All posts by Life of Joy

Library Trip, Books, and Preparing for the Weekend

Last Saturday’s video got loaded a later than I’d have liked but at least we got it up on Saturday. ;) Last Friday was a bit of a bummer around here. Several months ago we found that Tiffany had a parasite and she took some pills that were supposed to kill it. We thought it had but alas, it has made it clear that it is definitely alive and well in her gut. Consequently, she was feeling quite horrible and they guys were home and inside because we had rain most of the day. (Hallelujah for the rain because it made it much cooler, only in the 80’s which is much more tolerable for me. ;) )

Anyway, the video editing just totally slipped my mind and I didn’t get it edited until Saturday morning. We talked a little about the importance of reading, keeping your expectations low, and books by Dee Henderson.

On reading day this week, I’ll be honest, I didn’t get much reading done but I did finish Rematch by Erynn Mangum. It’s a nice, clean, new adult, contemporary romance. It is the second book in the Lauren Holbrook series that Tiffany LOVES and so I’m reading it. I enjoy having books we’ve both read. I like it when that happens with any family member. :) So I now have the third book in that series, MatchPoint, on my TBR (to be read) shelf.

But this week was library week. That week when we have renewed the books the allowable number of times and we have either finished reading them all or finished reading all of the ones we are actually going to read at this time. We allow ourselves to simply return books that we are just not up to reading right now. I add the ones that I think I may want to read still but just not right now, to a page in my bullet journal to reference later. Although I must admit that my reading style is more of the type that just wanders the stacks and read book cover summaries to find books that I will bring home. We’ve gotten quite a few good ones that way. :)

This library trip I checked out the ten maximum books. I hadn’t planned on that but I’m interested in the ones I picked up. :) (I got two 3-book series, so that takes up six of the ten books.) When we got home and had some lunch, we decided we’d film our video that will be posted tomorrow on Joyous Jabbers.

Library books start on the left.

I didn’t feel much like doing any tangling this week. We are preparing for Brian, Lauren, and Liam to come this weekend!!! :) We’ll be celebrating both boys birthdays. I’m told Liam now loves chocolate chip cookies, so I made regular chocolate chip cookies for him. I made a full batch and froze them, eight to a freezer baggie. These are NOT THM compliant at all, however Tiffany found a recipe that she is going to whip up for us that is THM compliant. :)

For my grandson

This morning I’ll be baking the crust of that Strawberry Pretzel Salad for the base of the Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake (which I will make sugar-free) for dessert tomorrow night (Brian’s choice dessert), as well as whipping up the rest of that dessert. ;)

I’ve got lots to do today, including cleaning up the spare room that we call the library, because we put bookshelves on nearly every wall in there after Brian moved out. We recently got rid of the dilapidated sofa-bed and Brian and Lauren left their inflatable mattress here last time, so we’ll get it all ready for them. But all that needs to be done today, as well as making some THM brownies for those of us not eating sugar and such to have at Sunday’s birthday gathering at my parents’ home. It’s nice that we get together as a big family to celebrate birthdays still. We don’t get together as often as we used to but I’m seeing my parents more now that they’ve moved. :)

Well, that’s all for today. I just feel like I’ve rambled but that’s how my week has gone. I started reading one of the library books I got this week and am eager to pick it back up. Tiffany finished it in ONE day! I have not had the time to allot to reading yet but stayed up a bit too late the other night reading because it was just soooo good. :) (Curious? It is Taken by Dee Henderson and really best read after Full Disclosure and Unspoken.)

Hope you have a great weekend. I’m looking forward to mine. I just hope I remember to take some pictures to share with you all next week. ;)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Book Review: Caterpillar Summer

The last of the books I got on my last library trip was Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn. I finished it a few days before we had to return it to the library. I had Tiffany read it to so that I could talk about it with someone and see if I could work out my thoughts a bit more.

I enjoyed it from some standpoints but struggled with others. Here’s a bit about the story:

Caterpillar is about eleven years old. Her brother Chicken is about six or seven and has “special needs.” Her father died of cancer several years prior and her mother works three jobs. Cat has a special relationship with her brother.

It was the sibling relationship that drew me to this book. I liked the idea of it being a summer vacation kind of story. I did not realize that Chicken had special needs when I picked up the book.

I have no background with special needs children and I enjoyed reading about how Cat dealt with and helped Chicken. I felt like it gave me some insight into dealing with a child with special needs (although I’m clueless as to just what these “special needs” are, still). So from that standpoint, I think it can help shed some light, especially if your child knows someone who has a sibling that has special needs of some kind. (I’m wording this badly but I think it can be helpful in some situations.)

However, I had a big problem with the book in that the mother is pretty absent, so much so that Cat makes most of the meals and tends to Chicken most of the time. It is made pretty clear that her mom works a lot and doesn’t even stop to eat meals with them even when she is working from home. I just really felt that the children were not her priority.

Now, if you don’t want any spoilers, I recommend you stop reading here because I’m going to do a few specifics and scroll past the next two paragraphs for my bottom line and things to consider.

 

 

 

 

 

I did not like that Cat and Chicken didn’t even know they had other grandparents. They were aware of their father’s parents but not her mother’s, even though the mom says that she talks to her mom frequently. Now on top of that, she is leaving them with her parents and they are several hours away from where she has to work for the time period. Not only that but this was supposed to be a vacation time of doing things together in the evenings and now that just won’t be possible. She does promise to come on the weekends but work things keep her from keeping that promise. So you can see this book does not build a very good relationship between parent and children but it is what causes the relationship between siblings.

However, Cat is beginning to dislike the responsibility she feels to always be self-sacrificing. I think this book does a good job dealing with this aspect but because of these things I cannot recommend that you just hand your child this book and let them read it. At best, read it together (as a read-aloud) enjoying the book together and talking about what’s happening and if decisions that were made were right or if it had been better if other decisions had been made. Otherwise be sure to read it yourself and talk about it with your child(ren) even if you don’t read it together.

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

  • This book can give insight to children with special needs.
  • It is a fun summer read taking place on a NC Island.
  • It is about a girl realizing that she can do things she enjoys doing.
  • It is about finding grandparents and learning to love and trust them.
A few things to consider:
  • father is dead (cancer) but not shown
  • parent who works a lot
  • estranged relationships
  • special needs child
  • assumed responsibilities

I also really liked how there were a couple of situations that arose where there was a misunderstanding but it was resolved very quickly! Too many times misunderstandings are a whole big plot point in books but in this it was handled well.

Let me know if you have read this book or if you do read it, in the comments. I love to chat about books.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Bullet Journaling, Simply and Prettily

It’s been quite a while since I shared some of my bullet journal pages. I do so to encourage you to not be intimidated by a bullet journal. It is a tool that helps me be a bit more productive. When I don’t use it, it usually shows in the “mess” around me. ;)

I generally just write my to-do list down one side of my page and then later come back in with some pretty washi tape that makes me happy at the time. :)

Here’s an example: The way I write in my bujo and then how it looks after I come back in with some washi tape and stickers. :)

Bullet Journaling ~ Lifeofjoy.me   Easy Bullet Journaling ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I thought I’d share some recent pages. I’ve gotten so many different sizes of washi tape that I don’t always know how much space to leave, so I’ve tried my hand at washi taping a few pages before I write it and I don’t think I like that way as well for daily use. However, I love it for collection pages. I have washi taped up a 2-page spread for Christmas because I’ve started picking up some stocking stuffers as I find them and I need to keep track of what I have and how much I’ve spent. I haven’t written anything on it yet but it’s ready to go. :)

That is red glitter at the top with a gold foil and white dots along the sides. The one on the sides is a thinner tape. Then there are the gifts at the bottom of the page. :) I’ll write Christmas Gifts across the top under the red glitter tape and then create sections for everyone on my Christmas gift list.

This is my August planning page on the left and then I pre-taped the page on the right. I still have one column open for writing and I’m not bothered that it may stay blank for a while. Eventually I’ll figure out what I want to write there. ;)

These are two more pages that pre-taped. For the left page, I just grabbed a tape I wanted and ran it down the middle. Later I’d written some things I wanted to make on my next baking day on sticky flags. I decided to put them all on one column and because they weren’t very sticky, I ran one of the thinner tapes I have down both edges to keep them in place.On the right side I picked out some tapes I liked and but the sparkly star one down the middle and then found a thin star tape and ran it across the top and bottom. Later I used the left column to make this long list of things I’d like to get done, if I didn’t have any other responsibilities and on the right was notes (that I didn’t end up looking at) I made for my youtube intro video.

Below is a collection page I made using stickers and washi tape for ideas for my patreon benefits. I haven’t gotten very far but I’m working on it. (Do you have some ideas for me? Leave me a comment if you have an idea for me.)I didn’t want to forget that I want to makeover this recipe and decided I could keep a running list of ones I want to work on. Then I was working on a jello recipe and needed to make notes of my research and attempts, so put it here. Of course this now means this page will fill up more quickly but that’s okay, I’ve got lots of pages. :DThe page on the right was born because I got way behind on listening to the THM podcasts and wanted to keep track of ones I really liked and take quick notes on things that was said so I could refer to it later.

Sometimes I write things on sticky notes and pop them in the bujo so I don’t loose them. I’m still trying to remember what that blue one means. :D

For my birthday this year, I wanted some books but wanted to find bargains and didn’t want to put my family through that hassle. So I requested money and wanted to keep track of it. I saw these adorable stickers at Dollar Tree and got them specifically for these pages. I’ll write more about my birthday in any space leftover.The pages below is actually for three weeks–I’m not always consistent in writing my to-do’s and some weeks I have more to do than others. So I managed to get three weeks on these two pages.

I don’t usually need something like the banners across the top of the left page but that week was the beginning of a pretty busy stretch and I was needing to keep track of it all and these little banners helped. When the dailies only took one column on the second page I was concerned about how I was going to get my banner on and then I had a good idea and wrote it down the page edge. :) The washi tape and flower sticker were added on the day I was prettying up my bujo.Once again, the tape on the left side was added later. I had a big space and so I used a wide tape. :) For my June planning page, I had made notes on sticky notes of different sizes. I wasn’t in the mood to rewrite them so I just washi taped them on the page. :) I vary the size of the tape with the space available and combine tapes sometimes too. The left page below is another collection page. All that means is that I made a page to collect similar notes. In this case, it is a list of book suggestions. I think the flower strip of washi tape was added on the day I was prettying up my bujo. Then I had gotten two new passwords and didn’t want to forget them, so I put them in the bujo and frame it up with more washi tape to draw attention to it, so I can find it easily. If I had a lot of passwords to keep track of, I’d create another collection page but this works fine for now. I had a lot of space left over, so I just added some pretty stickers. :)I just wanted to show you the pretty flower petal stickers I found at Walmart! Those on the right page below. I’d seen them on Wish but hadn’t ordered and was thrilled when I saw it locally. Again, they were added after writing. The final page I’ll show you is my monthly tracker for what I’m eating, weigh, exercise, and Bible reading. I had hoped that writing down everything I was eating would help me see trends in weight loss/gain. Well, it did. :D I only weigh twice a week and log it on those two days at the bottom of the square. I wrote the book chapters on the right side and then cross them off as I read them. I have a lot fewer pieces of paper piled up on my table and getting lost since I have the bullet journal and I think I get more accomplished too. ;)

I hope this has inspired you to try your hand at a bullet journal and know that you can leave it plain or pretty it up in whatever way suits you. :) I know there are a lot of people out there that do lots of drawing and artsy stuff in their journals with themes and all that but I just keep mine simple. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

Jello: Easy, Homemade, and From Scratch

When I made that delicious healthified version of Strawberry Pretzel Salad for Independence Day, I remembered that I really like Jello and gelatin desserts. Thing is that I don’t want the bad-for-you sweeteners and bad-for-you ingredients, so I hadn’t considered making it. But part for part of that dessert you use plain gelatin (which is very good for you) and fruity tea to make a gello to pour over the strawberries. That’s when this idea was born.

My biggest struggle was to get the amounts of ingredients right. I did a little search to find other people that made homemade gello and found some that used fruit juice. Well, that will not do for me, as I need this to be low calorie and low glycemic. :)

I decided to go with the Wild Berry Zinger tea from Celestial Seasonings for my flavor. When I make something, I like to make enough that I’m not going to be having to make it or something else again the next day. :) I started by boiling a pot of water.I placed four tea bags in a measuring cup and added four cups boiling water.Meanwhile, I put 1/4 cup cool water in a bowl, added two tablespoons of plain gelatin and stirred to soften the gelatin.

I was doing two batches: one wild berry and the other peach.

Then added 1/4 cup just-off-the-boil water to dissolve it.

When the tea is as strong as it is going to get or as strong as desired, remove the tea bags and add sweetener. I used 1/2 cup Gentle Sweet. Stir to dissolve it in the tea.

I did not get a picture adding the sweetener to the wild berry one. ;)

Then add the dissolved gelatin to the tea. Just pour it in and stir it to mix it all together. At this point you can pour it into individual containers. When it is cool enough, put it into the refrigerator to firm up. It will take a few hours to do so.

Jello: Easy, Homemade, and From Scratch

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of boiled water
  • 4 tea bags, desired flavor
  • 1/2 Gentle Sweet or sweetener preference
  • 1/4 cup cool water
  • 2 Tablespoons plain gelatin
  • 1/4 cup just-off-the-boil water

Instructions

  1. Steep flavored tea bags in the 4 cups boiled water (about 15 minutes or so)
  2. Put 1/4 cup cool water in a small bowl
  3. Add 2 Tablespoons plain gelatin to cool water and stir to soften
  4. Add 1/4 cup just boiled water and stir to dissolve gelatin.
  5. Remove tea bags and add sweetener
  6. Stir in gelatin and cool about 15-30 minutes
  7. Refrigerate until set (a few hours)
http://lifeofjoy.me/jello-easy-homemade-and-from-scratch/

This is a nice sweet snack that will help cool you off a bit during the brutal heat of summer. ;)

What is your favorite fruit flavored tea?

Thanks for stopping by,

Michele ºÜº

Better Conversation Starters

When Michael comes home from a day at work, I generally ask him how his day was. This does not generally elicit much real conversation. It is usually later, when he has been home for a bit and unwound a little that he actually tells us specifics of his day.

I read this post that had some good suggestions of other ways start a good conversation. :) 14 Alternatives to “How Are You?”

I’ll just keep this short so that you can jump over there and read it too.

I hope this is a benefit to you and your family,

Michele ºÜº

Heat Relief and Other Happenings This Week

It has been a hot week! I hate triple digit temperatures. I’d much rather single digits than triple digits. Thankfully yesterday’s cloudiness and rain, gave us a slight reprieve from those horrible temperatures! It would be really nice if it would stay in the double digits, although to be honest, I don’t like 90º temps either. ;)

So on another subject, sadly, I have not made any progress on the patreon thing, so I guess I’ll give myself until the first part of September to get it all figured out. ;)


This little cutie had a birthday this week! It is hard to believe he is already 3 years old!

I wish they lived closer. They are a couple hours away from us but I have realized that I have it better than so many people whose grandchildren live much further away.

Brings such smiles to my face. :) I know Lauren works hard to make sure he knows us, in spite of the distance between us. I’m so thankful for video chats and such; it makes things so much easier than if we’d lived in bygone years and had to rely on postal mail and pictures (let alone back in days before even that).

I’m looking forward to next weekend when they’ll be coming up to celebrate birthdays. :)


Tiffany and I have been more productive this week than we have in past weeks this year. We got some much needed cleaning done that we just haven’t pushed ourselves to do. Things like cleaning out the refrigerator and the utility room–the later so that the hamper can be moved into it and out of the master bedroom. We even found time to go visit my parents, thanks to them living so close.

We launched our youtube channel last Saturday and filmed this week’s chat yesterday. It’ll go up tomorrow. (You can find the link to the channel at the bottom of every post along with the facebook and instagram links.)

Well, I guess that’s all I have for today, so I’ll run.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

 

Sand: Up Close

Have you and your children been to the beach this summer? Have you seen sand lately? I bet you didn’t see it like this. :)

Yeah, I think it is a cool science link. It shows what sand particles look like magnified three hundred times. Yep, 300 times! I thought it was amazing. Then I remembered that sand is nothing but small bits of shells and such.

I won’t keep you any longer because I really want you to go check out what sand looks like magnified 300 times. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

Corner Tile using Striping, Meer, and Ratoon

This week I returned to Today’s Tangles: Keeping it Classic prompt, #TTKICPrompt080519, which was to draw arcs from one corner, skipping the corner dots this week.

I chose Striping, Meer, and Ratoon from the list Sandy provided. Here is my tile before shading. (I forgot to take a picture before any tangling.)

Here is a picture taken outside while the sun was hiding behind a cloud. :D

Here is the scan after shading. (I think I need to clean my scanner; it appears that there is some specks of dirt on the scanning bed.)

Here it is in the natural (overcast) light.

I shaded several layers and am pleased with how it turned out.

Which row is your favorite? From the inside arc it is Striping, then Meer, and then the final arc is Ratoon (it’s the loopy one). As you can see, the first two tangles are quite simple can truly be drawn by anyone–and actually, most people probably have. Ratoon is a bit more difficult but if you are interested in trying your hand at it, you can see the directions here.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this encourages you to put pen to paper sometime soon.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Quick and Easy Pasta Skillet

A couple of weeks ago Tiffany and I were stumped with what to make for dinner. For whatever reason, I didn’t have anything planned for dinner that night or didn’t want to make what I had planned. This  meal is what we came up with and we absolutely loved it!!!!

It’s very simple. Just use whatever you have on hand. We browned some ground turkey with some onions and peppers. Then we added some cut fresh tomatoes that we had on hand and needed to use. (You could use any meat of choice, including chicken breast, raw or pre-cooked.)

The night of this picture we didn’t have any peppers, so it was just onions and tomatoes.
While the meat and veggies were cooking, I boiled four servings of Dreamsfield Pasta. To be honest, I didn’t think that the amount stated as a serving (dry measurement) was going to be very much when cooked but went with it anyway. It was plenty!

Once the veggies and meat were cooked, we added the cooked and drained pasta.

As you can see, the pasta we had this night was spaghetti. We made it with macaroni the first time and were concerned that we wouldn’t like it as much with this shape of pasta but thankfully, it was delicious as well. :)

We added extra virgin olive oil before eating. Yum!

The first time we made it we added a garnish amount of cheese but to be honest it wasn’t needed.

Quick and Easy Pasta Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 pound meat of choosing (I used ground turkey)
  • Veggies of choice: I used
  • Onion
  • Pepper
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil or whatever you choose
  • Dreamfield Pasta
  • Any herbs desired (we sprinkled with a bit of basil)

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta as directed and drain
  2. Cook the meat and veggies with salt and pepper
  3. Add drained pasta, add any herbs desired, and combine.
  4. Drizzle with oil of choice.
http://lifeofjoy.me/quick-and-easy-pasta-skillet/

I hope this simple meal is as helpful to you as it is to us. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Marriage Thoughts from One Married Over 50 Years

On a recent post my mom, who has been married for 57 years–yes! 57 years–shared this comment:

There was a popular Christian song years called Love’s Not A Feeling. This is so true. When the first twinges of love start and you get married and then life begins to enter into the equation, we need to have just more than those first feelings of love.

Love is more than feelings. It is commitment and long suffering and forgiveness and being able to put things aside, so bitterness and strife do not destroy what made you fall in love in the first place. And friendship, indeed, is important.

I’m so thankful for my parents commitment to God and each other. I hope her words are an encouragement to you today.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

P.S. My daughter and I started a youtube channel.