Monthly Archives: February 2018

Hearty Zendala

This week’s diva challenge is to do a zendala and heart string. I think my approach is not very creative but it is what I imagined right away. :)

I’ve seen some lovely pieces on facebook lately using Verve by JJ LaBarbera. I have not used this tangle before but saw a lovely heart with Verve aligned sideways. It had lovely gold/bronze/brown tones and was just beautiful! Since seeing that, I’ve wanted to try my hand at Verve. So I didn’t even look at anything else this week; I just jumped in with hearts and Verve.

I stayed with just four hearts on my zendala tile. (For any visitors that are not familiar with the term zendala, it is what happens when Zentangle connects with a mandala. A mandala is a drawing that is round and is usually pretty symmetrical although not necessarily so.) This Zendala was done on an official Zentangle Zendala tile, which I believe is a circle with a four and a half inch diameter.

Here is what I had before shading.

DC#353 Verve ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was not fearless in my shading though. ;) I was afraid I’d get too much shading and it’d be too muddy looking. I haven’t done much tangling on official tiles lately, so I was surprised with how rough the paper was. Okay, it wasn’t actually rough, but just not smooth. I struggled to get enough contrast, so I used a #6B pencil in a few spots.

Also, when I was shading it, I focused on each heart shape individually, rotating my tile. So all of the circles had the shadow towards the center of the overall piece. After I was done and was looking it over, I–shhhh, don’t tell anybody–erased the crescent shading on three of the orbs and adjusted them so they were all in the lower portion of the orbs from one position.

And here it is after shading.

DC#353 Verve shaded heart ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt always amazes me how much I shading I do and it still looks like hardly any at all. At least there is a noticeable difference between the shaded and unshaded versions. ;)

Thanks for stopping by. I’d love it if you would leave a comment. :)

Have a great day!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Roasted Green Beans ~

Green Fries (a.k.a. Roasted Green Beans)

Another tasty roasted vegetable! These are not pretty but they are good.

I had never thought to roast green beans before. Mostly because the majority of the green beans I have eaten over the years have been from a can. Many years ago though, I was introduced to frozen thin whole green beans. It was in a crockpot meal that I really should fix again and share here with you.

You see, my experience with fresh green beans was that they were crunchy. Ewww, yep, that is not a word I liked associated with my vegetables in the past. (I’ve gotten a bit better now.) At any rate, that recipe has frozen (or fresh) whole green beans in the crockpot with chicken and they come out like we love them! :) Super flavorful and yummy and nary a crunch around.

When I did the hCg diet, I learned to roast vegetables other than potatoes, like cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and even mushrooms, onions, and peppers. So I don’t know why it surprised me when I started Trim Healthy Mama (THM) and heard about roasted green beans but I was surprised. I gave it a shot anyway and we all love them. We can easily go through two bags for our family of four (adults).

So, I thought I’d share this simple easy “recipe” with you today. It isn’t exactly a recipe as much as it is a process. You see, we use the same process for most all of our roasted veggies, mostly because we like them this way. (If it ain’t broke, don’t be trying to fix it. ;) )

We take two bags of these frozen fancy green beans and pour them out onto a large baking sheet.

Roasted Green Beans ~ Lifeofjoy.meSprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast, the last of which is a newer addition and thus optional. Really use whatever seasonings you like. If you like a spicy seasoning, use some Tony’s creole seasoning (just skip the salt though) or add cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, and/or cumin. If you want more of an Italian flair, use herbs to season them like basil and oregano. Seriously, it’s hard to mess these up if they are seasonings you like. :)

Roasted Green Bean Seasoning ~ Lifeofjoy.meRoasted Green Beans Seasoned ~

Drizzle a little oil of choice over them. (We use olive oil but some people think that baking that oil at high temperatures ruins it, so use whatever you desire.)

Drizzle Oil on green beans ~ Lifeofjoy.meSeasoned green beans ~ Lifeofjoy.meToss to distribute all the oil and seasonings. I forgot to sprinkle with nutritional yeast, so we did it on the table. :)

Bake in the oven. Now here’s the deal. You can bake these in a higher heat for a shorter time or a lower heat for a longer time. I do whatever I need to at the moment. I’ve done it on 350º for somewhere around 45-60 minutes but I’m usually a bit more impatient and crank it up to 400º or even 450º and they bake in 30-45 minutes, to our liking. Really just check on them after about 15-20 minutes and stir them. Then keep checking them every t minutes or so, depending on how high you have the temperature.

Roasted Green Beans ~ Lifeofjoy.meTake them out and gobble them up. If you are a dipper, you can make a dipping sauce to go with it. One I’ve seen and liked was mayo with a bit of tomato paste and a dash of cayenne.

Serving Roasted Green Beans ~

Green Fries (a.k.a. Roasted Green Beans)


  • 2 bags of frozen fine green beans (about 12-16 ounces each)
  • seasonings to taste:
  • salt
  • pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • nutritional yeast (optional but yummy)
  • Oil


  1. Put frozen green beans on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Sprinkle with desired seasonings.
  3. Drizzle with your preferred oil.
  4. Bake on 350º-450º for 30-60 minutes depending on temperature and desired doneness.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Small Moments of Refreshing

Refreshing ~ Lifeofjoy.meSome days you just need a break. When that happens you need to calmly ask for what you need. Maybe you need some time away from the kids; find someone to keep your kids for a few hours and put dinner in the crock pot so that when you return you do not have that pressing on you.

If that is not possible, then I encourage you to ensure that your children have a nap time or quiet time each day. This should last for one to two hours. During this time, take the first thirty minutes to an hour and do something that relaxes you. If a bath does it, then take the time to do that. If reading a book is your thing, then spend some time doing that. Maybe listening to some instrumental music and handwork: crafting or art of some kind, maybe even coloring.

I know it is tempting to get some housework or something done that is more difficult to do when your children are up but if you are in need of a break then this is the time to try and refresh yourself a bit. If you are intentional, you should be refreshed a bit when it is time to get the children up. Be sure to greet them with hugs, kisses, and lots of joy. :)

I’m in a wonderful position at this season of my life where I have two grown children still living with us in our home. Thankfully all are able to fend for themselves. Saturday I decided I needed a break from the ordinary, even the ordinary of a weekend. It was a very rainy day and I announced that I was taking the morning off. Thankfully Tiffany stepped up and made breakfast and lunch. :) It was a nice break. I had promised to help make pizza for dinner and that I did. :)

It was nice to be served a couple of meals instead of making them myself. It wasn’t like being on vacation or anything but it was a refreshing morning.

I encourage you to talk with your husband, calmly, and share your feelings, if you need help figuring out how you can get a little relief. And of course, ask God to help you and ask Him to give you some strategies so that you don’t get burnt out. :)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Games, Weather, and a Broken Heater

I didn’t get my menu and grocery list made last week until the day we ran errands. I usually like to get it done at least by the day before we run errands but it just didn’t work out last week. Consequently, I thought we weren’t going to get out of the house until about 11am, then I surprised myself and got it done and we were out of the house by 9:30. Woo hoo!

I’ve been playing this online hidden object game. The thing I don’t like about it is that although it is free to play, I can only play it for about an hour before I run out of “charges” required to play. At that point you either pay real money for “rubies” to buy more charges to continue playing or you wait until your “charges” replenish over time. This is a good thing though because it limits how long I play the game. ;)

When we got home from running errands, I was tired but we put away the groceries and I put a couple of the chicken breasts into the crockpot  to cook for lunch meat for the week. I cut back from a whole value family size package to just half of it because I also bought some turkey lunchmeat for lunches and I didn’t want any of the cooked chicken to spoil.

I’d been wanting to play a very old game we have, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger. It is an old Nintendo game that Sean connected up to our tv through our old Wii. I enjoyed playing and played a bit over the weekend as well.

Our heater has not been working properly but it wasn’t a huge deal earlier this week because it was actually 80º one day. Then the next day we had falling temperatures all day long. It got very cold outside. Thankfully, we have little heater units that staved off the frigidity, as we’d had the heat and air guys working on the heater but they left stumped three different days. :( It really is crazy. They have tried everything they can think of and they asked others they know in the business and still ended up stumped. They were very frustrated that they were unable to fix it.

We had lots of rain and then freezing temperatures so Michael and Sean were home for two days. Then yesterday even the little heaters were causing problems, tripping the breaker. We eventually discovered that as long as we kept the heater on a lower setting it would not trip the breaker, which was fine by me because I was getting a bit warm anyway. ;)

I’ll try to update this post with some pictures before the weekend is out. The week has gotten away from me, with Michael and Sean being home an extra couple of days this week. I don’t know about you, but when the conditions of my normal routine are different/changed, my productivity changes as well.

Well, I have another busy day, so I need to get moving. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Disciplining Children

Discipling Children ~ Lifeofjoy.meDisciplining children is such a difficult subject but it is so vital to a happy family. There were two big areas I struggled: consistency and attitude.

Be Consistent

It is draining to raise children, especially when they are in the ages that they are pushing limits. It is imperative that you remain consistent. If you say something, be prepared to enforce it because if you slip once, your child(ren) will remember that they got away with it once and hope that this will be another time they will be able to do that thing. It is in your best interest and in your child’s best interest to let your word be your bond and always say what you mean.

If you tell your child not to do something, they need to know that you are going to back up what you say. In other words, that you mean what you say. If you say that they are not getting dessert if they don’t pick up their toys but then when it is time for dessert, you cave and give them some even though they did not pick up their toys, you have just taught them that YOU do NOT mean what you say.

When you tell a young child not to touch something and they touch it anyway, quickly remove the object from their person (be it their hands or their foot or elbow or whatever body part they touched the object with), calmly but firmly tell them “no no” and lightly smack their hand. This does not have to hurt them. The point is to let them know that this is not allowed. Now it may be necessary as the child gets older to smack them a bit harder but this brings me to my next point, never out of anger.

Don’t Discipline Out of Anger

When you are angry, it is so easy to discipline out of anger because so many times you get frustrated having told the child numerous times about the thing already or they’ve broken something they weren’t even supposed to touch or they are making a scene in public. But the best thing to do is to take a deep breath and get control of yourself before disciplining your child for his/her inappropriate behavior.

End With Love

Once the  discipline time is over, be it a timeout or a swat, hug the child and reassure him/her of your love for the child. This one is vital. This lets the child know that you still love him/her even though he/she did something that was unacceptable.

This has gone long enough for today. I’ll get into some specifics and resources next week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Nested Heart Khloma

I’m going to have to do more tangling throughout the week because I find I’m rushing a bit to get a tile up on Wednesday. This week is no different. :( But my process was the same as it has been for quite some time: I look at the Diva Challenge, check the focus tangle at Square One: Purely Zentangle, then check the daily tangles on Pattern Collections for the day I am tangling as well as the day the tile will go live on my blog.

This week the challenge is a string challenge, specifically to use nested hearts. I was interested in the Pattern-collection focus tangle for today which is Khloma by Irina Sedova. I really liked some of the variations shown and kept imagining it in a heart shape. So that’s what I chose to do.

I didn’t do a lot of shading, although it looks more shaded than some I’ve spent a long time shading. I forgot to take a pre-shaded scan though. So without further adieu, here’s my tile for the week.

DC#352 Khloma ~ Lifeofjoy.meOn my first try with the string, I drew the nested hearts in ink and quickly decided that was not what I wanted. So I started over with the string in pencil and I like the outcome much better.

Well, that’s all I have for today. Thanks for stopping by. I’d appreciate you leaving comments, they’re so encouraging.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

THM Tips and Treats

If you do healthy eating at all, you really should get the two cookbooks from Trim Healthy Mama! They are simply wonderful. I know there are a lot of people that struggle with things not tasting as right to them and struggle eating them. The best thing you can do in that situation is get completely off of sugar and the high carb foods (white flour, white rice, POTATOES, and yes, pasta) for a while. Eat simply cooked foods for a few weeks, grilled, sauteed, and baked meats with vegetables you do like. If you are not a fan of veggies, try roasting them, as it brings out the sweetness in them.

The other thing to do is to find an alternative natural sweetener. Xylitol is a good place to start. But you need to know two things, first that you can overdo it and it can cause you to have some intestinal discomfort and/or very loose bowel movements. So, you want to use it in moderation. And secondly, when you are looking for a xylitol to use, read the source of the xylitol. I choose not to use one that is derived from corn because it is hard to find a pure corn. (Oh! and if you have a dog be sure it doesn’t eat anything with xylitol in it because it can be deadly for them.)

The other natural sweetener you want to find a version you can acquire a taste for is stevia. My preferred stevia is stevia glycerite but I have learned to like Trim Healthy Mama’s Pure Stevia Extract Powder as well. We use a variety of sweeteners to avoid intestinal distress. But yet, it still sneaks in on us occasionally and we need to assess where we overdid it. It can be a bit of a puzzle some times (but worth it for all the delicious yumminess). ;)

Stick with more natural flavors when you first give up sugar. Try to find the natural sweetness in lower glycemic fruits. Stay away from chocolate desserts in the beginning because it is harder to get the sweetness right with them. After your tastes have adjusted to a lower glycemic diet and you have found the sweeteners you prefer, then you can begin to find low carb, sugar free version of your old favorite desserts. Know that it won’t taste exactly like the version you used to eat but that it can be just as pleasing in its own right.

For Valentine’s Day I made Michael, Sean, and Tiffany each a sweet treat. Sean’s was “rice krispy treats”. This is the one with which I was the least happy but Sean enjoyed it and so did Tiffany. I’m going to have to work with this recipe some more to make it crispier; currently it is not crispy. ;) I’m told it has good flavor though. (This one was in Trim Healthy Table.)

For Michael, I made some candies that are like a Payday candy. I made them in bars and they really turned out good this time. I was careful to measure the chopped peanuts so there was enough syrupy part to cover them completely. I’ve been generous with the peanuts in the past and it made the candies so that they didn’t stay together well. For those that have the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, the one I made is the payoff candies.

I made four batches of two-minute truffles (from Trim Healthy Table) for Tiffany. They are a chocolate peanut flour truffle. I made it with my kitchenaide mixer which made it much easier. We have found that they only stay fresh in the refrigerator for two days. Next time I make enough to last a few days, I will freeze the extra. (As usual, I was too busy to even think about snapping pictures . . . so sorry about that . . . I really am trying to improve on this. ;) )

And finally, I made the trimtastic mostess cupcakes which resemble Hostess cupcakes. Oh my gracious! They were delicious!!! Even though the ganache on top needed adjusting when I made it, it turned out great.

THM cupcake ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had a little bit of an issue with the cream filling though because I let the gelatin cool down too much and I ended up with some lumps in it. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing except that I was trying to pipe the swirl on the top and the clumps wouldn’t go through the tip very well. Sometimes I had to press very hard. One time, the cream shot way across the table. :D

Mostess Cupcake ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe had these for three days because it made twelve and there are only four of us. We refrained ourselves because I wanted to make them last. :)

Well, I’ve gotten a bit wordy today. Sorry it isn’t a recipe but more a list of some of the ones we have enjoyed recently.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Improving Your Marriage

Improvement ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve found that one of the best things I can do to improve my marriage is the little things that I think of to do. For example, when I think that I should clean off a counter, I probably should clean off that counter. ;) Of course, I’m in a different stage of life now and have less pull on my time than I once did but then again, I have less helping hands too. :D

If I think that I should paint my fingernails, then I probably should do so. Michael likes my nails painted and I really like them painted too. I feel more attractive when they are painted.

Improving your marriage can also mean improving yourself. When I do things to improve myself, I feel better about myself. When I feel better about myself I tend to be happier or less offendable which means I don’t get as frustrated by things.

The only person you can change is you, so to improve your marriage, work on improving yourself, your actions, and reactions. It is not easy to keep calm and even tempered when around someone that is frustrated or angry.

Some times taking up a hobby can be the improvement you need, especially artistic ones. Some hobbies, like music or art, can help alleviate frustrations and such. Even if you have small children, it is still good to take a little time to read or draw, color, craft, or do music or some other hobby.

I hope this encourages you to take one small step each day towards improving yourself which in turn should improve your relationship with those around you, especially your spouse.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Eye Doctor, Hair Cut, and Shopping

eye dr, hair cut, shopping ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, last week when we went into town, I decided I NEEDED to get my hair cut. I haven’t gotten it cut since the end of last year, so it had really grown. There was a guy there this time and he didn’t do a great job, sadly. It’s okay but I needed a few more layers at the top and he just didn’t get it done. I told him I wanted lots of layers multiple times and still I didn’t get all I wanted. Oh well. Tiffany will probably take a stab at adding a few more for me.

Then I had to go back to the eye doctor’s office AGAIN!!! Yes, that makes three times! So frustrating. The really bad thing is that one of those could have been avoided because they knew they’d made the glasses wrong. Anyway, I digress. I saw a female doctor this time and she really took time with me. I came out feeling confident that the prescription would be much better.

Tiffany needed to get some new clothes. The girl has lost weight and just plain needed some more pants and warm shirts, although yesterday it was 80º. Yep eighty degrees!!! Totally ridiculous for February. So anyway, we went across the street and did some shopping. The glasses were supposed to be ready in two hours or so. We finished in Ross and went to the car and ate our lunch that we’d packed and had a about twenty minutes until they were supposed to be ready. We ran in Walmart really quickly and were back by the allotted time. I got in there and waited for my name to be called, only to be told that they weren’t ready yet! Ugh!!! This time around the experience has not been good at all, well, other than the people themselves being so nice.

So we left and  did our grocery shopping. It was about an hour later than they said it would be and the place was packed! Ugh again. Thankfully the glasses seem fine this time around.

By the time we finally headed home, we opted to skip filling the gas tank. We were just too tired and we didn’t absolutely need it. So home we went. Thankfully I had put a roast in the crockpot with radishes, cauliflower, and carrots that morning, so dinner was easy!

gifts ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn all of our shopping, I forgot to get my Valentine gifts for Michael and Sean. But it was okay because this was the week I had my Zentangle group (art gathering). I decided I’d go early and shop. Michael ended up being off work, so he took me and we did my shopping afterwards, which was a bit awkward since I was buying stuff for him but oh well, I’m flexible.

Afterwards, we went to Red Lobster. We haven’t been there in a long time. Actually over a year because the last several times we went we shared a 4-course meal of chicken alfredo. Well, that is not a THM food. I got the wood-grilled tilapia with seasoned broccoli, a salad, and roasted green beans with mushrooms. I have never had wood-grilled fish before and it was absolutely delicious!!! Michael got the trout and said it was good too.

This is getting a bit long, so I’ll close for now. I’ll probably share the treats I made for my family for Valentine’s Day on Tuesday.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

D’Nealian Handwriting

d'nealian links ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve been wanting to better my manuscript handwriting for a while. I have a Creative Lettering workbookish thing I got from Aldi several weeks ago. I haven’t used it yet but I did look through it the other day and found that it isn’t quite what I’m wanting right now but I will use it this year, I think.

I decided that I’m really interested in D’Nealian handwriting style because it is an italic style handwriting and it generally looks really nice. I did a little research about it and found that it is more natural for some kids to learn. But as with most things, each child is different, so what may work best for one may not work so good for others.

If you have a child that struggles with handwriting, maybe you should change up the style you are using with that child.

Here are some links I found:

  • k12reader has some worksheets to print for learning to form the letters. There are individual pages you can download and print or all of the upper case in one and all of the lower case in one.
  • If you are unsure of how to form the letters, you can find videos on youtube that run through them. I increased the speed to 2x so that I wouldn’t have to agonizingly sit through it going so slowly. ;) Here’s one that is sped up 3X already. :)
  • Here are some worksheets at writing wizard for both ball and stick and D’nealian handwriting.
  • If you want to make your own worksheets, you can use this webpage over on handwritingpractice.
  • Here is one more youtube video that has directions, by an instructor in how to form the letters. She teaches them in groups of like construction. I’ve linked to the first lesson but if you click here, you will go to the page where the other 6 are located.

Over on, in response to a person’s question some suggestions were made for strengthening a child’s fine motor skills by giving them opportunities to use those muscles in a fun way by cutting, finger painting, playing with play dough and such. Here’s the link, the information you want is the second paragraph right after the A:, although it isn’t spaced quite right (if the paragraph you read doesn’t seem right, read the one before it. ;) )

I hope these are helpful to you. They were to me. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº