Conference Week

Conference ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, I’ve been busy this week and as usual, forgot to take any pictures whatsoever. I know, shocking.

Of course the week didn’t go off without a hitch though. The first day I forgot to get the muffins out. Thankfully the dear one overseeing so many aspects of the conference happened to double check behind me and took them out. We also had a bit of an electrical trouble the first day so the coffee wasn’t done when it was supposed to be. But people were fed and they got coffee. ;)

I was blessed to have Sean join us all week. Tiffany is my right hand and we did well together as usual. The morning crew was awesome too. They get there before it is even bright, so I guess it’s just early. ;) I really appreciate it because I’d have to get up super early to get there when needed but this way they get there and set things out. I get there shortly after the doors are opened.

We have two services, about three hours apart from each other. So we break from the first service, go to lunch, and then return, then Tiffany and I finish cleaning up and prepping things for the next morning.

This week I was blessed to have lunch with some wonderful people. The first day we went to Chuy’s with about 10 people in our group. As you might imagine, we saw some other conference attendees there but they’d arrived before we did–we are usually a bit slow to leave the church for lunch.

The second day a very sweet lady invited Sean, Tiffany, and I to her home for lunch. She served us a lovely low carb tortilla with roast beef in it. Yum! (I forgot to mention that I got a salad at Chuy’s.)

On Wednesday we three went to Cracker Barrel with one other gentleman. Michael and I had lunch with him a couple of times last year, so it was nice to fellowship with him again.

On Thursday, we three went to Ron’s Hamburgers and Chili with another couple in the church and there were about 8 in our group that day.  Then we went over to the antique mall nearby and walked around for a bit.

Well, I really wish I had taken some pictures to post but alas, as usual I was just doing what I do and didn’t think about it. (I may take some today and add them later but my track record isn’t very good where that is concerned, so odds are against it actually happening. LOL)

I need to run. There’s only one service today and we have to tear it all down and wash it up to put away until next time. Then I have to pick up some groceries for my family for next week–would rather do it while in town after church than make a trip into town on a Saturday to do it. Saturday will be for relaxing and catching up on some laundry. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


journal writing ~ Lifeofjoy.meA couple weeks ago I shared a link to the Daily Fun Facts, which also includes a journaling prompt. Well, that got me to looking at journaling and its benefits. And, you guessed it, I’m going to share my findings with you here today.

This first article gives different journal types and some benefits of journaling. Did you know that journaling can reduce your stress and increase your health and memory? Yep, it can! :) The cool thing is that you can have a journal dedicated to just one thing or combine different types of journals into one and just vary what you decide to include each time you write.

This isn’t just something helpful to children. It’s helpful to adults as well. Why not take this opportunity to start your own journal and have a journaling time in your school day, where you and your kids journal. Theirs may have pictures with a sentence, poem, or even a paragraph or two written about the picture or write about how unfair you are. ;) In this article the author shares his experience with journaling and some benefits he’s gained from it.

Now this guy does admit that he switched to an electronic journal but I highly advise you to use pen and paper, as the actual writing makes connections in your brain that are good for you. (reference that first article again ;) )

Okay, not sold on journaling for yourself yet? Read this article. I know it is a bit lengthy but there really are that many benefits to journaling! I’m encouraged to do more of it myself. Gratefulness journaling sounds like a really healthy habit to start.

Still not convinced? Here’s an article with some more reasons and later in the article it shares ideas on how to grade a journal, if you decide to do that.

I remember one English class I had in school that required a journal entry daily. That was difficult for me because I was constantly stumped with what to write. The teacher did provide some time in class to do the assignment and sometimes gave suggestions or put on some music for us to write to, where we could write about what the music made us think about or create a short description or story that would go with the music. I remember one time the music reminded me of a circus and that’s what I wrote about that day.

So this article has some reasons to use journal writing with students but the real jewel of this one is the ideas it shares. It suggests that lists are easy for children to write and thus a great journaling topic. I shared in a post several weeks ago, towards the end of my post, a really neat list idea one homeschooling mom had for her child, that made writing it painless. ;)

And the final link I have for you today is one that has a list at the end of it with 33 journaling ideas.  I didn’t, personally, find the rest of the information on the page helpful but the journaling ideas saved it from getting cut from my list. :D

If these ideas are not enough, just search on any search engine, including Pinterest, and you will have way more than you need! :) But more than anything else, I hope that this post encourages you to journal more. Oh! And you can always let them decorate their cover like I shared yesterday. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Painting Journal Covers

It’s conference time at our church, so I’m preparing this post ahead of time and thus there is no diva challenge for me to do. So, I thought I’d share a project my daughter Tiffany recently did.

She has received some really pretty journals with holographic covers. Unfortunately the holographs make her nauseous. However, she needed the journals for her new book notes and didn’t really feel like buying new ones (which gets expensive) and she felt she needed to use what she had. Plus the pages are pretty.

So, last year I suggested that she paint the covers on some others that she had. She wasn’t sure it would work and, quite frankly, neither was I, but it did and it has held up pretty well.

So, here’s how to paint holographic covers, just in case you ever are in the need to do so yourself.

Painting holographic journal cover ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt really is very pretty. It’s a shame that looking at it makes her stomach upset. Oh well . . . here we go.

Painting holographic journal cover ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe uses a white acrylic paint with some clear floating medium. She mixes about 1/3-1/2 as much clear floating medium as she has white acrylic paint. and brushes it on. Now she gets different looks by how she brushes it on. So since she had three she was doing at once, she decided to stroke each one differently. This one she applied the paint in straight lines across. Of course, she blended it as well as she could.

painting journal cover straight lines ~ lifeofjoy.meThis one she used a scruffy brush and pounced it.

pounced painted cover ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd this one she did diagonally.

diagonally painted journal ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen from there she has a blank canvas of sorts and can paint whatever she likes.

broken clock cover ~ lifeofjoy.meHere’s one that she painted  orbs on.

orbs on cover ~ lifeofjoy.meOn the last one, Michael showed her how to do a faux marble look because she was out of ideas. Unfortunately, it was too bright for her desired effect for this particular book. She used the techniques he taught her and made it darker. Here’s how it looked when he was done.

Pink faux marble cover ~ Lifeofjoy.meThere was a bit on the bottom that she didn’t like so much and chose to cover it up with a piece of black construction paper with writing on it. But she still didn’t like it. And here is how it looked after she repainted it.

dark faux marble cover ~ Lifeofjoy.meOkay, so after she has the cover how she likes it, she applies a coat of Mod Podge for durability.

Mod podge ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is a very old bottle but it still works. :)

She’d covered that pink marble one with the Mod Podge already before she admitted that she didn’t really like it. I told her to go ahead repaint it. She did but was concerned about the outcome. However we both think it turned out really nice.

dark faux marble cover ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt kind of has a crackle effect, which we like but we aren’t sure if it was because she painted over Mod Podge or if it just wasn’t cured enough first or what. But thankfully she likes the result. :)

Here they are all together.

finished journal covers ~ lifeofjoy.meWell there you go. The steps are simple:

  1. Paint the cover with acrylic paint mixed with 1/2-1/3 as much floating medium.
  2. Let dry.
  3. Paint whatever you like on the new white background.
  4. Let dry.
  5. Cover with a coat of Mod Podge.
  6. Let dry.
  7. Use a “magic eraser” sponge to get any paint off the spiral binder.

use sponge to remove paint ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany does everything in a super fast speed, so she gets some white paint on the binding coil. She just uses a “magic eraser” to remove it.

Well, I hope this is helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Recipe Failures

What do you do when you have something you fix and it did not turn out like you thought it would? Do you blame the recipe? Well, I don’t. I assume I did not do something exactly as directed, even though I think I’m pretty good at following directions, sometimes I just miss it. Other times I do stupid stuff. ;)

Case in point: I made these delicious spelt rolls!

Spelt Rolls ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey were lovely the first time I made them. The next time I decided to make it as a loaf of bread instead of rolls. Unfortunately, I accidentally put a lid on the corner of it when it was nearly done rising.

Spelt Bread loaf ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, I baked it anyway and we still ate it. It wasn’t as wonderful as it could have been but it still nourished our bodies.

A similar thing happened when I made Wonderful White Blender Bread from Trim Healthy Table cookbook.

FP Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, you guessed it, we still toasted it and ate it. I work too hard on things not to eat them. Sometimes I will have to add something to it to make it more enjoyable, like a dusting of powdered alternative sweetener or, as in this case, toasting the bread, lathering it with butter and some xylitol sweetened jelly.

But I also don’t stop there. I keep trying.

WWBB ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow isn’t that one lovely? :) I found some say that they had to lay it on its side as it began cooling.

It helped!

Sometimes with desserts, we have to change the amount of sweetener. And it isn’t necessarily the recipe, it could just be our tastes that day. I have had my tea made the exact same way on many days and some days it seems sweeter than others.

I’ve seen people on facebook complain about wasting ingredients and actually throwing things away! :o I don’t think we have ever thrown anything away (well, except those veggies and fruits I have bought with good intentions of eating but they went bad on me instead :( ).

Now you may be assuming that we like anything but actually I have some very picky eaters. ;) We all have grown and give things a shot and will find some way to use what we have. After all, it’s either eat it or go hungry. ;) Things are too expensive to be throwing them away and I don’t have alternatives available.

My mess ups have not just been bread related, as my pictures would indicate. :D I messed up ice cream once . . . don’t even remember how we salvaged that. I’ve messed up the cream filling for Mostess Cupcakes several times. Oh! I did throw one batch of that away once, as I messed that cream up so bad it was chunky! AND it was for a birthday. But I’ve made that cream before with little chunks in it and we just ate it any way. ;)

I guess all this to say, if you make something and it’s not to your liking, try adding a syrup, more or different sweetener, or combining it with other things you do like, hiding it. I have to admit that although I love the idea of an air fryer, I have yet to get it to make my items “fried” and done but not burnt, which is okay because we’ve learned to like the charred taste of burnt food. :D Of course it probably isn’t the best thing for us but we don’t let it go to waste.

I have such a tendency to overcook, aka burn, onions when I caramelize them that it isn’t until we smell them burning that we know they are done. :))

I hope this encourages you to find ways to eat your failures and improve your skills and recipes. Everyone’s tastes are different and you just have to “own” it, as Pearl and Serene would say.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Everchanging Love

Everchanging Love ~ Lifeofjoy.meLove grows and changes. In the beginning it feels like butterflies, all warm and tingly. Then when you spend lots of time with that person, you begin to see some of their flaws. You grow  comfortable with each other. You are less surprised by things he does. Love matures and the butterflies are gone. Love has turned into a commitment to one another.

It is my opinion that people confuse those butterfly feelings with love. That is not love. Those tingly feelings are excitement, enjoyment in surprise, getting to know someone but be assured, those feelings are not love. Love really is a choice. You may start out with those tingly butterfly feelings but as you get to know each other the feelings grow, deepen, and change. Change is not bad, just ask a butterfly. ;)

The problem arises when you’ve been in a relationship for a while and it has grown into a life walk committed to one another . . . life happens . . . bills, children, families, friends, jobs . . . all have different demands and it is possible that you’ve even taken your spouse for granted. Now, what you do next is very important! Sometimes you meet someone knew that is your “type” and you can begin to feel those butterflies. STOP! This is not love! This is meeting someone that is interesting and possibly even someone that you could “connect” with and those feelings of spontaneity and wonder that you associate with being in love can begin to surface. Again, I’m warning you, this is not love!

You can make those same feelings arise with your mate. Honestly, you can! It just takes a little work. Feeling those butterflies with someone causes you to begin acting/doing things–this is not always bad, as you probably did it with your spouse when you met. So, to get those feelings back, start acting/doing things. Be spontaneous or deliberate. Put forth some effort into your relationship. You’ll be surprised how things start to turn out.

Now I have to warn you: don’t go into this doing things for your spouse with the ulterior motive of wanting him to do things for you. If you miss something he used to do, tell him or write him a note: Remember when . . . or I remember when you . . . It made me feel so loved and special.

Stop and think about when you first met the one you are with now. How did you act? What did you do? Did you talk together for hours? Well, spend a few minutes really connecting with your spouse now. A lot of our feelings we feel stem from our attitude. It is hard to feel love (and butterflies) when you are keeping your mind full of negativity and frustrations. Instead thing about his good traits and how much you love him and how sexy he is. ;) Getting your mind in the right place helps change your attitude and ultimately your feelings.

I hope this encourages you to think on good things and work towards feeling those loving feelings towards your mate once again. A good marriage is one where love is ever changing.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Walks, Fall, Bujo, and Washi Tape

Over the past several weeks Tiffany and I have begun challenging ourselves to walk several times a week. One of the hindrances we have had was that our property is not yet cleared in a way that makes it conducive to walks yet. There are three directions we can go when we leave our property, two of them have aggressive dogs that bark and run towards us as we walk, which is a bit intimidating and has made us not want to walk. The final choice has not been an option because we live at the top of this very big hill.

Big Walk ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe view is simply beautiful to me. I just love it. But seriously folks, this hill is tough! We have gone sledding down this hill, which is so fun but then you have to walk back up the hill and that is absolutely horrendous. See?

Back up THE hill ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is not angled, it is me looking straight on the hill as we paused to catch our breath as we climbed back towards home.

Once we get down the steep part of the road, it is quite lovely. Tiffany’s picture is so much better than mine. ;)

Walking in the country ~

Walking in the country ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe part down there by those trees across the road is where it levels out a bit.

Walking in the country ~

Country Living ~ Lifeofjoy.meBut as you can see, it still isn’t flat. But it is a nice walk. Shiloh likes to walk with us but she doesn’t really walk with us. She walks ahead of us, comes back and walks with us, and then walks back ahead of us again. So basically, she walks twice (or more) the distance that Tiffany and I walk.

It’s rained some this week, so that knocked us out of walking one day. Then we do not go on an extra walk on our errand day, so that knocks out another day. We have conference next week so there will be NO hill walking then. Maybe it will be nice again the following week. I love fall weather!

Sean brought in our fall decorations from the storage shed the other day. Tiffany put up my fall lights in the kitchen.

Orange lights ~ Lifeofjoy.meYes, there are some orange leaves wrapped around some of that strand of lights. It makes me so happy! :)

Then she put up this one too.

White fall lights ~ the picture is a bit blurry. I took several shots and this is the best of them. :\ ) Again, it makes me happy.

Tiffany has informed me that I’m getting another day off today! Whoo hoo! This time I’m making better use of my time. I went about six weeks where I didn’t have time to pretty up my bullet journal, so I’m wanting to do some of that today. I did a little bit last Saturday.

Here’s my set up.

Bujo setup ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve got my stickers, pens (glitter, metallic, and neon), water, correction tape, and WASHI TAPE! I love washi tape. :) It made my birthday wonderful and is a high point on my Christmas wish list as well. :)

Washi tape ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, I don’t have enough solid colors and I need more 8mm rolls. :)

But glitter washi tape is gorgeous! You just cannot use only glitter ones though.

Glitter Washi tape ~

other washi tape ~ Lifeofjoy.meSuch fun!!! These make me sooo happy. And they make these boring pages in my bullet journal look so much better. Here is the before picture.

bujo before ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe left page is how I made my planning notes for the month of September. I leave lots of space to add lots of decoration. :) The right page isn’t my typical page, as I had a bit of journaling on it. (I’ll try to add the after shot here once I’ve finished it.)

I’m planning to get some reading done too. I haven’t read much lately and I’m looking forward to finishing up a book and maybe even starting a new one. ;) But I’ll just be content with reading some more chapters in the one I’m currently reading.

The last thing I’m planning to do is some lettering/typography. I also got some Tombow dual tip pens that I’m wanting to play with a bit more and wanting to use some of the lettering books I got for my birthday. I don’t take time throughout the days, normally to sit down and play with these, as I always seem to be behind in doing so many other things. So, I’m looking forward to playing with these a bit since Tiffany will be handling the things I usually need to handle. :) I’m so blessed!

Well this has gotten a bit wordy today, so I’ll run for now. I hope you have a blessed weekend and enjoy making memories with your family and friends.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Site with Lots of Ideas

Practical Pages ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have shared recently the art appreciation lapbook and other printables over on PracticalPages. As I browsed her website, I really like what I saw and thought I’d recommend it to you today.

Her most recent post is about art supplies that she provides for her kids, along with some tips on making arts and crafts time easier.

The post before that was about the differences between routines and schedules. This is something that I wholeheartedly believe in. She even makes suggestions about how to change things up so that you can fit in those extra subjects that can be hard to squeeze in sometimes.

And the post before that was about the Beatitudes and included a copywork printable page, as well as a memory verse game and slide strip available as a free download.

So, as you can see, this site has a plethora of good information. It’s not updated frequently but it has been around since September 2009, so there’s plenty of material to explore.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

DC#369 Orb-tastic

This week’s Diva Challenge is a great follow-up to last week’s straight lines challenge. Since it is orbs, I decided to stick just with orbs so I didn’t I didn’t check my usual places for focus tangles. I varied the orbs sizes and even made some black.

Here’s my tile before shading.

DC#369 Orb-Tastic ~ Lifeofjoy.meI toyed with blackening in the center of the orb on the right or possibly stippling it instead. I also considered cross-hatching but that would involve lines.

I ended up stippling the center, thinking that if I didn’t like it I could always blacken it in.

Shaded DC#369 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI wasn’t thrilled with the stippling and thought I’d shade it a bit before blackening it in. After adding the graphite, I liked it better and since I was uncertain how it would look if I blackened it in, I decided it was fine the way it is.

I don’t have the whole orb shading thing down very well yet but I’m getting better. ;)

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll leave me a comment but either way, have a great day.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Open-face Philly Cheese Chicken ~

Philly Cheese Chicken Skillet

Creamy, cheesy chicken cooked with onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers.

When I was in my early twenties, I worked at a pizza and sub shop. I love pizza but when I worked there I realized that I also loved sub sandwiches. Specifically Philly cheese steak sandwiches. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I also really liked Italian  hoagies and hot ham and cheese subs too. Most every time I worked, instead of getting a small pan pizza, I got a Philly Cheese Steak.

Early in my marriage, I found Steak-Umm steaks and figured out how to make them at home. Yummo! Well, Michael cannot have steak currently, so I decided that I’d try to make this over with chicken. We all loved it. :)

Without further adieu, here’s how to do it.

Slice the veggies and chicken into thin strips.

Slicing onions ~ Lifeofjoy.meSauté the veggies until nearly done to your liking.

sauté veggies ~

Sauté onions peppers mushrooms ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the chicken strips

cook chicken strips ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen chicken is cooked, about 5 minutes or so, depending on how big or small you cut your chicken pieces.

saute chicken and veggies ~

Add the cream cheese (or Greek cream cheese) and stir to combine until cream cheese is melted.

philly cheese chicken ~ like our veggies VERY well done.)

Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Mozzarella cheese on chicken and veggies ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen it is melted, it is ready to serve.

Philly cheese chicken ~

Philly cheese chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.meI heated some Swiss bread to serve this on.

Heating swiss bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe like green fries (roasted frozen fancy green beans) with ours.Philly cheese chicken ~

Philly Cheese Chicken Skillet


  • onion, sliced
  • green bell pepper, sliced
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • chicken breast, sliced thin
  • salt, pepper, and oregano
  • about 2 ounces of cream cheese, neufchatel, or greek cream cheese
  • about 3-4 ounces mozzarella, shredded


  1. Slice veggies and sauté in a bit of oil.
  2. Add sliced chicken when veggies are nearly cooked as desired.
  3. sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano to taste
  4. add cream cheese, mix in and allow it to melt.
  5. sprinkle with shredded mozzarella
  6. Serve either in low carb roll, on low carb bread, or just eat off your plate. 😉

I hope you enjoy this.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Make Time to be Wife

keep love alive ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn this life, it is easy to lose sight of who we are or what’s important. There are so many people and things pulling on us. But it is important to never lose sight of the fact that we are a person but also a wife.

As a person, it is important to have hobbies and pursuits–Mother Culture, which I wrote about previously here. But it is so easy to get lost in all the things that have to be done that it’s easy to forget to cultivate being a wife. I was a wife before I became a mother. It is imperative that I continue to cultivate my relationship with my husband. It’s hard to be focused and in the moment, to forget about the chores for a bit and remember why you fell in love and got married. Take time to be his girl. Let him know that you still love him and want to be with him. Take time to do things with him like before you were married.

Here is an interesting article that correlates to this post. I hope it serves to give you some ideas.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº