Monthly Archives: November 2017

Christmas Chapter Books for Littles

I thought I’d share a couple of Christmas books that are chapter books and thus could be spread out over several days reading. This might be good for those that are pretty busy during the Christmas season but still want to have an ongoing story to read.

Christmas Chapter Books ~ The first is One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham. It has eleven chapters. They are not very long chapters, for the most part, but you could read them with little ones.

This one reminds me of the Jesse Tree because she goes back and explains creation, the fall, the flood, and Abraham. Then proceeds to the nativity, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a lovely story that doesn’t just tell the nativity, which is unique for a Christmas story.

The second is The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas An Austin Family Story.

Christmas Chapter Books ~ Lifeofjoy.meI love this story so much I got put it on my Christmas list last year; as you can see, I received it. :)

This is one isn’t exactly a chapter book but it is long enough and broken down into days, leading up to Christmas. It can easily be divided up into several different readings. There are eleven places where you could break it up (well, you could break it up more if you wanted but, I wouldn’t do it any more than that). The first and last sections would be the longest. There are a couple of sections that are very small and could easily be read together. See the large letter O? There are nine more throughout the story and would be good stopping points.

Advent Book ~

This one is a delightful story about a new baby being born in the family and a child learning humility. I first got this one from the library on the recommendation of another homeschooler and loved it.

Either of these two books or both of them could easily be ready throughout the advent season without the pressure of something you have to do every day.

I hope you’ll consider these books for your holiday reading this year; I believe they’ll be a blessing to you and your family.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Tangling Largely

This week’s diva challenge is to go big. :) The only other tiles I have are 4×4 and that didn’t seem much larger than the normal tiles, so I pulled out my 6×6 sketchbook that I hardly ever (not in several years) use. I also pulled out my graphic one sakura pen.

I checked the focus tangle for Square One:purely Zentangle, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to post my tile there since it will be larger than the normal tiles. Tipple is their focus tangle. The tangle/pattern of the day today is Twisted Corners and yesterday’s was Lupin, over on These both looked promising as well.

Then I checked the string of the day there and then over on tanglepatterns. The one one tangle patterns, #250, appealed to me, so I went with it.

The first tangle I drew was Knightsbridge. The contrast of lots of black resonated with me as I drew and selected my tangles. The next choice was Hollibaugh, for the same reason. Then I went with Tipple. These are all comfort tangles for me, which does not mean that I draw them well, only that I like them and the balance of white and black with them. ;)
Then I decided to add Lupin in. Finally I decided to add Twisted Corners in the middle.

My shading was kind of all over the place with this one. Definitely no “fixed” light source today; I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s tough to do much good shading with so much black–it just doesn’t glide. ;)

Without further adieu, here is my zia before shading.
DC#341 ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd here it is shaded.

DC#341 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI am sooo thankful for your encouraging comments!!! It really makes my day. I appreciate you stopping by and viewing my artwork today.

Have a great day!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


Super Easy and delicious ham.

I just buy the cheapest ham. This time it was a shank for 98¢ a pound from Aldi.

I learned that you are supposed to cut off the skin. I was shocked. I had Tiffany takes some pictures while I prepped one of the hams for the Holiday Bash last Friday. Place it with the flat side down.

Ham Prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou only want to cut the thick hide, not the thin bit. Trust me, you should be able to know the difference.

Ham Prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meJust keep pulling the thick skin back and cutting the fat close to the skin.

Ham Prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meHam Prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meHam Prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen  score it diagonally by cutting lines into the ham, first one direction, and then the other.

Ham Prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meHam Prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meAt this point you can put a glaze on it if you like. The last time I made them, I didn’t even remember that I did this before and it was still very good. ;)

For those on a low carb, keto, or THM eating plan, you can substitute Sukrin Gold for brown sugar, Sukrin Fiber syrup gold for maple syrup or the clear for honey in the ‘recipes’ here. There are some directions for prepping the ham there as well. Here is another website with a glaze and some directions.

I used the 2/3 cup maple syrup and 1 tbsp mustard last time I used a glaze but next time I will use 2/3 cup Sukrin Fiber syrup gold with the mustard. I don’t really know what good the mustard is but I used it last time and it was good. ;)

Bake 350º for 1 to 1 1/2 hours for a 10-12 pound ham.

Unfortunately,  I did not get a picture of the cooked ham. I was a bit busy getting the party started. So, maybe the next time I make one for us I’ll get some pictures of the final product.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº



Commitment ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen you got married, that became God’s will for your life, whether it was His will before you got married or not. It is not His will that you and your husband part ways. Now, there are some extreme circumstances where it would be His will, abuse is one of them but I am not talking about that today.

Now that we’ve discussed that your marriage is now God’s will for your life, let’s talk about how to make the best of it. It is not easy to meld two people into one life but with God all things are possible. The biggest thing, in my opinion, is to be committed to your spouse. Just simply having your mind made up that you have made this commitment and you are going to see it through helps remove some of the struggle. If you are no longer deciding if you should get out, that doesn’t weigh on your mind any longer; it’s no longer something you even need to think about.

The next thing for women is to respect their husband. It does not say anything about the husband earning your respect. I know there are situations where this is very difficult but it is a biblical directive. Men need respect and they especially need it from their wives. Be a woman that build her husband up and does not tear him down. It is not your job to teach him, mother him, or show him how he is wrong; I think that is disrespect to a man.

If you see areas where your hubby needs to grow, pray about it asking God to deal with the situation and then be attentive to what God directs you to do or not do, as the case may be. It is not my job to nag Michael about areas that I think he needs to change. It is my job to respect him.

Now the man is to love his wife. Yep, I have found that this can be just as foreign to men as respect is to women. At least they have an example in Jesus and how he loves us. Love is easy for us women but the Bible does not tell use to love our husbands.

There is much written on love, respect, and the duties of husband and wife and I am not really doing that justice. My point today is that once you got married, the one you are married to is God’s will for your life. As I do little things for Michael he notices and it blesses him. The same is true of him and what he does.

I guess my bottom line today is be a blessing to your spouse, all the time. Pray for him. Respect him. And watch as he loves you more and more.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Holiday Bash Prep

Tiffany and I spent about six hours shopping, getting supplies for the Holiday Bash tonight. I absolutely love all parts of this event but it makes for a tiring week. ;) I think next year, if we do this, that I’ll get my own errands run the week before to cut down on the number of times I need to go into town during the week of preparation. You see, the day after spending six hours running around getting Bash supplies, we spent about four hours running our own errands.

One day Tiffany made some pumpkin facial masks. So she painted us both up.
pumpkin face ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, a blob dropped onto my shirt. I hope it washed out. Tiffany looks cute though! :D

Cute Pumpkin Mask ~ Lifeofjoy.meYesterday I had a great group of ladies helping me decorate. It is a simple decorating scheme and I, once again, did not get any pictures. I’ll try to remember to get some today and post them up here before the weekend is over.

Tiffany and I will be at the church most of the day cooking and finishing up some of the things that we didn’t get to yesterday. We’ve got turkeys, hams, red potatoes, radishes, and green beans to cook. Rolls will be brought, as will pies . . . pumpkin, apple, and pecan.

I was going to make a low-carb/keto/gluten-free/thm pecan pie and an apple pie. I got the pecan pie done but by the time I finally settled on what to do about the apple pie, it was too late to do it. Now if I weren’t going to be at the church using all available cooking devices, I’d make it there but alas.

I’m also excited this weekend because I may get to see Brian, Lauren, and Liam. We are celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday this weekend and will be discussing the upcoming holidays. It will be great to see them. If not, well, we’ll get to see them in a couple weeks, on Thanksgiving. I’m really quite spoiled and I know it! ;) I have a dear friend whose grandchildren live in other states, one even lives on the west coast–that’s far! If I had to, I’m sure I’d find a way to still be a part of is life but I’m thankful that he lives much closer than that.

Well, there’s much to do today! Better get going.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


Advent Books to Read

It is already November 9th and Thanksgiving is coming soon. I love this time of year but it moves so quickly. Before we know it, it will be a brand new year. :)

One of the things I liked to do during the Advent season when the kids were younger was to read an advent book. The ones I’m showing you today are for the older ones. Of course the younger ones in your family may also enjoy them but there are some tense scenes that may be too much for the littlest members of your family.

I’m sharing this week because you may need to order a book or request it from the library (if your system has it).

Advent Books ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have to admit that it has been quite a number of years since we’ve read this, so I don’t remember much of the story line. I do remember that we enjoyed it. We enjoyed it so much that I bought the sequels.

Advent ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdvent ~ lifeofjoy.meThe book would be started on Sunday, December 3. But if you think you may have trouble reading it every night, I guess you could start early. ;)

Give Jotham’s Journey a try this year, if you haven’t read it before. Next week I’ll share some books that can be read with the younger ones next week.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


I’ve got a really busy week this week. Here in the US, Thanksgiving is about two weeks away. We are having a holiday celebration on this Friday, which we are calling a Holiday Bash because we will celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all on the one night. I’m hostessing the event so I have a pretty busy week. Tiffany and I spent the day yesterday buying food, supplies, and paper products. By the time we got home I was sooo tired, I could hardly see straight.

I looked at the tangles for pattern-collections and Square One: Purely Zentangle but truth be told, I was too tired to work it all out. It’s a shame too because Membranart looks like fun!

I started in one corner of my tile and just began drawing Wibble. I was not very even about it, that is for sure. After I scanned it and started to shade it, I realized it wasn’t going to work. So I flipped the tile over and started again. This time I was a bit more simple and just one curved path across my tile from the bottom corner. Then I decided to add another little swag above, since it looked a bit barren.

I scanned in the first attempt, so I thought I’d share that with you but it is now on the backside of the second attempt. ;)

Wibble ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt actually might have worked out okay if I weren’t so tired. ;)

Here it is the second time around before shading.
DC#340 ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdding the auras really makes a big difference! I didn’t do a lot of shading but I did find that even running over the pen line with my pencil added some depth.

DC#340 ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can see, I was quite tired and couldn’t see very clearly, as I didn’t get some of those lines blended very well. It is what it is.

Maybe it will look better a little smaller, so you cannot see the how much more I needed to blend the shading.

DC#340 ~ Lifeofjoy.meHAHA! Yep, I like that better. :)

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it when you leave me a comment, as it is most encouraging!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


Pizza Salad ~

Pizza Salad

The flavors you love on a pizza over a bed of lettuce.

Well, we had a bit of a heat wave before the cooler temperatures are here, to stay I hope, and we had Pizza Salad.

Pizza Salad is super simple. You put whatever toppings you like on a pizza on top of a salad! Yep, I know, not really much of a recipe but it was good.

I took some chicken sausage links, removed the casings, and pinched it off into smaller pieces and browned them.

Browned Chicken Sausage ~ Lifeofjoy.meI also sautéed some onions and mushrooms because I love those on both pizza and a salad. :)

Make your base salad as plain or as jazzed up as you like. We just had some lettuce, a few sliced radishes, some diced yellow pepper, a little shredded carrot, and CHEESE the other night. I had some really good mozzarella from Aldi that we added to this with a little shredded cheddar. The mozzarella was really good and creamy.

Pizza Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meI cut up a roma tomato because I had one that needed to be used. I put it in a side dish because not everyone likes tomato.

The first time I made this, we used some Parmesan cheese instead of the other cheeses. We also add pepperoni, either turkey or regular.

Pizza Salad 1 ~ Lifeofjoy.meOh! Tiffany likes sun-dried tomatoes, so we have those available too. Seriously, this is all about whatever flavors you like on your pizza. :) We love meaty pizzas, so we even add bacon bits sometimes. Ham is not out of the question either.

Some times I cut the pepperoni into quarters and sprinkle throughout the salad.

I served it with a homemade catalina that used tomato paste in it. I cannot remember which one now but I think it was a mix of these two here  (eliminated the honey) and here (and I used an on-plan sweetener, not splenda).

Pizza Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meEach person’s plate of salad looks a bit different. To each his own. :)

Tiff's Pizza Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meSean's Pizza Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.mePizza Salad ~ lifeofjoy.meIt is almost silly to add a recipe but here goes anyway. :D

Pizza Salad


  • Lettuce or bagged salad (we like green leaf or butter leaf lettuce in a bag)
  • pizza toppings of choice:
  • pepperoni
  • sausage
  • bacon bits
  • ham
  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • mushrooms
  • tomatoes
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • cheese
  • shredded carrot
  • sliced radishes
  • dressing of choice, we use homemade Catalina or just plain olive oil


  1. Cook the sausage.
  2. Assemble the lettuce and any toppings liked by all diners.
  3. Place optional items in side bowls to allow each individual to have the amounts of each thing they desire.

I hope you enjoy this.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Holiday Prep and Planning

Holiday Planning ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, it is that time again. I simply love this season. The next two months are my favorite. I love the whole thing!

Now is the time to talk with your hubby about what you want to do for the holidays. Decide together what is important. I have grown children living at home, so we will also discuss this with them.

Things are changing in my extended family as well as my nuclear family. My oldest son Brian, my daughter-in-love Lauren, and precious grandson Liam now live two hours away and Lauren is working weekends. Things are definitely going to be different this year.

My mother had a difficult time last year with her health/knees and said she cannot host this year. So, we will be moving our gathering to my sister and brother-in-law’s home. Then with us being on Trim Healthy Mama, there is the whole question about food and how that will need to change (not necessarily to change the foods but decrease the amounts of foods).

Life changes. Some for the better and some for the worse but all it takes is the right attitude towards the changes and it’s all good. ;)

I have expressed my desire to go view some lights this year. The kids have shared their desire to go see the new Star Wars movie. Michael said he wants peace and good food, which includes some of our usual sweets, converted to THM-style of eating.

It is important to talk through each person’s schedule and what activities we each want or need to do. But don’t limit it to activities/obligations, include things you’d like to do like make cookies, create Jesse Tree ornaments or some other kind of ornaments, games to play, books to read, advent activities, and so on.

I’m so happy that our church has, once again, decided to do a Holiday Bash, where we will celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, this Friday evening. I love that we are doing it a couple weeks before the snowball starts to roll and also that the church will not be vying for a date in December. To me, it is so fun to celebrate with my church family, all in one evening!

Well, I have a lot to do this week. So I’m going to run. I hope you will sit down and write down the things that you do, things that are important to you, and anything new you’d like to try. Write it all down and then talk to your hubby and family about it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


My Favorite Time of Year has Begun

Fall ~ Lifeofjoy.meI reached my goal the other day! :) You might be wondering what goal that is . . . well, it is the goal of getting the cover done for Tiffany’s book. Yes, I know, her ebook came out last December and I should have gotten the cover done way before now but . . . well, I thought I had it done once and it didn’t work and I had to re-do it . . . AND . . . I finished it. :) If all goes well, we should be able to have the paperback in people’s hands by cyber Monday.

Michael came home one day this week with this lovely bouquet . . . for no reason . . . just to bring me joy, and they definitely have.

For No Reason ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen he brought them home, there were quite a few that were just buds and now they’ve opened up. They are beautiful. I’m soooo blessed!!! (It’s the little things!)

Sean got my fall box out for me recently and now I have some of my favorite things up. Fall Decor ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was so happy when Tiffany put this up! I had forgotten all about it. It was a gift from a secret sister from a homeschool group many years ago. It is one of my favorite things! (Thanks Tracy Miller, if you ever see this, I still love it.)

When we were shopping last week, I caught a 70% off sale at Michael’s and got this darlin’ pumpkin stack for $6.50 with tax.

Fall Pretties ~ lifeofjoy.meThis basket of flowers is another thing that brings me joy.

Pumpkin decor ~ lifeofjoy.meI got the Pilgrims and Indians, as well as the turkey, from Dollar Tree one year. They just bring a smile to my face. :) The Pilgrims are a candle holder; it’s a very small candle but a holder all the same. Now I just have to find them. ;)

This basket made of small corn cobs and  husks, with Indian corn, is another favorite. And this table runner was given to me either by my mother or my oldest son and his wife. I think it was Brian and Lauren but Tiffany thinks I’ve had it longer than they’ve been together. (I’m guessing Lauren will let me know in the comments; so you can check there if you care. ;D )

Fall Table Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve written about a couple of other things that bring a smile to my face immediately: my dishwasher magnet and my orange lights. Tiffany switched out the plain orange lights for a white strand with fall foliage. I have decided that I greatly prefer the orange lights. I wanted the fall foliage up and know that I need a strand of orange lights for the dinner next Friday, so I just had her go ahead and trade out the lights now. When I was running errands this week,  Walmart didn’t appear to have any left in the clearance section after Halloween, so it’s a good thing we switched them out. ;)

During the month of October, the chiropractor that we use has a complementary first visit with x-ray. I decided I’d go ahead and get my first visit in during this special. I don’t have any real reason to go but I just think it is a good idea to have the base work done and then I can go for vega testing if I need it in the future too.

I did find that my blood pressure is elevated, so I will be looking forward to meeting with him about the results and suggestions. I was not anxious at all, so I cannot even blame the high blood pressure on that. Since I went with Tiffany last year, I got to know the staff and really feel comfortable and at ease with them. (Hi Kim!!! :o ) So, any elevation in blood pressure is real, not from doctor anxiety.

While there filling out my paperwork in the lobby, my old friend Joyce came in. :) It was good to see her. I wish I’d have been able to visit better but I was filling out the neverending questionnaire. We have set up a time to set up a time to get together soon.

I’m going to be very busy next week. I’m hostessing the church Holiday Bash and am so excited! BUT I will be out of the house a lot next week. The holidays are fast approaching and Tracie and I have yet to go shopping once together, so we will probably do so one day early next week. Then there is shopping to be done for the dinner on Friday and our own groceries to buy and errands to run one day. Then I have some lovely ladies joining us to decorate the church on Thursday for the dinner. And of course, I get to cook it at the church Friday. I love how God had me trained to do this so that it is fun and not overwhelming. :) But I can assure you, come Saturday, I am going to crash! LOL

Well, I got stuff to do. Games, activities, and decorations to prepare, so I’m going to run.

Until next time, God bless and enjoy this wonderful time of year!

Michele ºÜº