All posts by Life of Joy

Plants, Birthdays, and Mom

Well, I planted the Calla Lily my sister and her family gave Michael and I for Easter! I’m sooo excited because it is supposed to be a hardy perennial for my area! Yay!!!

Lilies ~ Lifeofjoy.meI know it doesn’t look all that great but I’m sure it will do just fine. Those short green stems/leaves coming up are lilies that I got for Mother’s Day a few years ago. :) It’ll be nice when they bloom.

I love how things progress around here. I have my Bradford Pear Trees and Daffodils (Narcissus) begin the beauty. Then the irises and sweet williams and whatever these beauties are called. ;)

Spring Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really love the purple/magenta colored flowers but I’m noticing that I need to get some other perennial colors too. I do have white and brown mums that will be blooming shortly; they are currently a mass of green.

This ugly flower bed will be looking much nicer next week because for Mother’s Day I get flowers AND labor (of planting the flowers and weeding the flower bed). :) It has been several years now and I just love it! I get to have some really pretty blooms for a long time.

Tiffany thinks we have some sunflowers coming up all by themselves. I hope so.Sunflowers? ~ Lifeofjoy.me We had my parents over for dinner on night last week; we hadn’t seen them since Easter. I made a ham with some creamed garlicy cauliflower and a side salad. Unfortunately I overheated the ham and forgot about regular salad dressing for the salad, as we generally just use olive oil and seasonings. I did make a delicious brownie with a praline topping. To all of our surprise, my parents even liked it and they don’t generally like my desserts because they are sweetened with xylitol, erythritol, and stevia. My cauliflower was very creamy but still tasted like cauliflower and my parents do not prefer that. :( I’ll do better next time though. ;)

Mom brought me some of her yellow irises and some of her purple irises! I finally got them planted.

Purple Iris Bud ~ Lifeofjoy.me I had a birthday last week too. Tiffany worked hard doing for me what I do for all of them on their birthdays.

Birthday Meal Prep ~ Lifeofjoy.me

She made delicious chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.

Birthday Chocolate Chip Pancakes ~ Lifeofjoy.meYes, there are pancakes beneath all the chocolate sauce and whipped cream. :) Yummo! Before Trim Healthy Mama I was never one for chocolate or even chocolate chip pancakes, but now they are one of my favorites! I love that I still get to have so many delicious pancakes and waffles–if I couldn’t, this lifestyle of eating would not be sustainable.

We have baked blueberry pancakes, banana pancakes, baked pecan pancakes, waffles, and chocolate chip pancakes. We also have a few others that we throw in from time to time, like the strawberry ones we had a few weeks ago.

E pancakes ~ Lifeofjoy.meFor lunch she made some yummy Philly Cheese Steak open face sandwiches (I’d made the Wonderful White Blender Bread) and green “fries”.

Birthday Lunch ~ Lifeofjoy.meRecipe will be coming on a future Tuesday for that deliciousness. :)

We had our dessert in the afternoon because I really am still trying to lose weight and it is best to have the heavier snack earlier in the day. So she made me a cream filled chocolate bundt cake with chocolate drizzle.

Mostess Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe had quite a bit of cream left and piped it all over the cake but in the future we will put more of it inside (about every inch or so). It was yummy!

For dinner we had Meatloaf Skillet with roasted veggies. I adore roasted veggies and they were different than the green “fries” we’d had with lunch.

Birthday dinner ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I’ve rambled on enough for one day. I do have some pictures to share from when Tiffany and I went into town last week with a cute story but I’ll save it for another time.

Mother’s Day is this weekend in the United States of America, so that means Brian, Lauren, and Liam are coming!!!! Whoo hoo!!!! So there will most likely be Liam pictures next week. We’re celebrating our beginning of May birthdays Sunday as well. So, we’ll celebrate my birthday, my niece Macie’s double digit birthday, and my father’s birthday too. Oh but don’t be fooled, that isn’t all the birthdays we have this month though. ;) Tiffany’s is at the end of the month and my mother’s is the beginning of June. It’s crazy how quickly it all rolls by.

Here is a picture of our crazy family, well the Oklahoma part of it (my middle sister and her kids, which includes Sarah,  and grand kids live in Missouri and seldom make it back).

Family Pic ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m so thankful for my momma! My dad was gone a lot when I was little and my mom still got us to church every service and managed with him gone . . . I don’t know how she did it. She taught herself to play the organ, played in church most of her life, and taught me to sing–no literally, I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket but she worked and worked with me until I could, I’m forever grateful. She was my best friend for many many years! She comforted me when I was heart broken and encouraged me to be all that I could be. So much of what I am today is thanks to her.

I remember a few years after Michael and I were married we had several trips to the emergency room. I’d called her because I was scared and wanted her to pray and even though it was the late at night at least on one occasion, she got up, got dressed, and met us there just to sit with me in the waiting room. Any time any of us need her, she is right there. I tried not to call on her too often, after all I was a grown-up. ;) But to this day I know if I need her, even in her 70’s, she’ll still come as quickly as she can.

I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful mom. I hope you won’t let the weekend go by without showering your mom with some love (if you are blessed as I am and still have her with you on this earth).

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Handwriting Again

Handwriting Again ~ Lifeofjoy.meI know I write about handwriting a bit but I believe it is very important. Some people say that technology is the way to go for notes and to-do lists but there is a resurgence in handwritten notes and to-do lists with bullet journals (bujo). I personally like paper and colorful pens. I go back and make my bujo pretty with stickers and washi tape when I have time and desire to be crafty. :)

You can read my other posts on handwriting by typing handwriting in the search bar. Here is one article where I delve into d’nealian.

Here is another article on handwriting by someone that has taught it for many years. I hope it will inspire you to consider your handwriting choices this summer and maybe even introduce it to your kids this summer or in the new year.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Handwriting—The Changes!

By Nan Jay Barchowsky

It is not so easy to guide your child to the handwriting that will give him or her the most lifelong success and pleasure. Even the thought of success and pleasure in writing by hand can seem unclear, maybe even unnecessary as an attainment goal. 

Many say the various amazing digital devices are all we need for communication. But I would not agree, not in the present time. Perhaps in some future world it may be so, but not now, especially with the popular method of text messaging with only a few hurried words or acronyms.

Even as students record classwork with digital devices, it’s not the convenience it appears to be. Comparisons between those students that take notes in this manner, and those who take notes by hand, with pen and paper show a distinct difference in the quality and quantity of content between the latter and the former. There is an undeniable connection between our hands and minds. From the time we are babes, we learn by using our hands. As we learn to form the shapes of letters, those letters are implanted in our minds, so they are there for recall when we use the letters.

Technology is not new to handwriting. Back in the 1880s typewriters became a choice to replace pen and paper for writing. It is much the same way that many now use digital devices to replace pen and paper.

Perhaps you’re trying to decide which handwriting program or mode of letterforms might be best to teach. Should your child or children use a method that joins all letters within words, or start with print-script (manuscript) and then switch to a cursive, with all lowercase letters that join in words, or should they use cursive italic? To clarify, “cursive” is distinguished as “conventional cursive,” the method that most Americans know, or as “cursive italic,” known as a method wherein lowercase letters are partially joined.

Most public schools in the United States teach print-script in the early grades, and then teach conventional cursive in either second or third grade. Other public schools only teach print-script in first grade and don’t bother with cursive. Do most of these schools assume that Common Core directives eliminate handwriting instruction after first grade, or is it just a belief that there is not enough classroom time to teach handwriting? 

There is no defensible reason to eliminate handwriting. If research points the way to a viable path to learning, we cannot afford to ignore handwriting. Fortunately, homeschooling can save the day.

Is there a rationale to teaching two distinct-looking alphabets? Is it easier for the youngest children to learn to write letters that look like those they see in storybooks and then, change in second or third grade to what looks like a whole new alphabet? Are children confused by the change to “new” letters? Is it such fun to write like grownups, that entertainment overrides the change that children must make to hand/finger movement? They must learn that unlike print handwriting, letter lines no longer move from top to bottom. Now conventional cursive lines move upward from baselines and from other places, and some shapes of letters are no longer the same. It’s exciting at first, but trouble often starts later with legibility, especially when students have less time for handwriting practice than they did 50 or 75 years ago.  

Notice that almost all handwriting instructional books present two distinct-looking alphabets. Do publishers influence handwriting? Do we think we must teach print handwriting first and then conventional cursive? Other schools are independent. They go their own way, with conventional cursive from the beginning. One style is for writing, another for reading! Many people thus develop excellent writing. Possibly they achieve better penmanship with the single method.

Some people are successful with hybrid writing. That is, they start out with print-script, and whether they missed the conventional cursive instructions, or forgot them, they develop semi-connected letters. Many are readable, like this new script being used in Germany: http://openfontlibrary.org/en/font/grundschrift. It attracts controversy for going against the national handwriting, but it’s very workable.

Some who see lifts within words believe the writing to be slow. The movement is misunderstood. It’s actually a small, slight, and natural drift. Often conventional cursive, multisyllabic words are long, and it becomes difficult to maintain joining without pulling the writing off the writing line and distorting letters.

Handwriting seems in no imminent danger of disappearing. Around the world, simplified handwriting is growing. There are a number of places around the world where italic cursive is used for its ease of teaching and ease of learning. Is the trend to simplify? Only time will tell.

Take care. Make wise handwriting decisions. Our children should be able to enjoy the skill for a long time.

Nan Jay Barchowsky has worked with handwriting for 40 years. She has taught handwriting and calligraphy to elementary school children and adults, both in groups and individually. She is a charter member of the Washington Calligraphy Guild and has taught workshops worldwide. Her authored handwriting publications on www.bfhhandwriting.com are sold internationally. Her emails and Facebook continually bring new contacts.

Copyright 2018 The Old Schoolhouse® used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the TOS Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or read it on the go by downloading the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read it on your mobile devices.

Somnee, Soul Star, and Dark Drops

This week’s Diva Challenge is to use Laura’s tangle Somnee. I combined it with the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus tangle of Soul Star by Sonya Yencer and the daily tangle on Pattern-Collections by Niklas Zeugner named Dark Drops.

I’m not great at straight lines, so Somnee was a bit of a challenge for me but fun all the same. Although shading it was also a challenge. ;)

I really enjoyed Soul Star and I think it paired well with Somnee. I wish I had drawn a larger one, so I may play with it a bit more this week. :)

Dark Drops also needed more space; it got a bit squished and thus a bit undistiquishable and, dare I say . . . dark. ;) LOL

Well, here it is before shading.

DC#362 Unshaded ~ Lifeofjoye.meI love how shading makes such a huge difference! Here it is shaded.

Shaded DC#362 ~ lifeofjoy.meHere it is a bit smaller, so you can see it how I see it. :)

Shaded DC#362 ~ lifeofjoy.meI think it kind of looks like a roller coaster or ferris wheel to me. Kind of fun. I did enjoy drawing it (although that is probably the wrong term to use :D) and I will probably revisit these tangles at some point in the future.

I’m considering using photos of my tiles like Maggibee said she does but it is such a hassle to do photos because I have to get the right lighting, take the photo, and upload the photo . . . and it seems to take forever for my photos to get found on my camera and uploaded. I already have to load pictures twice a week and really don’t desire to do it again. :D So until I get really really tired of my imperfections showing sooooo badly, I guess I’ll just make do with scans. ;)

Well, thank you for stopping by!!! I really appreciate it when you leave a comment! I get so much spam that I have to delete, it is nice when there is a real comment. Do you have trouble with spam comments?

Well, I’m going to run. I hope you have a wonderful day and for all of those moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day (Sunday)!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Meatloaf Skillet ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Meatloaf Skillet

The taste of meatloaf but the speed of a skillet meal.

I love meatloaf. Since Michael has been allergic to beef, meatloaf has been a trial. I attempted to make it with ground turkey in the beginning but that had unfavorable results. It just didn’t taste right and I’d rather go without than to eat that.

Then I started low-carb diets and although I started making beef for me and the kids on occasion, I could no longer have the carbs that made it meatloaf.

I purchased some hamburger on sale recently and decided to fix some of it for my lunch one day. I had recently made some Swiss bread from the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook. I had this idea to add a piece, cubed to my crumbled ground beef and I was shocked how much it tasted like meatloaf! Now, if I had a stove where the broiler were in a position that I did not have to practically lay down on the floor to put anything under it, I would put some sugar-free ketchup on it and broil it until it is browned a bit.

So, without further adieu, here is how you make my Meatloaf Skillet. :)

Dice up some onion and green pepper.

Dicing Onion ~ Lifeofjoy.meI would use a small onion and about a quarter to a third of a green pepper. Add it with the ground beef to the skillet and brown it up.

Cooking Ground Beef ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe didn’t have green pepper this day so we used some colored peppers. :)

Saute onions and peppers ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy daughter made this for me on my birthday, so she did it slightly differently than I would have. Save yourself pans to clean, just put it all in the skillet together with some salt.

Next cube about a serving of swiss bread. You can make just one serving or make the whole loaf like I do and slice off a few pieces. Cut it into cubes and add it to the nearly finished browning meat. :)

Swiss bread cubes ~ Lifeofjoy.meLet the bread cubes soak up a some of the fat released by the meat and then serve.

Meatloaf Skillet Serving ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Meatloaf Skillet

Ingredients

  • These measurements are approximates, use more or less as you desire.
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • small onion, diced
  • 1/3 green pepper, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • THM Swiss bread, one serving, cubed (can use any "S" or "FP" bread)

Instructions

  1. Brown the meat with the onion, peppers, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add cubed bread, stir to combine.
  3. After a couple of minutes, remove from heat and eat.
  4. OPTIONALLY: Spread sugar-free (on plan) ketchup on top and put under the broiler until it is beginning to brown or the ketchup is thickened a bit.
http://lifeofjoy.me/meatloaf-skillet/

I totally love this dish! I see it in my future lunches often. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Food and Marriage

Food and Marriage ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo many things work together to make a marriage good. Even the food you serve plays a part in it.

Yes, food. If you don’t give food much thought, you may end up eating junk food or eating out more than is healthy for you and your family. But with the proper planning, you can nourish your family at home.

A key to being able to fix good meals at home is planning. Yep, that means to make a meal plan. There are many services available these days that you can subscribe to and will give you a menu plan with a corresponding shopping list but you don’t have to do that. Menu plans can really be as simple as a list of recipes you currently make and just go through them one by one or maybe it is easier for you to think of it by having a type of meal per night: breakfast for dinner, Italian, Mexican, Hamburgers (fixed many different ways), Pizza Night, Chicken Night, or even Hors d’oeuvres Night.

In preparation to begin to menu plan, you can simply write down what you eat every day for a couple of weeks, then you can use that list for ideas to create your menu plan for a week. If you ate out, what did you eat out? Chicken? But one in the crockpot instead. Tacos? Make them at home. Steak? Grill it.

When you menu plan you tend to save money because you don’t just impulse buy throughout the store when you shop. You also have less stress because you already know what you will have for dinner throughout the week.

A menu plan is a tool for you to use, not something to which you are a slave. If the menu says that you are having Lasagna on Tuesday night but you have a busier day than usual and won’t be up to making Lasagna but can throw together Thursday’s planned hamburgers and bag salad much more easily, then switch it up.

Once you make a menu plan, write out your grocery list based on those recipes. I like to keep a marker board on my refrigerator to note things we run out of or will need to purchase on the next grocery run. Then when I make my grocery list, I add those items from the marker board to the grocery list.

You can even do this if you work outside of the home; I imagine it is even more needful because of your busy lifestyle.

Planning your food benefits your health and helps to eliminate some of the stressors that can easily be in a marriage. Oh, and be sure to add in some of your hubby’s favorites, that’s good for your marriage too. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Trees, Chickens, Cats, and Dogs

Last week I showed you that Michael had cleaned up the chicken coop in preparation for goats and chickens. What I didn’t show you was what was growing in the fenced pen.

Young tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, some kind of tree. There are a couple others that aren’t nearly as grown as this one but they seem to be different kinds. Hmmm, I wonder what they are. Also the grass has really grown in there. It was completely decimated; I mean dirt! Well there is enough for them to snack on now. :D

We had Australorps last time and really liked them. Tiffany found there are some nearby (realizing that when you live in country most things are 20-30 minutes away) for sale. We’d like to have a couple of them. Then she found some very inexpensive Cinnamon Queen hens nearby but in a totally different direction. However the Cinnamon Queens are a third the cost of the Australorps, so we’ll get two to three of them. Then Tiffany has wanted an Easter Egger, which lays different colored eggs, since she first started researching chickens years ago and has found some not far from the Australorps. The Easter Egger is more than even the Australorps but within reason, so I think we may get one, which will be fun.


This is Stache. He is just regal.

Handsome Cat ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s not the friendliest of our cats but he is getting better than he was.

This is Patches.

Tailless Cat ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe has no tail. It used to bother me but she is such a sweet, lovable cat that I don’t mind anymore.

She had kittens about three weeks ago but she did not have them near the house, so we hadn’t seen them. She finally brought one to the porch this week.

Patches Kit ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe let Tiffany pet it. Of course, she took it away again; we think it might have gotten wet inside with all the rain we got the other day.


The black lab that adopted us last fall (first we named her Skylar and then changed it to Sofi, which she responded to much better) started barking throughout the night and thus keeping Tiffany from getting good sleep for the better part of a month. This was just too much for any of us and we decided to put her on Craigslist to see if someone would take her.

Energetic Black Lab ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe  really helped Sasha, our over ten year old Blue Tick Heeler, get rejuvenated. The old girl really livened up a lot. Nothing like a pup that wants to play to get the old maid up and moving a bit more. :)

Blue Tick Heeler and Black Lab Pup ~ Lifeofjoy.me(I tried to crop these pics once I’d uploaded them but for whatever reason they didn’t want to stay cropped. Ugh!!!)

Within a few hours someone contacted Michael; he said he had adopted three dogs from rescue and at some point someone had opened the backyard gate and they all ran away. He said Sofi would be welcome in the house too. We know she will love that. She really is a lovable dog but just needs more attention than we can give her and we could not have her in our house.

Michael said she did NOT want to get out of the truck when he got there so he pulled her out.

I asked him to snap a picture and he did. It seems that she will be good with him. One thing is for certain, she will not run away, even if the gate is opened. LOL She is super loyal and knows when she has it good. When she got off her chain here, she’d only go play with Sasha, chase cats (and get clawed sometimes), and come to the front porch. Ultimately she’s going to be much happier there than she was here.

It’s really sad when people abandon animals. Living in the country it happens all the time. People think the country is a good place to abandon unwanted animals that at least they’ll have a chance at a good life, better than the pound. But what they don’t realize is that we get the animals we WANT. We don’t need to have animals adopt us just because we live in the country. My neighbor has taken in lots (and by lots I mean dozens) of dogs because they have kind hearts but even they don’t really want them.

Well, I’ve rambled enough for one day. I hope you have a good weekend, I will. We are celebrating my birthday very soon!!! Yay!!! I get new art supplies and stuff! :)

Okay . . . that’s enough of that . . . :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

Tips and Activities for Young Children

I had a sweet young mama call me this week and I was honored to share with her. One of the things I shared was some ideas on how to get things done with a little one under foot.

It is a good idea have some things you do at different points of the day; here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Bible story and talk about Jesus time
  • Cuddle time reading books
  • Music/Dance time
  • Outside Play/Nature Time
  • Blocks, play dough, finger paint, or coloring time

I also want to remind you of a couple of posts I’ve done in the past because there are two important things to keep in mind:

I hope these ideas are helpful and/or encouraging to you.

Until next time, God bless,

 
Michele ºÜº

Caracole and OO-Africa Earth Day Tile

The Diva’s challenge this week is to do a tile with a theme for Earth Day, which her oldest son called Amanda because he didn’t feel Earth was a good enough name. ;) Luckily Square One: Purely Zentangle’s focus tangle is Lily Moon Luna’s new tangle Caracole, which looked really fun/easy to draw as well as resembles either a flower or the sun. :)

The tangle of the day yesterday was OO-Africa by Ina Sonnenmoser and I think it resembles clouds. It too is relatively easy to draw. The only problem I had was that I wanted to draw both tangles larger than the space I had available. I could have drawn them a bit smaller but opted against it.

So here is my tile before shading.

DC#361 #OO-Africa ~ Lifeofjoy.meI do feel I could have made OO-Africa a bit smaller. It is an alternating grid pattern but I realized that by putting the dots down diagonally, it was easier to keep track of them because then they can just be laid down in rows. :)

Here it is after shading.

DC#361 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs usual, now that I see it this large I realize I probably should have given it another round of shading but I didn’t. ;)

Here it is a bit smaller, so you don’t see the imperfections as well. ;)

DC#361 Shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meI guess I was afraid of muddying it with too much graphite but now it looks more like a coloring book drawing. Maybe I’ll go back and add some more shading later today. Right now, I do not have the time to do that, so I’ll post a new picture if I managed to do it.

I appreciate you stopping by and really appreciate it if you’d leave me a comment, it’s always so encouraging.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Weight Loss Important Note

Vital Thing ~ Lifeofjoy.meOkay last week I talked about my weight loss progress and since that post I have learned a very important thing. You see, I had thought that God had lead me to the Stubborn Loser Menu because it was going to be the thing to help me breakthrough stubborn weight loss but when it wasn’t working like it did last time I had to reassess what was up.

Here’s what I found: I got desperate and asked God to help me and that is when He led me to the Stubborn Losers Menu. You see, it is God that is helping me lose weight. Yes, I have to be obedient to the plan He leads me to  but it is Him working with me and the food I eat to create the weight loss.

So the vital element here is PRAY, ask God for help, and then realize that He is leading you where you need to go and what information you need to have to obtain the goal. Don’t try to do it on your own!!!

I step on the scales soon and will see how I have done but it doesn’t matter because I will continue on. Now my birthday is soon and I will celebrate on plan and have a yummy recipe to share, for real, next week. :)

I hope you will remember, and never forget, this one VITAL thing and thus save yourself some of the struggle I have had. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Engage in the Blessed Marital Activity Often

Engage Marital Bed ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs we age, sometimes things don’t work like they used to in our bodies, that’s when we do our research, pray, and do whatever we can to make things better. But we do not give up. If your back is stiff, you do stretches and research to see what might be causing it. Could it be time for a new bed? Are you sitting too much? Did you work too much in the yard yesterday? Any of these things can cause some undesirable feelings.

Sometimes when we don’t engage in intimacy, the body does not desire intimacy (this is generally more true of women and definitely in the child-bearing years). God made our bodies to benefit from intimacy–even hugs have been proven to benefit our health.  I think it is important not to quit, even if your body is not responding the way it should; don’t stress over it but do relax with your hubby and love on each other. It’s okay to take some time, play, have fun with each other, laugh, and try something new.

Don’t let the time between being intimate with your hubby get longer and longer either. It seems to me that when the body gets aroused, it tends to be aroused more easily the next time and more often. It reminds me of inertia . . . a body at rest stays at rest until acted upon by an outside force and the opposite is also true . . . thinking about intimacy gets the body moving in that direction. Now don’t go reading erotica or looking at porn but do think about what you can wear to make you feel more “in the mood” or light a candle in the bedroom or maybe even put on some soft music. I guess what I’m saying is, put a little effort into being intimate with your spouse.

God made sex and made our bodies to benefit from it, so be sure to engage in this blessed activity with your hubby on a regular basis or as some Christian marriage bloggers say, more days than not. :)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº