Salmon Filet: My Favorite Way

My favorite way to have salmon is cooked with maple syrup and soy sauce. But on the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle plan, maple syrup is not conducive to weight loss. So I used the maple syrup that we make for use on pancakes (from the THM Cookbook). You can use soy sauce but I used coconut aminos because it has a bit of sweetness to it.

I know these pictures aren’t the best of the finished dish but it was still good and very good for me. :)

I got this 4 ounce salmon filet at Dollar Tree for a buck . . . not bad.

I recommend thawing it first, as it cooks more evenly and quicker too.

Put the filet into a small skillet and add one tablespoon each of soy sauce or coconut aminos and sugar-free maple syrup.

Cook over medium – medium high heat for about 5-8 minutes. :)

Mine was still frozen so I put a lid on it.

But when I took off the lid there was too much moisture in the pan and it took a while for the liquid to boil down. :(

But it turned out okay in the end. ;)

Salmon Filet: My Favorite Way


  • 4 oz. salmon filet
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free maple syrup


  1. Place fish in pan
  2. Add coconut aminos and syrup
  3. Cook for about 10 minutes. It's done when you can flake it with a fork and it is cooked through.

Growing Closer or Apart?

Are you and your husband growing closer together or further apart? It is easy to get caught up in your individual areas of interest but it is important to stay connected to your spouse. Try to include them in some way.

Are you a crafter or artist? Show your spouse your work. Talk to them about your materials or what you like about it. Try to draw him into some aspect of your interests.

Are you a reader? Share interesting bits with your spouse. I like to read a funny comment one of the characters make in my reading out loud, to include Michael.

Are you into gardening or nature? Sports, bicycling, or walking? Find some way to include your spouse. Take some time to invite them to participate with you and adjust your speed to theirs. But don’t badger them into joining you, that is not conducive to closeness and will probably do the opposite and push him away.

You could go on a stroll together, just for the opportunity to connect with one another. This stroll is not about exercise or getting somewhere, it is simply about connecting together.

Take a few minutes out of your day to share something about your day, even if it is just ordinary. Share a high and a low. It doesn’t matter what you are sharing as long as you are making an effort to communicate with each other.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again . . . marriage takes work. If you aren’t working on making your marriage better then you are probably taking your marriage for granted and that is not a good thing. Hurt and bitterness can easily come in when a person doesn’t feel like they are important to you.

So, set a reminder on your phone or computer to connect with your spouse (in a non-confrontational way) each day. Michael uses the reminder feature of the Love Nudge app to rub my arm or look into my eyes. :D Sometimes he does it in a very humorous way and we both get a good laugh, which is also building up our marriage. The point is . . . make an effort to better your marriage today. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Spending Time with Long-Time Friends

Our friends Paul and Stephanie have been here this week. :) Stephanie was my matron of honor when Michael and I got married 33 years ago. Paul and Michael became good friends right away. We introduced them to camping early on and we have enjoyed many camping vacations together.

They moved and then we moved and they moved again. But through the years, we have remained friends. We may not see each other for a couple of years, but when we connect again, it is like we were never apart.

We have had an enjoyable time together this week, even though we haven’t really gone anywhere. We have simply enjoyed being with each. We’ve gone to the lake a few times to walk around–it’s a small lake and very small park–and enjoy getting some fresh air.

Early this week we went and visited with Brian, Lauren, and Liam. We ate at a new restaurant in the area–Eddie’s. It was delicious! Afterwards we went to Brian’s favorite place for boba tea and introduced it to Paul and Stephanie.

I got mine with only 1/4 the boba and it was much better for me than with the whole amount of boba.

After that, Brian showed us around where he works, at Life Church. :)

Brian loves his job and the fact that his day job furthers the kingdom. So proud of him. :)

Stephanie and I have had some art time. She has been doing stamping and card making for many years. I’ve never been very successful at stamping, so I asked her to give me some pointers. :)

She also showed me how to emboss. :) I’ve never used the embosser I got for my birthday last year. So she showed me how to use it. Thankfully, she said I got a good embosser and an excellent deal. :)

She also showed me how to use copic markers, which I have had for several years and never attempted using. I shared about that last Wednesday.

We’ve had a good visit. I hope you have a great weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Scheduling the School Year

Our friends are still here, so today’s post is a quickie but a goodie. ;)

How Much Time

First up is a link that shares how much time children should spend on “school” time and gives an example or two, as well.

You do have to scroll down a bit but there is a large purple graphic that summarizes it for you. The rest of the post is about scheduling and has some good information. :)


I actually visited this page before the previous page (and it led me to that one). It has information about scheduling both the daily kind of schedule as well as some different yearly schedules.

She talks about block, loop, checklist, and term, as well as year-round and public school calendars. It’s an informative article.

I hope these helps you set up daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly schedules. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Learning Copic Markers

Our dear friends are here this week and Stephanie is a big crafter. She makes amazing and beautiful cards. She does stamping and has used Copic markers for years and years.

Several years ago I got a set of gray neutral copic sketch markers for Christmas. They were suggested in a book by Eni Oken on shading Zentangles. I got them and was intimidated by them and have never used them. (I didn’t get that book back out and see what Eni suggested.) So on their second day here she gave me a bit of a training session on using the copic markers.

I grabbed a 3.5 x 3.5 bristol vellum tile (one I cut from a larger sheet of vellum), put my corner dots, border, and then drew in a quick string without thinking about it. I decided to use several different kinds of tangles to try out some different methods of shading.

I was so focused on learning how to use the markers that I completely forgot about taking a before scan or picture. :D

I used Shattuck, Umble, Zander, and some Tipple (?) or at least that is what I think the tangles were.

The first shading I did was on the right hand side on (straight-line) Shattuck.

Here’s part of the scanned tile.

I was pretty happy with the shading there. Then I decided to try something a little different with Umble, there in the white center section. I did the overlapping areas and then decided to try shading the top most parts to be rounded. It didn’t work so good. Then I added a line of white and that only made it worse. Then I shaded the curved zander on the side and it was okay.

The last thing was the orbs on the top and I wasn’t too sure about them. I figured they were going to be the hardest and I wasn’t expecting much.

I was amazed! Here’s the whole scanned tile and then the picture I took outside in natural sunlight. :)

As usual, the scan is a bit harsher and shows all the flaws. ;) But it looks pretty good from a normal distance. :D This was definitely something that was worth doing and I will try it again in the future.

It’s not easy trying something new, but it is very rewarding. I encourage you to take time for yourself and do something artistic, even if the first results are as nice as you’d like. Go easy on yourself and let it help you de-stress from your day. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

London Fog

Tiffany tried this tea at Starbucks and decided she wanted it at home (and at a fraction of the cost).  I’ve posted her Fruit Loops Tea which really does taste like fruity cereal, and her Creamalicious Latte. This is another tea she likes to make. She used to enjoy drinking coffee but cannot tolerate its caffeine any longer and misses the warm comfort of a lovely latte. So she created these teas.

So here is how to make it.

Boil a cup of water.

Fill mug 3/4 full with milk of choice; she uses either almond milk or cashew milk.

Heat the milk on medium heat.

Place Earl Grey tea bag in mug, fill 1/4 full with boiled water and add sweetener as desired. Tiffany uses two spoonfuls of xylitol, two doonks of stevia for my hubby, and 3 doonks and two xylitols for Sean. So, use whatever sweetener and how much you like.


Steep for a few minutes. Tiffany likes her tea pretty mild; so feel free to steep your tea a bit longer if you prefer a stronger tea. Remove tea bag.

As soon as the milk is warmed (not boiled), add the warmed milk to the tea, stir and drink.

London Fog


  • Earl Grey tea bag
  • milk (we use almond or cashew milk)
  • sweetener of choice (xylitol, stevia, etc.)
  • water
  • dash or two of vanilla


  1. Boil water
  2. Pour milk into chosen mug until 3/4 full, pour into saucepan and warm.
  3. Add a dash of vanilla if your milk is plain.
  4. Place tea bag and sweetener in mug.
  5. Fill mug 1/4 full with boiled water
  6. Steep tea, then remove tea bag.
  7. Add warmed milk, vanilla, and stir.
  8. ENJOY the creamy goodness!

Hope you enjoy this tea as much as Tiffany does. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Create a Bubble to Protect the Marriage

We are so happy to have our long-time friends here this week. So since I didn’t manage to get the week’s blog posts written ahead of time, it’s going to be a short one. ;)

The other day Lauren told me something I thought was a really good idea. She said that when she (or Brian) get upset about something she will tell him that she needs to go in the bubble for a bit. This is done so that the individual can get their emotions under control and only say things that will help the situation.

She said something happened one day last week that infuriated her and that on top of a really hard day. She took a time out and then was able to come back a half hour or so later and have a constructive conversation that would benefit their marriage and not tear it apart.

This is such wisdom in my opinion. So many times, I have gotten upset and said something hurtful to Michael that I regretted saying later.

I hope you find this helpful and blesses you and your marriage.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Major Cleaning for Company Arriving

Well, I didn’t get the craft room finished last week, so I kept working on it this week. The plan was to get it finished by Monday night and play stash and dash on Tuesday but I couldn’t bring myself to doing that. So I kept at it Tuesday and even some on Wednesday.

Oh my! It looks soooo much better even though I had to throw a bunch of stuff into a big box to sort through and find homes for in a couple of weeks. (Maybe I’ll feel motivated enough to go get a few pictures but it won’t be the same without seeing the embarrassment it was before. :o )

Okay, so I decided I could muster up the strength to go in and take a few pictures. These shelves were stuffed to the gills with not really any rhyme or reason to how they were stuffed. Just simply, put this stuff somewhere. ;)

I like to buy cheap fake flowers at Dollar Tree and make arrangements for the table. There are flowers stored in several of those boxes and some lights we like to put up in the kitchen/living room for times not covered by the fall and winter ones we have in the holiday boxes in the shed.

Those drawers were a shambles and I emptied every one of them and resorted them. There is now only one drawer that is not as I would like it but I had to stash some things in there the other day to just be done.

This is the box where a lot of things went that I’m not ready to deal with and will take a while to sort through . . . not this week. ;)

I started cleaning these next shelves earlier this year. The bottom two surrendered more easily but the top two were done this week.

There are painting supplies on the bottom shelf. The next shelf up holds my inks, calligraphy pens, other pens, embosser, and books on zentangle and typography.

The shelf above that has some game stuff on it but it now also houses some pouring art supplies and some wood burning supplies, as well as a basked that I have yet to clean out. ;)

Believe it or not, the games on the top shelf have been culled quite nicely. :) I’ve kept some of my kids games so that as Liam is ready, we can play them together (as well as any other grandchildren I am blessed with in the future).

We also culled the puzzles a little bit. I figured we’d put them together and then decide if we want to do it again. I’ve got a fun one to do this coming week with Stephanie that has Mickey Mouse on it. :)

I’ve also done quite a bit of culling in the servants’ quarters. ;)

I actually have some space here now. Of course, the ice cream machine needs to come back in here from the kitchen floor. :D It’s a work in progress.

Thursday we started cleaning the Library in earnest. Tiffany and Michael had done some a few weeks ago but it hasn’t been touched much since. This is the room our company will stay in, so it is imperative that we get it cleaned up!

Unfortunately part of that cleaning process was moving a bookcase and way too many books for one unit. Since I’m done with my homeschool adventure I no longer need the school books I once used but information does not have an expiration date on it, so I’m letting the kids decide what they want to keep and what they want to get rid of. We are boxing up all the ones they want to keep and storing them elsewhere and bagging up others and taking them to Gardner’s Used Book Store. Any that are curricula I may take them to Bibliomania.

This book case/ book shelves

was over here.

As you can see, there’s still a bit of cleaning to be done in here.

Well, today is a BIG cleaning day. Tiffany and I have a plan of attack written down. We will work for 30 minutes and then take a 10 minute break and then on to the next area. If we stay on track, we should be done and taking a nice rest by 2 this afternoon. Pray for us! :)

Oh! Although I didn’t get any pictures from the water park, we had a good time. It was a lovely, sunny day and nobody got too burnt. ;) I did get a bit sun-kissed and put a shirt on the last 20 minutes or so but it was a good time and no skin peeled in the end.

Well, that’s it for me today. I have lots to do and am looking forward to seeing our friends tomorrow!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. I guess I should clear this up: We added two rooms onto our house about twelve years ago. In so doing, that gave us one small room to get book shelves out of the hallway and living room and out of my bedroom. Then when Brian moved out about eight years ago, we were able to move the books out of the one room and put them into another, giving me space to put up other shelves and store things a little less congested. As my artistic endeavors have increased, so have the supplies needed. Although, the need for some of the old supplies (think kids crafts, like pom poms :D ) have diminished. This is also the room where I store bulky kitchen helps that are not used as frequently as others.

Early Learning (and older) Freebies

I landed on this page from a link in a homeschool freebie Friday email. I saw the playdough mat and wondered what that was, so I followed the directions and downloaded it.

It is cute but could be a bit of an ink user, if that is a concern for you. It is in color but has things left in white for the child to add to the mat with playdough. One page has an ostrich and its nest and asks the child to put eggs in the nest . . . things like that.

Then I clicked on the Animal Habitat Printables lower on that page, to see what was there. Once there I was drawn to the Tot/Pre-K packet Woodland Animals Themed Printables. So I clicked over on that and was introduced to the wonderful free resources of In All You Do. Now not everything on the site is free but most of the Toddler/Pre-K packs are and they are cute. This is the link on that page to here other TOT packs.

But Wait There’s More ;)

Back on that first link, there are so many more free printables and several I clicked on were black and white, which means inexpensive to print! :) Plus it can be used as for coloring too. ;)

The link to cut and paste animals and plants had some good free printables too. For a little bit older children there are some cool color by code free printables too. I imagine you’d cut the picture apart on the thick solid lines and then have the child color according to the code (think color by number style but reinforcing the concepts being taught) and then the child assembles the picture. So it is a couple of activities in one, as well as reinforcing concepts. It’s really a neat idea.

I encourage you to look around these links . . . surf around . . . and see what you can find that will be helpful to you and your children.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Practice Tile: Twing, Tidal, Indy-Rella, and Marasu

After Christmas I tried out the Lindy’s Magicals on a artist tile. I wasn’t real pleased with the outcome but put it in my stash of tiles after it dried. And there it has sat for about 6 or 7 months. ;) Clearly there is a learning curve with these and I have not yet taken the time to play with them any more yet.

Since the Zen-Untangled project is over, I haven’t decided to keep playing along with the Tangles All Around facebook group. Honestly, I needed the break and I don’t like that I cannot share my blog page link when I share a tile there.

Any way, I was upset one evening and didn’t feel like playing a game, so I got that tile out and decided to tangle on it. Since I wasn’t in the best mood, I didn’t care how it turned out, so it was safe to use that tile. :D

In the largest section I went with Marasu. I didn’t want to think too much and that one is pretty easy. Then I’d made friends with Twing and so decided to add it as well. Indy-Relly is another one that isn’t complicated and so I added it but didn’t like it when I was finished; we haven’t become friends yet. ;) Finally I added Tidal because it is easy.

So here is my tile before shading, both the scan and the picture taken outside on an overcast day.

You cannot see the sparkles very well in the scan or pictures, for that matter, but it is there. :)

The orange and the blueish sections are the most sparkly. :)

I used my prismacolor pencils and attempted some shading. I’m not very good with color shading yet, so this is definitely a practice piece any way you look at it. :D

Here is the scan of the tile after shading.

I probably should have put some kind of highlight on Tidal to make it look a bit less bland. :D

Here it the picture I took outside in natural, but overcast, light.

In this one you can see the sparkles a bit more.

Well that is all for me today. I hope you take some time to play with some kind of art this week. :) It really is good for you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº