A Rather Slow but Normal Week

2.5yo grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.me
A cute picture of our cutie grandson, since it is better than the ones I shared last week and I have no other new ones. ;)

It’s been a bit cold and wet. Unfortunately that does not equal snow, or even ice, here. I think that the Christians in the area see a forecast for possible ice and/or snow and begin praying against it. :D While it is still February I’d love to have a really good snow, you know, 6-12 inches, so that we could go sledding and have some fun–although at this point, we may not even have any sleds. :D

My youngest sister and her girls came over for a visit and the girls got to spend the night. They enjoyed time with Sean and Tiffany. I try to make it special and have foods they like–I really think food must be one of my love languages. (Food really should be a love language, not that I make an idol of it or anything . . . honest. :)) )

Gaming is the focal point of their fun times together.Cousin Fun Times ~ Lifeofjoy.meI even joined in on playing Sweet Day on Nintendo Land on the WiiU with them. Apparently in their house they all like to be the guards chasing down the others. Here we like to be the ones running around eating the candy or at least that’s what I like because I’m no good at chasing anyone down on there. :D

One of Michael’s coupons for Valentine’s Day was his favorite meal, which we had the night the girls were here. I made baked beans from scratch for the first time and did it in the instant pot. They actually turned out pretty good. :) One really cool thing about it is that there was enough of the hot dogs, buns, coleslaw, and baked beans to have more for his lunch the next day.

Homemade lunch ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe low carb hot dog buns are homemade as well, so this meal was all made from scratch, excepting the turkey hot dogs which I bought at Aldi.

I have decided that in order to lose any weight I’m going to have to do some exercise. I was supposed to be exercising since the first of the year but I’ve made one excuse and another. So this week I finally buckled down and did it. I just did a standing ab/core workout that doesn’t take very long but still works because I cannot do crunchies or sit-ups without getting a charlie horse in my stomach. 8o

The next day Tiffany decided it was time to do zumba again. We have Zumba Fitness World Party for the WiiU and enjoyed using it for many months quite some time ago. There is a belt that holds the Wii remote on a belt around your waist.

Zumba fitness belt ~ Lifeofjoy.meSee that? That is the belt actually overlapping around my waist! :) You see, in the past I had about a four inch Velcro-like extender to allow me to use the belt. It was quite embarrassing but at least I found a way to participate. However, on this day, I was able to use the belt without the extender. :o So, in the about a year or more that I have done Trim Healthy Mama and keto before that, I have lost enough inches to use the belt! Yay!!!!

With note of joy, I will close for today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. As usual, I intend to.

OH!!!!! I almost forgot!!!!! We finally got my daughter’s book published in paperback!!!! It is available on Amazon. FINALLY!!!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Help for Homeschool Moms

Sarah over at My Joy-Filled Life is hosting a month long series for helping homeschool moms. It appears that each day she or one of the blogger friends are posting a helpful post.

She also has a bunch of sponsors. The actual post links are below those sponsor links. I recommend scrolling past them for now and jumping right to the article links. (I think you can guess that I’m not affiliated with this at all. ;) )

I saw that there would also be some freebies and giveaways throughout the month. So, head on over and check it out. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Valentangling Some More

Evidently Monday was a holiday in Canada as well as the USA, because I didn’t see a Diva Challenge this week. Of course it is possible that she posts one late but I needed to post today. So I went back to the Valentangle 2019 to see what I hadn’t done yet, other than that other media one. ;)

Day 8 was to tangle the initials of someone you are very, very happy to have in your life. For me, that is my husband. I thought it would be pretty to do it on a tan tile (mine are 4″;), but I wish I hadn’t in the end. :D

I started with the initial of our last name in the middle and then wrote our initials in strands coming from it. I wish I had just done a zenbutton but I was trying to be creative. :)

day 8 #Valentangle2019 step 1 ~ lifeofjoy.meI thought I was really clever and it was going to turn out really great. But I stink at auraing! :D I haven’t gotten to where I can keep my auras the same width and such.

I forgot to get a picture of it after I finished auraing and before shading. I wasn’t sure about the shading at all! Here is a picture of it, which shows a bit of the shininess of the 6B pencil.

Day 8 Valentangle2019 ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere is a scan of it.

#Valentangle2019 day 8 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really didn’t know what to do with it. At one point before all the shading, I considered using watercolor pencils and making it look kind of like a pansy. Turned sideways, it kind of resembles that flower.

I really was at a loss. I guess it turned out okay. Not my favorite piece but also not my worst.

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any suggestions or tips for shading and highlighting on tan tiles, I’d love it. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

No-Bake Pie Crust (low carb)

The biggest difference in this crust and the graham cracker crust I used to make for my No-Bake Cheesecake is the flour and sweetener. Well, considering there are only 3 ingredients in the crust, I guess that is a big difference. :D

I opted to do as suggested on Gnom-Gnom and lightly toast the almond flour. I also went with the two cups she suggested for a full pie rather than the 1 1/4 cups I used of graham crackers. I have to admit that I preferred this thicker crust.

Toasting Almond Flour ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt started pale in color, which you cannot tell by the lighting of that first picture. This one shows it  a bit better.

ready to toast almond flour ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was afraid to toast it too long, so I stopped when it was only lightly golden but probably could have toasted it even longer. Toasted Golden ~ Lifeofjoy.meI put my stick of butter into the hot skillet to melt it quickly and not dirty yet another thing on this busy cooking day. :)

Pie Crust prep ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis time I used Sukrin Melis because it is supposed to measure the same as sugar. However used in the strawberry cheesecake too, we found it to be a bit too sweet and I will cut the sweetener back a little in the filling next time.

The crust is simple. Combine the sweetener and almond flour and then add the melted butter. (That’s easier than what I did. ;) )  Combine well and press into pie pan. (As you can see, I put all the ingredients in the pan and then combined it all . . . not the best way but still doable.)

combine crust ingredients ~ Lifeofjoy.mePie Crust ~ LifeofJoy.me

Low Carb No-Bake Pie Crust


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup - 6 Tablespoons Melis or Gentle Sweet
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted


  1. Toast the almond flour (or almond meal) for 2-5 minutes, until golden/toasty. 🙂
  2. Place in pie pan with sweetener and combine.
  3. Add melted butter and combine well.
  4. Press into pan evenly and up the sides.
  5. Fill and enjoy. 🙂

Almond flour crusted no-bake cheesecake ~ Lifeofjoy.meI hope you enjoy this recipe. The family really really loved how toasting the almond flour increased the flavor of the pie. I have realized that I’m not really a fan of almond flavor (as the experience with almond extract taught me, although I thought it was just the extract ;)). So I think I’d prefer it with a mix of other nut flours like walnut or pecan.  But let me know how you like it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Attitude Check

Unmet Expectations ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, Valentine’s Day has come and gone. How were your expectations? Was the reality different? Did it leave you happy, sad, or somewhere in between?

If your hubby did not meet up to your expectations, did you communicate those expectations to him?

On Monday when I was in the bathroom at the sink and hubby came in for something, I ever so subtly said, “I cannot believe Valentine’s Day is this Thursday.” =)) Yeah, real subtle. But Michael has asked me before to remind him about things like this. He said, “Oh yeah!” and we both had a giggle. (Even writing this I’m smiling once again over it.)

Then on Wednesday, as I was again at the sink in the bathroom and he came in, I said something like, Wow, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. To which he replied something like, Oh Yeah! and then muttered something about needing to go by the store. :D

Smiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen later that evening as Tiffany and I were in the kitchen working on some Vday sweets, he was like, ummm, your gift is in two parts. I could tell he was feeling a bit bad about it but at this point in our marriage, I have learned that my hubby loves me and as long as he makes some kind of effort, I’m good (low expectations). So I laughed and said, So, you got me a card but nothing else yet huh? He laughed (as did I) and he said yeah. And honestly, I’m okay with it.

It did make me think though about how much I’ve grown over the years. In years past, I would have probably gotten bent out of shape because even after reminding him twice the week of the special day, he still forgot to have it ready. I probably would have cried or pouted or thought bad/sad thoughts but today, I’m secure knowing he loves me – no, he really really loves me and he does not take me for granted. Valentine’s Day is just one day a year and even when you add in the other special days of the year, it still pales in number to the other days . . . you can make any day be a special day.

So, I admonish you today, if your expectations of Valentine’s Day left you feeling sad or worse, reflect on why and then talk to your love about your feelings. Don’t attack him by saying something like, You hurt me . . . better to say something like, I really feel loved and cherished when . . . or, I know you love me but on special days like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, our anniversary . . . I really feel loved when . . .

And then ask him what he likes. Michael and I did this years ago concerning cards. He used to make me cards and I’d spend a very long time selecting the right card for him from a store. As it turns out, he prefers the homemade cards and I prefer the store bought ones. So he now buys mine and I now make his, all because we had a nice calm conversation about it.

Oh and one really important thing . . . remember to pray about it too. It is important to ask God to help you with your expectations and to help you express your desires without frustration.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Family Time, Photography and Grandson

Well, I did not catch up on Valentangle2019 this week. With Valentine’s Day approaching, I was busy planning that, my kids came for the weekend, and my nieces are coming today. :) Busy but fun times. So it is my plan to work on the rest of the Valentangle2019 prompts throughout the rest of the month. :) There’s no law against it. :D

Daughter-in-Love Bday ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe celebrated Lauren’s birthday last weekend. :) Since her birthday is so close to Christmas, it was hard for her to come up with a wish list, so she just asked for cash to spend as she sees things and for spending on their vacation this spring.

We gals generally put cash on or in something little. I got her some pretty glitter washi tape . . . I know, shocking . . . she really liked the chevron one in the small package. Tracie put hers on the back of a print that Lauren really liked and Mom put hers between the pages of a notepad–we all did good. Then poor Sean is the lone male that gives gifts himself (I know he’ll be glad when he has a wife to help with these things ;) ). He leans towards money origami. :) In the picture above Lauren is holding the hearts he made with the money.

Liam is such a ham! Well many children are these days with all the pictures taken with phones but also he goes to a daycare where they send pictures to the parents daily and have taught him to smile and say cheese. It’s adorable.

Grandson the ham ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s funny because he had been over there playing with that activity center on the sofa by Lauren when I took the first picture. Then he came towards me, smiling and saying cheese the whole time. He kept it up, doing different things but keeping eye contact with the camera for a good few minutes. However my poor picture taking skills did not do any of this justice. Even the picture above had to be edited because the flash made it sooooo bright. Hey, at least I’m getting the camera out to try and take some pictures. :)

Here’s an example of my poor camera skills (raw, unedited in any way):

Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.me Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.me Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.me Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Great photography ~ Lifeofjoy.me
The blur is my grandson moving.

On each person’s birthday, I let them choose their food. Lauren chose No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake (THM) version,

Birthday Strawberry Cheesecake ~ Lifeofjoy.meand open-face sausage sandwich-low carb version – (and tater tots).

Open-face Sausage Sandwich ~ Lifeofjoy.meI added cooked mushrooms, onions, and peppers to mine and we had veggie tots which are not really compliant because they have the wheat breading but I was doing so much cooking that I did not feel like making something different for us . . . in hindsight, I should have just made the green fries.

Bday dinner 2019 ~ Lifeofoy.meFor breakfast the next morning we had Cinnamon Pecan Baked Pancakes  (Trim Healthy Table pg 338), bacon, and eggs for those that wanted them. Once Liam finished eating, he made his way to sit on Uncle Sean’s lap.

Uncle and Nephew ~ Lifeofjoy.me birthday breakfast ~ Lifeofjoy.meUncle and nephew ~ Lifeofjoy.meI love it when I see similarities in them. :)

At one point the kids were getting ready to play a video game together. Lauren snapped this shot of Liam getting right into it too (at least sitting with them and holding some kind of controller–this controller thing doesn’t always work, as sometimes he realizes his is different and wants the real thing).

Video game togetherness ~ Lifeofjoy.me Including grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was a good weekend, especially because I hadn’t seen them since Christmas and I’d only seen my sister and her family at the hospital when Mom had her knee surgery. We used to get together every Sunday! It’s a bit difficult adjusting to seeing the rest of them so infrequently. (Then there is my other sister and her family in Missouri that we see even more infrequent!) Life goes on and changes as it does. In five and ten years, things will look even more different . . . I hope it will include more extended family time than we’ve been having the last year or two. Well, only God knows. :)

Earlier this week Tiffany and I decided to go to our local (used in a very broad sense) library. Okay, it is as far away as the Tulsa library we were frequenting and in the opposite direction, but it is the one that we pay taxes towards and therefore free to us. We decided NOT to pay the $50 to borrow from the Tulsa library system.

Library Time ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’d taken a picture from a different angle using a different app and forgot to save it. Ugh!!! See! My photography skills are severely lacking. So this one is courtesy of Tiffany. :)

Sean went with us too, since he was working at home that day. We took our laptops and even did some writing after looking around. It really is a lovely building. Maybe next month I’ll take my camera and get some nice pics to share.

I’ll run for now. Have a great weekend; I intend to.

Until next tie, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Blind Date with a Book

Blind Book Date ~ Lifeofjoy.me
Probably should have used a few more words but I did it quickly. ;)

Have you heard of Blind Date with a Book? I hadn’t until Tiffany told me about it when I was contemplating what to write for today’s post.

It looks like this was the idea of Karissa, a librarian in Canada. You can read about how she did this here. From what I’ve gathered, she wanted a different kind of display for Valentine’s Day and came up with idea to wrap the cover of a book with brown craft paper and give some key words to describe the book. As she said, the descriptions were kind of like a dating ads. The idea is to get people to try out a book based on the keywords, not on the cover. It seems that she started this back in 2015.

There is actually a company that sells books this way, except that they are completely wrapped and you must unwrap them to read them. I think this takes away from the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ aspect though.

Karissa said that she was playing with the idea of a ‘what did you think’ form to get some feedback from patrons. Another library in Virginia took off with that idea and included a ‘Rate Your Date’ questionnaire in each book and enticed patrons to fill them out and return them to be entered for a prize drawing. :) What fun.

So, are there some books you have wanted your kids to read but didn’t want to just make them read them? How about covering several different ones, putting some key words on the cover, and letting them pick one to read? It could be biographies or fiction or even easy picture, whatever books you want to dress up and make a fun ‘game’ of it with.

If you are part of a homeschool group, you could do this as a group. It could either be done as a secret santa kind of thing or as a book loan, where the owner of the book has their name in the back to be returned at the next gathering.

If you give this idea a try, let me know how it went.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. I came across this really neat idea for some YA books. I don’t know about the books themselves but I thought the approach was quite well thought out, to enable the blind date with a book virtually. When you click on the ‘ad’ you liked, you are taken to the book on amazon. I loved her descriptions/ads


Valentine Tangling

I’ve not kept up with #Valentangle2019 very well. Thankfully it isn’t a whole month long “challenge,” so I’m okay with taking the whole month to do the two weeks of prompts.

The puzzle 3Z one I did last week is a favorite of mine and my daughter’s evidently. This past weekend she changed up the tiles in my gallery frame, including this tile.

Tangled Tile Display ~ Lifeofjoy.me(I use plasti-tak to position the tiles. It takes a bit of patience and Tiffany is fast at everything she does, so I’ll need to go back and straighten some of these out. That one in the middle of the top row fell twice on her and she just didn’t have the desire to fix it yet again. :D) It would look a lot better with a proper matting, but it is what it is. Maybe one day I’ll do something with it but for now, this works. ;)

I have a hard time choosing the pieces to put in the frame because I like so many of them. It is difficult to take down some of the older ones. :) So, she decided it was time to update the the pieces in the frame. I don’t think we changed the tiles at all last year. :( The removed ones will go in my album. (I’ll have to share pictures of that another time because I don’t have time or gumption to get it out, take pictures, and connect the camera up to my laptop for a third time today. :(

Well day five of Valentangle2019 tripped me up. I still haven’t done that one. It was to tangle on something other than a tile. Now even though she used a rock, it did not have to be a rock; it could have been anything–an envelope, a bookmark, really anything. But it still tripped me up because I didn’t want to just settle for some other paper and ended up not doing it yet.  I still may before the month is over; I’d really like to use paint on a rock. OH! or maybe paint on one of those little canvases I think I have . . . I’ll have to look into that.

On the 6th the prompt was to do Wholy Hollibaugh with hearts in the lines. I had not done this before and was excited to give it a try. I always like the contrast of black and white so Hollibaugh is one of my favorite tangles. This however was a bit challenging. I decided to make the strips different: lined, diagonal, dotted, and plain. I tried to cross them enough that there would be some good variation and depth. I forgot to take a picture before it was shaded but the shading still adds significantly to the depth. I drew it in my old Tangle A Day Calendar.

#valentangle2019 Day 6 ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt looks like I might have one layer wrong somewhere but my mind cannot process it correctly right now, so I’m not sure. ;)

The prompt for day 7 was to use the “love fragment” and make a flower with it or use other flowery tangles. I thought that my version below looked a lot like a Narcissus. So I added a bit of two yellows and a light orange watercolor pencil.

Here it is before shading and coloring.

unshaded #Valentangle2019 day 7 ~ Lifeofjoy.eI don’t remember why I blackened in the hearts on the larger one . . . I think it was just for some difference/contrast but then I realized you couldn’t make out the heart shapes very well so I went over the outline of the hearts in white and added the dots in the points. here it is shaded and colored.

#valentangle2019 day 7 ~ Lifeofjoy.me

That’s as far as I’ve gotten with Valentangle2019 so far. I even did those last two this weekend while my son and his family were here. So that brings us to the Diva Challenge, which is to be inspired by Valentine’s Day. This is great because I was going to make a card for my hubby this week as he prefers homemade cards to purchased. :)

I asked him which he prefers: tan, black, or white tiles. He had a hard time deciding and then said he liked the shiny black one. Great. That meant the scratch off tile instead of any of my others. Oh well. I made it work.

Here is the front of the card. I stuck the scratch-off tile to the center of a folded piece of black paper. I used Luv-A for my scratch-off tangle and Heartline around it, once I glued it on. It got a little wonky but it’s okay.  :)

Valentine Card 2019 ~ Lifeofjoy.meInside I put coupons for him. :) I folded a piece of paper and wrote inside. So he’ll have to lift the flaps to see the 7 ‘gifts’ I’m giving him. The instructions on how to redeem them are on the other side of the fold.

valentine card inside ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think he’ll like it. :)

Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comments. I hope you have a great week!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

IP Creamy Chicken Broccoli Rice

Although this dish is not pretty by any means, it is very good. I cooked the broccoli in the instant pot with the raw rice and frozen chicken breast and all the other ingredients because we like our vegetables really well done. Well, the broccoli totally disintegrated. I mean, no lumps at all, which was good for Sean ;) but not good if you actually want to chew broccoli. In which case, I recommend steaming the broccoli separately and mixing it into the finished dish. :)

One other ‘mistake’ I made was with the amount of chicken for the amount of rice, so I’m adjusting it here. This is basically a dump and go recipe that could be done in the crock pot, I would think.

So here goes: Place two pounds of frozen chicken breast in the instant pot. Then add rice, broth or water, broccoli, mushrooms, almond milk, and spices. Place the lid on the pot, close the vent, and press pressure cooker, high, for 25 minutes with keep it warm for an additional 10 minutes.

IP Chicken Broccoli Rice ~ Lifeofjoy.meI used water and some homemade (THM) bouillon.

water ~ Lifeofjoy.meReady to go ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe had one bunch of broccoli and knew it wouldn’t be enough, so added a bag of broccoli florets. Did you know that some Dollar Tree stores carry a pound of frozen broccoli florets for only a dollar? That’s awesome because it is more for less at most other stores; I think it is because the bags I can find are “steamable”.

When it is done, break up the chicken breasts. I use a potato masher or a meat “chopper” similar to the Mix and Chop by Pampered Chef.

IP Creamy Chicken Rice and Broccoli ~ Lifeofjoy.me

IP Creamy Chicken Broccoli Rice


  • about 2 pounds chicken breast
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups water or broth (I used 3 tablespoons of homemade THM Bouillon)
  • about 1 1/2 - 2 pounds broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and parsley
  • dash of each black pepper and paprika
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon glucomannan powder


  1. Put all ingredients (except broccoli if you so desire) in the instant pot, vent closed. High manual pressure for 25 minutes then keep warm for 10 minutes.
  2. Release pressure, removed lid, and break up the meat.
  3. Enjoy!
  4. I believe you could do the same thing in the crock pot 6-8 hours on low.

IP Creamy Chicken Rice and Broccoli ~ Lifeofjoy.meFYI: It really does look a bit more green in person. I modified this THM Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe.

I hope you like this. We’ll make it again and even put the broccoli in it (but will probably steam some on the side too).

Oh, by the way, we eat this as an E meal on the THM program. (Watch the amount of rice.) Best to add a salad to eat with it, keeping the fats on the salad in E limits, as there are added fats in the dish itself. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

That “Lovin’ Feelin'”

That Lovin' Feelin' ~ Lifeofjoy.meI listened to a webinar, at least that is what the author called it. I call it a pre-recorded presentation. But I’m always looking for ways to better myself and our marriage; I can be such a mess at times. A link came up for a marriage webinar on facebook the other day and since it was to begin in a few minutes, I decided to click over to it and see what it was about.

First off, her voice was a bit breathless and annoying to me. I don’t know exactly what it was that made me annoyed by her being so chill and breathlessly quite, but I was. There was a chatroom but nobody chatting, even when I asked, after about 30 minutes, how long the presentation was going to be.

Having said that though, she did say a few things that struck me and I will definitely continue to ponder and pray about. One was to stop “dropping” your love. Hmmmm, this thought intrigued me a bit. I’ve pondered a bit about how one “drops” your love. I’m reminded of something that has happened several times in the last several months (about four months or so) and I have mentioned here before . . . a Christian song came on the stereo and all of a sudden I was overcome with deep feelings of love for my hubby. If that feeling can be aroused merely by a song being played, then it seems that I should be able to protect that feeling and hold on to it. Don’t get me wrong, I did manage to hold on to it for a while, as is evident by writing the blog post, but it eventually gets covered by other stuff/feelings.

At any rate, it is something to consider. If you have an idea of how to protect that “lovin’ feelin’,” I’d love to hear it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº