All posts by Life of Joy

bbq flavor seasoning ~

BBQ Seasoning

I shared some ways we use chicken thighs last month. One of those ways is BBQ seasoning. I decided I should go ahead and share how we do BBQ seasoning on chicken. I prefer a sweet barbecue flavor and not vinegary. Now don’t get the wrong idea, this is not a barbecue sauce; it’s just to give you some flavor of barbecue.

We just sprinkle the seasonings on each thigh but you could mix the dry ingredients up in a bowl and then add the worcestershire sauce onto each thigh individually. You could mix all the ingredients up together and smear the paste on each thigh but that is too much work for us. ;)

Place the thighs on a rimmed baking sheet. You can use a silpat or parchment paper for ease of cleaning later but we didn’t. Then sprinkle on the onion powder and garlic powder.

Chicken thighs ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext sprinkle on a bit of paprika, ground black pepper, and salt.

Chicken thighs seasoned 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow, we use Sukrin Gold but I believe there is a Swerve brown sugar substitute. You could also make your own. I found these three version you could try: 1. suggests including an extract rather just the molasses, 2. also suggests an extract but uses stevia glycerite instead of the molasses, 3. uses less molasses per cup. (I’m also noting them for myself, in case I need them in the future. :) )

So this next step is to add 1/2 teaspoon – 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar substitute to each piece. Tiffany used 1/2 tablespoon this night and it was too sweet for Sean’s liking, so you may want to err on the side of less sweetener.

Adding sweetener ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen add Worcestershire sauce and bake at 350º until done. Length of time depends on the size of your thighs, about 45 minutes, give or take.

Thighs with Worcestershire ~ BBQ seasoned thighs ~ Lifeofjoy.mebbq seasoned thighs ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe use the same seasonings on chicken breasts and cook them in the crock pot too. Yumm!

BBQ Seasoning


  • about 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • about heaping 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • about 1/8 teaspoon black ground pepper
  • about 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons - 3 Tablespoons brown sugar substitute (Sukrin Gold)
  • about 6 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


  1. Either sprinkle each individual on the meat
  2. OR
  3. Combine dry ingredients together, sprinkle over meat.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce to each thigh individually.
  5. OR
  6. Combine all ingredients into a paste and smear over each thigh.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Revisiting Right Priorities

Years ago I created a newsletter for the homeschool support group with which we were affiliated. One article I was especially passionate about became the first Marriage Monday posts on my blog nearly five years ago. I just felt it was time to bring them back to the forefront.

Right Priorities Revisited ~ Lifeofjoy.meMike and I recently celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary; while it is a milestone and an accomplishment to us, it is less than many couples I know. Our life together has not been sheer bliss. 😉 We have had our bumps along the way, as I suppose most couples do. There have been some things about our relationship that I kept hoping, and yes, even praying, would change but sadly I am here to tell you that they have not.

One day around about 2 years ago I was pondering the movie, Fireproof. Both of the main characters were so caught up in there individual lives that they lost track of who they were as a couple and the other’s needs and neither thought they were in the wrong. I realized that Caleb, the main male character, felt he hadn’t done anything wrong and felt he was actually the ‘injured’ party but was the one who accepted the challenge of reaching out to his wife and wooing her anew. Now, I don’t want to give you the impression that Mike and I were heading for divorce or even tempted to have an affair, but God used that fictional story to wake me up to realize that if I wanted things to be different it didn’t matter who did what, someone had to take action or things would not change. I chose to follow the nudging of the Holy Spirit to let me be the one. In doing so, I came to understand that Mike felt I had some changing to do, and quite frankly, I did.

So here is what I want to challenge you with: think back to when you had just met your honey. Think about how you acted when you first had his attention. Think about how much time you spent talking together on the phone and in person. Think about how much attention you gave him. Think about those honeymoon days and the first months of your marriage. Now, think about how much time and attention you have given your husband in the last 24 hours, how about the last week, and even the last month. How does it stack up? Are your words as nice and sugary as they were all those days ago? Or are you burdened down with your various ‘jobs,’ tuckered out, distraught, and overwhelmed by all the demands of being a wife, mother, and, if you homeschool, teacher with the children around and underfoot 24/7?

I know what it is like to have limited funds. I know what it is like to feel guilty about going out with my husband and spending money when we don’t do many things out as a family. I know what it is like not to have a babysitter or the funds to pay both a babysitter AND be able to go out on a “date” with your hubby. But let me tell you something, dear one, you have got to make time for him!!!!! It is easy for resentment to build on both your parts: his because you are always too tired or you are always doing something else; yours because he doesn’t understand he is just another person making demands on you. This is not good!! I admonish you, MAKE time for the two of you! There will be a time, all too soon, when there will be no more children at home; what will you have then? If you don’t make time for the two of you NOW, you will have two miserable people, frustrated, and lonely who will have to learn, all over again, how to get along with each other (if you even last that long together).

Since this first post is getting a bit long, I will share some ideas God gave me to help you find ways to accomplish this feat in the coming weeks. If you are in a desperate situation and need immediate help, email me your specifics and I’ll try to help.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Snow and March 2019 Book Haul

So last week they kept promising me that we were going to get snow over the weekend. They even enticed me with 1-3 inches of the beautiful white stuff. Well, I’ve been burned before by their promises unrealized so I wasn’t putting a lot of hope in it. Then when we got NOTHING on Saturday afternoon/evening I was even less hopeful.

But we awoke Sunday morning to a nice little blanket of snow. It was beautiful! :) Unfortunately it snowed while I was asleep so I did not get to watch it fall, which I love to see. But we did get some all the same. Then church was cancelled because roads in town were slick and people do not know how to drive on the stuff. ;)

I did forget to get some pictures until Monday when it was nearly gone but Tiffany did get some earlier in the morning when there was a bit more still on the ground.

March 2019 Snow ~ Lifeofjoy.meSnow Paw Print ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s so pretty when it is freshly fallen. I don’t like it when it sticks around and gets all dirty and nasty. It’d been pretty sunny even though the temperatures stayed in the 20’s much of the snow melted. This is what remained Tuesday morning.

Snow quickly departs ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy Daffodils are beginning to make an entrance. I guess it is time since it is March. I just feel like it should still only be the beginning of February. ;)

daffodils ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany says my irises are coming up as well. They are in the back yard under a tree. I haven’t checked on them yet though, maybe next week. ;)

Tiffany and I had a very long errand day this week! We decided it was time to go to Gardners again–that’s the nice used bookstore in Tulsa. I’ll have to get some pictures of it next month when we go. I forgot my phone when we went this week. That made the day a bit frustrating since we were out so long and I would’ve liked to have taken a few pictures throughout the day. But oh well, I lived. Of course, if I’d have had my phone, Tiffany wouldn’t have spent about twenty minutes looking for me throughout that store either. :(

I am just getting back into reading thanks to my girls. :) Last year Tiffany, Lauren, and I started to buddy read. We weren’t real successful with it but it did push me off into reading again, for which I am grateful. I’ll have to ask Lauren to pick a book for us to buddy read and give it another go. (Of course by posting this, I have just done so because Lauren is one of my most faithful followers. :) Love you girl.)

Tiffany and I just finished reading the three available books in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. Well, I have finished; Tiffany is finishing. ;) These are huge books of over a thousand pages each, which is awesome because you get totally immersed in them. Supposedly there will be another seven books in the series. Each one so far has been longer than the previous one. Oathbringer, the last installment, was over 1200 pages. :) I love a good long book, unless I have to have it read in a certain amount of time, which unfortunately was the case with Oathbringer since I read the ebook as our library did not have a physical copy of it. At least they had the digital. :)

I’m told these lovelies are High Fantasy, as far as genre goes. I think of them as science fiction, which is where they are shelved in the library but that is mostly because most libraries don’t have a fantasy section, let alone a high fantasy section. I enjoyed them and God has even used them to help me with some things I’ve been thinking about in my life. Pretty cool.

Any way, I don’t really know how to pick out a book I like at this point. I don’t really seem to have a favorite genre, yet. So at this point, I’m just kind of floundering with what to read, let alone, pick out books. So after spending a few minutes looking at some books with Tiffany, I wandered off to the children’s books where I was hit with a bit of nostalgia.

Collier's Junior Classics ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy parents had this set that they got with the encyclopedias. I remember reading some of these as a child. These were $2 per book. I showed them to Tiffany and we ended up bringing them home. :D Of course this set is missing number 9, so I will need to be on the lookout for that.

I was surprised how nostalgic I was over these. I flipped open the first one and really wanted to have them. But then I decided I didn’t need them. And then wanted them again. :)

Collier's Junior Classics inside ~ Lifeofjoy.meSample page Jr Classics Collier's ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ll share more of these later, as this has gotten a bit long.

Tiffany and I also got about six other books.

March 2019 Book Haul ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe ones we got this time were Little Bee, The Host (which Tiffany has read before and really enjoyed and yes, we’ve seen the movie), The Double, Quietus, and Immortal. I’m still on a bit of a book hangover from Oathbringer, so I haven’t picked up any other book yet. I’m waiting for Tiffany to finish it and then we can talk about it. :) I’ll probably finish Rematch by Erynn Mangum next though because it is a short read, considering what I’ve just read. ::hee hee::

Well, I’ve rambled enough. Have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Taking Notes by Hand

Taking Notes by Hand ~ Lifeofjoy.meI read this article recently about a study they did about the difference in retention of taking notes by hand or using a laptop or other such electronic device.

Some would think that using an electronic device to take notes would be better because you can type faster than you can write and thus get more of the content into your notes for further review.

However what they found was that in order to take notes by hand you had to, basically, process/sort the information and determine what was important to take note of. This processing aids in the retention of the information.

It’s a short read, so I recommend you hopping over there and reading it (or at least scanning through it). I found it a valuable use of my time. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

I Tried and Star-ING

I really liked the Valentangle2019 prompts so even though I didn’t end up finishing them up to this point, does not mean that I shall not. ;) For day 9 the prompt was Star-ING, where you tangle ING the form of a star. Then the prompt was to add hearts to the inner parts.

This week’s Diva Challenge is to use Holly’s tangle HaWy. I read the linked post and thought I’d use the Star-ING in the foreground of the tile. So, naturally, I tangled Star-ING first and then proceeded to attempt to put HaWy all over the rest of the tile. I even put Star-ING to the side to leave plenty of space for HaWy.

Unfortunately I made my offset dot grid too large; yep, not enough dots to do the tangle any justice whatsoever. I then decided to flip the tile over and try to copy the stepout. But that too proved to be too much for me. Laura had warned us that it was a high-focus tangle but she’d said that about Ratoon but I didn’t have any trouble with that one, so I thought I’d be fine. I guess it may have been the two video tutorials I’d seen of Ratoon that made the tangle easier for me.

Here is the back of the tile where I tried to follow the stepout for HaWy.

failed attempt ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think my problem with it is that I had a hard time seeing the red lines for the next step and I couldn’t find the logical steps. I guess this is one that I need to see and hear explained. Both Ellen and Melinda did a great job explaining Ratoon, so I had no confusion with that one and can still tangle that one from memory. :)

So here is my tile for this week’s diva challenge before shading.

Star-ING ~ Lifeofjoy.meI decided to add a bit of red to the hearts to make them stand out, especially since I was trying to draw the attention away from the abstract background. ;)

#valentangle2019 ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course, now that I see it this big, I see where I needed to blend the darkened shadow lines a bit more AND my pencil should have been sharper. :D I do like how easy it was to make the triangular sections into hearts. I also liked using my water color pencils. I ended up having to add more to the center to darken it but I think it turned out nice.

Here’s a picture of it in natural lighting. :)

Day 9 #valentangle2019 ~ Lifeofjoy.meSee how much better it looks from further away where you can’t see where the shadow lines are so crisp? :D

#Valentangle2019 day 9 ~

I’ve started Festina Lente 2019. I love that there are so many organized challenges. I went ahead and bought the pdf to go with it because she had it so modestly priced. :) However you could totally participate without it. Although I am not Catholic, nor in a religion that collectively observes Lent, like Advent, I find that it can be used to help get/keep ones focus on the Savior as Easter, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, approaches.

Lent did not officially start until today but Arja started the prompts on March 3rd. The first week’s focus/theme is Labyrinth. I’ll be incorporating all the week’s tangles into this one labyrinth that I drew yesterday using the Helix that I got very inexpensively at Mardel last year. I drew it in a sketchbook that is nearly 7″ square. Here is the labyrinth that I will be tangling.

#FestinaLente2019 wk 1 ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I’ll probably lengthen the radius to the edge. The radial line did not go all the way to the edge of the helix and I just saw that I needed to finish it to the outer edge. :)

That’s it for me today. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments; they’re appreciated.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

crock pot chicken and sprouted spelt no fat noodles ~

Crock Pot Chicken and Noodles (Soup)

I got this simple and cost effective recipe from something I got from the Money Saving Mom years and years ago. I shared it with my homeschool support group and I’m sharing it here today. This recipe has stood the test of time in our house and is an easy one to throw together. :)

Start by putting enough chicken breast in the crockpot for your family. We are a family of four so one large chicken breast (one pound) works for us. Then add some carrot. We like our carrot with zero crunch in the end, so I slice them up on my mandolin.

Crockpot Chicken and noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.meI forgot to add a dice onion this night, so I added onion powder later but generally, you’d add the onion now too. :)

Next add about 3-6 cups of water or broth. I started with 3 cups this day. It’d been a while since I’d made this and forgot how much water/broth I usually use.

Add Liquid ~ Lifeofjoy.meFinally add seasonings: salt, pepper, and basil.

Add seasonings ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the lid and you’re ready to go. Cook on high for about 3 hours or so, until you can shred your chicken. I used a frozen breast and cooked it about 4 hours I think.

Shredding chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen the chicken is done and shredded.

I used my sprouted spelt drop biscuit dough and cut it thinner for the noodles. :)

spelt noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.meadd noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd your noodles and cook for another 30-60 minutes, until the noodles are as done as you like them. :) You can use Reemes frozen noodles, as that is what the original recipe called for. When we went to serve the dish, I realized that we wanted it more of a soup and quickly heated up a can of chicken broth (about 2 cups) and added it to the pot.

Crock Pot Chicken and Noodles ~ Lifeofjoy.meI made half a batch of my sprouted spelt drop biscuit dough and ended up only using about 2/3 of it in the soup. I sprinkled some garlic salt on the rest and baked in the oven  for a few minutes. :)

Crock Pot Chicken and Noodles


  • 1# chicken breast (I used frozen)
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 batch of sprouted spelt drop biscuit dough or a bag of frozen Reemes noodles


  1. Place all ingredients in the crock pot except the noodles.
  2. Cook on high for about 3-4 hours, until the chicken can be shredded easily.
  3. Add the noodles and cook for another 30-60 minutes on high, until noodles are done.

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

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Couples Apps and Love Languages

Married Couple App ~ Lifeofjoy.meI try to limit my phone and computer use as much as possible but it is getting harder and harder these days. We just switched library systems and the one we will be frequenting is in the opposite direction of where we usually go, so it isn’t as convenient as the old library was. So we are also using electronic books. Of course that means using my phone or Kindle paperwhite, which is fine but just using electronics again.

Well, I recently heard about this couples app called Ultimate Intimacy. It was recommended by a Christian marriage blogger, so I decided to check it out. I went to the app store and searched for it but while I was there I saw a 5 Love Languages app too. So of course, I downloaded both free apps.

I haven’t looked at the first one very much yet so I cannot say much of anything about it. However, since I was already familiar with the 5 Love Languages called Love Nudge, I opened that one right up. Of course you can take the quiz to find your love language. I sent the invitation code to Michael and helped him get it onto his phone.

He took the quiz and low and behold, his lowest love language is touch and guess what my highest love language is . . . yep, touch! His highest right now is gifts and I don’t have much money! LOL At least I was creative for Valentine’s Day and he got a gift of several gifts. :) I don’t know if we will use the apps. We tried the Dating Divas texts for him and her but those didn’t work too well. They just weren’t right for us. We both gave it a shot but in the end, didn’t do much with it. So, we will see how these turn out.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Flowers, Snow, Cleaning, and Reading

Val Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe beautiful flowers Michael gave me for Valentine’s Day are hanging on by a thread. They were beautiful when he gave them to me. I am going to get a potato and see if I can root one of them. I hope it isn’t too late; I guess we will see. :)

It’s been an odd weather pattern this week, although I hear that from a lot of people I know across the nation. Unfortunately most of them got some good snow out of the deal and we have not yet. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we got some nice snow flurries one day.

Nov 18 Snow ~ Snow Nov '18 ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course, that was back in November. We’ve gotten some very light flurries this year but nothing much. Apparently it is supposed to snow this weekend. We’ll see. I’m hoping it will actually happen this time. :D

Shiloh got sick one day this week. I think she ate some of the stuff we were giving to the outside animals and it was too much for her system. She threw up several times that night and was chilled. We prayed for her and the next morning she was much better.Dog sleeping ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen it got a decent temperature for February (in the 50’s/60’s) and Sean was working at home. One of the big things he needed to accomplish was the cleaning out of the shed. It looked like we were having a guys garage sale.

Shed Clean Out ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey worked hard on it, threw a bunch of stuff away, and put the remainder neatly back in the shed.

Michael and Sean ~

I didn’t get a whole lot done this week. I read Edgedancer and started Oathbringer this week, both by Brandon Sanderson. I like them because they are really clean and enjoyable to read. (I like sci-fi and apparently I like fantasy too. ;) ) Oathbringer has over 1100 pages in the physical book and I’m reading it in the ebook form.

You see, since Sean no longer works at a business in Tulsa, we would have to pay for our library account. That doesn’t seem like a bad thing until you find out it is $50! Ugh!!! Thankfully, several years ago Sean bought Tiffany and I Kindle Paperwhites with his credit card points, so we can use those. But unfortunately Oathbringer is not available on the Kindle, so I’m having to read it on my phone using the Libby app. I wasn’t sure I would like it but I have to admit that it isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. The bad thing though is that there is a hold on it so I have to finish reading all 1100+ pages in two weeks but by the time I’d finished Edgedancer I only had eleven days left. Uh Oh! So now I have to read, read, read.  So, I guess I need to wrap this up and get reading. :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Book Suggestions and Lenten Read Aloud

March Reads ~ Lifeofjoy.meSeveral weeks ago I raved about the book Teaching from Rest and in the past I have talked about the Read Aloud Revival website. Well, I had forgotten that the two were both by the same lady, Sarah Mackenzie until I received (and read) a recent email from her.

She recently sent an email with a list of picture books for March. I thought it was a great list and would share the article link with you today.

Some of the books she shared are “funny” books. I didn’t recognize very many of them. Two books that I read to my kids when they were young were Fox in Socks by Dr. Suess (pronounced Soyss) and Stand Back Said the Elephant, I’m Going to Sneeze by Patricia Thomas. Both of these had me laughing as I read them. They were not on her list though, so I thought I’d suggest them to you. :)

And finally, another book I have not personally read but think it would be a fun read is by the same authors of the wonderful advent stories I’ve shared about before. The story is Amon’s Adventure by Arnold Ytreeide. Bear in mind that I have not yet read this one but it is set up like the advent ones and are to be read throughout Lent which starts the week of March 3rd and goes until Easter. :)

Well, that’s it for me today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Completing an Unfinished Tile

This week the Diva Challenge was to finish a piece that was laid aside and unfinished. At first I didn’t think I had one such tile but then remembered a quick tile I’d done just in the last week or so when I was trying out the pens I forgot that I’d gotten for Christmas. :D

I remembered that I’d gotten the Sakura metallic pens but forgot that I’d gotten the glitter pens; I think they are called Stardust. I pulled out a blank artist tile and quickly tangled  Cupcake Flower, since it is an easy one for me that just flows. I only drew three of them but used five of the six pens. I did have a little difficulty keeping these free flowing and had to shake them a few times but they are lovely. Of course this, makes me wonder how I am supposed to store them. I’ve stored them laying flat but now wonder if they should be standing upright on their tip? Can anyone enlighten me?

So any way, here is my tile before adding more color.

Stardust pens Cupcake Flower ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course, you cannot see the glitter very well on that scan. I was a bit disappointed with the pens and just laid the tile to the side.

So today, I decided I would see what I could do to finish this off. I opted to blacken in the background. Then I realized I needed to thicken the existing lines. Then used my watercolor pencils to fill. I think it turned out pretty nicely in spite of the lines in the black background. :) I’m going to need to figure out something different for blackening in a background than the Sakura Graphic 3 pen I used this time (my graphic 1 was low on ink).

#DC386 ~ black background ~ #DC386 ~ Cupcake flower #DC386 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s really hard to get a good picture of it because of the glitter and lighting, so I included several angles. It is really quite nice in person. :)

Thanks for stopping by and please give me your best tips on blackening in the background of a tile.

Until next time, God bless (and thanks for commenting),

Michele ºÜº