All posts by Life of Joy

Cornbread Muffins in a Jiffy

It’s soup season and with soup I like some kind of bread. Cornbread is nice with chili and Gwen, of Gwen’s Nest, has a tasty low carb, low fat version that I’m going to share with you today.

She shares a single serving but I’m making enough for four. Also, my daughter has a sensitivity right now to flax meal, so I’m following her alternative baking blend version today.

So you start with Greek yogurt. (Tiffany tells me that she’s used regular yogurt on accident before and they turned out okay.)

Add water and egg whites.

Add dry ingredients.

The key is the masa flour that has been treated with lime. Be sure to read that part of Gwen’s post on the recipe page link below. I have found a small package of the masa flour at Dollar Tree, which is nice so that you don’t have so much sitting around, especially if you only make the single serving. Even making a quadruple batch, I have had the package around for a long time! Do yourself a favor and get the small bag from Dollar Tree.

Combine and put in oil sprayed silicone muffin liners and bake. I chose to bake in the oven rather than the microwave. ;)

So, here’s the link to Gwen’s wonderful recipe. I hope you enjoy these too.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Hard Work

I’ve heard that a few more couples that I have known for a long time have separated or divorced. It always bothers me when I hear that a couple has given up. I wonder what went wrong; what happened. I’m not a nosy person. I just like to learn from others’ experiences, what not to do, so to speak.

I made some mistakes (about priorities and such) in our marriage when the children were young. Thus when the children were all in their teens, I was reaping the results of those mistakes. Things were difficult and frustrating much of the time. That’s when I diligently sought out helpful resources.

I learned that I could not change anyone but myself. This meant that although I thought Michael should stop or start doing such and such, I could not change him; I could only change how I reacted or responded when faced with frustrating things.

For a time period it seems that I was constantly hearing “you can only change you” from a variety of resources. No one else is responsible for your attitudes and actions or reactions and you are not responsible for any one else’s.

As I’ve been contemplating this post, I’ve been hit anew with some frustrations with my beloved and once again realizing that I can only change how I react or respond. Of course that doesn’t mean that we should discuss these frustrating situations; it just means that I don’t have a right to behaving inappropriately, no matter how frustrated I become.

I wish Michael and I were one of those couples that seem to be perpetually in love with each other, all goo-goo eyed and gushy but we’re not. Thus we have to be more intentional. We use the Love Nudge app to give us reminders. It helps a lot to remember things like “leave a note” or “give a gift” or whatever you tell it to remind you. ;)

Last week I’d folded a pile of my clothes and was sorting them on the bed before Michael got ready for work. Later, after he’d left for work I went in the bedroom to do something and saw a note left on top of my folded clothes. It was just a short little note but it made me smile and feel loved! I felt like I’d won the lottery marrying him.

Of course, we are not always like that. There are days, like the last few, where we just can’t seem to get on the same page, where we just seem to be rubbing each other the wrong way with every move we make or word spoken. Those are the times that I have to be VERY intentional and very cautious with my actions and words, so that I don’t add to the frustrations. Even when it feels like I can’t speak my mind, there is a way to do it and be heard. That’s when I turn to prayerfully writing a letter to him. Many times when I write a letter, God won’t let me say what I want to say but rather apologize or something; it always turns out to be what is needed at the moment. I’m able to say what I want to say and feel heard, even if he doesn’t really read it. :D At least I tried and prayed about it.

I hope this can be an encouragement to you to keep trying and take responsibility for your attitudes rather than telling him what he should or shouldn’t do/say and above all, PRAY. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

Christmas Shopping Online

Do you ever have a week where you look back and wonder what you did with it? Well, that is the kind of week I’ve had this week.

I did some online Christmas shopping. I love to get stocking stuffers from Wish. I just plan ahead because things can take weeks to get here. (If you decide to try out Wish.com you can get 50% off on your first purchase if you use this code: hnxprbn which is good for the price of the item, not the shipping .)

You do have to be careful with items ordered from Wish, different colors of the same item frequently cost different prices. Oh and be sure to check the shipping prices before you decide, shipping prices can vary widely too. But you can get some great deals. (You do have to be careful because there are some risque items on there too.) Oh, and I don’t buy clothes unless we get them lots bigger, because they are Asian and they are smaller people.

On errand day Tiffany and I went to 10 different stores! At Sprouts the trees were beautiful! So we took a couple pictures with them.

One of those stops was at Hobby Lobby for me to pick up a proper palette knife. It was $3.99 but I used the 40% off coupon and paid two something for it. Since I’m working on a smaller size “canvas” than what Bob Ross used I decided that the smaller palette knife would work great (at least I think it is smaller ;) ).

In spite of stopping at ten stores, we managed to get home four hours from the time we left. That’s pretty amazing, considering on a good day it takes us 3-4 hours on a normal week.

Tiffany and I visited my parents for a little while one day, which was fun. :) I’m so glad they live closer. Yes, I know I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again.

Well, I’m whittling away on my Christmas shopping. I love buying stocking stuffers for my family. It’s the little somethings I think they will like. Of course some times I need some ideas/help finding those little things and Tiffany and Lauren help me out. :D

Well, I’ll go for now. I hope you have a good weekend.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

Career Planning

When I started was in ninth grade I remember taking a test that helped point you toward a career in which you’d be interested. I would never have considered computer programing but because of the test I found something I loved doing.

I wish I’d have thought to look for a similar test when my children were in their teens. I think it would have helped them know what they wanted to do with their life. So, I thought I’d look around and see what I could find to share with you. You will probably have to submit an email address to get the results, so you could always get a special email for this  and other career prep/college prep sites.

Here’s what I found:

  • https://365tests.com/job-tests/career-assessment-test/
  • https://www.whatcareerisrightforme.com/
  • https://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/careers/what-career-is-right-for-me.html
  • https://www.princetonreview.com/quiz/career-quiz
  • https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers/career-quiz
  • https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/guide/personality-test-advance-career/

I hope this will be beneficial to you and your children to help them see what career might be interesting to them.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Following Bob Ross’ Painting Tutorials

Years ago I watched Bob Ross paint on PBS. He made it look so easy that I felt that I could actually do it. Unfortunately the supplies were not in my price range, especially since you needed a standing easel and those were really expensive.

Years later I saw Donna Dewberry and her One Stroke Painting technique. I was able to obtain her recommended supplies because they were much more frugal. Although I didn’t do a lot with it because she mostly showed painting on things instead of paper. I wasn’t very creative back then and didn’t think to just do the painting on paper, except for some practicing. :p

Recently Tiffany and I have seen several people that have done paintings following Bob Ross Tutorials. I thought I might attempt it too. I found an incredible deal on ebay for one of his sets and it looked like I was going to win the bid and at the last second I was outbid from out of nowhere. (I learned a lot about ebay and bids from that one I can assure you.) So I decided that maybe I could find another way to try it.

Apple Barrel paints are MUCH cheaper than oil paints but they are acrylic paints. Donna used Folk Art paints but I used some Apple Barrel ones when I did One Stroke Painting. So I decided to see if I could find the right colors to match Bob’s. I found this  webpage that has the hex color codes, I figured it would be the best way to try to match the colors without actually having a sample of them.

Here is what I decided on . . .

I actually forgot Phthalo green, so I used my Folk Art Thicket in its place. It’s darker than the sap green for which I picked Arbor Green so it added some contrast but phthalo green seems to have a bit more blue in it. I’ll try to pick one up this week when we go into town.

I think most of the colors are a bit off but it’s good enough for learning. The bottle on the end is the floating medium that I learned to use with One Stroke Painting. It helps thin out the paint a bit and get it to glide on the project a bit easier.

I bought some mixed media paper to practice on but it is very dry and my paint did not go on very smoothly. I’ll talk more about that in a moment. I think the paper I got was 11×17 whereas the canvases that he uses are like 18×24 or more. He uses a big 2.5″ natural bristle brush but since my “canvas” is so much smaller, I decided that I would try using just a 1″ brush. Unfortunately my brush is not a natural hair brush. I may end up getting some other brushes later. I do have quite a few One Stroke brushes, so I’m trying to use what I have–I just didn’t have a one inch brush or bigger.

I found Bob’s painting tutorials on youtube for free. I decided to start at the beginning and work my way through them. I’ll post more as I get my supplies figured out better. This time I made do with some cheap little palette knives that really were not up to the task. I’ll be picking up a real one this week, as I know he uses it a lot and I do not like how mine handled. ;)

I found that my One Stroke scruffy brush worked better for adding in some of the foliage than the one inch brush, which had a bit too much flexibility to it. When I went to take this picture I found that I have a smaller sized scruffy brush too, which will come in handy I think. I also liked using my fan brush for adding some of the highlighted “leaves”. I used the smaller, red handled one, but realized that I have a larger one as well.

Well, I guess it is time to show you my first attempt with make-shift equipment. ;)

The third tree was the first done and thus the highlight messiness as I was just learning to use the brush. The rocks/dirt up front was another mess because of the improper palette knife. At the end I went back in and smoothed out some of the paint making it more like large rocks or dirt piles. :D

The tree in the front had its issues as well. That same palette knife was used and I ended up making a much larger tree with way too muddy for the initial leaves and thus the highlight is not seen as easily. To cover up more of the palette knife struggles, I added some greenery in the front with the fan brush.

Now, I will have to admit that I loved the “sticks” that were scraped in throughout the painting. It truly does add a lot of depth. If you look closely, you can just barely see them.

So, overall, not horrible and cringe worthy. :) But definitely a learning experience.  Here it is from a slight angle, which I think makes it look a bit better. ;)

To begin the painting, I mixed a bit of the floating medium with the white and brushed it all around, like Bob did. But mine, since it was acrylic, seemed to dry a lot faster than his oils did, which is how I think it is supposed to work. But I’m wondering if I should just spritz my paper with water or put more floating medium on or what. If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments below.

I just laid this paper down flat on the table and since it is just paper, it kept moving around on me as I was coating it and getting the initial background painted in. I’ve put an adjustable (and easily transportable) easel on my Christmas wish list this year. I’ll just have to figure out how to put my paper on it–maybe with a board and clips?

One other reason I’m trying to use acrylics instead of oils is because they clean with water instead of thinner, so it’s much cheaper and smells a lot better. ;)

Well, that’s it for me today. Until next time,

MicheleºÜº

Making a Menu and Grocery List

I remember when I was first married, I went to the grocery store about every week and a half to two weeks and just bought things that looked good and things that we had run out of. Then after we’d been married about ten years, had moved half-way across the country, and things were a bit tight, my neighbor showed me how she bought food on a tight budget.

It all started with looking over the sales flyers that came in the mail, today you can look on the flipp app. She would see what meat was on sale and plan a menu around sale items, filling in the gaps with inexpensive meals like beans and cornbread and soups.

 

Since we eat mostly chicken and ground turkey, I don’t bother with looking at what meat is on sale until I shop and then I use the built in portion of my budget to buy a bit of any special meat that might be on sale (like salmon or chicken sausage or bacon).

When temperatures are fluctuating, like they are right now, I take a piece of paper and write down the days for a week and the high temperatures from my weather app. That way I can plan for a nice hearty soup when it is cold and a pasta dish or other item when it is warmer.

I write down dishes that I know I want to include and then either flip through my stack of printed recipes or a cookbook for inspiration for the rest of the days’ meals.

From there, I write down the ingredients I will need that I may not have on one list and the ingredients I know I need to buy on the grocery list, separated by store–we go to 3-4 stores that are all within a mile of each other.

I sometimes write any extra recipes I’m considering making somewhere on the paper (this time on the upper right of the page). Sometimes I note meals I that sound good but I’d already filled in the week’s menu and I want to consider them next week.

I use tally marks when I’m going through the recipes and I encounter duplicates e.g. chicken needed for two meals and two cans of tomato paste are needed this week.

Then I check the questionable list against what is on hand and add any missing items to the grocery list. Then I consider items we eat for the other meals of the day and add needed items to the list as well. Things like eggs, mayonnaise, milk, butter, and such.

I keep a marker board on my refrigerator for adding things throughout the week that need replacing on grocery day. I also keep the menu on the refrigerator so it doesn’t get misplaced.

As you can see, we don’t need many extra things this week. Some of them are carry-overs from last week and got smudged but I still know what they say or I’d re-write them. ;)

Now, just because I have pizza written for Friday’s meal does not mean that we are most definitely having pizza on Friday. We need to run errands Friday and so I will switch up the meal to another day or it may be too hot to have soup one day because it got hotter in the house than I thought it would and so I may switch to another night’s meal or completely change it up and have sandwiches, salad, or a pasta dish. The menu is a tool for me and I am not a slave to it.

I hope this helps you with your menu planning.

Until next time,
Michele ºÜº

Husbands Want/Need to Hear

The Generous Wife, Lori Byerly, shared a couple great links this past week. The first is a post from Scott of Heaven Made Marriage, where he shared what husbands need to hear.

I have to admit, I was aware of a most of them but not necessarily as things that needed to be said. However, I really appreciated his insight on what respect looked like!!!

And for those men out there, he wrote one about women too. I have to say that I agree with what he has to say, especially the first three. :)

The other that I really liked was one from A Wife Like Me where she talked about when being right is wrong. It goes right along with something I learned long ago, namely to give  up my right to be right. In it she shares how allowing your husband to have your support and going along with him without doing your own research and simply supporting him.

I hope these articles are an encouragement to you today.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Holiday Time Movie Fun

I love the holidays!!! I don’t really do Halloween. When I was younger and lived in Virginia, our church did a great harvest festival (still does) but here, they don’t do it right.

Recently we have started watching the Night at the Museum movies the last several days of October. It’s a fun tradition and a lot less messy than carving pumpkins, which rot. ;)

For many years now we have started our Christmas shopping early–some years as early as September. Recently though we have been getting started in late October. We did some Christmas shopping this week. It was fun but I’m not as young as I used to be and cannot shop like I used to shop. I’m exhausted the next day and don’t do much.

So this week on the day after shopping day, I could not get myself motivated to do much. And I saw that new Christmas movies started showing last Saturday. So Tiffany and I decided to watch a few. We had six to choose from.

I enjoyed Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses and A Merry Christmas Match. Tiffany preferred Christmas Movie Christmas. She says that it embraced the cheesiness.

I didn’t care for the other three choices and wondered if there any Thanksgiving movies. I found six of those as well. We both really liked The Thanksgiving House and Family Thanksgiving. Then we watched October Kiss. I now want to have all of these fall movies. Of course, they probably aren’t available at a reasonable price.

It’s been very cold this week. We went straight from summer to winter. It was nice for Christmas shopping but really a bit too cold for October! It’s supposed to be more seasonable today and for the next several days.

Well, I guess I’m going to run. Share what your favorite holiday movies are and especially if you have a Thanksgiving movie. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Ways to Help Your Child Cope

I remember hearing Kirk Martin and his son Kacey speak at our local homeschool convention several years ago. He talked about keeping calm and asking for what you needed; he had seminars on both marriage and handling children. I signed up for his emails and have shared one or two of them with you here.

I followed a link in a recent email and listened to a short podcast. I didn’t completely agree with what he shared but there were some things I did agree with. Then I started clicking around on his sites and found this article and felt it was worth sharing. It shares about managing emotions and impulses.

I especially liked because it talks about looking for your child’s talents, strengths, and interests. It also shows the positive trait verses negative traits.

I remember when reading Caterpillar Summer, Chicken said one time that sometimes the urge to run was just so strong he couldn’t stop himself from doing it. It explained so well how some things happen with some people, so that I can relate a bit more.

Here’s an article about handling emotions that I thought might be helpful too.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

Loop-de-loop

Well, I think I’ve given up on Inktober. :D Considering there’s only one day left and I haven’t done any drawing in a week, so I basically did half of Inktober. ;)

I decided to see what the prompt was at Today’s Tangles: Keeping it Classic. That prompt was a very simple one: draw some connected loops.

I went with ‘Nzepple, Shattuck, and Florz for fill tangles.

I didn’t actually get a picture in natural light but I did take a picture.

I went for some simple shading.

Here it is a bit smaller, which doesn’t amplify the shading I didn’t get smoothed out so well. ;)

Here is the picture I took of it.

I like how it turned out. It was an easy tile to draw and stress free. I didn’t feel any pressure doing it. Of course all the tangles I used are easy ones or ones I’ve used before, so that may be a part of the lightness and ease of tangling this one.

I appreciate the simple prompts!

Thanks for stopping by. What are the tangles that are stress free for you?

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº