Monthly Archives: January 2018


This week’s Diva Challenge is to use Rumpus. This one is new to me and I believe it will take a bit of practice for me to like my results. ;)

I too decided to make this a monotangle tile. I looked at the focus tangles for my other groups and just felt like I’d be pushing myself a bit too much if I tried to incorporate them in this tile. Rumpus took a bit of focus to make sure I kept track of the ‘petals’ and the spaces. I opted to blacken in the spaces this time rather than filling it with purfs or anything else.

Here is my tile before shading.

DC#349 Rumpus ~ Lifeofjoy.meI did not us an official Zentangle tile, so my center lines were not as ‘jagged’ as Maria’s and this caused me a bit of struggle knowing which was the space and which was the ‘petal’.

I did try my hand at the enthatching for some shading but also added a little graphite too. ;) I’m not very impressed with this tile but maybe I’ll like it better next time I see it. ;)

DC#349 Finished Rumpus ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce again, I think this looks sooo much better smaller. ;)

DC#349 Rumpus ~ Lifeofjoy.meDC#349 Finished Rumpus ~






Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will leave me a comment or suggestion of how to improve.

Have a great week.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Big Bowl Cinnamony Oatmeal ~

A BIG Bowl of Creamy Oatmeal

Filling, creamy, big bowl of cinnamony oatmeal (or chocolate or strawberry, lots of possibilities).

Growing up when we had oatmeal, it was generally the standard old fashioned rolled oats. Mom made it following the directions and served it with buttered toast. Our oatmeal was nice and thick and could be easily situated on top of the toast, if so desired. ;) Of course, I put LOTS of sugar in my bowl of oatmeal to make it nice and sweet but also a little less dense. The thought never occurred to me, to add milk.

Now, all these years later, I’ve tried different versions of oatmeal, mostly due to Trim Healthy Mama. I have to admit that I am NOT a fan of milky oatmeal that somewhat resembles a bowl of cereal with all the milk, also known as Creamy Grains in the THM Cookbook pgs. 252 and 253. (I’m not a huge cereal fan either though.)

I attempted the Big Bowl Cinnamon Oatmeal (THT pg. 354) recipe, the first time, with some reservation. But I needed a THM E (carb meal) breakfast and this promised to be a BIG bowl with substance.

WOW! I was surprised and impressed. This is now my favorite way to eat hot oatmeal. :) Well, since I cannot have a nice piece of toast slathered in butter and still lose weight. :D

I won’t share the whole recipe but will share enough of the directions with you that you can still make it, even if you don’t have the cookbook. (But seriously, you should get the cookbooks, there are so many great recipes in them.)

I made a double batch because Tiffany and I both wanted a full serving. :) The written directions will be a single serving though. I just didn’t want you thinking what I made was a single serving. ;)

Put 1/2 cup of oats in a pot.

Big Bowl Oatmeal ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen add 3/4 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer).

Almond Milk ~ lIfeofjoy.meNext add in a cup of water, your desired sweetener, a dash of vanilla, and some cinnamon.

Big Bowl Oatmeal ~ Lifeofjoy.meBring it to a quick boil. I put the lid on so that it boils quicker.

Red cooking pot oatmeal ~, it’s a little blurry because I was trying to get the flame to show up and it wouldn’t with the flash, so I had to stand still, and I’m never very still, while the shutter was open)

After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and remove the pot from the heat for about 30 seconds, then return the pot to the burner with the lid on and let it steam for 10 minutes. During that ten minutes the oats will begin to plump. :)

Then turn off the heat and let it sit for another minute or two, to thicken up a bit more.

Cooked creamy cinnamon oatmeal ~ Lifeofjoy.meI know you cannot tell how much this thickened up, but trust me, it is no longer runny.

Big Bowl Cinnamon Oatmeal ~ Lifeofjoy.eOkay, I did give myself a bit more of the oatmeal than Tiffany because she doesn’t eat all of hers. ;)

Bowls of Oatmeal ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis next picture isn’t that great but you can see that the oatmeal is not thin.

Spoonful of Big Bowl Oatmeal ~

A BIG Bowl of Creamy Oatmeal


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • dash vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon (optional)


  1. Put everything into the pot and bring it to a quick boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and remove pot for about 30 seconds or so to let it cool down a bit.
  3. Place it back on the burner and put a lid on the pot for 10 minutes.
  4. Then remove pot from the burner (turn the burner off) and let is sit for another minute or two to let it thicken up a little bit more.
  5. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon "sugar" on top.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. I’m amazed how full I can get on a 1/2 cup of oatmeal. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Planning for Valentine’s Day

Plans for Valentine's Day ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhat are you doing to make your marriage richer? Or put another way, what are you doing to help your marriage grow?

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I encourage you not to see what your love is going to do for you but rather what you are going to do for him. A nice dinner and his favorite dessert maybe? Followed by his even more favorite “dessert”? ;)

I was reminded of a poem I had read (and thought I included in our wedding ceremony but have no proof at the moment) entitled, Creating an Us. The point of it was that from the time we got married, we needed to be more concerned about the marriage we were creating and less involved in separate or individual endeavors. It was a reminder that “the two” had  “become one flesh” and as such, we needed to nurture that new thing, intentionally.

I think it is a good idea to recommit to this from time to time, and there’s no time like the present. :) Michael recently asked me about a particular art form that he had seen and wondered if I’d like to pursue it with him. At first, my old stick in the mud mind thought no, but then this thought came to me, it’s something we can do together. There are so few of those kinds of things, so I was quick to respond in the affirmative. :) Maybe I’ll buy us some supplies for this new pursuit for Valentine’s Day. Hmmm . . . not a bad idea. :)

How are your Valentine’s Day plans going?

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

One of Those Weeks

Have you ever had one of those weeks when you just cannot seem to accomplish your goals? No, I mean little goals that you should be able to accomplish but you just cannot seem to get around to doing? (Even as I wrote that, I remembered I needed to put my laundry into the dryer. Ugh!)

That is pretty much how my week has gone, I had planned to clean out my plastics cabinet, again but this time, put things in a bin to help organize it and hopefully keep it manageable. But when I made the chocolate sauce to go on top of the Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Trim Healthy Table cookbook, THT Chocolate Chip Pancakes ~ lifeofjoy.meI used to small of a pot and it boiled over. And when I say it boiled over, I mean, it boiled over. I must have lost nearly half of the sauce to the stove. Yes, of course I turned the heat off and lifted the pot off the burner AS SOON as it started boiling over but it just kept spilling over! It was horrible and messy.

We were hungry (Sean was home sick from work, so it was three of us), I salvaged as much as I could, and I decided to clean up the mess after we ate. Well, we have a gas oven which is OLD and has a lower section that you have to clean.

Gas Stove Top ~ Lifeofjoy.meClean Stove Top ~ Lifeofjoy.meI am ashamed to admit that I have not cleaned it in quite some time but obviously that picture was take AFTER the clean-up that took me about two hours to do.

You see, first I had to clean the top, so while I was at it I scrubbed it trying to make it look as nice as possible. I also scrubbed the grates. THEN I lifted the top and cleaned that mess. It wasn’t JUST the spilled over chocolate sauce but also many weeks of crumbs and such mess. THEN I took the burners and soaked them and cleaned them using boiling water to try and remove the built up gunk that I didn’t even realize was there. It was truly nasty. :( I scrubbed and scrubbed with scrub brushes and tooth brushes.

Of course, after all of that, I had to get the burners lit again, which isn’t always easy. That back burner thinks it is a simmer burner now because it does not go up very high at all. I could have sworn that it used to but even now, several days later, it still needs to be lit with a match and will not produce a very high flame. No huge deal though, because I don’t really use it very often, since I’m so short. ;)

Just in case you are wondering, I did turn the burner thingy around to see if it was that and the back one still had a much smaller flame than the other three.

I did have a nice visit with my sister and her girls for a couple hours one day this week. We did decide to change our day though so that she wouldn’t have to leave at a set time and we could get as much visit time as we desire. (And no, I didn’t get any pictures . . . we were busy making the most of our short time together.) ;) When they left, I did not do anything other than ensure I had dinner ingredients thawed and my blog done; yeah, that was the night I decided to take an easy route to my blog being done and did NOT create a Zentangle tile but I procrastinated even making that decision . . . pitiful, I know.

Santa Bear Place Mat ~

Another day I decided that I was tired of the Santa bear place mats on my table and it was time to put them away and get out some others. Unfortunately, the others had been used as painting covers and had to be scrubbed to be usable. I don’t really have any disposable money to purchase any right now, so I’m making do with what I have but it took a good little while to get them usable. Another day down of not getting those other things done that I wanted to do.

Love Bearable Place mats ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen yesterday when I was emptying the dishwasher I noticed some scum on the drain. I’ve been ignoring it for about a week but decided I better check it out so that it doesn’t turn into the disgusting mess I had last year sometime. So that took the time I allot in my day for doing those extra kinds of things. Ugh! And still the plastics cabinet is a mess! So, I will move it to another day and hopefully, I’ll get it done. ;)

I hope you’ve been able to achieve your goals this week. I’m hoping next week will be better for me. :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Copywork, Penmanship, or Handwriting Practice

Copywork ~ lIfeofjoy.meMy baby sister and her girls came for a visit the other day; we like to get together once a month to talk homeschooling and just basically catch up. I know from past conversations that she really liked the copywork calendar printable from My Joy-Filled Life that I linked to last year in this post on handwriting and copywork. Having subscribed to her newsletter to obtain one of the calendars to see if I could recommend it, I still get updates from her that I read every now and then. Recently I noticed that she decided not to do the monthly free printable again, as she compiled the whole year into a one-time download to be purchased

for a nominal fee of under $3. Consequently I wondered what my sister had decided to do and told her I’d search around for some other freebies and share them today. :) (Aren’t I nice?! :D )

Oh! If you haven’t read that post I did last year on handwriting and copywork, you really should because there is some interesting tidbits about handwriting and its benefits for the body.

Copywork ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, let’s get started . . .

  • Here is a page that has several collections of copywork pages. The  verse is displayed in cursive, then in a large grayed cursive that younger ones can trace, and then finally lines for the child to write the verse on. There are three different sets with five verses each. Then lower down there are links for a free printable with twelve verses on a particular topic and in addition to the lined paper it has the verses illustrated to aid your children in memorizing these scriptures. Really very cute! You do have to click on each verse though to get the to the printables for each verse or you can just download the chart from this main page.

  • Here are some from Proverbs with links to some C.S. Lewis quotes and some from Dr. Suess too.  She also has a link to her pinterest board with lots more copywork pages.
  • On this page, the author shares 21 different verses she has created printables for.
  • Here  at A Diligent Heart, are ten verses in manuscript (print) in a choice of four versions for you to download.
  • Hubbard’s Cupboard has some as well.
  • Free Homeschool Deals has a LOT of links
  • This last one is not exactly copywork but you can use it to select one verse from the listed reference. It is a year long project to create a scene from the given reference using Legos.

There is also a curriculum called Write Through the Bible. They have several scripture passages to choose from.

If there is enough interest, I will consider creating a monthly calendar with a daily scripture to use for copywork.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Bujo Movie Page

I had a fun visit with my sister for a bit yesterday. When she left I took a short nap and then proceeded to procrastinate on doing the Diva Challenge tile for the week. Since I worked on this Movies to Watch page in my bullet journal the other night, I decided it fit in the parameters of Wonder Wednesday.

My sister really loved the page but I must admit that I didn’t come up with it on my own. I used an image I found on pinterest as my inspiration. Well, I nearly copied it. ;) I put the letters of the title too far apart and didn’t have enough space to draw a film reel but I still like it.

Movies Bujo Page ~ Lifeofjoy.meI made each rectangle a bit wider because I wouldn’t have been able to write any movie titles in it if it were only four squares wide.

As I watch them, I will color the rectangle in with some light color so that the title can still be read. I think it will make it a nice and colorful page.

I hope it inspires you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Lots of Baking

I’ve missed chips. Not necessarily potato chips but something crunchy (and not a vegetable) to eat with an E sandwich or to snack on. So I decided to try the Puffs from Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook on page 460.

"Nacho" Puffs ~ Lifeofjoy.meI made a mistake and added the coating seasonings in the batter. :(

Puffs again ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe still ate them. and I tried again later in the week.

Puffs again ~ Lifeofjoy.meI decided that I really like the Kedorito seasoning better, which is very sad because I made up a lot of this macho nacho seasoning. Kedorito season is a recipe from Kristie Sullivan of Cooking Keto with Kristie; she made it to taste like Doritos. Maybe I can mix the two but I like the tomato of the kedorito seasoning better than the macho nacho. So, I’ll try again. They were VERY dry this last time.

It is important to space them evenly on the parchment paper lined baking sheet so that they all get baked the same. I was trying to get by with only two sheets for a double batch of puffs, which is supposed to take two sheets each but I wouldn’t have had space in my oven for four trays. I ended up having some too close to each other this last time and so they weren’t as cooked as they should be. So, I put them back in the oven after spraying and coating with the seasoning and left them a little long, which is a theme of my week that you will notice here in another instance.

So, I’ll do the puffs again, hoping that the third time is the charm and a keeper.

I also made some sprouted spelt bread.

Sprouted Spelt Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meFor the life of me, I cannot get it to rise more than this. The one loaf is a little better than the other but alas, short loaves. This is the recipe from the THMCookbook too, page 200 or over on (I used Jane’s recipe the first several times I made this and used the sprouted white wheat four she recommends but mine still looked pretty much like this. Since this is made with the spelt, I’m told that is why it doesn’t rise as much.

I really like the tip she gave about letting it rise in a warmed oven. Well, when I made this the first time, I wondered if my oven was warm without doing any preheating; so I put a thermometer in the oven and found it was 90º, without turning it on at all. This is perfect because she said you want the temp between 80º and 100º I think.

Next up was Swiss Crackers from page 457 of the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. These are a fuel pull too (which means they can be eaten any time, with any meal because they are low in carbs and low in fat).

I liked these and didn’t get a picture of them the first time around. Here again, I didn’t get them made exactly right the first time around, I don’t remember what I did wrong but they turned out okay and were completely eaten by the family.

OH! I know what was up! I have a gas oven and it says that the lowest temperature is 200º so I thought that I couldn’t make these on the 150º or 175º that the recipe required. But then I remembered when I made the bread that the oven is at 90º and that I could probably turn it up somewhere before the 200º mark and be close to the required temperature.

In my week of baking attempts I had the oven on 200º and then opened the door and backed it down a bit, checked the temp and wha-la 175º. I backed it down a bit more and found 150º. So for  this second attempt I put the oven where I marked that it was 150º and proceeded to wait for hours for the crackers to bake. I went back after 3 hours and checked them and they were way too moist still and the temperature was not right. Ugh!!! So, I turned the knob up to 200 and back down to a little above where I marked the 150 and left it.

Ummm, I forgot about it and went to bed. The next morning I checked on them and they were definitely crispy!

Too Crispy Swiss Crackers ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, they are not supposed to be that brown! Okay. No problem. Next batch will be better. And hey, these too have been eaten, even in their way over crisp state. We don’t toss food unless it is absolutely inedible. :D Since Tiffany said these reminded her of animal crackers, we decided that we will add a little bit more sweetener to a batch in the future and see if we can get it to taste more like an animal cracker.

Believe it or not, that isn’t even all the baking I did last week! I also made some pasta and some muffins. Tiffany even did some baking too. I’ll have to share those adventures another day as this has gotten too long.

Yes, a bit of a cheat post because there is no recipe. I’m just talking about good eats and directing you to their recipes. :) I’m also encouraging you to keep trying when a recipe doesn’t turn out the way you thought it should the first time.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Making a Plan for Valentine’s Day

Plan Valentine's Day ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, Lori of The Generous Wife has had a countdown to Valentine’s Day on her site since about the fourteenth. As of today, there are twenty-three days until Valentine’s Day. Yep, just twenty-three.

Lori recently shared a post from Hot, Holy, and Humorous about what to get your love for Valentine’s Day. She asked her facebook group about what to cover for the holiday and basically the winning answer was a meaningful gift. So she shared how to give a meaningful gift.

I really loved one readers’ idea of wanting to recapture the “honeymoon days”. I think that is something that I’ve been wanting to try to do. Of course after being together for over thirty years, it is a bit long ago now. But I think that would be a great Valentine’s Day gift to your marriage, to spend one day (not necessarily February fourteenth) acting like honeymooners or at least recapturing the feeling you had then. I think a lot of it is just in the mind, being mindful of how you felt then and acted then. Familiarity tends to make one forget the butterfly, in-love feelings. Tending to household chores and work seems to squash the romance and fluffy feelings. Oh, I’m not explaining this very well but hopefully you get what I’m trying to explain.

I guess the most important thing is to begin planning now for Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t have to be something big and elaborate, if that isn’t what you and your love generally do or want to do. I don’t need to make a HUGE deal about it but as with other holidays, do something and preferably, do something with some thought, not just popping into Walmart and picking up whatever card and flowers they have left.

Maybe you liked the idea of doing something for your love for the Twelve Days of Christmas but it was just too busy and hectic to pull it off. You could do it for Valentine’s Day. You could start it on the third and end on the fourteenth or start on the fourteenth and go through the twenty-fifth or whatever YOU choose to do. Now would be a good time to give him coupons too.

These are some things I’m thinking about. I have made a mental note to talk to Michael about some of this on our next date night. :) Yep, it looks like it may just happen this year. :D Well, at least this month.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

My Bullet Journal is Helping Me Be More Productive

If I were less of an optimist, I’d say I had a rather difficult week. But I prefer to think like Thomas Edison, that I have just found some things that do not work. ;)

This week I had determined to be more productive. This is the reason I got my bullet journal for Christmas.
Sunny Yellow Bullet Journal ~ about the poor picture quality but at least there is one. ;) )

I made a tracker for all the things I do throughout the day or things I want to do each day. Some of the items on the chart are an attempt to force myself to see it every day and maybe, just maybe I’ll do it. Things like some form of art every day (even just coloring would count–haha) and reading a book (not internet). Needless to say, I have quite a few unchecked boxes but that is okay. It is a hope to push me towards it. However, it may be backfiring on me and making me feel bad for not doing more. (More on this later)

Each day I do a small daily bullet for extra things I want to accomplish that day. I will admit that I have been a bit too ambitious. (Left page below)

BuJo Dailies ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo I decided to be a bit more realistic with the list yesterday and it helped, as I got all but one thing done. However, as I was talking with Tiffany, and was being a bit hard on myself for not getting everything done. But really I’m getting more done than before because I have the bujo and have my list in a place that I will see it and it will taunt me until I get it done and then I can X it off. :D

I didn’t realize how having each bullet marked helped me feel better about what I’d accomplished. Even if it was just to use a > to note that I moved it to another day’s list. It feels good to get the things done and marked off.

I have not intended my bujo to be a thing of beauty or an artistic expression, so I just use colors because that makes me happy. I also have some stickers and washi tape that I will add to the pages after I’ve finished it. Currently, I don’t pre-plan most of my pages. I did pre-plan the Year at a Glance (or Future Planner) and my two-page tracker spread.Pre-planned BuJo Page ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo far, all the others have just been where I had some kind of note I wanted to make, so I went to the next page or place on a page that didn’t have dailies on it (see the right hand page on the picture before last).

So, most of my pages are just functional at this time and I’ll probably pretty them up later (or not). ;)

I got a lot of snacks made this week but we tend to eat them up as quickly as I can make them. :D This post is getting long, so I’ll post about that on Tuesday (upcoming). Let me just say that very few things turned out how they were supposed to, why, and what I did next.

I hope this post has given you some ideas of how you can use a bullet journal to increase your productivity and realize it doesn’t have to be a work of art. I’m loving that it is a place to put those notes of things I want to remember and not have a sticky note or some other piece of paper that I will either have to find a place to store or lose it altogether. It is really a good tool. I wasn’t sure it would be beneficial for me because most of what I do is repeated day after day (thus the trackers) but then there are extra things to be done like bake bread or make a gift that I put on dailies.

It looks like I’ll just keep rambling about this and bore you to pieces, so I’ll just close for today.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Fun New Game: Concept

For this past Christmas Sean requested and received a new board game called Concept.

Concept board game ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs with most games, we don’t play exactly by the given rules. ;) I’m not even sure exactly what the rules are but I’ll explain how we play it. We worked in pairs since it was a new game to us and were trying to figure it out. We felt the buddy system was the best way to enjoy the game.

So we paired up and worked as a team trying to get everyone else the word or phrase chosen.

There are cards with 9 different words or phrases on them.

Concept Cards ~ Lifeofjoy.meThree different difficulty levels, we assume. ;) But honestly, sometimes the blue ones were harder than the gray ones!

Concept Teams ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe teamed up and picked which one we wanted to try to get them to guess.

These are the game pieces (and cards).

Concept Game Pieces ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou use the green question mark piece to note what it is you are having them guess. So if it was Pancake, you’d put your green question mark piece on object the icon for object on the board.

Concept Board Game ~ Lifeofjoy.meConsulting the reference sheet, which has all the same icons on it that the board has on it but also has descriptions of what that icon might stand for. (The Word Bubble has word, phrase, or quote — I believe.) Then you put green little cubes on things that would describe the object; like food and maybe the sun for morning.

Concept game play ~ Lifeojfoy.meThe deal is that you cannot say anything but yes. So all you can do is point to the pictures on the board trying to get the people to follow you and get the idea of what you’re trying to get them to say.

The other pieces are for more complicated things like quotes or sayings where you’d but the ? on the word bubble and then use the different ! pieces for different words in the quote with the same colored cubes to help describe that word. Or for when you need to go at the word from a different angle; this way all the clues of the same color keep the different aspects separate. (Yeah, that last sentence probably just muddied it more rather than making it clearer to understand. :D )

It really is harder to explain than to play. We had a lot of fun playing it over the week of Christmas . . . okay, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Concept Teams ~ Using the buddy system, even young ones  can play. :) You could also use it in your homeschooling by making cards (with only one or two choices) dealing with your science, history, or unit studies.

If you are looking for a new group game, this one is really fun. We just all talk through the clues together and holler out stuff. When someone gets it right, the next team takes a go. Although we started with really easy ones, so we decided to do two before it was the next team’s turn. In our version there is no points or scores, just fun cooperative play.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº