How Selfish am I?

Selfish ~ Lifeofjoy.meMarriage is a good test of selfishness. Yep, selfishness can show its ugly head between husband and wife. And unfortunately, I am talking from personal experience.

You see, much of the time, disagreements come from thinking the other party should do more or not expect as much as they do. But what that really boils down to is selfishness. Yep. Plain and simple selfishness.

Occasionally I have to just ask myself if I serve my family without feeling like a martyr, wishing others would help me or not. Not that it is a bad thing to desire others to help but it is important to really discern your motivation. It is important for all family members that are old enough to participate in the caring for the home though.

So I guess I challenge you today to check yourself and see if you have any selfishness in operation in your life. I know I’ve found some in mine and I’m working to remove more and more of it from my life.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Liam, Toys, and Bread Attempt #2

I love having Liam here! He’s generally such a good child; I say it this way because all children have their moments of fussiness. I’m so glad he was feeling better this week. He did get congested but he seemed to cope pretty well.

He liked the toys I bought for him to have here. I figured the Little People train would be a hit because it had a few pieces he could hold.

Liam likes Little People ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany named the conductor Francois and he frequently laughs when you say it. :)

He seems to like the popper too but not as much. I expect he’ll like it a bit more once he starts walking.

Liam and the Popper ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe likes balls now. Michael played with him with them. It was fun to see him so excited.

Yellow Ball ~ Fun with the ball ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s so good with him!Michael Feeding Liam ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat boy loves food!!! So, sometimes we hide from him when we have something.

Out of Sight ~ Lifeofjoy.meI got this little snack dispenser that keeps the snacks from falling out but has an opening for him to put his hand in and pull out a piece. It was fun watching him figure it out.Snack Cup ~ Lifeofjoy.meAldi has these short skinny cheese puff looking snacks. They have veggie, cheese, and blueberry. This helps bring meal times to an end, more peaceably.

Tiffany got out some of her TY stuffed animals that she’s had put away. He seemed to like this dog.Stuffed Animal ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe also liked the horse but I don’t think it tasted very good. ;) We’ve had fun with him here.

In other news, I found a recipe for homemade bread that is Trim Healthy Mama compliant!!! Oh yay!!!

Last week I wrote about my first attempt. I added pictures of my NOT 2# bread machine and the first attempt loaf.

Yesterday I made a second attempt following her Mixer Method. Once again it was not forming a dough ball. I added flour a couple tablespoons at a time to where it was at least a little more like a dough ball but not nearly as firm as the pictures she has on her post. But I have to say, this week’s version turned out MUCH better than last week’s!

Bread Homemade ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou can see how it rose over the pan but didn’t seem to have enough firmness to stand above the pan and sagged over the rim. I didn’t get it evenly split so one loaf was a little bigger than the other.

Dented Loaf of Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe have declared this attempt much better than last week but still looking to make improvements. :)

Well, I’m gonna run. Get to have Liam again today and maybe a day or two next week. :) I’ll take what I can get. Hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Listen, Really Listen to Your Children

Listen ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn order to educate your children properly, you must listen to them. I mean, really listen to them. Of course, this goes for raising children in general too. Sometimes we think we know what they are going to say, so we only half listen to them. But this is not a good thing. How do you like it when someone is only half listening to you? Yeah, so let’s not do it to others, and especially not our children (or spouses for that matter–but that’s a subject for a Marriage Monday post ;) ).

The other important part of the equation is to ask your children questions. Not yes or no questions either. You want to get your children talking to you. Since we live in Rural America, running errands is not a short trip, so on our way into town, I took to asking my children what was on their mind. Sometimes I got “nothin'” but then I’d probe a little by saying something like, you mean you are sitting there and not thinking anything, not about the chair or the sky or the game you want to play when you get home?

Here again, because I consistently did this with my children, it developed a habit to where, sometimes, they ask me what’s on my mind now. :) I literally stop and focus on what my mind is thinking on and tell them be it a stupid song that I cannot get out of my head, how the clouds look puffy and like a dog, or how tired I am because the storm woke me up in the middle of the night. By being open and honest with them, it instills openness and honesty and we relate.

As your children grow older, it is important to talk to them about what they like as far as activities, nutrition, and what they think their future may look like. Help them set up some healthy habits that will serve them well into adulthood. Talk with them about things you wish you had done when you were younger so that it isn’t sooo hard to do them now.

Talk to them about their bodies, nutrition, exercise, and spirituality. If you are concerned about an area of their life, see if you can find a way to relate to it yourself. I wish I had taken piano lessens when I was young, because . . . or some such thing. Or maybe there is an area that you are struggling with, maybe it is cooking or exercise; ask your children to work on it with  you and help each other.

One year when Tiffany was a senior, I think, she wanted to do a “squat challenge”. I was trying to exercise more, so I agreed to do it with her because it’s generally easier when you have someone doing it with you. Yeah, I do not intend to ever do one of those kinds of challenges again! It was BRUTAL! But we did it together and encouraged each other.

Maybe you could look for a new recipe to make with your child, if he/she is interested in cooking. My boys learned to bake because they wanted dessert and I wasn’t making any at the end of the day (and I wasn’t spending money on desserts either). But I told them they were welcome to make some cookies or brownies or some such thing, if they wanted. Brian is quite the cookie baker. ;) Sean prefers to clean up afterwards rather than make it.

But when your child talks to you, listen to them. Pay attention. Ask questions, if possible. Have them give you examples or tell you how they feel. Get close to your child and then pray about how to help them through whatever it is they are going through.

I hope this rambling helps encourage you today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Ur Chen, HaKrall Plate

So this week’s guest challenger for the diva challenge is Jeanette Clawson, who challenges us to tangle a plate shape. No specific tangles were given so I looked to my other Zentangle groups.

Square One: Purely Zentangle and Shading & Exploring Zentangle are focusing on Holly Atwater’s tangle haKrall. Then I checked for their pattern of the day, which is Ur Chen.

So I freehanded a “plate” a.k.a. a circle on my tile with a smaller one in the center of it to make it look like this plate had a large rim and smaller recessed area.

I proceeded to draw Ur Chen on the bottom of the plate (where food would be set) and use haKrall for the rim/lip. Although I enjoyed drawing haKrall, it is not easily manipulated into circular form. Thus it is not my best work but I did really enjoy penning the patterns.

I remembered to take a scan of it before shading.

DC#330 Plate ~ Lifeofoy.meYes, once again, I am ever so thankful for the blessedness of shading. If I had to rely on my line art, I would probably just hang it up at this point.

Here it is shaded.

DC#330 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI totally realize that this is far from lovely or gorgeous but it did meet the challenge of tangling a plate shape and I managed to use two focus tangles as well. I also found haKrall to be a fun pattern/tangle and will probably attempt using it again sometime in a grid. ;)

I think this one looks better smaller as less imperfections are visible.

DC#330 ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I’m going to run. I have my one year old grandson several days this week and he keeps me hoppin’.

Thanks to those kind few that take the time to leave an encouraging comment, you are most appreciated.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Easy DIY Pesto ~

Easy Pesto

This easy pesto whips up in just a few minutes with just a few simple ingredients.

We don’t eat pesto very often and then we seem to go through spells of eating it frequently.

Pesto is made from a few simple ingredients: basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper. I have made this from dried basil on occasion but must use much less. I recommend planting a basil plant in the spring as it is much cheaper than buying the packages. I’m going to try and figure out how to store it before winter/first frost.

So let’s get to it.

Rough chop the basil and put it in a mini food processor.

Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the pine nuts and olive oil.

Pesto being made ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd garlic, salt and pepper.

Garlic into Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meFinally, add Parmesan cheese.

Homemade Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meBlend away, until it is as smooth as you desire. (Scraping down the sides as necessary.)

Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.mePesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meEasy Homemade Pesto ~ Lifeofjoy.meDIY Pesto ~

Easy Pesto


  • 1 cup basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mini food processor and process until as smooth as desired.

We got this recipe from this website some time ago. :) I’ll share the meatball recipe sometime soon. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Why Not Get Married?

Why Not Get Married ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve heard some young people (and some not so young people) say they don’t need a piece of paper; they know they love each other, as an excuse not to get married. But if it is really only a piece of paper, then what harm is there in getting it? I mean, as excuses go, that one is pretty weak.

From my experience, a woman wants the security of knowing that you are committed to her and if you’ve taken your relationship to the level of getting that piece of paper, she knows you’re serious. This is one reason why a woman should refrain from intimacy before marriage. Men (yes, I know we woman do too) want the act of marriage. If you give him what he wants without the security of knowing he is committed to only you, you have lost a huge motivator. Whereas, if he can not have intimacy with you until after committing to spending the rest of his life with you, there is a  stronger chance he will commit than if he is getting everything he wants.

If a woman doesn’t want to get married, you must ask yourself why she doesn’t. Where is her commitment? If you are providing for her needs without her being committed to you and only you, then you are cheating yourself.

God created sex as a wonderful thing between a husband and a wife. It bonds people together. If you go sleeping around being intimate with others, you are cheapening/weakening that bond for when you do get married.

Man, if you love the gal you are with, and are committing to her anyway, why not prove that commitment to her by getting that piece of paper. It really is an expression of love. When you refuse to marry her, you are sending her the signal that if it gets bad enough, I’ll just leave. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’d ever do that, you’re still sending that signal. And if you have asked her to marry you and she won’t, then you need to separate now, because she is not committed to you and she’s telling you in a subtle way, that she is only with you until something better comes along. And for that matter, that is the same signal a guy gives a girl when he lives with her but will not marry her. Nobody wants to feel like they are second best.

I hope that someone comes across this post that needs to hear/read these words. Know that although marriage is hard, if you are living with and having intimacy with another, you are already experiencing the hardness of marriage. It is my opinion that having that piece of paper give both parties a security that the other is going to stick around and that the other loves them enough to commit to them. Believe it or not, that adds a lot of buffering to a living situation, thus making it easier.

Now for those that are getting older and still single and not being intimate, ask yourself why. Sharing your life with another is one of the best things you can do. Are you warding off marriage because of selfishness? I encourage you to pray about your situation and see what God would have you do. Marriage is a beautiful thing. Yes, it takes some work but it is worth the effort.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Bread Attempt, Liam, Strategy Sorry

I don’t know where this week has gone! I was very unproductive the first part of the week. I found a THM (Trim Healthy Mama) recipe for sprouted wheat bread. Sean bought the ingredients and pans I needed a couple weeks ago but I hadn’t gotten around to making it yet. So the other evening I decided to give it a try.

Joyful Jane makes the dough in her bread machine on the dough cycle and then puts it into the pans for the final rising. I thought, what could be simpler. So I got out my bread machine somewhere around five or six o’clock and got it going.

Bread Machine ~

She mentioned that it is a wet dough and that makes it better but when mine finished the dough cycle I had nothing that resembled her pictures at all. I wish I’d have taken a picture of the soupy mess I had but I was just thinking about fixing it not sharing my mistakes with the world. :o

I figured I must have miscounted the flour, so I added another cup of flour and proceeded to run the dough cycle again. The dough cycle takes one hour and twenty minutes, then it has to be put into greased pans and rise in a warm oven for about thirty more minutes, remove from oven, preheat oven, and then bake for another thirty minutes or so.

Well, once again, I had a mess. It rose over the pan and spilled down the side. Hmmm, I’m guessing my machine does NOT make a two pound loaf as I had thought. :p Well, I figured I had some kind of problem because my dough was still soupy. I poured it into the greased pans and put it into my warm oven. I put a thermometer in it to ensure it was somewhere between 85º and 100º . . . it is 95º, or at least it was that night.

Well, I was surprised to see that it rose to the top of the pans but that is where it stopped. By this point, everyone had gone to bed and I was up babysitting my bread. ;) I baked it and it was out of the oven before midnight but it did not rise over the pan rim. I was eager to taste it but knew I needed to wait until the morning.

Bread First Attempt ~

Sean and Michael each had a piece with their breakfast and declared it good even though it was short. But they are used to my keto breads which are all short too, so as far as they knew, this was the way it was supposed to be. ;) When I finally got around to tasting it. :p Yes, I’ll be trying this again. What I really need though is a weight measurement on the flour, so I don’t mess up again. ;)

In other news, Liam wasn’t feeling very good the other day. I got to keep him some this week and we cuddled lots.Still Sweetie ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s in a stage where he likes sticks. He picked up a back scratcher and some other not safe stick, so I put those away and got out a trusty gift wrap tube. :) I knew I kept them for something. Michael ripped it in half for him.Little Dude ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe’s a bit better the next day.Little Dude ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd I even got some smiles. The flash on the camera makes him blink! :D And I get some cute pictures like this. Liam Smiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meBut before long, he was just ready to sleep some more.Sleepy ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo I put him down for a nap a bit early and let him sleep because when you are not feeling well, you need lots of sleep.

Last weekend Brian and Lauren came out for dinner. Well, of course Liam was here too! We decided to play a game but many games were vetoed. Finally Lauren and I decided that we would play Sorry. The only problem with that is that Sorry is for four players and we have six players.

Here’s our solution:

Sorry for 8 Players ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe actually have 3 Sorry games–two regular and one Disney. We always like to play the Disney one. One time I saw a Monsters Inc game of Life and didn’t get it. I regret that decision all the time because I have not seen it again.

We overlapped the boards on the one corner spot and when you get to that square you have to go to the left. Only exception is for the green Disney and the red regular players, if they come backwards to that square or are moved there, they get to head to their home instead of going the long way around.

We had fun.

Strategy Sorry ~ Lifeofjoy.meHave you ever played Strategy Sorry? We learned if from the Hasbro computer game of Sorry. You get dealt five cards at the beginning and get to choose which card to use on your turn and then pick one up from the draw pile to replace it. Makes Sorry lots more fun for older players. :)

Well, I’ve gotten long winded again and will let you go for now.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº



Observing Nature or Nature Study

Nature study is really a simple thing. There are many things to look at and discover throughout your days and weeks. Here are some pictures I’ve accumulated over several weeks.

Since our cats are not ‘fixed’, we get to enjoy the miracle of life and also experience the sadness of death. They are outside cats. The first cat that adopted us was a smart cat and only got pregnant once per year. When she died and we replaced her, this cat was not as smart and ended up pregnant more often. Unfortunately, we have experienced the sadness of death many many times with our cats. But it is neat to see newborn kittens and watch them as they grow up.

Here are two of our kittens.
Animals ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is fun to watch as they learn to hunt. This is the reason we have them, to hunt mice, moles, gophers, and any other pests they can get rid of.Cat Hunting ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd then just to watch them interact with each other and their habits is interesting.

Kittens on a Rail ~ Lifeofjoy.meRight after I snapped this picture they both opened their eyes and looked right at me.

Kittens on a Rail ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen we were out planting flowers, I saw this bug.

Bug ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t know what kind it is but during our homeschooling years, we would have gotten out the insect books to try and make that determination.

One day I looked out and saw this.

Animals ~ Lifeofjoy.meDo you see it?

Nature Study ~ LIfeofjoy.meFor a while, we were seeing lots of these. I’m not sure if they are still about and I’m just not catching them or if they have moved on or proceeded on the circle of life. ;)

Then one day my hubby pointed out this critter.

Turtle ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, this one is hard to see . . . how about now?

Turtle ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis one is larger than we’ve had walk around the house before. Usually it is a box turtle; I’m not sure what this one is.

It’s rained quite a bit around here lately. One day these popped up. Mushroom ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen I first noticed them they were very domed. As they have matured thy have flattened out on top. Michael has since mowed the grass and now they are not. If we still had school aged children, I would have had him leave them until we can watch how they finish out their cycle.

Planting flower seeds and watching them grow is another great way to study nature.

Sunflowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe grew these from seeds we had saved from planting store bought seeds several years ago. We will dry some of these seeds and save them for next year. You can do the same with many flowers; marigolds is another easy one to do because the flower head dries out so quickly.

Then one week in the parking lot of the library I saw this.

Ducks at the Library ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t know where she ended up but they made it to the grass. It was neat to watch those little ducklings jump up the curb.

Duck Jump ~ Lifeofjoy.meOf course, if Liam, my grandson, had been with me, I would have read Make Way for Ducklings when we got home or inside the library if we were staying for a while. :) It was so fun to see.

Just seeing these things and telling someone else what they saw is a good start at nature study. They can also draw what they see. Taking a picture of it is always a good idea too but not necessary. They can look up information about what they saw. Diagram it, labeling its parts. They can draw the life cycle of it.

In the case of planting seeds, they can have several pages where they are ‘documenting’ their plant growth. In the case of animals, they can find out what they eat and what might eat them. They can discover how it is born and how long it generally lives. You can go as deep as you desire or stay shallow by simply documenting what they see. It doesn’t have to be elaborate but if your child is interested in the topic, he/she can do more research via library or internet.

Bottom line is to be observant as you go throughout your days. Draw attention to the shape of the moon or that the moon is visible sometimes while the sun is still up. And then have them write something about it, assuming they are old enough. ;)

I have seen a hummingbird and a butterfly on the flowers out in the middle of my yard, from my living room window, all because I took the time to look. Just imagine what you might see!

I hope this inspires you to look around you and observe the wonder that is all around.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº



Fragment D-1, Jester, Abukas

This week’s diva challenge is brought to us by CZT Marguerite Samama. She challenged us to use fragment D-1. I had one idea of how it would turn out but then I made a new pattern instead (a.k.a. a mistake).

The Square One: Purely Zentangle focus tangle is Abukas by Charlotte Carpentier. I really liked this tangle. I don’t do Arukas very well but I like how this one turned out even though my black pearls didn’t turn out very good and look more like dots.

Over on Pattern-Collections the tangle of the day today is Jester by Dorothy Allison. It reminds me of a twist on Cadent and I *love* cadent. :) Unfortunately when I drew this tangle, I wasn’t quite sure how to overlap them. Then I added a very small one and that just cluttered everything. I wish I had stopped before doing that.

I chose to use the string of the week over on Pattern-collections, which is number 46. In true Zentangle fashion, this didn’t really turn out anything like I thought it might but that is okay. I was in the zone because, once again, I began shading right away, if only to cover up mistakes the new fragment variations I inadvertently created. Then I realized I hadn’t taken my pre-shading scan.  So here it is, almost before shading. :D

Preshaded DC#329 ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, I’m not too good at the whole fragment thing. ;) But that’s okay. I think it is only the second time I’ve tried it.

Here is the finished tile.

DC#329 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt kind of reminds me of Fireworks. I think I’d like it better if I white out that tiny jester at the top of abukas. Hmmm, maybe it looks better a bit smaller.

DC#329 ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah,that covers up some of the wiggly lines a bit better. ;) No, I’m not being hard on myself. :D I enjoyed making the tile and that is what counts, or so I’m told. :D

Thank you for stopping by and a BIG THANK YOU for those that take the time to leave a comment . . . I sure love to read the encouragement. (I don’t reply to them because I figure nobody checks back for a reply, but know I appreciate every one of them.)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

My Journey to Trim Healthy Mama

THM Overview ~ Lifeofjoy.meI wrote about my diet journey a few weeks ago. Today I’m going to share some of my limited knowledge of Trim Healthy Mama (THM).

It’s been about ten years since sisters Pearl and Serene shared their dietary plan with the world. They have a fun, upbeat, chatty style of writing. I actually enjoyed reading their books. Oh, I should let you know that the original book they came out with in the beginning, from what I hear, was quite large and quite verbose. ;) About five years ago they released the plan in one book and the recipes in another. Both books are hefty but much less so than the original, so I understand.

I’m now going to give you the plan, as I understand it, in a nutshell.

  • sugar free, yep, like many other plans out there, you are simply going to need to get off of those sugars. Not to fear, there are plenty of good for you, natural sweeteners available and on plan. I wrote about our favorites (although I’m not sure about the fiber syrups and the sukrin gold, as to whether they are on plan or not).
  • all meals are anchored in protein, some with healthy fats and others with healthy carbs
  • no white potatoes, white rice, or regular pasta, you can, however, have sweet potatoes, brown rice, and miracle noodles.

Ha! That’s the nutshell version; the biggies that you need to know about this plan.

Here are a few details.

  • S meals = satisfying meals These meals are the ones where protein is anchor to fats. These are the meals that are like keto meals. So these are the ones I am most familiar with and lean towards for dinners. It is recommended that you have lots of leafy veggies and good low carb veggies with your S meals. However, we don’t want to abuse calories by having an excessive amount of fat. Fat does curb your appetite though, so eat enough.
  • E meals = energizing meals These meals are where you get to eat those lovely energizing carbs. Think oatmeal for breakfast or sweet potato or quinoa with dinner. Once again, this meal is anchored in with proteins, but ones of the low fat variety. Low carb veggies are good here too, as with all meals. The difficult part of these meals is only having 1 teaspoon of fat. I’d love to smear button on some sprouted grain bread but alas, only a bit is allowed.
  • FP meals = Fuel Pulls  These recipes are so low carb and low fat that they can be used with either S or E meals. They can occasionally be used as a stand alone meal to keep your body furnace guessing.

With this way of eating, the idea is to switch up the fuels so that your body doesn’t get lazy and only burn glucose and stuff all the fats on your body. But also so it doesn’t slow down in its burning of fats by only getting those as fuel.

Another key principle is to not eat less than three hours after finishing a meal. This gives the body a good amount of time to use up all of the fuel you have given it at which time you can switch fuels without  fear of burning both fuels at once. Once you are at or near goal weight, an occasion tandem fuel meal or crossover as they call them, is a good thing. These keep you from losing too much weight. :)

If you are hungry before the three hours, you need to take note of what you ate and add either more veggies or a bit more protein next time. For the time being, you can eat a FP snack or drink.

We’ve enjoyed having oatmeal and smoothies, quinoa and brown rice. It is nice to have these foods again, even with the limited fats allowed. In weeks to come, I’ll share some of our favorites with you. :)

I highly recommend reading the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book. Our local library had it and the cookbook, so I could try it before I bought it. I loved it so much that I purchased them. If you are looking for a balanced approach to eating, this is definitely it.

OH! When I saw that THM had products for sale, it ‘turned me off’ but somewhere, in the book maybe or in a podcast or somewhere, I learned the reason was because products that they recommended had changed and no longer viable products. After that happening several times, they resorted to making it themselves. They are also very careful to provide items at a very reasonable cost. In spite of starting out a bit skeptical, I ended up completely impressed.

I hope this has helped you get an idea of the program.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº