All posts by Life of Joy

The Joys of Family Time

The kids came down last weekend and I have cutie pie pictures, as promised. :)Cutie Pie Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany and I worked hard to get the room child-proofed. We cleaned off the card table that we had set up and took down the table. Then we took some of the tile boards that we’d cut down and used for marker boards when the kids were schooling to cover the drawers, shelves of exposed games, craft supplies, and other storage kind of things. Then we took Sean’s old twin bed mattress that we’d stored behind the sofa bed in the other room and put it on the floor of the room giving him a big boy bed. :) We store the toys we have for him in that room too and left them available to him.

Shortly after they arrived, we all went outside for a bit, to burn of some of Liam’s energy. The guys threw a football and frisbee around, while we girls threw a frisbee.

Grandson and Son ~

Husband with football ~
I’m one blessed lady!

Michael is sooo good with kids. :)Grandson and Hubby ~ Lifeofjoy.meUncle Sean took Liam an adventuring, which really means he simply took him around the cleared area to look at Sasha, our Blue Tick Heeler. He saw one of the chickens under one of the trees. The other he’d seen up front where we were throwing the frisbee.Liam, chicken, flying disc ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe saw the old lawn mower and remembered that he got to sit on it last time they were here, so up he went. ;)

Grandson and his uncle ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe spent a few minutes blowing bubbles and chasing the bubbles I blew for him. ;)Grandson blowing bubbles ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe seemed to like visiting Sasha. Tiffany took him over too.

Grandson and his aunt ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd the next day he went out with Sean to feed the animals and they visited for a while again. :)

Visiting the dog again ~ don’t know why we haven’t gotten rid of that old dog house. We got her a new one several years ago, which she uses but I guess she likes having options. :D )

Then we were off to my parents’ house to visit and celebrate March birthdays. My youngest niece took the cake out to each person when it was their turn. First up was Halee, then my sister Tracie, then Sean, whose birthday isn’t until next week. :)

Blowing out candles ~ Happy Birthday ~ Lifeofjoy.meLiam helped Sean blow out his candles. :) One more time ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was a nice visit! It was good to see my family again. I sure do miss that we get together weekly but I sure do like lazy Sundays at home after church. :)

Well, there were more pictures taken of the trees and such but I’ll share them next week, as this has gotten rather picture heavy.

Have a great weekend,

Michele ºÜº

How’s Your Lent Going?

Preparing for Easter ~ Lifeofjoy.meI talked about Lent a few weeks ago. Have you made any lenten plans? Lent is now one third over so we still have a month before Easter is here. How are you preparing for the celebration of our Lord and Savior?

I shared this link a couple years ago but it is so good that I thought I’d share it again today. It says it is a five day Easter study but there is soooo much there that you could easily start this now and spend a week on each day’s studies.

Here are a couple other links packed with book suggestions, activity links, and study links. The first is from BenandMe and the second is from FutureFlyingSaucers. :) Seriously, there is LOTS at both of those sites to check out; you’re certain to find something that is useful.

I’m sure those three links will give you more than enough to read today, so I’ll run for now. I hope this is helpful in your preparation for Easter.

Michele ºÜº

Festina Lente 2019 Week 2

Well, this week I started Festina Lente on individual tiles and did not feel like I wanted seven monotangles and I did not tangle every day. ;) So yesterday I incorporated all of week two’s tangles on one page in my nearly seven inch square sketchbook. The theme this week was snowflakes. :) So I felt that each one one one page would be a good snowy piece.

The tangles this week were Points and Curves, Bales (variation), F-W1, String 175 from tanglepatterns, Hearts and Diamonds, Snag, and Arukas. (I’ve included a labeled picture below.)

I started to shade and realized I hadn’t scanned it yet. So here it is with minimal shading. ;)#FestinaLente2019 week 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd here is the picture in natural light, pre-shaded.

Unshaded natural light #festinaLente19 week 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen I finished shading it. I figured out a way to shade Points & Curves decently.

#FestinaLente19 shaded week 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s funny. I felt like I’d shaded sooo much and then I look at this and it doesn’t seem like I did that much. :o

Here’s the naturally lit picture with shading.

#festinalente19 week 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd here is the labeled picture. :)

Named Snowflakes ~ Lifeofjoy.meAfter looking at this, it seems that I need something in the background to tie it all together. What tangle do you think would work best? I’m going with a falling snow theme. Maybe just some curved lines?

Well, apparently Laura was still not feeling well, because I didn’t see a Diva Challenge again this week. I hope she feels better soon. :)

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your input.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

When All Else Fails . . . Diet Desperation

Diet Desparation ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, I have found how to stay the same weight but I am struggling with releasing weight. I say it that way now because I have read that there is something psychological that happens when you lose something; you feel a loss and want to reclaim it or at least that is how I remember it. (Do your own research on the topic if you want the details though.) So it was recommended to say that you are releasing weight, this gives your psyche what it needs to keep it off.

I think my problem is that I love food! I like to eat. I’m also a social eater. However I have had a few times in my life where I was determined to get rid of some weight and managed to do so. I did well on the hCg diet. Now, I do believe that I probably did some harm to my body through that but the restrictions on that prove to me that I can indeed restrict what I eat when I put my mind to it. And that is one time I really put my mind to it. Unfortunately I reclaimed many many of those lost pounds and sooo want to rid myself of them again.

So, I’ve decided to severely restrict my food intake, both the amount and the variety of foods eaten, for the rest of Lent. It helps to put it in this time frame because then I have more of a reason to stick with it and a finish point.

I will have a few days omitted from this, which began last weekend with Brian, Lauren, and Liam being here and getting together with family to celebrate birthdays. And I will omit Sean’s birthday from my food restrictions but will keep it in control. I control what I eat. I do not let my appetites control what I eat. :D I’m still going to be applying THM standards as much as I can.

One of the things that you are supposed to eat during the dieting phase of the hCg diet is grissini, which is a breadstick. Unfortunately the ones that are available in the store are not sprouted whole wheat nor fermented, so I’ll be making my own. Thankfully I found a recipe that uses whole wheat pastry flour, which I have but now I have to figure out if it will work in the artisan bread in five minutes method. We’ll see.

I do not really want to restrict myself in this manner but I really want to release some of this weight! So, I’m pushing on. I can do this. Hopefully, this will get me to a place that I don’t eat as much and when I follow the THM principles after Easter, will not regain anything. Of course, I’m praying all through this process and am relying on His strength to help me through all of this. In the end, I will learn the proper amount of food to sustain my body and eventually release even more weight.

I wish I were one of those people that could lose weight on THM, keto, Adkins, or anything else, but the truth of the matter is that I eat too much and too often. I have to have some outside restrictions to get me headed in the right direction. I believe that once I get a grip on my appetite and eating less food, that THM will work for me because it does to a degree right now, I just bend the ‘rules’ a bit too much and need this fast for now. Yes, I’m looking at it as a fast because I am not eating the things I really want to be eating.

Well, I hope this unusual Tasty Tuesday post can be an encouragement to you. I’ll share about those breadsticks when I figure them out. ;)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Revisiting No Excuses

Last week I revisited the first part of an article I’d done for our local homeschool support group many years ago and was one of the first posts on this blog. Today I continue with that article with part two where I talk about common obstacles and how to overcome them.

Without further adieu, here is the post from the past. :)

ObstaclesLast week I talked about making time for you and your spouse. I know that no matter what age your children are that there are obstacles to spending time alone together but I’m here to help. God has sent me to some wonderful sources of ideas and encouragement that I will share with you in the weeks to come. Some of the  ideas can be done with the entire family and just  continued with  you and your hubby in the privacy of your room after the kids have gone to bed. Some of the ideas on the sites I will share, are just plain FUN and can be done just as a fun time for the family. If you choose to do an activity as a family, be sure to snuggle up to  your honey and shower him with attention as you all enjoy the activities together.

Here are three obstacles or excuses for not spending time alone with your spouse and ways to jump over them.

#1:    I have a baby that wakes me up in the middle of the night and so I’m tired.

If this is the case, then there must be a time that the child sleeps during the day, so take a nap at the same time. If you are rested, things will go much better for you.

Even if you home educate your children and you have pre-schoolers, elementary, and/or secondary aged children at home, this will work for you too! Just make each child go to their bed, on which they can have some quiet time. I allowed my children to read, write, draw, color, or do nothing during quiet time, but they had to stay on their bed and could NOT talk (this kept them from disturbing me or the baby and kept them from fighting). {The reason they had to stay on their own bed was because the boys shared a room and I didn’t want them fighting over toys or making ANY noise at all. If your children don’t have their own bed, you could set up quiet spots for certain ones, on a sofa or recliner, on the floor on a blanket under the kitchen table and rotate places if this is a source of squabbles, that way everyone will have their turn in the ‘fun’ spot.}

#2    I have children that don’t have a nap time any more and stay up about as late as I do.

You have several options for alone time with hubby. There is nothing wrong with having your kids go to their room earlier, one night a week. Just explain to them that Mom and Dad need to have some time alone together––explain that God wants you and daddy to stay best friends and the best way to do that is to have time alone together in the evening, once a week.

You could make this a special time for the children. Maybe you could make it dessert night, served right after dinner so that they come down off the sweet rush before bed. Make it a night they get to watch a special show in their room, laying on the floor on sleeping bags with the lights out and eating popcorn. Maybe it is a night that they can play with certain toys in their bed or read a book longer than usual in bed. If you need more ideas, contact me with your special circumstances and I’m sure God will give us an answer, tailor made for your situation.

You could have one night be “go to bed early night” and one night be “stay up late night”. My kids looked forward to Friday night, after they got older, because I’d let them stay up until 3:00 am if they wanted but Mike and I would not stay up late ourselves. The key here is that they had to get up by 9:00 am on Saturday and weren’t allowed to take a nap unless we were all doing so. In other words, they couldn’t sacrifice their time with the family because they had chosen to stay up late the night before.

#3    I have older children/teens; this is can be an awkward time.

We generally go to bed at 10pm each night, or at least start in that direction; so at times, at 9pm I go and sit on the sofa, where Mike joins me. There he puts his arm around me or I scratch his back or rub his shoulders, as we watch a show on television together with the kids. By doing this, Mike and I are giving each other our attention and still spending time with the kids and not requiring them to make any changes.

Because my kids are old enough to stay home alone, we now have the ability to go out alone with no babysitter required. Yours may not be old enough for you to spend an extended time away from home with them unsupervised but maybe they can be alone for 30 minutes or so, which is long enough for you two to take a short walk together and have a little time to talk – not gripe – to each other. Sit out on the patio with some lemonade or sweet tea or some other special drink for the two of you, as you spend a short time alone together. Take a blanket out in the back yard and lay down and watch the stars together for a little bit.

As I said before, it is VITAL that you spend time with your honey; give him SPECIAL
attention! Let him know that HE is the most important thing in your life, besides God! I know those children NEED you. I know you get run down and burnt out and just plain tired but your spouse NEEDS you too. Think about this for a minute; think about your intimate times with your hubby. Recollect  how you felt about those times when you were first married. Now, try to recreate that  feeling and attention you had back then.I won’t say any more about that here but know that if you need someone to talk to, God has helped me and I’d be glad to share with you confidentially.

If none of this seems like it will work for you, Pray! Ask God! He has the answer for you because His desire is for you to be in correct relationship with your husband.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

March Library Run and the Weekend

I finally got tired of waiting on Tiffany to finish reading Oathbringer and I was ready to read some more, so I started the book Sean read last month. It sounded interesting to me. It’s called Rook. It grabbed me from the start and I’ve not liked having to put it down but alas, there are things that must be done. I am just glad that the thirst for reading has returned. :)

We did our monthly library run today. I like that you can only renew books over the phone once. It makes me both more diligent to read but then also forces us to actually go to the library.

I got way too many books but since I’m not sure if I’m going to like them, and thus finish them all, I think it will be okay. Of course, there have been very few books that I have not  liked so much that I did not finish (dnf) them. Michener is one of those authors that I just could not read. I tried really hard to but I just couldn’t. When Michael and I were first married, nearly thirty-two years ago now, I got a subscription to Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. I loved it but one month they included one of the newest books of Michener in the collection and I tried to read it, as I did all the included books. This time though his book was half of the collection! So I tried but I just couldn’t. I get lost in descriptions of places and people and things. I finally just had to put it down. Then not long thereafter another of his books was in the collection, so I tried it, hoping that maybe it was just that book. Nope! Tolkien was that way for me when I we used it as a read aloud when my kids were mostly in their teens. I think the trouble with that one may have been the length of the chapters and feeling like I’d never get through with the chapter to move on. I may try again but not now. :D

TBR March '19 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve got a mix of fiction, including mystery and science fiction. I would put The Rook in the fantasy genre from what I’ve read so far, as it has an X-Men feel to it but Sean, who has read it already, says it is espionage (a genre I love, or at least I did once ) and paranormal.

I also got Unveiled which is a novella by Francine Rivers about the Biblical character Tamar. It is a short read and I enjoyed Redeeming Love by her, so I thought I’d give this a try.

A Clue for the Puzzle Lady looked interesting. Well, actually there was a whole shelf dedicated to this series of books and it intrigued me, so I quickly googled which one was the first in the series and chose it to bring home. We’ll see. There are soooooooo many different mysteries at our library; I think my mom would love it.

A few of those are time travel books and believe it or not, they weren’t all in the science fiction section. Two of them that I got deal with mail, which I thought was an interesting coincidence.  And The River of No Return is a book I picked out myself but when I showed it to Tiffany she informed me that she had borrowed that one from the Tulsa library system and it had been on her shelf for about a year and never got around to reading it.

2.5yo grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn other news, Brian, Lauren, and Liam are coming up this weekend. It is sooo hard to believe that Liam is nearly approaching three years old. Thus, he’s in a toddler bed at home and will not be in the pack-and-play to sleep at night. This should be interesting!!! :) Especially considering the room we usually put him in has soooo many things that he is not supposed to get into. It’s not been a big problem before because he was in the pack-and-play but this time will probably be a bit more interesting. I’m trying to get it a bit ‘child proofed’ before they get here but we’ll see how it goes. :o

We have three birthdays to celebrate this weekend. If my other sister and her family lived in town, there’d be four as one of my nephews’ birthdays is just two days after Sean’s. It makes for a busy month. :D

I’ll run for now,

Michele ºÜº

Preparing for St. Patrick’s Day

It’s that time once again, when I’m confronted with a National Holiday of which I never really knew the significance. I didn’t even really do it justice when my children were young. So I write this to help you not do what I did. ;)

I’m sharing a post I shared several years ago but have checked (and fixed when necessary) the links to ensure they still work. There is a five day study, which also has suggestions for turning into a two week study and another is complete with copywork, art study, and a recipe. :) Lots of stuff here.

So without further adieu, here’s the post from the past.


The article I’m sharing with you today is short because it is Saint Patrick’s Day and there is more than enough information packed into this small article. I got it from the email newsletter of  The Teaching Home. If you don’t get this newsletter, you should; it has lots of great stuff in it but not so much it is overwhelming.

I hope you find this helpful.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

St. Patrick's Day Links ~

St. Patrick’s Day

by Cindy Short and Sue Welch

St. Patrick’s Day

presents an opportunity to teach your children the true story of Patrick of Ireland, who at the age of 16, was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave. After he found God while herding pigs and escaping, he returned to his home in Roman Brittan, and later returned to Ireland as a humble and brave missionary!

We have included many excellent resources, a free unit study, and free e-books below.

•  Free 5-day St. Patrick Unit Study from Knowledge Quest. Includes: biography about St. Patrick, research, and report; science, nature, and craft activities; timeline, mapping, and lapbook activities; and an Irish dinner.

•  Free 23-Page E-book from Living Books Curriculum, St. Patrick’s Day Holiday Helper. Includes: a biography, rare illustrations for picture study, a recipe for soda bread, and more.

•  Read more about Patrick in the online article from Joyful Heart, “Will the Real St. Patrick Please Stand Up?.”

•  Read a shorter account (on for children of Patrick’s life and how he used the shamrock to explain the Trinity.

•  St. Patrick’s Breastplate: Read this poetic prayer, listen to and see it sung in an Irish setting, and study vocabulary, geography, and comprehension questions.

•  Free eBook: Confession of St. Patrick. Read this brief story of St. Patrick’s life, told through his own eyes.

Copyright 2016 by Reprinted by permission.

Festina Lente 2019 First Week

For the first week of the Festina Lente 2019 project, Arja shared some music selections (which I enjoyed listening to while tangling) and information on drawing a labyrinth. I chose to use my helix and make a circular labyrinth. In hindsight, I wish I had done two separate labyrinths, one circular and one rectangular but I think it turned out nice anyway.

The tangle prompts for the first week were dL Labyrinth, Printemps, Sez,  Paradox, fragment F-5, Marasu, Double Marasu, and Emingle/Ambler. I started the tangles in the center of my labyrinth and worked out. Since I only had five rings, I put two days’ tangles on the outer two rings. Oh and I tangled in my nearly 7″ square sketchbook.

Here it is before shading.

Labyrinth ~ Lifeofjoy.meSince fragment F5 looks soooo much like Emingle and Ambler, I opted to only do Ambler on the last day, considering the only difference is one is done ribbon style and the other is done in a grid, or so I’m told. ;)

My section of Double Marasu ended up being right beside the smaller section of Marasu and thus gives the appearance of three sections rather than two, I think.

I wasn’t sure how to shade this thing, so I started with the necessary addition of some blackening on the Ambler section, which made it look much better. That made it noticeably better so I did the blackening behind Sez, Paradox, and Printemps.

Blackened bits Labyrinth ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere’s a picture I took at this stage in natural lighting.

Natural lighting before shading ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen I added some shading and as always, now that I see it on the computer I realize I should’ve done even more shading in some areas but it’s still good.

Scanned shaded labyrinth fl19w1 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI took it outside to take some pictures in natural light but it was quite windy. :D

labyrinth ~ Labyrinth in natural light ~

Then I added a highlight. It worked on some but I don’t think there was enough shading to make it really shine. Considering this is my first “zenbutton” type thing, I think it turned out alright. :)

Here is the scanned final outcome.Final scanned labyrinth festina lente 2019 ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd the final in the windy outdoors. ;)

tangled Labyrinth ~ Lifeofjoy.meFestina Lente 2019 wk 1 labyrinth ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, where would you have add more shading? I think around the outer most ring on the right with Ambler. Where else? I guess maybe shifting to a softer pencil may have helped too. What are your thoughts?

There was no Diva Challenge this week. I hope Laura feels better soon and can get back to using her hand without pain. I really appreciate you stopping by and am encouraged by any kind comments left.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

bbq flavor seasoning ~

BBQ Seasoning

I shared some ways we use chicken thighs last month. One of those ways is BBQ seasoning. I decided I should go ahead and share how we do BBQ seasoning on chicken. I prefer a sweet barbecue flavor and not vinegary. Now don’t get the wrong idea, this is not a barbecue sauce; it’s just to give you some flavor of barbecue.

We just sprinkle the seasonings on each thigh but you could mix the dry ingredients up in a bowl and then add the worcestershire sauce onto each thigh individually. You could mix all the ingredients up together and smear the paste on each thigh but that is too much work for us. ;)

Place the thighs on a rimmed baking sheet. You can use a silpat or parchment paper for ease of cleaning later but we didn’t. Then sprinkle on the onion powder and garlic powder.

Chicken thighs ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext sprinkle on a bit of paprika, ground black pepper, and salt.

Chicken thighs seasoned 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow, we use Sukrin Gold but I believe there is a Swerve brown sugar substitute. You could also make your own. I found these three version you could try: 1. suggests including an extract rather just the molasses, 2. also suggests an extract but uses stevia glycerite instead of the molasses, 3. uses less molasses per cup. (I’m also noting them for myself, in case I need them in the future. :) )

So this next step is to add 1/2 teaspoon – 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar substitute to each piece. Tiffany used 1/2 tablespoon this night and it was too sweet for Sean’s liking, so you may want to err on the side of less sweetener.

Adding sweetener ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen add Worcestershire sauce and bake at 350º until done. Length of time depends on the size of your thighs, about 45 minutes, give or take.

Thighs with Worcestershire ~ BBQ seasoned thighs ~ Lifeofjoy.mebbq seasoned thighs ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe use the same seasonings on chicken breasts and cook them in the crock pot too. Yumm!

BBQ Seasoning


  • about 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • about heaping 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • about 1/8 teaspoon black ground pepper
  • about 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons - 3 Tablespoons brown sugar substitute (Sukrin Gold)
  • about 6 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


  1. Either sprinkle each individual on the meat
  2. OR
  3. Combine dry ingredients together, sprinkle over meat.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce to each thigh individually.
  5. OR
  6. Combine all ingredients into a paste and smear over each thigh.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Revisiting Right Priorities

Years ago I created a newsletter for the homeschool support group with which we were affiliated. One article I was especially passionate about became the first Marriage Monday posts on my blog nearly five years ago. I just felt it was time to bring them back to the forefront.

Right Priorities Revisited ~ Lifeofjoy.meMike and I recently celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary; while it is a milestone and an accomplishment to us, it is less than many couples I know. Our life together has not been sheer bliss. 😉 We have had our bumps along the way, as I suppose most couples do. There have been some things about our relationship that I kept hoping, and yes, even praying, would change but sadly I am here to tell you that they have not.

One day around about 2 years ago I was pondering the movie, Fireproof. Both of the main characters were so caught up in there individual lives that they lost track of who they were as a couple and the other’s needs and neither thought they were in the wrong. I realized that Caleb, the main male character, felt he hadn’t done anything wrong and felt he was actually the ‘injured’ party but was the one who accepted the challenge of reaching out to his wife and wooing her anew. Now, I don’t want to give you the impression that Mike and I were heading for divorce or even tempted to have an affair, but God used that fictional story to wake me up to realize that if I wanted things to be different it didn’t matter who did what, someone had to take action or things would not change. I chose to follow the nudging of the Holy Spirit to let me be the one. In doing so, I came to understand that Mike felt I had some changing to do, and quite frankly, I did.

So here is what I want to challenge you with: think back to when you had just met your honey. Think about how you acted when you first had his attention. Think about how much time you spent talking together on the phone and in person. Think about how much attention you gave him. Think about those honeymoon days and the first months of your marriage. Now, think about how much time and attention you have given your husband in the last 24 hours, how about the last week, and even the last month. How does it stack up? Are your words as nice and sugary as they were all those days ago? Or are you burdened down with your various ‘jobs,’ tuckered out, distraught, and overwhelmed by all the demands of being a wife, mother, and, if you homeschool, teacher with the children around and underfoot 24/7?

I know what it is like to have limited funds. I know what it is like to feel guilty about going out with my husband and spending money when we don’t do many things out as a family. I know what it is like not to have a babysitter or the funds to pay both a babysitter AND be able to go out on a “date” with your hubby. But let me tell you something, dear one, you have got to make time for him!!!!! It is easy for resentment to build on both your parts: his because you are always too tired or you are always doing something else; yours because he doesn’t understand he is just another person making demands on you. This is not good!! I admonish you, MAKE time for the two of you! There will be a time, all too soon, when there will be no more children at home; what will you have then? If you don’t make time for the two of you NOW, you will have two miserable people, frustrated, and lonely who will have to learn, all over again, how to get along with each other (if you even last that long together).

Since this first post is getting a bit long, I will share some ideas God gave me to help you find ways to accomplish this feat in the coming weeks. If you are in a desperate situation and need immediate help, email me your specifics and I’ll try to help.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº