Slice Zucchini Chocolate Cake ~ lifeofjoy.me

Mostess Bundt Cake

Think Hostess cream filled cupcakes but bigger. :)

So, I took the Mostess Cupcake recipe from the Trim Healthy Table cookbook page 395, doubled it, and baked it in a fluted pan.

Mostess Bundt Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe reason I doubled it is because it makes twelve cupcakes and I know that a usual cake batter that can be baked as cupcakes, bundt cake, or two layer cake makes 24 cupcakes, so I figured it would be a very short bundt cake. Doubling it made it the right height. :)

I made the cake one day and then the next day I made the cream filling and ganache, combined it and refrigerated it to eat the next day. It was scrumptious! :)

Inject Cream in Cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meI shared a video about filling it with the cream on my instagram account on Saturday. The next picture shows the injector I used. It was a cheap one but it has a tip that allows you to inject the cream in the cake without removing any cake bits. :) Then it has other tips for decorating.

Cream blobs on top ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany’s is better but we couldn’t find hers. They can be found rather inexpensively. We found her nice one for $2 at TJMaxx, I think. Mine was a little bit more at Walmart. Mine holds more cream but isn’t all that great. ;)

Every time I make the ganache, it is too thin and I have to add more chocolate chips. It thickens nicely at first but it is like I pour it the cream too slowly and it gets too warm to thicken after that. Hmmm, I may be on to something here . . . I do mine in a double boiler . . . maybe I need to turn the burner off when I add the cream so it doesn’t get too warm.

Well, anyway, just be aware that you may need to add more chocolate chips or not add all of the cream but it is worth the effort. :)

Mostess Bundt Cake ~ lfieofjoy.meCut Mostess Cake ~ Lifeojfoy.meSince my ganache is so thin, it makes a bit of a mess. ;) But we eat it anyway. :)

Slice Zucchini Chocolate Cake ~ lifeofjoy.meWell, I hope you enjoyed my spin on the Mostess Cupcakes.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Fathers

Michael and I ~ Lifeofjoy.meI know I’m a day late but I didn’t want to let it pass without me saying anything. Since it is “Marriage Monday,” I just wanted to encourage you not to make your appreciation of your hubby be a once in a while thing. Men enjoy hearing that you appreciate them. Pump him up, if not on a daily basis, on a weekly one.

I’m sooo blessed to have a man who loves God with all his heart!!! I think it is probably the reason we have made it nearly 31 years together. When a person is seeking after God with his whole heart, he will naturally better himself and his marriage as he grows in God.

Michael and I may not have what the world would consider prosperity but our hope, faith, and trust is in God and we know that we have what we need for today. We are content with the things we have and trust God to take care of us as we follow and obey Him. We are just stewards over what He gives us.

Michael & Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meMichael and I made a choice when we started our life together that we wanted to do life together. We wanted him to be here for the kids and involved in their daily lives. We wanted me to be home with them and to educate them ourselves. We made these choices and are happy we did. Michael is just as good with our grandson as he was with our kids. When he is here, Michael gets down on the floor and plays with him and shows interest in him. It warms my heart.

I guess “loving the Lord with all his heart” was a trait I looked for in a man because that is the kind of man my daddy was. When I was young, we moved a lot but it was usually because we wanted to live closer to the church we were attending. :) We even moved nearly five hundred miles once when I was young, one of the main reasons was to go to a different church.

God and church has always been a big part of my life because of the importance my parents put on it. I remember even when my dad worked long hours and I didn’t get to see him much, he would ask me on the weekends or late in the evening when he finally got home, if I had read my Bible.

My Daddy ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy daddy always worked hard to provide for us, making our lives comfortable and enjoyable. Even after retiring he still worked hard. I think it is hard for him to realize he is now in his seventies and cannot do all the hard work he is used to doing. ;)

Daddy always believed in me! He even spent his hard-earned money to allow me to do something that I felt God wanted me to do. Not only did he have faith in me hearing God but he also helped me believe in myself, that I could do anything I put my mind to, a trait I still have today.

Thanks Daddy!!! Thank you for following God even when it was hard and for teaching me to do the same (especially by your example). I am forever grateful! Love you bunches!!!

So, I encourage you today to make a point to tell your man how much you appreciate him. Respect is not something that is earned with a husband and wife, it is something that is required of the wife. Voicing your appreciation is a good way to show respect.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

My Grandson (and Son and Daughter-in-Love) Visited

Since Lauren has to work this weekend, they came up last weekend. Sooooooo . . . I got Liam pictures!!!!

Grandson Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe was warming up to Shiloh again. (He has to warm up to her ever visit.) He heard the camera click . . .

Cutie Grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meSuch a ham! But such a cute ham!!! (I’m not biased at all! :D )

He likes to play with this window with people. Last month it was Sean. This month Tiffany.

Playing with Nephew ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd once again, he heard the camera click . . .

Daughter, Grandson Fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe loves his daddy! He enjoys “playing” video games too. :)

Guys gaming ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, he caught me again. (He’s just so stinking cute sometimes. LOL)

He also loves playing with balls. So we play at some point while he’s here. He’s good at bouncing it to me but not good at catching it yet. ;)

Playing ball with grandson ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe also had fun “drawing” with Aunt Tiffany this visit. It wasn’t very long lived, but it was cute.Concentrated Drawing ~ Lifeofjoy.meHe watched Tiffany very carefully and tried to mimic her motions. It was darling.

I love the look on Lauren’s face, such a momma look!

Proud Momma ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, we had a nice visit! We don’t see them very often, so even though we hadn’t made it to church the last couple of weeks because Tiffany was not feeling well, we stayed home and visited with them. It was nice to has a leisurely breakfast of sausage and baked pancakes. Then we had sandwiches and fruit salad for lunch and ended our visit with some homemade cookie dough ice cream.

Brian and Liam loved the ice cream. It’s a little cheap ice cream maker we got from Aldi a couple of years ago. You keep the bowl in the freezer for 24 hours before using it. It doesn’t get really hard set but it is a nice soft serve consistency. It only makes about one and a half quarts, so Lauren had the last piece of strawberry cake I served the night before. (She loves strawberry and is not a huge fan of ice cream, so it worked out fine.) I can see I’m going to have to get another machine as my family grows. ;)

Well, that’s enough for today. I hope you enjoyed our visit with my family. I sure do miss them since they are a couple hours away but I know I have it good.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Signing and Children

SIgning with Littles ~ Lifeofjoy.meI recently heard of a young homeschooling momma whose young boy, about age 7, stopped talking. I cannot imagine what challenges she is facing, especially if she doesn’t know sign language in any form.

I learned sign language from books. Truth be told, God enabled me to learn it pretty decently. Unfortunately I never had a clue that teaching babies/toddlers was a thing, as I definitely would have used it with my children when they were young because they did not really talk much until they were two years old. Brian and Lauren (my son and daughter-in-love) are teaching my grandson some sign language and it is really helping them communicate better.

I found a few links to share with you today. I hope they might be helpful.

A lot of libraries have baby sign language books and other resources available.

I found that there are lots of articles online touting the benefits of teaching toddlers and young children sign language. It can help them communicate more readily. It connects both sides of the brain and more.

I hope this helps some. As always, if you have any specific questions, let me know and I’ll try to help.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Bit of Color on Soul Star with Meer and Hollibaugh

Over the weekend I tangled a tile but did not shade it right away. When I checked the Diva Challenge this week, I saw that there was no challenge again; I guess Laura has gone on her summer break without any guest post challengers this year–I hope she is okay (I may ask on her facebook page when I’m done here).

I really like the tangle Soul Star by Sonya Yencer. I used it this week with two other favorites of mine, Meer and Hollibaugh. I like Hollibaugh because it has such good contrast in it.

So here’s my lineart.

Preshaded June10 Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meI decided I wanted to add some color. Now I didn’t really have the right things to do this with so I just used my prismacolor pencils with a blender. It came out rather rough. I’m going to be looking for the watercolor pencils next. :)

I only colored one Soul Star because I wasn’t liking how it flowed . . . new supplies coming soon, I hope.

Soul Star, Meer, Hollibaugh ~ Lifeofjoy.meSoul Star, Meer, Hollibaugh ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere is a picture I took outside on an overcast day.

Meer Soul Star Hollibaugh ~ Lifeofjoy.meI used a bit of a 6b pencil to add some extra depth to some of the shading.

Since I want to share this in a Purely Zentangle group, I also scanned it grayscale because color is not allowed there. :)

grayscale meer soul star hollibaugh ~ Lifeofjoy.meI really appreciate you stopping by. Let me know which picture you like the most. I’m trying to figure out which way is best to post my tiles. I don’t like small pictures because I have a hard time seeing details but I don’t really want you to see all the imperfections either. ;)

Well, I’m off. Have a great day.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Pizza Skillet ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Pizza Skillet

The best part of pizza is the cheesy toppings and are very low carb. :)

I love pizza! No seriously! Life without pizza is not an option, so every diet/lifestyle change I have been on, I have found a way to get the yumminess of pizza legally for that way of eat. Some of them were more of a stretch than others, like the time we used Corn Thins as the crust and spread on tomato paste and added toppings or the time we used chicken breast for the crust.

Well, I’ve been at this for so long that I don’t always have to have the crust. Sometimes I just want the toppings. I made this recipe the other day because it is too hot to use the oven to make pizza right now.

This meal is all about the toppings you like most. I used 1/2 pound of ground turkey, 1/2 pound of ground chicken, some turkey pepperoni, and some turkey bacon. (I use turkey products because Michael cannot have the beef or pork right now.)

Cooking ground meat ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I gave the ground meats a head start, then added the turkey bacon, broke it all up and combined well.

Then added the turkey pepperoni slices. Some times I cut them into quarters but I wanted to bite down into whole pieces this night.

Add pepperoni to other meats ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Once it’s all browned up and the juices cook off, add in some tomato paste, water, baking soda, and oregano.

Add Tomato Paste to meats ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Pizza toppings and sauce ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Add herbs to pizza toppings ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Stir to combine.

I like some green pepper and mushrooms on my pizza but my kids don’t prefer it. So I cook it separately. :) Cut the veggies how you like them; we like ours diced.

Diced pizzza veggies ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Then either add them in with the meats as you brown them or in a separate pan to saute. I like mine caramelized.

Veggies cooked ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Add cheese to the top of the meats and let it melt.

pizza toppings ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Pizza Skillet ~ Lifeofjoy.me

It is ready to eat when the cheese is melted nicely.

Pizza Skillet ~ Lifeofjoy.me

It kind of looks like my lasagna. ;) Oh, I’m looking forward to creating that one.

I serve it with the veggies on top and with a side salad.

Pizza Skillet ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Pizza Skillet and Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.me

If you miss the crust, you can serve it on a piece of low carb bread. I’ll adjust the recipe to incorporate that in a future post.

Pizza Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground meat (I used turkey)
  • 1/2 pound sausage (I used chicken sausage)
  • several slices of turkey bacon (I guess you could use regular bacon)
  • most of a 5 ounce package of pepperoni (I used turkey pepperoni)
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 6 ounces water
  • sprinkle of baking soda (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • dusting of oregano (about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon)
  • veggies of your choosing
  • 8 ounces cheese, shredded (I used colby jack)

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground meats in a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add bacon and break up the meats.
  3. When nearly cooked through add pepperoni.
  4. Either add veggies cut as desired to the meat or saute in another pan.
  5. When juices have nearly evaporated, add the tomato paste, water, baking soda, and oregano.
  6. Combine well. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  7. Reduce heat to Medium Low, cover.
  8. Serve when cheese is nicely melted.
  9. (Add veggies if you cooked them separately.)
http://lifeofjoy.me/pizza-skillet/

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Don’t Be Afraid to Talk Things Out (Fight?)

Discussion ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe first year Michael and I were married was not the easiest. ;) We had MANY “discussions” but I would not trade them because they helped us figure things out.

Now I am not a proponent of arguing and not resolving anything.  The only good argument is one that resolves the issues that caused it. You don’t have to argue but Michael and I are both very strong, independent individuals that were determined to spend our lives together. This required some communication about expectations and most of the time these were not planned discussions; they happened on the fly.

Now in our younger years, we were a bit more hot-headed than we are now. At least I like to think we’ve mellowed with age. Some of our arguments have resulted in some of the things we continue to carryout to this day. For example, he texts me when he is headed home and how long it will be until he gets here. This is because we homeschooled and the kids and I were here, in our home, being active, which generally includes making messes. Michael would come in and it was very lived in which did not make for a good feeling for him when he came in the door. So his text (call in the early days) gave me the warning we needed to clean things up and for me to get dinner started. Since he is self-employed his hours and commute times change a lot.

You see, we’d had a discussion (which was probably more like an argument) many times when he’d come home to a cluttered living space and dinner not being thought about. He wanted peace and quiet, food, and a clean floor to walk on. :D If he had worked a 9-5 or such job and he always got home at the same time, it would have been an easier fix but it could fluctuate by one to three hours on any given day. Thus we instigated the “headed home” notification.

So although arguments are never necessary, since there is always a calm and collected way to have a discussion, they are not necessarily all bad either. Just ensure that you are working to a resolution and not just yelling or flinging insults. I’m a very passionate person and I have a loud mouth which means that inevitably I will raise my voice in a conversation, especially if I am frustrated. Of course, that doesn’t mean it is right, but not the end of the world. Just be sure to fight fair (no name calling and such) and work to solving the the situation that caused the argument to begin with.

I hope you find this helpful. It’s just me being open and honest.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Our Trees and Plants

Our Mimosa trees are in bloom! I’m soooo glad. Michael thought they might be dead since they had zero signs of life in May and we usually see something by then (at least that is how we remember it).

Mimosa Blossoms ~ Lifeofjoy.meI just think they are gorgeous! Not only are the blossoms pretty but even the leaves are pretty.

Mimosa leaves ~ Lifeofjoy.me They remind me of a fern.

Ours have gotten quite large now.

Big Mimosa Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen we moved here, it was just a little thing, similar in size to this one. New Mimosa ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was a bit bigger though because it has another trunk or two, meaning that it is really a few trees grown together in a clump. ;) But it sure has grown. The one we have by the house has really grown too. We transplanted the one in front of the house from my mom’s house.

The Bradford pear trees we have were this big when Mom and Dad gave them to us shortly after we moved out here.

Bradford Pear Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is the same tree today.

13yo Bradford Pear Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s a bit bigger. :)

This is my rose “bush.”

Rose Twigs ~ Lifeofjoy.meMaybe you can’t see it very good. Here’s a close-up.

roses ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, it kind of looks like I stuck a long stemmed rose in the ground out there. But this was a “bush” I planted a few years ago. Clearly I need some help with it. It is a lovely rose though. ;) See.

Rose ~ Lifeofjoy.me

See this sunflower patch on the left. These self-seeded (or he birds did it).

Sunflower patch ~ Lifeofjoy.meLook what a few of them are doing.

horizontal sunflowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, a few of them are growing along the ground and then popping up a flower.

Odd but Pretty Sunflower ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat one growing beside it is about to bloom too. :D

I’ve been trying to keep on top of the weeds to keep them from overtaking the garden but I’m not doing a very good job at it. I was out pulling weeds for about 40 minutes the other day. I pulled so many weeds, my fingers got stained. This is my fingers after washing them a couple times.

Stained fingers ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere’s a closeup of the other hand.

finger stain ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt finally faded and came clean but it took a while. I’ll probably have to get out there and do some more come Monday (this weekend Brian, Lauren, and Liam are coming, so I probably won’t do it until Monday) because it rained a lot yesterday and that will probably make them grow more.

My oregano has flowered. I don’t know what that means exactly.

Oregano flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meI guess I need to harvest some and dry some. Now to research what to do exactly. ;) Always learning. :)

Well, I’ve rambled enough for today. I enjoyed seeing the growth of our plants/trees. I hope you did. And if you have any suggestions for my poor rose “bushes,” please share it with me in the comments.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Educating the Preschooler

Preschool Learning ~ Lifeofjoy.meMuch of the little ones’ time should be spent outdoors and in play. As you do things throughout the day point out the number of things or color of items. Name body parts and objects in the home and outside. All these things build a child’s vocabulary.

To give you ideas of activities you can do with your young child, Before Five In A Row is a great resource. (I was going to include a picture of it but I cannot locate my copy just now. :( )It has a treasury of ideas to draw from in one part of the book. In the other part of the book it shares some quality children’s books and some activity ideas you can do that relate to that book.

Unlike Five in a Row where you read the same story five days in a row doing a different activity with the child each day, Before Five in a Row is not repeated, unless child directed (I know some children that will ask you to read the same book to them over and over again but others do not.) You just pick up one of the books as you desire and do something with your child. Don’t make this schooly! Keep it fun and as impromptu as you can. ;)

Before Five in a Row is a good way to get your feet wet with some activities that springboard from a book. I highly recommend it.

As I was preparing this post I looked up some Charlotte Mason ideas on preschool. I found that habits are a big focus. I’ll post more on that another day but want to mention this free resource for your further information. Smooth and Easy Days is just a little ebook to give you some basic information about habits and will give you some things to think about.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Tangled Notepad

I recently gave a small little notepad to Sean, my middle son. He promptly asked me if I’d tangle on it in white. Of course, not wanting to let him down I consented. ;) The other day I tangled it while I was listening to an audio.

Since there is no Diva Challenge this week AND we had a visitor on Tuesday, I decided that I would just share the notebook cover as my art for the week.

I’m not sure that I’m finished with it. I still want to do a little shading but when you are drawing with white, it is a bit different to shade than with black. I’m considering using color pencils to add some shading because I don’t think marker would work . . . I think it would just bead up and then smear off.

Here it is before any attempt at shading. ;)Tangled notepad ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe dashed border was printed on the cover already. Tangles used are Tipple, Meer, Shattuck, Avreal, and Msst. You can see where I was struggling with my pen some, with Msst.

I appreciate you stopping by. I hope you’ll leave a comment so I know you did.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº