All posts by Life of Joy

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:


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,


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



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

Cowboy Grub Taco

I made Cowboy Grub from Trim Health Mama Cookbook page 59, last week. I used the canned tomatoes that have the green chilies in it. Either I’ve never made this correctly before or my tastes have changed because this was delicious!

As you can see I used chicken breast instead of ground meat because I don’t like to rinse my meat and lean ground meat is a bit pricey for frequent use. I also used the par-boiled brown rice from Aldi to make my life simpler. I also used the frozen seasoning blend (albeit the chunkier version) which I broke up a bit with my mix-and-chop hand-held gadget. I served it with canned green beans with a bit of onion powder and liquid smoke in them. I might have served a bagged salad too, for ease.

When I served the leftovers, I followed the suggestion of stuffing it into tortillas with cheese (and sour cream).  I used a sprouted grain tortilla and used a light laughing cow cheese wedge. This really changed the taste, making it seem like a different meal completely.

At lunch the next day I used up the rest of the leftovers and added a bit of fat free cheddar–my personal choice item. I only used half of a tortilla because we have the huge ones and they are 28g of carbs for one and I knew that would put it a bit too many carbs but a half of one worked nicely. I’ll pick up some of the smaller ones next time. I’m trying to only use the Mission low carb tortillas once a week or less, so that wasn’t an option for me this time around.

I heated it up on the flame of the burner. :) I love my gas range.

Yes, I used an entire wedge and it made it nice and cheesy. :)

It was yummo! I ate the bit that didn’t fit on the tortilla with a spoon. :)

Do you have meals that you’ve found a way to make the leftovers seem like a completely different meal? Please share in the comments, if you do. I love easy meals.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Pray . . .

Yes, I know that we all know to do this but this is the one thing that is sooo easily overlooked, even by me.

I’m making it a point to ask God what I can do to better my marriage today. :) It doesn’t have to be something big, it may be something as small as laughing at his joke, that wasn’t even funny. True story!

One morning at the breakfast table Michael said, Sean pass me the Parm-e-Sean.

It seemed as if he thought this was so ingenious and hilarious. Of course none of the rest of us thought it was that funny but it was cute.

I was at the refrigerator getting out items to make their lunches and started fake laughing, saying Par-me-Sean!!! HAHAHAHA I really played it up for a good little while.

Well, this got him to laughing so hard his eyes started watering. It was great!

Instead of saying anything to demean his pun, I made it a situation that really encouraged him and brightened his morning. (It brightened mine too because even as I type this I have a smile on my face remembering it.) And it strengthened our bond rather than tearing him or us down.

The thing God has me do may be to make sure his work clothes are washed and folded, so they don’t get wrinkled and he doesn’t have to wash them himself. (He gets impatient waiting for me to do his work laundry, wanting to only wear the same two pairs of painter’s pants all week long and thus requiring laundering several times in one week. I’m happy to wash and dry his clothes but wear more than just two pairs so that I don’t have to be constantly washing them . . . thus he will wash them if he wants certain ones. ;) )

Or maybe it is to make sure that the favorite towels are freshly laundered and put on the rack before he gets home from work. Maybe it is make him a dessert or special snack. It could be anything but the point is that I ask God what to do and then do it. ;)

What simple thing has God had you do for your hubby lately?

Michele ºÜº

Fun Friend Day and LONG Errand Day

It’s been a good but busy week. Well, not really busy for normal people but I did go into town twice and ran a ton of errands on errand day.

Gwin is out of focus and I look bad, as I struggled to get a picture with us both in it. I am not good at taking selfies! LOL

My friend Gwin, whom I have known for about eight years now, surprised me with an invitation to lunch one day this week. And I surprised her by saying yes (I’m an introvert and don’t go out much). :D Neither of us were up to making many decisions so we agreed to meet in Bixby and take it from there. She had me pick the time from a range of times and I did. I thought it was a great way to handle the situation when neither person wanted/felt able to make any decisions. :)

Of course, on the way into town, I got a low tire pressure notification on my car. So then I had to make an extra stop to fill it with air. And as you might imagine, there was someone there filling his tires with air. Just when I thought he was leaving, he turned his car around to reach the tire on the other side of his car. 8) Patience is a virtue; I guess Gwin and I were both being pressed with this virtue that day: her by waiting for me and me by waiting on the guy to hurry up finish.

We opted to go to Cheddar’s, where neither of us had been in quite some time. Oddly enough, they had us sit at the same table we sat at the last time we went there together. :D While I ran to the restroom, she ordered our unsweetened peach teas AND an order of onion rings, which neither of us should have eaten but enjoyed anyway. (I did so with a healthy dose of vitamin P, for pleasure.  ;) ) We used my stevia glycerite in the tea and it was delicious! I love that I can still enjoy their peach tea; it’s my favorite.

I introduced to her to a new store in the area and she loved it! :) I am sad though because it used to be that everything in the store was $5 or less but since I was in there just a couple weeks ago, they’ve changed their electronic section to $10 below Tech and raised the prices on things that were $5 to $5.55 but they also have a few items that are around $7.50 or so. Not bad but I hate it when price changes like that. I guess it’s better that they raise the prices a little than no longer carrying the items because their suppliers prices went up.

While I was taking a shower not too long ago, I was using a pumice stone on the bottoms of my feet. I have a tendency to pray while showering and this day I told God that I needed him to help me figure out what to do about my feet. They are VERY callused and I’d used the pedegg roller on them and it didn’t really make much of a difference this time. It actually seemed to make some parts of my heels rougher.

Well, Gwin suggested we go get pedicures! Generally I won’t do this but God had told her we should do it, so we did. :) I had them do the extra callus remover treatment on mine. OH MY GRACIOUS!!! My feet are sooo much better. He used what looked like a dull cheese grater on my feet. I still have a little bit of a callus on both feet but it is sooooooo much better and they feel so soft.

Thanks again Gwin! It was an answer to prayer. :) Now to figure out what they used so I can do it at home (yeah, I’m very frugal ;) ).

It was such a fun day and I’m so glad and blessed that she follows God. :) Love you Gwin!!!

Then on errand day we went the long way into town so that we could drop off coupons for a free first exam and x-ray at my parents’ and my sister’s homes. Of course, I can’t possibly just drop off, I must talk-my extrovert peeks out occasionally. ;)

After leaving my sister’s house we got gas in the car and ate our lunch because we were hungry already. Then we began our grocery run. We ran through Walmart and of course, the item that I ordered online was not ready for pick-up yet. I ran into Dollar Tree and actually only got the three items that I went in for! That is nearly never heard of. :D

Off to Aldi and then to Sprouts. I checked the Target app to see which store had the King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour that we needed. Thankfully it was the one right next to Sprouts and the price was reduced!!! So I got three bags instead of just two because you never know when the price will go back up. ;)

Next we popped into Old Time Pottery to get part of my niece’s Christmas present. On the way out, we saw that they had chimeneas for $59.99, so I texted Gwin about it as we headed down the road to our next stop. She’d told me how much she’d seen them for in Sutherland’s and this was cheaper, so she was able to save a little bit by getting it here instead of there. :)

Next Tiffany and I went into Name Brand Clothing 1/2 off 1/2. Last time we’d planned to stop in here they were closed for some big inventory something or other. The parking lot was packed!

We were very confused by the signs and tags on the clothing. The signs plastered all over the place said everything was $8.88 or less. Then there were a few signs that said shoes and certain other items were $19.99 or less. When you looked at price tags it got even more confusing with prices of $30, $20, and then some $6, $12, and so on. Very confusing. The racks were not orderly at all. It was simply chaos! Yep. Chaos.

We looked at a few things but after about 15 minutes just left wondering how in the world there were so many people in there thinking these were good deals. Maybe we just don’t know a name brand when we see it and thus don’t realize how great of a deal it really was. ;)

We ran across the street to Ross. I’ll be honest with you, it wasn’t a good clothes shopping day for me. Nothing was interesting me at all. I did find the salts I wanted–they were the last two packages too. So after being in this store about 15 minutes or so, we left it and decided we’d just be early for Tiffany’s chiropractic appointment. We’d both brought books to read while we waited.

Her appointment went well. Found that one of her pills stopped working and thus needed to change to something else, reduced one supplement, and changed out another. Oh and the adjustment was really needed, lots of cracks. :)

We got home and the guys were already here. We’d been gone all day long. Thankfully, they brought in all the groceries while Tiffany and I changed our clothes. Then we put up the groceries and heated up the leftovers for dinner, which I will share with you on Tuesday.

For now though, this has gotten quite long, so I’m going to run. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. It has turned cooler here and raining/drizzling, so it is nice to be home and maybe curl up with a good book. What do you like to do when it is chilly and raining?

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

PS. I’m told Hallmark is starting their Christmas movie premiers this weekend!