All posts by Life of Joy

What is Self Care?

Even in marriage it is important to take care of yourself. You cannot expect your spouse to do everything for you to feel good about yourself. You have to do some things for yourself.  ;)

My daughter Tiffany wrote a about what self care means to her on her instagram account recently and I thought I’d share it with you today.

Self care to me is sleeping in some days but getting up early other days. It’s going on a walk even when you don’t feel like it. It’s the occasional manicure (I do them myself cause I brokkkeee) and the lazy Sunday/Saturday. It’s taking the time reading a book with hygge lighting and drinking cocoa.

It’s stopping what you are doing to take a few deep breaths. It’s getting rid of the toxic people in your life and it’s having hard conversations. It’s reading the Word and worshiping while you ugly sob.

Consider your body, soul, and spirit a garden. Self Care is you being a Gardener. Sometimes it’s an enjoyable task of watering or singing to your plants. Other times it’s hard, weed pulling or digging out a plant that died. And occasionally it’s fertilizing your soil.

Self Care is adulting as much as it is indulgence. It’s being kind to yourself by doing that paper sooner rather than later. Keeping your sleep schedule and being still with our Father.

“Self Care” is the call to balance in our lives. If you fertilize the garden too much then it rots. But if you don’t fertilize at all, it will never reach its full potential.

For the past several weeks I’ve been taking a daily walk for my health–not a long walk, mind you, but a walk all the same (that is except for yesterday when the day completely got away from me before I realized it). It’s a little thing but I’d call it self care. :)

I hope this gives you a little something to think about and is a blessing to you.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Our Thanksgiving 2019 and a New Tradition

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving was just last week but alas, it is already December sixth. My mom went to my sister’s house earlier in the week and helped her and the girls set the tables in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner.

The tables looked very nice.

My middle sister and her family live in Missouri and weren’t able to make it or this would not be enough to hold all of us as they add another seven to our numbers.

My brother-in-law is a jewel and loves to cook, so he does most of the cooking with Tracie there to help. Brian and Michael help some too, whereas Sean prefers to clean up. ;) (And I’m so glad he does.) Some years I have chosen to fix dishes that stay more closely on whatever eating plan I’m on at the time but this year I decided that eating the Trim Healthy Mama way, which includes crossovers of both carbs and fats, that I would just not sweat it.

I did make some spelt rolls and baked them fresh that day. I’d also pre-baked some sweet potatoes and re-heated them just before dinner, so I didn’t do much. I usually am in charge of mashing the potatoes and I botched it this year. I guess I’m too used to mashed cauliflower because I made them too thin. But when I’d tasted them to see if they needed any more milk, they were grainy, so I thought they needed more . . . uhhhh, nope. :p

After dinner Liam, our 3-year-old grandson, decided to play on the piano. Not one to miss an opportunity like that, my mom sat down beside him and began playing some Christmas carols. And of course, we girls chimed in too. :) It was nice.

He did get bored with that but the caroling wasn’t yet over. So he was played with as the singing continued. :p

He got me on the floor to play with Tracie’s magnets on the refrigerator and got Tracie to play play doh with him.

We started something new this year: we voted for Christmas dinner. We listed the things we’ve done before and then allowed a write-in option as well. I can see this being something where people campaign for their favorite meal in years to come. :(

We did have a write-in vote of Tacos, so I can see that being an entry next year, as it garnered 4 votes. :D

Tiffany and I put up our tree on Wednesday before Thanksgiving and then went over on Monday afterwards with my sister and her girls and helped Mom put up her new, smaller tree. It was nice to all be close enough to still make those memories with Mom and Dad. Since we have Thanksgiving at my sister’s house, we can’t put up Mom and Dad’s tree that night. For the last several years, Tracie and her girls went over and helped but this year Tiff and I joined too. :) She rewarded us with noodles cooked in ham broth (something I shouldn’t have eaten but did anyway ;) ). Oh, I was offered an on-plan snack but ham noodles won. :D

This weekend is Christmas light weekend. :D So next week I should have some fun pictures to share; that is, if I remember to take some pictures. ;)

I hope you have a great weekend during this wonderful time of the year.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Book Suggestions and Printables for Christmas Links

With the holiday season upon us, I thought I’d share a couple links for some Christmas themed printables and book suggestions.

First is the link for some cute Christmas words and pictures for some matching or handwriting practice and the second is a cute printable of the nativity with some handwriting practice pages too. You do have to register your email with them for a free account and these are available for free but I’m not sure how long, so click on over to “Only Passionate Curiosity” quickly. :)

Reading emojiThe other is a very long list of Christmas picture books from Read-Aloud Revival, some I have read and others I have not. I’ll share some of my children’s Christmas books with you next week. :) (I was too tired to take the pictures tonight. :D ) There are also links for Christmas novels and short stories, Audios, and even some bookish gift ideas.

I hope these links are helpful to you and enhance your December reading. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Bullet Journal Pages

Well, the art I did so far this week was to pretty up my bullet journal pages. I’m not much on weekly or monthly spreads. But I do like my pages to have some pizazz. I utilize the power of washi tape and stickers. :)

Being a stay-at-home wife, and having Tiffany here learning to be one too, we have a monthly meeting to give ourselves some goals and to give each other some support and encouragement for the coming weeks. Before our meetings I like to make some washi tape sections on a page to put my notes and things. Here’s my page for this month.

I had several pages that didn’t have anything pretty on them. Time to pretty them up.

I really like that wider tape I used on that one.

Sometimes I journal on a page and leave space to put some washi tape on it later; that was the case with the left page below.I combine different widths of washi tape sometimes. I did that on both pages above. I like the effect of different tapes combined.

Sometimes I make notes or work things out on another piece of paper and want to keep it, so I affix it onto a page in my bullet journal, like this below.

I am better about using my bujo when the pages are a little bit pretty. So periodically I’ll run a piece of tape down the middle of the page and it is enough to encourage me to use it more.

I’m guessing that by the time I get to the page on the right it’ll be Christmas week and it’ll be nice to use.

Here’s the last two pages I’ve prepped. I’ll add some stickers as I go, if I feel like it at the time.

This is my no pressure approach to bullet journaling. I like to have a place to put all the notes I take and not lose them. I don’t really utilize the index as intended; I just thumb through to find what I’m looking for. I try to set off special things with stickers, sticky flags, or . . . wait for it . . . washi tape. :D

Remarkably, I got so much washi tape last year that I didn’t even put any on my Christmas wish list this year. :) But I do have to admit that I like to look for more washi tape as often as possible; you never know when you’ll find some you just have to have. ;)

Well, that’s all I had time for today because I spent a big part of it trying out a new recipe to see if it would work for our church dinner next week. Verdict is in and it was a success–we all deemed it delicious. :)

I hope you have a great week.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Low Carb Pumpkin Bars

Last week I decided to give one of my old holiday favorite recipes a makeover. I was encouraged to do this by a family friend who had done it herself using almond flour and coconut sugar. So I thought, if she, who is only 24, had the courage to make some substitutions in the recipe, then I would too.

I got the pumpkin bars recipe 23 years ago from a church friend who had served them at a homeschool lunch. They were so delicious I asked for the recipe and have made them ever since. Until the last couple of years, that is, when we started a low carb lifestyle.

I researched and found that THM Baking Blend can be substituted nearly cup for cup for regular flour (just make it a scant cup instead of a level cup). Of course I had the sweetener conversion chart from THM, available here (scroll to the bottom of the page and it is on the left side of the page). The other major change was the amount of oil; the original recipe called for an incredible full cup of oil. I looked at the recipe I linked to last week from My Montana Kitchen and decided I could do a mixture of water and oil, so I did 1/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup water.

We made this again last night. Since Tiffany was going to eat this one and she is sensitive to egg yolks, of which there are 4 in this recipe, we decided to cut back on the whole eggs and add extra whites thus changing it to 2 whole eggs and 1/2 cup egg whites. I suggested that she beat those egg whites a little bit to make them a bit fluffier.

Combine wet ingredients well.

This picture was from last week, not this week with the frothing of the egg whites.

Add dry ingredients

Blend well.

Pour into lightly greased jelly roll pan (15x10x1 ish measurement). We lightly greased the pan since we reduced the amount of oil and didn’t want it to stick. ;)Bake at 350º for 15-30 minutes. I recommend taking it out earlier rather than later to keep it nice and moist. :)

When it is cooled, add the frosting.

Our problem last week was the frosting. We put way too much Sukrin Melis (icing “sugar”;) in our butter and cream cheese mixture and it was not good. As a matter of fact, we all ended up scraping the frosting off and just ate the cake. :D It was so moist I didn’t even miss the frosting. However last night we are added more butter and cream cheese to what we scraped off the cake, so as not to waste the ingredients. :D And, it turned out nice!

Just beat the room temperature light cream cheese (neufchatel) and softened stick of butter (1/2 cup) until well combined. Add the powdered alternative sweetener a little at a time, tasting for desired sweetness.

So here is the new, low carb pumpkin bars recipe. I hope you’ll enjoy them. :)

Low Carb Pumpkin Bars


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 scant cup gentle sweet
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 (15-16 ounce) can PUMPKIN
  • 2 scant cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened we used neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar substitute (we used Sukrin Melis/Icing sugar alternative)


  1. Whip egg whites a bit (a little more than frothy but less than soft peaks 😉 )
  2. Beat together eggs, gentle sweet, oil, water, and pumpkin.
  3. Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Spread batter in a lightly greased 15x10x1 pan.
  6. Bake at 350º for 15-30 minutes
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Frosting:
  9. Cream butter and cream cheese.
  10. Stir in vanilla.
  11. Add powdered sweetener, a little at a time, blending well until mixture is smooth, adding more if needed.
  12. Spread evenly on cooled pumpkin bars.

I hope this is helpful to you. I know I’ll be making it this way again soon (Christmas is coming ;) ).

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Marriage Peaks and Valleys

Marriage Advice from a Movie

One of the Hallmark movies we own is Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade (2017). In it our two main characters go to watch the Starlights dance practice; most of the couples have been married 30 years or more. He asks how they do it, to which she replies that she asked them that once. The answer:

Peaks and valleys. Realize that all days are not going to be peaks but hold on to them to get you through the valleys. That and affection, compromise and a good pair of dance shoes.

I thought it was interesting and it has stayed with me. Although I think I would change it slightly because when I think of valleys, I think of lush green meadows with a stream and nice trees for shade.

Life isn’t made up of all peaks/mountain top excitement and valleys of refreshing and rejuvenation. Most of the journey is making our way up to the top or down to the valley. When we get to the top, we celebrate and rest from our journey up. When we get down to the valley it is similar, having made our way down the mountainside.

The journey up and down through life can be difficult at times. When I walk up our hills here, I have to stop periodically and catch my breath. In our marriage it is important to take times to laugh and remember those enjoyable peaks and valleys of our time together.

Overall, I liked the bit of marriage advice in the movie and thought I’d share it with you. :)

Hope you have a great week and are preparing to make your month enjoyable for you and yours.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Thanksgiving ~

A Day of Rest (Mostly)

It’s lazy Friday for me and mine today. I know a lot of people are out and about, hustling and bustling, doing a lot of shopping. I’ve only done that a couple times in my life. Most of the time I just enjoy being at home and relaxing.

I’m not sure what I will do today other than edit the vlog to post on Joyous Jabbers tomorrow and read a book. I may do a painting and I will probably go for a walk at some point, because I *need* to do that for my health. But other than that, it’s going to be a very chill day. :)

I enjoyed being with family yesterday. Liam banged on the piano for a minute so my mom came and played some Christmas carols. It was fun to sing together. We played Quiplash again yesterday too. I even walked the long driveway a few times with my daughter-in-love, Lauren, even though it was quite chilly out. We had a nice chat as we walked. I’d have walked a few more times but it was quite chilly and my boots weren’t exactly walking boots. :D

It was a good but tiring day, so I’ll keep this short and have some pictures to share next week. I hope you are having a great holiday weekend!

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Thanksgiving ~

Happy Thanksgiving 2019

I’m spending the day with my family over at my little sister and her family’s home which is only a few minutes from my home. Brian, Lauren, and Liam and my parents will be there too. I love Thanksgiving!!! We have so much fun, although it is a lot of work getting ready.

I’ve got most of my gifts purchased already. Now I just have to get them wrapped. There are a few people, all male, that didn’t have their lists ready yet but I’m on it and will wrap it up this next week, I hope! :)

Cinnamon Bear ~ Lifeofjoy.meSpeaking of Christmas, have you heard of Cinnamon Bear? It was an old radio show with 26 episodes that aired in ’30’s, ’40’s, and ’50’s. It aired 6 nights a week beginning Thanksgiving night and went until Christmas.

It is an adventure of Paddy O’Cinnamon. Here is a synopsis if you want to know more details. On this webpage you will find all 26 of the audios. Finally, they are also available on this page, and if you go down to Now Try Download Land, you can download the original coloring book (mind you they are very childish drawings) that your kids can color while listening or later for fun.

The episodes are very short so you should be able to find a few minutes, even during the busy days of December, to listen to an episode. If you do happen to get behind, they are short enough that you can easily catch up again. My sister didn’t make it through last year, even with the extra days between Thanksgiving and Christmas but she says this is their year. ;)

One word of caution though, this does have Santa Claus in it. I sure wish I could find the old You Were There Nativity series. I listened to it once a LONG time ago on the radio and have never heard it since. Well, that’s a topic for another time. For now, go download the audios and make some memories with your kids. :)

Until next time, God bless,
Michele ºÜº

Lazy S Tile

I’m participating in the prompt (# TTKICPROMPT112519 )from Today’s Tangles: Keeping it Classic facebook group again this week. The instructions were to do the four corner dots and border lines then to draw lazy s shapes from the center.

From the list of tangles to choose from I first selected Nipa. I really like Nipa and don’t use it often enough, so I was happy to play with this one. Next I picked Rain for it’s big contrast; this is another tangle I don’t use very often but because I am not that great at auras, it is not a favorite but I do like it.

After that I Ahh was my choice and I had my eye on Zinger too; so I incorporated them both. Then Eke and Echoism caught my eye. I find them to be very similar yet completely different. ;) At first I thought I’d only add one of them but opted to add them both. I think this time around I like Eke better as it reminds me of a strand of Christmas lights. :)

So here is my tile, scanned, before shading.

And here is a picture taken outside in natural light, although it looks a bit overcast but it really wasn’t. Odd. =))

And here is the scan after I shaded it.

And now pictures taken inside because it got dark before I got around to photographing it. ;)

I hope you like the tile. It was a fun one to do. I’m hoping to do some painting this holiday weekend. I don’t know if I’ll do the next episode of Bob Ross or redo the black one. I really want to have a good black one but I’m not sure I can accomplish it using the acrylics. I may try to do a smaller one; I just don’t know.

Any way, if you are in the USA, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and if not, I hope you have a great weekend. We’ll be celebrating with family, which is always a good time.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Thanksgiving and Cinnamon Bear ~

Thanksgiving Food 2019

So this year I am taking the Cinnamon Butter Bundt Cake to my sister’s for breakfast. They’ll probably have donuts and such. ;) Before THM I sometimes made Bubble Bread on Thanksgiving morning but this is definitely not THM. ;) I also made

Breakfast Burrito ~ Lifeofjoy.meI am considering a sausage breakfast dish too because I don’t do sweets only very well. I like savory much better with a dash of sweet. :) Something like this Sausage Veggie Breakfast Burrito or this Sausage Rice Dish but with caulirice instead. ;)

For dinner Mom and Dad will provide the ham, turkey, and side dishes. In times past, I’ve brought a variety of THM foods but this time I think I’m just going to bring some spelt rolls and enjoy the food available with a healthy dose of pleasure or vitamin P, as Pearl and Serene call it. I’ll probably ask if we can bake a few sweet potatoes plain because that is how Sean and Tiffany prefer them.

Sukrin Gold Pecan Pie ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s dessert where I usually bring the most. I used to bring a couple pies and a couple cakes and ask for some pudding. ;) But now I have learned the joys of pecan pie and love it. I make the one Kristie Sullivan created; it’s on youtube here.

I’ll make a standard sugar laden apple crumble pie for the other family members. I haven’t decided if I will make these  pumpkin bars for Thanksgiving or the day after, when I make our turkey dinner here, because I love leftovers and turkeys are cheap meat this time of year. :D

I have yet to decide if I’m going to make a pudding. I usually prefer a light dessert on Thanksgiving because I used to eat so much mashed potatoes and ham noodles. But between the pie and the cake I think there will be enough dessert. Of course, there’ll be some ham and turkey leftover to snack on too.

Well, I’m looking forward to a fun day with family. I hope you will be able to spend the day with people you love too.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving,

Michele ºÜº