All posts by Life of Joy

Zen-Untangled Week 2: Centipede and Snail

This week the new-to-me tangles in the second week of the Zen-Untangled 2020 project were Snail and Centipede. Since I’ve been around the Zentangle community online since October 2009, I was already familiar with Hurry, Dex, Ahh (with Therefore) and Tipple. Although I have to say that Dex worked better for me this time around than ever before.

I had a major hiccup with snail. It looks like such a simple tangle and really it is simple but when I started to tangle it I drew it from inside and spiral out but it ended up looking more like Printemps. Thus I figured it was supposed to be drawn from outside and spiraled in, which was later confirmed on the group. :)

That little spiral down in the bottom right corner is the one where I started in and spiraled out.

The string for this week is a simple one with a pair of lines diagonally from corner to corner. I forgot to get a picture before I started tangling it though.

Here is the scan of my tile.

I made a couple tangle variations ;). I didn’t et the auras around Snail right. I initially thought I’d use the straight line variation but . . . didn’t end up doing that. :o The other mistake “variation” I did was with Hurry. I should have known better but I forgot that I was supposed to do 3 lines on each side of my initial 3 lines, whereas I only did one line on each side. :(

The seven tangles used in this tile are Ahh, Therefore, Centepede, Snail, Tipple, Hurry, and Dex. Here is a picture the tile before shading. (It was already dark so there was no way to take a picture out in natural light. :( )

And here it is after shading (first the scan and then the picture).

And this is the picture.

Yes, I had to add some eyes on my centipede. :)

One more view of the finished tile.

I love shading. It makes a world of difference. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Bake It, Make It Day

Last Friday was my first bake/make day this year. I’m out of so many things that my list of things to bake and make was too long for me to handle. I did only spend about few hours making things but I just couldn’t do any more and function the rest of the day/night. ;)

I thought I’d share the few things I made with you today.

I started by making my sourdough pizza dough so that it would be ready for dinner time. From here it went into a slightly greased bowl with a lid on it and put inside my gas oven which keeps at about 90º, so it is nice and warm for it to rise. :)

I wish I’d have taken a picture of the finished pizza because it was soooo delicious!!! I use the recipe from Glenda Goff’s cookbook, Around the Family Table, for the dough and then add toppings as per THM’s Sprouted Pizza Crust directions from  the February 2015 ezine. I use finely shredded part-skim mozzarella, some fat-free cottage cheese, some turkey pepperoni, and veggies (on mine and hubby’s). I also serve it with a side salad to ensure we are not hungry again in 5 minutes. ;)

Here is a version of Glenda’s recipe on her blog, which I may just have to do for Super Bowl Sunday with my extended family . . . love cheese stuffed crust pizza, but it’s not for weekly pizza night and losing weight. ;)

I then fed my sourdough starter in preparation for bread baking day. :) Bread baking didn’t actually happen until yesterday when Tiffany made it. :)

Then I made a batch of Briana’s thick pancake syrup from her second cookbook.

I like thick syrup but this one was a bit too thick for me. I think I’ll decrease the amount of gluccie next time. :)

Next up was the FP Trimmy Thousand Island. I made a double batch, as I usually do.

I wrote about how I make this here. For a simple recipe, it sure does take me a while to make this. :( But I love having it though.

My onion has been very strong the last several times I’ve made this. So I may cut back on the onion next time. At least I like Vidalia onion dressing too. ;)

The final thing I made at that time was a loaf of Swiss bread from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook.

It’s a really easy recipe where the hardest thing to do was separate the eggs. Although I think I may beat the whites in my KitchenAid mixer next time instead of the food processor and then just fold in the remaining ingredients in an effort to get a higher loaf next time.

I used this for a grilled cheese and pepperoni sandwich for lunch the next day.

I also processed into crumbs for a chicken cordon bleu casserole and will use some in a meatloaf skillet tonight. :)

Well, that was my baking day. What do you prep bake/make?

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Handling a Change of Routine

With the holidays came  big change in our household routine. Of course it was a nice change of pace and made for enjoyable holidays. But when it gets extended it can throw a wrinkle in the normal routines, which isn’t always welcome or pleasant. ;)

As a self-employed paint contractor, Michael’s work can really fluctuate. It’s difficult to find the time to take a vacation because when work is abundant, well, he has work he needs to do and can’t generally just take off. And when work is sparse, it is difficult to go and spend money on something like a vacation when money is not coming in. It is understandable why people wouldn’t want painting done in their homes over the holidays or in January.

All of this can change the routines in our home. When the guys are home, Tiffany and I don’t follow the same routines we normally follow. For me, that starts with bedtime and the time I get up in the morning. I prefer later nights and to sleep in each morning. But left on my own, I end up going to bed a bit later each night and then sleeping in a bit later the next morning. I’m not really a morning person and only set my alarm in order to get up to start my day off right and be able to make Michael’s breakfast and lunch before he heads to work. So when he doesn’t have work, I don’t set the alarm and I usually end up staying up a little later than normal.

It is nice to have a break in routines for a short while but at some point my mind just screams to get back on schedule. I haven’t read much since before Christmas and I miss it. I haven’t done any Bob Ross paintings for several months and I miss that as well.

Tiffany and Michael both got sick between Christmas and the New Year and so that threw things off kilter a bit too. I like to get my bullet journal set up at the kitchen table with Tiffany but really felt uninspired to do any of it (and then there was also tending to the sick ;) ).

So the way I handled these hiccups in my routine was to make sure I spent some time with God each day. I did some calming exercise: either took a walk or the Ring Fit Adventure game on the Switch. I also made sure to take St. John’s Wort each day and L-Theanine as needed for added calming effect.

It’s helpful to keep the parts of the routine that I can but not to be a Nazi about it and be flexible. When hit with a difficult moment, I try to take a deep breath and not overreact but of course, I’m not always successful. ;)

So how do you handle changes to your routine?

Michele ºÜº

LOTR, Ring Fit, Bujo, and Organizing

Well, I don’t really know what to say about the last week. It’s been a slow one around here with Michael and Sean home. We finished our Lord of the Rings marathon, complete with the Hobbit movies.

I’ve been working out with the Ring Fit Nintendo Switch game. It really does give you a good workout. Yesterday was my tenth or eleventh day using it and my muscles are definitely feeling it. Of course that’s a good thing. So maybe I’ll actually get fit. Now if I can just close my trap and stop exercising my right arm (to mouth ;) ) I might actually lose some weight. :D

I cleaned out my table and moved the art stuff I don’t use on a regular basis to the craft room. Then I started cleaning off the shelves in the craft room, sorting out the stuff that I no longer need to keep but that the kids may want for their future home educating endeavors. :)

I’ve gotten two shelves cleaned off and sorted on the floor. But I stopped there for the day and have yet to get back to it. I keep getting myself sidetracked from finishing it.

I’ve started working on my bullet journal. I just wasn’t ready to do it earlier. Tiffany was sick and the guys were home and so I just wasn’t into working on my bullet journal pages or even writing in the new one at all. However I’ve been working on it for two days and only have my Year-at-a-Glance (Future Log) and about 3 other collection pages completed.

I realized on Monday that we’d completely forgotten to do a video for our youtube channel the week after Christmas and then Tiffany wasn’t feeling good last week and we didn’t get one done then either. So, hopefully we’ll get one done and up in the morning.

I’d add more pictures but I’m too tired to do so today. I’m working to be a bit more productive next week. ;)

I hope your new year is going well.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Winter Activities and Nature Studies

I found this cool calendar with educationalesque things to do and decided to share it with you today. It has things to do like measure your shadow and compare it as the month progresses and moon phases. Here is a link to this year’s calendar but I liked a previous year’s calendar better with star activities here. Or print off both and pick and choose or do both. ;) Here’s a post I did last year on Winter nature studies.
Winter nature Study ~
People tend to think of nature study in spring because there is so much to see. But the winter can be a good time to study nature too. Put out some seeds or nuts for the birds and then you can see what kind of birds are still around your house in the winter. Of course, if you like squirrels, you could put out food for them too. My parents used to feed squirrels years ago and then they started feeding birds. Then they saw the greedy squirrels stealing the birds’ food. Now days my retired father will shoot squirrels that come around. :D During the winter you can also talk about what kinds of trees lose their leaves and which don’t, the phases of the moon, stars and constellations. Here are three websites I’ve shared before and they are still active and have some good ideas, so I thought I’d share them again today. Taking Your Homeschool Outdoors Simply Charlotte Mason: Winter Nature Study Ten Ways to Study Nature in Winter I hope these ideas help you and your children engage in some wonderful nature study this season. Until next time, God bless, Michele ºÜº

Florz, Eye-Wa, IX, and Avreal Tile

I’m participating in the Zen-Untangled project and thought I’d share the tile I did for week one which was a partial week. I haven’t started on week two yet but I’m looking forward to it.

Week one’s tangles are Florz, Eye-Wa, IX, and Avreal. We were to use a “z” string for our tile this week.

I tried to do something different from what I would normally do and not what I’d seen others do. I started with Avreal down the long diagonal. Then I went with IX along the bottom and filled Florz in behind all that I’d already drawn. I finished it off with a very small Eye-Wa in the last section.

Here’s my tile before shading.

I didn’t remember to take a picture after I finished tangling but before shading though. So here is my tile after I shaded it.

Once again, I think it looks better a bit smaller. ;)

Here’s the picture I took. Of course, it was after dark when I decided to take the picture, so I took it inside.

I appreciate you stopping by. I hope I’ve inspired you.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Homemade Low Carb “Bisquick” Biscuits

This makes a delightful “buttermilk” “biscuit” that is low carb. There is even a version that is also low fat, which I will be trying very soon.

I have to say, I wasn’t sure about trying this recipe from Nana’s Little Kitchen because I had to mix up a batch of the “Bisquick” and I wasn’t sure I’d like it. But it can be used for waffles and biscuits and several other things she had directions for on her site.

So, follow along as I show you how simple and quick these are to make.

Start by melting some butter in a ramekin, in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

I seldom use my microwave but have kept it for quick things like this from time to time. A quick 30 seconds and the butter is melted.

Swirl the butter around the ramekin and the pour into the other one to coat, pouring the last of the butter into a small mixing bowl.

Add the baking mix

Add egg and Greek yogurt

And remaining ingredients (baking soda, almond milk, apple cider vinegar, and cream–I used coconut cream because I had some that needed to be used) and stir to combine.

Divide between the two ramekins and bake individually. I let mine go for a minute or just a tad less. I stand there and watch as it cooks and remove when I think it is done.

Yeah, its’ a bit messy. I think I need ramekins that are just a tiny bit larger. :D

Turn out onto a rack to ensure they are not wet.

It has a nice crumb!!!

And here I used it in a breakfast sandwich.

So, head on over to Nana’s Little Kitchen and make this one. She has included a recipe for a single batch of her “bisquick” so that you can try it out (just scroll to the end of her post for FP pancakes).

Nana’s Little Kitchen Bisquick style low carb THM-S biscuits!

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Knowing When to Push and When to Stop

Sometimes Michael mentions doing something and I get all excited and want to move forward. The problem with that is that he is slow to commit to things, especially spending money, which is not a bad thing as it has saved us some money. :)

However sometimes I need to push to proceed with the thing because it is best for us. In other words, sometimes waiting has a cost. The important thing for me is to learn when to push and when to let go.

If I push when I need to let go, it is probable that I will frustrate him. Of course, if I stop when I should push, we could miss out on an opportunity that would be beneficial to us. It’s a big balancing act that is best approached with prayer.

I hope we all can find that balance, knowing when to push and be still.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

New Year’s Eve Fun

After Christmas Tiffany got sick. Yuk!!! :o Then a day later Michael got sick too! :p I talked to my sister about whether we should get together on New Year’s Eve (like we usually do) or not. Tiffany and Michael felt that they could med up enough that they could feel like being there, so we went. Especially since last year we didn’t get together because my niece had a fever.

When we arrived I finished my taco bites and we all munched on the snacks available. There were pigs in a blanket, pinwheels, meatballs, chips, dip, oreo balls, peanut butter balls, and chicken wings. We ate too much–yes, several others proclaimed that they’d eaten too much as well. I even had some of the off plan foods (with lots of pleasure ;) )

I didn’t snap a single picture that night. So all these pictures are thanks to family members who had mercy on me and sent them to me. :p

Ashlee wanted to play their Banned Words game. We formed two teams, younger against older, and had fun. Before you go thinking that it wasn’t fair to the younger ones, you should know that first, the youngest one is eleven and oldest on their team is twenty-two and they won. :D

This is the older team without Sean in the picture.

After that we played Tenzi and used the 77 Wqays to Play Tenzi cards too. We were able to talk my parents into playing it. The selling point: you don’t have to think to play it. :D

More Vacation News ~ Lifeofjoy.meIf you haven’t played Tenzi, you really should try it. It’s fun with a group. And it is super simple, even young ones can play. I wrote about it before here.

After that we were within an hour of the new year, so we began cleaning up the food. Michael to those things out to the car right away. :D By that time, Sean started packing up the xbox and stuff he brought and put it in the car too.

Then we got out our sparkling juices and Mom began to pour, while Tracie searched for a countdown on tv. I’m still not sure which one we ended up watching but I think it was the New York re-run (seeing as we live in the central time zone and NY is in the eastern time zone and thus an hour earlier than us)

Mom got these tiaras, hats, and necklaces, along with some horns many years ago. The horns have since died and many of the necklaces have disappeared or broken but we still use these for a few minutes each time. :D Thankfully our menfolk humor us and join in on the fun.

Sean is still wearing his coat from taking his stuff to the car and waiting as Tracie finds an appropriate countdown. (Hey, if you have an online suggestion for me, I’d love to know. I think streaming would be so much better.)

Not the best picture of Michael and I but remember, he wasn’t feeling good and I was caught off guard. Looks like I might even have just taken a drink too. :D

I’m so glad that Brian and Lauren sent us a clip of their countdown with Liam. Soooo cute!


We clinked glasses, gave hugs, put up our glasses, removed our hats/tiaras, and were out the door by 12:01 according to the car clock. :D

Somehow I think that maybe the car clock may be off a few minutes. :)

I hope you all had a great kick-off to 2020 and that we all get and stay healthy this year! :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

January Book Suggestions Link

Oh my gracious! I decided to check Read Aloud Revival’s January picture book list suggestion. Some of the books look so inviting. I wish I had some young ones to read these with. As it is, I’m liable to sit down in the juvenile section of our library the next time I go and read some of these myself. :)

They even have some book recommendations on Martin Luther King Jr., since his day is coming up this month. (It is January 20th this year.)

So if you are looking for some good book recommendations, check it out here.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº