Schedule/Routines for Children

routines ~ Lifeofjoy.meFlyLady taught me years ago, that even if you don’t think you have a routine/schedule you do. People have a tendency to do certain things when they get up or go to bed or at some other point in their day. The kicker is that the routine you are keeping may not be working for you. :o

I used to have the routine of hitting the snooze bar on my alarm clock several times before finally pulling myself out of bed, shuffling across the floor to my chair where I would drink the cup of tea my wonderful husband had prepared for me and pray or read my Bible or some other such thing as it got closer to the time when I needed to make hubby’s breakfast and lunch and off he’d go.

I’d procrastinate getting dressed, and making my bed (if at all), and would manage to get through my day generally feeling like I was undisciplined and/or not accomplishing much in my day. You see, that was a routine; it just wasn’t conducive to productivity or much in the sense of accomplishment.

I learned about morning routines, evening routines, before bed routines, weekly routines, and other such things. I found that incorporating some of these in my life really gave me a better sense of accomplishment and overall peace/joy because I wasn’t fighting myself any longer. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, but just starting with ONE thing and getting it down is a good beginning. Then add another thing until you have those two down. If you try to incorporate too much all at once, you are setting yourself up for failure. Whereas if you just set out to do one thing (or a couple things) in the beginning, you set yourself up for success.

I read the book Make Your Bed by Admiral McRaven last year and he shared some good thoughts on this as well. It is a short little book that he wrote based on a commencement speech he gave. It is an easy read that I got from the library. I recommend reading it.

Thankfully, I’d already started the routine of making my bed as soon as I get out of it (most mornings ;) ). I also get dressed right away most mornings–the exceptions are mornings that I have to get dressed enough to face the outside world, which generally includes some uncomfortable clothing, ;). On those mornings I stay in pajamas until I need to get dressed, usually two hours later, and make my bed before getting dressed, if the bed fairy (a.k.a. my hubby) hasn’t made it already. (Side note: If hubby has made the bed, I thank him. :) )

All of that to say that we are all creatures of habit–some are good habits and others not so good. Children do well on routines also. It is good to be consistent in their routines and what you do.

There is this gal I watch on youtube that loves to read. Her toddler loves books as well. My son loves video games. His son loves to have a controller in his hands like his daddy. Children follow the example we lay out for them. It is good to help children have routines.

When my children were young, even before they could read, I made a routine for them with pictures and put it in a page protector (better to have laminated it, which can be done inexpensively at Mardel or some teacher supply stores) and pinned it to the wall for them to follow. This included things like a dinosaur brushing his teeth and one washing his face. One making a bed and one eating. I also put a picture of clothes for them getting dressed. This gave them the visual reminder of what needed to be done each morning.

It is good to have some plans for how your days will go so that you don’t end up doing nothing or getting frustrated. Change of scenery is helpful too. Getting outside everyday is good. I read a post on Busy Toddler about her schedule–she leaves the house every day (around 10:30) for a while, for something to do. But living in the country I say that it can be changed to getting outside at a certain time each day. It can be something as simple as going outside and letting the child run across the grass (or parking lot, as the case may be), to using sidewalk chalk or playing with a ball or some such thing.

Wow, this has gotten rather lengthy, so I’ll leave it for today.

Have a great day,

Michele ºÜº

Festina Lente 2019 Week 4

Well it seems that Laura’s wrist/hand is still bothering her, as there was no diva challenge again this week. So once again I am sharing the piece I did for Festina Lente this week.

The theme for week four is feather. She gave a few templates for birds  and a large feather. I chose to modify one of the bird templates and do one piece for the week again. Here’s th string I drew.

bird template ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe tangles this week were Meer, Featherfall, Birds On A Wire, Cislaweng, and Drawings. The string was #105. The fragment was K6 but I mistakenly thought it was K2, which I used for the head. I used the string for some feathers, Cislaweng and Bird On A Wire on the breast and Drawing for feathers on the head.

Here it is before any blackening or shading.

Festina Lente 19 wk 4 ~ lifeofjoy.meAnd here it is with the shading.

#festinalente19 wk4 ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell that’s it for week four. :) There are two weeks left and I’ve already drawn out the string for the next one. :)

Thanks for stopping by,

Michele ºÜº

Simple shrimp salad ~

Salad with Shrimp

I’m going to share some salads that I’ve been having lately and ENJOYING. That is a vital point. :) It also helps that they have very few ingredients and are super simple to make.

Shrimp in Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meI started by heating the frozen shrimp, seasoning them with a bit of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. If I were smart and on top of things, I’d marinade the shrimp in some soy sauce or coconut aminos before cooking them but I’m not so I add it when cooking. :)

While that is cooking, I take a half piece of sprouted bread and put it into the toaster and proceed to rip several pieces of lettuce up into bite-sized pieces and putting them into the serving bowl.

Shrimp and bread are done. So add the shrimp and either cut or rip the toast for “croutons.”

"croutons in salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s amazing how much that little half piece of toast adds to this salad.

To this I add a bit of the low fat low carb thousand island dressing :) and Enjoy! It really is quite good and very low calorie. ;)

Salad with Shrimp


  • 3-4 ounces of shrimp
  • 3-4 large leaves of lettuce, torn
  • 1/2 piece of sprouted bread, toasted, cubed


  1. Season shrimp as desired. I used onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and a bit of coconut aminos.
  2. Combine all and enjoy.

Well this is a quick and easy. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Michele ºÜº

Revisiting Connect with Your Spouse

Today is the last part of that article I wrote for the local homeschool support group newsletter years ago. This one has lots of date night ideas for both at home and out, with the children and without. :)

I hope it’s helpful to you. So without further adieu . . .

TConnect with Your Spouse ~ LifeofJoy.meoday I thought I’d share some GREAT websites to give you some GREAT “Date Night” ideas. Many of these ideas are adaptable to different situations. I like these sites because I don’t have to get super creative, I can just read through and find something that I think we’d enjoy and make any adjustments I want to make for our given situation.

  • First up is The Dating Divas  which is jam packed with lots and lots of date nights that are customizable to your situation. Many of the ideas include printables for you to download and print out and use!    Here is one you can do with your kids: Check out some of the different date nights and see which ones you and your hubby might like and which ones you might enjoy with your whole family; just remember that if you use the idea with your whole family to ensure that your hubby knows and feels that this time is created with HIM in mind, since the point of it is to get closer to him. There are also a list of about 100 suggestions added in the comments of this post.
  • This next one is another idea from The Dating Divas site. This is a cute idea for a once a month, year long, project of “date” nights. Here’s how to adapt this for the whole family and some homeschooling as an added bonus. Make the passport and such as suggested on the site but give it to your husband when the two of you are alone together and explain that once a month you will be treating him to a special date night. Much of it will be shared by the entire family but let him know that the ‘night belongs to him’ and that once the children are down for the night and/or you retire to your room, the date night will continue. Imagine the smile that will be on his face when he comes home to the decorations and smells of a foreign place, right in his home, but he knows that his fun is ONLY just BEGINNING. Be sure to decorate your bedroom as well as the eating and/or living areas. Take the opportunity to do a short unit study on the chosen “destination” with the children prior to the “date night” so that there is an educational benefit as well. 🙂 You can make passports for your kids too, just leave some special touches for just your honey. (Remember to make it special for HIM, if you do all the same things for the kids, he’s not getting anything special.)
  • Love Actually is the next one and it has many date night ideas (click that one for the index)!!! You could spend hours here. You might even plan a date night where you and your hubby look through some of the different date night ideas and see what he thinks would be worth a try. You might want to also check out the blogger’s other site, , to see some ideas she has there for other things . . . I noticed she has a girls party with a theme of Milk and Cookies, sounds like it could me a fun Homeschool Moms Night Out.
  • Here’s another Date Night Idea blog: She has a link to 101 Date Night Ideas, surely we older ladies can even find some ideas here. ;)
  • Here’s an interesting article, “Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples,” that has some interesting ideas about the kinds of activities you should pursue together. Please take the time to read this; it is really good.
  • Here is one idea I plucked from an other-wise ridiculous list: Pick up a bucket of fried
    chicken and head for the drive-in.

In my travels, I came across that great website mentioned above, The Dating Divas. While perusing the site, I came to realize that a couple of the contributors are Christian ladies, which explained why the site is so tastefully done. I read their FAQ page  and the answers to questions 7 and 8 are great. I hope you’ll pop over there and read their wise words and that these links will inspire you and help you keep connected with your husband in a deeper way than before.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Spring has Sprung

It amazes me how different things can be in just a day or two or three. The day the kids got here Tiffany and I took these first pictures.

Here you can see  the Bradford pear tree with it’s leaves unfurling.Bradford Pear tree ~

And here is a close up of the blossoms budding.Buds on Bradford Pear Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe daffodils are budding. It’s odd because these are in full sun, very similar conditions to the ones across the street but those are open already.  :D Oh well, it doesn’t matter because these will bloom too. :)Daffodil Buds ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere are some blossoms on the free peach tree. By that I mean that we did not plant this and it wasn’t here when we moved out here either. We can only assume that it grew from some peach pit that we put out with the stuff for our first set of chickens and eventually grew from either being processed through the chicken or was never eaten and managed to grow unaided. It is quite sturdy and strong looking and has MANY blossoms on it. Budding Free Peach Tree ~ Peach Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is some of the blossoms on the peach tree we purchased from Walmart several years ago. You may remember that we had lots of blossoms on it one year (last year?) but then got several late freezes and we were unprepared to protect it. Consequently, I’m praying that the weather stays nice and we don’t get any of that mess this year because we are still unprepared and I’d really love to get some peaches.

However, a teacher at our church tells a story of a peach tree he remembers from his youth, that the first peaches from the tree were not very tasty. I hope these will be. Only time will tell. :)Budding little Peach tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis one is the plum tree we got from Walmart the same year as the peach tree. It is covered in little white blossoms. I really hope that means we will be getting a lot of yummy sweet plums this year. :) (I’m cautious with my expectations because of said peach story though.) Plum tree budding ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is just two days later.Spring Bradford Pear Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.e Daffodils are blooming ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd on day 3 you can see it’s in full bloom and so are my daffodils. It’s odd, they are ALL the light yellow with the long orange trumpets. I planted a variety mix and have had a few other varieties in the past but they are all like this now. I may go gather some from the ditch line across the street where my neighbor has not planted them (he’s been gone for a long time, so I cannot ask permission ;) ) and plant them amongst these. Those are all the bright yellow ones. I think it’d be pretty to have some of those interspersed with these.Full view of Bradford Pear Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is the purchased peach tree the two days later. Buds have blossomed. :) And there are more buds there.  Blossoming Tiny Peach Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is the plum tree the couple of days later. Looking good. First blossoms on Plum Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, that’s our plant life update for this week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Ideas for Toddlers, Pre-Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Activity Ideas Preschoolers ~ Lifeofjoy.meThere is a sweet lady at church that worked in a daycare for years prior to having her own children. Now that she has children of her own, I see some of the things she does with them and amazed. I just attributed it to her daycare experience but then realized that she gets some great ideas from people she follows on instagram. So I picked two and began following them myself because I want to be a wonderful grandmother some day. ;)

At any rate, I thought I’d share with you the two that I follow but don’t worry if you don’t do Instagram because one of them has a great website full of the same ideas. :)

Busy Toddler

This is the one that has both a website and an Instagram account. She has so many wonderful ideas that you can spend A LOT of time viewing all the ideas she has posted.

  • Sensory Bins: I know this can be a bit scary because of the possible mess but she has some great tips and inexpensive ideas on how to get started (think Dollar Tree :) ). And how to get started even with those that are younger.
  • Dot Stickers: I have seen so many dot sticker ideas on the two Instagram accounts that I follow and wonder why I never knew about these ideas when my kids were young. Dot stickers are inexpensive and can be used to help your child with fine motor skills. I know my grandson loves stickers so this kind of activity is right up his alley. ;) Here is one activity she shared but there are many more.
  • Bath Time Fun: I remember when my children were younger I’d found an article that said to Find the Fun in what Needed to be Done. Well, this seems to go hand in hand with that philosophy. This link is a round-up post of bath time fun ideas.
  • So Much More: She also has ideas for math, science, literacy, and art, as well as fine and gross motor skills. Links can be found on her homepage menu.


Molly has some great ideas too. There are ideas for sorting, shapes, painting, sensory bins, dot stickers and more.

There are sooo many good ideas on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and the internet in general. My advice to you is to pick one idea and try it. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a ton of research and ideas. Pick one or two and do them.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Festina Lente 2019 Week 3

I guess Laura Harms is still unable to draw because there was no Diva Challenge again this week. I wish her a speedy recovery.

I’m thankful though that I decided to do the Festina Lente since it is keeping me with ideas. :)

This week I thought I was going to do individual tiles each week but when I looked at the suggested theme and tangles I opted to do one larger piece again in my nearly 7″ square sketchbook.

The theme for the week was Diamond and included the tangles Diamonds & Squares, Dex, Diamond Drops, Quiltz, and 3D-Room, along with fragment Y2 from, and string 129 from In the pdf she also included the stepout to Anthem, which I enjoyed tangling before, so I really wanted to include it.

Since so many of these tangles were grid based tangles, I imagined them all on one grid flowing from one to the other with some Anthem stuck in there for good measure. I considered using the string for the string but instead just used it as a tangle.

Here is my piece before shading.

Festina Lente 2019 unshaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meI loved tangling Quiltz so much that I used it more than some of the others on the gridded portion. I also really liked Diamond Drops, so I used it as a border.

I did so much shading and blackening that I forgot there was even more shading I wanted to do I just needed to be done. :D Here is the scan of it as finished as it is getting for now. ;)

#festinalente2019 week 3 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’d like it better if I’d added a bit more color to Anthem but I’m too new at that, so I erred on the side of not enough. ;)

Here is a picture of the finished piece in natural lighting but enhanced by the photo edit enhance button to be able to see it a bit better.

#festinalente19 ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, that’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by!

Michele ºÜº

Salad with fp 1000 ~

THM FP Thousand Island Trimmy Dressing Tips

I love a sweet dressing on my salads. My preferred dressings are Catalina, Russian, which is nearly unheard of now, and Thousand Island, although I do like a creamy Vidalia Onion too. Consequently, I was thrilled when I found a recipe for a fuel pull Thousand Island dressing in Trim Healthy Mama’s Trim Healthy Table cookbook.

The first time I made it, it turned out a bit more solid than a dressing should be, so the next time I made it I reduced the amount of gelatin. It worked better but still seemed rather involved. I stopped having so many salads and thus stopped making the dressing.

Last month I started eating salads in earnest–generally two a day–and needed a low calorie dressing to use on them. (I know that with THM we aren’t generally concerned with calories but I’ve got some seriously stubborn weight that needs to go, so I’m trying to be as conscientious as I can without actually counting anything. ;) ) Thus I decided it was time to make this dressing again.

When I made it a month or so ago, Michael tried it and loved it. So now I have to make a double batch every week! :D So I’ve got it down rather simply and thought I’d share what I’ve learned to make the process go a bit more smoothly and get more consistent results.

Tip 1

Measure out all the dry ingredients into a small bowl first.

Tip 2

Next measure out the vinegar and mct oil in another small bowl. I do the dry first so that the sweetener doesn’t stick to the measuring cups/spoons.

Prep most the ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.meTip 3

Concerning the tomato paste, when I make a double recipe I do not feel like measuring out 6 tablespoons of the stuff, so I found from the can that 2 tablespoons weigh 33g. I like to weigh ingredients because that way I’m certain I’m not being too miserly or too generous. So weighing out 99g of tomato paste for the double batch is easy. :)

weighed out tomato paste ~

I then put whatever is left of the can of tomato paste into a freezer baggie and flatten it out before freezing. That way it is easier to weigh for the next batch; just break off however much I need.

ready to freeze tomato paste ~ Lifeofjoy.meTip 4

Slice off a wedge of onion. I don’t really like bits of onion and pickles in my dressing, so I just put the whole wedge in the blender and let it pulverize it. :)

Onion wedge ~ Lifeofjoy.meTip 5

Oh! I get my water to a boil as I’m measuring out other ingredients and turn it off. Well, to be honest, I use my instant tea kettle, so it turns itself off after it boils. But as I’m getting the gelatin ready, I turn the kettle back on to get the water hot again. I also make sure to use a 2-cup measuring cup since I’m making a double batch. :)

softening gelatin ~ Lifeofjoy.meTip 6

Be quick to add all the ingredients after the initial blend of the gelatin. I don’t know if it makes much difference but I think it is one thing that contributes to how firm and separated the dressing gets. Sometimes I put the onion wedge in with everything else and sometimes I add it afterwards. I’m not sure if it makes a difference.

initial gelatin blend ~ Lifeofjoy.meBlending fp 1000 island ~ Lifeofjoy.meTip 7

Use a grated Parmesan jar lid for the quart mason jar. I stored the single batch in the empty grated Parmesan jar.

THM FP Thousand Island Dressing ~ Lifeofjoy.meTip 8

Stir with a clean spoon before serving to break it down if it is a bit too gelled for your liking. :)

That’s it! These tips have made my weekly dressing making much less frustrating. I hope it helps you. It would work with any of the trimmy dressings in THT. This actually makes all recipes easier; you just have to read through the recipe first to see if there are anythings that need to be combined in certain orders or anything.

Well, I’ll run for today,

Michele ºÜº

Revisiting Show Him You Love Him

As I mentioned the last, I’m revisiting that article I wrote so many years ago for my local homeschool support group newsletter. Today I share part three. Revisiting this article has reminded me about how we spent our evenings for a while and sadly, we have gotten out of that. So, I’m hoping to bring it back. I actually mentioned it last week one day and we both enjoyed sitting on the sofa together as I read and he did his own thing. :)

I hope this will be a blessing to you today.

Show Him You Love HIm ~ LifeOfJoy.meIt is amazing to me how something as simple as leaving the recliner and my laptop and going and sitting on the sofa with Mike at 9pm in the evening can make such a difference in how Mike and I relate to one another. It makes him feel loved and important in my life. OH! How I wish someone had given me these tips when I was younger . . . Huh! I wish someone had given me these tips a year ago, because by now, our marriage would be so much stronger and healthier and happier.

I was astonished to find out that he felt that there was little place in my life for him because I had volunteer work I do; I sang on the worship team, which required a night out each week and early departure for church on Sundays, I have support groups I run online, I have a newsletter that I did, I had the kids to tend to, the house to clean, food to make, and I needed to relax too . . . He felt lost in the cracks and I couldn’t understand this before, they are his kids too, his house and food too . . . It isn’t like I ignored him or his “needs”. I thought I was doing good; I go to bed when he does, get up around the time he does, I make him a hot breakfast before he leaves and pack him a lunch each day, have his clothes washed, try to have things ‘picked up’ when he gets home in the evening, and have dinner ready shortly after he gets home. I don’t spend time in another room in the house in the evenings, we are all in the living room together; we may all be doing something different but we are together and do share what we are doing with each other.

I thought I was sacrificing and doing good . . . But he saw clutter and that one pair of pants that he wanted to wear tomorrow were dirty, and would’ve liked to have had dessert or something different for dinner. He saw me on the computer, neglecting him. Much like I imagine God feels, he just wanted me to pay some attention to him. It is sad that it has taken me this long to get it, but thankfully, I finally did! Now, I hope to help you!
Around the time I got this realization, we were able to spend the weekend together and have a chance to just talk. You see, God had been preparing me. I picked up a book from Mardel’s (a local Christian bookstore) entitled Before the Last Resort: 3 Simple Questions to Rescue Your Marriage, by George Kenworthy. I cannot recommend this book highly enough! The author pastored a church in Minneapolis where he saw God heal about 90% of the marriages of all the couples they counseled. Did you see that? 90%!!! These weren’t just slightly troubled marriages, some of these were severely troubled, like one couple ready to file divorce because one partner was living with another man having an adulterous affair. The stories he shares are astounding, and do precisely what he shares them for, GIVES HOPE !

One of the first things that struck me was the 3 simple questions he asks, questions EVERY Christian should be willing to answer yes to and very easy to do. Then he suggests a “Communication Date” which is very simple as well but I have to tell you, it shook me.
On this ‘date’ you tell your spouse how you felt their love for you this week. Wow! Stop and think about that a minute – Have you shown your love to your spouse in a way that he will recognize??? Or that will make an impression with him??? It was out of this thought that the “sofa time” with my husband has emerged. What will you do this week to ensure that your husband feels your love for him?

At any rate, back to my story, Mike and I were able to just talk, not confront, argue, gripe, or nag about anything. It had been a very busy two weeks of volunteer work and I was afraid to ask him “how he felt my love for him” recently, as was suggested in the book, because I wasn’t sure he was going to be able to pinpoint anything in all our busyness but thankfully he did. It was a good weekend and we were able to connect with each other and then fellowship with several couples around our age from the church we were attending at the time. It was a truly enjoyable weekend.

Finally, in an effort to keep this a G-rated article, I will merely say that I have put effort into “spicing up” our time alone. No one likes to be caught in a rut or feel that they are the initiator all the time. Surprise your man! Do something you haven’t done before! Bring a  smile to his face. Let him know that you still desire him too.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

The Joys of Family Time

The kids came down last weekend and I have cutie pie pictures, as promised. :)Cutie Pie Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany and I worked hard to get the room child-proofed. We cleaned off the card table that we had set up and took down the table. Then we took some of the tile boards that we’d cut down and used for marker boards when the kids were schooling to cover the drawers, shelves of exposed games, craft supplies, and other storage kind of things. Then we took Sean’s old twin bed mattress that we’d stored behind the sofa bed in the other room and put it on the floor of the room giving him a big boy bed. :) We store the toys we have for him in that room too and left them available to him.

Shortly after they arrived, we all went outside for a bit, to burn of some of Liam’s energy. The guys threw a football and frisbee around, while we girls threw a frisbee.

Grandson and Son ~

Husband with football ~
I’m one blessed lady!

Michael is sooo good with kids. :)Grandson and Hubby ~ Lifeofjoy.meUncle Sean took Liam an adventuring, which really means he simply took him around the cleared area to look at Sasha, our Blue Tick Heeler. He saw one of the chickens under one of the trees. The other he’d seen up front where we were throwing the frisbee.Liam, chicken, flying disc ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe saw the old lawn mower and remembered that he got to sit on it last time they were here, so up he went. ;)

Grandson and his uncle ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe spent a few minutes blowing bubbles and chasing the bubbles I blew for him. ;)Grandson blowing bubbles ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe seemed to like visiting Sasha. Tiffany took him over too.

Grandson and his aunt ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd the next day he went out with Sean to feed the animals and they visited for a while again. :)

Visiting the dog again ~ don’t know why we haven’t gotten rid of that old dog house. We got her a new one several years ago, which she uses but I guess she likes having options. :D )

Then we were off to my parents’ house to visit and celebrate March birthdays. My youngest niece took the cake out to each person when it was their turn. First up was Halee, then my sister Tracie, then Sean, whose birthday isn’t until next week. :)

Blowing out candles ~ Happy Birthday ~ Lifeofjoy.meLiam helped Sean blow out his candles. :) One more time ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was a nice visit! It was good to see my family again. I sure do miss that we get together weekly but I sure do like lazy Sundays at home after church. :)

Well, there were more pictures taken of the trees and such but I’ll share them next week, as this has gotten rather picture heavy.

Have a great weekend,

Michele ºÜº