Monthly Archives: September 2017

Holiday Decor and Liam’s Vacation with Us

I’m going to have to learn how to put videos up on this site soon. I’ve had a couple of cute ones I would have liked to have shared if I knew how. I had captured those ducklings I shared a few Thursdays ago on video. Then last week when Tiffany and I were running errands we went to Big Lots. They always have some of the cutest holiday stuffed Christmas decor that moves and plays music. They have one this year that looks and sounds a bit like a monster from Sesame Street. :D

Christmas Decor ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe spins around the floor ‘singing’ a Christmas song. Very fun! (I figured out how to capture a still from the video.)

That’s about the extent of my non-Liam news. Brian and Lauren were able to go on a cruise and we get to keep Liam while they are gone because a boat is no place for a toddling child. He’s hardly stable on solid ground, let alone a boat or worse yet, solid ground after being on a boat. :D

I have decided that what I have heard is true: it is more fun being a grandparent than a parent! :) Don’t get me wrong, I love having him here and would not have had it any other way. But he reminded me how hard it is to be consistent with discipline day in and day out. I think I like being grandma best. :)

Fun being a Grandparent ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think I’ve probably said it before but this boy loves food! He even loves watching food being made.Liam loves food~ Lifeofjoy.meA few days before Liam got here, I got a package from Trim Healthy Mama and decided to save the box for him to play with. Usually kids like boxes and he did enjoy it for a little bit.

Box fun~ Lifeofjoy.meBut soon he gave up on it and played with the blocks his mommy left for him. :)

Mega Blocks ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was fun to have Michael get some of the toys I’d saved from the kids out of storage and have him enjoy playing with them.

Toys ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was trying to figure out what real food I could feed this foodie. I boiled a couple of sweet potatoes for him to have with some meals. It’s really easy. I seasoned them with a bit of cinnamon. He seemed to enjoy them and has eaten both of them over the last several days.

Sweet Potato for lunch ~ Lifeofjoy.meAmong the fruits he’s eaten and enjoyed this week are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, orange, and a peach. Fruit is not his food struggle, neither is meat. His struggle is vegetables. He seemed to like the sauteed broccoli and cauliflower we had near the beginning of his stay. He also seemed to like the creamy cabbage and chicken we had one night.

One day I tried to feed him some canned vegetables and he did not like it at all. I realized that I wouldn’t like it either. So I decided to cream them up. He ate some after that. The other night I gave him the rest of them added to some quinoa and he liked that.

Yesterday I was looking for a veggie for him to eat and realized I had a piece of “Cake for Dinner” which has a lot of undetectable radishes in it. He liked it.

Cake for Lunch ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I’ve rambled long enough. I’ll save some stuff for next week. Life is a bit more boring without him here. :D

So, Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Children and Tempers

Snack Cup ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had the joy of keeping my one year old grandson Liam this week while his parents were on a cruise, which is not the place for a toddler who is beginning to walk, as he falls down enough on solid ground. ;)

The name Liam means “strong willed warrior and protector” according to and he is definitely living up to his name! I thought my boys were strong-willed but this little fella is definitely giving them a run for the title, that is for sure! I think it is very important to consider the meaning of a name before naming children for this very reason.

It is important to make them obedient without breaking their will. Now I know this sounds contrary but it really isn’t. It is about letting them grow up to be the person God intends for them to be but it is also necessary that they learn to submit their will to the authorities in their lives. Sadly, this takes a lot of discipline and consistency on the parents’ part. As I’ve written before, I think it is part of the reason God made us to desire children when we are younger, so that we learn discipline as we train our children.

We don’t want children to be weak and go along with everything anyone tells them but we do want them to obey God and the people in authority in their lives. It is in their best interest to correct them and follow through with what you say. If you tell a child not to touch something and they do, you need to smack his/her hand. It need not be a hard smack but say no and tap their hand or leg. And every time they do it, smack him/her again.

I have a humidity gauge that sits on the coffee table. When Liam first started pulling up at it, I told him ‘no’ when he touched it and removed his hand from it. Every time he went to touch it, I forcefully said ‘no’ again. If he continued on and actually touched it, once again smacked his hand and removed it from it. Now every time he comes over, he mostly leaves it alone. But as I mentioned, he will try and get away with it occasionally. The other day, he picked it up and tried to walk off with it. I had to reinforce that he is not to touch it. I said, “Llliiiaaammm, no no.” He immediately dropped it, otherwise, I would have smacked him again.

Since then, he’s left it alone, except yesterday when I walked out of the room. Michael said he attempted to touch it but he reaffirmed that he’s not supposed to touch it and he’s left it alone since.

It takes a lot disciple to train children. Let us not forget that we should pray for them as well. Pray that they will learn to be obedient and submissive to God and the authorities in their lives.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Another New Tile

Laura is back with the Diva Challenge this week after having a fun and busy summer. Although I expected the challenge to be to use the newest tangle released from Zentangle, Spoken, she went a completely different way. This week’s challenge is to have at least two squares.

I immediately imagined two squares that overlap in the middle of the tile and thought to use Paradox in the squares. (I decided I should have a picture of the string and didn’t feel like getting up to scan it, so I took the lazy route and just snapped a quick shot with my phone.)

A New Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo then I decided to start with paradox in the small square in the middle but it’s been so long since I’ve used it, I lost the muscle memory for drawing it and had to remind myself. Unfortunately it wasn’t until after I’d made a few ‘opportunistic’ lines (because I know there are no mistakes with Zentangle, even when it feels like one ;) ).

I attempted to turn the tile over and redraw the string but I couldn’t get it as good as I had the first time, even after erasing 3 times. So I decided to just go with the one I’d already started on the flip side.

Then I realized that I wasn’t liking how it would look if I used the squares I had originally planned and opted to use the squares that don’t overlap for my Paradox. The cool thing about this string is that there are LOTS of squares to choose from even though I only drew two.

I checked Square One: Purely Zentangle’s focus tangle and thought I could add it in too. It is a nice flowy tangle–Fleavy. I decided to add it in each of the original squares that were now empty.

I also checked out the tangle for the day over on and found it to be Zavatar Love. This tangle looked like it could fit nicely with Fleavy. Unfortunately I drew it too small and didn’t feel confident enough to add another.

Here is the tile before shading.

A New Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m soooo glad for learning how to shade because I don’t fret over my inability to draw straight lines. :D

Here it is shaded.

A New Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really feel like this could benefit from some blackened areas but am not sure where to do it. I feel as insecure about blackening as I did when I first started to shade (afraid I’d mess up all my hard work).

My instinct is to blacken it in between the left Fleavy and Paradox square and then again in the white space above the other Fleavy. Maybe I’ll try it with a digital program and see how I like it and then I can tell if I really want to do that or not.

My favorite pieces are ones that have the contrast of some areas blackened in  and shaded well. Oh the learning curve is scary but fun when you’ve done it a while.

So what do you think?

Thanks in advance for your kind and encouraging comments. I really appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


ACV Drink ~

Cream Soda ACV Drink

A better tasting way to drink Apple Cider Vinegar and obtain the health benefits from it, including gut health and weight loss.

Until several weeks ago, I had never had a urinary tract infection. Yes, that was until several weeks ago. I wasn’t even sure what was happening then but Michael did some research and discovered not only was it a UTI but that I needed to drink a lot of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with the “mother”.

I do not like ACV! Not at all. As a matter of fact, when I make Good Seasons Italian dressing at home from the package, I use less vinegar than it calls for because I dislike it so.

In order to drink it three times a day, I put two tablespoons in a cup of water (about 8 ounces), to which I’d add a bit of pure stevia extract powder. I drank this with my breath held. Thankfully the UTI was healed and I could cease drinking the ACV for that reason but there are many healthy reasons to drink ACV. So, I thought, I’ve heard about Trim Healthy Mamas Good Girl Moonshine which features ACV, maybe I can find one that will be tolerable. ;)

And here it is! Cream Soda Good Girl Moonshine

Yes, you can taste the ACV in the beginning but the after taste is yummy caramel. And it is easy to make. You could just put all the ingredients in any quart size container but Tiffany likes to mix it up thoroughly in a blender. She was kind enough to make it and take pictures for me. She made both of us a batch, but I will give you the directions for a single batch.

Begin with a cup of water

Cream Soda ACV Drink Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar that has the “mother” included

Cream Soda ACV Dring Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe 1 teaspoon of collagen is what gives it the creaminess. I use the  one from Trim Healthy Mama (THM).

Cream Soda ACV Dring Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext we add sweetener to personal preference. We each like 1/16th teaspoon of pure stevia extract (THM brand, which is 2 doonks) and one and a half teaspoons sukrin:1, which is an erythritol stevia blend sweetener.

Cream Soda ACV Dring Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meCream Soda ACV Dring Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext add 1/4 teaspoon each vanilla and caramel extracts.Cream Soda ACV Dring Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow add 1/2 teaspoon MCT or coconut oil.Cream Soda ACV Dring Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd finally a pinch of mineral salt

Cream Soda ACV Dring Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meIf it is put in a blend, whir away. If you put it directly into your quart jar, shake well.

Cream Soda ACV Dring Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meFill the quart container with ice. If using a blender, fill the container with ice and pour the mixture over the ice. Next fill the rest of the container with water and shake to blend.

Sip your way to better health. :)

Cream Soda ACV Drink


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons ACV
  • 1 teaspoon collagen
  • 1/16 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon caramel extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon MCT or coconut oil
  • 1 pinch mineral salt
  • ice cubes


  1. Combine all the ingredients other than the ice and blend well.
  2. Fill a quart container with ice.
  3. Pour the blended ingredients over ice.
  4. Fill the remaining space in the container with water.
  5. Shake and drink

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Change and Growth

Change and Grow ~ Lifeofjoy.meEven when I think I’ve finally gotten it together, I realize that I can still grow and better myself.

Yes, I know, that’s pretty vague. Let me explain a bit.

I was pretty frustrated with Michael about somethings. I don’t remember what they are. I remember thinking that God needed to change Michael and convict him of how he was treating me.  And then I remember God convicting me. I then immediately felt that I also needed to change . . . I needed to act differently. That is NOT what I wanted to hear. I wanted justification but God wasn’t letting me off the hook. ;)

Was God telling me that Michael was right?  NO!  What he was telling me was that I had some changing of my own to do.

Did I want to hear that? Nope! But I took it and I apologized and tried to behave better.

So I encourage you today, that the next time you are in a situation where you are frustrated with someone, ask God to help you rise to the occasion and grow from it. It will not be easy but it will be worthwhile for you.

Until next time, God bless,


Decluttering, Working on Stubborn Weight, and the Grandson

Wow, where has this week gone? We had a nice hermit style staycation last weekend. You can read about it on my post here. Tuesday I was extremely productive and got rid of a bunch of clutter in my craft room. Okay, I call it a craft room but really it is a catch-all room. If someone doesn’t know where to put something they stuff it in there. It gets cluttered very easily! Even after I’ve cleaned part of it.

Decluttering ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat is two garbage bags of container that I finally decided I could let go of.  Of course, you and I both know that I’m going to need some of those bins, containers, and jars now that I’ve gotten rid of them.

Another day I was really working on my menu and grocery list. I’m trying the Trim Healthy Mama Stubborn Losers suggested menu this week. It is set up for one, so lots of the recipes are single serve and thus I had to figure out quadruple batches of some. Others I’ll need to substitute out because I do not currently eat cottage cheese on bread.

I’ve spent a lot of time on it to thoroughly follow all the recipe suggestions, which then opens another tab on my browser. I’ve got way too many open right now. I’m just going to need to print of the recipes I need that aren’t in the cookbook I have. I’m always very cautious when starting a new eating plan. I approach it with much research so that it doesn’t seem so foreign when I start. I remember when I started Keto, I had a similar problem of the menu being planned for one person but I’m feeding a family. With the keto menu plans, they have you making a family size dish and eating several meals from it throughout the week, which did not work for us. At leas this isn’t like that. So I probably over bought veggies but I didn’t want to lack. I’ve got to learn to eat veggies. Keto doesn’t push veggies.

I made a strawberry slushee from the THM Cookbook this week. If I have more than about two items sweetened with sugar alcohols, I get a bit gaseous or crampy, so I’ve been increasing the doonks of stevia I’m using and lowering the sugar alcohol in my snacks throughout the day. The slushee would’ve been really really good if I’d have used some Sukrin:1 instead of all stevia but it was still pretty good just with the stevia.

THM Strawberry Slushee ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was really quite good. It was a little warm, so it was melting, thus the straw and the spoon. :) I will definitely make it again, especially if I need to chill off.

We have Liam for a while, as Brian and Lauren were gifted with a cruise vacation and they felt it best not to take him with them. I can only imagine how tough it would be on him having just started walking. He’s already a bit wobbly; I cannot imagine how frustrated he’d be on a boat and that unsettling movement. ;) Sooooo, there will be some Liam pictures next week. :) That is, if I remember to take some. :D

I hope you have a wonderful weekend; we will. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


How I Organized Our Homeschool

Organize Homeschool ~
This is a very old picture that I dug to find. Unfortunately it isn’t the best. ;)

While the children were here and we homeschooled (they are all grown and one has married and moved on their own), each of my children had a crate to put their individual things into. They each had a notebook with paper and a pouch of pens, pencils, and a pencil sharpener. They had any workbooks that were specific to them in it also.

I also had a place to put my books, on one of my bookshelves. We had bookshelves lining our hallway walls and in the living room too. There were also bookshelves in each of their rooms, because I love books and have a lot of them.

I made a routine for us to follow, so that the children knew how to proceed throughout their day. It gave them some control and I was sure we got certain things done every day. Of course there were things they could not do without me. When they came to that subject in the routine, if I was not ready, they’d ask me and I could either stop what I was doing or tell them to skip it and we’ll do it later.

We all did the school work in the living room or the dining room. Occasionally, they might go and do in another room but generally speaking, we were all together in one room for the better part of the day. It built a great togetherness and we each learned how to focus on whatever it was we were doing all while still being together. Thus we could share something with the others when we were moved by something. It built common experiences. I believe this was foundational in the closeness of our family.

I hope this gives you some idea how you can organize things for your homeschool. You don’t have to have a special place/room or equipment to home educate your children.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Btl Joos Shellmound

There is no Diva Challenge this week because Laura’s kids are headed back to school and they are running around getting things together for that and no time available for the challenge. Thankfully I had seen that Square One: Purely Zentangle had Blt Joos as its focus tangle for the week and I always like Btl Joos, not that I use it much but I do like it.

Then I checked out the tangle of the day over on Pattern-Collections, as well as their string of the week. I decided I could use both. So here is string 49 and Shellmound. I added some striping and sparkle to shellmound and some sparkle to btl joos as well.

I did lose track of which sections should be blackened on Btl Joos a couple of times and then decided to put dots on the ones that were to be blackened to keep it from happening again. Thankfully, I think I was able to lighten it enough with white pen over the ‘opportunity for creativity’ and then shade over it.

Here is the tile before shading.
No DC ~ Then here it is blackened.

Btl Joos Shellmound ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can see, I’d started shading when I realized I should probably take another scan.

Here is the final. I used my 6B pencil for the darkest shading, to give it some good depth.

Btl Joos Shellmound ~ Lifeofjoy.eWell that is it for today. I’m supposed to have my grandson Liam for the next week and a half, which I’m looking forward to. Thus, I’ve got to get some things done around here before he comes. ;)

I hope you have a great week. Thanks for stopping by. And an extra special thanks for any comments you leave, they always encourage me so.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


Cottage Berry Whip ~

Cottage Berry Whip

A surprising and refreshing snack so good even someone that doesn’t care for cottage cheese (me and my kids) enjoy it! Oh! And it is EASY!

This refreshing treat has only two ingredients and sweetener of your choice. I use an inexpensive food processor to whip it up in a jiffy. :)

I got this recipe from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. They are incredible and amazing! I would never have thought of combining these ingredients but it works.

Put 1/2 cup cottage cheese (use whatever percentage you desire – those on THM will want to use low fat).

Cottage Berry Whip ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd 1/2 cup frozen strawberries. (You can use whatever frozen fruit you desire, although if you use all blueberries, it will be a bit carby and thus a THM E. We tried using peaches and it was a bit chalky, so we added strawberries and saved it. We also have tried frozen mixed fruit successfully for an E as well.)

Cottage Berry Whip ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext add your sweetener of choice. I went with a doonk of pure stevia extract and half a tablespoon of sukrin: 1. I actually prefer the taste using all sukrin:1 or even xylitol but I have to watch how much I use in a day or I get intestinal discomfort. ;)

Cottage Berry Whip ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat’s it! You may recognize that this is a lot; I made a quadruple batch here to be enjoyed by all four of us.

Blend until smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl once and finish blending.

Cottage Berry Whip ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat’s all there is to it. Serve it right away. Cottage Berry Whip ~

Cottage Berry Whip


  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese (I used low-fat Daisy brand)
  • 1/2 cup frozen fruit (I used strawberries)
  • 1/32 (one doonk) pure stevia extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sukrin:1


  1. Place all ingredients into the food processor and blend. Use whatever sweetener you prefer and in whatever amounts you like.)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Hermits Staycation

Hermit Staycation ~
Tiffany and Sean goofing around.

It’s Labor Day Weekend! Happy Labor Day to all those hard workers in America. We decided to take a few days off and do nothing. We thought about going somewhere for the weekend but decided that as hermits, we like just being at home. So, we decided to save ourselves some money and sequester ourselves. ;)

I’ve tried to shower Michael with sweets and stuff he likes, giving him time to do things he enjoys doing. We’re watching videos, reading books, playing games, and enjoying being together. :) We are content and don’t need other places to make us happy. We enjoy being hermits. :D

It doesn’t take a lot to have a time of refreshing. Of course, if you do it at home, all of a sudden those back-burner projects start screaming and you are tempted to work on them but don’t. It’s good to have ‘rules’ in place, so that you don’t end up working when you are supposed to be relaxing. ;)

Some of our rules are that no one cooks or cleans alone. Don’t do ‘work’ or the things we usually do. This is a time to ‘get away from it all’. We all help each other so it isn’t a burden on anyone. I told Tiffany today that I think ‘housekeeping’ needed to change the sheets on my bed. She looked at me and said, I’m not housekeeping! :D I really meant I should do it but I think I’ll end up waiting until Tuesday when we are all ‘back to work’.

That’s our budget-friendly staycation. Hope you have a great holiday weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº