Advice for New Parents

Advice ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had the blessed opportunity to attend the baby shower for a first time mommy that I have known since she was just a teen. She is dear to my heart. Her sister hostessed it and did a great job. One of the things she did was provide note cards for everyone to write advice or whatever to her. This was such a good idea because it is written in a good format that is easily passed on to the mommy without any extra work or fear of loosing a slip of paper.

I thought I’d share my advice here with you today. Yes, I do know this is Marriage Monday and I’m talking about a baby shower which would seem to fall into Thoughtful Thursday’s topic of raising children and educating them. But there is some overlap and I think you’ll see that this post fits here nicely. :)


I know this one is obvious but so many times it is the one thing I overlook when dealing with a new situation. When I’m reminded to pray about it I ‘smack my head’ because it is just so simple and fundamental. But seriously prayer, even about the little things like how should I feed him, where should he sleep, how much should he sleep, when should I feed him, when do you start giving him water, when should you discipline him, when should you teach him to put away toys . . . these are all little things that if you ask God how to deal with them and ask God to help you, your spouse, and your little one with the situation, you will get guidance from Him. That guidance may be in the form of a blog post that comes just at the right moment, a comment from a friend, advice from a mentor, a book, video, or some other unique way, after all, He is God. :)


Yep, that is a nasty word. I was talking to a gal at church yesterday and realized that I think God puts the desire to have children within us when we are younger to help work out our own character, as we train these new beings in our care. Children have a way of trying you over and over again and when you weaken once, that encourages them to keep trying in the future because hey, they let me get away with it before.

It doesn’t matter how tired you are, you need to be consistent. Even when you are a stay-at-home mommy and feel like you are always the bad guy, you still have to stay consistent. It is for your child’s benefit that you are disciplined to discipline him.


It is imperative to have your priorities straight! Remember God should be first and foremost in your life. I know it is tempting to cut back on your time with God when your sleep is disrupted but I admonish you not to do that. You can use time that you are nursing or feeding your little one to worship God or you can listen to an audio of the Bible, if you can concentrate on it. Your little one will benefit from being washed with the Word of God or being in His presence as you worship Him. Remember to spend time in prayer and if you are able, speak in tongues as this is praying the perfect will of God in your life.

Second is your marriage! Yep, even though that little being is reliant upon you, he would not even be there if it weren’t for the love you share with your hubby. I know you are tired but take time each day to really connect with your man. Make sure he knows that he has not been replaced. ;) Still give him attention and make your time together a priority. Don’t just give him the dregs of your day. Know that if he is asking if you want to be intimate, he is probably really asking if you will take time to be intimate with him. SAY YES!

Don’t forget to do something for yourself. Maybe it is a bath or taking 15-30 minutes to have a cup of tea and read a book or do some art, color, or even put on some music and dance. But remember to continue developing your hobbies or even start a new one, little bit by little bit.

Seek Godly Counsel

Finally, don’t be too prideful to ask a grandparent (or great grand parent or someone else) for advice when you are in a new situation. It is okay to seek advice from other mommies you know but how about asking an older person that has already been through the child-rearing years and produced some good kids. It will bless them that you thought enough of them to ask their advice. Of course, you don’t have to follow the advice, pray about what they said and follow God’s leading. If He led you to them in the first place, then odds are it is what you need but . . . ultimately it’s your decision to make.

These are my best pieces of advice. I hope they are an encouragement to you. If you have a question for me, I’d be happy to answer via blog post or private email; just leave a comment.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Liam Was Here! and My Third Blogiversary

We got to watch this little cutie last weekend!
Grandson Love ~ Lifeofjoy.meMichael is really good with him . . .

Liam and Grandpa ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat was totally unplanned! I love how they are making the same face!

Liam and Grandpa ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow it looks like they are looking at each other through the corner of their eyes. :D

Since Brian and Lauren were bringing him out around brunch time, we had them eat breakfast with us . . . pancakes, oven bacon, sausage, and eggs . . . Yum Yum!

Pancakes and Liam ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe had some scrambled egg (a first since Lauren doesn’t like eggs), a few bits of sausage, and pancakes! (These are keto pancakes, so they are very healthy.)

This boy loves food!

Lunch for 11 mo ~ Lifeofjoy.meLunch was a slice of deli turkey meat, cut into small bites. One grape tomato cut into small bits, and some peas. He is not fond of that sippy cup though.

Liam's lunch ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then he had some grapes . . .

Crunchers too ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then some crunchers! You can see in that one that he was finally slowing down. :D

Old Fashioned Sippy Cup Works ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe does pretty good with this old fashioned sippy cup for about two sips and then he either lays it down or drops it on the floor. Oh well, he’s learning. :)

I don’t think he was very happy about being confined but there are just times you need him to be immobile and not in a high chair. :D

Liam's Confinement ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe did seem to enjoy playing with these old friends of his for a bit though.

He spent the night and enjoyed more pancakes the next day too, after eating his morning cereal.

Ready to eat ~ Lifeofjoy.meNotice he has a spoon in his hand? That a trick Lauren and Brian taught me, to keep his hands off the spoon I’m feeding him with. Pretty smart!

I cannot believe how blonde his hair is! You can really tell it in the picture above. Brian and Lauren both have dark brown hair, so this is surprising.

That picture reminds me a lot of one I saw of Michael when he was young.

Young Michael ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd now I know from where Liam got his ears.

I got an app this week because Brian and Lauren suggested it as an easy way for me to get videos of Liam. I got it and played with it a bit, sending them videos since he was with me. But I have to say that I don’t think I like it very much. At least if you take a video with your phone and send it to someone you still have it on your phone. Of course it takes up space but it can be easily backed up to some other source, like I do with my pictures. I think that I will probably resort to that old method for my part but still use the app to get videos from them.

On a completely different subject, It’s my


Three years ago today, I started this blog in the hopes that I would be an encouragement to women out there somewhere. I hope this blog has been a blessing to you, encouraging you in your marriage (or preparation for marriage), good food, creativity, home educating your children and raising children in general. I hope my Friday ramblings have helped you get to know me a little better and that you might consider me a friend. ;)

In celebration of this three year accomplishment, I thought it was time to have a recipe index! So you can now find every recipe I’ve blogged, in alphabetical order, in one place. Just click on Recipe Index on the Menu Bar or right here, if you’d like. Now it is not beautified yet, but I figured I needed to just get it open and work on prettying it up later. :)

Well, I’m going to run. I have a busy week next week. I get to watch Liam for a few weeks while Lauren takes some classes. Tiffany is having  a friend out for a few days and we have a baby shower to go to tomorrow. I hope you have some fun planned for the weekend or next week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº




More Juvenile Non-Fiction

More Non-Fiction Children's Books ~ Lifeofjoy.meThese are two other books I found in the non-fiction section of the children’s portion of the library. Although parts of the Pepsi one was rather dry, I did enjoy finding out about how the product came to be, how it changed, and such. Overall, it was an okay read. I wouldn’t call it exciting but not boring either. ;) There were some boring bits with dates and stuff but overall, it was interesting to me that Pepsi of today is NOT what it was created to be.

The cooking one has about four recipes to try. This one was good more for the information about the White House and how Pres. and Abigail Adams were the first to live in the new building in D. C. I found it interesting and a short read. The print in this book was large so it isn’t too overwhelming for the younger readers and has great information for all readers. Unfortunately there are only four books in the series but I would recommend them.

So I think this little foray into the non-fiction section of the juvenile portion of the library yielded wonderful results. I believe your children could find some interesting information within the pages of some pretty good books. So, on each trip to the library, take a little browse in the non-fiction stacks and if you are lost on where to start, all these were found in the 900 section.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

GoTo and Lisbon Diva Dance

Several months ago Tangle It! started a . . . oh, I don’t know what to call it :D . . . a tutorial, a focus, a challenge. The idea is to increase the number of go-to patterns you use and to play with patterns to see where you can take them.

I managed to complete the first week but got derailed after that. I really have to work hard to participate in daily challenges. Well, I felt like working through it on my own pace, even though I’m twelve weeks behind. ;) Ina provides some instructions and seven different strings. It really is a great free “class” and you don’t have to be a part of the facebook group to play along, as she has it all on the website.

Last week I did this tile: The tangles are Ropuz and I played with Strircles using rectangular shapes instead of spheres.

Tiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is shaded . . . not much difference.

Tiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe one I did this week was much more drastic. Tangles this time are Ropuz Fill and I played with Nipa using the shape of the string provided.

More tiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have several pictures of adding the shading. I started by trying to give those odd shapes some 3D look and outline the string to give those shapes definition.

Tiles ~ LIfeofjoy.meNext I added just a bit of shading on Ropuz Fill.

Tiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meFinally I added in the shading in the ‘waves’ of NIpa.

Tiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow on to this week’s diva guest challenge from Henrike Bratz, who created the tangle Lisbon and challenges us to use it with Diva Dance. Now I thought it was specifically Rock-n-Roll we were supposed to use but I later realized it was not.

I decided to try to go for a flower and trellis look. Then I decided it was too much work to try to figure out exactly how to draw Lisbon to make it look the way I wanted and just went with the flow instead.

Here is the tile before shading.

Tiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m not very good at shading Rock and Roll Diva Dance but here it is finished.Tiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meUnfortunately this didn’t lend itself to enough shading to hide my wonky lines. At one point I considered darkening in the background but I used pencil to see what it would look like in one tiny spot and I didn’t care for it at all, so I erased it. I have to admit that the shading does look better in real life, as it is a bit darker all the way around. It is always after I scan it in that I can tell where I should’ve used more shading. Hmmm, maybe I’ll go back and add a bit more, but knowing myself as I do, I probably won’t. :D

Thanks once again to those wonderful few that take the time and effort to leave comments, they are most appreciated.

I hope you have a great week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Pork and Sauerkraut ~

Pork and Sauerkraut

Tender, savory roast with mild cabbage/sauerkraut.

I know, I never cared for it myself and when I heard it suggested that we incorporate more fermented foods into our diet I was not amused.

Unfortunately I got a urinary tract infection, I believe. Michael did some research and found that I should take as much apple cider vinegar as possible. To say I hate the stuff is an understatement. I have NEVER liked vinegar . . . at all . . . not in barbecue sauce or dressings . . . nothing. As a matter of fact, when I mix up Good Seasons dressing, I even use less vinegar than it calls for. Most recipes that call for vinegar, I cut the amount in half. I don’t even really care for pickles; the only ones I tolerate are bread and butter pickles.

So, I bought some sauerkraut and a pork roast. My mom used to make pork and sauerkraut when I was a kid but . . . I hated it. But thought I’d give it a try. So yesterday I  put a jar of German Sauerkraut in the bottom of the crockpot, sprinkled it with a little sugar alternative (Sukrin:1), put in the roast and seasoned it with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then I let it cook all day long. For all of that roast, I should have put in the whole two jars though because it was hard to find any.

Pork and Sauerkraut ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have to say, that I really enjoyed it. I only hope that the qualities of the fermentation are not killed by cooking it. :D I wonder if the brand had anything to do with how mild it was.

Notice in the following picture that there is a bit more meat than in the first one? I couldn’t resist, even way after dinner. :)

Pork and Sauerkraut ~

Pork and Sauerkraut


  • 1-2 jars German sauerkraut
  • pork roast
  • sprinkling of alternative sweetener (we used Sukrin:1)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder


  1. Pour the sauerkraut in the bottom of a crockpot.
  2. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or so of alternative sweetener.
  3. Put the roast on top of the kraut.
  4. Season with a sprinkling of salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  5. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours or high for 4-5.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Talking with Your Spouse

Talk ~ Lifeofjoy.meSome time ago, I read this post on the XYCode about why men won’t talk to their wives. I found the article interesting. He points out that one of the main reasons men don’t want to talk is because their wives won’t talk about the subject they want to talk about. That is telling enough but reading the comments was even more enlightening.

So firstly women don’t want to talk about sex and then secondly, when they do talk whatever subject the wife wants to she generally makes him feel that he is wrong and or shreds him for his opinion.

I am sad to admit that I have fallen into both of these situations. I was so convinced that my way was right that I said and did whatever was necessary to convince him. Unfortunately this did not go well for me or my marriage. I wish I would have known to do things differently. It would have been much better on my marriage had I learned to talk respectfully with Michael. There is a respectful way to for each partner to talk about what is on their mind.

I think that women should always be available to discuss sex with her husband. Furthermore, I have learned that I should always be available to him, intimately. It is okay for me to have an occasional request to abstain but it should be way less frequent than otherwise.

I recommend jumping over and reading the short post and the few comments there as well, as the men’s comments were enlightening even though troubling.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Nothing Much Going On Here

As it turned out, Brian and Lauren did not go out of town last weekend and thus we did not get to keep this little cutie, so unfortunately there are no new cutie pictures this week. BUT we are keeping him this weekend and will have pictures next week (assuming I remember to take some ;) ).Cuties ~ Lifeofjoy.meLove both my cuties there!

Well let’s see . . . not a whole lot has been going on with me. The challenge to read the Bible through chronologically in 90 days is progressing along well. During the young adult conference I got behind but pushed the following week to get back on track . . . Praise God for the Psalms! :D

We are well over the halfway mark with just a little over a month to go. I’ve really tried to remember to pray for the participants but will admit there are some days that it slips my mind. You would think that when I pick up my Bible to read or when I am placing that all important checkmark on the day’s readings that it would remind me to pray for them but some days it just doesn’t. ;)

Of course the devil isn’t going to let you dig into the Word of God like that without throwing some stumbling blocks your way. And we have had those, let me tell you! I am in my 50s and have never had a urinary tract infection until last weekend. Ugh! It has been a booger to get rid of too. I’m drinking apple cider vinegar in a cup of water at each meal time. It would probably be more effective if I drank it without food but it is a miracle I’m drinking it all. I have to question those people’s sanity that drink it for pleasure (thinking Trim Healthy Mama Good Girl Moonshine here). I have never drank alcohol but if this is any indication, I think it is safe to say that I will continue that trend into the future without difficulty. ;) (I learned a LONG time ago that you have to watch your words, especially words like never. :D )

After a poor night’s sleep, we got up Sunday morning to get ready for church. We decided to take communion together as a family before leaving the house.

Communion ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt doesn’t matter exactly what ingredients you use. You need a bread and a liquid. What is important is to approach it with reverence and to remember Jesus’ broken body and spilt blood for you.

I’m not the only one that has gotten hit. Tiffany has really been fighting headaches and pain in her jaw. Her wisdom teeth are coming in and all that shifting and such has caused significant pain.

Sean had some kind of rash or allergic reaction appear on his face the other day, out of nowhere! He has several spots but it is at its worst around his mouth. It is really ridiculous and uncomfortable. He was very swollen yesterday morning.

Michael too is being hit with pains in his body. Some are pains he’s had before but some are different. We are all going around praying for each other and enjoying some minor successes but we are all ready for complete health and healing in our bodies.

Well, I guess that’s enough rambling for today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº





Periodic Table

Periodic Table ~ Lifeofjoy.meI came across this interesting link for the periodic table recently and thought to share it with you. It is interactive in that you can click on any of the elements and it will show a larger picture with descriptions. I went to its home page and found that it has several different versions that you can print out. It also has some flashcards.

From there I wondered why you even need to study the periodic table, since I never did. I learned that it is most helpful in chemistry, which I never took in school. One post I read shared a link to a BBC show, broken up into six different videos. I watched the first ten minute video and found it a bit interesting, so your older student might as well. However, do so with caution, as I have not watched all of them.

If your child needs to memorize the elements, there are several ways to do so. There are the flashcards linked above. Then there is this song but I glanced over some of the other topics they have videos on and know that I would not want any young children going to their channel but the song is cool. There’s even a version with lyrics. :)

Then I watched this cool memory technique video for the first ten elements. Let’s see if I remember them (spelling does not count against me) Hydrogen, Hellium, Lithium, Beryillium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon! Whoo hoo! Here’s the link to watch the video. Of course, after watching the video for the first ten elements, he wants you to register (free) to get the video of the next ten and then ultimate wants to sell you the rest, which might be worth it if your children NEED to memorize them. :)

I hope this is useful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

‘Nzepple Monotangle

Today’s guest challenge by Elisa Murphy is to do a monotangle of ‘Nzepple. ‘Nzepple is one of those tangles that I loved when I first saw it because the piece I saw was in the Zentangle newsletter and had been colorfully watercolored. It was gorgeous. I eventually attempted to draw the tangle but had difficulty doing it justice and thus left it be for a while . . . a long while. Then one day I saw someone post alternative ways to draw it and the original way clicked for me. The original way is still my favorite and ‘Nzepple is a favorite as well.

Because the alternative way of drawing ‘Nzepple (just how many times can I say that word in one post without being totally obnoxious? :D ) I realized it could fill any area easily.

Today I decided to go with string #26 from which has three different sized circles in it. My original thought was to draw each one as a button of sorts with a different variation on the initial lines.

For the first and largest button I went with wacky wavy lines for the base lines. The second  and middle sized button I drew with standard lines and for the third and smallest button I drew random lines. I then did the background with a moderate size standard grid/lines.

I’m not very good at drawing uniform lines, so even my standard ones are a little off and wonky but that’s okay with me. :)

Here is the piece before shading.

DC#326 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI know, it is really hard to make heads or tales out of it in its unshaded condition. When I started adding in the shading for the buttons I realized that I should have made my circles larger if I wanted them to be buttons. Thus they became holes or cutouts. :)

Because my lines are not the best, I used some shading to pretty them up a bit. I think you will agree with me that shading made a HUMONGOUS difference in this tile. :D

DC#326 ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhile I was tangling, I did not really like the wonky lined one (largest hole) but when I started shading it I decided to darken everything between the ‘stones’ and I really like how it turned out.

I probably should have shaded this one like I did the large one, but alas, I did not. ;) I decided not to do too much shading in the cutout sections leaving the light bright in those sections. Overall the tile seems darker in real life, as usual and I can see where I should have spent a bit more time blending but it was getting late and I needed to get my blog post done (as I always post my Zentangle tiles on Wednesdays).

Well that’s it. Thanks for stopping by and a huge thank you to the few that take the time to comment.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

My Diet Journey

Taco Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meLast week I shared some of my favorite Keto links with you. Today I want to talk a little about my journey.

About a year ago, Michael was doing some research because he’d been experiencing some things in his body and was looking for a natural way to get healthier. He stumbled upon some doctors that promote the ketogenic lifestyle. The more he researched it and prayed about it the more he felt this was something he could benefit from.

I, on the other hand, have been on so many diets that it is sad. I’ve been overweight most of my life and after I got married it only got worse (I think I was a rebellious eater ;) ) In the most recent years, I have done Atkin’s New Diet Revolution, Eat Right for Your Blood Type, Weigh Down Workshop, Let’s Do Lunch, hCg and such. I’ve also done Weight Watchers and NutriSystem, years and years ago.

The problem with most diets for me is that they want me to not eat things that I love and thereby it is unsustainable, although I gave each one a good long try at about a year each. I’m not really a quitter but during that time I tried to find ways to make the diet a lifestyle that would work for me and unfortunately, I never found one.

After gaining back the weight I’d lost on the hCg injection diet, I was distraught and had committed the matter to much prayer. I determined that God made all the food groups and that He wanted me to learn moderation in all of it. He didn’t want me to eliminate any one of them: not fats, carbs, or even fruits. Thus I was determined to take the principles I’d learned in Weigh Down Workshop, namely, eat according to hunger and listen to your body. (Well, I’ll just tell you that my mind can misinterpret what is hunger when I want to eat something . . . just saying.)

Then Michael told me that he felt he needed to do the Keto diet and that he thought it would be good for all of us to do. I felt God nudge me in that direction and later tell me that I needed to support Michael in this, as he has supported me in all my previous diets.

So I started researching and looking for guidelines and such. Unfortunately people make Keto much more confusing than it has to be by talking about macros and such. I did find some sample menus but again there was a problem; all the samples were for one person doing the diet and thus had you eating the same two or three meals throughout the week. Now that is all well and good if it is only you or maybe even just two of you but for a family of four adults, that is not going to work, especially since I don’t think we should have to eat the same thing for dinner several days in the same week. Now Tiffany, Sean, and I do not mind eating leftovers for lunch but to have the leftovers be another dinner in the same week was not good for me. :( So I just pushed through making a menu like I always did but with recipes from several different menus I’d find online.

Eventually I found Kristie Sullivan and her facebook group Low Carb Journey. Now she simplified things! Don’t eat any more than 20 total carbs in a day and it is best if each meal is only 7 total carbs. She said not to worry about all the other macros and only eat when hungry. “If you’re hungry, you’re doing it wrong!” Then I learned one more big thing from her, if you are eating enough fat in your meal you should be able to go four to six hours until your next meal and your body actually needs you to go at least 3 hours to be able to do something other than digest food all the time.

Now remember that I said I knew God was wanting me to have a balanced eating plan? I can assure you that Keto is not balanced. :D But it was a necessary step for us. In this time I believe our bodies have done some healing that would not have been possible otherwise.

Through my keto recipe hunts, I’d occasionally stumble onto a Trim Healthy Mama recipe that fit keto, so I knew that in some way THM would fit what I was already doing. I eventually decided to read about the plan in their book and knew I’d eventually turn to this way of eating. It has keto meals without abusing calories but also allows for those carbs that God created for us to eat but doing so in a setting in which it will be most beneficial to the body.

This post has gotten a bit too long, so I’ll stop by saying that we have started to incorporate some of these yummy whole grains into our menus with joy but it will be a while before we completely understand all the ins and outs of the plan and work it with ease. It was a joy to have fish tacos with rice and beans last night and know that we were completely on plan and that it would not harm our bodies.

I’m sure I’ll share more as I grow in knowledge of this amazing program.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº