Category Archives: Finally Friday

Because Friday is finally here and I need one day to talk about whatever comes to mind.

Christmas Happenings

It snowed here a few days before Christmas, which made it quite pretty.

12/17 Snow ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was enough snow to make it pretty but not so much that it hindered any travel plans. :)

Stash in the Snow ~ Lifeofjoy.meStash 12/17 Snow ~ Lifeofjoy.mePretty Snow '17 ~

Brian, Lauren, and Liam were able to come and stay for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You see, when Brian was about 3 years old, we got he and Sean some larger Fisher-Price toys that could not be taken to my parents’ home on Christmas day. So we decided that we’d just wake up Christmas Eve morning and pretend it was Christmas and give them their gifts. Then the next day we’d get up and go to my parents’ house. We have done this ever since.

Since Brian and Lauren got married, they have come and spent the night on the night before Christmas eve so that they are here bright and early Christmas morning. In spite of their move a couple of hours away, they were able to do so again this year.

Tired Little One ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m not sure what we were watching on television but clearly Liam was tired. :)

Christmas Eve eve Cutie ~ Lifeofjoy.meOr maybe that was Christmas Eve? I don’t know. :D But he was much more fun this year than he was last year when he was just four months old.

Opening gifts ~ Lifeofjoy.meOpening More Gifts ~ Lifeofjoy.meYears ago, my sister and her husband would come over on Christmas Eve around noon or so to see what the kids had received for Christmas. This became something that we have done ever since, except that once my kids were older and they had children, we started going to their house. We usually eat lunch together. This year they’ve moved closer to us out in the country, away from very many restaurants. ;) Then add the fact that we are eating differently this year, made for a bit different dinner than we have for the last several years. But change can be good. ;)

My Girls with lovely icy background ~ lifeofjoy.meI really loved Lauren’s hair.

Cutie and Papaw ~ Lifeofjoy.meOn our way to my sister and her family’s home.Driving to Christmas Gathering ~ lifeofjoy.meLiam decided that neither Nana nor Grandma would do today. So Brian read the pop-up story book of the nativity called, The Good News, I think.The Good News ~ Lifeofjoy.meDinner preparations. Dinner Prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meSean got a new game for Christmas and we enjoyed playing it quite a bit over the holiday week! It was good to see some pairings that are not the norm. :)

Concept ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course, there was the usual video gaming going on.

Video Gaming Holiday ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy nieces got battery powered scooters from their uncle and aunt on their father’s side. Several of us took them for a spin.

Scooter ~ Lifeofjoy.meClean-up can be fun but I got a bit water-logged! :D

Too Much Washing ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I’ve made it through our Christmas celebration. I’ll run for now. Lots to do today.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Christmastime Fun

We really enjoyed the lights at Garden of Lights in Muskogee. Drive through Lights ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can imagine, it is much prettier in person. ;)

Christmas Fun Lights ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt seems that it went with some music but we never found any signs indicating the station and upon opening the window, we were still soundless. ;)

Michael loved how they lit up this tree.

Christmas Lights ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really liked this one.

Christmas Light Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meMostly it was lighted trees along the drive.

Christmas Lights ~ Lifeofjoy.meThere were purple ones, red ones, yellow ones, blue ones, all different colors. It was very pretty. They have signs directing you to the Christmas Castle when you exit. We hadn’t planned on it but decided to head on over. We parked and went inside the castle first but since we hadn’t planned on going there, we didn’t really know what they had inside and left shortly after arriving. Liam needed the respite from riding in the car and wasn’t too happy when we got back in the car but the air-filled displays perked him up a bit.

Balloon display ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey had some fun decorations, but I was really glad we’d gone to the garden of lights first. If we’d only have done the castle I would have been disappointed because the castle displays were not very vibrant.

They had pony rides and hayrides available by the castle. There was an ornament for kids to make too. I think the drive through the light display is about a mile long. Fortunately at that time the line was nearly non-existent. :)

They had some Star Wars characters at the end of the drive through. Brian got a picture of them but I’m having difficulty receiving pictures from non-iPhones. It’s really ridiculous! Yay! Lauren got them to me. :)

StarWars Blow Up Figures ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really liked the nativity blowup too. :)

Nativity Blow Up ~

Tiffany had made us hot chocolate, THM style. I made the Cinnamon Butter Bundt Cake into muffins, which we took with us as well. It was a nice drive.

That was the week before Christmas! I didn’t realize that Christmas was just the next weekend. Initially I planned to take two days to run my errands, one for groceries and the other to finish my stocking stuffer shopping. When it got down to it, Tiffany and I decided that we’d rather make one long day of it. And a long day it was! But we got it all done.

Unfortunately, there was a power surge and a couple of the main intersections had the traffic signals out causing the traffic to be horrendous. Add to that, Tiffany and I were starving.

Big shopping day, lunch time ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe was so happy to be getting out of the traffic and go eat one of her favorite lunches. Sadly, I forgot to save a picture of the traffic jam in snapchat. ;)

We finally made it to Panera for a THM lunch; okay, it was a crossover. I was all ready to get their black bean soup and sprouted roll but they didn’t have any. So we opted for the broccoli cheddar soup and the roll . . . yep, definitely a crossover meal . . . but hey, crossovers are still on plan. :)

We were very glad that we’d put dinner in the crockpot. As it turned out, Michael and Sean made it home a few minutes before we did. It was a very tiring day but a good one. Every year I say I’m going to get my gift wrapping done earlier. At least I wasn’t wrapping on the 23rd again. ;) Well, I’m starting bullet journal this year, so maybe making a notation in my future planner will get me wrapped up earlier next year. :)

Well, I’ve rambled quite enough for one week. I’ll share pics from our Christmas weekend next week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Grandson Fun

I promised more Liam pictures this week since I got to keep him for a week. I mentioned last week that we did our annual cookie painting/decorating the night they brought him. He really enjoyed eating the works of his hands. ;)

Liam eats his artwork ~ Lifeofjoy.meEating his artwork ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou have to really be careful with alternative sweeteners because if you consume too much of them it can cause gastric distress (a.k.a. gas and/or diarrhea). Thus I’m careful not to give him too much sweets so he doesn’t hurt.

Tiffany put some garland up over the top of the doorways in the hall.

Garland over doorways ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe don’t have a fireplace, so we hang stockings in the hallway. She showed Liam which one is his (the penguin).

Showing LIam his stocking ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was surprised that of my three Christmas musical critters, he liked the stationary snowman with moving lights the best. I would have thought he’d have liked the sledding snowman or the adorable dog that moves around.

He likes the snowman ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe figured out that he could stop the song and press the button again to get to a different song. He seemed to have a favorite because there was only one or two songs that he’d let it play out.

He’s learned to “color”. He colored a bit with Tiffany. ;)

Learning to color ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe had his first kefir while he was here. To say he liked it, is an understatement. This was Sean pouring some double-fermented kefir smoothie into a cup for Liam.

Sean shares Kefire ~ Lifeofjoy..melittle one and kefir ~

He really liked it.

Giddy on kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meLoves Kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen he finished downing the first bit he was given, he wanted more and got really excited while Sean was pouring it.

Excited for more kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis was not a one time reaction. He got excited every time we gave him some. I promise it was only fruit, kefir, sweetener, and ice. :D

Loves that kefir ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe also found the Christmas picture blocks. I have had these crazy things for sooo long, I’m so glad he likes them. My kids never really played with them much.

Xmas Blocks ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey are so old that the pictures are coming off some of the blocks, with a little help. ;)Need to repair some blocks ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m glad he likes to play with them though. :)

Christmas Block Toys ~ Lifeofjoy.meI enjoyed having him here. :) His parents came and stayed the night and the next day. We went to see some Christmas lights in Muskogee but I think I’ve shared enough cuteness for one week.

I’m a bit tired from shopping ALL day yesterday and then wrapping today. I wish I were quicker at it but alas, I still have more to do. So I’m going to run. I’ve got to get this wrapping finished so that I can get started on the baking. :D

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! I know we will.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Joyful Week

I finally remembered to buy snow to sprinkle on our Christmas tree! Yes, I was at the store, not once, not twice, but three times and didn’t remember to look for it a single time. So I went into town to have lunch with a dear friend last week and decided that I just needed to stop, on purpose, and get the bagged snow. Michael helped me put it on as Tiffany was cooking. :)

Putting on the Snow '17 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt looks so much better with snow on it! Tiffany said, Now it is pretty before it was fugly. It really does make a huge difference. I enjoy snowmen, so I’ve been given a few snowmen ornaments; they look a lot better when there is a lot of snow around them on the tree. :)

I stopped by my sister’s house on the way home to drop off a book for her . . . Another Celebrated Dancing Bear. Evidently, I had a lot to say because I think I stayed and chatted with her for about two hours! I love my sister and don’t see her very often, in spite of living just fifteen minutes away. I could do that because I knew that dinner was a cinch to prepare and I also knew about what time I’d need to fix it, so I managed to get a good visit in with her and make it in time to fix dinner too. :)

Last weekend was also Christmas Cookie Painting day. I am so pleased to find a good “sugar” cookie recipe that is on the Trim Healthy Mama plan. It was really good too, even though they were a little bit more tender/breakable than regular sugar cookies. I was surprised that the cream cheese and butter frosting was so good, colored easily, and just one recipe was enough for all thirty-two cookies.

Cookie Decorating '17 ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe had a few cookies get well done but Liam liked them all the same. The kid loves sweets!

It seems this year was more three dimensional because the frosting was thicker.

Cookies 2017 ~ Lifeofjoy.meNot sure what was up with that one other than it broke, so I guess he put it back together, with style. ;)

Xmas Cookies '17 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really liked Lauren’s snowman. :)

Cookies 2017 ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe even had the 3D going but only with the frosting depth. :)

cookies 2017 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t have a clue what this 3d creation is. It looks like it was a gingerbread shape turned Santa? Not really sure. Maybe we caught the picture after it had been snacked on. :D

Tiffany helped Liam paint a cookie.

Liam Xmas Cookie 2017 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was hard to keep him from eating it right away but he had fun AND got to eat the cookie. :)

Laim Painting Cookie '17 ~ Lifeofjoy.meYes, Tiffany and I painted cookies too.

Tiff & I painted cookies ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiff did a cute snowman and I turned an angel upside down and made a flower. We decided that it looks like one of those Mario-eating flowers.

Here are some of our finished cookies. Not many were left, as we enjoy eating the labor of our hands. :D

Xmas Cookies 2017 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI do have to buy new colors and paint brushes next year. I’ll need to make sure I make myself a note because I generally wait until the last minute to gather my materials. ;)

Well, since Liam stayed with us this week, I have a few pictures to share.

Liam with Xmas dog ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis post is already picture intensive, so I’ll save them for next week.

We’re all going to see some Christmas lights this weekend, so I should have even more pictures to share; it will probably take two more weeks to share them.

I hope you are enjoying this holiday season! We sure are, in spite of different ones of us fighting off sicknesses.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Friends, Food, and a Project

The week is nearly gone and I have not even begun to wrap gifts yet! Yep, the other room is overrun with boxes. I’ve got to get in there and get things condensed and begin wrapping because Liam is coming to spend a few days and he sleeps in that room. :o

I made an amazing cake last weekend! No! Really! It was delicious. So much so that I am planning to make another this weekend. I’ll share more about it later.

Chocolate Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meEven though you cannot tell it very well in this picture, it is a two layer cake and uber moist!!! Delicious! I hope it turns out as well next time.

On the day we moved into our home in Oklahoma, a family moved in next door that night. We lived beside each other for eight years. I was honored to be a part of their lives. This week I got a message from one of the daughters, now married, that she was in town and would like to visit. Not only that but she had her ~3 month old son with her AND her sister and her 1yos were there too!

Friends ~ Lifeofjoy.meFriends 2 ~

I was so excited to have the opportunity to meet their children and hug their necks and visit for a while! So, Tiffany and I left early on errand day to have breakfast with this beloved family. I took THM Cinnamon Bundt Cake with me. I was a bit nervous sharing it because it is sugar-free and has no wheat either. Unfortunately I ran low on butter extract so it did not taste as glorious as it did on Thanksgiving morning but it was gobbled up all the same. I did manage to get a couple slices home for Michael and Sean to enjoy.Cinnamon Bundt Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat’s the picture from Thanksgiving morning. The glaze was darker when I made it this week. As I said, everyone liked it, sugar-free and all. :) It was a nice, well-rounded breakfast complete with strawberries & bananas, a veggie fritata, bacon crumbles, and cheese. As usual, we dine well together. :)

It was so nice to catch up with them, hold their children, and love on them all. It was a good morning and over all too soon. I’m already looking forward to the next time we will be able to visit, even though I know it will be a long way off. Of course, I would like to commit to keeping in touch but realistically, it’s not going to happen–I’m just not good at that sort of thing. Their mother and I don’t stay in touch and we live in the same state. :D These two girls live out of state.

Afterward Tiffany and I ran errands in record time. I tried to spend a lot less this week and am sad that I only manage to shave about off about twenty-five percent of what I usually spend. We made breakfast last until 2:30 and we got a rotisserie chicken from Wal-Mart and devoured that poor bird in the car.

Michael finally got around to refinishing our kitchen table. That poor thing has been so abused. We have had it for twenty years though. It had burn marks and scratches and who knows what else. He had trouble getting the surface clear enough to stain it. We went with a reddish stain. And I have to admit, it looks much richer than it ever did before.

Refinished Table ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey were putting the legs back on it here. I didn’t get a picture of it after they’d finished. Michael is making us baby it though. He even had me dig out some place mats. I hope this doesn’t last too long, although I completely understand.

Well, I’ve rambled enough and have a lot to do today. So I’ll run for now.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

This Week’s Goings-On

Well, this week was Cyber Monday. Usually I have my Christmas shopping nearly completed by Thanksgiving but we got a very late start this year and it seems that Thanksgiving is a little earlier. I think we have an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I’m giving myself grace in getting my shopping done this week.

Monday was Cyber Monday and generally I don’t do any shopping on that day but this year Trim Healthy Mama was having a big sale. I knew they’d start it at midnight but I didn’t want to stay up that late. Sean is a sweetie and likes to buy in bulk, so he gave me some money to get some much needed stuff.

I was like a kid at Christmas. When I awoke at four in the morning and went to the restroom,  couldn’t get back to sleep. I was so worried that the products I wanted would be out of stock. Silly me!

I finally stopped fighting myself and trying to get to sleep and just went ahead and got up. I prepared my THM order and shortly thereafter the household started waking. I got my order placed before six thirty.

After I got Sean fed and his lunch made and him sent off to work, I started working on my online Christmas shopping. It took a while but I got it mostly all done. There are a few things I have yet to work out but I’m in a much better position than I was this time last week. It’s tiring to online shop! Just sayin’.

Christmas is Coming ~ Lifeofjoy.meYes, Sean spoiled me with an Instant Pot Monday as well. I used it last night for dinner. The roast was good and I loved that I could sear it in the pot before closing it up. It should have cooked a little longer to be as tender as I like but it was still really good.

Brian revised his Christmas list and included a lot of Xbox games that had to be purchased on the Xbox to get the best deal. I’ve not done much on the Xbox, so ordering his games was a true act of love. ;) And no, it does not matter that I’m writing about this here, before Christmas, because you see, other than a vest coat, there is nothing else on the list. So he knows he’s getting games from most of us. :D

But Tuesday morning was spent figuring out how to purchase his stuff. Michael got me logged into his account and then Tiffany ended up connecting a keyboard so I wouldn’t be quite so frustrated with searching for the games and stuff. I finally got it done and moved on to other things. However I was very slow getting my menu done this week! I only got the grocery list done the morning of errand day, which generally means I don’t leave very early and thus don’t get home very early as well.

Tiffany is in crunch mode writing her next novel, so she stayed home, so Michael decided to go with me since he was didn’t have work that day. I picked up a few ordered gifts, that I’d had delivered to their respective stores for free shipping, stopped at the library to switch up some books, and then got groceries from four stores.

I have been so tired the last couple of nights. I’ve been on my feet a bit more than usual and that makes me a bit achy. No worries though, I just need to plan my days a bit better and make sure I elevate my feet spread throughout the day rather than just morning and evening.

I don’t know what made me think that this was a good idea.

Cabinet Cleaning ~ Yes, that is all the contents of my cabinets, both pantry items and things like crock pots, storage containers and such. I didn’t get started doing this until around one pm. What was I thinking?!

Well, I got a bunch of stuff tossed that is probably stale by now since we don’t eat things like that any more . . . boxed crackers, pasta, etc.

I managed to get the pantry stuff put back relatively neatly.

Neater Cabinets ~ No, it isn’t all pretty and organized like so many I see online but this is what I can do with the space I have. :)

My spice rack broke a few weeks ago and I had to finally settle with this.

Spice Cabinet ~ lifeofjoy.meThis will not work! I have had a round rotating spice rack for over twenty years. But the top rack broke and I’d been making do with spice bottles falling constantly, for too long. I finally took out the crazy thing.

Well, Michael thought he might be able to put a new top piece on it for me. And today he did just that!

Spice Rack ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was just too tired last night to get it put in the cabinet yet but I’m so glad I’ll be able to have them more readily available again. :) I have such a sweet man.

Well, this is has been a very tiring week. I’m so glad it is Friday! I may even play a little Toontown this weekend. ;) But one thing I know for sure, I’m going to start wrapping my gifts next week!!! No more Christmas Eve eve wrapping the majority of my gifts for me! And all my kids breathe a sigh of relief. :D

Well, I’m going to run. I hope you have a great weekend. I hope to paint my nails this weekend as well as finally getting Tiffany’s book cover fixed.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Changes to Tradition

It’s been a busy week. Thankfully I managed to make my menu for two weeks last week and was able to get most of what I needed for it as well. :) This meant that I did not have to go to the store on one of the busiest grocery shopping weeks of the year! Yay! Having said that though, I did have to have Michael (and Sean) pick up a few things for me: distilled water for one and probably the biggest one too. We get twenty-one gallons a week and there was no way I was getting that many the week before. I’d have no where to store it!

Brian, Lauren, and Liam came Wednesday night and spent the night here since they live two hours from us. It was great having them here!

Family ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s getting so big!!!

The other problem I had was that I didn’t finalize which recipes I was making until Wednesday. Yep, Wednesday. As in the day I was making them. I know, I’m pitiful! I finally decided on pumpkin bars instead of pumpkin pie and in the end I realized that I should have made a pie too because Michael went off plan and ate a piece. So both will be on my Christmas dessert list. ;)

Last week I went Christmas shopping with Tracie, my baby sister. ;) Her girls came and stayed with Tiffany and then spent the night.

Tiff and Girls Played Games ~ Lifeofjoy.meToontown was played! Even Sean and I joined in the fun that night. We all made deer and became The Herd.

Pass the Pigs ~ LIfeofjoy.meIt was fun, even though Ashlee ended up with a headache and hasn’t acquired the ability of swallowing pills yet and I no longer have any liquid pain reliever in the house. I did, however, have some chewable aspirin. She was better the next morning but both she and Tiffany were not feeling good on the following day. :( Oh well, at least all were good in time for Thanksgiving.

After the holidays last year, Mom told Tracie that she couldn’t do things like she had been doing them and that we needed to do something different in the future. We have entered the future. ;) This year we gathered at my sister’s house. Mom and Dad took stuff over the day before and Mike did the cooking, aided by Tracie for authenticity. ;) Tracie is huge on traditions and wanted to be certain that there was as little difference as possible. I appreciate how much she loves our family and how we have done things throughout the years. Unfortunately, I changed things up because of our family being on Trim Healthy Mama.

Mikes in the Kitchen ~

In the past, I have readily admitted that our Thanksgiving meal is a huge carb fest. ;) So this year adjustments were needed to how much food was cooked. Mike (yes, Tracie married a Mike/Michael too) volunteered to make cauli-tators for us. I brought some sprouted wheat rolls in lieu of the provided Grands biscuits. He and Tracie really gave a labor of love, getting up at four something in the morning to get the food started (we eat by noon). I caved in and had the noodles cooked in ham broth! It was delicious and today I am back on plan. :)

Kitchen Work ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe took Christmas pictures today too.

Picture Time ~ Lifeofjoy.meDad sets up his camera on the tripod with a timer and jumps in the whole group photo. Then just grands and then each family and then Dad, Mom, my siblings, and me. Sondra and her family live in Missouri and couldn’t make it this year. I don’t remember what cracked us up but . . .

Laughter break ~ Lifeofjoy.meMichael always likes to be silly. Here was his “take one more” shot.

Funniness Ensues ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere are a few candid shot I managed to remember to take. ;)

This one was after dinner. Liam was so tired so Tracie walked him in the stroller up and down the driveway. Success: he fell asleep for a while. But that is not why I took this shot.

Not the Norm ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is usually the other way around, kids on electronics and parents at the counter talking. =)) Tracie, Lauren, and I were in the kitchen talking at the time that picture was taken. Mom on her phone and Dad on his tablet. :)

Mom likes her card games. She and the grands played Play Nine.

Grandma and Grands Game ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course, there was electronic gaming in the game room, which is conveniently open to the living room. :)Game Room ~ Lifeofjoy.mePhone games ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was a good day. Much thanks to Mike, Tracie, and their girls for all they did to make it happen.

I hope I don’t have to wait too long to see these lovies again.

Sweeties ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is getting a bit wordy, so I’ll share the food I made on Tuesday.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I know I will. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

P.S. Even though I got home at a decent hour, I was very tired last night. I thought I'd just relax for a bit and before I knew it, I was nodding off and completely forgot about writing up this post. So it got posted late but hey, it's up now. :)

Busy Fun

So last week when Tiffany and I ran our errands, we decided to take some leftover Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice soup with us in our thermos. It was such a good idea because we were able to eat a delicious THM E soup while shopping! Yay us!

Busy Fun~ lifeofjoy.meI’ll share the recipe next time I make it. It is really a wonderful soup.

It was nice because it was a bit chilly out, so we could really enjoy it’s warmth.

I had Tiffany take some pictures of the Holiday Bash and the decorations, otherwise, there would be none again. ;)

Holiday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe set the tables for all three holidays. The red table cloth went with all three holidays. The orange plates and napkins for Thanksgiving, green plates and napkins for Christmas, and black plates and napkins for New Year’s Eve.

Holiday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe have a variety of pumpkins on each table at the orange end.

Pumpkins ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe “goblets” were at each place setting for the New Year’s Eve bit at the end of the night. And then some black balloon weights with foil stars at the New Year’s Eve end. In the middle was a cellophane treat bag with a “present” in it–we put the horns in tissue paper and then in the bag, so kids wouldn’t be making a bunch of noise with them before “New Year’s Eve.” ;)

I had some great help on Thursday to set up the tables and decorate! Thanks Christy, Angie, Sharon, Ruby, Josiah, and Tiffany. You all are great and a huge blessing!

Christy and I brought some decor from home to add to the fun.

Festive Entry Table ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course that is the only picture we have of the entry/fall decorations, but at least we have one. :)

On the day of the Bash, Tiffany and I were at the church most of the day.

Holiday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meThose are red potatoes in the roaster, which we seasoned with the usual suspects: salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. We also added a few pieces of chicken to further flavor them.

To keep us moving, we had some tunes playing.

Kitchen tunes ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, an amplifier so we could hear the music a bit better. :)

I printed out some Jesse Tree ornaments and started coloring them. Unfortunately I’m a bit of a slow, precise colorer. So, I still had about 18 to color that day. Tiffany helped me, okay, maybe I helped her, because she is much quicker than I am at it. ;) But then we had to get busy doing some other things and I still had one I hadn’t finished. So I had some help. :)

Holiday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy hero! Thanks babe!

I had a great serving team come in early to help!

Holiday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meHoliday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meHoliday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meHoliday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meSharon, Ruby, Angie, and Linda

Each person took their plate to get their food.

Holiday Bash ~

We had some entertainment in each section. (We didn’t get pictures of all of them. :( )

Holiday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meHoliday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe played games. One of them was a Christmas Bingo. I kept the words from last year but did not keep them in a covered container and I believe I lost some somewhere because obvious words like Joseph and Mary were missing. :\

We had door prizes and prizes for winning bingo. We got to learn a little bit about the people at our table. We had a man that had been a deputy at our table. :)

At the end of the night, I had Sean play a countdown video as everyone was poised with their horn and sparkling juice, and rang in the new year together. After which, every one pitched in and helped us whip the place back into shape for service on Sunday.

Holiday Bash ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course, we had such a mess in the kitchen that it took us an extra hour and a half to get it cleaned. So thankful that we had some extra help volunteer to help us do that.

Saturday I crashed for about 4-6 hours. I made chocolate chip pancakes, my new favorite pancakes (from the new Trim Healthy Table Cookbook) for breakfast. Tiffany made the whipped cream and chocolate sauce to put on them. :) Then we chilled and watched some Eureka while the guys helped move a dining room suit and stuff to my sister’s house. Then I unpacked some Trim Healthy Mama package of goodies, made dinner, and made two no bake cheesecakes, one for my brother-in-law and the other THMified for us to eat at his birthday celebration on Sunday.

Sunday was a WONDERFUL day because I got to see this little cutie!!!

Sunday Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe kept going to his grandpa! It was so sweet. I was thrilled that he was so excited when he saw me! I was afraid he’d forget me. Love him to bits!

We had more stuff go on this week but I’ve rambled long enough for one day. I’ll share more next week.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Holiday Bash Prep

Tiffany and I spent about six hours shopping, getting supplies for the Holiday Bash tonight. I absolutely love all parts of this event but it makes for a tiring week. ;) I think next year, if we do this, that I’ll get my own errands run the week before to cut down on the number of times I need to go into town during the week of preparation. You see, the day after spending six hours running around getting Bash supplies, we spent about four hours running our own errands.

One day Tiffany made some pumpkin facial masks. So she painted us both up.
pumpkin face ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, a blob dropped onto my shirt. I hope it washed out. Tiffany looks cute though! :D

Cute Pumpkin Mask ~ Lifeofjoy.meYesterday I had a great group of ladies helping me decorate. It is a simple decorating scheme and I, once again, did not get any pictures. I’ll try to remember to get some today and post them up here before the weekend is over.

Tiffany and I will be at the church most of the day cooking and finishing up some of the things that we didn’t get to yesterday. We’ve got turkeys, hams, red potatoes, radishes, and green beans to cook. Rolls will be brought, as will pies . . . pumpkin, apple, and pecan.

I was going to make a low-carb/keto/gluten-free/thm pecan pie and an apple pie. I got the pecan pie done but by the time I finally settled on what to do about the apple pie, it was too late to do it. Now if I weren’t going to be at the church using all available cooking devices, I’d make it there but alas.

I’m also excited this weekend because I may get to see Brian, Lauren, and Liam. We are celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday this weekend and will be discussing the upcoming holidays. It will be great to see them. If not, well, we’ll get to see them in a couple weeks, on Thanksgiving. I’m really quite spoiled and I know it! ;) I have a dear friend whose grandchildren live in other states, one even lives on the west coast–that’s far! If I had to, I’m sure I’d find a way to still be a part of is life but I’m thankful that he lives much closer than that.

Well, there’s much to do today! Better get going.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


My Favorite Time of Year has Begun

Fall ~ Lifeofjoy.meI reached my goal the other day! :) You might be wondering what goal that is . . . well, it is the goal of getting the cover done for Tiffany’s book. Yes, I know, her ebook came out last December and I should have gotten the cover done way before now but . . . well, I thought I had it done once and it didn’t work and I had to re-do it . . . AND . . . I finished it. :) If all goes well, we should be able to have the paperback in people’s hands by cyber Monday.

Michael came home one day this week with this lovely bouquet . . . for no reason . . . just to bring me joy, and they definitely have.

For No Reason ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen he brought them home, there were quite a few that were just buds and now they’ve opened up. They are beautiful. I’m soooo blessed!!! (It’s the little things!)

Sean got my fall box out for me recently and now I have some of my favorite things up. Fall Decor ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was so happy when Tiffany put this up! I had forgotten all about it. It was a gift from a secret sister from a homeschool group many years ago. It is one of my favorite things! (Thanks Tracy Miller, if you ever see this, I still love it.)

When we were shopping last week, I caught a 70% off sale at Michael’s and got this darlin’ pumpkin stack for $6.50 with tax.

Fall Pretties ~ lifeofjoy.meThis basket of flowers is another thing that brings me joy.

Pumpkin decor ~ lifeofjoy.meI got the Pilgrims and Indians, as well as the turkey, from Dollar Tree one year. They just bring a smile to my face. :) The Pilgrims are a candle holder; it’s a very small candle but a holder all the same. Now I just have to find them. ;)

This basket made of small corn cobs and  husks, with Indian corn, is another favorite. And this table runner was given to me either by my mother or my oldest son and his wife. I think it was Brian and Lauren but Tiffany thinks I’ve had it longer than they’ve been together. (I’m guessing Lauren will let me know in the comments; so you can check there if you care. ;D )

Fall Table Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve written about a couple of other things that bring a smile to my face immediately: my dishwasher magnet and my orange lights. Tiffany switched out the plain orange lights for a white strand with fall foliage. I have decided that I greatly prefer the orange lights. I wanted the fall foliage up and know that I need a strand of orange lights for the dinner next Friday, so I just had her go ahead and trade out the lights now. When I was running errands this week,  Walmart didn’t appear to have any left in the clearance section after Halloween, so it’s a good thing we switched them out. ;)

During the month of October, the chiropractor that we use has a complementary first visit with x-ray. I decided I’d go ahead and get my first visit in during this special. I don’t have any real reason to go but I just think it is a good idea to have the base work done and then I can go for vega testing if I need it in the future too.

I did find that my blood pressure is elevated, so I will be looking forward to meeting with him about the results and suggestions. I was not anxious at all, so I cannot even blame the high blood pressure on that. Since I went with Tiffany last year, I got to know the staff and really feel comfortable and at ease with them. (Hi Kim!!! :o ) So, any elevation in blood pressure is real, not from doctor anxiety.

While there filling out my paperwork in the lobby, my old friend Joyce came in. :) It was good to see her. I wish I’d have been able to visit better but I was filling out the neverending questionnaire. We have set up a time to set up a time to get together soon.

I’m going to be very busy next week. I’m hostessing the church Holiday Bash and am so excited! BUT I will be out of the house a lot next week. The holidays are fast approaching and Tracie and I have yet to go shopping once together, so we will probably do so one day early next week. Then there is shopping to be done for the dinner on Friday and our own groceries to buy and errands to run one day. Then I have some lovely ladies joining us to decorate the church on Thursday for the dinner. And of course, I get to cook it at the church Friday. I love how God had me trained to do this so that it is fun and not overwhelming. :) But I can assure you, come Saturday, I am going to crash! LOL

Well, I got stuff to do. Games, activities, and decorations to prepare, so I’m going to run.

Until next time, God bless and enjoy this wonderful time of year!

Michele ºÜº