Monthly Archives: December 2017

Christmastime Fun

We really enjoyed the lights at Garden of Lights in Muskogee. Drive through Lights ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can imagine, it is much prettier in person. ;)

Christmas Fun Lights ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt seems that it went with some music but we never found any signs indicating the station and upon opening the window, we were still soundless. ;)

Michael loved how they lit up this tree.

Christmas Lights ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really liked this one.

Christmas Light Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meMostly it was lighted trees along the drive.

Christmas Lights ~ Lifeofjoy.meThere were purple ones, red ones, yellow ones, blue ones, all different colors. It was very pretty. They have signs directing you to the Christmas Castle when you exit. We hadn’t planned on it but decided to head on over. We parked and went inside the castle first but since we hadn’t planned on going there, we didn’t really know what they had inside and left shortly after arriving. Liam needed the respite from riding in the car and wasn’t too happy when we got back in the car but the air-filled displays perked him up a bit.

Balloon display ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey had some fun decorations, but I was really glad we’d gone to the garden of lights first. If we’d only have done the castle I would have been disappointed because the castle displays were not very vibrant.

They had pony rides and hayrides available by the castle. There was an ornament for kids to make too. I think the drive through the light display is about a mile long. Fortunately at that time the line was nearly non-existent. :)

They had some Star Wars characters at the end of the drive through. Brian got a picture of them but I’m having difficulty receiving pictures from non-iPhones. It’s really ridiculous! Yay! Lauren got them to me. :)

StarWars Blow Up Figures ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really liked the nativity blowup too. :)

Nativity Blow Up ~

Tiffany had made us hot chocolate, THM style. I made the Cinnamon Butter Bundt Cake into muffins, which we took with us as well. It was a nice drive.

That was the week before Christmas! I didn’t realize that Christmas was just the next weekend. Initially I planned to take two days to run my errands, one for groceries and the other to finish my stocking stuffer shopping. When it got down to it, Tiffany and I decided that we’d rather make one long day of it. And a long day it was! But we got it all done.

Unfortunately, there was a power surge and a couple of the main intersections had the traffic signals out causing the traffic to be horrendous. Add to that, Tiffany and I were starving.

Big shopping day, lunch time ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe was so happy to be getting out of the traffic and go eat one of her favorite lunches. Sadly, I forgot to save a picture of the traffic jam in snapchat. ;)

We finally made it to Panera for a THM lunch; okay, it was a crossover. I was all ready to get their black bean soup and sprouted roll but they didn’t have any. So we opted for the broccoli cheddar soup and the roll . . . yep, definitely a crossover meal . . . but hey, crossovers are still on plan. :)

We were very glad that we’d put dinner in the crockpot. As it turned out, Michael and Sean made it home a few minutes before we did. It was a very tiring day but a good one. Every year I say I’m going to get my gift wrapping done earlier. At least I wasn’t wrapping on the 23rd again. ;) Well, I’m starting bullet journal this year, so maybe making a notation in my future planner will get me wrapped up earlier next year. :)

Well, I’ve rambled quite enough for one week. I’ll share pics from our Christmas weekend next week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Goal Setting

Goal Setting ~
Now is a good time to get your kids thinking about some goals and selecting one area to focus on in the coming year. You might give them some ideas or suggestions of some things they might want to consider but it is a good idea to let them choose the thing they will focus on for the year, because that gives them ownership of it and they are more likely to be successful.

If it happens to be an easily attainable goal, maybe suggest that each month they work towards adding another. For example, I will work at putting out a clean dishcloth each night when I run the dishwasher. I’d done this last year but let it slip, so will start it up again. Then if I’ve managed to make that a habit by February, I will add another habit I want to start, like swishing my toilet once each day.

Now I have to admit that adding a habit is easiest to attain when I attach it to something I already do at the same point of my day, every day. So the first one works because I set out the dishcloth at night when I run the dishwasher. The second one will be tougher because I don’t have a specific time designated to do this particular habit.

One other tip, model goal setting for your children. Share with them a goal that you will be focusing on. It is good for them to see you working to improve yourself as well.

Goal Setting BuJo ~ Lifeojfoy.meIf the goal is one that can benefit from some kind of poster, suggest that they make one. Flylady said that when she added a new item to her routines, she would put up a sticky note to remind her. So if I was going to swish my toilet after brushing my teeth, I could put a sticky note on the bathroom mirror to remind me to swish. I’m going to be making a page in my bullet journal for goal setting and then break it down to monthly and weekly things I can do to work towards the goal.

Here is a printable that you can do with your children. It has them list their favorites, some highlights of the previous year, and then some things to work on in the coming year. Whatever you do, don’t push them but do give them encouragement throughout the year.

I hope this gives you some ideas.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Yet Another Festive Tile

As I promised, but nearly forgot, here is another festive tile for the diva challenge. :) We were doing a Hobbit/Lord of the Rings extended editions marathon when all of a sudden I remembered that I hadn’t done my tile or blog post for today.

I used the third Christmas string over on Pattern-Collections which is basically two rounded stars in two sizes. Once again, staying in zentangle fashion, I freehanded the strings but later erased the lines that didn’t get hidden by my tangling. ;)

I went with Toodles again because I thought it lended itself well to the shape and filled in with Tipple. On the larger star, which I tangled first, I put one toodle in each point. On the smaller one, I used a couple of the string lines for the starting line of toodle and just filled in the string spaces with a couple more toodle and some tipple.

Here it is before shading.

More Festivity ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can see, I forgot to fill in some of that small star with tipple, so I did before I shaded it.

When I was done shading, which I just did as I felt completely ignoring any light source, I felt like there was too much empty space and considered adding in a background tangle but instead decided to aura the shapes with pencil and then blend the shading outward. I really like this effect.

Christmas Tangling ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really like the end result, especially considering I did not spend a whole lot of time on it. I usually spend a couple of hours on it, shading it the way I like it but this time I think I managed to get it done in about an hour.

Well, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are setting yourself up to have a wonderful 2018. I’m going to have a great one!

Thanks to the faithful few who take time to leave a comment. It means a lot!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Quick Kefir Drink

Happy Drink ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m really tired and just remembered I need to get a post up. So here is a quick kefir recipe. My grandson, Liam, really likes this! Oh, and it is super simple!!!

Simply add a couple drops of your favorite extract and a bit of your favorite sugar-free sweetener to double-fermented kefir. Stir and drink.

Yep, I told you it was easy. I put a couple drops of strawberry extract in about a half cup of cold kefir and a doonk (1/32 teaspoon) of stevia powder OR a few drops of stevia glycerite or whatever alternative sweetener you prefer. It is best to use a powdered or liquid sweetener alternative.

Yes, this is a bit of a cheat recipe, but it’s the holidays and everyone needs a little simple recipe in their lives. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Grandson Fun

I promised more Liam pictures this week since I got to keep him for a week. I mentioned last week that we did our annual cookie painting/decorating the night they brought him. He really enjoyed eating the works of his hands. ;)

Liam eats his artwork ~ Lifeofjoy.meEating his artwork ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou have to really be careful with alternative sweeteners because if you consume too much of them it can cause gastric distress (a.k.a. gas and/or diarrhea). Thus I’m careful not to give him too much sweets so he doesn’t hurt.

Tiffany put some garland up over the top of the doorways in the hall.

Garland over doorways ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe don’t have a fireplace, so we hang stockings in the hallway. She showed Liam which one is his (the penguin).

Showing LIam his stocking ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was surprised that of my three Christmas musical critters, he liked the stationary snowman with moving lights the best. I would have thought he’d have liked the sledding snowman or the adorable dog that moves around.

He likes the snowman ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe figured out that he could stop the song and press the button again to get to a different song. He seemed to have a favorite because there was only one or two songs that he’d let it play out.

He’s learned to “color”. He colored a bit with Tiffany. ;)

Learning to color ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe had his first kefir while he was here. To say he liked it, is an understatement. This was Sean pouring some double-fermented kefir smoothie into a cup for Liam.

Sean shares Kefire ~ Lifeofjoy..melittle one and kefir ~

He really liked it.

Giddy on kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meLoves Kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen he finished downing the first bit he was given, he wanted more and got really excited while Sean was pouring it.

Excited for more kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis was not a one time reaction. He got excited every time we gave him some. I promise it was only fruit, kefir, sweetener, and ice. :D

Loves that kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe also found the Christmas picture blocks. I have had these crazy things for sooo long, I’m so glad he likes them. My kids never really played with them much.

Xmas Blocks ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey are so old that the pictures are coming off some of the blocks, with a little help. ;)Need to repair some blocks ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m glad he likes to play with them though. :)

Christmas Block Toys ~ Lifeofjoy.meI enjoyed having him here. :) His parents came and stayed the night and the next day. We went to see some Christmas lights in Muskogee but I think I’ve shared enough cuteness for one week.

I’m a bit tired from shopping ALL day yesterday and then wrapping today. I wish I were quicker at it but alas, I still have more to do. So I’m going to run. I’ve got to get this wrapping finished so that I can get started on the baking. :D

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! I know we will.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Christmas Activity Ideas

Christmastime Ideas ~ Lifeofjoy.meDo you need to have your kids practice a little grammar while on Christmas break? Here’s some fun Mad Libs that are good Christmas themed practice with parts of speech.

If you need some other activity ideas to keep your kids busy, here’s a page with some ideas. It has some easy crafty ideas. One of the ideas on the page is making a bell ornament. If your kids haven’t made their own ornament for your tree, there’s still time. ;) My sister has a couple of crafty ornaments that she has put on my parents’ Christmas tree each year. She and mom have fun moving them from front and center to hidden somewhere on the back of the tree.

Ugly Ornament in Front ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd finally, this webpage has some last minute ideas of things to do with your kids that don’t require much planning.

I hope you are making some fun memories with your kids and not just being stressed and overwhelmed. Take some time to breathe and enjoy this wonderful time of the year with your family. :)

Until next time, Merry Christmas,

Michele ºÜº

Another Festive Tile

So, since there is no new diva challenge this week, I thought I’d give last week’s a redo, since it was not festive at all, unless maybe your idea of a festive holiday is to go on a cruise or be on the ocean, then last week’s was right on target. :D

This week I went with the second Christmas string on, which is in the shape of a Christmas tree. I decided to use Toodles, the new official Zentangle tangle and Square One: Purely Zentangle’s focus tangle: Onamata.

Here is my tile before shading.

DC#345 again ~ Lifeofjoy.meIf you look closely you can see the Christmas tree string that I drew free hand. The one on Pattern-Collections looks like a cookie cutter was used to create it but since Zentangle is supposed to be freehand, I did it that way.

My Toodles still need some work but it is a pretty cool tangle. I didn’t do much with onamato but I think it went nicely on this tile to make it festive.

Here it is shaded.

DC#345 again shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meI like the effect of the smudged border, kind of looks like you’re looking through a window. But I still think it is missing something around the border. However it is a busy week and I have lots of things to wrap and some errands to run, so I’ll leave it the way it is.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday! I know I will!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

How to Use Kefir ~

Strawberry Kefir

Here’s a boost to your gut health AND it tastes good. This one is strawberry. Oh! And it is very simple to make.

So last week I showed you how to make double-fermented kefir (kuh-FEAR). Now that you have some, I thought I’d share some ways we drink it.

First put about a cup into a blender.

Strawberry Kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen add in a handful of frozen strawberries.

Next add sweetener to your taste. I put in 1/16th teaspoon of pure stevia extract, which is 2 doonks.

sweetener add to kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd 2-4 ice cubes.

Add ice cubes ~ lifeofjoy.meBlend until smooth. And enjoy.

Blend Kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.mePour into your glass and drink. :)

Strawberry Kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is really good for you. It is both a probiotic and a prebiotic, I believe.

My grandson, Liam, loves this!

Liam and Kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meI can hardly justify writing the recipe for this but here goes any way.

Strawberry Kefir


  • 1 cup kefir
  • 4-6 frozen strawberries
  • 2-4 ice cubes
  • sweetener to taste, I used 1/16th teaspoon stevia extract powder


  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Different Kind of Christmas Letter

Love Letter ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think I read somewhere that a couple gave each other a love letter each Christmas. Of course it was so long ago that I don’t remember any of the particulars.

The last several weeks, on the way to church, I have nearly been brought to tears with gratitude for how blessed I am with my dear hubby. He’s so handsome and loves God with all his heart. We were best friends when we got married. Then life happened and here we are thirty years down the road working to overlook the little things that we do to aggravate each other.

So I’m considering giving him a love letter this year telling him how much I love him, appreciate him, and some things I’d like to do with him in the new year. It doesn’t have to be big or extravagant, just a simple letter sharing my thoughts of how much I love and respect him and feel so blessed to have him in my life.

So maybe this might be something you want to give a try, even if it is just a small little note tucked under his pillow either on Christmas eve or at the end of the hustle and bustle of Christmas day or maybe save it for next week on New Year’s Eve.

Until next time, have a very Merry Christmas,

Michele ºÜº