Monthly Archives: April 2018

A Little Nudge

A Little Nudge ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was cold yesterday. Very cold. I wore my warm winter clothes but I was still a bit chilly. Of course that is probably because I’m eating lots of veggies and cutting back on fat a bit (I have a tendency to overdo that luscious stuff) in order to jump start some weight loss again. For those following the Trim Healthy Mama plan, Tiffany and I are doing the Stubborn Losers’ Menu available on the membership website. It helped me kick start weight loss last time.

At any rate, sitting in church I was a bit chilly, so I nudged Michael and basically asked him to put his arm around me. :) I’m usually so warm-natured that sitting that close is not usually desirable for either of us. I was surprised how good it felt to have his arm around me. :) I made sure I told him so.

Later we were at my sister’s house spending some time with her dogs while they were gone. We were sitting down watching a movie and he surprised me once again by putting his arm around me. I was cold and covered up with a blanket sitting beside him. I can only imagine it was because I let him now that I liked it in church. :)

So, the point of this story is two-fold. One: ask for what you want and Two: Let him know when he does something you like. I guess it really boils down to something I have said before: communication is important. :)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Rain, Pictures, and Cheap Trash Bags

Well last week we got a lot of rain! It rained so much I was concerned that the guys wouldn’t be able to make it back home because of flooded roads, if they waited until the end of the work day. So they came home around lunch time.

Tiffany had to go out and help Sofi, her black lab, who was drenched because she didn’t go into her house.

Lots of Rain ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, we don’t usually have a large puddle at the bottom of the steps. :o Thankfully it was much drier by Sunday morning, although colder too, and we were able to get out and go to church.

After going out for long periods last week, Tiffany and I were quite happy to be home early this week. We ran errands one day and I had a dentist appointment another, so I still had to go out twice this week.

I had a root canal and two crowns done a very long time ago. I finally went and got the crowns seated, as I had the temporary for so long, it was hard to distinguish between the crowns being too high and me just needing to get used to it. In the end, we decided I’d take them out for a spin and go back next week if I need to do so. I was surprised how long the appointment took though. They got me in quickly but I sat there for a good long time waiting for the doctor to come in but they were great. If you live near Coweta, OK give Premier Dental a try . . . they’re great peeps.

Lauren, our daughter-in-love, sent us some sweet pictures this week! It is great since they live two hours away and we don’t get to see them very much any more. When they were here last month she snapped this cute one.

Group Hug ~ Lifeofjoy.meBrian and Sean were hugging and Liam got in on it. Soooo cute! Oh! Isn’t my dishwasher magnet gorgeous! I got it for Christmas 2016 or my birthday last year.

Here’s a good one of Lauren and Liam.

Loves ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd this sweet one of Brian and Liam.

Fun Guys ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s such a cutie! Oh, he got a hair cut this week too. Sooo grown up.

First haircut ~ Lifeofjoy.meOh my!!! Love that little man so much!

Remember about a month ago when I told you about the crazy weak trash bag incident and I had to go driving around looking for trash? Well, I had another bag split on me this week! Ugh!!! Thankfully it was only water jugs but still.

great value trash bags ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, not such a Great Value after all. Ugh.

Taped cheap GV trash bag ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd that is how I put it in the dumpster! They aren’t very economical if you have to double bag them to be safe and not have a trashy mess. I will not buy Great Value trash bags again. I’ve never had anything like this happen with the ones from Aldi.

Well, I guess that’s all for this week. I hope you have a great weekend. I think it is supposed to get cold and stormy again this weekend but we’ll see.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Mental Math

This week I’m sharing an article about mental math. I thought it was interesting and could be helpful to you and your children. I really liked the games suggestions and personally enjoy Number Quest for working with numbers/math too. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

8 Ways to Foster Mental Math in the Elementary Grades

By Bob Hazen

Mental math is one of the most helpful skills one can acquire. Mental math frees you from feeling enslaved to a calculator. Mental math can make you feel powerful. Mental math saves time—it’s more efficient than paper-and-pencil arithmetic. Mental math is often “good enough” for an answer. And last but not least, mental math is cool: it is cool how the mental math works, it’s cool how helpful the mental math is, it’s cool how much time it saves, and it’s cool being cool. 

Yet for many students, mental math is one of the least acquired skills. How can mental math be fostered and developed? Several dynamics come to mind.

1. Basic Facts

Get the basic facts of +, –, x, and ÷ simply flat-out memorized. No matter where you stand on the use of electronic calculators, and no matter how early a student starts using a calculator, it’s still valuable, even crucial, to have basic facts memorized.

2. Memorization

There are three key dynamics to memorization: repetition, repetition, and repetition. Simply repeating, repeating, and repeating a math fact is all that’s necessary for memorization. Such repetition can occur in many ways: saying/chanting basic facts (6×7=42, 6×7=42, 6×7=42), seeing basic facts, hearing them, writing them, picturing/imagining them, singing them, and staring at them. In our house, we posted basic facts tables on the bathroom wall, so when our kids were sitting on the throne (ahem!) the basic facts were in their field of vision. All of these ways can be part of the repetition-repetition-repetition necessary for memorization to occur. Keep in mind: memorization doesn’t make mastery harder; memorization makes mastery possible.

3. Estimation

Teach estimation, that 69 x 32 is approximately 70 x 30, which is 7×10 x 3×10, which is 7×3 x 10×10, which is 21 x 100 — so 68 x 33 is approximately 2100. Likewise, 69 + 32 is approximately 70 + 30, which is 100, so 69 + 32 is about 100. And 71 – 32 is about 70 – 30, which is 40, so 71 – 32 is about 40.

4. Modeling

Parents, it also is tremendously helpful for you to model out loud your own mental math with your kids. This is what’s called talking your walk, explaining what you’re doing while you’re doing it.

5. Flexible Thinking

I believe the single most helpful dynamic for mental math (after basic fact mastery) is the ability to think of a given quantity in more than one way. Thinking in several and numerous ways. For example, consider the number 58. This quantity of 58 can be thought of as…

58 = 50 + 8 = 5 x 10 + 8 = 40 + 18 = 30 + 28

= 60 – 2 = 6 x 10 – 2 = 70 – 12 = 80 – 22

= 100 – 42 = 100 – 40 – 2 = 100 – 30 – 12 = 100 – 20 – 22

= 2 x 29 = 2 x (25 + 4) = 2 x (30 – 1) = 2 x (35 – 6)

= 5.8 x 10 = 0.58 x 100 = 58% x 100 = 0.058 x 1000

This ability to think in numerous ways about a single quantity represents the fluency and flexibility that students should cultivate. This fluency and flexibility is the opposite of rigidity. Students who are weak in math far too often have a rigid, narrow view of quantity. For example, they think of the quantity 58 as just that, simply and only 58, or possibly as a number that’s just “kinda big.” So, encourage and model flexibility in how to think about different quantities: 1/2 = 2/4 = 3/6 = 4/8; or 3/4 = 0.75 = 75%.

6. The Distributive Property of Multiplication

Okay, I’m getting technical, but another frequent basis for mental math is based on what mathematicians call the distributive property: that with 6 x 58, the 58 can be thought of as (50 + 8), so now the original problem is 6 x (50 + 8.) The distributive property of multiplications says that the 6 distributes itself, or multiplies itself, times both the 50 and the 8, as shown here: 6 x 58 = 6 x (50 + 8) = (6 x 50) + (6 x 8) = 300 + 48 = 348. The distributive property is the basis for a whole lot of accurate, non-estimated mental math.

7. Use Math with Games

Here are some great games that help develop some of the shortcuts of mental math. By the way, parents, these games are the kinds of games that you can and should play with your kids. And any game involving dice or cards usually involves a lot of counting, which leads to the need for shortcuts, which is mental math. Make math games an intentional part of your math homeschooling and remember: game time is a time for practicing math, not for teaching math. A child should know how to add before playing a game that requires addition. Game time is for practicing math.

Yahtzee: Scoring here often involves both multiplication and addition, with lots of opportunities for the older players (both parents and older siblings) to count out loud how they calculated their score.

Monopoly: Counting spaces on the board, adding up different dollar denominations to pay rent ($85 rent could be 1 twenty + 6 tens + 5 ones, or give a one-hundred-dollar bill and get back $15 in change, etc.).

Cribbage: This classic card game has a scoreboard, the cribbage board, marked in groups of five holes, which makes counting easier and teaches mental math shortcuts.

Parcheesi (the game of Sorry is a modern version): This ancient game, played by monarchs and commoners for thousands of years, also teaches addition, subtraction, and flexible thinking about quantities.

Backgammon: Ditto the above re: Parcheesi.

Math Dice: This modern game (sold by ThinkFun) is great for all operations of arithmetic.

8. Use Math at Home

Show your kids how math is used at home. First, anything involving a tape measure, like carpentry and sewing, is great for learning fractions. Second, we taught our boys how to bake at an early age. Measuring cups show fractions and fraction equivalents and counting carefully and exactly is important. It’s easy to show that 3/4 cup of water is the same as 3 x 1/4 cup of water. I refer to baking as “math you can eat!” Third, when you take your kids grocery shopping, use mental math to keep track of prices.

Enjoy all of this and avoid tedium. Don’t ever make math a punishment. Not everything can be “fun,” but things can certainly be done with enjoyment—especially on the part of us parents!

Besides teaching full-time middle school and high school mathematics for 27 years, Bob Hazen also taught math in a pilot project to two regular first-grade classrooms using algebra, calculus, music, and manipulatives. He is the founder of SAI: the Summer Algebra Institute for Kids, where more than 3,200 students as young as third grade have learned substantive, hands-on algebra. He has also served on adjunct faculty at several colleges, is a regular speaker at education conferences, and

for quite a few years was a homeschool dad. You may contact Bob at (651) 645-4432, email him at, or by visiting his website,

Copyright 2018 The Old Schoolhouse® used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the TOS Magazine free at, or read it on the go by downloading the free apps at to read it on your mobile devices.

Read the Story of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
and how it came to be.

Tangled Fingers and Thumb

This week’s diva challenge is to use fingers for a string. I decided to include my thumb. Here is a picture of how I held my hand.

Finger String with thumb ~ Lifeofjoy.eI started with the pinky and then the ring finger and so on, with the thumb last.

Next I checked the focus tangle for Square One: Purely Zentangle, which is Shard by Carole Ohl. Then I checked Pattern Collections daily patterns for yesterday, which is the day I drew this, and today. They are Necklace by Elena Lebedeva and Raille by Sandi Buchspics respectively.

All three of these tangles seemed to mesh well, so I decided to use them all. I kept Necklace across the thumb and then put the other two alternating on the other fingers.

Here is my tile before shading.

DC#359 Finger and Thumb String ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd here it is shaded.

DC#359 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce again, I think it looks better smaller today. ;)

DC#359 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt looks shaded a lot better and kind of resembles a textured glove. :D

I bought a new Micron 01 pen and loved how nicely the ink flowed as I drew the tile. But I hadn’t added the blackened in portions of Raille until I’d done some shading. Afterwards the ink didn’t seem to flow as well. Please tell me it will be okay again!

Well, that’s all for today. As always I appreciate you stopping by and really love it when you leave a comment, as it brightens my day. Thanks so much

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Food Log

I thought I’d share with you how I have been keeping track of what I eat lately. Most people probably don’t need to track their food but it can be helpful in a number of instances. The first of which is when one is trying to lose weight and change old habits. I follow the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle of eating. It is a low glycemic approach to eating. One of the big points of this way of eating is to not eat more often than every three hours, so my food log only needs room for about 5 things eaten each day.

Since I use a bullet journal I decided it would be a good place to keep the log. I’m not big into pre-planned pages so this went a little against my grain in the beginning but I needed it to be easily read. I attempted something a little differently with my first week of logging my food and it was a jumbled mess. It was only useful as a log not as any kind of idea bank for future menus. See!

food log bujo ~ Lifeofjoy.meI added some thin washi tape around it when I was prettying up my pages. See, I fill may pages in very sparsely when I create them and then go back and pretty them up later when I have time and desire to do something crafty. If I tried to make my pages pretty from the outset, I’d never get them done.

So what I did next was create a place to put the food eaten. This is what it looks like on the first few days of the week.

food log bujo ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t really care if I make mistakes on my lines. The important thing is to get it there so that I can have it to use without fuss. I’ll pretty it up later, maybe. ;)

I like to write down what “fuel type” it is too, so I can see if I’m shuffling it enough. For the longest time I was having nearly all “S” foods for breakfast every morning (that would be mostly eggs but even most of our pancakes are in the fats category). I’ve since added an oatmeal that I love and really enjoy–now if I can just make it so it is still hot when I eat it. ;) (Oatmeal is an “E” fuel type, a good healthy starch that energizes the body.)

This log helps me see what we’ve actually eaten and when, as opposed to a menu plan that shows what I’m planning to eat throughout the week. I don’t know if it works the same for you, but I seldom follow a plan exactly as written; I end up changing it somewhere along the line. Last night was one such instance. I thought I had another chicken breast in the freezer but I had unexpectedly used it for Michael’s dinner on Sunday–we had pork carnitas and at present he doesn’t eat pork, so I fixed him some chicken carnitas. So last night’s dinner had to change; thankfully I have a freezer with lots of meats in it. :)

Here is what my food log looks like after being filled in.

Food Log Bujo ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t always write it down when I eat it, so sometimes there are blanks where I couldn’t remember what I had. :( But the goal is to fill it in as I eat it. The colors have absolutely no meaning. I like color and change use whatever color I’m feeling like using at the moment. I’m not worried about colors that go together so much, just what I want to use. :)

This food log is also helpful in making menus. I can look back and remind myself of what we’ve eaten to get ideas for what to put on the menu for a different week. I can also see how long it has been since we’ve eaten a particular recipe.

I don’t use a whole page for the food log and put a little tracker on the lower portion of the page, and leave space to make notes and items I want/need to make or bake.

Bujo Food Log ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe one above was last week’s log. I made a big list of items to make or bake near the end of the week, so I’ll be pulling from that list over the next week or so. :D

I hope this look into my bullet journal and food tracking has been helpful to you in some way. There is no right or wrong way to use a bullet journal. Some people use them more as a scrapbook and other’s use it more for a planner. Part of mine is to help me in my weight loss journey. :) If you have questions, I’ll try to help.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Sometimes It’s About My Tone

Tone Sound ~ Lifeofjoy.meCommunication is a pet peeve of mine. I really dislike it when things are not communicated well. And I definitely do not like it when things are not communicated at all. ;)

One thing I am guilty of is letting my annoyance be known in my tone when I am relating something. I also have to keep reminding myself that there are ways that I can say things that will not bother my husband at all but the very same words spoken differently frustrate him. This is not his fault although I must admit, it is hard to deal with at times.

I’ve realized anew that I need to watch my tone when I speak, especially when I speak to my hubby. Years of miscommunication and frustration from using a wrong tone have caused there to be a short fuse sometimes. Once again, “the fault is mine.” (Yes, I did throw a little You’ve Got Mail quote in there. ;) ) It’s true. I cannot help how my tone has affected others but I can change my tone. I do not need to be overly cautious about it, just remember to have a good tone to my voice, not an irritated one.

This is just me thinking out loud and hoping my thoughts will give you something to consider as well.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Birthday Pie, Ants, Deals, and Visits

For Sean’s birthday the end of last month, he requested pecan pie for his dessert.

Birthday Pie ~ Lifeofjoy.mePecan Birthday Pie ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was a delicious idea and it did not outlast the day.

We had some little ants strolling around the kitchen counter last week or so. I put out some ant bait made from water, sugar, and Borax out on some cotton balls and within a couple days they were gone.

Then one day about a week later, I felt something crawling on me but when I asked the family, no one saw anything. It kept bugging me and finally Michael looked and low and behold I had an ant crawling around. UGH!!!  Then a day or two later I saw a whole slew of them on the table beside my recliner. They were just milling around. I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from and then I spied this.

Ants on an electrical outlet ~ Lifeofjoy.meDo you see those specks on my phone charger? The ants had created a highway from the electric box up my charging cable to my desktop. Well I put out some ant bait on my desk top but then Michael got smart and put some down closer to them, in that red basket. After a day or so, I haven’t seen them any more. I don’t know if it is just a coincidence with it also getting colder outside or if it is just the ant bait. We’ll see eventually. ;)

Tiffany and her lifelong friend decided to have lunch together/spend some time together. They hadn’t spent much time with each other since around the first of the year, so they decided to get together for a bit. We worked it out so that Tiffany and I would get errands taken care of and then I’d drop her off at their meeting location. I would then do a little shopping and then spend some time reading. I armed myself with books, d’nealian handwriting pages, my bullet journal, and some pens. We also packed lunch since we knew we’d be out for a long time.

Well, then I realized that these two might want to spend a LOT of time together and suggested that if that was the case, that she could catch a ride home with her brother when he got off work; it would be easy for her friend to drop her off there. I figured this would be the way it would work out and proceeded to run to Michael’s armed with my 20% off coupon. :)

I bought me a new Micron 01 pen for my tangling (see my Zentangles on Wednesdays). I hadn’t gotten a new one in ages, and it was about time.

Micron 01 ~

I saw these cute sayings in the checkout of Michael’s.

Woodstrip Sayings ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat dark pink one says, “Life is tough my darling but so are you.”

Then I decided that Mardel is so close by and I hadn’t been there in quite some time, that it was only smart to go by there. I like to look at their Bargain Books. This week I found a cool adult coloring book for $1!

Adult devotional coloring book ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was a steal at $1. It has a devotional on the left side of the page and then a coloring page on the right throughout most of the book.

Adult devotional coloring book ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen I found some books by some of the marriage bloggers I like. Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum and J.Parker of Hot, Holy, and Humorous. Then there was also a book that they and Paul Byerly (the husband of Lori Byerly of The Generous Wife and blogger at The XY Code and The Generous Husband) all were noted on the book cover (sorry, can’t think of the word right now for when someone is quoted on a book cover). All of these books AND another were in the $1 each section. I got 5 books for $5 and change. :)

Marriage Book Finds ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was excited! :)

When I was leaving Mardel I saw this.

Urban Goose ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, that’s a goose. It just popped a squat right there in the middle of the parking lot. It did not care that cars drove near it. It just sat there as if it were on a pond. But no water was even in sight. Very strange!

Another day Tiffany and I got to have lunch with a dear friend from church. She is such a sweet lady and it really blessed us to get to know her better. We ate at iHop. We went at an off time, so that we wouldn’t be a nuisance with how long we stayed. ;)

Our sweet waitress could tell right away that we were there for the long haul because we didn’t even look at the menus for nearly the first thirty minutes we were there. :D I got the philly cheesesteak without the bun or fries, and added mushrooms and green peppers, as well as changed the cheese to cheddar. I also got some broccoli instead of those pesky fries. ;) It was a nice plate full of yumminess.

We were there a good long time, 3-4 cups of tea and at least as many glasses of water which I made into lemonade with my stevia glycerite and the lemon wedge brought to me with my tea. We had a very nice visit and were hungry again by the time we got home some seven hours after leaving the house that morning.

That’s a lot of extroverting for two introverts! :D But we both really enjoyed it. Of course it will probably take every bit of the days we have to be ready to extrovert again come Sunday. :D

Well, I’ve gotten long-winded again today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Gourdgeous Pickpocket

The challenge this week is to use the tangle by Tomas Pedros named Pickpocket. I decided to check the focus tangle for Square One Purely Zentangle and I discovered that it is Gourdeous. This is not my favorite tangle but when I looked at Helen’s recent video for how she use it, I decided to give it a try. I have to admit that it still isn’t my favorite but I think I have a better handle on it now.

I started with the four dots in the corners and added three straight lines and one with a loop in it to help a bit with Gourdgeous. I found pickpocket required close attention but I think it turned out okay in the end.

Here it is before shading.

DC#358 + Gourdgeous ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, I don’t quite have the hang of the curly top of gourdgeous. ;) I’ll probably have to review the video a few more times before I get it completely. But it is good enough for this time around.

Here it is after I shaded it.

DC#358 + Gourdgeous ~ Lifeofjoy.meThanks for stopping. I love it when you leave a comment, as it is so encouraging.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Sugar Free Chocolate Almond MIlk ~

Chocolate Milk and It’s Sugar Free

Milk (made from nuts) that is sweet and chocolatey are a favorite of mine!

Sean wanted chocolate milk one day and made this recipe up. Of course, he doesn’t really measure, he just adds a little of this and a little of that but it hits the spot. :)

So he starts by pouring the milk into the glass you wants to fill, so he has a full glass. ;)

Not yet chocolate milk ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen he pours it into a blending cup but you could use a blender. Next add in about 2 tablespoons of cocoa.

Almond Milk with cocoa powder ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen add 3-4 tablespoons of Gentle Sweet (this is a THM powdered sweetener but you can use your favorite one).

Milk, cocoa and sweetener ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe said he usually adds the sweetener first because then he doesn’t have to wipe off the scoop. Then add a dash of vanilla.

Dash of vanilla ~ lifeofjoy.meI may add a small pinch of salt next time to round out the flavor; I just thought of that.

Then blend blend blend!

Blending Chocolate Milk ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe cocoa will be resistant to blending but persevere and it will surrender. :)

Blending Chocolate Milk ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen pour back into your glass and enjoy!

Sugar free Chocolate Almond Milk ~

Chocolate Milk and It’s Sugar Free


  • 1-2 cups nut milk (we use almond milk but cashew or coconut milk would probably work fine)
  • 3-4 tablespoons Gentle Sweet (or sweetener of your choice, best if powdered)
  • about 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • dash of vanilla
  • maybe a pinch of salt?


  1. Pour your milk into either a blender or blending cup.
  2. Add sweetener
  3. Add cocoa powder
  4. Add vanilla
  5. Add the pinch of salt if desired
  6. Blend blend blend!
  7. Pour into your glass and Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this chocolate milk, we sure do.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº