Monthly Archives: February 2018

Zentangle Group and an Olympic Tile (cheat)

This week’s diva challenge is to be inspired by the Olympics but I kind of cheated . . . okay, I really cheated but I think it works. ;)

Here’s how it happened:

Last month I mentioned the Zentangle group I attended. Well, I went again this month and enjoyed myself once again. Pam is a CZT and agreed to spotlight some of the unpublished tangles in our Monday group.

This week she showed us how to draw the tangle Evoke. It looks surprisingly like Fescue but the way it is constructed and how you used the aura’s is it’s distinguishing characteristics.

Here is the piece we constructed as she taught us this tangle.

DC#351 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI added a tiny bit of shading down the shared aura. Pam showed us how using a pencil for the blackening part can really add some depth because you can vary the darkness of the shading then. But I really do love the contrast of the inked areas. I can also see how this would look good inside a string section instead of as a free-flowing piece.

But that is exactly what I did with it. I couldn’t help but see it in a heart shape, since it is February.

DC#351 ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen I look at these and think of the Olympics, I see the Alpine Skiing with the flags they have to go around. :) See it is a bit of a cheat. ;)

I’m not sure if I like the heart shaped one with the extra bit in the middle. I considered stopping and blackening all of that in but figured I could always go back and blacken it in if I didn’t like it. Now, I’m not sure I like it but I am also uncertain if I’d like it blackened. :D

DC#351 Blackened ~ Lifeofjoy.meI blackened the center with GIMP and I think I like it better. What do you think? Should I blacken the center on the tile?

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate those that take the time to visit and really appreciate comments.

I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Light Laughing Cow Cheese

Laughing Cow Cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, sorry this is not a recipe today. What it is, is a rave about Light Laughing Cow Cheese. It reminds me of a cream cheese. It is a creamy wedge of low calorie cheese.

I use it on sandwiches for moisture and flavor instead of mayonnaise since I cannot have my beloved Miracle Whip. It can be used with cooked veggies to give them a bit of a creamy sauce. It melts up really well.

I’ve even used it instead of block cheese on an omelet for a low calorie option. Now, I must say that Trim Healthy Mama is NOT necessarily about low calories but my body is currently in a place where I need to ensure that I do not abuse calories. When I was on keto I did abuse them quite bit and thus did not lose weight after the initial losses. In order to lose weight, I have to cut back a bit and have lots of non-starchy veggies.

Regular cheese can cause my weight loss to stall. To be fair, I do tend to over do it a bit (a lot) where cheese is concerned. I love cheese! Cheese makes everything better. :)

Aldi has a version of this cheese but it has carrageenan in it so it is not as pure as Laughing Cow. Sometimes my budget requires that I use the cheaper Aldi brand though, but it is possible that it causes inflammation in my system. I’m looking into it a bit more but am concerned about it in dairy products, so better to stay with Laughing Cow.

Now, most of the Laughing Cow flavors are good to use in any setting of the THM plan but I know there are a couple that have higher calories and fat, so they should not be used in the E (carbohydrate) or FP (low in both fat and carbs) meals. Stay clear of the Original Swiss but the Light Swiss is great. But the Creamy Asiago and Pepperjack flavors are also the lower calorie flavors. You are looking for the ones with 1.5 fat grams and 35 calories.

I hope this helps your creamy, cheesy craving if you need to limit your dairy, if but for a season.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

This is THE Week: Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, this is the week. Valentine’s Day is THIS Wednesday. Are you ready? Do you have a plan?

Do you have children to make the day special for too? I still try to make the day special for my children that live at home still. They are good kids and are keeping themselves pure for their spouses, which we are all praying happens soon. ;) But while I still get to enjoy them at home, I try to make Valentine’s Day special for them too. So, I got lots of plans to make!

I failed to do my research for Michael’s gift to get it when I went shopping last week but YAY! I’ve got my art group today and will leave a bit early to stop and get some stuff. :)

I’ve thought about the food, which is a huge part of my gift to my family. Usually I serve spaghetti or lasagna but this year I’m opting for Tomato Chicken Bisque which we have had before and all like. I’ll make sure we have some bread to eat with it because that just makes it all better.

I have some special treats planned for each person, a sweet treat each one likes, but am also planning to make some cream filled chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate ganache for our dessert. Since we are on Trim Healthy Mama, many of the desserts taste best after they’ve sat overnight. So I’ll have a very big prep day on Tuesday. ;) But I don’t mind, it is a labor of love.

I had forgotten one year, but then my daughter reminded me that I had given her (and her brothers) a Valentine note for several years prior and it was something she looked forward to each year. I think you can imagine, I have tried really hard not to forget that again. :D

So I do treats, a special homemade red colored dinner, and dessert. Then I usually try to give my honey a little special “dessert” all his own that night, if you know what I mean.

Well, I’ve got my plan. I’m going to make my lists and definitely check them twice because I want to be oh so nice. :)

I hope you have your plan and are able to pull it off as you envision it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

January Check-In, Celebration, and Yummy Food

In the past week, I had a “meeting” with this cutieTiff Jan '18 Mtg ~ Lifeofjoy.meabout how the last month went. Since we are both “self-employed,” we don’t have a boss to have meeting with so I decided it would be a good thing for us to do together and help to hold us accountable to the goals and productivity we think we should have.

Me Jan 18 Mtg ~ teeth are NOT that color. We’d just eaten BLACK bean soup.)

We had fun and were motivated to have a great February!

Tiff and I Jan '18 Mtg ~ Lifeofjoy.meOriginally we had planned to have a girls day out if we met certain goals. Unfortunately we did not meet those goals so instead we took some extra time when we ran errands, to have our “meeting” somewhere other than home. I thought it might make it feel more important. ;)

Errands took us even longer because I had to take my glasses back to the eye doctor’s to have them checked. Shocker! They were the wrong prescription! Ugh!!!! Then we had to wait several hours for them to be done. So on a day when we had hoped to be home by around at least one o’clock, we didn’t get home until around four o’clock. Ugh!! Even more unfortunate is the fact that I’m not confident this prescription is correct.

When we finally got home, Michael had gotten home before we did, by mere minutes. But this is what we saw as we pulled up.

Skylar broke free again ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, this is Skylar and she belongs in the back yard. This is not the back yard. To say that Tiffany was not pleased that she had to deal with this is an understatement. :) We were both dog tired. ;)

I fixed some yummy banana THM pancakes on Saturday morning. That seems to be our Saturday breakfast tradition for the last while.

Banana Pancakes ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course just a normal batch, where we each get four pancakes is not enough for my guys, so I had to make a double batch. That’s a lot of egg whites. :D But oh so good!

THM Banana Pancakes with Chocolate Syrup ~

We celebrated Lauren’s birthday last weekend. (Sure wish I’d gotten some pics of her and her cake but alas, we were hungry.) They traded in their Wii U and some other stuff and bought a Switch, which they brought with them. We enjoyed playing Puyo Puyo and the kids all enjoyed playing a cooking game. It was fun watching them all play together. They also got Mario Odyssey, at least that’s what I think it is called. OMG! It looks really fun!!! Now, I’m looking for Sean to get a Switch soon.

Unfortunately I did not get many pictures! But I did get a few. Liam enjoyed the basket I keep some of the toys in as much or more than the toys themselves.

Liam with his basket ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd he liked playing behind my chair.

Liam behind chair ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s so cute!

Liam Cutie ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I’m going to run. I have lots to do today. Tiffany needs to go clothes shopping, I need a haircut, and we have to get groceries as well as look at some bar stools and cafe tables. I’m tired just thinking about it. :D

I hope you have a great weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Winter Olympics 2018

winter olympics ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, in case you have had your head in the sand like me, the Winter Olympics have started. Of course opening ceremonies are not until Friday but according to the official website, competitions have already begun.

I remember one year when my kids were young, we watched the olympics a lot! We put socks on our feet and “skated” across the kitchen floor. :D  I don’t know if my kids remember that or not but I do, especially since I bent over to open the bottom drawer in the kitchen and swung my leg up behind me in the air and pulled something. :))

As homeschoolers, we have the opportunity to turn everything into a learning event, so we could even binge on the Olympics and it was educational. We learned a lot about the different sports and were introduced to curling that year.

Want to take advantage of a learning opportunity?

  • Have the children pick a sport and find out the rules, history, and how much time is spent practicing it.
  • Have the children pick a country and learn about that culture, history, and people.
  • Learn about the history of the olympics

You could keep a medals count. Here is a printable to help you do that. They also have a word search. It’s a couple years old but should still be relevant.

I’m not going to overwhelm you with links, because hey! there are olympics to watch but here are a few websites I found with some good links for an olympic unit study.

  • This one is aimed at 3-9yo with a Montessori approach–very cool.
  • Sonlight has a free download available to aid in your South Korea study (because that is where the winter olympics are this time).
  • Here’s a good compilation of free unit studies and printables.
  • This one has some good ideas and good points about not trying to do it all too . . . it is worth reading, just take a few minutes and head over . . . includes ideas for the night of the opening ceremony.

I will close with sharing this fun idea that was used for a summer olympics but really looks like it could be used now too: Hosting an Olympic Games Event with games like stacking styrofoam cups and a hula hoop slide. Looks like it was a lot of fun.

I hope you will make some good memories with your children during the Olympics. Oh! and don’t hurt yourself. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Heart Rimana

The diva challenge this week is to use Rimana by Nadine Roller. It kind of seems like Rixty a bit to me. I went along with Laura and drew a heart string on my tile and then started with a small heart near the center of the string.

I decided to start drawing Rimana from the bottom tip of the center heart. Then as I headed it back up to the top of the large heart string and drew hearts on the tips instead of the pods.

Here is the tile before shading.

DC#350 Heart Rimada ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd here it is after I shaded it.

DC#350 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce again it looks better in a smaller size.

DC#350 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meHmmm, looks a lot more shaded in person! I’ve considered shading the empty background but maybe I’ll use a color, maybe pink or red.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I appreciate comments as well.

Have a great day.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Another Kind of Bread

Low-Calorie bread that you can have slathered in butter if you so desire. :)

My first attempt at this Wonderful White Blender Bread from the Trim Healthy Mama Table cookbook page 242, turned out less than stellar results. ;)

FP Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meAlthough it did some serious collapsing, it was still edible and good enough that another loaf was desired.

The second time yielded much better results. I also made a batch into buns. They weren’t very large buns but they made some nice hamburgers. I’ll make them again this week to have with the Slim Sloppy Joes.

Brian, Lauren, and Liam were here this weekend and they liked it too. We finished off the loaf I made a few days prior.

It looked really nice and didn’t have that big fold over top that I’ve had on previous loaves and that I’ve seen online of other’s loaves. This time I changed up a few things per other’s experiences on the THM Facebook group, so I think that contributes to the lack of fold over.

I’ll walk you through it, as I make another loaf. (That is my only regret about this recipe, it makes only one loaf instead of two.)

So first up is to get a whole lot of eggs whites. Yes, it is easier to use egg whites from the carton but I cannot pay $3 or even more for a quart when I can get 5 dozen eggs for just $2.08 which turns out to render quite a bit more than four cups. So, I start this (and many recipes) by separating eggs. Thankfully we have animals that love the cooked yolks. ;)

Egg whites in Blender ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe whites go into the blender while I go measure out the other ingredients.

Modified WWBB Ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meI measure out the ingredients into a bowl. All the dry in one and the cup of Greek yogurt. Then I run the blender for a minute with just the egg whites and xanthan gum.

Egg whites ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the remaining ingredients.

Add dry ingredients to blender ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd Gk Yog ~ Lifeofjoy.meBlend for another minute or so.

Pour into sprayed straight sided loaf pan.

Baking Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meBaking Bread ~

After it is baked, lay it on its side and keep it in the oven with it turned off for about 10-15 minutes to keep it from falling.Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen put it on a cooling rack on its side to cool some more.

bread ~ Lifeofjoy.mebread ~ bread ~ bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen it is freshly baked, it has a squishy sponginess. I don’t know how it tastes because I waited and toasted mine.

toast ~ toast ~ lifeofjoy.meI shared though; it’s hubby approved.

Hubby Approved Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meHope you like it too.

Another Kind of Bread


  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3/4 cup whey protein isolate powder
  • 1/2 cup THM Baking Blend
  • 1/2 cup oat fiber (THM or LIfesource 500 brands)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt or 1% cottage cheese
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon THM Super Sweet Blend (Or possibly Sukrin +)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mineral salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350º and spray loaf pan with coconut oil spray.
  2. Blend the egg whites and xanthan gum on high for about a minute in the blender (or some say a mixer will work too)
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend for about 30 seconds.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the blender to ensure it gets well blended.
  5. Blend for another 30 or so seconds.
  6. Pour into loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
  8. When it is done, turn off the oven and lay the pan on its side and stay in oven for another 10 minutes or so.
  9. Then remove from oven and put on its side on a cooling rack.
  10. When cool, slice.
  11. Store in gallon size baggie with a paper towel in the refrigerator if it will last longer than a day.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Thoughtful Gift Giving

Shared Experiences ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, Valentine’s Day is approaching. I’ve been thinking about what to give Michael for Valentine’s Day. I don’t want to just give him another gift.

Both Valentine’s Day and anniversary gifts would be good events to give a gift of a shared experience or some kind of supplies for a shared hobby or activity.

Maybe you could take a day trip, a hike, go scuba diving, go bicycling, or other such shared activity or experience. Maybe you could do some kind of hobby together. Does your hubby like to cook? Maybe you could come up with a special treat to cook together. Or maybe you’re both into art, buy some art supplies and spend some time using them together.

Maybe your hubby is into gaming. You could learn a little about his favorite game and watch him play or play with him. You can check the Dating Divas website and see what printables they might have for his preferred game.

Finally, you could plan a sweet evening of romancing your man, putting the kids to bed early. If they are older, you can always give them a special evening of special movie, snacks (popcorn), in pajamas, in their room, giving you and your hubby the dining room, kitchen, living room, and bedroom to yourselves. ;) Check The Dating Divas for these kinds of ideas too. ;)

I hope you have come up with a good plan for celebrating with your hubby and if not, that this will help you.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Ladies Meeting and a Little This and That

This week has been a busy week, although to sit down now and tell you what I have been up to leaves me lacking for words. The same thing happens when I see someone and they ask what I’ve been up to . . . I can’t think of a thing.

Last Saturday we had a lovely ladies meeting/brunch at the church. It was so nice to have this lovely group of ladies hostess; they did a great job.

FPC Ladies Mtg ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe decorations were very pretty, the food was delicious, and the games were fun. I think they may have enjoyed themselves too, just look at those smiles! And a couple of them are pregnant. :)


This dear lady was going around taking pictures before it started.

Kim ~

She saw these two walking by and had them hold still so she could get a picture. She snapped the picture (not this one but one all the same).

Kathy and La Veta ~ Lifeofjoy.meJust then this lovely lady walked nearby and was asked to join the picture. Snap again.

Lynn, La Veta, and Kathy ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen she spied Gwin and asked her to join in.

Gwin ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I could see what was happening, so I quickly got up and climbed up on the chair behind them.

And then there were 5 ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen to add to the fun, we took a selfie!

Ladies Mtg ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, that’s how we roll, lots of good clean fun!

Here’s just a small sampling of the scrumptious eats.

Ladies Mtg Food ~ Lifeofjoy.meThere was an array of cheese, crackers, veggies, meats, toasts with toppings (which I only ate the toppings of because it’s too carby for me), and fruits (with optional chocolate sauce which I also skipped). It was wonderful to be able to eat food that was in line with my diet, thus no guilt.

Our speaker, Inga Husko, has an interesting testimony so foreign to my own. Growing up in Latvia in the 70’s was not easy and way different from life in the USA in the 70’s.

Inga Husko ~ lifeofjoy.meIt was a fun morning and some nice fellowship.

I’m excited for this weekend because this little fella is coming for a visit!

Liam Duoing ~ lifeofjoy.meBrian or Lauren took this picture of Liam holding the phone while we were on DUO together. :) Soooo cute!!!

This sweetie’s birthday is coming up and we’re going to celebrate this weekend.

Lauren ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m liking the new hair color too.

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled out a new set of flannel sheets to put on my bed. When I did I found this odd piece of tape on the underside of the fitted sheet.

Weird writing on new sheet ~ Lifeofjoy.meSeriously, what is that!!! I removed the tape and washed the sheets, just to be safe. Who knows what weirdness that is. The sheet was not ripped. There did not seem to be anything there, under the tape.

I was surprised how much I loved these sheets. They are a nice plaid and flannel. I never thought I’d do flannel sheets. Last year I bought a set of flannel sheets for Michael because he’s always so cold and found that I really liked them. So I got another set this year. :)

The biggest thing I did this week was so much baking but I’ve rambled enough for today and will probably share it with you on Tuesday. I hope you have a good weekend; I know we will.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Blood Moon, Red Moon, Moon Study Links

Moon phases ~ Lifeofjoy.meDid you see the lunar eclipse yesterday? I did not but I understand it was both a blue moon, meaning it was the second full moon in the month, and a blood moon. Dinah Zike had a good write up about it earlier this week. I think it is good information, even though it has now too passed, because there will be more in the future sometime. ;)  Here is the link to her blog post.

Moon ~ lifeofjoy.meHere are some  links to some unit studies, activities, and printables on the moon. I hope they will be helpful the next time your little one (or even older child) has an interest in the moon, astronomy, or the solar system.

  • This page has a good number of Montessori-inspired moon activities including some painting and even scissor practice.
  • This page has a good collection of activity links including a glow in the dark moon phase mobile that looks really neat. :)
  • Here’s another page with a lot of Montessori-inspired moon activities including a video at the bottom.
  • This one includes directions to make an inexpensive DIY telescope. :)
  • Donna Young has a moon study outline.
  • And finally, here is how one gal’s interest led to a study of the moon and astronomy. Pretty interesting quick read.

I hope these pages are helpful to you. If nothing else, hop on over to Dinah Zike’s page and read the quick information about the colored moons.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº