All posts by Life of Joy

Gift Wrapping Fun, Snow, and Holiday Preparations

One day that Sean was working at home, he, Tiffany and I began wrapping Christmas presents. Dollar Tree had some fun wrapping paper. I especially liked the Nintendo Mario themed and Minions papers.

Wrapping Paper ~ Lifeofjoy.meI got a good start on it but lots to go.

We put Christmas music on and just went with it. :D

Single Dancing ~ Lifeofjoy.meSean danced with Shiloh.

Dancing dog and man ~ Lifeofjoy.meDo you know that there is a right tape for a type of paper? If you buy foil wrapping paper, do yourself a favor and get regular tape. It is a bit shiny and will hide on the foil paper nicely. But if you have the standard paper finish, which I think is more of a matte finish, then that is when you want to use the invisible tape. However, if you try to use the invisible tape on foil paper, it will not be invisible; it will kind of be like a ghost and foggy.

On Monday this week, it snowed! It was a lovely snow! We didn’t get a whole lot of accumulation but it was really pretty. I took this picture shortly after it had begun and the flakes were really big.

Big Snow Flakes ~ Lifeofjoy.meYes, they got as big as cotton balls! It was gorgeous!

Big snow flakes in Nov ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was beautiful and then it was gone. We got around an inch or so and then the temperature rose and it melted. That’s why I like snow here; it snows and disappears before it can turn into a dirty mess.

I’ve been working on getting all my gifts bought. I still have a  few stragglers to pick up but I’m nearly finished. :) Other than buying gifts and getting them wrapped, not a whole lot has been going on. I did make a two week menu this week so that I don’t have to shop next week. I got a couple of turkeys on sale the other week and will have that and planned-overs most of the following week.Cheap Washi Tape ~ Lifeofjoy.meDid I mention that Michael’s has some really cute washi tape for just 33¢ a roll? Yep! You get to pick the ones you want too! It’s awesome! I may have gotten a little carried away. ;) I have several different sets of washi tape on my Christmas list. I picked some I liked while I was with Tiffany. And I picked some while I was with Tracie. Washi Tape heaven. :D

Mom mentioned when we were out the other week that she’d like to see what I use the washi tape for. So Sunday I took my bullet journal and showed her. It’s funny because in the beginning there was NO washi tape. Then you could see where I’d gotten a few rolls. Then it was quite clear when I’d gotten some for my birthday.

I like to have some nice glittery rolls both with designs and just glitter and in varying widths. Then I like to have some tapes with nice seasonal designs and other designs as well. I also like foil tapes. But one mustn’t overlook the value of plain tapes.

I’m looking forward to starting a new bullet journal next year with such a wide variety of washi tapes and stickers. I was a bit hesitant to use my bullet journal for everything and felt like I needed to conserve space but I’ve learned a lot this year and am excited to set up my bujo after Christmas. I’ve already started a New Bujo Planning Page in this bujo. :)I really wanted to think it through and have an idea of what I want. I’m also wanting to add a bit of art and more creative expression in this next one.

I’ve made notes to myself on my menu about what I’m supposed to be getting done this coming week. Over this weekend I’m supposed to finish wrapping all the gifts that have arrived. Then as new ones arrive I am to wrap those right away, so that I stay finished all season and don’t let it pile up or stress me out (like it usually does :D ).

I’m supposed to get my Christmas decorations out and up by Wednesday because I like my tree up right after Thanksgiving. Michael doesn’t like to be around when we decorate because of the mess and chaos, so I cannot do it on the weekend. So I like to put it up on Wednesday. I’m not sure if I’ll do it then or Tuesday. I’m doing most of my baking on Tuesday because THM goodies are best when they sit for at least 24 hours and I cannot do EVERYTHING on Wednesday. So there’s baking and decorating to be done too.

Well, as you can see, I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me and some shopping to finish! I hope you have a great weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Time Sensitive Freebie people behind the Homeschool Freebie of the Day have done it again. :) They are offering a free Kitchen Skills Library.

Normally they sell this 9 pdf set for $27 but they are giving it away free for anyone that signs up for their newsletter by November 30th.

They send out 2 pdfs a week. As soon as you confirm your subscription you receive the links for the first two: The Kitchen Primer and the Sugar and Spice Unit Study on Ginger.

The first has 162 pages full of beginner tips  and suggestions for your children. You can print it out for them to have to read, review, and yes, even cook from. It includes many easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and sweets, and ideas for things to do for special days. There are even five tests, if you want to see how well your child retained the information (it also has the answer keys).

Then it has some pages to write down your own recipes and some to write down recipes you’ve tried and a place to give a rating. If I were printing this out, I would only print one or two of the additional recipe pages, as you can always print more as needed, and there are about 20 of the same page included in the pdf.

The second pdf is short but informative in its 10 pages. It is the unit study on ginger complete with a coloring page, some vocabulary, spelling work, word play, and math questions. It also includes a couple recipes, activity suggestion, and book suggestions.

Personally, I am interested in the health benefits of ginger root and the essential oil. So here are a few links for you to go with your study.

Well, I guess it would be best if I sent you over to the link to sign up for these free materials. I definitely feel it is worth giving them my email for these free resources (and I don’t even have homeschool aged children any longer ;) ). Jim Erskine has never abused my email inbox and I don’t believe he has ever given my email to anyone either and I’ve been receiving his other newsletter for many many years.

Remember this is only free to receive through the end of November and it is coming to an end much quicker than you think. ;) I am struggling to realize that Thanksgiving is actually next week!!!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Semi-Circle String

This week’s Diva Challenge is a string challenge. I like string challenges. :) And since I’d procrastinated getting my tile done this week (in order to post it on Wednesday morning) I could not accept the added challenge of doing a mosaic. I have to admit though, that it looks fun and I may add to it later. ;)

I only tangled once in the last week. I’ve been busy getting Christmas presents bought and have even started wrapping them already. :) Since November started on a Thursday, Thanksgiving in the USA is coming a little early, which is nice for after Thanksgiving but not so nice for me getting it all done before then. ;) My siblings, mother and I like to get our Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving so that we can enjoy the holidays without as much stress. This year I am following my mother’s example and trying to get them all wrapped by then too. Of course with the early Thanksgiving, I’ll just be happy if I have it all done by the first of December.

I’ve also started crocheting a Minion blanket for my grandson. Sad thing is that I had 3 rows done and didn’t like how it was going. So I pulled it all out and started over again on Monday. The problem was that I could not seem to count to 90 correctly and had to pull it all out several more times. Ugh!!! I finally decided to use a larger hook for the first row and then switch back to the suggested hook after that. It seems to be working better now and I have the right number of stitches, so things should go more smoothly. :)

Well, it’s been awhile since I did a straight diva challenge, so I forgot to take a scan before I shaded it. Not good. :(

I decided to tangle the semi-circles instead of the bar in between. I went for something easy and used Crescent Moon and then Athitzi by Seven. I just needed something easy because I have so much stuff to get done. ;)

So without further adieu, here is my tile.

DC#376 ~ Lifeofjoy.meWith the time change, I didn’t have any natural light left to take pictures by the time I’d finished, so here are some other views.

DC#376 ~ I like it. It is nice and simple and kind of looks like a bridge over some very dangerous areas. Or it also reminds me of looking through a microscope at two different organisms.:D

Well that is enough from me today. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Rant: Split Peas and Lettuce

split peas ~ Lifeofjoy.meI decided to make Cheapskate Soup (THM Cookbook pg 88) which is a split pea soup. I had been getting my split peas from Sprouts but when Tiffany looked for them last grocery day she couldn’t find them. She asked someone and they said they discontinued them in the bulk bins because there was no demand for them. UGH! I got them on sale last month or so for about 89¢ a pound! That is good.

We looked all over the place for them at Walmart. Tiffany even asked someone. This is not a young person that she asked and she didn’t even know what we were talking about! Seriously, she had no idea what split peas were.

They have dried beans in, not one, and not even two, but THREE different places in that crazy store! I know this because I found the first two places and then stumbled upon the last place when I was looking for something else. There they were, pretty as you please, in a small one pound bag on the next to the bottom shelf. However, they were $1.37 for that one pound bag!!! I kid you not.

I do not consider that cheap! Especially not for dried beans. Ugh. You see, I can get a one pound roll of ground turkey in the same store for only $1.50, so that is just 13¢ more than the peas. Then of course, you can get chicken thighs for 79¢ a pound. Albeit, for a family of four you need several pounds because of the bone and skin there but those have such health benefits and you can keep the bones to make broth too. Sad thing is that I needed two pounds of those peas to make the soup. We’ll have a couple servings for lunch or yo-yo (you’re on you’re own) dinner another day though.

Let me talk to  you about lettuce for a minute too. You have to be careful about buying too much lettuce at once because if it gets wet at all (thank you water misters in the produce section) and you don’t get it dried off (giving you yet one more thing to do as you put away groceries) it will get funky–wilted and nasty in spots. Then you have to be careful when you are using it.

So the alternative is to buy bagged salad but that isn’t cheap and if you’re not quick about it, it’ll start getting just like that other lettuce from condensation in the bag. YUCK!

So I thought I hit on the perfect thing: boxed salad greens! The first week it worked like a charm. It made our salads so super easy! Then last week I got two of those tubs of lettuce greens and was a little concerned about them because they seemed a bit damp.

I was right to be concerned! We didn’t even get to eat the first salad out of them before they started pulling the same YUCK fest that the other ones did.

So, I don’t even know what the answer is to this dilemma, except maybe to just be very picky about the salad greens and reject it if it is moist. Ugh! Because I NEED to be eating salads every single day of the week.

Next spring this shouldn’t be a problem because we are going to have a garden and these greens are one of the things we are supposed to be planting. I cannot wait!!! Okay, I can wait but I’m very eager for it to happen.

Well, I’ve rambled and ranted long enough for today. I made a nice meal today that I wish I’d have taken pictures of to share with you but alas, I didn’t. So, maybe I’ll have it together for next Tuesday. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Holiday Planning

Nativity Blow Up ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week here in the states. It is the earliest that it can possibly be because the first was on a Thursday and it is on the fourth Thursday. Consequently the 22nd is the earliest the 4th Thursday can fall.

With that in mind, I made my list of my “clean-up” Christmas gifts. That is the list where I write down each person and what I still need to purchase for them for Christmas. Normally I don’t get this list done until mid-December, so I’m doing good.

I’ve started planning what I want to do for my hubby. And now it is time to start talking to the family about what activities we want to make happen this year.

Last year we went to the Garden of Lights. Brian, Lauren, and Liam came and went with us. We gals have voted to go back to Rhema Lights this  year. We like that we can get out and walk around and enjoy the sights. And in the past we would get hot chocolate and funnel cakes. Of course now that we are sugar free, we won’t be doing that but we will probably take our own hot chocolate to enjoy.

The point of the post today is to remind you to start planning your holiday activities. We have enjoyed painting Christmas cookies, going and seeing light displays somewhere, going to a special movie together, going to the Christmas train, Zoolightful, homeschool Christmas parties, and church Christmas parties.

Now is the time to begin talking about what you’d like to do as a family. Maybe you want to make ornaments for the tree or go ice skating. Brainstorm with your hubby (and maybe include the family) about what you want to do and put it on the calendar. If we don’t write it down for a specific date, we don’t end up doing it.

Remember to keep some free time scheduled too, so you can just relax and enjoy being together. It is a wonderful time of year that does not have to be hectic. It is okay to NOT go to every party or activity that you are invited to attend. Make a plan to make the holidays what you want it to be.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Lots of Shopping and Fun

fall for you sign ~
Sign I saw while shopping with Tracie.

I have had a very busy week this past week. I went Christmas shopping in stores with my little sister last Friday. We had fun! By the time we were finished around 8pm, I was pretty tired. I don’t cram shop (you know that’s like cramming for a test when you were in school only with shopping ;) ) as well as I used to. Tracie and I used to be able to leave the house around 9am and stay out until after midnight. We’d save Walmart for the end because they didn’t close. :D

Of course, our guys didn’t like us out so late but we really wanted to get as much done in one day as possible. I don’t prefer to go out to begin with, so going as few times as possible is my aim.

Then I had the pleasure of spending several hours out and about with my mom earlier this week. She treated me to lunch at our happy eatery, Pizza Hut, and then we hit up the Dollar Tree before going to a favorite store of mine, Hobby Lobby. We spent about three hours in that store.

Snowman Jar ~
Lighted Snowman decoration I saw while shopping with my mom

We oohed and ahhhed over the holiday decorations. Then we got back to my favorites spot right now, stickers and washi tape. And guess what! They had 50% off of one major brand! Michael had given me some money to get something I’d enjoy. I was in washi tape heaven. I ended up with way too much, considering I have quite a bit on my Christmas wish list but it was FUN!!!

I was a bad influence on Mom though. She found she needed some stickers (probably not as many as she ended up buying–but hey! they were 50% off! :D ) and then some other things. There was only one item that she got that wasn’t 50% off and we were able to use a 40% off coupon on it. :) Yep! HAPPY PLACE!!!!

Washi Tape ~
Washi tape and stickers I got on sale at Hobby Lobby!

I had this brilliant idea about how to re-organize my spice cabinet. I bought 2 packages of 3 bins and a rack. I figure surely, I could fit all my spices in those 6 bins. Sean tried to accomplish the task for me and found that I have way too many spices for that! Ugh, back to the round spinny rack where the spices keep falling off or getting knocked off by pot handles. Oh well, I’ll figure something out eventually–even if it is just to get rid of some of the spices I don’t really use.

Since Mom and I had our day out the day before errand day, Tiffany and I figured we’d just postpone errand day by one day. Well then Michael let me in on the weather prediction for that day: cold and rainy. Cold I can do but the combination of cold and rainy I’d rather skip. So I got my act together, made the menu, and grocery list and went out as usual. Of course we had a later start than usual and we needed to do a bit more Christmas shopping, so we were out longer than usual as well.

Tiffany and I went to another of my favorite stores, TJMaxx. We spent quite a while in there and didn’t even look at everything. We headed straight back for the housewares section where the canisters and such are located and proceeded to be snails. :D I finally notified Tiffany that I didn’t need to look over the entire store and we headed to the check-out. Then I remembered that I needed to get Liam, my grandson, some more gifts for Christmas and decided to check out their toys. I found a darling broom and dustpan; he loves to play with mine so I thought it’d be a good idea.

Talking Broom ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen just before we hit the cashiers, we came across an entire case of board books!!! I love books and his mom does too. Tiffany and I each got two books. I got him one that is a lift-a-flap book but it is a board book, so he shouldn’t be able to tear it. :) Then I found a cute opposites book which I got him as well. Tiffany of course, could not leave Biscuit behind.

Lift a flap board book ~
It looks good and sturdy!

Unfortunately these are the only pictures I remembered to take on my excursions. :D I wish I had thought to get pictures of me and my shopping companions but alas, it didn’t happen this time. Maybe I’ll remember next time.

Well, once again, I’ve rambled on. I’ll run now. Hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

My Goal as a Homeschool Mom

goals ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn the early years, my goal as a homeschool mom was to have my children know God, what they believed and why, read, write, math, and know how to find answers to their questions.

I knew that there was absolutely zero way for me to teach my children everything they would ever need to know, so it was important for me to teach them how to find the information they need when they need it.

Growing up, I didn’t really know what I believed or why. My religion was more about the things I could and couldn’t do rather than knowing that God created the world, made man and placed him in the garden. Man sinned and needed a savior. Jesus came, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, and resurrected from the dead three days later.

If my kids didn’t watch or read certain things, I wanted them to know why. If they didn’t take things (drugs, alcohol, or smoke), I wanted them to know why. Most importantly, I wanted them to have a relationship with God themselves. This was the focal point of their education. Oh, they learned to read, write, and do math–sometimes even with tears. :D They even learned how to research and find the information they need, when they need it.

As they matured, it was important for me to turn the responsibility of their education over to them. I was to help guide them and provide materials but they needed to take ownership of it. This can be done by letting them choose the curriculum or, to some degree, the style or philosophy of their education.

Sean devoured science books in his final years. Tiffany worked on writing a book and learning about things concerning animals, gardening, and decorating a home, among other things. I made each of my children, in their senior year, be responsible for making dinner one night every week, so that they would be able to feed themselves well on their own and once they were married. Yes, even my boys; they can cook, they just choose not to. ;)

Homeschooling does not have to be hard and by no means does it need to look like schools. I think it is important to foster a love of learning so that they will continue to do so the rest of their lives, in some way. It is not good for anyone to become stagnant; we should all be continuing to learn new things.

I hope this helps, realizing that you don’t have to be everything and in charge of everything, as your child grows and matures.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Burtz Wigwag

I really enjoyed doing a tangle a day throughout October. Here’s the last one where cruffle was the tangle. I “sliced” one open. ;) And they kind of resemble hard candies or marbles. :D#Inktober #cruffle ~ Since I already have the tangle-a-day calendar and I enjoyed the daily tangling, I decided to continue one in my 2015 tangle-a-day calendar and see how I do. :)

Here’s the first three days.

#cupcakeflower #abeko #seespan ~ Lifeofjoy.meI forget what challenge or tangle suggestion I followed to find Seespan, it may have been a tangle suggestion on; I like it. Suzanne’s directions made the ribbon effect easy to do. The next is Abeko which I did during Inktober and really enjoyed it. It flowed well and was easy to remember. Next to that is one I found on called cupcake flower. I learned this one earlier this year and have loved drawing it. It flows so nicely.

#paradox #cadent #wigwag #buntz ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext is the fourth through sixth. I just pulled an old favorite out of my memory and out came paradox. Hmmm, looking at it online just now, I think I need a little graphite up into the four. I enjoyed tangling cadent on the fifth. It’s another favorite of mine. For some reason, I haven’t used it in quite some time, so I just filled the whole section with it. I still need to go back and do some shading though.#DC375 ~

Then next up is my submission for #DC375 using Burtz. It reminds me of tentacles. :D So, I thought it went well with the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus tangle of Wigwag, which looks like waves to me, in the stepout but here it seems to look more like branches and roots. Hmmm . . .

Well, that’s it from me today. I had a fun, busy day hanging with my mom. She treated me to lunch and then to Hobby Lobby, where I got to share with her the loveliness. ;) It’s one of my happy places with it’s pretty household decor for sale, holiday decor, stickers, craft stuff, and WASHI TAPE. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

The Menu is a Tool

Menu ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo this week I thought it’d be a great time to talk about how I use a menu. You see, for the first, maybe ten years? of our marriage I flew by the seat of my pants when it came to meals. It was always about what I felt like making or eating, mostly eating. I went grocery shopping when I got very low on food or could no longer throw together something from what I had available.

Of course that usually included eating delivery several times each month because I did not feel like fixing anything or eating what we had available. We generally ate out after church on Sundays and then usually had pizza delivered at least once during the week.

About twenty years ago, we’d moved to a new state and being self-employed, it was like Michael was just starting his business all over again . . . well, that is exactly what he was doing, only this time without the referrals he’d had the first time. It was definitely a difficult time for us.

My dear friend and neighbor, Joyce, taught me about looking at sale papers and making a menu based on them. Of course, when money is tight, you don’t veer very much from the menu because there isn’t really much else available.

As time passed, Michael’s business grew and things weren’t so tight but I still made menus because it made it easier to have some idea of what to have for dinner. You see, a menu enables you to think about dinner once and then each day is easier because you don’t have to wrack your brain to come up with an idea when you are hungry and have people depending on you for dinner.

For many years now, my menu has become a list of suggestions. I buy the ingredients necessary to make the things on the menu but sometimes I just don’t want anything I have planned.

For example, it may be eighty-some degrees out and thus I don’t feel like having soup. Or making Light and Luscious Enchilada Casserole sounded like a good idea because I really like that meal but it I have to make two recipes before I can assemble the casserole and I’m just not up to all that. So, I either switch gears and make something from another night or fly by the seat of my pants and come up with something completely different.

This past week this is what I had on the menu:

  • Quinoa Goes Cajun
  • Cauliflower Fried Rice
  • Grilled Chicken, Mac & Cheese, & Salad
  • Skillet Butternut Squash & Penne Pasta
  • Trim Zuppa Toscana Soup
  • Roast with radishes and carrots
  • Hamburgers, Hot dogs, coleslaw, baked beans, onion rings (homemade buns)

We did end up eating the Quinoa on a different day. Still haven’t had the second or third ones. The squash recipe got eaten before the week even started, since I had the ingredients already on hand. We subbed in BBQ ribs and baked thighs for the other two nights, from stuff I had in the freezer.

We did have the zuppa and roast and even on the days I listed. Mostly because I put a lot of thought into the meals for those days because we were going to be busy and/or cold. But come Saturday, I didn’t feel like making the listed thing and we ended up having tacos. We haven’t had tacos in ages and it was delicious.

So you can see how I used the menu as a guideline but changed as the need or desire arose. When there is a good deal on meat, I stock up and work it into a future menu.

Countdown to Christmas Preparation

Countdown to Christmas ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, now is the time to begin thinking about what I want to do for Michael this year for the holidays. You see, I’ve done the Twelve Days of Christmas for him before starting on Christmas and ending on Epiphany which is January 6th. I’ve also given him a Twelve Days of Him around his birthday in October, since the reason that the first lady I saw do a twelve days for her hubby in December did it because his birthday was in December.

So now every year I think about what I want to do for my love to make him feel special. I saw that Aldi is having an advent calendar this year that has cheeses in it. :) Mmm mmm! I think I’m getting that for me.

Hmmm, I have some ideas but I better not share them here today because he does check my blog from time to time and it’d be just my luck that he’d check it and then there would be no surprise! :D I wrote about my ideas last year but am sad to say that I did not follow through. This year will be different. I’m going to write it down in my bullet journal and make a plan to get it done. :) If I do what I’m thinking of at the moment, then I can share it with you all in early December.

Oh this should be fun! :) I love making my hubby happy. What will you do to bring a smile to your dear one’s face this holiday season?

Here are some ideas I found for some advent kind of things, but be sure to check my post from last year because it’s got some GOOD links. :) Not all of the ideas listed in the links below are something I’d condone but you only need a dozen or two, so you just skip the ones that are not your thing.

Well, I hope that is enough to get you thinking about what you can do. I’m off to write down my plans. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº