is okay because I am continuing to learn and grow and become more like God would have me be. And don’t worry, there is no chance that I will become a doormat, I’m too . . . independent . . . strong-willed . . . stubborn . . . oh, I don’t know, but I think you get the point. ;)

I hope you can learn from my experience. Hey, I hope I can learn from my experience! :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Grandson Joys, Getting Behind, and New Game Fun

Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep! Liam was here this week. I love watching him. He had fun playing with our friend Meaghan and she was glad to get some baby cuddles in since her nephew lives FAR away.

Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course, he liked playing with Shiloh too.

Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can see from his shirt, he had a birthday this week too! :) AND he’s trying to walk a little bit . . . a couple steps here and a couple steps there.Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s a ham! When he saw I had the camera, he came over to me and was all giggly.Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlease forgive the out-of-focus pictures; I figure slightly blurry is better than none at all. ;)

Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, he’s got some teeth and cutting some more. They are bothering him a bit, as is usual, but it is making our normally really happy, sweet baby into a bit of a fuss budget at times.

Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meI just love that cutie pie! During one of his fussy bits, I decided to employ some distraction and had Tiffany put on a Veggie Tales movie (Jonah) and put him in his activity seat. But look at this picture . . . look who’s not watching it and who is! LOL :D

Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe finally calmed down and enjoyed playing until hunger struck. ;)

Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meAfter eating, I let him play outside of the seat for a bit, until nap time. Such a good boy. Yeah, I know, proud grandma!

Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s been a long time since I’ve ran errands with a little one, but we will conquer.

Yeah, he kept me pretty busy most of the week, a good busy. That boy can eat! Loved him some bananas and grapes. The only thing he wasn’t too hip on was the avocado. I guess it wasn’t ripe enough for his liking.

I got behind on my Bible reading plan. It was a good thing I was ahead a day because I ended up getting a day behind somehow. So I did catch up but didn’t manage to get back that extra day. Maybe this weekend, but probably not, unless rain keeps us from running to the storage unit and getting some of the kids OLD toys so Liam has some new ones to play with.

Gamehouse came out with a new Delicious Emily game. I don’t know why I like those so much, but I do. It is a time management game revolving around food/cooking. I missed its release until it had been out a few days but then I saw some people were having issues with black screens and slow play, so I waited. Then yesterday I saw they had fixed it and so I bought it but before I checked out, I noticed their coupon code box. So I googled for a coupon and found one for 50% off that day only! :) Woo Hoo! So I was able to get the $20 game for $10!!! Yay! AND I used money Michael gave me for my anniversary. AND I got more stamps on my gamehouse card, which filled it up and now I can buy a game 75% off! Yay! Win, Win, Win!

Well, I hope you have a great weekend. It’s supposed to rain all weekend here, which is always nice because we get some good rest and video watching in and I’ll get some game playing in as well.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Pets and Responsibilities

Pets ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen my kids were young, they wanted a dog. I made the prove that they could be responsible for the dog’s care by keeping the living room clean for a month. They were warned ahead of time that if they missed even on day, they’d have to start their month all over again. We started over again a couple times and in the end they knew that having a dog would be a job as well as fun.

I am not an animal person, so if we were getting a dog, they were going to have to agree to ALL of its care: potty walks, bathing, feeding, everything. They agreed to every bit of it. There were times I had to remind them that the dog was their responsibility and I wasn’t giving him a bath or feeding him. It was a good thing for my children.

I’m sharing an article with you about teaching responsibility through owning a pet. I hope it will give you some ideas for your children.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Teaching Responsibility through Pet Ownership

By Linda Brodsky

Mom, we’re coming home with a new member of the family,” my 17-year-old happily announced. “Oh boy,” I said. As a new widow, this was the last thing we needed—another pet. But this dog would officially be my “adopted” son’s pet and he would be responsible for all his care. He agreed if it didn’t work out, his mom, who recently lost her 14-year-old dog, would take him. But “Buddy” was currently on probation with us. When I first met Buddy, a St. Bernard mix, I said, “No way! He’s huge and he’s going to be a handful!” But his pitiful look and laid back ways made me give him a chance. Besides, I thought he would help my daughter through her grieving process.

A UK pet retailer, Pets at Home, surveyed 1000 children ages 5-16 who have pets in their homes. A high percentage of the children believe caring for a pet makes them more responsible, caring, happy and intelligent. 36% of the children said they have become more caring and 34% feel a greater sense of responsibility.1

What Does Pet Ownership Teach Kids?

Pets teach kids to be more caring towards others. Children generally are focused on their own needs. Having a pet will teach them to serve others’ needs as well.

Having a pet means the life and well-being of another living creature is in your hands. The biggest responsibility is love. It can take a lot of time, money and energy. You have to be committed and work hard. Before pet ownership, there are certain things that must be considered such as the pet’s life span, how much time you and your child have to commit to your pet and the costs involved.

Before getting a pet, ask these questions: Why does the child want a pet? How mature is the child? Can he/she handle the responsibility and if not, will you help? How will the new pet affect the rest of the family and other pets already in the home?

Pets can be a very positive experience for children. They offer companionship, entertainment and education. However, they require care, attention and maintenance and also involve a financial commitment. They teach great responsibility, but the rewards can be very positive! The children also need to learn what happens when they don’t take care of their pets. And we have had several accidents or deaths when proper care was not given.

Part of pet responsibility is how children treat their pets. There are certain behaviors that should be banned, otherwise the child may be at risk of getting bit or scratched by the pet. They can also seriously hurt the animal. Excessive hugging and kissing, chasing, running, screaming, poking, teasing, handling roughly and riding on, are all behaviors that should be avoided.

Responsibilities of Pet Ownership

Children may need adult supervision when interacting with some pets. Don’t expect too much from younger children. For example, cleaning a cat’s litter box can be very dangerous, as small children touch their eyes and mouth and may not properly wash their hands after doing the task. Don’t overwhelm the child. It will discourage them from taking care of the pets and therefore will resent them. Then the pets will be the ones who suffer in the long run.

Here are some ways to encourage responsible behavior:

  • Praise your child every time a pet chore is done without having to ask
  • Try to reward your child in a way with a fun pet activity
  • If they start to lapse on their responsibility, offer gentle reminders
  • If problem persists, sit down with your child and see what can be done to make it more effective
  • Be a good example yourself

Parents must be clear about the responsibilities of pet ownership before a pet is received. And if a child does not care for the pet as she should or neglects assigned duties, perhaps a loss of privileges should be the consequences.

The lifelong commitment and responsibility to a pet ultimately rests on the adults in the house, not the children. If you’re not sure whether your child is read for a pet, especially a cat or a dog, consider fostering an animal for a short while. This will serve several purposes; you and your child can see what it actually requires to take care of this type of pet and animal rescue organizations are always in need of care for strays or abandoned pets. Your child may also want to volunteer at the local shelter to become familiar with what it takes to own a pet.

Throughout the years we have had every kind of pet imaginable: cats, dogs, parakeets, cockatiels, parrots, guinea pigs, fish, toads, gecko lizards, rabbits, hermit crabs and even a three foot long iguana! In fact, our children have had so much experience with different animals that they even started their own pet-sitting businesses. That’s a whole new level of responsibility.

As for Buddy, well he had a few mishaps, but he’s one of the sweetest, most easy-going dogs I’ve ever met. He gets an A on his probation report!

Having a pet is an incredibly rewarding experience for your children and can provide a lifetime of memories, education, responsibility and most of all, love.

Ages and Responsibilities for Pet Ownership

Toddlers to age 5:

-help parents put food and water in pet dishes

-clean and put away pet dishes

-put away pet toys

-help with brushing and grooming

-play with the pet

Ages 5-10:

-put food and water in dishes, still with some adult supervision

-heavier level of help with cleaning and maintenance of pet areas

-grooming and bathing, depending on size and personality of the pet

-help with exercise and walking, depending on size and personality of the pet

-clean up after pet when it goes to the bathroom

Ages 10 and up:

-all aspects can be responsibly assumed unless it’s a large, unruly animal

Low, Medium and High Maintenance Pets

Low Maintenance Pets

Fish – Perfect “starter” pet

Beta fish require no filter, heater or aerator

Goldfish don’t require a filter but it is good to have one

Insects & Arthropods – Ant farms and hermit crabs are easy, educational and fun

Sea Monkeys” (Brine shrimp) – Tiny crustaceans that are fun and very educational can be bought in kits with minimal care and can survive a year or more!

Reptiles – (Gecko lizards, toads, turtles, snakes)

They are non-allergenic so they make great pets for those that may be allergic to pet hair and dander

They are also very educational and fun

However, they need vitamins, heat and a light source

Small Birds – (Parakeets, canaries, finches) Birds are pretty easy to take care of and they are very educational and fun

However, they can be messy!

Rodents – Hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, gerbils are all very educational and fun

However, they could be high allergens, especially guinea pigs

Medium Maintenance Pets

Cats – Cats are great for when there is limited space and you can’t get a dog

They are very independent and usually friendly

Dogs – A dog is a kid’s best friend too – we found that our boys especially love dogs, but they do require a bit more responsibility

Great kid-friendly breeds are Labs, Retrievers, Poodles, Airedale terriers (which we are biased to since we had one that was absolutely awesome! Clifford was ten years old when he passed away and we talk about him all the time. He was the best dog ever!)

High Maintenance Pets

Larger birds such as parrots, horses, chickens, goats, sheep, exotic animals such as chimpanzees, pigs, llamas, etc.

Linda Brodsky, along with her late husband Mark, owned and operated Brodsky Ministries, an online resource for curriculum, homeschool t-shirts, natural health and beauty products and general Christian materials for over 12 years. She has written numerous articles and a book, Fruit of the Womb: Our Journey to Joy in the Morning which can be ordered through her website Linda has done seminars at homeschool conventions throughout the country, speaking about nutrition and child safety. She will be writing and speaking about homeschooling through adversities in 2014. She can be reached at

Copyright, 2014. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine, July/August 2014. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Scute Aloha

This week’s Diva Challenge is brought to us by Suzanne Fluhr who brings us this month’s UMT (use my tangle) challenge. She chose her Aloha tangle since it has been pinned over a thousand times. I guess people like it. :D

It looks simple enough but I had to have a practice run  try this one a second time (a.k.a. it didn’t turn out right the first time and I had to flip the tile over and start over).

I decided to add the Square One Purely Zentangle focus tangle to this tile, which is Scute by Lily Moon. I love Lily’s art! She does such beautiful work. She produced a nice video tutorial for it as well.

Since Lily showed how to shade Scute in her video, I proceeded to begin shading immediately and completely forgot to scan the tile before doing so. I didn’t even realize that I hadn’t stopped to scan it until I was finished and was preparing to scan it. :D

So here it is.

DC#328 ~ Lifeofjoy.meNot my favorite tile but . . .

I hope you’ll leave me a comment; they’re very encouraging.

Have a great day!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Natural Sugar Alternatives

While at the baby shower on Saturday, I talked to some ladies about not eating sugar and what we use instead. So today I thought I’d share some of the sweeteners we use. I do not get any compensation for sharing this information at all.

Our favorite sweetener, by far, is Sukrin: 1. Gentle Sweet and Swerve are also very good.Sugar Alt ~ Lifeofjoy.meThese are all blends of erythritol and stevia and are all very good.

For my morning tea, I prefer Xylitol but I only buy the Xyla brand because it is made from birch and not corn.Sugar Alt ~ Lifeofjoy.meBut to cut back on how much I need, I supplement with some stevia. Now not just any old stevia will work. In my tea, it must be stevia glycerite.

Sugar Alt ~ Lifeofjoy.meSometimes a recipe will require more sweetness than a one for one substitution for sugar. In this case we generally use Sukrin +. Another one we could use is Super Sweet from Trim Healthy Mama. (I like their products because they did not start out to sell products but fell into it because other suppliers changed their formulas making the products unusable. So they started their own company.)

Sugar Alt ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnother wonderful product to have on hand replaces powdered sugar: sukrin melis. This product comes from Norway. Melis is icing sugar or powdered sugar but is finely ground erythritol and stevia. Swerve has a powdered version as well. However, if you cannot find these, you can grind any of the granular ‘sugars’ in a coffee grinder. I bought one solely for this purpose.Sugar Alt ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnother vital sugar replacement is for brown sugar. Sukrin Gold is good. It is a prebiotic. I will say though that some people’s blood sugar is influenced by this one, so be careful with it.

I also like to have some pure stevia powder on hand. I don’t generally use it by itself but it is a good sweetness booster in very small amounts. It is very economical too.

Sugar Alt ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis next one is essential in my son’s diet. :D We use the Sukrin fiber syrup gold for pancakes and such. It too is a prebiotic and also has been known to affect some people’s blood glucose level, so once again, be careful.

Sugar Alt ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn the beginning, we did not care for the clear syrup but then one day I added some cocoa powder to some and made a delicious chocolate syrup. We’ve also used it on ‘strawberry shortcake’ when we didn’t slice and sweeten the strawberries far enough in advance.

Finally, is my stash of liquid stevia sweeteners. I do not care for these as stand alone sweeteners but they are good sweetener boosters. When a recipe calls for drops of sucrose or your favorite liquid sweetener, I choose the stevia concentrate.

Sugar Alt ~ Lifeofjoy.meSince I have these I add them with melis to fat bombs to add flavor as well as sweetness, well, all except the peach. I like to add the peach to a cup of tea but I have to be very careful with it because there is a fine balance not enough and too much. ;)

That’s it! We get the sukrin products from The Swerve, Sweetleaf stevias, stevia glycerite, and Xyla we purchase at Sprout’s but have also purchased these at Akin’s, along with the peach stevia. Of course, the Trim Healthy Mama sweeteners are from

I hope this helps you in your journey to a sugar-free lifestyle.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Advice for New Parents

Advice ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had the blessed opportunity to attend the baby shower for a first time mommy that I have known since she was just a teen. She is dear to my heart. Her sister hostessed it and did a great job. One of the things she did was provide note cards for everyone to write advice or whatever to her. This was such a good idea because it is written in a good format that is easily passed on to the mommy without any extra work or fear of loosing a slip of paper.

I thought I’d share my advice here with you today. Yes, I do know this is Marriage Monday and I’m talking about a baby shower which would seem to fall into Thoughtful Thursday’s topic of raising children and educating them. But there is some overlap and I think you’ll see that this post fits here nicely. :)


I know this one is obvious but so many times it is the one thing I overlook when dealing with a new situation. When I’m reminded to pray about it I ‘smack my head’ because it is just so simple and fundamental. But seriously prayer, even about the little things like how should I feed him, where should he sleep, how much should he sleep, when should I feed him, when do you start giving him water, when should you discipline him, when should you teach him to put away toys . . . these are all little things that if you ask God how to deal with them and ask God to help you, your spouse, and your little one with the situation, you will get guidance from Him. That guidance may be in the form of a blog post that comes just at the right moment, a comment from a friend, advice from a mentor, a book, video, or some other unique way, after all, He is God. :)


Yep, that is a nasty word. I was talking to a gal at church yesterday and realized that I think God puts the desire to have children within us when we are younger to help work out our own character, as we train these new beings in our care. Children have a way of trying you over and over again and when you weaken once, that encourages them to keep trying in the future because hey, they let me get away with it before.

It doesn’t matter how tired you are, you need to be consistent. Even when you are a stay-at-home mommy and feel like you are always the bad guy, you still have to stay consistent. It is for your child’s benefit that you are disciplined to discipline him.


It is imperative to have your priorities straight! Remember God should be first and foremost in your life. I know it is tempting to cut back on your time with God when your sleep is disrupted but I admonish you not to do that. You can use time that you are nursing or feeding your little one to worship God or you can listen to an audio of the Bible, if you can concentrate on it. Your little one will benefit from being washed with the Word of God or being in His presence as you worship Him. Remember to spend time in prayer and if you are able, speak in tongues as this is praying the perfect will of God in your life.

Second is your marriage! Yep, even though that little being is reliant upon you, he would not even be there if it weren’t for the love you share with your hubby. I know you are tired but take time each day to really connect with your man. Make sure he knows that he has not been replaced. ;) Still give him attention and make your time together a priority. Don’t just give him the dregs of your day. Know that if he is asking if you want to be intimate, he is probably really asking if you will take time to be intimate with him. SAY YES!

Don’t forget to do something for yourself. Maybe it is a bath or taking 15-30 minutes to have a cup of tea and read a book or do some art, color, or even put on some music and dance. But remember to continue developing your hobbies or even start a new one, little bit by little bit.

Seek Godly Counsel

Finally, don’t be too prideful to ask a grandparent (or great grand parent or someone else) for advice when you are in a new situation. It is okay to seek advice from other mommies you know but how about asking an older person that has already been through the child-rearing years and produced some good kids. It will bless them that you thought enough of them to ask their advice. Of course, you don’t have to follow the advice, pray about what they said and follow God’s leading. If He led you to them in the first place, then odds are it is what you need but . . . ultimately it’s your decision to make.

These are my best pieces of advice. I hope they are an encouragement to you. If you have a question for me, I’d be happy to answer via blog post or private email; just leave a comment.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Liam Was Here! and My Third Blogiversary

We got to watch this little cutie last weekend!
Grandson Love ~ Lifeofjoy.meMichael is really good with him . . .

Liam and Grandpa ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat was totally unplanned! I love how they are making the same face!

Liam and Grandpa ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow it looks like they are looking at each other through the corner of their eyes. :D

Since Brian and Lauren were bringing him out around brunch time, we had them eat breakfast with us . . . pancakes, oven bacon, sausage, and eggs . . . Yum Yum!

Pancakes and Liam ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe had some scrambled egg (a first since Lauren doesn’t like eggs), a few bits of sausage, and pancakes! (These are keto pancakes, so they are very healthy.)

This boy loves food!

Lunch for 11 mo ~ Lifeofjoy.meLunch was a slice of deli turkey meat, cut into small bites. One grape tomato cut into small bits, and some peas. He is not fond of that sippy cup though.

Liam's lunch ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then he had some grapes . . .

Crunchers too ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then some crunchers! You can see in that one that he was finally slowing down. :D

Old Fashioned Sippy Cup Works ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe does pretty good with this old fashioned sippy cup for about two sips and then he either lays it down or drops it on the floor. Oh well, he’s learning. :)

I don’t think he was very happy about being confined but there are just times you need him to be immobile and not in a high chair. :D

Liam's Confinement ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe did seem to enjoy playing with these old friends of his for a bit though.

He spent the night and enjoyed more pancakes the next day too, after eating his morning cereal.

Ready to eat ~ Lifeofjoy.meNotice he has a spoon in his hand? That a trick Lauren and Brian taught me, to keep his hands off the spoon I’m feeding him with. Pretty smart!

I cannot believe how blonde his hair is! You can really tell it in the picture above. Brian and Lauren both have dark brown hair, so this is surprising.

That picture reminds me a lot of one I saw of Michael when he was young.

Young Michael ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd now I know from where Liam got his ears.

I got an app this week because Brian and Lauren suggested it as an easy way for me to get videos of Liam. I got it and played with it a bit, sending them videos since he was with me. But I have to say that I don’t think I like it very much. At least if you take a video with your phone and send it to someone you still have it on your phone. Of course it takes up space but it can be easily backed up to some other source, like I do with my pictures. I think that I will probably resort to that old method for my part but still use the app to get videos from them.

On a completely different subject, It’s my


Three years ago today, I started this blog in the hopes that I would be an encouragement to women out there somewhere. I hope this blog has been a blessing to you, encouraging you in your marriage (or preparation for marriage), good food, creativity, home educating your children and raising children in general. I hope my Friday ramblings have helped you get to know me a little better and that you might consider me a friend. ;)

In celebration of this three year accomplishment, I thought it was time to have a recipe index! So you can now find every recipe I’ve blogged, in alphabetical order, in one place. Just click on Recipe Index on the Menu Bar or right here, if you’d like. Now it is not beautified yet, but I figured I needed to just get it open and work on prettying it up later. :)

Well, I’m going to run. I have a busy week next week. I get to watch Liam for a few weeks while Lauren takes some classes. Tiffany is having  a friend out for a few days and we have a baby shower to go to tomorrow. I hope you have some fun planned for the weekend or next week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº