5th Blogiversary!!!

It is hard to believe that I started this blog 5 years ago! I have posted new content five days a week for five years minus a dozen or less repeat posts. I had no idea that I’d find enough to say or share. Then I look at Lori Byerly of The Generous Wife and see that she’s had her site for about ten years and she puts up content every day! I’m in awe. :)

My immediate goal is to go over the posts here on the site giving each one appropriate tags. This will probably take me a couple of months but I think it will be helpful to visitors of the site to find what they are looking for.

I dislike ads! I really dislike loading a webpage and having an advertisement video load automatically–wait, I dislike any video loading automatically; if I want to see it, I’ll click on the play button. I dislike pop-ups trying to get me to sign-up for emails or notifications and the like. Consequently, I won’t do it to you!

My oldest son has been after me for a long time to monetize this blog, to at least recoup the yearly costs. I’ve been thinking about some kind of pdfs that people could buy to help with that and make a little bit of money too. My daughter told me that some of my zentangles would be nice coloring pages.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’ve been considering Patreon as well. It allows you to have tiers as low as $1 a month and allows you to provide digital goods too. There’s so much to it, my head is spinning. :o I intend to make a decision about this over the weekend and will announce something next Friday.

Also, Tiffany and I have started a Youtube channel, Joyous Jabbers. The plan is to post a new video every Saturday beginning tomorrow. :o We hope it will be a blessing and encouragement to you.

Well, that’s all I got today. As you can tell, I’ve got lots to do and I better get busy. ;)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

Early Learning Printables Galore Link

While I was looking for the preschoolers passport last week I found several other things that I’ll be sharing over the next little while, starting with today. :)

The Reading Mama has loads of printables!!! I clicked on Preschool Printables and then on the Preschool Fun Packs and then on the Summer Smileys Preschool Fun Pack. Once there I found some summer book suggestions as well as quite a few printable pages in the free download.

This download focused mostly on number recognition and used dice too. It had some two piece puzzles and some tracing pages all in color and black and white. Oh, there’s even some sequencing cards.

You could print the color for eye-appeal and the black and white pages for coloring.

There are so many printable pages on this site covering a lot of different areas like reading readiness, cutting practice, sight words, reading family books, and even Bob Book printables.

Oh! You can laminate or place the page in a page protector so that the page can be used repeatedly. And I’d probably glue the cards to a colored piece of paper/cardstock instead of printing color on the backside and thus saving ink.

There’s also a simple phonics assessment and spelling reference folder for those that have children that already reading somewhat.

I hope this website with its free pages to download and print are a blessing to you.

Until next time,

Michele

Pre-Strung Zendala

Today I decided to use one of the pre-strung zendalas that I got for Christmas several years ago. I needed something that was simple this time around.

So here is the tile I went with.

As you can see, I went with a black tile. I lightened the scan so that you could see the string.

I spent some time looking over the CPT journey pages over on pattern-collections. I got through about five of the pages and although I’m interested in it, I really only wanted some simple tangling today.

The reason I mention it though is because I think it is what gave me the ‘courage’ (for lack of a better word) to just start putting pen to paper.

I started by simply auraing the line on one section.

I didn’t want to commit to doing the same thing in all six of the similar sections, so I opted to make these same lines in every other section. Then I decided to do some Betweed in the ovalish top of the alternate sections.

After I finished that, I decided to draw more lines, but thicker coming down from the Betweed sections to the points. I’d used the 05 jelly roll for the thinner lines and went with the 10 for the thicker lines.

As you can see, I then drew some orbs in the remaining sections. I decided to fill in the background with white, so it looks more like holes than orbs.

Here’s the picture in natural light after I attempted to do a little shading.

I put a little graphite along the line where the thin lines connected. I then added a bit of white charcoal pencil on a couple lines but other than that, I didn’t know what to do. So I just left it.

Here is the scan of the finished tile. It doesn’t look much different from the other.

So, what would you suggest I do to add more dimension to this? I like it enough, but it just seems like it’s missing something. Actually I think it kind of looks like salmon and honeycomb in those ovalish sections. :D

Well, thank you for stopping by. I appreciate any advice you have for me on how to shade on black tiles.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Healthy Fruit Pizza Cookies

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meFor the rest of this month, in honor of Christmas in July, Tiffany is putting her book on sale! If you’d like to read a fun cozy murder mystery (that reads like a romantic comedy at Christmas time), go check out my daughter’s first book, Murder Mystery and the Gingerbread Cookies available on Amazon (and a few other places I can’t recall right now ;) ). She started writing it when she was 12 years old. We published a few years ago in ebook and finally jumped through all the hoops to get it into paperback this past February. If you like ebooks, grab that as it is a better deal for both you and her. ;)


Earlier this month I promised to share the yummy desserts I made for Independence Day and I had forgotten about it, until the other day.

I remember, years ago, someone made a fruit pizza and I really enjoyed it. It had a sugar cookie base. I don’t remember what the frosting was but then it was covered with a variety of cut up fruit. It was really good.

Well, I saw this Healthy Fruit Pizza Cookie on facebook and it looked so good, I was willing to make a second dessert on the fourth.

It was really easy. It’s a quick cookie base, which can be made up ahead of time (think: in the cool of the day). Then it is just a matter of mixing up the cream cheese frosting and adding the fruit.

This one is definitely a keeper here, even though some of our cookies didn’t make it. :D The tray of freshly baked cookies slid off the pans it was resting on when it first came out of the oven and most of them became a crumbled mess.

Of course, that didn’t stop us from eating them. They just weren’t nearly as pretty and couldn’t be eaten by hand but they were still just as good.

So, hop on over to Taryn’s website and get the recipe to make these very soon. I’ll probably make these again soon myself, especially with the plethora of delicious fresh berries available right now. But I’ll be making the cookies in the morning when it isn’t so hot.

I hope you’ll enjoy this dessert as much as we have.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Learning From the Experience of Others

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.me For the rest of this month, in honor of Christmas in July, Tiffany is putting her book on sale! If you’d like to read a fun cozy murder mystery (that reads like a romantic comedy at Christmas time), go check out my daughter’s first book, Murder Mystery and the Gingerbread Cookies available on Amazon (and a few other places I can’t recall right now ;) ). She started writing it when she was 12 years old. We published a few years ago in ebook and finally jumped through all the hoops to get it into paperback this past February. If you like ebooks, grab that as it is a better deal for both you and her. ;)


This week my cousin had an interesting conversation on his facebook account about marriage. One person had a really good comment that I agreed with and wanted to share with you.

I will say this about marriage….it’s hard, it’s beautiful, it’s painful, it’s a blessing, it’s draining and it’s fulfilling. It is hard, really hard at times and then it is great, really great at other times.

Christians seem to be too proud, or too ashamed to admit that sometimes their marriages just stink. But it’s normal. It is normal to go through those times yet we present a blissfully happy existence together because we are applying the Biblical principles. And yes, those principles alone can keep a marriage going strong and if we were perfect we would apply those principles every single moment of every single day and live in constant harmony with each other. But we aren’t perfect and we hurt each other…and sometimes we hurt each other badly.

Forgiveness is the biggest factor I believe in saving a marriage and keeping it strong. I truly feel we need to be more truthful and “real” presenting marriage to young adults.

Another person commented that “commitment” is another word that is missing from the dialogue.

I so agree with this. I even wrote about forgiveness recently. I think realizing that we cannot change anyone but ourselves is another key. Sometimes the only thing we can do is change our reaction to situations. Not saying that is easy, but sometimes that is all that can be done.

I believe that it can be encouraging to know that you are not alone. It is an encouragement to me to know that many relationships go through frustrations and differences of opinion but that it is possible to stay together as a couple/family and have happy times as well. It is also encouraging to me to understand how others deal with situations, so that I can learn from their experiences.

I try to present real marriage here on Marriage Mondays and be an encouragement in the process.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Shopping Scavenger Hunt ;)

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.me For the rest of this month, in honor of Christmas in July, Tiffany is putting her book on sale! If you’d like to read a fun cozy murder mystery (that reads like a romantic comedy at Christmas time), go check out my daughter’s first book, Murder Mystery and the Gingerbread Cookies available on Amazon (and a few other places I can’t recall right now ;) ). She started writing it when she was 12 years old. We published a few years ago in ebook and finally jumped through all the hoops to get it into paperback this past February. If you like ebooks, grab that as it is a better deal for both you and her. ;)


Last Friday I dropped Tiffany off at Gardner’s used books store with a box of books my parents were getting rid of and headed out on my shopping scavenger hunt. :) I talked about the things I was shopping for last week.

Hobby Lobby was my first stop and I scored the lead I was looking for. Very affordable AND I used a 40% off coupon on one. :)

I rushed on out, not getting lured in by all the wonderfulness that is Hobby Lobby or I’d have been there the whole time Tiffany was visiting with a friend at the book store and would have had to go out another day. For a hermit, that is not an appealing thought. So I pushed myself right on out of there and headed over to Shoe Carnival a couple miles up the road.

I went in and found about two rows of Sketchers shoes but most of them have that crazy memory foam insole of which I am not a fan. There were about a half dozen or so of the ones with the go-ga mat insole. Trouble was that the one I really wanted was out of my size and the one I could have settled on was ten dollars cheaper on Amazon than the sale price there. Unfortunately the one I really want is fifteen dollars more than the sale price on Amazon. :( I left there empty handed. (Below is the runner up–not a fan of the pink shoe laces as I would wear them a lot and it just would be too flashy.)

I headed over to Dollar Tree and bonded with another lady in the card section. Four rows of cards and we were both looking for the same occasion card. We chatted about the joys of being a grandparent and shared pictures . . . yep, we’re that grandma. ;)

I almost bought some other things but wasn’t sure Tiffany would like my choices and since they were items for her, I opted to wait until we can go together. Sure hope it’s there next week because she didn’t feel up to going this week.

I then headed to Burlington Coat Factory. By the time I arrived there I had to use the facilities, which was perfect because I needed to check the brand and size of the shorts I was wearing. :) I wasn’t sure if I’d purchased them here or at Ross but I figured if I found the brand I’d be good.

Turns out, I found the exact brand that I have and love! I was glad to be in the right place. I found several pairs of short to try on and ended up with a different brand that feels the same and are a little bit longer, which is nice. The sad part though is that this pair doesn’t have any real pockets whereas the other pair that was so similar to the ones I was wearing actually had working pockets. I was so tempted to get them.

I decided to browse through the tops to see if I could find a nice sleeveless top to go with them. I don’t generally wear sleeveless tops but it’s just so crazy hot that I decided to add that to my scavenger hunt.

I was stunned to find a really nice shirt that matched the shorts so well. And it looked decent on me! That is amazing. Oh! And it is a size smaller than I have been getting!!! Whoo hoo!

Yeah, don’t worry. I’m not delusional. I realize it is just cut bigger but it sure did make me feel better. :) While I was trying on the clothes Tiffany texted that she was ready. Her friend brought her to the store and they arrived by the time I came out of the fitting room. Tiff helped me pick the shorts and was impressed with the top. :) They really go well together. I’m very pleased with my purchases.

By the time we got home, we were both tired and very glad I’d thought ahead and planned an easy dinner. Oh! Turns out for our thirty-five books, we got around $40 of in-store credit. Not too shabby considering I salvaged them from the trash. :)

Well, that’s enough of my blathering today. I did work on my bullet journal this week and am pleased with some of the pages. Maybe I’ll share them sometime soon.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

State Geography Study Resource

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meBefore I share today’s resource, I just want to remind you that since it is July 25th, it is technically Christmas in July. ;) If you’d like to read a fun cozy murder mystery (that reads like a romantic comedy at Christmas time), go check out my daughter’s first book, Murder Mystery and the Gingerbread Cookies available on Amazon (and a few other places I can’t recall right now ;) ). She started writing it when she was 12 years old. We published a few years ago in ebook and finally jumped through all the hoops to get it into paperback this past February.


My sister told me about this wonderful resource last week when we got together. I had not seen this one before but looks really great.

The resource is 8 For Each State: US Geography. On this page you will find an overview and links to each state’s webpage. Don’t forget to go to the introduction page to get some more state study ideas.

Some links that Jessica used are no longer working but some can be found by pasting the link into the wayback machine at archive.org. I’ve had some success finding some broken links, including pdf files, there.

This could be used as a two-year geography study. What I saw of it is really good. I hope it is helpful to you and your family in the education of your children.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Bridge String with Shattuck, Knightsbridge, Cadent, and Echoism

Once again I participated with Today’s Tangles: Keeping it Basic prompt #TTKICPrompt072219. She suggested we “slow down” when tangling this week, which I did and I think my lines were a bit smoother.

Sandy said that the string this week was inspired by 59th Street Bridge song by Simon and Garfunkel. So it is a simple resemblance to a bridge; nothing too difficult this week. :)

I chose Shattuck and Knightsbridge because they are easy and I remember them without looking them up. ;) Then chose Echoism because I thought it would play nice in the c space at the top. Then comes my oops. ;) I frequently confuse Cubine and Cadent. I think I do that because I learned them about the same time but that is the only reason. I love Cadent and used it so much when I first learned to tangle about 10 years ago. So that is why I’ve included Cadent in my tile, which was not in the tangle pool to choose from. ;)

Here is a scan of my tile before shading.

I really enjoyed tangling this tile. Echoism is one I haven’t used much and enjoyed it. Here’s a picture I took in natural light.

I’d started to lay down some graphite and remembered that I needed to scan and take a picture first. That is why the lines on some of Shattuck on the right are so dark.

I enjoyed shading this one too. Here’s the scan.

Here is the picture I took in natural light, albeit a bit overcast.

I really love how ‘puffy’ the top center part with Echoism looks. :)

Well, that’s it for me today. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have been encouraged to put pen to paper. If I can do it, anyone can. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Ingredient Substitutions

I am the type of person that follows a recipe the first time I make it. For most recipes, that even includes ingredients we don’t generally like. That is, until recently.

In the past it was just dill. I’d made some things that should have been delicious and I loved all the other ingredients but realized that the dill was ruining it for me. So for a long time, if a recipe had dill in it, I would not make it. Then I realized that I could make it and just skip the dill. For a long time, that is what I did. Then one day I got the recipe for something that I had tried before and enjoyed and found out it had dill!

Not long ago, we were invited to dinner at a couple’s home one Sunday after church. He made some herbed baked sweet potatoes. These too had dill and yet we liked them. So either our aversion to dill has dissipated or a little dill is okay now. I don’t know yet. ;)

Cilantro has landed itself on our do not like list. However with that I will either use a tiny bit of dried cilantro or parsley. Then at one time cumin was on that list as well. I learned to substitute with either oregano or chili powder depending on the recipe. I found this by searching what I could substitute for cumin. So if there is something you don’t have or don’t want to use, do a search and use something you do have or like. :)

This all resurfaced again because last weekend I made an apple pie flavored breakfast dish that called for ground cloves, which happens to be a seasoning that is a bit strong for our liking. As a matter of fact, I don’t add it in my apple pie at all. Once we had a ham with cloves stuck all over it, which made for a pretty dish but the flavor was off. I even decreased the amount of ground cloves it called for by about half and still it was too strong for us but otherwise we liked the dish. I’m making a note on the recipe to omit it in the future. ;)

Then it was another interesting turn of events when Michael became allergic to beef and pork. Wow, this really limited my options. I learned to substitute ground turkey for ground beef and thankfully it was less expensive too. :) But this experience has taught me that you can substitute meat in a dish as needed.

Recently I made a beef stroganoff from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook (page 44). It calls for beef or venison. I happened to have some boneless skinless chicken thighs in my freezer, so I opted to use that instead. I really enjoyed it. Now my son prefers ground meat in his stroganoff, so next time I will use ground turkey. As a matter of fact, we’re having it for dinner tonight; so the picture may appear a bit later than this post does. ;)

Anyway, all that to say, don’t be afraid to substitute a meat you do have or one that is on sale for a meat in a recipe that you don’t have. Of course, you generally want to go with something similar in cut but even then, like in the case of the ground turkey instead of beef strips, it can be done with a little textural difference. So do be sure to consider that when you make your substitutions. For many recipes calling for some form of beef, I use chicken breast instead. Of course there are limitations to this when it is a very specific recipe like fish but I have even used chicken breast in a fish recipe. :p

I even cook Michael some chicken breast in the crockpot seasoned like pork roast for carnitas. Oh, I’ll have to try it with boneless skinless thighs next time; it’ll give him more fat content in his meat.

I hope this post gives you the confidence to make substitutions as needed.

Michele ºÜº

Long Time Marriage

My parents celebrated 57 years together recently. What an accomplishment! Of course like most couples, they could have chosen to give up at any point, as I’m sure most couples could. They are committed to each other.

They’ve been retired for several years and are enjoying spending time with each other. Daddy always worked hard and long hours, so Momma was frequently alone. But now they are able to be together all the time. It’s a good thing they are best friends. :)

People are often amazed that my kids can have a big disagreement but can end it without hard feelings and still talking to each other and even still being friends. I dare say, it is true of this good marriage as well; I know it is true of my own marriage.

The way I see it, forgiveness, commitment, and and being friends with your spouse are three big keys to a long and happy marriage. It’s what I’ve seen in my parents and what I’ve experienced in my own 32-marriage as well.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº