Monthly Archives: May 2018

Cute Educational Game to Make

I saw this pin on pinterest; I seldom go to my feed on pinterest because I get lost for hours and slow my computer way down because of all the tabs I open up. :D But I was there the other day and saw this really cute idea.

It uses simple supplies which include a lightweight box bottom, toilet paper rolls or paper towel tube or even a wrapping paper tube, some glue, a marker or pen or some such item, scissors, and a pom-pom.

It is such an easy crafty idea that even a child could make it (now not a young one but definitely elementary age). You cut the paper tube into pieces, number them, and glue them to the box at varying angles. When it has dried, you use the pom-pom as a ball and roll it through the tubes in a specific order. (Think ball maze.)

You could even make two and have kids race each other or put letters on the tubes and make words or go through the alphabet. So many ways to play with it.

Here’s the link to this cute little DIY game.

I hope you enjoy this idea.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Puf Tile

The diva challenge this week is to do a monotangle of Puf. Although I like the tangle, I did not like the resulting tile I produced but that’s okay. ;)

I drew a simple string that kind of resembled a diagonal letter T. I filled the entire thing.

DC#364 Puf ~ Lifeofjoy.meAt first I shaded along the string line but I didn’t like it so, shhhh–don’t tell, I erased it. ;) Here it is with the revised shading.

DC#364 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt actually looks a little better on the screen than in person. :D

DC#364 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere is a picture with natural lighting instead of a scan, like the others.

Puf ~ Lifeofjoy.meThanks for stopping by!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Broccoli Slaw ~

Broccoli Slaw

Simple to make and saves money. Use in stir-fry or a salad, or make it into a slaw.

Okay, I know I called this Broccoli Slaw and it really isn’t slaw. What it is though is the main ingredient in broccoli slaw made at home from what you would normally throw away.

You know when you have fresh broccoli, you don’t want all that stem?

Broccoli crowns and stems ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell don’t just toss that stem. Cut it to a size that will easily fit in your food processor chute.

Cut broc stems ~ Lifeofjoy.mePut the grater side of your slicing blade up on the food processor and be sure to remove the s-blade from the bottom of the bowl.

grater blade ~ lifeofjoy.mePut the top on and remove the plunger. Put cut broccoli stems in chute and process away.

broccoli stems in chute ~ Lifeofjoy.meTurn it on and plunge it down; refill as needed.

grated broccoli stems ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen grated, if you are not ready to use it, put it in a freezer bag and freeze. If you actually want to make a broccoli slaw (like cole slaw but uses this instead of cabbage), use it right away or refrigerate it, as I don’t think it will be good raw after frozen.

Bagged Broccoli slaw ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt may be a bit more finely cut than what you purchase in the store, but it works the same. ;) I like to use mine in stir-fry.

This gives you a bit more food from something you already bought–free food, yay!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


I Choose to See Love

I Choose Love ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe other day when Michael was home, I decided to go outside and prune my rosebushes and remove some spent blossoms. I have never pruned my rosebushes and they are not robust in any imagination. ;) (The big green stalks on the left are self-seeded sunflowers.)

Michael and Sean had just brought home a new pair of pruners/trimmers and I wanted to go out and use them. I specifically asked for ones that were spring loaded because my last pair was not and you not only had to push the handles together to cut but you had to pull them apart again, which is quite difficult for a one-handed tool. It was cumbersome; thus I requested a new pair.

Well, I was outside for about 5 minutes or so trying to get the darn things to work, to no avail, when I came back inside to get the directions on the package that I had left inside on the coffee table. As I headed back outside Michael encouraged me not to stay out too long since it was so hot out. I assured him that I would not.

I finally figured out how to work the crazy things and successfully removed some dead stems. Then the crazy weeds grabbed my attentions and I began pulling them out. They are a particularly aggressive type that grows not only grasses sticking up but also runs roots horizontally and just takes over the place. It has overrun my garden on more than one occasion and I’m really trying not to let it happen again this year. Hence I pulled them out before moving on to the new rosebush that they had just planted for Mother’s Day.

While I was pulling weeds, Michael came out and admonished me to come in. You see, in years past I may have pushed myself a tad too much and got a bit overheated and it took me a bit of resting, once inside, to recuperate but this time I’d only been out about an additional 5-10 minutes. I again assured him that I would not be much longer and proceeded on to the rosebush. Since it is a new bush, it didn’t need much pruning. I pulled a few more weeds and headed out to my last rosebush, more like rose stems :D, out in the yard.

Michael came out again, but this time with a glass of water. I was nearly finished so I did not stop what I was doing. We joked around about me being stubborn and I should come get the glass of water. I wanted the water but needed to grab the package directions for the pruners that I’d tossed on the ground since I was finished and ready to go inside.

Now I tell that whole story to show how important perspective is. You see, my first instinct was to be upset at Michael’s insistence that I not stay out too long and that I would overdo it. It felt like him being overprotective or him thinking that I didn’t know not to overdo it. ;) And that feels belittling. BUT I decided to see it for what it really was: Michael loves me and he doesn’t like to see me hurt in any way, so he looks out for me!

He loves me! That perspective is so much better and more realistic actually. He does all that because he cares, not because he doesn’t think that I cannot think for myself. He’s looking out for me, as a good husband does. :)

I am loved! And I choose to think the best. You know what? Thankfully it happens to be the truth. I hope you will choose to think the best of your spouse too. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Could’ve been annoyed and actually fought that feeling the other afternoon when I went outside to prune my poor rosebushes and remove some spent blossoms. I hadn’t been out there but maybe ten minutes when he came out and encouraged me not to overdo it. ;)

Geese, Goslings, and New Clothes

Lamps ~ Lifeofjoy.meA few weeks ago Tiffany and I did some extra shopping on errand day. Mother’s Day was approaching and my mom had found some things she liked at Burlington. These lamps are one of the things she liked.

I walked around looking for this and one other elusive item while Tiffany took a gander at the shoes. We both had a some spending money with us because we were both in need of some things. She needed shoes and I needed shorts and pants. I’ve lost enough weight/inches that my bottoms have been way too baggy and loose fitting.

I found the items on Mom’s wish list and caught up with Tiffany who found two pairs of dress heels, a pair of boots, and two pairs of sandals (I think it was). Then we went to look for the shorts and pants for me. I was able to get some clothes 3 and 4 sizes smaller!!! Wow! I was thrilled.

New Clothes ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe prices were soooo good. I got some shorts for $5 each and three pairs of comfy light-weight pants for about $8 and less. I got two pairs of jean short and a pair of jean capris. Then when we got to Walmart I got a couple tops on clearance too.

After we finally got out of Burlington we were starving, so we headed to Wendy’s. We saw this gaggle of geese and goslings in the parking lot.

Gaggle of Geese ~ Lifeofjoy.meThere were around a dozen all together. It reminds me of Make Way for Ducklings but of course that was with ducks. ;)

While we were eating we saw them headed off across the parking lot, stopping at the water puddles along the way.

Geese in Parking lot ~ Lifeofjoy.meGeese Drinking in Puddle ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was an interesting sight. Of course, we were a bit hesitant to get out of the car with them so close to where we parked, as we’ve heard stories of aggressive geese. :D

Last weekend we were invited to a Clothes Swap. This is an interesting gathering. You see, each attendee brings five items to donate. Then everyone gets a number. When your number is drawn, you get to “shop” and select up to three items. Rooms are available in which to try on clothing, with mirrors to see how it looks on you.

When you’ve decided on which items you want, another number is drawn and they get to shop. Our swap had all kinds of things. Of course it had the dresses, shirts, pants, and such you would expect but it also had shoes, jewelry, belts, purses, and even some sheets. :D

Clothes Swap ~ Lifeofjoy.meOur hostesses had food for us to enjoy while we awaited our turn to shop. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of that but it was good eats! We had fruit, chocolate fondue, cookies, chips and queso, meatballs, and little open faced sandwiches. (I took along a Joseph’s pita and some “legal” bread and subbed it out for the other bread and chips, so I was able to stay on plan. Although I may have inadvertently had a light crossover because of the yummy watermelon and all the lovely “s” foods. ;) But that is okay!

I have a pretty hard time finding clothes to fit me when I have an entire department store, so I didn’t expect to come home with any clothes. I did end up with one shirt that I will wear at home but it’s too tight around my tummy, so I won’t wear it out yet. ;)

I did find a pair of earrings and a nice ring though. I also brought home the sheets. I was going to have to buy another set because one of my fitted sheets ripped but now I don’t have to. :)

Tiffany on the other hand, made out like a bandit! Some of the ladies would find a piece of clothing and tell Tiffany she should try it on. There were lots of things she wouldn’t have tried and some that she would have said didn’t work but they talked her through accessorizing and how to wear them. She later said she felt like a Barbie doll being dressed up. :)

Clothes Swap ~

It was a good time. In the end, any of the items remaining were donated to a woman’s shelter.

Well, that’s it for this time. I hope you have a good Memorial Day weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Ending the School Year

THM cupcake ~ Lifeofjoy.meAlthough we homeschooled year round, we had time away from our usual studies too. I worked out a calendar to include our 180 required days and worked in blocks of time where we were had a break from typical studies too.

I never thought about last day celebrations and such. The article I’m sharing with you today has some good ideas for ending a school year. While I don’t completely agree with everything shared, I think the ideas are worth sharing.

I hope it helps you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Celebrate the End of the School Year

By Leah DeLaughter

As the days get warmer, and summer approaches, the children seem to anticipate the end of the school year. The natives are getting restless! Whether you take a three-month break for summer, or teach year-round, it is good to have a sense of completion. Acknowledge how far you have come this year; celebrate together, and prepare to move forward into the new school year with renewed vigor.

By the end of the school year, many times our homeschools are just limping along. Both kids and moms start sleeping in, and the school day somehow ends earlier, as focus begins to wane. It’s ok to recognize this time for what it is: winding down for a time of relaxation before the next big push for the new school year. So, with the school year coming to a close, how can we celebrate it together?

Approaching the End of the School Year

The first question to answer is, when are you going to end your school year? How will you determine that you are finished? This question may be harder than it sounds. Do you have to complete the entire curriculum you started at the beginning of the year? (If that’s the case, most of us would never end the school year!) Do you end when you have reached a certain number of school days or when your child has reached an academic goal or passed a test? Have a goal in mind, but give yourself and your children some grace. You can always pick up where you left off next school year, and most curricula spend the first part of the year reviewing old material anyway. Can you count one of your family trips as a school field trip? I’m sure your children learned something during the trip! Don’t cut your year short by any means, but make a realistic decision of when you want to end, and stick to it!

Once you have decided when you are going to end school for the year, put it on the calendar, and let the children count down to the end of school. As the final weeks approach, look over your school work. Are there any projects that are halfway done that you want finished (such as a State Notebook, a sewing project or a story?) Are there any subjects that can be dropped for now and picked up again next school year? What subjects do you and your children want to focus on for the last few weeks of school?

Be sure to get some pictures of the kids in their study environment for memory’s sake, especially if you are interested in making a memory book or photo collage. You’ll never regret having pictures of your kids reading or studying, so make sure you sneak some in now if you haven’t earlier in the school year.

Straighten out your papers and grades. I, for one, am horrible about keeping track of grades. I put all graded tests and papers into a folder, and at the end of the year take them out, and record them into a Word document. If you don’t have a way to keep track of grades, find one. There are many useful resources out there for this. For those who don’t believe in grades, (and I’m right there with you,) create a Word document for each student and write about their accomplishments that year. Did they learn to read? What are they able to do in math? What books did they read? What projects did they work on or complete? This documentation will help you remember each year what each child has accomplished as well as reassure you as the years go on that your child actually is learning!

Spend some time sorting through all of those papers, tests, and drawings that have piled up during the school year. Which ones are going into the recycling bin? Can you mail any of the pictures to Grandma? Which of the papers, maps or tests do you want to keep in a folder? Put the important papers to keep in a folder labeled with the year. You don’t need to keep every scrap of paper, just the ones that you feel are your child’s best work.


Now is the time to celebrate! You and your children have made it through another school year together! Don’t get hung up on whether or not you completed every single thing in the curriculum. Focus on what you did accomplish. On the last day of school or soon afterwards, have an awards ceremony, and present each child an awards certificate (preferably several) for his or her accomplishments. For example, “Congratulations, Jonathan! You completed Kindergarten” or “Good Job, Heather! You memorized your multiplication tables!” Think about some things your child has achieved this year, and congratulate him or her for it. Did your child memorize the Declaration of Independence, or learn the 50 states and capitals? Did one learn to spell his name? I like to give at least two certificates per child.

Give a small gift. Go to a dollar store, and get them some stationary, or a cool pen, or a shovel and pail. It doesn’t have to be big, just something to let them know how proud you are of them and that this is a special time. And, don’t forget to get a picture of everyone on their last day, together with their teacher! Give yourself and your children the acknowledgement of a job well done this school year.

Leah DeLaughter is the homeschool mother of three beautiful children who are 6, 11, and 13. They have been homeschooling for eight years, and have lived for ten years as missionaries in Tanzania. Leah loves to spend her time reading on her Kindle, playing with her kids, and having dates with her husband, Bill. She writes about her homeschooling journey on

Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by Author. Originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read TOS Magazine free at, or download the free reader apps at for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.

Nik with Facade

Well, this week I did not like the Diva Challenge of remaking a previous tile that you loved. Well, I have a very hard time remaking a tile that I like but it is one I don’t care for I could probably remake it. I did look through my tiles to see if there was one I wanted to attempt again but there was not.

So instead I decided to just do a tile. The focus tangle for Square One: Purely Zentangle is Nik by Bunny Wright. It is an interesting tangle because there is a square portion to the tangle. I really enjoyed Facade last week and decided to incorporate that into one of the square portions of Nik.

Then I found yesterday’s daily tangle on Pattern-Collections was Lifi Loop by Smita Toke, which looked easy and seemed to have nice end results. Then the daily tangle for today is Lilly by Karin Frank, which looks pretty cool in the stepout, unfortunately I did not do it justice. ;)

So here is my tile before blackening and shading.

Facade in Nik Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meI struggled with the sections of Nik that overlapped each other. I’ll look at others’ tiles to see how they handle this for future tangling because I did like this tangle.

Lifi Loop was really nice but I need to learn how to draw the leafy points better. And poor Lilly did not turn out great. This one needs shading magic. ;) But I absolutely love Facade on Nik.

Here it is after shading.

Shaded Facade in Nik Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’d thought about taking another scan after blackening but before shading and completely forgot about it.

Here it is again a bit smaller.

Shaded Facade in Nik Tile ~

Since so many people said that tiles look better in photographs than scanned, I decided that I’d run outside and see if I could catch some light. Thankfully it is May and in the USA that means we have more sunlight now. It isn’t a bright light but I think it looks decent.

Sunlight shot of Facade in Nik Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, which way do you think it looks best?

Well, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you’ll leave me a comment so I know you were here. ;) Plus comments are so encouraging.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Quinoa Tacos ~

Quinoa Tacos

This unusual, meatless meal is one my family loves and even asks for on occasion. :)

I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe but I’m so glad I did. It is an inexpensive meal, so that is always nice. We have dessert every night, be it double-fermented kefir, homemade ice cream, pudding, or a cake of some kind, so having a bit lighter dinner works fine from time to time.

Following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating, this would fall in the “E” meal category. Now I make my own corn tortillas to eat with this. (This may be a personal choice and not necessarily sanctioned.) The tortillas are made with the Masa flour with lime as an ingredient because this is what makes them “legal.” The 4 corn tortillas are 3g of fat and 23g of carbs; I recommend just have three tortillas in this meal because of the carb load of the quinoa.

For 3/4 cup cooked (without considering the salsa because that varies widely) it is about 25.5 net carbs. It is best to eat only three of the tortillas at about 17 carbs thereby staying within the 45 net carbs of an E meal. This recipe has 3.5 grams of fat for that 3/4 cup quinoa, so the meal stays in the fat guidelines as well. (Remember that we do not have to count the fat grams in our lean meat in E meals.)

So here’s how to make this quinoa for the filling.

Cook the quinoa with the broth. I use chicken broth instead of the vegetable broth suggested because I generally have that on hand. ;)

Once the quinoa is cooked, I place a silicone mat on a sheet pan and then place the quinoa, salsa, and spices on the mat.

Prepping Quinoa Taco filling ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the little tablespoon of oil and stir to combine well.

Add Oil to Quinoa ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen all you do is bake it. Half-way through, stir it to ensure even browning. ;)

Halfway stir Quinoa Taco filling ~ Lifeofjoy.meReturn it to the oven for remaining time to brown nicely.

Quinoa Taco Filling ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow add it to your tortillas with lettuce. I like to add some tomato to give it a bit more moisture.

Quinoa Tacos ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd toppings as desired, keeping in mind it should be fat-free and low carb.

WDressed Quinoa Tacos ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe also add nutritional yeast.

Open Quinoa Tacos ~ Lifeofjoy.meFold up and enjoy!

Quinoa Tacos ~ Lifeofjoy.meI prefer Trim Healthy Mama Tummy Tucking Ice Cream or Baby Frappes for dessert on this night to ensure I don’t have accidental crossovers. ;)

Okay, recipe notes:

  • Get the recipe here at Minimalist Baker
  • We are not huge fans of cumin, so we cut the amount given in half
  • Also, chili powder messes with my hubby and daughter, so we only use 1/2 tsp.

Here’s the recipe as I have adapted it to our needs.

Quinoa Taco Filling


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (plus more individually)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (we use Himalayan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon or so freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive, coconut, or avocado oil


  1. Heat the saucepan over medium heat as you rinse the quinoa.
  2. Add to the heated pan and toast for 4-5 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. Add broth and water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Cover and reduce heat to low; cook for 15-25 minutes or until liquid is complete absorbed.
  5. Fluff and let rest for 10 minutes off heat.
  6. Heat oven to 375ºF
  7. Place silicone mat on sheet pan, combine remaining ingredients and spread evenly on pan.
  8. Bake 10-18 minutes, stir to ensure even browning, and then bake for remaining 10-18 minutes until it is golden.

I hope you enjoy this meatless meal if you try it.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Supplements to the Rescue

St. John's Wort ~ Lifeofjoy.meRecently I was enlightened to the fact that when the kids were younger I was a bit uptight and frequently spoke harshly. :( So I’m writing this today to save others from going down the same path that I did.

I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. I thought other people were just touchy. But Tiffany lovingly let me know the truth as she remembered it. It hurt but was needful so that I can help others.

I started taking St. John’s Wort for some bumps on my hands. After a while, I stopped taking it because it didn’t seem to be making a difference for my intended purpose but I noticed that I started getting frustrated more. Then I was smart and read the bottle which stated that it was a for mood health and realized that it was helping me in other ways.

I have been taking it every night for quite a while now, years now. A few months ago I decided that I was going to cut way back on the supplements I was taking and out went the St. John’s Wort; I didn’t think I needed it anymore. HA!

After a few weeks, I think that it takes about that long for it to get completely out of your system, I began having those old feelings of frustration again. I decided to start taking the St. John’s Wort again and don’t plan on removing it again. It helps me be more chill. ;) My family agrees. :D

So, I’m just sharing my experience and recommend that you do some research, talk to someone you trust about herbal supplements be it a natural doctor, chiropractor, or other knowledgeable person.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Mother’s Day Flowers and Liam’s Here

Wow! It has really been a busy week around here, as I guess it probably has been a lot of places. With Mother’s Day being last weekend and the beginning of May birthday celebrations for our family, Brian (my oldest son), Lauren (his wife), and Liam (my one and only grandchild at the moment) came and stayed Friday night and Saturday night as well.

Liam in carseat ~ Lifeofjoy.meLauren is sweet and sent me this photo en route to our house. They were hung up in bad traffic. Little Dude was coping the best he could. ;)

He liked crawling up into Grandpa’s chair.

He is really jabbering away these days. Not many words but lots of talking!

Toddler Jabbers ~ LIfeofjoy.meSean and Michael bought me flowers for Mother’s Day! :) I love flowers. They make me happy . . . I really like the kind that stay alive and keep blooming, although there are times for cut flowers inside too. At any rate, the kids cleaned out my flower bed and planted them for me. This is the before shot. I did pull out some weeds before the weekend.Flower bed before ~ Liam helped Tiffany get the flowers out of the car.Big Helper ~ Lifeofjoy.meLiam helps with flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meEverybody worked hard weeding and planting! Nobody looks their best when working but it is oh, so appreciated.

Mother's Day Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs usual, they did not get near enough mulch, but we’ll get more as we can. Truth be told, I prefer to have more flowers over mulch. :D

After Planting ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere’s a closeup of the flowers. The flamingo was Michael’s idea last year.

Third part of flower bed ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany excavated the border bricks . . . they were completely covered and no where in sight.Flower bed Closeup 1 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt looks like the birds managed to drop some of the sunflower seeds and they came up.Flower Bed Closeup 2 ~

Grandson helped rake ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd plant.

Grandson helped plant flowers ~

Me and Liam outside.

Grandma and LIam ~ Lifeofjoy.meLauren

Lauren ~

Kitten break. This is the youngest of the kittens at only about 3 weeks old now.

Kitten and grandson ~

One last view of the finished flower bed.

My flower bed ~ lifeofjoy.meThe kids got it done before it got hot and we had the rest of the day to enjoy.

After a shower, he was ready for lunch and then a nap. ;) And he was still jabbering. It will be interesting once he actually starts putting words together. :)

Liam ~

Michael went and bought some chickens while they were doing the flowers. He got back as they were finishing up. Liam decided he wanted to ride in the truck with Papa.

In the truck ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe was supposed to get 4 or 5 and he came home with eight . . . Yes eight! Ugh! Oh well.

8 hens ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiff says she thinks they are in the “ugly teenager” stage. We’ve been getting one egg most days, so at least one of them is producing. They also seem a bit distrustful of humans, so she’s singing to them to try to get them to warm up to her. There are a couple that don’t seem to want to go outside but she shoos them out anyway. They’ll adjust eventually.

You can clearly tell the difference between the two eggs. The one on the left is from our hens and the one on the right is from the grocery store. (I did nothing to this photo.)

Tell the difference in eggs ~

Liam loves his Poppa!!!!

Poppa and Liam with book ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe grabbed a quick family picture at my mom’s house on Sunday.Mother's Day Family Pic ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany made a wonderful Italian Cream Cake from AllDayIDreamAboutFood.

Tiff making cake ~

Italian Cream Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meI liked it but would like it better without the coconut but my family disagrees. ;)

Well, I think that is enough for this week; I need to run. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº