All posts by Life of Joy

Blessed and Great is His Love

I have been so blessed recently! I still have the lovely flowers Michael brought me about a week ago and they still look gorgeous.

Flower Bouquet ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen the other day I had a visit with a friend and she showed up with some lovely flowers for me. :)

Friend Bouquet ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe had a really nice visit and Tiffany was amazing, as she made lunch and served it. :) Yep, I’m blessed indeed!

Last Friday Tiffany announced that she was giving me the day off; she called it a self-care day. I was floored! I mean what mom gets a day where she doesn’t have to cook, clean, or do for others and can just veg if that’s what she feels like doing. So blessed!

The Guide ~ Lifeofjoy.meI actually spent quite a while playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’m told that Michael enjoys watching me play, as does Tiffany and Sean. Later when I got off the game, I was asked what I wanted to watch on television that night. Now we don’t really watch much other than what we own. ;) And frequently Michael and Sean don’t want to watch what I do and that is fine, because I’m extremely flexible. But that night I picked a short series we own and they didn’t shoot me down. (We tease that Michael is the King of No in the Land of No and he struggles to say yes to anything. =))  Yes, we are joking but he does say no an awful lot.) We’ve continued watching the episodes in that series throughout the week on evenings that we watch something; we don’t watch television every night.

Then on top of that, Sean was home the same day and he asked what chore I had that I’d like him to do. He cleaned out the small chest freezer for me and I wrote down the contents as he refilled it. Once again, blessed!!!

Then Tiffany announced that she was giving me these self-care days twice a month! I cried. Literally cried. I really am sooo very blessed.

That was the same day that I wrote about on Monday where Michael had blessed me by going and getting the supplement I needed from town after having already been in town once that day and surprising me with those lovely flowers above.

God's Love ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve been having a really great week. God is showing me His love for me and that I am important to Him and yes, even my prayers have been answered, in spite of how things may look. So I guess God has been renewing my hope for the things He’s told me. You know, the Word says that where there is no vision the people perish and that hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 29:18 and Proverbs 13:12 respectively.) Sometimes in that time when you are believing for something, it takes so long for it to come that the heart does get sick, but God is still there and ready and able to renew your strength to continue believing. So hold on, dig deep, and keep trusting in Him and His promises. Oh, and let the words of your mouth line up with what you know in your heart will come to pass.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Daily Fun Facts and Journaling

Did you know ~ Lifeofjoy.meA few weeks ago as I was doing research for a Thursday blog post, I ran across an interesting webpage. I believe it changes every school day. The page is titled Daily Fun Facts.

Each day there is a quote or Thought of the day, a joke–albeit usually rather corny but fun, a random fact of the day, which is many times wacky, and a journal entry idea. I think if I still had children school age, I would incorporate this or something like it each day, just to add a little more interest/fun. Check it out: Daily Fun Facts

I hope this is helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

DC#368 Straight Lines

This week’s diva challenge is straight lines. After seeing Laura’s lovely tile, I had a hard time thinking of anything else to do but I persevered.

I knew right away that I’d be including Paradox in my tile but that was about it. I checked my usual places for inspiration and really liked Pattern Collections Template #13. It has hearts though, so I made the hearts into boxes. :)

I remembered that I’d seen Shattuck drawn with straight lines instead of arcs/’c’-shapes and since I love Shattuck, I decided to include it. I used the Patterns by Framework: Line/Wave on Pattern-Collections and found Jota and Star-ING. I really liked Star-ING but couldn’t find anywhere to incorporate it but I did include Jota.

Finally, I included Flukes and Knightsbridge. I had considered Dex but decided the space I had was not conducive to using it. ;)

So here is my tile before shading.

Unshaded DC#368 ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat straight line shattuck on the right looks almost like a ribbon of sorts. :D Jota did not turn out at all as I expected. It kind of reminds me of Beeline or Jonqual. I chose to do knightsbridge really small so that there’d be more than two rows of boxes. ;) Oh, I completely forgot to mention that I also used Irradial by Tomas Padros.

I didn’t do a lot of shading; I just added a touch of graphite.

DC#368 Straight Lines ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is a bit smaller, which shows less imperfections. ;)

DC#368 Straight Lines ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd finally, a picture taken outside in natural light, although the sun was close to setting, so it isn’t very bright.

Natural Lighting DC#368 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think it turned out pretty good. Jota kind of looks like hay bales or crates piled on top of each other. So there’s a checkered flag, dual black holes, odd little fans on crates, with blackened windows over a large ribbon. Hmmm . . .

If you are interested in the tiles I did over the summer, click here. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

IP Creamy Pork ~

IP Creamy Pork (Chicken)

I had some pork in the freezer that I wanted to use for dinner one night. I searched online and found a few interesting recipes. But what got my attention was this cream of mushroom soup DIY recipe that was already THM compliant. Her choice was to use her instant pot as a slow cooker and I wanted to use it to get it done quickly and as hands free as possible. I wasn’t really interested in her ranch flavor either.

So I kept searching and found this keto recipe for cooking pork chops. I shied away from this recipe because it had heavy whipping cream and I need to back off the dairy and lots of fat for a while. I decided to mesh the two recipes into my own making and share it here with you today. :)

Warning: Start an hour before you need to eat, so not exactly INSTANT.

I do this recipe with both chicken and pork. I used some bone-in pork sirloin steaks, I’ve used chicken thighs and boneless chicken breast. All turn out well. :)

Start by turning the instant pot on Saute and add a little bit of oil so the chops don’t stick as you brown them.

saute in instant pot ip ~ Lifeofjoy.meSeason the meat on both sides. Now you could be all professional like and mix the seasonings in a bowl and then rub them on the meat but I’ll be honest here, I just sprinkle on the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. I try to season one side, then put the meat, seasoned side down onto the pan or in the instant pot then season the other side while the first side is browning.

brown meat ~ lifeofjoy.meWhile that is browning, dice or slice up the mushrooms and onions. Now, I’m going to be honest with you, you should probably take the meat out and put in the veggies but I didn’t do that. I just dumped the chopped onions and mushrooms on top of my meat. Then I sprinkled in the rest of the seasonings and added the broth and almond milk.

Add remaining ingredients ~Lifeofjoy.mePressure cook for 25 minutes. Let it warm for 10 minutes and then release the pressure on the instant pot. Now here is where I goofed this time around. I was so hungry and ready to eat that I forgot to thicken the gravy.

Push the meat to the side. Press the saute button and once the broth in the pot is starting to simmer I shake in some gluccie (gluccomannon) and sprinkle in about a half tablespoon of baking blend. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then add the meat back in or serve separately, your choice.

We serve this with a big head of cauliflower, mashed (caulitaters) and three cans of fried green beans.

Instant Pot Creamy Pork ~ Lifeofjoy.meTHM IP Creamy Pork ~

IP Creamy Pork (Chicken)


  • Meat (pork chops, steaks, chicken breast or thighs, etc.)
  • about 1 Tablespoon oil
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • cayenne
  • parsley
  • about 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced, diced, or chopped
  • about 1/2 an onion, sliced, diced, or chopped
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • sprinkling of glucomannan or xanthan gum
  • about 1/2 tablespoon baking blend (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in instant pot on saute.
  2. Season one side of the meat, with desired herbs and spices (I hold out the parsley and cayenne until they are browned.)
  3. Brown the seasoned side of the meat and season the other side.
  4. When browned, flip and brown other side.
  5. Add remaining ingredients except for glucomannan/xanthan gum and optional baking blend.
  6. Pressure cook for 25 minutes with vent closed.
  7. When it beeps, let it sit for another 10 minutes if you can wait. 😉 Then quick release.
  8. Move meat to side (or remove for easier whisking)
  9. Press saute.
  10. Add glucomannan and optional baking blend as you stir and it simmers. It will thicken up a bit as it sits.

I hope this recipe is helpful to you. We enjoy it. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Bless and Bless Back

Bless Me Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is a good practice in marriage to look for ways to bless your spouse. I do this by making him special treats. Okay, I make sure he has some kind of dessert, be it ice cream or cookies or popcorn, every night. My honey likes to end his day with some kind of treat/snack/sweet. I keep these treats healthy and sugar-free so that we can all enjoy them and not worry about gaining weight.

My honey blesses me by helping me with heavy or very hot objects (I have told you before that he is protective of me ;) ). He helps me do things so much that sometimes it makes me feel guilty, like he is doing my job and I’m not carrying my fair share. Actually, I used to get upset it he did his own laundry (he’s a painter and wears whites for work) feeling like he was having to do it because I didn’t get to it yet. But through the years I have learned from many discussions about this and other such topics that he doesn’t mind doing it and he knows I have lots of stuff I do get to. So I learned to not let it bother me and see it as him blessing me, taking something off of my long to do list. :)

Flowers ~
Ignore the sunflowers, they’re part of my fall decor and not a part of the bouquet :D

When I’d been to the chiropractor last time they did not have one of the supplements I needed. They called on Friday and said that it had arrived. Unfortunately Michael was already nearly home (30 minute drive to the chiropractor’s office). He walked in the door with a bouquet of flowers for me (such lovely colors)! He said simply that he thought they’d bless me.

I told him about my supplement arriving at the office and he said he’d pick it up on Monday. After a little bit, he realized I really needed it and decided to make the extra trip into town just to pick it up for me so that I wouldn’t have to wait until Monday for it.

He has over blessed me! Now I want to find something special to do for him. It’s not about owing something. It’s just about love and showing that love in tangible ways. It isn’t about doing something for someone because they do or can do something for you. It is just about love. Do it out of the love you have for him or if you are in a difficult season, do it out of the love you once felt. Love grows and changes but that’s a topic for another day. ;) For today I just want to encourage you to bless your spouse and when he blesses you, keep the cycle going by blessing him back.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Plans Awry

Broken plans ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, a couple of weeks ago I decided that I was going to prep a week of posts so that I wouldn’t have to be concerned with daily content and could work on some, much needed website updating. You didn’t notice any updating, did you? Yeah, that’s because the best made plans don’t always come off without a hitch and this one was definitely not my “best made plan.”

So, when I hatched this plan, I did not realize that it would start with Labor Day weekend. Yep, didn’t even look at a calendar. :( But it was not big deal because my self-employed guys were planning to work on Labor Day anyway. Then in church on Sunday Michael got a text informing him that the customer would prefer it if they didn’t come until Tuesday. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like having my guys around, but I had some stuff I needed to do. Yeah, the stuff waited and instead we had a nice, relaxing extra day with the guys home. :)

Just being together ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen Tuesday, realizing that it was now the first work day of the new month, Tiffany and I had our monthly check-in/meeting. While Sean worked at Hostek, he would tell about various meetings he was a part of. I soon realized that since Tiffany is self-employed, she doesn’t have any of those kinds of meetings and neither do I. Thus it seemed that it would be a good thing for us to do with each other, to kind of keep us aware of another month passing and accountable, to ourselves.

accountability ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis meeting started immediately after breakfast and ran through lunch, as in, we kept talking as we made and ate lunch. So the day was pretty well shot after that. I did attempt to get something accomplished but it was a no-go. ;)

It’s been another month, so it was time to go back to the chiropractor to see how my body is responding to the supplements I’ve been taking for the month. Let’s just say, I’m a confusing case. It’s always been that way, at least I have been aware of it for the last twenty years or so–I’m a challenge. Seriously, I ask questions and have odd situations and it is usually a challenge for whomever is trying to help me. It’s okay, I’ve learned to be patient and allow the person grace and they attempt to get the right answers. At any rate, we try to work our chiro visit in on errand day, so that lengthens the time we are out and not much else gets accomplished afterwards.

Christmas List ~ lifeofjoy.meMy mother, sister, and I like to get our Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving so that we can enjoy the holiday without feeling rushed. In order to do that, we have to get our Christmas wish lists done rather early. Thus, I worked on my Christmas list a lot during the first week of the month.

Tiffany did lots of brain storming for her literary world. She keeps journals with the ideas in them. Well, she got a major idea the end of the week and needed somewhere to write it down. She was out of journals.

The night before I had seen a coupon in my email to Big Lots, where I’d earned a $5 of $15 purchase. Trouble was that it expired by the end of the weekend and thus would not be valid on our next errand day. I had considered asking Sean and Michael to stop by and pick up some coconut oil and a bag of snacks to use the coupon, which would have been a good use for it because we use a lot of coconut oil and they have the best price around (of course it is not premium quality but I’m more of a budgeting mama). All of a sudden, I felt like I should ask Tiffany if she wanted to run into town to Big Lots to get some journals.

Now, I have to point out here that it is a 30-minute drive, we are introverted homebodies, and don’t usually agree to this kind of extra trip. But we both thought it was a good idea. We’d just finished a light breakfast and decided to put it in high gear and get in and back as quickly as possible. We did it in record time!

At first we were a little confused because there didn’t seem to be very many journals and what they did have was $6 each! Yikes! Especially because she needed eight journals. I kept wandering the aisles. And about four rows back I stumbled upon the remains of the school supply aisle AND the school supplies were 25% off! Now, if we could just find some journals.

We kept looking and found all she needed plus two 3″ binders that she will need soon for the editing stage of her current work in progress, but also some adorable junior composition notebooks for 75¢! Score! We were home in time for lunch. :)

Big Lots for the score ~

Journal Jackpot ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen we had the wonderful job of numbering the pages because she indexes everything in the back so she can find it more readily. I offered to help her because numbering over a dozen journals is daunting. I didn’t get nearly as many done as she did. She’s Speedy Gonzales and I’m more like Slowpoke Rodriguez.=)) But I did help and that was three that she didn’t have to do. (I was doing other things while she was numbering . . . I’m not THAT slow. :D)

pagenation of journals ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, that was the week. What did I manage to do for the website? Well . . . I got the follow me on social media buttons up. Is it how I wanted it? Nope! But they are there, at the bottom of every individual page and post. I also got the copyright showing on every page now too. That is important to protect my work. I share it freely; I don’t want someone coming in and making a profit off of my generosity.

And that’s it! My big week of getting things done ended with very little to show for it. So I’m going to try a different approach and see if I can make some headway on stuff.

I hope you are having a productive week and enjoy your weekend making memories, big and small, as you go.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Art Appreciation

Art Museum ~ Lifeofjoy.eIt seems like I tend to focus here on things I did not focus on in our own homeschooling journey. Today’s subject is one such item. I wish I had spent more time on art and music appreciation but it is what it is and they are not harmed.

Art appreciation is a good practice. In my opinion it is not something that MUST be done all the time but is good for a well-rounded individual. If your child will need to go to college some day, then it is probably a good idea to be sure to include some art appreciation into their studies.

In my surfing recently I came across an interesting website: Practical Pages. She has a great Art Page! She has two lapbooks of artists and a sampling of their works. Even if you don’t usually do lapbooks, these are great because there are works of art for each composer. This could be spread over a couple of years or more. There are two free lapbook downloads that cover about twenty-seven artists. There are also some art and music timelines available to print out with ideas on how to use them. So cool!

Nadene of Practical Pages also shares about something she instituted that she calls Fabulous Fine Arts Friday. You can read about it here. It sounds wonderful; it became her children’s favorite day and one where they created a lot of wonderful memories.

One last thing, she also shared was how to make outline drawings of famous works on this page. Then she includes ideas of how to use these outline drawings. I think this is just great.

I hope you will enjoy these art appreciation ideas and that they will help you incorporate art and art appreciation into your homeschool journey.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


DC#367 ‘Nzeppel with Some Loops

Yay, Laura is back with a new Diva Challenge. Okay, I know she was back last week but I’d already done a tile and blog post and had it set to publish, so I opted not to change things. I am glad Laura had a good summer and am glad she’s back to issuing challenges. :)

This week’s challenge is to use ‘Nzeppel. :) I really love this tangle. I thought it was beautiful when I first started tangling YEARS ago but I struggled to make friends with it. ;) I think it was when Crazy ‘Nzeppel was introduced that I was able to make friends and now I love it. :)

I started this tile thinking I’d add a few other focus tangles. I chose string #12 on for my starting point. I thought I might put one of the angles across the background. I started by using ‘Nzeppel. When I finished with it, I decided less was better and merely added a few loopy shapes and called it done.

Here it is before shading.

DC#367 Nzeppel ~Lifeofjoy.meI don’t know what tangle that loopy shape is. It’s kind of a mesh of the shape for Drawing, Showgirl, and probably several others.

Here’s what it looks like after I shaded it.

DC#367 ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is smaller, as it looks better.

DC#367 ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd finally, here is a picture I took outside in direct light.

DC#367 Nzepple ~ Lifeofjoy.meThanks for stopping by. Have a great day.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Broccoli Salad ~

Broccoli Salad

This is a salad with a twist. :) The flavors meld together nicely and this is a family favorite here. I am met with cheers when it is announced as a side dish for dinner.

One day I was looking for a bit of a different salad to have with dinner. I was tired of regular lettuce salad and was looking for a broccoli salad similar to the one I’ve had before–broccoli, red onion, and cheese with a mayonnaise dressing–when I came across this gem.

I had to change some things up a bit because of my picky family members and because I don’t keep pesto on hand most of the time. So, because of these tweaks, I can share it with you rather than just sharing a link and procedural pictures. ;) But do go over to LivingChirpy and see her version of the recipe.

So, star by cooking 2 cups of broccoli. Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli ~ Lifefojoy.mePasta Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meSteaming this is the best option. I have heard that you should never eat broccoli raw as it can slow the thyroid; also, cruciferous veggies can cause an inflammatory response, so don’t eat them daily.

When the broccoli has steamed to your desired level of doneness, about 5 minutes or so, remove it and let it cool off.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon. I’m using turkey bacon because the hubs cannot have pork at this time.

Cooked Turkey Bacon ~

And begin chopping the other ingredients:


Lettuce in salad bowl ~ Lifeofjoy.meBell Pepper

Dice bell pepper ~ Lifeofjoy.meCheese: I slice about 1/4″ slab off my block of cheese

slicing slab of cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.meCut it in half

cut cheese in half ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd cut into cubes.

Cutting cheese into cubes ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow it’s time to make the dressing. Here’s where I make some significant tweaks. Since Tiffany doesn’t like mayonnaise, I use heavy whipping cream and whip it a bit so that it is the consistency of mayonnaise. :)

Now, if you have pesto on hand, then you can simply slightly whip up the heavy cream and add the pre-made pesto to it. I, however, do not have any on hand but I keep pinenuts in the freezer for just such a time as this. ;) OH! I should also admit that I do not have any fresh basil on hand either and use dried in a pinch. So here we go.

Place a few pinenuts and a bit of Parmesan cheese into a mini food processor.

Pinenuts and parmesan cheese ~ re-reading the original recipe, I realize that I used a bit too much. ;) ) But we still liked it. Ultimately you only need a tablespoon of pesto. There will not be exact measurements because I just grabbed bits of this and bits of that. ;)

Add a good bit of dried basil.

Added dried basil ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen drizzled in some olive oil.

Olive oil, basil, pinenuts, parmesan ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then about two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream . . . yep, just poured some in.

Creamy Pesto dressing ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow, give it a good whirl, until it is the desired creaminess.

creamy pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd all of this creamy loveliness, to the salad with all the rest of the ingredients.

Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meCombine and serve! :)

Creamy Pesto Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meI do need to say that I do not include the peas in this salad, that the original recipe called for because of the amount of fats here. On Trim Healthy Mama, we separate our fats from our carbs, except at specific times ( s helper and crossover meals) but if you are at the point in your journey where you can have this type of meal, I’m sure the peas would be a tasty addition.

Creamy Pesto Broccoli Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meCreamy Pesto Broccoli Salad ~

Broccoli Salad


  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
  • about 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • about 2/3 cup small cheese cubes
  • 2 cups or so of lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • about 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine lettuce, broccoli, bacon, bell pepper, and cheese cubes in a salad bowl.
  2. Whip the heavy whipping cream and add the pesto or combine ingredients for pesto and the heavy whipping cream and whip together. 🙂
  3. Add dressing, salt, and pepper.
  4. Combine and serve.

Here is my recipe to make easy pesto.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we do.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

What is Your Goal in Marriage?

Marriage goal ~ Lifeofjoy.meI read this article recently where the author asked what the goal of marriage is. Wow, that is an interesting question. I’d never really thought about it before.

I guess that my goal of marriage was to have a life partner: someone to spend life with. Of course sex was a big goal of marriage since I am a Christian (and have been nearly all of my life) sex outside of marriage is a NO. Thus in order to experience this God-created activity, marriage is a must. ;)

I won’t share his answer; I’ll just give you the link and ask you to go over to his site and read it. It’s a quick read and quite thought provoking as well.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº